Do You Know How To Choose The Right Lighting for Reading?

There are a number of factors to take into consideration when deciding on the best kind of lighting for reading. Although more and more individuals are deciding to gather information about the world we live in by means other than reading a book, a significant part of the world's population continues to read traditional, printed material in the form of books, magazines, etc.

The younger reader experiences fewer problems with poor illumination while reading. For example, some research concludes that we need only half the light at age 30 to have adequate reading illumination as compared to what we need at age 60 to read the same material. Age 40 seems to be the beginning of diminishing eyesight for most. The older we get, the more we are sooner to eyestrain, blurring vision and headaches as a result of inadequate lighting while reading.

So, the first and primary consideration is selecting a fixture that will provide the right amount of illumination.

The rooms in your home where you do most of your reading should have lighting that illuminates the area in a general way that makes the room feel attractive and inviting. Where possible, combine general light with directed or task lighting. The lighting selected for reading should be considered supplemental and an addition to the general lighting used in the room.

A number of writers on this subject offer a variety of suggestions and options with respect to the type of lighting fixtures to use for reading. I am a strong believer in the use of what is called full spectrum lighting. This type of lighting is also known as natural lighting and was originally used for providing simulated natural sunlight to help with the growth of indoor plants. This natural lighting is easy on the eyes, brings out the true colors of what it illuminates, and relieves eyestrain.

The most common type of full spectrum light is the incandescent bulb, although full spectrum lights are also available as fluorescent fixtures. Several years ago, these natural lighting fixtures were hard to find and fairly expensive when compared to more conventional lighting sources, but they are currently available in nearly all home centers and in many grocery and discount department stores.

The life expectancy of natural light fixtures is comparable to that of traditional light fixtures and well worth the extra few dollars.

The best type of directed lighting unit to buy for purposes of reading are by and far the gooseneck lamp. While a table lamp may be more attractive, it has the disadvantages of not being able to direct the light to where it is needed and in general is not adjustable. Lighting manufacturers have gotten savvy to the need for designing and manufacturing stylish and attractive gooseneck lamps and you can find one to meet your own particular decorating tastes with very little trouble.

Directed or task lighting provided by a gooseneck lamp should be positioned behind your reading chair or couch. The lamp should be positioned behind you according to whether you are left or right handed to avoid overshadowing as you read. Right-handed individuals should position the lamp behind their left shoulder while left-handed persons should do the opposite. If you have a mixture of "handedness" in your home, everyone should be advised about this positioning.

Using a white of lightly colored shade will help with the illumination of the material while darker colored shades absorb rather than reflect the illumination.

Glare is another major consideration when using a reading light. With a gooseneck lamp, position the bottom of the shade at eye level to avoid glare. The gooseneck lamp makes it easy to adjust the height of the light source depending on the size of the person using it.

Indirect lighting has become popular over the years and provides a reflected light source, which diffuses the light and eliminates glare, which can be a real problem in causing eyestrain and a number of other vision-related problems.

Installing dimmer switches will allow you to regulate the intensity of the light generated and serves the purpose of making one fixture useable for both older and younger readers.

For the serious reader, a light stand can be a real boon. The stand can be positioned to keep the material at the best distance and angle for optimum reading as well as helping keep it in focus and reduce the strain of holding a book while you are reading. Reading stands are particularly useful for the older reader and those with medical conditions that make it more difficult to hold a book steady for any length of time.

Let common sense and an awareness of your particular comfort level be an important guide in setting up your areas for reading. If you find some of my suggestions just do not seem to work for you, try to discover why and make adjustments accordingly.

A lot of people find it restful and relaxing to read before or as a prelude to falling asleep. There are some special considerations to keep in mind if you are one of these people.

Many sleeping areas use overhead lighting fixtures as their primary source of illumination. First, overhead lighting in the bedroom usually does not provide sufficient brightness to read comfortably and second, overhead lighting provides too much overall room lighting for anyone getting ready to go to sleep. This is a particular problem if you are sharing a room with someone who is not a "snooze-reader".

Here are some other ways to light the sleeping area for the reader. Use a small table lamp positioned on your side of the bed making sure that the shade is low enough to avoid glare, use lamps that are attached to a mechanism that can be swung into just the right position over the reader (a variation on the gooseneck lamp), use a floor lamp with three-way bulbs to decrease the intensity of the lighting and finally, position a fixture on the wall directly above the reader that will cast only enough light to illuminate the book or other reading material.

If you do not sleep alone, your goal is to keep the non-reader in the dark while you are reading. Some strange individuals (self-included) sleep soundly with the lights on or off. If this does not cause a problem for your partner, consider whatever lighting works best and even consider a timer that can be easily easily if it shuts the lights off as you are just getting to the part of the book that reveals whodunit.

A few individuals find portable book lights handy. These LED light sources never burn out and generally last up to 20 hours on a set of batteries.

While not a complete or comprehensive guide to lighting for reading, I hope that this brief overview will provide you with some basics to consider.

Choosing Lighting for Your Home

Lighting is often overlooked when furnishing a home. It's fundamental though to the look and ambiance of any room. It can set the tone you wish to create. It can define the mood you want to feel. It can increase the efficiency of your work. It's true that it has an impact on your everyday lifestyle. Many people spend a significant amount of time so getting the lighting correct is worthwhile.

