Laptop Repair (Power Sockets)

Power Jacks / DC sockets Ever moved the laptop and forgot you had it plugged in to the mains? Had it on your lap an the dogs tripped on the cable stretched across the room? Or the kids been tugging on it to get a go of the latest game?

Every time the power cable is pushed against the socket on the laptop it stresses the solder joins that connect the socket to the mainboard inside, if these break at any time, even a fine crack will case problems your laptop will stop charging and eventually switch off when the battery power runs down. Usually if your lucky and the break is not too bad you can move the plug into a certain position and hey presto the power is back on (I'll come back to this later). Other times no amount of wiggling around of the plug will help and you'll have to get it repaired. Worse still the center pin of the socket breaks and the whole socket needs replacing. If any of the above happens to you, forget phoning the manufacturer to have it repaired under warranty, they will not cover it, they class it as misuse, and they'll probably quote you for a new motherboard, in a lot of cases costing nearly as much as the laptop itself. Still there's always accidental damage cover on your home insurance. You've got some have not you? Worst comes to the worst just search for "power socket repairs" on your favorite search engine, there are plenty of independent laptop repair companies that will glady resolder a new socket for a lot less.

Going back to the slightly loose socket that when you wiggle the plug you can make it work scenario, let's take a moment to have a look at what's happening here. The fact that it works when the socket is in a specific position tells us that the break in the solder connection is now connected, and when in another position it's disconnected, so what happens when we move it around, well each time time we make the connection by wiggling, we cause a spark to arc across the break, which in turn causes heat to build up and a certain amount of burning to occur. Sometimes what will happen is that the arcing will cause a hole to be burnt in the systemboard where the solder join is and one day it just will not turn on anymore and the likelihood is that it will then need the systemboard replacing. The moral here is get it looked at and put right sooner rather than later.

Valentines Day – What Used to Be a Day of Panic is a Day of Pleasure

At age 55 it is time to face it. I am an online shopping junkie. Why the Internet and not the local mall? Why not? There are a myriad of reasons. It all started in the late 1960's at downtown stores when I just learned the power of credit cards; credit cards with my father's name on it. It was so easy to let the most generous helpful salesperson find what fit me best, regardless of if it made me look like half clown / half Martian, and one had to take a second mortgage out on the house to own a pair of white scotch grain penny loafer shoes, but I managed.

Within a few years, that got bored but only because it was repetitive. My town was medium size, and only so much merchandise could fit into a medium-sized town. I had managed to buy it all and charge it to my Daddy's account with only being grounded four times. This was usually "a girl's job" but I wanted to know the deep dark secrets of retail shopping. By age fifteen I had pretty much done plastic surgery on my father's credit cards and was ready for a new venture.

The backs of magazines and comic books was fun, but one can own so many See Monkeys and family-owned plant seeds from Ohio and order by mail PhD diplomas and boredom set in easily. Many years later I discovered the Internet and a number of mall brick and mortar stores opened their shops in cyberspace and it was like opening Christmas packages all over again. But even those stores had their limitations. Okay, not all of them. Spencer gifts always added new materials as did Lee Hiller Designs. I continue to shop at those two gems.

I like Spencer's because it has all the "old faithfuls" from fake doggie doo doo to fake vomit. When they begin selling the real thing, I may give up on my loyalty. I have discovered my tastes have changed, so I greatly appreciate Lee Hiller Designs due to the variety, the daily updates, the quality and quantity of the merchandise, and the impossible customer service.

Hiller designers her own brand of shoes, mouse pads, all kinds of tops from womens tees and tanks to mens jerseys and sweats, it has it all. And the designs are so cool, so different, and so affordable, one can not help but form a sort of addiction to the store, a health one albeit, as one can shop for a gift for everyone they know (about 10-20 gifts) totaling about $ 100-300 plus free worldwide shipping. No standing in line, no standing at the gas pump, no crying while filling the tank, and just a click of the mouse, and merchandise is on the way that is not just memorable, but a cherished keepsake for a lifetime.

There are a few other stores that come close to Lee Hiller Designs, and I will go over them next week, but for now, I am busy opening the results I bought for the one I love most; and I will not get bored with them like I did as a child with Spencer's fake doggie doo. Lee Hiller Designs is a must-see and the items are absolutely original, fun, and gorgeous.

Social Web 2.0 – Bookmarking Website Design Ideas – Part Nine of a Series

The advent of these so called social web 2.0 websites is really a descriptive term for a more modern website where the involvement of the public is on a daily basis.

With this website model I propose that there is a great big hole in the niche side of it all. There are so man6y bookmarking sites but they all cover the whole internet and are not generally tied to a single niche. The are some in the internet marketing side of things, but I am talking about a smaller more focused website like one that only bookmarks articles or reports written by doctors, or one that does the same but is restricted to resort owners.

This site would NOT be a forum for resort owners but the members would have to own a website that promotes resorts or hotels and then they would be able to bookmark reports or events or even just a new price special on your website. Eventually your website would be very well placed on the SERPS (search engine results pages) and more and more hotel owners would use you to “announce” their new tariffs.

Can you see the benefit of starting up a socially active website that only caters to a specific portion or niche? You could add other features that would be a bonus to your members that would allow them to have a second feature whereby they can do one of those short 140 character type message blasts that would get their new bookmarking noticed even quicker. The big search engine spiders would be regular visitors to this type of website because it would be very active and your detail would be noticed quickly.

If you look through the different types of website models that I have written about you will notice that a lot of them could be intermingled, for example this type that I am writing about here could be changed into a membership type of website. What you would do is have different levels of participation that would be allowed firstly for free and then later for increasing levels of payment. So for example a free member could bookmark as often as they like, but a level one member would gain a personal page with linking allowed. This would keep stepping up to where a level three member would be allowed to have 10 profiles and all the other benefits that go with it, the message broadcasting and pages, forums and the whole package.

I do suggest though that you get the basics of the website planned out correctly from the very beginning as you will find it very difficult to change complete layouts later down the line. People are never happy with change and you could lose members fast if you keep changing the structure of your website. Pay a good website designer to do all the planned aspects into your site before you even think of launching.

I do believe that you could have a winning website here with this model. Have fun.

