How to Choose the Right Coffee Beans

When I started drinking coffee, it would not have mattered if it was instant or brewed, where the beans were from, how it was roasted, or flown, as long as it kept me awake and helped me pass my exams.

However as time passed I became aware of the different beans, roasts and flavors available. So when your palate reaches this stage of awareness and you no longer say coffee is all the same as long as it keeps me awake, how do you choose the right coffee bean?

First, choose which species you prefer, 75% of the worlds coffee trade is of Coffee Arabica due to its generally preferred flavor and deep aroma and it does go well with cream, sugar and other additives. But for the true coffee connoisseur it does not hurt to sample any of the other available species, such as benghalensis, canephor, congensis and mogeneti to name a few.

Now assuming you do not roast your own beans (as some of us do!) Its important to choose the best roast. This is determined by the degree of darkness and there are four main types; Light (Cinnamon Roast, Half City, New England), Medium (Full City, American, Regular, Breakfast Brown), Dark (High, Viennese, Italian Expresso, Continental) and Darkest (Italian, French, Spanish). Most people prefer medium roast due to its balanced flavor and sweetness, but do try the others as individual tastes often vary considerably.

As for the origin of the beans, the differences in flavors are small but significant. Beans from Central America and Hawaii have a snappy and vibrant flavor, Whereas beans from Yemen and East Africa are more bitter and Indonesian grown beans have a more complex flavor.

In addition to the natural flavors within the different coffee beans, different flavors can be added by the manufacturer, these are many and varied, but to begin with I would suggest trying beans without added flavors for two reasons. Firstly particularly with artificial flavors this might overpower the natural taste of the bean and prevent an unbiased choice of coffee bean and secondly the more the beans are flavored the unheathier they become!

As for where to purchase your coffee beans, while your local supermarket will most likely stock some of the most popular varieties, probably the best place to find a large range of interesting and desirable flavors is the internet. You will also receive the beans fresh and full of flavor unlike those at the local store which may have been in storage for some time.

Another good option which I would recommend is to join a coffee of the month club. For a low price you get to sample one or more coffee bean flavors each month and also can discuss different flavors with other members.

Finding a delicious coffee bean is not easy but once you have you can enjoy the fruits of your labor as often as you like!

Pet Porte Microchip Cat Flap – A Doorman For Your Cats

Do you love cats? If so how many cats do you have? Is your cat well behaved?

How many times do you consider your cat's safety? Does your cat return home safely at nights, without any rashes or bruises that are indeed created by other cats?

How certain are you that only your cat eats the food that you give them and they are not being joined by other cats when you are out? Most of the cat lovers would have found it difficult to answer these questions.

Indeed these are the daily problems faced by cat lovers. These questions make the cat lovers feel worried about their dearst pets.

Most cat owners know how worrying it is when their cat goes missing for a day or more. Is there a remedy for all these hard moments? If at all there is a solution, will it guarantee on the safety and security of the pet? What can be done to stop these kind of problems for good?

Can your cat be safe from being bullied by other stray cats? Can your cat be safe in indoor without escaping, if the weather outside is very terrible and violent? The good news is that there is a very easy answer to all these questions. And of course that answer is Yes!

The antidote for all these physical and environmental threats that are typically experienced by the owner and the pet has now come to light. It comes in the form of a special cat flap called the Pet Porte Smart Flap.

The Pet Porte microchip cat flap is the first cat flap that effectively keeps other cats out. It provides an enhanced level of security that makes cats lives and the owners lives much better.

This is a Collarless technology, which indeed keeps the pet away from hard and rough collars which leaves a mark on the neck of the pet.

The Pet Porte microchip cat flap was invented and patented by David Chamberlain, one of Guernsey's leading vets, which is the first in a series ofventions that will be coming onto the market intended to make your life, and your cat's life, more enjoyable.

Pet Porte is the world's first cat flap to stop other cats from entering your home and it recognizes your cat without the need for electronic or magnetic cat collar attachments, heavy collar tags, restrictive collars or infra red.

The technology is completely safe and cats will not even notice that they are being scanned when they approach the door.

Cats love to use the Pet Porte microchip cat flap and it keeps them safe. The Pet Porte microchip cat flap is easy to use, and it's simple to program your cats in, most likely the user of this Pet Porte product will not require you to consistently refer to the manual, because everything is operated from just two buttons, one red and one green.

One the cats that you program in are allowed entry. You can program in up to 32 cats. The door is extra strong and can not be bashed open ..

In the Pet Porte microchip cat flap there are two distinct modes worth mentioning.

Two of the most popular modes are the VET MODE and the NIGHT MODE:

You can use the VET MODE whenever you want to keep your cats indoors. When you activate the NIGHT MODE your cats can always come back inside but they will not be able to get out when it is dark, they will be kept in until it is light again in the morning. These two modes make the Pet Porte microchip cat flap unique to all other cat flaps on the market.

The Pet Porte Smart Flap is very easy to install and operate.

Programming the Pet Porte is again a very short and simple process, as there are no complex steps involved, indeed the whole installation is only a single step process.

Simply hold down the green button for ten seconds and release. The lights start to flash. Then hold your cat under the outside sensor. It beeps three times. That is all the owner has to do, in order to finish with the programming process, in this same method an average of 32 different cats (approx) can be programmed.

There may be a question involving among the users that what actually happens when the pet is made to pass through the Pet Porte. When the cat is approaches the Pet Porte the intelligent sensors present in the sensor porch of the cat flap recognizes the existing microchip ID implants, the door unlocks only for your cats. Stray cats or neighbors cats, even those with microchips, are not allowed access because they are not programmed in.

This adorable product uses an adapter that is fixed directly to the power supply, rather than using batteries which may run out frequently or unexpectedly. The current is safe because it is low voltage, and its not at all harmful for the cat by any means, so there is no chance of short circuits, even if the cat chews or pounces on the lead, as the voltage is very low. Even if the cat flap is disconnected from the power it will always remember your cat's microchip numbers.

