Tips for Replacing Shock Absorbers

Shock absorbers are essential in all cars to protect the mechanisms. Depending on what type of car you have will determine how much spring the shocks will have. These nifty and important parts also keep the tyres in contact with the ground. They also help to control the movement of the suspension and springs.

The devices work on hydraulic pumps that control the impact the car makes against the road. You will notice that an off-road vehicle will not pick up small imperfections on the road because it has such a powerful device. It also ensures that you have proper braking response to avoid hectic accidents.

Checking your shocks should be done if you dive during heavy braking, hit bumps very hard, or the car is leaking shock fluid. Normal driving can also affect the quality of the shock absorbers over time.

You may need a spring compressor to remove the springs on the shock absorbers. The compressor is necessary if the springs are interrelated or integrated. You will need to be careful when doing this as the springs are loaded with high pressure and sudden releasing could be dangerously damaging.

Using a jack stand to lift the car will help you when replacing the parts. You will need to lift the one side of the car at least thirty centimetres off the ground to make the process easier. Similar to changing the tyre, you will need to remove the wheel too. You will be able to see the shock absorbers as they look like springs. This is where you will need to use the spring compressor for safe removal. You will also come across three bolts that will need to be removed using a socket wrench.

Installing new parts is the simple part. You will need to use a torque wrench when tightening the bolts to ensure stability. Putting the wheel and tyre back in place will complete the replacing of the shock absorbers.

It is important that you take the car for a slow drive to test the stability of your work. If you start to notice strange sounds it would be wise to have a mechanic check out the problem. Wiggle the car and go over humps as well to test if the shocks have been installed correctly.

Lack of properly working shock absorbers could result in damaged wheels and wheel axles then you’ll need to visit a wheel supplier for a new set of wheels. The wheel axle is part of the drive shaft and could lead to a hectic repairing fee if damaged.

What You Can Do To Maintain Your Septic System

Your septic tank is your private onsite facility for sewage treatment and proper care must be taken to make your septic system perform seamlessly all-round the year. In this post we are going to discuss a few tips for proper septic tank maintenance.

Take Care Of What Goes Into Your Tank

You can greatly extend the life of your septic system by being mindful about the kind of things you put into your septic tank. Never deposit cooking oil, fats, coffee grounds, napkins, diapers, wet-tissues, cigarette ends and other non-bio-degradable substances into your home sewer. These non-bio-degradable substances have the potential of clogging your septic tank necessitating an expensive repair job.

Maintain The Drain Field

The drain field is a primary component of your septic tank which helps to remove the solid waste from the liquid. Given below are a few tips to make your drain fields last long:

• Try not to park your car or drive on the drain field
• Trees should be planed at a safe distance from the area to keep the roots from growing into the drain field.
• Your rainwater drainage system such as sump pumps and gutters need to be kept away from your drain field area.

Inspect Your System From Time To Time

Periodic inspection and proper upkeep of your septic system by a professional would prolong normal functioning of your septic tank.

Go For Pumping Services

Your septic system needs to be pumped out every two years to make sure that all the solid waste is properly broken down. Regular septic tank pumping would not only help to enhance the life of the tank but also help to prevent system failure.

Regulation The Use Of Household Chemicals

Excessive use of household chemicals such as bleach, detergent, drain cleaner etc. can lead to a malfunctioning of the septic system. These household chemicals stop the action of the bacteria in the tank which is responsible for the breakdown of the waste.

Get Help From The Experts

When it comes to cleaning and maintenance of your septic tank you should always rely on the help of the professionals. Your septic service provider would come to your place and thoroughly inspect your septic system for any signs of leaks and damage. They would inspect the sludge layers and scum to determine the source of the problem. Whenever you find the slightest problem with your septic system make sure to call for professional help.

Get Lean Fast

Before we get started, I know you want to get lean fast and I know you do, but is your motivation for doing so? High school reunion? Family reunion? To get into that slinky little outfit sitting in the back of your wardrobe?

Whatever reason, before we start with the actual physical weight loss we have to start with your thinking. As they say where the mind goes the body will follow. Buy yourself a little notebook and write the date in it, your measurements, your current weight and your reason for wanting to lose the weight.

Give yourself a compelling enough reason and you will drop pounds, this is the reason that will keep you focussed on your weight loss and will keep you motivated and on track. Once you've done that you need to get onto a proven eating plan as soon as possible.

When I started out I followed an eating plan that I created for myself. It was for 2 weeks, I wanted to see if it worked before I would commit to it for any length of period. Within my first week I had lost 4 pounds and within 2 weeks that weight loss grew to 7 pounds, my clothes became baggier and loser and I realized I had lost a dress size just from eating more food and more often.

Just adding walking to my schedule magnified my weight loss efforts, never at any time did I feel deprived or as though I was dieting.

Here's a sample of what I would eat in a typical day.

