Door Name Plates

Door name plates are for the most part used in industrial, institutional, hotel, medical, and religious buildings. There are quite a lot of eye-catching alternatives for door name plates. Most imprinted door name plates come with metal holders and a wide vary of insert colors. There are also door sliders with different messages like “JUST MARRIED” on one side and “DO NOT DISTURB” on the other.

Door name plate holders are by and large made of anodized aluminum in gold, silver or black dyes. They are easy to get to in normal frame sizes. But if an out-of-the-ordinary size is required, then the edge-strip system is used. Strip holders are cut to the necessary distance end to end. Door nameplates come in different sizes, including single-, double- and triple-side views. Single door name plate holders are even available in four-sided figures or angles.

Some nameplates allow for an exchangeable carved or digitally printed plastic coat insert. There are a wide range of colors for engraving, screen printing or digital printing. Door name plates can also have the option of screw-setup, bonding agent-backed, magnetic or Velcro attachment.

Door name plates come in a very wide variety of prices and materials. Some door name plates are even gold or gold embossed – those are in the upper price range. Other door name plates are made of carved wood, which also can fetch a pretty penny depending on the quality. The list goes all the way down to basic plastic. The personalization does cost a bit extra.

Create a Natural Privacy Screen For Your Deck Or Balcony Area That is Sure to Add a Calming Charm

Too often we see balcony and deck areas go unused because of a sheer lack of privacy.  Now you can showcase and bring texture to your yard with natural beauty and privacy at the same time.  A unique way to add beautiful greenery to your balcony, coverage from the prying eyes of neighbors, or, what might be an unattractive view, is to create a natural outdoor privacy screen. 

Start with lightweight decorative resin or plastic containers.  We used 3 for our project because of the size of the balcony deck.  One for the front, and one for each side of the balcony.  Be sure to select containers that that have drainage holes at the bottom.  Plants that are sitting in soggy water-filled soil are never a good thing.  

Put a few small rocks around the top of the drainage holes to keep the soil from draining out.  Then, fill the containers with soil, and plant vines (we used creeping fig because it is hardy and will naturally cling to the surface once it gets established) with branches that are long enough to secure to your balcony fence panels.   Position your 3 decorative resin containers along the front side of the balcony at the center, left and right sides.  This will give you an outdoor privacy screen that covers all the angles. 

Next, cut rolled plastic fencing in to 1-2 inch strips and staple to fence using your stable gun.  Secure vines to plastic fencing with plastic coated wire ties.  Be careful not to staple the vines themselves.  Ouch!!  As vines branch out, continue to add more plastic fencing until wood fence panels are completely covered.  This will give your balcony a custom charm and a natural outdoor privacy screen (for photos see below).  You can also use this same method to cover ugly metal fence poles in your yard as well (see our article on Covering Up Ugly Metal Fence Poles)



  • 3 Lightweight resin plant containers with drainage holes, or drill your own.
  • Plastic Gardener Fencing (3 x 50 ft. − Can be found at most home and garden centers.)
  • Plastics coated wire ties for outdoor plants.
  • Staple Gun
  • Staples (for your staple gun of course)
  • Scissors or wire cutters
  • 3 creeping figs
  • Potting soil and mulch
  • Drainage saucers

How to Create a Proper Study Plan to Learn Spanish

Just having an objective to learn Spanish is not enough – you need to have a proper study plan in place. Having a good study plan is important as it enables you to focus on all the things that will help you learn Spanish the right way. It is the backbone for effective learning. It combines your regular online/traditional study programs and your personal study.

Here are a few tips which will help you create a proper study plan to learn Spanish.

Set daily and weekly goals

Don’t just create a study plan – prepare an action plan that serves a specific purpose. Set daily and weekly goals. Make sure that the goals are quantifiable, like preparing for a weekend test or a proficiency test or learning conjugations. Also, have the long-term perspective in mind while setting your daily or weekly goals, so that they help you in achieving your main objectives like clearing the CLEP exam, advancing to the next level of learning Spanish or the ultimate objective of mastering Spanish and speaking it fluently like a native speaker.

Review the day’s lesson

This is the most essential part of a study plan. Review the day’s lesson taught in your online/traditional study program – memorize the grammar rules, vocabulary and phrases. If you are learning Spanish online, you can take advantage of repeating any lesson that you found difficult to follow. This way, you can get a good grasp on the language.

Concentrate on topics other than those taught in the class

A study plan that does not add any value to your regular classes is of limited use. Explore various facets of Spanish language and its culture – make it your hobby. Spend time to explore various themes, topics and idiomatic expressions other than those taught in the class. This gives you a comprehensive knowledge about Spanish that indirectly enhances the understanding and application of the language and also helps you stay motivated to learn the language.

