Converting an Up and Over Garage Door to Electric Operation

An increasing proportion of new garage door sales are for remote controlled and motorized operating systems, however it is not always necessary to buy a new garage door in order to gain these benefits.

Most up and over garage doors can be converted into an electrically operated door with a motor, a remote control unit and a simple conversion kit. Many kits can be fitted by the typical DIY enthusiast.

The first thing that needs to be established is the type of up and over door that is fitted.

These doors come in two forms known as retractable and canopy, and the type of motorization kit required will be dependent upon which of these two options is in place.

Knowing which kind of up and over door requires automating is important because the two options have different support frames and different tilting mechanisms.

  • A retractable up and over garage door has a full frame with vertical and horizontal guides and the door is supported at its four corners during the entire opening and closing motion. This leads to a very smooth and resistance free operation and this in turn means that these retractable doors only require a motor and a belt or chain mechanism to open and close them.

    The complete retractable motorized system can be fitted in a couple of hours with a reasonable tool kit, and manual adjustments are kept to a minimum by clever electronics that recognise the doors opening characteristic and accommodate to them. This means that fine tuning and adjustments are negligible with this kind of door.

  • A canopy garage door uses a much simpler (and cheaper) support frame than a retractable door and it does not have four constant points of transition contact like a retractable door. This results in canopy doors having a less sophisticated movement than retractable doors and this in turn means that they require a much more complex and expensive conversion kit.

    The conversion of a manual canopy door to motorized operation generally requires contract fitting by a tradesman. This is because the conversion kit not only converts the manual door into an automated one, but it also converts the transition and motion of the door into something that simulates that of a retractable door. This requires significant alterations to the support frame and running mechanism and it makes the project a much more complex and involved challenge. Indeed, it is usually worth making a price comparison between buying a new automated retractable garage door, versus converting an existing canopy door to an electric one.

Birth of Photography – Beginning of Film & Video Production As a DOP and Cameraman

Cinematographer, lighting cameraman or DOP – Director of Photography, they all are under the umbrella term – CINEMATOGRAPHY.

What does DOP – Director of Photography stand for? What does it mean to be a Cinematographer? The beginning of Film & Video Production was the birth of Photography and the foundation of every Film, TV and Video Cameraman and DOP (Director of Photography).

The Camera Obscura was the first invented camera but an exact age of it can not be set. Its principle is so simple that even Mother Nature creates it every day: A dark cave with a small hole in the outer rock face is all it needs for a Camera Obscura. A caveman could have a picture upside down on his wall, opposite the hole. It would show him a very blurred image of what is happening in front of the cave. Even Aristoteles mentioned the projection through a hole in 4th century B.C. Later on some painters used this principle to create more creative pictures and because the projection was too much out of focus and the exposure to low, they started to implement a lens. To this time there was no substance to capture these pictures, such as film, tapes or hard drives. In 1727, Johann H. Schulze, a German physicist, discovers that silver salts turn dark when exposed to light. But it took another century until the French inventor, Joseph Nicephore Niepce, produced a permanent image by coating a tin plate with asphalt emulsion and exposing the plate to light for about eight hours.

This invention is what we could call the birth of the first picture taken by a camera. In 1878, after many other inventions such as the “dry-plate” process using an emulsion of gelatin, the British photographer Eadweard Muybridge takes the first successful photographs of motion, showing how people and animals move. Let us call him the first DOP – Director of Photography (or cameraman?), which is in today’s film and television industry far more then just a photographer of 10-20 single pictures to get some motion. In Film, TV or Video production a DOP is not just using a camera; instead he has to adjust the lighting for the scene and is in charge of all other cinematographers and visual aspects on the set. In his career usual he starts as a lighting cameraman or cinematographer and later he gets accredited to a DOP – Director of Photography. Some say a cinematographer is the same as a DOP but I cannot agree with that, even most cameramen who call themselves cinematographers are indeed Directors of Photography. But not necessarily you have to be a DOP to call yourself a cinematographer.

The general concept for a cinematographer we think is a cameraman who works only for the film and movie industry – wrong, instead a cinematographer is an experienced lighting cameraman for all kind of professional film, television and video production. A cinematographer can get accredited as such from an association like the ACS- Australian Cinematographers Society or the ASC American Society of Cinematographers and some others. If you are fully accredited of above societies then you can name yourself, for example Stephan C. ACS or ASC. This accreditation can only be achieved by filming for at least 8 years (ACS) for professional broadcast or movie productions on a continually basis. The creativity and style of the cameraman (lighting, camera movement and framing etc.) will be judged by professionals form the appropriate society and only with their approvals a cinematographer can be named ACS or ASC.

A DOP is also involved choosing the type of format to use, the type of camera equipment and the lighting style, to complement and enhance the way the Director and Set Designer wish the production to look. He is in charge of most visual components if it comes to motion picture. He is also involved in post production, especially color grading because initially it is his picture he shot and it cannot be changed without his approval. (kind of COPY RIGHT). A Director of Photography does crew hire, he helps to select the right cameramen when it comes to hiring a team for the production.

