Construction Games Online and Offline

There are plenty of fun games online, but some of the best and most popular games involve making things. The phenomenal success of FarmVille over the last year or so, is down to that creative urge. Growing crops and making a farm has a massive appeal. Some games that cater to the ‘making’ impulse in a very direct way are construction games.

There are many online games to play online for free and there are also games for PC and console.

Some games are pure construction, others have a big element of construction in the game play. Examples of the latter include the Tycoon games which in a sense are business games but where the player needs to build up assets to earn more money and proceed. There are also empire building games like Rise of Nations where cities must be constructed and managed so that income can flow to equip armies.

One of the purest building games is ‘Bridge It’. The object is simple. You have limited funds to spend on materials to build a bridge. The challenge is to make a structure that is strong enough to withstand the passage of trucks or trains. The fun is partly the building- with its true-to-life rules of physics- and partly watching the trains as they crash into the abyss or bounce through to a triumphal conclusion!

Railroad Tycoon 2 was one of the most successful games of its era. The aim is to build railroads and get rich. It is getting old now but still provides plenty of fun and game play. It is also worth mentioning Zoo Tycoon. The 3D environment and the exhibits that you need to build in your Zoo make it a satisfying experience.

Tropico 3 has been very successful in the last few years. You are in charge of a tropical island and need to guide it to a bright and prosperous future. This is a fun game if you don’t mind playing as a person of dubious morals As a Banana Republic Generalissimo you only have bribery or terror tactics to control your population. Upset the Americans and they will invade- which is almost as bad as the hurricanes that sometimes turn up.

The Age of Empire series involves getting your villagers to work well as your Empire expands. The Rise of Nations installment from that series is one of the best strategy games ever made. Also worth mentioning are ‘Settlers’ and ‘Caesar ‘.

Sid Meir is a legend in the simulation games world. He was largely responsible for the Railroad Tycoon series as well as Civilization and Colonization.

This is the best of the many city building games. Sim City 4 offers the chance to construct and manage everything from mega cities to small towns with a satisfying degree of realism.

There are dozens of online games geared to satisfying the impulse to build. One of the nest pure building games is Cargo Bridge. You design a bridge in the blue print mode and then send out your little workers to fetch some supplies. As they cross the bridges you have built there is a satisfying amount of shaking and bouncing as the wood and steel structures react to the loads. A bad design means your workers plummet into the abyss as the bridge collapses!

There are also Lego like brick building games, electrical circuit games, plumbing games and physics based demolish games- for when the creative impulse gives way to the glee of destruction.

Younger children are catered for with games that are similar to dress up games in their format. Instead of make up and clothes to engage the interest, there are building styles to select and color schemes to explore. Daisy’s Construction Crew is a good example of this kind of games.

It would be fun to know if any of theses games have sparked an interest in a career in architecture or the construction industry! There is probably a young Leonardo da Vinci out there right now!

5 Factors to Consider Before Buying Kids Toys

Shopping for toys for your kids might sound like a simple task but it is actually quite complex owning to the options available. Unless you want to waste your money buying items that no one will want, it helps to carry out some research so that you can buy the best products. The idea of buying the toys is to give your kids items that they can enjoy playing with. There are some factors that you should consider before you go shopping.

The function

When choosing the product, consider if it is a passive or active toy. Most younger kids prefer something that they can actually play with actively, as opposed to just looking at it. Look for items that the kids will enjoy for a long time.

Age appropriate

Consider the age of the children when buying the toys. You need to buy toys that your kids can actually use without your help. Instead of being fun, a complex toy will be frustrating for the child every time they try to use it. On the other hand, it is a good idea to select items that they will not outgrow too fast.

Assembly required

Think about the effort it takes to assemble the toy, and if it has to be assembled every time it is used. The last thing you need is to spend time putting together the toys. If you have a dedicated playroom, you can invest in a toy that will take up space for a long time. It might also help if the child is old enough to do the assembling.

Space available

The size of your home will determine the most appropriate toys. If you have a basement or play room where your child can spend time, you can choose a large toy or toys that take up a lot of space. If, on the other hand, space is an issue, make sure that you choose appropriate toys that will not result in clutter filling your living room and get toy bags to help with storage.

Quality of the item

While there is nothing wrong in trying to get a bargain, buying cheaply made toys is not usually a good idea. Apart from being dangerous, the products fall apart after a few uses and you have to replace them with something new. This means that you will end up spending more in the long run. A good quality toy will be around for a long time.

When shopping, determine how much play power you can get from every item that you buy so that you can make the most cost effective decision.

How to Paint Foam Crown Molding: DIY Techniques, Tips, and Tricks!

One of the smartest ways to add tasteful decor and depth to a room, crown molding is a subtle alternative to many of the over-the-top adornments some people fill their homes with. For years, molding has been almost exclusively made from wood, which results in a process that requires hyper-detailed calculations, expensive tools, and woodworking skill. Foam on the other hand, represents a newer, simpler, and more cost-effective alternative that can give you the same appearance as wood without all the work.

Lightweight and flexible, foam crown molding needs little more than adhesive to install, and is easily cut by hand with a sharp carving knife. Foam’s “squishiness” means you can be generous with your cuts, as the foam will compress when fit into a tight space, creating perfect joints and seams while hiding imperfections. Getting a spongy material like foam to look like a more solid product is what makes people occasionally question its ability to genuinely replace wood as a molding material. In reality, the process of painting foam molding gives an installer the ability to make the foam look like any other medium. In this post, I’ll give you a run-through on how easy it is to paint polyurethane foam molding and wind up with a beautiful new space.

There are two methods for painting foam molding, and it’s up to you to decide which is best: spray painting or brush painting. Spray painting requires less work, fewer materials, and is faster, but doesn’t give you maximum detailing capability. Brush painting allows you to replicate the design or look of any other molding medium, but is slightly more labor-intensive than spray-painting.

Spray Painting Foam Crown Molding

After measuring and cutting your foam molding sections, prepare a workspace in a well-ventilated area where accidental overspray won’t be an issue. Putting down a large drop cloth or tarp in the garage, basement, or even on the ground outside on a calm day works well.

When your area is ready and your molding is spaced out on the tarp, apply thin, even coats, taking care not to oversaturate the foam. As an absorbent sponge rubber, the molding will take longer to dry if you do. After painting all the pieces to your specifications and allowing adequate time to dry, your crown molding will be ready to mount.

As previously stated, spray painting has an advantage over brush painting in terms of speed and ease. Prepping the area, painting the foam, and allowing it to dry are the only steps before mounting. The drawbacks to spray painting amount to little more than personal taste. There will be limitations to spray painting based on the nature of its application; two-toned or intricate designs won’t be practical. Also, foam will retain its spongy appearance with the spray method. The polyurethane foam most manufacturers use has a cellular structure small enough that it will be indistinguishable from a solid at the distance from which it will be seen, but it is still a consideration to take into account.

