Getting A Good Drum Sound

As someone who has been playing drums since a teenager and been an engineer for nearly 15 years one of the most important things for me in a song is getting a great drum sound. Before anything has been mic'd up or you've even got into a studio there are 3 important factors that can contribute to getting that all important great drum sound. These are ensuring the recording is being used on a professional maple or birch kit depending on the sound you are going for and not making do with a sub standard drum kit. The kit should have new heads and should be tuned to the key of the song as each drum holds a note. It should be tuned in the room it is being recorded in so the kit heats or cools to the room temperature. These points can make such a difference to a recording and to a detailed ea, r can be the difference between an average demo and a professional recording. The second factor is to use good quality mics and pre amps as you will only get good clarity and detail in depth on a recording with good mics. If you do not have a good source signal it will be incredibly hard to get a good final sound. The other factor is to ensure the player behind the kit is of a good standard for the music you are recording and has the ability to be tight with the band and know when to and when not to overplay. Being able to use dynamics within their playing can make a difference on a recording and paying attention to detail is always important when playing drums on a recording. The most important thing though is to be as tight as possible with the rest of the rhythm section.

The Bass Drum

One of the most important decisions when recording drums is to decide what mic or mics you want to use and getting the right positioning for them. The most commonly used bass drum mics are dynamic mic with the AKG D112, Shure Beta 52a, Audix D6 and the Electrovoice RE20 being popular choices. I personally would favour a Senheisser 421 on the beater and a good Neumann outside the bass drum to pick up the sub frequencies to blend with the clicky signal.

The close mic on the bass drum will have spill from the other drums and cymbals in particular the snare and tom toms. The best way to get around this is to use a gate. The attack should be set quite fast like with most other drums, in order to get a punchy sound. The release should be set to close fully once the sound has finished so you do not hear the spill but watch you do not set the release to quick and lose some of the source sound. Most drawmer gates can do a job on a kick drum.

The next thing is to set up a compressor on the bass drum. If you set an attack time which is a little slower (10 to 20mS), it will allow the click of the drum hit to pass through the compressor it is being compressed. To help get that clicky sound on the kick, use a ratio of around 3: 1 and have the threshold set around an average of -4dB of gain reduction to each beat beat, the release should return to normal before each beat. A good kick drum compressor I find the TLA Audios Valve 5051 is a good kick drum compressor. You just need to make sure you drive the input to get a punchy sound.

If the kick does not have enough presence then try equalising around 4 and 7kHz on a mid Q just adding a little gain where you feel appropriate around these frequencies. This should give the kick more definition and make it cut through the mix. Most good Equalizing units should work but a personal requisite of mine is to use a valve EQ for added warmth. A good EQ for this although not valve and used more for mastering is Massenburgs GML 8200, this unit has several bands of fully parametric EQ for ultimate control.

The SPL Transient Designer allows you to change drum sound envelopes, meaning it possible to add or subtract attack and sustain. Once this has been done listen to the kick drum with the overhead mics and see how they sound together. With the overheads added the Bass drum should sound more natural and slightly ambient. Adjust the compression and EQ again if it needs it, but bear in mind that once the rest of the mix is ​​added that the sound will might need minor adjustments again.

Snare Drum

The best way to record a snare drum I find is to use 2 mics, one above and one below the snare drum with the above mics phase reversed. Shure SM 57s tend to be a popular choice while I sometimes find 2 AKG C451s can do a good job.

Snare mics tend to pick up a lot of unwanted low spill from the kick drum and toms, and may pick up the hi-hats to. For this again gating is necessary preferably a frequency based gate with some bass end and treble rolled off where the problem occurs the side-chain input could be useful if found necessary.
If the snare needs more definition I tend to find adding around 1.8khz on a fairly tigh Q is where the crack of the snare is and can make it cut through the mix really well. If you need any extra crispness, then try a little high EQ at between 4 and 7kHz. To give a bit more body to the snare, sometimes a little gain between 110 to 160Hz can work well but watch you do not add to much as too much in this frequency range can muddy your mix.

Compression on the snare is also recommended to get a tight punch sound. Try not to over compress and be sure not to have the gain reduction go over -3 or 4 dbs. Most drawmer mics can do a good job on the snare although I quite like using an Urei 1176.

Toms Toms

The most common Tom mics are the dynamic Sennheiser MD421 which tend to be clipped onto the toms. As toms are normally hit during fill-ins and rarely anywhere else, then a gate is needed when they are not in use. Take off some low end from the gate's side-chain input will eradicate false triggering from kick-drum spill. If you struggle with getting a suitable gate a good alternative is lose the spill after the recording in your sequencer or tape machine.

I tend to give the Toms some definition give the small tom some boost around 6k the mid tom 5k and the floor tom some 4k. Obviously this is hugely subjective and depends on the sizes of the toms you are working on. Adding between 100Hz and 200Hz I tend to find good frequencies to work with for picking out the resonance of each tom. A fairly small reverb can be a good idea also to have the toms sit in their own space in the mix and also give a bit more of a live sound that the processing might have lost.

Again compression can be a good idea when recording the toms. Be sure to listen to the Toms with the overheads and not just isolated as the overheads play a large part in the final sound of the drums.


The AKG C451 is a popular hi-hat mic which works really well pointed away from the kit.
No gating is needed for the hats. Rolling off all the low frequencies is advised to lose the spill of the bass, snare and toms.

Overhead Mics

AKG 414s tend to be very popular overhead mics for a majority of people although I sometimes find them a little clinical. A personal favourite of mine are Coles 4038 or 4040 Ribbon Mics. They seem to get a great smokey sound that oozes expense to me. As Overheads pick up the cymbals and hats getting good definition on these mics is really important. For indie and jazz, using a lot of the overhead mix can be imperative. For rock and pop, I tend to use more of the individual mics and add a little over-heads subtly. I tend to find the overheads need no compression and should never be gated so an open sound is achieved.

A little equalising is sometimes necessary on the low end where the kick overspill may be a little much and there may be some phasing issues on the low end having used several mics in a relatively close space. Rolling a little low end here can help with both these potential issues. If the drums were recorded in a fairly small room sometimes a reverb can be added. I tend to find a Yamaha SPX 900 or the more expensive Lexicon PCM 80 can do a really good job here.

