Induction Cooktop Reviews – Five Things to Consider When Buying Induction Cooktops

What is an Induction Cooktop?

An induction cooktop is very different from the traditional electric cooker, and gas stove, for that matter. Instead of using direct heat or open flames, like gas stoves, it uses induction, a process of transferring heat from one vessel to another, in order to cook food evenly. Induction technology offers many more advantages, if compared to traditional cooking appliances. For one thing, induction uses less energy. If you’re thinking about buying an induction cooktop for your kitchen, here are five things that you should consider.

5 things to consider when buying an Induction Cooktop

1. Energy efficiency. In today’s tough economy, a tight budget is an ever-present hindrance to everything. The good news is that you can save a lot of money if you buy induction cooktops. In theory, induction uses less energy compared gas stoves and other electrical cooking appliances. In practice, induction cooktops can net you a lot of savings by being fuel-efficient. Since induction allows food to cook more quickly and safely, you also save precious time and all the while avoid food wastage.

2. Another thing to consider when buying induction-based cooktops is portability. Many of the cooktops sold today are not as portable as they are advertised. Keep in mind that there are several things that might affect portability, such as the dimensions and weight. And even if the cooktop is small enough and light enough, its portability may be lessened if it doesn’t have a long cord.

3. Cooking time. Not all of us have that much time to spend on cooking, especially in cooking delicate cousins and recipes. In buying induction-based cooktops, the quickness of cooking is another thing that must be taken into account. The cooktops cooking speed will vary according to the way heat is distributed to the cookware, the amount of heat that is distributed and the electricity used to generate the heat. All of these things can be found on the specs, so make sure that you read those.

4. Ease of use. Much like you don’t have all the time in the world to spend on cooking, you also can’t spare too much mental energy in figuring out how to work things out. To be practical, choose an induction cooktop that has a neat layout and an easy to use control panel. This way, you won’t have to waste time and effort trying to decipher how to activate something so simple as a timer.

5. The last thing to consider is design. Contemporary kitchens, especially first class kitchens, can’t have inferior-looking cooktops. Even if the cooktop has state-of-the-art technology inside, its outside appearance is undeniably important. As a piece of advice, pick an induction-based cooktop that works good and looks good.

Top 5 Benefits of Screen Printing

All of us are now aware of screen printing. It is a method where ink which is used for printing is passed through either a fabric or a netted/webbed surface. This is extended into a frame. A design stencil is used and with the aid of the squeegee, it is possible to transfer the colors into the stencil portions which are unblocked. This is a widely used method in the production of clothes like shirts and other garments.

With the latest fashion trends, many businesses are getting worried and anxious when it comes to using screen printing, the reason being for every color which needs to be incorporated on the garment, a separate screen needs to be used. There would be an increase in the production cost, thereby increasing the price of the end product. It is also not a wise decision to reduce the production quantity, as it would not be an economical proposition.

In spite of the above disadvantages, screen printing has top 5 benefits too which are worth mentioning:

1) Economical: When it comes to creating many copies – When you have to make copies in a wholesale quantity, screen printing is the right option. A simple example is tarpaulins for putting in your locality. The same panels are going to used again and again if you are going to make many copies. It is an economical way and works out cheaper. Cost recovery becomes easier and you would end up making good profits.

2) Quicker process – Screen printing is a quick process as compared to other methods of advertising. When your advertisement is viewed by millions of prospective customers, it would definitely convert some of these prospects into your clients. The process of screen printing is simple and hassle free. The only requisites are the screen panels and the requisite materials. With these, you can kick start your business. The colors dry quickly and you could start showing the ads to the targeted audience.

3) Larger Designs – When it comes to larger designs, screen printing is the ideal choice. You can choose to be more creative and resourceful when it comes to selecting the screen panel’s size. It is possible to make larger counterparts of the design, without any distortion to the texts and images. When it comes to digital printing, it is not very easy to make adjustments.

4) Wide range of utility – Screen printing can be used effectively for a variety of things. Screen printing is used for printing designs on clothes, fabrics and garments. It also caters to printing on product labels, printing of circuit boards, adding different designs to balloons etc.

5) Sturdy and Tough – Screen prints are tough and sturdy. In spite of exposing the screen printed fabrics to harsh conditions, the colors do not appear weary and dull. It would take quite some time for the colors and texts to become dull and unclear.

The colors used in screen printing are also environment friendly as compared to plastic inks. The colors are attractive and vivacious.

The Hockey Coach’s Best Friend – Building a Better Bag Skate

The bag skate can take many effective and creative forms, but basically the players skate to the point of exhaustion, vomiting or submission whichever comes first. Some may argue that exercise should not be used as a punishment for athletes and I am not looking to debate coaching philosophy in this article. Personally I think we can build a better bag skate and turn them into something a little more productive while still getting the full attention of your hockey players.

Picture your players after 20-minutes of bag skating. Do they look like the type of player you would like to have on the ice during a game? Probably not – they are bent forward at the hips, their knees are barely bent at all, their strides are short and weak – it is just a mess! Now imagine your athletes 20-minutes into a bag skate who are still low in the legs and taking powerful strides. The key is giving them rest! Don’t think I am crazy, I know the point is to exhaust and torture your players. Stay with me a little bit longer.