Aligning lighting with the purpose of each room

Defining the goal of each room in your home prior to choosing a solution is a key stage. List each room in your home and bullet point the purpose and mood you wish to create. Is it a place where you want to relax? Is it a room where you wish to work or study? These declarations help inform which solution best suits the purpose of the room.


Kitchens usually consist of functional and decorative lighting. In simple terms functional lighting helps kitchen tasks to be completed whilst decorative lighting creates an overall ambiance with fills the room. The ability to dim the lighting is a welcome addition to any kitchen. Increasing the light levels while reading or cooking is extremely useful and the ability to dim the lighting when eating or having a conversation creates a great ambiance. Having separate dimmers for different types of lighting such as task or ambiance is becoming more common in modern housing.

Trying to fill the kitchen with just one ceiling mounted lighting fixture is a common mistake. This creates a glaring light in some areas and shadows in others. No single light can provide a kitchen with all the light it requires.


Whilst generally being a small room, the bathroom still needs to be well lit. It does not want to be glaring or overpowering. Natural light from windows needs to be a consideration as to how it will affect any artificial lighting. Concentrated lighting needs to be applied around a mirror for shaving and general grooming.

Popular bathroom lighting solutions include spotlights, wall / mirror lights and even candlelight for creating a natural, ambient mood.

Need professional input?

If you really do need help with lighting in your home you can consider using a lighting designer. Visit the International Association of Lighting Designers to find a professional. He or she will study many elements within each room to determine the amount of light needed to fill the room and recommended light placement.

Achieving Your Goals and Dreams – How to Overcome Barriers

Do you have the power to believe in your goals and dreams? You have the power to achieve anything.

Last Thursday April 22, 2010, I attended the monthly Personal Excellence and Growth Meetup. It was fun and engaging experience as facilitated by the inspiring Patrick Yc Lim. We were given these questions and made us write down.

1. What is Your Dream? an example is what lifestyle do you want to have / live when you retire? We were divided into groups and made us to share our dreams. When you share your dreams with another person it becomes a commitment. This will make you more accountable. The goals and dreams should be as specific as possible.

2. Why is your Goals and Dreams important to you? You need to ask this question, Why? The more it is emotional to you the more likely you will motivate yourself to achieve your goals.

3.What could stop you from achieving your goals? There were lots of reasons and sometimes can be considered as excuses such as your job, friends, money, limiting beliefs, procrastination, health (sickness), out of focus. If you noticed these are mostly about oneself. So the old age saying by Socrates, "Know Thyself" is something that we have to start with. A great book reference is Thick Face, Black Heart by Chin-Ning Chu

We need to keep on asking deep questions. Say, when you say no money, what do you really mean no money? What are the ways of finding money? Is there a way to do it? Do I know someone who can support my ideas? Are there venture capitalists or angel investors that can help? There was a suggestion of about asking Google for help regarding the common questions.

4. What will happen if you did not achieve your dreams? The key is to associate with some sort of emotion such as pain say if you did not achieve your goal of creating the Personal Development School for the children, they will suffer the consequence of ignorance or poverty.

The Master-Servant principle – the idea is the master determinates the goals and dreams. The master orders the servant to do or carry out the activities.The servant also looks for other partners who can help him with his tasks.

Another Principle is the Big Yellow Circle – the idea is to close your eyes and imagine yourself achieving your dreams and goals when you step inside the circle. The color intensifies by changing the color to orange as you become emotional with what you feel using all your senses. In my case, I imagine my self as a Dragon Ball Z character Goku turning into a Super Saiyan. I remember doing this kind of exercise that I attended at Unleash the Power Within Event.

Some words of wisdom that can help to motivate were;

"Success is Not What you Know – It is What You Do with What You Know" The key here is your ability to take action.

"Failure is not because you lack ideas or knowledge, It is because you lack courage."

Ask yourself this question, "Are you afraid of the known or the unknown?" You can make similar analogy in life as the level of your comfort zones. You have to embarrass the challenges in life because it means that you are stepping out of your comfort zone. Be afraid of the known because it is where you are now, your comfort zone. Go into the unknown where the infinite possibilities lay waiting for you.

Fireproof – Christian Movie Reviews

The movie Fireproof, staring Kirk Cameron (Caleb) and Erin Bethea (Catherine), portrays a typical couple that experience the degradation of their marriage in a scenario where many of us can relate, whether in part or in whole. There are points in a relationship where it appears doomed to fail, where there just does not seem to be any way out of the turmoil which somehow crept in without notice. At this point, most of us seem all too willing to throw in the towel and call it quits. Divorce then becomes the only way out. Fortunately, our two characters were blessed with a wise mentor, Caleb’s father, who had at one time experienced a decline in his marriage as well and proposes a possible solution to his son.

A little bit about the movie: Caleb is a dedicated fireman who gives more attention to his job than he does his wife Catherine. His irritation, whether from the demands of his job or of his working wife’s supposedly “delinquent” domestic duties, escalates into several arguments and fits of rage with Catherine. Furthermore, Caleb unknowingly adds to his troubles by surfing for porn on the internet. His success at work truly does not carry over equally to home life.

