Things to Remember In a Vanniyar Wedding

Vanniyar matrimony marriages are mostly fixed by the word of mouth where friends and relatives propose prospective grooms or brides for the family. This religion has also opened up its doors to modern ways of marriages such as looking at Telugu matrimony websites and accepting love marriages. When this community decides to celebrate their love in a magnificent way they pamper themselves in a beautiful wedding affair that is quite elaborate and rich in heritage and culture. Marriage ceremonies are typically conducted by a Brahmin or by an Oduvar.

Here are few common customs prevalent at a vanniyar matrimony wedding:

Betrothal:

This particular ceremony takes place at the brides place and the groom comes with his relatives and places a thamboolam in the presence of the head of the family. It contains propitious items such as jewels, money, milk, flowers, coconut and Vethilaipak. This is then given to the bride’s mother and the girl’s hand is asked for marriage.

Special pots for the marriage:

In the good olden day when marriage ceremonies used to last for a longer time, the bride would visit the groom’s house just a day before the marriage with a woman of the pottery caste along with pots that were specially made for their marriage.

Decorating the Marriage Dais:

The dais is decorated delicately with ornamental lights and promising things like pots, a milk post with a handle of a plough, a pot with a light (Kuda Viakku) and many more.

Nalangu:

This ceremony is conducted separately for both the groom as well as the bride and they are seated on a wooden plank and 5 women smear oil and grass on their skin. They perform aarti to ward off all the evil that may be hovering around the bride’s or groom’s life. And when they head for a bath, five small cakes are placed on their body as a ritual.

Wedding Rituals:

Before the bride and groom get ready for the ceremony they need to make three rounds of the dais. They offer pongal to ancestors, house gods and villagers in five pots during the ceremony.

Kanganam:

Once the couple has dressed up and arrived, the priest ties a sacred thread (Kanganam) around the wrists of the couple.

Tying the Thali:

The thread or the thali is passed on to the people who are present so that the couple can get their blessings and then later the groom ties it on the bride’s neck. The priest then chants holy versus and there is music of the conch and flute.

Tying the Pattam:

The couples then exchange their seats and their clothes are tied together. A silver or gold plate is tied around their forehead which is known as pattam.

Ammi Midithal:

This usually is the conclusion of the marriage ceremony when both the bride and the groom go round taking 3 rounds of dais and milk post.

In the modern times these rituals are modified as per the family’s convenience and belief.

The Last Minute Baby Shower, How to Plan A Baby Shower In a Hurry

Perhaps you just found out that no one is throwing a baby shower for a friend. Perhaps things got left to the last minute. Or, perhaps there was an emergency that meant the shower had to be moved up. Whatever your reason for throwing a last minute baby shower is, you really can throw a low stress, fabulous baby shower in a short amount of time. Here’s how.

First, you’ll need to start thinking about invitations immediately. Generally you want to have invitations in your guests hands at least two weeks before the event. If you have two weeks or less, consider calling the guests to invite them. Let them know that the shower is coming together at the last minute and thus you don’t have time to get invitations out, but you would really like them to attend. If you know a few of the guests well enough, ask them to help with the calls. If you have more than 2 weeks, you can get your invitations out. If you are pushing up on the 2 week mark, consider just doing a simple invitation printed on some pretty paper, and mailing that out. It will save time, and still make sure everyone knows about the shower. If you have 3 or more weeks until the shower date, you can safely order invitations and have them in time to send out for the shower. Order pre-printed shower invitations so that all you need to do is address the envelope and send it out. This will save you a lot of time and ensure that you can get them out on time.

Once the guests are invited, you’ll need to think about food and tableware. You should order your cake right away, as many good bakers need at least a week, if not a couple of weeks notice. After the cake is ordered, you can begin thinking about what foods and beverages you will serve at the shower, and what you will serve them on. Since you are going to be very busy getting everything ready for the shower, plan foods and beverages that you can either purchase pre-made or that are fairly simple to make. Then, consider what you’d like to serve your guests on. If you have a few weeks, then you’ll have time to get themed partyware in if you desire. If you have less time, consider purchasing some nice clear plastic plates from the grocery store. They are much more elegant than paper, yet disposable, so you won’t have a ton of dishes left to wash. You can also serve on your own dishes, which can add a very elegant feel.

The rest of the shower planning will be fairly routine. Choose games that don’t require a lot of work ahead of time. Prizes can easily be purchased at a local store. Lotion packs, soaps, and other little packs make great prizes and can easily be picked up while you are out at the story anyways.

The biggest key to planning a last minute baby shower is to enlist help. Don’t try to do it all yourself. Enlist friends who also know the expectant mom to help get everything done. You may even have more fun planning the shower in a rush than you would have if you’d had more time! And remember, simple is beautiful.

4 Tips on Getting the Best Deal on Your New House by Negotiating for a Good Price

We are taught from our early years, in our introduction to commerce that prices are prices.

Whether you walk into a clothing store, a supermarket, a gas station, or a coffee shop, the posted prices are typically non-negotiable. Generally speaking, attempting to haggle in cases such as these won’t get you too far.

This is because the seller has a business which is running perfectly fine on selling the products they’re selling at their quoted prices, so they need not entertain lowballers, when they can sell the product that you’re trying to get cheaper, at the full price.

But who is the seller of a house? An individual just like you, me, or any other human being out there.

No matter how corporate-looking of a sign goes up in front of the house, and how many barriers are put between you and the seller, who is a fellow human being, still ends up getting your offer in their hands, despite passing through many other peoples’ hands in the process. They have no corporate policies to stick to – how much they’ll accept is only a question of how happy it will make them.

When a seller signs a listing agreement – let’s say for example’s sake, for $500,000 – they’re not saying $500,000 because they want $500,000. They’re saying $500,000 because they want their house sold, and it’s their understanding that a buyer will see $500,000 as a reasonable price, which will cause them to make an offer, and then, cause the house to be sold. Until then,the house is nothing more than “For Sale”, whether it’s listed for $5, or $500,000.

Once the house sits on the market for a month or two, they won’t be so set on $500,000. Because their house is still only “For Sale”, and they want it SOLD!

Here are 4 tactics you can utilize to get yourself a better price…

1. How many days on the market?

In hot markets, a house will only need a matter of days, or in some cases, hours, to get sold. In these cases, you can forget about making a deal, since there’s so much competition. A lowball offer will simply be ignored.

However, if the house has been on the market for 45 days, and has seen no action, an offer for less than the asking price is better than no offer at all.

Look at it this way; if you were trying to sell your bicycle for $200, and put classified ads in the paper week after week, to get no response, which of the two scenarios would you prefer?

a) One offer of $100

or

b) No offers at all

So, that means that if a house is listed for $329,000, and your budget is $300,000, your offer for $300,000 suddenly won’t look so bad.

Remember, if the house hasn’t sold yet, that means there have been no good offers – or no offers at all! An offer that works for you, could very well be an offer that works for the seller!

2. What else is there on the market?

Why is it that the $5 sandwich you can buy in the food court sells at the airport, sports game or movie theater for $12?

Simple – that’s what everyone else there is charging! If one place raised their prices to $12 at the food court, nobody would go there because other establishments in the same food court are just charging $5.

