Business Plan – Purpose and Objectives

A detailed description of a new or existing business, including the company’s product or service, marketing plan, financial statements and projections and management principles, require a plan to be implemented. A document that spells out a company’s expected course of action for a specified period usually includes a detailed listing and analysis of risks and uncertainties. For the small business, it should examine the proposed products, the market, the industry, the management policies, the marketing policies, production needs and financial needs. Frequently, it is used as a prospectus for potential investors and lenders.

Think of it as a production line. What’s go in the start are raw materials and unfinished assemblies. Here, the raw materials include:

-Talent and initiative from employees

-Capital -Market position

-The company’s creditworthiness

-The firm’s earning capacity

-Assessment of changes in the marketplace.

It should have four major aspects:

– Its contribution to purpose and objectives

– Its primacy among the manager’s tasks

– Its pervasiveness

– The efficiency of resulting plans.

The Contribution of Planning to Purpose and Objectives: Every plan and all its supporting plans should contribute to the accomplishment of the purpose and objectives of the enterprise.

The Primacy of Planning Manager must plan in such a way that it leads to proper organizing, staffing, leading and controlling which support the accomplishment of enterprise objectives. Planning and controlling are inseparable. Any attempt to control without a plan is meaningless, since there is no way for people to tell whether they are going where they want to go. Plans thus furnish the standards of control.

The Pervasiveness of Planning: Planning is a function of all managers, which vary with each manager’s authority and with the nature of the policies and plans assigned by superiors. If managers are not allowed to a certain degree of discretion and planning responsibility, they are not truly managers.

The Efficiency of Plans: The effectiveness of plan refers to its contribution to the purpose and objectives. Plan is efficient if it achieves its purpose at a reasonable cost, when cost is measured not only in terms of time or money or production but also in the degree of individual and group satisfaction.

Procedures: Procedures are plans that establish a required method of handling future activities. They are chronological sequences of required actions. They are guides to action rather than to thinking and they detail the exact manner in which certain activities must be accomplished.

Rules: Rules are unlike procedures in that they guide action without specifying a time sequence. In fact, a procedure might be looked upon as a sequence of rules. Rule may be a part of procedure.

Programs: Programs are a complex of goals, policies, procedures, rules, task assignments, steps to be taken, resources to be employed and other elements necessary to carry out a given course of action; further supported by budgets.

Budgets: Budget is a statement of expected results expressed in numerical terms. Financial operating budget is often called a “profit plan”. This budget can be expressed in financial terms, in terms of labor- hours, units of product or machine hours or in any other numerically measurable term.

Steps in Planning: Being aware of opportunities, a manager should take a preliminary look at possible future opportunities and see them clearly and completely know where they stand in light of their strengths and weaknesses, understand what problems they wish to solve, and why and know what they expect to gain. Planning requires a realistic diagnosis of the opportunity situation.

Establishing objectives: This is to be done for the long term as well as for the short term. Objectives specify the expected results and indicate the end points of what is to be done, where the primary emphasis is to be placed and what is to be accomplished by the network of strategies, policies, procedures, rules, budgets and programs. Objectives form a hierarchy.

Developing premises: There are assumptions about the environment in which the plan is to be carried out. It is important for all managers involved in planning to agree on the premises. Forecasting is important in premising: what kind of markets will there be? What volume of sales? What prices? What products? What technical developments? What costs? What wage rates? What tax rates and policies? What new plans? How will expansion be financed? What are the long-term trends? Because the future is so complex, it would not be profitable or realistic to make assumption about every detail of the future environment of a plan.

Determining alternative courses: The more common problem is not finding alternatives but reducing the number of alternatives so that the most promising may be analyzed. The planner must usually make a preliminary examination to discover the most fruitful possibilities.

Evaluating alternative courses: From the various alternatives available proper evaluation should be done which may involve ash flow.

Selecting a course: The best alternative should be selected.

Numbering plans by budgeting Final step is giving them meaning by converting them into budgets. The overall budgets of an enterprise represent the sum total of income and expenses, with resultant profit or surplus and the budgets of major balance sheet items such as cash and capital expenditures.

Do You Need a Deck Handrail?

A deck handrail is where you will place your hand as you move up and down the stairs. It is almost always a code requirement that you have this in place. However, there is also an option with a secondary railing. This secondary option is not always necessary. Before you consider the finishing touches to your decking design and layout, it is a good idea for you to select what works for your individual needs. The good news is there are plenty of options to select from that will look good and work well.

When Do You Need It?

When is a secondary deck handrail a must-have for the space? There are several reasons why you may need it. First, depending on the grading of the space, you may find that the standard railing, which is a part of the entire railing design, is too high or at a level that is not comfortable to use. When this happens, it is best to install a secondary option that is more user friendly.

Another time when this may be a good idea is when you have children or others in the home that may need a lower or otherwise uniquely placed rail to hold onto when climbing up or down the stairs. For example, you may want a lower version so that the kids can hold on properly without having to be overstretched when using it.

