Pig Farming – Indoors Or Out?

Although there are as many systems of pig production as there are individual farms, these can be divided into two major types: indoor or outdoor pig production.

Indoor pigs farms feature herds of pigs kept in a relatively small, closely controlled area, usually with some form of climate control, often with liquid feeding systems, and (increasingly) ‘high health”. These systems are often referred to as factory’ or ‘intensive’ production.

Outdoor pigs feature breeding pigs (sows and litters) being kept on free-draining arable fields for one or two years per site, using ‘arks’ and electric fencing. More than a third of the UK herd are now being kept this way, with an increasing number of pigs being raised to slaughter weight outdoors too.

Both systems have their ‘pros’ and ‘cons’: let’s start by examining the positive features of both.

Indoors you have the advantage of environmental control: piglets can be born and raised at the right temperature; adult animals can be kept cool in the summer and warmer in the winter – they also don’t get the opportunity to get sunburnt; and airflow, especially the occurrence of draughts, so detrimental to pig health, can be controlled. You can also control the feed intake of housed pigs, and are better able to reduce wastage (so important in these days of increasing feed costs) – it’s also easy to install computer controlled feeding methods, such as automatic sow feeders and liquid feeding for fattening stock. Indoor farms tend to be more productive than outdoors given the ability to control feed and environment – it’s possible to achieve a greater level of supervision and measurement and therefore control of the many variables in an indoor situation. It’s also possible to establish and maintain a high health status for your herd, significantly reducing disease risks and challenges.

Outdoors though, you’d benefit from much reduced capital costs, lower running costs, a real marketing benefit in these days when ‘freedom food’, ‘outdoor bred’ and even ‘organic’ hold sway over consumers who might be persuaded to part with a premium price for such environmental friendliness. There is a perception of higher welfare in operation for the outdoor pig (more natural, better able to express it’s ‘inner pig’. Finally there’s the very real advantage of using pigs as a ‘break crop’ ‘cleaning’ and fertilising a piece of arable land in need of weeding and refreshing.

Great advantages, but what about the downsides?

Indoors, the set up costs are three times higher (on a per sow basis) than for an outdoor unit. Energy costs are high, and slurry disposal can be a problem (although welcomed by the arable boys once spread and incorporated into the soil), and certainly a significant cost. The high population density of an intensive farm has it’s own problems too: diseases spread like wild-fire should they gain access to the herd, and the smell can get offensive, especially on hot days. Welfare considerations are very important too – it’s easier to fall foul of the law indoors than out (stocking densities and environmental enrichment come to mind).

Outdoors, the biggest problems are lower productivity and extremes of weather (on my outdoor unit I watched water freeze as it came out of a four inch valve on a bowser one winter). Getting quality staff is an increasing problem too – every day outside is not necessarily idyllic. Vermin control and the health status of the herd is a potential problem too, as is the management of the feeding herd should that be kept outdoors (appetite control, feed conversion, growth rates and feed wastage will all be big challenges that will need a healthy premium price to justify).

There you have it. “Swings and roundabouts” as they say – “six of one and half a dozen of the other”. Maybe the best is a compromise – well-designed buildings and slurry management systems, with pipeline fed fat pigs (using dairy waste for example), loose housing and lots of straw. Throw in some high welfare features like Electronic Sow Feeders and plenty of environmental enrichment, and maintain a high health status, then maybe you’ll have the best of both worlds? One thing I know for sure is that pigs get as miserable as we do on snowy, icy, wet and windy days, and, like us, they find draughts and high temperature equally uncomfortable.

How Do Tow Truck Companies Work?

A tow truck company is a simple concept. The main purpose of a tow truck company is to move disabled vehicles at the request of their owners or the owner/administrator of a property. In urban area or apartment complexes tow truck companies operate to control illegal parking by owners who don’t follow posted regulations or parking rules. In these cases areas in question have limited space for parking and they reserve the right to allow people to park only if they pay for a space or allow people to park in spaces at certain times. If either of these rules are violated it is the right of the owner to have the vehicles towed off the premises. In these cases the owner has contracted in advance with a towing company to service their lots. The property owner will provide signs to patrons as to how to retain their vehicles once they have been towed.

Towing yards are fortified prisons for vehicles. The yards are usually gated with bob wire surrounding the property deterring vehicles owners from jumping the fence to get their car back. The yards also employ automatic fences and state of the art video surveillance to guard against intruders. At night, guard dogs are release to further deter prowlers from stepping foot on the yards premises. Getting your car back from these yards entails paying a fee. These fees can be fairly expensive and usually range from the low $50 dollar range to upwards $100 to $200 dollars. It also depends on the amount of days the tow truck company has your vehicle on their premises. Most yards charge a storage fee per day. This could be another $20 to $50 dollars per day. After a while the fee can become very expensive. If the car is never retrieved a lien is put on the vehicle by the tow company at the Department Of Motor Vehicles. If the lien is not paid off the tow company will file with the local courts for ownership of the vehicle. Once ownership is obtained the cars are either auctioned off or scrapped for spare parts.