Practice balanced learning

Try to cover all aspects of the language. Practice reading, writing, speaking, and listening – do a little bit every day. Never schedule or plan to master these aspects one after the other; they all have to go hand in hand for more effective learning.

Indulge in stress-busting exercises

Your study plan is not complete until you incorporate language games, comics, short stories, movies, music, etc., as part of your learning process. These activities not only serve as stress-busting exercises but also help in strengthening your knowledge of Spanish. These also help in easy application of the language in your day-to-day life.

Interact with faculty, friends and native Spanish speakers

Don’t limit the activities of a study plan to the indoors or text books or your computer. It’s important that you not isolate yourself – get out and mingle with the native Spanish speaking population or chat with them online. If you can’t resolve certain doubts or questions about the language on your own, find someone qualified to help you. Speak in Spanish with your classmates. Get involved in group studies and discussions – this helps you overcome your fear of speaking in Spanish.

Review your plan every day

Track your progress every day to check if the plan is working. Review and revise your plan regularly to make it better. Add or eliminate activities based on your progress and needs. The more your plan is customized to your current and long-term needs, the better the results will be.

Be disciplined and stick to the schedule

Unless you are disciplined, you cannot assure a successful journey in learning Spanish. Learning Spanish requires that you be enthusiastic, sincere, hardworking and dedicated. Just wishing you could master Spanish without having all these attributes can mean getting nowhere in the learning process.

Make your study plan as dynamic as you can – don’t make it an imitation of your regular Spanish training classes. Also, having a plan does not imply that you have to spend the whole day on studying Spanish. The purpose of a study plan is to make you study smarter, not harder.

Steps For Constructing Decks And Deck Railing

You are an enthusiastic of DIY and you are planning to build your deck railing for your custom deck.Good news to you! Deck railing are easy to plan, make and install. Learn how to do it in this article.

Steps For Constructing Decks And Deck Railing

Easy steps you can follow when planning your custom deck railing. Following these step you will be sure to avoid any mistake.

Make a tour a around your neighborhood and visit others city and suburban area, too, to decide on deck and deck railing styles and patterns you like. This will aid the design selection process saving time and offering you many options to choose from. Cities and suburban areas offer diverse style and maybe there a new material, styles and combination that you don’t know or ever think, that is the good reason to take your time to stroll around.

Proper tools for building your deck and railings. Tools you need are easy to use tools,generally known to any DIY fan. Some of the tools for this work are caulking gun,a drill, a wrench, a hammer, a circular saw, lumbar, goggles, pencils, papers and measure tape.Hardware store are good to gather information, even online stores. When you planning, you must include to whole detail the exact supplies you need to have for building a specific deck railing.

Measure the exact space you have available for installing deck railing. The most exact measure, the best results for your work:measurements of the space between posts and balusters should be exact when you will be working on your railings.Acurate measures are substantial to the success of your project and measure the length of top and bottom railing you are finishing your deck

Cinder blocks are needed to calculate the measurements suitable for your deck and railing, including length between posts and the length posts need to have.

Lumbar an other materials should be cut to exact specifications you have and begin installation.

More Tips About Building Deck Railings

If it is the first time you are working in wood or working in something you consider complicate, no doubt in hire a professional carpenter, he is able to install your deck and help you with some suggestions about how cut, install and finish your work with your deck railing.

Building deck railings is incredibly easy when you know how to do it. All you need is the right information,adequate supplies, and good plans or designs and a little time to invest in the work, as you can see information is basic point to construct any enterprise, little or large, desk railing are too difficult to built but if you don’t have enough information in this topic, it will look more complicated than is.

Most railings can be installed without much effort and within a couple of short hours,once installed, you should protect your deck from water and humidity, and other oddities from climate, the best way is to paint properly, either wood or metal, to prevent them from spoil ( decay and /or rust). Then you can go on enjoying long time deck railings.

How Community Architectural and Design Controls Affect the Design of Your Home

There’s a battle underway in many communities across the country. On one side is the irresistible force of progress – home builders and developers, and homebuyers in a hurry to move into brand-new homes. On the other side is the immovable object of community government and citizens already settled into growing neighborhoods. The combatants are fighting for the right to determine what neighborhoods look like – specifically, how to control “cookie-cutter” houses and assure diversity of architectural design.

The families that occupy the first few homes in a new neighborhood are often quite surprised when they find that a nearly identical version of the home they call their own is under construction two doors down. How did that happen? After all, when they met with their builder they chose the brick color, the siding color, and the roof shingles; they reversed the plan and picked the upgraded landscaping package. But suddenly their vision of home ownership, their biggest investment, their pride, is diluted by similar visions sprouting up all along their street.

