Great Architectural Facades

If your home or office building is starting to look tired, why not create an architectural facade that will refresh its image? Interestingly, many of the facades listed below are polar opposite in style and design to the building they are covering. Their juxtaposition appears to have the intent of shocking, or at the very least, capturing the attention of its audience. Facades are the perfect way to add an element of drama to a building. Come on … live a little. Splash some personality onto your building.

1. Psychodelic exteriors:

Where: Kelburn Castle, Scotland

What: Exterior painted with bright, Brazilian colors

Who: Brazilian street artists from Sao Paolo, Nina and Nunca Os Gemeos

2. Architecture wrapped in art:

In spring / summer 2009, the Hong Kong museum of Art hosted an exhibition that should not have been missed "Louis Vuitton: A Passion for Creation". In addition to it being an exceptional exhibition of one of this century's most notable fashion designers, the museum commissioned Richard Prince to wrap the exterior of the building in images of Hong Kong. It was one of Hong Kong's first ever public art installations.

3. Melting buildings:

What: Melting windows of the Steckelhorn 11 building-part of the city's plan to renew this historic area

Where: Old center of Hamburg

Who: Designed by J. Mayer H.

4. Playful art school:

What: Ontario College of Art and Designs's Sharp Center for Design

Where: Toronto, Canada

So: Located in the heart of downtown Toronto, this art school stands on colorful stilts shaped like thin pencils. The building's exterior is decorated with colorful squares.

5. EcoPods:

What: A vertical tower of prefabricated eco pods, filled with bio-fuel producing algae

Where: Downtown Boston

Who: Howler and Yoon Architecture together with Square Design

6. Modern Renos on old homes:

If you're bored of looking at your old Victorian home, then why not renovate an exterior section? By adding a fabric such as copper-concertina clad, you will add a new, modern look, and maximize its innovative potential.

7. Influence from the Orient:

Many people in the West have adapted the interior and exterior styles of their homes to be more like those seen in Japan. The simplistic look inclusive of ramp walkways, sliding screen doors, and feng shui gardens makes for a very zen home life.

8. Stacked homes:

With the big, modern family in mind, Herzog & de Meuron architect created a new house architecture concept. Imagine five stores inclusive of 12 separate houses with both classic and modern designs.

What type of architectural facade do you think you might choose for your home?

Tools and Items Needed For Soldering Using a Toaster Oven

Before you start to sold using a toaster oven, you will need several tools and items. This article describes what is needed for the process, including a modification to the oven, various tools, and a description of how to make a low cost vacuum pickup tool.

The first item is the toaster oven. You can use any kind of toaster oven, but generally I would not recommend the very small ones. The medium sized ones seem to work best. Whichever one you get, it must have a glass door on the front so that you can see what is happening inside the oven without opening the door.

You will also need a digital thermometer and a thermocouple. You can buy these from your local electronics store.

The thermocouple looks like a long wire with a connector on the end. The connector end plugs into the digital thermometer outside the oven, and the other end goes around the edge of the oven door and into the oven cavity.

It is also important to have a stopwatch, so that you can monitor the time as the temperature changes inside the oven.

You will need to make the following modification to your toaster oven so that your boards do not get toasted by direct infra red radiation from the heating elements.

The objective is for the heater elements to simply heat the air inside the oven, so a direct line of infra red heat straight from the elements to the circuit board must be avoided.

The way to achieve this is to get some thin sheet aluminum and make a cut-out shape that just covers up the elements. You can use a disposable baking tray from the supermarket to make this aluminum shield.

The aluminum sheet can be attached by weaving it through one oven the oven rack slides. This will hold it in place.

Make one of these aluminum shields for both the top and bottom heating elements inside your oven.

The next item is a solder paste gun. This is the easiest way to apply little dots of solder paste to the surface mount pads for the chip components.

I use AIM solder cream, but any kind of lead based solder paste is suitable for this process. You can purchase a solder gun and solder paste from your local specialist soldering equipment supplier. I purchased these items from Okay electronic solutions here in Australia.

Now we will discuss how to make a vacuum pickup tool from a small fish tank air pump, which you can get for about ten dollars from your local aquarium shop or pet shop. I will describe the way that I made the modifications.

I removed the case of the air pump so that I could access the air inlet hole of the pump. Then I simply fitted a small plastic nozzle that I got from a syringe dispenser. Attached to that is a short length of 3mm vinyl air hose, which I got from the aquarium shop. Then another another nozzle made from metal, which came from another syringe dispenser.