Emergency Services is another way that tow truck companies work. If you vehicle is disabled on the highway and you don’t have a means to remove it or you are just to disoriented to solve the towing issue emergency services will have the car towed for you. Owners of towing companies contract with operations like triple A and police organizations to tow disabled vehicles off the highway. Triple A is an organization that participants pay a yearly access fee to be able to have access to emergency vehicle services. In times of need this organization is very helpful.

City Parking – In big cities the parking authority division employ a number of tow trucks to enforce parking laws enacted within city limits. These may be as simple as not paying a toll or parking ticket and parking in a no parking zone. Parking authority will choose to tow your vehicle in exchange for the right to make you pay your tickets in order to get your vehicle back. If the violation is not paid the vehicle towed will be sold at auction.

An Honest, Critical Review of the Dani Johnson Scam

Who is Dani Johnson?

Dani Johnson began her career in the Network Marketing industry as a broke, homeless cocktail waitress with $2.03 to her name. Within her first several hours of starting her new business, she had made several thousand dollars of profit. She made more than $250,000 her first year, and more than $1,000,000 her second year, becoming the #1 international producer in her company.

Since that time, she has founded Call To Freedom International, and travels around the world teaching whoever will listen (or, whoever can afford to listen, as we shall see) her principles of success.

Can She Help Me Succeed?

That depends. You’ve probably visited Dani’s site and seen the impressive array of testimonials from people of all walks of life. Her website boasts well more than 10,000 unique testimonials from people of all over the world. Pretty impressive, to say the least.

My personal experience with Dani Johnson is not that inspiring.

I first ran into Dani’s teaching when I was living in Fairbanks, Alaska. At the time, I was for the first time in my life making a significant income from my company, around $4,000 a month only working about 2 hours a day. My organization was growing by 30-40% a month and I was really enjoying the process.

I came across Dani’s teachings and really believed it would take me to the next level of success, and help my team to experience the success they had been looking for. I bought every single training on her website (quite the pretty penny, but worth the investment, or so I thought)…

I gathered my whole team together and we had a huge house jam-packed full of people listening to ‘Prospect and Close Your Way To Millions’. ALL of them got fired up. (Dani can be pretty darned convincing). I personally invested 3-4 hours a day listening to Dani’s training, thinking I had finally found the ‘Golden Key’.

So What Were The Results?

My income immediately dropped by $1000, that very month, and recruiting almost completely stopped. The funny thing was, nothing in the company had changed and we were more excited than ever. So what did we do?

Instead of dropping Dani Johnson like a bad habit (like we should have), we heard Dani say that we needed to go to a seminar, so a bunch of us flew down from Alaska to L.A. and attended her well known ‘First Steps to Success.’ I personally spent more than $1500 between airfare, lodging, and the outrageously priced tickets, and between my group I think the price we paid was around $15,000.

That month, my income dropped by another $1000. Convinced that I needed to invest in my skills, I went to Dani’s ‘Creating a Dynasty’ and bought her ‘Prospecting and Closing’ classes, spending well over $2500 two months later.

What happened? My income went from $2000 to less than $1000, and from then went down to around $400 before I did what I should have done, and that’s drop Dani’s teachings like a bad habit and do what is proven to work!

So is Dani Johnson a Scam, or what?

Although there are many people who claim to benefit from her teachings, I certainly was not one of them. I invested 1000’s of hours of listening, called more than 5000 leads, and spent more than $5000 of hard earned cash flying all over the USA and buying trainings that completely destroyed my business. When I called and asked for a refund, (politely), they declined. I certainly feel I was scammed.

However, the good news is, when I learned about ‘Attraction Marketing’, my business started exploding faster than it ever had in the past, and now I am recruiting more people than I can handle, or could ever imagine…


If you are thinking of investing serious money in Dani Johnson’s material, just remember that when you sponsor a distributor, you have a responsibility to help them be successful as fast as possible, and that most of them are not expecting, (nor do they want), to fly all over the country paying their child’s college savings to go learn something that only works for sales superheroes. Any good, legitimate MLM organization should provide this training to their people, free of charge, with the understanding that if you benefit, they benefit.

That’s how this business is supposed to be, people helping people, building each other’s dreams through service, leadership, mutual prosperity and integrity.

If you want to spend $25,000 a year on training, learn from Dani Johnson. If you want to live a life of prosperity, learn Attraction Marketing. You decide.


and God Bless.

35W VS 55W HID Conversion Kits: Which One Is Better?

HID conversion kits have been available for quite some time now so there are many different types and styles available to choose from and it may seem very confusing. A common question that gets asked is the difference between a 35W and 55W HID conversion kit. Besides the wattage, there are other differences such as brightness, heat, reliability, and color. Choosing the correct one for your needs is very important and there will be several factors that will play a role in your decision. This article will summarize the differences and provide a clear understanding of these two conversion kits.