The same way that while a listing might swear up and down that this is the “best deal on the market”, and “great bang for your buck” at $450,000, if a similar house down the street is going for $379,000, nobody is going to offer on that house for the simple reason that the extra $71,000 is not worth it!

Is this a sign that you should walk away since that house is priced too high? Absolutely not!

It’s common knowledge that the house down the street is asking just $379,000. By making an offer of, say, $385,000 to the house listed at $450,000, and saying in the offer “The house down the street is listed for just $379,000. This is my offer.”

If this shows them that your offer is what the market will bear, then you have what you want (the house), and they have what they want (sold!).

3. What’s wrong with the house?

Whether there’s something wrong with it or not, find something to complain about.

Is the carpeting stained? Are those appliances falling apart? Is that unstable handrail making you uncomfortable? Say something!

It may be one thing for the house to be on the market for a long time, or for other houses in the area to be priced lower, but it’s another thing if there are defects in the house.

Instead of asking the seller to fix them, make a lower offer having factored those defects.

Now, you’re probably thinking, “But I’ll have to pay to get those things repaired, right?”

Be that as it may, a little ingenuity can get most problems solved pretty inexpensively.

Carpets: Rent a carpet cleaner from your local home improvement store, or put a coffee table over larger stains to make them disappear. You may even have planned to replace them anyway to match your furniture!

Appliances: If appliances are falling apart, chances are they’re older appliances. Is your city offering incentives towards new and more energy-efficient appliances? This could be the perfect opportunity to not only get your shiny new appliances cheaper, but get them hauled away for free too!

Handrail: If you know somebody who’s handy, in most cases, all it will take is a couple of small fixes to make a handrail stable again. At worst, most interior handrails will only cost a few hundred dollars to replace, so it is not worth letting it get in the way of a decision worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

4. How badly must the seller sell?

One of the reasons people use agents to sell their house is to avoid direct contact with the buyer. Should the seller have personal circumstances which might affect just how much a buyer might offer, they’ll want that to not be blatantly obvious.

However, look for the clues when you walk though the house. Personal effects can suggest a few things about what circumstances in the seller’s life might be causing them to sell. A brochure from the Canada Revenue Agency about taxation on a retired individual is an indicator that somebody in the house (probably the owner), is retiring. Neatly kept childrens’ bedrooms which appear to not have been lived in for some time might tell you that their kids moved out to go to school, and the house is now too big for them.

Also, look for the key words such as “motivated seller” in the listings. Remember, they’re motivated to sell – not to get their asking price. That’s secondary. A sale for less is better than no sale for nothing.

The Best Order to Take CCNP Exams

Once you have obtained your CCNA, it is now time to set your sights a bit higher. Of course, this means beginning to prepare for the CCNP exams. You should also put some thought into the best order to take the CCNP exams. The CCNP exams are not necessarily more difficult than the CCNA exam. The CCNP exams get into much more detail, but the topics are limited to a certain networking function. This is much different than the CCNA which is kind of a culmination of everything you need to be an associate level technician.

The CCNA certification is a prerequisite to the CCNP, but you also actually need to know the curriculum offered by the CCNA before you begin studying for any higher level certification. Frankly, if you don’t know the material well, the future exams will be incredibly difficult if not impossible. The study time required could easily triple if you have to constantly return to your CCNA guide to lookup information you should already know.

With that being said, here is the best order to take the CCNP exams:

ROUTE: It should probably go without saying, but this is the toughest of the CCNP exams and the core of any Cisco Certification. Once you have the routing concepts mastered, the remaining material will become that much easier. If you don’t understand routing, you will not understand how the remaining exams fit together.

SWITCH: The next step is the switching CCNP exam. This is a little bit easier, especially if you have some experience and have already mastered routing. Many of the concepts presented in the switching exam will already be familiar to you. The exam puts a lot of emphasis on how switches communicate with each other and some pretty complicated protocol and segmenting ideas are presented. However, if you understand the basics you learned during the CCNA exam, and have the skills required to pass ROUTE, these concepts should makes sense to you.

TSHOOT: The troubleshooting exam also is a fairly difficult test and this is where you put the routing and switching concepts together. When there is a problem on the network, step one is to identify the piece of equipment that is the most likely culprit. You can use the knowledge you gained in the routing and switching modules to make this determination. The biggest obstacle to passing this exam is trying to learn to think the way Cisco wants you to. They emphasize troubleshooting steps heavily. Unfortunately, since they control whether you pass your fail the exam, it is up to them what the proper steps should be.

I found this to be the best order to take the CCNP exams. However, others feel it makes more sense to swap routing and switching. The thinking is some of the information you learn from the switching module will help you on the more difficult routing exam. However, I personally would rather do the hard work upfront and have an easier time with the reaming exams. For me, the switching was a nice little break before taking the troubleshooting exam. You should never take any Cisco exam lightly as they are all pretty difficult. I’m merely suggesting that some exams are harder than others, but nothing is easy!

The Role Of Music And Movement In Early Childhood Development

A child’s early years constitute a period of rapid intellectual, social, and emotional development. Integrating music and movement into children’s education at this point in their lives is well-established as a great way to maximise this golden ‘window of opportunity’. But how does music and movement actually work to benefit a child’s early development, and are there some easy ways to build these activities into daily learning?

Mind games: How does music and movement affect the child’s brain?

Recent research into early cognitive development has unearthed the substantial impact that music and movement has on a child’s mind. Both activities work to stimulate different areas of the brain, subsequently combining to provide long-term benefits for a wide range of cognitive functions. This stimulation also encourages connections between the brain’s neural pathways.

Listening to music actively engages both hemispheres of the brain, meaning that left-sided language functions such as grammar and vocabulary are stimulated in tandem with right-sided functions, including intonation, accentuation and processing of audiological stimuli. This comprehensive stimulation enhances language development. This development is complemented by the effect of movement and rhythm on the brain’s frontal lobes.

Music, movement and learning: A wide range of educational benefits

In addition to the advantages for early language development, integrating music and movement has a number of distinct benefits for any young child. Research has shown that integrating music into teaching can have dramatic effects on memory, mathematical achievement, and reading ability. Hearing words being sung has been shown to improve a child’s ability to distinguish linguistic patterns and develop auditory discrimination.

Activities which regularly involve movement can help kids improve their balance, coordination and spatial awareness. It serves as great physical exercise, which helps release endorphins, thus making kids feel happier and healthier. It’s also especially important in developing a child’s basic motor skills, as well as helping build self-esteem and improving social relationships with other children.

Combine the two and you’ll see music and movement complementing each other in wonderful ways. Kids will start to develop their natural rhythm and will actively engage different senses in their learning. What’s more, these types of activities are naturally enjoyable for children and can help to engage those who favour the kinesthetic learning style.

Easy ways to introduce music and movement into the classroom

To a certain extent, music and movement has always been a feature of early learning. For example, young students learn the alphabet through song or create their own dramatic productions. But there are so many other ways to increase engagement through these activities. You could have music playing in the background during lesson time or use dance to learn about other cultures. You could even encourage each child to learn an instrument – the perfect way to combine music and movement.

E-learning software also allows easy integration of music and movement into daily learning, with many offerings using sounds on the computer to complement interactive lessons while demanding quick physical reactions.

