Wide Plank Flooring – A Great Flooring Choice

Wide plank flooring has certainly made a comeback. It is available in a variety of colors, widths and materials. There are price ranges to suit any person’s budget and styles to suit every person’s home. This type of floor lends beauty, inspiration, class and increased value to a home. You can find many varieties of wide plank flooring. The choices of materials include bamboo, wood and laminate just to mention a few.

There are advantages to each type and it will really come down to the type of household that you have. If you have pets and young children or a lot of traffic, perhaps you would benefit from the convenience and durability of laminate. As a connoisseur of early American tradition or timeless elegance, you may prefer the look and hand of classic wood. Maybe you are going green and would like the Eco-friendliness and sustainability of bamboo.

Whichever material you select the possibilities seem limitless. The width you choose, available from four to 20 inches with most manufacturers, can help accentuate the decorum of your house. With all the choices in color, take the opportunity to experiment. Talk to the salesperson about bringing home color samples. Test them out in each room and see if you “feel” the color working with your abode.

Keep in mind that if you are considering going with wood, you will have even more choices to make. Wooden wide plank flooring comes in a variety of species. Some of the selections include ash, cherry, pine, hickory, maple, oak, walnut, chestnut, cypress and mahogany. Combine these choices with the diverse assortment of stain and finishing products that are available on the market and you can have any floor of your dreams.

Unless you are an avid and experienced do-it-yourself-er, wide plank flooring installation should be left to the professionals. If this is truly an undertaking that you would like to tackle on your own, there are many varieties of books and articles available on the subject of floor installation. By no means will it be an easy task though.

The maintenance and care of your new floor will depend on the variety that you’ve installed. The manufacturer should provide basic cleaning and care tips. There are several things you can do to help prevent damage to your floor. Using felt pads on the bottoms of furniture legs and under the edges of heavy entertainment pieces help prevent dings and dents. Placing an area rug inside the door helps trap dirt, grim and sand before it can be tracked all over your gorgeous floor. An additional tip that will work for the household is to place a shoe rack or basket near the entrance doors. Have slippers or flip-flops available for guests to slip on after they’ve taken their shoes off. For those that really want to make sure nothing is tracked in, you can even purchase disposable shoe covers to keep right inside the door and have your company slip on over their feet when they come in.

The options for wide plank flooring really do seem never-ending, but start looking at your choices, make a decision and then take the plunge. Your neighbors will envy you and your home will thank you!

Why You Need a Business Plan

This article was originally called “Do You Need a Business  Plan ?”

The title was changed because in truth, every business needs a business  plan . It’s a common misconception that business  plans  are used only for raising capital, as in “my bank wants to see a business  plan  before they will approve a loan,” or, “I need a business  plan  so I can get venture funding.”

But a business  plan  is really just what it sounds like: a  plan  for running your business. It’s an essential tool for making sure that nothing is overlooked.

The business  plan  will usually be divided into sections relating to the key activities of your business, such as Sales, Hiring, Manufacturing, and so on. In each section you will list the major goals and tasks to be accomplished, and the steps needed to accomplish them. The steps should be in the form of a schedule, with a clear description of when each task will be done, who will perform the task, and what resources are needed. For very small businesses you may  plan  a year in advance, but a more typical  planning  time frame is three to five years. Obviously your  plan  will be more detailed for the first year, and things will change over time – I’ll discuss that a little later.

In additional to these “operations” sections, your  plan  will have some informational sections that will be used in setting the operational goals. For example, what is the market opportunity that your company is pursuing? How do you know that the opportunity is real… what research have you done? Who are your major competitors, and what are their strengths and weaknesses? The information sections are especially important if you are using your business  plan  to raise capital, but they should not be neglected even if your company is self-funded. The information you gather about the market and your competitors is literally the foundation of your business  plan .

The final key piece of your business  plan  is the financial section. At its simplest, this is just a running budget showing your projected expenses and income on a month-by-month basis, for the next 1 to 5 years. You can create this with a spreadsheet program.

In the operations section of your  plan , you included a schedule of tasks, and that schedule should match your financial  plan . For example, if you said that you would start advertising in April, you would spend $1500 per month, and the result would be a 20% increase in sales, then the $1500 per month advertising expense, as well as the increased sales, should be included in your financial  plan .

Banks and venture firms will require the financial  plan  to be in a specific format; you may need an accountant to prepare this. But even if that’s the case, start will a financial  plan  that you create and understand. Make sure the financial  plan  matches your operational  plans , and be sure you understand how every number was determined!

You’ll learn a lot in creating your business  plan , and avoid many mistakes. But that’s just the start. Once your business  plan  is complete, don’t put it away! Consult it regularly. Be sure that you are on schedule to accomplish your operational goals. Be sure your actual income and expenses match your financial  plan . And if reality doesn’t match your  plan , figure out why and adjust the  plan  accordingly.

One small business owner initially projected that 65% of her business revenue would come from services her business provided, and 35% from product sales. Six months after the business was launched, she discovered that, although total revenue was very close to the  plan , the ratio of service to product revenue was exactly the reverse of what had been projected. This raised several possibilities. Perhaps not enough effort was being spent to promote the service side of the business. Or perhaps the product portion of the business was a simply bigger opportunity than originally thought, and more emphasis should be placed there! In either case, the owner needed to do some additional thinking and update the business  plan  based on what she had learned. She talked to clients, met with product suppliers, and eventually decided to expand this portion of her business, resulting in significantly faster growth than originally projected.