Home builders and developers, on the other hand, are under intense financial and competitive pressure. Development starts many years in advance of construction, when land developers purchase and “stockpile” land for future use. It’s a speculative game, and developers cross their fingers that homebuyers will desire today the land that they bought ten years ago. The trick is to appeal to a wide audience and buy land in areas now that will be in demand later. Part of that wider appeal is expressed in the design of the homes that are offered for sale or for construction in those neighborhoods. The safest route is always a small number of easily modified designs that can be accurately priced and that will satisfy the desires of the largest number of people.

When a homebuyer sits down to “customize” one of these plans, he’s usually choosing from a pre-determined vocabulary of options designed to work well together and produce an attractive home. That’s a workable system until you consider that in a given neighborhood, where the homebuyers are similar in age, income, education, values, etc., it is very likely that their tastes in home design are similar too. And before you know it, two different buyers starting with the same basic plan have chosen similar materials and colors. Oops – now what?

Everyone, of course, has a right to decide what his or her own house looks like. Some of America’s best homes are unique, distinctive designs that truly reflect the personalities of their owners. But those homes are rarely built in “typical” suburban neighborhoods. More likely, they’re on properties isolated from any significant architectural context and need relate only to trees and land forms.

Most homes in this country are built next door to other homes. A group of homes together forms a neighborhood, and a neighborhood often looks best (and hold it’s value best) when the homes in it share a common design thread. But that’s where the battle starts. Houses can be too similar, and neighborhoods can take on a monotonous character. The appeal of attractive homes is weakened. Soon homeowners and city officials are criticizing the repetition of comparable houses, and builders and developers find themselves having to defend their right to build what their buyers are asking for.

It’s a complex and difficult problem but there are solutions. The most common is instituting a design review process — a system for determining whether a particular design is compatible with the homes around it. Although inherently subjective, design review can have a high degree of objectivity if clear guidelines are drawn up. Historic neighborhoods around the country have successfully used design review for many years to maintain their character and property values. Newer communities use design guidelines to simultaneously guarantee design compatibility and assure architectural diversity. The design review process requires that attention be paid to the design of each home as an individual project, not just as another permutation of a standard plan. It also requires that each proposed design be evaluated in terms of the houses around it.

But because of the inherent difficulty of imposing rules upon something as subjective and personal as the design of a home, the design review process can be cumbersome and painful.

A better solution is to put more “custom” in the custom design process. A “true” custom home is one that is designed from the very beginning with a particular owner’s needs, dreams, desires, and wishes in mind. When a home reflects a family’s idiosyncrasies it displays a unique character that can’t be transferred to another home. It is, by definition, distinguished from all others. Building more true custom homes in neighborhoods facing “cookie-cutter” problems adds much of the desired variety that raises the level of architectural integrity for the whole community.

For the homeowner, there are several rewards for getting involved in the custom design process. The most obvious is a house that is a better fit to a particular family than a speculative home designed for a broad market. That might mean that more joy and satisfaction is found in living there. It might mean that the spaces built are actually used – unlike many new homes where obsolete formal spaces are little more that places to display furniture.

But the biggest reward may be financial. A custom designed home is often a smaller home, and smaller homes give you the choice of paying less for the entire project or of spending the savings on better details throughout (and it’s the details that make truly fine homes). A custom designed home may also make more efficient use of materials, saving money on the basic structure of the building. Even the added costs of design professionals can be absorbed through cost savings in the house itself.

A builder client of mine recently called to discuss what could be done for a potential buyer who is “struggling” to afford to build a home in a neighborhood where the design regulations encourage the use of expensive exterior materials. The buyer’s budget is limited, but he doesn’t want to give up space in the house; he’s thinking of cutting back on the exterior design. If he does, he’s certain to incur the wrath of the design review board. His buyer may not know it, but he’s about to become a foot soldier in the continuing battle over the right to control the look of our communities.

Bulge Enhancing Underwear – Andrew Christian Shock Jock Underwear

Have you always wanted a bigger package? Is there no such thing as “too big?” If you’re nodding your head yes to either one of these questions, then let me introduce you to the Andrew Christian Shock Jock underwear. With the Active Shaping Technology cup adding up to 2 inches to your frontal measurements, this is men’s bulge enhancing underwear at its best!

Sometimes adding a few extra inches is a matter of vanity. You can already picture in your mind the looks of envy once you loosen your belt and drop your pants. But for some men, added fullness in the pants is less of a “want” and more of a “need.” Available in both brief and boxer styles, the Shock Jock underwear can be just what you have been looking for. Each style features a hidden Active Shaping Technology cup sewn into the underwear. The soft bulge enhancing cup offers support and protection while maintaining a natural look. And if you decide that the soft cup is a bit much, you can also easily remove it from your underwear. Similar to the other offerings of the Andrew Christian brand, the Shock Jock collection also features swim trunks and bikinis to wear for a day at the pool or beach.