The first difference is in the wattage and name itself. 35W HID lights is the standard output for most kits on the market as well as factory installed HID lights from manufacturers. 55w kits produce a significant increase in power output which results in a much brighter light. 35w HID kits are approximately three times brighter than the standard incandescent halogen bulb; 55w HID kits are even brighter and provide up to four to five times more output. These would be ideal for those looking for the best and brightest light available, but with the increased brightness does come with some downsides. The overly bright 55w HID bulbs may also cause excessive glare on many reflector based headlights, but to be fair, a 35w kit also causes some glare as these types of housings were not intended for HID usage. Having a projector housing will help with distributing the light to where you want it to.

One issue that a 55w HID conversion kit may face is overheating. Typically, HID lights run cooler than most incandescent halogen bulbs they replace, but a 55w kit creates excessive heat that can melt the housing or even the wiring that connects to the light. There are headlights that are made of metal which can withstand the heat better, but there are many headlights that are made from plastic that are susceptible to this kind of damage. The wiring can be upgrade to ceramic plugs instead of plastic to better handle the heat, but there will still be risks involved.

Next up is the reliability, 35w kits are designed with brightness and longevity in concern whereas 55w kits are not. 55w kits are intended for superior and maximum light output. The higher wattage allows the 55w kit to be brighter, but it does cause more evaporation of the electrodes and gasses that make up the HID bulb over time. 35w kits may outlive your vehicle when used properly, but a 55w kit may only last as long as a regular incandescent halogen bulb or shorter as the material evaporates every time the light turns on.

The last difference is the color for the HID bulbs. 6000K will look different on the two HID kits despite coming from the same manufacturer and this is due to the output. The colors in 55w HID conversion kits tend to be more “washed out” and stepped down so a 6000K will look similar to a 4500-5000K color. This difference in color is acceptable for most as white is the best color for the human eye to see in and would function very well in limited visibility conditions. While there are higher Kelvin temperature 55w HID kits available, it makes little sense to get it as the higher you go in HID Kelvin temperature, the output reduces; this would cause a 12000K 55w HID conversion kit to produce similar output compared to a 8000K 35W HID kit.

In concluding this article, there are obvious benefits of using a 55w HID conversion kit for your vehicle, but there are also downsides to it as well. In the end, the variables will have to be analyzed and studied as some may not apply to the application and some may. With this being all stated, there is a specific reason why factory HID systems are only rated at 35w. 55w kits are available for those who want the brightest light out there and like what basic economics state; when there is demand, there is always usually a supply.

Bound Manuscripts – Four Simple Steps

Bound manuscripts are essential to establish a prepublication marketing strategy and exposure before the book is sent to the printer. Used in place of the Advanced Reading Copy (ARC) or the galley, the bound manuscript takes the least time to create.

Bound manuscripts can be printed on copy paper using a desktop printer. Label the title and the author of the book on the front. All pertinent information about the book must be included in the text.

Send the manuscript to book reviewers, book clubs, radio stations, websites, magazines and newspapers for publicity. Before you run off and print a bound manuscript, first check the submission guidelines and follow the four simple steps below to avoid embarrassment or no response at all.

Step 1: Edit – Edit the manuscript, thoroughly. Proofread the text for the last time. Did you use a professional editor? Still line edit and review – your reputation is on the line.

Step 2: Typeset – Typeset the manuscript or hire a professional. If you layout the pages on your own, research the process and apply all technical specifications a layout designer would.

Step 3: Print– Print the typeset manuscript from your computer. If possible, print two-sided pages to reduce paper and give a novel feel. Shorter books can be printed on one side of the paper.

Step 4: Bind – Bind the manuscript using binding tape or punch holes in left column and use the spiral bind. Punching holes and using the spiral bind provides a more finished look to the book. A plastic comb bind also provides a professional end product.

Package the manuscript with a press release, a sell sheet, a business card and a cover letter. For the best results, send the press kit and follow the submission guidelines. Stick to the four steps. Some book reviewers will let small errors pass, but a professionally produced bound manuscript will present the best opportunity for maximum exposure.

If you do not have the equipment to produce the bound manuscript, hire a company to complete the project or research print shops for binding services.

Tips on Buying Or Renting a Cello For Your Child

Are you parents getting ready to have their child start cello lessons? This article is for you! Before you run off and buy an instrument for your budding Yo Yo Ma, why not rent? Or maybe your school has an instrument you can borrow to get started. No matter how enthused you or your child may be it's better to start on the conservative side. No parent knows how long this interest will last.

Another suggestion: speak with your future cello teacher before you go and try to do this on your own! Honestly, unless you've been through it yourself you will be shocked at what a decent bow, cello and case cost. And do not assume they come together as a set. This is not necessarily the case!

You need to buy or rent the right size instrument for your son or daughter. They will do better with an instrument that fits them properly. A violin shop is the best place to go if there is one in the region. Again, check with the private teacher or contact the music department at your school for help.

If you can afford to rent or buy something other than the cheapest available, please do. The really cheap instruments sound that way. And it is enough of a challenge for a child to sound good on a cello or any other instrument without giving them the cheapest thing around.

And please, please, please … do not buy an instrument from the internet. I have seen the absolutely worst instruments show up because someone decided to buy one this way. This is not true all the time, of course. If you absolutely have to buy something online, be ready to take it to a violin shop or violin maker to get their assessment about the instrument's health and basic value before you commit to living with it.

