Why Use Foam Material to Fabricate Dimensional Letters, Logo or Signs

Foam is all around us. There are countless products made of foam, specifically Styrofoam (also known as EPS or Expanded Polystyrene) from the crown moldings in your home to the exhibit you just saw in the museum or the cool sign on the store you just shopped at.

But why would a fabricator choose to use foam when clearly he has other choices of materials, such as metals, aluminum, plastics, PVCs Acrylics or wood.

Dimensional lettering can be used as directional and architectural signage, attached to a building, office entrances or on walls for branding a message. Fabricator and sign shops have been using various materials to create dimensional letters, logo and signs for retail stores, companies, stages, weddings, trade shows, conventions and for any event. But imagine making letters from metal to go on a stage.

Metals and wood are considerably heavy and are inconvenient for transportation and for handling when moved from one place to another. Wood can yield a great finish look, yet is heavy as well and takes a great amount of time to work with. And plastics and PVCs are not an easy material to shape and machine. Therefore, more and more fabricators are now using foam, which is a lightweight substance as a source for creating large dimensional letters.

There are many ways in which the dimensional letters can be created. They can be left as raw white material if called for. They can be covered in matte, semi-gloss or gloss finish. The letters can be painted with specialty paintings to resemble wood, or with Faux bronze like paint to add a metal look. They can be laminated, covered in vinyl, in fabric or even be illuminated in the back to add a light effect to them.

Acrylic can be laminated in the front of the letters to match a specific logo color or to make a sign look colorful. Looks like acrylic cut letters have become one of the most popular choices for indoor sign letters.

The acrylic is cut using a laser cutter and yields a fairly precise cut. Still, foam is the most cost-effective solution for creating signs, logo, letters and props.

Since the raw foam material itself is brittle and can be damaged by water, humidity and sun exposure, being coated can protect it. Different types of coating can be used depending on the application and use needed.

They can be covered with light coating such as epoxy, to medium coating that can be sprayed, polished or brushed on such as Styrospray1000 or a hard coat polyurea sprayed with a reactor. The coating not only protects the letters, logo or sign, but also providing it much longer durability – They can last up to a lifetime once coated.

A block of EPS foam is typically 4 by 4 by 8 feet. Therefore, the most convenient size to create the project is up to 4 feet. However, there is no size limit while creating and fabricating letters. If they need to be larger they can be made in sections and glued together, and while sanding the glued pieces, the seam is almost completely eliminated.

The letters are cut using a CNC hot wire foam cutter. The foam is used to add dimension to the letters.

Foam letters are a great option for instance, if you want depth on a lobby wall sign.

They are actually 2D that can resemble a 3D project.

By giving it enough thickness they can be “stand alone” letters on a stage. For instance, a 4 feet letter should be made at a minimum of 8 inches thick to be able to stand on its own.

The foam can be cut fairly fast. A few single strokes of the hot wire melting into the material can create a letter in no time. Another advantage to the foam substrate is that it is easy to cut, mold, shape, carve and sand to a smoother finish.

Round letters can be made flat at the bottom to be able to hold their own.

The fabricator can create a base to the letters, either from the foam material itself or from acrylic, which is transparent, therefore serving as a great invisible support.

Weights can also be placed inside the foam itself to hold the weight of the letter so that it does not tip off.

If the letters need to be suspended, a double-sided tape can be placed so they can be hung up on a wall for example. In case they are big and heavier, metal rods and suspensions can be placed in them or hooks can be placed o hang them from the ceiling.

Dimensional letters will help a company attract customers and be more attractive.

Yes, there are certainly a lot of choices out there and it can be confusing at times trying to sort them out. I would say that if you are budget conscious, but still want a quality looking sign, then foam letters and logos are one of your best options.

Dimensional foam signs, logos and lettering are a great way to enhance the character and depth of your message or logo and to build recognition to your brand.

Best Ways To Clean The Roof

If you are having issues with mildew or mold in the house and are looking for an effective solution, use chlorine bleach. But if cleaning the roof is your goal, the algae and other molds may be difficult to remove from the shingles. Outdoor cleaning requires heavy-duty chemicals such as TSP combined with chlorine bleach. Other additives may be added like Jomax, to ensure a strong cleaning solution.

Although cleaning the roof is not difficult, it is tiresome and time-consuming. If you think you can manage it on your own, here are some tips to clean the roof with TSP mixed with bleach solution:

* Irrespective of whether you cover the plants growing close to the house or not, spray them with clean water before spraying the chemical on the roof. Bleach is known to harm the plants so it is important.

* Use a plastic pump garden sprayer to completely soak the area that is afflicted with mold. You can use any strong bleach based chemical. Let it soak for 5-10 minutes. After that wash off the fungus and dirt that has accumulated over the roof. Roof cleaning process may take some time, as you need to do low pressure cleaning. Asphalt shingle can be damaged with high pressure water spray.

* Ensure that the roof dries up properly and after that check for any remains of the fungus. Just in case there are any residues or slime, repeat the steps again. However, do not apply the second layer of the chemical on wet roof. At every step of the cleaning process, let the roof dry. Then apply the second application of the chemical mix.

If bleach is too harsh and you are looking at other ecologically friendly, chemical-free options, there are many products in the market today. You can try 'Spray and Forget' which has long-term effects and leaves the area fungi free. Just spray it on and leave it. Let it dry without rinsing and although it is slow-acting as compared to heavy chemical solutions, it has been proven to prevent the growth of mold and mildew for quite a few years. But if you are looking for faster results, rinse the area properly; let it dry and then spray the solution, as per the manufacturer's instructions.

Another good product on the market shelves is Moss Out. It is available in numerous configurations and there are some that have been manufactured especially for roofs, to inhibit the growth of fungi and moss on stone or masonry surfaces. It is one of the best tried and tested formula which uses zinc compounds needed for long-term protection from mold and mildew. Additionally, you can use zinc strips which can be attached to the peak of the roof. When it rains, tracks of zinc are dissolved and they coat the entire roof, preventing fungal growth.