Tools For the Beginner Woodworker

The Preliminary Tool Kit

1. Crosscut handsaw, 22″: This is technically a panel saw. It is useful for breaking down large planks  you before flatten them.

2. Backsaw, 10″: Presumably a carcase saw and filed crosscut, this tool will make your finishing cuts and is typically used with the bench hook.

3. Dovetail saw, 8″: We prefer a 15-point saw that is filed for ripping cuts.

4. Jack plane: Hayward seems to prefer this plane for processing rough lumber. A 14″-long plane is typical.

5. Fore plane: Hayward seems to prefer this size plane (about 18″) for shooting the edges of boards instead of a jointer plane.

6. Smoothing plane: The smoothing plane is the last plane to touch the work before scrapers or sandpaper. A 10″-long plane is a typical size.

7. Firmer chisels, 1/4″ and 3/4″: These were once common tools without the beveled edges that are common in catalogs today.

8. Warrington hammer: These small hammers have a cross-pane on one end for starting brad nails. Very handy and still available.

9. Mallet, 5″ head. For driving chisels. Beech is the preferred wood.

10. Nail punch, fine: A small tool for setting nail heads below the wood’s surface with a few short blows.

11. Pincers: A handy tool for pulling errant nails.

12. Screwdrivers, 8″ and 3″: Traditionally, these would be straight drivers. You’ll also need Phillips, square-drive and others.

13. Cutting gauge: A marking tool with a knife for making its mark (instead of a pin).

14. Ratcheting brace, 8″: Still useful, even in a power-tool shop.

15. Auger bit, 3/8″.

16. Twist or brad-point bit, 3/16″.

17. Countersink bit.

18. Center bit, 3/4″: A bit for making flat-bottomed holes. Now Forstners are the standard.

19. Brad awl: Designed to start holes for nails and small screws.

20. Try square, 6″.

21. Card scraper: This tool cleans up tear-out left by the smoothing plane.

22. Oilstone: Buy one with coarse and fine grits. Waterstones are now common.

23. Folding rule: Or a tape measure.


Useful Additional Tools

1. Bow saw, 12″: This saw is useful for deep and curved cuts.

2. Keyhole saw: Used for fine work, particularly keyholes. These days one with a Japanese tooth pattern are more common and useful.

3: Coping saw: Useful for clearing out waste between dovetails and shallow curved cuts.

4. Bullnose plane: A now-uncommon tool for cleaning up rabbets.

5. Shoulder plane: A useful tool for trimming the cheeks and shoulders of tenons.

6. Compass plane: If you do circular work, this plane is helpful. Others never need it.

7. Rabbet plane: For the woodworker who prefers to cut rabbets by hand.

8. Toothing plane: A useful plane for roughing up surfaces prior to veneering.

9. Plow plane: A useful hand tool for making grooves and small rabbets. Not found in a typical power-tool shop.

10. Firmer chisels, 1/8″ and 1/2″.

11. Paring chisel, 1-1/2″: Useful for a wide variety of fine cuts. Beveled edges are typical.

12. Mortise chisels, 5/16″: If you work with machine-processed stock, you’ll probably want a 1/4″ tool instead.

13. Patternmaker’s hammer: Like the Warrington next to it, but smaller.

14. Marking gauge: A gauge with a pin used for marking across and with the grain.

15. Mortise gauge: A marking gauge with two cutters to mark the two walls of a mortise simultaneously.

16. Spokeshave, wood body: Useful for curved shapes in easy-to-cut woods.

17. Auger bits, 1/4″ and 1/2″.

18. Center bits, 1″ or as required: Again, substitute Forstners. Buy them as you need them.

19. Sash clamps, 36″: Begin with one pair and purchase as needed.

20. C-clamps: A modern equivalent would also be F-style clamps.

21. Handscrews: Useful for all sorts of tapered and odd workholding needs.

22. Try square or combination square, 12″.

23. Miter square: Useful for laying out and checking mitered work.

24. Sliding bevel, 8″: For marking and measuring angles other than 90°.

26. Gouge: A large tool for removing large amounts of wood quickly – not a carving tool.

26. Surform tool: It looks like a cheese grater and is used for shaping curved and compound work, such as cabriole legs.

27. Router plane: Used to trim tenon cheeks, deepen grooves and to cut hinge mortises.

28. Dividers: Basic tools that step off dovetails or other joinery.


Homemade Tools and Jigs

1. Miter block: A sawing device used to help cut small miters.

2. Miter box: A more complex and accurate device for cutting miters in mouldings.

3. Shooting board, 36″ long: An appliance used to plane the long edges of boards true.

4. Straightedge: Make as many as you need; they’re wood.

5. Square, 24″: Useful for laying out joinery full-scale on cabinet sides.

6. Winding sticks: Two identically sized, straight sticks used to check boards for twisting and cupping.

7. Oilstone case.

8. Veneering hammer: This tool presses veneer against its substrate.

9. Bench hook: An essential appliance for accurate crosscuts with a handsaw.

10. Scratch stock: A small tool with homemade cutters filed to cut small shapes, such as beads.

11. Miter template: An appliance clamped to your work that allows you to chisel accurate miters.


Power Equipment

1.  10″ table saw

2.  8″ jointer

3. 12″ benchtop planer

4. 1/2″ drill

5.  Random-orbit sander

6.  Drill press or hollow-chisel mortiser

7.  Jigsaw or band saw

8.  Two-base router kit (2hp)

9.  10″ miter saw

Brick Repair Mortars

Brick repair mortars have improved over the years. Originally, all repairs were made using any color of mortar that was available. As this market grew, it has become necessary to match the new mortar to the original mortar around the home. This practice of brick restoration has been in use for nearly ten years. However, there are newer methods available which allow for more precise mortar matching. Now, you can match any mortar every time.

Twenty years ago, custom mortar matching was completely unheard of. In fact, ten years ago this idea was laughed at. All repairs were performed as side projects, and were not expected to match mortar colors. You can see evidence of this on nearly any old building on your local town square.

Over the past ten years, it has become more desired to have your mortar matched to the original mortars in a building simply because public awareness of this ability. However, many of the contractors in this market still laugh and think that custom mortars are simple marketing tactics and have proclaimed they too can match these mortars. With these contractors, custom mortar matching simply means that they will make an attempt to get the mortar close.