What to Consider

When you do want to install this option, realize you have plenty of design and material options to select from. It’s a good idea to choose something made of aluminum or PVC, which are both durable options that can be easily painted and maintained. They do not have splinters like wood does. They also have the ability to be round and thin, which makes holding onto them easier than a plank of wood or composite material will be.

You can make it stand out by making it a different color from the rest of the railing. Or, it is more common to allow it to blend in by making it the same color as the railing. No matter what you decide, be sure to factor in this component into the look of the entire decking system.

A deck handrail may be one of the best options to consider when it comes to adding more functionality to this space. Don’t overlook the importance of selecting one that’s good looking and blends in well with the entire design and look of the space. You also don’t want this to be an afterthought. You want it to be a part of the design from the beginning so it meshes well.

Stair Code Compliance, Wood Stairs and Your Liability

Liabilities are a property owner’s and contractor’s biggest nightmare. In this litigious society, even if you’re found blameless, the cost of defending yourself and loss of reputation can put you out of business.

The best and only defense is to make sure you can clearly demonstrate you have taken every precaution in complying with all codes, regulations and safety. Failing to do this, you become easy prey for unscrupulous lawsuits and possible legitimate ones too.

Slips or falls are prominent areas of liability and they are two words you don’t want to hear because even with great insurance, you really don’t want the hassle. Some little known statistics from the National Safety Council’s – Injury Facts, 2011 edition are as follows:

• Total deaths from falls (all causes)………………………………………………….15,742

• Leading cause of unintentional non fatal injuries (all ages)…………..8,551,037

• Falls to a lower level (private industry – non fatal)…………………………..67,510

• Average cost, workers comp. claims – slips and falls………………………$40,043

• Leading cause of unintentional public deaths…………………………………..8,600

• Percentage of slips and falls as unintentional injuries in homes……………26%

• Deaths from slips and falls on and from stairs residential………………….1,917

• Slips or falls are the leading cause of deaths for persons over age 65.

Private industry non-fatal falls generally occur on ladders, roofs, scaffolding, stairs and numerous other obstacles. The average workman’s comp. claim of $40,043 indicates the true impact on business. As an employer, you could open yourself up to a nightmare of civil suits, often for frivolous reasons.

Now add to this, potential liabilities after a job is completed. Your job can be scrutinized for any lack of code compliance or any areas which may pose potential hazards. According to the National Safety Council, slips or falls account for 26% of unintentional injuries in the home (second only to poisoning) and are the leading cause of death for persons over age 65. Slip or fall injuries for the elderly are serious and potentially deadly, however, they often result in extended hospital stays and long term recovery.

Slips or falls from stairs are a significant part of the equation. The statistics for residential fatalities approach 2,000 deaths but are only a shadow of the enormity of non-fatal injuries. If this happens on a job and its determined that codes were violated, responsibility rests squarely on the builder.

It’s a worrisome fact that the vast majority of stair railings do not meet safety standards according to code. In fact, stair railing safety is one of the least enforced of all code areas and represents one of the greatest risk factors for serious injury. Even if a local city inspector passes your job, you still own the liability. The inspector has no skin in the game due to Tort Law Protections, which all government bodies enjoy. This isn’t fair, but its reality.

You might ask then, so what’s the problem? The inspector passed my baluster spacing and checked my guard rail and hand rail height? Do you remember what the inspector most likely did next? It’s called the bump or pull test. The inspector will pull or bump the rail and if it seems sufficiently strong, it gets a pass. However, sufficiently strong is subjective. The specific IBC or IRC code requirements are as follows: any stair rail must withstand a lateral load (a sideways push or pull) of 200 lbs.

Now this is where the real problem begins. If the guard rail is 36″ high, and a 200 lb. force is applied, the rail acts like a lever, transmitting a much greater force at the base of the rail post which gives support to the rail. The 200 lb force at the top will result in a force of 1,600 lb or more at the base. This 1,600 lb force is more than enough to cause severe damage at the post base connection. This damage can also happen over a period of time. As the rail is continually being used, the lever like action will cause gradual weakening directly on the vital post connection. Once the rail is sufficiently weakened, allowing movement, then it is no longer safe. In a worst case scenario, any person, relying on the rigid support of the stair rail, could fall, resulting in serious injury or death. This is a statistical reality.

For standard deck railing, several companies have a well engineered rail post support, bracket system which has been tested for compliance with the 200 lb code requirement. The advantage of an engineered bracket is that they are tested with a safety factor of 250% (500 lb lateral load) and can be relied upon to provide more than adequate support. However, until recently, no such code compliant solution existed for rail post support for wood stairs (interior or exterior). This lateral load code requirement was thought to be unobtainable and explains the subjective testing that exists among code officials today.

This can no longer be the industry excuse for sub standard stair rail support. A solution is now available using an engineered rail post support stair bracket for wood stairs that has been tested to meet the 200 lb code requirement for rail post support up to 42″ above the nose of the stair tread. This exceeds both residential and commercial requirements for stair railing. This is an industry first and will offer the peace of mind that you have left the job in code compliance.