Brush Painting Foam Crown Molding

For people who have an intricate or customized paint job in mind, or prefer to have a solid, smooth surface on their molding, brush painting is the right choice.

Unlike spray painting, brush painting requires the foam to be coated with thinned drywall joint compound as sealant before painting to create a smooth surface. Also different from spray painting, the molding will need to be mounted before sealing and painting. Mounting first gives you the benefit of foam’s compressibility to create clean corners and seams before you harden the material with sealant and paint.

After the foam has been mounted, protect the room from paint and joint compound with drop cloths and painter’s tape. When you’ve finished with the prep work, prepare your drywall compound mix. You’ll want to thin it down until it’s the consistency of paint.

Once you’re finished mixing, brush a thin coat onto the entire surface of the molding. The joint compound should dry quickly, so in an average-sized room, you’ll be able to start applying a second coat as soon as you finish the first go-around. Only two coats are necessary, but if you prefer to add more, do so. Once you’ve completed applying the drywall compound, give the molding a full 24 hours to completely dry all the way through.

The following day, the molding will be ready for paint. Sanding the dried joint compound should not be necessary unless you spot a flaw. If you need to sand the compound down, use the finest grit sandpaper possible, and utilize a respirator or face mask. When you’re satisfied with the coating surface, proceed to paint the molding however you desire. Once the paint dries, remove the drop cloths and tape and you’ll have a newly-transformed space that you upgraded with a fraction of the time, money, and effort needed for traditional crown molding.

Final Tips

Lastly, there are a couple tips that apply to either painting method. First, avoid oil-based paints for the foam. There is little reason to use them anyway, since latex paints are more affordable and you won’t need weather resistance inside. Second, the foam itself may be bright white when you first purchase it. If you plan to have white crown molding, you will still need to paint the foam, even if it matches your room. This is because foam will naturally yellow as it ages. This is purely an aesthetic change and doesn’t impact quality, but by painting it, you will ensure it will always be the color you want.

A Review of Prominent Circuit Breaker Manufacturers

The following article provides a review of prominent circuit breaker manufacturers.

ABB is at the forefront of circuit breaker manufacturers, offering homes and industries the ability to achieve maximum performance while limiting the negative impact on the environment. With companies operating in over 100 countries around the globe, ABB is a leader in its field. ABB offers products from miniature circuit breakers to molded-case breakers and guarantees its products are among the safest and most dependable on the market.

Perhaps better known for home appliances and products for various industries, Siemens is also a leading circuit breaker manufacturer. In 1998, Siemens executed a major recall of one of their circuit breaker products. The breaker in question was mostly used in hot tubs and spas. Although Siemens claims they are unaware of any injuries due to malfunction, they erred on the side of caution. The breakers were found to have the potential cause electrocution of people in hot tubs.

GE circuit breakers are probably some of the best-known and used circuit breakers on the market. GE offers circuit breakers that are compliant with Federal regulations. This circuit breaker manufacturer offers a wide range of products for all voltage needs. From home to industrial electrical necessities, GE has products for both low and high voltage electrical outputs.

ITE is credited as the founder of 5 kV air magnetic circuit breakers. They were among the first circuit breaker manufacturers to offer low energy and high quality solutions to industrial electrical needs. ITE also offers medium and high voltage circuit breakers for a variety of purposes.

Cutler-Hammer (Eaton) is also a well-known circuit breaker manufacturer. Perhaps one of the most innovative technologies to come from this company in recent years is the fireguard circuit breaker. Cutler-Hammer’s FireGuard provides protection from fire hazards that result from arcing faults. FireGuard circuit breakers will likely become the standard circuit breakers used in 21st century homes because they provide advanced protection against some of the most common causes of house fires.

The reliability of Federal Pacific, an established circuit breaker manufacturer, is questionable at best. These breakers have a notorious reputation for failure to trip when hit with a power surge. Some experts claim the rate to be upwards of 25%. Failure to trip during a power surge can cause structural fires. Rumors have circulated that the company was “de-listed” from the UL, although the company states they simply “went out of business”. Regardless of the actual reason for this, most electrical experts recommend discontinuing the use of these circuit breakers since most tests show an unacceptable failure rate.

Another circuit breaker manufacturer, Square D, has a long history in the circuit breaker business. This company was the first to offer plug-in type circuit breakers in 1951, which was then highly innovative technology. Since that time, Square D continues to be a leader in circuit breaker technology and offers a wide variety of products for both home and industry.

According to product reviews, ETA is the leading manufacturer of circuit breakers around the world. Their circuit breakers are crafted with precision and are used for a variety of circuit protection technologies. Thermal, magnetic, high-performance and electronic are just a few of ETA’s specialties. They continue to strive to create and produce the best circuit protection on the market.

Since 1947, Westinghouse circuit breakers have been among the most durable and reliable on the market. In tests, these breakers continue to deliver high performance to industries and their electrical needs. It is likely that Westinghouse will continue to be a leader in this field because they continually strive to meet the needs of advancing technologies.

Ford Motor Company – Case Study

Background (General Facts)

Ford Motors is one of three leading automotive manufacturing companies in the United States. Based in Michigan in 1903 by Henry ford and grew to reach revenue of $150 billion and more than 370,000 employees by 1996 [1]. In the 1970’s, the automobile market for the major auto makers – General Motors (GM), Ford, and Chrysler- was crunched by competition from foreign manufactures such as Toyota and Honda. In 1999, Ford acquired the Swedish Volvo model in an attempt to compete in the foreign market and expand to other regions. Furthermore, Ford launched a full organization re-engineering business process plan called “Ford 2000” aiming at reestablishing the company’s infrastructure. The process meant reduction in their Vehicle Centers (VCs) to only five covering the operations that spanned 200 countries. It also meant cutting redundancies and requiring Information Technology (IT) to be the driving force and the link between Ford centers worldwide.

In building Ford’s IT infrastructure, the company focused on implementing a setup that supported the TCP/IP communication protocol based on the U.S. department of Defense requirements. At those days, Ford internal network was meant to serve files transfer unlike most companies that used the network mainly for email communications. Throughout the 1990’s, Ford developed a cost effective Global Enterprise Network Integration (GENI) process to link all its locations compromising on the type of the connection and the cabling in favor of full coverage. During the same time, Ford started building its Web Farm, which was basically a set of hardware and software managed by a team for building Ford’s public website. The work started by publishing documents for technical references and moved to more advanced images from a live auto show. As a result, the website received 1 million visits a day in less than 2 years after its official launch. Throughout the end of the 90’s, Ford established its web services by increasing the amount of information published, building more intelligent and standard web application in 12 weeks period, purchasing more Netscape browsers for setup on its users’ machines, and creating a B2B server to allow the suppliers secured access to Ford’s Intranet.

