Do You Need a Driver or Impact Socket Set?

Many home owners would like to save some of their budget by doing more of the maintenance and repairs on engines they have around the house rather than to pay a professional to do the job. You can find many very good instruction manuals on-line to repair most of the small engines, cars, and appliances around the house. Most of these will need assembly or dis-assembly, and a lot of you will use socket sets to do this. But the standard one you own is probably made from chrome plated or chrome-vanadium steel, which is brittle and dangerous.

The reason they are dangerous is when removing exceptionally difficult nuts and bolt the socket can fragment and cause some pretty bad injuries. They are stiff and unyielding and if you encounter a nut that’s ridiculously hard to get off you may apply so much torque and power that the socket can shatter before the nut gives way. They explode like shrapnel.

The industry has recognized this problem and because of the demand for safer sockets for engine repair came up with the impact socket. The impact socket sets are made from a chrome molybdenum steel alloy which is softer and more malleable than the chrome vanadium steel and chrome plated steel sockets. Because they are a softer metal alloy they can grab onto the nut snugly no matter how damaged the nut is. But the nut may be on so tightly that your socket gives way before it does. The advantage is the impact socket breaks into two or three pieces but, because of the softer metal, it doesn’t explode. These sets can come with a ratchet wrench and a T-bar for manual loosening and tightening. They can also be used with powered drivers.

If you are not familiar with power drivers are, they are electric or air driven, and come in the same standard sizes standard socket ratchet wrench handles do, ¾ inch ½ inch and ¼ inch sizes. The drivers have the same drive shaft that the familiar ratchet wrench does and the sockets snap on the same way. They look like an electric drill but instead of a chuck they have a place to snap on sockets. The impact socket sets are used by professionals on cars, trucks, boat engines, industrial equipment, small engines and appliance motors. Professionals also have a 1 inch driver with a shaft for large impact socket sets, but that’s usually used on larger equipment than you have at home.

If you are not familiar with power drivers are, they are electric or air driven, and come in the same standard sizes standard socket ratchet wrench handles do, ¾ inch ½ inch and ¼ inch sizes. The drivers have the same drive shaft that the familiar ratchet wrench does and the sockets snap on the same way. They look like an electric drill but instead of a chuck they have a place to snap on sockets. The impact socket sets are used by professionals on cars, trucks, boat engines, industrial equipment, small engines and appliance motors. Professionals also have a 1 inch driver with a shaft for large impact socket sets, but that’s usually used on larger equipment than you have at home.

I hope you wear safety glasses and heavy clothing for protection using any tool that can fly out of your hand and cause injury, but I especially hope you do using the brittle socket sets. Give impact socket sets a try. If you’re on the strong side the manually driven impact sockets probably will work for you, but a power driver can make engine repairs much easier. Good luck, and enjoy your new endeavor. It’s challenging to take on engine repair but worth it.

Opening Your Speech

Imagine yourself at mission control; 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 – Speak!

When the space shuttle blasts off – those first few seconds of lift are critical. It comprises a small portion of the total journey, yet if someone errors – they crash and burn. The beginning of your speech is much the same. If you error in the opening your speech will crash and burn.

The mission of your opening is to 1. Grab their interest; 2. Establish rapport; 3. Introduce your topic. Here are 10 techniques you can use to launch your successful speech.

10. Startling statement. Use a strong attention grabbing statement – with facts, statistics or unusual information. “The greatest fear is to speak in public. The second greatest fear is to die.”

9. Suspense/ Surprise. Start with a suspense-building sentence or take them in one direction – then hit them with surprise. “It was a dark and stormy night – it was my wedding night.”

8. Story/Anecdote. Tell a short story. Begin your story with the word imagine. It is an engaging word. “Imagine that we could travel back in time to witness the Wright brothers at Kitty Hawk.”

7. Quotation. When you use a quotation you tap into the credibility and power of the person who stated those words. “I have a dream, cried out Martin Luther King Jr.” Quote from people well known and well liked by your audience.

6. Challenging Question. Questions are always powerful and engaging. This could be a rhetorical question. “Are you ready for the millennium? When the clock ticks over to January 1, 2000, will planes be falling and computers crashing?”

5. Compliment the audience. Be sincere – don’t say, “You are the most beautiful audience I have ever seen.” Instead say something that impressed you about the group, ‘I am very impressed with the hospitality shown to me by you today. This lives up to the reputation I have heard about your community work.’

4. Occasion. Comment on the occasion – especially if it is an anniversary or awards night. “To speak to you on your 10th annual awards dinner is an honour.” Or uncover some information about the group that outsiders would not normally know. “Happy Birthday to your founding president.” This takes a little research – and is worth it.

3. Prop or visual. Catch their attention and set the mood with a funny hat, uniform, or stuffed bear. Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain), would blow a cloud of smoke on stage before he made his entrance. It always got a laugh. You might roll a ball across the stage or play with a yo-yo. What you do before you speak can be powerful.

2. Previous speaker. Pick up on something a previous speaker said or did – especially if that was the president or chairman of the board. Build on what they said. It shows that you listened and gives you more credibility if you agree with the boss. Before you speak ask a participant, “What was the funniest thing that happened so far?” Try to build on this to get a laugh. Comedians call this technique a call back.

1. Engage the audience. Ask a question that requires the audience to answer, or one that is sure to make them laugh. “How many of the women in the audience have had an affair with Bill Clinton? – – How many of the men?”

Bonus tips:

o Don’t start with “My topic is…” or “Today I am going to talk about…” Both of these are boring.

o Never start with an apology. “I’m sorry we are running late.” “I’m sorry the president couldn’t be here.” “I’m sorry about the meal.”

o Once you take your position on stage, enjoy a long pause before you speak. Silently count “1 Mississippi, 2 Mississippi”.

o Smile as you first look around the audience. Look like you are happy to be there even if you don’t feel that way.

o Get them to laugh early. You’ll feel better and they will decide to like you sooner.

We return to Mission Control.

10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 – Close – and that’s another story.

Drilling Ceramic Tiles: How To Drill Holes In Ceramic Tile

Drilling holes in ceramic tiles isn’t as difficult as it might seem

Are you afraid of drilling through ceramic wall tile in case you crack or scratch the tile? I know that I was the first time that I did it. The thought of having to replace a perfectly good tile because I had destroyed it with my drill was just a little daunting. Don’t worry though, it isn’t nearly as difficult as it looks and if you follow a few simple rules your ceramic tile drilling should turn out just fine.

Use the correct type of drill bit

You need to use a carbide tipped drill bit for drilling into ceramics. The more common twist-drill bits that you might use for drilling into metal are not suitable because they will not be able to cut through the hard ceramic glaze on the tile. You may find that your DIY store has drill bits specialy marked for the purpose of drilling through ceramic tile.

Prevent the drill bit from slipping or skating on the ceramic surface

Take 2 pieces of masking tape and stick them on the ceramic tile in an ‘X’ pattern so that the hole will be in the center of the cross. This will help to stop the drill bit from slipping off target when drilling. Use a variable speed drill and start very slowly until the surface glaze has been penetrated to give the drill bit a guide. I like to drill very slowly all the way through to be on the safe side.