You can get these nozzles from your local specialist soldering equipment supplier. The nozzles generally come with some syringe dispensing kits but you may also be able to purchase them separately.

To use this low cost but effective vacuum pickup tool, simply turn on the pump and bring the nozzle down onto the top of the chip component. The component will be sucked and held onto the end of the nozzle. Then bring the chip component over to the circuit board pads which have been dotted with solderpaste. Place the component down. The solderpaste is sticky enough to grab the component and hold it in place. No vacuum release is necessary.

That covers all the items that you will need to sold using a toaster oven, including a modification to the oven, various tools, and a description of how to make a low cost vacuum pickup tool.

How to Choose the Right Socket Set for Your Tool Box

Socket sets include a variety of sizes to fit the nuts and bolts for your repair job. However, not all sets are created equal. Here are some things to keep in mind while selecting your socket set for your tool box.

A Good Alloy
Alloys are mixtures of a metal and another element that are put together for a specific purpose. For example, steel is an alloy of iron and carbon; which of course has many applications from kitchen utensils to hand tools. However even alloys of steel exist to take on different tasks. Chrome vanadium steel is often used in sockets. This alloy is known for its high strength and durability.

Impact vs Standard
Does your repair job require an impact wrench? If it does, be sure to purchase sockets that are designed for impact applications. Impact sockets are designed to withstand the high torque created by impact tools. It would seem common sense, but many people use standard sockets with impact tools. These sockets often fail causing pieces to break away that may jeopardize your safety.

Metric and SAE Units
Having the right size socket is very important. Some socket sets come only in SAE (inch) measurements and others are in metric (millimeters). Some sets have both. Think about where the product was built, as foreign products tend to use metric nuts and bolts, while US products may have inch-based sizes. An alternative is to purchase a metric and SAE set to cover both.

Drive Size
The drive size of the socket set you choose should be determined by the type of work you will be doing and equipment you will be working on. A drive ratchet and socket set will be the most versatile and suitable in most applications. If you intend on doing a lot of work on small ("" drive) or large items ("" or "" drive), then you should purchase a socket set with a drive size more suitable to that size of work. purchasing a large socket set, it is likely to come with more than one size of ratchet and sockets. This will allow you to work on a wide range of tasks.

Deep vs. Shallow Well
One of the big benefits of a socket wrench set is that the actual head for the bolt fits sideways onto the ratchet tool. That helps users get into tight spaces. But a shallow socket head may not be able to get into some spaces. Deep well sockets are for applications that require a longer socket for bolts that are deep within. Think about how long your socket heads need to be for accessing specific bolt locations and choose socket sets accordingly.

Six or Twelve-Point
You need to understand that there are six and twelve-point sockets. Points refer to the total number of angles cut into your sockets. Your twelve-points will work well for household projects and common repairs. However, if you plan on working on motorcycles, mowers and vehicles, then you probably want the six-point sockets. The reason why six-point works better for these situations is because they have thicker walls and can apply a larger amount torque. The majority of today's sets have six-points, but twelve-point products do have some advantages to offer. For example, a twelve-point will give you double the number of starting positions.

The Case
The only other topic to cover is the case that keeps your pockets organized. When searching for a set to buy, you will find that they come in different cases. Most are made of blow-molded plastic. It's true that some cases are significantly stronger than others, and the level of durability that you need in a case depends on where you will be using it. Also, you get what you pay for. If you choose to spend more money on a high-quality set, it's very likely that you will automatically get a very durable case. Keep in mind that most large comprehensive sets do not come with case due the weight of the set. For sets that size, it is ideal to purchase a rolling metal case with drawers for organization.

UK Government Wants Businesses to Do More for New Parents

Shared parental leave to level the gender playing field

As of 1 December this year, fathers now have the same rights as mothers when it comes to taking leave from work following the birth of a child.

For all babies due after April 2015, employers must offer shared parental leave of up to 50 weeks, rather than the father’s usual fortnight.

Fathers use holiday allowance for maternity

In a move that has been warmly welcomed by a generation of working mothers, parents can now choose how to split their paternity leave between them, opening the door to a much more equal division of childcare. Indeed, a recent survey by Mumsnet revealed that, prior to these changes, some 39% of fathers had had to use up paid leave, in order to support their partner and new baby during the postpartum period.