Meal 1 – Fruity French Toast

Meal 2 – Bran cereal

Meal 3 – Steak With Sweet Potatoes

Meal 4 – Pumpkin Seed & Almonds

Meal 5 – Chicken With Baked Squash

My eating plan was absolutely key to my weight loss success, the fact I ate more through my day made me feel as though I was never on a diet which was why it succeeded for me in the long run and can for you too, you just have to be given the tools to eating right.

DIY Patio Projects That Will Add Major Curb Appeal

If you’ve seen the albums on decorating and landscaping sites, you know how much a walkway or a canopy can bring together your backyard. Luckily, many of these home and gardening staples are easy to do yourself. If you have a shovel, a hammer, a saw, and an afternoon, you can finish one of these projects.


Having a paved walkway from your back door to your patio brings a certain elegance to your backyard. With the advent of pavers, you don’t have to ruin your back placing and leveling hundreds of bricks in order to make this dream a reality. Depending on how long you want the walkway, you might only need a few pavers to complete the project. You can choose from several different interesting stone varieties to bring visual interest to your space.


A canopy is a great way to bring some shade, keeping your family or guests cool during the summer months. Canopies can range from intricate architectural pieces to simple canvas-and-pole designs. For the latter example, four poles or beams driven into the ground and a piece of thick, water-resistant canvas are all you need. You can attach the canvas to the poles using a hammer and nails, or you can peruse your local hardware store for rings, tacks, or ties to create a unique hanger.

Fire Pit

If nothing says relaxation like a nice drink with friends around an open fire, then a fire pit is the perfect addition to the patio. After you choose the spot in your yard for the pit, dig a hole about two feet deep, three or four feet wide, and as round as you can make it. You can use bricks or stones to line the hole, creating a fireproof barrier. Offset another layer of brick or stone around the rim of the pit for extra fire protection and a ledge. Use extra dirt to pack in any cracks in the bricks or between the bricks and the edge of the hole. Fill with your favorite kindling and light. Marshmallows are optional.

Plant Bed Landscaping

If you already have some plants lining your patio or in your front yard, a little bit of landscaping will greatly enhance the natural beauty of the plants as well as add an attractive design element to your home. Depending on the types of plants that you have, you might want to consider adding rocks or wood chips to the plant beds. Bedding like this will help with plant drainage and prevent birds from attacking plant root systems. Lining the bed with larger rocks, pavers, or bricks in a contrasting color will complete the finished look of the bed.

When it comes to DIY projects, simplicity is key. These projects should be relatively easy to complete and take no more than an afternoon to prepare. They’ll enhance your backyard or patio for family and friends and ultimately increase the value of your home.

Performance Techniques For Singers – How to "Own the Stage"

In this article I’m going to talk about “owning the stage’, and it means just what it implies: the great singer is also a great performer, and the stage is her personal playground.for as long as she is performing on it. Unless you have a gaggle of pretty dancers surrounding you, it’s just you, your voice, your body and the stage.

So how do you “own” that stage?

Well, first of all, you need to decide where your stage is. Your stage changes for different songs, For instance, if you are singing a slow, sad ballad, you may want to make your stage an area that doesn’t exceed what you need to stand in front of the mic. Or you may want take the mic out of the stand and move around just a little…say a 5 foot square area.

This sounds easy, but it’s actually the most difficult of “stages” to work with. It’s a lot easier to move around a larger area than to be confined in a small space. Facial expressions and small gestures become very integral to the performance. To stay attached to a microphone throughout a song, while keeping the audience’s interest and attention is very difficult. This takes practice.

If you plan to deliver some songs this way, you’d be smart to video yourself at home so you can critique and find ways to get the song across without much area movement. Get family and friends to help with your critique.

Don’t fool yourself by believing that just standing at the mic and using your great singing abilities is going to capture them and make them believers. The smaller your “stage” is, the more you have to reach inside for powerful, yet subtle, feelings to communicate. Watch the pros. Learn their stage moves.

Obviously, your alternate “stage” is the entire stage. All of the area available to you while you perform. Using this larger area makes it easier to come across as a seasoned performer, but has its own set of potential problems.

• Divide the space into 5 separate areas: center stage, down-right (down toward the audience, but to your right), down-left, and down-center. Use all of these areas by moving through them during various parts of the song. When you move to a new area, stay there a while. Don’t leave too soon. Let the verses, bridge and choruses move you to different areas.

• Down-center is the strongest space on stage, and should be considered for your biggest choruses and power ending.

• Center stage is the neutral zone, and can be used for any part of the song. Just don’t anchor yourself there for too long.

• Down-right is also very strong. Move there from your starting place and you won’t go wrong.

• Don’t forget down-left. Those folks over there will really enjoy your getting close to them.