Catherine, who appears to be a somewhat frigid individual and who doesn’t seem to give her husband the attention he needs (you can speculate why this is so), works at a hospital where she has caught the attention of a flirtatious doctor. Because of her problems at home, the doctor begins to woo her over as she begrudgingly succumbs to the only solution she feels plausible.

Divorce appears to be the only solution. However, with the help of Caleb’s father and the “Love Dare”, a 40-day guide representing a more spiritually approach to building relationships, Caleb learns how to properly treat his wife and become a stand up husband. The couple eventually learns to return their attention to one another and regain their love, but not without some soul searching and a willingness to look past prior hurts.

I wholeheartedly recommended this film for new and existing couples wanting a glimpse at the realities of marriage. Other reviews have noted the shaky beginning and less than stellar acting abilities. Considering these are volunteers, I would say they did an excellent job. But as the storyline unfolds, it ends on a very strong note. If you are looking for a wonderful message and a recipe for a stronger relationship, you will be glad you saw this one.

Fireproof was written and directed by Alex Kendrick . Other films which Alex Kendrick directed were movies such as Flywheel (his first movie) and Facing the Giants.

Understanding Basic Terms in Indoor Fiber Optic Cable Installation

Fiber optic cables are exposed to electrical, mechanical, chemical and environmental elements, so proper installation is critical for the long-term stability and survival of fiber cables.

Cable installation must also meet the NEC (National Electric Code) and local building codes. NEC indicates that fiber optic cables can be placed in the same raceway, cable tray or enclosure with CATV, telephone, communication circuits and Class 2 and 3 remote control signaling circuits.

Note that you should never put the fiber optic cable in the same enclosure that houses electrical terminations.

What are conduits?

Conduit is a tube or trough for protecting electrical or communication wires and cables. It may be a solid or flexible tube in which cables are run. They house and protect the fiber optic cables as well as any other type of data or communication transmission line.

Underground conduits are also called ducts and consist of one or more conduits spaced closely together. They are often buried directly in the ground in concrete casing. Duct lines terminate in underground vaults called manholes. Conduits are made of fiber, PVC, PE and other materials.

Above ground conduits are made of metal or nonmetal materials. They can be used in exposed or concealed locations aboveground.

Characteristics of a good conduit installation

1.Good mechanical properties to withstand the forces imposed by cable installations

2.Observes fiber optic cables minimum bending radius

3.No sharp edges or bends touches the fiber optic cables through the route

4.Meets current and future expansion requirements

What are cable trays?

A cable tray is an assembly of units made of metal or other noncombustible materials that form a continuous, rigid support for fiber cables. Cable trays are used throughout the industry and they greatly simplify the installation of fiber optic cables.

Cable trays come in several different types including ladder type, trough type, channel type and solid-bottom type.

Ladder type cable tray is a metal structure consistent of two longitudinal side rails connected by individual transverse members. The transverse members provide the support for fiber cables.

Trough type cable tray is also a metal structure. It consist of a ventilated bottom and has closely enclosed supports within integral or separate longitudinal side rails.

Channel type cable tray consists of a one-piece ventilated or solid-bottom channel section.

Solid-bottom type cable tray is a metal structure that has no openings in the bottom. Integral or separate longitudinal side rails provide the support for the fiber cables.

What are pull boxes?

Pull boxes are used to break up long conduit lengths for easier and lower tension cable pulls.

Pull boxes are usually placed near conduit bends and in long straight runs. You should use at least one pull box after every second 90 ° bend and in long conduit spans.

When pulling cable out of pull boxes, ensure that the cable's minimum bend radius is always observed. Cable rolled through a corner pull box should first be plunged into a loop since the sharp corner of the pull box can easily damage the cable and the fibers.

The Different Styles of Wedding Photography

Your wedding day is one of the major milestones of your life. With all the money you spend on that perfect dress, your beautiful flowers, your romantic venue and the many other things that go together to create your perfect day, you want your memories recorded to reflect your personality and style.

Different photographers shoot in different styles and it is important to cut through the sales pitch and the fancy jargon to find one that can help you match the vision for your wedding photographs.

I have outlined the 3 main styles of wedding photography available today, although in many cases it is possible for a photographer to shoot in more than one style.

Traditional wedding photography

Traditional or sometimes sometimes called classical wedding photography captures the traditional wedding day pictures including the unforgivable moments of your wedding day including the exchange of rings, signing the marriage register, walking down the aisle as husband and wife, family groups and the cutting of the cake to name a few.

Weddings are still considered formal occasions and this type of wedding photography has stood the test of time. With careful lighting and expert posing traditional wedding photography creates a perfect record of your family gathering. A good photographer will be able to work quickly and be able to put people at ease to ensure the placing does not look uncomfortable.

These are the type of shots Mum and Granny expect to see from the wedding photos and can often be found on display in homes on the wall or mantelpiece.

Traditional wedding photography has sometimes had a bad reputation caused by bossy or grumpy photographers or photographers taking ages to complete endless group shots with the bride and groom ending up spending more time in front of a camera and less time with their guests enjoying their wedding day.

