Safety Precautions For Stove Use

Your stove is possibly one of the most useful appliances in your home, but it can also be the most dangerous if you aren’t careful. It´s something that most people don´t think about much, but your stove can be the scene of many accidents. It pays to be cautious whenever you use your stove to avoid injuries and possible problems.

General Safety Precautions

Whether you have a gas, wood or electric stove, there are certain safety tips that should always be followed to keep your family safe.

o When cooking, turn the pots so the handles don´t stick out over the edge of the stove where small children can grab them and pull boiling hot food on top of themselves.

o Always keep a fire extinguisher handy near the stove, even if there is a sink nearby, grease fires will just spread if you throw water on them, so it´s better to use an extinguisher.

o Only let children cook under adult supervision.

o Use oven mitts and potholders to handle hot pans and pots to prevent burns from the high temperature metals.

o Don´t use metal spoons to stir food on the stove and then leave them in the pot. They heat up quickly and can burn your hand the next time you touch them.

o Avoid using loose, flowing clothing or leaving dish towels near hot burners, since these can catch fire.

Gas Stoves

For obvious reasons, gas stoves need extra safety precautions. You want to make sure that there are no gas leaks, so anytime you hear a hissing or smell gas and can´t tell where it is coming from, turn off your gas at the source, open all windows and exit the house. Call the fire department to check it out. Here are some other things to keep in mind with gas stoves.

o If your stove doesn’t have a pilot light, be sure to light it immediately after turning the gas on. You can cause an explosion by waiting more than a second or two. Even minor gas explosions can seriously injure someone who is close to the stove at the time.

o Check regularly for gas leaks and if you notice any stove parts getting rusty or old, be sure to replace them.

o Gas tends to heat very quickly, so watch your pots carefully to make sure you don´t end up with soups boiling over or starting a fire in a pan. If you do end up with a fire, use your fire extinguisher, don´t throw water on the flames.

Electric Stoves

Electric stoves are the staple of most kitchens. They heat evenly with coils and electricity tends to be more stable than gas as far as safety goes. However, there are still some precautions specific to electrical stoves.

o Clean under the burners regularly to prevent fires. Extra bits of food that fall under the burner into the tray can catch fire if the burner is hot enough.

o Since pots are placed directly onto the burner, it´s pretty easy to accidentally touch the hot element. Be careful when reaching across the stove, even if it´s turned off, since the element can store heat for a while afterwards.

o Take care and use protective equipment to put things in the oven. Electric stoves usually have elements at the top of the oven and this can really be a danger when you reach far into the preheated oven.

Stoves are very useful and can be a great appliance to have, but they do need to be treated with care in order to avoid injury. Cook carefully and follow the safety precautions listed above to get the best, safest use out of your stove.

Pressure Cookers: Buying Guide For Beginners

Maybe you are already tired of your old pressure cooker, or maybe your old one simply does not have enough safety measures. Or perhaps you have never really owned one before. If so, then it is high time you hit the stores and get a new cooker. But with the myriads of designs available, how can you choose among the many different pressure cookers? Here is how:

Pot with the right capacity

If it is too small, you will probably need to cook in sets and that will waste a lot of time. If it is too big, you may end up preparing more than you need. Therefore, you should deliberate first what size capacity you need. Mostly, the standard for regular households is cookers with a capacity of 6 quarts. Better yet, why not just own several pots?

Lid with simple lock

You do not want this to be a rocket science. Some pressure cookers are simply too complicated with their lock mechanisms. How would you know? Well, while you are shopping, pick up one and try to open, close, and lock the lid. Did you have any problems? If it took you some figuring out, it is probably not good. Sometimes, the simplest mechanisms are the best and the most secure. This is not something that should be fancy.

Handles with heat resistance

You actually need in all of your cooking pots and not just your pressure cookers. But these accessories tend to be hotter. In which case, you will need those with handles that are coated with heat resistant material. Together with a heat resistant hand glove, it should make things easier for you in the kitchen.

Pots with safety valves

It cannot be stressed enough. You need this! This is what differentiates the cookers of old from those of today. This little mechanism makes modern pressure cookers safer. It prevents that ugly episode of pot eruption which spews sauce all over the ceiling. So what a safety valve does is it releases the excess pressure from the pot thus preventing unnecessary build up.

Adjustable pressure control

It is not at all times that the safety valve is enough to put things under control. In such cases, it helps that pressure cookers should have adjustable pressure control mechanism. Ideally, it should allow you to reduce the pressure levels when it gets too high. But since this will release some of that high temperature steam, make sure that you are standing away from the release point and that you are wearing a heat resistant glove when handling the pot.

Durable and sturdy

And of course, the overall build of the pressure pot must be durable and all. Unlike regular pots and frying pans, the pressure cooker is ‘under constant pressure’, no pun intended. Ideally, modern pressure pots are made of stainless steel or aluminum. The rubber gasket should also be durable. Some have non-stick inner lining for better dishwashing. Good ones are usually expensive. And although it does not need to be very costly, avoid those that are suspiciously too cheap.

Decorate Your Fluorescent Light Panel or Cover Without Replacing the Panel

I know, I know. There are these huge, plain, and boring 24″ x 48″ fluorescent ceiling lights, right in the middle of your kitchen, your conference room, or your individualized office decor. A homeowner will always have the option to upgrade to a different lighting type, possibly spend thousands of dollars, to demolish existing lighting, wire for the new fixtures, replace the removed sheet-rock, and locate the new fixture locations. The purchase of replacement lighting fixtures will introduce you to a whole new world of options and price ranges. After all of the demolition, and installation, there remains the textured ceiling matching, most often followed by a re-texturing of the entire ceiling, just to achieve uniformity. It can be overwhelming to the DIYer, and will test many a household budget, to complete the task.