In the path towards service cost reduction and bringing more business through the web, Ford worked closely with its competitors in the U.S. market GM and Chrysler to establish what came to be known as “Automotive Network Exchange” (ANX) certificate. The protocols aimed at providing a unified communications standard through the Internet to enable suppliers to provide common technology for all manufacturers. Moreover, Ford focused on making information on its web site more accessible and useful by deploying a team to manage the process of adding and updating information based on an analysis of how humans deal with information. One final aspect of Fords endeavor was to try to build a model through its infrastructure that benefited from the model implemented by Dell computers to improve their supply chain and delivery process. The direct model would not work well for automotives as it would with computers, as a result Ford worked on its retailing network remodeling and identifying what would eventually give it the extra edge in delivery time.

Enterprise Architecture Issues

  • Ford’s regional expansion to address the competition for market shares demanded cost management for the infrastructure upgrades
  • IT infrastructure places limitations on the type of application development based on the platforms
  • Easy access to information and prompt delivery of vital data to key individuals requires proper knowledge managementOrganizations reengineering and process remodeling is necessary when adapting new technologies to maintain the cost and increase efficiency
  • Supply chain errors and delays can severely affect the progress of the business and the market value of the corporation

Analysis

Infrastructure Upgrade

Since the inception of the Internet in the 1960’s, much effort has been made in standardizing how computers connect to it. In 1982, the International Organization for Standards (ISO) realized that during that period many ad hoc networking systems were already using the TCP/IP protocol for communications and thus adapted it as a standard in its model for the Internet network [2]. The main driver for IP convergence, at that period, was the growth in data traffic through wide area networks (WANs) established by local companies. Furthermore, in 1991, the Internet was open for commercial use, and that demanded a reduction in the total cost of operating the network to cope with 1 million Internet hosts that materialized in only 1-year time. Telecommunications companies like AT&T understood the potential and worked on standardizing the network offering voice services over IP networks that managed the separation between voice and data transmission [3].

At the same time, Ford had launched its plan to update its infrastructure, and seized the opportunity brought by the global movement of integrating the voice, fax transmission network with data transmission and expanded its WAN to include its offices in Europe and elsewhere. The financial benefits also came from the fact that Ford adapted the TCP/IP protocol from the beginning and made sure that all its technical infrastructure upgrades adhere to the standards. This made the transition of its system to the Internet as cost effective as it could be.

Web Technologies

Intranets employ the hypertext and multimedia technology used on the Internet. Prior to 1989, when Tim burners-Lee invented the Web [4], most applications used standard development languages such as C and C++ to create desktop applications that were proprietary and dependent on the platform. For example, applications running on a command-based operating system such as UNIX would not run under Windows, and those working for PCs might not work on Apple computers and vice versa [5]. The invention of HTML (Hyper-Text Markup Language) introduced a new model for applications that conform to the standards provided by a single program, the “Web Browser”. Unlike standard applications, the browser brought a unified interface that had a very fast learning curve. Users seem to require no additional training to work with web browsers. Furthermore, system administrators did not have to spend time installing upgrades on users’ machines, since the Intranet client/server architecture facilitated all the updates through the connection with the web server [6].

Since Ford established its Intranet, it was aiming at building web applications through the initial analysis of “Mosaic”, the early form of web browsers. The technical department at Ford used web languages to create the first web site in 1995. In 1996, the team started building applications making use of the unified “Netscape” browser that was deployed on all machines at the company, and working on a standard template to cut on the development life cycle. There was a substantial cut in training cost due to the user-friendly interface of web applications. Furthermore, the speed of development made vital applications available to different individuals across the company. For example, the B2B site allowed suppliers remote and secured access to various sections of Ford’s Intranet. In addition, the development team created an application as a virtual teardown on Ford’s website where Ford’s engineers could examine parts of competitors’ cars and evaluate any new technologies. The alternative would have been an actual trip to a physical location where Ford tears down cars to examine the parts.

Knowledge Management

While there are many definitions for knowledge, each company might adapt its own based on how it analysis data and information to acquire knowledge. The University of Kentucky, for example, defines knowledge as “a vital organization resource. It is the raw material, work-in process, and finished good of decision-making. Distinct types of knowledge used by decision makers include information, procedures, and heuristics, among others… ” [7].

Organizations go through different activities to manage the amount of information they collect to form the knowledge base of the company. Activities include creating databases of best practices and market intelligence analysis, gathering filtering and classifying data, incorporating knowledge into business applications used by employees, and developing focal points for facilitating knowledge flow and building skills [8].

Ford was excited about the traffic it was receiving on the Web site and everyone was publishing all the material they have on desk on the Intranet. Nevertheless, there was a growing concern about the usability and usefulness of the material people were adding. As a result, Ford created a “Knowledge Domain Team” to build complete information in nine areas that were identified as vital to the business. The process Ford took was based on surveys and specialists input in how people perceive information, and what is considered vital and what is distracting in the structure of Ford’s website. The aim behind the initiative was to reduce the time individuals spent in searching for information through proper indexing of the website content, and making sure that what was important could be accessed in due time, and what is trivial did not overwhelm the researcher with thousands of results.

Business Re-engineering

In the area of organization’s re-engineering process innovation is the set of activities that achieve substantial business improvements. Companies seeking to benefit from process innovation go through the regime of identifying the processes, the factors for change, developing the vision, understanding the current process, and building a prototype for the new organization. History shows that organizations who define their processes properly will not have problems managing the issues and developing the change factors [9]. When introducing technology, business redesign is necessary. The industrial fields have been using Information Technology to remodel processes, control production, and manage material for generations. However, it is only recently that companies recognized that the fusion of IT and business would go beyond automation to fundamentally reshaping how business processes are undertaken [10].

When foreign companies were allowed to compete in the U.S. market, Ford understood that to succeed in business in a competitive arena it needed to implement strategies that competitors find difficult to imitate [11]. As a result, Ford bought Sweden Volvo to enter the European market, and partially owned Mazda to have a competitive edge with Japanese cars1 [12]. To achieve that it re-engineered its production development activities and global corporate organization and processes for dramatic cost reduction. Furthermore, it understood that expansion requires collaboration and alignment, and thus planned to establish the IT infrastructure through a WAN that connected all the offices. In the process of innovation and re-engineering, Ford has set policies to manage the cost of establishing the network, built models for continuous implementation, and organized global meetings to align all parties with the process. Adding to that, when it came to managing the website, Ford facilitated an awareness campaign for all the branches to understand that Ford is using the web to collaborate and research and adapting information technology as a way to maximize its business value. The goal for Ford was to maintain its leadership in the market and to do that in the most efficient and cost effective method that is there.

Supply chain management

Supply chain management (SCM) is about coordinating between suppliers, manufactures, distributors, retailers, and customers [13]. The basic idea that SCM applications revolve around is providing information to all those who are involved in making decisions about the product or goods to manage delivery from the supplier to the consumer [14]. Studies show that reducing errors in supply chain distribution, increases revenue, enhances productivity, and reduces the order-to-fulfillment period [15].