Reportage wedding photography

Reportage, sometimes called Photojournalistic wedding photography, means literally "to report". The photographer blends into the background and photographs events as they happen and you often do not even realize photographs are being taken.

This style of photography really is the hardest to perfect. It takes many years of experience and lighting fast reactions to expertly capture a wedding in this style.

This style is not to be confused with well executed traditional photography where the skill of the photographer makes the photograph look natural and not posed.

The growth of Reportage wedding photography appears to have coincided with the growth of digital photography due to the low expenses per photograph that reportage style of photograph motives on. Unfortunately, many new or inexperienced wedding photographers use the "shot gun" approach shooting thousands of pictures during the wedding day in the hope that they capture a few good shots.

A word of warning: If you choose a photographer who shoots exclusively in this style many couples regret not having some traditional photographs in their album. With reportage wedding photography you are relying on the photographers interpretation of your day. The couples parents are usually the first to complain about the lack of traditional images in your album.

Contemporary wedding photography

Contemporary, sometimes called Avant Garde wedding photography can mean many different things to different people. By definition, to be contemporary the style is constantly changing which could mean the images date very quickly.

Contemporary wedding photography can involve unusual or "off the wall" ideas and use strange camera angles. This style of photography brings more of the photographers personality into the photograph together with the artistic vision or individual style of the photographer. Although this style of photography may be less popular, when properly made the results can be fantastic and your wedding album will be unique.

Many wedding photographers use contemporary style images in professional photography awards and you will often see this style featured in glossy wedding magazines.

The downside of this style of wedding photography is that it does not really provide a true record of your wedding day. You might be disappointed if your albums end up like an art exhibition.


Once you have set the date and booked your venue start visiting photographers and have a look at their work. Be sure to ask to see completed wedding albums as presented to their past clients as this will give you a better idea of ​​their overall style. Does their style fit your requirements?

I hope this little article helps you find the photographer who will record your special day exactly as you wish.

Home Flooring Upgrade – Refinish Or Replace?

Wood flooring has certainly advanced since the floors we had in our homes when we were children. The technology used in today's flooring manufacturing eliminates the required waxing. Neither do we always need the expertise of floor installation professionals. Pre-finished products we have today also eliminate the old process of labor intensive sanding and finishing so DIY flooring projects are not out of the ordinary.

Back in the day, red oak was the typical selection for interior flooring. Present day flooring shoppers have many options for texture and color. It can be a difficult task selecting the right floor match that will mesh with the interior of your home. You should spend plenty of time researching the types and colors with online vendors or by visiting a local home improvement or supply store.

Once you have purchased your flooring you should always allow it time to get used to the room's humidity by leaving it stacked in the room for a few days. The wood will expand when it is exposed to the moisture. The edges of the room needs room for the wood to expand so you should leave a half inch gap when laying the floor. You can always cover the gap with some type of molding.

DIY does not mean without direction so you should always follow the manufacturer's installation instructions. Your floors may not look professional if you fail to properly install. Today's flooring is micro-beveled in the factory so spacing is not an issue for summertime expansion.

Due to scratches or traffic wear you may be considering new wood flooring. If this is the case, you may want to consider refinishing the floors you have now, which will be an economic solution. Start by removing all contents in the room that touch the floor. By keeping windows and doors shut you will reduce excessive dust. You should allow 3-5 days for sanding and refinishing before moving furniture and other items back into the room.

If you're simply looking to enhance the appearance of the floors in your home, you should take a look at laminate flooring. The appearance looks like wood and requires minimal maintenance.Laminate is also resistant to stains and scratches caused by children and pets. It's a snap to lay with a tongue and groove interlocking system.

Technology is widely used today in producing refinishing and flooring products. Allow yourself plenty of time to explore all options before purchasing.Floor products are typically easier to use now. By properly researching your options and following directions, your final product will be something you can truly be proud of.

Bicyclists – Shade Your Face, Eyes, and Neck From the Hot Sun With a Wide-Brimmed Helmet

The hot summer sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays can harm certain bicyclist's face, neck, and eyes with dehydration, sunburn, skin allergies and diseases, visual impairments, and other potential damages if not protected. Such damages are costly for that minimum of bicyclists who like to ride, but who burn easily or are mildly unacceptable to the hot sun. For them, the head / neck wraps, helmet capes or covers, narrow helmet visors, sunscreen lotions, and sun glasses alone do not give enough face and head protection. Since a bicycle helmet prevents head injury during crashes, why not use it to prevent the injuries referred above, particularly for those who need it? A wide-brimmed helmet will completely shade a bicyclist's face, eyes, and neck from the sun during daytime riding.

This brimmed helmet is fairly easy to make. One can simply attach the reliably stiff brim from a well-made two-or-more-ply summer hat to his or her helmet, or to a slightly larger one in size as needed. Summer hats can be found at several Internet websites or in local stores. The helmet size itself depends on how much headroom is left after the brim is attached to it with Velcro strips to obtain the desired comfort and safety standards. Many chinstraps are attached to the upper inner part of the helmet; thus, they do not interfere with the addition of the brim. However, one should check with the helmet's manufacturer to see if attaching a 360-degree fairly stiff but pliable brim to it will void its warranty, or will will interfere with its function in any way. In any case, the brimmed helmet can be returned to its original condition by unfastening the brim, and by removing the Velcro strips from the helmet's inner band.