Based on experiences such as this, I recommend that small businesses review their business  plan  at the end of each quarter, and that they conduct a thorough update of the  plan  at least once a year.

Stair Handrailing Or Guard Rail – Construction and Safety

Before the 1980s most stairways had a  handrail  and to this day, most stair  handrails  are not considered guard rails. Well things have changed and now most stairways require a guard rail and it gripable  handrail .

What’s the difference between a stair  handrailing  and a stair guard rail, quite frankly about 6 inches. Your stair guard rails have a minimum requirement of 42 inches where stair  handrails  built before the 1980s had a  handrailing  for protection with a minimum requirement of 36 inches.

This does not mean that older stair  handrails  that are 36 inches tall will need to be removed and replaced, because the new building codes have changed. If you were to rebuild the stair  handrail  or do any work on the stairway that required a building permit, they could have you change your stair  handrailing  to meet current building codes.

I was helping another guy frame a new house in 2005 and while I was on the job I would mention to the owner, certain concerns of mine with other parts of the job. After a while he realized, that I knew what I’ll was talking about and started to pay attention when ever I mentioned anything related to home building.

He asked me if I would be interested in building the stair  handrailing  system and at the time I was too busy. I reminded him of the minimum requirements for the stair guard rail, it was no longer referred to as a stair  handrail  and would need to be at least 42 inches in height and include a gripable  handrail .

Well as you guessed it, the next time I walked into the home, I noticed a 36 inch high stair  handrail . I reminded him and he wasn’t too concerned, because he hired someone that knew all about building stair  handrails .

The building inspector made him remove and replace the stair  handrail , before he would approve the home for final inspection. Don’t make the same mistakes, learn a little more about stair  handrail  safety and don’t become another statistic in the home building industry.

Always check with your local building department, whether you’re reading articles like this or asking questions to experienced contractors. Everybody makes mistakes and sometimes their information is out of date, according to new home building practices or building codes.

Deck Balusters – Just Think of the Options

You have plenty of options when selecting deck balusters for your space. When investing in new decks for your home, you need to consider every component of the structure to ensure it fits your needs just right. Though it is often best to work with a professional to create a design that’s really right for your home and for your specific needs, you can do so yourself if you want to. The good news is there are many outstanding products available to you. All of this gives you more options but plenty more decisions you will need to make.

Is This Artistic?

Though you may not be able to do much to add dimension and style to the actual decking material, it is possible to add a decorative touch to the space with the deck balusters. Depending on what works well for your needs, you will find a wide range of products that give you the ability to customize this space. For example, you may want metal products. You may want something that’s aluminum instead. You can even select from those with a powder coat finish that adds to the lifespan of the product.

Think About the View

One of the things to think about when selecting deck balusters is the view you will have. Imagine sitting on the decking and looking out across the yard. Do you want to be able to see easily? On the other hand, do you want the railings and rails to create more privacy for you? Depending on how open you want it to be, you’ll need to choose the right materials. For example, the color can blend in with the decking, which will create a squared off area and more privacy. On the other hand, if you want it to blend in well with the surroundings, it may be better to choose metal, thin, or black-coated pieces instead.

Add the Decor

Do not stop there. Chances are good you can add even more character and style to the space. Some companies now offer these with built-in components that add beauty and visual appeal. For example, some have centerpieces, baskets, or color accessories. You can even find some that are lighted aluminum railings. Choose the look that is right for the space that adds dimension and visual appeal to your decks. It may be easier to do this than you thought.

What do you want this space to look like when you are done with it? If you are not sure, take a look at your options in deck balusters to determine which type will help give you the look and feel you want or that you love.

Why Balustrading Is Important for Your Home

Thinking about home renovation? Why not install balustrades and give a striking look to your home!

In general, balustrades are railings that are installed at the side of balconies, staircases or swimming pools in order to prevent people from falling. Besides this, they also play a great part in making your living space look good and help in increasing the value of your property. They serve as an astonishing addition to your property and are renowned for providing ‘THE WOW-FACTOR’ that you always wanted for your home. They are considered as a major aspect of both external and internal structural design of your property.

Types of Balustrades

There are plenty of options when it comes to choosing the correct handrail for your home. So, it is important that you select the best among the available options. Some of them are mentioned below:

Glass handrails

Stainless Steel



Wrought Iron

A combination of all these materials (depending upon customer’s demand)

How to install balustrades with ease

Select a design – your handrail would definitely enhance the look of your balcony or staircase, so it is important that you choose a perfect design for it in order to give an elegant look to your living space.

Explore your options – take help from the internet and choose the products that can be used for decorating your house.

Set a budget in your mind and manage accordingly – it’s important that you set a budget in mind in order to take care of your expenses.

Take help from an expert – you must visit a reputed supplier for taking care of the complete home renovation process. Choosing a perfect balustrade supplier & installer will definitely give you peace of mind. They will guide you well in selecting the products that are suitable for your home. Also, they can instruct you on how to take care of your expenses, which will definitely help in saving your money.

Choose a proper material for your handrail – there are many factors that need to be considered before choosing a material for your balustrade, which includes;

a) Maintenance

b) Strength & sturdiness

c) Expenditure

d) Security

e) Indoor/Outdoor use

No doubt balustrading is a tough task to implement but it can be made simple with a little planning! So the key is to stay focused and complete all the requisite tasks passionately. Also, it is important that you hire services from the experts in order to carry out the process of installing balustrades correctly.