There are companies around that can and do match you mortars, but most of the companies are only getting close. The companies that can and do match your brick repair mortars are using certified mortar matching.

Certified mortar matches are lab analyzed matches. Samples are taken from the mortar joints of a project and sent into the lab. These mortar samples are tested for their general hardness and composition. Each color tone in the samples are identified and matched. This includes local contaminates that may be found in the mortar which change it texture or color.

After a formula is created to match the samples taken, the formula is physically tested and confirmed to match the samples taken. From these confirmed formulas, certified pre-mix mortars are created, and shipped out to be used. These pre-mix mortars are guaranteed to match the original mortar colors.

Make sure that your contractor is using certified mortar matches, and ensure that you are getting a job done right. These repairs are too costly to pay for poor mortar matching, and these certified mortars are available to everyone. You or your contractors have access to order certified mortar matches, and you don’t have to settle for less.Be sure it is a certified mortar match.

Find Apartment Rentals Without the Hassle

Finding apartment rentals to suit your needs can be very frustrating. However that is only true if you take an unorganized approach. When you know exactly what you want and how much you can spend, this endeavor can actually be quite easy. Even if you are looking for your very first apartment, it does not have to be hard. In fact, it can be fun!

Before you even start looking at apartments, you have to know what you want. Your needs should come first. You may not be able to meet all of them but starting out with a list of what you want can help you narrow down your search. So, decide how many bedrooms you want, how many bathrooms, etc. You need to determine if the size of the apartment is important and where you would like it to be located.

Do you have pets? In that case, your search needs to include pet friendly apartments. You also need to consider what kind of amenities you want, not to mention special features. For instance, you might want a good view, you might want an apartment that does not face the street. Things like that are vital to your search.

Now, once you have decided what you need, start to think about what you can live without. Not all of your needs may be able to be met. Thus, you have to decide what is expendable. For instance, the view is not really important, right? And you should not be turned off by a building that does not have its own laundry room, especially if there is a laundromat right down the street.

Being able to compromise will make your apartment search much less frustrating. Because, you have to remember, not every apartment will offer everything that you want. Furthermore, you may not be able to afford everything that you want. You thus always have to keep your budget in mind as well. Keeping all of this in perspective will help you from getting angry or discouraged during your search.

You need to be realistic when you are searching for an apartment. Thinking that the flat of your dreams will magically appear and be completely affordable is unrealistic. Thinking that you can get absolutely every feature you want is as well. You have to be willing to make concessions. Now, that does not mean you will have to choose an apartment in a bad location or with tiny rooms. It may be as simple as conceding some closet space.

Once you have possible apartments on your list, you are ready to get super organized. This means taking notes on where your potential apartments are located, the names of the landlord, broker, owner, or what have you, how many rooms each apartment has, and so on. That way you can ask pointed questions when the time comes, which brings you closer to getting your dream apartment.

How to Change a Flat Tire Safely

Tire Safety

When driving anywhere, one has to be aware and cautious of flat tires and blowouts. Tire maintenance is very important. In most cases, you need to give your tires more attention than any other part of your car because they are the parts that are the most open to damage. They are always in contact with the ground, and it is littered with jagged rocks, metals, and an assortment of other equally damaging objects. Driving on the streets in any city can wear out your tires, causing them to go bald and giving them less friction. This is very important because if you are driving and try to brake too quickly your car can slide a little longer, hitting another car or even a pedestrian, or even causing a blowout.

Flat tires or blowouts are easy to spot, because in most cases, you feel the difference in the way your car handles almost immediately after getting a flat. Your car may begin to shake, it might even feel like you are driving over jagged rocks or on an unpaved road. When you feel this sensation it is important to remain calm! Don’t jam on the brake, instead ease off of the gas pedal and try and get to the side of the road. Your car will naturally slow down. Trying to brake too hard after a blowout, or trying to drive on a flat tire can be very dangerous for both you and the other people sharing the road with you.

Knowing how to fix a flat tire, or check tire pressure and inflate your tire again when needed can be crucial to your safety. Aside from preventing flat tires and tire blowouts, making sure your tire has good pressure is also beneficial to your wallet. Better tire pressure means better gas mileage in the long run, which can save you money. Especially during a recession, every penny saved can be used for something else. But sometimes people do not check their tires before they get on the road, and this leads to car breakdowns and car troubles.

This article attempts to illustrate the necessity of tire safety and will explain some things that you, the driver, can do to help prevent a blowout and flat tires, and even teach you how to fix a flat tire if you find yourself in that unfortunate situation.

Changing A Flat Tire: Jacking up the Car

Once you are safely on the side of the road and out of danger, you can get to the business of changing your tire. The first step is to jack up your car, here’s how:

  • Always make sure you carry the necessary tools to change your tire. These tools are primarily the spare tire, the jack, and the tire-iron. In most cars, like compact cars, the spare tire is located in the trunk under the mat, and in other larger vehicles it’s attached to the back of the vehicle, or under it.
  • After you have all the necessary tools it is time to begin. Before changing your flat tire or blowout, always make sure that the car is in park and that it is on a leveled surface. Make sure it is not parked on an angle so your car won’t fall off the jack, and injure you. Also be sure the emergency brakes are on to ensure your safety.
  • After the car is securely parked and safe, place the jack under the frame of the car. The jack is usually diamond-shaped and there is a lever that connects to it so you can push the car up. Make sure the car is spaced off the ground, giving you ample room to take off the tire.
  • Once the tire that needs the change is in the air, you will use the tire-iron (a t-shaped bar) to remove the lug nuts. Once the tire-iron is in place, you will apply pressure and push it to the left side to loosen the lug nuts. It is always to the left. Remember the saying: “Righty tighty, lefty loosy.”
  • After you have loosened all of the lug nuts, you will take them off one by one and set them to the side so you don’t lose them. When you place the spare, it’s important to have all the lugs available so that the wheel is held tightly.
  • Your flat tire is ready to be taken off.

Changing Your Tire: Installing Your Spare

Now that your tire is ready to be taken off and changed, you are almost done.

