Austrian Airlines' Cancun Charter Flight Operation

Although passengers are aware that airlines fly to the destinations they need to travel to, whether it be for business, pleasure, or relational reasons, they may not know that some are served by cargo-only flights; code-share services, in which another carrier operates the aircraft; or charter arrangements, which enable airlines to extend their reach to cities only supported by group or travel agency bookings, particularly during seasonal-demand periods.

Acting in the capacities of overseer and trainer, the author experienced one such charter flight operation-that of Austrian Airlines in Cancun, Mexico-at the beginning of its Winter 2006-2007 schedule. Observed was the season's inaugural flight.

1. Mexican Civil Aviation Regulations

Austrian Airlines was handled by Passenger Handling Services / Maca in Cancun. According to Mexican Civil Aviation Regulations, all ground handling companies were required to adhere to three regulations.

They first needed to submit a letter from the handled carrier, verifying that the ground company in question was properly trained in the areas of Flight Plan Coordination, Weight and Balance, Ramp Procedures, Refueling Procedures, and Passenger Service. The letter also needed to indicate the names of the staff actually trained in these areas.

They secondly needed to possess copies of the applicable, aircraft-specific operations manual (s). In the case of the Cancun flight, it was the one concerning the Boeing 767.

Finally, they needed to file a manual check-in plan, with the necessary seat charts, boarding passes, and other supplies.

2. Ground Operations Training

In order to fulfill the training requirement, the author reviewed the Cancun Station Operation Plan, inclusive of the passenger check-in and Centralized Load Control (CLC) procedures, with the handling company's Duty Manager shortly after his arrival in Mexico, and held two training classes with its staff the following day.

The first, the 2.5-hour Austrian Airlines Load Sheet Familiarization Training, including an overview of the Centralized Load Control (CLC) procedures, load plans, the creation of an inbound load plan based on the day's actual container / pallet distribution message (CPM) , and the collective completion of a manual load sheet example, copies of which were placed on file at the Cancun station.

During the second session, held after the flight departed, the author reviewed the CLC procedures with the three staff members who had been unable to attend the morning class.

3. Passenger Check-In

Passenger check-in and boarding occurred in Terminal 1. A small passenger service office, located behind the Mexicana de Aviacion check-in counters, was located in the Vuelos Nacionales (Domestic Flights) section of Terminal 2, while the operations office was situated behind the security checkpoint and on the ramp side of Terminal 2. A complimentary, periodic run passenger shuttle connected the two buildings from designated terminal frontage departure points. Terminal 3, intended for international flights, was scheduled for March 2007 completion at that time.

The Passenger Handling Services / Maca Duty Manager of Austrian Airlines' Cancun flight operations, a licensed Aircraft Dispatcher, had amassed 15 years in the airline / aviation industry and took great pride in adhering to regulations.

Passenger check-in was located in the recently reopened, but downsized, hurricane-damaged Terminal 1, which was then only occupied by charter carriers, such as Miami Air, First Choice, Air Transat, and Corsairfly.

Passenger check-in itself preceded three hours before the scheduled 1640 departure time of the flight at counters that were located only a few yards from the terminal entrance. All passengers, in accordance with Mexican security regulations, were required to have their baggage personally inspected prior to actual check-in.

Five check-in positions were used: one for Amadeus (business) Class and four for the economy cabin. The Passenger Service Supervisor and the business class check-in agent spoke Spanish, English, and German, and seat selection, provided by the MaestroDCS system, along with any authorized upgradings, were coordinated with the Tui tour representative, whose company chartered the flight.

Check-in itself was implemented with the MaestroDCS system. During the process, a passenger requested a wheelchair and it was immediately furnished.

4. Boeing 767

The Cancun flight was operated by the extended range version of the Boeing 767-300, the second of the two stretched-fuselage, higher capacity variants, which general design features included the following.

General Description: A widebody, twin-engine, cantilever, low-wing monoplane of semi-monocoque construction intended for commercial passenger and cargo and military applications.

Fuselage: Of aluminum alloy, fail-safe construction.

Wings: Employed advanced aluminum alloy skins and featured 31 degrees of sweepback and six degrees of dihedral.

Tail: Conventional empennage with swept surfaces on both its horizontal and vertical tails.

Landing Gear: Hydraulically-retracted, tricycle undercarriage with a Menasco twin-wheel, which retracted forward, and two, four-wheeled, Cleveland Pneumatic main gear units, which retracted inward. Both were equipped with Honeywell wheels and brakes.

Engines: Two aerodynamic, pod-encased high circumference ratio turbofans pylon-mounted to the wing leading edge undersides.

Design Features: Replacing the 727 with a larger capacity, widebody design, it wasvertheless optimized for 727-type route sectors with one-stop transcontinental range capability. It employed computer-aided design (CAD) during its initial development phase, which costs were reduced because of parallel 757 development. Although it was not considered a single-aisle aircraft, it introduced a narrowser fuselage cross-section than that used by previous widebody types, yielding several advantages, including a reduction in parasite drag; a twin-aisle cabin, in which passengers were never more than one seat from the window or the aisle; gate and ramp compatibility at smaller, 727-like airports; and advanced, light-weight aluminum alloy flight surfaces, specifically the fixed wing leading edge panel, the spoilers, the ailerons, the fixed wing trailing edge panel, the undercarriage doors, the elevators, and the rudder.

Additional benefits were derived from the use of a supercritical wing, such as a high aspect ratio, an aft-loaded section, the development of more lift for less drag than any previous airfoil, 22-percent greater thickness than that employed by previous-decade airliners, a lighter and simpler structure, and more wing-integral fuel tank capacity.

Powered by two high bypass ratio turbofans, it was able to offer higher thrust, lower specific fuel consumption, a reduced noise footprint, lower maintenance costs, and improved reliability.

Like the 757 then concurrently designed, it was operated by a two-person cockpit crew.