However, do not leave the chemical mixture on the roof for long as it can damage any surface. If you think it is not your cup of tea, you can always call in professional roof cleaning experts.

Exterior Painting Services With Useful Facts

What do you understand by exterior painting services? Is it so simple for experts to color the walls of your house? There are many questions which will get cleared in this article. We'll throw some light on main facts of the professional painting services.

Exterior painting services are not just painting your house walls and are not that easy for professional companies. Moreover, there are several things which service providers consider to serve client's exterior coloring needs completely. Such points are:

Preparing the walls
The preliminary step which the company follows is the preparation of the walls for painting. Protecting the furniture as well as floor is something which they take seriously under this concern. They either keep useful objects away from the wall or cover them properly.

Older homes come with dangerous lead paint, so staff covers their eyes and body parts to avoid skin problems.

Peeling of existing paint
Another step is the peeling of existing color completely for better results. Before applying paint, staff ensures that debris, dust and other foreign material is completely removed from the surface. Paint scraper is used to scrape any flaking or cracked color. Plaster bumps are small imperfections on the wall that are removed with the help of sand paper. Electric sander is also available these days which they use for the same task.

To remove loose material, high-power spray is used to power wash the exterior surfaces. Staff makes use of commercial cleaning detergent or and bleach solution to scrub the exterior surface.

Fixing up problems
It is important to solve the problem if any chip or crack is found over the surface before applying paint. Color does not stay longer if the chip or crack is not filled properly. In short, one may require drywall services before the application of paint over the surface.

Selection of color combination
The final step of the companies is to select the color combination which is ideal for the exterior surface. They make use of finishes that stay longer and can protect the walls against cold temperature, extreme hot weather, humidity and heavy rains as well. Primer, stir sticks, paint-can opener, roller covers, drop cloth, brushes, tray, gloves, an extension pole for the roller, etc are materials which staff has on hands.

To give home exterior a distinct and classical look, it is needed to hire a professional painting company that can serve a wide range of coloring needs by considering above explained useful facts.

Mouth-Watering Thai Desserts

Thai cuisine is famous for its intriguing delicacy and spiciness. However, Thai desserts have been overlooked. The three Thai desserts famous outside of Thailand are mango with sticky rice, deep-fried bananas and coconut ice cream. There is a broad tradition of desserts in Thailand over the centuries which offers many ideas and choices.

Thai desserts have long been with the Thai people, certainly back to the Sukhothai period (1238-1350). Thais had long traded with China and India, which helped in exchanging cultures and traditions as well, including food. In the Ayuthaya period (1350-1767), Thais started trading with Western countries. The Portuguese were the first westerners to introduce the use of eggs and the oven. Thai desserts like Thong Yip (Pinched Gold), Thong Yod (Drop of Gold) and Foi Thong (Golden Threads) originate from Portugal, not Thailand as most people would guess, including Thais.

Thai desserts are renowned for intricacy and elaborateness, their organization, and the punctilious and patient care with which they are created. Characteristic of Thai desserts is not only a range of sweetness, but also other elements such as a good fragrance, achieved starting delicately and exquisitely from the ingredient preparation to the final product. There are many methods to make Thai desserts, varying from steaming, baking, boiling, or deep frying, to complex processes like cooking egg yolks in syrup. The main ingredients for most Thai desserts include coconut milk, sugar, flour, eggs, salt, food coloring and fragrance.

To make high quality Thai desserts, fresh coconut is a must. Back in the old days, only fresh coconut was used in making Thai desserts. And at present, to make coconut milk, finely grated coconut meat is still steeped in warm water, not hot water. It is then squeezed until dry. The white fluid from the first press is called “Hua Ka Ti”. Warm water is then added again to make the second and third pressed coconut milk, which is called “Hang Ka Ti.” Finely grated coconut meat is generally used about 3 times and then discarded. Freshly pressed coconut milk has a better taste and aroma than commercial coconut milk in a can. However, with a fast pace of life, or the focus more on other elements of life, it becomes more common for a family to use commercial coconut milk.

Sugar is one of the main ingredients in Thai desserts. The two common sugars used in Thai desserts are Coconut Palm Sugar and Palm Sugar. Coconut palm sugar is made from coconut palm, whereas palm sugar is made from the sap of the sugar palm or palmyra palm, called Taan in Thai. Palm sugar is often used interchangeably with coconut palm sugar but they are different in many ways. For instance, palm sugar is dryer and more solid than coconut palm sugar. It is also more expensive than coconut palm sugar. In some dessert recipes, coconut palm sugar is often replaced with palm sugar. The replacement may lend the same general look to the dessert but the dessert will be different in taste and aroma.

Thai desserts are well known for their intriguing light tones. Generally the colors used to attract people are made from natural flowers or plants. The following are examples of the most common color sources used in Thai desserts:

  • Pandanus leaf (Bai Toey): giving a dark green color;
  • Spathe of coconut or palmyra palm leaf (Kab Ma Prao or Bai Taan) : giving a black color;
  • Turmeric (Kha Min): giving a yellow color;
  • Flower of Chitoria Tematea Linn (Dok Un Chun): giving a blue color (adding lime juice will give a purple color);
  • Flower of Aeginetia Pedunculata (Dok Din): giving a black color (but the flower is actually a dark purple color);
  • Saffron (Yah Fa Rang): giving a yellow-orangish color;
  • Roselle (Kra Jiab): giving a dark red (maroon-like) color;
  • Lac (Krang): giving a red color;

Fragrance is another unique characteristic of Thai desserts. There are many ways of making good aromas with Thai desserts but the most common ones are using jasmine flowers (Dok Ma Li), rosa damascene (Dok Ku Laab Mon – roses family), cananga odorata flowers (Dok Kra Dang Nga) as well as fragrant incense candles (Tien Ob). Since the old days, Thais love using jasmine water in desserts because of its aroma. Thais would pick jasmine flowers around 6pm and gently rinse with water so that the flowers do not get bruised. The jasmine flowers (Dok Ma Li) are then soaked in water with a closed lid, and left until around 6am-7am the next morning. The resulting scented water is then used to make the dessert. Keeping the jasmine flowers for more than 12 hours will start to bruise the flowers and the water will not have a good aroma. Rosa damascene (Dok Ku Laab Mon) is used in a different way. Thais only use the pedals. Each pedal is torn into 2 or 3 pieces and then placed in a closed container that has a dessert in it for a certain period of time, usually overnight. For cananga odorata flowers (Dok Kra Dang Nga), Thais first burn them with a fragrant incense candle, and then place only the pedals in a closed container that holds the dessert. For some desserts, burning fragrant incense candles next to desserts in closed containers will be enough to give the desserts an intricate aroma.

