Toyota 4Runner: Out Running Its Competitors

Made available in twelve trim levels, the Toyota 4Runner proves to be another vehicle that would be making and reaping in success. Another success story on wheels. This is because the Toyota 4Runner not only shows a range of choices but it also offers functionality as well as performance.

This vehicle has four doors. It has a capacity to take in a maximum of seven passengers. It is a sport utility vehicle. The trim levels range from the SR5 4 x 2 V6 to the Limited 4 x 4 V8. During its introduction, the SR5 4 x 2 V6 trim level came equipped with a standard 4.0 liter V6 engine. It has the capacity to produce some 245 units of horsepower. It can also achieve 18 mpg for driving in the city and some 22 mpg for the highway. As per the Limited 4 x 4 V8 trim level, it has been manufactured so as to contain a standard 4.7 liter V8 engine which can actually produce some 270 units of horsepower. It can achieve 15 mpg for city travails and 19 mpg for some highway adventures. Made standard for both trim levels is a five speed automatic transmission system with overdrive.

The 4Runner has certainly been a consistent performer not only on the road but also in sales. It was first introduced back in the year 1984, so this vehicle has been in the business for more than two decades. During that time, the Toyota 4Runner was competing with the Chevy Blazer, the Ford Bronco, and the Jeep Wagoneer. But because of the Toyota 4Runner's unique ability and consistency in performance, the Toyota 4Runner is the only one left standing among its competitors from the past.

People who are looking for options when it comes to vehicles would be very fascinated with the Toyota 4Runner. This sport utility vehicle actually offers various options. This includes driver and front passenger seat mounted side airbags, front and second row roll sensing side curtain airbags with cutoff switch, a power tilt and slide moonroof with noise reduction technology and sunshade, the JBL Synthesis AM / FM 6 six disc in dash CD changer with ten speakers, an MP3 / WMA playback capability, a rear seat DVD entertainment system with rear audio remote control, RCA jacks, two wireless headphones, a color keyed rear spoiler with center high mount stop lamp, daytime running lights, and a weight carrying tow hitch and ball mount kit just to name a few.

Quick Guide to Retractable Awnings

Awning manufacturers have a shorthand jargon that succinctly describes their awnings' characteristics, quality, function, even style. Knowledge is the key to having an efficient (and enjoyable) online shopping experience for retractable awnings. These simplified common terms can help you know in advance what you're looking at, so you know how to find what you want.

Terms: Parts

A lateral arm retractable awning is an awning which can be rolled up and closed; unlike fixed awnings and canopies, a retractable awning has no support posts. A retractable awning has an intrinsically simple design:

o Frame – the skeleton of the awning; the frame is comprised of the mounting bar, arms, and roller tube.
o Mounting bar – the base of the retractable awning which is mounted in place; when the awning is retracted, the awning fabric rolls around the roller tube attached to the mounting bar.
o Arms – the part of the frame which folds closed at the elbow when the awning is retracted (rolls in) and opens when the awning is extended (rolls out).
o Shoulder – the joints on the retractable awning arms where arms attach to the mounting bar.
o Front bar – the extrusion at the very front of the awning frame.
o Hood – a cover which fits over the retractable awning frame and fabric; when the awning is fully retracted, the hood protects the exposed fabric, frame, and motor from the elements.
o Valance – a strip of fabric, usually a few inches high, which hangs from the front bar of the retractable awning.
o Rib – the cross bars of the frame which support the awning fabric. Not every awning style has ribbs, since ribs are often used to create a shape to the awning frame; for example, lateral arm retractable awnings do not have any ribs.
o Canopy – an elongated, dome, or waterfall style retractable awning

There are dozens of styles of retractable awnings, determined mainly by the frame shape:

o Lateral arm awning – the most common, and oldest, retractable awning style, consisting simply of two or more arms, the front bar, mounting bar and the fabric. This is the most popular style for homes and commercial buildings; this is also the most scalable style, extending (projecting) as far as 17 feet without external supports.
o Dome – an awning with curved ribs, which forms a rounded shape when fully extended; these tend to have a significant shorter extension (projection) than lateral arm awnings, extending only about five feet out maximum from the mount point. An elongated dome can have a longer projection than a standard dome style, almost double. Dome awnings are common for commercial properties and for window and door awnings.
o Drop screen – a kind of retractable awning which is mounted vertically so it extends downwards. This style of awning has the mounting bar and fabric, but no arms since it simply "drops" down. This is mainly used to screen patios, gazebos, and other outdoor areas from glare, heat, rain, UV rays, direct sun, mosquitoes, and pollen.

There are also dozens of different accessories for retractable awnings which make them easier to operate. A couple of common ones:

o Anemometer – a device which monitors wind speed; This is used with wind sensors.
o Sensors – devices which monitor different atmospheric conditions and trigger the motor to retract or extend the awning accordingly; there are four major kinds of sensors, including sun (light) sensors, wind sensors, rain sensors, and motion sensors (which monitor movements, such as wind gases)
o Motor – a device which automatically moves the awning; motors are enclosed in the roller tube.