Change the drill bit when you are through the ceramic tile

When you feel the drill bit reaching the back of the tile be careful to slow down the drilling to ensure a clean exit at the back of the tile. When you are all the way through change the drill bit for one more suitable to drilling through the material that the ceramic tile is mounted on. You most likely will need either a wood drill or a masonry drill bit at this point.

Drilling a pilot hole

Unless I’m drilling a large hole in ceramic tile I never drill a pilot hole first but I do know that some people advise that you do. I prefer to be very careful and start drilling very slowly to make sure that I’m on target and the bit doesn’t slip. I don’t have to buy 2 ceramic tile drill bits that way.

Choosing a drill

When drilling ceramic tiles make sure that you use a power drill that has a variable speed control, which can be set to rotate very slowly. Portable battery operated power drills can be very good for this purpose.

How To Measure Light and Amp – Lux Levels In The Workplace – Don’t Jeopardise Your Safety

It’s very important to measure light and lux levels in the workplace; bad lighting can be hugely detrimental to your business and jeopardise your safety. Low light (or low Lux levels) may cause fatigue, muscle strain, and costly mistakes in industry, particularly if an employee or colleague is exposed to insufficient lighting over long periods of time. It’s the same for excessive light (or Lux) levels. Glare, and reflected light can distract an individual and impair his or her vision, which is particularly dangerous when a job requires the worker’s full attention, such as working with machinery or hazardous chemicals.

Appropriate lighting should be ensured at all times through testing and regular maintenance. Under the Health and Safety at Work Act of 1974, an employer has a duty to ensure the health and safety of employees. The Act includes a duty to provide lighting to ensure that work can be done safely, and that employees health or eyesight are not jeopardised. Regulation no.8 of the Workplace Regulations Act 1992 states that employers must ensure that:

Every workplace has suitable and sufficient lighting.

This should be natural light, so far as is reasonably practicable.

Suitable and sufficient emergency lighting shall be provided where needed.

To test, and maintain a required lighting level, it’s standard industry practise to use a light level meter. These instruments will typically provide a luminance reading based on either Lux or Foot-Candles. Lux (Lux) is a unit of illumination of one square metre, which is one metre away from a uniform light source. It is also a European standard of measurement. Foot-Candles (FC) is a unit of illumination of one square foot, which is one foot away from a uniform light source. It is a U.S measurement standard.

1 Lux = 0.0929 FC, 1 FC – 10.76 Lux

The amount of light (or Lux) required to suit your workplace obviously depends on the type of work being done, but the list below gives an indication of the light (or Lux levels) required for different kinds of working environments.

Storage Area / Plant Room (minimal movement of people): 150 to 200 Lux

Construction Areas and Loading Bays (minimal perception of detail): 300 to 500 Lux

Factories and Kitchens (higher perception of detail): 500 to 750 Lux

Inspection, Welding and Machinery (demanding work): 750 to 1000 Lux

Electronics and Textile Production (repetitive work): 1000 to 1500 Lux

Technical Offices (accurate detail): 1500 to 3000 Lux

Jewellers and Goldsmiths (precision detail): 3000 + Lux

Interior light (Lux) levels are much lower than outdoor natural light (Lux) levels. Some typical light (Lux) levels are:

Very Bright Summer Day: Up to 100,000 Lux

Overcast Summer Day: 30,000 to 40,000 Lux

Floodlit Football Match: 700 to 16,000 Lux

Shady Room In Daylight: 250 to 300 Lux

Night Light On A Building: 60 Lux

Night-Time Urban Street: 10 Lux

Night-Time Car Park: 1 Lux

When you’re choosing a light meter, it’s important to understand its associated Lux (or FC) measurement range, resolution, accuracy, and the maintenance required to achieve repeatable measurements. You’ll also need to consider the environment in which the light meter is used. Consider the lists above, taking measurements outdoors will require a much higher Lux (or FC) measurement range, and in a professional environment, the accuracy of your reading will ultimately affect the credibility of your future measurements, and organisation as a whole.

So, It’s also a good idea to have your light meter calibrated before taking a measurement. In today’s market, more light meters are used without firstly being checked for traceable accuracy, or suitability of purpose, yet the accuracy and suitability of your light meter to its intended application could be the difference between passing and failing a health and safety audit, wasting a whole industrial process, or being correct the first time.

Also, if your company is ISO accredited, then having all instruments used as a controlling element calibrated on a regular basis is a mandatory part of the auditable procedure.

Taking a reading is relatively straight forward, simply expose the light meter sensor to your desired environment, and log the reading displayed on the display. If you’d like to submit regular readings to management, auditors, or work colleagues, you may like to consider a data logging light meter. These instruments allow continuous Lux (or FC) measurements to be displayed in real-time, or downloaded and stored to PCs or Laptop computers. The recorded measurements can then be attached to emails or reports, and is great for traceability in critical environments.

If you can choose the light meter best suited to your intended application, AND provide traceable instrument calibration to an auditor, you can always be assured of your measurement’s creditability. If you’re unsure of a light meter’s suitability, always consult the help of a professional body.

Rules of Thumb For Light Spacing

The following guidelines are based on practical rules of thumb and may be helpful in planning how to place your lights.

For general lighting in the home downlights with the equivalent of a 100watt incandescent are a good choice. New downlights have been designed for compact fluorescent lamps which can save up to 80% of the power required for a conventional incandescent bulb. If fluorescent lamps are not suitable for any reason there are halogen lamps available as replacements for conventional bulbs which save 30% of the power and are dimmable.

The spacing of these downlights should be about three quarters of the height of the ceiling, e.g. if the stud height is 2.4 meters then space the lights at 1.8 meters.

An attractive alternative although more expensive is to use a combination of single and multiple low voltage downlights

These distances are conservative and take no account of the light fittings design. The data sheets of most lights give an SHR figure. This is the maximum space to height ratio for the spacing of that light. To find the spacing multiply the SHR by the height of the light. eg 8 foot stud, SHR 1.25 the spacing would be 8 x 1.25 = 10 feet.

Halogen lights are used for lighting working areas such as kitchen, laundries and bathrooms because of the quality of light they produce. An advantage of 12 volt halogen downlights is the variety of bulbs available.

Halogen lamps are available in 20watt, 35 watt and 50 watt and special fittings take 100 watts, but the advantage is that each is available in beam angles of 10, 24, 36 and 60 degrees. This means that you can change the bulb to get a narrow beam or to spread the light.

The spacing of 50 watt halogen lights should be about half of the distance from the bench to the ceiling. e.g. if this distance is 1.4 meters then the lights should be spaced about 0.7 meters apart, or half the distance from the floor to ceiling for general lighting.

Highlighting a wall can make a room appear larger, or used in an entry can make the hall seem inviting.