Online Video Ads – Statistics 2008

Many years ago, business owners could only spread the word about their services about as far as a horse could travel. The invention of the telephone changed that, allowing us to reach other towns, cities, and states. Now, the internet has set an entirely new standard in international correspondence and e-commerce.

A recent poll on CNN.com determined that consumers feel that for businesses in the U.S.,”internet has become a necessity,” yet many businesses still have not embraced this strange new world. With the introduction of online video ads, internet marketing has become the only way to remain competitive in many industries.

From mom and pop brick and mortars, to small start-ups, to large multi-million dollar corporations, businesses of all sizes have discovered one basic truth: Online video ads lead to sales. The Online Publishers Association recently published a report entitled “Frames of Reference: Online Video Advertising, Content and Consumer Behavior”. The report finds that out of 80% of viewers who watched an online video ad, over half took some type of action. Close to a third had visited a related Web site, 22% looked for more information, 15% percent had gone to a store, and 12% made a purchase.

Now you may be saying, “well only 12% made a purchase, that’s not very good,” Well consider this…if you have $100,000 in sales, 12% of that is $12,000. Online video ads are very affordable, and can cost $300 to $3000, but not using a video ad can cost you $12,000. The marketers already using online video ads have obviously already done this math, and arrived at this conclusion on their own.

But here’s what’s really interesting; this study also found that “if a consumer has a positive attitude towards an advertised brand, and likes the video content that the ad appeared within, brand consideration jumps 61%. If the consumer’s initial attitude toward the brand is neutral or even negative, brand consideration still rises 21% if they like the adjacent video content.”

In addition to being powerfully effective at informing your prospects and converting them to customers, online video ads also get incredible search engine placement. Search engines give online video content priority over all other forms of content online.

An online video ad uploaded to many different video sharing websites will be indexed quicker, and placed higher on the search engines because 1) there are multiple websites linking to and hosting your content, and 2) your content is video. Some video ad production services, such as CommercialMaker.com, will create your video ad, and upload it to over 60 content sharing websites for you, many times giving you first page search engine placement in less than 24 hours.

So whether you use online spokesmodels, a repurposed TV commercial, or an online video ad created specifically for the internet, online video ads should be an important part of your marketing campaign.

How to Be a Trendsetter in Changing Times

Bob Dylan sounded pretty convincing when he said the times they are a changing. But few of us back then would have believed that we’d experience change at blink-speed.

When Bob Dylan was at the peak of his popularity, Trendsetters were little more than a blip on the outer extremes of the radar screen. In the blink of an eye, the blip became a bulge. This group is now championing some significant social changes.

In the pre-Trendsetter era, life progressed along a traditional and predictable linear path. People went to school, got a job, got married, had kids, retired, went on a holiday of a lifetime, and got their affairs in order awaiting the imminent arrival of the Grim Reaper. Post-retirement life expectancy was about two years. In the U.S. today, Trendsetters number more than 80 million and are increasing at a rate of one every second. This group controls about 70 per cent of the wealth and accounts for more than 50 per cent of consumer spending. Their shopping lists can include anti-aging cream, hair color, facelifts, nose jobs and other cosmetic surgery, Viagra, botox, luxury goods, and big toys such as RVs and Harleys.

If you’re a trendsetter (or about to become one), here are four essentials for you to consider and hopefully take on board.

Champion the change.

One of the gross misconceptions associated with Trendsetters is that they are set in their ways and have difficulty adapting to change. Trendsetters are change-champions whose accomplishments are hardly those of the stay-put and stodgy. Trendsetters have

* been to the moon and back many times;
* led many workplace reforms and flexible work practices;
* fuelled the plastic surgery boom;
* introduced telecommuting, which, in turn, motivated the need for better technology;
* made multi-millionaires out of fitness club owners; and
* demonstrated the need to build friendships among people of all ages.

Follow Gandhi’s advice: Be the change you want to see in the world.

Believe and Achieve.

Roger Bannister recorded the first sub-four-minute mile (in May 1955); yet, by the end of that year, seventeen others had equaled or bettered Bannister’s mark. The main barrier wasn’t four-minutes: it was belief. Not only do Trendsetters know that a positive attitude towards ageing is one of the secrets of increased longevity and life quality, but they also must believe it and act accordingly. An increasing number of studies demonstrate that ageing can be retarded through changes in self-perception.

Be Flexible.

A familiar observation associated with ageing and the speed of life has been that once you’re over the hill, you begin to pick up speed. Trendsetters, however, insist that the view from over the hill is spectacular. Many Trendsetters claim that they’ve been there, done that, and got a sweaty T-shirt to prove it. What they’d like to know is, ‘What else is in store for us?’

Of this we can be sure. Trendsetters are an Internet-savvy group, who

* pride themselves on their surfing-the-Net discoveries;
* have developed a voracious appetite for online learning;
* pursue paid, volunteer, or both types of opportunities for work;
* make use of the many available online facilities;
* scour the Net for travel bargains; and
* devote themselves to new hobbies and interests they discover during their online explorations.

Look forward to the next phase.