While some men prefer the standard soft shaping cup, others prefer to go for the Shock Jock Flirt styles. Why the distinction? The shaping cup in the Shock Jock Flirt brief and boxer come with “male features.” The imprint of a lengthy girthy penis is what is visible to the naked eye. However, the Flirt underwear is only available in boxer or brief styles – no swim wear.

Once you browse the Andrew Christian website, you’ll notice that there are plenty of colors to choose from – a different one for almost every day of the week, even. You will also find the signature sporty style common to this popular men’s underwear brand. Andrew Christian promises an end getting your nether regions stuck in a zipper with the Shock Jock underwear. And while this may be true, you can also guess that those extra two inches of bulge enhancing goodness have a little something to do with the popularity of this underwear line.

Planning a Commercial Property Renovation Or Refurbishment

Commercial property renovation or refurbishment is a balance between current tenant placement, future occupancy needs, and income cash flow growth. Overlook or disregard any of these elements and your renovation can easily fail.

To help you on the planning process for a property renovation, seek the assistance of a design professional such as an architect. Have them undertake a pre-design proposal to define the scope of work and time frames.

It is likely that you will uncover various obstacles to your project early on. To qualify and investigate these obstacles seek additional help from engineers or quantity surveyors.

The basic information that can help you start the process off will be:

  • Details of existing buildings and any building code violations that will need to be addressed in the new project.
  • Details of regional demographics of the business community and general population.
  • Details of any known planning applications for competition property changes or new properties near to you that could disrupt your property performance.
  • Plans of the zoning rules and regulations in the local area that can impact on your property.
  • Plans of the existing property to be refurbished. This is both site drawings and structural as built drawings.
  • A line sketch and conceptual drawings of the new property changes.
  • If necessary seek soil reports to identify soil stability and safety for the project.
  • An inspection of the existing property by an engineer to identify any concerns and structural issues.
  • Photographic record of the existing property and any key areas of structural or design concern.
  • Have informal meetings with the local council planning officers to identify their concerns regards the proposed development or renovation.
  • Be aware that the larger the renovation, the greater the possibility that the local planning office will require you to do a full building code upgrade at the same time of the renovation itself. This can be a significant cost burden that the property owner does not want.
  • A list of ‘must have items or targets’ that the project cannot do without.
  • A timeline of leases and tenant occupancy matters that need to be handled during the project.
  • A timeline of stages of the project that should be met given the seasonal business and climatic changes.
  • Target rentals and new lettable areas that will be created in the new renovation. Understand the minimum cash flow that you must produce from the project. Add to this the lease terms and conditions that will be required to give you the required cash flow.
  • Get an independent valuer to provide assessment of property value before and after the project or upgrade of the property.
  • Seek a solicitor to advise you regards the elements of leasing that will impact your new project and leased areas. Take particular care with retail leases as this will usually have key elements of legislation to be handled with any new leases.
  • Speak to local real estate agents to get an overview of property enquiry, needs and trends from the local area.

If all this information satisfies your initial project targets, then you know that you can proceed to a formal development plan and proposal that you can put to the local planning office.

As you compile this information, make it clear to the architects or engineers that this is strictly a pre-design project and that he or she will not be responsible for the final project at this stage. That lifts the pressure on their calculations and allows them to make valued and unbiased judgment. It gives you more accurate information at the early stages of the renovation or refurbishment. It is better to stop or adjust the project at the early stages than leave it to costly adjustments later.

Copper Clad Boards For PCB – Pros and Cons

Using copper clad boards is one of the most cost effective ways to create hobby or prototype printed circuit boards (PCB). A copper clad board is a laminate of non conductive substrate (often fiberglass and epoxy) and copper, that is used to create printed circuit board tracks that connect components of a circuit soldered to it. They are quite cheap, and they can be made into professional looking boards with simple household materials.


  • Cheap: Creating your board from a copper clad is most often cheaper than ordering a prototype batch from a manufacturer, since they often charge a setup fee or base price, which when buying a large volume isn’t a problem since it represents a small percentage of the overall order, but when buying one or two boards it can be as much as ten times the cost of a copper clad, plus shipping.
  • Fast: Ordering from a manufacturer can take a long time. Most orders are shipped in five to six days for the basic shipping option, but if you need a board fast you can expect to pay quite a lot more, and it still takes two or three days to arrive. Making a board from a copper clad is very fast, specially if you already have the materials needed at home or in the lab.
  • Customizable: Developing your own copper clad boards has the great advantage of creating custom shapes and sizes, thing that most manufacturers can’t (or won’t) do, or will charge exorbitant fees. This gives you the flexibility to make your circuits fit into odd shapes, or making really small boards.