By using the previously dry center-section fuel tank, Boeing was able to offer an increased-range version that required few other configurations, yet its inherent fuselage stretchability, the greater capacities of its existing wing and tail, its 757 common pilot type rating, and its extended range twin-engine operation certification enabled carriers to replace it for DC-10 and L-1011 aircraft.

It offered the optimum range and capacity for Austrian Airlines' transatlantic charter operations to and from Mexico.

Powered by two 60,900 thrust-pound Pratt and Whitney 4060 high range ratio turbofans, the aircraft operating the flight, registered OE-LAX, was first delivered in 1992 and bore serial number 27095. Accommodating 30 Amadeus business class passengers in a six-abreast, two-two-two, configuration and 200 in economy in a seven-abreast arrangement with one additional seat in the middle bank, it featured the following maximum weights: 130,634-kilo zero-fuel, 145,149-kilo landing, 186,880-kilo take off , and 187,333-kilo ramp.

5. Ramp

Operating as Flight OS 9573 from Vienna, Austria, and Varadero, Cuba, the aircraft landed at 1515 and taxied into the non-jetbridge-equipped parking position 1, as scheduled, at 1520. It was chocked and the safety cones were properly positioned. A stair truck was immediately positioned at door L2 and, in accordance with Mexican regulations, marshaled into this position. The passengers disembarked after a short consultation with the Chef de Cabine (chief purser).

According to the inbound container / pallet distribution message (CPM), the following Cancun-destined unit load devices (ULDs) were on board: an empty DPE in position 11L, baggage AKEs in positions 22L, 23L, and 24L, and an empty DQF in position 43. With the exception of the last one, all were located in the forward hold and were single, or half-width, containers. The latter, in the aft hold, was a double, or full-width, one.

6. Departure Gate

All five departure gates were located immediately up the escalator, through the security checkpoint, and a short walk away. Two snack bars and two shops comprised the terminal's passenger convenience facilities.

Because of the abundance of the aircraft parking positions, buses or mobile lounges were not necessary, and access ramps led from the departures level to the ramp.

Sequential boarding of the departure flight, operating as OS 9574, commended at 1545, with announcements in both English and German, and entailed pre-boarding passengers, followed by those in Amadeus business and economy class, the latter by row numbers, beginning at the rear of the aircraft.

Boarding control was computerized, with seat numbers entered into the system. After the last passenger passed through the gate at 1612, the general declaration and all required lists were brought to the cabin crew. Since the Varadero station had changed some seats, the seat occupied message (or SOM) of through-passengers to Vienna was not strictly accurate and resolved in several discrepancies, but these were quickly rectified by local ground staff.

7. Centralized Load Control

In accordance with the Centralized Load Control procedure for charter flight operations, the cockpit crew sent the final fuel figures to Vienna by means of the aircraft communication and reporting system (ACARs), while the local operations staff filled out and faxed a preprinted sheet with passenger totals subdivided by class and zone, along with the number of bags and their weights, all of which was furnished by the MaestroDCS check-in system and telexed to the Terminal 2 operations office. Back-up sheets were available in the event of last minute changes (LMCs) or an ACARs failure.

Although initial difficulty with the fax machine delayed the sending of the information to Vienna on the day of my visit, missing Atlantic tracks in the meteorology folder caused a short, 15-minute departure delay.

8. Conclusions

All the members of the Cancun ground operations staff were professional, dedicated, and motivated, and obviously possessed considerable knowledge and experience. Because the handling company's operations office had to be relocated from Terminal 1 to its then current Terminal 2 facility due to hurricane damage, the logistic challenge could only be met with a ramp vehicle conveyance, but the operation was otherwise well orchestrated. The Maca duty manager was an excellent asset to the station and his team, and the use of the German language at the check-in counter was a plus to Austrian Airlines' passengers.

Its Cancun charter flight operation that day could not have been more seamlessly executed.

Text Message Marketing

Text messaging and text messages are the latest rage in the world. Be the social facet or the business facade, text messaging has brought about a revolution in both the fascias. SMS text message marketing has become an undeviating link between businesses and commercial associations and consumers. With the commercial market going mobile and the increase in the sale of commodities and services on the mobile each passing year have certainly geared up the text message marketing.

After the social networking advertisements, the email advertising, and auto wraps, text message marketing is the next big thing in the advertisement and promotion industry. The SMS texting service has become a part of everyone's life which makes the marketing a sure hit. It enables easy mass reach which is considered as a desirable CRM plan for customer care, promotion and advertising by commercial companies.

Text Message Marketing needs a lot of skill and management. Since there are only 160 characters in a text message the company's goals and objectives have to be met in these 160 characters without playing around. While having this form of marketing strategy implemented in a firm, the firm is indebted to provide an opt-out in the foot of the message or the firm may be penalized severly. Few companies proffer a coordination that requires an opt-in and an opt-out service and these systems are 100% spam proof. With this people will receive only if they request for them.

The companies opting for this need to have new strategies and tactics to keep the program interesting and attractive. The bounce ad strategy for messages marketing is an automatic responder which sends only on request by the cell phone user. This strategy permits the advertisers to send a pre-structured messages.These messages are stored at the back office of the company which "bounce back" to the requesters when requested on-demand.

The broadcast feature of Text Message Marketing sends updates and coupons to subscribers. It enables the advertisers to propel unlimited and promotional information on a mass SMS relay basis at anytime from anywhere to large number of subscribers by just logging into a user account.

The time release SMS text service enables the user to craft a screen campaign with an Adname that can be submitted automatically at anytime and on any date chosen by the user. The MMS feature of this have to enable advertisers to have customized advertisements with images.

How To Clean Gel Flux Residue From a Circuit Board After Hand Soldering a Quad Flat Pack

This article describes how to clean gel flux residue from a circuit board after hand soldering a quad flat pack component. The process involves full immersion cleaning, which means fully submersing the board into solvent while brushing in order to dislodge and dissolve as much of the flux residue as possible.

Start by putting on some "powder free latex gloves" to protect your hands. Also make sure that you are wearing safety glasses and that your work area is reasonably well ventilated.