Video Streaming Advertising for Small Business – Tips and Guides

This is the first article in a series for operators of businesses who actually want some real practical everyday answers about streaming video and online advertising – what's the best way to do it, and how does it work in the real world?

First of all, let me dislose that I'm a producer of streaming videos and online advertising. I've ybeen making commercials and online tours using streaming video for local businesses in Perth, Western Australia for about the last three years, after coming from a background in film and television. From what I've experienced, there's a steep learning curve and a methodology to particular streaming video, not only in a technical or production sense, but also in terms of business use and marketing.

If you're like me, you've probably done your fair share of googling for information about streaming video and how it works. And there are some genuinely good articles out there.
But many focus on aspects which, although relevant in some respects, do not directly address the concerns of business operators who just want to know the best way of adding video to their website. A typical selection of articles will focus on the greater trend of streaming video in terms of a global or nationwide user base. You know the ones I'm talking about – "40% of such and such …" and "3 billion users by …." etc. Others will talk about the technological issues: servers, formats, delivery models etc.

This is all well and good, and valued information. But, if you're the owner for a small to medium sized business, you'll probably be interested to know how it works on a very local level. That is, how do you get it done, what's the best way of doing it, and what's the best way to optimize your video once it's been produced? Hopefully I'll be able to provide you with some tips that will hold you in good stead should you wish to go down this interesting track. I'll break this down into a couple of areas, beginning with the initial decision about how to go down the streaming route.

I'll gather that you're already aware of why you want to use streaming video (or audio) on the internet. So we'll skip the "why video?" question for the moment and move onto the "how and who?". I'll then discuss tips that will give you ideas about how to get the most of the production and deliver a great video, and then how you can get more people to watch it and feed into your website.

WHO should I get to produce my streaming video?

This can be dependent on the level of presentation you want for your video. In general, I've never recommended that operators go the DIY route. I know you'd expect a video producer to say this, but there you go. Why? Because most often than not, the final product is a piece of crap which total value is the merest slice of novelty. There, I said it. Sorry if this causes offence. It's not just a technical issue. To a certain extent a typical audience will end a less than professional image or sound quality if your final video is incredibly entertaining and engaging. But that is unbelievably rare, and also the reason why a lot of these guys selling these DIY video streaming packages are kidding themselves and trying to kid you. It's fine for basic video blogging, but does not cut the mustard when it comes to online advertising.

The production standards are likewise less of a concern in the personal video blogging domain, but generally sub-par production standards reflect badly on a business website, no matter what the content. If you're in business and you value your business image, you need to stay at a really high standard of presentation. You would not, instead of using a professionally printed business card, choose instead to scribble your name on the back of piece of chewed up cardboard taken from the back of your breakfast cereal box. But that does not mean you need to spend megadollars on a big time media-producer. If you do decide to go down the DIY route, you'll have to accept that you will require some basic training and practice in video production. If you plan to have a video that you will update on a monthly or even weekly basis, this may have some merit, and repeat visitors to your site may put up with less than perfect standards in exchange for the positive of regularly updated content. Be warned however, first time visitors will not be impressed with anything less than a high professional standard.

At the opposite end of the spectrum you have your larger video production companies who traditionally produce corporate videos for DVDs and commercials for TV. I also engage in this market as part of my own business. They're set up for larger corporate clients and their often larger production demands. These production companies typically structure their business in accordance with these demands. They operate with larger crews, have more staff, and the production process has to pass through a number of stages before final completion. An efficient and reliably cost-effective structure if you're into producing something with a budget of a television commercial. But if you just need to produce a simple but professionally produced video for your website, you're going to find the final bill pretty hefty – a whole lot more than your own website. I know because I came from this production world, and I know the costs involved.

That's why I determined that the only way to service small clients with this particular form of advertising was to set up a small business structure, with an incredibly streamlined production process that was still able to deliver quality customized videos. To give you some idea, you can look at any of the samples on the video showcase page of the Online AURA website. Typically the 2 minute promos done for tourism and real estate clients were shot in a single day with one operator, scripted, voiced and edited (with original music) over the course of a few days, and then added to the client's website. A turnaround that is basically unheard of for TVCs or any other traditional form. It's not an easy job, and it's taken some years to perfect the process, but you can see for yourself the quality that can be produced using this model. So the answer to the question is – try and find a small production company that shows a genuine specificity in producing online video. Oh yes, and make sure they're actually specialists in video production, not an IT or web design company. Nothing against IT or web design companies, but many of them seem to be offering streaming video production as an addition to their other services, and it's evident they know almost nothing about the craft. If there's a single major determinant of quality, it's basic video craft – from scripting, to lighting, to editing and image grading. The process of finally encoding a high-quality master into a streaming video format (eg Windows media, Flash etc.), adding it to your website or to a new webpage is a relatively simple task.

Tips for your video content

Length of your video – This depends what you're selling, and who you're selling it to. A common thing you'll hear out there is that "the shorter the better", and that online advertising videos should be less than 30 seconds in length. While this may have some merit for the particular model of advertising usually discussed in relation to this (usually "interstitial advertising" spots that are placed before or after genuine content), for the content that we're talking about, this is incorrect. A general rule of thumb I used for producing streaming videos for real estate tours or tourist operators in Perth was 2 minutes duration. Beyond this, without your content is either blisteringly good or your audience highly specialized, it wears a bit thin. 90 to 120 seconds seemed to work reasonably well, and made the video a chance to develop and breathe. Why not make it just like a 30 second TVC? Just because that's an established norm for television, does not mean it needs to be a norm for online video advertising. If anything, online advertising should break out of those imposed conventions. It does not have to be 30 seconds and does not need to be. If people are on your website, they're most likely taking an active interest in what you are and what you're offering, rather than passively consuming a TVC between breaks of Idol.

In our research, users have wanted to have the full experience, the detail, not just the flashy summary of a 30 second sales pitch. This of course depends on your content. Say, for instance, you wanted to produce a streaming video demonstration for each of your products. My guess is that each demo would not exceed 20-30seconds, especially if it were something relatively simple. My own video introduction to my business takes about 1 minute, although for other businesses I could see shorter and longer form videos. And do not forget, there are ways in which longer form videos can be broken up, like chapters on a DVD that are selectable. Give your audience the choice of which section they'd like to watch.