Now, it will be possible for up to 50 weeks’ leave and 39 weeks pay to be shared in any combination, aside from a compulsory 2 week period immediately following the birth, which must be taken by the mother. The message, it seems, is getting through: recent research by the outsourcing firm ADP found that up to a third of expectant fathers surveyed plan to take advantage of the new legislation.

Shared parenting rights

There is little doubt, however, that a cultural sea-change in attitudes will not happen overnight. Employers are concerned about the effect these changes will have on their work forces and fathers fear losing money and status if they leave their jobs for months on end.

The Scandinavian model, however, is proof that shared parenting rights can become the norm when government and businesses are working together. In Sweden, Norway and Iceland, a percentage of leave is reserved exclusively for fathers at around 80% of their salary; the so-called “Daddy quota.”

Far from creating pressures, the head of one of Norway’s biggest employment associations affirms that it, in fact, “strengthens the man’s position in the family and the woman’s in the workplace”.

In order for the new laws to make a real difference here, therefore, the Government is calling upon employers to take positive steps: making employees aware of their rights, aligning notice periods for pay and leave to make the system simpler and maintaining the right for parents to return to the same job after their leave.

In return, they can expect to gain from a system which allows them to keep talented women in the workforce and have a more motivated and productive staff as a whole.

Eye Catching Content

When running a small business there is a lot of competition. How do potential customers find you on the web? To assert your business as an industry leader, you must be the guru of sharp, fresh content.

So, what is content? Content is a message conveyed in different forms of communication. Content appears in the form of articles, videos, and blogs that are meant to entice and educate your customers and attract new business.

For small business owners who are new to creating great content, here are some starting points.

• Research

Read books and publications about your industry. Research your competitors' websites and find holes in their content. Find out what they're not telling their customers. Do not simply sell to your customers. Recognize what their needs are and provide solutions to their problems. Ask probing questions. Give them information on why they are paying too much for certain products.

• Attention Snatching Headlines

Technology has made us all attention deficit. When people get online, they normally only scan websites. You've got seconds to get and keep their attention on your website. The headline should be edgy and honest. For example, I wrote an article about building an authentic personal brand. Instead of a lengthy headline, I simply asked: "Are You Real or Fake?" in my headline. I meant to strike a nerve in my reader, and it worked.

• Conferences and Networking Events

Reading books and publications are a great start, but you do have to attend events hosted by people in your industry with decades of experience. If you are in business, you will remain a student. These events are helpful because you will be able to meet customers, but you will also be able to generate ideas for videos and articles for your website.

• Social Media Platforms

Social Media is a definite way to reach millions of people in the most cost-efficient way. Utilizing social media can be helpful if you are strategic in your approach. Join online communities in your industry. Select two strong social media platforms and learn how to utilize them. If you have too many platforms, it becomes difficult to maintain a dialogue with readers. Conduct product testers and giveaways to your customers. Engage with your customers by asking them what content they want to see.

• Audio and Video Content

Audio content is in the form of radio and podcasting. By using tools like SoundCloud, you can create your podcast. It is a more intimate way to communicate on a small platform. You can invite guests on your podcast as well. Video is a way to reach more people and get your face out there. A popular video platform is YouTube. The downside to video is you will open yourself to positive and negative feedback if it is warranted or not.

Keep in mind, content must be updated on a regular basis. As your business and industry changes, there will always be new subjects to write about. If you are passionate about your business, do whatever it takes to stay ahead of what's current.

Should I Cut Down The Tree? Trees in Feng Shui

Is The Tree Helping Or Harming Me?

One of the most common questions we get in our practice is “What should I do about my tree?

Trees are a beautiful, glorious and vital part of the our planet and are an integral and respected life force in the practice of Feng Shui!

While it is true that some trees may block positive chi or even act as poison arrows the answer is not to cut down this beautiful gift of nature, there are ways to ensure that we work with the tree to ensure the best results. Killing a living vital part of nature is not the answer.

Trees act as conduits returning oxygen to us, giving us food, shade and protection we need to ensure that we in turn do everything we can to ensure there survival if possible. Some quick Tree tips include:

1. Cutting Down Trees?

Yes sometimes it is necessary to cut down trees. If for example a tree is sick, rotting and cannot be helped then this decaying energy will more than likely lower the level of good chi in the area and in fact create sickness and yin energy that may very well pass on to the residents of the home. If you cannot save it then cut it down

2. What about the one in front of my door?

The most common tree problem in Feng Shui is when the tree is directly in front of your door. This in effect may serve as a block in terms of opportunities, prosperity or abundance. But wait don’t cut it down! First, trim any branches to let as much chi circulate around it as possible, next hang a wind chime in the tree to help guide the chi around the tree. If you are still considered hang another wind chime directly above your front door, and also place a mirror or other reflective ornament by your front door that in essence reflects the tree and its challenging energy back away from your door! That should do the trick!