Which is tougher skating slowly, no knee bend, light strides or low powerful skating? Once an athlete reaches a certain point (lactate threshold), they physiologically cannot continue working above that level for longer than about 60-seconds. Even if the athlete wants to go fast, their body cannot keep up with the demand for energy output. So here is what you can do torture the legs for 30-45 seconds and then torture the arms and core for 60-90 seconds – repeat until you get desired effect. Here are a few sample workouts:

Better bag skate #1

o Blue line to blue line for 45s

o Push ups for 45s

o Core plank from push up position 45s (gets the athletes to activate their core muscles while they are breathing hard – great game specific core activation plus you are working the shoulder stabilizers which will help prevent injuries down the road)

Better bag skate #2

o Partner side boards for 90 seconds (one partner sprints side board to side board while the other partner rests and then next partner goes)

o Partner core stabilization for 45-60 seconds – partners face one another both holding the same hockey stick at approximately chest level. One player will try to hold the hockey stick using the core muscles to stabilize while the other player tries to twist or rotate the stick to challenge their partner. Switch roles as stabilizer after approximately 20-30 seconds.

You hockey coaches can still exhaust you players while keeping them moving at game speed which will improve their performance on the ice. Add in some upper body and core training to build better athletes by building a better bag skate.

Constructing a 30-60-90 Day Business Plan

As part of the interview process, many medical device companies will ask the candidate to construct a 30-60-90 day plan. Even if it is not required, doing so will demonstrate to the hiring authority the candidates’ serious intentions towards the particular position they are interviewing for. A well thought out plan will include a preliminary preparation plan in addition to a concise and detailed business plan that includes both tactical and strategic initiatives. I cannot emphasize how important it is to lay out a detailed and well thought out plan. An investment of maybe 3-4 hours will be more than worth the time and effort when the job offer is extended.

-Preliminary preparation-

Preliminary preparation includes initial company research and is more strategic than tactical. If the company is publicly traded, one would want to obtain the annual reports that are available for investors and potential investors and study them. Often, company information on private companies can be purchased through sources such as Hoovers, Zoom Info, or Dunn & Bradstreet. A candidate will also want to meet with the district manager to discuss market analysis and target market, territory, and features/benefits of the products and services offered by the company. For the business to business salesperson, it will be essential to familiarize oneself with the language and buzzwords of the medical and pharmaceutical field. For the medical sales rep, this would be the time to conduct further research on the products and services being offered by the company as well as construction of competitive analysis.

-30 days-

The first 30 days should not only include a thorough understanding of the internal workings of the company, but also include a plan to introduce oneself to all customer contacts. Learning the email system, customer retention management system (CRM), reading and understanding company policy and procedure, attending training programs, mastering product knowledge are all tactical initiatives. Most quality companies do train their sales staff extensively (whether for pharmaceutical sales positions, biotech sales jobs, clinical and research laboratory sales opportunities, or medical device sales). Strategic initiatives include broadening knowledge in the field of medicine, identifying trade groups, and thoroughly understanding the target market.

-60 days-

The next thirty days includes more field time, less training, and more customer interaction. Tactical initiatives would include fine tuning the driving route through the territory, detailed call plan, and fine tuning presentation style. Strategic plans would include studying additional material regarding sales style, meeting with the district manager to discuss progress, and joining industry specific professional groups.

-90 days-

The tactical part of the plan should contain development and implementation of a specific “game plan” which includes setting higher goals for six months and one year, developing target lists of accounts based on needs analysis, and creating and implementing a measurable results call plan. Strategic initiatives would include attending professional networking events, meeting with sales team to assess strengths and weaknesses of the territory, continual research in the medical industry as well as improving sales presentation skills.

ShoreTel ShoreGear T1 Vs ShoreTel ShoreGear T1k

The fact you are considering IP Telephony means you have done your homework and you are aware of the major benefits of “IPT” over older legacy PBX’s: ease of administration, lower cost of ownership, reduced equipment and maintenance cost, unified messaging, thus makes everyone more productive.

The ShoreTel ShoreGear T1 voice switch comes with high density trunking to the head office using T1 or PRI signaling. It can also be used as a gateway for legacy PBX systems. It’s main features are the following: 2 RJ-45 LAN connectors, 1 RJ-45 T1 port connecting the switch to a usual telephone company line, 1 RJ-45 T1 monitor port connecting to the test equipment, 1 DB-9, RS-232C maintenance port for serial communications.

While the ShoreTel ShoreGear T1k voice switch has these features added to those that the T1 has: one 3.5 mm stereo input to connect a music-on-hold source and a 3.5 mm stereo output to connect to an overhead paging system or night bell.

The most important party in an IP Telephony conversion is the system’s integrator and DataComm.

The lead IP Telephony solution is ShoreTel’s IPT System, rated number one in customer satisfaction and lower in startup costs than let’s say Cisco or Avaya in per-unit startup costs.

While competitors modified lots of legacy technology or patched together an array of products from different acquisitions to form their own, ShoreTel started anew. This makes ShoreTel smart systems exceptionally simple, yet have the features and reliability expected from an advanced IP telephony solution. With no point of failure and embedded platforms, ShoreTel systems became to be the most reliable. In the event of a pretty much unlikely failure, the other ShoreTel devices will operate sharing the surplus data load, and can even assume the functions of the failed unit, without affecting the whole phone system.

It’s single-view interface means users need little effort managing this streamlined system. And because this technology requires almost no staff training or support, it saves time and money. Converged conferencing and unified messaging with distributed customer care enables constant telecommuting, this system lets you choose from more than 400 features that can be customized with simple point-and-click actions.

ShoreTel has a history of flexibility to live up to, and these gears are yet another evidence. If you need to move your workplace, you can simply pick up your IP phone, and when it is reconnected, all user related features load automatically by recognizing the owner.

