Decorative Concrete – What You Should Know About Cracks & Color Variations

Although I normally espouse the wonders and joys of decorative concrete applications, I feel I should also inform about the other side of the coin: no matter what the color or stamp design reflects, it is still concrete. Your new patio may look like a gorgeous slate, but it is not. It is concrete. What does this mean? Well, it means that although concrete has limitless design options and can me formed into almost any design, mimicking many other building materials; it does have minor limitations. A seasoned decorative concrete contractor knows this, and will install the concrete according to industry standards in order to best prevent cracks or color mishaps.

That said, these issues do arise on occasion. Let us begin with cracks in your brand new stamped concrete pool deck. Firstly, expansion joints are cut into the concrete to prevent cracks from occurring. However, everything from heavy loads traveling on the stamped concrete to land settlement underneath the concrete can cause a crack regardless of expansion joints. Proper cutting of the joints should alleviate this issue, and more often than not, it will. Secondly, when concrete cures it shrinks. This can cause cracks as well and even the most experienced concrete contractor cutting the best expansion joints in the world will not always win that battle. Lastly, a somewhat common "side effect" of stamped concrete is hairline cracks forming around the lines made by the stamping tools once the surface begins to harden. This is called "crusting" and typically will occur due to sun and wind. Obviously, sun and wind will quicken the hardening of the concrete surface. Another reason crusting occurs is due to the color of the concrete. Darker colors, as we all know, draw the sun's rays and absorb the heat. Stamping tools with deeper grout lines for creating designs like random stone or slate patterns often aggravate the crushing. Many people feel that these hairline cracks add to the look of the stamped concrete design, giving it an "Old World" look. This aged appearance typically lends to the overall design. These imperfections are generally thought of as appealing. Although cracks can be repaired, the end result of the repair tend to be much more obvious than the unrepaired crack.

Now let us move on to coloring mishaps. Actually, "mishaps" is not the correct word here. A "mishap" would occur via accident. What I am referring to here is customer acceptance of the finished color on their new concrete. Depending on the method of coloring concrete (and there are quite a few) different factors come in to play in order for the concrete contractor to mix up the color chosen by the customer. However, as the customer there are a few things required of you in order to be sure you are receiving the color you want. A good practice would be to find photos of finished colored concrete patios, et. al. that show the color that you are chasing to achieve, and submit to your contractor. However, understanding that there are variables involved with coloring or staining concrete that can affect the color exit is key. Sometimes, the stars align and the concrete color turns out exactly as envisioned. And then there are times when this simply is not the case.

For instance, here are a few conditions that can, and most times will, cause color variations:

  • Customer is not available during color mixing. This will be a problem because if the customer is not present to approve color prior to installation, he / she may end up with a beautiful new colored concrete patio in a shade too dark or too light, or just not right. It is important for the customer to be present during color mixing to ensure happiness with the color.
  • Concrete job requires more than one truck load of concrete. Color will vary slightly from one batch to the next. This is to be expected and should be understood from the beginning.
  • Finished concrete color does not match sample chip or color chart. Never expect the final exit to completely match up to the sample chip or color chart. Samples are just that: samples. Sample chips and color charts are meant to be more of a guide to the color. Mixing concrete color is not an exact science and should not be thought of as so. After all, even the best decorative concrete contractor in the area is only human!
  • Placing concrete at different ages. Placement of concrete at different ages will cause a slight color variation. This should be kept in mind during larger concrete projects, though it should not be more than a slight variation.

Keeping all of the above in mind, as well as understanding that job site conditions and seasonal weather issues can affect the final outcome, should have a happy customer in the end. However, a homeowner not aware of such things, but has a definite idea of ​​what he / she wants in terms of color, can end up disappointed. The contractor does not want that, and certainly the homeowner does not want that. An understanding from the get-go that color variation is a normal occurrence should keep the customer happy through to the end.

Obviously, nobody wants to spend their hard earned cash on a concrete job that they feel is imperfect. As with any significant home improvement purchase, proper research on decorative concrete applications will school you on what to expect in terms of installation, appearance, design, maintenance, and repair. The most important aspect of this article is the desire to make the customer happy by keeping the lines of communication open between you, the homeowner, and your concrete contractor; as well as preparing you with important knowledge to consider when designing your concrete project.

Talking Cars From Movies and TV

Surely, at some point in your life, you have owned a car and rented that it would come to life in an instant. There are some iconic cars from movies and TV that make us have car envy and hope that with a push of a button we could be in the Batmobile. Here are a few of the top iconic cars from the movies or TV and their features.

First off, Pixar's film "Cars". This movie follows Lightening McQueen (played by Owen Wilson) while he tries to make it back from the run down town of Radiator Spring in hopes to win the Piston Cup. There are many other characters that we meet during McQueen's journey, Mater the loveable tow-truck (played by Larry the Cable Guy), Sally Carrera (Bonnie Hunt), and former Piston Cup winner Doc Hudson (played by Paul Newman). This race car is a new rookie for the races and can reach extreme high speeds. He has some interesting features that model actual race cars, like having stickers instead of headlights. However, this car talks, has eyes, and has a winning personality.