The major characteristics of the magic door that is used in the Pet Porte is that its highly tensile and strong as it has the capacity to withstand the pouncing / attacks, even if it is created by the toughest cat around on the streets.

Because the cat flap is powered by AC adapter, the magic door unlocks at the blink of an eye, ie in just a few microseconds, so that you're lovable cat can enjoy its play with the Pet Porte, even if she / he loves to dash in and out at speed.

The Pet Porte is friendly device to your pet, and it is designed in such a way that, there will not be any possibilities in which the tail or the paws of the pet getting stuck. Sometimes there are no possibilities for other stray cats to enter, so making your cat feel free and relaxed at all times.

The Pet Porte microchip cat flap has many clever features which makes it unique and reliable when compared to all the other cat doors. In fact the other cat doors on the market such as traditional, magnetic and infrared flaps all have their own disadvantages at different situations.

With traditional cat doors the result is that within one night the owner can see his house ruined ie his curtains torn, urine all over the wall, the cat food missing from its tray, the pet left with the marks of being bullied-all these are the problems created by none others than the neighbors cats. Thus these are the adverse effects caused when traditional type flaps are used.

Secondly, coming the magnetic cat flaps, all the cats with magnetic collars can gain access through the door, this is a major drawback. And the other issue is that, magnetic collars are heavy and tight, that makes the pet feel uncomfortable.

Thirdly comes the infrared cat flaps, these have sensors both at the transmitting and receiving ends and the door opens only if the sensor in the collar points directly to the sensor on the door. These Infrared cat flaps are expensive too.

Finally all these disadvantages experienced when using other cat flaps are in turn changed into an merit when the Pet Porte microchip cat flap is installed.


The Pet Porte microchip cat flap was designed to be the best cat flap in the world. The irritation caused by the collar on a cat can be avoided by the use of the cats existing microchip. With the help of the locking mechanism, stray cats can be kept out.

The pains of calling your cat in at night is no longer an issue because the cat flap can detect the light level automatically and help to keep your cats in at night.

With the presence of the Pet Porte microchip cat flap, you will be able to know, if your cat inside the house or elsewhere, the beeping system of the Pet Porte will make you aware of the presence of your cat inside the house. You can easily switch the beep off if it makes your cats nervous.

The presence of a magnetic latch in the Pet Porte keeps the flap intact when the wind blows therefore protecting the cats from getting hurt.

The simple two button operation mechanism gives a full control over your cats world.

The microchip cat flap allows you to program up to 32 cats of your liking and only the cats which are programmed in are allowed access.

The programmable memory within the Pet Porte prevents the loss of information about your cats if the power is disconnected.

All of this comes under low voltage intake with no batteries to replace so your cat will never get locked outside.

This product is cat friendly and makes it virtually impossible for your cat to get its paws stuck in the door. His the Pet Porte microchip cat flap is a divine product that has been launched to quench the thirst of concerned cat lovers, and it is now available to cat lovers worldwide.

Many customers say that it makes them feel comfortable and relaxed at nights rather than worrying about their pets, since there is a friend there at the door step providing the most sophisticated level of security to the lovable kitties.

Frontal Lobe Injuries and Their Resulting Damage

The frontal lobe is made up of the precentral cortex, prefrontal cortex, orbitofrontal cortex and the superior mesial and inferior mesial regions. Each area has a particular function. But the frontal lobe, in general, is the brain's emotional center and is responsible for higher functioning. Although this is true, no part of the brain works in isolation.

Frontal lobe injuries can affect motor functions, problem solving, memory, social and sexual behavior. It can also affect language skills, impulse control and make changes to the personality. The damage incurred effects feelings of empathy, sympathy, humor and whether appropriate judgments are made.

Functions of the frontal lobe areas involves the ability to recognize future consequences resulting from current actions, an ability to choose between good and bad actions and to recognize the similarity or differences between things.

The frontal lobe assists in retaining long term memories. When this area has been injured, mental flexibility will be impaired. Talking may increase or decrease dramatically. Also, there may be impaired perceptions, possible loss of taste or smell, potential attention difficulties which will make a person easily distracted. Thinking may be inflexible showing perseveration which is an inability to switch from one line of thinking to another. Those with frontal lobe injuries may also lack motivation, the ability to plan and organize and may have difficulty making decisions. Abstract and complex thinking may also be problematic.

Damages such as these often make holding a job more difficult because of the inability to perform work consistently and because problem solving and motor skills have typically been affected.

The hope of successfully returning to work is through rehabilitation. The multidisciplinary approach to rehabilitation is mostly favored which includes specialists from neurology, psychology, occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech therapy and cognitive therapy. Other rehabilitation is developing strategies to overcome deficiencies. It is important that rehabilitation encourage, motivate and empower.

Rehabilitation involves working on functions that can be restored and learning how to do things differently. Neuro-functional strengths and weaknesses are considered. After strengths are developed, more complex skills can be added. The large brain skills must be retrained or developed before the small skills can be developed. And this must happen before intellectual activity can be worked on and be successful.

When there has been an injury to the frontal lobes, rehabilitation is important and the goal is to help individuals progress to the most independent level of functioning possible.

Real Estate Investing 203 – Shift Classes or Uses

Back in Real Estate Investing 101, I briefly stated "Shifting Classes" after the Buy & Hold strategy. There are a few different ways to shift classes and uses that can build value for investors.

Residential to Commercial

One of the most common ways to increase value while shifting classes or use is to have a property re-zoned from residential to commercial usage. A property that is located on a busy street would be a prime example. The busy street lowers the value for a residential property because of the noise and associated traffic. It is even more true of a corner lot. So, this busy location is a detriment.