Terms: Materials

The retractable awning materials are the true indicator of quality – because the kind of materials used translates into quality, not the expense of the materials. For the fabric, there are two major categories of fabrics:

o Canvas – a natural fiber (cotton) woven fabric; canvas awnings are prone to fade, mildew, and rot.
o Solution-dyed acrylic – a man-made fiber which is woven into a lightweight, breathable fabric; because it is a chemical polymer, the fabric can not rot. Solution-dyed means that the pigments are included in the fiber solution, which makes the fabric highly fade resistant.

For the frame, the important materials are the body and joints:

o Electrostatically powder-coated aluminum – a metal frame which is lightweight, durable, and rust-resistant; powder-coating is a method of applying pigment to aluminum frames which is extremely difficult to flake off or damage, unlike enamel or paint.
o PVC – a hard polymer also used to make plumbing pipes; this tends to be brittle.
o Kevlar® – the polymer used to make bulletproof vests; Kevlar® straps in the arms instead of cables are extremely strong and durable and can not rust.
o Cables – braided metal strands which are used in the arms; These are usually steel, which rusts, leading the cables to discolor the fabric and indeed break. Cables can not be replaced because they are internal to the arm and inaccessible.

Terms: Installation

Understanding a few terms about the positioning and installation of the awning can help determine the appropriate size and installation location for your awning:

o Mount – what way or location the awning is affixed to the home or building, such as a wall mount, eave mount, soffit, or roof mount.
o Pitch – the angle that the awning comes down from the mount point to the front bar. Some lateral arm retractable awnings have an adjustable pitch.
o Projection – how far out from the wall the awning can extend.
o Load – the stress put on the awning, from wind, snow, even the weight of the awning itself (dead load). Good quality retractable awnings can sustain wind speeds up to approximately 35mph
o Pooling – water buildup on the canopy which can cause the fabric to sag and stretch.

Temporary Pavement Marking Tape

When one goes shopping, so to speak, for pavement marking tape, one usually looks for material that is strong enough to remain on the road indefinitely, or at least for a projected period of useful life without wearing away, shrinking or otherwise deteriorating. This is understandable for conventional road marking, but there are circumstances where this level of permanence may not be the best solution. For instance, some paths on a highway may be redirected while a section of the concrete is repaired or replaced. This situation necessitates that one use a material that will perform adequately for the duration of the temporary event, and then be removed with relative ease afterwards. Paint would be a poor choice for this function, not only because of its basic inferiority and susceptibility to damage compared to high-grade pavement tape, but also because it would be quite difficult to remove, requiring the use of paint thinner or scrapping methods to make sure that no trace of the paint is left behind. One must also consider that many roads use permanent marking tape already designed to design lanes, and the tape does not lend itself lightly to being painted over. Neither can more of the same tape be used efficiently, for obvious reasons.

Fortunately, the manufacturers of highway tape also produce and distribute series of temporary pavement marking tapes to respond to this need. Appropriately called construction tape to mark fixed-term construction projects, these tapes have a useful life of up to one year, without compromising many of the qualities that are found in tapes of higher quality. The reflectiveness rating of standard yellow and white removable tapes is as satisfactory as with the permanent tape products, since visibility regardless of time or weather is still a premium factor, and more so in the case of temporary tapes, because they typically delineate areas that vehicles can not cross. The exception is in the case of temporary tapes whose purpose is to hide existing permanent lines for the duration, which are normally colored black and are intentally non-reflective so as not to confuse drivers. In either case, the primary attribute of these tapes is their removal, and they can be lifted from asphalt or concrete, either in large strips or wholly intact, at ambient temperatures above 40 degrees F (5 degrees C) without using removal methods like solvents , grinding, blasting or heat application. This is due to the interweaving fabric in the adhesive, which keeps it from collapsing or falling apart when it is peeled away.

Clearly, the temporary nature of the marking tape does not prevent it from functioning optimally within reasonable parameters. The durable polymer that contractors permanent tape is also used here, only in thinner quantities. Some brands of removable tape are even outfitted with anti-skid particles that reinforce them against wear caused by vehicles and weather. Simply put, the best classes of removable tape will only come off when you desire, and will perform adequately like permanent tape until they have served their function.

The Jacoby 2NT in Bridge

Suppose opener begins with 1H. Responder may have a weak hand with 5-card support (6-AT865-Q54-JT32) and the right bid is 4H. At other times, responder may have the "real thing" (6-AT86-AJ54-KQJ2). It can not be right to bid 4H with both hands, so many pairs employ a 2NT response to 1-of-a-major to show:

– Game going values ​​(13 + tps), and
– 4+ card support
– Better than game values ​​(16 + tps), and
– 3 card support

That way opener can reasonably assess prospects for slam. The 2NT response also keeps the auction low enough for the bidding side to discuss their assets further before reaching the 4-level. Of particular importance for trump slams is the location of shortages. Here's a widely played structure:

O: R
1S: 2NT
3C = club shortage (singleton or void)
3D = diamond shortage
3H = heart shortage
3S = non-minimum, no shortage
3NT = Balanced maximum (18-19)
4C / D / H = 5 card suit
4S = minimum, no shortage.