FYI, fluorescent lights, were installed in the 70’s and 80’s, in millions of homes and offices. They were an inexpensive solution to providing full lighting to drop ceiling offices, and in household spaces, that required more than a single bulb in the ceiling, to keep you from stubbing your toe on the bed corner. Today, there are tax credits for using ‘GREEN’ lighting fixtures, like fluorescent lights. GO GREEN!

There are a limited number of companies that offer solutions to making existing fluorescent ceiling lights more attractive. If you consider the type of lighting that is needed for your particular purpose, an option exists, for enhancing the esthetics of your existing fluorescent lights.

There is a psychological benefit to using a calm, more serene depiction of nature, in medical and dental practices, etc.. Most often, these spaces utilize additional lighting, to assist with medical procedures. Public spaces, like waiting rooms, lobbies, and casinos, might utilize images like sky and clouds, or green foliage, and even ‘Tiffany’ style panels. These replacement fluorescent panels will work well in these settings.

A few things need to be considered, when deciding on an option for decorating an existing fluorescent ceiling light. Will your space suffer from a loss of light after installing a decorative panel. Will you be happy if the replacement panel changes the color spectrum of the space to blue, or green, or brown (Tiffany). Will you appreciate the outcome, when you consider the cost, the effort to trim a rigid panel to fit your fixture, and the change made to the space, in terms of light loss and color change.

Very few options exist if you require your kitchen, office, or other work space to retain its light quality, and color spectrum. Additionally, the process required to re-size, a rigid plastic panel, will often lead to the destruction of the panel. Many will hesitate to attempt this feat, for fear of ruining the panel, and losing a fair amount of money for their purchase.

The option to decorate your existing fluorescent ceiling light, without having to replace, or resize a rigid plastic panel, is also available. A graphic overlay, reproduced on a heavy ‘Mylar’ like material, can be installed on top of your existing panel, or cover. These overlays are literally fireproof, and have an ASTM fire rating that classifies them as ‘slow to self extinguishing’. A fluorescent tube light will only heat to around 60 degrees.

These graphic overlays are inexpensive, easy to install, and will not alter the light quality or color spectrum of the room. Architectural patterns, and wrought iron designs, are available to complete your interior design theme. The low cost, and ease of installation, will reinforce your decision to retain your existing fluorescent ceiling lights, and create a sense of pride, that only a well designed interior can produce.

Plank Exercise Benefits For a Powerful Abs Workout

There are numerous abdominal exercises you can perform to develop the tone and size of your abs, Everybody has heard of sit ups and crunches which are good in there own rights, but the plank abdominal exercise is rated as one of the top 10 Abs exercises you can perform. So throw away your fancy abs exercise gadgets and gizmo’s and keep reading as his article will discuss the plank exercise benefits and how to do it.

One of the main benefits of the plank is that it can be performed anywhere, either at home, the gym or even the office. All you need is a floor mat and you are good to go. This exercise works the Abs, back and core stabiliser muscles.

Benefits Of The Plank Abs Exercise

This exercise can be performed at home or at the gymnasium, all you need is a floor mat and you’re pretty much good to go. The Plank works the abdominals muscles, back, legs and arms. Although this exercise looks easy to perform, you will soon see that it is much harder than it looks.

How To Perform The Plank

* Place the mat on the floor and lie face down on your forearms.

* Now lift your self up using your forearms / elbows as if performing a standard push-up.

* Keep your back, hips and legs straight and tense your abdominal muscles.

* Hold this position until your hips begin to sag.

* Rest and repeat the exercise.

If you are a beginner you can hold this position for 10 seconds and then rest and repeat. You will soon be able to hold the position for much longer using this exercise on a regular basis. You will also be able to perform variations in the plank exercise. The variations in the plank exercises are the stability ball plank which work the muscles harder and the side plank which works the obliques.

The plank exercise should be used as part of an overall abs exercise program, As this exercise used on its own will not give you the six pack you want. But used in conjunction with other abs exercises, cardio workouts, weight training and a good nutritious diet then you will soon be reaping the rewards.

In conclusion the plank exercise can be performed virtually anywhere, works the abdominal muscles and helps to increase your core strength. So don’t just do hundreds of sit ups a week, mix up your exercises and really put yourself to the test.

How To Upgrade From A Wood To A Wrought Iron Baluster On A Staircase

Wrought iron balusters add a decorative touch to a wooden staircase that is both contemporary and traditional. The wrought iron baluster has a number of advantages over wooden ones. Plus, they’re not as difficult as you might think to install into existing wood stair railings.

Wrought iron has a long and colorful history as a manufacturing material. Its earliest uses were mainly as tools and weapons.

Its very name implies its purpose. This type of metal was preferred for fashioning tools and weapons because it was relatively easy to manipulate. The material was (and still is) “wrought” or worked to create a desired shape.

It is highly ductile (capable of being pulled or pounded very thinly). It is also malleable (can be pounded using force). Malleability allows it to be hammered into various configurations without breaking or denting. These characteristics make it both practical as well as artistic to work with.

Wrought iron is still used today, but other materials have replaced it for use in many tools and weapons. Instead, it has become the material of choice for many types of building and construction applications. The wrought iron baluster is one of these. However, it can also be commonly seen in other parts of building construction, like fences.

The spindles (another word for balusters) of a staircase tend to take a lot of abuse. The spindles are subject to a lot of bumping and jostling. This takes a toll on both their appearance and their functionality over the years.

Spindles made of wood are especially vulnerable to the everyday beatings your stairs receive. It doesn’t take very long for them to become dented and scratched. Because they’re soft, they will wear at the joints. Eventually they may loosen or break away from their joints. This is true whether they are glued, nailed or drilled into the wood stair railings.

These types of balusters are advantageous over the wood spindle when it comes to wear and tear. They don’t scratch or dent like wooden spindles. A wrought iron baluster can stand up to a great deal more abuse over the years. It won’t show dirt or stain as easily, either. Plus, a wrought iron baluster needs little upkeep to maintain its appearance.