Ford often compared its supply chain process to that of Dell’s, in an attempt to close the gaps in its own process and reach the level of success Dell has reached. The difference in the distribution model between Dell and Ford lies in the middle link of using retail shops. Since Ford cannot skip retail as a focal distribution point, it worked on establishing a network of retail shops that it owned. Ford made sure shops are not affecting each other in terms of sales, and gave them all a standard look and feel to establish itself in the consumer’s market as a prestigious cars sales retail company. Furthermore, extensive re-engineering initiatives were undertaken to enhance Ford external network by eliminating the correlation with smaller suppliers. In that way, Ford made sure that key suppliers have access to forecasting data from customers’ purchasing trends and production information to enable a faster order-to-delivery cycle. Ford vision was to create a model that allowed flexibility, predicable processes and delivered the product at the right time to the right consumer.

Conclusions

Ford is an example of how traditional organizations can mature to adapt what is current and maximizes the business value. The process that Ford went through necessitated the continuous support from management. In addition, it depended on alignment between those involved as a key for success. The correlation was not restricted to internal staff; it extended to cover competitors to reach mutual benefits, to work with suppliers to maintain similar grounds and adequate infrastructure, and to create training programs to educate all on the vision and organization’s objectives.

Ford technical progress came at a time where the Internet was yet to reach its full potential. The introduction of Fiber-optic cables in the late 90’s and the substantial increase in bandwidth would have helped Ford and cut on the cost in endured connecting its own offices. Furthermore, the ISP services that provided hosting servers were limited to only few players, which explained why Ford preferred to manage its own web server and maintain the overhead of the 24 hours uptime and backup.

From this case study, I understood the level of commitment large firms have to maintaining their position in the market. These companies know the revolving nature of business in the sense of how easy it is to fall back if they did not keep up with the change. The Ford process also shows the need for quick and resourceful thinking when faced with situations that might seem to be unfavorable. The way Ford ventured into the foreign market by acquiring local manufacturers was a strategic decision that did not only enabled Ford to merge with different technologies, but it also saved it the additional cost of establishing production centers in Japan and Europe.

Recommendations

  • Maintaining leadership in the market requires innovative organizations willing to reengineer to succeed.
  • IT fusion with the business means restructuring and remodeling to understand the role IT would play to meet the business objectives
  • Planning and modeling is vital when coordinating work with large teams.
  • Constructing websites is not about content; it is about understanding what adds value and how humans interact with information.
  • Knowledge management is a plan that companies need to develop as part of their initial business process modeling
  • It is not wrong for large firms to try to adapt to successful processes implemented by other firms.

References

  1. Robert D. Austin and Mark Cotteleer,”Ford Motor Co.: Maximizing the Business Value of Web Technologies.” Harvard Business Publishing. July 10, 1997. harvardbusinessonline.hbsp.harvard.edu/b02/en/common/item_detail.jhtml;jsessionid=WDARNHINBSYKSAKRGWCB5VQBKE0YOISW?id=198006 (accessed July 30, 2008).
  2. Computer History Museum, Internet History 80’s. 2006. computerhistory.org/internet_history/internet_history_80s.shtml (accessed July 30, 2008).
  3. Darren Wilksch and Peter Shoubridge, “IP Convergence in Global Telecommunications.” Defense Science & Technology Organization. March 2001. http://www.dsto.defence.gov.au/publications/2400/DSTO-TR-1046.pdf (accessed July 30, 2008).
  4. Computer History Museum, Internet History 80’s.
  5. H. Joseph Wen, “From client/server to intranet.” Information Management & Computer Security (MCB UP Ltd) 6, no. 1 (1998): 15-20.
  6. R. Boutaba, K. El Guemioui, and P. Dini, “An outlook on intranet management.” Communications Magazine (IEEE), October 1997: 92-99.
  7. Joseph M. Firestone, Enterprise Information Portals and Knowledge Management (OXFORD: Butterworth-Heinemann, 2002), 169.
  8. David J. Skyrme, “Knowledge management solutions – the IT contribution.” ACM SIGGROUP Bulletin (ACM) 19, no. 1 (April 1998): 34 – 39, 34.
  9. Thomas H. Davenport, Process Innovation: Reengineering Work Through Information Technology (Watertown,MA: Harvard Business Press, 1993), 28.
  10. Thomas H. Davenport “The New Industrial Engineering: Information Technology and Business Process Redesign.” Sloan Management Review 31, no. 4 (Summer 1990): 11-28, 12
  11. Gary M. Erickson, Robert Jacobson, and Johny K. Johansson, “Competition for market share in the presence of strategic invisible assets: The US automobile market, 1971-1981.” International Journal of Research in Marketing (Elsevier Science) 9, no. 1 (March 1992): 23-37, 23.
  12. Austin and Cotteleer, “Ford Motor ” , 2.
  13. Henk A. Akkermans, et al. “The impact of ERP on supply chain management: Exploratory findings from a European Delphi study.” European Journal of Operational Research 146 (2003): 284-301, 286
  14. Thomas H. Davenport and Jeffrey D. Brooks, “Enterprise systems and the supply chain.” Journal of Enterprise Information Management 17, no. 1 (2004): 8-19, 9.
  15. Kevin B. Hendricks, Vinod R. Singhal, and Jeff K. Stratman. “The impact of enterprise systems on corporate performance:A study of ERP, SCM, and CRM system implementations.” Journal of Operations Management 25, no. 1 (January 2007): 65-82.

Divisionism – An Unusual Painting Technique

Divisionism – The History

By the end of the 19th century, the art world had grown a little weary with the limitations of Impressionism. French painter Georges Seurat (1859-91) was fascinated by the various scientific theories of French chemist Michel-Eugene Chevreul (1786-1889) and American physicist Ogden Rood (1831-1902), on optical vision and color contrast. Inspired by these theories, in 1884, he developed the concept of Chromoluminarism, also known as Divisionism. French artist Paul Signac (1863-1935) came up with the term “Divisionism” in his book ‘From Eugene Delacroix to Neo-Impressionism,’ published in 1899.

The Details

Divisionism was an unusual painting technique, where color was applied on canvas in the form of patches or daubs. This lent a shimmery effect on the artworks. A typical Divisionist work consisted of millions of brush strokes of varied colors. According to Divisionists, the idea behind this close yet a separate application of color was to combine the pigments optically, resulting in a more elusive and radiant image. Therefore, light, color contrasts, reflection, and shadowing were the key influencers here. Divisionists thought that the physically mixing colors could be messy and may not be able to achieve similar brilliancy. Divisionism is often confused with Pointillism, which merely refers to the application of paint in dots form.