Planning the Stair Railings For Your House and Deck

Even though the main purpose of stair railings is to prevent accidental falls, it can also contribute to the ambiance of your home by being stylish and beautiful. From a legal perspective, stair railings are seen as indispensable features of stairs either in a home or those that lead up to the deck. You do not, however, have to restrict their functionality to the component of safety but can unwind your imagination and think of different ways to make the stair railings an artistic feature of your house.

There is no dearth of designs when it comes to railings for deck stairs and other staircases. Based on your aesthetic preferences, you could either opt for a simple and sober design or choose one that is innovative and brings in a breath of fresh air to your home. If you have a railing design that is elaborate, you can be sure of drawing a lot of praise from your friends and other guests who visit you. If the railing that you plan to install is for the backyard deck, then do make sure that you choose a material that does not catch rust easily and can last a long time despite being exposed to the weather.

As the primary reason for installing stairs is the consideration of safety, adequate thought needs to be given to features like the handrails and balustrades. In case of slipping accidentally on the stairs, the instinctive reaction of a person is to grab the handrails to break the fall. This being the case, the handrails and balustrade should have the strength to support the weight of an adult without any mishaps. The baluster spacing should also be restricted to four inches so that there is no possibility of small children getting stuck between them.

Finally, you have to devote some thought to the material that you will use for the construction of the stair railings. A wide variety of materials like metal, vinyl, wood and composites can be used here. If you opt for metal railings you again have a wide range to choose from. Cast iron, brass, bronze, wrought iron, aluminum etc. are some of the metals that are normally used for this purpose. Aluminum enjoys a high degree of popularity and you can either go for a powder coated finish or a brightly polished look based on what you think will go with the look of your house.

Another idea is to try out a combination of materials for the stair railing. In this case, if you use wood for the posts, you can have brass/aluminum balusters and tubular metal designs for the cap rail. This will give a unique and charming look to your stair railing. If you are installing the railing for your outdoor deck, wrought iron material would be a sensible choice to make as it is durable, highly rust-resistant and relatively immune to harsh weather conditions. Painting wrought iron railings with a new coat of paint also poses no difficulty.

Ideas for Deck Entertaining

When you are planning to build or buy your house, take into consideration the entertainment possibilities of having a deck. A deck could be useful for all types of social events, from light dinners to cocktail parties. Because decks have columns and banisters, you can decorate them up in the theme of the party.

One deck event could be having a cocktail sundowner. Add soft lighting by hanging white lights from the top of the banister to turn on when it becomes dark. Remember to place chairs and tables on the deck, with ashtrays and candles. For the cocktails, choose a couple of recipes that are easy to make.

An example of a good sundowner cocktail would be a Blue Lagoon. This is a popular drink among cocktail bars and is simple to make. Fill a glass with ice and pour over a shot of vodka and blue Curacao liqueur. Pour the lemonade to the top and add a cocktail cherry for garnish.

Although you are watching a sunset, try making a Tequila Sunrise for a cocktail. For this drink you need a tall glass filled with ice. Pour in two shots of tequila and top it up with orange juice. Tilt the glass to the side a bit and pour in about two dashes of grenadine syrup so it sinks to the bottom. The grenadine will then filter itself to the top creating shading from red to orange in the glass. You could garnish the drink with a slice of orange and cherry on the top of the glass.

Once the drinks are served, guests can socialise on the deck and watch the sunset go down. If you are having a large sundowner cocktail party, invest in some heaters so guests can stay warm once it becomes dark.

On larger decks, you could entertain a barbecue. A table could be placed on the wooden planks with chairs. This prevents the table from wobbling as it would on the soil. Decks also have the advantage of easy access into the house. Instead of carrying plates, salt and pepper and glasses from the garden to the kitchen, the access is just a few feet away.

The barbecue cook could roast up some chops and sausage. For vegetarians, create some vegetable skewers by pushing different types of vegetables onto a long pointy stick. Vegetables you could use include chopped peppers, onions, marrow and pineapple. Place them on the barbecue and drizzle with olive oil every now and then to prevent them from drying out.

At different holidays the decks could be decorated according to the theme. On Halloween, place pumpkins on the stairs and drape white sheeting on the banister. You can tie bats made from cutting out black paper on to the columns.

During Christmas you can stick cotton wool on the banister to mimic snow if you don’t already have the real deal. You can weave Christmas lighting through the banister and place decorations all up the banister.

If you are not having a party or there are no holidays to celebrate, invest in a hammock to hang on the deck. You could relax in the shade by swinging on a swing bench bolted into the roof on the deck. There are plenty of seating options specifically created for porches to choose from.

To have a deck around your house adds a feature. It is not only pleasing to look at, but adds wonderful opportunities for memories. How many first kisses have been stolen on the porch and how many snuggles on a swinging bench? It is a place in a home that everyone can enjoy whether you are sitting in rocking chairs reading, or enjoying a beautiful sunset.

Inventions – Pricing That Makes The Best Profit

When manufacturing your own product, try to keep costs as low as possible. This seems obvious, but here is why it makes sense from a retail marketing standpoint.

The retail price for consumer products is generally 4 to 5 times the cost of production.