However, for a commercial property, the traffic is an asset. If it is a corner lot with heavy traffic on multiple sides, that is even more of a bonus. A savvy investor might see the commercial potential of a property, possibly even years before having it re-zoned. In fact, it is preferred to buy the property well before it can be converted to commercial zoning and rent it out for residential purposes. The reason that one may choose to do it this way is that the property can be purchased for the best price, and then charged with the costs offset by a renter while the investor seeks to have the property re-zoned. Depending on local rules and nearby zoning, as well as future plans the city may have, it may take a year or more to get the property properly re-zoned. Meanwhile, because the property is located on a busy thoroughfare, advertising for renters is as easy as putting a sign on the property.

Keep in mind that frontage may be just as important for commercial property as acreage. That is another reason that corner lots are such a premium. They have as much as twice the frontage / acre as a lot on just one street. Obviously, lot dimensions will play into this, but in almost all cases the corner lot is the premium.

Low Density to High Density Residential

Another popular way to increase land value is to change it from a lower density residential to a higher density residential usage. Finding a single property or an assemblage of properties to re-zone to higher density can increase the attractiveness of the property to a developer.

Of course, as with most real estate, location is everything. A townhouse or condo development might not be in demand in a less densely populated area, but may support very high valuations in a thought after area. It may also be a great way to capitalize on a smaller parcel adjunct to a popular subdivision. For those familiar with the St. Marlo subdivision at the extreme southern end of Forsyth County out side of Atlanta, The Weston, which is next door is a great example.

Apartment to Condo Conversions

This is an often overlooked strategy that is similar to flipping, but on a huge scale. It is out of the realm of most investors, but purchasing an apartment complex and converting them to condo can be extremely profitable. This is especially true of a slightly older community. As the community ages, the demand for it may decrease. As demand drops, the rent may not keep up with fresher complexes. At the same time, the mechanical systems will be getting ready for an overhaul. If one can purchase the entire operation at a reasonable price, one may be able to flip it to individual ownership.

There are a few different strategies that can be employed depending on the needs of the investor as well as the needs of the community and subject property.

Starting at the lowest end of the economic scale, if the property is converted to condo, there might be a return from current residents. One way to overcome this is to build a pricing model that allows the majority to remain in place, increase the value of the community and more quickly sell the remaining units. Finding a financing solution that allows the tenant to be converted to a buyer means that one does not need to market as many units. Offer to pay closing costs, finding sources of down payment assistance or 100% loans would also help to ease the transition. If there is a way to allow the current residents to buy in the below the prices that the property will be marked at, this is even better. This gives the current residents instant equity, and they will be more likely to be better neighbors since they now have a stake in the community. Occidentally, converting to low income housing may also carry tax benefits for the investors. Having single unit or multi-unit investors in line should there be residents that do not wish to purchase is also an option, but not as attractive since there will be a lot of residents without a financial stake in the community.

The same strategies can be used with higher priced properties as well. But, financing is often easier to set up. Many of the residents may already considering purchasing their next residence, and allowing them to buy in below market will be very attractive. Set up several programs that allow different pricing based on renovations to existing units. Offer a low price for un-restructured units (only to residents in those units), a mechanical only upgrade, and a full upgrade including fixtures, etc. For a full upgrade, one might offer a near similar unit to allow a faster transition.

This can also be done with vacated apartment complexes, but there will generally be much higher renewal costs. However, the profit margin may be significantly higher. While driving through New Orleans earlier this year, I could not help but think that there were huge opportunities in renovating apartments.

Commercial to Condo

Loft conversations are hugely popular. Most of the conversions that are currently being done are very high end. However, this can be done at various price points. The primary difference will be in the level and quantity of finish for the units. Finding a building worth saving, that is convertible to residential space is the first challenge. It needs to be unique and have plenty of character.

If one is shooting for the lower end of the market, all that needs to be done is to provide the stubs for plumbing, and require the buyer build out kitchens and baths on their own. Set some sort of minimum standards, and be sure all work is allowed and done to local code.

Moving up, one may choose to put in baths and a kitchen, either fully finished or in some other state agreed by the buyer. One could also go as far as to have several private rooms, and fully outfit the space with high end finishes and fixtures. Additional amenities could be included ranging from pool and parking to high-speed, wireless internet access.

In all of the condo conversions, whether from apartments or commercial space, it is very important to set up some sort of Owner's Association. This will help keep cohesion in the community as it is populated. This also provides a mechanism to care for common property and maintain amenities. Another issue that the OA will need to deal with is the level of renters for the community. The lower the percentage of renters v. owner-occupants, the lower maintenance needs generally are. However, if there are no renters allowed, it may adversely affect resale values. There are a lot of different strategies for dealing with that particular situation.

Building Exterior, Expansion And Contracting Issues

Property owners, building management, engineers and architects are plagued with the issue of expansion and contracting within a building. Regardless, whether the building is a commercial, industrial or residential structure, the edifice is constantly expanding and contracting related to the ambient temperature. As the temperature increases the building expands, temperature decreases the building contracts. When using different type materials, the building components will expand and contract at different rates. Concrete, brick, masonry block, steel, wood, vinyl and plastic, each have a different rate of movement. Dissimilar substances can have extensive effects on joints over long periods of time.

To best describe how a typical building expands and contracts, imagine a dry sponge representing the exterior of the structure. The dry sponge is at its absolute contraction point. Saturating the sponge; it allows the sponge to swell to its absolute expansion point, in all directions. As the moisture is released from the sponge it serves a medical state when the ambient temperature hovers around 70 degrees. The ambient temperature increases the building expanses, the ambient temperature decreases the building contracts. So ask yourself, how does the expansion and contracting of a building affect the building components?