Art critics received Divisionism with mixed reactions. Great French Impressionists like Claude Monet (1840-1926) and Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919) were not huge fans of Divisionism, which was essentially a Neo-Impressionist style. French art critic Joris-Karl Huysmans (1848-1907) had a strong opinion on Georges Seurat’s work. He said, “Strip his figures of the colored fleas that cover them, underneath there is nothing, no thought, no soul, nothing.” However, Divisionism found appreciation with a few French critics, such as Felix Feneon (1861-1944) and Antoine de la Rochefoucauld (1862-1959). Divisionist theories were under huge speculation, since they carried the blame of misconstruing the principles of optical theory and simultaneous contrast. The Divisionist works did not have an increased optical luminosity. In fact, individual colors retained their respective luminosity and merely juxtaposing them would not necessarily influence the radiance.

The Artists & the Artworks

“A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte” (1884-1886) by Georges Seurat, “The Milliner” (1885) by Paul Signac, “Self-Portrait with Hat” (1888) by Vincent Van Gogh (Dutch – 1853-90) are some brilliant examples of Divisionism. Italian artists Angelo Morbelli (1853-1919), Gaetanio Previati (1852-1920), Vitorio Grubicy (1851-1920), and Pino Nomelli were some of the major proponents of Divisionism. The genre also inspired the members of the French Society of Independent Artist and even made its presence felt in countries like Belgium and Netherlands.

Benefits of Antique Pocket Watches and How to Find One

Antique pocket watches can be a great thing to have when you want to be able to have a unique appearance when you are in public. Many people have normal watches, but there is nothing like an antique! Here we will talk about some of the things that make this type of watch such a great thing to have for yourself or as a gift.

Classic Style

When you use a watch in your pocket, you are using something that most people no longer have time for. Most people wear their watches on their wrist, but this can be annoying and can get in the way. Also, they are more likely to get broken because they are constantly exposed to the outside elements. When you are using antique pocket watches, you can keep them safely out of reach of the elements.

Individuality

Because not many people use these watches, you will stand out whenever you use it. If you want to make friends, using this type of watch can help you. People are not going to ask you any questions about a regular watch. However, many people do like talking about antique pocket watches. It gives them something to comment on, which allows you to have a whole conversation. You might end up making some friends!

Dependability

You may also find that antique pocket watches are more reliable than the new watches that come out on the market. New watches are not made as well as they used to be. If you have something from dozens of years ago, you will find that it was built with more attention to detail as long as you are buying your antique watches from a reputable source.

Choosing Your Source for Antique Pocket Watches

You should always make sure that you find a safe site to order your antique pocket watches from. If you choose the first site you see, it may end up being a scam. You should make sure that other customers have left positive reviews about the site that you want to use. This will help you to choose wisely and end up with antique pocket watches that you can trust.

Finding a Discount

You can also find discounts on these watches if you want to. You can find a wholesale pocket watch, for instance, that proves to be much less expensive than one that is sold at retail value. You always want to make sure that you are finding the best price possible when you choose to buy any item online.

There are many benefits to using antique pocket watches, as you can see. The main thing you need to keep in mind is that you want to find a source that you can trust. Once you look at some customer reviews, you will see that there are certain websites that can be trusted, and others which cannot. As long as you put in this effort, you will find a wonderful stylish watch that can make you look very unique when you choose to pull it out of your pocket.

Team National Leads – Stop Chasing Cold Team National Leads

The History of Team National

Team National is a growing company that’s been in operation since 1997. Founder Dick Loehr, a direct salesman for many years, finally created his own company to help other entrepreneurs succeed.

The basic premise of Team National is that they provide discounts on a variety of products, ranging from 20 different industries, to customers. Customers can puchase these discounts (in the forms of coupons and deals) for anywhere between $400 and $2,000 dollars. The idea is that the savings will be much more than this amount, when customers cash in on all of the deals.

Reps make money when they convert customers into their downlines. The goal is to sell as many discount packages as you can, and also encourage others to start their own home based business by doing the same. Commissions are earned on your downline, and your personal sales as well.

The big question for many who are considering joining Team National, or who have already joined, is this: How can reps get enough leads to bring them true success?

Selling to friends and family is a fairly pointless pursuit. What real success looks like is thousands of people in your downline, and adding new reps each day. So where can one start?

What are Leads? How Do You Use Them?

Leads are king. You can either pay for them, or generate them yourself. Many people choose to pay for them, and they end up chasing a lot of cold leads. The issue with paid leads is that you generally don’t know their quality until you’ve already paid for them. The process can be a big waste of time and money.

Sometimes with Team National, reps have been known to purchase leads (from a cheap price of $.050 to a more expensive, $5.00 lead) from a company and end up with huge headaches. It turns out, some people have been promised a “gift” by signing up on a website. They sign up, hoping to get something free from Team National. Instead, they get phone calls from reps asking if they’d like to own their own business.

You can see the issues with these leads. And it’s not Team National’s fault; it’s the iffy companies that generate insufficient leads, and try to pass them off as quality to representatives.

It’s not a fair game. Any seasoned Team National rep knows this. Sometimes, it can pay off to try and generate your own Team National leads.

Generating Team National Leads

Generating your own leads is free and can lead to much warmer, more trusting prospects. While it takes a bit of time to initially set up your lead generating system, the rewards can be worth the time investment.

The basic methods for lead generation include building a website or blog, and driving traffic to that blog through SEO, social media, PPC, article marketing, blog comments, and forums. Once prospects are driven to your site, you can gather their information through an automated system, and follow up with the leads at your convenience.

Benefits include less time spent on the phone explaining your venture (because your leads will already be familiar with your opportunity, and you), less time spent chasing dead leads, and more money in your pocket since you truly haven’t paid anything for the leads. Quality is incredibly important for time-pressed representatives.

It’s not difficult to set up these systems, it just requires a bit of knowledge about the internet and some diligence in learning the best way to set up your lead generation system. But there is no reward without hard work, and luckily, working on lead generation can pay off in spades.

Is Your Soul Broken?

What is a Broken Soul? Your soul is broken when who you are on the inside, doesn’t match who you are on the outside.

A broken soul is related to how you feel about yourself, your truest, deepest and most honest beliefs; your philosophy about life; your original ideas and sincerest thoughts, feelings, emotions and sense of what is right and wrong. Your soul is who you are when no one is looking; where no one else can see. Your outside persona includes your physical body, spoken and written words, habits, actions and behaviors.

How can a person break their soul?

Every time you lie to yourself, go against your own sense of fairness, compassion and integrity; fail to follow your dreams and utilize your gifts and talents, hurt someone you love consciously or unconsciously you detach the spiritual bond between your body and your soul. When you believe in one thing and you act and behave in an opposite manner, you become an empty vessel, a shell, a person without substance. Your physical body is alive, but it is hollow and vacant because it lacks integrity and meaning. Many of today’s young celebrities such as Lindsey Lohan, Paris Hilton, Brittany Spears, Nicole Richie and even the late Anna Nicole Smith may have broken souls. These young, wealthy, physically beautiful women have the outside appearance of prosperity, but their actions and behaviors do not exemplify inner peace.