In short the users and their callers won’t be able to tell the difference between phone calls over traditional landlines or phone calls over the local and wide area network. Standalone or integrated solutions easily expand up or down, automatically seeking and enabling new locations.

Voice communications are the foundation of any business, demanding the utmost in system availability. For maximum reliability, the processors that power ShoreGear Voice Switches do not require or use mechanical disk drives, eliminating the most common point of system failure. ShoreGear Voice Switches use an embedded, realtime operating system and unique call control architecture, enabling them to communicate with each other and distribute call processing in the network. Unlike other solutions, servers can be disconnected from the ShoreTel UC system and the switches will continue to process calls and voice messages. ShoreGear voicemail switches offer integrated voice messaging and automated attendant capabilities. If a ShoreGear Voice Switch fails or is isolated by a network fault, the phones supported by that switch automatically go over to another voice switch at the site. With 15 stackable designs, ShoreTel offers a wide range of voice switches for any size ventures.

ShoreGear Voice Switches are easy to install and can be managed centrally from any web browser. ShoreGear voice switches are highly reliable, intelligent devices that unify communications across multiple enterprise locations. For organizations that need to outfit headquarters, regional and smaller branch offices, ShoreTel delivers a single enterprise phone system that will span all of your locations. ShoreTel’s technology leadership in dynamic echo cancellation, jitter buffering and lost packet handling, result in low latency and toll-quality voice communications for calls, and voicemail access. These differ in most of the protocols used while up and downloading, but technically speaking results show the speed is quite the same.

Embedded call control helps ensure that your organization’s communications are delivered by ShoreTel’s reliable, robust platform. Enabling business-critical unified communications with high performance and high reliability. On the other hand, even since telecommunications began, voice communication has rigidly stuck to a classic circuit switched networking environment. The use of Mean Opinion Score MOS to quantify the quality of voice communications. ShoreGear voice switches manage ShorePhone IP phones and analog lines as well. ShoreTel IP Phones offer a wide range of ip phones with the right solution for every user: from executive to remote office worker.

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What Are the Pros and Cons of Lace Front Wigs?

Whether you are going to wear a wig for medical reasons, to conceal premature balding, or simply because you are tired of your usual hairdo and are looking for a change, it is very important that you choose a wig that looks real and will not make you look like you are wearing a mop over your head.

There are many different kinds of wigs that you can choose from and one of the most popular is the lace front wig. These types of hairpieces are frequently recommended by hair experts because of their realistic appearance, their high level of versatility when it comes to styling, and many other reasons. Following are a list of the most significant advantages that lace front wigs can offer.

  • Realistic appearance. The hair strands of a lace front wig are attached securely to a wig cap made of a strong but sheer type of lace fabric, which is almost invisible to the naked eye when worn on the head unless one takes a really close look. Because the lace is virtually undetectable, people will think that the wig you are wearing is your real hair, which is exactly what you want them to think.
  • Style versatility. Also because of the indiscernible wig cap, you can part your hair anywhere you want without worrying that an unattractive base will be visible to other people. However, since only the front portion of the lace front wig is made of lace and the back portion is made of a thicker and more visible material, it wouldn’t be a good idea to wear your hair up in a high ponytail or a bun because doing so can reveal the unsightly base towards the back that you would want to conceal from people.
  • Breathability. One of the problems about regular wigs that people often complain about is that it makes them feel hot and uncomfortable especially after prolonged use because the wig cap is too solid and does not allow the scalp to breathe. This is not a problem at all with front lace wigs because the lace material is so sheer that it not only allows the scalp to breathe but it would actually feel that it wasn’t there at all.
  • Can be worn for long periods. The exact duration of how long a lace front wig can stay on would depend on the kind of adhesive that is used. When you use a high-quality glue or tape, the wig can stay on for as long as two weeks without shifting in place. However, if you only plan on wearing the wig for a short period, you can choose not to use an adhesive and instead just attach the wig using adjustable straps that normally come with the wig.

Of course, just as with anything else in this world, lace front wigs also come with some disadvantages that may make you want to think twice before choosing them as your wig of choice. Here are some of these drawbacks that you should know about:

  • Fragile composition. Because of the sheerness of the lace used in the base of the wig, a lace front wig is more prone to damage than wigs with a thicker and sturdier base. It is also because of this that lace front wigs usually don’t last as long as some ordinary wigs with a thicker base.
  • High price. Lace front wigs are not the most expensive wigs in the market but they do cost a lot compared to most of the other kinds out there. The ones that are made from real human hair are particularly costly, which is only to be expected considering the many advantages that these wigs have to offer. If you are on a rather tight budget, though, you might want to seriously consider buying a cheaper wig – you might even be able to find four or five of less expensive wigs for the price of one lace front wig.
  • Need for special care. Since lace front wigs are inherently delicate, one needs to take special care of them using very specific products and procedures. In fact, if you are going to use your wig often, you can almost expect that it will require some kind of repair within a couple of months if you want to be able to keep using it.
  • Short life span.Even with the most meticulous care and attention, most lace front wigs can only last up to six months if you use them regularly.

If you are still in the process of deciding whether to buy a lace front wig or some other type of hairpiece, you should weigh all these pros and cons very carefully. The only right decision in this matter is the one that will make you feel good and comfortable.

