How to Migrate From Windows to Linux


As most people do, when I started using Linux, I created separate partitions for Linux and used Lilo or Grub to boot either into either Windows or Linux, according to the different job requirements.

I normally used my laptop PC during the day in a company that used Windows applications in a Windows based LAN and therefore I normally had to boot in Windows during the day to work with my colleagues where at home I would boot mainly into Linux. This approach has a few disadvantages as follows:

  • My work e-mails were in Microsoft Outlook and I had to boot under Windows to access them.
  • I used KMail (and later Mozilla Thunderbird) for my personal e-mails and I had to boot under Linux to access them.
  • I could access Window folders from Linux and copy data from Windows, but I could not access any Linux directory from Windows.

I reached the conclusion that there should have been a better way to use my PC and I looked for a solution that would allow access to both Linux and Windows applications without rebooting.

I investigated some of the available products. I found that the wine or CodeWeavers Crossover supported most common Windows applications, but some other ones would not work. VMWare looked interesting, but I preferred to use until recently Win4Lin (originally developed by Netraverse to support only Windows 95, 98 or ME and later upgraded by Virtual Bridges to support also Windows 2000 and Windows XP) but this product is no longer upgraded and supported ,

I had to find a replacement and finally declined to install Virtual BOx , a virtualization platform originally developed by Sun Micro Systems and later supported by Oracle, after its acquisition of Sun.

Some good advantages that I found in Virtual Box are the following:

  • VirtualBox 3 is a desktop virtual machine application using a "Type 2" hypervisor that requires a compatible host operating system (Linux, Windows, Macintosh, or OpenSolaris) and computer hardware based on x86 or AMD64 / Intel64 to function
  • The installation of Virtual Box is pretty straightforward, but there are a few issues that I will describe later.
  • You can easily install many different Operating systems and the performance is pretty good. You can read a list of the supported Operating Systems at
  • Creating a VM is fast and easy, thanks to a VM creation wizard that takes you step-by-step through creating your guest VM.

Installing Virtual Box
Virtual Box can be downloaded from, but I did not have to download it because the software is included with my Linux distribution (OpenSuSE 11.3).

You will find plenty of documentation at Technical Documentation page.

The installation is pretty easy, but you must remember to manually add the users who will access Virtual Box to the special user group vboxusers. This can easily be done in OpenSuSe by using the security and users option of Yast.

Using Windows under Virtual Box
I installed under Virtual Box only Windows XP because my main purpose was to create an integrated Desktop environment where I could easily access both Linux and Windows applications

One important requirement for a good integration is to have the possibility to access from Windows also Linux directories because this allows to transfer data between the two environments.

Unfortunately this is not very simple to achieve. Virtual Box allows to declare Shared Folders which can be accessed from both Linux (host operating system) and Windows (guest operating systems). I declared my Linux home directory as a shared folder, but when I started Windows the shared folder was not visible in the explorer. This issue and its solution will be better explained in a separate point.

The main advantages of installing Windows under virtual box are the following:

  • The Virtual Box Windows installation is certainly much better integrated with Linux than a native Windows installation and you will have at your disposal the power of Linux and Windows applications without any need to reboot.
  • Windows under Virtual Box offers greater virus protection than a stand-alone Windows installation. You can easily save your Windows directory as a tar archive and many viruses will not have any effect
  • There is no Windows boot sector and therefore boot sector or other boot time viruses are ineffective.
  • Virtual Box installs Windows files in subdirectories of the host Linux filesystem and therefore FAT32 or VFAT related viruses are ineffective.
  • Executable files and macro viruses can still attack, but will not affect the Linux system unless you transfer to the host filesystem an infected file. To reduce the risks, you may decide to declare a directory as a shared folders only when necessary

Virtual box Limitations and Pecularities
Virtual box does not support copy and paste between the Linux and Windows environments.