Responder can assess her holding in opener's shortage and cue-bid to encourage slam or sign-off in 4 of the major to discourage. For example, South holds:


And hears partner open 1S. She bids 2NT, showing support and game values ​​and North bids 3H, showing a shortage in hearts. With no wasted values ​​in hearts, South can cue-bid her club club ace to encourage partner towards slam. By contrast, If South held:


And the auction began the same way: 1S: 2NT: 3H (shortage), South's heart values ​​seem wasted and to say so, South can sign off in 4S.

How Diesel Hammers Build Skyscrapers

A visit to a typical construction site where a pile driver is present results in a sound very familiar to those in or out of the construction industry. Because diesel hammer pile driving equipment "hammers" in the pile, a repetitive and rhythmic bang will be heard until the process of driving piles is complete.

The common misconception about standard pile driving diesel hammers is that the machine operates like a hammer driving a wooden stake into the ground. Many often wonder how the pile remains intact and how its structural integrity is not compromised by the repetitive hammering in the head of the pile. A similar action with a wooden stake and a hammer produces splintering when the stakes encounter a certain threshold of resistance. The truth is that although a heavy weight is stationed above the pile, the pile actually never experiences a direct blow from the weight. Instead, a process involving energy transfer actually occurs; which introduces the pile from physically contacting the piston on the machine responsible for its insertion into the ground.

In modern day a diesel hammer engine "drives" the pile utilizing a process to prevent damage to the pile. The weight of the machine is a piston which functions in the same manner that a car's engine uses a piston; to pressurize air in a chamber. The piston is raised to its maximum predetermined height and then released. The result produces air that is in the chamber to become compressed. The air is then ignited and the burning of the air mixed with diesel fuel creates energy that is transferred to the pile, forcing it into the ground with each repetitive cycle.

How to Mount a Plasma LCD TV on the Wall

So your considering getting yourself a flat screen (or you already have) and now want to explore the benefits to mounting it to your wall. All the terminology and acronyms may be overwhelming at first but I will do my best to explain what you need to know. If you already own a flat screen you can skip over Step 1.

Step 1: Selecting your type of screen, LCD or Plasma.

It is safe to say your interested in a high definition television (HDTV). If your looking for a traditional cathode ray tube (CRT) television you must look elsewhere, they are a dying breed and will not be covered in this article. HDTV's come in a variety of types, the major players being LCD's, plasmas, rear projections and front projections. LCD stands for Liquid Crystal Display, it is not important to understand what that is, just know it is the same technology that is behind the flat screen computer monitors you see everywhere. The focus of this article will be on LCD's and plasmas as they are considered flat panels and can be easily mounted to the wall through commonly available mounts.

Let me squash a common misconception right now. LCD technology has come a long way and now produces a picture that is very similar to plasma screens. For the purposes of mounting I will tell you a few of the differences between LCD and plasma. LCD televisions are almost always going to be lighter for their proportional size than plasma screens. This makes mounting a little easier and less expensive, as you might not need a mount that is rated for higher weight capacities. You might not need to reinvent the mounts insertion point into your wall either. LCD's are also easier to transport in the event of a move, plasma screens are notorious for cracking / crushing under their own weight when not transported properly.

For those of you that are conscious of "going green" or saving money on your electrical bill, consider LCD's as they consume much less power per proportional size than plasma screens. There are many other differences in specifications and performance between LCD and plasma but none that are applicable to mounting. The average consumer / enthusiast would not be able to tell the difference, personally I gravitate toward LCD screens. Hopefully now you have an idea of ​​which television type you will be going with and can proceed to step two.

Step 2: Selecting your screen size.

One of the most commonly asked questions is what size TV to get. Selecting the proper TV size is very important and should not be overlooked. Whenever talking about the screen size remember televisions are measured diagonally (bottom left corner to upper right corner). This assumption should always be made when measuring without specifically designated otherwise. The biggest thing to consider is how far the majority of viewers will be from the screen. Keep in mind that after mounting your television the majority of screens will sit about 3 inches off the wall. Measure how far your seating is from the wall you plan to mount your screen to. Add 3 inches to your estimate to take into account the mount which will sit between the wall and your screen. The general rule for HDTV's is the viewer wants to be approximately 1.5 – 3 times the distance in TV size (inches) from the screen. Translation: If your television is 36 the viewer should be sitting at a minimum of 54 inches from the screen and at a maximum of 108 inches. You do not want to be too close to a HDTV screen as they are designed to be viewed from certain distances. Sitting too close will make you question your HDTV picture quality and also lead to some serious eye strain. If you sit too far from your screen your eyes can not appreciate the level of detail as they will not be able to resolve the full resolution of the screen. Sitting too far will also sacrifice the "immersion" feeling your HDTV screen is meant to provide. I highly suggest sitting somewhere in the middle of the recommended viewing range. This should be excellent sizing information for any home video / audio enthusiast.