3. Trees for Health & Family

Trees are a wonderful for bringing health and well being to you and your family. If you can plant large sturdy trees in the most east direction of your lot to protect this aspect of your life. The Pine tree is a ideal tree for this area as they ensure longevity.

4. Trees for Protection

There are many ways that trees actually offer protection for us. We all know they offer shade, and nourishment. But in Feng Shui terms they also offer offer a way to block out poison arrows from affecting us. If there is something pointing directly at us from across the road, the tree can be used to block that energy. The trees can also serve as something called “mountain support” in Feng Shui. The back of your home should always have something that is tall and supportive – ideally taller than your home. Fences, neighbours homes, lights can all offer this support but ideally tall trees can work as strong protectors.

5 Tree for Prosperity and Abundance!

Just as trees can bring health and well being – they can also bring abundance and prosperity. If you have an opportunity to plant a flowering tree on your property, the SE compass direction (the wealth area) is ideal. Trees with flowers or fruits in orange, red, or purple are ideal! (Think apples, oranges, and lavender of course!).

Nissan 370Z LED Rear Fog Lights

For the longest time, the concept of having an affordable sports performance coupe was practically unheard of, as these types of vehicles commanded the highest price tags that only few could afford. During the 1960s, Nissan was still a fledgling Japanese automaker who did not have much when it came to competition with the other auto giants like Toyota and Honda. It was then that developed the Z-car, which was a high performance sports coupe with a very affordable price tag.

The Z-car, also known as the Fairlady Z, has evolved since its inception into one of the most popular cars on the road today. This sports coupe is now in its sixth generation and still going strong, with many people opting for this car because of its relatively affordable price, performance ability, and sleek design. This generation is known as the 370Z with an aggressive body and fitment, proving to be very popular among the younger generation of drivers. Because of this, the 370Z is part of the JDM Movement, where Japanese cars are modified so that they have different stylistic features and fitment characteristics than what you would find in stock factory cars.

The 370Z is like an artist’s canvas, as there are tons of modifications that can be done to make this vehicle look as unique as possible. Owners have a huge range of possible products they can choose to make their Z-car more unique, from new body kits to wheels and all the way to lighting apparatuses. One interesting body style of the factory 370Z is the square shaped rear reflector. For a car that practically has everything, like stylistic and performance upgrades, it seems like the manufacturers forgot all about the rear reflector, since it’s just a red plastic piece with nothing in it at all.

Fortunately, there is something called the LED rear fog light for the Nissan 370Z that exists out there that completely transforms that lackluster reflector into something unique. The LEDs inside the assembly can flawlessly transition from tail lights, brake lights, and even reverse lights with the slight tap of your pedals or the shifter. While this LED set is still a relatively well kept secret among 370Z owners, it seems that more and more people are discovering this setup so to make their sports cars look different from everyone else’s cars on the road.

While Nissan is a common sight to see on the road, it’s actually becoming quite popular to have people modify their cars so that the vehicle has a more personal touch. Next time you are out on the road, you can try to spot as many modified cars as you can.

Fireproof Movie Review

A review of Fireproof from a Christian perspective.

Fireproof is a very realistic portrait of marriage when it is suffering. I was very impressed by Kirk Cameron's acting and the feeling behind each role in this movie. Many times a Christian movie misses the mark … however, in this case the movie was top notch.

Fireproof shows the major maritime struggles of Caleb and Catherine. They are so far apart emotionally that all they do is fight and accuse. A little while into the movie Caleb's dad gives him a book called the "Love Dare." He makes his son commit to doing it and walks him through when it looks like it will never work.

Caleb's character finds the Lord in this movie and it gives him strength to access a powerful stronghold in his life and press on to save his marriage.

As you all know, I do not like to give too many details in my reviews, so I will move on to things to watch for with the kiddies …

There is no actual sexual content. However, there are innuendos to Caleb's pornography issues AND Catherine has a flirtation with a doctor at the hospital she works at. However, nothing develops that would make it off limits.

As far as violence, there are couple scenes where Caleb and Catherine yell at each other and Caleb screams in her face. He appears to scare her when he does this. There are also a couple of intense fire and rescue type scenes that may scare younger children.