Halogen 50 watt lights are usually used and these are spaced about one quarter of the height of the wall out from the wall. The lights are spaced about the same distance apart along the wall, and tilted to shine about one quarter of the way down the wall.

If a wall has an interesting texture, then grazing it with light is a popular option. In this case 50 watt halogen lights are fitted about 300mm out from the wall and spaced about 450mm apart along the wall.

Highlighting a painting is usually done with a halogen 50 or 35 watt light. If the light is recessed into the ceiling place it in line with the centre of the painting. The distance out from the painting should be about two thirds of the distance from the centre of the painting to the ceiling. Make sure that the halogen bulb has a UV filter or the light will bleach your painting.

Barrier Games for Fun Learning

Barrier games are simple interactive speaking and listening activities where children are not allowed to see what other players are doing and have to speak and listen clearly to complete a task. The games help children learn how to give clear instructions and descriptions, listen well and ask good questions for clarification. They can be used to teach vocabulary, concepts and information.

Groupings can be varied with one person giving instructions to a group or whole class, or two teams, pairs or individuals positioned across a barrier from each other. The barrier can be a large piece of card, an A3 landscape ringbinder file, etc. Rather than use a barrier, children can sit back to back with a partner. There are endless possibilities for barrier game activities and resources. Below are instructions for a game using 2D coloured shapes, followed by notes on resources, vocabulary and other ideas for barrier games.

Instructions for Barrier Game with 2D coloured shapes

1. Discuss key vocabulary referring to the resources.

2. An adult can model the game with an adult or child first.

3. Show the identical grids, where they are placed in front of the players and how one can be turned around at the end of the game to see if objects have been placed correctly.

4. Put the barrier up between two players or two teams and explain that no one should look at the other side of the barrier.

5. One player places a shape on a square on the grid and then gives instructions to the other person or team to duplicate the action on the other side of the barrier. e.g. Put the red circle in the middle square on the top row.

6. The listener asks questions for clarification, if necessary, then follows the instruction.

7. Continue with the same player/team giving instructions and the second checking and following the instructions.

8. When all or as many squares as desired are covered, remove the barrier. One grid may need to be turned around correctly so that they are viewed from the same direction

9. Check work and discuss.

Resources

· Barrier

· Two identical sets of coloured shapes

· Two identical grids with blank or coloured squares. The number of squares used depends on the children’s ability. Two rows of 3 squares (6 in total) is good to begin with. With uncoloured blank grids more vocabulary of direction is needed e.g. left, centre, right, top, middle, bottom, above, under, next to, etc.

Vocabulary

Shapes used e.g. circle, square, triangle, rectangle, hexagon

Colours e.g. red, blue, yellow, purple, orange, green, pink, black, white, grey, brown

Size e.g. large, small, middle-sized Position e.g. left, right, middle, top, bottom, above, below, next to

Different Barrier Games

Alternatives to 2D coloured shapes are: 3D shapes, identical sets of models or pictures from a topic studied e.g. animals, plants, food, body part; beads to thread on a string and no grid, identical sets of pictures of two teddies, or two children with identical sets of various clothes to dress in and no grid.

You Can’t Trust Most Fireproof Safes to Protect Your Data and Photos on CDs Or Flash Drives

What’s Wrong With Fireproof Safes?

There is nothing really wrong with a home fireproof safe. They are well designed to keep paper products from reaching a temperature that will destroy or ruin them. However they will not prevent computer data that you have backed up on CDs, DVD, or even flash drives from being destroyed. They will not protect photo slides and negatives either.

The problem is that we may not understand fireproof or fire resistant ratings that are assigned to safes. There are three basic ratings for fireproof safes by the Underwriters Laboratories. If a safe is rated for 1 hour then it must maintain the internal temperatures below the specified rating for the entire hour.

UL 350 – The safe must keep the interior temperature below 350 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s below the normal temperature for most paper products to burn, char or become useless.

UL 150 is the rating for tapes, cartridges, microfiche, and microfilm. In addition to keeping the interior at or below 150 degrees, the humidity must be below 85%.

UL 125 is the standard for diskettes. In this case, the temperature cannot exceed 125°F and 80% humidity.Humidity and water damage is important if you intend to protect electronic devices like flash drives.

Test Your Own Data Media

If you doubt the need to have a better rated home or office fireproof safe to protect your data, then you can try this simple test.

Find a couple of photo negatives or slide and a print or two that you don’t care about. Get two old CDs or DVDs with some data on them. Put one of the CDs in a jewel case.

Preheat your kitchen oven to 200 degrees and shut it off so the elements don’t turn on. The radiant heat could be greater and cause the plastic to melt even if the air temperature is only 200 degrees. Place both the CD in the jewel case and the other CD on a piece of paper and place them in your oven. Wait a few minute and you can watch the CD in the jewel case curl up. Obviously the data will never be retrieved from it. Remove the other CD carefully that you don’t bend it. When it is cooled you can put it in your computer and see if the data is intact. Sometimes it will be OK.

Now preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Don’t set it on 350 just in case your oven thermostat isn’t accurate. When the oven has reached the correct temperature, shut it off. Insert your photos, slides, and negatives on a piece of paper. Put your good CD back in the oven also on a piece of paper.

You will notice that a negative will almost immediately curl up and be destroyed. The pictures will curl a little and most likely be discolored slightly. The pictures will eventually flatten out again but there will be no hope for the slides or negatives.

The CD will remain flat but the data will be gone. You will likely be able to see bubbles in the plastic of the recording side of the CD.

Alternatives

Here are three alternatives if you want your data protected.

Get a fireproof media safe. It will protect your pictures, slide, negative, CDs, and DVDs. As shown above, a UL 125 rated fireproof safe will protect your data from heat and moisture. While a regular home fireproof safe may protect the data contents for a few minutes, the likely hood that the data will be safe longer than 15 minutes is extremely low.

Benefits of a fireproof media safe:

  • The ability to quickly backup to a flash drive and immediately store your data ever night after doing a backup.
  • The data is available whether or not you have internet access.
  • You don’t have to pay any monthly or annual fees ones you have your safe.

Drawback of a fireproof media safe:

  • The biggest drawback to a fireproof media safe is the initial cost. They aren’t cheap.

Use an online backup system. This is a very effective way to ensure that your data is safe. Well, as safe as you can expect when you are using another company to keep your data. If you don’t have very much data, you can find free services on the web.

Benefits of using online backup:

  • Your data is kept in a completely different location.
  • In many cases, your data can be encrypted for extra safety.

Drawback of:

  • You may need to use special software. Software changes over time and so do encryption methods.
  • You may find yourself converting your data or even moving it when a company goes out of business.
  • There are annual fees when you have a lot of data and that will cost you more over time than a fireproof media safe.
  • You can’t store some purchased software DVDs online. They often require the original DVD to reinstall the software.
  • Uploading your nightly backup to the internet is not as fast as saving it on a flash drive.

Rent a safety deposit box at your local bank.

Benefits of a safety deposit box:

  • You have maximum protection.
  • You have offsite data protection.