For instance, a hairbrush that costs $3.99 at the store costs $.79 – $.99 to manufacture. The manufacturer (you) then sells the product for $1.60 – $2.00 to the retailer who marks it up 50% to make his profit. Hence the $3.99 price tag.

Keep this in mind when shopping for materials and manufacturers to produce your invention. Outsourcing, or foreign sourcing, is so popular with American inventors because we can have products produced for pennies overseas and sell them for dollars in the United States.

This is how millionaires appear to materialize overnight. The right invention can be produced quite inexpensively, sold for a large markup, and make their inventors quite wealthy in a year or two. This is why you see so many new products crop up and disappear.

Many companies are in the business of introducing new innovations that really serve no purpose, but they sell well for a brief period of time because they are new and interesting. So the company produces this neat gizmo for a few cents, makes a couple million bucks, and pulls out when sales begin to fizzle.

If you pay close enough attention, you will see that you can sell an invention for well above the price of production if it is novel enough. Consider mp3 players. Some of these musical devices sell for as much as $300, and they only cost around $12 to produce. Do the math on that one; that’s a mark up of 2400%!

So choose your supplier with price and quality in mind, and aim for the highest markup while still being fair. If you are providing real value, consumers will not mind paying for it.

Should the United States Switch to IFRS?

Accounting is said to be the language of business. In order to be successful in the business world, one must know this language. After the Great Depression, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) was started in order to regulate the accounting world. They enforced the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, also known as GAAP, to be used among the United States public companies. In 2001 the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) was started to create accounting principles to be used internationally. Thus the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) was created, which is used by over 100 countries today.

Since globalization began, countries have become more linked through businesses. Many companies, both American and foreign, are traveling overseas in order to open up new franchises in order to increase the expansion and survival of their business. However, a problem these companies have encountered is the difference in accounting principles. The United States has been debating whether to switch from GAAP to IFRS. Currently, the SEC is debating the pros and cons to this change.

A large company with many sectors in different parts of the world would find switching to IFRS very useful. They would be using the same accounting principles as the country they are doing business in which would simplify their accounting procedures. Also, this switch would allow better comparability of their financial statements. If it is easy to compare financial statements between competing companies, investors are able to decide where they should invest their money.

IFRS uses a principle-based approach while GAAP uses a rule-based approach. This can be seen as an advantage to companies if the United States were to switch to IFRS. Instead of following specific rules to reach a final valuation, a company has some leeway. Companies would be able to reach a final valuation in a few different ways instead of using a predetermined route. This would be able to set certain companies apart from one another and could potentially help them gain more money from investors.

However, there is a downside to this flexibility. Fraud has become more prominent in today’s society. The SEC has had to enforce many regulations to help prevent fraud, but it is still occurring. If the United States switched to IFRS, companies would use the principle-based approach, which could allow more opportunities for the financial statements to be manipulated. Companies would be able to show investors what they want to see as opposed to what is actually true. If the United States were to switch to IFRS, they would have to consider such disadvantages.

Another disadvantage to consider is the cost of switching from GAAP to IFRS. Accountants have always been educated with GAAP and if the switch occurred, all accountants would have to be re-educated. This would raise debates on whether companies would have to pay for the re-education for their staff or if it would be up the individual to pay for this expense. Many companies and individuals cannot afford to fund new education since the cost of education is continuously rising. If IFRS was going to become used among companies in the United States, the SEC would have to consider this cost and find ways to make it more affordable.

While the SEC is currently debating the switch from GAAP to IFRS, the conversion will eventually be unavoidable. In order for companies to expand internationally and continue their success they will have to switch to IFRS to be more efficient. The United States can use this change to their advantage. Since the recent recession of the United States economy, companies have been expanding overseas in order to stay in business. If the SEC were to allow the use of IFRS, the United States government could benefit from the expansion of these companies.

While the debate to switch from GAAP to IFRS has been going on for many years, the SEC has still not reached a conclusion. There are a couple advantages to consider such as, better comparability of financial statements and flexibility. These advantages could benefit companies, since American investors and international investors would be able to decide where they wish to put their money. Some disadvantages to consider are more opportunities for the manipulation of financial statements to occur, which encourages fraud to be committed. Also, the cost of switching from GAAP to IFRS would be very high. Current accountants would need to be re-educated and all financial statements would need to be changed to match IFRS regulations. Once the SEC considers all of these factors, they will be able to decide when the best time to make the change will be, since it is unavoidable.

Four Types of Frontotemporal Dementia

Frontotemporal Dementia, also called Frontal Lobar Degeneration, is actually a group of diseases that can be grouped into four general types. These are behavioral variant FTD; progressive nonfluent aphasia; semantic aphasia; and corticobasal degeneration and progressive supranuclear palsy.