  • This is probably the hardest part. Take your spare, and place it right over the wheel studs. The tire can be somewhat heavy so this should be done with caution.
  • Once the spare tire is on the wheel stud, you will take the lug nuts that you previously took off the tire and place them on the wheel studs protruding from the middle of the tire. It’s not necessary to start using the tire-iron again. You might want to spin them on carefully by hand and once it does not turn by hand anymore, you will take the tire-iron and tighten them as much as possible.
  • Once is it tightened, lowered the jack and remove it from under the car. Once the car is on the ground, tighten the lug nuts even more to make sure that the tire is not loose. Make sure that they are not moving around because a tire placed improperly can result in it flying off while driving.
  • Make sure the tire is on well, and that the tire pressure is at the right amount. Some cars have an electronic system that lets you know when there is low tire pressure but it is always good to check it either way. If the tire is low on air, find a pump where you can fill it up.

After installing your spare tire, you are able to drive again. Always make sure there is always enough air in your tire. You don’t want your spare becoming another flat tire or have it blow out on you. After reading this article, we hope you have become a bit more familiar with fixing flat tires, and changing a blowout. This information is always handy while driving. You can even become a Good Samaritan and help someone else in trouble.

It is important to remember that changing a tire on the side of the road can be a dangerous proposition. If you are dealing with poor weather conditions or your car is in an unsafe location, you may be better off contacting a local Los Angeles Towing Company or contacting the California Highway Patrol.

You should only undertake changing a flat tire or a blowout if you feel you know how to and have no physical limitations. If not, you should call roadside assistance personnel or any of Los Angeles’s many towing services. They are flat tire specialists and experts on blowouts. They encounter these things everyday and are properly trained. In either case, after having your flat tire fixed, always take it for a checkup to make sure you are as safe as can be. Safety first.

A Guide to Choosing the Right Motorcycle Helmet

A motorcycle helmet is one of the basic riding gears that you have to get upon your purchase of your motorbike. First and foremost, most states in the US require all bike riders to wear a helmet when driving. There are only three states in the US without any law in place: Illinois, Iowa, and New Hampshire. If you live in any of these states, you are in luck and you might postpone your plan to get a helmet. Otherwise, if you live in other states, a bike helmet is a must.

Besides, getting a helmet should not only be for adherence to traffic rules and regulations. A helmet is a safety gear that’s crucial when driving. When you get into any accident, a helmet could make the difference between life and death. So, be sure to have a high-quality one with you.

Some Things to Consider When Choosing the Right Motorbike Helmet

A helmet being an important riding gear, you need to be careful when shopping for one. Think of these three things when searching for a helmet:

Quality. You need a helmet that’s tough, one that will offer complete head protection. Look into the materials used in crafting the said gear, as well as its construction. The helmet should be strong and must not be easily damaged.

Comfort. Try out the motorcycle helmet before buying it. Have a feel of the said gear. Is it comfortable to wear over your head? It should be. Otherwise, if you feel any discomfort, you may have to get another one. Remember that you’re getting the helmet for safety. If it causes discomfort, it may just distract you while driving and that could even be the reason you might get into an accident.

Personality. Check out the design of the helmet. Does it look good? Does it carry the style that you want? Does it complement you at all, whether rugged or stylish or chic? Choosing the right helmet can make your ride all the more interesting, if only because you turn heads while you drive due to the funky-looking or unique helmet that you’re wearing.

Keeping all these considerations in mind, it’s easy to find the right helmet that will make your ride safe and convenient.

A Look at Some Customized Motorbike Helmet Ideas

Since the last pointer in the selection guideline above points out personality and style as important factors when selecting a helmet, let’s take that idea a step further by looking at helmet customization. There are beautiful helmets in the market, and there are customized ones, helmets that belong to another league in terms of styling and appeal. Take a look at these:

Custom helmet. One way to enjoy style from your helmet is to have it personalized. When you look online today, you will find helmets in different styles. You can choose from the different TV show, movie, or cartoon characters that you like. Or, you can choose a unique design that’s truly yours, one that will show off your personality and your personal style.

Luxurious helmet. Helmets are, first and foremost, functional gears. But, if you want to splurge on something that you will need to use everyday for the sake of comfort and luxury, then you can try unique luxurious helmets. One example would be the helmets offered by Borsalino of Italy. The company manufactures helmets that are so good they can in fact be collectibles. If you want something the spells “lavish,” these are great choices.

A motorcycle helmet is a practical and a good investment. So, choose your helmet carefully when shopping.

Getting Rid Of A Bee Hive Safely

We have all seen movies where children throw rocks at the bee hive. Often it's the poor kid trying to get everyone to stop that gets stung. This may have even happened in your childhood, or you have witnessed it in your children's. In fact, wasps, bees, bumblebees, and hornets can be quite dangerous. If you are not allergic too many stings can still be deadly. If you are allergic all it takes is one sting. Not to mention nobody has ever had getting stung on their to do list. Being stung is painful even if an allergy is not the concern.

These insects have their place in this world and who are we to tell them they do not? The only exception is when their home is in your living area or your kids play area. Too many times you will find a nest in the eaves of your home, in the tree your child climbs, or even their play house. What about dad? Poor dad is out there stacking wood, and he gets stung. Who knew they were in the woodpile? Getting stung can really ruin anyone's day. So how do you safely remove a bee hive?

This is an area where an expert is recommended. Believe it or not these little critters can make pretty big homes for themselves. If you are talking about a tiny little nest in the play house perhaps you can just spray with a wasp and hornet spray and then knock the hive down. However, if you are talking about a hive that is in the eaves to your home this could be much bigger than you realize. These critters can be deadly and in the interest of protecting your children and yourself it would be best to let the experts be sure the removal is complete and done safely.

Many times people want to remove the critters while not killing them. While this can be preferable, it's not always possible. In some cases an established nest can start in the eaves of your home and continue down walls. In some cases the weight of the honey can cave in ceilings. A bee keeper may be able to assist, but in this circumstance it may be better to call pest control. They will be able to administer a chemical to the critters before they get angry. If you call early in an infestation you may be able to minimize damage.

While we like to watch nature in nature nobody wants it in their home or on their patio. If you find that you have a bee hive contact a professional to evaluate the situation. Protect your family and get tips on how to keep this from recurring.