Drawbacks of a safety deposit box:

  • Limited access to your data. It isn’t there when you need it and you can’t secure it every night.
  • Deposit boxes are really small. You can store a lot of data on DVD but you can’t put many slides and negatives in one.
  • The costs of a deposit box vary greatly but they also will cost more over time than a fireproof media safe.

Conclusion

Evaluate your situation. If you don’t have much data then online backup may be the best option. If you have a lot of data and you have many purchased software packages then your best option is a home or office fireproof media safe. Whatever you do, don’t be caught with a fire in your home and office and find out that you have lost your data.

The Essence Of Bhagavad-Gita – The Most Sacred Hindu Philosophy

Hinduism produced many philosophical work and texts, among which Gita is considered the most sacred and philosophical scripture. Not only by Hindus, but Gita is popular across religions all over the world.

In this article, I would try to present the true essence of Gita, some of its verses and their meaning.

Historical relevance and the story behind it:

Bhagavad-Gita is a part of Bhishma Parva of Hindu epic Mahabharata written by Krishnadwaipayan Byashdeb. Written in Sanskrit, the meaning of Srimad Bhagavad-Gita is the Song of God. There are some doubts about its date of composition. Some scholars give a broad range of possible dates, as in this analysis by R. C. Zaehner:

“As with almost every major religious text in India no firm date can be assigned to the Gītā. It seems certain, however, that it was written later than the ‘classical’ Upanishads with the possible exception of the Maitrī and that it is post-Buddhistic. One would probably not be going far wrong if one dated it at some time between the fifth and the second centuries B. C.”

The story of Mahabharata mainly revolves around the battle of Kurukshetra, where Kauravas and Pandavas fought for the throne of Hastinapur. Before the start of the battle, Arjuna, one of the brothers of Pandava was morose as he was to fight against his own brothers and relatives. He could not accept the fact that he will be responsible for killing all his sect, brothers and relatives. Krishna, who was depicted as an Avatar (incarnation) of God, preaches Arjuna of Life’s philosophy and boosted him up to get readied for the battle. In the entire conversation between Arjuna and Krishna, the philosophical aspects of one’s life, his action, renunciation, knowledge has been vividly described. Hindus believe that if anybody reads Bhagavad-Gita he gets freed from all pains, sorrows and grieves.

The Theme:

The main theme of the content of Bhagavad-Gita is the explanation of five basic concepts of Truth.

1. Ishwara (The Supreme Controller)

2. Jiva (Living beings, the soul)

3. Prakriti (Nature, matter)

4. Karma (Action)

5. Kala (Time)

When Arjuna was morose and was not ready to fight the battle, Krishna counsels him on various aspects of Dharma, what one should do and what not. Krishna explained to him what a man his worth of, what his action should be, what knowledge he should have, how time controls all. He said to Arjuna, who you are that you think you will kill your brother. You are just a puppet in the hand of time. He said that time has already written everybody’s faith and you are just an executioner. He explained the inner meaning of life and said that our body is just like the cloth we wear everyday, soul is the greatest possession. One can destroy body but not soul.

Content (18 Chapters and some verses):

The entire Gita has been divided into eighteen chapters, each describing one aspect of life. These 18 chapters and their main contents are

Arjuna’s Sorror:

Arjuna seeing the Kauravas on the opposite side relinquishes his weapon. He became morose knowing the fact that he has to fight and kill his brothers and relatives.

The Path Of Knowledge:

Krishna teaches him that one can kill only the body not soul. Soul is immortal.

“Neither the one who thinks it kills nor the one who thinks it is killed do not know the truth. This neither kills nor gets killed”

“The soul is never born nor does it die at any time. It has neither past nor future. It is unborn, ever existing, permanent and ancient. When the body is slain neither it is killed not it kills.”

“Just as a man discards worn out clothes and puts on new clothes, the soul discards worn out bodies and wears new ones.”

“The soul cannot be pierced by weapons, burnt by fire, moistened by water or dried by wind.”

“The soul is impenetrable, incombustible, unchangeable, certainly ever existing, all-pervading, fixed, immovable, and ever continuing.”

Karma-Yoga:

Arjuna questions why would then he act as the most important thing is knowledge. Krishna said that one must act without attaching himself with the action and worldly affairs.

“One cannot achieve freedom from action by merely abstaining from actions, nor one can attain samadhi simply by renouncing all actions.”

“Therefore do your prescribed work, for doing some work is better than doing no work at all. Without work it is not possible to even maintain the physical body.”

“Works in this world can cause bondage unless done with a sense of sacrifice. Therefore, O son of Kunti, perform your actions for the sake of sacrifice only, free from attachment.”



The Supreme Knowledge:

Krishna tells him that he has lived many lives and over the decades he has incarnated to save the pious and to destroy impious.

“Although I am unborn and inexhaustible, and although I am the Lord of all beings, keeping nature under My control, I manifest Myself by My own self induced illusion”

“Whenever and wherever there is decline of dharma (righteousness) and ascendance of adharma (unrighteousness), at that time I manifest Myself in visible form”

“For the protection of the righteous and destruction of the wicked, and for the sake of establishing dharma again, I incarnate Myself on earth from time to time.”

Renunciation Of Action:

Krishna tells Arjuna that why Karma Yoga is better to adopt.

“The ignorant people say that the yoga of knowledge and the yoga of action are different. But the learned ones do not say so. By achieving mastery in either of the two, one can attain the fruit of both.”

“The qualified karma yogi, who is pure in his heart and conquered his mind and his senses, sees his self in all selves and remains free even though engaged in action”

Yoga Of Self-Control:

Krishna teaches Arjuna the right way of doing meditation.

Let a man lift himself by himself. Let him not degrade himself. Certainly self is friend to the self and self is also the enemy of the self.”

“He who has controlled his self by his self, certainly his self is his best friend, but for him who has not conquered his self his self is his enemy”

“He who has learned to control his eating and enjoyment, who performs his actions in a balanced manner, who maintains balance between his waking and sleeping periods, his yoga frees him for all his sorrows.”

Knowledge And Wisdom:

Krishna preaches what is knowledge and what is wisdom.

“The earth (energy in the form of gross matter), water ( energy in the form of lighter matter), fire (energy in the form of lighter matter), ether (the subtle matter), mind (energy in the form of consciousness), buddhi (energy in the form of awareness), and the ego (the individualized consciousness)- these are the eight fold divisions of My Prakriti (Creative Energy).”

Attaining The Supreme:

Arjuna is taught, how one can attain the Supreme.

“At the time of death, he who, remembering Me, leaves the body, attains My State. There is no doubt about this.”

“From the unmanifest are manifested all the beings at the beginning of the day and are dissolved again into the unmanifest upon the arrival of the night.”

The Secret Knowledge:

Krishna then reveals to Arjuna his for as world destroyer and explained how he controls all.

“These beings do not exists in Me. Look at my mystic richness. Although I am the bearer and creator of all the beings , My Self does not exist in any of the cosmic manifestations.”