Top 4 Obvious Reasons Why Spring Cleaning Must Be Your Priority This Summer

When all seems dull and lost, the world brings in a touch of hope. Under the snowy fa├žade lies an unborn life ready to burst through the barriers. The world will now be a happier place with daffodils and crocus flowers aiming at imprinting a smile on that face. The green, the blue, the yellow, the pink, the brown and the frowns are turned upside down. It is spring! The season for rejuvenation and renovation. An excuse to start a new life or a new lifestyle.

Spring comes with a package deal. It is spring cleaning and it means serious business. So get your gloves on, your dust mask tight and hold your broom strong and firm! Because we are going to turn the house upside down.

The 3-W’s of Spring Cleaning:

Where?

The history of spring cleaning is vast. Most of it are rumours. But the gist of it is that, during the winters, especially places with harsh winds and blizzards, the houses were heated with coal, good quality wood and oil. They often lit up with candles. This caused a havoc at the end of the winter season. The soot, the dust and, of course, the stubborn wax were almost everywhere.

At the break of dawn, on the first summer day, they get down business. Each and every soul in the family (who escaped the savage cold) would storm around the house, pulling off the furniture, mopping the floors, replacing bed linens, scrubbing the walls, removing the dust and soot from canvases and probably de-lousing is the worst case scenario. While the rich ones would hire housemaids, who arm themselves with washrags and broomsticks. They would split themselves in to two power teams, where one would take care of the floors, walls and bookshelves while the others work on the more intricate spots of the house.

When?

On a warm and dry day. On a hot and sunny day. On a bright and happy day. On a… basically, spring cleaning can be just about anything, on any day. It is often a metaphor used to describe a heavy duty work or an important work done before an event. Example, you have an audit coming up and you get your affairs in order, then that is you doing some spring cleaning at the office. So go ahead, clean up whenever you feel like or you can wait till your floor goes missing. Works either way.

Why?

Now this Ladies and Gentleman is why we are here.

Why do we have to do spring cleaning?

In the modern day, we no longer have soot, dust and coal marks engraving our homes. With the impeccable technology of heaters, centralised air-conditioning, vacuum cleaners and washing machines, little do we need manual help for heating our houses. But still there are certain trade-offs you cannot ignore: – Our homes are air-tight and full of harmful gases and chemicals from floor wax, wall paints and microfibers existing in our carpets. Our very own kitchen, where we cook and eat has filth that go unnoticed. And our ovens? How many of us actually clean our ovens on a regular basis? Here is a big tip before we begin. Get yourself an oven cleaner or a multi-purpose cleaner. Believe me, it will be worth it.

But just like secrets, our homes too deserve fresh air and sunlight. So let us get the skeletons out of the closet.

Spring cleaning and its benefits:

Uno: It increases productivity and creativity.

How?

When you are cleaning up your entire house, you are bound to move stuff around. This, in turn, increases productivity by making you more energetic and de-cluttering your home. While you organize the things in your house, you are bound to find even the tiniest element like a paper clip or a marker pen and figure out interesting ways of its usage. Thereby increasing productivity and creativity. Moreover, think about it. Isn’t this exactly what a home makeover professional would do? So why to hire anybody when you can do it yourself and get maximum benefits.

Organization experts say that the cleaning process itself increases the energy level of an individual.

Dos: The health benefits are quadrupled.

How?

The experts say that a well- done spring clean can nullify the chances of developing a respiratory disorder. Especially at a time when allergies are a rife, the removal of allergens from your house will serve you well and good. If you have carpet as your flooring then the chances of dust mites clogging up are highly prone.

For a change, remove the carpets and let your house sit in its natural form. Unlike the olden days, we now have things easy for us. There are certain effective and nature -friendly products like carpet shampoos, floor maintainers and floor polishers. They are basically janitorial supplies available in any retail shops or even top online stationery websites.

Not only your home but also your work environment can be kept sparkly clean. If time is a luxury you cannot afford then maybe you could just clean your whiteboard spick and span.

Tres: The ultimate stress-buster and releases serotonin and endorphins.

How?

Studies have proven that the act of cleaning or de-cluttering often releases serotonin and endorphins, the happy hormones. Sounds absurd? Did you know that 83% of the people in Britain think happiness is a clean house? Contrary to the popular belief that cleanliness is next to godliness, the majority of the mass agrees that cleanliness is next to happiness.

And if the facts do not convince you then I repeat myself, we can wait till your floor goes missing. After which, put on some groovy music and get down to cleaning. You will lose weight both figuratively and literally.

Cuatro: Gifting yourself with something new and liberating your life.

It is a way of life that things have to get messy for it to become clean. And anyone who has cleaned their office cabinets or closet can vouch for this statement. Once you have finally cleaned the house, you will have a sense of accomplishment. And soon you will say, if I can clean my room in such a short span, then Mount Everest is going to be a piece of cake to conquer. Well, at least, it would make you believe so.

It is human instinct to love rewards. So do just that. Reward yourself after you have cleaned up your home. And by rewards, I mean beautiful flowers or Jo Malone. If it is your office then buy yourself a new work desk or any office furniture at that.

Spring is all about the new. A new life and a new start are always the way to go. Get rid of the old chocolates, worn out files and pens that no longer work. Got gifts from an ex who is not worthy of the nostalgia? Throw it out! Renew yourself. Find a new you. And maybe you will find a hidden answer you were searching for so long.

Why SFP Transceivers Stop Working and Their Possible Troubleshooting Guide

A Small Form Factor (SFP) transceiver is a compact hot swappable module that is used in computing for both telecommunication and data communications applications. The increase in the high-speed data transmission due to the demands of the people have led to the fast rise in demand for the SFP modules.

SFP transceivers can be used in a variety of applications. However, sometimes they do not always work according to the way they are intended to. When this happens, it may be a good idea to determine why the SFP module is not working. If you are a newbie to the transceiver world, and it happens that your module stops working, this guide will assist in providing a number of solutions.

Common Reasons Why SFP Transceivers Stop Working

1. Compatibility Issues

2. Defective Components

3. Excessive Dust

1. Compatibility Issues

Most of the manufactures guarantee a 100 percentage compatibility, and this may not always be the case. Sometimes the device may not be compatible, and you may find yourself troubleshooting it without any tangible results.

If this happens, its solution may be more challenging and may require more technical knowledge that what a typical novice may have. If any part your infrastructure is old, chances may be that the new transceiver has been manufactured with the new technologies. It is thus advisable that you consider replacing the device.

Errors Associated with Compatibility Issues

Transceivers that have compatibility issues may display the following error message.

“% GBIC_SECURITY_CRYPT-4-VN_DATA_CRC_ERROR: SFP in port 123456 has bad CRC

%PM-4-ERR_DISABLE: gbic-invalid error detected on Gi2/1/20, putting Gi2/1/20 in err-disable state.”

Detecting Compatibility

In order to detect compatibility issues, most of the transceivers have a burned-in chip that contain information such as the serial number, the security information, and the vendor ID. If the information does not match what is contained in the database, the device will be disabled making the device stop working.

2. Defective Components

At times, the components of the transceiver may burn out prematurely. This may happen to a variety of issues. Most of the vendors often build an automatic shut down to the entire machine in case the machine malfunctions.