What are the common desserts that Thais eat? Thais loves desserts (called Khanom in Thai). The well known dessert is Mango with Sticky Rice, but it is a seasonal dessert, around April to June. Deep-fried banana fritters (Gluay Tod in Thai) or bananas in coconut milk (Gluay Buat Chee) are also well known desserts in Thai restaurants in the U.S. In Thailand, there are all kinds of desserts, both non-seasonal and seasonal, from deep-fried to steamed. Some of the most common Thai desserts include the egg-yolk desserts; Thong Yip (Pinched Gold), Thong Yod (Drop of Gold) and Foi Thong (Golden Threads). Thong simply means Gold. The color of these three desserts is a yellow-like golden color from the egg yolk, and is used to signify prosperity and auspiciousness. These “three musketeers” desserts are often used in wedding ceremonies or commemoration of a new house as well.

Khanom Chan or layered dessert is another common dessert. The name of the dessert comes from the fact that it has 9 layers with color variations. The dessert uses only 2 colors: white and a light tone of a color like green or purple. White is used in every other layer. This dessert is also used in important ceremonies like weddings or the grand opening of a new business. Thais believe the number “nine” is an auspicious number which represents progress and advancement.

One of my favorite desserts is Luk Choob. Made from mung dal beans, this dessert is a collection of miniature replicas of fruits and vegetables. The fruits and vegetables are colorful and glossy, artistically carved, and styled with vegetable dyes and glazed in the gelatin-like agaragar. Bua Loy Benjarong is another interesting dessert. Bua Loy Benjarong is gluten balls in coconut milk, a dish that has been with Thailand for over 200 years. The little balls, the size of the tip of the pinky, are made from sticky rice flour mixed with natural colors. Benjarong refers to 5 natural colors: green (from pandanus leaf), purple (from taro and Chitoria Tematea Linn flower), yellow (from pumpkin), blue (from Chitoria Tematea Linn flower) and white (from jasmine water).

Additionally, tapioca and black beans in coconut milk (Sakoo Tao Dum), coconut custard in a hollowed pumpkin (Sangkhaya Fak Thong), grilled coconut cakes (Paeng Jee), mung dal beans and lotus seeds with coconut topping (Tao Suan Med Bua) are desserts, to name a few, that are common in Thailand.

Thai desserts have always been a part of Thai culture. They reflect caring, patience and an enjoyable way of life. Unfortunately, as time passes, some of the traditions and beliefs are being forgotten in Thai society, although most kinds of desserts still exist. Their tempting and satisfying tastes leave a lasting impression – which is in turn an integral part of why Thai desserts have not been lost with time.

Heating Maintenance and Efficiency Tips

Most of us, in fact a vast majority of us, take things for granted while buying a house. We become so much elated and excited at that time that we forget to inquire about the most vital issue – heating system that can cost us dearly in coming years. Usually, we do not mind spending lavishly for furniture or a for useless home appliance but the same enthusiasm goes absent when we have to spend a little amount of money for upgrading our heating maintenance system. However, if we give a little bit of attention to the proper maintenance and servicing of our heating system, we can easily save a good amount of money each year. Apart from increasing its efficiency, it will definitely have a positive impact on your house 'electricity bill.

Lets Check Out Some Of The Common Heating Efficiency Tips:

A good maintenance can make all the difference. Before doing anything in haste, you need to make sure that you have garnered enough information about energy efficiency and energy conservation. You can collate information related to this issue from "Energy Star". It is an initiative of the Federal government for helping people to find out companies that are offering reliable and authentic information on energy efficiency.

Try Manual Thermostats

You can enhance the heating maintenance system of your home by opting for manual thermostats. By lowering thermostat, when no one is home, you can reduce the energy consumption of your home, which will certainly help you to save a good amount of money at the end of the month.

Programmable Thermostats

If you are using Energy Star certified programmable thermostat in your house, you will be able to save up to $ 150 at the end of the year. Programmable thermostat increases the efficiency of a heating system and thereby helping it to consume less power.

Regular Maintenance

Regular maintenance makes all the difference. If you are not serious enough about it, you will have to pay for it in the long run. This is the simple rule. Air filter of your heating system should be cleaned once in a month and it should be replaced if it is in bad condition. This will definitely improve the quality of air in your home.

Adding Insulation and Sealing Licks

You can easily enhance the efficiency of your house's heating system without spending a single penny. What you will have to do is to seal all the leaks. In order to maximize the performance of your heating system, you can add insulation in the attics. You can replace the windows of your home with Energy Star certified windows for getting the best results as well.

If you are in a fix or if you are unable to do these tasks, you can contact a professional who is well versed with all these aspects. He will inspect the condition of the ducts, seal the leaks and will offer you some suggestions that you can try later for improving the performance of the heating system.

Installing Geothermal Heat Pumps

Installation of Geothermal Heat Pumps is obviously expensive but it can reduce the energy bill of your house drastically.

A number of Las Vegas heating companies are now offering this service and therefore, you will not have to face any hassle if you are unable to service your heating system yourself. Just send them a mail and they will get back to you instantaneously.

10 Tips For Capturing E-Learning Audio

Using audio in your online course is an extremely important factor in engaging your audience. Studies have shown that courses without audio are less compelling and memorable than courses with audio. Either used as a narration or for directions, audio – done the right way – can greatly enhance your e-learning materials.

Help with Audio for Online Course Developers Audio engineering and the knowledge it takes to adequately capture, edit, and clean up audio to achieve a quality output is a task that is typically beyond the skill set of most online course developers. The average course developer has little if any knowledge of sampling rates, frequencies, modulation, compression schemes and other audio engineering concepts.