Next on our list is KITT from Knight Rider. KITT, Knight Industries Three Thousand, is a sporty 1982 Pontiac Trans Am and has an artificial intelligent computer installed that allows it to help Michael Knight (David Hasselhoff) fight crime. KITT (William Daniels) has a special body armor that protects it from just about any type of firearm and can resist extreme heat. The super computer on wheels of course could talk, but not only that, he was fluent in Spanish and French, and even has a variety of different accents. This really was the best car ever for any human crime fighter since it could talk, smell, hear, could examine the area, had an array of weapons, had different modes like silent mode, and of course he could still function as a regular car . Pardon me, an awesome car.

Herbie is a very iconic car which lands it in the next slot on our list. This old school Volkswagon Beetle race car actually in habits the human soul who made him named Herbie. Herbie can function just fine on its own like any normal car: driving itself, reasoning, thinking, knowing the difference between good and evil. Ok, so normal cars do not do that last one, or any of those. But, Herbie does race and help its owners survive different situations and helping good hope over evil.

Some people can be obsessive about a car, but what about a car obsessed with it's owner. That is the case with the car Chrstine. In the movie, Christine was portrayed as a 1958 Plymouth Fury who was obsessed with her owner Arnie (Keith Gordon). Christen takes it upon herself to find those who insult, hurt, or attempt to separate her and her love, Arnie. She can not talk like some of the other cars like KITT of Lightening McQueen, but like Herbie, it's as if her soul is trapped inside the car. And, what a soul it is. Christen will wreak havoc to anyone who does her Arnie wrong, no matter how much it may hurt her. Hell hath no fury like a woman, um, car scorned.

Importance of Structural Drafting, Structural Design in Construction

At the present time importance of structural drafting and structural design is increased in construction industry. In the past time there were no such methods available that ensure accurate outputs but need is a mother of invention so structural engineers have introduced structural drafting and structural design. Both have earned unique reputation as both techniques satisfying different purposes. Let us get brief about both technologies.

In this method, draftsmen are evaluating handmade sketches and drawings in order to accurately formats that give better ideas about your future buildings. It can be defined as making of presentation plans for provided drawings. it is a genuine structural engineering services used widely for construction. For structural drafting 2D technique is also used widely. AutoCAD is the most important software that used for structural 2D drafting.

Using it draftsmen also calculate dimensions of various components and it is must be done with maximum accuracy. Only computerized software ensures maximum accuracy. Both techniques are used for various types of structure development described as below:

• High Rise Buildings
• Industrial Setup
• Commercial Buildings
• Residential Buildings
• Rehabilitated Buildings
• Sky scrapers, tunnels, bridges etc.

An excellent infrastructure base can make unique impression for any country so all the countries are looking for accurate buildings. Structural design is also an important aspect for accurate construction. Structural designs provide most valuable building information. For various purposes it is used described as below.

• Reinforced Cement Concrete Structures
• Pre-stressed and post-tensioned structures
• Structural steel plate girder, truss girder, gantries
• wooden structures
• Composite structures
• Replacement Structure Designs

At the present time you can easily contact various professional firms that offer structural design and structural drafting. By doing that you can save your precious time and cost and can apply that on other matters. Internet is providing best facilities for better communication so you can easily outsource your requirements.

If you want to get custom quotes for structural drafting and design then email your requirements at

For more information please visit us at

Xiaomi MiJia QiCycle Folding Electric Bike, a Great Option for the City

As we can see, Xiaomi, a Chinese company specializing in the release of Xiaomi smartphones, is stepping up the pace with the incredible number of devices for smart home and lifestyle. Not long ago, Xiaomi released a smart folding bike called Xiaomi MiJia QiCycle Folding Electric Bike, which is claimed the first intelligent bicycle.

That's one of the freshest novelties from China, providing a fast way to get around the city. As the name suggests, the Xiaomi MiJia QiCycle is foldable and electric. And it seems to be very compact, as the manufacturer insists that when folded, the bike can be small enough to fit into the trunk of most cars.

Simple and Compact Body Design

Firstly, let's take a look at the body design. Its frame and front fork are made of aluminum via forged processing. The entire part is forged and molded integrally. And the overall design is also very simple. And the whole bike weighs 14.5 kilograms. That is quite tolerant, although it is not the smallest weight.

This folding bike adopts 16-inch small wheel set, which provides a high degree of flexibility for riding. By the way, it might be less fit at the very beginning for those who are accredited to large-diameter wheel bikes. In the main beam, there integrate the headlights and rear lights. It looks a full sense of design.

With the adjustable seat design, users can adjust the seat height according to their heights. And the seat tube has been given with height scale for different users. This design is simple but saves users from the trouble of repeated testing.

The frosted handlebar grips provide comfortable hand feeling. On the left handlebar, there is a little bell. Although it is a small design, for actual ride, that would be very useful. While on the left handlebar, there is a trip computer. The rider can view the time, distance, speed, power and other data at any time.


The bike is powered by a 250W 36V motor which gets its juice from 20 Panasonic 18650 batteries providing 2900mAh each. The entire battery is built in the main frame beam. The drawer-type and detachable design supports battery replacement and independent charge, which is convenient for users to charge. And on the whole, it works very well.