Place the board on the bench. No solvents are used at this stage. I call this step "dry wiping". Get a small brush, such as a hair hair or small parts cleaning brush and simply run the brush along each edge to remove the bulk of the flux residue.

Wipe the brush on a tissue to get the flux residue off of the brush. The objective is just to remove the bulk of the flux residue before the full immersion cleaning process.

Next, place your circuit board into a plastic container with some methylated spirits (or "metho").

The plastic container can be a lunch box, a food container or an empty ice cream container. Choose the size of the container depending on how big your circuit boards are and how many you want to put in to wash or soak at one time.

Ensure that there is sufficient metho in the container to fully immerse the board, including the components.

Then simply brush around the edge of the chip where the flux residual is. Continue to brush around until it looks like most of the flux residue has come off.

Take the board out of the metho to get an idea of ​​how you are going.

Blow off the metho with compressed air (a nozzle, moisture separator, air hose and air compressor). The compressed air also helps to dislodge the residue, especially some of the residual seating behind the chip legs.

At this stage you will be able to see how much of the flux residue is left on the board. Put the board back into the metho and do some more brushing.

Take the board out again and blow off the metho and stay with the compressed air. Again, you will be able to see how much residual is left. The residual will look like a think sticky film. Put the board back in and give it another go.

Keep going until you are satisfied that you have removed as much of the flux residue as possible. You do not have to worry is there is a little bit of flux residual left on the board because the gel flux used is "no-clean" type, which is inert and non-corrosive.

That completes this article. We covered how to clean gel flux residue from a circuit board, including "dry brushing", full immersion cleaning, using compressed air to blow off solvent and dislodge residual, and inspection.

How To Eliminate Noise From A Switch Mode Supply

A switching mode power supply is very efficient in its working. Although, the supply is designed in such a way that it produces noise that is inaudible to the human ear, it sometimes gives a lot of noise especially when it gets old.

The good news is that if your switching mode power supply is producing a lot of noise there are ways in which you can eliminate the noise.

High-pitched whine without a fan

This noise is usually caused by external electromagnetic interference (EMI). To solve it you need to move the power supply away from anything that produces a large amount of EMI. Some of the objects that tend to produce a lot of EMI include: large speakers, large batteries, fluorescent lights and flat-screen monitors.

If you remove the supply from these objects and the noise persists, it must have been caused by a dry capacitor. You should remove the capacitors together with the soldering iron and then replace them with new capacitors.

You should note that capacitors have the ability of causing massive electronic shock; therefore, after unplugging the power supply you should leave it unplugged for at least three hours before you remove the capacitors.

High-pitched whine with a fan

The noise is caused by lack of lubrication in the fan bearing. To eliminate the noise you should lubricate the bearing. This calls you to unplug the device from the power supply and remove the fan's bearing protective plating. You should then put a few drops of sewing machine oil directly onto the bearing.

You should note that some protective plating is held by screws while others are held by a thick sticker.

Low-pitched hum

If the low-pitched hum is annoying, you should put the supply in a metal casing in order to shut the noise in the casing. All you should do is to visit your local store and find a casing that will fit your entire power supply unit. You should then place the supply inside the casing and screw the casing shut.


These are some of the ways in which you can eliminate the noise in a switch mode power supply unit. If you do all of the above and the noise persists, you should take your device to a professional who will rectify the problem for you.

To ensure that your device lasts for a long time without developing problems, it's good that you buy your device from a reputable seller.

How to Make a Camping Light From 5 Gallon Bucket

In my past article titled "5 Gallon Buckets at the Camp Site", I promised to write a tutorial on how to make a camping light from a 5 gallon bucket. Here is how.

First of all, you might wonder why you would need a 5 gallon pail light if you can just conveniently bring your propane light. Well, not everyone has this propane lantern. And this camping light made of 5 gallon bucket is an inexpensive alternative to get enough light at the camp site.

You will need:

  1. A white 5 gallon bucket with lid.
  2. Utility light socket.
  3. Extension cord – adjust the length with what you need and are comfortable with.
  4. Light bulb.
  5. Epoxy.
  6. Drill.

And these are the steps to make your camping light.

  1. You can either use the bucket lid as the location where you will attach the utility light socket or the bottom of the pail. If you intend to hang it on a branch of a tree or elsewhere during your camping trip, it is best to do it on the bucket lid. Then you can just hang the bucket light by attaching the pail handle to a pole. If the light is to be placed on the ground, the bottom of the pail is a good place to install the utility light socket.
  2. Place the light socket in the middle of the surface (of the lid or the bottom) and mark the holes where you need to screw the light socket later on.
  3. Also mark a hole right in the middle of the center where you can feed the extension cord.
  4. Cut the female end of the extension cord and slid it through the hole in the center from outside to the inside of the bucket.
  5. Attach the wire to the utility socket.
  6. Secure the utility light socket to the inside surface by bolting them onto it.
  7. Screw a bulb onto the light fixture.
  8. Put the lid back on and plug it in. If it lights, then all you need to do is to add the final waterproof touch.
  9. Apply epoxy putty generously to the access points where you drilled the holes before. This is to ensure that there will be no drip of rain water ever getting into your camping light.

That's it! If you are familiar with the materials above, this should be an easy task for you, and cheap too! So happy camping with your DIY camping light with your 5 gallon bucket!

$ 200 Per Hour Opening Cars – How To Become A Lockout Specialist

If you have not yet locked your keys inside your car, you will someday. The odds are heavy against you, because this is one of the most common slip-ups to haunt the civilized world. Personally I've done it no less than ten times myself over a period of, say, twenty years … and I'm a Locksmith!

Now, how can you turn this into a benefit?

If you happen to be looking for a high profit, super interesting career you could do a lot worse than to consider becoming a Lockout Specialist. I know whereof I speak, because as a working Locksmith since 1983 I've opened (literally) countless vehicles and I've had many instances where I made up of $ 200 per hour over several hours at a time. I can recall one incredible day in which I serviced twenty-three lockouts, at an average price of $ 40 and an average labor time of 10 minutes per vehicle – for most of a day. This was near Christmas in 1995, in Salt Lake City, Utah. I was self-employed and doing very well as a full service Locksmith, but the bulk of my business during Holidays has always been in the form of lockouts.