  • Chemicals: To develop a copper clad into a usable pcb, you need to work with some corrosive chemicals to remove the copper in order to create the tracks that connect the components. Using protective equipment, working in a well ventilated area and proper handling could mitigate the dangers, but disposing of spent chemicals is still an issue.
  • The process: The process itself is one of the disadvantages of working with copper clads, as you will be working with heat, special paper and printing of the design if you use the popular toner transfer method. Since you will be doing it yourself and not using professional equipment, there’s a chance of the toner not transferring correctly or etching artifacts, which will make that particular board unusable.
  • Soldermask: Soldermask is that commonly green lacquer that covers most commercially made circuit boards. It covers the copper tracks and allows for easier soldering, specially in high density boards where pads (area where components are soldered to the board) are close together. There are ways to apply a soldermask yourself for a professional appearance, but for hobby circuits that is most of the times purely cosmetic, since the same protection could be achieved by tinning the tracks.
  • Tinning: Tinning of the tracks is another possible con if you don’t go for the soldermask finish. Manual tinning is quite monotonous and prone to bulking, since you are manually applying a layer of tin solder on top of the tracks. There are some chemicals that cover the tracks with a layer of tin, but they are hazardous and require special considerations in use and disposal.

When considering using copper clad boards for your project, have in mind these pros and cons and decide if making your own board is right for you.

Selecting the Right Type of Screw is Key

Making home repairs, improvements, fixing electronics, etc. are all tasks you are expected to complete throughout your life, this is highly relevant to those who work in fields such as engineering, construction, etc. but in reality we don’t have to go that far since even children are constantly trying to “fix” the things around them, especially boys. Regardless of anyone’s occupation there are things you just have to learn to do by yourself.

If you are highly independent and like to do things your way then you know that practical knowledge is essential. Fixing, assembling, securing items are all tasks which require one special type of tool which is often overlooked because if its size, we are talking about screws of course. These small tools are found in many sizes, materials and shapes; each type of screw has a purpose and should not be confused with similar ones if you want to do the job right. A few types are: drywall screws, machine, Tek, thumb, wood, socket, etc.

There are two distinct cases we can learn from, both require the use of screws but the type of screws used in each situation are very different.

The first scenario involves assembling a computer desk or table, because the material involved is a particular type of wood only certain screws can be used, these are designed to hold the pieces together giving it stability and preventing the parts from falling apart. When it comes to wood fixtures there isn’t a “standard” set of screws which will work well with all pieces, some of them are: zinc plated, black oxide plated, stainless steel, just to name a few. Besides matching the type, you will also need to match the color of them, because you don’t want bright stainless steel screw heads sticking out of a cherry-wood desk.

The second scenario is related to the first, we are now going to assemble the computer parts which will go on top of the desk just we just worked on. If you noticed, the screws which should be used in this type of job are considerably smaller so using “similar” ones will most likely end up breaking the computer part or chassis, that is why it is important to differentiate between screws designed for wood and those designed for computer parts, these are mostly silver and the most popular head style is the flanged-hex Phillips type; those are several words to describe one tiny part right?, but the truth is that if you use this screw type in wood fixtures they are very likely to fall apart because they can’t provide much torque and they are not very long.

Some people think that they can make just about any type of screw work with anything but this is wrong; you wouldn’t use parts you have lying around the house to secure your new flat screen TV to the wall, would you? Learning about these tiny parts is essential once you realize that they hold together almost everything around us.

Magnesium Chloride

The chemical formula for magnesium chloride is MgCl2. It is present in hydrated forms such as MgCl2.6H2O. It is a highly soluble Lewis acid. It is extracted from seawater and is a source of magnesium for metallurgical processes. Industrially, it is prepared by Dow’s process using magnesium hydroxide Mg(OH)2 and hydrochloric acid HCl. Pure magnesium chloride is a white or colorless, odorless and bitter-tasting compound.

Magnesium chloride contains one ion of magnesium and two ions of chlorine. It is a trusted magnesium supplement. A proper amount of magnesium chloride helps to balance the quantity of magnesium in the body. Magnesium chloride scores a point over other available magnesium supplements, because it can provide a greater proportion of magnesium per molecule. Hence, it is regarded as the most effective magnesium supplement.

The common forms of magnesium chloride supplements are tablets and capsules. They are to be ingested with water. Capsules are designed for slow release within the body. However, people suffering from kidney ailments and allergies must take magnesium chloride only upon the proper prescription from a doctor. Magnesium chloride also interferes with other herbal supplements. Hence, caution is advised.

The symptoms of an overdose of magnesium chloride are flushing, vomiting, dizziness, nausea, headache, hives, closing of the throat, etc. A large overdose may even prove fatal.