Size (after folding): 1000mm * 450mm * 650mm

Size (before folding): 1247mm * 556mm * 928mm

Frame material: Aluminum Alloy

Front fork: Aluminum Alloy

Dental plate: 52T * 170mm

Seat tube: 33.9 * 580mm Aluminum

Drum: Shimano

Weight: 14.5kg

Wheel size: 16 inches

Wheel rim: 1250mm

Rated motor power: 250W

Motor maximum speed: 20km / h

Bluetooth: 4.0


Xiaomi MiJia QiCycle Folding Electric Bike is a great option for the city. It is not very big, and with smart features.

Service Virtualization Facilitates DevOps Implementation

DevOps is the new paradigm in software development that is meant to bring about synergy amongst development, quality, operations, delivery and management teams. This helps to bring out better quality products in the shortest turnaround time, thus helping businesses to stay ahead in competition. Traditionally, various departments within an enterprise worked in silos with different work ethos and more often than not, at cross purposes with each other. DevOps adopts lean and agile methodologies to break barriers between various disciplines and work seamlessly to achieve optimization and automation.

DevOps is more to do with a change in the work culture of an organization, where synergy and collaboration are the buzzwords. As development and testing of software simultaneously by incorporating various discriminates of an organization becomes the new norm, creation of a real test environment where different components of software can be tested assumes significance.

However, there are a few challenges to create a real test environment for DevOps testing:

• The software architecture has individual components that are either evolving or not tested properly.

• The individual components or dependencies are mostly developed and controlled by third parties or partners – at locations that are far off from the parent organization.

• Ensuring dependencies and various teams handling them to work in tandem is difficult.

• The dependencies may be separated by distance, language and time zones, which are not always possible to be included in a real test environment.

• Dependencies need real datasets to validate their results, which are not always available.

• The task of aligning dependencies for testing purpose is cost prohibitive.

• Delays are inevitable if testing teams have to wait for dependencies to be ready.

The above mentioned challenges can be addressed by using Service Virtualization technique. In this process a virtualized test environment is created, wherein the behavior of dependencies is simulated as if they form part of the embedded software architecture with connections to other parts of the system. Here, the entire system architecture is not simulated, but only the ones that are needed for testing purposes. Service Virtualization strategy does not require setting up a real test infrastructure or data sets, but helps testing or development teams to record the behavior of dependencies – if they perform as desired.

How Service Virtualization works to the advantage of DevOps

• Creates a functional test environment without real dependencies and datasets

• Leads to cost savings, as setting up real test infrastructure is not required

• Shorter turnaround times as testing teams need not wait for dependencies to be ready or available

• Any number or type of datasets can be used to check the behavior of dependencies, which can be helpful to study abnormal behavior of components (if any)

• Glitches thus identified are addressed promptly leading to better quality software made available in the shortest time

• Better quality product leads to better user experience, so better brand value


The integration of various disciplines in a business to work in tandem is the hallmark of DevOps testing and leveraging service virtualization to achieve the same is the proverbial icing on the cake with respect to savings on cost and time, and enhancement of an organization's brand value.

Metabolic Acids and Plantar Fasciitis

Our feet are critical for our balance, coordination and of course, walking. We take them pretty much for granted until they hurt. Then we are really aware how important they are for our comfort. Thousands of people suffer from different conditions with the feet. One of the most painful is called plantar fasciitis. This is where there is sharp or throbbing pain in the heel and under part of the foot, particularly the arch.

Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common and frequently seen conditions by medical doctors and foot specialists. More people hobble in to their doctors seeking relief. The tissues on the underside of the foot become irritated and inflamed to the point that it is almost too painful to walk. The inflammation affects the band of fascia or tissue which supports the arch and runs the length of the foot from the heel to the toes. When it gets that painful, it is called a “stage 4 acidic wear and tear injury”.

Steven Ross, MD, clinical professor in the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at the University of California at Irvine, and President of the American Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Society (AOFAS) says that plantar fasciitis is a very common problem in adults, particularly overweight, middle age women. It does affect all walks of life. It doesn’t seem to matter if you are very active or sedentary, you can still get plantar fasciitis.

The medical model explains that plantar fasciitis is a repetitive stress injury, but people who sit at a desk all day, want to know how they can get a repetitive stress injury when they are on their feet very little. The answer lies in their diet and lifestyle which accumulates metabolic acids in the body tissues. When the rate of inflammation rises high enough, certain vulnerable tissues start screaming in pain. Metabolic acids can cause burning pain much like the pain you would feel if you spilled acid on yourself, or a significant ache in the bones and joints.

Metabolic acids are the waste products burped out of cells after the cell has consumed its fuel and spit out the waste. Basic high school chemistry tells us that if something is acid and you want to neutralize it, you need to add something that is alkaline or base to it. That is the simplest non-invasive, non pharmaceutical (read, no side effects) way to fix an acidic condition. You can be sure that if you have inflammation in your feet, you have it everywhere, you just can’t feel it yet. If you wait long enough without getting rid of the acids in your body, you will feel it sooner or later. The fastest way to get rid of an acidic body condition, called acidosis by scientists, is to alkalize the body. Strict alkaline diet takes between 6 to 8 months to begin to see the results, but who wants to eat five dinner salads every day or 2 pounds of kale for dinner? Wouldn’t you rather just drink alkaline, ionized water and start to turn more alkaline within two to three days. As you alkalize, the pain reduces until it is gone, the length of time varies with how acidic you are.