The transceivers may equally stop working due to the tear and wear. If any component of the transceiver malfunctions, it is recommended to make a good assessment in order to determine the problem. At times, it is better to buy a new SFP transceiver other than trying the repair on a faulty one.

3. Excessive Dust

Optical devices should not be exposed to dust. Always insert into a dust plug when the SFP modules not in use. When the LC connectors are affected by dust, it may cause the module to stop abruptly working. Dust affect the signal transmission making the optical transceiver stop working.

Diagnosing SFP Module Problems

To properly diagnose SFP transceivers, you need to get the right problem statistics from the browser interface, the Command Line Interface (CLI) or from the Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP).

Most of the common and diagnosable problems include;

A. Poor Performance

B. Lack of Connectivity

C. Corrupted Software

A. Poor Performance (Excessive Errors)

Possible Cause

This problem is caused by cabling distance exceeding the set distance, the port statistics showing excessive frame check sequence, late collision or alignment errors.

Resolution

1. Reduce the cable length to within the recommended distances

2. See the provided SFP module documentation for cabling guidelines.

B. Lack of Connectivity

Possible Cause – This problem relates to the cabling. The use of bad or incorrect cable, incorrect cable wiring, or a cable having loops, may result in this type of problem.

Resolutions

1. Verify to make sure that the pin outs are correct for the proper application of the cables.

2. Replace the used cable with a tested good cable

3. Wait for 30 seconds for the LED to turn Green.

C. Corrupted Software

There are two issues associated with corrupted software. These are;

(a) The port is placed in an error-disabled state after the SFP is inserted.

Possible cause – This problem is caused by the use of a bad transceiver.

Resolution – Remove the SFP transceiver from the port and replace it with an approved module.

(b) Does not Recognize the SFP Module

Possible Cause – This problem generally relates to the SFP installation. The module may be installed upside down or does not snap into the slot.

Resolution

1. Verify that the module is not inserted upside down.

2. Remove the SFP module and inspect for any physical damage to the connector, the module or the module slot.

3. Replace the used SFP module with a known good one.

The SFP transceivers may stop working because of a number of reasons. It is always a good advice and practice to know why the module is not working. If you try to fix any problem with prior knowledge, you will simply be doing a trial and error method without making the proper diagnosis. Once you make an identification of why the transceiver is not working, it will be easier to determine a better solution.

Cobb Tuning – Mazdaspeed 3 and 6 Subaru WRX/STi XLE BPV

With the introduction to Cobb Tuning making a comeback to producing hard parts, their anticipated release of a bypass valve is welcomed. Many of us have been waiting for a valve that is easy to adjust, sounds great and works 100% without any surging on the turbo compressor.

Question: So what exactly is a BPV and what is the difference between a BOV ( Blow off valve ) and a BPV (Bypass Valve)?

Answer: Its simple.. It all boils down to whether or not your car runs on speed density or mass air. If you have a car that is speed density, you will not have a mass air meter. So, effectively, you can run a Blow Off Valve which give off a very loud WHOOSH sound as you shift gears when in boost. A Bypass Valve takes that boosted air its venting, and recirculates it back into the intake. The importance of this on a mass air car is, that air was already metered and counted, therefore, venting that air to the atmosphere will cause your can to go rich. You are effectively removing air once counted and letting it blow in the air, so the car is going to add more fuel thinking that air is still incoming. Many enthusiast prefer the sound of a BOV, but generally they end up doing damage to their catalytic converters because of the rich conditions incorporated into running a VTA ( Vent To Atmosphere ) system on a MAF equipped car.

Question: Whats the purpose of these valves anyways?

Answer:

1) Boosted cars produce tremendous amounts of pressurized air that is pumped very quickly throughout the intake system. When the throttle body is open, this air can move very quickly into the engine. Once the throttle body closes, that fast moving air has no place to go. You have an abundance of air trapped in a small place ( charge pipes ) which can burst, causing significant damage to your intake system and even your cars hood. On turbocharged cars especially, its main function as a Bypass Valve (BPV)/Blow Off Valve (BOV), is to release this boost pressure to prevent this pressurized air from being diverted back toward the turbo impellers. If this pressurized air is not released, the diverted air can cause the turbine wheels to slow and possibly even stall, causing wear and damage to the turbocharger. A turbochargers impeller wheels can spin in excess of over 60,000 RPM, so if the impeller was to fail, you would see a lot of damage.

2) Its second function is being able to hold peak boost during gear change without a significant loss of boost during this event. A good BPV/BOV can hold a high amount of boost, for the needed time of shifting gears, without degrading performance.

3) One important thing to remember on a Mazda, the stock BPV leaks, even at as low as 8 psi of boost. That is almost half of the rated 15 psi a speed can produce stock!

Cobb Tuning has an answer for those looking for that loud blow off sound but with a safety margin, the Cobb Tuning XLE BPV. It can be setup to run in 3 modes, one of them being a hybrid mode that allows a minute amount of VTA without placing the car in a lean condition. You get that loud WHOOSH but you also get that important counted air, recirculated back into the system.

Even though this valve comes in at a steep price of $299, its not any more expensive then the most over-rated BPV on the market, the HKS SSBOV… The Cobb XLE doesn’t require any type of flange adapter. The HKS requires an adapter to be fitted to it before it can be mounted on a Mazdaspeed 3 or 6. Installing the adapter is a pain since it uses a snap ring… The most troubling part of the HKS is how much plastic is found inside the valve, but more daunting, its inability to be adjustable. $300? Really? There are numerous reports on our forum about the HKS falling apart… The plastic inside is breaking… This is definitely not the type of valve I want inside my car. Step aside, we have a new BPV on the market thats going out be worth the $299.

The Cobb Tuning XLE BPV is one unit that can be adapted to several cars. First off, if you plan to replace your Mazda with a scoobie, this can be done with a simple part change without having to buy a new valve. Below are the specs on the Cobb XLE:

FEATURES

Body

* Body, mounting flange and secondary outlet cover are constructed of 6061 T6 aluminum.

* The body is hard anodized for additional strength.

* The primary outlet is rectangular in shape to provide maximum cross sectional area for venting pressurized air as quickly as possible.

* The secondary outlet cover can be removed to enable partial vent to atmosphere or full vent to atmosphere modes.

* Unit height is only 3.5 inches from base of flange to top preload adjuster,allowing it to fit into the tightest of locations.

* Body to mounting flange interface is o-ring sealed, allowing flanges of different shapes to work on multiple applications.

Piston

* Lightweight aluminum piston allows faster reaction time than heavier pistons.

* The aluminum piston has been hard anodized and impregnated with Teflon to provide smooth movement, reduce surface wear and minimize maintenance.

* Rounded piston profile smooths air flow as it passes through they cylinder.

* The rounded piston profile mates with a rounded piston seat for superior sealing when the BPV is closed.

* Tight tolerance o-rings are used to seal piston to cylinder bore properly at normal engine operating temperatures without sacrificing piston speed.

Preload Adjuster and Spring

* Adjuster allows adjustment of spring preload for fine tuning release pressure.

* Spring and spring seat are constructed of 303 stainless steel.

* Spring preload adjustment mechanism and fasteners are stainless steel.

Operation

* Valve vents pressurized air very quickly due to lightweight components, port shape and low sliding friction.