Trendsetters know that achievement doesn’t have a use-by date. And they have an impressive list of role models whose achievements help to reinforce that message. Examples include the celebrated conductor Leopold Stokowski, who signed a six-year recording contract when he was 94; Ichijirou Araya, who climbed Mount Fuji when he was 100 (he had climbed the mountain in each of the four previous years); Coco Chanel, who admitted to being 70 when she was actively involved in designing; and Sean Connery who was 59 when he was voted the sexiest man alive.

George Burns erred in his observation that people who live to be 100 had it made, because very few people died past the age of a hundred. Times certainly are changing. An increasing number of people are making it to 100. This phenomenon, however, should not be interpreted to mean that people want to live for ever. Even though Seneca observed that one is never so old that one does not honestly hope to live another day, moving on is part of life in progress. Besides, the mythical Tithonas and the Struldbrugs of Gulliver’s Travels all found that immortality was not all it was cracked up to be.

HDMI Switch: Insider’s Guide


The High Definition TV “experience” continues to drive manufacturers to offer truly digital devices. The days of analog video interfaces are limited. In previous articles, we touched on HDMI connections. It is clear that HD sources such as DVD players, Cable settop boxes, satellite boxes are transitioning to the HDMI standard. It is inevitable that future HD sources such as HD DVD players (HD or Blue Ray), and PlayStation 3 will utilize HDMI as the interface standard. With all these new HDMI source, how does one get the desired input to the HD monitor? In this article, we will get into the details of such a device: the HDMI  switch .

What is a HDMI  switch :

A HDMI  switch  allows the end user to select multiple HDMI sources, such as DVD players, settop boxes, into 1 HD monitor. The basic models available are 2×1 HDMI  switch , which simply means that there are 2 inputs and 1 output. The 2X1 HDMI  switch  allows the user to  switch  between 2 HDMI sources. There are also 4×1 HDMI  switches  available which allows the user to select up to 4 HDMI sources. By the way, we highly encourage users to select 4 port model for future expandability.

Why do I need a HDMI  switch : Anyone who has a HD monitor with less than the desired number of HDMI inputs can use an external HDMI  switch  to expand the system.

What features do I look for in a HDMI  switch :

Expandability: 4 ports devices are recommended for future expandability. If you use a 2 port, then you have no expandability. It is likely that future HD sources such as games stations, HD DVD player/recorders will utilize HDMI.

HDCP transparancy: any  switch  must pass HDCP data between source and monitor.

Backward compatibility with DVI-D: There is a mix of both HDMI and DVI-D devices in the field. Users should select a HDMI  switch  rather than a DVI-D  switch  since HDMI is backward compatible with DVI-D. With a HDMI  switch ., the user just chooses the correct cables needed; either HDMI or HDMI to DVI-D to customize to your system.

Remote control: A remote control to select the desired channel is essential.

Design consideration of a HDMI  switch :

HDMI is extremely high speed digital transmission standard with an aggregate data rate of ~4.95 Gbps. Jean Baptiste Fourier (1768-1830) showed that any signal waveform can be resolved into a summation of harmonically related sine waves. The amplitude of the sine waves can be determined by calculation of Fourier transforms.

So what in the word does some dead French mathematician have to do with the HDMI  switch ? Well, Fourier tells us that the waveform is a summation of harmonically related sine waves. Therefore, higher data rate, higher frequency sine waves. Incidentally, the frequency of the fundamental sine wave is ½ of the data rate. For example, the fundamental frequency of a 2 Gbps ( 50 %duty cycle ) square wave is 1GHz.

As data rates increase, every aspect of the  switch  design (every millimeter) becomes critical because the wavelengths of the signals approach the size of the components on board. The 3 critical parameters to consider are:

Impedance Match:

HDMI is based on a 100 ohm (differential) impedance. It is imperative that the  switch  be optimized to match this characteristic impedance. Any imperfections of the board layout will cause “reflections” which degrades signal transmission to the HD monitor. Think of “reflections” as signals that are lost between the inputs to the output. Utilizing careful RF and Microwave layout techniques minimizes these reflections.

Minimum Insertion Loss:

Signal loss should be minimized in order to maximize signal integrity to the output of the HDMI  switch . Again, utilizing careful RF and Microwave layout techniques minimizes insertion loss.

Minimum Cross Talk:

With multiple inputs (up to 4), all potentially being active at same time, it is imperative that the desired channel not be interfered from any undesired channels. Again, careful RF microwave design techniques minimize cross talk.

The Art of Good Vibrations

The art of good vibrations is a mixed method of study that will bring you really enjoyable results. We all know that how and where we focus our attention and intention creates much of the mood-scape that we live within.

It is obvious to me that I can sometimes get stuck in a negative mind-set. So here is a simple question for you, and for me:

Do you want to feel happy, or do you want to feel not-happy?

The answer helps us to figure out which direction we want to be going towards.

The question is important to ask, especially when we are spiralling down into the yucky horror of black thoughts and dark moods.

It is a simple fact of modern science that we can positively change our mood, and thereby transform the way we react to incoming impressions. IF we take the time to clean out the mental filters we use to process information, we have a good head start over the primitive centers of our brain.

Let me explain a bit more:

We all have a brain, right?

In our brain there is a physically small part called the amygdala. Consider this to be your reptile-stump brain. It operates very quickly, and has a BIG effect on what you think and feel. It does not know about past, present or future. It is all about fight, flight or freeze.