Other forms of treatment that alkalize the foot area only, come in the form of sodium bicarbonate injections, into the painful tissue area to neutralize the acids in the arch of the foot. Clay packs on the feet can also pull out acids. These are similar to clay packs for the face. Hot mineral salt baths for the feet, using bicarbonate salts like calcium bicarbonate, magnesium bicarbonate, etc. are comforting and do help draw the alkaline water through the skin and increase the circulation so it can be eliminated.

Some forms of treatment involve soaking the feet in heated ionized acidic water for 30 minutes twice a day. It is believed that the positively charged acidic water draws into the skin, which causes the negatively charged blood to flow into the feet, thus increasing circulation to remove acidic waste.

There are also ionized foot pads that are available from Ionways called Acupeds. See the article called “Acupeds and Plantar Fasciitis” for how they work. These pads are worn on the bottoms of the feet at night. They actually draw the toxins and metabolic acids from the muscles and tissues of the feet as you sleep. As the toxic load becomes less, the pain is relieved.

Other treatments that do not involve alkalizing include different types of exercises, stretching and foot massage. These forms of therapy can improve the circulation and increase the cellular pumping action that gets those nasty acids moving into the blood stream to eventually go down the chute.

There are surgical procedures that relieve the strain in the plantar fascia but it actually transfers the problem to other areas of the foot. There is another surgical procedure that is done to relieve the tightness in the calf muscles, believing that it will reduce pressure on the heel and the under-foot fascia. I, myself am not sure why one would do surgery on an acidic condition that can be reversed simply and easily without it.

Some foot specialists recommend orthodics or orthodic-like inserts into the heel and arch portion of the shoe. Some are custom made and some can be purchased over-the-counter. Some of the inserts that you buy over-the-counter can act by stimulating acupressure points on the bottom of the foot. It doesn’t seem to matter how long you have been having foot pain and severe the pain is, some people obtain relief within minutes.

Believe it or not, the size of your waist-line can have an effect on whether or not you get plantar fasciitis. Toxins are stored in body fat, that is why the body makes fat. If you did not have a lot of toxins, you would not be over or underweight. By modifying your diet to include more alkaline foods and more alkaline, ionized water, your body would discharge toxins into your waste chutes and your weight would naturally find its ideal. We have other articles to reference this, so check them out.

Dr. Ross explains that without surgical intervention, plantar fasciitis usually sorts itself out with patience, time and exercise. Nothing is a quick fix and quite often the surgical treatments don’t work as they are intended. Dr. Robert. O. Young says that approximately 99 percent of those with plantar fasciitis, who alkalize with diet and alkaline, ionized water will see relief much sooner without surgery.

A Work Day in the Life of a Construction Estimator

Today the world is expanding at a great pace. Today the time has come when everyone wants to migrate from rural areas to urban areas. It may be due to better job prospectus, better educational and career opportunities, and better health services. Whatever may be the reason but the ultimate truth is that the cities are expanding like universe which have created a serious problem of housing and sanitation in cities. The requirement for a large number of houses has made the construction field very competitive. When two decades before there was no good scope for a construction estimator job, today one can choose a good career in construction. The construction estimator job is a very career oriented in present time.

The job requires a good skill in the field. It requires a lot of hard work including physical work and consistency. His work day starts from taking round of work sites and briefing construction supervisors, labor in-charges and other agencies involved in the construction. He meets a lot of people to complete his job. He estimates the advance expenditure for the building construction and makes the arrangement of finance. He keeps in mind various factors like weather conditions like rain or snowfall which can hamper the work. If the work is hampered due to foul weather then it will cost to the company very high.

Usually where he takes the project, he has to plan in a perfect way and has to ensure that the plan gets in shape and also executed perfectly. It is very important to complete the construction in time so that the government or the client does not find any penalty or black list for future contracts. Normally construction involves: bridges, flyovers, roads or any government buildings and if the construction is not completed in time the agency will fine or may black list. It may damage the reputation of the company. So a construction estimator job is very important for the reputation and survival of the company. If he is working on any project and finds it profitable but he may have to continue that so that he can get other projects and profit can be adjusted in new project. He has to be very mature, understandable and tactful in dealing with various government agencies. His job is always tricky. When any project is completed, he must congratulate his subordinates and any incentives may be given as per suitability to encourage them.

How To Build Depth In Your MLM Business

Should I build depth in my organization, or should I build width? This is quite a valid question which every MLM business owner need to fully understand in order to create wealth and security.

But as you continue to build your business and you get more experience and knowledge you will begin to appreciate the wisdom of building depth and more depth, rather than building width like a brush fire. In-fact the fun really begins, as you continue to build depth in your MLM business. And right off the top you need to know and understand this fact.

“Building width creates profitability while building depth creates and guarantees long-term security”.