Advantages of Pendant Lighting Fixtures

Pendant lighting fixtures can make your home look elegant. These lighting fixtures will illuminate your home to create the best atmosphere out of it. You will definitely have a lovely atmosphere.

One of the greatest advantages of these fixtures is that they are stylish. It helps to make your interior design outstanding and attractive. You can easily notice and feel the elegance of your home. It also creates a pleasing ambiance that is astonishing.

The style of the fixture adds to the overall impression and charm of your home. It creates an impact that will make you comfortable and relaxed. You can set this to make spectacular ambiance and mood. You should always remember that pendant lighting fixtures is a vital element of your home decor.

Another great advantage of lighting fixtures is that it is flexible. It can adapt to the theme of your home. The fixture will naturally blend with the design and color of the room. It will also complement other interior decor that will result to an impressive look.

The most interesting is that these fixtures are unique compared to all other kinds of lighting furniture. In fact, it has the capability to sparkle and shine like a fine jewelry. This helps to create an atmosphere like no other.

Moreover, this kind of fixtures is functional. It can illuminate areas that are hard to reach. You can also put them wherever you want without modifying the place. This means that you can install it easy without damaging your wall or drilling a hole.

There are many designs and styles which you can choose from. It also comes from various sizes, colors and textures. You can have whatever you want depending on your preference.

Pendant lighting fixtures will surely satisfy your interior decor needs. You will be assured that it will perfectly fit your taste.

Benefits of LED Light Bars

The most critical car accessories for outdoor enthusiasts are LED light bars. This lighting apparatus makes driving in dark places more enjoyable and safer as it produces an enhanced light output, in contrast with the light being produced by your car’s headlights. However, if you want to purchase one for your truck, ATV, or boat then you may want to ensure you are buying from a reliable sight. Here are some of the benefits of using these light bars:

Curved Models are Available

For those you want more than simple light bars for trucks, there are some great curved LED versions available that you can use on your car. Curved LEDs usually have an enhanced structural design compared to regular light bars. With an ergonomic design, this kind of light device offers a seamless and perfect fitting for your car. Irrespective of whether you’re going to install in on the bumper or the roof of your 4WD, it will definitely enhance the exterior look of your car.

Improve Night Vision

Put one on your truck is not only for showing off as many people think. They also have some important practical benefits. They can illuminate the road better so that you always see what is ahead of you. In effect, they can offer better general night vision due to their wider coverage. Furthermore, the fact that you can place them in a higher position than the regular headlights on your car makes it easy to see very clearly even under some dark conditions, such as riding in the outdoors.

Some have 3D Reflectors

There are specific models that have 3D reflectors to further improve the capability of the lighting device to generate high-quality output. Compared to the general light reflectors, the 3D reflectors improve the efficiency of extracting light from the LED bulbs. This means this means that such light bars for trucks have a much wider irradiation, besides producing more intense and brighter light.

Made Using Solid Housing

Having great light bars for trucks is worthless if they do not come with a sturdy, reliable housing to safeguard the many internal components. Luckily, LED lights are known for having some very solid housing ratings with dust proof and waterproof abilities. They make excellent additions for off road vehicles and cars since they are very tough and can, therefore, stay exposed for a long time without developing any issues.

LED light bars for trucks are clearly some cool and practical car accessories that your car must have. Check out some of the best deals at http://www.backcountryledlights.com.

Using Oil Instead of Talc for Waxing

Traditionally when waxing is taught students are advised to apply a layer of talcum powder to the area being waxed. This achieves several things, it keeps the area dry, it makes the treatment a little more comfortable as the wax will stick to the hairs rather then the skin.

The use of an oil may seem a little unusual as we are taught to use a pre-wax cleanser to remove dirt and oils from the skin before waxing. But once therapists have tried waxing with oil they rarely return to powder.

The oil works by providing a lipid barrier between the skin and the wax – in essence a very thin oil barrier. Since the wax doesn’t adhere to the skin its removal is easier and less painful for the client. When using oil for intimate waxing where the skin is very thin and fragile this helps reduce the risk of abrasions or skin lifting.

It is important to choose an appropriate oil, ideally a very light oil. If the oil is too thick or heavy you will find the wax won’t adhere. I personally find that Perron Rigot Jasmin Oil is one of the best products around for this.

When using an oil before applying wax you need to remember the rule of thumb less is more, it needs to be used very sparingly. Prepare the area of the client to be waxed with a pre-waxing cleanser such as Perron Rigot Blue Lotion and then apply a tiny amount of oil to your hands – just a few drops. Cover the palms of your hands and then rub the oil over the area you are preparing to wax.

Remember you are only applying a sparse covering, if you find you have put too much oil on the skin just wipe over with a wax strip or piece of couch roll. You will find that this can leave a perfect amount of oil on the skin.