Overall this is an AWESOME movie. I give it a 4 out of 4 stars. I HIGHLY recommend it to all married couples no matter what sate your marriage is in. I also recommend that if you PLAN to get married it would be a great movie to watch. It may prepare you and help you prevent the failures you see in Caleb and Catherine as individuals.

The Rise of Windows 8 and Microsoft

Microsoft is on the rise with the upcoming advent of Windows 8. This article will explain why Windows 8 will begin a renewed Microsoft era.

Windows 8

Microsoft has revamped Windows to bring a touchscreen interface for tablets, PC's, and other touchscreen devices. The interface that Windows 8 is being built around is easy to use and falls in-line with their Windows Phone interface which helps create a unified experience across all of their devices. With a unified experience, consumers can go from their Windows Phone to their PC without any hesitation or learning curve.

The New Era of Windows

Microsoft wants to create a unified experience across all devices; tablets, phones, PC's, and other possible form factors. They have built Windows 8 to be able to run across not only PC's, but also the devices mentioned above. An easier way to understand this is Windows Phone 8 will be built off of the same core as Windows 8. The same also goes for Windows 8 tablets. Think about how Apple's iPhone and iPad are not the same as their Mac computer counterparts. This allows for a seamless experience with many possibilities.

One major advantage that this gives Microsoft and every consumer is more apps. With Windows Phone 8 being built off of the same core as Windows 8, apps built for Windows 8 (which obviously everyone will do and wants to do) can very quickly and easily be ported (turned into) Windows Phone 8. When Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 come out, be ready for a barrage of apps within months.

With the way Microsoft is building Windows 8, you will easily be able to sync your apps, documents, wallpaper, settings, and possibly music and pictures as well. Imagine you having Windows 8 for awhile and have everything set-up just the way you want it. Now, you want to a shiny new Windows 8 tablet or even a Windows 8 laptop [they could even be both in one (see Microsoft Surface tablet)], but imagine having to re-install all of your apps, changing the settings to just the way you want them just like on your other PC, etc. With the way Windows 8 is being built by Microsoft, you now do not have to worry about that anymore. Awesome right ?!

Is the experience on each device good though? Yes, yes it is, and yes it will be. Windows 8 changes the game forever because of the reasons mentioned above, but also because of the way Windows 8 is. It is built around the social, internet world today. There are ways to quickly, easily, and in a new way to share content from websites, send e-mails about the website you're looking at, tweet about the site, etc. in just seconds! Imagine the ease of a tablet, but the productivity of a computer. This is Windows 8, and honestly, I did not even thoroughly understand all of what I'm saying here until I used it myself. Once I used it, I immediately saw what Microsoft's Windows 8 could and will be.

The Rise of Microsoft

Microsoft sees the future of tablets, phones, and other touchscreen devices. This was essential to building Windows 8. Microsoft is not just on the rise because of Windows 8 however. They are on the rise because of their Xbox platform and Zune experience. Xbox is being built with the same Windows 8 interface in mind (called Metro UI). Again, creating a unified experience between all of their devices. With the new Xbox being released next year, will Windows 8 be on it? We do not know yet, but it's a possibility, and to imagine Windows on a video game system surely gets everyone excited. Microsoft is already pushing the possibilties of the Xbox and Windows 8 being together (see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IsA_lEOV_7M ). Imagine renting a movie (from Zune / Windows 8 Movies) on your Windows 8 tablet or PC, but now you're home and wish to watch it on your TV. Well, all you have to do is turn on your Xbox, pause the movie, and click / tap the button to transfer the movie to your Xbox and voilà, your now continuing to watch the movie from where you left left right on your Xbox. Amazing right? There is so much more that Microsoft is putting on the Xbox such as Netflix, Hulu, ESPN, UFC, NFL, NHL, NBA, Xfinity onDemand, Verizon FIOS On Demand, and other TV and movie related apps. Microsoft says they want to take control over your TV. This is yet another way Microsoft is rising.

Microsoft, with their Zune experience, allows you to rent or purchase movies in HD from your Windows 8 device as well as the Xbox. They also offer a robust amount of music (I listen to a lot of underground music, so me to say this is saying a lot) and a subscription plan to go along with it. They are also revamping this area of ​​the business and are experiencing to better compete with iTunes, Pandora, Spotify, MOG, and other music downloading and streaming services ( http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-57446743-93/ microsoft-unveils-xbox-music / ).

All of this creates a unified experience that does not force you to sign-up with other services so you can watch movies or stream and download music.