I recommend you practice your songs, deciding in advance where and when you are going to move. Seasoned performers have been doing this so long that it becomes natural, but the best of them still have a game plan before going on stage.

Also you could use any of the five areas for a “standing at the mic without moving around” space.

Finally, don’t shuffle around once you’ve claimed your space. Plant your feet, and only move them because you decide to…not because you’re unaware that you are doing it.

Physical Security Of Laptops With Computer Locks

Laptops and computers attract thieves quite like magnets. From dishonest employees to cheap thugs to hi-fi robbers they find computers and laptops easily accessible and ether steal and run away after vandalizing the systems.

Over one million laptops are either lost or stolen every year approximately. While FBI recovers a 2% of the lost or the stolen laptops, they are still clueless on the 300+ laptops they're lost during hearing of the 9/11 commission. FBI must have lost information which is more valuable than the laptops itself.

A majority of the laptop thefts are due to reckless misplacing alone. While you may have the theft insurance for your expensive Apple iMac, you've still hate to see your company's business secrets and information reaching into the wrong hands. Do you?

Physical security of laptops and computers

While password locking does help to safeguard critical information reaching wrong people, physical security of computers should be top priority.

Is computer locks or laptop locks the best modes of physical security?

Computer lock or a laptop lock is the best way of securing system or laptop physically. Approximately, about four-fifth of laptops available on the market comes with a Universal Security Slot (USS). The USS will facilitate the laptop to be attached to a laptop cable lock or even a laptop alarm.

No wonder determined thieves and bolt cutter experts will not stop at this, the laptop cable locks should deteriorate the casual laptop lifters who'd be waiting to take advantage of you when you fall sleep at airport lobby or a hotel lounge.

While there are a variety of computer locks including cable locks to LCD monitor and desktop locks to Maclocks to iMac security locks, the best part is that you do not have to spend a fortune on purchasing any of these. The locks that secure single systems and laptops will be in the $ 30-50 range and those that secure many laptops at a time such as carts fall in the $ 100 through $ 1000 (high end will be the feature-rich portable mini bedroom like laptop carts)

Most of the computer locks are usually available at regular office stores or these days at several online stores. If you purchase from an online store, you have certain advantages; check and look at the variety of designs and specifications then make selection that suit your requirement and then look for best deals or offers around that otherwise you have no choice to play with if you opt to buy from an offline store.

Consider and check for quality of the cable as well as quality of the computer lock; ask for replacement warranty and ask if the lock facilitates locking of computer and laptop peripherals too.

Wood Routers: How To Decide On Just One

If you are reading this then odds are that you love wood. Not necessarily trees or 2×4 beams but that wonderful material from which dreams and everyday items are made. By removing just the right amount of sawdust from just the right areas, adding glue, time, and a little detail work heirlooms are created that can last as long or longer then the trees from which the wood originally came – and one of the primary ways in which we create these gems for the future is through our wood routers. Deciding which power tool is right for you and your wood working tool shop is no easy task. However, with two types of routers to choose between and numerous features and accessories available, even the most opinionated of woodworkers needs a little help to decide on what wood working tool to add to their arsenal.

First you need to decide on whether you want to go with a fixed base or a plunge style router. The pros and cons of each have been discussed ad nauseam and whether or not you plan on mounting it on a router table that may affect that choice. Plunge routers with their ability to do plunge cuts and the capabilities that enable are a bit more difficult for beginners to learn with, but are more capable – especially in hand held scenarios. The spring-mounted engine case that enables the router to "plunge" down into the stock also tends to make the router top-heavy which may cause a problem for some users. Fixed base routers do not have these abilities or problems, and are easier to learn with. But doing "plunge" type work with a fixed router is difficult if not impossible. So knowing the type of work you currently do (and are likely to do in the future) is important if you need to narrow your tool selection to just one tool.

Most routers can work on soft metals like aluminum as well as wood. But if you intend to do metal work, a higher horsepower model (possibly with adjustable RPMs) should be considered. Trim routers start with less then 1/2 hp and most mid-sized routers range from 1.2 to 2 hp. Modern trends are tending towards higher-power units with horse power ratings ranging from 2 to 3 hp. Having additional power provides more capacity and longer life, but of course adds to the weight and cost of the tool. My recommendation if you wish or think you will use a router table is to go with a high power heavy fixed base router like the Milwaukee 5625 – a fixed base router commonly recommended for such usage. Although this model lacks dust control it features a soft-start motor (to avoid jerking from the torque as it starts up) and multiple stage depth adjustment. When table mounted, easy adjustment from the top of a table using the supplied T wrench is available, and the unit raises enough to allow access to the collet for easy bit changes, also. Like all fixed base routers though the motor can fall out if a router lift is not used when you loosen the lock downs to adjust the height.