And consider future trade-in, trade-up or sales value. If you buy something cheap from someone who is not reputable now you may be stuck with it down the road.

Getting into music is an expensive proposition. It is also one of the most valuable gifts you'll ever give your child – the exposure to and love of music. So go into it as prepared as possible. If they stick with it you'll be buying a lot of music which is not cheap. You'll be paying for lessons with good teachers who are experts on the instrument. That costs, too. You'll be driving them to rehearsals and sacrificing the occasional baseball game to make a concert. You'll be pushing them to practice. And someday, if they stick with it, you'll be looking at helping them buy or finance an instrument where the bow itself can cost thousands of dollars. Good (not famous) professionals pay easily $ 10- $ 40,000 for a cello without blinking. Lucky ones can afford to pay more. Mine is only worth a Honda. It's a challenge to find a good wood bow under $ 2,000 these days. Do not drop your teeth, it's true! There are some good carbon fiber options though. Bows are more important than you might imagine so do not ignore picking the best one you can in your price range.

But you can buy a decent cello set for $ 2,000- $ 3,000 … not great, but pretty good. It depends what is available in your area. Set a price range and start looking. There are also ways to deal with violin shops at a distance. They'll send you and instrument to try. Again, check with your teacher first. Chances are they have a relationship with a shop or dealer or maker already and they will be happy to work with you.

Good luck!

Harmful Smoking Effects – Risks of Cigarette Smoking

You are most probably already aware of the many harmful smoking effects and the dangerous risks of cigarette smoking. There have been thousands of articles and books written about it to help you protect your health.

Smoking may seem harmless at first when you try it for the first time. You may think it’s just one time after all, and you can always quit if you want to. But the fact is, stopping smoking doesn’t come that easy for most people.

That’s why it’s very important to discover the harmful effects of smoking, so you get more motivation and willpower to take this important step of your life… that will eventually save your life.

How Does Smoking Take Away Your Health, Youth, and Happiness?

The harmful health effects of smoking is obvious to all of us. Smoking increases your chances of many different types of cancer as much as 300%. Like lung cancer, skin cancer, and much more.

Also smoking really drains your body energy. So if you used to be full of life energy to run, play, and laugh. Soon smoking will take it away from you. It goes on more and more every single day that you continue smoking.

How does it feel to imagine one day you can hardly run or play and have active fun?

Check out this article to find out more harmful smoking effects to give you more motivation to stop smoking.

How Can I Quit Smoking? Is There an Easy Way?

Yes, you can definitely stop smoking. Tens of thousands of people have succeeded to let go of this habit and are living a happier, healthier life today.

Why not you?

It’s simply a matter of finding a proven method quit smoking method that will work for you in the shortest amount of time. Because all of us are different, and while one method may be perfect for one person, it may not be right for another.

So simply compare different methods available for you – from nicotine gums and patches, to shots, pills, laser treatment, and so much more. It’s amazing really. With so many new proven methods coming every day, your results are guaranteed. Just need to find out the best option for you.

Toy Hauler Or RV Maintenance

Maintenance of your recreational vehicle, be it a toy hauler, fifth-wheel or motor coach usually requires a bit more attention that would your home or car alone. There are generally these areas that need maintenance or attention:

Electrical systems/batteries/DC/AC/generators

-Check all fuses

-Replace batteries in fire/smoke/CO2 alarms at least annually

-Change oil in generator when at manual’s suggested run hours or annually

-Change generator oil filter, elect plug (if you have one) annually or sooner

-Run your generator every month for two straight hours with A/C on.

-Inspect all visible wires for wear or exposed metal wire.

-Inspect all storage batteries for low water. Fill to recommended levels.

Water systems/pumps

-Drain annually all lines, water heater, tank and check for junk.

-If water pump comes on by itself often, check for leaks around joints and connections.

-If in storage for more than 8 months, recommend purging tank following Instructions of owner’s manual.

-Check for leaks around ALL plumbing

-Replace all water filters at least annually

Propane/heating/cooking/hot water

-Check all joints with soapy water mixture for leaks. Replace corroded connections or tanks. Replace all hoses that have severe cracking.

-Clean gas venture in heater with small wire brush annually.

-Open outside access door to refrig and inspect for corrosion and debris.

-Drain hot water heater annually to check for buildup of calcium or crude.


-Check for loose bolts, corrosion and dryness. Lubricate with silicon-based product specifically designed for slide-out systems, at least annually.

-Wipe down all rubber seals and joints with silicon-based product designed for that purpose.

A/C systems

-Change/clean filters at least annually. If possible, check for pressure of coolant and recharge if low.

Waste systems/holding tanks.

-Flush thoroughly at least annually with a good tank cleaning product. Follow instructions of maker of cleaning product.

-Check for cracks and wear on pipes you have access too. Check for seals around toilet and drain outlet.

Springs/joints/tow points

-Check for wear on joints and loose bolts. Tighten where necessary.

-Lubricate often if you do off-road a lot.


-Check tire pressure to manufacturers specs.

