Deck Balusters: Bringing Your Project Together

If you asked ten contractors what they felt was the most important aspect of deck building, you would probably get ten different answers. The truth is that there is no “most important aspect”. As long as the structure is sound and the platform is safe, everything else is just details. But each of these details is important in their own way. Take deck  balusters . Deck  balusters  are an essential accessory, both aesthetically and functionally. If you want your balcony to live up to the vision in your head, you need to bring your project together with the right railings.

CXT

One of the most popular forms of deck  balusters  are CXT rails. These are made from a composite material, which gives you the best of both worlds. This composite comes in several colors, meaning you have multiple options on an aesthetic front. Few homeowners want to decorate a brown patio with bright red railings, but you always have that option if you’re looking to do something different. The posts themselves come with a cap that provides the railing with a unique flair. Too many builders focus on aesthetics to the detriment of function or vice versa. With CXT railings, you can get a nice combination of both.

Aluminum

Whether you’re building a new patio or repairing an existing one, you’re undoubtedly going to be introduced to aluminum deck  balusters . The reason is simple: they are very popular and they are wonderful for outdoor applications. They are much more durable than comparable choices and they aren’t going to rot in the face of daily rain (a major concern for many homeowners). They are also significantly rust resistant, which is important both from a durability standpoint and an aesthetic one. If you have a contractor that understands the value of appearances, he will guide you towards aluminum choices that won’t clash with your wood.

Safety Considerations

Deck  balusters  are about providing safety for those who use the structure. While it would be unusual to see a patio without them even if there was another safety mechanism in place, their primary function is to keep people from falling through the rails. Therefore, you must make sure the railings you choose can perform that simple function. Some homeowners choose to use secondary handrails to offer additional security. Talk with your contractor about making sure your structure is safe for children, pets, and adults before making your choices.

Advantages of Using Steel Balustrades

Balustrades are used extensively in homes and offices throughout the world. They are made from a variety of products like aluminium, stainless steel etc. The main advantage of using stainless steel balustrades are they are extremely strong and durable. They are also ideal for home decoration as they are available in various styles. They are extremely graceful and savvy and can fit with any modern decorative design of a home. So if you looking from an home decoration purpose, these handrails are ideal.

These handrails also offer your home the support that it requires. Iron being their main component, they are extremely strong. Items like wood and concrete are mixed in them to add further volume. They are generally employed in porches, balconies, terraces and staircases. They mainly comprise of steel railings connected to handrails. Both horizontal and vertical handrails are available and they can be connected to a bottom rail. The bottom rails are attached to the floor.

Due to the rich quality of the materials used in railings they last for a long time. While selecting these items for your home, you should make sure that they can resist corrosion and rust. With stainless steel balustrades, all these attributes are available. This makes cleaning and maintenance an easier task for the owners.

The steel balustrades can be designed as per your specifications. You can posses them in any shape you like. They can gel well with any architectural designs and could be molded in to any shape.

Railings can be ornamented with materials like glass and timber. By adding glass to these balustrades, you can enhance the elegance and beauty of your home. Timber or wood is also used in balustrades. Timber generally acts as the handrails while steel acts as the railings.

Installing a balustrade is not a very simple process. While undertaking this process, various factors like usage, materials used and the design have to be taken in to consideration. Measurements must be taken properly to ensure that every thing goes on smoothly. All the requirements must be taken care off to ensure proper installation.

Stainless steel balustrades are the best in terms of security, beauty and other requirements. They will last for a long time and prove to be extremely cost effective. They can also be customized as per your requirement.

By going through this article you would have definitely realized the importance of using steel balustrades.

Video Ads Out-Performing Television Commercials?

I recently had an interesting question from a customer I created a television commercial for. It was a 30 second spot for a text messaging service, and they wondered if they should run it as an online video ad first, as a ‘tester’ (their term, not mine).

I thought this was a pretty ingenious idea, for quite a few reasons, so I offered the following insights and suggestions:

1. Running the commercial initially online, as a video ad, will save money because it’s free.

2. The online video ad will generate interest and create brand awareness at the same time…for free.

3. The video ad can be watched over and over again, sent to friends for them to check out, and the viewer can even bookmark it to return to the page later for information about this text messaging service.

4. It’s FREE – FREE- FREE

5. The viewing audience for this customer’s product (text messaging) is friggin’ built in…It’s the same demographic that watches video ads (18-44).