When applying the wax to the skin if you find that it doesn’t adhere to the skin and slips around don’t panic. Just remove the wax as you would normally and then wipe over the area with a wax strip.

When waxing large or intricate areas you may find that you need to add more oil as you go on to keep the skin protected. Don’t worry about applying too much, you can always wipe any excess off.

Oil can also be used as a great post wax product when using warm strip waxes for removing any sticky residue. Once you have finished waxing, before you apply your post wax lotion or product apply a generous amount of oil to your hands and rub over the area, then use your cleanser product on a cotton pad to remove the oil and wax residue. Once cleansed you can apply your chosen post wax product.

To recap, for use before waxing use sparingly, for after waxing use generously.

Kill Roaches the Fastest Way – Top Roach Killer Strategy

You will need a combination of tools to eliminate them quickly and effectively. Some methods are more effective than others. The key is to know the weaknesses of each approach and compensate for the weakness. This strategy is not for the price conscious consumer. Other techniques work well, but take more time.

Carpet Bomb

Don’t rely on one technique or product. Get them with everything that’s possible.

Step 1- Get the Nest

To get the nest, you must first locate it. Most likely it will be near a water source. Put out roach baits to find out where the largest concentrations are.

Once you discover the nest, spray it with the strongest roach killer you can find. Clean up every aspect of the areas with a bleach.

Step 2- Boric Acid Powders

Put boric acid dust into the baseboards and crevices. Anywhere there might be a little damp area throw in some dust. The dust will dry the area and help kill roaches.

Step 3- Bait

Put boric acid bait all over the house. Put the bait under sinks, in crevices, under counters, or anywhere you find the roaches to be. Even put the bait where you don’t they they’ll go; that way a wandering roach won’t set up a new nest.

Step 4- Insecticide inside the Home or Business

Spray your flooring and baseboards with insecticide. It is faster at killing roaches than boric acid. The combination of this and getting the nest will take out many of the roaches quickly. You could even fumigate the entire home. This, however, isn’t an ideal or necessary option, but it will work quickly.

Step 5- Eliminate Water and Food Sources

Just like humans, water is more crucial than food. Don’t allow any water to be standing in the home. Roaches like to live in drains so you can pour bleach down the drains of all your sinks to kill them. If you are a “die hard”, turn off the water to your home until the infestation is gone. For toilet bowls, add insecticide or a fair amount of bleach to the water.

All food should be tightly sealed in plastic containers. There should not be a possible morsel for a roach to eat. The only problem is that they eat about everything. Keep paper products and soap stored in tightly sealed containers as well. We could talk about wallpaper and books, but how far do you really want to go?

Step 6- Keep House Cool

Roaches like hot humid areas. Keep your home as cool as possible. Small appliances can be bagged and put in the freezer to kill roaches.

Step 7- Get Rid of Infested Appliances

If you have a lot of them, it’s likely they have made home in the appliances. In this case, get rid of them.

Step 8- Leave a Trail of Food and Water

Make a trail of food and water that leads to your neighbor’s house. Since roaches are nocturnal, stay up at night and watch them with night vision. They will leave your house and go to the neighbors. If you don’t like to kill bugs, this might be your best option.

Final Tip

The best solution and most economical solution is roach bait. It lasts up to one year and is very effective. Mrf 2000 roach bait is a proprietary boric acid bait formula used by pest control companies worldwide.

How Can I Keep My Travertine Looking Its Best?

About Travertine…

Travertine is a sedimentary stone formed in and around fresh water hot springs. It occurs when calcite (calcium carbonate) is deposited by water, then compressed over time to a solidified structure. Travertine almost always has holes and channels where water and hot gasses escaped during formation. In most instances, these holes are “filled” during fabrication with cementuous (like grout) or resin (like epoxy) products to form an even, flat surface.

Travertine is one of the softer flooring materials, registering 2.5 – 3.5 on Mohs’s 1-to-10 Hardness Scale. Because of its softness, it is easily scratched and abraded by materials that are harder in composition such as dirt and debris tracked in from outside, unprotected furniture legs and posts, metal, and hard plastics. Like its very close cousins – limestone and marble, it is also highly reactive to all acids, even mild ones such as orange juice.

Items Affecting the Appearance and Serviceability of Travertine

The following items will impact the look and lifespan of your travertine:

  • The quality of the stone itself
  • Improper routine maintenance
  • Exposure to chemicals
  • Exposure to excess water
  • Exposure to abrasives
  • Compression

Stone Quality

Travertine quality varies as widely as the places it is found. In general, higher quality stones will have a tighter (compacted) structure, fewer “fill” areas (especially wide, shallow areas where the “fill” has very little to bond to), will be filled on both sides (to prevent “punch through” from high heels, furniture legs, etc.), and will exhibit a quality fabrication finish (no saw marks, blemishes, or unfinished areas).