Explanation:.. As you begin to build your group, your group will expand both in width, 3, 4, 5, 6 legs or so, and each leg will also build deep, maybe 5, 6, 7, 8 generations in-depth. There are some pretty good Compensation plans which will reward you handsomely just for creating width in your group. As you create more width they will pay you more commissions and bonuses.

Then there are also some pretty good Compensation plans which will do the opposite and reward you handsomely for creating depth, as opposed to creating width, or as well as creating width. The question here is which building structure is better. And really the answer is simply what is more important to you? Do you want a quick buck or do you want stability and long-term security?

Here are some facts to consider. The wider your group becomes it’s the thinner you are spreading yourself. The more work you will have to do and the more frustration you will encounter, with little security. But if that is what the Compensation plan requires, and that is what you desire, then that is what you must do.

On the other hand if the Compensation plan is much more rewarding towards a building structure of depth, then you are smiling, because you simply may have to concentrate on perhaps only 3 to 5 legs, which makes life so much easier. This is where you are now looking for leaders in-depth rather than in width and this is a lot more fun because as you find leaders in-depth and you work with them and build more depth, you are actually building security by backing up leaders with leader. The more leaders in any leg, usually it’s the more income generated in that leg. More income equals more belief and commitment. When you have built 4 to 5 strong knowledgeable leaders in-depth who are duplicating exactly what you have taught them, that’s a diamond leg. No quitting here. You now have total, long-term security.

And remember every person knows or can be a lead to a real winner. You must believe this fact. I have seen the results time and again. The key here is everyone is important.

As you build depth, remember you are always looking to work with the sharpest person on that new enrollee’s list. You as the leader always want to work with the sharpest person to make sure that new person is getting the correct information. And as you work with the sharpest person you are also making sure that Jane or John, whose new enrollee you are now working with, is working with the others on her/his list.

So what you are effectively doing is working with the sharpest person from Jane’s/John’s list (Free lead) and also making sure that Jane/John is learning the business and duplicating you, as you teach her/him to do exactly what you are doing. Here is the wisdom in building this way. You always want to build relationship with your key people, or most excited people, especially in-depth, for several reasons.

A) You want to make sure those key people are being taught the right information.

B) You want to build friendships in-depth, especially with key players, or people who are excited, because if Jane/John quits that person is now a friend of yours and would more than likely stay in the business. Mainly because of the relationship and trust you built with that person.

C) As you build depth and you become friends with the key people or the excited people in each leg there is a great chance that the Jane’s/John’s, who might not be too excited about their business will hang in there a bit longer as you build “fire down below”. This means you are also doing this for the Jane’s/John’s, who may or may not be a friend of yours.

Ultimately you will agree that building depth the right way is extremely critical. Finding a Company with a Compensation plan which compensates handsomely for building depth will always be the best find you can ever make, in this industry.

Top Gaming Headsets – The Pro's And Con's Of The Ear Force X31 Wireless Xbox Gaming Headset

The Turtle Beach Ear Force X31 Wireless Gaming Headset with Xbox Live chat is a without a doubt One of the top gaming headsets available for Xbox gamers, yet it does have a few annoying flaws. This is not so much a "technical review" as a real gamers experience with the headset, because this my weapon of choice when it comes to my gaming headphones. I got sick and tired of the crummy chat sound with the standard Microsoft headset, plus my wife and kids were tired of listening to the noise from the video games late at night.

I have a friend who ran the local video game store, and the solution's he recommended were the Turtle Beach Ear Force X11's (wired) or the X31's (wireless). In the end I chose the wireless option for a few more dollars, mainly to prevent possible accident damage to my system from my wife or kids tripping over wires. Once removed from the package, it took me about 8-10 minutes to hook up the headset to the console and have it running. The first game I played with them was Gears of War2 in normal campaign mode. WOW! There was no doubt the X31's reputation as one of Xbox's top gaming headsets was well earned! My first impression was the way I could FEEL the explosions in the background, it was like I could imagine being in the actual game.

Next I had to try Modern Warfare 2 in online multiplayer so I could test out the quality of the chat features. The clarity of the other players voices was amazing, plus it looks much easier to determine where enemy players are hiding since they help you hear even the slightest noise. Playing on the underpass map, I could clearly hear enemies planting C4 mines in the doorway ahead of me! It was surprising to hear sounds I had never noticed before. This is one of the greatest advantages of using a pair of top gaming headsets like the X31's instead of TV speakers and a crummy chat headset.

Some of the many pro's of the Ear Force X31's are:

  • Crystal clear sound quality Both in-game sounds and live chat sounds fantastic, and really makes the games more fun as well as giving an advantage over opponent's. It has a digital RF wireless connection, which means less static and popping noises (when properly installed).
  • Comfort I have no problem wearing this headset for 4-5 hours at a time. The soft mesh covering on the ear cups keeps them from making my ears sweat, and the headband is also well padded. Very few of even the top gaming headsets are this comfortable.
  • Xbox Live Chat – Greatly improved clarity improves game play in team death match type games where understanding team-mates is important.
  • Battery Booster Circuit An interesting feature; a special battery booster circuit literally drains every last bit of energy from the batteries before the headset makes a "humming" sound, then goes dead. Once this happens, the batteries will be TOTALLY dead! I usually manage about 20-22 hours from a set of Duracell's, so consider rechargeable batteries.
  • Price – The price of this headset varies; but at roughly $ 85. 00, it is possibly the most affordable of the top gaming headsets. Amazing headphones for an awesome price.
  • Flexible Mic Boom -Great feature, quickly adjust the mic location without interrupting your game play and getting you killed.
  • Wireless – No worries about someone (read: wife) tripping over headphone cords and damaging your console and games, and then getting mad at YOU for it. Save yourself the hassle now, trust me.