Step 3: How to select the proper TV mount? All things considered.

Selecting the proper TV mount is not difficult at all. There are a few different styles out there to choose from. The first type of mount I will discuss are the Low Profile TV Mounts, they are also referred to as flat mounts or flush mounts. These mounts have no range of motion and hold your television screen about 1 inch from the wall. These are perfect for people that are looking for a very low profile and sleek look for their HDTV screen. These mounts will keep your television flush to wall and minimize wasted space in tight areas or small rooms. It is important to note, with Low Profile TV Mounts, you will most likely need to remove the TV from the mount to attach / detach cables.

The next type of mount is the Tilt TV Mount. Tilt mounts do exactly what the name implies, they allow the screen to pitch down for situations where you need the screen mounted higher than viewing level on the wall. Examples of when these mounts come in handy are retail stores, board rooms or bedrooms for when you want a nice viewing angle while lying down. Different models have varying ranges of motion, the average mount provides 15 to 20 degrees of tilt, usually more than enough to meet people's needs. Mounts with further tilt are available, just be sure to check the specifications before buying.

The third and final mount to be discussed is the Swivel TV Mount, also referred to as articulating mounts or cantilever mounts. Swivel mounts have the ability to extend the TV away from the wall and rotate the screen in either direction. The typical swivel mount can allow the TV to sit anywhere from 5 to 20 inches from wall and rotate approximately 60 degrees in either direction. Most swivel mounts also allow for around 15 – 20 degrees of tilt much like a Tilt Mount. I highly recommend Swivel Mounts for those who want the most flexibility and customization of optimal viewing angles. They are perfect for those who require maximum adjustment of their Flat Screen TV. Tilt and Swivel Mounts are also ideal for those constantly connecting different wires to the TV as they allow some work room behind the screen.

Now that you have a style of mount in mind you need to consider the size screen. When purchasing a mount you will notice they can accommodate a range of TV sizes. How is this so? Most mountable HDTV's conform to agreed specifications set by the Video Electronics Standards Association or more commonly known as VESA. VESA reiter mostly to the hole mounting pattern on the TV and mount. Most mounts and TV's will conform to this standard but be sure to double check before purchasing. What if you already purchased a television that is not VESA compatible? No problem! There are many commercially available adapter plates which allow you to mount your television to VESA compatible mounts. What does this all mean you ask? Basically, TV's of many sizes will have the same hole configuration on the rear of the screen to make finding and installing a mount as painless as possible.

The weight of your TV is also important. The weight of your screen can most commonly be found in the instruction manual or on the box, sometimes it can also be found on the rear of the screen. If all else fails it should be listed on the manufacturers website. When browsing for mounts they will usually give you a maximum weight they can safely accommodate. Do not EVER exceed the maximum recommended weight! Worst case scenario your screen rips out of the wall and falls to the floor leaving you with a broken TV and holes in your wall. If your TV is within 20 pounds of the maximum weight I always recommend going with a beefier mount with a higher weight rating. The maximum weight guidelines do not take into account the weight of the wires plugged into the back of the TV screen. The weight or tension of the wires is not negligible! Most people have anywhere from 2 to 14 wires plugged into the back of your screen, this additional load adds up. Do not forget people may be tempted to touch or lean on the screen, you even exert force when tilting / swiveling it to a new position. If your within 20 pounds of the maximum weight considering getting the beefier mount, the extra few bucks here may save you hundreds in the long run.

Step 4: Installing the TV mount.

This article is only to be used as a general guide, always follow instructed instructions. When deciding how high to mount your TV, the best viewing angle is always straight on (eye level). If you were to draw a horizontal line across the middle of your TV (do not actually draw a line on your screen), this line should correspond to the eye level of your viewers. In the case of Tilt Mounts, you can mount the screen even higher and tilt the screen to compensate for the height. The first step should be to identify a section of wall suitable for the mount. I never recommend installing TV mounts into drywall alone , regardless of the weight! Drywall can not support the weight of your screen and will easily break causing your set to fall to the floor. Your best bet is to identify a stud (wooden beam) behind the drywall that you can screw into. Mounts can also be installed into brick and concrete, these installs are rather simple as you do not need to worry about finding studs, the brick / concrete is sturdy enough on its own to hold the weight. Always make sure your mounting hardware penetrates into the stud. If your home / office makes use of metal framework instead of wooden studs, I recommend commonly available toggle bolts. They can be found at a local hardware store or online. Environmental factors should be considered as well. There has been a recent trend to hanging flatscreens above the fireplace. While this looks nice, the temperature fluctuations have shown to decrease TV performance and even to damage the screen. It can be done however, but first verify the wall / chimney above the fireplace does not have temperature fluctuations of more than 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Trace depths of smoke can also lead to discoloration over time. The same thing goes for baseboard heat and radiators. Make sure the TV is far enough away that it is not subject to extreme temperature fluctuations.