“I am kratu (Vedic ritual), I am yagna (sacrificial ceremony), I am svadha (an offering in the sacrificial ceremony), I am medicine, I am the Mantra (the sacred chant), I am adyam (fuel in the Yagna), I am Agni (fire) and I am hutam (the burnt remains of an offering in the yagna).”

The Manifestation Of God:

Krishna enumerates names of gods, heroes and explained bibhuti (Sacred Ash).

“I am the originator of all. From Me manifest all this. Knowing thus men of wisdom worship Me with concentrated attention.”

“I am the punishing power of those who are in authority. I am the morality of those who are in search of victory. Among the secrets I am the silence and among the knowledgeable I am the knowledge.”

The Universal Vision:

Krishna then gave Arjuna a vision which helped Arjuna to see his Universal omnipotent incarnation. Arjuna exclaimed and requested Krishna to withdraw.

“You are imperishable, the highest (knowledge) to be realized. You are the resting ground for this whole universe. You are the protector of the eternal dharma. It is my conviction that you are the most Ancient Being.”

“O Vishnu, looking at Your expansive form reaching out to the heavens, glowing with innumerable colours, mouth widely open, bright wide eyes, I am certainly terrified in my heart and lost my inner stability and tranquility.”

Devotional Service:

Krishna explains Arjuna the meaning of Bhakti-Yoga.

“Certainly knowledge is better than practice, but better than knowledge is meditation, superior to which is renunciation of the fruits of actions. Indeed after renunciation there is only peace.”

“Without any hatred towards all beings, friendly and compassionate, without any sense of possessiveness, without any egoism, equal in pleasure and pain and forgiving.”

Nature, The Enjoyer, And Consciousness:

Arjuna learned the meaning of Prakriti, the matter.

“The Mahabhutas (the five great elements), the ego, the discriminating intelligence, the invisible (self), the ten senses (ears, skin, tongue, nose, hands, feet, mouth, anus, and the sexual organs) and the five objects of the senses ( sound, taste, touch, smell and the forms).”

“Desire, repulsion, happiness, sorrow, the aggregate, dynamic awareness, decisiveness, all these are briefly the various aspects of the kshetra (body)”

“Without pride, without pomposity, absence of cruelty, tolerance, straight forwardness, service to Acharya (the spiritual master), cleanliness, stability (of the mind), self-control.”

“Disinterested, detached from the son, wife, home and the like, always even minded in both desirable and undesirable conditions.”

The Three Modes Of Material Nature:

Krishna preaches the three Gunas, or qualities of Sankhya philosophy.

“Sattva (purity), Rajas (passion) and Tamas (ignorance) are the qualities arising out of Prakriti. They bind the soul with the body, O mighty armed.”

“Of them Sattva is of the purest nature, illuminating and without any debility. Through attachment with happiness and knowledge it binds , O sinless one.”

“Know that Rajas is full of passion born out of attachment with thirst (insatiable desire). It binds the embodied, O son of Kunti, through attachment with works.”

“But know that Tamas is born out of ignorance, deludes all embodied beings. Through recklessness, laziness and sleep, it binds (the soul), O Bharata.”

The Yoga Of The Supreme Being:

Description of the three Gunas which has its roots in the heaven and foliage on the Earth.

“Without pride and illusion, free from the impurities of attachment, always turned inwardly, freed from lust, and the sense of duality like happiness or sorrow, the undeluded attain the inexhaustible eternal position.”

The Opposite Qualities:

The two opposite qualities of human being are explained.

“Intelligence, forgiving nature, fortitude, cleanliness, without envy, without egoistic pride- these O Bharata are the riches (virtues) of those born with divine nature.”

“Pomposity, exaggerated self-importance, pride in one self, anger, rudeness and ignorance, are the property (vices ) of the those born with undivine nature.”

The Division Of Qualities:

Thought, deed and ingestion, corresponding to three Gunas, are answered.

“Austerity that is performed for gaining popularity and honor and also for display is regarded in this world as rajasic, which is also unstable and distracted (or without concentration).”

“The austerity that is performed out of foolishness, struggle and by self torture, with an intention to harm others, this is referred as tamasic in nature.”

“The charity that is worth giving, given without any expectation, according to the time and place and to the deserving person, is remembered as sattvic.”

“The charity which is given for the sake of a reciprocal advantage or with the expectation of a result, or given in return (for some advantage or gain), or given grudgingly or with difficulty, that charity is to be remembered as rajasic.”

Liberation By Renunciation:

Arjuna came to knew that one must follow his Dharma or his duty in renunciation. He joined battle.

“Renunciation of action due to unhappiness and the fear that they cause physical discomfort is called rajasic renunciation and he will not gain the fruit of renunciation.”

“He who performs the prescribed actions considering them as obligatory duty and renounces all attachment to the fruit of his actions, such renunciation in my opinion is sattvic in nature.”

“Without aversion to unpleasant work and without attachment to pleasant work, the renouncer is well entrenched in sattva. He is intelligent and free from all doubts.”

Translated Texts Taken From :http://www.hinduwebsite.com/chapters.asp

Other Sources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bhagavad_Gita

http://vedabase.net/bg/en

Decorating Cheaply – A No-Mar Wallpaper Substitute

Do you live in an apartment or rental home and are bored to tears over bland eggshell-painted walls that your lease states you cannot paint? No problem. Here’s the secret: Plain old liquid starch is your friend and can be used for lots of decorating projects. Think of it as wallpaper paste that isn’t permanent on your walls.

This wallpaper substitute with fabric and starch is especially good for kid’s rooms and bedrooms:

You’ll need:

String and chalk to snap even vertical and horizontal guidelines

Fabric to cover your walls (remember that fabric is almost twice as wide as wallpaper)

Sta-Flo Liquid starch, 64 oz. bottle (usually around $1)

Cheap woven craft ribbon (optional)

2 or 3″ paint brush or big sponge (I use a big square one made for smoothing wallpaper)

Straightedge something like a Popsicle stick

Nice sharp craft knife

Measure your walls for what you’d like to wallpaper. It may be an entire wall, just the bottom half, or even just one accent wall in a room. Then head out to your local fabric or craft store and rummage around in the sale bins of fabric (I like to look in the $1/yd section). Look for broadcloth used for quilting or any fairly sturdy, non-stretch, close-weave fabric in a pattern that just grabs you. I’ve found small prints that don’t have a definite repeat work really well because you won’t have to spend a lot of frustrating time trying to match the design. Or even use a solid color in a spectacular shade.

Buy enough fabric with a yard or two extra for good measure. You may need it and, if you don’t, you’ll have the extra for accent pillows. You can even get one or two coordinating fabrics to customize your room with pillow covers and curtains (pressure rods are easy and don’t mar the window frames) if you have a sewing machine and can do basic straight stitching.