There are many industrial uses of magnesium chloride besides its medicinal uses. It is a raw material in the preparation of cement and refrigeration brine. Fireproofing equipment can be made using magnesium chloride due to its non-combustible properties. It is also used in post-treatment for textiles and paper.

Perhaps the most common function of magnesium chloride is as a de-icing agent. Magnesium chloride powder is sprinkled on the roads and pavements before the temperature approaches freezing point. This reduces snow formation on the road and improves driving conditions. One more advantage in using magnesium chloride as a de-icing agent is that it does not interfere with underground electric utilities. It is also being controversially used as a dust suppressant on roads and in homes.

The Definition of Lean Innovation

There are two trends today that are or should be on every entrepreneur and business leaders mind. Today’s market demands that every business at least evaluates how they react to the concepts behind those trends.

I’m referring of course to lean processes and innovation.

Over time, every business develops a certain amount of fat. These are processes, tasks and departments which do not directly serve a key objective of the organization. Essentially they can be trimmed without affecting the organization’s ability to deliver value to its customers. Lean techniques are intended to remove that fat from the organization.

Innovation is the life blood of most if not all organizations today. Being able to identify and determine new and better ways to do things is mandatory to survival. Mere improvement isn’t enough. You need to be able to radically improve or shift your value proposition in order to compete successfully.

There are many forms of lean innovation. However, the most frequent use of the term is to refer to the use of lean techniques on the Research and Development or R&D department. In simplistic terms, the presumption is that R&D is the primary source of innovation and that it – like any other part of the organization – has accumulated wasteful fat. Given those presumptions it makes sense that the fat be trimmed and the R&D become more focused on those tasks that bring actual value.

In this article, I’m going to intentionally not argue with the presumptions. Of course, most strategic consultants would disagree with their validity. However, for our purposes their validity is irrelevant – that they are being used is all that matters.

Given that, there are four main forms that lean innovation takes:

1. Substitution of information based research for experimental research. Experimental research is expensive and wasteful. It is also extremely risky. After all, you could spend an inordinate amount of time, effort and money on looking for a discovery and never actually find it. The lean attitude is extremely risk averse. Therefore, one of the first things that is focused on is finding an alternative to experimental research. Generally this takes the form of substituting information research. In other words, looking for someone else who has done the experimental research and using their data.

2. Elimination of non-critical tasks. Over time every organization collects tasks which either no longer or never did provide value to the customer. Lean techniques focus on the elimination of non-value-critical tasks.

3. Use of strategic or tactical partners. Just as in marketing, there are always organizations which are focused on researching in your area of concern. Not all of those organizations are competitors. Establishing partnerships allows you to share the cost and results of research – informational and experimental. It can also allow you to share the costs and results of development efforts and may actually identify a potential marketing partner.

4. Use of appropriate outsourcing. Establishing partners is based on the concept that you don’t have to do everything yourself. Unfortunately, not every non-critical task can be eliminated or shared. Outsourcing these tasks can prove to be less expensive and risky than doing it yourself.

Tennis Court Repair – Surface Repair and Crack Filling For Acrylic Sport Surfaces

One of the most common problems seen with asphalt and concrete tennis courts is surface cracking. There are many causes for pavement cracks from improper construction to oxidation and ground movement. Once pavement begins to crack, it becomes a maintenance issue. Permanent crack repair has not been perfected yet, but there are some good products and methods to maintain them and slow down the degradation.

Why should you fill the cracks?

When cracks appear in the court surface, water can drain into the crack and loosen the base materials. This can speed up the growth of the crack or result in bigger problems. Also, excessive water that penetrates the surface cracking can freeze and expand to create more cracking.

Hard tennis court surfaces are acrylic based. When filling the cracks, make sure to always use an acrylic crack sealant that is compatible with the surfacing materials. Asphalt based, also known as “rubberized” crack fillers, should not be used with acrylic tennis court coatings. While asphalt based crack fillers may be good at sealing the crack, acrylic coatings will not adhere to them for very long. The beautiful court surface will soon have black lines all over where the color coatings release.

If your court is located in an area that has freezing temperatures or expansive soils, you may want to look for an elastomeric tennis court crack filler. These products are flexible and can stretch with the expanding and contracting cracks or joints. Some manufacturers also make acrylic crack fillers in common colors or neutral, tintable formulas. This way you do not have to resurface the entire court to hide the crack repair if it is not necessary.

Some minor tennis court repairs can be performed by do-it-yourselfers. However, extensive damage or cracks with heaving should be repaired by a professional sport surfacing contractor. If you need assistance locating a qualified applicator near you, contact a manufacturer of sport surfaces for contractor referrals.

