The Facts About Business Internet Costs

The whole thing about internet pricing does not make any sense to most businesses. That too often includes those who should understand it the best. The computer support staff, in house "computer guy", or IT cadre. But the key person needing an education is the decision maker. That person who will very decide what solution your company will choose. This is for "them".

Remember that complex network services are like a Trojan horse. If the boss lets a "solution" in because the price looks good ….. the staff is left to deal with the consequences.

Be careful … you're being tempted by the siren song of price. Woooooo ~~~ low price. Woooooo ~~~ higher speed. Uhhhh Ohhhh ~~~ long term contract. Uhhhh Ohhhh ~~~ bad service, support, maintenance and billing! And Uhhhh Ohhhh ~~~ time to update your resumeĆ©.

You understand for example that a T1 connection usually has a very stringent SLA (Service Level Agreement), one that cable and DSL does not. With the number of T1 circuits in existence and the number of years that they have been available, (and the number of abandoned smart jacks at customer sites), you're apt to be frustrated that it is significantly more expensive to install a T1 than it is to install a DSL circuit.

You might even believe that if the actual physical costs (barring any repeating for long distances) are basically the same as DSL, then if you relax the SLA, why can not T1 circuitry be used to deliver internet where DSL does not go?

You're also likely to be confused because you can get a business 15/3 circuit from a cable provider for about $ 150 / mo and the same circuit at home is about $ 80. Therein is another trap. Do not get off track trying to compare a business grade line with a residential circuit. That's like comparing apples and watermelons.

Is the higher cost of a T1 circuit (or DS3 bandwidth and so on) a matter of state mandated tariffs? Is it a matter of the ISPs protecting their profits with an air of exclusivity?

No ….. now you're buying into the conspiracy theory excuse.

This can be especially migraine inducing if you business is one of those bandwidth orphans, stuck out in Boonieville, Any State USA. You can not use satellite without cutting down big trees. You can not get reasonable cell phone coverage even if you are willing to live with the 5Gb limit. You have no WiFi and there is no DSL. All you have available is dialup at 45K. Now that would really suck.

We have been waiting for over three years for BPL (bandwidth over power lines) which is apparently still a work-in-progress. For example sake let's say you may have been quoted say $ 850 last year for a full T …. with some less competitive prices above $ 1000.

You may also notice that we are signaling signals off of satellites, trying to run IP over high power electric lines and bouncing wireless signals off of multiple towers, when the answer to rural internet coverage may be sitting on a little circuit board in the Demarc room.

Now that's really reaching …. and too simple a argument. The facts just do not support that line of reasining.

I can see where you might also think that the problem with bandwidth in the boonies is of our own making.

But here's the "education" you need to get through all of that cloud cover. Facts …. not excuses and conspiracy theories.

DSL and cable are shared services. Bandwidth is shared in the residential neighborhoods, and is often oversold. So many customers are paying for a limited resource, and the low retail price is the result. Even the facility into your residential location is shared …. cable shares the TV connection, and DSL rides on an analog voice grade line.

The flip side is that T1 is a dedicated service (as is DS3 Bandwidth and Business Ethernet for example). The circuit is engineered as a digital circuit, special repeaters might be required if you're far from the central office, and you do not share your bandwidth with other subscribers.

If you want to talk about businesses getting thrown under the bus, simply talk to any independent bandwidth consultant who make a living rescuing frustrated DSL and cable customers with T1 service (or any other allocated bandwidth solution). Certainly not every DSL and cable customer is disappointed, but there are enough of them to support a thriving industry.

You need to understand that the cost of the physical plant is irrelevant. Only the price to you is relevant. And the price to you for an internet T1 is almost always dependent ONLY on the distance from your central office to a carrier POP (Point Of Presence) …. and almost never dependent on the distance from your location to the local central office.

DSL rides on an analog voice grade line. T1 is a dedicated service. The circuit is engineered as a digital circuit, special repeaters might be required if you're far from the central office. Irrespective of SLAs and oversold / dedicated upstream bandwidth, the wires for T1 and DSL are configured differently.

I can not speak for the ILECs costs to themselves when they sell a T1, but any CLEC is going to pay $ X for an unconditioned copper pair for DSL, and $ Y for a conditioned loop (or loops, depending on how it's delivered ) for dedicated circuits.

On top of that, DSL gets terminated in a DSLAM which is, compared to traditional TDM "telco" equipment, way, way cheaper. Old school telco gear for terminating T1, T3 and OC circuits is an entirely different world with insane pricing, and one hopes, reliability. This stuff is built to meet certain standards and it's all for 5-9's reliability, which the DSL gear simply is not.

Then there's the install and maintenance, which involves possibly installing repeaters, picking the appropriate technology (eg traditional T1, DSL-based solutions – yes many T1s ride "DSL", but not the cheap stuff), circuit planning and possibly new construction, in some cases dropping a fiber Mux in the building.

Ongoing you are paying for the reliability of the line and a totally different tier of people to service it.

This is just the circuit itself, I'm not even getting into the handoff to the ISP and any oversubscription issues. Even Frame / ATM services over T1 where you are agreeing to go on a "shared" medium is going to be more than cable or DSL due to the underlining T1 line connecting you to the provider.

But one thing which is a HUGE factor in price is the fact that since it's a "business-grade" line, the provider's SLA's require their Techs to respond to outages "within x hours" (usually 4 hrs). Meaning if you run a business and your t1 goes out at 11pm, an ILEC tech will be on-site (or at the cross connect box) by 3am. ILEC's build that cost into the monthly price …. whereas shared / best effort services (eg DSL, cable) say "within 24-48 hrs" to fix it (if you're lucky), and you're on the same dispatch queue as the kid down the street who is complaining because his porn is downloading slow.