It is important to make a distinction here, to avoid confusion. I am not proposing that you will make that kind of money day after day. There will be average days, and there will be busy days. But if you set up a business, in a fairly large city or base yourself at least near one, you stand to make unconscionably easy money once you get settled in and your business becomes visible. Opening locked cars is as easy a profession as ever has been conceived. It takes some skill, of course, and you will have to do some studying before you break out the lockout tools and advertise yourself – but compared to many other professions it just can not be beat for simplicity. You will also have to do some homework with respect to legality. Some states require Lockout Specialists to be registered Locksmiths, but most do not! This is something you have to determine before you take another step.

If you find that you are living in a jurisdiction that requires registering, it is not that difficult to do. You will have to gain a greater knowledge of Locksmithing, but this certainly is not a disadvantage as it will likely lead to a fantastic career that goes well beyond opening locked mini-vans. If on the other hand you are sufficient enough to be living in an area in which Lockout Specialists can be licensed without having to be full-fledged Locksmiths, the path to a cushy career sprawls before you.

I started my business in Salt Lake City when I was 37 years of age. Up until then I had never so much as dreamt of being involved with locks, car openings or keys. I was in dire straights, having just lost most everything I owned through a business failure that occurred as collateral damage from a divorce. Someone suggested I go door to door and sell "door viewers" – those little peepholes people put in their front doors. This actually worked well, but only because at that time I had no bills (everything got disposed of). After a while I was being asked to install locks. I started doing that and was buying deadbolts at a local Locksmith shop one day when the guy behind the counter, who by then had gotten to know me, suggested I start a Locksmith business. I thought he was kidding me, seriously. But he told me that Locksmiths make incredible profit from most everything they do, especially doing lockouts. He sold me a few tools – which in Utah is perfectly legal (or was at that time at least) – and also a small book on opening cars.

That was a turning point in my life. I went on, within six months, to taking on small Locksmith jobs and teaching myself. I put a small ad in the Yellow Pages, hoping against hope I would not go bust in the first few months because those ads can not be realized, and I soon realized there was enough business out there that I was opening cars almost every day. I got better at it the more I did it (there were nightmare jobs in which it took me hours to open a single car, but that was in the very early days). Always the calls started coming in quite regularly and I started making good money, doing something I enjoyed. The feeling of helping others who really need your specialized service is a great one, and knowing you are working for yourself and no one else is beyond description.

I had to do all this without a road map. There was nothing available to beginners in those days, not like there is today. The explosion of information that is the Internet has made all the difference. I wish back in 1983 I had the advantages available to career seekers today. There are many self-help manuals and DVD courses now that can teach you to set up a Lockout Specialist business, or a full-fledged Locksmith business. The prices are surprisingly affordable, and the information in at least some of them is staggering. In many cases, you can actually earn certification by purchasing one of these courses.

It is worth considering if you like the idea of ​​working for ten minutes, assisting a motorist in need, and putting up to $ 50 or $ 60 dollars in your pocket for your trouble.

10 Phases of Swimming Pool Construction

Building an inground swimming pool is the culmination of 10 different phases of swimming pool construction. This article will give you a brief understanding of the construction cycle. And it all begins with, the desire to have a pool in your own backyard.

Design & Engineering

The first place most homeowners look for qualified swimming pool contractors is the local phone book, and by word of mouth from others who have built a pool. After the initial interview process, you will have a good idea what your swimming pool will cost to have built. The contractor or consultant will provide a design and a complete bid for your acceptance. With a contract in hand, the contractor will obtain all necessary engineering from a qualified structural engineer. The contractor will then submit for permits from the local jurisdiction. At this point, it might also be necessary for the contractor to apply for a Home Owners Association(HOA) approval depending on your local community requirements. Once the building permit is obtained, the construction kicks off in high gear.

Layout & Excavation

This is one of the most exciting phases of swimming pool construction, excavation. Excavation is the digging and forming of the swimming pool. The very first thing the excavation crews do is the pregrade. Pregrade is the clearing of the pool site and the grading of the area for the swimming pool. This allows the crew to paint on the ground the final shape of your pool and at the same time the crew will stake the perimeter of the pool and add forms for the structure of the pool. The typical time needed to dig a pool depends on various factors. These factors include: access, soil conditions, and overall size and depth of the pool. Most pools these days are dug in 1 to 2 days.

Rough Plumbing & Electrical

Once the pool is dug, it’s time to move on to the rough plumbing and electrical. This is where all of the trenches will be dug for all the pipes and conduits necessary to operate your pool. Sometimes, the rough plumbing & electrical will be broken down in a couple of parts, otherwise all trenching and installation of the pipes and conduits will be done at the same time. This includes installation of the suction and return lines, water-feature lines, vacuum cleaner lines, fill lines, solar inlet and returns, gas lines for swimming pool heater and future barbecues and firepits, and the electrical service line. In most cases this will take 2-3 days to complete, and may be done either before, during or after steel.


The steel phase is the addition of rebar formed in the ultimate shape of the pool. A rebar contractor will “tie” the steel using bailing wire in a grid pattern determined by the structural engineer. A good crew will normally take less than a day to tie the steel depending on the size, shape and any raised walls or bond beams.

Gunite or Shotcrete

Up until this time, your backyard will look like one big disaster area, with trenches running here and there and a big hole in your yard with a criss-cross pattern of rebar running through. Gunite or Shotcrete is the application of the concrete to the pool surface, it makes the shell of your pool. The crews will arrive and via a hose will apply the concrete in the end, the pool will have a close to finish look. The benches installed, and the pool walls and floor will have been completed. This will also be one of the first times you will be required to be actively involved in the construction of your pool. For the next 7 to 10 days, you will be required to hose down the swimming pool shell two and three times a day with water to help cure the gunite or shotcrete. You will be truly amazed at how much water the pool structure adsorbs.