We live in a culture that tells us that when ever something is ailing us; we can fix it with a psychotropic drug, weight loss or cosmetic surgery. The other portion of society tells us that we need to join organized religious communities. None of these suggestions are wrong depending on the individual’s personality and emotional needs; but it is essential and crucial that each person learn to take an honest look within them selves to determine if they are doing everything within their own power to their best of their ability to promote health, wealth, peace, love and happiness in their own lives.

The only way that you can re-attach your soul to your body is by aligning your thoughts, words and actions into one being.

Is a broken soul similar to a broken heart?

A broken heart can cause a broken soul when you continue to repeat the patterns that caused your heart to break. For example, continuing to pick the same type of guy without looking within yourself to analyze why you are attracted to certain types of men. However, a broken soul does not typically lead to broken heart because it is impossible to deeply care about others when you don’t truly know, love or care about yourself.

Examples of Broken Souls

Scenario A Fidelity

1. Beliefs, personal moral code of right & wrong, honest emotions / feelings

You believe in fidelity. You want to be in a relationship with a person whom you can trust.

2. Words, what you tell others orally or in writing.

You make a vow to be faithful. You tell your mate that you are faithful.

3. Actions, behaviors, habits- What you do

You cheat on your mate.

Scenario B Education

1. Beliefs, personal moral code of right & wrong, honest emotions / feelings

You believe that education is important. You have always wanted to practice law.

2. Words, what you tell others orally or in writing.

You tell everyone that you are going back to school to earn your degree.

3. Actions, behaviors, habits- What you do

You watch television and hang out with friends in the evenings. You picked up an application once, but never filled it out.

Scenario C Following your Dreams

1. Beliefs, personal moral code of right & wrong, honest emotions / feelings

You feel happiest when you are singing, dancing or involved in any type of performance. You love music with every cell of your heart, mind and body. People tell you that you are talented and gifted as a singer.

2. Words, what you tell others orally or in writing.

To impress your parents, teachers and naysayers, you tell everyone that you are going to college to be a doctor.

3. Actions, behaviors, habits- What you do

You are enrolled in a pre-med program. You try to ignore the pain in your stomach, your headaches and the deep misery that you feel inside. You rationalize your unhappiness by telling yourself that doctors make good money and your family will be so proud of you.

Scenario D Being true to yourself

1. Beliefs, personal moral code of right & wrong, honest emotions / feelings

You love to write.

2. Words, what you tell others orally or in writing.

You tell every one about the book you are going to write some day.

3. Actions, behaviors, habits- What you do

You never write because you are tired when you get home from work and exhausted from the daily demands of taking care of your family.

Scenario E Being true to yourself

1. Beliefs, personal moral code of right & wrong, honest emotions / feelings

You want to lose weight to improve your health.

2. Words, what you tell others orally or in writing.

You tell every one that you are on a diet.

3. Actions, behaviors, habits- What you do

You don’t exercise. You make unhealthy food choices.

Scenario F Having Faith

1. Beliefs, personal moral code of right & wrong, honest emotions / feelings

In your heart and spirit, you believe in God, a Superior Being or a Higher Power bigger than yourself. You feel that your deepest dreams, desires, wants and needs will manifest in your life.

2. Words, what you tell others orally or in writing.

You tell everyone about your amazing faith, trust and belief in God or a Higher Power. You tell other people to have faith and believe.

3. Actions, behaviors, habits- What you do

You cry yourself to sleep each night because you are worried about your bills being paid and how you are going to provide for your family. You haven’t looked for a new job, or started your own business because people say, “the economy is bad.”

If you do an honest assessment of what is really bothering you and all of the things that you can start doing at this very moment to change your life, you will begin to heal your soul. Guaranteed.

10 Signs of a Broken Soul

1. You have a drinking or substance abuse problem.

2. You have been depressed for more than 6 weeks

3. You feel no enjoyment for life.

4. You are in a sexually, physically or psychologically abusive relationship.

5. You are actively involved in criminal or illegal activity.

6. You have reoccurring suicidal thoughts

7. You have an eating disorder

8. You are abusing someone else physically, psychologically or sexually.

9. You are not doing anything productive with your time.

10. You constantly complain about hating yourself or your life.

Techniques to heal a Broken Soul

1. Validate yourself. Start exactly where you are. Call your self beautiful. Start your business. Do not seek external validation from any one.

2. Go on a journey of self-exploration. What is your favorite color, food, song, movie, day of the week, holiday. Everything that you love is a clue to the mystery of who you are. The things that you love are internal pieces that create the external picture of who you are.

3. Forgive everything and everybody. No exceptions.

4. Practice random acts of kindness. Put a dime in an expired parking meter. Pay for someone’s breakfast, dinner or lunch without revealing yourself. Put toilet paper in a public restroom for the next person. Shovel someone’s snow or rake their leaves without them knowing who did it. Leave a tip on some else’s table. Find unique ways to put a smile on other people’s faces. Their smiles will make you smile.

5. Ask for forgiveness–it doesn’t matter if they accept your apology. This gives them the opportunity to heal when they are ready.

Forgive yourself for past mistakes.

6. Write a letter of forgiveness to yourself. Read the self-forgiveness letter to yourself each night until you are able to let go. You can’t forgive yourself until you are emotionally ready to forgive yourself.

7. Give yourself 6 months to make one change. Don’t try to change too many things about yourself at one time; this is overwhelming. If you try to stop smoking, don’t include losing 50 lbs, and find a cure for cancer. Take it slow and steady.

8. Watch Shawshank Redemption, the Pursuit of Happyness or any other movie that gives you hope.

9. Find one thing that you absolutely love about yourself and think about it once a day, all day long.

How to Build a Golf Cart for Off-Roading

An off-road golf cart is a lot of fun driving through the woods or on rough terrain, but building your own cart is an even more satisfying experience because you did it yourself and saved a lot of money. It’s easy to modify a golf cart for this kind purpose. It’s best to start with a reliable well-maintained used golf cart. The parts and supplies needed can be found in specialty stores and even cheaper on the Internet.

There are many accessories that you can add to your cart. Here is a list of modifications to get you started:

Lift Kits: Lift kits are suspension parts that lift the body of your golf cart to go over off-road terrain. These kits are necessary not only for raising the height of the golf cart but they add a stronger suspension to the vehicle. Driving off-road exposes you to a variety of ditches and terrain that a lower profile cart would get hung up on. Without these kits you could injure yourself or damage the cart. There are many different kinds of lift kits. They come in 3 inch, 6 inch and higher. The lift kit prices range from $300 to $600 depending on lift height and suspension complexity.