Unfortunately, poor quality travertine will make itself known very quickly once it is installed. Rapid fill loss, “punch throughs”, pitting, and discoloration will occur at an accelerated rate. However, the maintenance tips we’ll explore later in this document will help keep the misbehavior to a minimum.

Improper Routine Maintenance

Improper routine maintenance is the single greatest cause of travertine degradation. More travertine is damaged by improper care and maintenance than any other influencing factor, including stone quality. These maintenance oversights include:

Wet Mopping – Wet mopping is the single largest cause of “fill” loss, spalling (physical deterioration and pitting of the stone caused by water), and microbial growth (dark discoloration in pits, crevasses, and grout lines). Travertine floors should NEVER be wet mopped with a string mop (or any other type, for that matter) – they should be swept thoroughly and damp-mopped with a sponge or microfiber mop, only.

Failure to Keep Surfaces Properly Impregnated (Sealed) – Failure to keep travertine properly impregnated (sealed) is the second-leading cause of travertine deterioration, and plays even more heavily if the surfaces are wet-mopped. Proper impregnation keeps water, oil, and other contaminates out of the stone and helps stop fill loss, spalling, microbial growth, and staining.

Every time moisture penetrates the surface of your travertine, it has both a physical and chemical affect on the stone – both are negative. Wet stone expands, drying stone contracts. Multiple cycles of expansion and contraction weaken both stone and fill areas, resulting in pitting and fill loss. Do you remember when your teacher called water the “universal solvent”? Enough said.

Use of Improper Cleaning Chemicals – I never cease to be amazed at the varied number and types of cleaning chemicals people (and their professional cleaning personnel) use on their travertine floors. I’ve seen everything from vinegar and water (“that’s what my grandmother used”), to heavy-duty stone cleaners (“guy at the tile store said this was the strongest stuff they had”), and just about everything else in between.

Rather than providing you a list of things you shouldn’t use on your travertine (it’s a very large list), for the sake of brevity I give you the one solution you should use to routinely clean your travertine: a pH-neutral (-7), non-chelated cleaner specifically designed for natural stone. Nothing else. Ever. Period. (Yes, “nothing else” includes Swifters and Windex!) For those of you not familiar with chelates (pronounced kee’-lates), they are chemicals added to detergents and cleaners (including many routine stone cleaners) to “soften” the water by sequestering “hard water” minerals (such as calcium) from the detergent so it can clean more effectively. Sounds good, right? Wrong! Remember what your travertine is primarily composed of – calcium! Floors cleaned with chelated products look dull, drab, and lifeless.

Failure to Keep Floors Properly Swept or Vacuumed – Earlier in the document we touched on Mohs’s Scale of Hardness and determined that travertine fell between 2.5 and 3.5, on a 10 point ranking. Unfortunately, the grit and fine gravel tracked onto your floors from outside register 6 to 7 on Mohs’s Scale – they are twice as hard as your travertine. If they are not routinely removed, they act just like sandpaper on your floor. Every time someone walks on them, they are abrading and scratching the surface.

Failure to Replace Missing Fill – When your travertine loses fill, the area immediately around the hole no longer has physical support and becomes much more susceptible to further damage. Additionally, the hole left by the missing fill will take on water, cleaning solution, dirt, or whatever else falls into it. This will eventually result in spalling, microbial growth, and internal damage to the stone.

Exposure to Chemicals – Your travertine should not be knowingly exposed to any chemical agents other than the neutral, non-chelated stone cleaner and impregnator mentioned earlier in this document. The use of high intensity alkaline cleaners is acceptable to deep clean surfaces prior to sealing (impregnation), but only in that instance, and certainly not on a routine basis.

However, life happens, and sooner or later something will get spilled. How you respond to the spill will depend on whether the spilled substance is water-based or oil-based, alkaline or acidic. If your surfaces are properly impregnated (sealed) you have nothing to worry about from both oil and non-acidic, water-based spills as long as you clean them up in a reasonable time period. If your surfaces are not properly impregnated, you will get a stain – especially if the spill is oil-based.

Acidic spills (orange juice, lemon juice, wine, vinegar, Margarita mix, certain cosmetics, “tile cleaners”, etc.) are a different animal entirely. They will etch the surface immediately – whether it is impregnated properly, or not. Etches appear on your travertine as spots or areas that are much duller than the surrounding stone, and they do not improve with normal cleaning techniques.

You should make every effort to ensure these items (and others like them) do not come into contact with your floor. If they do, remove them immediately from the surface by wiping them inward on themselves to avoid spreading to uncontaminated areas. The good news is that you can remove minor etches and water marks yourself without tools or special expertise. The bad news is serious etches must be removed by a professional. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Compression Damage – Compression damage to travertine exhibits itself in two ways – “punch through” holes in areas where the “fill” or surface is weak, and by scratches that compact the stone (the technical term is “stun”) to the extent a visible mark remains, even after the scratch is physically removed.