Typically, engineers and architects take in consideration of this movement process when designing structures. Expansion joints are utilized to compensate for the expansion and contracting of the edifice. Expansion materials are placed within the joint to seal against moisture intrusion. Unfortunately, this is a component that requires maintenance every 5 to 7 years. However, the design team fails to consider the exterior coating components, such as the painting system. The outer wall expands in all directions, which requires the paint material to expand at the same rate as the substrate. If different materials are utilized to construct the exterior wall, each material will expand at a different rate requiring a joint to separate the various materials. Therefore, whenever two materials meet on the exterior façade a joint should be provided to separate each material.

The joint systems utilized on building exteriors consist of various materials; rubber, silicone, urethane and metal. Typical construction practice is to install the joint sealant or expansion joint material as the exterior façade in intended. The exterior color, in the form of paint, is installed over the exterior façade during construction. When installing paint products over a silicone material during construction, than failure will occur. Typical paint products do not bond to silicone materials. Once a failure occurs within the painted surface moisture will infiltrate the exterior façade causing further failure of the painted surface. In addition, typical paint products are unable to expand and contract at the rate of the substrate that it's applied over; thus causing failure within the painted surface. Reducing the longevity of the paint protection to the building envelope.

Technology has developed various systems that can alleviate the problems that occur during design and construction; provide the moisture protection and the longevity expected by property owners. These exterior components are capable of handling the expansion and contracting requirements of the various materials. Expert exterior contractors are familiar with the various products and systems. When properly installed the building envelope will continue to provide the protection required for over 30 years. Ultimately, this reduces the maintenance budget for the building owner, reduces moisture infiltration and reduces the possibility of mold growth.

Certified IPC-A-610 Training Course

The IPC-A-610 Acceptability of Electronic Assemblies is a worldwide standard for the inspection of electronic assemblies published by the IPC. This certification program will help you meet customer requirements as well as develop any company dedicated to ISO-9000 or other quality assurance initiatives.

The IPC-A-610 training and certification provide certified IPC trainers with training materials and detailed plans for training application specialists (CIS) including those in quality, management, procurement, program management and others. It allows both suppliers and buyers of electronic assemblies to "get on the same page" with respect to the outgoing quality level of the assemblies.

In IPC 610 course there are numerous topics covered. They are listed below from the IPC 610 Class for CIT's:

  • Introduction
  • Roles and Responsibilities of IPC Registered Instructors
  • Terms and Definitions
  • Foreword
  • Handling Electronic Assemblies
  • Discrete Wiring Assembly
  • Component Installation Location / Orientation
  • Soldering
  • Mechanical Assemblies
  • Coatings
  • Laminate Conditions
  • Surface Mount Assemblies
  • Marking
  • Cleanness
  • Review of Instructor Skills & Effective Use of Instructional Materials

The typical class for an instructor is taught in a classroom and takes 4 days to administrator and test out of. While there are no hand soldering or wire preparation skills taught in this class there are plenty of examples which take the student through the meaning of the specifications, drawings, and tables as found in the standard. The class itself is lecture-based and is interspersed with photos to highlight some of the specifications for illustration purposes. At the end of each teaching module in the IPC 610 course, a review consisting of sample problems helps students and the instructors to see how well the material is being absorbed by the IPC 610 class instructor candidates. The testing for the IPC-610 class is done online with nearly one-half of the questions being in an open book format with the other half being in a closed book format. Instructors passing the IPC 610 class consist of a copy of the specification, an instructor's guide, a slide set of the teaching materials and a copy of the IPC-TM50 which goes through terms and definitions.

The IPC-A-610 Acceptability of Electronic Assemblies is a worldwide standard for the inspection of electronic assemblies published by the IPC. This certification program will help you meet customer requirements as well as develop any company dedicated to ISO-9000 or other quality assurance initiatives.

In the IPC 610 class for application specialists (CIS candidates) the modules which are useful in the particular business are discussed along with the required background modules. The background modules for the IPC 610 course are modules 1 and 2 which have to do with the administration of the program, EOS / ESD guidelines, terms and definitions as well as things like the range of magnification required for inspection of the assemblies. The business then "pick and choose" other modules which are appropriate for the business. For example, if a firm is building wire harnesses then only the sections on soldering and wires / terminals will be instructed and tested in the IPC 610 class. If the business is a contractor manufacturer building circuit board assemblies then only the sections in the IPC 610 class on soldering, through-hole and SMT will be useful in the business. If the business only does wire wrapping ten times the module on wire wrapping will be useful to take out of the IPC 610 class.

Whatever your need come to BEST for your IPC 610 class experience!

Star Of India – 150 Year Old Floating Museum

Launched from the yard of Gibson, McDonald & Arnold at Ramsey, Isle of Man, as the fully-rigged ship Euterpe on 14 November, 1863, the Star of India, as she has long since been called, lays claim to being the oldest merchant ship still afloat. She lies in San Diego, California, her iron hull and rig so well restored that she has been able to put to sea sometimes in recent years.

Her home port was originally Liverpool, from where her Isle of Man owners had intended that she would run cargo and a small quota of passengers to India. She had been built with spacious' tween decks and fitted with port holes along this stroke, which would have made her eminently suitable as a troop ship should the need have arisen.

Only a few hours after setting sail from Liverpool on her maiden voyage, she was in a collision with a Spanish brig, which did an intense damage to her fore-rigging. The crew were so apprehensive of her seaworthiness, they demanded a return to port for repairs or they would refuse to sail the ship.

Some of the crew were jailed for this impudence and missed her confidential safe passage to Calcutta. Two years later, at the end of December 1864, the Euterpe sailed from Liverpool, again bound for ports in India and Sri Lanka (then known as; Ceylon).

She did not return home for another 23 months, when in a hurricane off Madras on 29 November, 1866, she lost all three masts, took refuge in the harbor at Trincomalee and eventually sailed into Calcutta where she was re-rigged. On the passage home, a few days out from India, her captain died of fever, leaving the mate to take command.