Conclusion

By the end of this year, Microsoft will offer everything I mentioned above; a unified, integrated, and seamless experience across your phone, tablet, PC, and TV that all work together seamlessly. No one currently provides this. Microsoft and Windows 8 will be the first and they are looking to knock the ball out of the park.

For us consumers, this means an easier, quicker, and better experience with all of our devices as well as more possibilities. We can now enjoy our gadgets with integration across one another and leave behind an era in which this was not possible.

Fireproof Floor Safe

It does not do a whole lot of good to keep people from taking your valuables if you can not protect them during a disaster. Should your house ever burn (God forbid), you want your most precious possessions to be safe and sound, and that is why you need a fireproof floor safe. Let's look at some of the best fireproof floor safes that you can find on Amazon.com.

This Sentry DS0200 fireproof floor safe is one of the most common online. It is classified for up to 1 hour of fire protection. It will protect data storage mediums such as CDs, DVDs, and memory sticks up to 1700 degrees Fahrenheit. This Sentry safe has a 3 number combination lock, and is very durable. In fact, it has been tested to withstand a drop up to 15 feet.

This safe has 4 live locking bolts which you can use to bolt the safe to the floor. Let me tell you something – when you get this puppy bolted down, is not nothing gonna move it if you know what I mean. Inside the floor safe is a key rack, and plenty of room to store your most important papers, folders, and legal documents. The interior is roughly 9 "high, 12" wide, and 11 "deep.

Customers that have purchased this product talk about how easy it is to install. Many of them found it convenient to put it in a closet or small room to keep it out of plain view. The safe is very solid and will prove to be very difficult to move should anyone try it – especially if it is bolted to the floor properly. Some people do say that after a while the lock becomes difficult to open. I guess how long the lock lasts depends on how often you have to open and close it, but just be sure to read all the customers reviews so you can get a good feel if this is the right floor safe for you.

And second fireproof floor safe is this DiamondBack GS5930H gun safe. This product is large enough to hold up to 30 guns, and it has "easy-out" gun racks so you do not have to wrestle to remove the guns. It has proven to be fireproof up to 1,250 degrees Fahrenheit, and it has a 1/4 "thick steel door to match its 1/8" thick steel body.

This particular fireproof gun safe is made to be durable. It comes with a Lifetime Fire and Burglary guarantee, so you know DiamondBack believes that they have made a quality product. The door seal is heat activated to protect the contents during a fire. What is about this product the most is the adjustable shelving. It allows you customize the interior just the way you need it to store your valuables.

Now I suggest you buy your fireproof floor safe online because you will find the best prices and selection. Traditional stores just can not compete as well in this industry, and you will find excellent discounts online without looking very hard at all.

Fiber Cement Siding is Non-Flammable & Low-Maintenance

A house fire can destroy all you've worked so hard to achieve. The investment in your home and your valuables inside can be totally wiped out and you can find yourself suffering a great hardship. While taking the proper precautionary measures can prevent house fires, you can not rule out the possibility of one completely. That's why it is important to choose construction materials that are non combustible and will give firefighters the time needed to fight the fire before it can completely consume your house.

Wood and vinyl are both standard choices when it comes to exterior home siding. But fiber cement siding is gaining popularity due to its versatility and durability. It is thick, wind resistant and easily maintained. And because this particular type of siding is flame resistant and non-combustible, fiber cement siding is the wise choice for fire-rated construction.

Fiber cement siding is made of a combination of strong and lightweight materials. Water, finely-ground sand, premium cement and natural cellulose fibers are cured and pressurized into a heavy duty plank that can be colored and painted to match any home's exterior. Because of the makeup of fiber cement siding, the siding remains non-flammable and non-combustible. These cellulose fiber-mixed cement planks require very little maintenance and responce the natural beauty of wood, especially when installed with a horizontal overlap.

As well as being fire resistant, fiber cement siding is a popular choice for those who live in climates with extreme weather conditions. The makeup of this type of exterior choice makes it resistant to water damage (mold and mildew, warping, rotting, etc.) and is essentially unaffected by insects such as termites that can cause massive amounts of damage to wood siding. It is strong and durable in high wind conditions, able to withstand hurricane and tornado force winds and show minimal damage from debris or hail hits. After painting, this type of siding resists cracking and chipping, making it a great low-maintenance option for homeowners. Basic maintenance guarantees an easy wash with a common garden hose or light wash with soapy water.