Significant punch through holes (under conditions of normal use) are generally indicative of poor quality stone, fabrication, or both. If the stone or fill is breaking through frequently under normal use or foot traffic, it’s time to have a conversation with the folks that sold it to you. However, it is not unusual for even good quality travertine to get the odd occasional hole from a high heel or heavy object that focuses its weight in a small area (pointy table leg, sofa leg, etc). In either event, you should replace the missing fill as soon as possible to prevent further damage.

Stunning occurs when a heavy object is dropped or drug across the surface, resulting in a mark or scratch. Upon impact, the travertine compresses, leaving both a physical scratch or mark, and a scar. Even after the physical scratch has been removed, the scar will still be visible because the underlying stone is now much more dense than the uncompressed areas that surround it. There is no simple fix for this problem after it happens, so the best course of action is to place felt pads on all your heavy items (chair legs, table legs, etc.) to prevent compression scratching.

What Are the Most Popular Concrete Trucks?

A concrete truck is an efficient, quick, and versatile vehicle used in the process of transporting and blending a large volume of concrete. This type of truck comes in many different sizes and configurations to best match the requirements of the construction job. Here are four of the most popular concrete trucks:

Concrete pump

The concrete pump truck has the ability to accurately pour a high volume of concrete thanks to its pump system. This long pump system means it is possible to pour the concrete into the specific area without having to use the services of several workers to shovel the material into the desired location. Plus, the fast unloading time means a job is completed that much more efficiently and able to complete significantly more jobs compared to a standard concrete truck.

Standard transit

The standard transit concrete truck is one of the most commonly used for a wide range of applications. It has the ability to carry anything from 2 to 10 cubic meters of ready-mix concrete. Plus, this truck has the advantage of being highly maneuverable and has the ability to easily pour concrete to either side and up to a height of about 2.5 meters.

Volumetric

The volumetric concrete truck is a more versatile vehicle with the ability to combine the advantages of the mobile mixer and a batching plant. The rear concrete holder is split into multiple sections which mean it is possible to mix the right volume of fresh concrete as and when required. Because this truck has the ability to keep the raw materials separate and in an unmixed state, it has the potential to last a lot longer compared to the already mixed concrete. This is perfect for the small project, which doesn’t need a lot of ready mixed concrete to pour, and in the long run this helps to save money.

Rough Terrain

The rough terrain concrete truck is a rugged vehicle with the ability to travel the most difficult terrains. Built with a front operator’s cab and 4×4 wheel-drive, this type of truck is a reliable option to transport, mix, load, or pour a high volume of concrete. Plus, it is equipped with electronic-based weight batching tools to make it possible to easily create the right grade or consistency of concrete.

Overall, there is a wide range of concrete truck models that can provide a reliable piece of machinery in virtually all small and large-scale construction projects.

How to Calculate Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE)

OEE is widely being used in manufacturing and service industries for calculating machine ad human efficiency. This is a metric quantity and can be calculated easily. OEE has become an integral part of lean manufacturing principles. In order to initiate any productivity improvement in any organization, it is recommended that OEE should be calculated to make it as a baseline for improvement efforts.

To calculate performance of organization in terms of OEE, we have to divide it into three measurable terms, quality, availability and performance. Each parameter from any manufacturing organization can be selected for improvement efforts. Also one benefit of it is that, it can be applied to whole plant, any single department or any workstation. In this effort 100% OEE is taken as ideal case and cannot be achieved, however 85% is targeted by many organizations.

The formula for calculation of OEE is

OEE = Availability x Performance x Quality

To calculate actual value of OEE, we take example of a manufacturing plant, where machine availability for manufacturing is 87% and performance level of that specific plant is 94% and the component being produced are of 90% good quality. So, the OEE of that plant is

OEE = 87 x 94 x 90 = 73.6 %

Now we look, how to calculate above mentioned three parameters for calculation of our desired values.

To calculate plant availability, we have to first look, how much time a plant is in operation and ready for manufacturing activities. From this time, we subtract planned maintenance and down time (Machine failure, lunch break, tea breaks and idle time). Ultimately we get full operation time. From this time, we again subtract other un-necessary time delays to get net time availability for production. This time delay can be due to unscheduled breakdown, electricity problem, tool and work piece change over time, non-availability of raw material and non-availability of proper tools.

Performance is the efficiency of machine and operator. Machine efficiency may not be up to rated values due to many causes like, wear & tear, misfeed and non-availability of proper tool. And operator efficiency can be less due to less skilled person. If we multiply both efficiencies, then we get performance of operator and machine.

Quality is measured by calculating total number of products produced and form them subtracting rejected and re-work pieces.