The goal of this article is to provide you information on how to get the audio in a format suitable for an e-learning course-authoring tool. The article will focus on capturing and editing audio at the basic level and certainly, the 10 tips listed below should help get you moving in the right direction.

1. Microphones

For narration, you’ll need to use a microphone to capture the voiceover. Sure, your laptop or PC might have a built-in microphone, but you probably don’t want to end up sounding like the broken drive-through speaker at your local fast food restaurant. There are several microphones to choose from and they are made specifically for different purposes. Dynamic Microphones are the ones you commonly see being used by rock stars in concerts. They have a ball-like shape as the head. These mics are omni-directional, meaning that they can pick up sound from a wide area. The Shure SM-58 microphone is an example of a dynamic microphone and has a consistent quality and dynamic range that makes it useful for all types of applications.

Condenser Microphones, unlike dynamic microphones, have a capacitor inside that requires them to be powered by a source – either battery or A/C. These microphones are often found in recording studios, used in live concerts, and are commonly found in lavalier mics (the kind you attach to a shirt or lapel). These mics are uni-directional, meaning that they capture a more narrow area of sound. Because of their power requirements, their voltage output can vary. The Neumann KMS-105 is an example of a condenser mic.

You may also find a Headset Microphone, which plugs directly into your computer’s input source and output source, so you can hear what you say as you are recording. Most of the microphones on these headsets have a noise cancellation function built into them. This causes unnatural sounding silences between phrases. The audio quality from these types of microphones tends also to sound blown out as the microphone position is very close to the mouth. That makes higher frequencies tend to sound noisy and lower frequencies sound poorly.

Built-In Microphones have the tendency to pick up any noise generated by your computer during use. This means any hard-drive motion, cooling fans, operating system sounds, and room ambience. These microphones are usually engineered to pick up the widest area of sound for situations like web conferencing and chat room sessions. The audio quality is usually poor and the microphones do not have sophisticated features like noise canceling or balancing. If at all possible, you should avoid using the built-in microphone for your audio input source.

2. Distance from Microphone

I’m sure you’ve all seen the rock videos or American Idol, where the rock stars have the microphone jammed up against their mouths as they are singing. So most people feel they need to do the same when recording narration. What the rock stars have to their advantage is a sound limiter that cuts off frequencies above a certain range. The maximum output is policed by this device to prevent any unwanted feedback or squelch, because the frequency is automatically limited. Most likely, your simple setup won’t have this capability.

One thing you can do to prevent any unwanted sounds in your narration, is to position your mouth about 6 to 12 inches away from the microphone and speak directly into the microphone, not away from it, to either side, nor in front of it. The best audio signal will be a direct path from your mouth to the microphone. If you start speaking into the microphone and then tilt your head downwards to read from a script, you’ll be able to notice the drop in the audio signal. If needed, hold your script up next to the microphone. Another tip: when reading from a script, don’t read across pages that you are turning or moving from one hand to another. Most microphones are sensitive enough to pick up all of that paper moving. If possible, have each page of the script segmented and keep them separated, not stapled or kept together with paper clips.

3. Use a Windscreen

A consistent frequency helps to produce the best audio. If you are looking at an audio waveform for the first time, you won’t be able to decipher it, but the peaks and valleys of each frequency can visually tell a lot about that sound. One thing that often happens, especially during narration recording, are pops that occur when saying words that begin with P or B. These pops go above the dynamic range and therefore, don’t sound anything like a P or a B but more like a popping sound.

A simple solution to this problem is a windscreen. Some engineers will wrap a wire clothes hanger with nylon stockings and place them in front of the mics in order to act as a low budget windscreen, but you can also buy them for less than ten dollars at your local music store. These are constructed out of a foam material and fit over your microphone.

4. Interfaces

So far, I’ve spent a lot of time talking about microphones but a majority of the mics recommended here won’t even plug in to your computers without adapters. Professional mics have an XLR connector, which has three pins. Most computers are made with eighth inch connectors. You can use Dynamic Microphones with an adapter connected to your computer without much of a problem. Condenser Mics, since they require power, won’t work even with an adapter.

There are interfaces specifically built for this purpose and they come in two flavors: USB and Firewire (IEEE 1394). Most PC manufacturers are including either USB 1.0 or 2.0 ports on their hardware. Firewire is more commonly found on Apple computers however, you can purchase Firewire cards for PCs. Firewire is faster than USB in certain applications and therefore is more desirable for audio input. There’s less latency on a Firewire connection than on a USB connection because of the performance speed.

Firewire comes in two flavors, there’s Firewire 400, which can transfer data at a rate of 400 MB per second, and Firewire 800, which doubles the speed to 800 MB per second. There are a wide range of musical digital interfaces out on the market today, and you can use either of these technologies to interface with a computer. MAudio has a line of both types including the ProFire 610 and the FastTrack USB.

These devices can run off of their intended connections and act as an audio input/output source for your computer to provide a professional recording result. At SyberWorks, we use an M-Audio Firewire 410 audio interface connected to two Shure-SM 58s for all of our narration. The 410 is a powerful choice because it offers multiple inputs and all of the audio controls necessary for level/gain and limiter/compressor. It also has XLR inputs and quarter inch inputs for microphones and instruments, and two headphone outputs. Connected to the 410 are two M-Audio BX8a monitors, which offer a much higher quality output sound than any built-in computer speaker.

5. Software

There are so many options for audio editing software, from the simple shareware/freeware to the professional level, that the determination of what to use might lie somewhere within your budget constraints. The basic audio recording tools that come with any Windows-based machine do not generate quality audio. Any Apple computer comes with GarageBand which is an excellent mid-level audio recording application. GarageBand is the step child of Apple’s Logic Studio and offers some pretty sophisticated tools for recording, editing, and delivering audio recordings on any platform.

Adobe has an audio recording/editing application called SoundBooth, which offers a variety of tools for cleaning up audio files and saving them in different formats. SoundBooth comes with the Creative Suite Production Premium or Master Collection. I recently used SoundBooth to record old cassette tape tracks as MP3 files so that I can burn the files to CD.