The final step before drilling is to pencil the mounting holes on the wall. You want to make absolutely sure they are level. You can use a wall level or simply measure up from the floor and make sure the distances are equal. Take the time to do the measurements now, an un-level installation will result in a crooked TV, no good! This can be very difficult to correct and detrimental to your dry wall as you will have to re-screw. Just as dad always said, "measure twice, drill once." If you are not "hardware / construction" savvy or familiar with the construction of your home, you should consider investing in a stud finder. Most Stud finders will identify metal and wood beams you can anchor into, the one I featured will also indicate the presence of live electrical wiring. Never drill into a wall if you are unsure whether there is live electrical wiring or plumbing behind it! If you are unsure, confused or not very confident at this point I suggest you spend the money on a professional installation. They can be done rather cheaply and most companies do very good work. For inexperienced people, the cost of the drill, wall level and various other tools may be more expensive than a professional installation. If I convinced you on a professional installer I can recommend one of the best. ArmorMount provides an excellent on-site installation service. I have used them myself and have nothing but great things to say. Visit ArmorMount's website directly for information regarding ArmorMount's installation service, I provided a link below.

Step 5: Where can I buy a TV mount?

There are many websites to choose from. Having done a multitude of installations I can personally recommend one website that is really great. offers all three mounts I spoke about earlier. They can supply mounts for almost every size, weight and brand of television. What I really like about this company is their Mount Finder utility. On the main screen of the website you simply enter your TV brand and the screen size, the website instantaneously displays the different style mounts you can choose from. They supply all the hardware (nuts and bolts) you will need for the installation. Their install kits come ready to accommodate drywall, brick and concrete installations. You also have the option of adding their professional installation service I mentioned earlier (highly recommended for the rookie handyman). I also find their pricing to be highly competitive, they consistently provide the lowest prices and sell quality products. They also advertise free shipping and a 6ft HDMI cable with every purchase. If you had the pleasure of shopping for HDMI cables recently you will agree they are very expensive and what I consider to be the most overpriced item of the home entertainment setup. HDMI cables are rather convenient however, they carry both HDTV video and digital sound up to 1080P. They can potentially eliminate up to five separate cables (3 Component Video / 2 RCA Audio). ArmorMount also has friendly customer service representatives which I found to be very informative and quite pleasant.

I hope you found this guide informative. Remember to always consult a professional if you are unsure regarding an installation and always refer to your instructions / specifications for the final say.

Hard Drive Destruction – What To Know

One important thing to remember when getting rid of a computer is that your hard drive could be filled with sensitive data, especially if you are a business. Yes, you may have deleted that file or information but it is still on your hard drive waiting to be overwritten. This is why it is very important that when you get rid of your old computer that you do a hard drive destruction. This is the only way to ensure that no one gets hold of sensitive data. To do this there are many different methods in which it can be done. You can do the destruction part yourself but it is best to have a professional do it to ensure that it is done correctly and all sensitive data is completely removed. Make sure that the professional company that you choose has been in business for several years and has a good reputation for doing these jobs. If you choose to do it yourself, here are some methods that you can use.

Hammer the hard drive

This is the most direct and fast way of destroying the equipment. Put it on a surface that can take you beating the hardware part with a hammer and is also easy to clean. Make sure that you are wearing safety gloves and goggles. When hammering this piece of computer hardware be sure that you are the only one in the area as there could be flying bits of metal and glass. Once it is destroyed carefully get rid of the rest. You can take the parts to any place that recycles electronics. Do not put them in the trash to be taken to the landfill

Using hardware tools

One-way you can do hard drive destruction is to rent a sandblaster. Take your hard drive to the driveway or other hard surface and start blasting away the mirror finish. When you do this, you are removing the layer of material that stores the data.

You can also use an angle cutter, which is similar to a saw. Fasten the platter of the hard drive -to an appropriate surface using "C" clamps. Put on your safety goggles and gloves because when you use this hardware tool it makes sparks that fly. You will have to make several cuts in order to do appropriate destruction.

You can also use a drill but you will need a strong drill bit to accomplish this. When using this method you should also wear safety gloves and goggles. Drill several holes in your hard disk platter in several different spots to guarantee that you can not recover the data.

Yes, you can do it yourself but having a company that specializes in hard drive destruction is a safer alternative.

Cherish Your Memories With a Personalized Photo Mosaic

There is no better way to make a gift extra special than personalizing it. When you personalize a gift you not only make the gift memorable but also increase the bond between you and your friend; personalized gifts are memorable for a lifetime. Literally everyone will want to see how people, especially their loved ones express their affection for them, and this can be easily realized by personalizing the gift.