Tile & Rock

After the installation of the gunite or shotcrete, the waterline tile and any rock or boulders will be installed on your pool. The tile is necessary to provide an easy surface to keep clean at the waterline. Rock or boulders are added to incorporate a natural “swimming hole” look and feel and for waterfalls and jump rocks. For pools with the contemporary look or classic style, tile is incorporated into the design and is applied not only to the water line, but also to any raise walls or water-features.


(Concrete, Pavers, Trex, Tile, Stone, etc.) With the tile installed, the next addition to your swimming pool project is the decking. Now where I grew up, decking was always associated with wood, and redwood was king. But when I got involved in the swimming pool industry, deck was the item that surrounded the pool. For the majority of swimming pool owners, the deck of choice is concrete. Concrete is durable and inexpensive when compared to the other options being, grass or landscaping, tile, stone, pavers and natural or synthetic wood products. The installation of decking takes a minimum of a couple of days for forming and finishing, or it can require multiple days and weeks depending on the surface. The deck crew will also be responsible for installing the equipment pad, where all the pumps, filters, heaters and other equipment necessary to operate your pool will be located.

Equipment Set

The excitement builds, you’re almost done and ready to swim. At equipment set, either your pool service company or the plumbing and electrical company will return to install all of the equipment. The lights will be installed, control panels will be hooked-up, all pumps, heater and filter will be mounted to the equipment pad and plumbed. This normally is routinely completed within one to two days. All ready for the filling of your pool with water. But wait, we’re missing the all important pool surface.


Plaster provides the waterproofing surface for your pool. Plaster comes in many different forms from plain-old, to pebble and polished surfaces. Typically, this can be done in a day. And for those of you where money is no object, this can be an all tile pool surface complete with Grecian borders. After the swimming pool finish has been applied, now is the time to start filling your pool.

Construction Clean-Up and Start-Up

Once the bulk of the construction is complete, all excess and left over materials will be removed from the pool site. All empty boxes will be hauled to the dumps, and finally, your backyard will be ready to be enjoyed and not looking like a disaster zone. The last item left to do is to start up the pool. The start up process assures all equipment is operating and the swimming pool has all of the necessary chemicals to prevent algae and other problems. Now it’s your turn to start reaping all of the benefits of swimming pool ownership.

This has been a brief article describing the inground swimming pool process for gunite or shotcrete pools. A swimming pool is the culmination of many individual persons, each an experienced veteran of his or her trade. For most homeowners, a licensed contractor can guide them through the process. For others, the option of building their own pool and acting as their own general contractor can save them thousands of dollars but requires a deeper level of understanding.

Moroccan Lamps and Lanterns Add Spice to the Routine Illumination of Your Living Space

Fashion, trends and styles never seem to die. They simply revolve and evolve in a recurring cycle of events that sees history repeating itself at every stage of human life. The thing of the past soon sees a new entry in the present. Mankind is never satisfied with one single style for long and needs a change, a change that improves and enhances the quality of life in a rather unpretented and innovative way. The sheer elegance of antiquity never fails to fascinate the commonest of men who spend their lives in mundane routines and can only afford to have some simple yet certain changes to their regular lifestyles by introducing some small but significant elements of vintage excellence.

We talk about timeless Moroccan imports in the form of Moroccan lamps and lanterns. These exquisite pieces of illumination excellence decorate most artistically your interiors as well as outdoor décor. Carved in metal or glass these immaculate pieces of lighting reflect the unending memories of those Arabian night stories and pictures that we admire once as juveniles and always fantasized of owning a castle with such quintessential lightings that reflect sovereignty and royalty. Well the good news is with the variety of Moroccan lamps and Moroccan lanterns available easily to you via the internet you gain access to these designs of a vast spectrum of antique inspirations that jewel your dwelling space perfectly for those romantic and mystical evenings.

These dainty and meticulous lighting styles fit perfectly in any theme of interiors that you have designed for your personal space. In fact they only add to the elegance and charm of the space they occupy and never fail to enchant outsiders in appreciating your statement of style when it comes to decorating your home interiors. These ancient styles of outstanding brilliance not only enhance the decors of a residential lodging but also commercial spaces like restaurants and pubs. They create the perfect ambiance for such places that sees a variety of people striving to have a hub for relaxation and recreation.

Although it blends well with most settings you also need to make sure that you add some creative thinking on their placements in and around the house. With certain attention to detail you are sure to add that oomph factor to the place that is enchanted with the presence of these ethereal displays of lighting excellence. Moroccan lamps and lanterns look good either when fitted with a dedicated lighting stand or when hung on the ceilings. We also have modern LED lightings incorporated to these Moroccan lantern styles that are powered by solar cells. These Moroccan lanterns are used as outdoor lighting accessories and need no electricity.

Discover Photography: The Art of the Image

Since the time of Stone Age Man, when images of the animals and men hunting were first used to decorate the walls of cave, we have been fascinated by the captured image. Although it was not until the invention of photography that truly made this fascination into an art form that everyone could enjoy regardless of artistic ability. People all over the world take pictures of themselves, relatives and friends, pets and landscapes whether or not there is a particular circumstance or reason for doing so. But how much do we actually know when it comes to photography? Below are some of the different kinds of photography that will help us learn about the different ways of taking photographs.

Amateur Photography has grown in recent years with the advent of cheep digital cameras and this digital photography that has become easily accessible to the amateur due to the low cost of both equipment and reproduction of the images, that we will have a brief look at in this article.

Black and White or Monochrome Photography

The first are to consider is black and white or monochrome photography. This is not simply presenting an image in black and white. Black and white photography explores the contour and character, tone and texture, the aesthetic art and beauty of the subject. The two components of black and white photography that give depth and feeling to the image are the shadows and highlights, if we learn to use them then we can create great images.

Color sometimes obscures the texture and form of subjects, it draws our attention the way flowers attract insects and birds, and ripe fruit catches your eye on a tree. Sometimes that's what we want, but black and white can emphasize the texture of the subject.