Get involved in the scripting of your video – This may not mean writing the final copy for it, although if you have that skill it will prove advantageous to the final product. But make sure the aspects of your business that you want to push is understood by the video production company doing your online commercial. If they care about their job, they should be actively consulting you about the direction and approach of your streaming video advertisement. Even if you're not exactly sure what you want to show, give them your thoughts and ideas. They'll be able to translate some of these ideas into a rhythm and visual flow.

Make it personal – While the copy on your website needs to convey a professional image and spell out the features and benefits of your product using specific language, you're video does not have to be a total sales pitch. One of the strengths of video is its ability to build identification, familiarity and emotion. I suppose this point can be applied to marketing in general. Customers do not necessarily gravitate toward companies that they feel offers them the most in hard benefits. They often choose companies and businesses that they identify and feel comfortable with on a human level. That's why many people still choose to buy from local businesses, and also why businesses with marketing campaigns that emphasize people over product do very well. Video has this ability to humanize what else would feel impersonal and cold. Look at many of the most successful websites and how they are designed visually. Note how many use images of people, and particularly faces, as a fundamental part of their visual design, regardless of what product they're trying to sell you. This design approach is used to counteract the feeling of a website as an impersonal cash-register waiting to gobble up your money. Video has the strength of being able to take this further, by offering life and personality, the texture of a person's voice and face. Think about this when you do your video. Think about whether your entire video should be focused entirely on your product, and entertain the idea that maybe people want to see the culture of the people behind that product as well.

You're selling a lifestyle – When I do streaming video advertising for tourism and real estate, the important thing I keep in mind is that I'm selling a lifestyle, and not just a 'product'. You're always selling an experience. Even if it's for bug spray, in which case you're selling the wonders of a bug-free life for your customers. So make that a fundamental part of your video. It's very tempting with video to show and explain everything – I've had clients in real estate for instance want me to go into detailed descriptions of all manner of architectural features. But even though part of my job is showing off the actual features, primarily I'm creating a film about the lifestyle that living in such and such a property provides. That's also why there's a lot of emphasis on the culture surrounding the property, not just the structure itself. If you're working with a video producer, let them know you want to focus on the lifestyle your product or service conveys, and let them know the kind of feeling you want your viewers to experience. The end result will be a lot stronger and your video will be far more effective.

Voice – A lot of streaming videos include voice-overs. They're very effective in terms of lending a narrative or story to your video. I have a dedicated voice-over artist do all of my video voice-overs. And it's amazing what the effect of having a good quality voice will do to lift an advertisement. On the flipside of that, having a poor voice will bring down even the strongest visuals. If you can not afford fantastic live video footage, at least you can make up for this in some degree by having an engaging speaker.

Music – Another underrated aspect of videos online is music. You'll run into a lot of video production companies that use generic or "stock" music. It's usually terrible stuff, and makes your video seem contrived and artificial. AURA does not have that problem, because we also have a background in original music production, and so develop our own music tracks. Ask about music and, if possible, run through a selection of available soundtracks for your streaming video.

Tips for your finished video.

This is the part where you've gone through the process of producing your video. You've found your producer, the final streaming video advertisement is great, and you're ready to add it to your website. Here are some tips:

Make it visible – Although this looks obvious, many businesses inexplicably choose to place a tiny, barely visible link to their video on their website. Having a tiny bit of text in 8pt saying "video" with a hyperlink does your video no justice, and greatly reduces the effectiveness of your streaming video ad. A prominent display on your homepage is preferred, with some kind of graphic (animated graphics work best) that attracts clicks from users. Video is still a rarity of most websites, and users will easily overlook that a site even has a video without it is significantly signposted.

Portal power – If your business lists its products on portals, why not include a link to your video. Sometimes, with accommodation industry ports, they forbid direct links to your website because they work off decisions from people booking on their site. In my experience however they are far more open to allowing links directly to video content, given that it does not take people off to a separate webpage. This is sometimes the advantage of having a simple link to your video, rather than relying on it just being embedded in your webpage. Ideally, you should have both. That way, people can see it inside your site, but you can also email people links to the video directly or list it as a hyperlink on other people's sites.

Video search – This is the area making big waves at the moment in the search engine world. With Google video, Myspace, YouTube and other players, your video can be a key part of your search engine strategy. Arrange to submit your videos to all these sites, and provide keyworded descriptions of the content and a link back to your website. It will not cost you a thing. Video search is going to take off in a big way, with major players Google, Yahoo and MSN all putting big money into marketing and developing this new arena. Also keep in mind the paid video ad market that will emerge in the future with Google and Yahoo. You can have a highly visible direct link to your video straight from search. For uploading purposes, ask your streaming video producer for a higher definition version of your video, either in Windows Media format or MPEG-2.

Offline action – Your video should be able to be supplied to you on physical media in some form or another for little extra cost. This could be DVD video, as part of a CD-ROM presentation, or just as a digital file on disc. Videos are typically shot and edited in very high-quality and then compressed very much for streaming delivery on the internet. This means that the producer will most likely have a broadcast quality master, either on tape or on digital file. At AURA, we store uncompressed masters on external hard drives or DVDs. This means also that the streaming videos are future proofed – should some new fabulous video codec, like a new version of Flash or Windows media come out, we can take the master and re-encode it again to take advantage of the new technology. Also, as broadband becomes quicker, we are able to up the bit rate of our videos.

Having a high quality digital file means you can use your video for other things, like showing it at a trade expo at DVD quality, or re-packaging it as part of a CD-ROM presentation or CD-business card.

Hopefully what I've discussed will help you as you embark on the wonderful adventure of producing your first streaming video advertisement for your website. I'll be back later to discuss other aspects of streaming video, and also another interesting media element that has been much underutilized on business websites – streaming audio. Until next time, take care, and if you have any questions, feel free to email me or visit my website at []

Bug Tracking System Software – Frequently Asked Questions

If you're in market for your first bug tracking system software, the sheer number of available bug trackers, all of which claim to offer the best bug tracking capability, can be overwhelming. In order to make the right decision, it's important that you arm yourself with as much knowledge as possible about bug tracking system software and your soon to be bug tracking process. To help you on your way, we offer answers to some frequently asked questions about tracking software.