6. You can literally track views in real -time if you are the compulsive type. No more waiting to see how well your commercial effects sales. Now you can track who sees it, how much of it they watched, where they live, what they’re wearing, and whether they’re democrat or republican…ok, I made those last two up – but the rest is true!

My suggestions were:

1. Run the video ad on video sharing websites, as well as their website as a ‘click-to-play’.

2. Create a YouTube channel and send their video ad to current subscribers

3. Definitely add the video ad to Revver and BlipTV

4. Create a MySpace page for the product, and use PimpMyPage.com to make it really pop…connect with their audience

Now keep in mind, I create TV commercials as much as possible…it pays more and I still believe in the medium. But I gotta say, this online video ad stuff is starting to make a whole lot of sense! If you’re looking to cash in on the online video ad rush, here are some of the premier companies that I think create the best video ads at the best prices:

CommercialMaker.com (video ads, TV commercials)

Video4site.com (Video ads, Virtual spokespeople)

Overweb3d (virtual spokespeople)

InnovateAds (video ads, Virtual Spokespeople)

Hope this helps.

Having the Correct Golf Mentality

You may have wondered, in a moment of idle reflection about this game, why more people don’t play better golf than they do. It should be a simple game. You are hitting a ball that doesn’t move.

You are swinging clubs that have been designed with a great deal of care, involving time, money, and engineering skill. No one does anything to hinder you, either, or even to distract you.

One reason most of our scores stay high is our mental approach to the game. We are beaten before we start. The golf game has defeated the player for so many generations that the player now has an inferiority complex that would defy the combined skills of Freud, Jung, and Adler. To the man who habitually goes around in 93, the thought of breaking into the 70’s is the height of absurdity.

A complete reorientation is necessary in golf. This has been accomplished in other sports, particularly in track and field. The four-minute mile, the seven-foot high jump, the sixty-foot shot-put are only three examples. It would take a superman, the track experts said, to run a mile in under four minutes. But once Dr. Roger Bannister did it a new plateau was established, onto which many other milers soon proceeded to climb. Back in 1920 Dick Landon won the Olympic high jump with 6 feet 4 inches. At Rome in 1960 a leap of 7 feet 14 inch was good for only third place.

The point here is that mental barriers were broken, as well as those of time and altitude. The normal golfer has a similar mental barrier, and it, too, must be shattered. Once you believe you can improve your golf game, it will all become much easier.

Naturally, Dr. Bannister and the other pioneers in the track and field record-breaking did not set their marks merely by thinking they could. The new marks stemmed from improved training methods and, especially in the field events, from vastly better techniques. This is true in golf.

Here we come very close to golf. Golf is a game of techniques. Training, in the sense of physical conditioning, is relatively not of great importance, unless we are engaged in tournament play. The average man, once he gets out on the course a few times in the spring, finds no physical difficulty in playing an eighteen-hole round. Often he is fresh enough to play eighteen more holes, or nine, anyway.

So get the best advice and practice as much as you can. Your golf game will improve no-end.

5 Essential Things You Need to Know About a DiSEqC Switch

You will need several components to be able to install a free to air or FTA satellite system into your home. If you wish to view FTA programming using several television sets or you are planning to have more than one satellite receiver, then you should include a diseqc switch into your system.

An acronym that stands for Digital Satellite Equipment Control, the DiSEqC is a device that allows you to capture transmissions from several various satellites. This switch along with the satellite motor that changes the position of your dish from one angle into another are usually utilized with FTA receivers so you can gain the best free to air programming possible.

Here are five of the most essential things to know about a diseqc switch before you start using it to become a part of your satellite system:

1. The Basic Need to Know

This switch device generally looks like the common splitters used for cable TV. The simplest type comes with two ports on one side which should be connected to the components found on the satellite dish and a single port on the other side that should be linked to receiver with the use of coaxial cables. The number of ports on the switch depends on the number of receiver you will need to attach it to.

2. The Types

There are several varieties you can find when it comes to diseqc switches. There is the simple two-way variety and those that connect to as many as four or eight or even 16 receivers. You can also find a switch that works at getting transmissions from multiple satellite dishes, which is more known as a sw-21 switch.