I was able to use SoundBooth to clean up all of hissing sound on tapes and the audio quality was excellent. Bias, Inc. has been in the audio production area for over a decade now and their flagship audio editing software, Peak Pro, is an award winning application. With a simple interface and a variety of effects and controls, Peak makes audio editing simple. I’m a long time user of Peak Pro and can say that it’s a stable, professional application that offers all of the tools that I need to edit the audio that I record. Combined with SoundSoap Pro, an audio cleaning application, Peak Pro can reduce noise, hiss, rumble, cracks and pops, and other unwanted sounds from any audio recording.

Here at SyberWorks, we use Peak Pro to record any narration for podcasts or courses and GarageBand to stitch together podcasts and teasers. GarageBand comes with some preset stingers and effects which are great for podcasts. It’s ridiculously easy to use. Once the file has been put together, it’s output as an AIFF file to iTunes. I then use iTunes to convert the sound to the MP3 format for delivery.

6. Normalize

During recording, audio levels can be mismatched creating undesirable results during playback. For example, recording from two different sources might produce two different volume levels. When played back, one source sounds softer and the other might sound louder, even though they were recorded in the same room on the same computer with the same hardware. This can be attributed to vocal style or audio input levels not being properly monitored.

To adjust audio levels across the board so that the volume is relatively consistent, most audio editing software offers some normalization option in which the audio levels are examined and a maximum and minimum range are then determined. Softer sounds are increased and louder sounds are decreased so that the overall sound level is more consistent.

If there is a stark contrast between the two input sources, then sound normalization might work against you. Softer sounds might have more sound introduced in them when the gain is increased. Be sure to check your audio input levels before recording. Try to get both sources to come up to the same decibel level prior to recording. If possible, show the input meter in your audio software to the speakers and try to get them to speak at a gain level about 5 decibels.

7. Ahh’s and Uhm’s

For some people, speaking into a microphone can be a little intimidating. You might hear a lot of Ahhh’s and Uhmm’s during a recording session. Some people naturally put these in their phrases because they are thinking about what they are going to say next. Others put them in out of nervousness. Others have lisp’s or emphasize S’s and Z’s. Still others smack their lips or breath heavy before talking.

When editing audio, the tendency might be to remove all instances of Ahh’s and Uhm’s. When separated from the rest of a passage, this is easy to do and is an effective way to make the entire sound file shorter. However, there are times when the Ahh’s and Uhm’s are rolled into other phrases and are difficult to separate.

The rule of thumb when editing audio is to remove whatever is bothersome, but keep the tempo of the original sound source and make it sound as natural as possible. Some people also take deep breaths between passages or have nasal sounds that are picked up by the microphones. Sometimes these can be removed and other times they can’t. Remove what you can, but try as much as possible to make the overall recording natural.

8. Cleaning Audio

Depending on how clean your input source is, you may have an audio track that is laced with hum or noise coming from a variety of sources, like an overhead fluorescent light, A/C noise, and other ambient sounds. SoundBooth and Peak Pro both have tools for eliminating these types of sounds from your audio input sources. As mentioned above, the rule of thumb still applies.

Some of these tools can end up making your audio sound very metallic and unnatural, more like a computerized version of the original. When using SoundSoap Pro, for example, the default settings for removing noise keeps all of the highs recognizable, while the mids and lows suffer from a dense computerized sounding quality. SoundBooth’s noise correction tools have the same issue, so if too much is applied, the result isn’t worth the effort.

There’s a balance to how much correction is applied to a sound versus the quality of the output. Sometimes, here at SyberWorks, we have to record voices over the phone. Sound quality from a phone line is always problematic, so invariably that sound will need to be cleaned up. Too much correction though, and the integrity of the voice is compromised. On the other hand, no correction will keep a lot of hiss and noise in the sound, which is undesirable.

9. Audio Formats

Depending on which authoring tools you are using and which platform you are on, you’ll need to know which audio formats to use. The major audio format for the PC platform is .wav, on the Mac platform it’s .aiff. Adobe Captivate and Microsoft PowerPoint both use the .wav format. The most popular internet audio format now is .mp3, which has greater compression and better sound quality than other internet formats. Captivate uses MP3 compression in sound files for the final output. This makes the files smaller but they can suffer in quality, depending on the settings in Captivate. Native .wav files embedded in PowerPoint files can make those files enormous. Using iSpring, a PowerPoint to Flash converter, you can significantly reduce the file size of presentations and course materials intended for internet delivery.

SyberWorks Web Author has an additional tool called SyberWorks Web Audio which allows you to add streaming audio to courses that anyone can hear using just a web browser. Playback is accomplished through a small Sun Java applet that downloads automatically and quickly. It requires no additional plug-ins or server software. It has no firewall issues and can play in the background, without any visible controls on course pages, or with a small set of basic audio controls displayed. SyberWorks Web Audio tool takes an audio file of the format .wav and compresses it into the SyberWorks audio format (.sa). It is then easily inserted into the word document by using the Add SyberWorks Audio template.

10. Compression

Depending on which tool you used during recording, you probably have an original audio source with a near CD quality (44 KHz) output. That quality is diminished as soon as the file is compressed. Too much compression and the sound quality is something like R2-D2 behind a large, metal door. Too little compression and the sound files become too large to transfer and play. The factors involved in compression include bit rate and quality. The bit rate is the data stream target for your intended audience. The typical internet connection these days is at least DSL speed (128 KBps), but there still may be users at modem speeds of 56 KBps. Tools like Captivate will allow you to set the bit rate and quality for all the audio in your course. Therefore, when you save your files out of SoundBooth or Peak Pro, never add any compression. Let Captivate or your other eâLearning tool do the compression for you.

Quality settings can also alter the file size. Lower quality files have higher compression and therefore are smaller, but sound worse. Higher quality files have less compression, sound better, but are larger in file size

How To "Build A Business" – The Truth No One Will Ever Tell You

Rather than trying to pursue to huge idea upfront (which everyone does), you need to be able to either break it up into manageable chunks *or* build up your momentum doing smaller jobs.