Keep in mind that the cost of copper and the equipment to support the digital circuit (Dedicated Bandwidth) is nothing compared to the cost of rolling a truck after-hours with a line tech to your location to fix the issue. AND, if it's a problem outside your Demarc (which is usually the case), you do not pay for the fix. It's the ILEC's issue …. meaning "someone * did pay that guy to go out there, just not you.
The bottom line is this.

If you're serious about your business internet needs and understand the importance of having top notch customer service to go with it, you need to go with a carrier with a reputation for great customer service. Dedicated Bandwidth is a very cost effective solution for any company who understands the difference from DSL and cable. Simply be aware that the lowest price rarely means the best service or quality. Because in the internet connection world, more often than not, you get what you pay for.

3 Credit Scores – The Importance of Getting All 3 Credit Bureau Scores

A good or bad credit score is a direct representation of you and your financial status. Your credit can also be a window into your personality. That is why some major companies nowadays have started to utilize credit reports as a basis for new hire. With this in mind, it is important to know exactly what is going on with all 3 of your credit bureau scores.

The three major credit reporting agencies cover different areas of the United States. Equifax covers the east coast, Experian covers the midwest and Trans Union covers the west coast. Depending on what region you live in, some institutions will only check the credit score for that region. The bad news is that all major creditors such as credit card companies, mortgage banks, and dealerships check all 3 credit bureau scores.

Banks that offer mortgages will customarily use the middle score of the 3 credit bureaus as a barometer to assess your credit worthiness. In essence if you have a high score with one credit reporting agency and low scores with the others, the bank will choose the second to lowest score as a representation of you. That is why it is important to know exactly what your scores are.

There are several factors that can be responsible for lowering your credit score. Some of the most damaging factors include: late payments, missed payments, charge offs and identity fraud. There is no way to know what is on your report until your request a copy of both your report and credit scores. You may be surprised at how many errors that can easily be addressed to raise your credit score.

Errors on a credit report is not something that is uncommon. The credit bureaus are ran by humans whose job is to make sure that your credit report is accurate, but at the same time, it is human to make errors. Obtaining a copy of your file will let you know exactly where you stand as far as credit worthiness and what you need to correct.

Since all 3 credit bureau scores account for a full representation of you as a person, it is imperative to protect your character. There is nothing worse than finding out about your credit report and scores when you are trying to make a big purchase. There are ways to avoid dealing with unfortunate scenarios such as being the last to know about your bad credit, possible identity theft, or the reason you were passed on a good job, and it starts with knowing your credit scores.

The 3 Step Interior Design Guide For Your Living Room

Designing a living room can mean something as thrilling as decorating a living space from top to bottom, complete with brand new furniture and paint. It may also be as simple as adding only a few new pieces to complete the look of your den. Here are some great interior design, whether you're working from the ground up, or just making tweaks here and there.

Step one: Choose your Style

Living room furniture needs to be somewhat consistent to tie a room together. First, take a look at your existing furniture. If you're starting fresh, find some suitable furniture online that you love. What style is it? Modern living rooms are sleek, and somewhat reminiscent of the 50's and 60's. This style may also be called mid-century. Traditional furniture is best described as normal furniture, that would not look out of place in any home in America. Contemporary living rooms are very current, and may feature smooth organic lines.

Define the type of furniture you have now, or choose your favorite style, and try to keep every piece you purchase within the same family. It's very hard to mix styles, but if you have your heart set on it, it can be done through tying together color or texture.

Step Two: Choose your palette

Your color palette is just as important as your furniture! A good palette combines a range of colors, but it's a good idea not to have more than one or two strong colors in your palette. If you choose a primary color, like bright red, try to keep it minimal. Muted colors around it will make every red item a centerpiece. Want a modern couch? Try it in red, with a cool color on the walls, and possibly a white rug. That red couch will be the center of the room. You should also try and pair a few complementary colors, like plums and mustards (purples and yellows) or oranges and blues (Coral and ice blue). Remember, it's the base tone that's important, not how bright it is.

Step Three: Choose your living room furniture

Now that you know what style and color palette you want, it's time to shop for furniture online! Look at a few pieces for your living room. If you have your couch or sectional already, pick up some end tables, or a coffee table or cocktail ottoman to match. You may also want to consider an entertainment center for your TV, or a small side table or credenza for storage.

Before you chose any furniture for a living room, you should plot out on paper how it will be arranged. Decide where every piece will go, and measure your space. Sometimes our estimates of how much space we have can be very inaccurate. A good living room furniture arrangement should be open, and allow easy pathways on each side for people to walk. If you tend to occupy any flat surface with clutter, think about furniture with built in storage.

No matter what your tastes, it's easy to set up a great living room that you and your guests will love!

10 Facts About Native American Rattles

When you visit the southwest, try to visit an Indian pow wow. Native American rattles will be a very interesting part of the ceremony. If you want to learn more about American Indian culture, you will love the authentic rattles made from various natural materials. The Indian people also call them Native American shakers, and some people use them for southwest and rustic decor.

1. Rattles have become icons of Native American heritage. They represent the various different Indigenous tribes. In Native culture rattles are one of the most popular instruments used during ceremonials.

2. Different Tribes use rattles now as they have for generations. They are used in public gatherings. They are also important in the spiritual connection with the creator.

3. Historically, Native American rattles have been essential to tribal ceremonies being symbolic to each tribe that uses them. The symbols usually include those from the plant, animal and mineral kingdom.

4. A turtle shell container may represent the animal kingdom. The earthen paint used to decorate the rattle may represent the mineral kingdom. Small rocks may also represent the mineral kingdom as they are placed inside. The plant kingdom is usually represented by the handle of the rattle.

5. It’s interesting that not all tribes used drums but most did use rattles throughout history. Some Tribes used elaborate rattles made with turtle shells or carved gourds. Some tribes almost exclusively used sea weed rattles.

6. One type among the American Indian Tribes that was the most popular was the rawhide rattle. Each Tribe had their own way of making the rawhide rattles. They used varying patterns and symbols in their bead work, colors and designs. By studying the designs and colors used, you can tell which tribe made it. They were handcrafted works of art.