Leadership Expectations – 20 Expectations For Leadership Success

How many times are individuals hired into leadership positions without really knowing what their own leadership expects of them? This is especially troublesome for those who are first time managers. As a leader, I always found it not only important but inspiring to share with my management team what I expected of each of them as leaders within the organization. Of course, turn around is always fair play. They also individually shared with me what they expected of me as their leader. Sharing expectations up front not only allowed us to come together as a high performance leadership team more quickly, but also gave us all the opportunity from the start to jointly build the best work team we could for the organization as a whole.

Below are 20 leadership expectations I have shared and found valuable for creating a strong leadership team.

1. Respect each other – treat everyone well. Do not be confrontational. Maintain their self-esteem. Be sensitive to the tone of your voice and the words that you speak. Give people the respect and the dignity they deserve. Do unto others, as they would have you do unto them. Trust people and honor the best they have to offer. You should always be in a partnership, you are part of the same team and everyone benefits form the organization being successful.

2. Act with integrity, speak honestly and do the right thing. Always, always tell the truth. Then you will not have to try and remember what you said. Choose your highest thought about something when trying to decide how to act.

3. Motivate with a mission; lead from the heart with passion and compassion. Give people a compelling reason for being a part of this organization. Employees are far more likely to put their heart in the game for a manager who breaks through the facade of invincibility and demonstrates humanness. Have a passionate belief in your ideas and values. Say the words “I believe” and share your thoughts with your team. Get people excited! Know that your true power comes from within, the source that fuels all success.

4. Be adaptable. Stay creative. Have the courage to do things differently. Find ways to always improve. Be willing to think a new thought if you want to create a different (new and improved) reality. Instill in others the need to “think a new thought”. Remember, change is part of the natural order of things. You must either change or be left behind. Be comfortable with letting go of the past in order to gab hold of a different future.

5. Pick your battles – know your non-negotiables. How you manage a crisis will determine whether it escalates or goes away. So pick your battles wisely. Some things are not worth fighting for now. Timing is everything!! Do not allow problems to fester. Deal with it. Recognize problems right away and deal with them.

6. Keep communications open. Deconstruct the barriers that inhibit the ability of the organization to learn, grow and continually adapt while moving forward. Create an organization that allows the sharing and flow of thought and information to proceed effortlessly as part of the process for the greater good. Learn to listen to and handle adversity while adhering to your beliefs. Take the heat and move on.

7. Get in the wheelbarrow! We succeed or fail together – it’s a partnership. People must know that everyone, including you, is in this together. They must understand that your success as a leader is linked to their success.

8. Always look for ways to improve something (remember everything can be improved upon until it is no longer needed). Keep being creative and looking for new ideas and thoughts. Find ways to always be improving, find new ways to win. Do not get stuck in “that’s the way we’ve always done it” because if that’s true, it’s probably time to change.

9. Live for the future, not from the past. Put your team in “future think” while bridging the gap between the past and the future. Find ways to not only create a vision for the future but also become that “vision” now, in the present. Remember you must first envision it before you can be it, you must be it before you can do it, you must do it before you can have it and only when you have it can you then claim it – SUCCESS!!

10. Work with a sense of urgency. You must understand that we do not have unlimited time! Everything has a time limit and nothing last forever. Lead with a sense of urgency and purpose knowing that what you are currently working on now is only a stepping-stone to the next opportunity that lies before you and your team.

11. Build a team ego – inflate the people around you. Put the group first. Make the people around you feel better. Make people proud to be a part of the team. Let people know they are “making history” everyday. Center success around the teams’ accomplishments. Build a team culture with shared values.

12. Do not just go through the day GROW through the day so tomorrow you can achieve more. Everyday look for or create opportunities for the members of your team to develop and grow. Remember the more they become, they more they can offer to not only the team’s success but their personal success as well.

13. Meetings: get in – get out! Enough said, literally!

14. Promote and support a balanced worklife. Realize, people don’t live to work; they work to live. Therefore, embrace the fact that they have a life outside of work, and so do you. Lead from the knowledge that people live within a holistic system that includes what happens inside and outside of work.

15. Show appreciation. Personally recognize. Understand that your team is the most valuable resource you have. It is what makes your leadership and the ability to succeed as an organization unique. Recognize that your team is uniquely qualified to deliver success to the organization. What you do with the unique talents, experiences and expertise that resides within your team will make all the difference between success and failure. There is no other team like the one you have on this planet, so lead like it.

16. Communicate what you want. Know the dangers of assumptions. Have one-on-one meetings to keep people informed. People cannot be blamed or held responsible for what they do not know. Make sure the message is understood. Do not simple assume people know what you want.

17. Be your own messenger. Be hands-on, talk to the team (everyday), reaffirm the vision, and constantly keep it out there. Be visible and let others see you lead. Let your team hear you and see you leading from the future, versus holding onto the past.

18. Act decisively – be an “intentional leader”. Decide to succeed on purpose and do what it takes to make that happen. Forget about “trying” because there is no such thing. You either get the results you want or your don’t. So decide to be a successful leader. Learn the methods of other successful leaders. Learn what works and what doesn’t and find what works best for you.

19. Don’t be afraid to fail. Take personal ownership and pride in all you are responsible for. Failure is part of the leadership package. Do not be afraid to be wrong, do not be afraid to fail, its part of the process. Failure is just another class in school. Just remember, when you fail, fail fast, learn from it and then keep moving forward.

20. Always “be of service”. Everything you do as a leader must be geared towards nurturing an environment that makes peoples lives better. Stay in service to others and those that are depending on you for your leadership.

Green Computing – How You Can Make a Difference

What is Green Computing?