This is especially true within the “technology” industry; large companies such as Microsoft and Oracle all had a pedigree in consultation – a model which allowed the fledgling companies to earn money whilst learning their craft.

This might sound simplistic but it’s actually relatively little-known. The reason is because it’s not “sexy”… people would rather “pitch” for $500k up front than build a reputable source of cashflow in the interim. I’ve been in both positions, so I know exactly what the mindset is that leads to either.

The point is that if you’re able to consider taking a “slower” path, you will typically get the chance to actually implement your ideas in your own time anyway. Apart from having the benefit of learning / perfecting your craft (whilst getting paid), you also don’t have the added strain / stress that typically comes from a venture-funded startup.

The only downside, of course, is time. It takes a LOT of time to create any sort of business, let alone one that you are using as a “stepping stone” to greater things. To this end, if you’re looking at pursuing this path, you have to appreciate the overall model (rather than just looking at it quite simply).

The way it works is that if you have an “idea” you wish to implement, you first need an audience who are interested in that idea. This is the primary issue for most designers & entrepreneurial people – they tend to become obsessed with the idea and forget that people actually need to know about it. By working on a “consultancy” / “service” – level basis before trying to implement the idea.

We’ve found that if you’re able to build up at least $10,000 before embarking on an idea, it really does go a long way to help you make significant progress. On top of this, we’ve had it before that you were able to actually build parts of the end product whilst doing work on behalf of others. I know for sure that this is partly how Oracle was originally created.

To this end, you should never write off the long grind behind the scenes. Not only does it make you more attuned to the business environment, but ensures that you’re able to get the most out of any work you actually put out into the world.

Advantages of First Aid Box

At first when I took first aid training from a local hospital, I had no idea how much helpful is this training in providing help to others. It gives you a sense of self-satisfaction when you help someone in acute emergency. But at the time of training, I didn’t realize about the importance and advantages of first aid box but after some time when I got a first aid box to keep at my home and equipped the same with all necessary items, I have a piece of mind to cope any type of emergency in my home or even if it happens with anyone in neighbor hood.

If you are a person who also likes to help others, even if not others, just to provide treatment to your loved ones, you must maintain a first aid box at your home. But before you maintain a first aid box at your home, consider taking part in a first aid training course because it will train you in using various surgical instruments and medical devices properly.

Usually, after you get first aid training from any hospital or organization such as Red Cross, your trainer also provides you a check-list for your first aid box. The check-list usually includes following items:

  • Antiseptic Wash
  • Gauze squares & Gauze rolls
  • Cotton balls & Cotton swabs
  • Neospirin or other triple antibiotic ointment or cream
  • Medical tape, hot/cold pack, small scissors
  • Bee sting kit, thermometer
  • Selection of bandages

There are many other extra items which you may keep in your first aid box such as sterile water, self-adhesive tape, nail clippers, trauma shears, surgical suture, surgical suture needle, vicryl mesh, Ethicon sutures, steroid cream and sunburn treatment (aloe products) etc.

Some of these items need more specific training to use them properly such trauma shears are used to cut leather jackets, seat belts and denim etc. Like wise to use surgical instruments such as surgical suture and surgical suture needle, you also need specific training to take care of large wounds or cuts.

You can also make two first aid kits, one for your home and other for your. Take a small kit with you when you travel or you can name your travel kit as a mini kit. To get all these necessary items for your first aid box, you can search over the internet to find many reliable resources where you may get discounts if you order for all medical supplies at one place.

The Market of the Autographed Sports Memorabilia

Collecting has become a national and global phenomenon. Because of its popularity, the autographed sports memorabilia market has become a huge and successful enterprise. This article examines what is necessary to get into the collecting business as well as steps to be taken to avoid buying counterfeit sports memorabilia.

The market of collecting autographed sports memorabilia is no different than what Wall St terms as a Bull and Bear Market. Collecting is more of a hobby than a necessity. Hence, the demand in the sports memorabilia market drops in a downward economy and spikes when it’s hitting on all cylinders. The sports market is constantly changing with different fads, trends, and rules affecting sports on a year to year basis. Performance and scandals affect players rise and fall as well. There are collectors’ forums, social websites and vertical portals that help get information on what is the trend in the sports market.

Like any investment industry, careful research and studying needs to be done. Collecting autographed sports memorabilia is no different. There are countless tools like magazines, articles, trade shows, authenticators and dealers to help make informed decisions on purchasing autographed sports memorabilia. There are numerous forgers and scammers out there waiting to give a sports autograph of your favorite player at bargain basement prices. This automatically should be a red flag. Dealers go through great lengths to get athletes to sign merchandise in the so called “sweet spot” with a non fading marker that ensures the longevity of the signature. Again, price comparisons and research must be done to make sure the signature is authentic. Authenticators like Professional Sports Authenticators (PSA) and Beckett Grading Services can help in authenticating products. Buying from trusted vendors that guarantee a money back return policy provides added protection that the memorabilia is authentic. Trusted vendors that give such a service are All Authentic Autographs, Hollywood Collectibles, Steiner, Sports Memorabilia and All Authentic.

It is also important to keep in mind that older, vintage autographs tend to hold their value more than those athletes currently playing. Older players have made their mark on their respective games and have solidified their place in history. Such is not true with those currently playing as countless events can happen that could affect the value of their autographs. Hardly will a player who has passed away ever have a drop in his autographed memorabilia value. Consider all these factors when purchasing autographed memorabilia of your favorite athletes. It will ensure a sports décor that is guaranteed to be worth every penny of your time and investment.

Cable Television Opens Up the World to Viewers

Cable television provides television viewing to consumers by way of radio frequency signals. It is picked up by antennas and then delivered through transmission lines. This is different from traditional broadcast or satellite television.

Cable is popular in North America, Europe, Australia, East Asia, South America and the Middle East. In the United States of America, at least 58 percent of households enjoy this form of TV viewing.