My helmet has a four-inch-wide fairly stiff brim attached to it. The wider and stiffer the brim is, the more all-around shade it provides. But it must bend flexibly if you crash or hit your head. The brim also has a slight downward slope to it, which protects the lower face and neck much like a safari or jungle helmet will. Because the rider is generally leaning forward with his / her head raised slightly, the brim not only protects the front and sides of the face and neck, it also protects the back of the neck while allowing all of these areas to ventilate at the same time .

How to make the helmet

1. Cut off the top part of the summer hat selected with a sharp scissors, leaving the sweatband (about one-inch) in place above the brim.

2. Remove any soft-foam strips from the inner band of the helmet.

3. Attach multiple compatible self-stick Velcro strips horizontally to the inner band of the helmet and to the outer band of the hat brim.

4. Fasten the brim snugly into the helmet by matching the Velcro strips atop each other.

5. Reattach any soft foam strips to the inner band of the helmet after the brim is in place.

Additional options

1. To stiffen the front of the brim slowly, find a thin piece of fairly rigid plastic that has a 90-degree bend at one of its edges, eg, a cutout from one side of a small plastic case. Cut a four-inch-square section of it, keeping a one-inch-deep, two-inches-wide 90-degree bend at one end. Attach this piece to the lower front part of the brim, allowing the 90-degree bend to fit into the helmet and over the contour of the inner band. This plastic piece will firm up the front crease between the hat's brim and band (more about that later). Place a thin foam strip over the 90-degree portion atop the helmet's front inner band.

2. If desired, install a breathable cloth liner into the inner upper part of the helmet to prevent the scalp from sunburning through the helmet's vent holes. First, remove the soft foam strips from the inner upper part of the helmet. Then use double-stick tape or glue to attach the measured precut lining there. Replace the foam strips where they were.

The Velcro strips holding the brim in place give slight cushion to the inner band of the helmet, but they can reduce the helmet's size slightly, causing it to fit tighter. If it fits too tight in this manner, use shooter strips of Velcro. Or, attach the brim to a slightly larger helmet (an alternate one for hot sunny days). If necessary, to prevent the front of the brim from bending down and obscuring your vision while riding at high speed or against a strong wind, attach a thin piece of fairly rigid sheet-plastic to the front of it with glue, staples, or by whatever means is available (see optional step 1 above). Additionally, if a rider is bald or has thinning hair, the inner upper part of the helmet can be lined with a breathable material to shade the scalp. Otherwise, the brimmed helmet is now completed.

For the best all-around sun protection, use the brimmed helmet jointly with sunglasses and sunscreens. Also, to further shade-protect the rest of one's body skin, wear breathable long-sleeved, long-fingered, long-legged bicycling clothing. These combined safety measures drastically reduce the harmful effects of the hot sun's UV-rays, which could include a lifetime of combating malignant melanoma and several other aggressive / chronic carcinomas, rashes, hives, and dermatitis's, or the spending of $ 20,000 per surgery to have benign skin lesions carefully removed. These effects make a small investment in a brimmed bicycle helmet worthwhile.

Caring for Your Window Awnings

Window awnings add a certain charm to many kinds of home designs and window structures. Their graceful arch and decorative patterns resemble subtly accented eyes on an attractive woman. Composed of metallic or vinyl materials, window awnings lend an air of charm that is often lacking in today’s no-nonsense home structures.

If your home has window awnings, and you aren’t sure how to care for them, here are some tips for keeping these important window shadings functional and appealing for years to come.

1. Are the awnings attached properly? Inspect the hinges and bolts to see if these have rusted or become loose. You may find that some of the fixture parts are starting to crack due to the weather or long-time use. Take a look at your home’s siding or brick to see if the area is sturdy where the awnings attach to the house or window frames. If you have been using the awnings for many years, and if your climate can produce extreme seasonal weather, you may have to replace some of the hardware to keep the awnings firmly in place.

2. Are the awnings in good shape? Whether they are metal, aluminum, vinyl, or made of another substance, the material, especially if older, may be starting to show its age. Check each vinyl strip or the canvas flaps for signs of wear. These could include tears, dents, rips, cracks, chips, and rusting or rotting. With the latter, you may be able to apply a fungicide or other agent to kill mildew or mold and repaint or replace that part of the awning. Small chips or broken areas likewise may be repairable with a kit or new part from the dealer or manufacturer. Look for bird nests and insect infestation so you can remove these promptly to prevent further damage.

3. Spruce up your awnings. In some cases the frame may be intact, while the awning covering could be holey, dented, or otherwise becoming unusable. Shop for replacement awning material at the dealer where the original awnings were purchased, or at a store or online website that offers quality replacement products. If you don’t know how to install the replacement awnings, call an expert handyman who can do the job properly for you. If the awning requires rust prevention treatment or repainting, you can probably handle these tasks on your own. But if not, a repairperson can do these things at minimal cost.