The variety of ways that different colors convert to different greys means that you can have quite fine control over just what parts of your picture will be light and dark, in addition to lighting levels. The absence of light can be as important as the highlights. Good deep shadows can give a depth and solidity to an image. It allows us to separate out the effects of color and luminosity, put another way black and white photography allows us to use color more effectively.

Action Photography

Action Photography may be where the photographer takes pictures of sporting event, or of children playing, anything intact where there is movement. Either set the shutter speed to freeze the action or try a slower shutter speed to blur the movement. This blur effect can create the sense of drama and movement. If the subject is moving across the frame try to track the subject, this is called panning, the effect once perfected is the subject is sharp but the background has the movement blur giving the impression of speed.

Shooting Action Shots of Athletes, people and animals in motion, and other moving objects create wonderful photo opportunities. However, capturing fast action on a digital camera can be challenging.

Certain settings on many digital cameras allow photographers to photograph action in a point-and-shoot mode specifically designed for moving subjects. Other times it is up to the photographer to manipulate the digital camera to achieve the best possible photos.

Digital cameras with less shutter lag capture better action shots. Regardless of your camera's specifications, you can further minimize shutter lag by pre-focusing before you snap the picture. To do this, hold down the shutter button halfway and then once the camera has focused; press it down all the way to take the shot.

Fast shutter speed allows photographers to capture great shots of moving subjects. If your digital camera supports a slower shutter speed, it is still possible for you to shoot some wonderful action shots. It may take some practice, but try panning the camera, keeping the lens on the subject's action.

Shoot in continuous mode if it is available to you. You may feel like the paparazzi when you first get started, but you will love how this quick mode does not let you miss a shot! Digital cameras that support continuous shooting work nicely for action shots because they are able to write all the photos to memory at the same time instead of one by one.

Anticipate the action and position yourself accordingly. If you are shooting sports, camp out by the goal line or find a good location where you can get clear shots of the athletes.

Invest in a good lens. Many action shots will benefit most from a digital camera with a 200mm lens, though you can interchange lenses for different effects. Zoom lenses work wonders for sports action shots.

Aerial Photography

Aerial Photography is best if you want to photograph a landscape or cityscape. Sadly we can not all afford to have our own helicopter, but great effects can be achieved from the top of tall buildings, bridges or mountains. So although true aerial photography may be out of reach, we can still have the illusion of aerial photography.

Travel Photography

Travel Photography is not just about your holiday snaps. It is about capturing something of the feel, the emotion, the essence of a place. It is about telling the story of the people and the landscape; it captures the mood and the setting. But you do not need expensive foreign holidays; travel photography can be your record of the next town or city or even neighborhood. As a is an exciting local city for me to explore, but with the added advantage that it is not far to travel to.

When photographing people in their local context there are a number of techniques that I try to use but keep in mind the principle of treating people with respect.

I've already talked about making shots contextual but one great way to do this is to think about what's in the background behind the people you're photographing. Ideally you want something that's not too distracting but that adds to the context of the place you're shooting in. Another technique for shooting shots of people that ignores the 'contextual' rule is to find a bright lit position with a dark background. This can really help the face you're shooting to pop out and capture the viewer's attention.

Some of the best shots I've taken of people while traveling have been where I've tightly frames people's faces. This means either getting in close to the person or having and using a good zoom lens.

Go for natural (un-posed shots) – While sometimes the posed shots can work quite well they can also lack a certain authenticity. Photograph your subject doing something from their normal daily life, at work, the marketplace, home, or just crossing the street etc.

Most of the shots I've taken of people over the years while traveling have been of single subjects alone in the shot. This is completely just my style but is something I've become quite aware of in the last few months. Adding a second person into an image takes a photo into a different place. No longer is the shot just about a person and their environment but it somehow becomes relational. The viewer of the photo begins to wonder about the relationship and a new layer is added to your image.

Quite often it's the shots of people dressed in national costume that tend to attract photographers when traveling. While these shots can be very effective I wonder if they are always really representative of a culture. Quite often these people have dressed up especially for a show or tourist attraction and the majority of people in that country look quite different. Mix up the types, gender and ages of the people you take photos of and you can end up with a very effective collage of faces of a country.

It goes against the nature of most travel photography which is usually very fast and spontaneous, but if you can spend time with people, if you have the opportunity to sit with a person for a longer period of time and photograph them in a more extended manner this enables you to tell the story of the individual and can lead to some wonderful sequences of shots using different photographic techniques, lenses and situations, while the person becomes more relaxed around the camera.

Keep your camera to the eye for taking those spontaneous shots between the more posed ones. It's amazing what images that you can find when the person is not 'ready' for you to shoot. These shots often include people interacting with others or expressing true emotion. I find setting my camera to continuous shooting mode often leads to some wonderful candid shots. If conditions permit do not replace your lens cap until you pack your camera away.

When it comes to choosing lens, I find that a focal length between 24mm and 135mm is a good range to work with. Going for wide angle lenses can also produce interesting shots but you will often find that they do distort your subject's face a little. Choosing a longer focal length can be useful for putting your subjects a little more at ease.

Underwater Photography

Underwater Photography has become more accessible with the advent of cheep underwater cameras. Whether you intend to take a photograph in a pool, lake, river, or the sea underwater photography can be one of the most exciting and rewarding things to do.

The difficulties you encounter when in shooting underwater can be summed up in one word, "limitation." Communication and travel below the surface are limited. Natural light and visibility are limited. How you tackle these limitations depends on your skill underwater and your photographic equipment.

However the most important advice you can receive has little to do with photography, and everything to do with your safety. A watery environment can be a dangerous one, even if it is a swimming pool. No photograph is worth your life. Depending on the type of underwater photography you wish to practice, you must first acquire the appropriate specialized knowledge and training, and obtain certification from a qualified instructor. This applies to every aspect of underwater activity, from basic swimming skills to advanced sub aqua diving techniques.