She changed ownership twice after this and spent time in the Indian coastal trade before being acquired by Shaw, Savill & Albion who specialized in long voyages from Great Britain to the Antipodes. Euterpe spent a number of years voyaging between London or Glasgow and Auckland or Wellington in New Zealand, mostly with cabin or immigrant passengers. She made more than a score of these long trips, sailing out via the Cape of Good Hope, through the 'Roaring Forts', and homeward via Cape Horn to the English Channel.

The opening of the Suez Canal put an end to her usefulness under the Shaw Savill flag and she was illegally sold to the Pacific Colonial Ship Company of San Francisco. She was placed under Hawaiian registry which enabled her, when that country became part of the United States, to obtain American registry. Her new owners filled her with timber, loaded in Puget Sound, and sent her packing to Australia where Douglas fir and Oregon pine were much in demand.

On the voyage home, she would carry coal, to Honolulu where she then loaded a cargo of sugar for the last leg to the West Coast of America.

Pacific Colonial sold the ship to the Alaska Packers Association of San Francisco, who were already the owners of several beautiful vessels acquired from the line affectionately known as 'Corry's Irish Stars'. These Harland & Wolff-built ships were some of the finest ever launched between 1877-1880, the Star of Bengal and the Star of France being noted worldwide for their speed.

Euterpe was renamed Star of India, but her globe-trotting days were numbered. The Packers sent her up to Alaska in the spring and back to the warmer climate of San Francisco in autumn. Her rig was reduced too; instead of the five yards which once sprouted on her mizzen, now there was a huge spanker and topsail. As a barque, she was easier to handle with a smaller crew. New accommodations were built on the main deck from the poop to the mainmast, large enough to carry at least 45 fishermen. The bright hardwood trim around her upper-works disappeared under layers of 'box-car red' paint and the once white bulwarks and deck homes were painted a miserable buff color. She made her last voyage to Alaska in 1923.

Had it not been for one James Wood Coffroth, Star of India might have ended her days as another breakwater in some obscure harbor. He bought the ship and gave her to the San Diego Zoological Society in 1926 with the idea that she should be fitted out as a floating museum and aquarium. But in the grim days of the American Depression, there was little spare cash available for such projects. Neglected, the great ship began to deteriorate.

Paint cracked and peeled, decks leaked and the rigging was in a poor state of repair, quickly rotting under the unlenting sun. During World War II, the US Navy declared her masts a hazard to aerial navigation and sent a party along to send down her yards and remove the topmasts. Tired of their gift, the Zoological Society wave the ship to the newly formed Maritime Museum Association in 1957.

She is maintained exclusively by admission fees, contributions and membership of the Museum Association. Her restoration was a painfully slow process because of the lack of skilled craftsmen and traditional materials, such as hemp, Stockholm tar and the many chandlery fittings needed to make her seaworthy.

In 2013 she reached 150 years old.

Comparing Insulated Precast Foundation and Poured Wall

Which type of foundation is stronger? How these two types of foundations are distinct from each other? These questions are usually coming from home buyers who seek answers to a stronger foundation that could enhance the durability and energy efficiency of their home.

When it comes to building a home, consideration of what type of foundation to be installed is taken into account. There are two types of foundations, which are the beloved wall, and the precast foundation, that could make a home stronger, durable and energy efficient. And to guide you which kind of foundation is best for your modular home, let us consider a look at their comparison.

Poured Walls

Poured wall system or the traditional foundation is most popular in America. It is a kind of foundation where efficiency is highly promoted. It is under a drain system which is applauded for its superior performance. Poured wall is also by manufacturers to complete the basement instantly.

Traditional foundation is typically have a 2 inches concrete face which is scattered against the insulated foam, and put between the outer face and 24 inches steel reinforced studs. It has a PSI of 3500 and as mentioned has a solid foundation to 24 "in the center, which does not require a stiffer mixture of cement.

Beneath the beloved foundation are crushed rocks that allow balancing of the load to the feet. The crushed rocks below provide an excellent avenue for water drainage from the slab to the exterior tiles. However, build up of pressure is a big risk since the water has to circle around the feet to reach the tiles.

Poured wall costs are slightly higher than the insulated precast concrete. A study observed that labor fee add to the construction cost of distributed walls because completion of this foundation is tedious and challenging.

Insulated Precast Foundation

Manufacturers have been included in the run to build a stronger and durable foundation for each home since then. Recently, they have engineered the insulated precast foundation, which they considered as their best answer. Providing proof to their theory, precast foundations have been established to modular homes and the result was amazing.

Precast foundation is completed quickly as it is made in a factory. Because no weather disturbances are holding the precast walls' building process, it can be accomplished in one to two days depending in its dimension. They are pre-insulated and dries immediately. Even in the factory, precast concrete already has holes for plumbing and electrical system.

Manufacturers ensure superior quality of cement mix because no extra water is added while it is taken in the factory. It has at least 5000 PSI compared to the beloved wall. This makes it sturdier.

Pea gravel is employed in precast concrete walls to achieve a superior quality drainage system. It hosts the water to flow to the footing through it. Because of its controlled joints attached to the panels, stress cracks are prevented, and move the water out through the sealant.

Insulated precast foundation cost is lower than the distributed walls. This is ascribed to the savings made in the construction and labor costs. One big plus about this foundation is its 15 years limited warranty. This is more convenient than the beloved walls as it does not possess one.

Comparing two types of foundations is a helpful way to less the burden in modular home construction.

Lamps 101 – Creating Elegance Through Illumination

Probably one of the most essential elements of any home décor is lighting. If used properly, lighting pieces such as tiffany floor lamps can create a great atmosphere for your home. Not only do these classic pieces cast an impression on your style and taste but it also adds a touch of elegance in the overall look of your space. There is a wide variety of lamps available ranging from contemporary styles to traditional designs. With this endless selection, a homeowner can certainly find one that will suit his needs and desires.