What's the Difference Between Onsite Tracking and Online Tracking?

Onsite tracking is when a tracking system is implemented at a company's location through the purchase of tracking software and the hardware that supports it. Online tracking is when a company receives bug tracking as a web service from a tracking provider that contains the tracking software and hardware at a remote location. Due to hardware and software purchase, as well as system maintenance fees and system upgrade costs, tracking onsite is significantly more expensive than tracking online. Customers of online tracking are not responsible for any of the aforementioned costs.

How Important is Remote Access in a Tracking System?

The importance of remote access depends on the arrangement that a company has with its software development team. If a company conducts projects structurally internally, remote access may be unnecessary. But for companies that have two or more locations that contribute to the same projects, employees who travel, or employees who work from home, the ability to access the tracking system from any Internet terminal can be indispensable.

Are There Certain Features That Indicate a Great Tracking System?

The value of a tracking system's features depends primarily on their applicability to a company's bug-tracking process. Nonetheless, there are some features that every tracking-system should possess in order to best support the tracking process: automatic email notification for new tasks; file attachment capability; history trail that shows all actions performed on a bug; ability to be fully customized to any tracking process; ability to generate selective reports; and the provision for customers to report bugs from a company's website using an automated reporting tool.

How Important is it to for a Bug Tracker to have Issue Tracking Capabilities?

More often than not, a company that experiences bug-tracking needs will also experience issue-tracking needs. Unlike bugs, issues do not result from errors in computer code, and are typically concerned with program usability issues from an end user perspective, the resolution of which can be effective to improving a program through selective releases. Attempting to use bug-tracking fields for issue-tracking generally slows down both processes and can even cause software release dates to be pushed back.

Fireproof Home Safes – 3 Things to Know Before Buying a Fireproof Home Safe

Home safes are meant to protect valuables and precious items from outside intruders. They are often heavy to carry, often over a hundred pounds in weight, securely locked, with some form of lock securing the inside, and often small enough to hide in closets. Clearly, they are well protected from common burglars and thieves. But one thing that owners of home safes often overlook are the internal threats to their valuables. If a fire overtakes a home and burns everything, there is little ordinary home safes can do to protect the goods within them. For that reason, fireproof safes are growing in popularity by the day.

With a protective outer shell to safeguard against the flames, fireproof home safes ensure that everything inside will survive the damage a fire will cause. Thus, while everything outside of the safe, clothes, televisions, and such, may burn to the ground along with a house, contents within a safe which can not be replaced will not.

Most home safes, be they ones that go into walls or ones that are small and easily hidden, can be bought as fireproof. They cost a little extra, but are well worth the extra investment to guarantee protection for expensive and / or irreplaceable goods.

However – before you decide to purchase a fireproof home safe, be sure you actually need one.

There is no need to overspend on a safe with features and specifications you do not really need. For example. If you intend to place your safe in an already fireproof section of your home, there is no reason to buy a safe that also features that same protection. Additionally, there is no reason to invest in a safe that protects from the flames if you do not intend to use your safe, for whatever reason.

Of course, most people do indeed use their safes to protect costly and important items and do need safety against fire. So it should come as no surprise that most safes priced above the lowest amount possible do indeed protect against the flames. A fire is just as likely as a burglary is, so if you are going to protect against the latter, why not also protect against the former?

One thing to remember before buying a fireproof safe is that they can not protect valuables against fires occurring WITHIN the safe!

It is not recommended to put flammable materials and / or lighters into a safe ever. You would be quite upset to open your safe, only to find that everything inside had been damaged and destroyed. A safe expert can consult with you on what valuables can and can not go into a safe. In most cases, all of the important ones will be able to go in.

Lastly, how can you be sure the fireproof home safe you're looking to buy is really fire resistant?

One last important thing to note is that most fireproof home safes undergo UL fire testing. UL fire tests are tests performed on safes by the Underwriters Laboratory, an independent party testing safes against many types of harsh conditions. When a safe passed a UL test it is labeled as "UL Listed". This is the label you want to look for! There is also a second type of label called "Tested to UL Standards". This means the safe has been submitted for testing, but did not need to pass the test. Safes subjected to fire tests by the "Underwriters Laboratory" are tested for either 1/2, 1 or 2 hours. When all documents inside a safe remain completely undamaged during these time frames, the safe receives a UL classification accordingly. The higher the classification, the longer a safe is proven to protect the contents of the safe against fire.

The bottom-line is that when it comes to protecting your valuables, all possibilities should be thought of. Losing an item through a fire or through another persons intrusion results in the same ending. And while fireproof home safes may cost a little more, there is never any harm in spending a little extra now to feel more secure later.

Vinyl Wall Coverings

Thirty years ago, if you wanted to wallpaper your bathroom or kitchen, your choices were thick, ultra-plastic looking, shiny rolls of vinyl, with few patterns from which to choose. Not only that, but when applied, the resulting appearance was so obviously not "wallpaper", but more like a heavy plastic shower curtain glued to your wall! Delicacy and refinement went right out the window. That's all changed today. Technology in wall coverings has advanced such that you may be hard pressed to tell the difference between wallpaper and vinyl wall coverings.

The advantage and purpose of vinyl wall coverings is to have a decorative design on walls prior to moisture in the bathroom and grease in the kitchen. Regular wallpaper does not wear well in these conditions, becoming dingy or discolored in the kitchen, or moldy in the bathroom. Regular wallpaper can not be wiped clean, whereas these look good as new with a swipe of your sponge. In the old days, the "good news, bad news" was that, yes, the they were clean, but you were still stuck with that less than aesthetically pleasing vinyl wall covering.

Today's vinyl wall covers are so attractive, you are not faced with choosing between practicality and good looks. These are now available in grades of thickness, labeled as # 1, # 2 and # 3, with # 1 most commonly used in home settings, while # 3 is qualified to heavy traffic areas such as businesses, schools, hotels and hospitals. The vinyl wall coverings of today will stand up to years of heavy use. Some are manufactured with different coatings to serve specific criteria in your application. For example, there are even sterile coats available for use in medical offices and hospitals.