Are you ready to switch out a wood spindle for a metal baluster? Here’s how to do it:

1) Start by removing the old spindles. One of the best ways to do this is to saw about three quarters of the way through the wood. Then pull it lightly toward you. It should pop out fairly easily without doing any damage to the wood stair railings. If not, work it very gently with your hands to loosen it.

2) Measure the distance between the old holes. You can also use the old spindle as a guide for cutting the new one. Just make sure you add enough extra so that you have ends to insert into the old holes. Cut your new spindles.

3) Use epoxy glue on the ends of each baluster and insert the ends into the railings.

4) Use a baluster shoe at the base of each baluster. This stabilizes the spindle and covers over the hole.

Some stair cases have balusters that are glued or nailed to the railings instead of being inserted into drilled holes. If this is your case, you’ll have to drill holes in your existing wood stair railings to accommodate each new wrought iron baluster. Simply drill the holes in the same spots where the old spindles joined to the railings.

An Intimate Introduction To Your Staircase

Let’s Start With Your Main Flight

This is also called your ‘Stair Carcass’. It is the main trunk of your staircase minus balustrade (Discussed a little lower).

In Basic terms, it consists of Strings either side of your Treads and Risers. Let’s look at those elements individually:


This is the vertical, structural element that runs perpendicular to, and houses, the treads and risers. This can be shaped to follow the ‘sawtooth’ of the treads and risers to create what is known as a cut string.


The part of the stairway that you step on. You would normally also have a nosing on this that slightly overlaps the riser.


The individual going is the term for the measurement from face of riser to face of riser.


The vertical portion between each tread. When this is missing it is called an Open Plan Staircase.


An Individual Rise is the vertical measurement from top of tread to top of tread. Your Total Rise is measured from finished floor to finished floor.

Now Let’s Look at your Staircase Balustrade

Your balustrade is the guarding for the flight to ensure safe use. This is normally made up of Newel Posts at the top and bottom of your stair run to anchor the handrail. You would then have Spindles that sit in the grooves of both the Handrail and a Baserail sitting on the String.

When you are thinking about just updating your staircase rather than replacing it, this is the part that you would normally update. Changing this can really have an impact on the surrounding environment.


A large post that anchors your balustrade. This is also the main source of central support for any turns in a staircase. You can also get half newels that are used where your balustrade is ending in a wall. Visually this creates the effect of the newel being embedded in the wall and creates a generally neater finish.


Handrails can be continuous or newel to newel. Continuous create the effect of a single, unbroken rail traversing the staircase. This requires multiple components (Such as quarter turns and goosenecks) to produce this effect and it typically more expensive. Newel to newel systems consist of handrails entering newel posts that project above.


This sits on your string and has a groove which is used to accept the spindles. Should you want a cut string staircase there would be no need for a baserail as the spindles enter the treads.


This is normally a constituent of continuous handrails (though not exclusively). This is a spiral handrail found at the bottom of a flight and requires a dĀ­step or curtail.

That’s Great, But…

So they’re the basics. As with anything of this ilk, there are lots of additional elements that we could spend all day explaining, but are a little too indepth for this hub!

If you have any queries or questions, feel free to visit StairBox for your staircase questions and they should be able to help you.

A Savannah Site for Emily

She isn’t in the Bonaventure or anywhere nearby the grave of Jim Williams. She wouldn’t have tolerated such positioning. Emily took a stand against the man years ago and wrote it down word for word with a working title of Cannabis and Snowdrops, mainly because her son Danny loved both. Her story is not a sequel to Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, though it tells of the aftermath; nor is it a prequel, though it tells of what happened in the years leading up to that fatal midnight. Rather, it is a kind of circling-and-spiraling, which I think of as Around Midnight. And, her story will likely never see the light of day.

In my most recent visit to her grave, the memories of having her as my student over three years poured out. One thing a creative writing teacher must never do is speak of his or her students’ stories in public, unless of course those writers have made their works public. For me that discretion ranks among the rules of priests, therapists and lawyers. And I would hesitate to speak now except for Emily’s prodding. She is as determined as she sleeps in Greenwich Cemetery as she was wide-eyed in my class.

“It’s fiction,” she had taunted from the back of the room that first day she was in my class and whenever I held up Berent’s book or mentioned the title. The thin sassy voice came with rich Savannah accent, from a pugnacious figure then totally unknown to me, one which I was not about to take on in front of my class of urbane aspiring writers.

“Fiction!” came again as loud as a whisper allows. After several more taunts from her it occurred to me that no matter who she is she might have something to add to my lecture on creative nonfiction or on the works that seem to be settling as the benchmarks of the sometimes wooly genre. Little did I know that over time she would modify my teaching of the topic of creative nonfiction, transform my perspective on issues of notoriety and on loss, and teach me much about voice driven writing styles.

Her writing was well underway when she entered my classes. Not a reaction to Berendt’s book, hers is the story of growing up as a “have not” in a world of powerful “haves” in the thick moss and mist of Savannah. Hers is the battle of growing up in the shadow of father old enough to be her grandfather and who gave her off in marriage at a young age, of raising four children virtually alone, of a dogged resistance to growing up ignorant just because you are poor, and of having a son shot to death in the home of millionaire on Bull Street. Emily’s story, written or unwritten, currently sits in the shadow of Midnight, just as she often had sat in dim corridors of the Savannah courthouse because she was not permitted in the court room while the trials went on. Nevertheless, to those who know it her story stands out in factuality and mesmerizing style.

Emily had written much of her story while she was in Savannah, long before she appeared in my class in 2002. The narrative had poured out of her in a compelling voice that few writers find the freedom to release. She wrote about and told us about her unfortunate experiences with people associated with writing and film making. In fact, some such episodes were in her manuscript. I suggested she be careful to not put herself in the position of describing situations that she might not be able to back up in the event someone decided to sue. My statement felt flimsy as it came out of my mouth, directed at a woman who’d lived through infamous trials of conviction and reversal of conviction of the Jim Williams. Williams had money, she pointed out to me, but she barely had “a pot to pee in.” Who could possibly sue her, and what would they get? But, she did take most of those questionable episodes out of her writing.