To calculate actual value of OEE, we take example of plant, which work on 8 hour sift basis. Rests of values are as follows:

Total time = 8 hour/480 minutes Production breaks = 1.5 hour/90 minutes Machine down time = 20 minutes Ideal production rate of machine = 55 pieces Total production = 17665 Total rejected = 430

Total planned production time = total time – production breaks =480 – 90 = 390 minutes

Total operating time = 390-20 = 370 minutes

Total good pieces produced = 17665 – 430 = 17235 pieces

Machine availability = Total operating time / Total planned production time = 370/390 = 0.9487 = 94.87 %

Performance = (Total production / Total operating time) / Ideal production rate of machine = (17665/370)/55 = 0.8680 = 86.8 %

Quality = Total good pieces produced / Total production = 17235 / 17665 = 0.9756 % = 97.56%

OEE = Machine availability x Performance x Quality

= 94.87 x 86.8 x 97.56

= 80.33 %

Hence the machine overall equipment effectiveness is 80.33%.

Crafting Strategy For a Competitive Advantage

Strategy is the competitive moves and business approaches for growing the business, creating a market position, attracting and satisfying customers, competing successfully, conducting operation, and achieving target objectives.

When creating strategy, you can utilize a number of different actions:

  • Gain sales and market share via lower prices, more performance and features, better quality, or appealing design
  • Diversify into new businesses
  • Strengthen competitive capabilities and shore-up competitive weaknesses
  • Define how key organizational activities are to be handles by management
  • Pursue new market opportunities and defend against threats
  • Create strategic alliances and collaborative partnerships
  • Establish a Merger or Acquisition with your rival
  • Enter new product markets
  • Respond to changing market conditions and external circumstances

Your strategy should be aimed at creating a product or service that is distinctive from what the competitors are offering or at developing competitive capabilities that they can not quite match. A powerful strategy can make you distinctive which will tilt the playing field in their favor by creating a sustainable competitive advantage.

Strategy should blend both proactive actions to improve your market position and financial performance and reactions to unanticipated developments and market conditions. The biggest portion of your current strategy flows from previous business approaches that are working well to merit launching of new initiative to strengthen the overall positions and performance.

All strategic plans should be viewed as work in progress. Changing circumstances and market conditions cause a strategy to emerge and change over time. Strategy should be considered temporary outcomes that respond to market changes and constant experimentation and modifications. A winning strategy should fit with the organizations external and internal situation, build sustainable competitive advantage, and improve the performance.

Buying Shutters – 8 Questions You Should Ask Before Buying

The shutter range these days is nothing like it used to be as they have come a long way in providing all types of shutters for both the interior and exterior of your home. Wooden made shutters, especially cedar have proven to be the most popular for quite some time although you can buy shutters in other materials such as vinyl if you prefer.

When it comes to buying shutters you have several factors to think about which include selecting the style, the type of finish you want, the panel configuration and last but by no means least how much you want to spend.

As far as styles go you have a choice of what’s known as traditional or plantation shutters. These are the main two types you will find being sold. Traditional shutters use narrow shutter panels which are usually in the shape of a wedge where they look thicker in the front and narrower in the back where as plantation shutters offer much thicker, flat shutter panels so the choice is yours depending on what your preferences are.

When I chose my shutters I went for the traditional kind because they matched in quite nicely with the Venetian blinds I had, but that was just me. Obviously, we all have different tastes but it is a good idea to think about what would look good with the window coverings you have at the moment unless you plan on changing them altogether.

As for the finish, many people opt for natural looking shutters and use staining to give the desired effect. The other popular choice is to use white paint or a varying shade of white depending on what suits but you can use pretty much any colour you like. I’ve seen pink and yellow coloured houses in Scotland that have gone ahead and painted their shutters in the same colours so it’s really up to you although you’ll find that most shutter companies will either sell them in a wood tone or a white finish.

As for the configuration of shutter panels, this really depends on the size of your window and the style that you go for as there is some degree of flexibility with having more or less panels than normal. You can also have shutters custom made to your specs as well if you like. A standard size window may use 20 panels but you want to have 30, in which case you would ask the shutter company to design the panels to be narrower to fit in with what you’re after. This however is a rather more expensive option and you will be better off just going with what’s available if you’re sticking to a budget.

Speaking of budgets, just like most things price is very important and the amount you pay will largely depend on what you need. Before you do any research or go anywhere it’s a good idea to sit down and ask yourself the following questions.

Do I want interior or exterior shutters?

How many Windows and doors do I need to cover with shutters?

What size measurement are the Windows and/or doors?

What type of material do I want the shutters do I want the shutters in?

What style of shutters do I want, plantation or traditional?

How many panels would I like for each shutter?

What type of finish would I like to have on the shutters?

How much is my overall budget and what’s the most I can spend?

Writing your answers down on a piece of paper will help give you an idea of exactly what you want and what you can afford. Shutter companies usually base the price on the exact size of window, therefore the exact size of shutter needed and the style, the finish and how many panels you require. So with all the questions already answered you should have no problems getting an exact quote.

If you are on a tight budget and you plan to buy interior shutters a cheaper option may be to buy blinds instead. You can pick up some pretty good blinds at a cheap price if you keep your eye out but bear in mind that blinds don’t last as long as shutters. I love my shutters but I wouldn’t dream of using them on sliding doors as blinds are much better, especially these days with the new types that are available.