Rolling Tool Bag

Repairs are a necessary part of any home ownership which makes having tools a requirement. A rolling tool bag is the handiest way to maintain control of your tools and still have complete access to the tools when and where you need them. This is of course if we are talking about a small amount of tools.

If you work on vehicles, the rolling tool box or tool chest is rather large and extremely necessary. The sheer weight of the tools is overwhelming with the size and number of tools that you must have and maintain. The rolling tool box must have been designed with a spacious interior for the shape of the tools. You should also look for drawers with small slots for washers, drill bits, tap and die and other things. You should buy a case with enough drawer space that the wrenches and screwdrivers are separate with adequate room. Power tools take up a lot of space so you will need some large drawers.

If you are working with a smaller scaled rolling tool bag, there are several important factors to consider when purchasing which one to buy. The first thing to consider is the wheels. They must be sturdy and large enough to carry a heavy load. Remember, they will be carrying all the weight. Next is the handle. Be sure that it will be able to pull the load without coming apart. Third is the fabric. Canvas is a good choice as is rawhide which is heavy enough to handle just about anything. Plastic is usually not as good a choice since it may crack or break under the stress of heavy loads.

If you are working primarily in the electrical field, your requirements for a roiling tool bag are slightly different. You will need more pockets for the smaller gadgets you use on every job. But you have power tools as well as wire strippers, screwdrivers, large and small. Look for a place to keep your tape clean and neat.

When we had the computer business, our tech people had a rolling tool case that they took with them to all the clients. You can guess that with the small sizes of screws and rubber washers, plus memory chips, switches and plugs, our technicians had to be well equipped on the job. Larger components were carried in the trucks in case they would be needed. There is nothing worse for a customer who is trying to run payroll or some other time critical piece of software to hear, "… sorry, I do not have the piece I need to fix your computer. I'll be back tomorrow . " That just can not be allowed. If you are running a business, give your people the tools they need to be able to satisfy your customers and keep them happy. A wheeled tool case is just one way to help make sure that happens.

If you have a small apartment or a large home, repairs are just a normal sequence of living. Having a well equipped rolling tool box is a smart thing to have handy. Having the tool chest stocked with the correct types of tools will make your life and the repair jobs so much easier.

Are Software Engineer Jobs for You?

Software engineer jobs are among the most in demand computer-related jobs out there so it’s no surprise that many are applying for them. If you’re one of these jobseekers who want to try your luck in this career, it helps to know what’s expected of you and whether or not you’re an ideal candidate for this position.

The first thing you have to be aware of is the responsibilities that computer engineers have. These computer gurus are responsible in creating and maintaining software programs. They’re not only limited to work in IT industries alone but also in other sectors like engineering, manufacturing, education, and even in the public sector.

Perhaps the most challenging task software engineers may face lies in developing a program since it takes months and even years to finish and perfect one. Computer programs need to be tested and examined carefully by software engineers before they’re used.

This type of engineering falls into two categories. Applications software engineers are responsible in developing applications like the ones used in robotics. They’re adept in programs like C and C++ used by scientists as well as Java and other Web applications. They meet with clients and huddle with their team before they start designing a program.

On the other hand, computer systems engineers are responsible in developing the necessary software based on the client’s preference. Usually, they install computer systems and programs that can link one department with another within the company. They work together with the engineering, marketing, manufacturing, and design teams in creating a system for their clients.

Software engineers work in a favorable environment. They usually have an office of their own. The job itself is full of challenges since software engineers need to update themselves regularly with the latest trends in computer technology.

Many employers are strict when it comes to hiring engineers in the IT sector. They require a degree in computer science or software engineering. They also prefer those who passed certification courses particularly in computer languages like Java and C++. Very seldom do companies hire fresh graduates who lack experience but once they see some potential in you, they’ll be happy to take you in and train you in their company.

If you’re really after a career as software engineer, you have to send your application to major computer companies and consulting firms. Prepare an impressive portfolio and comprehensive resume that highlights your skills and capabilities. Look for vacancies in classified ads or searching for relevant job roles online.

Computer software engineers are earning an average of $80,500 a year. Aside from this, they also avail of other benefits like paid vacations and holidays, health care, and bonuses.

If you’re someone who wants a fast-paced and challenging career, then this job role is perfect for you.

Is Meditation a Detachment From the Material World?

One of the most fascinating things about meditation is its level of antiquity, extending back through time to prehistoric history. It’s been speculated that, at that time, rhythmic chanting was used to induce a state of meditation that resembled hypnosis in nature. We know this from myths and legends that have been transferred by word-or-mouth traditions, in several different cultures and in several different nations. However, in more recent times, meditation has been clarified within highly organized philosophical systems.

For our purposes, we can first take a look at an encyclopedia. These days, looking up encyclopaedic background information has become far easier with the advent of the Internet. This can save us the time, trouble and potential expense that comes with needing to make a trip to the library or having our own encyclopedia set. When we look up meditation in this manner, we discover that the word “Meditation” has been translated from Latin and refers to a “mental action”. This action functions to bring our human psyche to a level of deep and in-depth concentration. This level of focus is then accompanied by relaxation of the body, a calm emotionless countenance and a noted detachment from material objects. There are many different varieties of meditation.

Meditation plays a predominant role in Eastern philosophy – Indian philosophy in particular. This extends to religion and the practice of yoga. Within the many varieties of yoga, the ultimate goal is reaching a specified mental state. This state is the result of the techniques that are involved in meditation and can range from simple breathing practices to far more complex physical exercises coupled with specific forms of concentration.

We know that Meditation existed in ancient Greece as well as in other religions and philosophies. For example, meditation is an integral part of Pythagoreanism, which is a system of metaphysical and esoteric beliefs that were originally held by the mathematician Pythagoras (c. 570 BC – c. 495 BC). Additionally, meditation is also a part of the mysticism of Sufism, Platonism and even Christianity (both Protestant and Catholicism). Names for this practice include; “Chan” (Chinese), “Zen” (Japanese) and “Dhyana” (Indian). From these designations, we have Chan Buddhism and Zen Buddhism.

