Contractor Verification System

90% of U.S. Firms neglect to screen contractors [1]. Despite the number of contractor relationships that thrive in the workforce, historically contractors have not been screened.

Unfortunately, although contractual employment relationships are prevalent in the U.S., so are the lawsuits that occur as the result of the employing company should have a contractor verification system to ensure that their contractors are screened prior to performing work.

Luckily, there’s a simple solution: contractor screening. In fact, many companies have picked up on the recent trend of employing a third-party contractor verification system, to ensure their contractors are pre-qualified for work. Contractor verification systems are designed to screen your contractors and suppliers that come on site or support major portions of your business.

In the past ten years it’s become quite common to see large Multinational companies who employ thousands of contractors every year to the big company to hire a third-party contractor verification system to pre-qualify and manage suppliers. These contractor verification systems are a highly effective way of ensuring that your company avoids a potential lawsuit as the result of employing an unsafe or unethical contingent worker.

Developing and maintaining a world-class contractor verification system can be easy. It’s a matter of properly collecting, organizing and centralizing your contractor data into an efficient database. The information that you gather should then be reviewed and verified for accuracy:

1. Documents- Each contractor should complete a qualification form which can be reviewed for contractor licenses and compliance with regulation requirements.

2. Insurance – Insurance statistics are an important indication of how qualified your contractor is and should be reviewed for accuracy and adequate coverage.

3. Safety Information- For those companies with a higher level of safety, audits should be performed on your contractor’s Safety Manual and implementation of their safety plan.

4. Employee Information- Background information should be collected including drug screening and past history on those employees engaged in important company activities.

Awareness in selecting safe contractors and subcontractors cannot be overrated. Choosing a safe team using an effective contractor verification system greatly reduces risk and minimizes incidents. Incorrect documentation, inadequate insurance coverage and be an employee’s prior disruptive or destructive performance can severely negatively impact your business.

By evaluating the criteria we discuss above, implementing a contractor verification system and keeping up with regulatory changes and best practices, you can avoid lawsuits and protect your company. These simple measures can save you millions in losses and damages every year.


[1] Source: Screening Contract Employees: An Important Slice of Corporate Security. Jennifer

Earthwerks Vinyl Plank Flooring – Everything You Need to Know Before You Buy

Earthwerks vinyl plank flooring is quickly making itself a name in the floorcovering market. Earthwerks has grabbed the attention of the vinyl flooring industry with it’s combination of aggressive pricing and high quality, luxury vinyl plank offerings. With the recent market share increases shown by the luxury vinyl tile and plank floor covering segment, Earthwerks appears to be a market forerunner in the vinyl flooring business. Earthwerks provides a wide array of vinyl planks from traditional select grade wood strips to wide plank rustic designs. Most consumers know that luxury vinyl tile and planks have dramatic advantages over real hardwood floors. Luxury vinyl floors, like those manufactured from Earthwerks, provide a tough, stain proof, water and mold resistant, but beautiful flooring choice. With 13 different vinyl plank flooring series, Earthwerks is a consumer favorite for saving money without sacrificing quality. Here is a breakdown of the multiple styles and vinyl wood looking planks you can select from with Earthwerks.

Pacific Plank – The most economical luxury vinyl plank manufactured by Earthwerks. 9 different colors are given. Plank sizes are 6″ wide. This is a great entry level vinyl plank and can even compete price wise with lower quality peel and stick planks.

Soledo Plank – 9 various colors to choose from. This is a medium character board design. A simulated bamboo vinyl plank is even offered. These planks are 4.25″ wide and have a smooth finish.

Aberdeen Plank – These 4″ wide vinyl flooring planks have 6 different colors. The Aberdeen has a quality for a semi rustic character with simulated knots to create a cabin grade or reclaimed wood appeal. This product has a ribbed, embossed finish.

Natural Plank – This is the most narrow plank manufactured by Earthwerks at 3″ wide. 6 colors are offered. The finish is smooth and the planks have a tight pattern that looks like a select grade oak wood floor. This product is a good one to consider if you need a more formal look. The narrow strip also does better in smaller areas than a wide plank.

Remington Plank – This semi rustic look has some character but without a worn look. Remington planks by Earthwerks are available in 4 colors. The Cherry color #ARP644 is a very nice alternative to cherry stained hardwood flooring. These luxury vinyl planks are 6″ wide.

Sonoma Plank – Sonoma is another semi rustic vinyl plank with a wider width at 6″. The unique feature of the Sonoma plank is the hand scraped embossing that recreates the look and feel of hand scraped real hardwood flooring. 6 colors are manufactured by Earthwerks in this series.

Montana Plank – This vinyl plank offers 8 styles. It is also 7.24″ wide and one of the wider board designs by Earthwerks. Simulated nail marks give this style an added appeal for those who like the look of reclaimed hardwood flooring. A unique color for the vinyl plank industry is available in the Montana series, light gray.

Wood Antique – Earthwerks Wood Antique series has a large offering of 10 colors. These 4″ wide planks have the appearance of narrow wood strip hardwood flooring. The light maple color is a nice change of color compared to other colors on the market. This vinyl plank also has a 10 year commercial warranty.

Dakota Plank – This plank also has a 10 year commercial rated warranty. 6 very rustic colors are available. The gray, weather washed plank is highly distinct. These luxury vinyl planks are 6″ wide.