There are two basic types of vinyl wall coverings available: solid vinyl, most suitable to bathrooms or other areas with consistently humid conditions. Solid vinyl is waterproof. The other type is vinyl-coated paper, which most closely approximates regular wallpaper and is sufficient for most home uses. Vinyl-coated paper wall coverings have the same advantage of being scrubbable. The vinyl-coated type is also strippable, so if you ever want a change, it's easily done.

Beside the fact that these wall coverings are easily cleaned, they are also easily repaired should damage occur. Vinyl wall coverings are also fire-retardant, a definite advantage in your kitchen, schools and hospitals as well as business and office applications.

There are "liners" available which are worth your consideration when installing vinyl wall coverings. These liners hide any imperfections in your wall surface, while also making it easier to strip your wall covering later on down the road.

When measuring the amount you'll need, ask your dealer for help. Repeating patterns require matching motifs with each new strip, so you'll have to allow for waste. So today, there's simply no excuse to not take a look at some of these durable and beautiful products when you're thinking of papering a room!

Fireproof Safe Buyers Guide

Not too many people know, but the number one cause of personal damage every year is caused by fire. Each and every year, small businesses in your city lose billions of dollars' worth of property all due to fire accidents. Most fires typically cause damage to valuables such as jewelry, important paperwork, electronics, and other personal possessions.

To cut down on or even prevent this loss of property, business owners and home owners are now purchasing fireproof safes to protect important documents and other artifacts. In fact, fireproof safes and file cabinets are among the most in demand security products today and with prices starting at around $ 200, it's easy to see how a simple investment can make a big difference in preventing loss. Whether it is important documents, valuables, heirlooms, media files, or other important items, fireproof safes can offer the peace of mind you get from knowing your valuables are protected.

A standard to measure the fire resistance of any specific safe has been created so safe buyers can know how much fire their safe can stand up against. There are security safes that will range anywhere from half an hour to four hours. If you're shopping for a security safe, be sure to look for the rating that lets you know the specific safes level of fire protection.

Water damage from activated sprinkler systems can also damage a safes content, so be sure to look for a safe that offers water resistance.

In order to meet these standards, a fire proof safe must experience rigid fire resistance tests to ensure that their contents are fully unharmed from the effects of the extreme temperatures.

Independent testing firms and other laboratories place safes manufactured by different companies through these tests to ensure that the unit meets certain norms and guidelines.

One thing to note is that fireproof safes can be rather expensive due to their special construction. Since special construction is commonly applied, the selling price can be slightly more. One good point is that many brands and manufacturers offer free after fire lifetime replacement warranties should the safe be damaged in a fire.

Buying a security safe that features fire protection is a great investment to give you peace of mind knowing that you are protected from burglary and fire.

5 Unusually Fast Fat Loss Tips


The idea here is that we're all very busy, and I do not have time to spend hours at the gym or workout nearly every day of the week. I know most people are in the same boat.

So what is needed is an exercise routine that can be performed infrequently and takes very little time, but still gives you great results …

… now the only way to do this is to use a form of exercise that produces fat loss in the time that you're not working out.

Most popular forms of exercise provide most of their calorie and fat burning during the exercise … but this is not efficient because we can only exercise so much … even the aerobic and cardio fanatics out there can only stand say 5-10 hours a week of exercise.

So with 24 hours a day times 7 days, that gives us 168 hours in a week … so even working out 5-10 hours a week still leaves us with 160 or more hours that we will not be working out …

… it is these 160 hours we should be focusing on if we want maximum fat loss in minimum time …

… and when you can do that, now you've got exercise efficiency. So the idea is to get the most fat burning out of those 160+ hours that you're not working out …

… and the best way to do it that I've found is by using a very high level of intensity combined with resistance training exercises performed in fairly rapid succession.

This type of exercise will burn fat for up to 2-3 days after the workout is over, so you can see why just 2-3 sessions a week of this type of exercise can double or even triple the amount of fat loss that can occur with typical type of exercise in the so called "fat burning zone".


Perhaps the most important tip I can give anyone trying to get and stay lean is to look at food from a micronutrient standpoint.

This is not something you'll hear from most nutrition experts, in fact they'll tell you just the opposite, to look at your food from a macronutrient view (protein, carbs, fats) …

… this is what most people end up doing, and it is still important for fat loss, but the big turning point in my personal fat loss journey happened when I started to focus on eating most of my calories from foods that are super loaded with nutrients instead of stressing out over my protein, fat, and carb ratios.

The foods I'm talking about are vegetables, fruits, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds.

Now do not mistake this for a vegetarian or vegan diet, that's not what I'm talking about, but a diet that supplies the body with the nutrients it requires to burn fat optimally.

Now, you'll note that I did not include lean animal meats on this list. Well, that doesnt mean these foods will not help you burn fat, they will, but what I'm saying is you need to take your focus off of the whole protein first mindset and instead go with a "nutrient first" mindset .

I was raised, as I'm sure a lot of people are, that any good meal needs to start with a big portion of beef or poultry, and that the nutrient rich foods (like vegetables, fruits, beans, etc.) are a small part of that meal, if at all.

I'm saying you have to flip that equation entirely and that most of your meal should be based in the nutrient loaded foods, with a smaller bit of the animal proteins.

The fact is that these foods have the most nutrients, and when you give your body the required nutrients without overloading it with foods that have little nutrients, fat loss has become so much easier because the hunger and cravings that plague dieters almost disappear.


OK, so this is a big one because six pack abs are like a status symbol these days on whether or not you're lean.

I mean back in the 70s and 80s, it was enough just to have a flat stomach, but now it's all about the six pack … for whatever reason.

It probably has more to do with the fact that people are fatter than ever and things like six pack abs are becoming more rare and of course they are that much more desirable because of it.

So, a lot of people are still mystified by the spot reducing myth that you can do exercise a specific area of ​​the body and create localized fat loss.

I should know because I hammer my newsletter subscribers with this myth several times, but I still get a question after question about which abs or belly exercises or gut blaster 3000 will get them a set of six pack abs!

Look, you really can not lose fat from one area of ​​your body specifically …

… the only way you can lose belly fat, thigh fat, butt fat or any other fat is by lowering your overall body fat percentage. In other words, losing overall body fat.

The reason you have problem areas or body parts is because you simply have more fat cells stored in that area genetically.