The next bit of the brain that includes the amygdala is the limbic system. The limbic system deals with:

  • spatial memory
  • heart rate
  • blood pressure
  • long term memory
  • smell (olfactory functions)
  • fear
  • pleasure
  • processing new memories
  • intentional movements (go on, raise your hand)

This is a partial list and indicates how this very old part of our brain can quickly get us into trouble. We can get ‘triggered’ to react based on our immediate survival instinct.

The old-brain is intimately concerned with running every incoming sensory impression through the following set of questions:

  1. Can I eat it?
  2. Can it eat me?
  3. Can I dominate it?
  4. Can it dominate me?
  5. Can I mate with it?
  6. Can it mate with me?
  7. Can I kill it?
  8. Can it kill me?

These questions are being asked 24/7, 365 days a year, no holidays. This survival instinct is at work, often in the background, and usually we are not aware of it’s presence.

Now we come to the   frontal  lobes of the brain. This is the major part of the brain we are going to use in our simple, mental exercise program.

Here is a sample list of what the  frontal  lobes are up to:

  • executive functions;
  • considers future consequences;
  • attention span;
  • inhibition;
  • judgement;
  • makes choices over-riding socially unacceptable behaviours;
  • determines similarities and differences between people, places and things;
  • helps to distinguish relationship between memory and emotion;

By consciously engaging the  frontal  lobes of the brain, you are going to influence the highly reactive survival instinct. The result is you are going to change your moodscape. And here is how you are going to do it:

  • The next time you get angry, mad, sad, anxious, tense, freaked-out;
  • When you become consciously aware that you are spiralling into the not-happy frame of reference;
  • Ask yourself what it is that is going on that you are NOT enjoying;
  • Answer this question as clearly and succinctly as possible;
  • Use the answer to ask yourself, “What is it, now, that I do want to feel?”

As soon as you begin to use the cognitive part of your brain that is reflective and thoughtful, the faster you short-circuit the fight-flight-freeze reflex.

Here is how you do this in the real-world, right-now:

  • Let the noise in your head go by;
  • Be aware of the thoughts crashing through;
  • Do NOT try and stop thinking the thoughts, NOT YET;
  • Just be aware of the thoughts;
  • Take a few moments to experience being aware of your thoughts;

This brief and important few moments of actually being present with the activity of your thoughts and feelings gives you the opportunity to do this next part:

  1. Now, as the thoughts flow, zoom, or crash by, insert one thought of your own choosing.
  2. Make sure you insert a thought that you actually want to have in your awareness.
  3. Choose a thought that is positive. Keep it very simple. State something in the present moment.
  4. Insert this thought and let it go.
  5. Get ready to create the next thought of your own choosing.
  6. Insert this next thought, and let it go.

This gives you the power to take back the thoughts you think. It puts you in the driver’s seat of your mind. You can begin to think thoughts on purpose, NOT just because your brain is held captive by mental habits of worry, anger, fear, hatred, anxiety, sadness, jealousy and so on.

Here are some examples of on-purpose thought over-rides that you can insert into your very powerful mind:

  • I can think new thoughts now;
  • I am thinking new thoughts right now;
  • I can whistle right now;
  • I am thinking right now;
  • I am able to insert this thought right now;
  • I can make a different choice right now;
  • I am okay;
  • I can do this;

This is a beginning. You can create more assertive and positive thought constructs, too. You can begin by stating how you want to be feeling:

  • I want to feel good;
  • I want to feel happy;
  • I want to feel peace;
  • I want to feel joy;

Those are a few examples. They are very simple statements. You can create similar thoughts and think these self-made, little ideas. Here are some closing tips:

  1. Think a new thought and watch it go;
  2. Let the next wave of thoughts that rise up come by, too;
  3. Observe as a witness these thoughts;
  4. Now, come up with the next, new thought;
  5. Insert the new thought;
  6. Repeat the process;

Being a witness to your own thoughts is very intriguing, and so is the idea that you can deliberately encourage a “good vibration.”

Take it as it comes, and enjoy the ride!

By Robert Farmilo

The Adventure of Buying Hunting Properties

Buying hunting properties can be an exciting adventure. However, it is real significant that you know what you’re getting into. There are real specific characteristics you should be looking for. You also must to be very precise about what your goals and possibilities are for this property. You must be capable to envision in your mind how you’ll use this land and be able to articulate that vision to others.

The real beginning thing you need to consider before buying hunting properties is what you want out of the property. Why are you purchasing the property? Are you buying it for investment purposes or recreational use? If you are looking to use this property to hunt, it may be important to you that there is a water source. Knowing the value of the timber is also significant. Still, even if timber harvesting is not your main goal, you may choose to clear some land for a field. If there is useful timber, you may want to consider selling it to reduce some of the costs.

Buying hunting property is not the same as purchasing a house. When investigating hunting properties, some of the things you need to consider are road frontage, internal road system, water source and of course what animals can be found on the property. route facade refers to the road that leads to your property. it is significant to pay care to the type of roads. Are Southey paved roads, soil roads or highways? If there is a rode it all. Do you hold to span someone else’s property to get to yours? You also need to know if there is an internal road system. Tonight doeskin not have to be elaborate and in fact can just be well-worn paths. However, you demand an slowly way to get from point A to point B. Water sources can be real important. If thither is a stream, but not a lake, it may be potential to build a lake. However fairly any water source it will be very difficult to create a lake. You mustiness recognize what animals can be found on the property. If do-it-yourself finish is to hunt deer, you will want to know about the population in the area. you demand to inquire if the deer are overpopulated, underpopulated, mostly doe or any trophy buck.