Bradford Plank – This 3 color series manufactured by Earthwerks with a formal design in it’s wood grain characteristics and a smooth finish realistically mimics a select grade, high end hardwood floor. The width on the Bradford vinyl planks is 6 inches.

Innsbruck Plank – With ribbed embossing, this semi rustic vinyl wood plank has character that could be used in many different settings. The 3 colors in Innsbruck are very neutral and can be good choices if you are looking for a 6″ wide plank to blend with most any setting.

Wood Classic – These luxury vinyl planks are some of the most popular consumer choices for the Earthwerks line. Wood Classic is the only vinyl plank manufactured by Earthwerks that has registered embossing. Registered embossing means that not only can you see a character trait in the floor like a knot, but you can also feel the knot. It is a very impressive finish and likely the most realistic 7.24″ wide plank on the market. If you like very rustic wood looking floor, one of the 6 colors in Wood Classic would be an excellent starting point. This plank also carries a 10 year commercial warranty.

Vintage Plank – A very distinct looking vinyl floor. Only 2 colors are manufactured in the Vintage series but each color is very attractive in the right setting. Vintage is extremely rustic. The gray appears to have been white washed and is another unique color often not seen in the luxury vinyl market. This is the widest plank made by Earthwerks at 7.32″.

Plan to Win With a Racquetball Game Plan

You will have a much better chance of winning a racquetball match if you adopt a game plan. A game plan is a style of play and a set of racquetball tactics.

Base your game plan on your current skill set. Adopting a difficult plan will lead to frustration and loss of focus during your match.

Then, stay faithful to your plan during your match. Trust that it will give you the winning advantage, allowing you to stay calm and assertive while hitting your shots.

The following example game plans are listed in order of difficulty and level of attack.

Ceiling Ball Game Plan

This plan involves hitting only ceiling ball shots if the ball is within five feet of the back wall. This includes returning almost all serves with a ceiling ball. Hit passing shots if the ball is waist-high or below. Anything hit above waist-high will go back up to the ceiling. This style of play has the least level of attacking shots, but it also keeps you in control of center court and prevents you from hitting skip shots.

Ball Height Game Plan

In this plan, base your shot selection on the height of the ball. All shots hit above the waist should go to the ceiling. If the ball is between knee and waist-high, then hit down-the-line and wide-angle passing shots. If the ball is at knee level or below, and your opponent is behind you, then hit pinch or down-the-line kill shots. Reduce the number of difficult attack shots hit from above the waist with this game plan.

Side-In vs Side-out Game Plan

If you are side-in and serving, then play an attacking game in the front of the court using pinch and kill shots. In the back court, hit passing shots. However, when side-out, you do not want to hit any aggressive shots from the back of the court, and especially no skip shots. This means returning most serves with a ceiling ball. The advantage of this style of play is that you can “go for it” when you are side-in.

Opponent Position Game Plan

In this plan, base your shot selection entirely on the court position of your opponent. Before taking your shot, be aware of your opponent’s position. If your opponent is behind you, and you can hit the ball at knee height or lower, then make a pinch or kill shot. If your opponent is in front of you, hit passing shots. Cut off all serves early with passing shots.

Game Score Difference Game Plan

When ahead in the game by 3 to 5 points, play as aggressively as possible with attacking passing shots and kill shots, and hit drive or hard z serves on your second serve. If the score is very close or even, play attacking passing shots, but keep your opponent pinned in the back court and keep the ball off the back wall. If you are behind in the score by 3 to 5 points, then slow the game down with lob serves and ceiling ball shots from the back court. In this case, force your opponent to take the high risk shots from the back court.

Shooters Game Plan

OK, this is not really a game plan, but it is the maximum attacking level of play used by professionals. This plan relies on serving hard drive and jam serves on both first and second serves. All shots are attacking passing shots. All serve returns are hard passing shots. Kill all short balls. Use splat shots as often as kill shots. Achieve this game style in 10 years or 10,000 hours of play and practice.

Develop your own game plan that matches your abilities on the racquetball court. When possible, try to evaluate your opponent’s weaknesses and then modify your plan accordingly. Remember, the odds are that your opponent doesn’t even have a plan!

Outdoor Handrail Systems

The need is great for outdoor handrail systems which will provide for safe use by those employees and visitors as well as provide for the safety of your family, friends and visitors to your home. There are many types of railing systems on the market all over the world to meet this need. We will briefly discuss some of them:

Decorative outside railings for around your patio or garden or pool area are available in steel and aluminum and are combined with glass, stone or wire rigging so they can provide a very appealing perimeter to compliment your overall design. The aluminum railing systems are available in colors to add depth to your outdoor design. You can also get systems that have post caps and post covers that have the stone look to add definite character to the style of your railing system.

Ornamental iron railing and wrought iron railing can also be used in residential or commercial applications where style and grace are desired. There are many styles of iron railing available from scroll and filigree styles to the basic no frills styles. These outdoor handrail systems can easily be incorporated into many outdoor decors to provide a graceful and elegant look.

Industrial systems offer fiberglass as an additional outdoor handrail system option. Fiberglass is lightweight, strong and easy to maintain. These fiberglass railing systems meet federal OSHA standards, are cost effective with low maintenance and are available in a number of colors. The railing can be square or round and can be designed to your specifications.