And we can not lose these fat cells, we are stuck with them without we resort to surgery, but we can shrink them, and that's what happens when we lose fat. We shrink the fat cells.

So the key here is forgetting about all those abs specific exercises for a while and instead focus on lowering your overall body fat percentage by creating a calorie deficiency through the right diet strategies and adding lean muscle to your body.

Truth be told, a good set of barbell squats to muscular failure done a couple times a week will do more for losing belly fat and getting six pack abs than 1000 crunches a week because the amount of calories and fat that will be burned from the squats will far outweigh those crunches.

Yeah, you'll need some abs specific exercises to build the abdominal muscles, but no one will see them if they're covered up by layers of body fat.


Alright another huge mistake people make when determining how successful their fat loss program. First off, we're talking about fat loss here, not weight loss.

Weight loss is the predominant term, unfortunately, because that's what we are taught at an early age.

But when it comes to losing actual body fat, we have to look at our body composition, not how much we weigh on the scale, but how much of our body is fat weight.

This is really the only way to know if you're losing fat or just losing water weight or muscle, which is very common on most crash or fad diets …

… people will end up losing a few pounds really fast and get excit, but they do not look much better in the mirror!

I mean they could look better in clothes because water loss and muscle loss will make you look smaller in clothes sometimes, but when the clothes come off …

… yikes!

This is the skinny-fat look that a lot of people have … they have high body fat percentages, but because of a small bone structure they look acceptable to people while in clothes.

I know nobody wanted to look like that, which is why body fat percentage must be the key measure for fat loss.

OK, another reason we can not rely on the scale is because of muscle mass …

… if we're doing this right, our exercise is going to be geared toward gaining lean muscle as this is the best way to create a calorie deficit almost immediately.

Especially as we age because our bodies naturally lose muscle mass every year once we hit our mid 30s or so … by the way that's the main reason so many people who were in good shape in their 20s and 30s wake up in their 40s 20 -30 pounds of fat heavier.

So if you're measuring your progress by the scale and you gain 5 pounds of muscle, the scale could show no fat loss or even a small gain because muscle weighs more than fat …

… it's more dense and takes up less space. This can cause you to freak out and think your efforts are causing weight gain when in reality your creating the perfect environment for 24 hour a day fat burning.

So, easy ways to track your bf% are with a skinfold caliper, which you can find online, some of those body fat scales or hand grippers (although there are some tricks to using those correctly).

I actually have a body fat percentage analyzer available for my newsletter subscribers for free which you can get on my website … this is a great little tool and it's there for anyone who wants to accurately track your fat loss.

So that's the idea here … track your body fat percentage, not just your bodyweight! It's fat loss, not weight loss we're after.


I'm talking about keeping score and knowing your numbers here …

… if you do not know the numbers, you have little chance of success in fat loss and fitness.

Just like anything else in life, if you're not tracking what works and what does not work, you'll be using a shotgun approach that will take much longer and not work as well as an approach that includes tracking.

This is especially important in relation to your exercise and fat loss and fitness progress. Let's look at the business world for a moment. In any business, at the end of the day, results are measured by revenue, or the money that was made.

If the business owner does not know the numbers, they will not know if they've made any money. And that they literally have no business! It's crazy and pretty simple, but the most powerful metric a business owner can track.

I'm a big NBA basketball fan, but do you think I'd enjoy watching my favorite team if they did not keep score? Of course not!

If they do not keep score, we do not know who's winning, and then there is no "game" to win or lose. They have to know their numbers to know who wins and who loses.

Again, strikingly simple, but the fact is that most people do not track their exercise routines at all. How do they know if they're winning or losing the fat loss game?

In fat loss and fitness it's all about monitoring a few key numbers, primarily strength gains, inches in your body part measurements, and body fat percentage.

If you do not know these numbers from week to week, month to month, you'll have a tough time judging your progress … and then you'll be guessing yourself, the methods you're using and have little change of succeeding.

This is also important because with any type of exercise or diet plan, you'll need to make slight adjustments as you progress, and how the heck are you going to do that if you do not know what or when to adjust?

So recording your progress on a weekly and month basis is key to getting that lean and fit body you desire … and if you're not doing it, you're using the shotgun approach: just spraying bullets and hoping you hit something.

This is a big reason people give up on their programs …

… not measuring their progress accurately. When you do this right, it can also give you that positive reinforcement to work even hard towards your goals.

Once you sniff something that actually is working, I do not know about you, but I'll do everything I can do magnify that effect for as long as I can.

So, bottom line, make sure to keep accurate records of your workouts and your progress. Just like in any business or in sports, you will not know if you're winning if you do not keep score.

The "Balm" That Soothes Driving Pain Could Be Your Own Car

In today's complex world, people tend to overwork. And when the body could not stand the stress and pressure any longer, medicines should be had. A simple balm could serve as a stress reduction agent. However, the comforting power of a balm is not limited to scientific remedies. The "balm" could be your own car.

Vehicles of today are engineered to offer a different level of comfort and therapeutic use. Automakers are thinking out of the box. They are not only absorbed in manufacturing, safe, fuel-efficient, high-performance and stylish cars. They go beyond the usual auto manufacturing standards to be more appealing to their target markets. The philosophy is not only aimed at integrating Active Brakes Direct to the car system to make its braking functions efficient. It is all that and more.

Critics in the auto industry have communicated their views on current lineups. Several enthusiastic reviews are in favor of the Lexus ES 350. The car, along with the Camry, is the first to use Toyota's six-speed automatic transmission in a front-wheel drive. It features a 272 horsepower aluminum 3.5 L 2GR-FE V6 engine with variable valve timing. The interior of the ES 350 features walnut wood accents, leather seats, a dual zone climate control with air filter, an MP3 player input, power tilt and a telescoping steering wheel, and eight standard airbags.

The Lexus ES 350's new features include a three-panel panoramic glass moonroof, power seat cushion extender, a 300-watt, 14-speaker Mark Levinson premium audio system, rain-sensing windshield wipers, radar-based adaptive cruise control, DVD navigation system , power rear sunshade, and Lexus Park Assist, a sonar-based warning system with backup camera. The most striking standard feature so far, is the keyless entry and ignition system called the Lexus SmartAccess. The feature does not require an electronic remote to be taken out of the driver's pocket.