Lamps offer a great way to liven up a boring and empty space. It provides an ambient glow and is also very purposeful for reading and doing task work. Most of the time, our instinct will tell us to buy a good looking lamp. This should not be the case. You must keep in mind other related features such as the size, height and the appropriateness of the lamp to the other furnishings within the space where it will be placed.

To achieve the right atmosphere for a particular space, the right lamp should fit well with all the other décor in the room. Your choice must also be based on its functionality. If it is intended to be a lamp for reading, then a brighter light is needed. On the other hand, if it is only used to set a mood, then a soft light is best. Take time to do this because completing pieces can certainly create a dazzling overall look.

In terms of the height, if you must take measurements to find the perfect stature, then do so. Make sure that the lamp is tall enough as to not cast a shadow on your shoulder when you are reading next it.

If your home is elegantly designed, the best choice for you would probably be traditional lamps. These lamps most often create a romantic ambiance because it provides a soft and sensual light. There are numerous traditional lamps and they come in various design pieces. These pieces are intricately designed and the price range will range from $ 80- $ 170 depending on the materials used. The most popular ones are made out of gold, marble, antique bronze and wood.

You also need to take into account the intended user of the lamp. Determine if whenever you will be the one who will be using the lamp or it will be used by other people as well. It is also a good idea if you check with your family who lives with you the choice you have made because you will not be the only one who is going to see it everyday.

At last, always remember that whatever lamp you choose whether its tiffany floor lamps or contemporary table lamps, it must be something that you like and enjoy. Do not pick a choice based on its uniqueness alone. You should always keep in mind the type of mood you want to portray along with the completing décor housing in your home.

Five Steps to Choosing Pendant Lights for Your Home

So where do you start? The first step is to identify the purpose of these lights. Are you looking for a lighting solution that is going to brighten an entire room or are you looking for a softer light you can turn on in the middle of the night to reduce the risk of tripping or falling? Are you looking to create a feature in the home that will become a focal point? These are all very important factors and you have to look at each one individually to identify what you expect of your lighting solution before making any decisions.

The next step to choosing pendant lights for your home is to stand back and have a close look at the space you want to place these light in. What is the size and scale of the room? Is it your entrance hall, kitchen or dining room? How big is the room? Is one pendant going to be enough to provide you with the amount of light you need?

From here you are going to want to focus on the position of the pendant in the room. Bear in mind that in a kitchen space, you will want to focus your pendants above the kitchen island, brightening up the space where you are going to be making delicious family meals. In the dining room, you want to place the pendants directly above the dining table, highlighting the table and in the bedroom, you may want to place one on each side of the bed to replace the traditional bedside lamp.

Consider the height you want to achieve. The height should be determined by the room you are going to be placing the pendants in and the height of your ceiling. As a rule of thumb, you will want the pendant to hang between 1.5 and 1.7 meters above the floor in the dining room. It should not hang over the table in a way that it obstructs your view of the other side of the table, making it impossible to speak to each other across the table at any time.

Further, if you place it in the kitchen, it should not interfere with the functionality of the space. You may want to mount these higher to ensure that they do not get in the way when you are busy in the kitchen space.

The final step to choosing pendant lights is to focus on the room décor. How your room is designed, the furniture you have chosen and your color schemes will all play a vital role in choosing the right pendants. The pendants should make a statement, they should stand out and become a focal point and they should provide you with the right amount of light you need.

The great thing with pendants is that you can play around with them. You can add one or more to one space, put them in a line or position a few over a table to make a statement. You can create your own lighting solution that is guaranteed to make a statement at all times.

Top Barriers to Effective Listening and How to Overcome Them

Effective listening is every bit as important as effective speaking, and generally much more difficult. Although numerous barriers to effective listening can make the practice difficult, there are several habits one can adopt that will lead to a higher level of listening proficiency.

Listening is the most important part of the communication process. However, listening skills do not come naturally to most people; they require willingness, practice, and patience to develop.

There are many reasons individuals fail to listen successfully. These include:

1. Interrupting

2. Judging

3. Faking Attention

4. Becoming Emotional

5. Tuning Out

6. Jumping to Conclusions

7. Becoming distracted.

Interrupting is a problem for many reasons. First, it is aggressive behavior and will most likely bring a negative response from the speaker being interrupted. Second, it is difficult to listen and speak at the same time. When the listener is interrupting, he or she is certainly not listening fully.

Faking attention (often associated with tuning out) can be offensive and is usually hard to hide. This is hurtful and sends the message to the speaker that the listener doesn’t really care about what the speaker is saying. If an individual cannot listen actively in the present moment, it is best to let that be known and suggest that the communication process be put off until a point when there are no distractions.

Becoming emotional can hinder one’s ability to listen. It is important that the receiver be aware of his or her emotions. If the sender is sending a message that is offensive, it is important to acknowledge that fact and be aware of the fact that something is threatening a breakdown in the process. When a receiver is angered, it is easy for him or her to miss the most important part of the sender’s message.

To avoid jumping to conclusions, it may be helpful for the listener to wait until the speaker is finished before responding. It can also be helpful to ask questions throughout the conversation to clarify issues, or to let the speaker know that he or she is communicating in a way that suggests a certain thing, which may not be what they are intending to say.

It is easy to become distracted while trying to communicate. Often one has many tasks to do or there is a lot of other activity taking place while someone is trying to communicate. This can be a problem because it leads to miscommunication, faking attention, and tuning out all together–all of which threaten future communication.