Probably the most often seen railing system in industrial / commercial application is that which is made of steel or brushed stainless steel. You’ll find the basic ADA compliant steel handrail system in many commercial and municipal buildings in handicapped restroom facilities, stairways, ramps for pedestrians or product loading areas, rooftops, infill panels and fencing. These are just a few of the ways steel guardrail / handrail systems are used for outdoor locations.

One of the most cost effective properties of these outdoor handrail systems is that most are of modular construction. What that means to the consumer is this: when you need to replace or repair parts of your railing system, you can only replace or repair the damaged area without having to replace the entire system. You can get character, color and cost effectiveness in your choice of materials to meet your safety needs.

Fitting Balusters

Most conventional staircases feature balusters – wooden splints that run vertically from the handrail to the stair. Some homeowners find it a daunting prospect to repair or replace damaged balusters simply because of the poor accessibility of the baluster. This is the best way to do it.

Cut and closed string

Balusters vary depending on the type of staircase. Balusters on cut string staircases fit into mortises or slots inside the ends of the treads. On a closed string staircase, they rest in a groove inside the string capping and have short lengths of timber set between them as spacers. Their top ends are either skew-nailed to the handrail or set in a groove in its underside.

Single balusters

Replacing a missing baluster usually means having to dismantle the balustrade. Even so it is achievable to replace the odd one by splicing a new baluster into two at an angle in a convenient position, then fitting new top and bottom pieces into the rail and string and then carefully remarrying the two halves with glue and countersunk screws.

Preparing balusters

In the event you need to replace quite a few balusters, then make certain that identical ones are obtainable before completely dismantling the staircase. Square-section balusters are uncomplicated to match, but turned balusters may well need to be specially made. In this case if you give an undamaged baluster to a skilled woodturner, he might be able to make replicas however it will be high priced.


If the balusters on a cut-string staircase have worked loose, drive modest glue-soaked timber wedges into any gaps inside the tread mortise. Then, to secure them entirely, drive in two nails or fine screws at an angle to lock the end of the baluster to the tread. With closed-string flights, skew nail the baluster to the string with either sort, then do the exact same at the point where the baluster meets the handrail. Finish off by concealing the repair using wood filler.

Balustrading by Yourself

If you consider yourself to be quite the handyman, and you want to replace your stair’s ordinary handrails with classy balustrades, then balustrading by yourself will be a piece of cake. Balustrades come in a variety of styles, material and designs that are used in construction. Many experienced DIYers recommend that you choose stainless steel wire when you are balustrading by yourself for the first time instead of the other materials for balustrading such as glass and timber.

Here are some of the reasons why you should choose stainless steel wire when you are balustrading by yourself:

*Balustrades that are made of stainless steel wire are known to be strong and quite durable. After installing them, you will not need to spend so much time and money trying to keep them looking perfect. They are also loved for their stylishness and can easily blend into any modern home decor without fuss.

*Balustrade made using stainless steel wire will give your home the support that it needs. This is because it is a strong material, and can also be incorporated with other solid materials such as concrete and wood that is, if you want to stretch your creativity when you are balustrading by yourself. The finished balustrade will look absolutely amazing when employed in porches, staircases, terraces and balconies. The balustrades are made up of a series of stainless steel wire railings which you can easily connect to the handrails. The great thing about balustrading by yourself is that you get to stretch your creativity and imagination to elastic limits.

*Yes, you can design your wire balustrade to suit your very own specifications or to just blend with the overall design of your home and or office. You can make them look futuristic or make them look more traditional; as long as it suits your personal taste and style. The malleability it offers makes your balustrading project compatible with a variety of architectural designs; and mentioned earlier, you can form them to any shape you want.

*If you want to go for a more eclectic look when balustrading by yourself, you can also use timber and glass along with the wire. Most times, you will find that glass balustrades are supported by stainless steel railings to provide reliability and strength. Incorporating beautiful pieces of glass to stainless steel balustrades will certainly give off a classy and really cool look to your home. Wood and even timber can also be incorporated on stainless steel balustrade as well. Mainly, timber is used in order to serve as the handrails while the stainless steel wire as the railings of balustrades.

If you are keen on balustrading by yourself, then it makes sense to ensure that you get your materials from a reliable and reputable supplier. With a good hardware supply store, you can get the materials and the best tools that will make your balustrading project a much easier one. You can easily order for balustrading materials from a good online hardware store such as Trade Products…the hardware central.

Increase Sales Belief-Increase Sales Revenue!

Did you see the UPSETS in college football a few years ago? It all started with Appalachian State UPSETTING Michigan 34 – 32. Then… look what followed: Stanford UPSETS USC 24 – 23 Oregon State UPSETS California 31 – 28 Kentucky UPSETS LSU 43 – 37

Personally, I am amused by the hoopla created by the media and pollsters as to the changing status of the #1 College Teams and all the "analysis" of why these NUMBER 1 teams are being upset at an unprecedented rate. How many times this season are we going to hear "Quite possibly the biggest UPSET of the year?

"How did this all happen? I am NOT a sports expert by any means, but the simple truth is that this topsy-turvy college football season has been caused by BELIEF! Appalachian State is the modern day "Roger   Banister " story. Roger  Banister  BELIEVED he could beat the 4-minute mile. He did! Appalachian State had the BELIEF they could beat Michigan. They did!