When you click the mouse in the Windows screen, the system captures the mouse in Windows and it will not move outside of the Windows screen. To use the mouse outside, you need to press a key to n-capture it.

Solution of the Shared Folder access problem
I introduced the problem before and I found it very annoying because it is a serious limitation to the integration between Linux and Windows. I was able to find a solution in the Ubuntu Forums. I summarize the steps needed to solve the problem below:

  1. Start up Virtual box and then start up Windows xp
  2. Go to the top panel of the Virtual Box and click Devices -> Install Guest Editions
  3. Download and install the Guest Editions. This will cause a Windows reboot.
  4. Set up your shared folders in virtual box. For example declare share folder home / documents
  5. Start up Windows, go to Start -> Run, enter cmd and press
  6. once in the dos console, type net use t: vboxsvr documents. Notice that you should put in only the last folder name on the end of the command; for example if you selected a folder under home / mario1 / documents the command would be net use t: vboxsvr documents
  7. If you look in the Windows explorer, you will see the new t drive as a shared folder and you will be able to access its content.

Removing the original Window partition
One negative point of having both an original Windows partition and the guest Windows installation is the waste of space (for instance I had MS Office applications installed on both partitions). This setup could offer better security, in case of problems to either the Windows or Linux installation, but at some point, I determined that I could use better disk space and work without double booting with Linux and Windows under Windows.

To avoid losing useful data, I performed following activities:

  • I identified the Outlook mail boxes by using the Windows Find option with "* .pst" and copied them to the Windows environment.
  • I identified the Outlook Express maild boxes by using the Windows Find option with "* .dbx" and copied them to the Windows environment.
  • I identified my Eudora mail boxes (used for my personal mail) by using the Windows Find option with "* .mbx" and copied them to the Windows environment.
  • I found the 'Favorites' folders used by Internet Explorer and I copied it and its sub-folders to the Windows environment.
  • I copied the 'My Documents' folder and all other folders that I used in my Windows environment

Making the above copies in the Virtual Box environment is reliably easy, because Linux can access the mnt directory. You can mount the original Windows partition in the Linux / mnt directory by using a ommand such as:

$ sudo mount / dev / sdb3 / media / windows -t vfat -o umask = 000

Once the partition is mounted, you can declare mnt as a shared folder and access it in the Virtual Box Windows session ..

Once I was satisfied that all important data inserted in the Windows environment, I decided to reformat the Windows partition and copy my Linux / home directory, that was included in the main root hierarchy, to a separate partition. This activity is described in detail below.

Using the freed partition for Linux, A good description of how to move / home to a different partition can be found in a good tutorial by Daniel Robbins at IBM DeveloperWorks

The main steps are as following:

  • Create a filesystem in the new partition by using a command such as mkfs / dev / ???
  • Mount the new filesystem in / mnt with a command such as mount / dev / ??? / mnt / newhome
  • Drop to single user mode (init 1)
  • Change to the current home directory and enter a copy command such as cp -ax * / mnt / newhome. The ax option causes cp to copy in recursive mode by preserving all file attributes.
  • Rename the old / home to /home.old by using the command mv / home /home.old and mount the new one with mount / dev / ??? / home.
  • When you are sure that everything works correctly, you can remove the /home.old directory.

I believe that the approach described above allows an optimal use of both Linux and Windows resources.
It is often difficult to use only Linux, because often people need to work in Windows based LANs, interact with other Windows users or just because one is too lazy to learn new applications instead of those normally used in a Windows environment.
A double boot system is inconvenient to use. An integrated solution like that described above allows a much more satisfactory usage of your computer resources and time.

Introduction to Windows Device Drivers

Device drivers are small files an operating system uses to communicate with various hardware devices connected to a computer. Rather than communicating directly with the hardware, the system sends messages through a driver, which calls out the functions for each device as it is needed. A device driver serves its purpose with little to no input from the end user. For example, once a driver is installed, it is likely that you will never have to interact with it. It simply works in the background until called upon by the operating system.