7. One thing the Tribes had in common is that they used the rattles as a part of their music and dance. They also used them for medicine and spirituality.

8. Native rattles use many natural materials such as leather, rawhide, beads and feathers. Other choices include antlers, bones and shells as well as fur, leather, seeds and rocks. Each of these are what the artist uses to create a personal and unique Indian rattle.

9. What is inside the rattle is equally important. Many times, corn, beans or manzanita seeds or trade beads are placed inside. One interesting custom is to use small smooth stones gathered from the opening of an ant hill.

10. Music and songs as well as stories have always been an important part of Native American teaching. Sharing legends and teachings through ceremonies and rituals keeps traditions and cultural beliefs alive.

There is something thrilling about owning one and it is easy to buy Native American rattles online. Display a rattle with your rustic southwest decor. Or, use an Indian rattle in your drumming circle and enjoy the authentic Indian art on Native rattles. You will no doubt be drawn to the colorful culture and sound of Native American rattles.

Protecting the Public Speaker’s Most Valuable Asset: Your Voice!

A lawyer has his briefs and his arguments. A basketball player needs a basketball and a plumber uses a snake to clear a drain. What do these professionals (who get paid a lot of money) all have in common? Without one specific tool, they cannot do their job properly. In addition, if that tool is not in tiptop working condition — their job will become more difficult, if not impossible to perform!

Well, guess what? If a public speaker wants to make an impact with his or her audience, the one tool he absolutely needs to protect is his voice. Doing so, will allow you to effortlessly do your job so your audience can enjoy your message and content.

Before I worked as a professional speaker and humorist, I trained as a professional actor. I did oodles and oodles of stage work that allowed me to speak on a stage and be completely heard (without straining) in the last row of the theatre/auditorium.

I accomplished this with hours of voice training and the proper use of my voice using my diaphragm.

You see, your voice box is a muscle, and just like any other part of your body, if you abuse it–you will lose it! And if you don’t take care of your body and don’t get enough sleep or you’re fatigued, I guarantee you, as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west — your voice will be the first thing to go! Hello, laryngitis!

Your body and voice should work in peak performance mode so your inspiring message and content ring loud and clear like a bell!

Please don’t rely on the sound system to help you out if your voice is scratchy, hurting, or withering away due to fatigue.

The result will be a scratchy voice that is NOW louder to your audience and more annoying to listen to. Remember: If your voice fails, you’re a goner! Also apologizing to your audience every few minutes will not help the matter. They don’t care. They want a speaker they can ALL enjoy now!

What to Drink to Protect Your Voice

Yes, drinking is very important. Of course, we’re talking about drinking the right fluids that are NON alcoholic. Working pros know that alcohol is a clear no-no before preparing to speak in front of an eager audience.

I can’t tell you how many times at night before doing a corporate show, a client or an attendee has offered me a cocktail before bounding onto the platform.

I always turned it down, and I hope you do the same. You see, not only will the alcohol dry out your throat, but the combination of drinking it and talking to a crowd are fraught with danger.

Try this on for size. You could forget what you wanted to say; you could stumble off the stage and into the audience. Landing off the platform and into the lap of an audience member is NOT how you want to be remembered, do you? And just imagine what the evaluations forms will point out.

“Speaker was pretty decent until she stumbled off the platform and landed on me breaking my collar bone! Would enjoy hearing her again when she’s sober and I am healed!”

Again, do yourself a favor: Drink alcohol AFTER your presentation during your down time in the hotel bar!

That said, you should do everything you can to lubricate your voice and not have phlegm rear its ugly head. The best thing to drink is plain old H2O. In fact, you should drink a lot of water (hydrate as they say) the day BEFORE you are scheduled to speak.

Doing this will moisten up your vocal chords, not to mention your entire body (which is always a good idea anyway.) Then during your speech have a cup of room-temperature water beside you on the lectern, and sip it every now and then.

Another big no-no is to keep away from soda and other carbonated drinks right before your presentation. If you want to protect your voice, remember to stay away from carbonation, especially if you do NOT want to belch or slightly burp on stage. Imagine the embarrassment when you belch out a word or two in the middle of your talk!

If water is just not your thing, try drinking something naturally sweet, like orange juice or grapefruit juice. They are astringents and can help clear any congestion from your vocal chords. Again, doing this will enable you to NOT have to clear your throat after every other sentence!

Coddle Your Voice Like a Baby!

Just as you wouldn’t send your small child out into the cold without a sweater and scarf, do the same for your speaking voice.

Protect your voice by wrapping a winter scarf around your neck in winter. Wear turtleneck sweaters and shirts (in season, of course). Wisely, do what you have to do to keep yourself and your voice warm and cozy.

Don’t go too far by wrapping a woolen scarf around your neck in mid-July. Oh, sure, other speakers might know you are protecting your voice. BUT some folks might think you’re a nut job and could possibly alert the authorities. (And no, that never happened to me!)

There’s More You Can Do

Does the word “strain” conjure up feelings of pain or tension? Well, your voice thinks it does! Common sense dictates to always use a microphone when you are speaking to an audience. Certainly if you are in an intimate setting, say less than fifty people, then you might not want to. But only do that if you can project your voice properly to your listeners without hurting it.

Along with being trained as an actor, I also trained earlier in my life as a singer. And because I was, I always want to keep my voice limber by singing scales and doing certain vocal exercises.

If I am on the road (and I usually am when giving a presentation), I do my scales in my hotel room (preferably in the shower). My public speaking program has certain voice exercises for you to use that can help give your voice more timbre, vocal range, and flexibility.

Remember: Just like an athlete stretches his arms and leg quads for flexibility, so must a speaker get his voice flexible to get the job done!

Be prudent: If there’s a break during the day’s schedule before you have to speak, protect your voice by taking that time to be alone.