At first, Emily’s story was bogged down with the inclusion of the transcripts of the four trials, and that weightiness took away from her own incredible narrative of the struggle between the haves and have nots. Finally, at the urging of other writers in our class, she took out the heavy versions of the trials. Then her perspective on the death of her son came through with more force. She said, “Williams was a fifty year old self-made millionaire with long standing involvement in the community, both socially and as an active member of the restoration goals of Savannah. Nevertheless, I knew this man was the person who killed my son. Danny didn’t have the wealth or power needed to be a part of Savannah’s society. He had nothing.”

Emily’s manner of expression is not simple; it is frank yet complex in its straightforwardness. It is voice for which all writers strive: voice driven by passion. Effective narrative voice must come from the heart, from a direct desire to impart something not only true but consequential. Emily’s story naturally had to involve the murder of her son, summaries of the trials, the eventual death of Williams, and the hype that overtook Savannah due to the Berendt’s book and Eastwood’s movie. Yet, Emily’s story is far more than that. That truth came to me early on as I began reading her drafts and found myself drawn into the grip of her early poverty. The voice made me feel anger and bitterness toward society and any family that doesn’t stand up for its children. But then that same voice forced me to realize that I cannot hold on to such feelings if I plan to leave this life unfettered. Her voice allowed me to be transported to become the woman who once packed a gun to even the score but then replaced it with the pen and written word.

During the time Emily was in my class I gained a deep sense of what it might be like to raise a child and then lose him in such a bizarre manner. The loss of a child is not a statistic or a newspaper headline; it’s a life-shaking trauma that demands support from any direction.

Emily had support from her other three children, employers, and some friends, but not from the legal system or society in general. The media focused on Williams and his dilemma. That fact has become ingrained in the mountain of lore of this country, as it was infamously publicized in print and fictionalized on the big screen. There was hardly mention of an Emily Bannister in the Berendt’s book, and in the movie there was no haunting camera shot of the dead boy’s mother sitting in the dim corridors of that courthouse. Only from the grip of Emily’s voice could a reader experience the depth of such loss and the emptiness that engulfed it. Yet, her story is far more than that tragedy; it includes the beauty and humor of life amid adversity.

When Emily depicted Danny he became real and not the invented Billy the hustler on Bull Street as depicted in the movie. She wrote about his first steps and how he was noticeably pigeon toed. Danny was of medium height and weight, and was muscular, with ash blond hair that wanted to curl when it became too long or damp, thick eyebrows and long dark eyelashes that emphasized big blue eyes. His lips tilted upward at the right corner when he smiled. Yes, I could see the resemblance to Judd Law, who play the role in the movie. Emily told about how as a small child, Danny was attracted to all forms of beauty, and cared little for anything competitive, choosing instead crayons, puzzles, and toys that produced music. He spent countless hours picking flowers in their spacious yard that must’ve appeared boundless to a small boy. He particularly liked the yellow jonquil and tiny white snowdrops, calling them bellflowers because of their shapes. She thought that Danny’s love for cultural beauty is probably one thing that drew him to Williams.

Emily’s story marches through cold reality of the murder and its aftermath, to entanglements with the legal systems and the burial, and then it backs up to weave in the narrative of her family and the old father who questioned her birthright and existence, her mother Snooky, the moves from house to house, Emily’s teenage marriage and babies, and the determination to gain an education despite poverty. It is in that texture that the reader is so thoroughly taken into another time and place and a life of which most people never catch more than a glimpse. The narrative takes on the level of a case study in Southern poverty, and then it rises to the escapades of an independent single mother and the challenges of raising children alone. Inevitably the story journeys back to the trials and the eventual acquittal and the death of Williams. After he final chapter, Emily added a “Finale.” It is entitled “Illegitimi non carborundum. (Don’t Let the Bastards Get You Down!)”

Why is it that some writers are able to capture authenticity through mundane details and how did Emily acquire that skill, or is it a talent that just comes naturally to some? My thought is that such talent is the gift rising out of a special sensitivity to how life is pieced together. Though she certainly spent ample time studying and learning the craft of writing, she, without a doubt, had something else going in her mind, something that allowed her to see and feel events and to capture them in scenes, always in the strong irony-filled narrative voice. She wrote of her father’s catastrophe in WWI and his subsequent misadventures in civilian life as if she were a historian piecing together the facts of times past.

Emily’s mundane details reveal the cobwebs in which she had grown up. She wrote that her father spent the rest of his life in and out of hospitals because of war injuries. Later, she learned that he had been married numerous times. She said, “I don’t think he even knew how many times until a Superior Court judge presented him with an itemized list, along with a summons to court sometime in the early seventies.” A list of no less than three women was read to her father and as to the whereabouts of these women, and her father replied that he’d “misplaced” them. He didn’t know where any of them were or whether they were still living. He said he’d never gotten a divorce from any of them. When he decided to leave them he just left. With her father in his seventies, and the length of time involved, the judge had little alternative but to perform a “mass divorce,” releasing him from the bonds of matrimony and rendering him a single man. Emily’s mother quickly realized that after thirty odd years of marriage, this also included her!

Emily continued to study creative writing in my classes for several years. In that time she made friends with other writers and she moved her story forward. My students respected her for her writing skills and for her story. Her honesty and humility was always peppered with a sharp-tongued edge of wit about society and the haves and have nots. She made us laugh at life.

My feelings toward Emily included affection and a bit of fear of ever crossing her. I was respectful to her as student, but I was aware that she might have inadvertently placed me in the haves box. On the other hand, she treated me with high regard as I mentored her through revisions of the manuscript. I coached her in steps for getting her story published, but she bulked when I told her she absolutely had to write a synopsis as part of the proposal package so that an agent could see the story in short form. She hissed out the “ssss” in synopsis, saying it brought up her deepest fear: that she could not write that story again. I knew that she meant she could not live the experience again. I understood that.