Use a pressure hose to wash the awnings, along with the exterior of your home, about once a year. This will help to loosen accumulated mud and debris, like twigs, and it will keep your awnings looking clean and neat year-round. Insects, birds, or rodents that are starting to build nests in the awnings will be ousted before too much damage is done. Give attention and care to your awnings while they are still in good shape to keep them looking terrific for as long as possible.

Benefits, Limitations and Uses of Roller Compacted Concrete – RCC

Paving contractors, road builders and even government agencies are turning to Roller Compacted Concrete as the pavement of choice in larger numbers as the acceptance of Roller Compacted Concrete, also known as RCC, grows across the United States. RCC offers unique qualities different from traditional concrete or asphalt that make the pavement an economical, fast-construction candidate for many applications previously reserved for asphalt or conventional concrete.

RCC has been traditionally been used for surfaces carrying heavy loads at low speeds because of its relative coarse texture, but in recent years RCC has been selected as the pavement of choice for a greater number of commercial and industrial applications. Cities such as Columbus Ohio have begun using Roller Compacted Concrete for residential streets, and Atlanta Georgia has used RCC for interstate shoulder construction. RCC is primarily used in the construction of industrial and commercial parking areas and low traffic road surfaces.

Typical applications of RCC include:

  • Industrial access roads and parking areas
  • Shipping yards and ports
  • Truck and freight terminals and distribution centers
  • Bulk commodity storage and compost areas
  • Aircraft parking areas
  • Urban, rural and park roadways
  • Large commercial parking lots
  • Temporary travel lanes

RCC is also being used in pavement systems for higher traffic speeds serving as base for traditional concrete or the lower lift in a two lift paving operation.

There are many benefits to the use of roller compacted concrete, but the main factor is the RCC can be constructed faster and cheaper than traditional concrete and multiple lift asphalt pavements. RCC can be constructed fast because it is typically placed with asphalt type paver equipped with a standard or high density screed, then compacted with rollers. Unlike conventional concrete the use of forms, dowels, reinforcing steel and vibration are not used. Additionally transverse joints are not required, however when project specifies they must be present the joints are spaced farther apart than conventional concrete.

The cost savings associated with RCC is attributed not only to the ease of construction, but the material also uses less Portland Cement the most expensive ingredient in conventional concrete. The specific savings associated with the use of roller compacted concrete is dependent on the complexity of the construction, size of the project and specified mix design.

Additional benefits of RCC – Roller Compacted Concrete

  • Durability and resistance to chemical attack
  • High freeze-thaw durability even without the use of air entrainment
  • High strength capable of supporting heavy repetitive loads without failure
  • Reduced cracking and shrinking
  • Rigid surface eliminating rutting except in areas of heavy tire chain or studded tire use
  • Resists abrasion even under heavy traffic loads and volume
  • Light colored surface reduces the required lighting for parking and storage areas
  • Light vehicles and cars can travel on RCC soon after completion

While the benefits of RCC are numerous it is important to understand there are also some limitations to the use of roller compacted concrete. For example the production of large quantities of RCC requires specialized equipment. While a transit mix truck can mix RCC the mixing time is significantly longer than conventional concrete and the amount of RCC than can be mixed in the truck is reduced because the dryness of the RCC mix. Also the surface of RCC may not be suitable for high speed traffic without diamond grinding.

Other limitations of RCC

  • Adjacent slabs and multiple horizontal lifts must be place within an hour to ensure good bonding unless a cold joint is planned
  • Pavement edges are more difficult to compact causing most specification to require 96% modified proctor density on cold joints
  • Admixture usage on RCC may be higher than traditional concrete because of the dryness of the material
  • RCC paving in hot weather requires extra attention to reduce the possibility of water loss and evaporation

When considering the versatility of RCC, its ease of application in comparison to conventional concrete and its durability as compared to asphalt it becomes clear the roller compacted concrete is a suitable paving substitute. When considering the rising cost of oil and petroleum based products such as asphalt it becomes clear that RCC is likely the paving material of the future.

Begin Bridge Holidays – A Good Way to Start Learning Bridge

If you've never played bridge before, starting can be a daunting prospect. You probably know lots of people who've been playing for years. Possibly some of them have tried to tell you how easy it is to learn, and maybe even tried to show you how to play. Teaching someone to play bridge is a bit like teaching someone to drive. If they're related to you – do not go there! You'll end bad tempered and depressed.

A good way of learning is to find a local beginners class. Being in a class gives you the chance to meet other beginners and helps keep you motivated. Not everyone can make the commitment to go to regular classes. The class might coincide with something else that you do regularly, or you may have family commitments that mean you can not commit to a regular weekly time.

If a class is not suitable for you, consider looking for a beginners bridge holiday. The holidays range in length from a week to several days. The advantage of a beginners or novices bridge holiday is that you have the opportunity to practice your bridge for several hours, several days in a row. This is a fantastic way of helping you to remember the various aspects of your bridge bidding and play.

If you attend a weekly class, but do not practice in between, it is easy to forget what you have to learn from week to week. If you have the opportunity to play consistently over a few days you are more likely to remember what you are learning.