Global warming and environmental change have become big issues with governments, corporations and your average Joe alike all seeking out new ways to green up their daily activities. Computers certainly make up a large part of many peoples lives and traditionally are extremely damaging to the environment, which begs the question: What is Green Computing?

Green Computing is the study and practice of minimising the environmental impact of computers through efficient: manufacturing, use, and disposal.

Problems of Electronic Waste

Electronic waste is an increasing problem globally due to the quick obsolescence of electronics, which make up a staggering 70% of all hazardous waste. Computer waste is high in many toxic materials such as heavy metals and flame-retardant plastics, which easily leach into ground water and bio-accumulate. In addition, chip manufacturing uses some of the deadliest gases and chemicals known to man and requires huge amounts of resources.

In an average year 24 million computers in the United States become obsolete. Only about 14% (or 3.3 million) of these will be recycled or donated. The rest – more than 20 million computers in the U.S. — will be dumped, incinerated, shipped as waste exports or put into temporary storage to be dealt with later. We never stop to consider what happens when our laptop dies and we toss it. The reality is that it either rots in a landfill or children in developing countries end up wrestling its components apart by hand, melting toxic bits to recover traces of valuable metals like gold.

Wasting Electricity

The manufacturing of a computer consumes 1818 kw/h of electricity before it even gets turned on and when running, a typical computer uses 120 watts. Research shows that most PCs are left idle all day, and many of them are left on continuously. Every time we leave computers on we waste electricity without considering where that electricity comes from. The majority of the world’s electricity is generated by burning fossil fuels which emit pollutants such as sulphur, and carbon dioxide into the air. These emissions can cause respiratory disease, smog, acid rain and global climate change.

The Future of Green Computing

A Canadian company, Userful Corporation, have come up with a solution that turns 1 computer into 10 – DiscoverStation. Quickly becoming the standard for green computing worldwide, DiscoverStation leverages the unused computing power of modern PCs to create an environmentally efficient alternative to traditional desktop computing. Multiple users can work on a single computer by simply attaching up to 10 monitors, mice and keyboards. This makes it possible to reduce CO2 emissions by up to 15 tons per year per system and reduce electronic waste by up to 80%. Userful has recently stated that in the last year their software has saved over 13,250 tons of CO2 emissions, the equivalent of taking 2,300 cars off the road. (More info at: )

The European Union

The European Union is tackling the problem twofold. Companies are now required to produce computers free of the worst toxic materials and are responsible for taking back their old products. Faced with disassembling parts and cycling them back into the fabrication process, companies are making more careful decisions about how those parts are assembled in the first place. In 2002 NEC came out with the first computer to use lead-free solder, a fully recyclable plastic case, and which contained no toxic flame-retardants. Since then many computer companies worldwide have started selling lead-free PCs and it is becoming common practice for companies to offer their customers free recycling of their old computers.

Ways To Go Green

Here are some suggestions that will help you reduce your computer energy:>

  • Don’t use screen savers. They waste energy, not save it.
  • Buy computers & monitors labelled “energy star” which can be programmed to automatically “power-down” or “sleep” when not in use.
  • If you are using more than 1 PC, Userful’s 10 to 1 advantage can save electricity and your wallet.
  • Turn your computer and peripherals off when not in use. This will not harm the equipment.
  • Use flat panel monitors, which use about half of the electricity of a cathode-ray tube (CRT) display.
  • Buy ink jet printers, not laser printers. Ink jet printers use 80 to 90 percent less energy than laser printers and print quality can be excellent.

If all of us did this every day, we could make a small difference. We only have one earth; let’s treat it right.

Antique Floor Lamps – World’s Best Reading Lamps

First let us define antique floor lamp. Of course a floor lamp normally rests upon the floor as opposed to resting upon a table, the wall or the ceiling. The general definition of an antique means something from a bygone era. This places the term outside the legal arena and into common usage. “era” is general perceived and is defined as a long indefinite time period which also works out perfectly for this general definition. This general definition works perfectly since any identification of an “antique floor lamp” is fairly useless without some time period designation normally in the form of circa 1905 which literally means “about the year 1905”. So I will use the term antique floor lamp on this basis and often substitute it with the term vintage floor lamp. This discussion does not address modern reproductions of antique lamps which is another subject to itself.

More and more people are learning to appreciate the quality and styling of antique floor lamps especially as most of the ones being produced today are molded plastic and literally made to be thrown away. Most all floor lamp makers from the turn of the century made their lamps from heavy metals such as cast iron, brass, steel and cast zinc sometimes combined with marble, onyx, glass and stone. Our lamp shop regularly restores these antique floor lamps for resale as well as for our customers’ own use. From our 30 years of experience it is clear that many of these antique floor lamps will last for hundreds of years. The electrical components, the fabric shades and the painted finishes often need restoration but most were made with such fine quality, that they are a much better value than brand new high end lamps that sell for many hundreds of dollars. You will find some other surprises about these collectible works of art below.

High quality, beauty and function were powerful influences on the makers of antique floor lamps. Many people are aware of their outstanding quality and beauty but completely surprised about the highly developed functional and technical characteristics. There are far too many examples to list here but I will mention a couple of the more important ones.