* Unique exhaust sound due to speed of air release.

* Construction materials make the XLE BPV compatible with alcohol/water injection due to inherent corrosion resistance. * Lighter than most aftermarket BPVs and BOVs.

OPERATING MODES

Full Recirculation – Outlet is plumbed back into the intake tract pre-turbo. This configuration provides the best driveability with stock based MAF systems. This configuration generates the least amount of noise.

Hybrid Mode – Outlet is plumbed back into the intake tract pre-turbo and the auxiliary port cover is removed. When the piston is more than 30% open, the auxiliary port is opens, audibly venting to atmosphere. Less than 30% open results in full recirculation to improve driveability.

Full Atmosphere – Outlet and auxiliary port are open to atmosphere. Recommended only for MAP based air metering. This configuration generates the highest sound levels.

ADJUSTMENT

Spring Preload – Spring preload determines the pressure differential across the BPV piston required before the BPV opens and releases the pressurized intake charge. The COBB XLE BPV can be adjusted by loosening the locknut and turning the allen-head shaft clockwise for more preload or counter-clockwise for less preload. Once preload is set, the locknut is retightened and ensures the adjustment is secure.

Installation:

Parts List:

* Bypass Valve

* O-ring (Mazdaspeed 3 Application Only)

* Paper Gasket (Mazdaspeed 3 or LGT/08+ WRX Applications Only)

Tools Required:

* 3/8″ Ratchet

* 10mm & 12mm Socket

* 10mm & 12mm Open End Wrench

* Pliers

Tools Required for Maintenance:

* 3mm Allen Key

* 4mm Allen Key

* 13mm Open End Wrench

* Moly-Based Grease

Installing this piece couldn’t be easier. The stock bpv is black in color, made of plastic can can be found on a stock Mazda right at the cold pipe on the stock TMIC

1) Take a pair of pliers and remove the recirc hose on the back of the valve (large 23mm hose). Guide the pliers to the butterfly clamp, compress pliers to release tension and slide back clamp 3 inches from the lip. tug on the hose to release it from the valve.

2) Take the pliers and remove the small vac line in the same manner as you did the above recirc hose.

3) Remove the (2) 10mm bolts holding on the BPV onto the pipe and put them off to the side, we will reuse these.

Now, you have to decide if you want to run full recirc or hybrid mode. If you choose to run the louder hybrid mode, you will need to remove the trap door on the valve with a 3mm allen key/bit. Theres only 4 of these holding it on, so its really simple.

Once you have decided which route you will take, remove the paper gasket from the box and place it on the valve, using both bolts to hold it in place. Simple place the valve back onto the BPV flange and retighten it. Now word of caution here.. If you ARE using an alumn TMIC, I strongly suggest using a ratchet extension with a 10mm deep well socket to hand tighten both bolts evenly. Once they are hand tight, give one good 1/4 inch crank on both bolts and that’s it. They hardly require much torque and we keep hearing about Hercules breaking off his bolts in the cold pipe or stripping the threads.

Once you got it torqued back down, simply connect both hoses and take it out for a drive. I seriously doubt you will need to make any adjustments to the valve, but if you do, keep reading.

Adjustment:

Adjusting this valve is a no brainer. Simple place a 13mm open end wrench onto the jam nut located on top where the vac line attaches, then take a 4mm allen/bit and go clockwise to increase spring tension ( increase the chance of compressor surge / vent slower ) or counter-clockwide to decrease spring pressure ( decrease the chance of compressor surge / vent faster ).

Now a word to the wise for you noobs.. Increasing the spring tension here does NOT increase the amount of boost this valve can hold. If you want to hold more boost, a different spring will need to be installed in this valve.

Maintenance:

It is recommended that every time you change your oil you inspect your COBB Tuning Bypass Valve to make sure the piston is still moving freely. You can do so by unbolting the BPV from the vehicle mounting flange and pushing on the piston. If you can feel some resistance, it is advised to remove the piston from the body and clean and re-grease the piston, we recommend ARP Ultra-Torque Fastener Assembly Lubricant, P/N 100-9911, but any moly-based grease will work fine. I prefer the redline red moly that I used during both the Cobb STS and TWM Performance STS installation.

Disassemble the COBB Tuning BPV

In order to remove the piston, unbolt the base flange from the body using a 3mm allen key. Depending on the BPV model you have, this may be 5-6 socket head cap screws. When removing the piston, be careful to not cut the o-ring. If your o-ring is damaged, you can contact COBB Tuning for a replacement.

Reassemble the COBB Tuning BPV

To reassemble the BPV, push the piston back into the body, so that the piston does not protrude from the body. You can hold the piston at that point by placing your finger over the vacuum connection.

Place the base flange onto the body and re-clock the flange. Secure the flange with the 5-6 socket head cap screws, depending on the model, using a 3mm allen key.

Conclusion:

I am so happy to see such an easy valve hit the market that not only looks and sounds cool, but is fully functional, adjustable and isn’t finicky right out of the box. For years I was running a Forge Valve that had a blue spring and 2 shims. It gave me issues with no shims, it also gave me issues with a red shim. It was 75% on mark with 2 shims.

With the Cobb XLE, I hold all of my boost during shift and its loud, meaning people know you are on the boost. It also doesn’t sound like a couple of ninjas having a sword fight under the hood like the Forge does.

Keep your eye on the valve needing grease, esp is you are running the hybrid mode or your car is in a lot of moisture like rain or snow. This will def breakdown the grease in the piston.

Also keep in mind that the paper gasket IS needed on both the scoobies and Mazda’s. I have seen some genius’s attempt to go straight o-ring and unless your flange is 100% level, you are going to leak some boost without the gasket. So, use the gasket guys… it is re-usable and needed for our application to keep this valve from leaking.

I would like to thank Gary Sheehan for accidentally placing this in the box while getting the Cobb FMIC V2.0 out to us!

Improving Sales Performance – 3 Strategies to Improve Any Pharmaceutical Sales Call

1. State a Benefit to Your Customer in Your Opening Statement

If any of us had a dollar for every time some one from a mortgage company called to try to get us to refinance our mortgage we would have a lot of money. Normally I just say that I am not interested and politely hang up the phone. Some time ago I had some one call my house and say, “Mr. Price, I would like to take a couple of minutes of your time to ask you a few brief questions about your mortgage to see if we can save you up to $500 a month.” I agreed to give him the time because he let me know that he might save me up to $500 a month. Who wouldn’t want that! The benefit of saving money compelled me to give him the time he asked for. Never open a sales call without stating a customer benefit.

2. Always Present Benefits With Features

One of the biggest mistakes I see sales representatives make is not mentioning a benefit after every feature. In the pharmaceutical industry it is estimate that sales reps mention 7 features to every 1 benefit. In focus groups, doctors tell us that they listen when sales reps say, “What this means to you is…” or “The benefit to your patient is…” I have actually seen this happen in role-plays. The doctor would be looking down at his notes and the sales representative would say, “Doctor the benefit to you is…” and the doctor would look up. I have seen this so many times it is funny to me now. This is true for two reasons, first the customer is shocked that a sales rep stated a benefit and secondly benefits solve problems. When you directly say that the benefit to the customer is that it will solve a problem for them they will listen. It is all about what is important to your customer. Focus on memorizing a benefit for every feature of your product over the next few weeks.