3. The LNB Link

These diseqc switches are not connected directly to the satellite dish, but rather to the low noise blockers or LNBs found on it. These devices are known as the receiving antenna that receives the transmissions captured by the satellite dish. Along with the satellite motor and these LNBs, you will be able to get free to air broadcasts coming from different satellite locations.

4. The Free to Air Connection

In general, these switches are utilized along with FTA receivers to be able to get free to air transmissions from several satellites compared to when you have a satellite subscription which will provide you broadcasts coming from only one satellite. FTA programming is gaining popularity in more and more countries and is commonly used for educational, religious and news broadcasts in the United States.

5. The Price

Adding a diseqc switch to your satellite system won’t be much of a burden to your wallet because it is actually quite low-priced. You can get a 4×1 switch for less than five dollars and a switch with more output ports for less than twenty.

Head Injury – Swift Evaluation and Treatment May Prevent Tragedy

The recent death of actress Natasha Richardson after a skiing accident focused the nation’s attention on the issue of head injuries.  Head injuries kill more than 50,000 Americans each year with approximately two million more suffering significant head trauma.

Head injuries, also known Traumatic Brain Injuries, can be deadly. Paying early attention to symptoms saves lives. Signs of a significant head injury include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Unusual or abnormal behavior
  • Headaches
  • Vomiting
  • Memory Loss
  • Loss of Consciousness
  • Feeling off Balance
  • Light Sensitivity

People with persistent symptoms should be evaluated by a qualified physician. An emergency evaluation in a traumatic brain injury case usually includes a computed tomography scan of the head and neck. Two types of magnetic resonance imaging — Diffusion Weighted Imaging (DWI) and Consequent Apparent Diffusion Coefficient (ADC) have been very helpful when used to aid in the prediction of the medical effects of head injuries in adults and children. Early identification of patients at high risk for poor outcomes can be obtained using these tools and the knowledge gleaned from the imaging can assist physicians in making a determination of what treatment is most appropriate.

Serious head injuries usually involve a concussion to the entire brain or lesions: the accumulation of blood between the lining of the brain and the skull (epidural hematoma), blood between the dura and the brain  (subdural hematoma), and bleeding within the brain tissue (intercranial hemorrhage).

The most important factor related to recovery is the speed with which the injured person is evaluated and treated. The victim’s general health is also important. Surgery can remove epidural hematomas. Often patients can recover fully. Subdural hematoma and intracranial bleeding are more serious. State of the art medical treatment helps patients survive with surgery but many patients who suffer from subdural hematomas or intracranial bleeding experience long term neurological problems.

While mild head injuries usually require no specific treatment, all victims of head injuries must be monitored carefully. Although Natasha Richardson’s case was tragic, most sports related head injuries are mild concussions that resolve without serious or lasting complications. Individuals suspected of having a head injury should cease the physical activity in which they are engaged, and should be evaluated sooner rather than later. If the victim has persistent problems with speech, coordination or vision, immediate medical attention must be obtained.

In serious cases among children, the patients, parents and doctors face different challenges than those faced by adults. Neurological problems in children who suffer head trauma may not be revealed for years. Frontal lobe functions develop late in a child’s growth.  Injury to the frontal lobes may not become apparent until the child reaches adolescence. Injury to reading and writing centers in the brain may not become apparent until the child reaches school age and shows signs of delayed reading and writing skills. Studies show that children’s skulls are only 1/8 as strong as that of adults. Thus, children are much more vulnerable to traumatic brain injury through deformation and fracture of the skull.

Although medical treatment for traumatic brain injury is always improving, prevention is preferred. Safety helmets are critical for bicycling, skiing, skateboarding and any sport in which the participant risks injury to the head.

Island by Alistair MacLeod – A Book Review

Alistair MacLeod writes of lonely places and lonely people, in the far off reaches of Cape Breton Island and mainland Nova Scotia. His characters are the descendants of dislocated Scots, torn from their homes in Scotland during the Highland Clearances of the 19th century, when raising cattle and sheep was far more enticing and profitable to landlords than tenants who reared only children. They bear resemblance to the island peoples off the coasts of Scotland, who were – and in some cases still are – bound by the tactile circumference of their landscape as well as bound by generations of tradition.