The brightest lamp that you can purchase today in any store was designed and made circa 1920. It is also the most versatile lamp that you can buy anywhere. Further it will outlast most any modern lamp that you can find at any price. This antique floor lamp is known by a numerous names such as: 6 Way Floor Lamp, Reflector Floor Lamp, and “JUNIOR”. The design begins with a heavy metal base sometimes highly decorated with an upright tubing leading up to a central electrical socket surrounded by 3 arm lights (4 lights total). The central light takes a 3 way bulb (low-medium-high) that is often a MOGUL size which is larger than a standard socket with higher wattage (100-200-300 watts). The three arm lights are controlled by a switch that can turn on separately just 1, 2 or all 3 of the arm lights. Further, many of these JUNIORS had a small light under the base which provided a very subtle night time floor light operated by a foot switch mounted on the side of the base. As if this were not enough, the central top socket is encased in a large metal cup which holds a white waffle patterned glass bowl that reflects light upward to bounce of the ceiling. A fabric or silk shade (also called JUNIOR shade) rests upon the glass reflector bowl to reflect light downward for reading. A single arm light can provide a simple night light or at it brightest setting, it can light up an entire room. There is no brighter lamp or more versatile lamp available anywhere today and it was designed and made nearly 100 years ago!

One of the best reading lamps in the world was also designed circa 1920. It has been highly imitated but it still remains unchallenged. The Bridge Arm Floor Lamp or Bridge Lamp has a typical floor lamp design with metal base and upright standard which can take the form of various types of decorated tubing, twisted iron rods, etc. At the top of the standard is a decorative cast metal arm with a graceful arc or curvature which ends with an electrical socket pointing downward and covered by a fabric or glass shade. This has the effect of offsetting the light by about 14-18″ from the upright standard at the same time lowering it so that it is closer to the reading material or work project. The result is an excellent reading lamp or work lamp which places the light bulb very near the task at hand. Many of these Bridge Arm Floor Lamps have convenient pull chains which hang below the bottom of the lamp shade for ease of operation.

Of course there are many other kinds of antique floor lamps such as torchiere, two light, curved arm, swing arm, etc. Even the oldest and most dilapidated of these well built heirlooms can be brought back to life with some scrubbing, sanding, painting, rewiring and sometimes soldering or welding.

If you want to buy a lamp that you can give to your grand kids, consider buying an antique floor lamp.

– Jim Hoyle

Costco Maui Gas Station Hours

The station is open 6 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday to Friday, and 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

Yes, it’s a big deal when Costco opens up a gas station on Maui!

Not only is it the biggest gas station on the island, it is Costco’s biggest in the nation with 20 pumps. The really great news is the new station appears to be driving gas prices down as well, with gas stations in Wailuku suddenly offering gas around $4.20 a gallon.

Costco has wanted to add a gas station to its Kahului location for at least the past five years and now it has happened! The gas station was officially opened with regular, unleaded gas priced at $3.99 a gallon – approximately thirty cents cheaper than the island wide average on Maui.

Maui’s island wide average price for regular gas was $4.31 the day of the opening, which was down from an average of $4.54 a week prior to the Costco opening. The state average was $4.21 – the highest in the nation, followed by Alaska with an average price of $4.05.

“This will change the face of gas prices on the island”, predicted Jeff Cole, Costco’s Vice President for US gasoline operations.

The first person to pump gas at the station’s opening was a 93-year-old male Costco member who was selected by the company.

Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa was the second to pump gas at the station’s opening. Mayor Alan Arakawa issued a statement saying, “It’s about time. I think Maui residents will finally see some lower gas prices, thanks to Costco.”

The entrance to the station is on the Paia side of Costco’s Haleakala Highway entrance. The station is open 6 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday to Friday, and 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

I drive from upcontry Kula to Lahaina 6 days a week. I am very happy Costco has brought their gas station to Maui. I went fill up my tank last week and antisipated a lone wait in line. Everything was very well managed and I was in and out in about 5 min.

Just about everyone vacationing on the island has to go by Costco which makes it very convenient when returning their rental cars before heading to the airport.

Maui timeshare owners staying at Westin Ka anapali Ocean Resort Villas, Marriott’s Maui Ocean Club, Ka anapali Beach Club or any of the Kahana timeshares and Kihei time shares will enjoy the savings in filling up their tanks on a rental car return.

Learning The Float Serve

One of the most important skills you can develop as a volleyball player is the float serve. A ball that is it with a float serve will actually float on the air as opposed to just being shot forward. This type of serve is important for several reasons. A ball that floats can be hard to track; it can be difficult to decide exactly where the ball is going to land. Because of this, the defenders have to be on their toes to ensure they are ready to move as the ball comes to them. Another importance of the float serve is the fact that the wind can catch and direct a floating ball, making it drop in a seemingly random place. The float can also be difficult to hit back due to its lack of spin.

Theory of the Float Serve:

Any ball hit over the net floats in its own way, right? The thing to understand about a float serve is that the ball has no spin on it. Removing the spin from a ball allows more air to affect the course of the ball from all directions. This gives it the ability to be affected by updrafts and wind currents with less resistance. Picture a bouncing ball without any spin rebounding off of a wall. That rebound will be more likely to follow an exact opposite path from the direction it hit the wall. When the same ball is hit at a wall while it is spinning, the ball has a tendency to bounce back at a completely different angle, often losing some of its speed in the process. Knowing the theory of the float serve should help to understand what you are trying to accomplish when serving.

Technique of the Float Serve:

The actual physical mechanics of serving a floating ball can be fairly easy to master. The method described here is for a right-handed server, but can be reversed for left-handers. When serving, you want to stand about a foot behind the endline, with your left foot in front, pointing straight ahead and your right foot turned almost sideways holding your weight. Facing forward should give your body about a 45 degree angle at the waist. Hold the ball ahead of you in your left hand, about waist level. Your right hand should be pointing upwards behind your head, slightly bent. Toss the ball a little over your head, slightly in front of you. Shift your weight to your left foot and hit the back of the ball with the flat of your palm. You should only be following through about halfway.