Look what happened when people started to BELIEVE. Three major–and I mean MAJOR–college football UPSETS after Appalachian State beats Michigan. Over the next twelve months after  Bannister  broke the 4-minute mile, more than thirty people also broke that record. In fact, by now over 20,000 people have done it, including many high school athletes.

Let’s examine the  Banister  story a little closer. In the early 1950s, he announced to the world that he would run the mile in under four minutes. (Hello, Salespeople!– Banister  was setting and declaring his goal!) Everyone thought that he had lost his mind. The sports "experts," the medical establishment–everyone! On May 6th, 1954, he did what he said he would do. Within only one year, over 30 people ran faster than  Banister  himself. When asked how it was possible for so many people to run that fast so soon,  Banister  said "It was never a physical boundary, only a mental one."

Salespeople, this is not rocket science. This is not sports medicine. You CAN achieve the highest levels of sales revenue. You CAN become the best salesperson. You CAN beat the competition. You CAN do all these things if you get your head in the game and mentally BELIEVE you can do it. Yes, certainly there are other things you have to do to be successful, just like  Banister  did–practice, learn, be persistent, etc. Yet, the basic foundation for success in ANYTHING you do starts with BELIEF!

7 Tips To Achieve Sales Belief and Increase Sales Revenue:

1, Set and Declare Your Sales Goals!

2. Possess a WHITE-HOT Burning Desire to Reach Your Goals

3. Reprogram Yourself With Powerful Positive Daily Self-Talk: "I know I can… "

4. Hang Out With Winners, Not Whiners

5. Maintain a Confident Attitude (starts with a strong personal foundation – see below)

6. Implement Good Habits and Exercise Great Sales Self-Discipline

7. Become Passionate About You, Your Product, and Your Company

Often I will receive communication from a high-level Sales Executive in regard to a salesperson who is struggling. In every case or situation, I can easily find the roadblocks that these salespeople face, many which are self-imposed–created by a lack of belief in themselves. BELIEF is a strong motivator that affects us daily, both personally and professionally, and can easily be corrected by changing one’s attitude.

Create your own " Banister " or "Appalachian State" success story. Both held a strong BELIEF in themselves and their abilities, and so can you! BELIEF, along with a steadfast commitment to being the best, will enable any salesperson to close more sales, close bigger sales, increase market share, and–most of all–give you the fortitude to do what it takes to achieve the highest levels of sales success!

Believe in yourself so your clients will believe in you!

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 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, 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.

Understand DISEQ FTA Switches

External switches

There are only 2 main switches that work with most if not all FTA receivers and regular(legacy) LNBs they are:

22khz switch, connects 2 LNBs to one receiver

DiSEqC 4×1 switch, connects up to 4 LNBs to one receiver.

22khz switches, these are really simple, they look like a splitter but are a simple ON or OFF switch, 0khz and 22khz are the 2 input ports then one out to receiver port, when you have 22khz OFF in your receiver the 0khz port is connected, when you have 22khz ON in your receiver the 22khz port is connected.

This switch is for hooking up 2 LNBs to one receiver.

The 22khz switch has big brother it is a DTV or 22khz 4×4 switch, this switch has 4 inputs to hook up 2 DUAL LNBs and can be hook to as many as 4 receivers.

2 inputs are labeled 13v,0khz & 18v,0khz (remember the LNBFs internal switch), and the other 2 inputs are 13v,22khz & 18v,22khz. This allows both polarities from each LNB to be inside the switch at all times, so any of the 4 receiver can access any polarity on either of the 2 LNBs.

These switches also come in a 4×8 for up to 8 receiver hook ups to 2 satellites.

DiSEqC is a pulse switch, it also uses a 22khz signal but it uses a one time pulse to set the DiSEq switch to 1 of 4 ports, these switches come in 2×1 and 4×1 models, for 2 LNBs to ONE receiver or 4 LNBs to ONE receiver, respectively, these can NOT be used for more than one receiver, you must use another DiSEq switch for second receiver.

DiSEqC-1 or 2 or 3 or 4 in your menu will cause the DiSEqC switch to switch to that numbered port, some receivers use A, B, C, D instead of 1, 2, 3, 4.

This “pulse” is only sent once, if the DiSEq switch is to far away from the receiver it can miss it and not change ports, some times toggling back and forth between channels can make the change happen, the pulse is repeated each time you change channels, but moving the switch closer to the receiver can improve its performance.

DiSEqC = Digital Satellite Equipment Control, this was designed for FTA receivers.

DiSEqC switches come in 2 main flavors, Committed(1.0) and Uncommitted(1.1), but also Committed 2-way(2.0) and UnCommitted 2-way(2.1).

Committed(1.0) switches are the most common and are what come with the receivers.

These switches require FACTORY software in your FTA to operate properly, 1.0 means your receiver can operate Committed switches ONLY, 1.1 means it can operate Committed AND UnCommitted switches, 1.2 means it can operate Committed and UnCommitted plus DiSEqC motor controls.

2.0 is the same as above, 2.0, 2.1, 2.2 but the receiver can also receive information back from the switch, 2.0 switches receive the pulse command from the receiver, then change ports, they then send back a confirmation to the receiver, if a 2.0 receiver doesn’t receive the confirmation it will send the DiSEqC pulse again and again until the switch confirms it is on the right port.