-Check tire treads. Make sure you have enough tread and watch for unusual wear such as in on the inside or outside edge (indicates over inflation or misalignment.

-Rotate tires at least annually.

-Check brakes and have them adjusted if necessary

-Check wheel bearings/axle bearings-repack if necessary


-Check roof for potential leaks around vents, ladder attachments, edges, anywhere something is bolted to the roof. Repair or caulk as necessary.

-Check vents for cracking around corners and hinges for corrosion. Lubricate annually.

-Check for all vent caps to be in place. Put one on if missing.

-Check ceiling inside rig, especially around corners, and walls. Inspect for leaks, and repair if necessary. If cracking, seal with good joint or caulking compound.


-Check all seals around doors or windows for wear and tears. Replace where worn away or damaged.

-Lubricate all hinges, joints or cranks.

-Check that latches and locks are firm, but not tough to open and close. Lubricate with a lock lubricant if hard to open/close.


-Check for loose bolts/screws on tie-downs and racks. Seal with caulking or window sealer if on outside of rig. Check for corrosion and replace if weak.


-Check for wear/tear, loose threads, or sagging on couch or bed. Re-stuff or replace cushions to your liking.

-Add topper to bed mattress if getting lumpy.

-Check handles/hinges on drawers and cabinets for loose screws or wear. Replace as necessary.

-Lubricate hinges if squeaky.

This list is by no means complete, but it gives you a good start on keeping track of what needs to be paid attention to. I know it looks like a lot (it is), but by maintaining your rig, you will avoid possibly very costly repairs.

Marine Corps Silent Drill Team and Silent Drill Platoon History

The United States Marine Corps Silent Drill Team is officially known as The Silent Drill Platoon. They are part of Company A, Marine Barracks, which provides support for Joint Service Commitments at the Pentagon. In addition they also perform at Ceremonies and Parades around Washington DC, as well as provide support for the Sunset parade on Tuesday Evenings at the Marine Corps War Memorial as well as The Evening Parade on Friday Evenings at The Barracks. They hail from Marine Barracks, Washington DC, also known affectionately as 8th and I, The Oldest Post In The Corps.

The Marine Corps was founded at Tuns’ Tavern outside Philadelphia in 1775, but it was not until 1948 that The Silent Drill Platoon first exhibited their rifle and drill expertise. Without any verbal commands, their performance was so exemplary, that it soon became part and parcel to many parades and ceremonies throughout Washington, DC.

A Minimum of Thirty-Nine Marines are chosen from the ranks of enlisted Marines at Infantry Training School to serve in The Silent Drill Platoon, and normally serve a two year tour. In addition the Rifle Inspectors are chosen out of their ranks and it is only them that the secrets are handed down to the next Platoon Rifle Inspectors in manner and tradition accustomed to the Corps .

The Marines use a 10 1/2 pound fully functional M1 Garand Rifle with Fixed Bayonet. In addition to no verbal commands given, this precision USMC silent drill team ends each performance with an inspection routine that will marvel your mind with how it is done. For this portion the bayonets get holstered.

The Silent Drill Platoon performs regularly on Friday evenings during the summer at 8th and I, in Washington DC. While affectionately known as “The Silent Drill Team”, it is actually a Misnomer, as their Official title is The Silent Drill Platoon. Marines know the difference between the two titles, so if you’re looking to impress a Marine, use Silent Drill Platoon instead of Silent Drill Team.

As a former Marine, (Once a Marine, always a Marine), I have been witness to this most professional performance and can only say if you have not seen it, you owe it to yourself to view this once in a lifetime example of what discipline and precision mean when one is a United States Marine. The history and pride in the corps demonstrated by these young marines show the patriotism many feel when viewing this performance.

How Was Venice Built?

The City of Venice is one of its kind and a unique city the world over. The striking feature about the city is that it is built on a set of over a hundred submerged islands in the midst of a lagoon. To construct a city over these low lying muddy islands was a wonder, and the citizens evolved new techniques to bring fore a unique city. The early citizens made rafts from larch. Timber piles were inserted deep into the island to support the rafts. Oak and Pine wood brought from the forests of northern Veneto was used to shape the piles. This framework of piles formed a flexible and strong foundation under the solid compressed clay of the islands. Water-proof stones from Istria were used and placed on the rafts that were supported by the piles.

Buildings, then, were made atop this framework. To keep the weight minimal, buildings were constructed from wood. This, however, made the city prone to fire risks. This technique, which may sound a bit shaky, has withstood the vagaries of time, as some buildings today are as old as 400 years.

Since Venice was built on a number of islands, the canals are a natural phenomenon. But some manmade canals too were built using the age-old convention of blocking an end and digging through the water-way before doing away with the temporary block to flood the canals. Canals separating the islands are connected through bridges, which help keep in touch the self-contained communities.

Pros and Cons of a Smart Car

When people are thinking about making an expensive buying decision, especially with something as new and unusual as the smart car, they often want to know the pros and cons of the various options they are considering. This article will examine the pros and cons of a smart car.