Tips of the Float Serve:

Once you have the mechanics down, it is time to perfect the technique. When holding the ball, you want to hold it so the air hole is in the center of your palm. The air hole is the heaviest part of the ball and will be affected the most by gravity. If it is facing down, the ball won’t spin when the air hole is pulled down. You also want to ensure that you hit the ball right in the center, with only your palm. Using your fingers or hitting it anywhere except the center of the ball will put more pressure on one side, thus causing spin. When shifting your weight forward, drag your back leg along the path of the hit. This helps guide your body in the straight line it needs to hit the ball correctly.

With some good practice, you will find it relatively easy to hit a float serve. This will create a ball that can be difficult to return, thereby creating an opening for a point without even having the ball hit back over the net. The perfect float serve can mean the difference between a good player and a great player.

Norse Astrology in History – The Role of Loki

One of the more enlightening aspects of Norse astrology is studying how the planets affect human history. We see this most vividly in the slow-moving planets. Loki, who is represented by the planet Uranus, brought revolution and tumult to Asia in the 20th century.

In a personal horoscope, Loki represents how we engender trouble for both ourselves and others. Unlike Odin (Moon), who provokes strife to serve a higher goal, Loki begets strife for its own sake. Loki shows how we make trouble for others. He is the dissident within us, the side that is ready to fight anybody and everybody. Loki indicates how we rebel against people, institutions, and life itself. He reveals how we ignore or defy societal roles and customs. He represents our desire to tear down stifling organizations and structures. Sometimes Loki represents the revolutionary breakthrough that we need to achieve something greater. Loki is the catalyst for change, be it good or evil. He renders everything unpredictable.

Both Norse Loki and Greco-Roman Uranus are shocking and disturbing, and often a destructive force. In the life of an individual person, they are almost always negative. But their influence on society is more double-edged. Naturally, both are disruptive and threatening to the established order. Yet these two archetypes foster discovery and illumination. Though they may promote dissatisfaction, they also raise us from our ruts.

Loki is at his greatest power in Dagaz, the rune of sudden conversion, enlightenment, cataclysmic change, and transformation into the opposite. Dagaz brings us to greatest heights, yet may also signify a plunge from this summit.

On October 1, 1949, while Loki was in Dagaz, the Chinese civil war ended when the People’s Liberation Army proclaimed the People’s Republic of China. China is the most populous nation on earth. This was a drastic change a half billion people, who moved from a backward, feudalistic society into a modern socialist nation. If judged by population, this was the world’s largest revolution. In Dagaz we see the power of Loki to overturn the social order.

Yet his influence was restrained in a few aspects. At the same time, the Norns (Neptune) were in Gebo, and Tyr (Saturn) in Raidho. The Norns in Gebo emphasize the restraints of formal contracts and personal relationships among people. Tyr in Raidho emphasizes ordered, well-defined movement in our societal duties. Thus, the Norns and Tyr provided a means by which traditional Chinese society could maintain itself in the face of a socialist revolution.

The other major historical event accompanying Loki in Dagaz was the partition of India and Pakistan in August 1947. British colonial rule had become untenable in southern Asia after World War 2, and the British government attempted to create separate Muslim and Hindu nations as they departed. The national boundaries that they drew were inadequate to the task, and the antagonistic nations of India and Pakistan were formed amid bloodbaths and mass migration. Again, Loki overthrew societal order, heedless of the consequences. The Norns, as in China, were also in Gebo, but here their position emphasized the insufficiency of formal contracts and agreements. Nationality and religion overwhelmed attempts for a peaceful settlement.

We see the difference between Norse and Greco-Roman astrology by studying the position of Loki/Uranus. The rune Dagaz straddles the end of Gemini and the beginning of Cancer. There is nothing in these two Greco-Roman signs to indicate violent revolution for one third of the world’s population. The mutable air of Gemini is hardly conducive to the radical overthrow of the social order, and peaceful, domestic, traditional Cancer may be one of the worst possible channels for Uranian energy. The Norse runes provide a better historical perspective.

Copyright (c) 2011 Alt Horoscopes, LLC

Solar Lighting For Subdivisions – Earth-Friendly Ways To Make Your Community Beautiful

Solar lights solve many challenges for housing subdivisions. This article describes simple applications of solar technology that homeowners’ associations can use to cut costs, increase security, and improve the aesthetics of their community. These applications include:

  1. Solar sign lights for entrance signs and public buildings.
  2. Solar-powered security lights to automatically light common areas as people approach.
  3. Deck lights for use around pool, patio and tennis areas.
  4. Landscape lights to highlight garden features and pathways.

Generally, solar systems save money in both installation and operation. They don’t need expensive wiring for installation and there is no need to connect to your local electric utility. The sun charges them every evening, and will automatically turn them on each evening.

Solar Sign Lights Most subdivisions have signs at their entrances, but these signs are typically far from the homes and utility connections. Rather than dig trenches and run wires to distant signs, solar sign lighting provides a cost-effective solution. They turn on automatically each evening, eliminating the requirement for a lamp timer. Smaller solar spotlights can even be used to mark street intersections or common buildings.

Motion-Activated Security Lighting Solar-powered floodlights come with motion sensors that automatically turn the light on as someone approaches. This capability can be used to improve security in dark areas around the complex, including entryways and walkways.