Reviews in journals such as Woodworker's or Wood magazine do point out that plunge routers with built-in dust control and reduced vibration have advantages. Yet, do to the ease of mounting and longevity, the 5625 is still the recommended choice since it is more convenient in table mounting situations. Plunge routers such as the Bosch 1619EVS may also have a deficit maximum depth, for instance 2.75 "as compared to 1.75". Plunge depth can be a consideration. Other routers reviewed as excellent for table-mount use include the Porter-Cable 7518 which lacks dust control and has issues with the control locations but is still a great unit.

To help identify the features available and how they compare one to another you should probably check the comparative reviews from various publications such as Workbench Magazine, Taunton's Tool guide, Woodworker's Journal and Wood Magazine.

Another important feature not often thought about is quality and customer service. With a tool like a router that you will most likely keep for the rest of your woodworking life, having a company that stands behind its tools and is willing to help you answer questions about features and options is more then just important: it's critical. Many users have complained about various customer service centers even from the major players, but several have stuck out in recent reviews. Perhaps more important even then the service is the need for it – some units such as the Bosch 1617EVSPK have recurring complaints about the switch brakes, probably indicating a persistent problem but no brand is immune. Users seem to have the most complaints about Bosch and Porter-Cable but it may be that these models sell in greater quantities and not that there are inherent problems with specific models.

Warranties are a great way to provide peace of mind. They vary according to manufacturers, with only a single year offered from Bosch, Porter-Cable and Triton with two for Skil and three for DeWalt and Festool. Leading the way at five years is Hitachi and Milwaukee – but of course these brands are also typically more expensive. A good warranty should be a consideration but not the only criteria. After all if you can afford two routers for the price of one with twice the warranty does it really make sense the warranty?

Plunge routers can handle all the same tasks as a fixed-base router as well as letting you plunge the bit down into wood on spring-loaded columns. Despite being slowly harder to learn to control freehand the plunge capabilities, plunge routers stand as a popular recommendation – especially when you are not going to table-mount the unit. Of the available plunge routers the Bosch 1619EVS is most commonly recommended. You can find a more affordable choice in the Hitachi M12V. The Hitachi does not have self releasing collets or a dust port but does not carry a five year warranty as compared to just one for the Bosch. Both choices have 3.25 hp motors and soft start and variable speed electronic controls.

Other features to consider when choosing your router are the ease of height adjustments and bit changing, the handle style (D-handles are most commonly recognized as being best) the plunge smoothness on plunge routers, vibration and available dust control. A few key points that you need to bear in mind when deciding which router is best for you include:

  • Get the power you need : High speed and low torque routers will provide the smoothest cuts, but may not hold up under heavy usage or lots of work in hard woods or soft metals. Routers with hp ranging from 1.5 to 2.5 which are typically considered "mid-range" routers can handle deep cuts in hardwoods for short and normal usage but will strain and wear out if used a lot.
  • Get a handle on it : If the controls are not easy to use they are not safe. Placing the control switch inside a D-handle would be best, and including a safety switch that will keep you from accidentally turning on the unit is a plus. Having a lockable "on" capability is also vital to prevent finger strain and to allow for easy table mounting.
  • Consider future use, router table capabilities, etc. : Placing controls, allowing for external power switches and allowing height adjustment from the top of the table are features you need if you are going to mount the router to a table.
  • Look for Two-stage depth adjustment : Having the ability to quickly move over large distances and then make micro adjustments greatly aids functionality. Be sure any gauge system works well and is easy to use.
  • Bit access hole size on the base : Look for a four inch or larger opening if possible, with a three inch minimum.
  • Collet features : Try to find collets that are made of tempered steel and that have longer depth and plenty of slits to grip the bit and keep it centered.
  • Guide bushings : A guide bushing is a sleeve that locks on the base for cutting pattern or for using jigs. If you find a router that uses an industry standard such as the Porter-cable bushings or at least have an adapter this is a plus.

Regardless of which router you choose if you make sure it will meet your needs and it fits your budget you will be happy with your choice. Just take your time and read existing reviews and discussions on the models you are considering prior to purchasing and you and your projects will be happy for years to come.

Stone Remains a Popular Material For Modern Fireplaces

Modern fireplaces not just about heating the house, they are also about interior design. They are still functional and economic, but their aesthetic value has increased so much so that they can often be classified as art pieces. There are more more styles to choose from than there ever were before, and anyone, can find the perfect gas fireplace for any home, be it large or small, urban or rural, and regardless of their particular sense of taste. In the past stone fireplace surrounds were more for protecting the house from the flames and storing ambient heat, even if they were beautifully crafted, but the most contemporary fireplaces can provide heat while also contributing to any interior design schematic. So much so, in fact, that they are often the primary fixtures in a room, and set a certain tone for the interior design schematic altogether.

Despite the availability of other materials, stone is still a popular material to build contemporary fireplaces out of. The procedure for producing one of these modish modern stone fires generally involves four stages: design, construction, delivery and installation.