3. Ask the Customer to Take Action in Your Close

If you have done a good job solving a problem for your customer, this will be easy. The reason closing is so scary is because we walk in and say, “Doctor, you should use my product because it is faster acting, longer lasting and covered on most managed care plans.” Then we ask the doctor to use it. Well, what if she is experiencing terrible side effects from the drug she is currently using and she just wants to see if your drug has the same side effects. Your statement didn’t do anything to solve HER problem. Closing is simply asking the customer to implement the solution by using your product. You could say, “Doctor, based on the fact that Drug X doesn’t have the side effects of your current medication, would your begin to use Drug X for patients with allergies?” Never be afraid to ask your customer to implement the solution. It will tell you if they are sold on your product as the solution. If they refuse then ask them what additional information they need to be able to use your product.

Over the next few weeks focus on adding these three strategies to every sales call. Before you go into your sales call, rehearse the call to ensure all of these elements are present. After the call ask yourself if you executed these elements during the call. If you are successful implementing these strategies you will be successful in gaining more business from your customer.

Restoring an Old Fire Pit

Over time your fire pit may begin to show some wear and tear from the elements. A great way to refurbish an old pit and get it looking like new again is to remove the fire bowl (area where the fire burns) and make some simple repairs. Typically, there are two common areas that tend to wear out: the bottom and sides of the fire pit.

The first common thing that occurs is burn through or holes in the bottom. An inexpensive and simple way to fix this problem is to take a trip to your local home improvement store and purchase a thin piece of sheet metal. Sometimes, if you give the store your dimensions they will cut the piece of metal for you, but before you head to your local home improvement store be sure to measure the dimensions of the fire pit first. Unless you have the know how and the tools at home, you can just cut the metal yourself. Most fire pits have square bottoms, but if yours happens to be round the metal can still be cut to fit the bottom of your fire pit. Now you just need to attach the new piece of metal to the bowl.

One way is to weld the new piece of metal in place and the other is to drill 4 holes in each corner and attached the new piece of metal with some bolts. I would recommend welding the new piece of metal because a solid weld will out last the other option. Once you have attached the metal, it is a good idea to drill some small holes in the middle to drain any water that might settle from rain and paint the bare metal to protect it from the elements that can cause rust, corrosion, etc. Purchase a high heat, rust proof paint and spray the bare metal. This paint will protect your newly repaired fire pit for years to come.

If burn through is not a problem and you just have rust to deal with the process to restore it is simpler than the previous discussed repair method. For rust you will need a few supplies to repair your pit such as a hand-held grinder, sand paper, high heat paint, and a good pair of gloves to protect your hands. Go ahead and grind or sand the rusty metal until you no longer see rust and if it is not too bad you could also use a liquid rust remover. However, we recommend using a hand-held grinder for the quickest and most efficient method to remove rust. Wipe off any residue from grinding or sanding with a damp cloth and allow it to dry, then paint the surface with a high temperature paint. Allow the paint to dry and your fire pit is ready for use again.

Understanding Creativity – Person, Place, Product and Process (Part 1)

What do person, place, product, and process (the 4 P’s) have in common? According to creativity researchers, these are the four generally accepted facets to creativity. Additionally these facets are interrelated, which makes creativity complicated to understand and to cultivate, especially in organizations. Understanding its multiple aspects, however, is a critical first step in bringing more creativity, and hence innovation, into a corporate environment. Creativity is generally considered to be a new idea or insight that is recognized by experts in that field as having value. Creativity is the necessary first step to fueling innovation. This first article, in a series of articles about the facets of creativity, will present an overview of the 4 P’s of creativity and how they are interrelated.

Person

Stories about modern eminent creatives such as Steve Jobs and I.M. Pei and past creatives such as Thomas Edison, Madame Curie and Michelangelo warp our image of the creative person. We tend to think of people as being either creative or not creative, like it is a fixed attribute such as one’s height or eye-color. Creativity is not unique or mysterious; we are all creative to different degrees. Creativity has little to do with IQ. It is our usage or under-usage of our ordinary thinking processes that impact our creative output. Creative thinking approaches can be learned by all individuals. Research has shown that the use of creative thinking techniques reduces costs, increases efficiency and positively impacts ROI.

Place

Our families, schools, community, religion, and workplace as well as the overall culture in which we live have major impacts on creativity; this is referred to formally as the press of the environment, which I refer to simply as ‘place.’ The values and norms of our upbringing and current environment dictate whether we are encouraged or discouraged from being creative and whether our ideas or products are recognized as being creative. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Claremont professor and creativity researcher, says that the environment has more of an impact on creative outcomes than an individual intent on creativity. Interestingly, studies have shown that creativity tends to thrive during times of political unrest, civil disturbance, and intellectual diversity. For example many young people were motivated to become artists and architects during the Renaissance. Teresa Amabile, Harvard professor and organizational creativity researcher says that our social environment can significantly affect intrinsic motivation, both positively and negatively. We often become motivated to think and act creatively when we become personally interested in or curious about a new technology, research data or trend. Working on something imposed on us by outside sources, without being personally interested has negative effects on our creativity. For example, the proliferation of the Internet has laid the foundation for an increase in artists and designers. This new surge in visual images has contributed to the current trend in businesses to utilize design thinking in addition to analytical thinking.

Product

Can you make money from it? Do your peers and society admire you because of it? In our Western, materially focused culture, a physical product or outcome is typically the only facet of creativity that is recognized. We look at the finished product and forget there was a process of multiple creative failures that happened first. We may disregard the environment or the team of people that encouraged the development of the product. New products and ideas often have a difficult time getting past the ‘gatekeepers’ who determine the idea’s value, sometimes arbitrarily or with limited foresight. A person known in the field or from a field predisposed to creativity, such as advertising is likely to have an easier time getting past the gatekeepers than an unknown or someone from a ‘non-creative’ industry. Occasionally the product or idea is so radical and ahead of its time, it gets ridiculed or goes unrecognized for years. The concept of Federal Express is a well-known story of a ridiculed idea; van Gogh was considered a sociopathic recluse rather than a genius, and died alone and penniless.

Process

What must occur in order for us to produce a creative idea or product? There are potentially exponential trials of creative processes compared to final products. Edison tried thousands of times to produce an electric filament for long lasting electric lighting. Shouldn’t all those failed attempts be considered creative? Our culture, however, tends to label only the one successful outcome as creative.

Each of us goes through four stages during our creative process. Preparation, incubation, illumination, and verification were originally introduced by Graham Wallas in 1926 in his book “The Art of Thought.” In the first stage, preparation, we set ourselves up for creative success by acquiring some skill, gathering data, or understanding the basic problem that needs to be addressed. This is perhaps the most difficult stage as suggested by Edison in his famous line, “Genius is one per cent inspiration and ninety-nine per cent perspiration.” In the next stage, incubation, our brain is working on things in the background. It is the time away from conscious thinking. This is the most powerful of the steps and the one that probably gets overlooked most often. It is hard not to consciously and continually work on a problem to conclusion, since we all have a tendency to want to solve problems as soon as possible, and are often pushed by our organizations to do so. The ‘aha’ or illumination stage, however, can only occur after an incubation period.Sometimes we do not get a solution – but another way to approach the problem. But when we get that ‘aha,’ we know with certainty that we are on the right path. Finally, we need to be able to recognize when a solutions fits the problem. In the last stage, verification, we try and test the solution. We often go back and forth rapidly between the stages. The ability to shift between stages is important to the creative process.