Unlike broadcast, cable TV, or CATV, has opened up the world to television viewers. This is because its subscribers are valued to hundreds of channels. This is an opportunity that broadcast stations are unable to provide.

Because of the large variety of shows on cable, there's something for everyone. For example, sports enthusiasts will love the large variety of games and sports programming that they get access to.

Instead of being treated only to a football game, for example, you can experience shows on football history, listen to football commentary; enjoy exclusive interviews on football personalities and other programming that may not be found in broadcast.

Do you have children? Are you concerned about the quality of broadcast television for children? Many parents worry that broadcast television offers shows that are too violent or that do not offer much in the way of education.

However, with CATV, your child can experience a large variety of educational programs on nature, world history, humanities, science and more. Your child will find programming specifically designed to focus on a particular theme. For example, if your child needs help on a project about Africa, a cable television program on the wonders of Africa can help a child on his or her Africa research project.

What if you're a news buff? Broadcast can only show you a limited amount of local and national news. However, cable can give you news from around the world.

If, for example, you're an American subscriber, you'll be treated to the way they present the news in London, or Canada, or some other location. If you will give you a headache insight into what is happening in the world and to other world views. You'll also be grateful to varying accents and languages.

Love fashion? Every fashion lover will love cable television programming on fashion. They will find a variety of shows on clothing, jewelry, shoes and accessories. You'll learn what the fashion designers are saying. You'll learn what the up to the minute style is. You'll be treated to fashion shows and what goes on at fashion houses.

Broadcast television can only show you so much of the fashion world. Cable can show you everything. Plus, it has fewer restrictions as to what can be shown. For example, fashion shoots may involve nudity. CATV providers are less likely to censor a high-end fashion shoot because of the appearance of nudity.

No matter what your focus may be, cable television offers the viewer a wide variety of programming from everything on technology, cooking, health, style and much and much more. Once you make the switch, you'll never go back to broadcast.

The Dirt Cheap Phone Chargers Are Hazardous for Quite a Few Reasons

A USB cable is the name of a cable that you use for charging your device. A wall adapter comes with the cable that it must be plugged into. However, a significant number of low-priced replacements are floating around. Does one need to pat the rather exorbitant prices for the wall chargers that act as replacements for Apple devices? What about the claims of all the additional device manufacturers that if you use a rough third-party unit, it could give you headaches? Is it that they’re only blowing smoke, or is the Amazon knockoff charger worth $3 the one that’s smoking? An intelligent engineer found out by disassembling a knockoff iPad charger.

It is likely that the vast majority of us have got accustomed to carrying these potent electronic devices about, which is the reason why we do not get concerned while doing do. Nonetheless, the fact is that the batteries and also the cables for charging the devices have to tackle a vast amount of power. A wall adapter for the gadget you have has a charge of 170 volts that could damage your device on not being properly contained. If you take a peek inside a low-priced counterfeit iPad charger worth $3, you will know why.

The drawbacks of the phone chargers that are dirt cheap

The first deficiency of cheap phone chargers that is evident is that the knockoff has nearly not insulation, and this is a shortcoming that you don’t want to see. However what is even more disturbing is possibly the more primordial circuit board of such chargers, their inability to filter the voltage, and the rather awkward placement of their components. The insides of all wall chargers must have an excellent partitioning of elements of high and low voltages. However, the cheap phone chargers have a rather lazy design that does not give detail its due importance. This shortage is also evident in the various fly back transformers whose function is to turn input power into DC. What is the implication of this drawback? Well, nothing other than shorts, Voltage bleed, and much heat.

The difference between the real deal chargers and the false ones

If you monitor how the voltage performs and the current produced, you can understand the difference very clearly. All of the real deal chargers feature incredibly clean power having hardly any spikes. All of the counterfeits are unstable to the extent of being hazardous due to their output featuring unsafe jumps that could damage the batteries. The noise that a cheap wall adapter makes is so awful that it could be the cause of screen distortion.

Conclusion

It would be wrong to state that you can’t purchase a less pricey charger that is also some brands of good reputation are familiar with the art of delivering a wall adapter at a price that is below the Apple’s asking price of $19. Nevertheless, that knockoff plug that is worth a mere $3 is an item that you ought to keep away from as you would from a plague.

Learning More About Reverse Mortgage Requirements in Canada

When you’re searching for a mortgage of any type you are more than likely well aware that you are going to have to meet specific requirements and do certain things in order to get everything together that you will need to apply for one. The main problem with mortgages is not only are they confusing to get through by yourself but it is also difficult to figure out what you need to get one.

When you’re looking into Reverse Mortgage Requirements in Canada then you know that you have to be over a certain age, currently on the title of the house, and that the property has to be in Canada. All in all, Reverse Mortgage Requirements in Canada aren’t actually all that complicated to the reverse mortgage requirements in some other countries.

The main Mortgage Requirements in Canada involve being over the age of 60, owning property in Canada, and being on that property’s title. There are also many restrictions that you need to keep in mind when you’re looking into the reverse mortgage requirements. The property has to be the main residence of the person who is looking to get a reverse mortgage. Additionally, the debt of the person who is attempting to get a mortgage can not be over 40% of the property’s total value. Generally, 40% is the maximum mortgage that can be lent though this obviously also depends on other factors like your age, the location of the property, and what the value of the property is. Additionally, the minimum amount that the original mortgage can be has to be no less than $20,000.00. Finally, at least one of the people who own the property must occupy it in order to be able to qualify.

While it is obvious that there are going to be many more rules that you have to sort through in order to fully understand it in Canada as they relate to you, at least now you have a better understanding of whether or not you should even go through the trouble of looking into it in the first place. Generally your bank will be able to tell you more and there are several other resources available to you should you wish to further research them on your own.

Cargo Agency: A Tool for Entering Good Exportation

Professional assistance is advantageous when a business first enters the process of shipping cargo internationally. So many factors must be evaluated which affect the overall success of exported shipments. It can be difficult to be certain a transport will arrive safely to the destination and be accepted by customs officials. Every country has varying shipment regulations regarding the items which they accept as well as the documentation required for the transport to gain entrance.