In designing contemporary fireplaces, the project commences with a basic design concept. Then a simple measured image is drawn up, which then is transformed into a life-size representation that permits a more detailed look at the moldings and the carving details so that more minute dimensions can be determined. After all of this information is ascertained, the details are sent to a stone mill, and the materials are ordered (10-ton blocks are commonly ordered as a starter piece, but each project will require something different). At this point a three dimensional representation of the drawing will be created. Some artists describe this process, which is the most time consuming part of the creation of modern fireplaces, as "finding" the sculpture inside the stone block. The drawings are transferred to the stone to the exact measurements, with specific adjustments made according to needs.

Then the images are shaped, and all the details are historically carved out of the stone with specialized chisels, hammers and other tools. Then the pieces are shipped and delivered to wherever the fireplace is to be installed.

In the end the fireplace is installed by a stone mason, who will connect the carved piece or pieces directly to the wall with specialized galvanized wall ties. The shaped stone pieces are usually connected together with bronze pins, the gaps filled in with mortar, and finally sealed with grout material. The whole process can take many days to complete, but the result is a magnificent custom modern fireplace with a distinct style.

Contemporary fireplaces have increased in popularity because they double as functional industrial design-oriented heaters and interior design-oriented décor. They house real living flames that can be fueled by wood, gas, or other fuels. They are great sources of heat and enjoyment, and generally raise the value of the home by at least as much as they cost. They can be viewed either as functional art pieces or art-designed appliances, and are the ultimate marriage of the utilitarian and the aesthetic.

Tis The Season For Networking

Parties, events, outings – whatever the occasion, it's good for networking. You'll never find more people getting together than at the holidays, so take advantage of the opportunity to connect with people of interest or influence. Ways to attract attention:

Volunteer: During the holiday season, there are lots of opportunities to help out. Find a local organization that needs people to organize, deliver, set up or work events. Your favorite charity or cause, hospitals, senior centers – just look on line or in your newspaper's calendar section for upcoming events and who needs help. It's easier to talk to people who are like-minded and people are usually in a receptive mood while volunteering because they are doing good for someone.

Show interest in others: A great networking skill to have or to develop. It can really make a difference in the results you get. People are flattered when you listen to what interests them and ask questions that get them to talk about themselves, their work, even their hobbies. It's a great ice-breaker too. If something they mention is of particular interest to you, ask if you can get together with them at a future time to discuss it. (You do not want to monopolize their time.)

Maximize your efforts: Spend some time with multiple attendees at a party or event with the idea of ​​walking away with a couple of referrals, informational meetings or suggestions for your job search. Focusing on one person can be less than productive and trying to speak with too many people may not give you time to extract the best information. If you are going to an event with someone and you are both job seekers, split up for a while and each "work the room" separately. Agree to meet up at a later time. It's easier to engage one person at a time.

Follow up: Now that you have made a connection, keep it going by reaching out to that person again. Make the call, send the e-mail or write them a note. If you promised to do something, do it. If you have information for them, make sure you send it along. Invite someone you met to coffee or involve them in another event you are going to. Keep the momentum going.

So, spruce up your outfit and your elevator pitch and get ready to let people know "what's new with you.Always present your situation postiviely no matter how long you have been in a job search.

6 Types of Earrings Every Woman Must Have

1. Jhumkas Earrings

Jhumka earrings have been in vogue since an endless number of years. With origins in South India, they are also referred to as traditional temple earrings. Jhumka earrings resemble the shape of conical or circular domes or bells. These are available in distinctive designs and in every region of India, a slight variation will be observed in these designs. Silver and gold plated jhumkas with pearls have revived the season this year. These look stunning when customized with traditional Indian wear but now-a-days the trend says that they can also be paired with western outfits.

2. Chandelier Earrings

One of the most popular types, chandelier earrings have been booming the fashion with their mesmerizing structures. These ornate pieces are usually long and consist of several tiers of beads and glass stones. Chandelier earrings are available in different styles as well as lengths. Their design may make them appear heavy in weight but not all will be painful to the ears or stretch the earlobe. Depending upon their style, they can be used to enhance the beauty of casual and ethnic attires. Chandelier Earrings definitely add some amount of richness to the personality of the wearer.

3. Danglers or Dangle Earrings

Similar to the chandelier earrings, danglers also hang below the earlobes and move as the wearer makes any movement. Typically they are long and the extremely long ones even brush the shoulders. Though earrings of this type come in various designs, the most famous ones showcase dangling chains, beaded wires and feathers. Danglers can be brilliant additions to western wear, such as, sheath dresses, tunics, gowns, etc. Traditional costumes in addition to danglers stacked with stately pearls have been highlight of the classic fashion.