Take the time to use the chalk line to mark your first guidelines. It will definitely save you from a headache later. Cut your fabric about 4 – 6 inches longer than the finished size. Pour some liquid starch into a bucket and, with the brush or sponge, spread an even layer over the section of wall you’ll be starting on. Smooth the fabric onto the wall leaving a bit at the top and bottom. Then use the brush or sponge to apply a liberal amount of starch all over the fabric. Make sure it’s smooth and straight but take care not to stretch the cloth. Squeeze out the sponge and use it to really work the fabric flat against the wall. Use the straightedge to make sure there is a good contact at the top and bottom but don’t try to trim it while it’s wet. Just like with wallpaper, start over with a new piece at the corners of the room to get a professional, clean look.

Laugh and wipe the starch off your arms and then continue applying and smoothing sections of fabric around the room. Let it all dry until it starts to feel nice and stiff and then you can use the craft knife to trim along the ceiling and baseboards. If you find an area that isn’t sticking the way you like it, just reapply some more starch. Any excess starch on the ceiling or trim can easily be washed off with water.

Now stand back and pat yourself on the back for how really great it looks! If you want, you can apply craft ribbon with the same starch method over the cut edges or anywhere you want an accent.

You did it! You let your imagination soar and you now have a beautiful transformation at a fraction of the cost of expensive wallpaper. Plus, you can enjoy the satisfaction of knowing that this whole incredible reflection of your taste and talent can easily be peeled off and all it will take to restore the wall to it’s original blank canvas condition is a little soap and water.

© Janet L. Burgar, December 2008

The Pros and Cons of a Steel Frame Home

Steel is a popular material in construction as it is extremely durable and strong. Steel frame buildings are most commonly found in industrial or storage situations but more recently, more people are using steel structures in residential building. A steel frame house is one of the newest options that is now available to anyone looking to build or buy a new home. As with most things, steel frame buildings come with both advantages and disadvantages. When considering buying or building a steel frame home it is important to take into consideration both pros and cons. When building it is essential to work alongside an architect who is experienced in constructing homes out of steel as there are some issues involved that differ slightly from standard constructions.

Let’s start with the advantages that a steel frame building can bring. The biggest advantage of using steel in residential building is the longevity and durability of the material itself. With wooden frames you often get rotting or warping meaning that the walls never stay perfectly straight. With wooden frames you often have to replace the home’s under-structure and this can be quite costly. With steel you don’t get any warping or rotting so you won’t need to fork out any money to replace any parts of the structure. If you are looking to stay in your house for a long time then a steel frame really can save you lots of money spent on repairs.

With any home there is always the potential problem that bugs may find their way into the structure of the house. Even though steel homes can have some if the same bug problems as other types of homes, there are still some advantages. Bugs that often bore or eat into the wooden structure of a house can cause some serious structural damage. The bugs often find a home in a wooden frame and it can be very hard to get rid of them. With a steel frame, the bugs will not make a nest; therefore the structural damage that pests often cause to wooden frames will not happen.

Another advantage of a steel house is that they are very sturdy and can withstand even the most severe weather. They can even be built to hurricane and earthquake standards if need be.

Now to the disadvantages. The cost of producing steel has always been relatively very high. While the cost of most steel frame materials has become increasingly competitive, the costs of construction are another matter. It takes a lot of time to construct a steel frame building as it takes longer to use screws than it does to use nails. In addition screws also cost more.

Insulation is a big problem with steel buildings. Steel homes need additional insulation as steel on its own is not a very good insulator, especially when you consider how good an insulator wood is. Insulating your home to an acceptable standard will also add to your building costs. If you do not take the time to consider appropriate insulation methods during the construction process, then the energy costs for your home will be higher and your home will not be the warm and cosy placed that you hoped for.

Suspended Ceiling Systems

There are many different variations of suspended ceilings out there to choose from when looking for a design that will suit your needs. Read on to find out what some of these variations are.

Concealed suspended ceilings, this will appear as a clean design because all of the suspension pieces are hidden from view. If you are thinking about getting these ceilings that are concealed you will also need to think about whether or not you want it to be accessible (therefore demountable) or whether you want it to be non accessible. You can go either way with the concealed ceiling look but it is a major factor you need to take into consideration before implementing the ceiling in your building as non accessible ones will not allow for you to carry out easy maintenance.

Exposed suspended ceilings are the next design on the list. This is made up of panels placed into a ceiling grid, there are a few design options that come with this type of ceiling including, which size tiles you can use as they are all placed into a grid. Ceilings like this are easy and quick to install which is a bonus if you need the ceiling fitted within a limited amount of time. This ceiling type allows for easy access to maintenance as this can be carried out within the ceiling void. This is another bonus for this ceiling type

The next type of suspended ceilings is free span which will require you to know some of your requirements. Ceilings of this type have ceiling planks which are held together by the perimeter trim, these suspended ceilings will mainly be used for corridors as they span up to 2500 mm and are tiled with planks, therefore making them ideal for corridors. Once again these types of ceilings can be demounted or they can be closed not allowing access at all. If you opt for demountable then you gain full access to the ceiling void allowing for quick and easy maintenance. These suspended ceilings have a smooth seamless like structure.

Also there is the Bandraster grid suspended ceilings system. This is a brilliant system that can be implemented depending on your building type. It can be merged to follow the buildings design with the parallel suspension sections that make up this great system. Say your building is round, the tiles can follow the building around in a curved shape. A horizontal bracing is assembled with the ceiling structure which helps the ceiling from any lateral movement and vibration. This lateral bracing is created in these suspended ceilings with a choice of sections, you can either have exposed or concealed sections where you can also make the planks in the ceiling demountable or completely inaccessible which you may or may not wish to do with this system.

Above are a few types of suspended ceilings that are available to you. There are more but they will not be covered here, but I hope this has been helpful to you and that you take into consideration all of the factors there are before purchasing your suspended ceilings.

Condo Flooring Options

The floor may be the one thing you use most in your condo. Unless you can fly, your floor is in constant use when you are home. Given the large amount of use it gets, it is worth spending some time thinking about your floor, whether you are buying or selling, or just thinking of ways to improve your condo. The four types of flooring we will discuss are carpet, hardwood, laminate and tile.

Carpet – There are few homes that do not have any carpet in them; it remains one of the most popular floor coverings available today. Available in a huge variety of colors, quality and styles, many people have carpet in areas like living rooms and bedrooms. Carpet is cozy and exudes a feeling of warmth. At the same time, it may not be the best option in high-traffic areas like doorways, as it will become worn and dirty. And in places like kitchens and bathrooms, carpet gets dirty, and sometimes ruined, rather quickly.

Hardwood – While hardwood is one of the most expensive of the floor-covering options, it probably is the most desirable. If you are selling your condo, replacing the flooring with hardwood is a great way to catch the eye of potential buyers. One of the best aspects of hardwood floors is their durability. Though it is a large initial investment, hardwood can last for decades. It also is easy to clean and maintain. If something spills, simply sweep or soak it up. Hardwood also is available in a variety of colors. It naturally reflects light and lends a more open feeling to your condo, and choosing a light color can actually make your space appear larger. Some people have nothing but hardwood floors and put down area rugs in places like bedrooms and living rooms.