Behavior variant Frontotemporal Dementia (bvFTD) strips away many of a person’s social skills and emotions. You might notice that your parent or partner or friend no longer has much of the empathy they used to have. Your person might stop understanding when it is appropriate and not appropriate to do things, such as yelling out in movie theaters or undressing in public. Their personality might appear to shift radically from time to time, and you might wonder if you ever knew this person at all. Many patients with the behavior variant FTD often are sent through rounds of therapy and psychiatric care, none of which proves effective. Only later when a neurologist becomes involved is there a recognition of the possible diagnosis of Frontotemporal Dementia. People with the behavior variant often have no self-awareness that they are behaving oddly.

Another type of Frontotemporal Dementia is Progressive Nonfluent Aphasia (PFNA), also sometimes called Primary Progressive Aphasia. With this type of FTD, the patient understands the meaning of words but loses the ability to speak and write them. As the disease is developing, this person may grow quieter and quieter as they become more and more unwilling to speak, often because they are afraid or ashamed of their inability to get words out. This transition will be much more noticeable in people that were formerly quite talkative. These patients also often go through therapy and psychiatric care because stress and depression and myriad other causes are blamed for the stuttering related to the aphasia and the aphasia itself.

The third grouping of Frontotemporal Dementia types is semantic aphasia. With semantic aphasia, your partner or parent will continue to speak, but they will lose the meaning of words. So, for example, they might point to a desk and say the word “apple” and be completely convinced that they are saying the correct word for the object. A person with semantic aphasia will talk in sentences and paragraphs that have no understandable diagrammatic structure.

And finally, the last grouping of Frontotemporal types has two key pieces: corticobasal degeneration (CBD) and progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP). These patients are generally diagnosed with Frontotemporal Dementia more quickly because of their physical symptoms. Your person might show signs of Parkinson’s Disease, or apraxia (lack of motor coordination and planning). They may fall backwards quite a bit and develop “alien hand syndrome” where they cannot seem to control the movements of their arms. Corticobasal degeneration also causes aphasia as well as psychiatric and cognitive disorders, such as dementia, depression and irritability. For this reason, people with CBD are often misdiagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. They are often are put into therapy or psychiatric care without the understanding that degeneration in the brain is directly involved.

People with Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD) can have a combination of each of these four types — there are no clear boundaries between the types. Some of these types have been shown to be genetically-related. So far, much of what we have to go on are these clinical criteria. But these explanations help to explain that Frontotemporal Dementia is not Alzheimer’s Disease.

Hercule Poirot – "The Double Clue" Exposes Hercule’s Facade As the Thief Melts His Heart

These made-for-TV movies are among the 41 murder mystery novels originally aired by PBS involving the proper, obsessive little Belgian inspector Hercule Poirot. The character of Poirot (played to perfection by David Suchet) was created by the famous British author Agatha Christie, who wrote her first Poirot novel in 1920 at the age of 30 and her last Poirot novel in 1975, 55 years later and a year before her death in 1976.

The Double Clue – 4 Stars (Excellent)

The dramatization of “The Double Clue” by Anthony Horowitz in 1991 strays somewhat from the original novel written by Agatha Christie in 1923, but remains one of the best Hercule Poirot episodes ever.

Poirot (David Suchet) is called to investigate the theft of an irreplaceable piece of jewelry that occurred during a social gathering at the home of wealthy collector Marcus Hardman (David Lyon).

Only four guests are possible suspects-a millionaire who could buy the missing piece in a heartbeat; a middle-aged society lady who is on hard times; a young, effeminate agent for Hardman; and a Russian refugee, Countess Vera Rossakoff (Kika Markham).

Poirot’s assistant-Captain Arthur Hastings (Huge Fraser)-and personal secretary-Miss Lemon (Pauline Moran)-pretty much make fools of themselves investigating the case while Poirot is smitten and spends all of his time with Countess Rossakoff. Both Hastings and Miss Lemon are visibly upset because the precise, orderly, rational, meticulous little Belgian detective is so out of character.

Even more upset is Chief Inspector Japp (Philip Jackson) whose job is on the line since there have been three recent thefts of precious jewelry and the thief is still at large. Japp is given only a couple of days to solve the case; he sees his livelihood slipping away as Poirot idles away his time with the Countess.

Miss Lemon is distraught. She has been in love with Hercule forever and Poirot never even notices her. Poirot finds the Countess to be the most extraordinary woman he has ever met, a brilliant thief who is the match of his brilliant mind. Will Poirot be able to experience an impulse and yet not act on it?

See how Poirot finds and returns the stolen goods only to have the thief escape into the night.

The Mystery of the Spanish Chest – 4 Stars (Excellent)

What chances will a husband take to validate his suspicion that his wife is cheating on him? Hecule Poirot, the master of psychology and human behavior, is almost killed in his quest to solve the murder of the suspecting husband. The center of the wife’s attention and her suspected lover is obviously implicated and arrested for the crime.

But Poirot cannot find the answer to two key questions: Why would he kill the husband, put him in Spanish chest and leave the body there while conducting a party with several guests in the same room, knowing the body could be easily discovered? And if he did not do it, who did and why?

Poirot finds the answers to these questions far more difficult than successfully concealing an ongoing illicit affair. By pushing his gray cells a little harder, Poirot discovers a dastardly execution by a person with no conscience and no remorse.