When it comes to tall windows it’s often a better idea to have two or three sets of shutters on the same window as there are maximum panel guidelines between shutter panels. One way round this however is to use a dividing rail between the panels in the same frame and whichever method you choose you are going to end up with two or three louver sections in any case. This is good because you will be able to open and close them independently of one another, offering you more flexibility with sunlight control.

There is a maximum panel size with shutters which is another reason why blinds are a better option for large windows and doors. Consult the shutters and blinds salesman on which would be the best option for what you need and they should be able to help you out.

The Benefits of Ethylene Vinyl Acetate (EVA) Foam on Sports Glasses

Let me tell you everything you’ve ever wanted to know about EVA, the amazing material behind the most extreme eyewear products.

First of all, the definition: EVA stands for Ethylene Vinyl Acetate, and it is the co-polymer of ethylene and vinyl acetate.

Extreme sports enthusiasts should take note. Whether you ride jet skis, raft in white water, race speed boats, water ski or enjoy kayaking, EVA foam will easily become your best friend.

When formulated into the closed cell foam, EVA takes on the following characteristics which are of great advantage for extreme sports glasses:

  • Completely tactile – gripping, non-slipping
  • Energy absorbing – protects your face from sudden shocks
  • Weather/moisture resistant – antibacterial, antimold
  • Chemical/oil resistant – easy to clean
  • Thermal insulating – keeps your head a steady temp
  • Anti-static
  • Highly resilient – keeps its form fit to your shape
  • Smooth and soft – allows for periods of longer wearing
  • High buoyancy – will float even in the roughest waters
  • Non-toxic
  • Environmentally friendly

This dense and durable foam can be found in many commercial applications, from handle grips to flotation and safety devices, from sporting equipment to childrens toys and furniture. EVA is also typically used as a shock absorber in sports shoes, and the smooth surface cleans easily with an antibacterial cloth.

Superior Gripping – With this miracle foam, ordinary sports sunglasses instantly become strapless goggles.

World Class Floatation – The unparalleled buoyancy of EVA keeps your glasses above the water’s surface, even with polarized sunglasses or prescription lenses.

Long-lasting Comfort – The softness of this material allows you to wear your sports sunglasses for longer periods, letting you play all day long.

In researching the market of sporting eyewear, I’ve found that Bomber Eyewear is the only maker of sports sunglasses that offers Ethylene Vinyl Acetate foam on its products.  It’s been proven by jet ski riders, white water rafters, water skiers and kayakers that Bomber’s patented process of adding EVA foam to sunglasses and safety eyewear protects you from the dangers of life on the edge.

Once you try a pair of sports sunglasses with EVA foam, you’ll forever accept no substitute!

Investing in Diecast Models – How You Can Find Diecast Bargains on Auction Websites

Pre Second World War Dinky Toys have proved to have been a first rate investment for those collectors who managed to forsee the future and buy at the right time. The fact that most of these models, whether ships, aircraft or vehicles, suffer from metal fatigue, fails to deter the buyers. The models themselves although crude by modern standards are still bringing fantastic prices at auctions.

Metal fatigue however appears to be a thing of the past, technological progress in model castings having hopefully solved the problem. Although it is not yet possible to restore these early Dinky Toys to their original condition, I understand that there are treatments available designed to stop any further deterioration. This has got to be good news for those who invested in them, as without treatment a collection of metal debris in a fading box would not have funded many retirement plans.

Browsing through the diecast models being offered on e-bay over the Christmas period, I was shocked and saddened to see the “buy now” prices for the Corgi 1/43rd scale range of old commercial vehicles.

For an investor these models have got to be the biggest diecast bargains on e-bay ever..

The models were made in Britain before all the big names in model manufacturing shifted production to China.. They were beautifully painted, well detailed, and well presented in good quality boxes with viewing panels. Most importantly the scale was constant. They are now for sale on e-bay at less than their original cost. These models are virtually being given away.

That they did not appeal to children at the time they first appeared on the market is not surprising as they certainly looked old fashioned, but why they did not appeal to collectors is a mystery.

When these models were produced Matchbox were also producing models of commercial vehicles which for the price were excellent value. The Matchbox models however varied in scale with only the box size remaining constant.

Because Matchbox apparently flooded the market with their models, the only ones making money for those who bought them as investments, are those models with odd manufacturing differences, such as colour variations, thereby making them unique.

I do not think that Corgi flooded the market with their 1/43rd scale commercial vehicles.

It may have been that the Corgi models in the Thorneycroft and Mack range of vehicles in this scale were quite large and therefore difficult to display, but the Ford range of vans although little bigger than the cars, are still for some reason not attracting the buyers.

It is difficult to believe that the size of the model was a problem. Corgi seem to have had little difficulty in attracting collectors to their 1/72nd scale models of Lancaster and Halifax bombers which are presented in far larger boxes than the Classic commercial vehicles.