Deck Lights Many housing developments include swimming pools, tennis courts and common decks as part of their amenities. Solar deck lighting can be used to highlight these areas at night. Placed around the perimeter of a deck or walkway, these lights help guide residents to their destination and create a more festive atmosphere.

Landscape Lighting A wide range of solar garden lights are available to highlight landscape features around common areas. Most useful are solar pathway lights, which consist of decorative independent lights that emit a soft glow. These typically include an embedded solar panel so no wiring is necessary. All that needs to be done is stick them in the ground.

Help your homeowners’ association create an earth-friendly, low-cost and pleasant environment with solar lighting!

Plastic Jersey Barriers: Advantages and Disadvantages

There are many reasons why Plastic water filled barriers are chosen over traditional concrete barriers. For some, it is a matter of cost while for others it is the portability factor that makes them appealing. There are also instances where a plastic barrier may not be the best choice. To fully understand their uses, let’s explore some of the advantages and disadvantages of using plastic barriers.

Before we discuss the pros and cons of using plastic barriers, we should explain what they are. Plastic barriers are hollow plastic structures that are formed from polyethylene. They are manufactured to be lightweight and portable, some gaining additional strength and stability from being filled with water once they are onsite. They are effective for traffic control on highways and around worksites. Plastic barriers are also very useful for crowd control and pedestrian walkways. They are available in various shapes, sizes and price ranges.

Here are some of the advantages of utilizing plastic barriers for your next project.

Plastic barriers are made of a light weight polyethylene which is much lighter than traditional concrete barriers. The lighter design makes these barriers very portable and a great option for temporary worksites and events. Trucking costs are also substantially lower due to the lighter design. Since they are not permanently attached to the ground, they can be reused many times which will save the cost of having to purchase new barriers.

Their portability and lightweight also means they are less labor intensive and can be handled and installed easily by two individuals. Many designs allow for movement of the barriers with a forklift. Special 6″ wide grooves equipped on the barriers allow for easy lifting and relocation. The male / female interlocking design makes it easy to create a continuous wall without the use of cables or pins.

The polyethylene plastic comes in a wide variety of colors which are very brilliant, allowing them to be easily seen even from a distance. Visibility is a vital component of the plastic barriers effectiveness. An ultraviolet light inhibitor is added to the plastic to insure the colors won’t fade even when exposed to long periods of sunlight. Since the barriers are made from polyethylene, they are 100% recyclable and will not end up in landfills.

In addition to the colorful plastic, these barriers are made to accommodate lights, signage, and reflectors for added visibility. Custom logos can also be incorporated into the design during the tooling process, which can help prevent theft of your barriers from jobsites.

Each barrier is molded to a thickness of 8mm to ensure they do not burst upon filling. They will not crack or break under normal use and are built to withstand the elements over long periods of time. They also have large drains to prevent water from backing up behind the barriers.

There are a variety of sizes and design available, from the standard Jersey barrier heights of 42 and 46 inches to the taller 54 inch design and the low model barriers which are generally 24 to 34 inches in height. The lower heights are ideal when visibility may be impaired by utilizing a higher barrier.

Plastic barriers are a great choice for temporary projects which may require continued relocation of the barriers. They can be moved between worksites or events with ease and stored when not in use.

Plastic barriers are also available for specialty installation such as highways and military operations.

The highway barriers meet the specifications of the NCHRP (National Cooperative Highway Research Program) Report 350, “Recommended Procedures for the Safety Performance Evaluation of Highway Features”, making them effective in containing vehicle failures up to 60 MPH. The highway barriers include metal reinforcements on both sides which give them the added stability for this application.

Plastic blast barriers are also available for military use. Filled with either sand or water they prove to be effective for many applications including, anti-terrorism, building security, blast mitigation, and force protection. The combination of strength and portability make them an ideal choice.

While the advantages of plastic barriers are quite prevalent there are also some disadvantages to using plastic barriers. Most are based on their strength limits when utilized in areas where large vehicles like tractor trailers and construction vehicles are more apt to collide with the barriers. They will not provide the same level of protection against workers and equipment that concrete barriers are able to.

In summation, plastic barriers are a great choice for roadway safety, crowd control, and parking installations. They are lightweight, portable and more cost-effective than concrete barriers while providing the level of safety necessary for your project. However, it is important to understand the weaknesses they do possess to allow for proper adaptations and precautions to be taken in specialty situations.

Tips for Inexpensive RV Repairs (part 4) RV Cosmetics

RV Cosmetic Touch-ups

RV interiors are rife with woodwork and wall paneling that can often get easily scratched or nicked from various sources. There are several products on the market that can help cover up and make these defects ‘disappear’.

One such handy product is the common ‘White-Out’ used to correct spelling errors in typewritten documents. It comes in a convenient bottle with a brush attached to the cap and costs a buck or two. Nail or staple holes in white wallpaper, paneling or ceiling areas are easily filled with this substance and the repair is invisible. I’ve heard that toothpaste will also work, although I have never tried this.

There is also a white filler for drywall that comes in a squeeze tube – ready mixed and easy to apply. This material dries to a hard finish that can be gently sanded to blend in.

Also available in squeeze tubes, are colored fillers to match oak, walnut or whatever color your paneling may be. These can cover holes or scratches with ease. Often an application of a slight amount of matching stain will hide small surface scratches and blends in with the color. Try this in an inconspicuous area first to make sure.

Larger holes can be covered by pictures, various hanger hooks, or other accessories, depending on where they are located. Sometimes a matching baton strip can be added in the same material finish as the wall. These don’t look out of place if they match.

With a little ingenuity, many defects can be made invisible.