4. Hoop Earrings

Hoop earrings have circular structures which highlight the features of the face. Hoop earrings with tassels have undoubtedly been admired by all but along with these, hoop earrings with pom poms too will make the cheerful ladies fall in love with them. These vibrantly colored soft balls surprisingly sway away the dull and readily cherish the souls of women with joy. Being light in weight, these can be worn at for long durations at several occasions. While hoop earrings with multicolor pom poms are opted more for a delightful appearance, the elegant ladies can choose the ones with black, brown, white and grey pom poms.

5. Drop Earrings

The evergreen drop earrings never went out of fashion. These types of earrings feature beads or stones which function as drops and hang below the ears. The designs and lengths of these can vary, while some may be extremely long, others may be short and hang right below the ears. Existing in abundance, one can choose pieces in accordance with occasion and attire. The most famous ones feature drops with round shapes and pearls.

6. Stud Earrings

Stud earrings are the most simple and sophisticated which can be worn with not only casuals and ethnic attires but formal clothes as well. These are ready to wear pieces which can be worn every other day. The structure of stud earrings is usually smaller than other earrings and rests over the earlobe without dangling or dropping below. Stud earrings with initials are much popular among young women while the round ones with white stones are preferred more by the office-going ladies.

Henckels Steak Knives in Perspective

In order to ensure that as a cook whether an amateur or professional, your food is of good quality you must use the right equipment. These include the right kind of stove, pans, utensils and knives. The latter remains one of the most vital of all. Indeed there are many types of knives. Henckels Steak knives are one of the most used. We would try to give a general outlook of this particular knife when cooking a meal.

Henckels Steak knives are one of the best you can find on the market. It gives you the best of performances in the preparation of food. They are known to be cut out to do three things extremely well. These are mincing, chopping and dicing. Usually they appear in varying sizes but the most popular are the 5 inches and 7 inches blade lengths. There are advantages associated with these varying lengths depending on what you are cooking.

Under normal circumstances you can compare Henckels Steak knives to the meat cleaver. The meat cleaver has a narrower blade coupled with fact that the blade is shaped in a different way. The former however has a very balanced and comfortable grip which makes it just right for the kitchen. With regards to chopping and dicing of some vegetables, the Henckels steak knife is the best item to use. The design and structure allows you to perform these tasks with ease and a minimum of fuss.

The cutting ability has been enhanced with the knife having a concave ground and very sharp edges. The blade has been given a scalloped pattern and this is done for some reasons. This gives you the ability to remove any slices of food that can become stuck to the blade while giving the knife a special style.

If used and stored properly Henckels Steak knives should be able to maintain its sharpness. However over a period of time the sharpness may get dull. You can restore the sharpness by rubbing sharpening steel over the edges. Frequently you can also apply oil to the blade to keep it in good shape. Care should be taken when cleaning the knife. Preferably the knife should be washed in a dishwasher. At all times do the washing by hand and make sure it is dry thoroughly. These are very critical if you want the knife to last long.

Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Pirates

Shouting, "Shiver me timbers", the villain with an eye patch, a steel hook for a hand or wooden leg is the vision of pirates we all have. However, a pirate is simply one who loots at sea or even in cities near the shore, without authority from any nation to do so.

Piracy dates back 3000 years. Plutarch, the Greek historian, wave us the first account of piracy and in 140 BC the word "peirato" was being used by the Roman historian Polybius. In the "Iliad" and the "Odyssey," there is a mention of piracy. In the middle ages in Europe, the Norse riders, called the Danes or Vikings carried out actions of piracy. In England, they were called sea thieves or sea robbers.

The English, Dutch and French sea-far adventurers were called buccaneers. Some of the famous buccaneers were heroes like the dashing Englishmen Sir Francis Drake and Sir Richard Hawkins. They had become rich in the many "privateering" operations against Spain, in the Caribbean and off the coasts of North America. These privateers had a "letter of marque", from the government to capture ships associated with an enemy country in order to weaken the opposition. They could never be charged with piracy though, that's what they really were. In the Declaration of Paris in 1854, seven nations together suspended the use of the "letter of marque", and later, it was completely outlawed in the Hague Convention.

Over the years, the success of the privateers saw many becoming driving pirates, also called freeboaters. Many were even slaves released from ships. In the second half of the 17th century, they became a menace in the new world or the American Continent, looting the Spanish colonizers. This period between 1560 and the early 1700s was the classic era of the Pirates of the Caribbean. Tortuga and Port Royal were two of the best-known bases during this period. Some of the most famous pirates were William Kidd, "" Calico Jack "" Rackham, Edward Teach, or Blackbeard and a woman pirate called Jeanne de Belleville.

Most of us have a very romantic notification of pirates as rich, rebellious and interesting, operating outside the rules of a rigid society. In truth, most were poor, unhealthy and died young. The work was hard and dangerous, they had to fight, loot and maintain a ship that was usually old. Their riches were usually spent in taverns sometimes in one night. Some buried their treasure and died before they could come back for it.