I feel the con's of the Ear Force X31's are:

  • Effects Button Worthless – I have always kept the button in the first position, the 2nd and 3rd positions seem to be worthless most of the time. I'm not sure why it was even built into the unit really.
  • Mute Switch – This is my biggest complaint about this headset, and for 2 reasons: First, it is IMPOSSIBLE to find this switch while in combat / game play. While the X1's were simple to find the mute switch, you will die if you even think about trying to adjust the mute switch while in online multiplayer. The second problem I have with this is that it results in extra wear and tear on the controller jack input because it often result in having to Yank the talkback cable out trying to get it to work.

Overall, I rate this as one of the best deals possible among the top gaming headsets. I have been using my X31 wireless headset for a year now, and I can not play without them!

Muscle Building Workout – Optimize Your Muscle Building Workout Schedule

Overworking as a common error.

I can remember vividly, my muscle building schedules when I first begin. Being new to building muscles, I was excited about the muscular gains in my body every week, due to my workouts during the weeks. Noticing my growth, I decided to add on to my schedule in hopes of more gains. Never did I expect that decision to be a painful one. For the change, I headed to the gym 5 days a week without an efficient muscle building workout. (Common mistake made by beginners)

Most beginners have a muscle building workout like this

Eg Bench press, bicep curl, triceps extension, weighted pull ups, squats.

Such a workout trains every part of your body's muscles. However, they will attain minimal growth. At the beginning, you will notice growth and gain in strength. The muscles get stronger but you will stop growing very quickly. The most common reaction to the cease in growing would be to double the training schedule.

Overtraining leads to muscle loss through injuries! Muscle soreness is a sign of a tired muscle and that the muscle should be left alone to rest. Our body grows when it rests, not when it is being worked out. Our muscle tissues get damaged during workouts and they grow during the repair and recovery period. In simple terms, a good strategy towards muscle gain would be to work the muscle and to give it sufficient rest for the growth. Think about what happens if you work out every part of your muscles everyday? ALL your muscle tissues get damaged further and they'll have no chance of growing as the damaged tissues are not being repaired.

Effective muscle building workout schedule

An effective muscle building workout schedule should be one where you workout different muscles on different days. For example, (Day 1 biceps and chest) (Day 2 back and shoulders). Such routine allows the muscle with damaged tissues to repair themselves while you train other parts of your muscles. Also, rest is very important and you should always include a day of rest in between your weekly muscle building workout schedules.

Proper rest + Proper diet = Growth

Heres the simple equation for growth. If you are over working, change your workout schedules and routines. If you are following a good muscle building routine but have reached a plateau, change your diet to one with higher protein, higher calorie take but lower in fat level. I was first skeptical when I was told that I stopped growing due to over training. However, try changing your schedule and you will see the difference in weeks!

Top Winter Fashion Trends

With summer fashion styles and ranges being the most celebrated out of all the seasons in a year, many people forget that winter and autumn also features great ranges. Many consider dark colors to be the only option throughout the winter period. But many do not realize there is much greater styles and ranges out there this time of year. Fashion is always changing and evolving and this includes during the winter months.

Winter 2012 Fashion Trends

The recurring themes this winter are around classy, ​​sexy and classic clothes. That help provide a little bit extra warmth. Here the common trends being placed around jackets and coats.

Maxi coats for example provide a long and sleek appearance while sheltering you from nature. Combine this with boots or boots to help lift yourself from the ground and adding more height. Although super chic, they also provide high usability and versatility any time during the autumn and winter months. Although darker colors are more common considering trying a lighter color this season.

Another winter trend this year is leather. And not just leather jackets but also leather skirts and trousers. Again providing warmth and very tough materials that provide class and elegance. Do not just consider going for a black jacket, think about mixing different colors. Such as a red leather skirt with heels and a denim jacket. As with chinos becoming in fashion for men, this provides not just the typical denim jeans but also red, gray and also yellow colors into their option of colors. Much similar to leather. Instead of going for the typical black consider red as suggested or even green.

Finally, although you will most likely be hanging up your sunglasses as the key summer accessory. You can celebrate knowing they can be replaced with hats, scarves and gloves. As always these are considered key winter essentials, along with allowing for personalization.

Chunky knit hats and scarves prove very popular. Faux-fur scarves are also the rage and warm. Beanie hats are also easy to find and prove successful against the cold. Combined with contrasting winter winter coats can prove a great winter look.

Although keeping up to date with current trends is important for those looking to be as stylish as possible. Its vital that personalization can shine beyond this. With adding your own accessories or even mixing up a few styles and colors this winter can really set yourself apart form everyone else.