These Corgi commercials could well be the antiques of the future and there surely will never be a better time to invest.

Honda Hubcaps – Buying Into the Father of Wheel Covers

I don’t know if you remember the 80’s but I do. It was back there, between Boy George and Oliver north, during a time when imports were the exception that Honda motor company patented and developed the first hubcaps and wheel covers that were held in place by the lug nuts of the vehicle. It’s one of those “DUH” moments in history where a concept is so simple you wonder why it was ever any different. The oddity is that it took over 15 years for any other companies to copy the concept. You can patent a bolt design but you can’t patent the concept of the nut and bolt so there was nothing holding the other companies back from designing their own assemblies.

It has been said that there are few other companies that can match the quality of a Honda hubcap, even today. While it takes more than the old place and punch method the old hubcaps used to get them on, the small amount of added effort is a fair trade for knowing that your hubcaps aren’t going to go careening over a cliff as your driving along some day. There was one occasion that an observant cyclist saved themselves from a good deal of potential injury by managing to notice and avoid one of the rogue “click on” hubcaps on the shoulder in their path. It had been obscured by some short grasses but was substantial enough to have kicked up and caused some damage.

The Honda design is amazingly simple. The Honda hubcap uses a chrome lug nut with a snap-in place washer. The washer holds the hubcaps in place. The washers are held in place by the lug nuts themselves that surround the central hub where the logo is generally stamped.

If you have a Honda but for some reason do not have the factory wheel covers then take note. If you want to put wheel covers on you will need to first ensure that you at least have the washers. Without them the wheel covers will not stay in place. You will need at the bare minimum, half of the total number of washers present on the lugs. If you do need to purchase washers or wheel covers they can be acquired from any Honda dealership.

When purchasing hub caps or wheel covers you must also ensure you are buying a compatible model. There are not only lug pattern differences but also lug span issues. For an example the Honda Accord hub caps cannot be interchanged with the ones from the Honda Civic because the span between the lugs on the Honda Accord is 115mm and the bolt pattern for the Honda Civic is 100mm. These two vehicles have their own unique covers that you must replace accordingly.

When questing for the perfect wheel covers you have to consider more than just the lug pattern and span. Although they don’t all change every year there are model year as well as model specific differences. Mostly this has to do with overall appearance and rim size. You will need to use a hub cap reference guide to be absolutely certain you are ordering the correct parts.

Also, don’t be afraid of aftermarket parts. If you can find replicas, they may not have the logo on them but they should work just as well. The hubcaps main functions are cosmetic and also protecting the inner wheel from dirt and debris. Although some people prefer authentic parts as a matter of taste, functionality is available for those that don’t require paying extra for the name.

What Wind Deflectors Are and How They Are Used

Wind deflectors for truck are different than wind deflectors for trailers. What exactly does a wind deflector do? What happens when you are towing a trailer or fifth wheel is that wind moves from the front of your truck over the cab and on to the back. If you are towing something behind you, what happens is that the wind hits against the front of what you are towing, causing drag. While you may not actually feel it unless there is a strong head wind, it does slow you down.

Wind deflectors for trucks help to make the wind flow over the trailer. Wind deflectors for trailers work similarly, but they are mounted in the front, near the roof of the trailer or fifth wheel itself. What these do is prevent the wind from hitting the front directly, and deflect it to the sides and top. These work well and can help with wind resistance, but if you really want to deflect the wind, a truck deflector works much better.

Here are just some of the advantages of putting wind deflectors for trucks. To a lesser degree, these are the same advantages for wind deflectors for trailers as well. One of the advantages of having a wind reflector is that it will reduce the drag when pulling a trailer or fifth wheel. This will make your vehicle faster, but also make it more fuel efficient. They can also keep the front of your trailer from getting bugs and other debris on it. It can also prevent wind from getting caught up in the bed of the truck reducing wear and tear on your vehicle, and reducing the rough ride of your trip. You can either mount these on the top of the cab, and for trucks with shells on them, it can be mounted on the back of the topper.

There are many different types of wind deflectors for trucks, as well as wind deflectors for trailers. If you are interested in purchasing one of these for your vehicle, or trailer, there are some things you need to consider. One of them is that you need one wide enough to extend across the front of your trailer, or width of your vehicle. An ideal wind deflector for trucks should be adjustable, in case you switch the type of trailer you are towing. For example, many people have a trailer as well as a fifth wheel, and each has a different height, so you will need a deflector that you can adjust for these different heights.

You also want a product that comes fully assembled, and one that includes complete mounting instructions. Wind deflectors for trucks, as well as wind deflectors for trailers should also have all the mounting hardware included. Prices for each of these differ, but you can expect prices to range from $300-$500, depending on the model, size, and features included. You should also make sure that you get some kind of warranty included. You should also make sure to read the fine print on each company’s return policies, because these differ from company to company. Some companies offer free shipping on purchases over certain amounts.