The Tragedy at Marsdon Manor – 3 Stars (Good)

When a young, beautiful artist-Susan Maltravers (Geraldine Alexander)-marries a much older wealthy owner of a manor-Jonathan Maltravers (Ian McCulloch), could there be a hidden motive besides love? What if a love triangle developed? What if the death of a young girl on the same manor grounds years ago returned to haunt the young wife, driving her out of her mind?

These and other questions are put to rest when Hercule Poirot realizes the elder Maltravers did not succumb due to a recent operation, but rather from a cold-blooded execution. Poirot, however, does not have sufficient evidence to convict the murderer.

Because he is long on theory and short on evidence, Poirot concocts a really scary scene wherein the victim returns from death to confront his executioner.

Copyright © 2009 Ed Bagley

How to Reflow a Graphics Processing Unit On A Motherboard

Reflowing a motherboard is the process of heating up a chip on the motherboard, or the entire board itself, to a temperature that forces the solder to soften and reconnect cracked solder points. Of course it can be difficult to know exactly how hot a motherboard or chip needs to become in order to melt solder while leaving the components unharmed. The GPU is the most likely to fail on most high end devices such as laptops or gaming consoles. The most common issues with broken GPUs are no video, distorted video, or failure to turn on and post. Reflowing a GPU correctly will fix any of the previously mentioned issues with a laptop or gaming console.

First thing you need to do is make sure you have the correct materials. You’ll need a heat gun that is capable of putting out at least 550 degrees Fahrenheit. You can buy these heat guns at most local hardware stores and they are usually about 40 dollars. Next you’ll need solder, thicker rosin core solder works the best, and a penny.

Now that we have our materials, you will need to locate the GPU that needs to be reflowed. Once you find the chip that needs to be reflowed take note of any large capacitors near it and make sure you don’t hit these directly with the heat gun while your reflowing the chip, excess heat can cause some capacitors to explode. If you find the capacitors are close to the GPU and your worried about hitting them with the heat gun accidentally you can use aluminum foil to cover the capacitors. Place the penny on top of the chip with a small piece of solder on top of the penny. When the solder melts you will know that the chip is heated to a good temperature. Now set your heat gun to 550 degrees Fahrenheit and start to heat the chip by holding the heat gun 3 to 4 inches above the chip and rotate the heat gun in circular movements. When the chip gets hot enough you’ll notice the solder on the penny becomes liquid. When you see the solder turn to liquid the chip should be hot enough and you can remove the heat gun and allow the chip to cool down. When the chip is cool enough go ahead and start putting your electronic back together. Test and see if everything is working normally, if you reflowed the board correctly any issues you had that were being caused by your GPU should be fixed.

How to Resolve Email Errors 0x800CCC0D and 0x800CCC0E

How to resolve email errors 0x800CCC0E and Ox800CCC0D

The connection to the server has failed. Account: ‘’, Server: ‘’, Protocol: POP3, Port: 110, Secure(SSL): No, Socket Error: 10061, Error Number: 0x800CCC0E

-The server could not be found. (Account:account name, POPserver:’mail’, Error Number: 0x800ccc0d)

These are two of the most common email errors encountered. In order to fix error number 0X800CCC0E;

Make sure that your e-mail account settings are correct and that port 25 is the port used in the SMTP area – unless specifically told to use another port by your Internet Service Provider (ISP).The most common causes of this error are:

o You are not connected to the Internet or a network

o Incorrect account settings

o Your user profile in Outlook is damaged

o An e-mail item on your POP3 server is damaged

o Incorrect configuration of your Anti-Virus software

o Outlook Express has been removed from the computer or the installation is damaged

o Incorrect configuration of personal firewall software

You can also get error 0X800CCC0E messages when you have anti-virus or firewall software enabled on your pc. Turn the anti-virus or firewall off for a moment and try to send your email again. If it works then the security software is the problem and you will need to contact your ISP for help.

You may get the 0x800CCC0D Error Message

When you attempt to send or receive email, you see one of the following error messages.

– The server could not be found. Account:account name, POPserver:’mail’, Error Number:0x800ccc0D

AS in the first error above, make sure you can get web pages in your browser and have done a reboot of your computer before attempting any other fixes.

This error can be generated if you have a firewall. The firewall may be causing this error.You can test this by disabling your firewall for a moment and trying to send a message. If you can your firewall is obviously the issue. Another way this problem can occur and the most common is that you have enabled the Norton antivirus email feature. Please review the Symantec support article on the Norton website to disable this feature.

Sometimes this error can be generated when your ISP has blocked port 25 for outgoing mail. This is becoming quite common, so you may have to contact your provider for updated account information.


Both of these error messages can occur due to the same issue. This is almost always a connectivity issue. Can you get web pages?

Before doing anything else,

a) First open your browser and make sure you are connected to the internet.

b) Restart your computer.

c) Check your Outlook Express settings, (TOOLS>ACCOUNTS) making sure that the POP3 and SMTP server information is correct, and that your full user name and password are correct. (Tip – watch out for SMTP misspelt as STMP, or addresses with commas rather than full points). Then try to connect again.