How Windows Device Drivers Work

The Windows operating system allocates memory for its default drivers. The drivers fill entries into what is called a Function Dispatch Table. Whenever functions of a particular device are required, Windows refers to the Function Dispatch Table and selects the accurate functions as needed.

For example, you want to use your Canon scanner to scan an image. Windows references the Function Dispatch Table for the code needed to carry out that function. The system then sends a request to the scanner. When a driver receives a request, it performs in one of three ways:

o It responds accordingly by carrying out the function and sends confirmation that the task is complete.

o If the device is busy with another task, it accepts the request and puts the job in a queue.

o It notifies the operating system that a problem exists and the job cannot be performed.

Most drivers operate in what is known as the kernel mode. The Windows system handles program codes in kernel or user mode. Processes running in kernel mode have the ability to interact directly with hardware and system memory. In contrast, user mode is often designated for software applications. This mode allows programs to call upon and use services delivered by the operating system, but they cannot directly access the hardware.

The Problems that Exist with Device Drivers

Similar to computer programs, device drivers and hardware have the ability to create numerous problems. Some of the most common issues include instability with particular programs, as well as the crashing of programs or the computer itself. In many cases, updating or completely replacing a device driver can solve hardware and software problems.

How to Update Windows Drivers

Microsoft’s Windows Hardware Quality Lab tests a variety of device drivers. When a driver passes a certain number of tests, it is then digitally signed and recognized by the Windows system. Users can also install unsigned drivers, depending on the setting of their computer’s Signature Checking Level. Signature checking can be disabled with Level 0, while Level 1 allows you to check for digital signatures and gives confirmation if none are found. You can, however, proceed with the installation even if no signatures are found for your drivers. Level 2 is a setting that blocks the installation of all devices that have not been signed by Microsoft.

To check the signatures of certain device drivers, access the “Start” menu, click “Run” and type “sigverif” in the command field. This command runs a scan of all the device drivers on your computer and searches for those that are unsigned.

Top 10 Most Expensive Paintings Ever

1. Garçon à la Pipe by Pablo Picasso ($ 104,100,000)

Garçon à la Pipe is painted during Picasso's famous Rose Period, a period in which Picasso preferred cheerful orange and pink colors. The oil on canvas painting, measuring 100 x 81.3 cm (slightly over 39 x 32 inches), depicts a Parisian boy holding a pipe in his left hand.

The record price paid for this painting in an auction at Sotheby's New York on May 4, 2004, was a bit of a surprise. While aesthetically pleasing, the painting is not made in the Cubist style that Picasso is so renamed for. Many even state that the record price was more due to the artists name than the quality of the painting.

2. Portrait of Dr. Gachet by Vincent van Gogh ($ 82,500,000)

This painting by the Dutch Impressionism master Vincent van Gogh suddenly became world-famous when Japanese businessman Ryoei Saito paid $ 82.5 million for it at auction in Christie's, New York. Saito was so attached to the painting that he wanted it to be cremated with him when he died. Saito died in 1996 but the painting was saved.

Vincent van Gogh actually painted two versions of Dr Gahet's portrait. You can view the other version, with a slightly different color scheme, at the Musée d'Orsay in Paris.

3. Au Moulin de la Galette by Pierre-Auguste Renoir ($ 78,000,000)

Bal au moulin de la Galette, Montmartre is an 1876 painting by French artist Pierre-Auguste Renoir. On May 17, 1990, it was sold for $ 78,000,000 at Sotheby's in New York City, New York to Ryoei Saito, who bought it together with the Portrait of Dr Gachet.

4. Massacre of the Innocents by Peter Paul Rubens ($ 76,700,000)

This painting by Peter Paul Rubens, painted in 1611, is the only one painting in this list which was not painted in the 19th or 20th century. It was sold to Kenneth Thomson, 2nd Baron Thomson of Fleet for $ 76,700,000 at a 2002 Sotheby's auction.