Putting 2 DiSEqC Committed switches on one cable is a no-no, which is why there are Committed and UnCommitted types of switches, a Committed switch is placed first in line (DiSEqC pulse comes from the receiver so first would be closest to the receiver), then you can hookup an UnCommitted switch to the Committed switch, the Committed switch will ignore the UnCommitted switches commands.

Committed 4×1 switches are about $20, UnCommitted 4×1 switches are about $80, so unless you have to have 16 LNBs hooked up to one receiver stick with Committed switches.

There are no multiple receiver DiSEq switches for Legacy(regular) style LNBs

22khz switches and DiSEq switches can work well together, with one restriction, the 22khz switch must come AFTER the DiSEq switch.

So you can hook one 22khz switch to two LNBs then hook the output of the 22khz switch to port 1 on the DiSEq switch. So instead of 4 LNBs you could have 5 LNBs hooked up, you can add a 22khz switch to each DiSEqC port for a total of 8 LNBs hooked up to one receiver.

Dishnet Legacy switches, are designated by SW, like sw21 or sw64 these do not use true DiSEqC pulses so do not work with FTA receivers.

Legacy TWIN and QUAD LNBs have built-in SW switches so also do not work with FTA receivers

DishPro TWIN or QUAD LNBs, have an internal DiSEqC switch, so EACH port on the LNB has access to either of the 2 LNBs inside, 110 or 119, DiSEqC 1 = 119 and DiSEqC 2 = 110, these LNBs require a DP Channel List.

DishPro external switches, there are 2 now, a DP34 and a DPP44, both of these use true DiSEqC pulses so will work with FTA receivers but you must use DP LNBs to take advantage of the multiple receiver aspect of this switch.

(The DPPlus LNB does NOT work with FTA receivers, it does not use true DiSEqC)

If you hook up a standard(non-DP) LNB to a DP switch and more than one receiver you can only get 1 polarity at a time from that LNB. If you just have 1 receiver hooked up to it, it has been reported to work fine. I have not tested this.

Multiple receiver switches

If you are using standard(non-DP) LNBs you need 1 LNB port per receiver, it’s that simple, if you have a Dual LNB it has 2 ports so you can hook up 2 receivers, if you want a 3rd receiver hooked up you need a 3rd LNB port.

Single output(non-DP) LNBs can only ever be used with 1 receiver.

But if you have a Dual LNB you can expand it to 4 or 8 or even 16 outputs.

This is done with a Multi-switch, they come in 3×4, 3×8 and 2×16.

You run 2 cables from the Dual LNB to the multi-switch you then have 4 LNB outputs(or 8 or 16), if you have 2 LNBs you want then you need 2 Multi-switches, one for each LNB.

The 4×4 22khz switch is 2 multi-switches in one case, and you can use these along with DiSEq 4×1’s to setup a multi-satellite multi-receiver system.

C/Ku switch or 0/12v is a voltage controlled switch, most FTAs do not have this option but some do, these do not work from a coax cable signal as 22khz and DiSEqC do, they require 2 wires to the switch, the switch has 2 inputs and one output, at 0volts one port is connected at 12v the other port is connected.

On the back of the receiver will be a GND(ground) and 12v(12volts) this is where the 2 wires to the switch are connected, and there will be an option in the menu for 0/12v ON or OFF.

Managing Sinus Infections

Infections and allergies may affect the condition of sinuses. Sinuses are usually cavities within the skull. The cavities are situated above the eyes and they connect the nasal cavities. The surfaces of sinuses are characterized by the presence of cilia. The microscopic hairs serve the purpose of cleaning the cavities. In addition, the cilia facilitate the movement of mucus within this space.

When the health and conditions of the sinuses is compromised by the presence of disease causing pathogens, the result may be devastating. Infections and irritations of the lining may lead to poor drainage of these cavities and hence mucus clogs the sinuses. As a result of this, the sinuses swell.

The swelling of the sinuses is caused by different agents. For some, it may be an allergic reaction. For others it may be caused by bacteria or viruses. Irritants are also causes of inflammation of sinuses. The causative agent may determine whether sinusitis is acute or chronic.

Sinusitis affects the different sinus cavities in different ways. The types of cavities include the   frontal  sinus, the ethmoid sinus, sphenoid and maxillary sinuses. Each of these sinus cavities occur in pairs which are located on the sides of the nose. Infections to these sinuses are different and their symptoms may vary from one infection to another.

The ethmoid sinuses are situated between the sockets of the eye above the nose. Infections to these sinuses result to them inflammation of the lining as well as the blockage of the drainage ducts known as ostia. The resultant ethmoid sinusitis causes mucus build-up and further infections. Congestion of the nasal channels and discharges are some of the symptoms. Other people experience pain in the corners of the eye or there may be pain within the nose.

 Frontal  sinusitis is also another acute form of sinusitis. The lining of this cavity is usually inflamed. It may lead to much worse conditions if it is not addressed in good time. For example, it may lead to deficiency in immunity since the  frontal  sinus activities are impaired. Patients may experience nasal congestion, facial pains and even  frontal  headaches. Sever coughs are also some of the common symptoms of  frontal  sinusitis.

The sphenoid sinuses are located at the back of the nose. This is specifically at the brain’s base. Sphenoid sinusitis may lead to severe and persistent headaches. Individuals suffering from sphenoid sinusitis usually experience problems when they stand for long periods of time or when they stoop.