If you still cannot send and have followed the above directions and your settings all appear to be correct then you will have no choice but to contact your ISP or email provider or administrator.

"Work-Workout" – Digging Holes

The workout hat can be obtained by digging holes with good old fashioned pick and shovel, I would place at the level of splitting wood. This is an incredible whole body workout that is about as intense as it gets. It utilizes the arms, legs, entire core region in a major way. If done with the right intensity, It can be both aerobic and anaerobic at the same time.

Now I’m not encouraging anyone to be like an army recruit and go and dig a hole just to fill it in again. As a matter of fact even digging a hole may not be required. Sometimes just handling a shovel to move a pile of loam can give you the same effect. Figure that a human machine, in good condition can move about one cubic yard per hour. If you utilize a wheel barrow, that is shovel from the pile into the barrow, and then move the load to another part of the yard…say for a vegetable garden, now you are getting a good shoulder and upper back workout too.

Remember the theory behind the work-workout is that some sort of productive, valuable spin-off must come about the general activity along with the fitness benefit. So, that being said, here are some other ideas that can put that shovel, pick and wheel barrow to good use…along with that muscle power!

Dig a hole to bury a tank or drum for a gray water collection system. Grey water is waste water that does not contain any sewerage. Examples of sources of gray water are washing machines, showers -even if you are one of many people who tend to pee in the shower, kitchen and bathroom sinks. What is great about this water is that the soap in it is generally very good for watering plants and grass. But, experiment or do research to find out what products to avoid. That is the value behind this system. It save resources, and makes double use of the water. First as potable, then as irrigation water.

You will also have to dig a trench to run the piping to the tank from the sources. If you really want to go all out, trench for a sprinkler system from the gray water storage tank.If it works out well maybe you can bury some more, and tie in a rainwater collection system from the gutter off the house in addition to the gray water.

If there are restraints on these types of systems in your area, then here is an alternate plan. Dig for a drywell. This is a system that will let your gray water be absorbed into the ground. This can take the load off your septic system somewhat, or even the waste treatment facility if you are connected to municipal sewerage systems. All a drywell is composed of, is a good sized hole, filled with stone. This facilitates the water being absorbed into the ground. Do some research, it’s not “rocket surgery”, but it is labor intensive…just what the physical trainer ordered.

Remember to use both sides of your body when shoveling. It may feel awkward, but with enough practice you will get ambidextrous. It’s always important to practice muscle balance, and to stretch before and after this kind of strenuous exercise. If our hands are not toughened up from this sort of work, be sure to wear gloves to prevent blisters.

Cinema 4D – Global Illumination 12.0

When we’re introduced to new terms and techniques it’s helpful to know if this is a brand specific ‘tag’, a concept that belongs specifically to the software or in fact a universal property, used and applied in all similar products. Like ‘NURBS’ (non-uniform rational b-splines), global illumination is a rendering concept defined for three dimensional graphics and lighting.

Global Illumination is any rendering algorithm that simulates the inter-reflection of light between surfaces. That certainly is a mouth full but if you think about, any room you are in or any outdoor environment reflects light from all surfaces. There are many factors, such the light source, how bright the sun is shining if you are outdoors, the reflective properties of the surfaces receiving light but light radiates, and reflective surfaces mirror this light.

Global Illumination, as it’s name implies is a rendering technique that imitates this property of light in our real life environments. Local illumination would have a single light, lighting its direct target. In reality, when a light illuminates a room, there is direct light on the target surface but the remainder of the room also receives reflected, partial light.

Global Illumination in Cinema 4D is one of the advanced render options that provides Cinema with it’s signature ‘larger than life’ appearance. Using special materials for tile, glass, masonry provide a texture and look that is so life like but your render and render settings produce the final product. Using Global Illumination adds the luster and real life luminance and reflections.

Let’s take a look at the advanced render settings and see what they can do for us. Open your render settings choosing the third render icon to adjust the settings, then click on the lower left menu item ‘effect’ to add the ‘Global Illumination’ effect to your render.

In the general tab there are several modes available for still images, animation, QMC (Quasi Monte Carlo), and a sky sampler. Like any special treatment or special effect, it can be helpful to experiment, first with the default settings to get a feel for what this effect is doing, then choose one or two settings to experiment with their single contribution.

There are many tutorials available with scene files but the extra computation to produce the GI effects is very demanding. Your computer processor and memory resources play a large role in determining how long a GI render will take and a more complex scene will take much longer.

Most guides encourage starting with the default settings, possibly reducing some of the accuracy settings.

To get a good preview of what GI looks like, what it can do for your creative scenes, create a simple crystal ball with luminescence and a reflective background. Because you are taking advantage of GI’s algorithm that calculates the true effect of lighting, rays, and refraction it helps to choose a material which adds it’s own depth to your crystal ball surface.

The material applied to your GI object needs to have luminance chosen, it will exhibit more depth if you apply a HDRI texture to your material. If you add your materials ‘transparency’ property, then click on ‘illumination’ at the bottom of your material list properties, the GI Portal option in illumination becomes an option.