In the time I knew her she was living comfortably. She cherished the memory of her past experiences, but, she wanted to move further from the darkness, on into the light. I knew that and understood that in the deepest part of my heart. She was ill. She knew that at some point she would be free of life. She confided in me that she had “a diagnosis,” but she did not put a time frame to it. It was something that I could not fully comprehend, but it had the feeling of something arcane.

Through Emily’s story I knew I was experiencing one of the finest examples of litmus test creative nonfiction. The manuscript was finally in somewhat publishable form, but regardless all my honed teaching skills I could not force her steps to publishing. It was only up to her and now to her family. She often told me that all she wanted was for W.W. Norton to publish it and to give her two complimentary copies. I explained that she would need to jump through the hoops of the publishing world and that W.W. Norton might not provide any hoops. One of my students, a radio personality, told Emily that she would need to sharpen her skills as an interviewee for television and radio as part of the marketing plan for a book. Emily became incredibly livid at the idea that anything would be demanded of her. She felt that she had lived the story and wasn’t that enough? I knew she wasn’t being practical, but I also knew she was ill. Toward the end she would disappear from class occasionally and then reappear. One day as I was leaving my classroom, I found her in the hallway standing quietly and shyly alone, as thin as a rail. She told me she’d been hospitalized in relation to the illness and that she was now ready to come back to class, and she did for short while.

The compelling power of Emily’s story was a result how that writer had come to be. I could not toy with that. Emily was going to run her course and I could do nothing more than be her teacher, mentor, and try to be a friend as she would allow. She was going to disappear again and I just had to wait until she would reappear. Finally she did.

Emily came back to me with force. She’d slipped away to Savannah and died in November 2005; nevertheless, once I was able to visit the grave I could feel her spirit again. And, there is the manuscript: its words continue to come back to me with vigor. Though it may never see print, Emily’s story is not over. It still has time to penetrate those of us who knew her and anyone with whom we share her story. And, she lies peacefully yet still determined, in a grave beside her son, in a site that suites her well.

Modems, Routers, Switches, and Hubs Explained

What’s the difference between a modem, router, switch, and hub? Have you ever heard some or all of these terms before but not really been sure how to tell them apart? Having worked in remote computer repair for several years, many customers have questioned us about this. In this article we will try to give the most human explanation possible, as well as try to present an easy to understand mental picture of how all of these things come into play.

Let’s start off with the IP address. An IP address is basically a set of numbers that identifies your computer as unique to the Internet. You may have even see them before, they look something like this: They are comprised of four octets, and each one can be a value between 0 and 255. The IP address of a computer is basically like a phone number for a person.

When this system was designed, it wasn’t a big concern at the time just how many computers would eventually be connected together. The initial application was of military or business nature, and personal computers were still yet to become commonplace. The maximum number of possible connections with this system, 4,294,967,296, seemed pretty reasonable at the time.

Now, if you’re a pretty resourceful modern computer user who has been at it for a while, you might find yourself inclined to open a new tab and Google the number of people in the world. And you would be on the right track; there were 6,755,235,700 people in 2009 according to Google’s public data explorer. This leaves 2,460,264,404 people without an IP address, if each person on earth were to use one computer.

How do we compensate for this? Again, we can use a telephone analogy – each group of people that have something in common (such as being in the same office) can just use one phone number with several extensions for each different person at the office. A secretary can answer the main phone number and transfer the caller to whomever it is they need to speak to. This secretary can be called a “router,” and this gives us a fairly clear image of the router’s role.

Meanwhile, the physical phone itself is the modem. All that the modem does is receive the data from your ISP, usually via a DSL or cable line, and convert it to the type of interface that the computers can understand. Much like you as a human can’t just cut a telephone wire in half and stick it in your ear and expect to hear a conversation, a computer also needs a special device to convert the signal into data that it can process.

It should be noted that in the recent years, the modem and router configuration has been fading away in favour of a single device that functions as both the modem and the router. This device didn’t really gain a new name, and it’s usually just referred to as whichever role it serves that is relevant. A good way to figure out if your device is a modem is if it takes its input from your RJ11 phone cable (DSL) or a coaxial cable (Cable). That automatically makes it a modem. What makes it a router too is if it has more than one output port, and/or if it also provides wireless output.

A modem will basically receive the signal and output it to a computer. This is the most basic function, and modems that only do this are referred to as “dumb modems.” A more sophisticated modem will also attempt to authenticate with the ISP. In other words, it will obtain its own IP address from the Internet and automatically forward it to the computer that it’s connected to. These were the first kinds of modems, back when DSL and cable were just starting out and most customers would only have one computer in their house.

Also, at that time, ISPs would allow you to have as many IP addresses as you liked. This became limited to just one IP address per subscription line as the issue of limited IP addresses being available became evident. In response to this, routers were sold to customers who wished to have Internet access to more than one computer per household.

Now that we have a pretty good understanding of the function of modems and routers, let’s move on to the other two – hubs and switches. If you’re just a regular user, or in other words, you have four or less family members (including yourself) who just use computers for casual purposes like e-mail, web browsing, and social networking, then you’ll probably never need to worry about hubs and switches. Also, with the advent and popularity of wireless networking, if you have a larger family you still might never have to worry about hubs and switches. And if we really get down to it, technically, you really should have no reason to ever worry about hubs no matter who you are. Just switches.

The purpose of a hub and a switch is similar – to split a network connection into multiple network connections. The first types of routers on the market were basically four-port routers. You could plug in four Ethernet cables into them, which would allow you to have four computers plugged in. Sometimes there would be bigger routers (especially for bigger businesses) but we won’t worry about that. We’ll just pretend that we’re in a situation where we have a basic modem that connects to a basic router, which outputs to four computers. And our fifth family member just got a new Dell for Christmas. And they want to make a MySpace account.

So, with wireless not yet being popular, and thus irrelevant to our situation, what do we do? We get a hub or a switch. A hub is the older device; a switch is the newer, smarter device.