Even the jobs are lonely – mining deep in the bowels of the earth or fishing far, far out at sea. The isolation they live in becomes the vacation land of the rich, who need to “get away from it all.” This is evidenced in one story in which a wealthy German couple are willing to offer huge sums for a widower’s “ocean frontage” because it is better than any they’ve seen in Europe. More and more, the resolute souls, usually of the older generation, who cling to the only life they’ve known, become outcasts and oddities – envied by outsiders and pitied by younger relations.

Sadness ensues when tradition breaks under the insistent advance of our modern world. Like cottage crofters unsettled by the coming of the industrial age of 150 years ago, MacLeod’s heroes and heroines must change in order to survive. Sons who choose not to follow in their father’s footsteps as miners or fisherman, travel to the US or other, more densely populated areas of Canada, leaving their parents to face old age alone, like the widower who sells the last of his livestock, because he can no longer work the land by himself.

The connection between old Scotland and new Scotland or “Nova Scotia” is strong in tradition. These folk sing in Gaelic, talk in Gaelic. They mine for coal and fish the seas, as did many in Scotland. In one story, a Nova Scotia native is on furlough during WW II and heads to North Western Scotland; he is heartened by the familiar Gaelic spoken around him and feels quickly at home. It is very apparent that the Nova Scotians are but transplanted Scots folk, strangers in a strange land that becomes painfully dear to them. The landscape of Nova Scotia is both harsh and beautiful, like the lives its inhabitants lead.

MacLeod is well read and puts his knowledge to good use, comparing one of his heroines to headstrong Eustacia Vye, from Thomas Hardy’s Return of the Native. Hardy’s characters are often victims of circumstance, geography and tradition, just as are MacLeod’s.

MacLeod’s cast of characters are warm and familiar to him, as if he is retelling tales of his actual family and friends. Perhaps he is. He writes with a poignancy which I have found in no other writer, as if each story is a complete encapsulation of a life, which only he can preserve – which, indeed, he has the responsibility of preserving. Tomas O’Cronin wrote in his Irish Blasket Island memoir Islandman, that “the like of us will never be again.” MacLeod seems painfully aware of this, that although traditions may be kept, in sparse isolation they become mostly fodder for folklorists and anthropologists. The strength of a full community, living in common and in the old ways, is a thing of the past.

Copyright Janet McGrane Bennett 2006

Kill the Old Smile and Dial

“Hi, my name is…”That’s about all you have to say on the telephone today for some prospects to realize five things instantly:

  1. You are not a friend or acquaintance.
  2. This is not a social call.
  3. You should not be trusted.
  4. You are invading their privacy.
  5. You want money!

Have you ever heard the prospect ask, “What are you selling?” before you even introduce yourself, or say, “I’m not interested,” before she has any idea of why you called?

There is a distinct sound affiliated with a telephone solicitation call. It is an abnormal tone that acts like a warning beacon to your prospective customers. It is that big smile in the voice; that overenthusiastic pep—it’s the old smile-and-dial mentality.

In a face-to-face interview, a professional salesperson is careful not to have “dollar signs” in his eyes. On the telephone, you cannot have dollar signs in your voice! Unfortunately, most salespeople are afflicted with this dreaded disease; I call it Money Mouth: a screeching, unrelenting, monotone, insensitive, robotic sounding, phony facade of a voice.

Money Mouth is directly responsible for more than 70% of all the problems a salesperson has on the telephone. On cold call or even a warmer call, at the first hello, the prospect gets a mental image of the salesperson. The big smile and unnaturally enthusiastic attitude project, in most cases, the image of the boiler-room atmosphere. The prospect immediately puts up barriers that force the salesperson to try to overcome these objections, which are not objections at all. They are natural defenses erected for protection from a possible harmful source.

The idea of the smile-and-dial routine may have made some sense in the 1960s, 1970s and perhaps the early 1980s. The philosophy was that during a telephone call the person on the receiving end could tell whether you were smiling or not by the sound of your voice. In theory, a smile will make your voice sound a little friendlier, and the prospect will feel your enthusiasm right through the telephone. Therefore, you should be smiling and excited!

Well, those thoughts are absolutely true, and that is the problem. Think about that for a second. Just why should you; a total stranger, be so overjoyed to meet this person? Imagine this: You walk into a clothing store and from the far side of the store a salesperson spots you. She starts waving her arms and screaming, “Hi! How are you?” Jumping over a row of chairs, she comes running toward you with a business card stuck to her forehead and a look of shear ecstasy in her face. She grabs you in a bear hug while shouting, “It’s sooo good to meet you! How can I serve you today?”