Maxillary sinusitis occurs when drainage of the maxillary sinuses does not occur properly. It is generally recommended that the problem should be handled in its initial stages before it advances to more complicated stages. It is worth noting that the maxillary sinuses are situated on either sides of the nose just above the teeth and beneath the cheeks. When blockages of drainage channels of this cavity occur, it may lead to severe pains such as toothaches.

These sinus infections can be prevented by avoiding contact with people who have common colds. It is also recommended that individuals get flu vaccinations that would help minimize the risk of infections. Individuals are also encouraged to observe healthy diets rich in vitamins.

3 Of the Most Famous Sights in Rome

There are few places in the world quite as packed with ancient and historical sights as this one, and if you’re staying in a design hotel in Rome you must make the time to see them. There are plenty to choose from, which can make a short stop in the city a challenge. After all, which ones do you make the time to see?

We will all have favourites of course, but here are just three. Will you agree with them?

The Pantheon

Famous for the eight identical columns that tower in front of you as you stand before it, this building is a true marvel. It’s easy to see a picture of the front of the Pantheon and assume the building is square or rectangular, but in fact only the front is rectangular in shape.

Behind this welcoming   frontage  is a rotunda, covered by a huge dome that can be seen for miles around. Indeed, if you are fortunate, you may spot the dome blending into the skyline from your design hotel in Rome. The exterior is a marvel, but be sure to head inside and see what it has to offer. Remember to look beneath your feet, where the original Roman marble floor can still be seen.

The Colosseum

Just as it is easy to assume the Pantheon is a different shape to how it actually is, so it is easy to assume the famous Colosseum is round. In fact it is elliptical, taking on an oval shape as it stands against the skyline.

This was where gladiators fought against one another and theatrical presentations were put on to entertain the thousands of Romans in the crowds. Nowadays, what stands is partially a ruin, although one can still get a good idea of what it would have looked like back then.

The Roman Forum

If the previous two attractions are singular in their appearance, the Roman Forum is almost a small city on its own. Indeed it used to be a city – the centre of attention for ancient Romans. If your design hotel in Rome is near the Forum Magnum, as it was called, make sure you pay it a visit.

Among the sights you can see here are the Temple of Saturn, the Arch of Septimius Severus and the Forum Main Square. Indeed the arch has survived to a remarkable extent and is quite something to see in today’s modern city.

Wherever your design hotel in Rome might be, it will seem worlds away from these ancient structures that still stand, hundreds of years after they were first built. Life was very different back then, but it is heartening to know we can still see these structures today. They shed light on how life was lived all those years ago.

Awareness of One’s Shadow Aspect in BDSM

BDSM and Fetish in general is a misunderstood and very prejudged lifestyle. It all comes down to a deep social taboo and expectance to keep the shadow aspect of our persona, or the shadow, in check and hidden. What is a the shadow of one’s persona? Originally theorized in Jungian psychology, it is one of two sides of us; the first is the persona or fa├žade we show the world that conforms to societal rules and standards. The shadow aspect is who we truly are but hide from society, and is often times not even recognized by people because of how negative they feel it is. The shadow can have traits such as egotism, selfishness, laziness, greed, lust, etc. depending on the individual person. It harbors what we act out in our dreams and, in many people, can actually manifest itself in our dreams as a person of the same gender as the dreamer, and may appear with dark and/or inexplicit features. Our interaction with the shadow in our dreams can reveal one’s current state of mind. The shadow, often determines what we enjoy watching in movies and/or reading in books. It is everything we wish we could openly live, but suppress due to a deep-set, often times justified, fear of rejection due to what we’re taught as children. Most people will go through life completely unaware of their shadow aspect and will live unfulfilled lives and never really understand why they feel as if something is missing.

People who practice BDSM are one group who have come to acknowledge, fantasize, or even fully accept and live vicariously in harmony with their shadow. This is in direct contrast to the overwhelming majority of society who subconsciously engage in a never ending battle with it. Personally, I decided long ago that I would not suffocate my shadow aspect for others happiness. With that said, I also have come from a childhood that is far beyond comprehension for most people. The specifics are not open for discussion in this article, or at this time, but they were detriment in forming who I am today and forming the alliance I have with my shadow aspect and account for the absolute lack of shame in having it. Essentially though, most people are never forced to encounter their shadow aspect if they do not wish to. I lived it or saw it being lived out on a daily basis and was very familiar with it as a child, though I did not even know what it was, or that it was abnormal for one to be so in tune with it. My shadow was just my friend, my ally, my voice.

I have found that quite a few people who are open in their lifestyle of BDSM are very in touch with their shadow. Though they may have never known its name, they have always been aware of a side of them that they know is not acceptable by societal standards, but embrace it regardless. Most people who are closeted in their love for BDSM have one common fear amongst one another; the fear of what their family and/or others will think about them. In fact, their fear is so strong that I have seen all too often people spending a great majority of their lives hiding who they really are as to not displease their loved ones. As you sit down for a moment of ponderance tonight, ask yourself this – Do you know your shadow? In answering this question you may find that you are either much more, or much less truthful with yourself than you realized. The impact your awareness of your shadow has can be huge in regards to your BDSM life, or life in general. At a very minimum, perhaps your new knowledge and awareness of one’s shadow will give you a new-found respect for the BDSM and fetish communities.