Buying good hunting properties does not have to be a gamble. Being informed about what to look for will help take away a little of the fear associated with such a big purchase. Educating yourself is the better way to find those perfect hunting properties.

Prairie Style Architecture – DeKalb, Illinois

I have already discussed DeKalb, Illinois’ most obvious example of Prairie style architecture, the oft-mistaken for a Frank Lloyd Wright work A.O. Anderson House. While prominent it isn’t the only example of the style in the city. In fact, there are other examples of the style by architects much more well-known than John S. Van Bergen. Augusta Avenue is a good place to start, within a block of the Anderson House are two examples of architecture by a key Prairie architect.

1908 – Dr. F.N. Rowan House

At 250 Augusta Avenue is the Dr. F.N. Rowan House, a Tudor Revival influenced structure designed by Oak Park, Illinois architect E.E. Roberts, though it is clearly not full-blown Tudor Revival. The curvilinear dormer seen here was a trademark of his Prairie style work. In fact, if you look, you can see other Prairie influences on the house, the broad, flat roof of the large porch, the porch itself, the overhanging eaves, all elements of Prairie style. Hipped roof are not a requirement. The half timbering, though, screams Tudor Revival. Roberts was an important architect who designed hundreds of homes in Oak Park alone. While Roberts is considered a Prairie architect, he never had any working association with his nearby rival Frank Lloyd Wright and always kept to his own vision of Prairie style architecture. The Rowan House was built in 1908.

1904 – Etna J. Wiswall House

Across the street from the Rowan House, but still facing Augusta, is the E.J. Wiswall House. The Wiswall House is another example of Roberts’ work in DeKalb, this one showing more of a Prairie tilt. While Roberts’ credit for the home isn’t a 100 percent certainty it very closely resembles a Roberts designed home in Oak Park and he is generally credited with having won the Wiswall commission. The house is clad entirely in stucco, features a large, pillar-supported porch, and hipped roofs with broad overhanging eaves; all hallmarks of Prairie style architecture. The house is believed to have been constructed in 1904.

Seemelessly blended with nature, the front door just isn’t where you’d think it should be. C. 1895 Rankin House.

Of the early Prairie style works in DeKalb the Rankin House at 200 W. Locust Street was, perhaps, done by the most pre-eminent architect of the group. The stucco clad, two-story Rankin House may well indeed be the work of architect George W. Maher. Maher was a noted Chicago Prairie style architect whose John C. Farson House (better known as Pleasant Home) in Oak Park has been declared a National Historic Landmark. The Rankin House has a front door that just isn’t where you would expect it. The home was built c. 1895.

The door is along the east side, along with a large chimney.

It’s unknown whether the house was designed by Maher for sure, there are other candidates for its design, it is very similar, along with another DeKalb house at 594 W. Lincoln Hwy, to other Maher commissions.

The layout of the chimney and portico is reminiscent of John S. Van Bergen’s work. 1924 – 115 N. First St..

Another DeKalb Prairie style house is found at 115 N. First Street. This is another example of a home without a known architect, more research is needed. The tall rectangular chimney located on the front of the north facade, near the portico (wiki), is found in the same layout in a 1910 John S. Van Bergen designed apartment complex in Oak Park. Possible evidence of his hand? Hard to say.

The main entrance is located along the north facade, not the front (east facade).

The house is a nice Prairie example, broad, overhanging hip roofs, a large, pillar supported front porch, and a main entrance moved to side in lieu of a lot of glass, allowing the natural light to pour into the structure. The building also appears to hug the ground, an appearance that is enhanced by the building being set into a hillside.

Both sides feature porticos and the home has a Prairie-style horizontal emphasis.

Both the north and south facades feature porticos, and the north facade’s (seen two images above) layout reinforces the horizontal emphasis of the home. The Prairie style house on First Street, with the green tile roof, dates from about 1924.

You can get more detail about all of these houses in the articles linked below. The Wikipedia entries that are linked (mostly by me, for you) will give you more information about the architects and other information mentioned in this post. Enjoy.

Online Resources

*F.N. Rowan House: 2004 Daily Chronicle article

*F.N. Rowan House: Old Photo – 1970s photograph

*E.J. Wiswall House: 2005 Daily Chronicle article

*E.J. Wiswall House: Old Photo – 1970s photo

*Rankin House: 2005 Daily Chronicle article, another 2005 article

*Rankin House: Old Photos – Oldest known photo; 1970s – 1, 2

*115 N. First Street: 2005 Daily Chronicle article

*Wikipedia: John S. Van Bergen, E.E. Roberts, John C. Farson House (all by me), George W. Maher (not by me)

A keen eye will spot other examples of Prairie architecture in DeKalb, something we will explore at a later date. Tomorrow, follow me to the tiny village of Esmond, Illinois.

How To Restore Picture Tube Without using a crt tester, restorer or rejuvenator

Picture become weak or dim usually happen after the monitor have been used for many years. Again it depends on the quality of the picture tube or cathode ray tube (CRT). Some grade A CRT can last for many years, but for the lower grade one it can only last for couples of year. Don’t be surprise that I do come across picture tube that had gone dim in less than a year! If you switch on your monitor for 24 hours without turning it off, then expect the tube to become dim fast. Besides dim (weak emission) , CRT may also develop many problems such as open filament, short between cathode and heater, G1 and G2 short, poor gamma performance, stripped cathode and focus and G2 short. In this article, I’m going to touch on the weak emission problem only and show you a possible way to brighten up the picture tube.