How we think, how the gatekeepers respond to what we produce, the environment in which we live, and the processes we follow all combine to impact the production and acceptance of new ideas, insights and products. It is impossible to consider any one of these facets in a vacuum. We cannot separate the person from their environment, the idea from the person, the process from the environment, or the product from the process. It is complicated, but not impossible, to address all of these facets within an organizational setting. In the next series of articles, I will go into each of the four facets in more depth.

Lighting, Sound, Action – Setup For Great Sex

Are you quietly fumbling in the dark with your sex life? Although raw sex is a physical act, the sensual experience of making love together can be greatly enhanced by engaging all your senses. Every one of your five senses contributes to your mood to some degree. By setting the scene for your romantic or sexy encounter you can create an atmosphere for loving, sensual pleasure. Relaxing or exciting, sights, sounds and scents have the power to stimulate your most potent sex organ – your mind. So, come out of the dark and experience sex in a whole new light.

When watching a movie together, consider how the lighting and sound sets the tone for the action. From sultry and steamy to pulse pounding intensity, combinations of lighting and sound can create a totally magical experience. You don’t need a big budget to produce erotically charged sex scenes. With a few ideas and a little imagination, you can easily make your lover feel like a star in your very own sex play. Rather than hiding yourselves quietly in the dark, discover each other and creatively direct sensational sex scenes together.

Mood Light

As mentioned, lighting affects our moods and therefore our ultimate enjoyment of sex. The type, color, intensity and design of the light source can excite or relax with many erotic variations in between. Both men and women are visual creatures and are aroused by sexy sights. In the right light, seeing each other in the throes of passion may be your best form of visual stimulation. Here are some mood lighting ideas:

  • Candles: The flickering light of even a single candle can add an enchanting mystique to any room. Candles create a soft radiance that gives your bodies a warm glow. Subdued lighting also makes the surrounding décor feel cozy and private. Stained glass candle holders can enhance the effect even more. Try one, a few and, every now and then, go wild with dozens of candles.
  • Fireplace: Making love in front of a blazing fire or the smoldering red embers afterwards can be a delightful, romantic experience. Even without a real one, you can recreate the sensual effect with a fireplace video and a portable heater.
  • Moon & Starlight: Although best far from city lights, making love outside in the star or moon light can be an erotic adventure. Plan a special outing to coincide with a full moon.
  • Sunset/Sunrise: A classic for romance, sensual intimacy during a sunrise or sunset can make them even more special. Make love outside or in a car while enjoying the reddish hues of the sky.
  • Strobe light: Imagine having wild sex in a pitch black room streaked with flashes of each other erotically frozen in your mind. The intensity of the flickering, stop motion style visual stimulation can be extremely thrilling. Bright colored lingerie adds to the effect.
  • Flashlight: Use a small pen light to shine on areas of your body that you want stimulated. Turn it into a foreplay game. Start with a feather or artist brush, then touching, licking and sucking. Have your lover shine the flashlight on an erogenous zone that desires your focused attention.
  • Rope & String Lights: Use decorative LED lights to add a special touch or fancy design for special occasions. Create a heart shape on the ceiling, border a mirror, showcase a collection of sex toys or design a futuristic role playing environment.

Try out different colored bulbs in regular light sockets (orange, green, blue, purple, black, flickering, etc.). A shade or dimmer switch is important too. Various colors and intensities will make your bodies appear different. Also try lava lamps, fiber optic lights, spot lights, glow in the dark items, etc. Some lights can even be controlled with music to pulse with different colors and intensities. Experiment with various types of lighting to enhance your mood and sexual enjoyment. Use your creativity to explore the full erotic potential of mood light. There are so many wonderful possibilities to play with.

Aural Sex

Many people forget the importance of sound and the affect is has on us. Music, for instance, can almost instantly trigger a change in mood. Relaxing or exciting, music has been made to stimulate every type of emotion. And, a sexy voice can be very erotic. Words and sounds can convey sensuality and lust. They can arouse desire and stimulate mental images or fantasies. For some people, sexy sounds are better than explicit visuals. Here are some ideas for aural stimulation:

  • Talk Dirty: A sensual voice can arouse fantasies with descriptive suggestions. Explore erotic words or romantic euphemisms from books or movies. If you are a little shy, practice with your lover over the phone while you are away from each other. Erotic stories read out loud and whispered descriptions of your desire are good aural treats.
  • Sounds of Passion: Both men and women enjoy lovers who make noise as an expression of their passion. “Oohs” and “Aahs” combined with some “dirty words” of encouragement add to the mental thrill. Demonstrate your enthusiasm for each other with sounds of pleasure. Recorded sounds of passion or even background erotic movies can also be arousing.
  • Exotic Sounds: Use CDs with recorded sounds of nature (waves, rain, thunder, a gushing river, blowing wind, etc.) to transport yourselves to a pretend fantasy location. Depending on the type of fantasy or roleplaying game, special sound tracks could enhance the setting.
  • Mood Music: Depending upon the type of mood you desire, try instrumental music to guide the rhythm and pace of your love making. Calming peaceful music will encourage slow and sensual touching, kissing and licking. Music with a heavy, pulsing beat will encourage intensely passionate sex. Try to find music that builds intensity smoothly to help guide your bodies to an ultimate climax.
  • Erotic Dance: Dancing together or for your lover can be very romantic and erotic. Seductive and sultry music is great for enticingly slow movements. Faster paced, sexy rock/pop music is excellent for stimulating desire for wild, passionate sex. Slow dancing naked together is a very intimate, romantic and sensual activity that can be done as foreplay or after play.
  • Oral Sex: When stimulating various erogenous zones, play some instrumental music that starts soft and slowly builds intensity. Use the rhythm of the music to guide your loving attention. Consider creating your own sound track with multiple songs that are relaxing yet arousing.
  • Sensory Shift: Try having your lover wear a blindfold and headphones. Without being able to see or hear you, their sense of touch will heighten. Build erotic excitement with unexpected, creative sensations. The anticipation of each touch will make their entire body tingle.

Try different sources and types of sound to help explore your aural erogenous zones. Experiment in the fine art of erotic talk and, with practice, you will become comfortable offering your own aural stimulation. There are books and programs available to help refine your aural skills. Expressing yourselves in this way may also encourage you to have more intimate discussions and improve other aspects of your relationship.

As you can see, there are many ways to create an atmosphere for sensual pleasure and passionate sex. Mix and match the ideas and explore the full erotic potential of light and sound in your love play.

Radiant Barrier Insulation – NASA Inspired Ultra Efficient Attic Insulation

Radiant Barrier Insulation is a reflective insulation made mostly out of aluminum. There are lots of different types radiant barrier out there and they all have their specific applications. I know mostly about radiant barrier that is used to retrofit existing homes, specifically adding the insulation to the attic.