You may run out of the store holding on to your wallet, or look for a mirror to see if you have a big SUCKER sign spelled out on your face. In either case you will feel as though this person’s joy will come at your expense.

There is a big difference between a pleasant smile that says, “Hi. How are you today?”, and a big stupid grin that projects, “Have I got a deal for you!” You need to sound professional, but you must be natural. To be successful on the telephone, you must get the dollars signs out of your dialect!

Below are a few tips to help you eradicate a Money Mouth infection.

  1. DO NOT SMILE. This does not mean that you have to frown, be angry or have tears running down your face. Just lose that big phony smile. You should be pleasant, but not overjoyed.
  2. TONE DOWN THE ENTHUSIASM. There is a time during the call when you will get enthusiastic such as when explaining benefits to the customer, but it is not at the beginning of the call.
  3. DON’T BE PERFECT. Some sales people boast that they can recite their presentation flawlessly even if wakened from a deep sleep. However, pauses, small stutters and momentary broken chains of thought are present in every normal, unrehearsed conversation. Your presentation should include small “breaks” to minimize the “canned” sound. Your telephone sales presentation should be “planned” not “canned.”
  4. CAPTURE THE FRIENDLY VOICE. Tape-record yourself on the telephone when calling a friend or a relative, then tape-record yourself (your voice only) when making a prospecting sales call: a cold call. You will find your voice is more tense and formal on the sales call. You must try to use the natural tone and inflection of the friendly call on your sales calls. The words may be different on each type of call, but you need to try to capture the relaxed “tone” of the friendly call.
  5. SLOW DOWN AND SPEAK CLEARLY. Most salespeople have a tendency to speed up once familiar with his or her presentation. Slow down and be sure to enunciate each word carefully.

Once you can eliminate Money Mouth, you will find more prospects willing to listen to what you have to say.

ATV Heated Grips – The Winter Rider’s Best Friend

Did you know they made ATV heated grips? I didn’t until recently, and what a godsend!

I love the outdoors. I particularly love to go four wheeling, and winter usually cramps my style because I just can’t seem to get excited about the frozen face and fingers I end up with.

But I found an answer to the frozen fingers issue, anyway! Who knew there was such a thing as ATV heated grips?!?

ATV Heated Grips, an After-Market Treasure

My ATV didn’t come with ATV grip heaters. I had to find them on my own and install them myself. Not a difficult project, if you have a little of the do-it-yourselfer in you.

You’ll need to find a pair of ATV grip heaters that fit your particular ATV or UTV – one size does not fit all.

Also be aware that grip heaters are available for motorcycles, dirt bikes, snowmobiles and other vehicles that perform in cold weather. You’ll want to make sure that your ATV heated grips are specifically designed for your unique ATV model.

Most ATV grip heaters come with variable heat adjustments, meaning that you can set the level at low or high heat. Several of the available models provide heat levels from 1 to 5, with 1 being the lowest setting. A number of ATV heated grips models come with automatic shut off also.

The Installation

I’ve talked to several people in my ATV and UTV group who installed their ATV heated grips themselves. They said that it was a fairly simple job, although a couple said that they had to sand off the original paint on the grips to get the new ones to slide on. Typical ATV heated grips will fit a 7/8 inch handlebar.

My installation took about 45 minutes, with the hardest part being the removal of the original grips. You may need to sand some residual paint or adhesive from the handlebar grips for proper fit of the new heated grips.

There is some simple wiring to be done. You’ll need to attach power to the grips to make them work. A little soldering and some black electrical tape should do the trick. There is usually a toggle-type switch to turn on the heaters, and some models come with a thumb warmer also.

Do ATV Grip Heaters Really Keep Your Hands Warm?

The vast majority of reviews say yes!

That includes me. I’ve found that my Hot Grips brand ATV heated grips work best for me at low setting. (This Hot Grips ATV grips heaters model comes only in high, low and off.) This keeps my hands at a comfortable level without sweating, and if the weather turns colder or the wind is really blowing, then I can turn up the heat to high. I ride with my gloves on, and while the grip is a little fatter with the heaters on them, it is not tough to comfortably hold onto them.