Do your best to NOT speak to anyone. Explain to your host or client that you’re not being antisocial; you’re just saving your voice for the time you’re scheduled to speak. (They’ll hopefully understand and drift away for you to be alone!)

Again, it’s worth repeating: Before your begin your speech, find a quiet area (preferably your hotel bathroom) and warm up your voice. Do this just as you would warm up your muscles before you go for a jog or whatever type of exercise you enjoy doing.

Don’t worry if a few people can hear you doing those odd vocal exercises to continually protect your very important asset: your voice!

Ups and Downs Within CAD Industry – Has It Affected Business?

CAD – Computer Aided Drafting touched new level grades back when Auto-desk introduced CAD software. This software was easily accessible to an architect or engineer in the confinement of his site or office. Auto CAD became so popular that all engineering services was christened under "CAD Services". However this industry has witnessed its share of ups and downs.

Late 80's and 90's saw tremendous spurt of growth in this industry. CAD was being used in every aspect of engineering. Be it simple drafting, construction drawings, detailing, visualization CAD services are everywhere. Slowly and gradually, CAD started becoming common and need to speed up services started rising. Auto CAD had its own limitations like complex commands, lack of atomization with regards to changes etc. Construction industry was scaling new heights of growth, mechanical industry started witnessing new changes and new new concept of visualization inked in which made further developments inevitable.

Introduction of visualization in form of 3D Images – Third dimension cave a realistic look to any building or component. 3D studio max bought in the first concept of modeling in 3D and then rendering subsequently followed. Scan-line render and special effects using photo-shop gave a good look to buildings, products and furniture. Ultimately, in early 2000 V-ray came into existence which has a photo-realistic effect to entire buildings and site around it.

With all this development and growth, one aspect that was bothering the building construction industry was increasing cost and long construction schedules. Even after Auto-CAD coming into existence this concern did not seem to melt down. New software under the flag ship of Auto-desk was developed to end this concern. This software was created keeping in mind the construction standards, common building construction requirement and covered most of the aspects of building analysis and construction. Building information modeling subsequently came into existence. Core purpose to bring BIM was to reduce construction cost and optimize turnaround time. Revit software brought a revolution in the construction field. Its user friendly approach, interface and atomization feature eased the most complex issues. Errors that normally could have been detected post construction is being spotted before construction and rectified. This has been instrumental in reducing the construction cost and time.

CAD services today are used in every engineering domain. They are broadly categorized into architectural CAD services, mechanical services, BIM services and structural services. CAD industry has seen its peaks and troughs than any industry across the globe. Recession hit several parts of the globe by 2008 year end and industry saw around 23 to 25% decline in business and employment opportunities in this industry. Every aspect like software sales, new construction projects or renovation plans saw a major downfall. Employment opportunities also took a down slide during this phase.

Lot of companies started paying more attention towards getting trained in new technologies, software and developing new business models. It looks like the situation is improving and CAD industry definitely will rise back and provide excellent job opportunities to all CAD professionals. Engineering industry is definitely regaining lost fortune and is recovering faster. Companies are already investing time and money in developing new technologies to recover the losses. This has helped companies recover their losses to greater extent.

Social Networking Vs Face-To-Face Contact

Websites such as Facebook, MySpace, and LinkedIn has caused an important shift in the communications culture. These sites have become places where people can meet friends, potential partners, and even employers. Now, people join Facebook groups where they get updates online instead of joining local community organizations that meet weekly. However, some say that communications these days are fast losing its personal touch because of these sites. They say that social networking sites, though useful, can never substitute for the sincerity and the social experience of getting out there, meeting people, and interacting face to face.

Face-to-Face Contact

Many believers of face-to-face contact use psychology as their main source of argument. According to them, face-to-face contact has many key benefits, such as enhancing people’s lives both socially and psychologically. Having face-to-face connections can make an individual healthier. It also promotes behaviors that are beneficial for the growth of the entire society.

Some people believe that the lack of involvement and communities is encouraging a population that is not socially oriented. Instead of making people socially oriented, social networking is producing self-reliant individuals who do not realize the importance of close communities.

However, truth be told, face-to-face communications are difficult to maintain.

Social Networking

Undeniably enough, this allows people to form strong, intimate communities that are not hindered by many factors that affect most face-to-face relationships. First, online communities do not have geographical boundaries.

Second, some people find it easier to communicate in a more detached, less personal way. Face-to-face contact adds certain ingredients to the mix, ingredients that do not invite open, sincere communication. Some of these ingredients are competitiveness, insecurity over one’s appearance, pride, fear of being embarrassed, fear of saying the wrong things, and so on. Through this, people can forget about appearances and just communicate, and communicating over the Internet gives them time to think about what they are going to say. Although still personal, online communications provide just enough anonymity so that people can express themselves more freely, without worrying about what they wear and how they look. Furthermore, perhaps the biggest advantage of social networking, in fact, is how it has given voice even to introverts.

Similar to the effects of mobile phones, the effects of this type of networking have, in the end, led to people who are more connected with one another, not because they see each other daily or regularly, but because they can talk to one another anytime they want to through the Internet. And even if friends become separated by geographical distance, social networking makes sure the connection stays intact.

The benefits of social networking in how people communicate, connect, and interact are undeniable, and even as critics continue to argue against it, the move towards online communications is not showing any signs of stopping.

Mysterious Scooby Doo Party Menu With Kids in Mind

Those fun and kooky teens have been running their Mystery Inc. company for a long time and Scooby Doo has been a part of the team for just a long. From the original Scooby Doo cartoon in the seventies to A Pup Named Scooby Doo to the cartoon movies and the live action movies this concept is still running strong. You'll find that a party with this theme is a big hit with the kids! Look out below for a great party menu plan and a recipe suggestion or two.