However, they had certain laws which were more democratic than the societies they lived in. They elected and even replaced leaders. The captain was usually the fittest and the most vicious fighter and the ship's quartermaster had a competent authority when they were not in battle. They even shared the booty and had a fair system of sharing in place. Those injured in battle got compensation or were given simpler jobs. These laws were written down and sometimes even used to declare them outlaws in a court of law. But the pirates' own justice system was very harsh. For simple crimes such as disobedience they could be whipped, marooned, burnt or even drowned and killed. For a pirate, "walking the plank" himself was a terrible sentence.

Modern pirates are located in South and Southeast Asia, parts of South America, the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea. They target cargo ships navigating slowly through narrow straits, which they overtake in their small motorboats. The safes carrying cash are looted along with personal belongings. They may even capture ships and later disguise these for their own use.

Modern day piracy sometimes takes place during civil war or times of unrest. Warlords could attack UN ships carrying food. They could hijack a ship or kidnap a person or people for ransom or exchange their victims for a wanted terrorist.

The International Maritime Bureau, a pirate-reporting center, has noted that bulk carriers and tankers are the most vulnerable. Modern piracy is difficult to control because of modern technology like satellite communication, speedboats and deadly weaponry. The reality of pirates is a far cry from the romantic notions of pirates that most of us have.

The Strategic Plan For Your Brand

Solopreneurs and small business owners rise and fall on the marketplace perception of their brand, also known as one’s professional reputation. For that reason, the brand merits ongoing monitoring, enhancement and promotion as a component of strategies designed to support new business acquisition and encourage repeat business. The objective is to build and maintain a good client list. A useful way to review and evaluate your brand is with what many experts consider the gold standard of strategic planning, the SWOT Analysis.

SWOT is the acronym of Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. Every 18 – 24 months, self-employed professionals will benefit from examining the viability of their brand, to better understand what actions enhance the brand and what might weaken it. Conduct a SWOT Analysis and use what you discover as the foundation of a strategic plan for your brand.

Strengths: expertise, competitive advantages, A-list clients, referral sources, strategic partnerships, educational or professional credentials, financial resources, influential relationships. They are internally generated and within your control. Potential actions include:

  • Leveraging resources to upgrade the types of clients you work with
  • Increasing sales or billable hours by a certain percentage
  • Developing a strategy to obtain more repeat business
  • Developing a strategy that would persuade clients to hire you for more lucrative projects

Weaknesses: whatever challenges your brand. Competitors, ineffective marketing, poor customer service, weak perceived value of your products and services. These are internal and within your control. Potential actions include:

  • Determining which inadequacies have the most negative impact on revenues
  • Identifying gaps that can be quickly or inexpensively remedied
  • Understanding how to minimize liabilities—which business practices can you modify, professional credentials you can earn, relationships you can cultivate?

Opportunities: conditions that favor the attainment of goals. These are external and beyond your control, yet you may be able to retool and benefit from their presence. Good information about business conditions in your marketplace helps business owners to evaluate and envision the potential of short-term and long-term benefits and learn how to get the pay-off. Consider the following:

  • What new developments can you leverage to bring money and prestige to your venture?
  • Do you see ROI in offering new products or services?
  • Are there good clients you might successfully sign or lapsed clients who, with outreach, could be willing to reactivate?
  • Is there a niche market you can successfully enter?

Threats: conditions likely to damage your brand, or your ability to acquire clients and generate sufficient billable hours. These are external and beyond your control, yet you may be able to retool and escape or minimize the damage caused by their presence. This element requires your immediate attention, since it carries the potential to end, or seriously cripple, your brand and business.

Has an important contact left his/her organization, leaving you at the mercy of the new decision-maker, who has his/her own friends to hire? Or has there been a merger that resulted in the downgrading of the influence of your chief contact, who may lose the ability to green-light projects that you manage?

Has a well-connected and aggressive competitor appeared on the scene, ready to eat your market share and client list by way of a better known brand, more influential relationships, a bigger marketing budget, or other game-changing competitive advantages?

If your client contact has moved on, take that person to lunch or coffee and attempt to make the professional relationship portable. If your contact has lost influence in the new organization chart, take him/her out to coffee and get information about the replacement, who may hire you for the next project if it’s scheduled to start quickly.

If competition has intensified, do everything possible to offer superior customer service, assert your expertise, step up your networking, enhance your thought-leader credentials and nurture your client relationships.

Implementing a strategy of protective action, for example, a brand relaunch or a pivot into more hospitable business turf, might be necessary. Stay abreast of current and potential developments in the industries you serve. Communicate with clients and stay current as to the state of their priorities and concerns. Good relationships will give you the resources of time and information that will allow you to evaluate and regroup.

Thanks for reading,


Why Should You Choose a Custom Home Builder?