5. Portrait de l'Artiste sans Barbe by Vincent van Gogh ($ 71,500,000)

Portrait de l'artiste sans barbe ("Self-portrait without beard") is one of many self-portraits by the Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh, that he painted in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, France in September 1889. The painting is a oil painting on canvas and is 40 cm x 31 cm (16 "x 13").

Van Gogh painted this just after he had shaved himself. This is an uncommon painting since his other self-portraits show him with a beard. The self-portrait is one of the most expensive paintings of all time since it was sold for $ 71.5 million in 1998 in New York.

6. Rideau, Cruchon et Compotier by Paul Cézanne ($ 60,500,000)

This painting by Paul Cézanne, painted in ca. 1893-1894, sold for $ 60,500,000 at Sotheby's New York on May 10, 1999 to "The Whitneys". Whitney, born into one of America's wealthiest families, was a venture capitalist, publisher, Broadway show and Hollywood film producer, and philanthropist.

7. Femme aux Bras Croisés by Pablo Picasso ($ 55,000,000)

This painting, painted in 1901, was a part of Picasso's famous Blue Period, a dark, sad period. The painting depicts a woman with her arms crossed staring at the endless nothing. The beautiful different tones of blue ofcourse are typical for the period Picasso was in.

Femme aux Bras Croisés was sold for $ 55,000,000 November 8, 2000, at Christie's Rockefeller in New York City. With four paintings by Picasso in the top ten, we can name him without a doubt the most expensive painter ever.

8. Irises by Vincent Van Gogh ($ 53,900,000)

With 3 paintings in this top ten, van Gogh is also a main supplier of expensive paintings. Vincent van Gogh painted this at Saint Paul-de-Mausole in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, France in 1889, only one year before his death. In 1987, it became the most expensive painting ever sold, though this record has since been surpassed. It was sold for $ 54,000,000 to Alan Bond.

9. Les Noces de Pierrette by Pablo Picasso ($ 51,670,000)

Les Noces de Pierrette was also painted in Picasso's Blue Period, a period in which he suffered from poverty and depression. This painting was sold to a rich Chines businessman for $ 51,670,000 at Pinoche et Godeau in Paris, France, on November 30, 1989.

10. Femme Assise Dans Un Jardin by Pablo Picasso ($ 49,500,000)

The only painting in this list by Picasso that is actually painted in his world-famous Cubism style. Pablo Picasso painted it in 1938, only a few years before World War II broke out. The woman he painted was one of his mistresses, Dora Maar.

Femme Assise Dans Un Jardin by Pablo Picasso was sold at on November 10, 1999, for $ 49,500,000 at New York City's Sotheby's. The auction was very hectic because three anonymous phone bidders tried to win the painting.

Vegetable Garden Stakes As Garden Gifts

Suppose you or someone you know has finished a backyard vegetable garden. And now, you decide that a gardening gift is a fitting reward for all of the hard work that was devoted to complete the vegetable garden project.

Most gardening gifts are small inexpensive items like gloves, shovels, spading fork, hoe, compost, and soil testers just to name a few. Instead of giving a tool as a gift, why not consider a garden decor item like unique handmade redwood vegetable garden stakes.

Vegetable garden stakes make the perfect garden accessory as well as garden decor gift that any backyard vegetable gardener will truly appreciate. Moreover, they make great gardening collectibles.

There is nothing more appealing than gardening at a cultured vegetable garden where all the vegetables are identified with redwood stakes. It is not only eye-catching; it is sure to be a big hit. Keep in mind, the more unique and stunning the garden stakes are, the more they will be appreciated. Although metal garden stakes are somewhat popular, there is nothing more striking than a garden marked off with handmade redwood vegetable garden stakes.

The redwood stakes should be made from two pieces, a redwood block and a REPLACEABLE round 1/4-inch birch wood dowel (used for the stick).