Scooby snacks are hard to duplicate but bowls of beef jerky and dried beef sticks might be something that the cartoon character would like. These might be paired with a tray or two of cheese slices or bite sized cheese cubes. Eerie green monster punch is the only option for a Scooby Doo beverage. Use green food coloring to tint a punch made of equal parts citrus soda and lemon aide. Just before serving add a few scoops of lemon or lime sherbet. For a scarier punch try hard freezing the sherbet first. Then cut the sherbet into slices through the card board box with a bread or electric knife. These slices can then be cut into the shape of hands. These monster hands will float around in the Scooby Doo punch. Potato or corn chips and dip are expected for this snacks' menu. Whatever is served just make sure there's a lot!

Not all parties thrive on food alone but the food at your party is a good way satisfy your guests. There are plenty of Scooby Doo movies and cartoons to keep your guests entertained and you can certainly track down a few fun Scooby Doo themed party games. Try setting up your own little mystery for the kids to solve. If its around Halloween time you can take everyone trick or treating.

Roofing Material For Your House In Kenya

There are various factors that determine which kind of roof to use for your house.

CLIMATE

In hot desert-like climates where rainfall is low, flat roofs are very common. Areas such as North-Africa have a lot of these roofs.

A flat roof is not exactly ‘flat’. It usually slopes at an angle of 5 to 10 degrees. This angle can not be noticed easily and helps to drain water during cleaning or after rainy weather.

In traditional African societies, communities living in Arid areas of Kenya such as Maasai, Samburu had their shelters made of flat roofs. This is because rain is not common in these areas.

In rainy climates, the roof becomes steep. In snowy regions such as Northern Europe, the roof is very steep [over 45 degrees] so as to drain away snow. In traditional African societies which live in rainy regions such as Kisii, Mount Kenya and Coast, the thatch roof is very steep [over 60 degrees] so as to increase the surface runoff of rain water.

COST

Roofing materials vary depending on the budget.

In Kenya, thatch roof is the cheapest at KES 180 per square meter.

It is followed by Iron sheets. The thinnest grade in the market at the moment is Gauge 32 which costs about KES 210 per square meter. Gauge 30 costs about KES 240 per square meter and Gauge 28 pre-painted costs approximately kes 500 per square meter.

Concrete roofing tiles cost around KES 400 per square meter.

Clay roofing tiles cost around KES 630 per square meter at Mombasa. These have the advantage of being light-weight and since they are made of natural clay with no added paint, their rain-water runoff can be consumed without any health issues as compared to the others which have paint. Paint contains Lead which is harmful to the human body.

Stone coated steel roofing tiles such as Harvey, Decra are in the range of the most expensive and cost approximately KES 1500 per square meter. These are usually gauge 26 in thickness and hence give a lifetime guarantee. Their light weight also gives savings to the timber supporting trusses which will be less than when supporting heavier concrete tiles.

THEME DESIGN AND SHAPE OF THE ROOF

Curved and cylindrical roofs require special types of materials such as copper and bituminous felts. These felts can take the shape of the roof easily.

Copper felt is expensive. This is usually copper in colour when new and turns greenish as it ages.

Hipped roofs are best laid using tiles since with tiles, there will be less cutting and hence less wastage. Some steel roofing suppliers in Kenya can supply curved roofs. Gable roofs can be done using any type of roofing products.

Some buildings such as Highlands restaurant at Afya Centre, Nairobi have glass roofs. These give nice views but are expensive to put up. A square meter of 10mm structural glass costs approximately kes 2,800.

The steepness of the roof can also be used to control cost. The more steep the roof, the more the surface area and hence the more the cost. Some roofing tiles such as Mangalore design require steep roofs to make sure that the rain water surface runoff is fast and hence no leakages.

Recreational facilities such as tourist lodges which require rustic natural finishes will opt for the thatch roofs which can be patterned to various designs.

Frank Gichuhi

Architect.

27 Tips For Navigating College As a Highly Sensitive Person

While college can be an exciting and fruitful experience, it can also be a challenging time for Highly Sensitive People (HSPs).

As the first time when many students are living away from home, college presents many potential challenges for the HSP, such as eating dining hall food; living in a dormitory; having roommates; being around loud parties; and not knowing people at first.

College is a crucial time in life and doing well, both in classes and in general life, can have large ramifications for the rest of one’s life. Yet it can be hard to succeed when overly stressed, distracted, unable to sleep well, or emotionally distraught due to issues related to being a Highly Sensitive Person.

Here are some tips to make the experience easier.

Most important thing to keep in mind:

0) Your needs are valid. You are not at college to spend your time and energy learning to adapt to the lifestyles of others. You are there to do well in school and to grow in relationships, activities, self-knowledge, and other forms of development.

You might find that friends and activities you enjoy will comfortably draw you out of some aspects of your sensitivity. For instance, you might find that you don’t mind putting up with something if it means that you can enjoy something else you find that you like.

However, if any issue related to sensitivity is impairing your school performance or your ability to make the most of college, tell people about it and do something to address it!

Housing:

1) State clearly and boldly in your roommate application that the main (and perhaps only) thing you care about in a roommate is that their lifestyle will not cause undue problems given your sensitivity.

2) Depending on your needs, you might want to request a roommate who goes to bed early, doesn’t play loud music, is not a party person, etc.

3) If you know who your roommate is before school starts, email him or her in advance to ask about things that might be an issue for you given your sensitivities. In my own case, I needed the lights to be out and for there to be no laptop typing when I was sleeping.

4) If you have the option of being in a dorm with older students, such as graduate students, or living off-campus or in family housing, consider these options. Freshman dorms tend to be noisy. Ask around or look online to see how noisy different living options are and request to live somewhere that is not noisy.

5) Apply for special housing through the Disability Accommodation services. You might need a note from your doctor explaining your sensitivity issues (perhaps citing a diagnosis such as anxiety response, etc.). You might ask to live in a quiet graduate dormitory, family housing, or off-campus in a quiet location.

6) Discuss your HSP traits with your RA or residence dean in advance and ask for their advice about what to do if you encounter problems. My own RA had the idea of setting the hall lights on a darker setting at night to give people the signal to be quiet in the hall at night.