A Primer on Plumbing Pipes

Some time in the past 30 or 40 years, I remember an initiative to get truth in advertising. I don’t know how successful it was, but one industry that apparently wasn’t affected by it is the plumbing industry. I can’t think of any other industry that has as many definitions for what a 1/2″ or any other size pipes are. 

One would think that 1/2″ copper tubing would be the same, no matter what, but the sad truth is that 1/2″ rigid copper pipe has a different outer diameter ( OD), then 1/2″ flexible copper pipe. Fittings for one will not work on the other. If you want to use both you would have to purchase an adapter. The same thing can be said for plastic pipe, a piece of 1″ black ABS pipe is not the same size as 1″ white PVC plastic pipe. Again to use both, a home owner would need a buy an adapter.

To help eliminate some of the confusion, here is a primer on plumbing fittings and connections.

Rigid Copper Pipe:

Used mostly for hot and cold water lines within the house. The best tool to cut rigid copper tubing is a pipe cutter. The pipe is placed in the cutter, and the knob is turned down, which brings the pipe into contact with the cutter wheel. As the cutter is rotated around the pipe, you continue to tighten the wheel, until you have cut through the entire pipe.

There are two ways to connect copper pipes together. The first is to   solder  or sweat the pipes together. The second is the use of compression fittings.  Soldered  fittings are much less expensive then the compression, but take a little more work to make a leak free joint.

When you sweat copper pipes, the first thing is to clean the ends that you are going to sweat together. then flux is applied to both the pipe and the fitting you are connecting to it. The pieces are placed together, and heat is applied to the union with a propane torch. When the union is heated enough,  solder  is applied to the joint, the  solder  is sucked into the joint, sealing the two pieces together. From experience, I can tell you take to make this work successfully, there must be absolutely NO WATER in the line, if there is the joint will leak. And once a joint leaks , there is no repairs without replacing the fitting and starting over. Professional plumbers tend to use a hotter source of heat, then the propane bottle can provide. But I’m always concerned about using any heat source inside my house. If you choose this method, be very careful with the torch in tight spaces. It might be a good idea to have a fire extinguisher handy.

Compression fittings do not require heat. A common place that compression fittings are used is at the water shut off valves beneath your sink, or toilet. But there are many other places that you can use them. To make up a fitting using a compression fitting, start by cutting the inlet pipe to length, using a pipe cutter. Place the compression nut and compression ring over the end of the pipe, as shown above, then insert the pipe into the compression seat. Then using two wrenches, one to hold the fitting and the other for the compression nut, tighten the compression nut completely. This forces the compression ring unto the pipe, creating a water tight seal.

Compression fittings are not fool proof. If the pipe is not seated all the way onto the seat, the joint will leak, thus it is imperative that the end of the pipe be cut flat. Compression fitting are designed as a one use only device, if it leaks cut out the offending piece and start over again. Also the pipe must be completely cleaned before you start, any dirt or corrosion on the pipe will create leaks. Tightening the compression nut in confined spaces may require to use of special tools like crows feet wrenches.

Flexible Copper Pipe:

This is used mainly to connect natural or propane gas to your house. It is normally connected to the appropriate devices with the use of compression fitting designed for the flexible pipes. Flexible copper pipe is suitable for being installed under ground. Flexible copper pipe may look like a great choice for indoors plumbing runs, but it is not recommended for that use. Also the limited amount of fittings available make this a less then perfect choice. Flexible copper fitting are NOT interchangeable with fittings for rigid copper pipe.

Some professional plumbers are currently installing flexible water pipes, but these require special tools and fittings, that are not available to the DIY’r. Not all municipalities allow for the use of flexible pipes for water delivery with in the home.

Rigid Pipe:

This pipe comes in either black iron or galvanized pipe. Black iron pipe is normally used to run natural gas inside the home, while galvanized is used mainly for water lines. The ends of these pipes are threaded, as are the connecting pieces. You simply screw the pieces together, after applying either plumber’s tape or pipe dope.

Plumber’s tape is made of Teflon, and is white in color. You should apply it to the male end of the pipe, by running the tape around the pipe several times. Install the tape in the opposite direction, then the male end of the pipe will thread into the female union. Before you thread the two pieces together, be sure to clean out any remaining Teflon tape on the inside of the female threads if you are re using the fitting. There is a Pink Teflon tape, that used solely for making up connection is natural gas lines. Pipe dope, is actually a thick paste that is applied to the threads using a brush. If you are reusing a fitting that has had pipe dope applied before, you must clean both the male and female threads, using a wire brush and a pick, much like the ones that the dentist uses to clean our teeth.

To connect two pieces of pipe together or to install an adapter or fitting, use two pipe wrenches. The first wrench is used to hold the pipe, while the second one is used to turn the fitting or adapter. While you may not use a pipe wrench all that often, this is not the place to go for the bargain priced tool. Sometimes it takes considerable energy to loosen a threaded joint that has been in place for several years. The cheaper wrenches tend to slip, which can cause injury to you or cause damage to you home.

Recently galvanized pipes have gotten some bad press, when used for water delivery. Apparently the insides of the pipes are releasing chemicals into the drinking water, so it is advised that you stick to either copper or the newer flexible pipes for water delivery.