Several positive reviews came from police departments who ride their motorcycles year round. One police department notes that they have a 30 unit motorcycle force and all the bikes have heated grips, making riding much more pleasant in cold weather. Some riders stated that if they use the high setting, they can actually dry their wet gloves!

While this review was not specifically about ATV grip heaters, it did give me a heads up. If cops who are out in the weather year round will use them, and like them, it sounded like a good idea to try them.

Cost and Availability

So where do you find ATV grip heaters? Most ATV, UTV, motorcycle and snowmobile retailers carry them, and if you live in an area where there are few retailers, you can always go online for a wide variety.

Prices range from the low end at $30 to as much as $150. A word to the wise, most reviewers were happy with the higher end ATV grip heaters. The models that were less expensive (and maybe poorly made?) seemed to have more issues and unhappy reviews.

Maybe the old adage about “you get what you pay for,” is correct, after all?

Try them yourself. I think you’ll find, like me, that your ATV heated grips will make cold weather riding much more pleasant, which means it will get you outside much more!

How to Build a Solar Power System

A solar power system has the potential of supplying power to all your household appliances. Building a solar power system is not at all a herculean task, you can build it by installing the basic requirements. These requirements are easily available in any hardware and electrical stores.

The basic requirements in building solar power system are:

1. A sheet of plywood

2. Wire cutters

3. Soldering station or soldering iron

4. Sheets of glass

5. Copper wires

6. Screwdriver

7. Plastic sheet cutter

8. Cutoff or hacksaw saw

9. Pliers

The 6 basic steps that go in building solar power system are:

1. First of all, you have to organize the solar cells in rows on the plywood sheet. While doing this see to it that the reverse of the cells lies on the plywood and doesn’t face outside. Arrange the cells in series.

2. Then, drill holes in the plywood sheet so that you can take the wires connected to the cells on the back.

3. Interconnect and seal the wires by positioning a backing board on the back of the plywood.

4. Now, place a sheet of glass over the top of the solar cells

5. After completing this step, just like framing a photograph, frame this assembly with a wooden framing piece.

6. Once that is done, seal the edges of the assembly and your system is ready.

You can make your solar panel system more durable. However, for this, you will require more sophisticated supplies such as one 12 volt marine deep cycle battery, mechanical Lugs, a power inverter, 1 battery charger and other tools such as Cable cutters, Red electrical tape and screwdriver drill.

A solar power system can yield you substantial benefits. You can save more than 60% of the actual cost for a solar panel system by making it yourself.

How To Live Green On A Budget

Living green is a great aim. But if you’re not a millionaire, the usual question is how to live green on a budget?

1. Wash your clothes colder

Boil wash stopped being the usual way of washing clothes years ago. Modern detergents work well at ever lower temperatures. Turn down the temperature dial on your washing machine. The only difference you’re likely to notice is on your energy bills.

2. Stop using washing detergent

This sounds a bit more radical. Most washing powder and tablets are derived from oil, so you’re not helping the planet much when you use them. There are eco-friendly versions but these are more expensive than regular powder. Instead, get you next thousand washes for a one off price by using Eco Balls.

3. Don’t use your tumble drier

Drying clothes naturally doesn’t take long, especially with faster spin cycles. Unless you absolutely need to wear an item of clothing immediately, let your clothes dry naturally.

4. Live warmer in the summer, cooler in the winter

Even a one degree change on your heating or air conditioning thermostat will make a difference to your energy bills. If it’s too cold, put on a sweater rather than turning up the heating.

5. Buy thicker curtains

Thick, lined curtains over your windows will keep the heat in during the winter. They work at least as well as double glazing and are much cheaper than replacing all your windows.

6. Shower instead of taking a bath

A shower uses less water, so you won’t have to heat as much water to get yourself clean. You’ll also save time too, which can be helpful on busy days. This doesn’t mean you have to cut out long, relaxing baths altogether. Just use them as an occasional treat instead of an everyday item.

7. When your light bulbs blow, replace them with energy saving versions

Energy saving bulbs are getting cheaper all the time. They’re also getting less ugly. So instead of reaching for 100 Watt bulb to replace the one that’s just blown, replace it with a 23 Watt energy saver. You can even get dimmable energy saving bulbs nowadays, so you can change the mood of your room and cut your energy consumption even further.