A hub receives input into one of its ports, and then it sends this data out to all of its other ports. It basically echoes whatever information it receives to every device connected to it, like a cook at a fast food restaurant loudly yelling your order number for you to receive your burger. Everyone else in the restaurant can hear this information, but it is irrelevant to them, so they just ignore it.

A switch, meanwhile, receives input into one of its ports, checks whom it’s intended for, and then sends it just to that device. By contrast, it’s like a waiter that brings you your own food.

The main downside of the hub is that having a lot of data passing through simultaneously would lead to network congestion. Imagine if there were ten cooks yelling out orders at the same time, and if a customer didn’t hear their order, they would have to yell again (and again, and possibly again) hoping that no one interrupts them that time and that the client hears them. This would be a very awkward situation to be in for a number of reasons, but let’s suffice it to say that communication efficiency would suffer.

So in summary, the modem receives the initial Internet connection at your home, the router (which is sometimes built into the modem) then “splits” the connection to multiple computers on your network, thus allowing you to preserve the precious rare IP addresses of the world while letting multiple people at your location enjoy Internet access. If your router offers you wireless access and you’re alright with that, you can have hundreds of computers connected to just your router. But if you prefer the stability of the wired connection and have multiple devices, you need to add a switch to your network. Just take one of the outputs from the router and plug it into any port on the switch. You now have as many extra ports as the switch offers. You can also take another switch and connect it to another port on your router, or you can even take a switch and connect it to a switch. The connections will all be branched out and all the data will be delivered correctly, provided that a router resides over your local network. (Oh, and a hub is something you will never use unless you bought one at a yard sale.)

Frontal Knee Pain

What is frontal knee pain?

Frontal knee pain is a pain people experience beneath the kneecap (additionally referred to as patella). It’s the most typical reason behind chronic pain related to the knee. It originates from deterioration of cartilage, which happens because of inferior position in the kneecap while it glides across the lower end in the quad cuboid bone (femur).

Indications of frontal knee pain!

Indicators of frontal knee pain are often some sort of fuzzy feeling inside the knee, irritated through action (running, mountaineering as well as climbing down a stairway) or simply by extended seating using legs in the twisted position (soreness and pain as a result of long time seating in the workplace for example). Some individuals furthermore record experiencing a weird sensation or firmness inside the knee. It may afflict a single as well as both legs. When continual signs are overlooked, losing quadriceps (upper leg) muscle tissue power causes leg to “give up”. Moreover an evident decrease in quadriceps muscle tissue and slight inflammation in the knee location might show up.

What is causing frontal knee pain?

The patella (kneecap) is normally pulled over the end of the femur in a straight line by the quadriceps (thigh) muscle. People experiencing this kind of pain typically have unnatural patellar “tracking” in the direction of the side (external) section in the femur. The following just a bit off the path glide permits that under surface patella grates alongside femur creating constant swelling together with pain. Some people are more likely to develop frontal knee pain than others(women, older people etc..), however it is usually the result of muscle weakness, which often will not put adequate tension with an individual’s kneecap to produce the ideal route for the kneecap. This problem is also well-known to individuals who participate in a number of sporting activities, both professionally or as a recreation. In these instances frontal knee pain is mainly a result of muscle imbalances.

How to get rid of frontal knee pain?

Stretching out together with strengthening of quadriceps and hamstring muscles is essential for long-lasting effect and efficient rehab. You must do the exercises and you must do them the right way. For instance executing weighted squats, lower leg pushes and training on leg extension machine can cause even bigger injury. Swimming might help reduce soreness; yet, in the majority of conditions it isn’t enough to take care of frontal knee pain completely.

The most frequent procedure is ice together with pain killers, though this is the improper strategy to use. The trouble with drugs is usually the following: when you stop taking them, the pain returns and you must take even more pills.. This way you’re not taking care of the problem itself; you’re simply eliminating the pain. Going this route you are closer and closer to knee surgery. If you carry out appropriate exercises you may be certain to prevent the knee surgery, which is usually the last phase in case damage is already too heavy.

In normal conditions, there’s a fast recovery and return to full functional level when quadriceps and surrounding muscles are finally normally developed and after reducing muscle imbalances.

Just keep in mind the following: the only method to build tougher knees, to eliminate frontal knee pain and to resume your regular way of life is to increase quadriceps muscle power and muscle coordination through executing the correct exercises the correct way.

Waterfront Vs Waterview: A Clarification

Owning an ocean front property is a big dream for many people, especially those who are live in an area often bound in by snow and ice. If looking out your front window and watching the waves crash against the shore is your idea of the perfect place to live then this article is for you.

There is a big difference between a waterfront home and a water view home. A waterfront home is one that is located on a water frontage but does not necessarily have a water view. A water-view home is the opposite, and may have a wonderful view of the ocean without actual ocean frontage.


The biggest advantage to a waterfront property right now is the housing slump. This is an excellent time for a buyer to invest in any kind of property, but for water front you may never find lower prices. Because of this, when the housing market comes back, those who have managed to purchase a nice water front property for well below market value will be very happy.

Another advantage of course is the water itself. Who does not want to live where water sports like surfing, fishing, boating and even skiing and parasailing are right outside your front door?


Waterfront property may have a great many advantages for some people like the fresh ocean breezes and the peaceful crash of waves on the shore, but the cons are a deal breaker for many, storms, beach erosion and high property taxes to name just a few. Before purchasing a waterfront home remember that you will have more maintenance then a home with a water view.

Consider for a moment, if what you really want is a home with a view of the water. A view has most of the same advantages of a waterfront home with fewer of the problems. A water view home can easily give you the spectacular views of the water, sounds of the crashing waves against the shore and easy reach of all of the boating and other activities going on down by the seashore. A water front home may or may not offer a water view, may or may not offer easy access to the water itself and has higher maintenance and property taxes.