Fiber cement exteriors are backed by long warranties (depending on the manufacturer) and is an unparallel cost-effective alternative to the traditional cedar or vinyl siding, especially when compared to all the maintenance issues associated with conventional siding like painting, washing and replacement. While the price may seem steep at first, the long-term benefits far surpass any costs associated with the maintenance and upkeep you'll have to perform with wood or vinyl siding.

If you're looking for a low-maintenance alternative to wood or vinyl siding, consider fiber cement siding. The strength, durability and longevity of fiber cement – as well as unmatched fire resistance – is the perfect way to protect your investment and have a home that shows off attractiveness and natural looking curb-appeal.

Foods That Help You Lose Belly Fat

You decided it was high time you do something about that bothering belly fat and you started practicing sit ups and crunches every day. The bad part is that you can’t see any result yet. This is because exercising alone isn’t enough and you should also pay attention to your diet. What you eat is very important when you want to lose weight because foods can help burning fat faster, or on the other hand, can slow this process. Find out what your diet should contain in order to tone your belly and to look wonderful.

Protein helps you build muscle mass so it is highly recommended when you want to lose some weight. Make sure though, that together with the protein you aren’t also eating some fats. Choose lean foods in order to avoid fat intake, such as chicken breast, turkey, tuna or egg whites.

You can eat as many fruits and vegetables you wish. They are rich in fibers, they are providing you vitamins and antioxidants and they can easily replace an unhealthy snack. Whenever you feel like having a snack, grab a fruit and forget about sweets or other options that are high in calories.

A common misconception is that, when at diet, you should avoid carbs. Carbs are actually useful in losing fat, as they decompose slowly and provide you with energy for a long period of time after you finished eating. Make sure you include whole cereals in your daily diet.

Drink at least eight glasses of water every day in order for your diet to be efficient.

Also include in your diet good fats you can find in olive oil, coconut oil, seeds, nuts or almonds and avocados. Be moderate in consuming good fats, but don’t forget them as they are very healthy.

Combine the above foods and make sure you don’t leave anything out and your belly fat will go away easier.

5 Tips Help You Buy Car Sun Shades

1. Is there a standard size?

That’s a perfectly rational question, as windshields come in a variety of dimensions. A car sun shade won’t fit the windshield of an 18-wheeler. The dimensions for standard size are 24″ x 58″ and fits most compact to mid-size vehicles, while the dimensions for the large are 27″ x 67″ and are perfect for SUVs and RVs. Its best to start by measuring your car’s front windshield to determine the exact size you need.

2. Should I still buy them if I already have tinted windows?

Yes, yes and yes. Now we cannot stress this point enough. The fact is that even if your windows are tinted all the way around, if you tint your car’s entire front windshield you’re screwed – your car is pretty much useless. At best most front windshield tints only cover a tiny sliver at the top, leaving about 95% of your windshield and dashboard exposed to direct UV rays and merciless heat. Until manufacturers find a way to install transition lenses as front windshields, drivers will have to rely on the car sun shield is.

No matter how much your other car windows are tinted, the majority of heat and damage will come through at the front, while your backseat passengers get hit with a blast of heat the moment they open the car door. Eventually you will have to replace your car’s entire dashboard when it becomes cracked along with any electronics and gadgets in your vehicle that got fried. Online retailers make it affordable and easy to own car sun shields, so you can pay almost nothing for a car accessory that will protect your largest investment apart from your home.

3. Do they really work?

Yes, feel free to try them sometime.

4. I have a car sun shade with one side reflective and the other side matte white. Which side of my car sun shade is supposed to face out?

Most shiny surfaces reflect both light and heat, while matte surfaces absorb light and heat. Initially the answer might not seem so obvious but it’s the reflective or shiny side of your sun shield. Note to the rookie, please make a point of removing your sun shade before driving off into the sunset.

5. Which design is best?

Now this one is perhaps the easiest question of all. All of them, from charming Eyes Sun Shades that make your car come to life, to Zebra Stripes that bring out your wild side. With a cornucopia of innovative car sun shades out there you can’t go wrong.

Caravan Porch Awnings

A caravan porch awning can be a great addition to your caravan, adding an extra bit of outdoor space. Lightweight caravan porch awnings are often quite flimsy but do give you extra protection from the elements as you access and egress into and out of your caravan.