There are some radiant barrier types that are used in new constructions which are placed in the walls or under concrete etc but again, I’m focusing mainly on the addition of the material to an existing home on top of the existing attic insulation. When radiant barrier is rolled out on top o the existing attic insulation people can expect so see an average of 17% reduction in their heating and cooling costs.

Some people even claim as much as a 50% reduction in their monthly bills but that’s more of an extreme case. The difference comes in how you use your electricity and/or natural gas. If you have an enormous house with giant vaulted ceilings and live in Arizona and like to keep your house at 65 degrees Fahrenheit during the summer then adding radiant barrier might actually save you 50% or so.

But if you have a really small house and you live in a moderate climate and most of your electricity is used for your 5 giant plasma TV’s and you only turn the air conditioner on once or twice a summer, then you probably won’t see that large of a reduction in your utilities bills. Whether or not you see a reduction in your utilities bills you will most certainly be able to maintain a comfortable temperature in your house much more easily than with only the standard mass insulation (fiberglass, cellulose, styrofoam etc).

The most cost effective way to install the radiant barrier insulation into your attic is to simply lay it on top of the existing insulation. If you’re going to do this just make sure that you use material that allows water vapor to pass through it so you don’t have any moisture condensation problems. And just follow the directions provided to you by the manufacturer. If the manufacturer doesn’t provide instructions then you should choose a different manufacturer. If you’re going to hire someone to do it then make sure they are bonded and insured so that if they fall through your roof you won’t be stuck with the bill.

What Makes the Wagner 915 an Excellent Carpet Cleaner?

The Wagner 915 is a very good carpet cleaner. It also excels at removing wallpaper and performs all sorts of other cleaning functions as well. Most of these involve cleaning hard surfaces like tiles and wood.

Carpets cannot be put into the washing machine and hung out to dry, but they do get very dirty. Muddy shoes and spills leave their marks and they become a breeding ground for bacteria and dust mites.

Carpet cleaners provide the solution.

A good carpet cleaner should

  1. Remove ingrained grime and dirt,
  2. Eliminate stains and smells and
  3. Get at dust mites and bacteria and kill them off

Carpet cleaning methods include:

  1. The “Foam Shampoo” Method: Carpet Shampoo Machines apply foam from a solution of water and chemical agents onto carpet surfaces. A vacuum cleaner removes whatever dirt remains after it has dried.
  2. The “Steam Clean” Method: ‘Steam cleaners’ spray a solution of warm water and chemical cleaners onto carpets and use a vacuum action to suck up the dirty liquid that comes back out of the carpets.This is essentially a washing process that does get the carpets clean and may or may not get rid of some dust mites and bacteria in the process Steam cleaning is a misnomer in this case as there is no steam involved at all in the processes used by these carpet cleaners.

The disadvantages are that

  1. It needs a warm day to dry the carpets or they will get that horrid moldy smell after a while and
  2. It also leaves behind a considerable amount of chemical residue.

Does the Wagner 915 do a better job of cleaning carpets?

It does a good job using different methods.

The Wagner uses very little water and no chemical cleaning agents at all. Steam is water and water is a solvent, dissolving dirt and grime or putting it in suspension in the cleaning process.

Steam cleaning is not a washing process using a lot of water nor is it a shampoo foam method cleaning only the surface of the carpet.

Steam cleaning uses superheated pressurized steam to

  1. Penetrate deep into the carpets,
  2. Remove dirt and grime
  3. Leave carpets only slightly damp,
  4. Leaves no chemical residue behind and
  5. Sanitize the carpets by killing off dust mites and bacteria beneath the surface.

This small machine uses methods on an entry-level that much larger steam cleaners do commercially. It does a proper job as a carpet cleaner in the domestic arena and is an all-rounder performing other functions as well.

Click the link below to learn more about the Wagner 915.

How Epoxy Floor Coatings Have Opened Up New Business Opportunities

Application of epoxy floor coatings is big business for many reasons. The first is that concrete is the most used commodity on earth. Concrete is a critical part of every structure worldwide but with problems such as moisture, bacterian and mold growth. With new high performance, decorative epoxy and polyurea systems there is no need to live with unsightly, dirty, bacteria laden concrete flooring.

The new technology coatings are seamless like they have always been. That prevents bacteria growth. Moisture has always been the enemy to coatings. The new products and application methods will resist excessive ground moisture pressure and salts inherent in concrete. If you’ve experienced delamination or chipping of a concrete coating, upward moisture pressure called “hydrostatic pressure” is part of the problem. Moisture pushes salts upwards through air holes and capillaries in concrete which breaks down the chemical cross linking of a coating. New technology enables a floor a coating to wet into the pores of the concrete when the surface is properly ground smooth. The high performance coatings absorb into the surface becoming part of the floor rather than just sticking to the surface.

Advancements in coating technology has resulted in a rapid curing process. In many cases a floor can be completed in half the time and used almost immediately. This has increased demand. Customers no longer have to shut down their business to have a floor installed. With the correct surface preparation equipment a floor can be prepped with a single machine in 100-400 square feet per hour. This depends on the size of the floor grinding equipment. With two large grinders a floor can be prepped starting at close of business Friday at 5:00 p.m. with 10,000 square feet completed by 7:00 a.m. the next morning. With a rapid cure system, 4 coats can be applied and completed by Sunday afternoon and ready for use Monday morning.

This rapid cure system benefits more customers and increases profitability of the applicator. As a result the coatings business is attracting more high quality flooring entrepreneurs. Everyone is winning, the customer, the applicator and manufacturer.

Let’s take a look at a few uses.

Residential Garages

Over the past few years home owners have realized that a nice garage adds value to their home. Home owners are renovating their garages with cabinets, organization systems and doors. The biggest issue has been the floor. In the past a high performance epoxy coating would take 4 days to complete. Now a floor can be complete in 2 days. That enables a contractor to complete 3 floors in a week rather than just 1. As a result application quality has improved as business savvy entrepreneurs are capitalizing on this market.

Warehouse Floors

An existing business frequently cannot afford the downtime and loss of revenue to have their floor resurfaced. The rapid cure systems enable projects to be completed over a weekend. Large facilities can be completed in sections over the course of weekends without interruption.

Dog Kennels

The number one issue in dog kennels is bacteria buildup. In the past an epoxy coating would have frayed edges in scratches. Frayed edges trap dirt and breed bad bacteria. This creates a health issue and dog cough which can be life threatening to a pet. Polyaspartics and polyureas will scratch but with a clean, straight line. This prevents dirt and bacteria from getting trapped. Adding moldings to interior edges enables the coating to be applied to the top edge creating a pan. Now when the facility is hosed down and cleaned water will not get under the wall.

Restaurants and Commercial Kitchens

Restaurants and Commercial kitchens have the same type of health issues as a dog kennel. The problem is bacteria buildup. High traffic areas with food take a beating. Polyaspartic finish coats avoid this problem because of the straight scratches and ability to effectively clean bacteria.

Retail Stores and Decorative Finishes

The high performance top coats come in clear. This means an applicator can apply decorative, custom flooring using dyes, stains or pigments. Clear, non yellowing polyaspartic finishes provide not only function but enhance the decorative underlayments. The finish lasts for years with proper maintenance.

The versatility of these flooring products are opening up new opportunities across a broad spectrum of real estate uses and creating a massive growth industry.