Plumbing Soldering Tools: Equipment You Will Need for Mending Copper Water Pipes in Your Home

A Plumber’s Soldering Equipment

Q: So what’s in the bag?

A: Three things: Flux, solder and a blow torch.

Plumber’s Flux

In joining copper plumbing pipes, flux serves two purposes:

First, flux is an acid that is inert at room temperature and becomes reactive at high temperatures. So why is an acid needed when soldering copper plumbing pipes? The tin-silver solder used by plumbers bonds really well to copper, but not to copper oxide. Oxides are the byproduct of oxidation, the reaction between metal and oxygen. Since oxygen is a big part of the air we breathe, copper plumbing pipes are always covered by a thin layer of oxide which has to be cleaned off before they can be joined with solder. However, at high temperatures, oxidation happens almost instantaneously. This means all the oxidation that was cleaned off returns as soon as a copper pipe is heated. The acid flux burns the oxides away as they form and gives the solder a pristine copper surface with which to bond.

Secondly, flux is a wetting agent. Once in liquid form, solder behaves just like any other liquid and forms into drops as a result of surface tension. This behavior prevents the solder from naturally flowing into and filling the joint between the two pipes. Combining the solder with the flux once both are heated and in liquid form reduces the surface tension and draws the liquid solder into the joint, filling it. The force with which the flux draws the solder is strong enough that the solder can be applied to the bottom of a plumbing pipe joint and the flux will pull it, against the force of gravity, to the top.

Plumbing Solder

Solder is a metal with a significantly lower melting point than the metals being joined. Typically solder is a an alloy, or a combination of two metals. Today, plumbers use a silver-tin alloy when installing copper pipe meant for potable water. However, up until the 1990’s lead-tin alloys were most commonly used in plumbing because lead was cheaper than silver and was more easily worked once the joint was formed. Use of lead based solder continued even after the harmful effects of lead were known because it was thought that the amount of lead entering the water supply from the soldered pipe joints was too low to cause harm. Since it is now known that even small doses of lead can be harmful, all copper plumbing for potable water is done with lead-free silver solder.

Plumber’s Blow Torch

People familiar with soldering electronic components will be familiar with soldering irons. However, when working with copper pipe a blowtorch is required. This is due to the conductive nature of copper and the sizes of the pieces that plumbers typically work with. Copper is one of nature’s best conductors, both of electricity and of heat. That’s why even a small copper plumbing pipe has sufficient surface area to dissipate heat faster than any iron could supply it. That’s why a blowtorch is typically used. Even with a blowtorch, however, it is important that the copper pipes being soldered are dry as even a small amount of water can cause the heat to dissipate too quickly, cooling the solder before it has time to make a proper joint.

Choosing the Right Soldering Iron for Electronics Work

Dan, one of my Facebook buddies, wrote to me asking about choosing a soldering iron:

“Quick question… I’m looking for a new soldering iron. would you recommend anything under 40 dollars without a soldering station? I’m getting tired of my RadioShack 45 watt iron with the screw on tips (and having to use a bench grinder everyday to clean the tips).”

I’ve been asked this question quite a bit, so I thought it was time to put something together explaining about soldering irons, flux and tinning.

Soldering Iron

The first thing I would recommend is getting an adjustable temperature soldering iron, and get used to setting the correct temperature for the different types of parts you are working with – hotter for larger gauge, and cooler for thinner, finer work. I typically work in the 325F to 400F range. I’ve been using the Velleman LAB1U, it has a built in multi-meter and power supply. These can be a bit pricey, so check out the Weller brand – sometimes they go on sale for around $40. I would avoid the Cold Heat soldering irons – they are unsuitable for delicate electronics, as are the big soldering “gun” type irons.

I used to use quite large gauge solder and tips, but just recently (after doing a lot of surface-mount work) switched to 1/32″ tip and 0.32″ diameter solder. This allows for much finer control with less overspill.

My soldering iron has a built in “damp sponge” to clean off excess solder between uses. In the past I have used regular paper towels to do the same job, but a dedicated sponge with a circular hole cut in the middle really works best.

Helping Hands

The next thing I wouldn’t be without is are some “Helping Hands” – these are pairs of crocodile clips that can be used to hold the workpiece while you concentrate on the soldering. this is really important, as it won’t be long before you realise that you need 4 hands to solder things.

Even better than helping hands is a:

Bench Vice/Vise

I bought one of these 2 years ago and it’s proven to be invaluable. The brand I use is “PanaVise” and they come with a range of bases and options – Fry’s carries them, and they are available online. You can put the whole PCB you are working on into the vice, insert the components and then just flip it over to solder.

Flux Pen

Rosin Flux is a substance that encourages the solder to flow. If you find that you are having trouble getting a good solder joint then it’s probably because the heat transfer isn’t working correctly, or the components are dirty. Applying some solder flux to the joint area will really help – I’ve been using a flux pen for years and wouldn’t want to be without one. An alternative is flux paste – like toothpaste it comes in a tube and can be applied with the fingers.

Tip Tinner and Cleaner

When you first fit a new soldering iron tip it will be bright, shiny and very difficult to work with. The solder will not stick to it and so you cannot “tin” the tip properly. Some people will use fine sandpaper to break in a new tip but I prefer to dip the new tip into some RadioShack “Tip Tinner and Cleaner”. This starts the process nicely. It’s also a good idea to dip the soldering iron after you are finished, and before you switch off. I find that it really helps to prevent the tip from wearing out prematurely.

Fume extractor

If you do a lot of soldering, then you need to get something installed on your bench to divert the fumes away from your face. It’s not recommended to breath in solder fumes at all. I use a small fan, but a proper extractor is a very good idea.

Wire Cutters

The final piece of essential equipment is a pair of sharp, flat bottomed wire cutters. These are used to trim off excess component wire (the “leg”) after soldering. The flat bottom is important to get the cut as close to the PCB as possible. Don’t go too cheap with these, I paid about $17 for mine.