Plastic or PVC/ABS Pipes:

PVC ( Polyvinyl Chloride) pipe is a white plastic pipe that is used to supply both hot and cold water to the interiors of many homes. This product is very flexible and easy to use. There are two ways to cut PVC pipe, either use a hand saw or miter saw to cut large diameter pieces. Smaller diameter pieces can be cut using hand held PVC cutters. To connect PVC pieces, you first cut the pipe to length, then using a cleaning solution designed for the pipe, clean both the ends of the pipe and the connecting piece. A special glue is then applied to both pieces, and the pieces are pushed together. The glue sets, within a minute, so it is vitally important that the pieces be aligned properly when pushed together. There is a very limited amount of time that you can maneuver the pieces. It is a very good idea to use a scribe line to indicate to proper orientation of two mating pieces.

ABS ( Arcylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) is a black plastic pipe that is used for drain, waste and vent (DWV) plumbing in today’s homes. This product replaced the cast iron pipes found in many older homes. ABS is worked in much the same manner as the PVC pipe. It can be cut with hand saw or powered miter saw. It uses a cleaner and glue similar to the PVC pipes, only this is designed for the ABS pipes.

When you are gluing either of these products, it is recommended that you use a pair of disposable gloves to protect you hand, unless you like picking dried glue off your hands for several days. Also it is recommended that you work in a well ventilated area.

Generally, you will not see both white and black plastic pipes connected together. One exception to this is maybe found under the sink. A lot of manufacturers are making “P” traps, shown here in black ABS, for the sink drains out of white plastic.

Because of its flexibility you may find homes in earth quake areas plumbed with PVC rather then the conventional rigid copper pipes. There was a lot of bad press in the 90’s about PVC pipes breaking within the walls of homes, this was traced to specific manufacturers, and shouldn’t be seen as a condemnation of the product.

The PVC and ABS pipes are not sized the same. a 1 ” PVC will not connect to a black 1″ ABS fitting. This may have been done to keep us from inadvertently using the wrong pipe for the wrong application, but it sure is confusing. I mean a 1″ pipe should be a 1″ pipe.

I hope this helped clear up some of the confusion about the many options offered to us by the plumbing manufacturers. A word of advice learned the hard way, check to be sure that all your fittings do actually connect before you leave the store or you may find yourself making return trips to your DIY store as I’ve done many times.

Electric Solar Panels

When starting with installing solar panels in your home, you might get a bit unnerved by the depth of the hole being drilled in your pocket. So you might consider switching to a more economic option of generating green power for your home. Did you ever consider electric solar panels?

Well in case you don’t desire to fit your whole home with store bought solar panels and still desire to use cleaner energy, using electric solar panels is a good option. They are only a fraction as expensive as their other counterparts and very easy to build as well.

For starters get an off-day. Go down to your work garage, store room or even your basement would do. Assemble as many household tools as you can — cordless drills, wrenches, soldering iron etc. convince a good helper into assisting you — friends, spouses and even children come handy. You also need a guide that illustrates the method of construction from A to Z. Wondering why home-made remedies? To keep the costs down!

Making electric solar panels require small wires of individual cells to be joined together. This is done by soldering. All you do is to hold the soldering iron, over the wire that is to be joined, and wait till it heats up enough. As soon as it does, touch the wires to be joined with the solder ever so slightly; this joins them instantly.

It is a fun process and the best part is it involves your whole family.

How to Make Sliding Dovetail Joints

A sliding dovetail joint is very similar to the mortise and tenon joint. The socket has the same function as a mortise, and the dovetail is comparable to the tenon. Unlike a mortise & tenon joint, sliding dovetails must be open on one end of the socket. You cut the socket and the dovetail tenon with the same dovetail bit.

Sliding Dovetail Benefits

A sliding dovetail joint does extremely well in tensile strength or pull-apart strength. It excels in connecting the sides of a drawer to the front and back. Also, they are excellent for doors, legs and rails, and shelves.

Joint Design

The taper of a dovetail joint defines the fit. Of course, the dovetail bit’s design restricts the shape of the sliding dovetail joint. Sliding dovetails are easy to plan in the ends of drawer sides. To provide greater strength on the back of the drawer, you can offset the sockets. You can do the same in the front of the drawer to hide the drawer slides.

Router Bits for Sliding Dovetails

Most dovetail bits have angles from roughly 7° to 9° up to 14°. Of course, they come in various lengths. I suggest you stay away from very narrow-necked dovetail bits. It is best to cut the dovetail socket at full depth in one pass. Prior to using the dovetail bit it is a good idea to use a straight bit to pre-plow the socket. That prolongs the dovetail bit.

You don’t have to worry about a climb cut if the socket is only one router bit wide. With one pass and one setup, you can rout the socket. The fitting process is easier this way. In addition, you have a target for the dovetail tenon. The tenon is the same size as the dovetail router bit.

To make the tenon, you adjust your router table fence in small increments. You need to take a little bit off of each side. So you slide the edge across the dovetail bit. You turn the board over and do the same on the other side. You can see how the dovetail tenon is forming. You perform this procedure several times by moving the router table fence back a little. Once the dovetail tenon fits the socket, you are finished.

What could be simpler?

You can spend a lot of money on commercial dovetail jigs. However, you can make sliding dovetails using a router table.

If you would like more information, along with pictures and a video demonstrating the process, please visit