There is no doubt that the smart fortwo car has its passionate supporters. Before it arrived in the United States in 2007, it had already enjoyed wild success in Europe over several years. But with its small size, there are also a number of concerns.

Pros of a Smart Car

There are many benefits to be considered; don’t let its small size fool you!

  • Environmentally-friendly. Not only is this small car fuel-efficient, averaging around 40 mpg, but it has several other environmentally-friendly features as well. The smart fortwo car uses innovative energy-efficient and recyclable materials in its construction. In fact, 95% of the vehicle is recyclable and the dash material is made from recycled synthetics.
  • Easy to park and drive. The smart car has a very small footprint. At less than 9 feet long, it’s nearly 3 feet shorter than the already diminutive Mini Cooper. Of course, a big reason for that is that it’s only a 2-seater. But the short size means this car is super easy to park, especially in tight spots or short spots where other cars wouldn’t fit. It’s also got a great turning radius that makes it very maneuverable.
  • Appearance. No one can argue that the smart fortwo car is not unique in its design and appearance. See one, and you will never forget it, whether you like it or not! Many people’s first impression is that it is just so darn cute. When Mercedes Benz brought the smart fortwo car to the United States, they updated its image to be more cutting edge, with more chrome, a bit longer hood section and updated headlights and dashboard area. You can also change out the plastic body panels to give it a whole new color, or purchase a car wrap with some kind of unique print or design on it.
  • Safety design. Most people’s first reaction when they see this tiny car is something along the lines of, “How could such a small car be safe on the road” However, what make the smart car so unique is Mercedes Benz attention to safety. From the innovative tridion safety cell, a sort of safety cage, to its 4 airbags and advanced braking system, the smart car is built for safety. Crash tests have consistently proved Mercedes’ safety claims. Anecdotal evidence, as published on the safeandsmart.com website, also supports those claims.
  • Surprisingly roomy inside. Another surprising benefit of the smart car is its interior roominess. There is plenty of leg room for both driver and passenger. Head room is great too, with men as tall as 6’6″ fitting in the driver’s seat comfortably. The cargo area is also quite roomy for a small car. We fit a 50-pound black lab and 2 other dogs in our hatch when we go hiking. And we’ve toted home as many as 8 grocery bags and a case of soda when we go food shopping.
  • Perfect commuter car. The smart fortwo car was originally designed as a “city car” for crowded European city-dwellers, and that is its greatest value in the United States, as well. It makes a great commuter car, with its roominess, solid gas mileage and zippy performance on the roads, not to mention ease of parking.

Cons of a Smart Car

Of course, no car is perfect for everyone, and this one is no exception. It does have a few features that could be improved, as well as some aspects that just make it the wrong choice for certain people.

  • Size vs. other cars on the highway. Despite its considerable safety features, there is no question that the smart car is much smaller than just about every other vehicle on the highway. So, there is a good chance that if you are involved in an accident with a big SUV or truck, you might come out the loser. However, there are accounts of smart cars faring better than other larger vehicles in an accident. One advantage of its small footprint is that it might be able to avoid collisions that a larger vehicle could not.
  • No cruise control. As mentioned above, the smart car was designed as a commuter, in-town type of car. Perhaps that’s why, despite a number of other high-end features, it lacks a cruise control option. If you do plan to travel in it or your commute involves highway driving, chances are you are going to miss having cruise control.
  • Unusual transmission. Smart cars have what is termed an “automated manual transmission.” What that means is that you have an option between going completely automatic or using a modified manual transmission. Most people find that keeping it in automatic means slightly sluggish gear shifting. That is easily remedied, however, by switching to the automated manual mode. This is a clutch-less manual transmission, meaning you are in charge of using the stick shift or paddle shifters on the steering wheel to switch gears, but you don’t have to coordinate with a clutch. The manual mode is super easy to use, even if you’ve never driven a stick shift before, and provides for a much zippier gear-shifting experience.
  • Limited passenger seating and cargo space. Smart cars only have 2 seats – the driver’s seat and one passenger seat. So they’re not meant to be family cars. And while the cargo hatch area is surprisingly roomy, it is still less than 8 cubic feet. So you won’t be hauling any lumber or large pieces of furniture in it.
  • Gas mileage could be higher. For such a small car, you might expect the gas mileage to be much higher. However, the smart car was rated the most fuel-efficient gas-powered car in the United States by the EPA in 2010. And even at 40 MPG, it is considerably more fuel-efficient than most light trucks and SUVs on the road today.
  • Requires premium fuel. The smart car requires premium fuel, which can be pricey, because of its small engine size. Smaller engines tend to perform better with a higher grade of fuel. You might consider its gas mileage to be the trade-off for the pricier gas.

In weighing the pros of a smart car against the cons, I find the pros win. For what it’s designed to be — a commuter vehicle for 1 or 2 people — the smart car is a great value with many added benefits. Could it be better? Sure, as with most products, there is definitely room for improvement. But, if you want a forward-thinking, unique and fuel-efficient small car, then I would definitely encourage you to consider the smart fortwo car.