Why a Conference Bridge is the Next Purchase in Your Future

A conference bridge is a telecommunications tool that enables multiple parties at different locations to speak together as if they were in the same meeting.  The conference bridge is basically a computer that is connected to several telephone lines or to the Internet and it allows several conferences to take place electronically at the same time or over time.  It can be a great money saver when you consider the cost savings of parties not having to travel to attend remote meetings.  Conference services can be used, but they can become costly with heavy usage.  Therefore, the ultimate solution to the corporation or non-profit organization is to purchase or lease your own conference bridge and hold as many  meetings as you want.

A conferencing system has many features that are beneficial to the users.  First of all, it has a recording and playback feature.  This allows you to record any or all of your conference calls and place them on the bridge, allowing late parties to listen to the calls at a later date.  The conferee simply calls the normal dial in number and enters a special code that routes him to the specific recording.  If the moderator records his conference calls, he will always have a record of the content of his calls.  These recordings can also be transcribed to where he also has a hard copy of his calls.

Conference bridges also have special features for the moderator to control his meetings.  One of these features is the muting function.  The moderator can mute the conferees when he wants to lecture or be the only party talking.  The other parties are then placed in mute where their microphones do not work.  When the leader wants to make the meeting interactive again, he can unmute the call and everyone will be able to talk on the call.

Another feature that can be activated is the operator call function.  If the moderator needs the assistance of an operator to help him with any problems, he can simply dial a short code and the operator of the conference bridge will come into the call and assist with the problem. 

When considering whether to buy or lease a conference bridge, your budget should be evaluated.  Do you have some excess funds that you can tap for a one time purchase of do you need to spread your payments out over time to fit into your current cash flow?  Another question would be do you want to buy or lease a new or used conference bridge?  A used or refurbished conference bridge can provide the same funtionality but cost you much less that a new one.

In summary, if you are spending over $2500. per month in conferencing services, then you are a candidate for acquiring your own conference bridge.  Check out the alternatives and then make your best decision.  In the long run, you will be saving your organization lots of money and be in control of all of your meetings and conferences.

The Industry’s 4 Finest Cordless Hammer Drill-Drivers

Uniting the convenience of a drill, the versatility of a driver, and the superior power of hammering action, the hammer drill/driver is an overwhelmingly efficient tool. To ensure you enjoy all the benefits of one of these high-performance power tools, I have here collected the best information on the industry’s best hammer drill/drivers.

Hitachi’s DV18DL (18v) cordless hammer drill delivers intense high-power, versatility, and innovation to provide craftsmen with one of the most functional tools on the market. With a class leading 570in/lbs of torque, the tool has the big power to accommodate every variety of industrial application, and with variable speeds (with four speed settings from 0 – 200 / 400 / 900 / 1800 RPM) the tool keeps craftsmen in control of every task. Utilizing lithium ion battery technology, the hammer provides a perfect union between power, compact convenience, and longevity assuring you can rely on this tool through rain or shine. The tool’s motor is extremely durable and as the tool weighs only 4.9 lbs, it is consistently reliable and comfortable to work with. Additionally, the tool’s brushes are externally accessible for the fastest, simplest replacements – and the drill is covered under Hitachi’s industry leading 10-year tool warranty for the ultimate in high-quality assurance. The DV18DL kit prices at about $250 – $270(if this sounds like more than you’d expected, keep in mind your essentially getting the power and functionality of three tools in one).

On another hand, Bosch’s 17618-01 (18v) Brute Tough hammer drill-driver delivers huge power and industrial durability in a comfortable ergonomic design. With a high speed motor producing 2,050 RPM (up to 30,750 BPM), and a high torque mode with over 650 in/lbs of torque, the tool is intensely powerful with muscle to spare in even the most rigorous applications. Bosch’s Durashield housing and unibody powertrain provide optimized durability enabling the tool to withstand rough jobsite environments, and with a high-strength metal collar and (1/2″) metal chuck, the tool is uncommonly protected against the rigors of jobsite life. Also utilizing Bosch’s Litheon batteries, the tool maintains maximum power for the life of the charge as well as the extended life of the battery. A built-in L.E.D. light keeps darker, tighter spaces illuminated for the ultimate precision operation, and the tool boasts impressive versatility and controlability with a variable speed trigger and 25 position clutch. The 17618-01 kit ranges in price from about $270 – $330.

Additionally, Makita’s BHP454 (18v, 1/2″) hammer drill-driver combines unique versatility, big power, and high-performance to deliver a tool that hammers, fastens, drills, and drives unlike any other. Utilizing lithium-ion battery technology and an optimum battery charging system, the tool boasts vastly extended work-time (with twice as many charge cycles) to ensure the most productivity from each use. The tool’s Makita built, four-pole motor delivers 560in/lbs of maximum torque delivering both durability and the power to master even the most challenging applications. Additionally, weighing only 4.9 lbs, the tool is designed for compact comfort and lightweight, controlable operation. For unmatched versatility and precision a shift-lock drive system allows the drill to quickly and smoothly shift from one mode to another, and with a two-speed (0 – 400 / 0 – 1700 RPM), all metal transmission, the tool is masterfully equip for an impressive range of heavy-duty applications. The BHP454 prices at about $280 – 320.