A photo album, just like wallets, or business cards can be engraved with family names or initials to make them personalized. One way to do this is to use personalized picture mosaics to fold the album; a reason for everyone to remember vividly the special occasions (for instance wedding anniversaries, graduation celebrations, Christmas, Valentines Day etc) in the photographs. The album will not only appear unique but will present the occasions as exceptional and memorable.

Creating your own photo mosaic is not a very tough task to carry out. You need to do is to collect your smaller favorite photos (like those of your wedding, Christmas, fund raising activities or birthday parties) and use photo mosaic software to create a vibrant PM as a resultant product. With good photos and a computer you can easily come up with a fabulous picture mosaic that all people will admire.

If you prefer not to do it yourself, a custom PM is simple to purchase. There are many companies that create custom made photo mosaics and with their help, you can easily come up with an affordable photo mosaic. It does not matter whether you want to send it to a friend as a gift or use it for yourself; the companies have myriad collections that can suit any person's taste or need. In addition, the companies will give you the chance to view your PM in advance and make approvals before they are sent to you. It's simple to add personal touch to any occasion or activity.

Make your occasion of photos memorable by ordering or creating a sleek photo mosaic that utilizes the latest technology in the market.

A Beginner's Guide – How to Build a Brick Wall

There is something about building walls that gives people a sense of accomplishment. This is why it is not a surprise that even though you can always hire a professional bricklayer, a part of you would probably do it yourself. Whether you intend to pursue it as a career or you just plan to engage in it as a hobby, building a brick wall entails extensive background on the rudiments of bricklaying.

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to build a brick wall to help you on your first wall-building project:

Step 1: Gather all the tools you will need such as the brick trowel, mortar mix, bricks, jointer, hammer, level, line, water, tape measure, brush, nails, wall ties, wheelbarrow, safety gear and shovel. The brick trowel, a triangular shaped flat metal with a handle, is the primary hand tool you will be using to construct the wall. It is what you will use to spread mortar as you lay the bricks. The mortar is a mud-like substance wherein the bricks are set in. To make a mortar, mix 15 to 20 shovels of sand to one 70-pound bag of mortar mix. This will require about 5 gallons of water but it is advisable to mix the dry materials first before including the water. Add one gallon of water at a time until you reach the preferred consistency. There are different sizes of bricks but for your first project, try using the standard bricks which measure about 8 in inches long, 2 in inches tall and 4 in inches deep.

Step 2: Bricks are meant to be constructed as a veneer wall, meaning it should be against another wall like that of a house. Ensure that there is sufficient foundation to hold the bricks.

Step 3: Measure the length of the wall you intend to build. Since your bricks are about 8 in inches long, mark the wall with 8 inter intervals to give a little space for the mortar that will come between the bricks, which is called the joint.

Step 4: After you have indicated the marks, you can now continue laying down the first layer. To do this, you have to start from the left side going to the right. Use your left hand to grab a brick from the stack and your right hand to get some mortar with the trowel. Spread a layer of mortar and set the brick in it. Remove any mortar residue that comes out of the press brick.

Step 5: Repeat the process and continue laying down the bricks until it reaches your desired height. Just remember to consistently check with a level in the middle of the wall to ensure that the wall is level. If a side appears too high, put the bricks closer at the other end.

You will find this step-by-step procedure helpful in your brick wall-building feat but for more detailed information and training, it is advisable to purchase a bricklaying DVD or undergo intensive bricklaying courses.

Landscape Painting

Many of us will be tempted to think that landscape painting is an exact replication of the landscape an artist sees right before him. The exact numbers of physical features such as hills, the exact number of living features such as plants or humans, and the exact character of abstract elements such as sunlight or rain. This, however, is never the case. Just like any other painting, which involves the artist's personal intuitions, a landscape painting is an expression of what the artist wants to see. And contrary to the popular belief that landscape paintings are made outdoors, artists usually prefer to do their work indoors. They usually make rough sketches outdoors, and then fill out the painting more slowly in their studios.

No matter where they choose to paint, there is one issue they all need to deal with while painting landscapes: depth. How does one show depth on a flat canvas? You will find the use of a winding path, a change in the size of things to make them appear closer or further, the use of overlap, a change in the sharpness of images, or the use of diagonal composition.

George Catlin, Albert Bierstadt and Thomas Moran were three famous American painters who used the above techniques to paint magnificent American landscapes. Catlin made two paintings of the same landscape, and called it River Bluffs. He said that these were the toughest paintings he made, because there was nothing in the landscape to arrest the eye, there were just hills hundreds of feet high, covered in green, for about twenty or thirty miles.

Thomas Moran's The Chasm of the Colorado is a huge and very famous landscape painting of the Grand Canyon. One look at it, and we might be tempted to think Moran actually saw this site before him. It was, however, the result of a quiet, relentless effort in the artist's studio, of Moran putting together several small sketches he made while on a trip to the Grand Canyon.