What is a Snowboard Stomp Pad and How is It Used

If you’ve ever thought about trying snowboarding, chances are you have heard of a snow board stomp pad. But how much to do you actually know about the pad and why it is an essential part of the equipment? Here’s a few basic facts about a stomp pad and how it is used.

When getting off a chairlift and onto a snowboard, only one foot is actually in the binding. Your other foot has to rest on the snowboard itself until you can come to a complete stop and strap it into the binding. Sometimes you will need to make a turn as you leave the chairlift. This is where the stomp pad comes into play. The pad helps prevent your free foot from sliding all along the surface of the snowboard while you are making the turn.

Utilized to help you get traction on the surface of your snowboard, the stomp pad is adhered to the board with an adhesive. The topside of the pad will also be somewhat sticky, allowing your free foot a place to step and not slip around. Ideally, the pad will be placed toward the rear binding so that you can step directly onto the pad and ease your foot into the proper position to bind it to the board.

In addition to helping you dismount gracefully from a chairlift without ending up on the ground, the stomp pad also is useful for helping to remove any accumulation of snow that may have built up on your snowboard boots. By using the pad to scrape any snow or ice fragments before you strap in the foot, you make sure there is nothing that will interfere with your ability to control the direction of the board.

Typically, snowboards come with a stomp pad. If your board does not have one, it is a good idea to purchase one and adhere it to the board yourself. As the pads do need to be changed from time to time, the pads are relatively inexpensive and easy to replace, so go ahead and purchase several.

When affixing the stomp pad to your snowboard, make sure to not simply stick it in place and consider it done. Press down on the pad for a few seconds, making sure the pad does adhere to the board with no wrinkles or puffs in the pad. Do not remove the paper protector from the top of the pad until you are sure the bottom is firmly holding to your board.

It is a good idea to make a few trial runs with using the stomp pad before you get on a chairlift. Make sure you have a good feel for where your foot should be and get used to the way the pad provides the traction for your boot. Ideally, you should be so comfortable with this process that you do not have to watch what you are doing. Those extra seconds it takes to eyeball maneuvering your foot into place and securing the bindings can cost you valuable time during a competition.

Snowboarding is a great sport and one that can provide a lot of enjoyment. If you really want to get the most out of the experience, make sure you know how to install and use a snowboard stomp pad.

Make Home Improvement on Budget a Reality

Home is the place where the heart is. One of the best ways to improve quality of our life is to spruce up the home we live in. Although home improvements can cost unlimited amounts, it does not always require a fortune to improve the interiors of your home. You can carry out amazing changes in your apartment on budget.

Identify Misses

First of, when you are on budget it is important to identify the areas which require replacement or improvement in your home. For, the prime purpose of home improvement is to ensure no pending repairs post the renovation. This would help you plan the direction of the entire home repair project. Depending on the nature of projects you can decide upon the budget, duration and other factors for home improvement.

Gear up for change

Now you can gear up for the change you need. You should research online and visit home décor shops to get ideas for the purpose. You can save a lot of money by DIY on your previous, used or antique furniture, fittings and cabinets. It is important to check out price differences offered by second-hand shops, antique shops and online lists.

Knowing the expenses helps you get ready for the expenditure too. You can also check out your credit limit available. Home improvements can be one of the smart ways to enhance the valuation of your home. You can also check out if you are eligible for homeowner loans. Leveraging home equity you can draw substantial funding without any hassles.

Some handy home renovation hacks on budget


Kitchen is one place where whole family meets multiple times in a day. A change in the look of kitchen space can transform the feel of your entire home. You can consider changing the colour or cabinet doors for this. Do not forget to visit thrift stores or reuse centers to find the surprisingly cheap deals. Go for contrasting colour and you would revolutionise the appearance of your home. Also pay attention to kitchen lighting. If you need to replace any of the electronic or kitchen gadgets, opt for energy-efficient replacements. It would save you energy bills and keep your home updated.

Living Room

A renovation cannot be complete without bringing change in the living room. For low-cost home improvement, consider redoing the furniture placement. A simple shift of couch from right to left can bring more than expected alteration to your home view. In case you have a centre wall, consider using a bright and unique colour for that wall. Then deck it up with picture art, wall art or an embellished stole gifted by your grandma. The bright walls can steal the attention from other little flaws around.

If you need a new couch, consider using the old frame and get it covered up in a contemporary style. This would bring the modern look with least expense.

Bed Rooms

Changing bed room furniture could be expensive. You can consider changing the bedding, rug, curtains, cushions and every other add-on in your room. If your side tables are old-fashioned, you can consider using attractive wall paper on the front of drawers. It would not only bring a new look but would also cease the boredom owing to old furniture.

Another quick hack could be using darker colour for ceiling. Change in the colour of ceiling would bring a novel look in your personal space. We watch more of the ceilings in the bed rooms after all!


Do not overlook leakages and chipped paint as they are common in the bathroom area. Change faucets if there is any fault. Try to organise if you have too many objects in your bathroom.

Besides, simply changing the mug, bucket and rug can beautify your lavatory. You can introduce an attractive canvas cover for the new feel.