That just about covers the basics of soldering, I would also think about getting a loupe (magnifier), some solder wick and solder “sucker” for removal, wire strippers and isopropyl alcohol and an old toothbrush for flux removal.

Very soon I’ll put together a series of articles on soldering technique – covering basic through-hole assembly, and the more advanced surface-mount technology.

Impact Vs Regular Sockets

Impact sockets differ from regular sockets in a number of ways. They have a different appearance, but they can be used for a wide range of applications as compared to their standard counterparts. Even though, it is true that professionals in the automotive repair field primarily use the impact alternatives, they are a good addition to your home garage as well for rotation of the tires and even for bigger projects like the restoration of automobiles as well. Let us get into some points of comparison between these two alternatives:

Metals: Generally, standard sockets are constructed out of polished chrome vanadium steel. This is because of the fact that when this type of metal is used, it can be protected from rust as cleaning can be done easily. Impact sockets suppliers have pointed out that the manufacturers of this particular product make use of hot forged chrome vanadium steel with a thicker socket wall. This heat treatment, in addition to producing harder surface, also gives a darker color to the metal. This in turn can enable the user to differentiate it from the normal alternatives in the tool box. As the walls are thicker, additional strength is given to the tool, thereby preventing formation of cracks in the thinnest areas of the socket wall.

Uses: Standard alternatives generally make use of standard one, half, quarter of 3/8th inch ratchet for removal of hardware or bolts that are tightly fastened or that are rusty. These users might range from a regular household door hinge or appliances to huge automotive tasks as well. On the other hand, impact alternatives are used exclusively in the automotive industry. They are used in the process of replacing or removal of chassis bolts, suspension components and wheel lug nuts. They are used with an impact driver or wrench. They differ in sizes ranging from 3/8th to an inch.

Availability: Impact sockets suppliers generally sell this item and some of these suppliers generally act as industrial machinery suppliers as well. Nowadays, these suppliers are selling their products online and so firms operating in automobile industry and even individuals looking for the right industrial machinery suppliers can find them by conducting an internet search. Standard sockets can be found from the local firms dealing with tools for repairing automobiles. Like standard alternatives, impact alternatives are also offered in sales in different configurations.

If you are an industrialist looking for the right supply of this type of items, you can carefully select a professional firm in this respect.

Thumb Joint Pain

Thumb joint pain will leave you unable to perform any duty. This is because it causes so much pain and can prove to be a big bother. Thumb joint pain is associated with so many causes which include trauma. This might be as a result of an accident. The pain can also be caused by serious conditions like rheumatism and arthritis. There are so many other causes and, you need to have an idea of what the cause could be in your case.

You will definitely suffer from impaired grip. Simple activities that you used to take for granted become an uphill task. This activities could be opening a jar or even turning the key in the lock. This motions will have the capacity to cause or trigger arthritic pain and other problems. There are other problems that you will experience as symptoms of thumb joint pain.

You will experience stiffness as well as inflammation when you have thumb joint pain. You need to know what kind of injury you suffer when it affects your hands. It can be minor and therefore temporary. If this is the case, you can just make sure that you are at a resting position where you do not have to use the thumb joint. The symptoms will go away on their own so you can get to recover.

You can also use some inflammatory medications. Do not make a habit of this just because you need relief. This is because the drugs come with very many other side effects. For the thumb joint, you can use cold bandages as well as ice cubes. They help in relieving your pain. There are people who will go ahead to use pain killers and this is highly discouraged. This is because they will not be solving the problem.

You need to take this warning very seriously so that you may avoid regrets in the future. You may ask what exactly causes arthritis of the thumb but, the cause is not totally known. Therefore,to solve the mystery, a lot more work needs to be performed.

This problem has been seen to be more common in people who are over 40. Therefore, the association with age a is very much observed. When the tendons become very loose they are more likely to cause problems in the joint of the thumb. This problem will usually require surgical intervention to ensure that everything is okay. Of course this will happen after other drugs have failed. The drugs will be anti inflammatory. The pills are known for their side effects. They are especially known to affect the digestive system.

Patch Up That Hole Through Pool Cover Repair

If you want to protect your pool during the off-season, when your family least uses it the most, you should have a pool cover. However, as time goes by the cover may be come old or even damage and in need of pool cover repair. There are many different ways that you can go about seeking the best repair tools and services. Look here to see how to discover the best pool cover fixing that will help you the fastest!

You should see if you can do the repairs on your own before you go out and spend a lot of money. If you know how to manage your own pool, you can look into finding the materials that are needed in order to create a patch to cover the hole up with. You should never use tape, simply because it will not stick to the cover once it gets too wet and soggy.

There are repair kits that you can easily buy to get everything fixed immediately. These kits can be found and bought online through a number of great sites that specialize in various pool repairs and the tools needed to get the job done. You will need to set aside enough money as well as time that is needed to repair any and all holes that might be found within your pool cover.

If you do not have the time or the resources to do the repairs on your own, look for a professional cover repair service. These services are going to come out to your home and have the professional tools that you lack to fix the damage in a short amount of time. Look at the various companies that work within your local area and be sure to examine all of the prices and track down the best one that suit your wallet!

When you are looking for these professional cover repair services, you must be able to answer a few simple questions. For examine, you need to know the overall size of the pool and the pool cover so these professionals know which tools they need to bring out to you. If you are unsure, try your best to measure your pool to at least give the repair team an idea of what they will be working with.

You will then want to describe the shape and the size of the hole that you are having issues with. If you have looked over the entire pool cover, be sure to report any and all other holes that you discover. You want to be sure that you only have to pay for this service to come out once and only once.

Overall, these cover repair services are not going to cost you too much money. You can call and get the price quote that you need in order to make the best choice. Save your money and try to do your repairs first. If you do not succeed on your own, then you can switch to a service that will finish up the job for you!

Pool cover repair is not hard to find and should be taken care of as soon as possible. If you are in need to these services, look for a neighborhood company with a good reputation. You want to choose someone that you can trust to help you get the best job done!