A custom home builder is not only your contractor but your property acquisition guide, your design advisor, your permitting specialist, your environmental specialist and so much more. If you want to have the home of your dreams that is designed and constructed with the needs of you and your family in mind there is no substitution for a quality custom home builder.

Buying a new home can be a stressful and time consuming process and also an exercise in frustration when every home you view is lacking in one area or another. You grow weary of looking at homes or the plans for them, and immediately begin to add up in your mind the additional costs for improvements or extras. Once you do, you may realize that the area or property is lacking or has issues which need costly remediation.

Once you consult with a custom home builder it becomes obvious that you can have not only exactly what you are looking for, but even more than you were aware you needed. The custom home builder has the resources to design your home around your lifestyle, your taste and the needs of you and your family. When you hire a custom home designer you receive services that make the process of building easier than buying an existing home. The builder will aid you in:

• Locating and acquiring an ideal lot in an area that is perfect for you and the family

• Consulting with you and designing a home that is suited to all your needs. You may desire a large dream kitchen, a great room with a massive stone fireplace, a master bath spa, a media room, and a deck. He may suggest, in lieu of the deck an entire outdoor living area with a fire pit, built in grill and smoker after learning of your passion for the outdoors

• Permitting. The custom home builder will know his way through the permitting maze for every city and municipality in the region and be familiar with all the zoning laws

• Environmental issues. The custom home builder will be familiar with all the new environmental restrictions and disposal requirements

• Materials. Being able to by the finest material at the best prices is another benefit to hiring an experienced quality home builder

• Financing and mortgage assistance. Your experience home builder will be of great assistance in helping to obtain financing for your project. Years of building has acquainted the contractor with the best lenders in the industry

When you have considered all the advantages of building a home that is designed around you, and it is time to select a custom home builder there are certain criteria to use in making that selection:

• Select a company with years of experience in the region that you wish to live

• Be sure that they have a stellar rating with the Better Business Bureau in your area and can provide a long list of verifiable, satisfied references

• They are an award winning home builder. This shows that they take great pride in doing quality work

• They have an excellent reputation with the local building inspectors and building departments. This will aid in a smooth and timely project

When your custom home builder is chosen and you are ready for your first pre-construction consultation it is important to compose a list of pertinent information regarding what you need and desire in your new home. Many people will tell the builder they have three children but do not talk of their plans for more. They forget to say that the wife is an avid gardener or the mother in law is moving in. The builder will ask a lot of questions but he cannot be expected to ask them all. Communication with your builder is paramount and there is no such thing as too much information when planning a custom built home.

History of the Computer – Cache Memory Part 1 of 2

We looked at the early digital computer memory, see History of the computer – Core Memory, and mentioned that the present standard RAM (Random Access Memory) is chip memory. This conforms with the commonly quoted application of Moore’s Law (Gordon Moore was one of the founders of Intel). It states that component density on integrated circuits, which can be paraphrased as performance per unit cost, doubles every 18 months. Early core memory had cycle times in microseconds, today we are talking in nanoseconds.

You may be familiar with the term cache, as applied to PCs. It is one of the performance features mentioned when talking about the latest CPU, or Hard Disk. You can have L1 or L2 cache on the processor, and disk cache of various sizes. Some programs have cache too, also known as buffer, for example, when writing data to a CD burner. Early CD burner programs had ‘overruns’. The end result of these was a good supply of coasters!

Mainframe systems have used cache for many years. The concept became popular in the 1970s as a way of speeding up memory access time. This was the time when core memory was being phased out and being replaced with integrated circuits, or chips. Although the chips were much more efficient in terms of physical space, they had other problems of reliability and heat generation. Chips of a certain design were faster, hotter and more expensive than chips of another design, which were cheaper, but slower. Speed has always been one of the most important factors in computer sales, and design engineers have always been on the lookout for ways to improve performance.

The concept of cache memory is based on the fact that a computer is inherently a sequential processing machine. Of course one of the big advantages of the computer program is that it can ‘branch’ or ‘jump’ out of sequence – subject of another article in this series. However, there are still enough times when one instruction follows another to make a buffer or cache a useful addition to the computer.

The basic idea of cache is to predict what data is required from memory to be processed in the CPU. Consider a program, which is made up of a series instructions, each one being stored in a location in memory, say from address 100 upwards. The instruction at location 100 is read out of memory and executed by the CPU, then the next instruction is read from location 101 and executed, then 102, 103 etc.

If the memory in question is core memory, it will take maybe 1 microsecond to read an instruction. If the processor takes, say 100 nanoseconds to execute the instruction, it then has to wait 900 nanoseconds for the next instruction (1 microsecond = 1000 nanoseconds). The effective repeat speed of the CPU is 1 microsecond.. (Times and speeds quoted are typical, but do not refer to any specific hardware, merely give an illustration of the principles involved).