The block is made from high quality finished redwood and it is sanded to a smooth finish. The redwood block measures: 1-3 / 8-inches wide x 4-inches long x 3/8-inches thick.

A colorful image of the vegetable along with the vegetable name is transferred to the redwood block. The block is then treated with several layers of varnish to protect it from the sun and weather. For example, the block for the carrot garden stake has a beautiful image of a bunch of carrots, along with the vegetable name of CARROTS.

The replaceable 1/4-inch round wood dowels are available at most home hardware centers and they usually come in lengths of three and four feet. This allows you to cut the dowels to the exact length that you want. The most popular lengths for the dowel-stakes are between twelve and eighteen inches.

You can use a hand-held pencil sharpener to slightly bevel the ends of the 1/4-inch dowel. The beveled ends make it much easier to insert the dowel into the redwood block and your garden.

So, when you are looking to give a garden gift that will be treasured for years to come, consider giving a unique handmade redwood vegetable garden stakes. These stakes are not only attractive, they will give the recipient many years of enjoyment when they gaze out over their garden.

What Are Some Uses and Problems With Average True Range Indicator?

The Average True Range Indicator (ATR) is yet another trading creation by J. Wells Wilder. In his 1978 book, “New Strategies in Technical Trading Systems,” Wilder introduces the Average True Range, RSI, Directional Movement Indicator and its useful component the ADX, Parabolic SAR, and sketches out his take on Reversion to the Mean theory, among a host of other trading concepts. As I am sure you are aware, several of the important principles of modern technical trading theory are based upon Wilder’s conclusions in the book.

The ATR is used and misused for a wide variety of functions related to e-mini trading. Let’s start with an issue that makes the indicator problematic; the readings on the ATR have no direct relationship to price and give no indication of price direction. As a matter of fact, this indicator is a reasonably direct measurement of volatility. Wilder envisioned the “True Range” in absolute values to insure positive number results.

This is where “true range” theory breaks down, for some e-mini traders.

Most indicators and oscillators are a depiction, in some form, of the price (and price behavior) of a trading instrument under examination. With many indicators and oscillators, a rising line would indicate the market is going upward and vice versa for falling lines and lines moving downward. In the middle of this mass of rising or falling lines is the diminutive Average True Range, whose lines may be moving in a direction that shows only a limited correlation to the lines on the price based indicators. This paradox often causes the ATR data to be misread or misapplied when trading.

On the other hand, when used correctly the ATR can supply indispensable information. In my personal trading, I use the ATR to calculate profit targets and stop losses. In addition to indicating the volatility in the market, I assume a good part of the ATR reading (especially in channels) to be market noise. I do not want to be stopped out of a trade by a slight actual move in the market and the market noise that may be a normal component of that move. It is fairly normal for me to set my stop loss at 1.5 x ATR, and my profit target at 2.0 x ATR. This unbalanced risk /reward ratio maximizes my profit and stop/loss calculation and gives an idea of what numbers on the chart I can have a reasonable expectation of achieving. I believe this approach is logical and helps me maximize potential returns and assess risk.

The ATR has a variety of e-mini traders who employ it for less popular uses in trading. For example, I have seen traders utilize the Average True Range in actual trading. By adding the indicator value to the closing price, the trader can calculate potential breakout points on the next trading day. Similarly, potential exits can calculated by adding the ATR to the previous days close. I personally employ the ATR in my trading solely to calculate profit targets and stop loss figures.

I pay close attention to this indicator to decide if the market is too slow to trade or too volatile to trade. For example, on a particularly active trading day the ATR may climb to a reading of 20. Using the formula I outlined earlier in this article, that reading would force me to set my stop loss to 30. Depending on the contract and how well I am trading I may decide that risking 30 x #of contracts I am trading represents too great a risk for the size of my trading account. As a matter of fact, 30 almost always presents more risk than I am willing to shoulder.