Putting up a caravan porch awning is very easy and can be done very quickly. This is why they are such a great alternative to a normal larger awning. The caravan has a built in rail near its roof where you attach a runner from the porch awning and slide it across over the door. A small amount of poles are then inserted to create a rigid frame and the walls are pegged into the ground so that it does not blow a way in the wind. in general a caravan porch is only used for a short amount of time such as a weekend trip. For longer holidays, a larger standard awning is used but this is a lot heavier to carry and also takes more effort and time to erect. You have to make sure when you are purchasing your porch awning that you get one that fits the model of your caravan as they all differ.

Make sure when you go to purchase that you know the height and width of the rail on the caravan that you attach the awning to. This information can be found in the owner's manual or alternatively online at the manufacturer's website. When you have the information relating to the size of the awning you wish to purchase then you can look at different designs and colors schemes. There are many alternatives places to buy a caravan porch awning. The Internet is a great tool to find bargains but if you want to see product up close then it is recommended that you go visit your local caravan dealership or camping center so that you will be able to check the quality and size for yourself.

Do not be afraid to shop around and get your purchase at the best possible price even if it means checking first at the local shop and then buying for a bargain price off the Internet. Price is not the only consideration they need to take into account when buying a Caravan porch awning. Size and correct measurement is very important but do not discount personal preference when it comes to color and design as there are plenty of options to choose from. If you think that a porch awning will not be a short-term option for you then try and invest in a good quality brand that offers a sturdy unit.

If you think that you will be using your porch warning just for short trips then why not save a bit of money and get a lightweight version. After your purchase you should check to see if you can erect the model easily yourself if you can not do not hesitate to ask the local dealership to give you a few pointsers.

Pavement Problems Caused by Weather

When the weather turns bad your ability to maneuver a vehicle is eliminated. Water on the road will reduce the friction between your tires and the road surface; you must compensate for this potential danger by reducing your speed in very heavy rain. Another point you should notice is that water mixed with oil and rubber creates an extremely slippery surface. Authorities warn that the first few minutes of a rain storm, especially after a prolonged dry spell in which an oil and rubber film, are dangerous to accumulate, are extremely dangerous.

Ice and snow also reduce friction. Much experimentation has been carried on in these conditions, to determine how much longer it takes to stop the same car on various slippery surfaces than under ideal conditions.

At 20 miles per hour the vehicle will stop in 21 feet (excluding reaction time) on dry pavement. On loosely packed snow, it will take 60 feet. However, on glare ice the distance to stop is increased to 195 feet – nine times as long as under normal conditions. Frequently the width of the road is narrowed with snow drifts, and there is constant danger that fresh snow will cover ice on the road. These conditions can cause sudden and extreme danger without you adjust your driving.

In the spring and fall, an early morning frost can create a deceptive slippery film on the road surface. In some areas, drivers are warned about this danger, especially at bridges and overpasses. At these particular locations the temperature may drop more quickly, and the resulting frost can cause slippery surface conditions when there is little or no warning from observing other weather indicators.

In the spring you should note low areas on the road. Such areas will collect water, which may be covering a hidden patch of ice. Expert driving is demanded in this situation.

Brick or cobblestone pavement can be extremely slippery when there are small amounts of moisture on the surface. Since this type of pavement is frequently irregular, the amount of tire surface in actual contact with the road at any given moment of time will be reduced. The resulting reduction of friction could cause a skid to result.

Gravel, sand, and washboard roads could all need special care, since the irregular surfaces of these roads can easily lead to a loss of control. Wet steel rails on the road also have been known to cause unexpected grief when the driver failed to realize that the surface was extremely slippery.

A slightly different type of weather problem occurs when extreme changes in temperature cause the pavement to heave or crack, resulting in the common pot hole. Pot holes can cause problems in numerous ways. Steering and tires can be damaged, and wheel alignment thrown off center. Hitting such an obstacle could also cause you to lose control of the car by the mystery lurch of the steering wheel. Be careful on such types of pavement. When you see posted warnings of rough or broken road conditions, heed them. Such warnings can save you expensive repairs, or possibly even your life.

In most of the above problems, your best procedure is to slow down. On slippery pavement it will take you longer to stop your car, so you need a greater following distance between your car and the vehicles ahead. Read your highway traffic legislation and see who is responsible for avoiding tail end collisions. To say you slid into the vehicle ahead will not fix the damage or reduce your pain if you are injured. The only sensible thing to do is to watch constantly for dangerous weather conditions and drive appropriately. Always observe the following points:

1. Check the weather anticipated on your route.

2. Have your car prepared for bad weather or winter driving.

3. Carry sand or salt to assist you should you become stuck.

4. Give yourself more time to reach your destination.