7) Wherever you live, find somewhere safe to go if there is too much noise or stimulation. I used to go into the basement tunnels where the laundry machines were. There might be a quiet park, a library, or some other quiet location near where you live which you can go to if the noise in your room becomes too loud.

8) Buy a fan or a white noise maker to drown out noises you don’t like.

Emotional life:

9) Consider signing up to see a campus psychologist on a regular basis to help with the transition to college. This person might be a helpful advocate or source of information regarding ways to deal with any problems that arise.

10) Find out if there are any help hotlines. Stanford had a 24-hour peer counseling hotline which I used to call when I was having trouble with noise in my dorm. Some schools have drop-in peer counseling.

11) Have a few self-care activities that you do on a regular basis, such as taking baths, taking a long walk outside, watching movies, listening to music, and being in nature.

Parties:

12) If you know that there will be a party in the place where you live, make arrangements for a back-up location for sleeping, for example with a friend, in case you are unable to sleep in your normal environment.

13) If you want to enjoy a party but can’t take the noise in the main room, try hanging out in the entryway or nearby rooms where other people might be hanging out.

14) Consult HSP literature for ideas about how to enjoy parties.

Eating:

15) If the noise and crowds at peak mealtimes are too much for you, consider eating slightly earlier or later.

16) Find friends to eat with for moral support and company.

17) If there are many different cafeterias to choose from, find those that meet your needs, such as being quiet, having the food you like and not having smells or music you don’t like, etc.

Studying:

18) It is imperative to find a location that meets your needs for studying. Determine your needs (the level of quiet, the type of chairs, the lighting, etc.) and make it a point to study in locations that fulfill those criteria. Don’t waste time studying in places that will not be comfortable or conducive to concentration.

19) You might need to look into alternative options besides the usual study places. Think about open classrooms not currently in use, libraries that don’t get much use, other rooms in libraries, etc.

20) Always carry whatever you need to make a borderline study situation more tolerable, such as earplugs, a water bottle, gum, sunglasses, relaxing music on an iPod, etc.

Professors:

21) You will likely find that your college professors treat you differently from your high school teachers. Recognize that in college, grading might be harsher, professors might be more critical, and the people running your education might not be as concerned about you as an individual. This doesn’t mean that there is anything wrong with you; it is just a different set-up of education.

22) Seek out mentors, whether professors, academic advisers, resident deans, graduate students, or university staff. Find people with whom you can have a supportive relationship.

23) Even while challenging yourself, try to find at least one thing that you can do well.

Friends:

24) Find other HSPs. With an estimated 15-20% of the population experiencing some form of heightened sensitivity, there are certain to be other people who share some of your traits and preferences. Seeing that other people feel similarly can help you to see that your needs are valid.

25) Join clubs or activities where you can meet other people with similar interests and where you can see the same people regularly so they will get to know you. When people can see what you are like overall, they will see the real you, in contrast to just seeing you when you are asking them to turn down their music, etc.

26) If your school supports students starting their own clubs, think about starting a Highly Sensitive Person club! Other HSPs might thank you.

How to TIG Weld Aluminum and Get the Stack of Dimes Look, Even With an Old TIG Welding Machine

Wanna learn how to TIG weld aluminum?

First you need a decent TIG welding machine. Not a great one, just a decent one. Already got one? You might have an old Synrowave 300 or a DialArc, an old Hobart CyberTIG or you might have a brand new Miller Dynasty 350.

Know what? It doesn’t really matter. The same principles apply. If you have an old as dirt TIG welding machine, you can still make good aluminum TIG welds. Weld beads that look like a stack of dimes.

First lets look at machine settings:

  • Set the polarity to A/c (alternating currrent)
  • Make sure to set the high frequency to continuous
  • Set the amperage to about one and one half amps per one thousandths of inch of thickness. (up to about 250 amps then things change quite a bit)
  • Set both the contactor and amperage switches to the remote positon.
  • Set the argon or argon/helium torch shielding gas to around 15 cfh. (if you are using a #7 cup) less if the cup is smaller.
  • Notice I said argon or argon/helium? Argon is not the only game in town. In fact, if you TIG weld any aluminum over about .063″ thick, adding helium to the mix makes a huge difference.

Now lets talk tungsten electrodes

  • 2% thoriated have received a lot of bad press for the radioactivity issue but they do work.
  • 2% lanthanated electrodes are a really good all purpose electrode…good for TIG welding aluminum as well as steel.
  • Use the smallest electrode that will get the job done without quivering at max amperage.

Remote amperage control…you need a foot pedal. Period.

  • Once all the settings are ok, and assuming you are welding on 1/8″ thick aluminum, grab a piece of 4043 filler rod in 3/32 diameter (rarely will you use a rod as thick or thicker than the metal you are welding)
  • extend the electrode tip about 1/4″ past the tip of the TIG torch cup and pre purge the gas by tapping the foot pedal.
  • hold the torch like a big first grade pencil. touch the tip of the tungsten to the metal and then pull it back about 1/8 inch. flip your helmet down and press the pedal to initiate the arc.
  • don’t melt the aluminum right away though, watch the black stuff cook away from the arcs cleaning action before you melt the metal. Then press the pedal far enough to create a puddle that is about 3-4 times the thickness of the metal you are welding.

Now comes the part on how to achieve the “stack of dimes” look. You get that by adding the same amount of rod and by moving the torch the same distance each time you add rod. Add rod, Step ahead 1/8 inch,Add rod, Step ahead 1/8 inch,Add rod, Step ahead 1/8 inch, lather rinse repeat. If you do this consistently, you will get evenly spaced ripples that look like a stack of dimes.

Of course it looks different from underneath the welding helmet and it is harder than it sounds, but this is really how you do it. All that is left is the doing. It takes practice and lots of quality seat time.

What Is a Wall Anchor and How Does It Work?