An agency is a good source for any business just starting to export goods. Customs clearance is not the only obstacle during this type of transport. Multiple modes of transfer are often needed to accomplish the shipment. Goods may have to be loaded on a truck to arrive at an airport or ocean port. The goods must then be reloaded onto one of these transfer methods to arrive at the international destination. Once cleared through customs, goods may have to be stored or loaded onto another transport mode to reach the customer. This process is extremely detailed and can make each individual transport complicated. Businesses unfamiliar with the process obtain better results when they rely on the knowledge of an experienced cargo agency in the industry.

Freight Agencies Using Quotes to Find the Most Reliable Service Company

Freight agencies, as with any other service, are highly competitive. A freight quote can help in determining who offers the best price for their services. The provider will need certain information to supply an accurate quote for a shipment. Any time the service provider is needed, a business must first contact them directly and discuss specific needs. International transfers can be performed by air, surface, or sea. Surface methods such as trucks or rail are the most cost-efficient, but cannot be used for the entire transport. An agent will need specific details to ensure all incurred costs are included in the quote. A freight calculator or other complex application will be used for the estimate, as weight, size, traveling distance, and other factors affect the overall price of the transport. If the arrival port is uncommon or out of the way, the cost will be higher than with major international cargo ports.

Less obvious factors will also be part of a quote supplied by freight agencies. Transports are broken down into a freight class which defines the ease of shipment. This classification is based upon overall liability, good density, and special handling requirements. Hazardous items have intricate handling concerns. Improper shipment can result in disastrous consequences where people can be harmed. Perishable items require cooler temperatures along with a faster shipment time. These special concerns can have a dire affect on the price of the shipment if prevention techniques are not in place.

Freight brokers can help in deciding between full or partial truckload services. Final items included in the quoted price are product insurance, warehousing, and other needed services. A quote can be a great tool for gaining the insight needed to obtain the best pricing options. Acquiring a quote also allows a business to experience each provider’s customer service first hand. Taking the time to receive a few quotes will ensure dependability and great service are received from the selected cargo agency.

Why Drink Water After a Massage?

Have you ever wondered why you are told to drink extra water after a massage?

Your therapist is not just honoring a nurturing instinct or lecturing you on good health. When your muscles are manipulated during a massage waste materials and other toxins are released from the muscles and into the blood stream. Just like when you exercise, massage, especially deep tissue or sports massage, dehydrates muscles and removes electrolytes. In order to help your kidneys process and flush out these toxins, it is important to drink additional water.

Water will help prevent unnecessary soreness, possible nausea, and an overall sluggish feeling. Your body is happy to get rid of all the "junk" it has been stocking but you need to help it along with extra H2O. Keeping your muscles hydrated regularly helps keep the tissue supple and healthy reducing tension and spasm.

There is debate about the actual amount of water that is considered the right amount. A good way to know you are hydrated is to make a point to drink your 8 glasses a day and if your urine is clear then, you are hydrated. If you are already a pro at staying hydrated, then go ahead and tack on an extra 3-4 glasses of water after a massage. Every body is different so you might have to test it out and see how much is enough for you. If the day after a massage you are stiff and fatigued, add on a couple more glasses the next go around. You will find your body feeling renewed and rejuvenated.

Receiving a massage does not burn calories (but giving a massage does!), Remedy cellulite, or take the place of exercise and a healthy diet. It does, however, increase muscle tone and the integrity of the skin. These are all things that benefit from good levels of hydration. More importantly, massage lowers cortisol, a stress hormone which is often responsible for weight gain. When cortisol levels are high, the body has a difficult time resting and digesting and this stress mode causes weight gain.

Massage can also decrease water retention in the body by wringing toxins and excess fluids out of the muscles, slating them for elimination. Adrenal glands and kidneys get a jump start and move waste materials more quickly through the body. As circulation improvements, skin appears healthier and smoother.

Massage sets the body up for the best conditions of optimal health and positive results show from the inside out.

Is There a Health Effect of Drugs in Drinking Water?

Recent studies by the Environmental Protection Agency and the US Geological Survey have found small amounts of pharmaceuticals in our drinking water. The drugs found in drinking water were measured in parts per billion or trillion.

Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products (PPCPs) make up a wide variety of chemical substances, including prescription, cosmetic, over-the-counter pharmaceutical drugs, fragrances and many others. PPCPs can be found in any water body effected by raw or treated sewage, including rivers, streams, ground water, and many drinking water sources.

These drugs and substances enter into the environment and our drinking water several ways:

  • Medication residues pass out of the body and into sewer lines
  • Some people flush unused medication down toilets or place them in the trash
  • Several PPPs remain after waste water treatments and cleansing by water treatment plants

According to Dr, Sarah Janssen, MD, PHD, and MPH, a science fellow at the Natural Resources Defense Council, "Ever since the late 1990s, the scientific community has recognized that pharmaceuticals, especially oral contraceptives, are found in sewage water and are potentially contaminating drinking water. " So, is there a health effect of drugs in drinking water?

Dr. Janssen says, "We do not know. It's true that the levels [of the medications found in drinking water] are very low. But especially when it comes to pharmaceuticals that are synthetic hormones, there is concern, because hormones work at very low concentrations in the human body. "

Dr. Janssen's view is also confirmed by the EPA. Suzanne Rudzinski, deputy director for science and technology in the Office of Water at the US Environmental Protection Agency, says "At this point we do not have evidence of a health effect, although it's an area of ​​concern and one we will continue to look at. "

So what are consumers suppose to do while more studies are being done? Should you be using bottled water only? Well, first realize that about twenty-five percent of bottled water coming from the tap, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council.

If the bottled water is labeled "purified water" or "reverse osmosis" water, the water has gone through a treatment of distillation, reverse osmosis or other process. This can remove some of the PPCs but also demineralizes the water and takes out the healthy components.

Several leading professionals from private organizations recommend a home filtration system to help reduce the drug levels. Make no mistake, scientists and government officials can not say for sure if the level of drugs in drinking water is low enough to have an adverse human health effect. So take some time and find out which filtration systems can help to remove PPCs.