Although the reasons for listening breakdowns are numerous, there are many ways to improve listening skills. These are:

1. Provide clues that you are actively involved

2. Concentrate

3. Refrain from formulating an immediate response

4. Try to prepare beforehand

5. Be prepared to accept revisions

6. Be sure the environment is conducive to listening.

Clues that one is actively listening can go a long way. It is important to the speaker to feel like the listener cares about what the speaker is saying. This is because it tends to send a message about whether or not the listener cares about the speaker in general. When people don’t feel like you care about them, they don’t trust you and the communication process quickly breaks down. Therefore, it sis important to use verbal and non-verbal clues that you are listening, including eye contact, gestures, and acknowledging statements.

Concentration requires willingness and practice. Practicing active listening helps with concentration but there are other elements that contribute to your ability to concentrate on what someone is saying. When you’re involved in an exchange of information, you can’t be multi-tasking. It’s important to position yourself in a way that maintains eye contact while allowing you to watch for body language and other non-verbal forms of communication.

It is important to refrain from formulating an immediate response. You won’t be able to fully concentrate on forming a genuine understanding of what the speaker is trying to say if you are too busy thinking about what you are going to say in response to them whenever it is your turn to talk. Instead, it is important to approach the communication as a dialogue. Dialogues help us to learn what others have to say by forcing us to think about their message and to acknowledge what we have heard rather than just responding with our own opinions.

Preparation can have a huge impact on the outcome of a dialogue or any form of communication. To prepare for an interaction where effective listening will be important, it is essential to keep in mind the purpose of the exchange. What decisions need to be made and how the collaboration between sender and receiver relates are important factors to keep in mind. It is also helpful to approach the situation with the attitude of really caring about and wanting to know the truth. The dialogue should be viewed as an opportunity to uncover the truth and make progress, rather than as a challenge or conflict.

A willingness to accept revisions will keep the communication process running smoothly. Often people are so busy trying to defend their positions that they fail to really stop and think whether they could be improved upon or viewed in a different way. This is what is often referred to as “spending 90 seconds expressing an opinion and 900 seconds blindly defending it.”

Choosing the right environment is important because it will help the listener focus and avoid distractions. Although there is no set environment which is best for all communication, in general it is best to avoid areas where there are high levels of activity, loud noises, an uncomfortable temperature, poor air flow, etc.

Implementing these techniques takes willingness and patience. The effort is worthwhile however, as the long-term benefit of improved communication skills will greatly increase one’s chances of success in the business world. Effective listening is the most important part of the communication process. It is probably the most difficult to master also. There are many barriers to effective listening, but practicing listening techniques will help one overcome these barriers and become a good listener.

Fireproof File Cabinets Are Business Savers

Do you have important documents that must remain onsite? Are you concerned about them becoming damaged in the event of a fire? Fireproof file cabinets are the answer. Make sure it is fireproof though. These are great for the home, the office, or the home office. It does not matter where or what the location is.

A good fireproof file cabinet will come with a lifetime product warranty and in some cases a free replacement warranty. Some styles include drawers that feature high sides that are good for hanging folders. You will also receive a high quality lock with each drawer in most models as well.

Some of the colors available in fireproof file cabinets include black, platinum and parchment. Some feature special electronic keypad locks or combination dial locks. If you are ordering these special features, your delivery time will likely be delayed, as they are not standard features of a typical fireproof cabinet.

For many people or small businesses, their livelihood could face a serious disruption if anything happened to their important documents. Every business and most homes will have at least one filing cabinet. Therefore, it makes sense to purchase a fireproof file cabinet to protect their most important files instead of a standard old file cabinet.

A fire in your home or business could be one of the most destructive things that could happen. It is not only the fire you need to worry about but the water from the fire hoses as well. Smoke can cause a lot of damage too. Keep in mind that any backup tapes, cds or dvd's should be stored offsite.

When searching for fireproof file cabinets, ask the seller or dealer about the types of lock systems available.

Some of the more popular names in the business are Schwab and Sentry Group. You can find these cabinets in various sizes. Shapes are either lateral or vertical filing. You can even find them with impact resistance.

Not all fireproof file cabinets are created the same. Make sure you are getting a top quality model and not a discounted knock off. You do not cheap out on this purchase. One other aspect to look at is the warranty and service agreement. If you are having a mechanical problem with the cabinet, you want to make sure someone is onsite as soon as possible to fix the problem.

Cleaning Wallpaper

After installing wallpaper, you can get the best of it by keeping it well-maintained. Making sure that your wallpaper is taken care of helps in retaining its colors and lengthens its life. Taking care of your wallpaper, needless to say, entitles cleaning it every once in a while.

Most wallpaper manufacturers include instructions on how to clean wallpaper; they label their products as either "washable" or "scrubbable." While most of today's wallpapers are made of coated vinyl — which makes cleaning a tad easier — some wallpapers still require meticulous cleaning measures to ensure optimum preservation of its fabrics. The cleaning process also varies, depending on whatever stains you have on your wallpaper. If you see any spot or stain, it is best that you clean them immediately before the stain settles deep into the fabric.

If it is on kitchen wallpaper or laundry room wallpaper border, you can wipe it immediately with a wet cloth. Wallpapers installed in high-activity and high-moisture rooms like these are more prone to stains. Majority of kitchen wallpaper, laundry room wallpaper border, and those used for children's rooms are made of vinyl, which are more resistant to water and stains, and a lot durable than those made of paper.

It is important to remember that cleaning vinyl-based wallpaper is different from cleaning a paper-based one.
As mentioned earlier, manufacturers have a manual on how to clean wallpaper, but here are some general guidelines in keeping wallpaper spic-and-span:

For simple dust and dirt:

1. Line the floor with plastic to prevent any damage from excess water and spillage;
2. Whisk away any solid particles of dust and dirt with a brush;
3. Add a mild detergent to a bucket 2/3 full of water, enough to produce some bubbles;
4. With a sponge, dip and then squeeze out excess water and wipe the wall from top to bottom;
5. Rinse sponge constantly and repeat step 4 until the whole wall is covered;
6. With a dry towel, wipe excess moisture from the wall.