This list is by no means exhaustive; they are just some of the various types of photography you can discover. There are so many other forms of photography from infrared to medical, street, landscape, portrait, macro and Panoramic photography. Photographic work can be divided into dozens of categories, many with lots of sub-categories. But for now, just go and have fun with your camera and discover the joy of photographing you chosen subject!

Porter's Five Forces – Barriers to Entry

Michael Porter's five forces model identifies threat of new entrants as one of those things you need to contend with in your competitive environment. The more firms come in to compete in your selected industry, the less chances you have to dominate it. The factors that contribute the most to the possibility of entry of competitors are called barriers to entry.

Barriers to entry refer to those factors that will make it difficult for other companies to come in and compete in a given business environment. The higher the barriers are, the more difficult it will be for new players to come in. Conversely the lower the barriers are, the easier it will be for competitors to come in.

What are these barriers to entry you need to be aware of? Here are some of them:

1. Capital requirements. The higher capital requirements are, the more it will be difficult for competitors to come in. In establishing a business, you can choose between a business with low capital requirement but with the prospect of more competitors or one with high capital requirement but with less potential competitors.

2. Technology involved. The more sophisticated and complex the technological requirements are, the more difficult it will be for other entrepreneurs to enter that kind of business. If you possess that kind of technology, then you can capitalize on it in controlling your chosen industry. It can become your niche that others can not just enter into.

3. Skills requirement. If a business requires particular skills that the labor market does not easily produce, then that becomes a high entry barrier. Do you possess or are you in a position to harness that kind of rare skill for a particular business? That will be your competitive edge. It will be difficult for others to just come in and compete with you.

4. Taxation. Some governments give tax incentive on certain businesses prior to encouraging competition. The reverse can also be true. There are businesses with high tax levies, such as luxury goods. Factor the tax aspect in your long-term business plans.

5. Other barriers may come in the form of economic, political, cultural and social factors prevalent in specific business communities. The relative ease or difficulty with which you can successfully adapt to these factors will indicate whether the entry barriers are relatively high or low for you.

Make an inventory of your possible entry barriers when you start a business. Doing this will better prepare you to accelerate ahead and hurdle obstacles along the way.

Fireproof File Cabinets – Learn How You Can Determine If You Need a Fireproof File Cabinet Or Not

Honestly, a fireproof file cabinet is quite expensive. It can cost as much as $ 2,000 depending on the model and brand. This can hurt your pocket and it can hurt you more if you can not even utilize it at its full extent. So ask yourself first do you really need fire-resistant cabinets or not. This is crucial so take as much time as you can.

How Valuable is Your Document?

Filing cabinets are available in different models. Some are resistant to fires while others are not. Typical filing units also store files the same way as those with fire-resistant. They can also accommodate different sizes of files, depending on the model. However, they do not provide additional security to your files when fires occur. You may need fire-proof cabinets if your documents are simply irreplaceable and priceless.

Do you keep Important Information that is not available in Digital Format?

These days, almost all files have digital formats. However there are instances that the papers are not recorded and entered into a digital format. While these documents or information wait to be encoded, it is important to keep the information safe from any opponents as these information are irreplaceable. Keeping these hard documents safe and well protected for you and your company is very important. So, ensure that they can survive the blaze.

Do You Keep Original Copies of Important Documents?

Some original copies of texts are irreplaceable. If they are not properly protected, you could lose them for a lifetime. These documents include information that is signed by important people that are now difficult to reach or have died. However, some of these documents can still be replaced. The problem is that the process of acquiring new original copies can be a bit of a hassle. And in some cases, signals can be difficult to acquire.

These are just a few things to ask yourself whether or not you will need fireproof file cabinets .

3G Technology on Mobile Phones

Third generation technology, better known as 3G technology has hit the United States and is here to stay. What 3G doesn’t do is have an obvious impact on the look, fell or design of a cellular phone. However, what 3G does dose is promise faster communication services which include fax, voice, and even internet services. This can be offered 3G uses seamless global roaming. New multimedia entertainment and applications are able to be used to their maximum capability because of the 3G network. The first 3G network was actually released in Japan, and is now offered in the United States by companies like Cingular.

Along the same lines of 3G technology, Verizon has decided along with Sprint/Nextel to offer their own version of 3G services but is called Ed-Vo. Other companies such as T-Mobile don’t plan to roll out this technology with their services until 2007. So what is 3G technology exactly? This technology will bring wireless data services to your phone like you’ve never seen them before. This technology boasts speeds about three times faster than a 56 Kbps connection to 2.4Mbps connection speed, equivalent to using a cable modem. 3G networks allow users to easily and quickly read through web pages, watch streaming music videos, and use video conferencing to its fullest.

The experience you will have while using 3G technology with a cellular phone will be one close to using your home computer with a broadband connection. It seems that hand held computers are definitely the way of the future. With each company committing to spending billions of dollars to upgrade to a 3G network, this technology is surely worth the price we will all undoubtedly pay. But with a loss each company will take to upgrade, comes a need to gain customers, so look for new and improved handsets to launch when your favorite company upgrades to using this system.

Fireproof Your Marriage – How To Make It Happily Ever After

Are you having marital problems? Do you think the pressure in life is getting to you and is affecting your marriage? Want to know how to fireproof your marriage. Husbands and wives do undergo a lot of struggles in their relationship. As a husband, there are so many things you have to think of. You have to worry about your job, finances and family. As a breadwinner, it's not easy.

What is more is that, there are even more temptations compared to when you were just a single guy. Now, there are obligations and commitments. But one thing you never regret doing is marrying the woman of your life. You must hope that it stays that way and she will not live you for another man. Come to think of it, divorce is rampant nowdays. You should be able to know how to fireproof your marriage.

1. Stay away from any form of unacceptable addiction. Many married guys are hooked to alcohol, gambling and to some, drugs. Some are even in the habit of womanizing. Those things could actually destroy your marriage. Drugs and alcohol can destroy your way of thinking. What is worse is that, you become moody and easily angered. You go home drunk and you wife will not be happy to see you that way. You are also setting a wrong kind of example to your children.