Ranging in price from about $290 – $310, Makita’s BHP452 (18v, 1/2″) hammer drill-driver kit is a great option for lighter-duty users still requiring the most high-quality performance. The tool’s Makita built, four-pole motor delivers 450in/lbs of efficient torque promising durability, power, and and always reliable performance. Weighing only 4.2 lbs, the tool is compact and lightweight allowing users to operate with far less stress and fatigue, and designed with a two-speed (0 – 400 / 0 – 1500 RPM), all metal transmission the tool is perfectly suited for an impressive range of applications. A shift-lock drive system allows the drill to quickly and smoothly shift from one mode to another, and utilizing Makita’s lithium-ion battery and charging technology, the tool is a true work-horse for any craftsman.

With one of these tools, you’ll find your workday a little bit easier, your work experience a little bit brighter, and your working results precise, efficient, and always professional.

How to Create Inspirational Mirror Mosaics in Your Bathroom

I recently came across this book entitled Inspirations Mosaics by Helen Baird that teaches you how to create mosaics. The author got her inspiration for creating custom mosaics when she visited a Roman Villa in France which had stunning mosaic tile floors. When people think of mosaic tiles they often think about the ancient Romans who had perfected the art of using mosaics so much that they used the craft extensively throughout their architectural endeavors. I would not expect you to use mosaics throughout your entire bath because that would be cruel and unusual punishment for the newbie, but incorporating the classical art of mosaics into your bathroom decor will without a doubt give your washroom a classical feel that is reminiscent of the ancient roman bath houses. The great thing about mosaics is that there are many different types of materials that you can use to brighten up your bathroom, be it pieces of slate, broken floor tiles, colored glass, smashed crockery or conventional mosaic tiles. One cool way mentioned in the book to use ceramic mosaics in your loo is to frame your bathroom mirror with an inspirational motif to create a stunning artistic affect.

The alluring thing about mosaics is that you can take broken thrown away materials and use them to create a pattern of harmonious elements that make up an inspirational picture of richly colored image fragments that can be enjoyed by all. While the process does require a bit of patience, skill and perseverance, it is not that difficult and can be mastered by anyone with practice and diligence. You can start off small and as your skill level increases you can tackle more ambitious projects that you can execute with confidence and creative style.

To create your own stunning framed mosaic mirror you will need brown paper to draw your design upon, pliers or nippers to break-up your raw materials (tile) into the desired sized pieces, silicone based adhesive, protective goggles, rubber gloves to protect your fingers, tile grout, a mirror, a wooden board to mount everything upon and cement based tile adhesive.

Place your mirror face down in the middle of your brown paper and attach with masking tape. Draw around the outline of the mirror and draw a border, divide the border into sections and draw a pattern around the mirror area slightly smaller than the desired width of the frame leaving a one-twelfth of an inch border. Put on your protective eye wear and with tile cutters, clip your tile into manageable sized pieces and stick them face down on the paper with water soluble glue. An important point to remember here is to keep the gaps between the pieces as even as possible. Continue until you have completed your design, let dry and then carefully lower it unto your wooden board backing and attach the lip around the outside of the frame. Remove your mirror from the middle and cut out the section of brown paper where the mirror once was.

This is the slightly messy but fun part, put on your rubber gloves and rub some grout into the gaps of your mirror frame mosaic design, making sure to wipe off the excess grout with a damp cloth or sponge. Here we play the waiting game, leave until everything is almost completely dry then gently remove the whole mosaic from the board by turning it upside down and apply a tile adhesive to the wooden board. Make sure that the paper side of the mosaic is facing up and then position your mosaic frame over the board and press the mosaic side down into the adhesive. Once the mosaic is securely fastened to the back wooden board, its time for your mirror, fasten your mirror with a silicone based adhesive and let it dry for about thirty minutes.

Abracadabra! Now comes the magic! Dampen the top of the paper on your mosaic with water and let the water loosen the water soluble glue for about ten to fifteen minutes. Gently wipe off the damp paper to reveal your beautiful mosaic pattern. Make sure all glue and paper is gone and let your frame dry. Fill in any gaps with more grout and wipe off any access with a damp cloth. Let your bathroom mosaic mirror frame dry completely before you attach your masterpiece to your bathroom wall. And who said crafts in the bathroom wasn’t fun! Enjoy!