You will have fun, meeting lots of other people who are also new to the game of bridge. There will be no need to be embarrassed if you make mistakes. Everyone else will be a beginner too. You will probably have lots of good laughs together.

You will on holiday. You can relax and let someone else do the cooking and the cleaning. Many bridge holidays are held in fantastic venues – often with fantastic facilities, excellent food and a beautiful location. Some of the holidays will allow you free time to explore the local area with your new friends.

The holidays are all led by experienced tutors who will make sure that you learn in a fun, friendly and relaxed environment. Often non-playing partners are welcome to join the holiday, at a discount. Fabulous if your partner is a golfer and your venue is near a good golf course. You can both enjoy a good holiday, in a good venue, while both pursuing your own interests.

Work From Home Jobs – Assembly Can Be a Great Career

If you like fixing things, putting things together, and you like to work, then work at home jobs in assembly is going to be a great career for you. What you do is you seek out companies that need their items put together.

This can be in the toy industry, the electronics industry, crafts, and so much more. There is always something that needs some sort of assembly and these companies need people to do it. Without people like you, they do not have a leg to stand on.

So how do you seek out these companies? Well, first you have to look on the Internet. Sure, you can look in your local newspaper, but the gold is going to be on the Internet. This is because finding a person to take on an assembly job is much easier for these companies. They post it on the Internet and they can receive instant results.

What is also great about seeking out an Assembly job on the Internet is that you can choose which is best for you. You are able to do this because the opportunities are so ample.

So go ahead and give it a try. Find yourself an assembly job that you can do for your home, but make sure it is one that does not require you pay a fee. This is because you should not have to pay to do a job for someone. They should pay you for helping them rake in great profits. It is your labor that they are benefitting from and that is something that the should and will appreciate.

Woodturning: Mounting The Wood To The Lathe – Center Work

Wood lathes come generally with centers and face plates to hold wood to be turned. Beginners are faced with the challenge of mounting the wood and getting it safely cut. There are a few simple things to get one started on the adventure and we will begin, as do most woodturners with spindle turning.

Most wood lathes will be sold with two centers and others are readily available from after market suppliers. The centers are pointed fittings that attach to the head stock and tail stock and are called drive or spur centers for the head stock and tail centers for the tail stock. They are used almost exclusively for spindle turning.

While a few spur centers attach by screwing onto the head stock, most centers, both spur and tail, attach by means of a tapered section. This will usually be a Morse taper number one or two. All that is required to know about the Morse taper is it will hold the attachment very securely and the size is necessary when replacing the center.

Many woodturners begin by placing a square piece of wood between centers. Mark the center of each end of the square and indent the centers with an awl. The spur center will look like a point with two to four spurs surrounding it. All that is necessary is that the point go into the wood sufficiently to engage the spurs. They do not need to go far into the wood, just to engage it. Placing the point into the wood and rapping it with a wooden mallet should easily suffice.

The tail center may be solid or it may have ball bearings and rotate freely. The solid or dead center will need a drop of oil on it to prevent friction burns. If your lathe comes with a dead center it is a good idea to replace it with a ball bearing or live center as soon as possible.

With the spurs engaged into the wood and the spur center in the head stock the tail stock is brought up and the center of the tail center engaged in the wood. The tail stock is tightened down, the tool rest is checked for clearance and the work is ready to turn. It is a good safety feature to snug up the tail center before starting and then to periodically tighten it while turning. The spur center can act like a drill bit and loosen the work over time.

Start small with the work between centers. Later you may wish to experiment with chucks and glue blocks but a great deal of enjoyment can be had and good work made between centers.

The Piano – Key, Hammer And String – Part 2

When a key on an acoustic piano is pressed down, the resulting sound continues for a significant time after the press of the key has taken place, and stops when the key is released and allowed to rise. This elimination of sound is caused by action of a second piece of piano mechanism, called the damper. The dampers are small pieces of wood with felt attached to them.

This mechanism is so connected with the key that the latter can not be moved without occasioning a movement of its own damper. Each key is so the means by which both a hammer and a damper are moved to action, the hammer for producing tone, the damper for stopping it. (In the case of a few of the top keys of the piano, the damper mechanism is wanting.)

The damper lies constantly touching the string, except during the holding down of the key, when it is removed from its place and kept off the string as long as the key is held down. After a pushdown of the key, if the key is kept down, it will be noticed that (1) the hammer resting at its half-position and (2) the damper removed from the string. When the key is allowed to rise, the hammer falls completely back, and the damper returns to the string, and, by touching it, stops the tone.

If there were no provision for the stoppage of tone, the effect of any performance would be the same as that produced when the right foot pedal is held down during playing. The putting down of the pedal causing the removal of all the dampers from the strings, and creating in consequence the effect as of each separate sound floating about all the others.

In the case of the hammer, it was pointed out that its complete work is finished in the shortest possible time, that it is finished instantaneously, and that although the key be kept down (and therefore may be understood to be fulfilling some function) still nothing more must be expected from the hammer.

It will be remembered that the key has two mechanisms depending upon it, namely, that for producing the tone, and that for stopping it. As long as the key is held down, it is doing a part of its work, as soon as the key is allowed to rise a change takes place and the tone stops.