Due to the levels of mental concentration, along with physical discipline, it isn’t surprising that we find meditation infused within most styles of martial arts. All throughout Eastern culture, meditation is expressed as a spirit of contemplation and can be the inspiration for art (which can also be considered a form of meditation).

Humans possess different latent abilities that can be developed through the practice of meditation. These abilities include; extrasensory perception (ESP), psychic healing, telepathy, clairvoyance and the development of higher levels of creativity.

In Europe, we have a history of many well-known individuals who possessed special abilities and finely honed talents. We know them as Sorcerers, Magicians, Oracles, prophets and even ground-breaking scientists. We find these individuals in many different walks of life that range from emperors and religious leaders to philosophers and commoners. The common factor with these talented people involves the development of their ability to focus their internal attention in order to manage and positively manipulate their own consciousness. This is the essence of meditation.

To truly understand meditation, we have to experience concentration and contemplation that is initially achieved by special practices the will clear the mind of the random thoughts (internal dialog) that we experience on a constant basis. At this point, we have the ability to will our focus in the directions that we specify. This opens up a pathway to enlightenment, through which we can obtain a vast wealth of knowledge from the direction and objects that we focus on. It has been shown that pathways to alternate worlds and dimensions may even be discovered. This is considered an expansion of consciousness. However, this expansion can be focused inwards, towards the subconscious mind. There, we find the unlimited potential that exists within the worlds that we can inhabit – without the limitations of our conscious mind.

6 Misconceptions About Removable Insulation

Removable insulation used to be crap. There, I said it. Crap. It used to be held together with wires, couldn’t go outside, and made the bean counters burst into laughter when you proposed using it (yeah – it was pricey). But that was then, and things have changed. Now, this alternative to hard insulation has many advantages, but it can’t shake that bad rep it got early on. There are a lot of misconceptions about removable insulation – here are the top 6:

Misconception #1

Removable insulation is expensive and doesn’t have the return on investment that conventional insulation does.

There used to be some truth to this misconception. In the “olden days,” an “insulator” – an actual person – had to start the process by going to the location where the removable cover would be used. After taking measurements, he created a little fabrication shop right on the user’s site where the right-sized insulation cover could be created. But now, companies that need removable and reusable insulation covers can call in with a part number and a manufacturer, and the insulation company can make the pad at their own factory.

Furthermore, removable insulation pays back for itself over and over again when used in the right situation. If the company that needs insulation foresees reasons that the insulation might need to be removed (such as the need to do regular valve maintenance), the ROI on removable covers becomes quickly apparent.

Misconception #2

Removable insulation doesn’t insulate as well as traditional insulation.

Wrong. In fact, if manufactured correctly, removable covers do a better job of insulating. This is because they can fit the pipe better over time. Pipes expand and contract, and instead of gradually breaking down (the way traditional insulation does), the removable pads can just be adjusted via Velcro straps.

Misconception #3

Removable insulation cannot be used outside.

This misconception is an old truth that isn’t true any more. It used to be that removable pads had to be covered with metal or PVC in order to withstand snow and rain, and it made them more difficult to remove. Furthermore, the screws (or glue and tacks for PVC) ruined the insulation. However, newer materials such as fiberglass/silicone composites and fiberglass/PTFE composites now bring the ability to withstand the weather and maintain the integrity of the insulation.

Misconception #4

Most insulation blankets are held together with wire.

Again, this is an old truth that is now false. When insulation blankets were held together with wire, the maintenance people consistently ruined them: they would come in to inspect a pipe, clip the wire apart, and the blanket would be broken. However, newer insulation blankets are help together with Velcro – a material that the maintenance people rarely snip with their cutters!

Misconception #5

Removable insulation is bad for the environment.

It’s hard to believe, but some people actually believe this. This is a backward misconception. It is conventional insulation that is bad for the environment. In fact, it is traditional insulation that is bad for the environment, because every time a pipe needs to be inspected, the conventional insulation is ripped off, and is useless. Removable insulation, on the other hand, may be used over and over again.

Misconception #6

Removable insulation will irritate your skin and make you itch (the way that fiberglass does.)

Conventional insulation has a lot of fiberglass, and when it gets ripped off, the fiberglass flies everywhere. But the new removable insulation has coverings on both the inside and outside; you don’t have the ability to even touch the fiberglass (so you can put that bottle of calamine lotion away).

HSC Chemistry

HSC Chemistry is one of the most rewarding HSC subjects you can choose. In terms of scaling, Chemistry has consistently been the highest scaled HSC science course, compared to Physics and Biology. Chemistry also provides a very useful foundation for university courses in the health sciences fields (Medicine, Pharmacy and Medical science in particular). With typically around 10,000 students doing Chemistry for their HSC each year, it is also one of the most popular HSC subjects chosen. If you can do well in Chemistry, it will greatly help your UAI and your chances of getting into the university course you desire.

Why choose HSC Chemistry
As mentioned, HSC Chemistry is the highest scaled science course commonly available across practically all schools in NSW. The first reason is that because sciences (HSC Physics in particular) generally scale well, there is an economy of scale in choosing and doing both subjects. For example, if you are a logically oriented student who tends to do well at quantitative / conceptual-based subjects like mathematics, there is a good chance you will enjoy science subjects. The sad thing about the HSC and the way schools structure their subject offerings (for most schools anyway) is that students often do not have much subjects to choose from. Therefore they are left with little choice from which they can select, and most often always end up doing the same subjects (Mathematics + science combination). While this is not a bad thing, this means that if you are a student who is intent on choosing quantitative subjects, you will most likely doing at least 2 out of the 3 subjects. Based on scaling statistics of past years, Chemistry and Physics scale the highest out of the sciences.

Students should also note that Chemistry has traditionally scaled as well as English Advanced. In the past few years, HSC Chemistry had a scaled mean (published by UAC's yearly scaling report, in their Table A3) of around 30/50. This places HSC Chemistry at around the same scaled mean as Economics, English Advanced, and slightly higher than Physics (28-29 out of 50 in recent years). While it is recommended that you choose subjects based on your talents and interests, if you are going to do at least 1 or 2 HSC science subjects, you may as well choose Chemistry as one of your science subjects in order to benefit from the good scaling .