The cathode ray determines the brightness and sharpness of a picture tube. Its electrons are emitted from the cathode surface into the cathode ray tube’s vacuum. The electrons then strike the screen in the form of a ray and cause it to shine. Weak or used up cathodes produce few electrons and emit weak electron rays. This causes the picture to become dark and fuzzy. Sometimes the cathode emission ceased due to a layer of contamination coating covers the cathode surface. This contamination prevents the electrons from leaving the cathode’s surface thus you get a dim picture.

In order to identify whether is the tube that cause the dim or from bad components, one can always use a CRT tester/meter to check it. Some call it CRT rejuvenator, CRT restorer and others named it as CRT regenerator. These testers are designed to test and check CRT and fix it if the picture tubes have problems. I personally owned two CRT testers- the BMR 2005 Muter regenerator and a less feature one I bought from Thailand. With the help of CRT tester, I can know if a picture tube is working or not. If you do not have one, don’t worry because by checking the voltage at the CRT socket pin outs, you will have some ideas if the CRT is good or bad.

From my experienced, I noticed that the older tube can be brightening up with the help of CRT tester but not for tubes that was made in the year 1994 and above. I suspect the getter (made of barium) inside the tube have been used up. The functions of getter inside the tube are to absorb gas that was release when the cathodes are heat up. If the getter fails to absorb the gas, then there is no point to restore a picture tube. I have brightened up many picture tubes with the help of CRT tester and some looks like a new tube. But somehow after one or two days the picture tube get dim again because the getter cannot absorb the gas and the gas will travels back to the cathode surface and turn it into carbonate. Electron emission will cease again. I even have tried some home made CRT restorer downloaded from the internet and the result is still the same-the picture tube will dim back after couples of days.

After done some research and experiment, I found that the best way to brighten up the tube is to increase the heater voltage. Normal heater or filament voltage is about 6.3 volt and if you increase the voltage to about 8 to 9 volts, this means the cathode will produce more electrons and thus the screen will become brighter. Bare in mind that do not apply any voltage that is higher than 9 volts to the heater otherwise the internal filament will burn out and broken. Once it is open then there will be no way to rescue it.

If the picture tube is heading to rubbish dump then there is no harm to try to restore it. About how long it will last, I cannot guarantee it. Some will last even more than two years and some only couples of weeks. Recently there was a badge of Compaq and Hp 15” monitor that have the symptom of blur display with bright picture. No matter how hard you try to adjust the focus adjustment at the back of flyback transformer, the picture still look slightly blurs. Using the methods above I had saved lots of picture tube (I don’t need to replace a second hand one to customer).

It is a simple modification and this only applies to the 14 and 15” monitor picture tube only. First you need to find which secondary output that have output from 12 to 15 volts. Once you have locate it, then solder a wire at the cathode pin of the diode and join it to the input pin of 7808 (output 8Volts) voltage regulator. Please don’t tap from the B+ voltage which is usually 45 volts and above and this may kill the 7808 IC because this IC can only withstand voltage up to 38 volts maximum. The current drawn from the 14 and 15” picture tube is less than the 17” tube and if you use this way to brighten up the 17” tube, the power supply may go into shutdown mode and sometimes will even lead to power blink.

I do know some technicians like to use the method of turning few rounds of wire at the flyback ferrite core to restore the brightness. This method can work in Television but not in Monitor. Computer monitors runs in many resolution and the higher the resolution the higher the B+ voltage and thus making the output voltage at the wire increased. This will lead to a sudden brightness and may shutdown the monitor. Even if it didn’t shutdown, the customer may get annoyed with the Monitor brightness (raster) whenever the customer change the monitor resolution.

Now solder the pin 2 of 7808 IC to cold ground and the output of 7808 IC pin 3 to the CRT heater point as shown in the picture. Remember to cut off the 6.3 volt supply line from the power supply because you don’t need it anymore. What you need is the 8 Volt supply to the filament in the picture tube. You can also connect a low ohm protection resistor in series to the heater point. Just in case if any short circuit happens the resistor will open circuit. Make sure you attach the 7808 IC to the heatsink, preferable the heatsink at the flyback transformer.

This method only work for tube that is slightly blur and not too dim picture. If a picture is very dim even if you raise the heater voltage to 12 volt, you still would not see a bright picture. As mentioned above there is no harm trying to modify it and who knows the tube can be brought to life and serve the customer for many years. Hope you enjoy the article.

How to Make Flashing LED Circuit Board

LED or light emitting diode emits a very powerful and strong light unlike the ones emitted by other types of lighting devices. In comparison to the others, this is a better choice as it uses less electricity and it lasts longer. It does not use filaments so it does not burn.

One of the most commendable uses is the flashing LED light. This can be used as an attention seeker. If one is stranded on a place, this kind of lighting can work as a help signal. People from a considerable distance can see the signal.

This is how you can make this flashing LED circuit board:

Step 1: First, you should already have an LED bulb. Go to the hardware and electronics store and find a flashing bulb LED. Choose the one that can be hooked to a 9-volt battery system.

Step 2: The next part is to attach the bulb. Connect the longer lead of the LED (this is usually the longer one) to the positive end of the battery. Connect the shorter lead of the LED to the negative end of the battery.