It has been already shown that the work of the hammer is completed at the moment of the stroke. It must there before be the work of the damper which the keeping down of the key is instrumental in furthering. As opposed to the hammer's work being finished as soon as the key is down, the work of the damper is not completed until the key rises. The work of the damper is to stop the tone; and as that stoppage can not take place until the string is re-touched by the damper, which touch can not take place until the key comes up; the work of the damper is therefore not finished until the key is allowed to rise.

The positive action of the hammer takes place when the key is pushed down. The positive action of the damper takes place when the key is released and allowed to rise. The negative action of both hammer and damper, namely, their leaving the string, gives the latter freedom to vibrate after the stroke. While there before both the hammer and the damper begin their work at the same moment, they complete it at different times, the hammer instantaneously, and the damper not until the piano key is allowed to rise.

All work done between the completion of the hammer's work and the completion of the damper's work is done by the sounding board of the piano; but as this intermediate work is identical beyond control of the finger, it can not come under any consideration relating to the manner of touching the keys.

Adhesives for Mosaic Art

Before starting that first mosaic project, the artist must decide upon the correct adhesive. Choosing the glue will insure that the mosaic will last forever. If you choose the wrong adhesive then be certain that your tesserae will not last long on the surface no matter where it is placed or how well it is prepared.

There are several types of adhesives. Each one works better with different surfaces and tesserae. Gaining a better understanding of these choices makes creating your mosaic more enjoyable and less worrisome.

PVA Glues

PVA glue is simply a water soluble adhesive. It is easy to clean up by just using water. For this reason do not use a PVA glue on any project that will be kept outdoors. Even if the piece will be kept under a covered patio, the humidity will still affect the fortitude of the glue. So a PVA glue is only good for indoor use.

This glue has several uses in mosaic art. Mixing 1/5 PVA glue with 4/5 water, gives you a great sealant for wood surfaces. Simply brush on and allow to soak in. After it has dried then you can just mosaic on top.

This glue can also be used to tile tiles to fiberglass mesh in the double direct method. Use full strength but sparingly so that it does not completely cover your mesh. You need to make sure there is room for the final adhesive to get through to the tiles.

PVA glues can be used with any type of tesserae and are easily used on wood and acrylic surfaces. It typically comes in a squeeze bottle and is perfect for children since there is no odor. The most popular brand in mosaic art is Weldbond since it dries clear.

Thinset Mortar

This cement based adhesive is the best glue for exterior projects. It typically comes in gray or white and can be tinted with grout colorants for self grouting pieces. There are several brands to choose from at your local hardware store. The only drawback is that you have to purchase it in large quantities of 25 pounds or more. Some mosaic supply companies offer thinset in smaller quantities for people that just want to try it out.

Thinset mortar is best used on cement, backer board, wood, and terra cotta surfaces. It bonds well with most porous surfaces. Do not use thinset on glass or metal surfaces as it will not adhere. This is the ideal adhesive for concrete stepping stones.

This adhesive can be very messy to use. The instructions state to mix this powder with water. However, it is highly recommended to mix well with an admix of either latex or acrylic. Admixes are a liquid that makes the thinset very sticky and easier to adhere to glass tiles and other nonporous objects. Only mix a small amount at a time. Once the thinset starts to haze over on top then you must throw it away. So mix just enough to cover a workable area of ​​about 30 minutes. Do not buy the premixed thinset as it is not as good as working with the dry mix and admix.

Use gloves and a mask when mixing the thinset. Also use materials that can be discarded when mixing and working with thinset such as plastic containers, plastic spoons, old rags, newspaper. Once you finish just throw away everything. Do not try to reuse containers with thinset inside. Never wash thinset down a sink drain. It will stop up your pipes!


Silicone is perfect for adhering tesserae to glass and acrylic. It is typically clear and works great for placing transparent glass on a glass surface. Silicone is also rated for exterior use.

It usually comes in a tube or caulking gun. It is somewhat difficult to get used to working with though. Silicone tend to get stringy when being applied. Take care not to get it on top of your tiles. If you apply it too thick then it will squish up between your tiles and could lead to a mess.


Epoxy is the best adhesive for applying tesserae to metal. It holds up well outdoors and can be used with any type of tiling material. It can also be used on other surfaces like wood and glass.

Epoxy is difficult to use. It comes in a two part series. You have to mix each part together and use quickly. Only mix a little at a time or you will waste a lot. Benefits are that it is a very strong adhesive and it dries clear. This has a very strong odor so use in a well ventilated area.

Other Glues

There are many other types of adhesives that different mosaic artists rely upon. When you find a new glue, read the label carefully to make sure it will do what you need. Check to see if it is for exterior use, highly toxic, and what surfaces it can touch.

Some other brands that are well liked by many mosaic artists include Liquid Nails for Small Projects, MacGlue, and Gorilla Glue. If you are not sure about a new adhesive, then try a little on a small piece and see what you think.

Unfortunately you will learn that some adhesives are not good at all. Some make a huge mess. Once you find an adhesive that you like, then use it as often as you can.