Laminate – Laminate flooring is designed to look and function like hardwood, but at a cheaper price. It is a good option for people who do not want carpet, but cannot afford hardwood floors. It does not last as long as hardwood, but most laminate floors have a longer useful life than carpet. Like hardwood floors, laminate floors can make a room seem larger.

Tile – For many people, tile occupies a small flooring niche. This floor type is a good option in bathrooms because it is not sensitive to moisture and water. Many people also like tile in their kitchens because it is easy to clean up spills. And tile is especially popular in high-traffic spots like doorways. One of the main drawbacks of tile, especially in cooler climates, is that it does not retain heat well. But if you really want tile, and you have a healthy budget, you can always have heating elements installed underneath it.

How To Build A Clam Pump and The Sport Of Clamming

If any of you sportsmen or women are even thinking about trying the sport of clam digging, you need to learn how to build a clam pump or you are in for a lot of work. Pumping clams with a clam pump is about a hundred times easier and faster than every other method that I have seen, all of which usually involve that archaic device known as a shovel. There is no need for such a dreaded tool when the clam pump is deployed! The clams I am talking about here are horsenecks, geoducks, washingtons, softshells, and that type of long necked clam.

The clam pump is a simple device and can be made easily in your garage at home with very little expense. All you need is a 30 inch piece of 3″ pvc pipe with a flat, glue-on, cap for one end of it for the body of the pump. Then you need a thirty inch long by ¼ inch rod that is threaded for about three inches on each end that will hold a handle on one end and round flat rubber washers, such as compressed tennis balls or pieces of rubber tire, on the other end that are somewhat tight against the inside of the pvc pipe to act as “plungers” to suck the water up with when you pull back on the rod handle at the top of the pump.

The body of the pump (the 3″ pvc) has a hole on the side about one inch below the cap to allow air and trapped water to exhaust when you pull up on the pump handle. The cap itself has a small hole in the center of it on the top of the pump so the sucker rod can be inserted through it. On the top of the sucker rod will be a piece of ¾ inch metal pipe perpendicular to the rod as the pump handle. This will be about 6 inches long with holes midway through both sides of the pipe to allow the sucker rod to pass through to allow it to be attached. Thread a nut on the sucker rod threads along with a washer to where the threads end. Put the rod through the handle piece and thread another washer, lock washer and nut on to squeeze the handle between them and the first nut and washer and tighten so that it is secure. L little “Lock-tight” would be helpful here and then cut off the excess threaded rod for safety.

The rubber washers are attached much the same way on the other end of the sucker rod, but make sure that you attach them before you insert them and the rod in the pump body as they will be up inside the pipe when the handle is attached after passing through the hole in the cap.

Lastly, you need a way to hold on to the pump body when you are pumping as holding the three inch pipe in your hand can be somewhat awkward. An easy fix for this is to attach a piece of ¾ inch flat bar across the center of the cap so that it hangs out a couple inches on each side of the pump. You will drill a hole in this just the same as you did the top of the cap as they will “line up” on top of each other and the sucker rod will pass through them both. This flat rod will be attached firmly to the cap before it is glued on with small nuts, washers, and bolts which will require holes being drilled in the flat bar to fit these. This also has the added benefit of protecting the plastic cap from being worn out quickly from the bar passing back and forth during the pumping.

Another good fix for the handle issue is to drill a small hole in the body of pump 6 to 10 inches from the top of the cap and insert a 5 inch bolt from the inside with a washer. Find or make either a metal or wooden handle so the bolt can go through the center of it and put a washer and nut on the outside of that handle to hold it in place.

Now, the fun part—-How to properly use this magnificent device! First, find the clam! Wait until the tide is well on its way out but about 45 minutes before ebb tide. This is because the clam pump uses water to blow its way down to the clam, not to suck the mud out, so you need to have a few inches of water over the mud flat where you are clamming. Walk along and when you think you see the clam’s mouth sticking up, which is usually just a small oddity in the sand or maybe the two “nostrils” showing, shove you finger in the hole. If it is a clam, you will feel a somewhat slimy creature immediately withdraw down into the hole away from your finger. Put the pump bottom over the hole and suck up the water and quickly blow it out into the sand and mud. Do not push down on the pump, if anything, hold it up from the sand a little. Your pump will sink several inches. Repeat this until you feel the clam’s hard shell with the pump body. You reach down the hole and feel for the clam as well as all around as many times 2 or 3 can be taken from one hole. Sometimes, once you get the hang of it, you can hold the pump up and pump rapidly with one last big “suck” and spit the clam out in front of you. You may still have to feel for it or wait for the water to clear as you move to the next one as the water is too muddy from all the pumping to see it lying in front of you.

You will have your limit in just minutes, while you will see the shovel brigades out there forever working their you-know-whats off! Be prepared to explain how you built that magic tool as these folks will surely be questioning you on one of their many rest breaks.

Now for the clam chowder, clam strips, and raw clams with lime and wasabi! Hold on!!!, You have to clean them. This takes longer than the pumping but goes quick with a few jokes, beer, passing gas, or whatever your mode of cheap entertainment is.

To clean a clam, there are basically two parts. By that I mean the body and the neck. First, you get the body out of the shell by sliding your sharp knife along the shell on the inside of both halves of the clam to cut the “scallop” muscle that attaches the clam to the shell. Then remove the neck from the body where the rough “skin” of the neck begins. Dip the neck in nearly boiling water for just a few seconds to scald it. Then, peel the brown skin from the neck and any remnants from the body to expose the snow white meat. Cut the neck nearly in half for its full length and rinse it all well to avoid that “gritty” feel in your mouth when chewing. This is simple, but when you have 50 or 100 clams in front of you and everyone scatters to beaches and outhouses to avoid the work, it takes some time! Clam away!

Redesigning Your Organization Around Lean Thinking

Introduction

What differentiates a Lean thinking organization from a traditional one? Basically, the Lean thinking organization is grounded in the answers to two simple questions, “What do my customers value?” And, “What organization and work processes inside my company will most directly deliver that value?” Answering these two questions through a value-added perspective will help you determine how to structure your work, how to create and share information, and how to measure performance key elements of lean thinking organizational redesign.

The Structure of Work

Lean Thinking demands that an organization look at work differently than the traditional approach. Employees in lean organizations think of themselves as part of a linked chain of operations and decision-making points that continuously deliver value to customers whenever the customer request it. In a lean environment people understand how their work relates to the rest of the organization and to the customer. They understand how work is supposed to flow, and how to best utilize their time to minimize or eliminate non-value-added activity (policies, procedures, practices, etc.), so that it does not slow down delivery to the customer.

The lean company makes the flow of work from start to finish visible to all employees. They invest in this understanding with thorough training and cross training. Employees understand how policies and procedures in one part of the organization influence work in other parts.