In summary, the ATR is an ideal way to understand volatility in the e-mini market. Since volatility is directly related to risk, I can get a good idea where to place my stop loss point and profit targets. I mentioned some alternative uses for the Average True Range Indicator in e-mini trading, but did not overly endorse their use.

Healthy Living – Why Pork Deserves A Spot In Your Diet Plan

When most people are making an effort to lose weight and improve their health, one of the first things to go from their diet is red meat. But, some red meats can provide several health benefits. Take pork for example. As you are about to see, there are many reasons to include pork in your weekly diet plan. You may not want to eat it daily, but having it every so often is permissible no matter what goals you happen to be working toward unless, of course, your goal is to be a vegetarian.

All it takes is choosing the right cut of pork. Pork tenderloin is what you are after here. It is the leanest cut of pork and will offer all the same benefits other fattier cuts would offer.

1. Vitamins and Minerals. First, let us consider the vitamin and mineral content found in pork. Pork proves to be an excellent source of…

  • thiamine,
  • selenium,
  • zinc,
  • vitamin B12,
  • vitamin B6,
  • niacin,
  • phosphorus, as well as
  • iron.

These are all vital nutrients to help keep your body feeling its best and stay energized. Many people, especially women, tend to fall low in iron, so having some lean red meat in their diet is essential. Likewise, men will want to ensure they keep their zinc intake up because low zinc levels are associated with suppressed testosterone.

2. Creatine Content. Another beautiful thing about pork is it is a source of naturally occurring creatine. You may have heard of creatine supplements before and while you may not go as far as to take some of those, including some creatine in your diet is a smart move. Creatine helps ensure you can maintain muscular contractions in the face of intense exercise, so if you plan on getting your workouts in, this compound will become very important.

3. Taurine. Another amino acid you will find in abundance in pork is taurine. Taurine is essential to keep your heart and muscle function where it should be, so another nutrient you do not want to miss out on.

While any complete source of protein will contain taurine, pork tends to be higher than some other meats.

4. High Protein Content. Finally, pork is a very high protein food, and it does not have all that much total fat content. Per 3 oz serving, you will take in…

  • 139 calories,
  • 4.1 grams of fat,
  • 0 grams of carbs, and
  • 23.9 grams of protein.

You can compare this with 3 oz of chicken, which contains 94 calories, 1.1 grams of fat, 0 grams of carbs, and 19.6 grams of protein. So you get a little more fat but also get more protein when choosing pork.

There you have some of the key benefits and reasons to include pork in your healthy diet plan. Are you missing out on this nutritious red meat source?

Roof-Mounted Retractable Awnings

Retractable awnings are great way to enjoy your deck or patio when the sun is beating down and no other structures or trees provide shade.

Retractable awnings are usually mounted to the wall or the roof overhang (aka .soffit).

Another – not so well know option – is to mount the awning on your roof. This is necessary when there is not enough clearance above your door or window.

A roof mount is very simple and straight forward. You will need special roof mount brackets. This should be an option when ordering you awning. Other than that it is very similar to a standard wall mount.

Make sure when you attach your roof brackets that lag bolt get a solid embed into roof rafters, Just like you would normally find you wall studs.

Before mounting brackets to the roof use caulk around the holes, this is also know as back caulking. Do not use regular bathroom caulk. Use exterior caulk that can withstand the temperature changes.

Another consideration is: When you mount an awning onto your roof, get one with extra deep projection. You will "loose" some projection since it will be up on the roof and thereby recessed relative to you deck.

One more thought. In general a roof mounted awning will have to be motorized, since most likely you will not be able to reach the awning with a manual crank, this will make the awning more costly and you have to plan for the electric.

For pictures and more information go

What Makes A Successful Writer? Starting, Finishing, Success!