Steering Wheels: Steering wheels though not a necessity add to a better driving experience. An attractive steering wheel not only adds to the appearance of your vehicle, but they provide a better grip and less fatigue on your hands and wrists. Your steering wheel should be 13 inches in diameter. You have many choices in style of steering wheel like wood grain, formula car, European, and neoprene. Expect to pay $45 for the neoprene to $190 for the Formula Gt steering wheel.

Golf Cart Windshields: Most stock golf carts do not come with a windshield. But you’re going to need one for going off-road. You will encounter mud and dirt as you drive, not to mention the occasional branch. If you’re not sure about the need for a windshield get one that folds down so you have an option to use it or not. Windshield prices run from $100 to $200 depending if they fold down, style of frame, and thickness of the acrylic.

ATV Tires: Of course you can’t use stock golf cart tires, you have to upgrade them to All Terrain Vehicle tires. You need them for their durability on rough terrain and to give you maximum grip on muddy ground. When purchasing tires you will have a vast selection of rim and tire combinations. It’s best to skip the low profile tires and get a tire with good traction and tread. The 23×10.5-12 All Trail Tire with the alloy rims is the way to go for great traction and style in all types of terrain. Tire and rim combinations can run you between $45 and $140. This is the most important part of your off-roading upgrades, don’t skimp in this department.

This is all you need to build a first class machine. But if you want an even more tricked out machine you can add light packages, dashboard kits, fender flares, cargo boxes, and hunting accessories.

Get ready to have some enjoyable times out in the country with your new Off-Road Cart. It’s a great inexpensive alternative to purchasing a new ATV.

Best Sexual Position for Spontaneous Sexual Encounters

In the best sexual positions series we have discussed the best sexual positions for most situations that can arise.

One special situation is for spontaneous sex, and this is something that is totally unpredictable, and thus, knowing the best sexual position in advance can make the magic of a spontaneous sexual encounter last in your memory forever.

Spontaneous Sexual Encounters

Often portrayed in films and written about in books, the spontaneous sexual encounter is more or less another name for the Americanized word, ‘quickie’.

This will be sex in the office, or out of doors, in an elevator, or even an airplane.

The quickie will give you from 1 to 5 minutes maximum, and often there will be a space problem. The other problem is clothing, and for the spontaneous encounter, you will need to keep as much of your clothing on as possible, as in spontaneous sexual encounters, there is always the risk of being “caught in the act”.

The Best Sexual Position for Spontaneous Sexual Encounters

The very best is called the standing spoons. Assuming the encounter begins by kissing, once the couple have passed the moment of decision (to or not to), then the man must turn the woman around so she has to back to the man.

The clothes on the upper part of the body are not required to be removed (regardless of how it is done in films), and concentrate on getting the lower clothes to the knees at least or better the ankles. The man then embraces the woman with one arm, and uses the other to position himself.

The woman does the same. One arm is used to hold the man, usually around his neck, but holding her arm back over her own head, and the other is used to facilitate penetration.

Both the man and woman bend their knees slightly, and come together very closely, like two spoons resting together. As penetration is made the couple move in unison with push and recoil.

This is the action, and as entry was made from the rear, both the g-spot and the clitoris are stimulated.

It is very much like a dance, and indeed the movements from new club dancing should be used if the couple understands how to do it.

The very term spontaneous often means that there is not enough time to prepare for all eventualities.

That means, that use of a condom may not be possible.

Therefore, while enjoying the spontaneity of the event, the man and woman must think where the man is going to finish. If inside the woman, then there is no problem, if outside (a term known as coitus interruptus ) the man should terminate in his own free hand, as not to cause a mess.

Remember time is of the essence here, and a quick dressing after the session will not be possible if the man is careless about where he deposits his sperm.

Finishing Up

There are other sexual positions possible for spontaneous sexual encounters, but the standing spoons is by far the best from the standpoint of mutual satisfaction, speed to penetrate, react and completion, and should it be interrupted or discovered, it is the fastest position to recover one’s equipoise.

CHI vs. FHI – Which Is The Best Flat Iron?

Both CHI and FHI flat irons remain a popular choice as hair straighteners. Both offer similar plate widths, flash heat for quick heat-up time and are lightweight. But is the CHI Farouk Turbo flat iron better than the FHI Heat Technique Professional flash iron or do FHI flat irons outperform CHI flat irons?

FHI and CHI flat irons are similar in many respects. They offer pretty much the same plate widths; the CHI Farouk Turbo flat iron comes with .7″, 1″ and 2″ plates, whereas FHI flat irons come with 1″, 1 ¼” and 1 ¾” plates. Also, both CHI and FHI flat irons come with flash heating, so that the plates are hot and ready to use within seconds. And both flat irons come with one year’s warranty. However, there are some key differences between the CHI flat iron and the FHI flat iron.

In my opinion, the build quality and design of the CHI flat iron is superior to that that of the FHI flat iron. The handle on the CHI is more ergonomically designed and feels better in your hand; this is an important consideration if you will be using a flat iron a lot of the time and it makes straightening hair a lot easier and more pleasant. Both brands of flat iron come with swivel cords so you don’t get tangled up but the CHI cord is longer than that of the FHI flat iron. Again, this is a plus point, as a longer cord makes using a hair straightener easier; especially when straightening your hair at the back.

The CHI flat iron also uses less power, which saves you money in the long run and is good for the environment. The CHI Turbo flat iron uses only 20 – 25 watts whereas the FHI Heat Technique uses 58 watts.

So, with CHI vs. FHI, does the CHI flat iron win hands-down? Not quite.

All CHI Farouk Turbo use ceramic plates. Ceramic plates are used in flat irons because the smoothing surface is incredibly flat thus helping reducing tangling and knots. Ceramic plates also produce negative ions that are important as these lock in moisture, prevent frizziness and keep your hair straighter for longer. But ceramic plates have now been surpassed by ceramic plates that are infused with tourmaline.

CHI flat irons don’t have tourmaline plates but the FHI Heat Technique Professional Ceramic flat iron does. Tourmaline plates produce up to 20 times more negative ions than ceramic plates. Tourmaline plates also protect color and retards fading by sealing in color molecules and allows the color to last up to 2 weeks longer.

Not only does the FHI Heat technique Professional beat the CHI Farouk on straightening power, it also costs less. In fact, FHI flat irons are considerably cheaper than CHI flat irons.

So, which is better, the CHI or FHI flat iron?

Well, it all depends on your needs and what you want from your flat iron. If you want a well designed, well-built flat iron, then the CHI Farouk flat iron is for you. But, if you want a tourmaline flat iron, then the FHI is the recommended choice. Finally, you should consider price. FHI flat irons are cheaper than CHI flat irons. If you’re on a budget or don’t want to spend a lot on a quality flat iron, the FHI is the one. Both the CHI and FHI flat iron are top rated flat irons. Just decide what you want and how much you want to spend.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Microwave Ovens

Microwaves are a type of energy that is absorbed by the food particles inside an oven. These waves make the water content inside the food particles to vibrate, which in return make food particles rub against each other, thus producing heat energy and cooking the whole food. The more the energy supplied the faster and better the food gets cooked. This is possible by either increasing the power supply to the oven or by increasing the cooking time.