The same process can be done on kitchen wallpaper, laundry room wallpaper border, and other vinyl-based wallpaper. For stubborn stains, here's what you need to do:

For crayons:

1. Rub Mr. Clean Magic Eraser on the stained area, that alone is enough to remove any crayon spot;
2. If there is no Mr. Clean Magic Eraser around, wet a damp cloth with a mild detergent (do not use strong abrasives as they can damage the wallpaper's fabric and colors);
3. Towel the wall dry.

For marker stains:

If the marker is washable and the stain is on vinyl-based wallpaper, like kitchen wallpaper or laundry room wallpaper border, a simple buff with a wet towel can remove the stain, otherwise, you need to do the following:

1. Clean the spot with Mr. Clean Magic Eraser;
2. If Mr. Clean Magic Eraser is not available, apply a paste made of water and baking soda to the stain and to the towel;
3. Rub the stained area GENTLY;
4. If the baking soda paste fails; apply alcohol and rub gently (Test alcohol on a spare strip of wallpaper first; alcohol can cause discoloration and major damage to most wallpapers).

Stains that have already embedded themselves into the wallpaper are hard to remove and may require the use of solvents. For your protection, always wear gloves to protect your hands.

The Importance and Practicality of Fireproof Gun Safes

Gun safes are used by people who own weapons and ammunition, and in places where weapons are stored, like police stations. The primary use of these safes is to prevent weapons from getting stolen, and to avoid unauthorized access. These safes are particularly useful in shops that sell guns, clips and magazines.

However, in the event of a fire, gun safes could well turn into the equivalent of dirty-bombs; During fires, the intense heat from the flames could set off bullets from clips and magazines and even cause loaded rifles to go off. Bullets start ricocheting within the safe, and sometimes even blast their way out of the safe itself. This can be extremely dangerous, and could cause people standing well away from the site to get hurt or even killed.

Apart from this, the fire could cause irreparable damage to the weapons, making them unfit for use. To prevent the loss of weapons or ammunition to fire, fireproof gun safes can be used. These safes are similar in shape and structure to normal gun safes, but come with extra insulation and protection so as to prevent internal temperatures from exceeding over a certain level. This protects the weapons inside the safe and keeps ammunition from exploding or going off.

Fireproof safes are currently being made standard throughout the US, owing to their efficiency in keeping fires from damaging weapons and property. Fire resistant gun safes undergo stringent quality checks by the Underwriters Laboratory, which is an organization mandated to the unbiased testing of security and efficiency of various devices, including safes. Once the safes have been deemed safe by the UL, the companies that brought forth the original safe are allowed to mass-produce the same and sell them as well.

Durastone Tile – Congleum's Alternative to Natural Flooring

Durastone tile by Congleum is a luxury vinyl tile product. Luxury vinyl tiles are a superb alternative to natural tiles such as ceramic, slate, stone and marble. There are multiple reasons that luxury vinyl tiles are a great option to consider for kitchens, bathrooms and any other part of the house. Durastone tiles are extremely durable, easy to clean, provide warmth under foot, are extremely stain resistant, and can be replaced relatively easier than other natural tiles. Congoluem's Durastone tile series should be a floor option to consider for your next flooring project.

Durastone vinyl tile's major advantage or natural tile products like ceramic is its' durability. The tiles are totally different that traditional, sheet vinyl construction. Durastone has a much thicker, denser wear layer, a stronger, commercial rated backing system and a composite vinyl core. These design features make it extremely resistant to cracks, dents and scratches. If you were to drop a heavy pan or object on ceramic tile, it stands a good chance of chipping, breaking or cracking. Durastone holds up great compared to natural tiles when it comes to drops, scratches etc. If you have pets, children or heavy traffic in an area of ​​the home, Durastone luxury tiles will out perform virtually any other flooring choice.

When it comes to cleaning and maintenance, Durastone wins out again. Simple dust mopping with an occasional damp mop is all that is needed. There is never a need to clean or reseal tiles and grout lines. Cleaning and sealing grout lines once a year is a task many of us have learned to despise. Durastone tiles are available with or without integral grouting. The grouting in the Durastone tile is vinyl so it stays clean just as the rest of the tile.

I have hear people complain that they love the look of ceramic or stone floors, but they hate the cold feeling natural floors can give. Durastone tiles and other types of luxury vinyl flooring tend to be warmer under foot than natural floors. This may not seem to be an important feature but to some homeowners it ranks highly. The warmer feeling Durastone gives may also eliminate the need for several rugs throughout the house or room.

Stain resistance is very important in kitchens, bathrooms and even other areas of the home. Ceramic and stone hold up adequately when something is spilled, but if the sealant is older, stains can occur. Durastone vinyl tile has a finish layer that is imperfect to almost all stains with the exception of oil and gas based liquids. Hopefully, you will not have too many gas spills in the kitchen! The stain resistance of Durastone does amazing with pet accidents. Not only will Durastone resist stains from pet urine, but it will not absorb the smell either. If you have pets, a luxury vinyl tile or plank is something you need to strictly consider. Durastone carries a lifetime warranty against stains.

If a Durastone tile was to ever become damaged, you can replace the tile with out the hassle of dealing with removing the grout. As mentioned earlier, there are no separate grout lines with Durastone tiles. You can remove the bad tile and glue down another. A side benefit is that Durastone products are warrantied by Congoleum for the life of the product against fading. This becomes a huge advantage if you have to replace a tile 5 or 10 years later. With the built in fading resistance, a new Durastone tile replacement will match the others years down the road.

Congleum offers 6 distinct product lines in Durastone. These series are American Slate, Hearthstone, Palisade, Quartz, Symmetry, and Vineyard. With over 24 different patterns, colors and styles to choose from, you can create a natural looking floor with all the benefits that Durastone luxury vinyl tile has to offer.