Front and Patio space

For small apartments, an additional sitting space can add enough value to the property. You can consider de-cluttering the backyard and incorporating chair for 2 people at least. You can add a beautiful cushion to an organiser and create a seat. This add-on would not cost more than £20 and enliven the dull space in your home.

Needless to say, do not leave the broken nuts and bolts on window panels or side entries. A new colour for outer walls is a must even if you have decided to keep the inner walls untouched.

In case your room walls are already neat, pick one wall in each section and use your creativity to bring the desired look.

Hope these tips prove handy when you begin your next home improvement project.

Prominent Cork Floor Manufacturers in the Market

Cork floor manufacturers, thanks to technology, are able to offer a large selection of colors. These are available as planks and tiles and can be installed either as floating floors or glued down. This type of floor can be installed over different kinds of existing sub floors like wood, concrete, vinyl, etc.

Cork flooring is such a popular choice among homeowners, architects and interior designers for both residential and commercial use. There are plenty of reputed manufacturers today, offering a large variety in this renewable flooring option.

Cork floors and tiles are cozy under your feet especially in winter and do not make a noise when you walk on them. Added to this, cork flooring is anti-microbial, which means it is resistant to pests, germs and allergens. Mold does not affect it. The best part is that it is an ecologically friendly flooring option.

You can check with the manufacturer for unfinished flooring that can be finished after it is installed or pre-finished floors that are easier to maintain. The latest flooring can be used right away and later refinished when required.

Here are some of the most reputed flooring manufacturers:

American Cork Products LLC

AmCork is well known for its variety in cork with more than thirty patterns, colors and finishes. The cork oak tree’s bark is carefully gathered without any damage to the tree so that it may replenish itself. AmCork’s cork floors are great for commercial and residential use and come as sturdy tiles and floating floors that are designed to take a lot of foot traffic.

Capri Cork

They are best known for their floors that go by the name of Mediterra tiles finished with veneer for glue down installation and Cor-Terra rubber with cork flooring. The Eco-Click cork floor is an easy-to-install glueless floating floor. Capri Cork also has recycled flooring options through recycled rubber that comes as tiles and rolls.

Duro Design

Duro Design makes combination cork, wood and bamboo flooring that is super strong and has the toughness and looks of natural cork flooring and bamboo. Their trendy cork floors and walls are very popular.


This manufacturer makes a range of floors and cork-rubber floors.

Globus Cork

Best known for its exclusive amazing selection of colors, bringing out the beautiful texture of the natural cork floor. They market their cork flooring globally, offering specialty patterns and custom sizes.

Natural Cork LLC

This manufacturer offers natural cork and wall covering products.

Jelinek Cork

Floor tiles are available in a range of options and include all the basic features of cork floors like elasticity, insulation, acoustic resistant and anti allergenic.


This comes from the Amorim Group with a large product range in flooring. They have Portuguese cork tiles and planks, in addition to cork floors with Corkloc, Wicanders Glueless Flooring Systems.

We Cork

Specializes in a comprehensive range of natural cork, acoustic linings and floating floors.

You will find plenty of distributors and dealers who deal with the above cork flooring manufacturers when you browse the Internet for the supplier nearest to you. It makes sense to compare, shop around and then make an informed decision.

Three Benefits of Pressure Washing

Pressure washing, also known as power washing, is a cleaning process used primarily on houses and other buildings, although it can be used on other surfaces such as concrete. This washing process involves spraying the desired surface with a mechanical sprayer that shoots out water much faster and more powerfully than a regular hose. In some cases however, soft water pressure washing is used along with a detergent to gently clean property. This can come in handy when cleaning something a little more delicate like a roof. As a homeowner, pressure washing your house is a smart decision which comes with many valuable benefits which range from increasing your home’s value to preventing roof rot.

Keeping Paint Fresh

Because the water sprayed out of a pressure washer comes out so fast and so powerfully, it is extremely efficient at cleaning the exterior of a home. When the water hits the house, it blasts off the majority of the dirt, dust, and old paint flakes that have accumulated on the outside walls. The power washer removes old, chipping paint flakes quickly and efficiently, causing the existing paint to look fresher and eradicating the need for scraping off old paint by hand. Also, by eliminating the dust and grime from the outside walls, power washing makes the paint on a house look brighter and prevents it from chipping further. Here again, a more delicate soft water pressure washing can also work great.

Preventing Roof Rot

Over time, water, algae, and other damp grime accumulates on the roof of a house and eventually causes the wooden parts of the roof to rot and leak. Soft water pressure washing clears away all the mold and muddy grime from the rooftop and does away with any accumulated reserves of water that could absorb into the roof and cause rot.

Preserving your Home’s Value

Pressure washing preserves the existing value of your home and can even increase it by removing all dirt, grime, mold, and any other harmful contaminants which can cause a home to fall into disrepair. When it comes time to sell or rent your house, it will go at a much higher price and be much more desirable if it is free of rot and other problems.

Also, when hiring a company to pressure wash your home or roof, make sure they are reputable, have plenty of experience and are willing to offer you references. You don’t want to risk damaging your biggest investment, your home.