8. Check energy consumption when you replace your household appliances

When the time comes to replace your refrigerator, washing machine, etc then read the label. Most appliances now have energy rating information on them. If they don’t, check the manufacturer’s website which will almost certainly have the information. Chances are that spending an extra few dollars on a product will save much more than that in energy costs.

9. Don’t use standby

When you have finished with something, whether it’s a television or whatever, turn it off at the   socket . Unless it absolutely needs to be left on standby, like a Tivo machine. Sure, it’s slightly less convenient. But you’ll save lots of dollars over the year as most products still draw lots of power even when they’re on standby. That goes for your computer monitor as well. The switch is on the front of that, so there’s not even a need to walk to a  socket !

Tips For Opening a Healthy Food Outlet

If you are planning on opening a food outlet, why not make it a healthy one? Statistics show that around twenty-four million adults in the UK are overweight and many health risks can be dramatically reduced by adopting a healthier diet. Current trends point to an increasing amount of food being prepared and eaten outside the home. Therefore, when opening a food outlet the caterer is in a position of influence. Whether you are opening a food outlet in a college or staff canteen, a local cafe, takeaway or fast food restaurant, you could be serving the same clients on several days of the week, which means you will be serving up a significant portion of their daily diet.

Today, many customers are seeking healthier options. A bad diet is now known to increase the risk of many cancers as well as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, tooth decay and osteoporosis. It surely makes sense when opening a food outlet to consider serving healthy choices and to make all your food as healthy as possible. It is possible to serve healthier food without compromising on taste and also while saving money at the same time. For example, you could reduce the amount of salt and fat in your cooking and increase the use of tasty herbs, such as basil, chives and oregano.

You could increase the amount of rice or pasta you use and at the same time reduce the quantity of rich sauces. Carbohydrates such as rice, noodles and pasta are cheap and filling and you could offer wholegrain varieties as an option, although these tend not to be too popular. Use more pasta and vegetables and less meat in your lasagne and make pizzas with a thicker base and use less cheese. You can serve extra vegetables, salad and bread with your main dishes and use more rice and less curry, or more potato and less meat in Shepherd’s pie. Thick home-made vegetable soups and casseroles are especially popular in winter, being satisfying and filling and they are full of vitamins and goodness, while also being relatively low in calories.

If you serve sandwiches in your food outlet, you can offer wholemeal or granary bread (so much tastier than boring white!) and reduce the amount of butter or mayonnaise, which are very high in fat. Low fat or olive oil based spreads could also be offered, along with a choice of crisp and tasty salad ingredients, lean meats and fish.

For desserts you could offer delicious fresh fruit salads, sorbets or crumble with an oat topping. Baked apples or pears with half-fat cream are very tasty and popular dishes. So it can be seen that serving healthy food does not equate to boring and with a little imagination it is possible when opening a food outlet to conjure up some very tasty healthy options for your customers, who will show their appreciation by coming back time and time again to sample your delicious fare!

Ice Fishing For Winter Walleye

The ice is about to really set on some major lakes and walleye veterans will be hitting their spots like rabid raccoons. So how do these guys find their prime winter spots. Well, most likely there was some trial and error involved, and some stories from this guy and that, and a little luck here at this spot, or that one.You get the idea, hot spots comes from little pieces of information that have been gathered over years of experience to give you some old standby spots.

However, with ice fishing there are signs of angler presence that don’t exist in open water months. And one of the biggest signs is   holes . Yes, it may be obvious, but some people don’t do enough ice fishing  hole  analysis when ice fishing. On bigger lakes,  hole  analysis may be very hard to do, because of the enormous amount of water that one must cover. On small lakes though you can see ice fishing  hole  patterns with a bit of walking or snowmobiling. I don’t ever recommend encroaching on people’s  holes  while they are there , and using old  holes  that people have drilled may be a bit of a no no for some anglers. (If you don’t have an auger though , and are on larger lakes there is nothing wrong with using some older  holes  that are abandoned to get to some water with just a small axe, but don’t ever intrude on ice fishing  holes  blatantly).

What I am recommending is more of analyzing where these fisherman are locating these  holes . Above the surface of the water there is little to differentiate one piece of ice from another. But the  holes  tell a good story about the fishing in the area.

One of the characteristics of the  holes  to analyze is their distance from the shore. Often times anglers will have found with electronics, or from experience, the point at which the bottom drops off into deeper water where walleye will hold.