There is a delicate blend between the best GI settings, the right materials, and the right material properties which can exploit the GI feature of Cinema. Like nearly all effects and special finishes you are looking for in Cinema 4D, it also takes a lot of practice.

However like nearly all Cinema 4D adventures, it’s fun to practice! I like to begin with simple objects, simple application to get comfortable with a new effect but nearly all the impressive examples I see, (check Kai Peterson, Michael Vance, Greyscale Gorilla), use cloner representations of singular objects with reflective surfaces to really show off, the great Global Illumination effects they achieve.

External Lighting

Today’s home owners are more and more willing to invest in purchasing outdoor lighting items, since they can be used to improve the general look of a house as well as incorporate the outdoor with the indoor living space. Improving the external house design is not a matter of luxury anymore, as weather conditions and contemporary house designs permit people to experience the outdoors again as it being an important part of their home.

Outdoor house designers support that contemporary decks, patios and yards have as much thought put into their décor and ambiance as the house itself. Thus, selecting the right type of lighting should be part of improving the living quality of a person as well as enhancing the retail value of the house itself. So, it is extremely important now to choose the right external lamps and place them adequately in a porch or garden area.

However, there is a tip, no home owner should forget when purchasing outdoor lamps. Since usually the area that needs to be lightened is much bigger than that of a indoor house room, and because walls do not exist to reflect the beams of light and keep it contained into a single room, choosing the appropriate fixture is as important as purchasing the right style of lamp. Finding the correct size of an external lamp though, can be rather tricky. The most common mistake made is to purchase fixtures that are too small for the selected external house area. For that reason it is advised to select fixtures that are suitable for the area you wish to light and are sized proportionately in order to best serve their lighting purpose. If one is considering of choosing a lamp for the outdoor area of a house door, for example, it is wise to use a fixture that is based on the height of that specific door. Single lanterns should be about 1/3 of the door’s height, while a pair of lanterns can be ¼ of the height of the door.

Two general rules one has to follow when selecting lamps for outdoor use, is to mount the lamps at eye level or slightly higher and be sure that the fixtures selected are large enough to be noticed from a distance. Since, today’s outdoor lighting incorporates much more than just safety and security concerns, the overall look and décor of a house depends on the proper external lamps selection. Walk through your favorite neighborhood and you will discover plenty of good ideas of outdoor lighting. Avoid purchasing the wrong size lamps just because they are on sale. It is much wiser to consider the particular needs of your house and outdoor activities, as well as your house “look and feel” effect. Illuminating the wrong area or even your neighbor’s garage door is not an option. Ask for experts’ advice if you want to be on the safe side, but if your budget does not allow you these types of services, your local outdoor lighting salesman will be more than willing to visit your premises and offer you the best deal for your outdoor space. Search the offered designs, compare prices and browse other people’s homes and the final effect will be the one you intended.

Radiant Barrier – Installation Methods Pro’s and Con’s

You’ve read all of the articles and know all the pro’s and con’s to the attic insulation called radiant barrier. Now what? You need to ask yourself two vital questions and they are:

1. Does my attic have ductwork?

2. What is the climate conditions in my area (hot, cold?)

3. What are the install methods of radiant barrier and which one should I use?

We’re going to start by answering question number 3 first and tell you what the install methods of radiant barrier are.

The two prominent methods of installation are: stapling your reflective insulation to your roof rafters or just laying your reflective insulation over your previous traditional attic insulation. Each method has pro’s and con’s however, in order to make an informed decision you will need to answer question two.

If you live in mixed or possibly colder climate (East Coast etc…) then you may want to consider having reflective insulation installed on top of your traditional attic insulation. This will be the most effective method for you. Because it will stop heat loss in the winter and also will stop any convective looping- the colder denser air sinking into the insulation and the warmer air trying to warm the insulation-. Just by placing the reflective insulation on your insulation, you will be in effect wrapping your insulation with foil blanket and the cold air will not have access to your insulation. Though, please, do not think that the radiant barrier is the end all of insulation, instead it creates a deadly due against the fight against heat loss!

What if you live in a warm or hot climate and NO ductwork? This will open up the second install method of stapling the reflective insulation onto your attics rafters. However, it is still preferable to install the insulation on the attic floor due to receiving both summer and winter benefits. A warning: make sure you are completely satisfied with your insulation levels already. If you need to add insulation make sure to add the insulation prior to installing the radiant barrier. Because as soon as you install any reflective insulation you will not be able to install more traditional insulation without countering the effects of the radiant barrier. Due to the fact that all radiant barriers require an air space of approximately 1″.

However, if there is ductwork in the attic you may lean towards stapling the radiant barrier to your attics rafters. According the Department of Energy this is the optimal installation process in order to minimize summer heat gain and winter heat loss in the warmer climates. Though it is up for some debate on which method is better for energy savings.

It doesn’t matter which install method you decide on. You will see energy savings with it. The staple-up method results in the minimum overall heat gain into your home. Both of these methods of installing radiant barrier is going to make your home feel more comfy and save you money on your utility bills.