The all important metric in Lean thinking is time. A lean organization structures work for time reduction. Management concentrates on flowing work continuously. By creating a smoother, uninterrupted flow, they can reduce the cycle time of the entire value stream, thus increasing throughput capacity. Traditional organizations usually manage only the cycle times of their bottleneck operations and neglect the less obvious or hidden operations. These companies allow decisions to pile up between phases and leaving feedback loops that should be customarily closed to remain open. All of this interrupts the flow of work and lengthens customer lead time. As a result, time is wasted and costs increase. Experience across both manufacturing and service industries indicates that less than 5% of the total lead time spent providing a product or service is value-added.

Lean organizations consider where to place responsibility for results and how to co-locate or reposition people and resources to close the white space common in big organizations. They think about balancing the flow of work upstream and downstream, making allowances for how changes in customer demand or product mix will affect this workload balance.

Creating and Sharing Information

Lean thinking companies create more pertinent information and data and share it instinctively. A company seeking to respond quickly to its customers creates fast response among its employees. Work of any kind, whether it’s in a financial services company or on the shop floor, is essentially the same in terms of information processing. People process and share information for the purpose of taking actions. Then after seeing the results of those actions, they go through the cycle again. These cycles of learning (creating information, then acting, and acting again) are the heart of an organization, and lean organizations drive hard the sharing of information to shorten these learning cycles.

Lean organizations work like a communication network, with each process performing a particular task and each sending and receiving messages continuously. This communication network is usually manifested in work cells-a group of interconnected employees co-located to quickly cope with the variety and complexity of ever changing customer demand.

Traditional companies, however, instead of allowing the network to speed up information flow, take the opposite approach in trying to cope with variety and complexity. They rely more on adding structure which short circuits the network. If, for example, new technologies are emerging, they reorganize their engineers by technology. If a product is becoming more complex and more and more employees are touching it as it moves through the company, they will increase the number of formal control points. And, when greater variations in mix of orders show up as they try to increase product variety to the market, they typically build inventories and add slack capacity into the system to handle the overload.

All of this is costly and slows down the company because additional buffers and capacity are not the answers to meeting the demands of the marketplace. In contrast lean thinking companies cope with variety directly by building up their flexibility and greater capacity for creating and sharing information.

Measuring Performance

Lean organizations go back to basics when they decide how they are going to measure and monitor performance. Time, throughput, and team-oriented metrics are the most important performance measures for the lean thinking company. How do lean companies measure time? They follow two rules: keep the measure physical, and measure as close to the customer as possible. Overall measures, such as time from concept to launch of new products or order lead time, are good places to start. Lean organizations measure the cycle times and lead times of all important activities. They start with cycle times of major activities like new product development, or conversion of raw materials to finished product.

Time is more useful as a management tool than cost. Cost is by and large a lagging indicator, a symptom, a set of accounting activities after the fact. Cost is tracked through a set of accounts corresponding to what money is spent on-payroll, inventory holding costs, and so on. Some costs add value to customers, while others are not value-added. Adding cost in the form of better quality raw materials for example, may add value to the customer but many overhead items like rework, inventories, or the cost of other idle assets add cost but no value.

Managing time on the other hand opens up the organization for analysis. Time is an objective measure of current flow, not a calculation based on an accounting chart of accounts. A manager can measure and quantify the flow of activities directly and ask with respect to each whether it is value-added. For example, inventories are idle materials, just as in-boxes contain idle information. Reworking is doing something over. Holding up a decision because of a delay in data arrival is response time lost. As these examples demonstrate, time is a common, direct measure.

Time’s major advantage as a management tool is that it forces analysis down to a physical level. Developing a time line of activity of what happened every hour of every day to an order, or to a project, or to whatever you want to monitor tells you exactly what goes on in your company. Once physical activity is revealed, the right questions can be asked: Why are these tasks done sequentially and not in parallel? Why do we do this step twice? Why does this process work only 50 percent of the time? Why do we invest resources to speed this process up and then let its output sit and wait on the next process? Answers to these questions lead managers to where the cost and quality problems of the company actually are.

Of course, all lean companies use both time and cost measures. Cost is the key to knowing financial performance and to controlling the expenditure of resources. But looking at the organization through a physical lens gives management more insight and power in looking for ways to improve results than cost analysis typically can. In most organizations the less time it takes to deliver a product or service the less it should cost.

Lean thinking organizations reduce cost indirectly by squeezing time. When a company attacks time directly the first benefits achieved are usually shorter cycle times, and faster inventory turns. Lower overhead costs usually follow, as the cost of dealing with breakdowns and delays begin to vanish. Lean companies know that if they reduce time they also reduce costs.

Conclusion

The redesign of an organization in harmony with Lean thinking helps it identify value and deliver that value to the customer without interruption whenever the customer requests it. In order to deliver this value Lean thinking organizations must make the flow of work from start to finish visible to all employees by investing in comprehensive training and cross training of their employees. A lean organization structures work to reduce time. Management concentrates on flowing work continuously. By creating a smoother, uninterrupted flow, they can reduce the cycle time of the entire value stream, thus increasing throughput capacity. Lean thinking companies create more pertinent information and data and share it instinctively. They cope with variety directly by building up their flexibility and greater capacity for creating and sharing information.

Time is a very important metric for Lean thinking organizations because they know they can reduce cost indirectly by reducing time. By attacking time directly the first benefits achieved are usually shorter cycle times, and faster inventory turns. This is usually followed by lower overhead costs, as the cost of dealing with breakdowns and delays are minimized or eliminated.

Tips on Concrete Tilt Up Construction

Concrete tilt up construction offers the capability to construct an extensive array of commercial buildings at much lower costs than those of distinctive masonry construction structures. Concrete Tilt-up is a method of constructing walls and panels by pouring concrete into forms on the ground, allowing them to harden, and then raising into place to form a wall.

For a tilt-up concrete building, the walls are created by assembling forms and pouring large slabs of cement called panels directly at the job site. The cement panels are then tilted up into position around the building’s slab to form the walls. Because the concrete tilt wall forms are assembled and poured directly at the job site, no transportation of panels is required.

This concept is fast becoming the most popular form of construction for manufacturing and warehouse applications. Tilt-up concrete construction is a proven method for building office buildings, retail centers, warehouses, distribution centers, call centers, manufacturing facilities and other commercial / industrial structures with speed, safety and construction cost benefits.

Some of the reasons clients opt for concrete tilt panel construction are:

• Tilt panel construction is more energy efficient and durable than its metal building counterparts.

• It is gaining quick reputation and will soon become the most sought-after form of construction for medical research facilities, distribution centers, medical research, warehousing facilities, and other such projects that involve commercial constructions and require larger square-footage.

• Concrete panels are naturally fire-resistant and therefore, are able to lead to safer designs and lower insurance premiums.

• When compared with building and other such traditional constructions, concrete tilt wall construction can help realize completion of projects within much shorter schedules.

• Besides these, tilt panel construction works best for companies having a smaller budget and a commercial contracting project. This is because it not only saves on the firm’s material costs, but also speeds up the completion of the entire project, thereby saving even more capital.