This drop off may last for miles or only a few hundred feet. But, the point is, that you now have more information than you did by just blindly drilling  holes  all over the frozen tundra. When you search around these  holes  also look for signs of fish being caught. Like fish scales and blood from fish that are thrown on the ice to be saved to eat. This is obviously prime information.

Now if you want to come back to theses spots throughout the winter and it snows a good deal in your neck of winter paradise you need to mark these spots somehow. And you want to mark them so its not that obvious.If you have a gps unit this isn’t that hard to do, but if you don’t, and you are close to the shore, prop up some sticks in an odd way that you will be able to notice the next time you walk past them. If the  holes  are close by the shore count off your steps and write down how many steps it took you to get there.

It may sound a bit outdated , but it has a certain walleye hunting barbarian aspect to it , as opposed to saying , oh yeah, my  hole  is at N 75 blah blah blah, W 64 blah blah blah, you can say my  hole  is 75 paces off that giant oak out there.

If you don’t have electronics to key in on underwater structure than use ice fishing  hole  analysis this winter to gather information on that will give you some success. Or you could just continue to walk 50 yards from the parking lot and use your auger more than you fish. Whatever floats your boat, both are fun, haha.

Barn Lights – New Trend in Lighting Technology

The evolution of lights has paved way for an excellent way of living, in fact any task that was once quite complicated has finally become less tedious and more simple. One of the most excellent innovations in lighting technology is the development of barn lights. Through the years, numerous manufacturers have creatively made distinctive types of barn lights to meet the varying needs of potential customers. Moreover, barn lights would always be a great outdoor lighting idea, which has been thought to give sense of   illumination  and security. Likewise many people have considered it as an attractive landscape lighting, which enhances every garden.

Most barn lights are used as striking adornment in every exterior facade of the building as well as used to lighten up every patio, porch ways, and entry ways especially in the evenings. It comes in a wide variety of custom sizes, designs and shapes that could fit in well to your own tastes and budget. Barn Style Sconces have been used as one of the sources of lights that are typically used brighten up industrial warehouses as well as some other outdoor areas. It has been developed as a form of shade  illumination  with gooseneck shape extensions, which was widely known in different countries around the world.

One of the common type is the 12 inches Barn Light Shade Gooseneck Aluminum Barn Lighting with varying arm extension options that ranges from 16 inches to 18 inches. In addition, such type of barn lights can be mounted to brighten any types of walls, signs or some particular areas that need a little  illumination . The gooseneck arms are made of durable round aluminum wall as well as boxed shape mount back plate, which is commonly powder coated. Since outdoor types are exposed to hash weather and climate, they made it possible that the bulbs are protected with glass covers.

Most of these types of lights have been made with different distinguishable colors to complement the environment. Moreover, it has been built to support customary incandescent bulbs, halide lights as well as other intensive highly energized bulbs, which can actually save most building owners from high power maintenance costs. Likewise, most of these have both integral as well as remote ballast features that would surely limit and control electrical current for a more extensive used.

Barn lights would always signify a genuine trend in lighting technology that essentially evolves to enhance the ambiance of the environment.

Great Chandelier Lighting Benefits

Have you ever walked into someones home and saw some massive chandelier  lighting  hanging from the ceiling? Your first thought was probably how beautiful it looked just hanging there glowing providing light for the whole room that it was in. There are a lot of great benefits to adding this type of  lighting  to your home, and you will be able to enjoy those benefits for a very long time to come.

One great thing about using this magnificent  lighting  is the decoration that it provides. Chandelier  lighting  is easily the center piece of the room that it is hanging in. The first thing that you or anyone else who walks into the room will notice is how glorious it looks. There are a lot of different designs that can be used to decorate the rooms in your home.

Another great thing is the control over the amount of light that you need for the room. If you are looking for superior brightness you will be able to easily achieve that with some of the designs you will find. If you want to have a beautiful light fixture, but do not need for it to have sight blinding light you can find a design that uses shades over the lights. You will always be able to find a chandelier to meet your  lighting  needs.

Chandelier  lighting  is a great way to add style and class to your home as well as some extra illumination if needed. If you want to add something to your home that will have all of your friends and neighbors talking about the stunning new addition that you made a chandelier will do the trick every time. If you are looking to add some extra light to your home, a chandelier uses multiple bulbs to provide as much as you need. You can never go wrong by purchasing a new chandelier for your home.