The car is intended for enthusiasts who do not care much about slalom speeds and acceleration. The plan of Lexus is hit the market – the market that seems not to care about cars. To implement the plan, the automaker manufactured one entry luxury sedan that caters to everyone's desires. It built the IS 250 and IS 350 for the Bimmer intenders, and the ES 350 and the ES 350 to serve as an alternative to Buick.

The Lexus ES 350 is based on the Toyota Camry's driving dynamics. According to some owners of the car, the latter is capable of running smoothly and efficiently. It is also given efficient transmissionifts gears. The tires are meticulous designed to run quiet and functional. They are reliably tall tostand squelch impacts. The interior of the car is similar mirrors its proletarian Toyota sibling. It boasts of its dark, soft-touch dashboard that creates a soothing contrast with the cream seats and walnut highlights. Higher options include power rear sunshade, heated and ventilated seats, and rear-view backup camera.

The base price of the ES 350 is $ 33,865. But the price does not include the $ 5,380 Luxury Package. The latter offers – leather interior, rain-sensing wipers, high-intensity headlamps, Bluetooth, heated and ventilated front seats, power rear sunshade, rear side air bags and a few other baubles. The Luxury Package's rear-seat panorama glass roof is a particularly nice touch.

The Lexus ES 350's features make every ride comfy and soothing that some enthusiasts would not desire to go back to their old cars. According to a proud owner of the car, "It is a cocoon of tranquility, and it will probably deliver many years of trouble-free transport."

Patio Awnings – The Range of Fixed, Portable and Retractable Awnings

Due to the weather, you can not always use your patio. Perhaps it is too hot or the rain has set in for the day. However, one way you can enjoy your patio all year round is to install a patio awning. Such awnings provide cover against the sun and rain so that you can be out on your patio regardless of what the weather is throwing at you.

At its most basic, a patio awning consist of a piece of strong canvas stretched over a solid frame. They can come in fixed or portable. Fixed awnings are attached permanently to the side of your home and reach out over the patio to provide the necessary protection. Portable look a little like tents and can be moved around or put away as you see fit.

As far as fixed patio awnings are concerned, you can buy retractable or permanent. A retractable patio awning can be retracted or extended depending on the circumstance. Depending on the type of awning, this can be achieved by cranking a handle or pressing a button. Permanent awnings simply stay attached and can not be retracted. This way they provide cover regardless of the actual weather.

High winds are dangerous for awnings. A strong gust can blow them over, tear the canvas or pull them off the side of the house. If you have a retractable awning then you should keep it in the retract position during storms or windy days. For fixed awnings you need to consider the winds that arise where you live and wether or not it is too dangerous to install an awning.

Explaining Tire Scuff Marks on New Asphalt Pavement

Did you just have your driveway repaved with a brand new asphalt overlay? Or maybe a new layer of sealcoat? Or perhaps you are a company owner that just finished construction on a new commercial parking lot? Either way, you may start to notice tire marks as business or traffic picks up. Tire scuff marks are a common occurrence to newly-paved or seal-coated asphalt, and for many reasons. Before you pick up the phone to have a word with your paving company, it is encouraged to investigate a bit further, and find out why tire marks appear on newly-paved asphalt in the first place. Continue reading to learn what causes asphalt tire scuffing, and gain a better understanding of what to expect from your pavement.

Tire Scuffing

Fortunately, there is no need to panic about tire marks since they will eventually fade after a few months. There are several reasons why freshly-paved or seal-coated asphalt is subject to tire scuffing, but they can all be narrowed down to five specific ones. If you have questions about any of these causes, feel free to contact your paving company afterwards to discuss them in detail. They can give you expert information, answers, and advice regarding asphalt paving, sealcoating, and more. For now, start by reviewing the 5 most common factors that cause asphalt tire marks, below.

1. The Age of Pavement – New pavement, or pavement with a new layer of sealcoat, is more susceptible to tire scuff marks since it is still soft and malleable. As it hardens, tire marks begin to disappear. Asphalt requires flexibility to maintain maximum durability, but as it ages, it loses this attribute.

2. Outdoor Temperatures – The time of year affects the rate at which asphalt hardens after being laid. Hot weather will slow the curing process, keeping pavement soft and flexible a little longer than usual. And we already mentioned that soft pavement allows for tire marks. This is why most paving jobs are carried out in the fall and winter, when temperatures are cooler and pavement cures faster.

3. Vehicle Weight – New asphalt pavement that experiences frequent traffic from heavy vehicles, like trucks, buses, and vans, is more susceptible to tire scuffing. Stationary 180-degree turns, sudden braking, sharp turns, and trucks with power steering are common causes for tire marks..

4. Type of Tires – The type and size of tires play a major role in producing tire scuff marks in new pavement. Most standard tires can and will cause this to happen, but tires with aggressive tread patterns, steel-belted radial tires, and off-road trucks and SUVs will guarantee it.

5. Type of Asphalt – The type of asphalt will also influence the likelihood of tire scuffing on new pavement. Course aggregate is less likely to scuff, whereas, a thin sealcoat will.

Steel Fabrication Drawings – Virtual Assembly of Steel Connections

Steel fabrication drawing is quite popular term used broadly to satisfy the perfect building construction. It is a virtual assembly drawing that include list of part and material to be used in building. Natural disasters are occurring again and again so building stability is the main issue. To get the maximum building stability construction industry is paying more attention on steel connection of building. All the concepts and ideas can be evaluated using steel fabrication drawings. It gives the perfect idea of ​​steel joints and dimension details to be used in building construction.

Steel fabrication drawings have their own importance and allow designers and fabricators to build effective building structure. It is widely used to get the pictorial presentation of building components to be used in building construction. Fabricators can identify how much material will be needed. So in the other way it saves the cost. Pre fabricated building components like steel elevators, trusses, window and cabinet are widely used to get proper proposed structure. Once the building is completed it is not possible to make changes to satisfy the building stability in manner of steel beam and column connection. So to avoid this fabrication drawing is becoming the most vital term in construction industry.