Doing well in HSC Chemistry
HSC Chemistry is a very experience-based course. There are many things which a student will realise at the end of their Preliminary Chemistry course, or even halfway through their HSC year. For example, students find it hard to accept that there is no clearly defined pattern when trying to determine the valency of transition metals. Valencies of common anions and cations need to be rote-memorised, as there is no common thread of logic which can be used to derive them (not within the scope of the HSC subject, that is). Therefore many things come with experience, as time goes on and students slowly familiarise with the piecemeal bits of facts that they need to remember and use throughout HSC Chemistry. We will look at a few key examples of what we mean which makes this course experience-based.

Common valencies
The common valencies of anions and cations need to be remembered quite well. For example, there is no 'reason' that will be given to you throughout your HSC why carbonate ions have a charge of -2. Similarly there is no 'reason' that will be given to you to explain why silver ions have a charge of +1, whereas most other transition metals have an oxidation state of +2. These odd exceptions and facts will come with experience.

Some common valencies you should remember are:
– How to calculate the charge on monatomic ions using the periodic table. For example, Groups I, II and III would have a charge of +1, +2 and +3 respectively, whereas Groups V, VI and VII would have a charge of -3, -2 and -1 respectively.
– Transition metals have an oxidation state of +2 most of the time. Know the exceptions (discussed in next point)
– Common exceptions to transition metals having a +2 oxidatoin state are: Iron (can be iron (II) or iron (III)), copper (can be copper (I) or copper (II)) and silver (almost always +1 only, as silver (I)).
– All the common polyatomic anions (carbonate, sulfate, nitrate are the three that are most commonly referred to throughout the course)

Solubility rules
Solubility rules for HSC Chemistry are important to remember, as most of the time they help you get the state of various salts correct when writing your balanced formulae. For example, in the reaction between magnesium metal and dilute sulfuric acid, how would you know whether the resultant salt, magnesium sulfate, is in aqueous or solid state? You would know this only from remembering some general rules of solubility, that magnesium sulfate would be soluble in water.

Some commonly applicable solubility rules you will need for HSC Chemistry:

– All alkali metals (Group I metals) like sodium, potassium, lithium etc are soluble as an ion
– All nitrate salts are soluble
– All chloride salts are soluble
– Most alkali earth metals (Group II) like magnesium, calcium etc are soluble as an ion
– All hydrogen compounds (ie common acids like sulfuric acids, nitric acid, hydrochloric acid) are soluble.
– Only some hydroxides are soluble (be careful here)
– Only some sulfides are soluble
– Only some carbonates are soluble
– Only some phosphates are soluble

The above is actually a very general and basic recall of the complete solubility rules that a good student should remember. Actually this is just from the top of the author's memory from when he did his HSC many years ago, but it highlights the point that solubility rules ought to be remembered well. There will be many situations where you would like to know about the water-solubility of certain salts, in order to get the state correct. You can often find neat and useful summaries of solubility rules at various places online that are sufficient for HSC purposes.

Module-specific experience
HSC Chemistry modules are similar to HSC Physics in that they appear quite piecemeal and separated from each other. A student can have an excellent understanding in one module but have a poor understanding of the next. Therefore it is important to keep a consistent regime of study throughout the HSC year, and gain a comprehensive understanding of each module.

Within each module, a good Chemistry student would need to know about the subtle points in order to have a complete understanding. For example, in the 'Production of Materials' module, it is a good idea to read through a reputable textbook like Chemistry in Contexts or Conquering Chemistry and get a feel of all the various polymers (addition and condensation polymer types) that can be produced from various monomers. A good student would be able to identify the relationship between the monomer used and the polymer it results in, as well as some basic chemical and physical properties that can be predicted from looking at the polymer or even monomer structure. For example, if we see large functional groups, we know there will be chain stiffening, causing hardness, rigidity and tensile strength of the resultant polymer. If we add plasticisers or vulcanise the polymer, we know this will give the polymer flexibility and elastic properties (eg garden hose made from PVC). All these little facts come from experience, from sitting down and reading into a textbook to get the necessary background information needed. Or you may have a great teacher at school or HSC tutoring which might supplant your knowledge with the necessary background information.

Another example, in the next module, 'The Acidic Environment', the content deals almost exclusively with acids and bases, and the reactions that come from dealing with such chemicals. Through doing many questions and figuring why you went wrong each time you did, you should gain a mastery of predicting how buffers react to changes via Le Chatelier's principle. Nearing the final exams, a good student would be able to predict all reactions to changes at a glance. For example, a common enclosed system is a fizzy softdrink. If you pressurise a softdrink can with more carbon dioxide, what happens? Increased gas pressure results in more dissolution of carbon dioxide in order to counteract the pressure change. What if you increase the temperature? Increasing temperature causes the system to react endothermically, which is the release of carbon dioxide gas. Also the specific solubility of carbon dioxide decreases as you increase temperature. Students should be able to identify and relate all these aspects of an enclosed system in order to achieve an excellent mark from HSC Chemistry.

How to ace HSC Chemistry
The short answer is to gain the necessary experience. Do not feel bad when at first the amount of odd facts which do not fit into any pattern seems overwhelming. Do not let that demotivate and demoralise you. Instead, understand that all the necessary knowledge will come with experience. Practice makes perfect, so do more questions and ask more questions. If there's anything you do not understand, ask a teacher or tutor.

It is important to gain a solid grasp of the important fundamentals early on for a subject like Chemistry. What this means is to get a good understanding of the things which you will use again and again throughout your HSC Chemistry course, early on, preferably before year 12 starts. The things mentioned in this article, plus the following, are repeatedly used throughout the entire course:

– Common valencies (discussed above)
– Solubility rules (discussed above)
– Naming salts and covalent compounds
– Identifying the bonding structure of common substances – covalent molecular? ionic lattice? Covalent lattice? Metallic lattice?
– Understand how intermolecular forces work, and how they relate to physical properties (boiling and melting points, ductility, luster, hardness, flexibility, tensile strength etc)
– Naming carbon compounds (including multi-chains containing functional groups, multiple double and triple bonds, with attached halogens)

Non Alcoholic Drink Recipes for a Baby Shower

In special occasions like weddings, birthdays and baby showers where you have invited your closest friends and relatives to come over and celebrate the moment with you, serving drinks is a basic rule. Since food and other treats are expected to be present, drinks should never be left out. And since it is a family occasion, non-alcoholic drinks are usually more appropriate.