Home Decorating With Capiz Chandeliers

If you want more life in your living or dining room, then mounting a chandelier up your ceiling definitely gives it a more elegant look. But if you think that such a lighting fixture is only for million-dollar houses, think again. These days there are a lot of attractive and inexpensive chandeliers to choose from. From classic glass to exotic Capiz, your choices are endless.

Capiz chandeliers , compared to crystal and glass, are cheaper yet as elegant. The Capiz is a flat translucent shell, mostly found in Indonesia and the Philippines. Not limiting to chandeliers, Capiz shells are also made into lampshades, candle holders, and other house ornaments. When light passes through the Capiz, the shell effects a dim illumination that is cool to the eyes. This is why any fixture with Capiz shells is considered formal and classy.

When decorating rooms with Capiz chandeliers, you can enhance their natural beauty by infusing textures. Add trimmings with similar exercises like luster, translucency, and roundness. You may go for satin throw pillows in the room, or have window treatments such as sheer curtains. You may also add pieces that belong to the family of shells to give the room a sea-like look. Put a variety of other shells, pearls or other beads. With emphasis on the colors of your chandelier, another nice touch for the room will be a selection of accessories with tints and hues similar to those seen in the Capiz shells. Lastly, select rich fabrics to complement the color of the illumination and make the chandelier stand out. This way, the overall decor will give the room an air of regality and class.

By adding a chandelier and the right accents that are within your budget, your living or dining room will not only become presentable, but beautiful.

Identifying Which Gardening Tools You Need For Your Garden

There are four broad categories of necessary garden tools and equipment for gardening: general purpose; vegetables, soft fruits and flowers; shrubs, climbers and trees; and lawns and hedgers. The general purpose tools are used in most gardens and are the primary tools for all gardeners. They are a fork, spade, a good pen knife, a medium sized wheelbarrow and a watering can with a rose.

For growing vegetables, soft fruits and flowers you need tools for working the soil and killing weeds, pruning, planting, sowing an spraying and watering. The best gardening tools are a hoe, an iron rake, a trowel, a small hand-fork, a cultivator, a sprayer, a measuring rod, a pair of secateurs, a bucket and a dabber. A medium-sized garden plot will require a hosepipe and fittings. You may want to use a short plank to knee on to avoid getting covered in wet muddy soil.

Shrubs, climbers and trees will require cutting and pruning tools and if fruit trees are grown then spraying will be required the important tools for this category are: a pruning saw, steps and ladders, a long arm pruner and a spray with a lance for tall trees.

The tools for lawns and hedgers are pretty specialized and mainly for trimming and cutting but will include items to scarify the turf. The basics are a pair of shears, a wire rake, a fork, a spade, a watering can, a lawn mower, a wheelbarrow, edging shears, a bucket, a spray and hosepipe. A sprinkler may come in handy if you live in hot dry regions. For gardening tools which are used less frequently like power cultivators and lawn aerators for instance, can be hired.

How to Shovel Snow and Save Your Back at the Same Time

Who would think shoveling snow would be hard work? But it is. Shoveling is a physical exercise and if you do not take precautions a simple chore could damage your back. It is not uncommon to hear stories or even know of someone who "thread out" their back while shoveling. Or an elderly person having a stroke while clearing the driveway. Shoveling snow could be compared to weight lifting. Most of us simply start doing chores around the house without thinking. No one ever thinks they can or will be injured at home. But they are and that is not the time to figure that out. Be smart follow a few basic pointers below and save yourself from a lifetime of potential pain.

Stretching your muscles before shoveling, this is very physical activity.

Do not eat, smoke or drink before shoveling, you will need all the energy and strength you have to scoop, push or throw.

Use a long handled shovel or an ergonomic shovel to keep your back straight

Plastic shovels are lighter than metal shovels

Shoveling can raise your blood pressure and heart rate, so pace yourself

Snow shovels are designed to push snow, not lift.

If you have to lift, do small scoops, not big ones

Lift with your legs, keep your back straight, this reduces pressure on your back

Toss snow the same direction you scooped it, Do not twist, twisting can damage muscles in your back.

If you get tired take a break, stretch your back gently

Stretch after you shovel to prevent your muscles from stiffening

If you are in poor health or physical shape consult a doctor before picking up the shovel. Or hire someone to do it for you. Shoveling snow is must if you live in a snowy area, but it also comes with hidden hazards. You have a few basic steps to prevent a simple chore from turning into a nightmare. Always think safety, it only takes a minute to do, but the failure to do it could haunt you for the rest of your life.

Including Love Into Your Workout

Why do the majority of people make decisions to get in shape never achieve their goals? Why does a new study state, the bulk of Americans are obese? Why is it, your workouts do not work out? This time around we'll explore why injecting "love" into your exercise program is essential to success.

I must simplify the issue and the reason most people lack success getting into shape is because they have to work out! To most, the routine of running, weight lifting or aerobics feel like a chore at best and at worst the 7th circle of Hell! Ask yourself this; if working out feels like punishment, why would any sane individual want to engage in such irrational activity? Yet every day we see people sweating in the gym or dragging themselves out at midnight to run miles in the blistering cold. Why is this? Is it because these people are insane? In most cases the answer is, "No!" but still, most Americans will end up sitting on their couch watching TV than exercise. Why? It's because subconsciously their brains view working out as an undesirable activity.