The technique is also used to demonstrate important and necessary construction documents. To suggest steel member detail drawings, connection details, anchor plans, column connections and shop bolt summary fabrication drawing is most important factor. Professional steel detailers are also using it widely for maximum output in the term of accurate building construction.

In the construction industry specialize work should be appreciated. To satisfy this purpose reputed organizations have made international standards and codes must be used for steel fabrication drawings. All the steel fabricators and drawing experts are using these standards and codes for accurate drawing purpose.

For the outsourcing purpose it is also becoming popular term to save time and cost. After invention of CAD it is now become easy to convert handmade sketches in to proper design format.

If you have any query about steel fabrication drawings then just drop an email at

For more information please visit us at

To Mount Or Not to Mount – TV Stand Vs Wall Mounting

So, you just bought that new Plasma TV. Now you are forced to make a decision – do I go for glamour and mount this thing on my living room wall or go the traditional route with a TV stand. Each option has its risks and its rewards, so here we will examine the pros and cons of each.

The Vain Glory of Wall Mounting

Does not it just make sense if your TV is only a few inches deep to mount that sucker right above the fireplace for all to see? Maybe, but consider what it takes to wall mount a flat screen.

1. Purchase a wall mounting kit from a Plasma Dealer.

2. Make sure said kit fits your TV. If you do not do this, it will either cost you time or plaster.

3. Locate the studs behind the wall. Again, if you miss this, you will be the proud owner of a smashed TV set. The screws must go into studs, not just sheet rock.

4. Make sure that you measure and level everything BEFORE you screw any holes. This will be very hard to change later. In fact, I dare say you will not do it a second time, but rather you will live with a slightly-croocked mounted Plasma or you will just give up and buy a TV stand.

5. Now, actually screw the mount into the wall.

6. Cut a hole behind the TV to run wires through and another hole where the wires need to come out. Fish the wires through the holes using either a snake tool or a stretched wire hanger. Yes, I'm serious about this step. If you're going to mount it, mainly for looks, do not leave wiring showing. It just will not be worth it.

7. Attach the pieces of the mounting system that affix to the TV. Then, gently set the television into the mount bracket. You may want another person there with you for this.

8. Test everything. Make sure the TV works, the mount is secure, and the television is secure in the mount.

The Blessed Simplicity of the TV Stand

Well, that was interesting. Now, let's review the steps involved in setting up a TV stand.

1. Purchase a TV stand that best fits the location at which you wish to display your TV. Make sure you take into account the weight and depth of the television, as well as any accessories you might attach to it.

2. Have it delivered and setup. Sure, you could drive it home yourself and put it together, but you have better things to do in life – like watch your huge Plasma-screen TV.

3. Place your television on the stand. Drop wires behind it and attach them to the sockets or external units as needed.

4. Go get some wings. It's time for the game.

Hammer's The Quiet Ones – The True Story

Hammer's new supernatural movie The Quiet Ones, in which a University physics professor assembles a team to help create a poltergeist, is actually based on a true story which happened way back in the 1970's, when a group of Canadian scientists simply tried to create a ghost of their own. What they discovered turned out to be quite shocking.

These Canadian parapsychologists wanted to prove their theory that those unexplained bumps in the night are actually attributable to the workings of the human mind. The famous poltergeist expert Dr. Alan Robert George Owen chaired the group, which was known as TSPR (Toronto Society for Psychical Research). The group consulted of eight people: Dr. Owen's wife, an industrial designer, an accountant, a housewife, a bookkeeper and a sociology student. A psychologist named Dr. Joel Whitton also sat in on many of the experiments as an observer. The group's aim was to change our whole perception of the supernatural.

The so-called "Philip Experiment" began in 1972, when their first task was to create a fictional historical character. To achieve this, they filled "facts" out of thin air to attach to the life of this fictional character, writing a complete life history of this person, who they named Philip Aylesford. In his biography, they stated that he was 17th Century English noble who had a beautiful, yet cold and hostile wife named Dorothea. One day, he chanced to meet a stunningly beautiful gypsy girl named Margo, with who he immediately fell in love. Consequently, Philip and Margo became discreet lovers. However, their illicit affair did not last too long, for his wife, Dorothea, found out about Margo and accused her of practicing witchcraft. Because Philip wanted to protect his reputation, he did not defend Margo against these witchcraft allegations, and so she was tragically burned at the stake. Subsequently, he became full of remorse, and the only way he could deal with this remorse was to fight in the battle of Diddington. He was ever found dead one morning on the battlefield.

The Owen group then moved on to the next phase of their experiment: contacting the spirit of Philip. They had even drawn a picture of him to make the whole biography of their concocted character even more authentic. Thus, in September 1972, they concluded their sittings, in which they would discuss Philip's life and try to picture him in as much detail as they could. These settings continued for nearly a whole year. However, nothing really distinguished developed from them, apart from the occasional sense of a presence in the room.

The group began to try different tactics in the hope of communicating Philip's spirit, and this involved recreating a typical spiritualist séance: sitting around a table in a dimly-lit room with various objects from the era in which Philip would have lived. As it turned out, and much to the group's excitement, this technique soon produced the results that were chasing for, as Philip finally made contact. He would dim the lights, knock on the table, and move it around, and even envelope the group in a strange blanket of icy cold air that would blow right across the table. He would also express strong views on various topics by table rapping.

The culmination of this experiment occurred before a live audience of around 50 people, and this was actually filmed as a documentary. Philip performed his awesome paranormal tricks in front of them without any reservations whatsoever. He made the lights flicker and the table levitate. However, because Philip had been messing around with the lights, it actually prevented the cameras from capturing these amazing feats on film.

Although The Philip Experiment exceeded the expectations that the group had originally hoped for, it never actually met the group's main goal: to actually see Philip materialize into a spirit. And in regard to what conclusions can be drawn from The Philip Experiment, well, some say that it proves conclusively that ghost does not exist, that they are simply products of our own minds. Others believe that the group did actually contact the spirit world and an entity just used this opportunity to "act" as Philip. So if this spirit was not Philip, who could it have been?

There is also the argument, of course, that the whole thing was just an elaborate hoax. You can actually see the documentary of the experiment on YouTube, and it does seem to suggest that it was all just a set up. For all that though, The Quiet Ones is still quite an interesting story that will delight all fans of supernatural movies.