Remember that high street retailers are providing high quality combined with high speed turnaround, which can match the styles and designers of much more known brands.

Porch Cost

I have always been a fan of porches. When I was little I would spend hours on my front porch watching the world move by. Now that I have kids, summer hours are often sent sitting, swinging, eating and entertaining on our porch. The wonderful thing about being out on a porch is that you are physically alone inside nor completely completely exposed to the elements on the outside. Psychologically I almost feel as though I am on vacation when I sit on my porch and listen to the birds, smell the fresh cut grass and enjoy the kids and dogs playing in the yard.

Having designed many porches, I knew that the impact of adding a porch was fundamental both for the look of a home and the lifestyle of its owners. I also knew that the cost of a porch was well below the average cost of interior space. However we rarely, if ever, only add a porch to a home, but usually include a porch as part of an overall renovation project. As a result, when my clients have asked about the cost of adding a porch all I could do was give an educated guess.

To some degree, asking the cost of a porch is like asking the cost of a house; it depends on what you put into it. With that in mind I decided to take a simple porch that had been part of a renovation many years ago, and ask four contractors who are currently working on our projects to give me bids on that porch. They are geographically diverse with their businesses being located in Litchfield County, Connecticut, Dutchess, Ulster, and Westchester County, New York. What they have in common are high standards of quality and a love of porches.

The simple porch that we used to figure costs has a metal roof, exposed painted rafters, a painted mahogany deck and stairs, simple railroads and posts with a foundation only under those posts. This porch was designed to last a lifetime.

When the bids were in, we found that a 9 'x 36'-324 square foot porch cost an average of $ 48,000 or approximately $ 148 / square foot. Compared to interior finished space that's a bargain.

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Details of Rock Garden Construction

The first step in the actual construction of a rock garden is to lay it out, at least in sufficient detail to show its general contour, to indicate paths and so on. These points had best been marked by fairly stout stakes driven into the ground, as otherwise they are likely to be obliterated.

Where there are no ledges or stones to start with, some exciting will be necessary. This is not alone for drainage. If the rock garden is merely constructed on the surface of the soil, there will be a break at this point which seriously interposes with the moisture supply.

The base or foundation of the rock garden structure should be literally buried in the ground. The foundation should consist of a large piece of stone, and any patio statuary left for later. Small, broken pieces, flat stones, soft stone or shale, rock debris of any kind not suitable for use above ground may be utilized here to advantage for "filling in."

Old bricks or masonry rubbish will answer; cinders (not soft ashes) serve admirably. The bases of the largest rocks, the tops of which will appear aboveground, should be sunk well below the soil level. Incidentally, the excavation made gives soil to use existground.

Under ordinary conditions, where the subsoil drainage is good, twelve or fifteen inches will be deep enough for this preliminary excavation; often less on a slope or a bank. If the subsoil is hard, it should be thoroughly broken up with a pick. Many writers recommend an excavation of three or four feet. It is much easier to recommend than to execute-one is more likely to feel like executing the recommender. Such a depth is necessary only where drain is abnormally poor.

With the excavation completed, the "skeleton" of the rock work may be laid out in the larger stones put in position, and a sufficient number of others placed at important points where the construction is to follow. Also the steps, if there are any, may be put in.

The construction of the rock garden may proceed along any of several different lines, according to the type which is to be built and the local conditions. These may be classified as follows:

The Mound Rock Garden:

Where one has to start "on the level" and with no stones naturally in place, the simplest method of construction is in the form of a continuous mound or ridge. This may be "faced" in both directions, or in only one.

A row of the larger stones may be put in place first along the edge or edges. They should not, of course, be laid in a straight line, nor should they touch, and the spacing should be uneven. Then fill in a layer of stone and soil in the back of them, and proceed to build on up.

The surface stones should be laid flat and pointing downward, both for stability and to catch and drain into the soil as much as possible of all rains or condensing moisture which may be covered by their projection edges. Constant watching will be required to get the most attractive side or face of each stone turned outward.

Almost invariably, too, each stone should be placed with its natural base down. The soil used in building should have been prepared in advance. Where the plants are to be set in pockets, or in crevices between the stones, the soil should be kept as loose as practicable. Neverheless, each stone should have made absolutely firm in its place. This is consistent for patio water falls that will be incorporated into the rock garden.

The Sunken or Semi-Underground Rock Garden:

Frequently the garden is not built entirely up the surface, but formed by excavating a reasonable portion of the area to be used, throwing up the soil removed around the edges, or piling it up along one side. This arrangement typically involves more work, but it has several advantages.

In the first place, it makes possible a greater range of conditions under which the plants may be grown. If one is anxious to have as wide a selection of rock and alpine plants as possible, this is important.

But this excavation should not be in the nature of a hole in which water may collect. It may be started at the ground level with possibly one or two steps down, and it should gradually grow deeper as it proceeds. If made on level ground, the path will have to slope gradually downward, but if it is built into a rise of ground, the path may be set near level, which is ideal for any garden statuary or outdoor water features .

As a large amount of soil must be removed, which can be piled up around the outside, the height of the sliding sides which are to be planted is significantly augmented. A depth of four or five feet below the natural ground level provides space for planting six to eight feet high.