Drinks are as important as the dishes you want to be served on special occasions such as a baby shower. Hence, it is vital to have at least a few non alcoholic drink recipes at hand for you to use for the event. Listed below are just some of the many options you may want to use for your baby shower:

Lime Rickey:

1 large lime juice


Club soda

For this recipe, mix lime juice with a teaspoonful of sugar in a glass and stir well. Add at least two ice cubes and club soda then stir again. An optional garnish of lime slices will make the drink look attractive.

Pineapple Daisy:

8 parts pineapple juice

1 part grenadine

2 parts lemon juice

Mix the ingredients altogether. You can either stir it or shake it. After mixing, pour into the glass and add fresh pineapple and strawberries as decorations.

Spicy Coffee Cooler:


1 cup heavy whipped cream

1 cup powdered sugar

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

Ground coffee

15 whole cloves

7 cups cold water

Mix the cloves, cinnamon and coffee with water and then brew. Add powdered sugar to the brewed mixture after straining. Fill half of the glass with crushed ice and then pour the brewed mixture. Add a touch of sweetened cream on the top.

Raspberry Mint Crush:

2 cups lime juice

1 cup red raspberries

2 cups sugar

A bunch of mint

2 cups boiling water

Mix the sugar into the water and let it chill. After a while, add crushed mint and lime juice into the mixture and let it chill again in the refrigerator for another 2 to 3 hours. Strain the mixture and pour it over a glass with cracked ice and garnish it with mint leaves.

Planters Punch:

3 quarts ginger ale

2 cups grenadine

2 cups lemon juice

2 cups orange juice

Sliced strawberries and pineapple

Mint leaves

Mix all the juices along with grenadine and let it chill for about 12 hours or overnight. Add ginger ale over the chilled mixture before serving. Garnish the drink with slices of strawberry and pineapple.

The recipes mentioned above can still be added with other ingredients to add more taste and flavoring. The secret also comes on how you present these drinks to your guests by way of the garnishes that you use. You should also know how to make further experiments on the drinks to be able to come up with a revised version of the drink recipes mentioned above. To do this, the testing phase should be done at least a few days before the exact day of the baby shower to allow certain adjustments if there are any.

Finding the Perfect Set of Outside Bar Stools

When you are considering outdoor bar stools, you want to choose your options carefully. You definitely do not want to pick something that will only last a couple years. When checking out outside bar stools, you want something which is able to withstand the elements. Therefore, canvas or leather outdoor barstools certainly will not last. Luckily, there are numerous options as far as bar stools for outdoors are concerned. As you look at various designs, shapes, and colors that are available, you will definitely be able to find one that is appropriate for your situation.

Bar Stools for an Outdoor Patio Bar

Many of us have a deck or outside patio that's equipped with an outdoor bar. With that in mind, outdoor barstools are to be viewed as a necessity to complement any outdoor bar furniture. You do not want to just take out your barstools from inside since they would not stand up to the elements. In addition, you would not want to move them each time because that would just be too much work. There are an assortment of designs offered for barstools for one's outside bar. These barstools can really look really nice once you find the proper design and style to fit in with your deck or patio.

Different Types of Outside Barstools

Outdoor barstools are available in numerous designs, which is good because it allows you to have many different choices to select from. One type which is likely to go with a lot of outdoor furniture are the outdoor rattan variety. This is simply because a lot of patio furniture is made of wicker. Therefore, these particular barstools for outside can easily fit right in without skipping a beat. Wicker also is visually very nice and can also come in a range of different colors. Consequently, you may get all your outside décor to match without difficulty.

Another choice many people consider are metal barstools. They are a basic style, but they can appear in numerous styles and colors. You are able to truly tailor them to your patio or deck as well as any patio décor you have. It will likely be easy to make them fit in along with virtually any furniture you may already have outdoors. As a result, pulling it all together will surely be a breeze. It will just be a matter of locating bar stools which you like. After you look around, you will definitely discover something you want with the different choices on the market.

Many people really like being able to move about in their seat, and that's why many people tend to go with outdoor swiveling barstools. They're effortless to move about in. You are able to turn around to socialize with a person behind you. They are very practical for any outside events or festivities you may have.

Because outside bar stools come in an enormous amount of types, materials, and features, it could take some time to discover the ideal bar stools for your deck or patio, but once you do, you can just settle back and relax.

Golf Tip – Toll the Bell

In the last couple of articles I discussed the role of the hands and wrists in your golf swing. The one article was about the cocking of the wrist in your back-swing. The most recent was on the release of the wrists at the hitting area (down-swing). Both articles explained how these movements are a natural happening, not a conscious action. In this article I would like to discuss how we set our hands up for this to happen. An action the pros call “Tolling the Bell”.

Over cocking the wrist and prematurely releasing the wrists have one common problem, loss of power. The action called the delayed hit, the late un-cocking of the wrists is one of the keys both to longer drives and longer shots with all your clubs. Why? Because it is the key to preventing premature release of power by un-cocking the wrists too early on the down-swing.

There is one common thing in your golf swing that will allow your wrists to move through your golf swing naturally and control your release in the down-swing. What is this common thing? It is your left arm (right arm for the left-handed). You have all heard to keep your left arm as straight as possible, but what does this have to do with your wrists? Let’s me explain.

In your back-swing a straight left arm will control your shoulder turn, which means it will control your wrist cock, if you allow your wrists to move naturally. Pulling down with a straight left arm, what the pros call “tolling the bell” is not only great help, but necessary for a good swing.

If you have a tendency to release your wrists to early on the down-swing, I want you to try thinking of something. It might be helpful, try thinking about pulling the butt end of the club (grip) down toward the ball, not snapping the club head towards the ball.

You need to guard against breaking (snapping) your wrists, if they are felt lagging behind the club. The wrists should and will unlock naturally when they reach the hitting area just below the hip height. You needn’t think about it and you must not consciously snap your wrists through the hitting area.

On the back-swing, simply think about swinging your left arm straight back and up away from the ball as you make your shoulder turn.

On the down-swing, for longer drives and shots, you simply swing your left arm down in a circle under your chin, better known as “tolling the bell”.