Wall Anchors are a generic name for a type of solution designed for cracked, bowing, and bucking walls. You will probably run across several brand names of this system throughout the internet. There are common design factors for these systems that we will compare with other bowing wall solutions in this article.

Any Wall Anchor System, there are several brand names available, uses anchoring plates and rods to stabilize the wall and counteract pressure being exerted against it-without the cost and expense of rebuilding the entire wall. The technicians insert steel anchor rods through the wall to an anchor in the outside earth. Finally, steel wall plates will secure the rods to the inside basement wall. Anchors will be placed at different locations along the wall and rod extenders will be used to avoid the deck, flowerbeds, and other landscaping. In fact, the entire process takes less than a day on average. This home and lawn are left in almost the same condition as when the technicians arrived-without the bowing walls of course. These rods and anchors can then be adjusted as time goes on to continue providing the structural correction required.

You need a Wall Anchor if…

  • You have bowing or bending displacement of one or more walls
  • There is cracking present on the bowed or bent walls
  • You experience fluctuations in the amount of bowing or bending over time

Wall Anchors WILL:

  • Secure a bowing wall by means of horizontal reinforcement
  • Straighten a bowed wall immediately, with additional excavating
  • Be able to be installed in as little as one day, without large hydraulic equipment being brought into the basement
  • Predictably perform their function without depending on an epoxy adhesive the way that carbon fiber strips do (which have been documented to fail sometimes)

Wall Anchors MAY:

  • Straighten a bowed wall gradually over time, by tightening the torque nuts during dry seasons of the year

Wall Anchors WILL NOT:

  • Provide protection against vertical settling (their reinforcement is wholly horizontal in nature)
  • Provide protection against surface water or groundwater incursion
  • Take up interior space in the basement the way vertical steel I-beams do
  • Place additional stresses on the main floor joist system of the house, the way that vertical steel I-beams do
  • Require 15′-30′ of available depth in the yard the way helical tiebacks do
  • Require large holes (8″-10″ diameter) to be cut into the foundation walls, the way helical tiebacks do

Now that you have a basic idea of what a wall anchor will and won’t do for your foundation, it’s important to understand how they are installed. Installation methods are often a good way to determine if you would like to have a particular solution included in your foundation repair project.

At this point, I like to know what other solutions are available to me if I choose not to use a wall anchor system. You will probably have a Design Specialist in your home who can answer the specific restrictions of your property, or your soil conditions, but if there are no limitations, here are your various options:

Carbon Fiber Strip Reinforcement:

  • Will NOT stop wall from tipping at the top
  • Will NOT straighten the wall
  • Relies on epoxy bond to the wall
  • CANNOT be installed on a wall with large cracks or any displacement
  • CANNOT be adjusted over time

Replace the Existing Walls:

  • Destroys landscaping and yard
  • Takes several weeks to complete
  • Must move out during construction
  • No warranty against the same problem occurring again (expect similar results).
  • VERY Expensive-$50,000 plus

Steel Reinforcement:

  • Rigid I-Beam will only touch the wall at the worst point
  • Wood framing is not designed to support additional load, especially for straightening
  • Design requires comprehensive structural analysis
  • Lose up to 8 inches of living space off each wall reinforced
  • Have to remove all drywall from floor to ceiling in a finished basement

Helical Anchor:

  • Installation time can be longer and more disruptive than other methods
  • Must create large holes in wall
  • Requires large hydraulic equipment
  • CANNOT be used in tight spaces, or areas with limited access
  • Requires large equipment to adjust

This information can get you started on your investigation into bowing and bending wall repair methods. These concepts and processes each have limitations and benefits and as always, it is best to consult a Design Specialist and a licensed residential structural engineer prior to selecting any one method to repair your foundation. Your home and your property may have conditions present that will negate one repair type or another.

How to Stop a Leak Until the Plumber Arrives

A leak in the plumbing is a common home problem. Leaks can be the result of a burst pipe, cracked pipe, leaking faucet or shower head, and more. When you have a leak that requires the services of a plumber, it is essential that you stop it right away before the water causes damage to the home or causes a drastic increase to your water bill. The following is a guide on stopping a leak until the plumber arrives to fix it:

Once you detect a water leak, the first thing you should do is turn off the main water valve. This will stop the water from continuing to leak and causing more of a mess. The main water valve is located near the water meter. Once you have turned off the main water valve, open the faucet to allow the pressure to decrease. The remaining water in the pipes will flow through and once there is no more water pressure, there will be no pressure to push any remaining water through the damaged pipe or damaged plumbing fixture.

Once you have successfully stopped the water leak, contact the plumber. If the pipe leak is small enough, there are measures you can take to temporary stop the leak until the plumber arrives to fix it. The following is a guide on temporary fixing leaky pipes:

Epoxy: You can use epoxy to stop a leaky pipe. It is effective for sealing leaks at pipe fittings and joint fittings. Make sure the water has drained and the area is dry before sealing the leak. Also, you should clean it with steel wool. Use plenty of epoxy and then wait for it to cure.

Duct Tape or Electrical Tape: You can temporarily stop a pipe leak by wrapping electrical tape and duct tape around the crack in the pipe. Make sure the pipe is drained and dry and then wrap it tight around the pipe until the leak is completely covered. Make sure that you start wrapping a few inches away from the leak and then continue down the pipe until you are 2 inches past the leak to ensure you have adequately covered the leak. It should be wrapped a few times and make sure that each wrap is completely tight.

Pipe Clamp: To fix a big crack, get a pipe clamp and a piece of bicycle tire tubing. First, cut the tube so that it is big enough to fit around the crack causing the leak. Take a pipe clamp and secure the tube around the leak. The tube will contain the leak until the plumber arrives.

C-Clamp and Blocks: First, place a rubber pad over the leak area. Then, place a small wooden strip on top of it. Use the c-clamp to hold it all in place. The wooden strip will protect the pipe from the pressure of the c-clamp.