Sometimes there is an old cell hole, a natural hollow, or other depression which may be used in this way. Even a small excavation, not more than two or three feet deep, opening off from one side of the ordinarily built-on-the-surface rock garden, will provide not only an acceptable variation in the general plan but conditions of shade and protection for various types of plants.

IPC J-STD Certification

IPC J-STD Training

The Solder Training for the electronics industry worldwide has become the IPC J-STD training and certification program whereby processes and methods for printed circuit board and wire assembly standards are taught. This certification program is based and developed on the industry consensus document the Requirements for Soldered Electrical and Electronic Assemblies. This document describes how printed circuit board assemblies are put together and assembled.

IPC J-STD training program is not intended for those who have never hand soldered rather it’s focus is on making sure that hand soldering practices are understood for not only what they are in terms of skill but why they are done in a specific manner. This means that soldering techs, quality control staff and engineering and even design staff should be exposed to these standards. Process control knowledge is part of this course in order to solidify in the mindset of technicians that whole for example cleaning is an important part of the assembly process; it needs to be verified as well. In the case of cleaning for an example, the cleanliness testing requirements are to be verified through ionic cleanliness.

In the IPC JSTD training program, the certification program is limited to time scope and is bound to the recipient of the certification. The highest level is the master instructor who is employed at the various credentialed training centers. These master instructors have both teaching and industry experience. They must also be able to pass the certified instructor course material and usually instruct “under” an already-certified instructor. These master instructors then teach and certify the certified instructors (called CITs). After being instructed and tested in all of the course material these certified trainers can then instruct applications specialists (CIS) in the course “modules” which can be somewhat customized to the business needs.

In addition to this structure in the IPC JSTD training program the administration of the program, testing is done via an electronic portal. Testing is accomplished at each of the training centers via links and password firewalls through an internet-based training program. In addition to the testing being done electronically, The portal also gives employers visibility on who has been credentialed and who is up to date on the program requirements. The credential is transportable for the employee as the training certificate belongs to the employee.

Why would you want to have a JSTD-001 certification? First of all this program enhances

Employee skills and performance. Secondarily if your company uses and is contractually- obligated to the J-STD-001 standard you can use the IPC JSTD training program to address the standard’s training requirement.

The different aspects of the IPC JSTD training program are listed below:

MODULE 1 – Introduction/Overview of IPC J-STD-001 include EOS/ESD, soldering theory, fluxes, alloys, tools, training requirements and cleaning requirements. This portion of the program also goes into how the IPC JSTD training program is administered.

MODULE 2 – Wires and Terminals cover wire prep, soldering to terminals, terminal inspection and other elements of wire handling.

MODULE 3 – Through-Hole Technology goes through how leads are prepared, how components are mounted and inspection criteria for through-hole devices.

MODULE 4 – Surface Mount Technology teaches students about the inspection criteria for soldering joints on various device types, how to solder and tack into place the SMT device and numerous other points.

MODULE 5 – Inspection Methodology includes the theory of inspection and SPC, a definition of defects and how to disposition them.

Call BEST today to get an IPC JSTD training program schedule and sign up!

Underwater Lighting

Underwater Lighting is a term used for lights that can be submersed to illuminate a given area for many different types of reasons. Underwater lighting is used to illuminate other dark and non-visible areas underwater, and is employed for industrial applications where work is to be carried out ie: underwater welding of pipes, and other types of submerged fabrications. This type of lighting is also used for oral purposes such as, the lighting of a swimming pool or garden pond and other similar water features.

Generally the bulbs in underwater lighting equipment are sealed into the unit which will produce a significant amount of heat, and then should remain submerged so the heat can disperse. Underwater lighting equipment must be manufactured from non-corrosive materials, and bronze in particular is material most manufacturers prefer. Underwater lighting can be floating, set into the sides or floor, or even free standing.

The electrical circuit for underwater lighting can be high or low voltage, and should be installed in accordance with local regulations for electrical safety.

Some of the many types of underwater lighting for ponds and ornamental pools can include;

o Submersible triple pond spotlights
o Submersible LED pond lights
o Rock lights
o Solar floating lights
o Submersible colored lights / spotlights
o Color changing lights floating / submersible

Rock lights help to keep the lighting system camouflaged and natural during day light hours. They are not noticeable during the day, and will clearly highlight the ponds best features during the night time hours. They are available in a variety of natural shapes and colors, are fully submersible and can be used in or out of a pool or pond.

Submersible pond lighting adds the finishing touch of beauty to any water garden environment or feature, and allows the viewing of night-time antics of fishes and evening blooming plants.

LED lighting systems produce stunning light effects in or around an ornamental pond, are energy efficient and provide an effective solution for pond illumination.

Solar floating lights add interest and illumination to ornamental ponds. These types of lights will charge in the daylight hours by storing the sun's energy to produce a dazzling light show at dusk and on into the night. The lights can house a choice of colors, generally red, amber or blue, and are weighed at the bottom to ensure maximum exposure to sunlight / daylight.

Other underwater lighting systems can also include lighting for large areas such as large ponds, lakes and even marine life such as seaside water-fronts, and some companies specialize in lighting for underwater photography.