The reasons behind this are numerous but let's focus on just a few. One of the most debilitating justifications for "not liking" exercise is routines are too difficult. Your body is not ready for the kind of exertion you're putting it through. You should never finish a workout and never want to do it again because it is much too easy to become distracted and find excuses not to. If you're doing something you do not enjoy, it will not interest you and if you're not interested in it, no matter how good your intentions, you'll always quit. Your brain is designed to minimizeize effort. The effort of most workouts tend to be perceived by the brain as pain and pain is perceived as threat. Your mind will always make the attempt to protect you from threatening situations unless there's a more attractive reward to be gained. So the "trick" is to override your brain's natural response.

There are hundreds of ways to achieve this, from self-hypnosis or just simply lying to yourself but once if you do not create a habit out of your routine these methods will fail as well. The most effective way to achieve your fitness goals is to truly love your workout. OK, I know what you're saying, "How can I love something I hate?" But there are ways and here are a few.

Listen to music, easy right? But it works! Put on some energetic tunes and rock out your workout! Or if you want to accomplish something, download an educational pod cast. Tell yourself out loud, you love your workout. Smile while you exercise. Your body will react to the physical stimulus your brain's feeding it. Wear clothes you perceive as "cool". You'll be surprised how your body responds to putting on a workout outfit that you like. Talk about your workouts. It's good motivation for you and can serve as inspiration for others. Schedule challenging activities you enjoy that you know will hurt if you do not get prepared for it like skiing, running a 10 K or joining a sports team. These activities dangle a carrot in front of you and help motivate you through difficult workouts. Hold off on a purchase or a trip that you've been looking forward to until a specific mile stone is achieved.

There's also the effect that the health benefits of working out can provide you. It's a bad idea to focus on gaining muscle or losing fat because these goals can take time, throwing you off your focus. But the great sleep you'll get after a hard workout or the improved mental attitude you can end up with can be great things to focus on rather than the reduction in cholesterol, the heart health or the lower risk of diabetes. Remember, start off slow, or change your routine and make it fun. Any exercise you do will add up, so it does not always have to be something grueling. Playing soccer, basketball or swimming can do you just as much good and keep you from losing interest.

National Elevator Safety Month in USA, October 2010 – What Passengers Should Do

Riding an Elevator is almost the same as boarding an aircraft, in both cases, the passenger is helpless when a snag is developed. Airline passengers are taught on board how to take care safety related problems in flight. But, no such caution or training is provided to the Elevator Passengers during ride.

The United States Congress recently declared October 2010 as the National Elevator Safety month. The aim of this article is to promote Safety Awareness to Elevator passengers and educating the public about the proper elevator riding techniques.

Do not be afraid, the safety records of elevators throughout the world is exemplary despite transporting millions of passengers daily. It is an established fact that elevator is the safest mode of transport in the World. After all these, accidents are unavoidable and elevator passengers should know how to tackle emergency situations.

In United States alone more than 700,000 Elevators are in operation and about 100,000 new installations are added every year. In USA and Canada Elevator Safety Codes are strictly followed. Safety codes are important to Elevator Manufacturers, mechanics, technicians, Inspectors and Building owners.

The building architecture and engineering has changed a lot due to advances in technology. Now we have buildings taller, more efficient design, more resistant to natural forces and with better indoor air quality. Elevator technology has also advanced. We have faster and more safe elevators.

It is important for High Rise building Elevators to include Safety measures like Safety Brakes, Automatic Door Systems, Interlock Switches, Buffers, Alarm Systems and Fire Emergency Systems.

Latest technology has developed Multiple Elevator cars moving in a single shaft, destination based call systems, machine room less elevators, aerodynamic designs, sophisticated Braking Systems, Laser Sensors and many more.

Manufacturers are applying state of the art technology to new safety measures such as Sophisticated Braking System, Laser Sensors and Advanced Speed ​​Governors which are yet to be covered by the National Safety Codes, but this will definately make our future Elevators more safe and much more comfortable .

One example of an advanced Elevator Installation is Taipei 101, a super high skyscraper in Taiwan. Here, engineers have used a bullet-train shaped Car to reduce noise and a pressurized Cabin for passenger comfort.

Elevators must introduce recorded Voice Annunciation system to apprise the passengers about the Safety measures included in the particular Elevator and also Evacuation techniques during emergency – like major Elevator break and fire. Elevator designers and manufacturers has to adapt latest Global System for Mobile Communications to let the passengers raise alerts to the Service provider, Police etc. during emergency.

Let us hope the October Safety Month for Elevators in USA will show the whole World some new and effective Elevator Safety methods to make elevators more safe and comfortable.

This article is written by Subodh Sarkar Dated: 23rd. Sept, 2010.