Microwave ovens have a whole lot of advantages than disadvantages. Some foods when cooked in these ovens retain their flavour and taste than when cooked in the traditional methods. These ovens are also cost efficient on electricity and are also safe to use. Also these machines do not require pre-heating as in a traditional oven, and can be used immediately upon switching on. This also helps in the surroundings being cooler, unlike the gas stove that heats up the kitchen area, thus making it hot and uncomfortable to work.

This type of cooking also reduces cooking odours which accompany while cooking on gas stoves. Also cleaner kitchens can be achieved, as less food spills are caused in this method. The effort of washing of gas stoves is reduced as these ovens neednt’ be washed, they can just be wiped off the dirt and food. With a combination oven that includes a conventional and microwave oven, cooking can get faster and effortless as well.

A coin has two sides and so does any device. A microwave oven too has its own advantages and disadvantages. Some of the major disadvantages could be that the food gets cooked faster which could result in over cooking of the food. The food can tend to get cooked unevenly, with hot food being on top and cold and uncooked food at the bottom, and so food has to be stirred, at regular intervals, in order to cook food correctly. Microwave oven need specific utensils to cook food as not all metals and alloy vessels can be used. Also all types of food cannot be cooked in a microwave oven; there are certain restrictions as well.

A microwave oven has many positive features and few negative aspects as well. It depends on the usage and need of the individual to go for this type of oven, along with necessary features and options.

Common Mistakes People Make When Going Solar

Taking advantage of solar power is a very attractive option for all kinds of people – from those who are building a property in very remote location who are looking for efficient off grid solar power, right through to those who want to adopt more green and eco-friendly solutions for their existing home.

Indeed, there are many advantages to this kind of power, including financial benefits, the chance to use sustainable electricity rather than rely on less environmentally friendly methods, and a certain level of self-sufficiency which is very attractive to many people. However, when going solar here are several mistakes that people make on a regular basis.

The first mistake to make is not doing thorough research on how a solar power system will work to power your home. There are many different electrical components in your home, ranging from the electrical system that is used for your lighting right through to the electrics for your cooker and your water heater.

Each of these different appliances and systems will use varying amounts of electricity, and therefore ensuring that what you produce through solar is used effectively will – or should – become a top priority for you. If you are looking into solar power, learn first of all how it can be used effectively within your home and if it can meet your needs.

Many people decide that they want to go off grid solar without considering that this may be inefficient use of energy for their property if they have a good mains supplier, and that a mix of grid and off grid power can actually be the most efficient and even eco-friendly option for their home.

The next common mistake that many people make is choosing a supplier and installer who is inexperienced in dealing with the particular type of project that you are undertaking.As you can imagine, thousands upon thousands of people already have had solar installed in their property, and no doubt each of their projects has been different.

If you are looking for an off grid solar solution for your remote property, then getting in touch with a supplier and installer that has had a wealth of experience in their area is extremely valuable as they will be aware of the unique challenges that you face. The came is true if you are looking at solar power to complement your grid supply of electricity.

The risks of going with a professional that is inexperienced in your particular type of project is that you may run into issues that they simply will not have encountered before, and therefore fundamental and costly mistakes can be made. Furthermore, the equipment used for your project can have different specifications which could cause issues for your installer.

To verify the experience of your supplier and installer, ask them to forward you several case studies or references for their satisfied customers who have had work completed for them that is similar to yours. This could be an off grid solar installation in a very remote or extreme environment, or a solar installation for a large commercial project.

Lastly, a final mistake that many make is not taking advantage of financial incentives and rebates when installing a solar solution. Depending on where you are in the world, your government may offer all kinds of advantages for going solar, in a major way or as a complement to existing energy supplies.

People are often keen to jump into their solar project without considering that they very well be able to save a little money or take advantage of some of the latest technologies at a lower price. Do your own research on incentives and ask your chosen supplier about these so that you do not miss out in this area.

Manufactured Home Plumbing System – Water Piping

The plumbing inside your manufactured home is not as complex as it may seem. People are very intimidated when it comes to the plumbing inside a manufactured home. With this article I will give you some pointers which will be able to help you with the water system in you manufactured home.

The water lines for the home will run in the underbelly and will usually run along side of the duct work of your home. The main line which connects to the homes piping is ran below the under belly and is seen when you remove the skirting access panel. This line will usually be wrapped in insulation and heat taped if you live in colder climates.

There are many reasons why people may fear the plumbing system of a manufactured home. One is because it can be very hard to find a licensed plumber to work on your home. The reason for this is a lot of plumbers are intimidated and don’t have the knowledge or proper fittings to work on home so it’s just easier for them not to mess with them.

For starters the water piping may be different from what people are use to now days. In older homes you may see galvanized or copper pipe which may not be so intimidating, however many people have never seen polybutylene piping which is common in homes built in the mid seventies to the mid to late 90s. Polybutylene or Poly piping is a usually a grey or black tube made out of a plastic material called polybutylene. This is a very inferior pipe which has been recalled due to the many leaks which happen because the pipe just simply wears down. Poly pipe also is very hard to deal with because it is very unlikely you will be able to find the proper fittings to get the pipe back together again when you have to cut it to fix a leak. We will get into fixing a leak on poly piping but let’s get into the various sizes of manufactured home water pipe first.

The size of the piping in these homes may not be what you are accustomed too. In many cases you will have an odd ball size. Such as main lines in half inch pipe and the branch lines in 3/8 size piping. In these cases you will have a very hard time finding the proper fittings. When you run into this type of problem you will have an easier time finding 3/8 and ½ PEX fittings so my advice is to convert from 3/8 poly to 3/8 PEX using the proper conversion coupling which you can find at a home store.

In the case you have a leak on poly piping, the most common practice to fix it today is to convert it to PEX piping. To convert a poly pipe to PEX pipe you will need a fitting called a PEX to Poly coupling. These are very easy to find and are at many of the big box home stores. Cut the pipe and splice in the new coupling using standard PEX fastening procedures. If you are unaware on how to do PEX pipe you can find various articles on the internet to help you with this practice.

I have found with all types of manufactured home water pipe it is easier to convert it to PEX pipe. With PEX pipe you can do anything you need to do to get your homes water up and running again. PEX pipe is also the material of choice when re water piping your home. In most cases you can run from one end to the other without having to make to many holes in the underbelly. You can also save yourself some frustration by re water pipping you home from the upper side of the house. In many cases we have pulled the carpet back and cut holes s in the floor next to the duct and have been able to water pipe a whole house by cutting three holes in the floor. Keep this option in mind especially when you are renovating you home and considering new water pipe.