Step 3: You should also have the circuit board at the ready. Using a plier, insert the leads connected to the battery to the circuit board plug. By this time, you can already witness the bulb flashing.

Step 4: Now make the connection permanent. Get a 20-gauge wire and snip about 4 inches of it. Remove about half an inch of copper conductor at the ends of the wire. Prepare your soldering iron. Once it has already heated up, solder the red wire to the switch. Let it cool down before you switch it on.

Step 5: Once the soldered part has already cooled down, you can attach the positive lead attached to the positive end of the battery to the switch. Connect the negative lead, negative end of battery and the negative lead of the battery. Now you can test the connection by switching it on. The LED bulb you have installed should already blink.

Step 6: You can add more bulbs to the circuit if you want just follow the same procedures stated above.

If you purchase various colors of bulbs, you can also use this for party effects and not just to attract attention during emergency situations. This is a good way to spruce up an event. You use the smaller bulbs of various colors to make a greeting card more interesting too-

perfect for the holiday season.

Lumens: How Bright Are Your Bulbs?

How many light bulbs do you have in your house? Do you know how bright they are? Lumens have been defined (Wikipedia) as”a measure of the total “amount” of visible light emitted by a source.” In other words, a lumen is how bright a bulb is. They can range in their brightness. The color of your light bulbs can affect the brightness too. Most people are used to incandescent bulbs so they try to match that color in CFL or compact fluorescent lighting bulbs.

Lumens have been around for over 5 year now. The brightness of a light used to be according to the wattage. But now, we use the term lumens to determine how bright a light can be. Other than incandescent, wattage doesn’t mean anything to CFL or fluorescent. You can get the same amount of lumens and half the amount of wattage. I know because I tested that. It was half the amount of wattage, actually a little less than half. So, I am really disappointed with the CFL. I will probably in the future test the LED to make sure their output and the amount of power they use is a lot less or the same then what is said on the packaging. What they advertise and what is really true are two different things.

But you need to hear the truth. The truth is that CFL are not as efficient as they say on their packaging. I compared lumens to wattage myself. According to the CFL packaging, that particular bulb puts out the same lumens at 14 watts as it does at 60 watts. But I know that is not true.

Things have changed. If you had a bulb that is 60 watts, you knew how bright that 60 watt was. A standard for the industry many years ago was the   socket  inside the fixture itself was rated for more than 60 watts. They were rated for 100 watts. These days, most  sockets  within a fixture are rated for a 60 watt bulb and no more. The heat difference has changed. The  sockets  are not made as well with aluminum shells inside the  socket  instead of copper shells which makes the bulbs harder to screw in place. Aluminum (bulb) screwed into aluminum (fixture) does not screw well.

So when you buy a bulb, you need to look at the lumens or the amount of output and not at the wattage. They’ll say that their bulb is equal comparison to 60 watts. They might tell you that a particular bulb puts out 800 lumens for 14 watts comparably to a 60 watt light bulb. They (sometimes) give you a comparison chart on the packaging.

The manufacturers are doing away with light bulbs advertised as wattage. In the future, you will be looking at lumens when you go to purchase a bulb. So you’ll need to understand this. It’s reminds me of trying to change to the metric system. The industry won’t let you call it a light bulb anymore: they call them lamps. They are called lamps because it is filled with gas. It is not a light bulb anymore. You won’t walk into a home improvement center and ask for a 60 watt light bulb. You’ll ask for a lamp with 800 lumens.

Opening a Bank Account for Your Child

The bible says,”Teach a child the way he should go, and in the end he will not depart from it”. This principle applies to everyone, more so about an individuals financial discipline.

Parents need to create time to train their children on the importance of proper financial management. This can be achieved through many ways including encouraging children to start saving their allowances at a young age.

In order to instill a savings culture into their children, parents can support their children in opening a savings bank account,or in some instances diversify the investment portfolio for their children.

The following factors are of great importance to both the parent and the child when it comes to opening a bank account or making investments for any child:

  • What is the purpose of the account is it to enable the child save some of his or her allowance for the sake of it, or is to teach the child on the importance of saving?
  • Will the savings made be directed towards enabling the parent buy a gift, clothes, books, or even pay school fees for the child?
  • Whatever the reasons, when looking for a suitable bank account for a child in Kenya, it is always necessary for a parent to consider the following:
  • What is the minimum opening balance
  • How often will the bank provide bank statements
  • Documents to be furnished up front by the parent
  • Whose responsible for managing bank transactions
  • Proximity of the bank to the parents residential of working environment
  • Interest rates
  • Minimum operating balance
  • Service fee upon every transactions, be it deposits or withdrawals
  • The incentives offered as part of the package. For example, birthday card, free piggy bank, discounts at certain shopping outlets.
  • Whether an ATM card will be provided

There are several banks in Kenya that have provisions for guardians or parents to open a bank account for their children. However lack of knowledge of the banking requirements for such accounts can prove problematic for parents of guardians.

It is therefore essential for one to do a thorough analysis of the banking requirements to make an informed choice. It is also advisable for the child for whom the bank account is being opened to be involved in the bank selection process. This will in the long run keep the child motivated enough to give towards the savings account.

For those seeking do diversify on their child’s investment portfolio,it is advisable for parents to get advice from financial experts.

All the best as you make an informed choice.