These repairs might stop a leak for a few days, but it is essential that you contact a professional plumber who will be able to permanently fix the leak.

Hamilton Beach Water Cooler – The 4200 and 87330 Water Coolers Reviewed

Hamilton Beach is a well-known manufacturer of many moderately priced useful household appliances, including the Hamilton Beach water cooler. For people who are on a limited budget, a Hamilton Beach water dispenser may be the ideal choice. Available in mini and freestanding cabinet models, one of these water coolers can be purchased for less than $100 in USD.

The 4200 Hamilton Beach water cooler is a mini cooler that sits easily on most countertops and fits a 2, 3, or 5-gallon water bottle. This handy little unit is just the right size for homes, small offices or classrooms. It dispenses both hot and cold water, has easy to use soft touch buttons and a whisper quiet motor. Simple indicator lights on the front of the unit indicate heating, chilling and power.

A childproof safety switch prevents small children from accessing the water to guard against burns and messy spills. The piercing valve is spill resistant; making bottle changes as seamless as possible and the drip tray can be easily removed for cleaning. This Hamilton Beach water cooler is an environmentally friendly product, with no CFCs, and can be purchased for about $50.

Pros:

  • Compact
  • Quiet
  • Dispenses both hot and cold
  • Child proof safety switch
  • Environmentally friendly

Cons:

  • Takes up counter space – needs an appropriate surface
  • May be too small for large offices
  • Silicone drain stoppers are difficult to remove
  • Has been known to leak due to damaged drain stoppers

The 87330 Hamilton Beach water cooler is a slim freestanding model that fits nicely in any corner or nook in any type of room. It dispenses both hot and cold water and has a built in storage cabinet with convenient shelving for storing coffee, tea and drink mixes. The large sized push-button taps are easy to use, and the hot one has a childproof lock to prevent accidental burns to small children.

The spill proof piercing valve makes bottle changes easy and dribble-free and the sturdy bottle holder supports even the heaviest bottles. It is able to cool water at a rate of 5 gallons per hour and heat it at an hourly rate of 1.33 gallons. With a price of about $70, this Hamilton Beach water cooler is much more economical than renting a similar unit from a major water company.

Pros:

  • Free-standing
  • Convenient storage cabinet
  • Easy to change bottles
  • Supports bottles very well
  • Child proof hot water tap

Cons:

  • Pours rather slowly
  • Taps are recessed too far back and close to the back wall, making it difficult to fill larger containers
  • Some people have mistaken the storage cabinet for a mini-fridge

A Hamilton Beach water cooler is an economical and convenient way to provide access to hot and cold water to anyone who needs it. These reasonably priced units are widely available in large stores such as Target and Wal-mart and also on many sites throughout the Internet. 

Starting a Roofing Business – Quick Return on Investment!

Roofing installers are some of the hardest working people and they should be paid very well because of the risk associated with roofing. Some of the hazards would be from possibly falling off the roof or staging leading to possibly being paralyzed or worse even death. Now, do not get me wrong most roofers that I know are very aware of these issues, and do take great precautions to prevent falling from the roof, but it does happen.

For taking these hazardousous risk does pay a very nice wage or labor payment for installing roofing, homeowner's do not want to worry about having their homes destroyed from water damage and will pay for a quality job. Ask yourself this question "Would you be willing to pay more money for a quality job". Or would you want to keep repairing the roof, because it leaks from shoddy workmanship. If you're like most people you would have chosen paying more money for quality products and professional installation.

Roofers are very quick on their feet, and have fast hands and usually are in very good shape. Picture this, climbing up and down from a roof that is 20 'feet up in the air, and bringing 80-100 pound bundles of shingles up the ladder all day. Basically, you get paid to work-out all day long and at a very good wage. I know some of our roofing sub-contractors can take in several thousands of dollars a week, and that's every week during the summer months. Quality roofing sub-contractors will find the busiest roofing contractor in the area because there is always plenty of work. We have found if you work with, and help a new roofing crew get started or work with small roofing sub-contractors you can build a long term relationship that will last for years.

We do have some large roofing crews working for our company, and they do some of the highest quality roofing installations I have ever seen. These guys are great! I'm very proud of all the people we have working for the company. Now, let's get back to the topic of starting a roofing business and return on investment. For the cost of an insurance binder for liability insurance, placing an ad in the local paper, or placing an on-line advertisement, you can find these free ad websites and build a free or low cost website.

Once you get the phone call, set up your appointment. You will have to go and meet with the homeowners, to discuss the project. Bring product samples for them to look at, and help them choose the color of roof. Pick up a check or the payment for materials, place the order for the materials, then call your sub-contractors and schedule the roof installation.

The return for you after 2 to 3 +/- hours of work, depending on how much you really want to develop your business, could return you a $ 5,000 or $ 6,000 profit from a $ 12,000 roofing job. After you pay for the materials, and pay your roofing installation labor. You can do this without a high school diploma, without going to college, and having any school loan payments. Now in some states you may need a contractor's license for roofing (Test and Fee) A minimal investment.

What I heard from another guest speaker during a PRAC meeting for roofing contractors, is that a good roofing contractor can easily make as much money per year as any good doctor without having to go to school for 10 years, and having to pay an outrageous malpractice insurance policy, Do not get me wrong, I do appreciate all the good work that doctors do, and the great service they provide for all of us.

I started back in the 1980's without any money. I started buying tools and equipment from each job that I completed, always offering the best possible service, and asking for a reasonable amount of money so I could cover the cost of the materials and my overhead. After going through some tough times and over some addiction problems, I decided to start over 10 years ago, and build my roofing business so I can live comfortably. I have to say, 10 years of anything can change your life, but I can honestly say I did not expect this. Remember I was "broke" just about homeless, and living at my grandmothers. Last year in 2008 we had our biggest year in sales ever, over 3.8 million in sales in a recession. In the past 10 Years my company has generated over 22 Million Dollars in sales.