Gambling can greatly affect your finances. Initially, you only gamble a few dollars. The next thing you know, you are already a high rolling gambler in Las Vegas. Sure, the money is good. But you do not win all the time. You will end up penniless in the long run. When you still go to strip clubs, you actually love your woman less. That would be excruciating for her.

2. Always have a good communication system. Women are known to be naggers. On the other hand, men are known to be deaf. They do not listen to what their wives say. You know what; the reason why she's nagging at you is because you do not listen to her in the past. You can not blame her for being like that. So if you want the nagging to stop, you have got to listen to her. When you are done in an argument, do not storm your way out of the door. Sit down and hear her pleas and concerns. Never scream at her. That is one thing that you should never do to her.

3. Make God as the foundation of your relationship. There's a good reason why God should be the foundation of your relationship. Think of it this way, if you make sex the center of your relationship, it will not go anywhere. If both of you get bored with sex, your relationship goes down the drain. If money is the focus, what will happen to the both of you? Your wife may leave if you become penniless. If you have God, both of you become grounded. Both of you will keep your feet on the ground.

Surroundings – Creating an Attractive Setting for Your Woodburner


The creation of a functional and attractive setting for your new wood burner is a subject that is bound up with the whole installation process. This is something best left to a HETAS installation firm, but it is still an area about which you will have strong opinions, and about which you should be informed. After all, the framing of the stove is an essential element of a successful room design.

Most stoves are a retro-fit into an existing fireplace. If you have chosen a free-standing stove, it will pose no special hazards so long as you have allowed space all around it for airflow. Do ensure that your installers use a chimney plate above the stove that is made of stainless steel or fireproof board. And consult them about any danger of overheating to any wooden beam over the fireplace.

Underneath the stove the hearth must be of non-combustible material, and you may want this to be an attractive stone item, complying with the latest rules in terms of size and thickness. Your existing hearth may no longer meet the required specifications. The larger problems probably lie within the chimney, which will in most cases need to be relented with a twin-walled stainless steel flue, possibly with insulation around it. An air vent is also required nowdays.

In the case of Inset Stoves that are built in to the fireplace, there is a greater need for proper insulation of the space to avoid overheating. The installers will assess whether there need to be additional (or replacement) firebricks or other non-combustible lining materials in the recess. These stoves are also normally provided with optional outlets for heat pipes to be connected, so as to transfer warm air into the room or other rooms. You may be able to plan these pipe routes in your refurbishment scheme.

If you have a wooden fireplace surrounding it is likely to overheat and get scorched, but it may be possible to insert slate or other stone slips behind the frame to protect it. When you apply any stone or tiling facings, use plain mortar without silicon. If your opening has to be enlarged and rebuilt, ensure that fireproof plaster is used when making good.

So much for existing fireplaces: but what if you are making the inset stove fit into a new wall opening? For brick, block or stone walls, the same issues apply as for existing fireplaces. Mark out the necessary opening and flue run with masking tape, and proceed. But if you are opening up a stud-partitioned wall then you need to test where the studies are and plan to work between them or create new studies. Non-combustible spacers must be installed at least an inch away from the opening all around: with an insulating gap behind the face of the surrounding.

Make the surround and its finish of non-combustible material and attach with long screws through the air gap and into the studies. Leave gaps top and bottom to allow airflow. The base of the opening and the spacers holding the stove in place strictly must all be of durable heat-resistant materials. Modern installations often use no decorative surround, which is simple but requires protective surface material on the surrounding wall and the hidden interior facings.

Where a new fireplace is created, there are many choices of ready-made fire surrounding; ideal finishes range from cast iron to stone of all kinds (travertine, limestone, marble, granite, slate) or reconstituted stone materials. Ensure that you seal any stone or tiles to protect them against dirt and tar, then clean and re-seal them every year or so. One other possibility that is most likely to present itself in the case of new builds or major rebuilds is the ability of some wood burners to be hooked up to a back boiler to heat water.

A more advanced option is to interface it with solar panels and another backup heat source to feed a thermal store which accumulates heat from a range of sources. A skilled technician can create a system that will automatically prioritize the renewable energy units as the preferred heat sources when available.

Wood burners are increasingly being specified in new house buildings. In such cases the chimney can be built with a pre-cast pumice flue, which is a more or less permanent installation with its own insulation and requiring no future replacement so long as the chimney sweep is called in regularly.

Finish Your Basement

The best part about finishing a basement is the structure is already in place. There is no roof, subfloor or foundation required. All of this is part of the original structure so there is no need to go to the expense and hassle to add them. Here are some other ways to make your basement project more budget friendly.

Stained Floor

Because basements are below ground, they are notorious for being moist or wet. This can create problems for some building materials and finishes. A great way to combat this is to stain the existing concrete floor. By staining the floor, you create a cost effective, moisture resistant surface that will not get damaged if the basement floods.

Open Ceiling

Another potential design question that often comes up when finishing a basement is how to address the ceiling when mechanical systems are in the way. Things like ductwork, drain pipes and beams can really cut into the space for headroom in a basement. If a dropped ceiling is used, the lowest duct or drain pipe creates the height of the ceiling. To combat this some builders will combine both drywall and a dropped ceiling grid but this can look choppy.

Another option is to create an open ceiling concept where the entire ceiling is left open and is painted. This opens up the space and provides great access for future changes to the first floor of the home. For example, if you need to add a cable or electrical outlet in the future, the open ceiling concept in the foundation makes this easy to do.

Plumbing Locations

It's always nice to have a bathroom in the basement space for easy access. Unfortunately, this can get expensive if the drains have not already been roughed in. Cutting and removing concrete can be time consuming, messy and costly. So, in order to minimize the concrete work, place new bathroom close to existing plumbing stacks.

If this can not be done, you may want to consider installing a grinder crock and pump to lift the waste up to the proper height. This pump will force the sewage up to the height needed to flow by gravity to the existing drains and will limit the amount of concrete repairs needed.

A basement can be finished for as little as $ 8 to $ 10 per square foot if you manage the project yourself and follows these tips.