So now you have a few books on Amazon and maybe just one or two sales. Of course, that is not the vision you had in mind when you started each book. You intended to sell a hundred books a month after you finished. Yet because you finished each book, you are a successful writer, no matter how many sales or how your books are received. You are tempted to start begging people to buy your books, but you know that would not work. So you are happy and grateful for those one or two sales. As mentioned in the PBS special, The American Experience: Walt Whitman, when Whitman published his first 700 copies of Leaves of Grass, he only got a dozen sales! Knowing that gives you the courage to start and finish as he did. And now look at Walt Whitman. One of the most successful, most accomplished, and most read poets of our time.

Nearly two years ago, you started a blog. As you prepare each entry from start to finish, you hold a vision in your mind that someone somewhere is following every word of every entry and is waiting for the next. When you start, finish, and publish each post, you succeed. Of course, with a blog, there is no finish line. Each month brings to you the opportunity to have a series of starts, finishes, and successes. In the month of February, you may have a total of 29 successes, and you are grateful this is leap year, so that you have that one extra day for one extra success. Regardless of how many page views you got in February, you are a successful writer because you started and finished. You perpetuated the creative energy flow, so you take heart because attention goes where energy flows. Someone is catching on; and, although you hope for that quick fix of traffic to your site, you realize that the best marketing technique is word of mouth. Some quality readers, quietly following, are spreading the news about you. Happy and grateful, you continue writing.

You have proclaimed that March is your miraculous, magical, Master Mind Month, and you are starting a new stage play. In your mind, you are holding a vision that this play is going to be an explosion of words that will create a theatrical disturbance! Regardless of the outcome, regardless of whether or not this play will be produced on Broadway, you hold a vision in your mind that when the audience gets up and leaves the theater, they are reciting bits and pieces of the dialogue they have heard that evening. You just have to start and finish the stage play, shooing away the ghosts of fear. Not even these ghosts, if they really existed, could create such a disturbance. Nothing is going to block you from success. You start…you finish…you are a successful writer.

Finding a Quality Home Improvement Company Less Costly Than Professional Painters

Homeowners are constantly looking for deals and ways to save a few bucks whenever they can. Saving money on home improvement projects is a priority for many homeowners, as many contractors demand a high price. College Works Painting and Student Works, which are separate companies offer affordable painting from motivated and ambitious college students without sacrificing any of the quality ,homeowners expect from professional painters.

Companies like these train all of their college painters to ensure that each student provides their clients with high quality work held to the utmost standards. Students are put through extensive training that teaches them the ins and outs of exterior house painting and gives them the experience necessary to get a firm grasp on the craft. Students are sometimes trained during the company’s Charity Paints program that gives some families a much needed paint job while giving their painters adequate experience.

Homeowners hire painting contractors because they expect the very best from their painters. If they expected any less, they may choose to do the work themselves. Companies understand this and does everything necessary to properly train their painters and give them the motivation they need to do their best work for every client. Homeowners are rewarded with a high quality paint job at a cost below most painting contractors in the community.

Not only are homeowners getting an excellently painted house, they are also helping these student painters earn money for college. College students often turn to associated college companies as a way to earn some extra money for school. They are also given the chance to develop skills necessary for their future careers. The students know the importance of the opportunity they are given and are instilled with the motivation to give each client a satisfying experience.

Homeowners may find some painting contractors apathetic towards their work and the projects they are working on. This may be a sign that the contractor will not put all of their effort into their house. Homeowners will not find this with the companies mentioned above. They will only find ambitious young men and women looking to provide clients with the best paint job possible. They may not end up being professional painting contractors upon graduating from their college or university, but while they are working with the company, they provide the work of professionals.

Creating a positive environment that spills over onto every job site, the company is proud to employ some of the most motivated and talented young college students in the community. Homeowners should feel confident that by hiring these students they will be given a professionally painted house at a price less costly than most contractors.

Chandeliers: New Trends and Designs

Everything really does come back in style, and chandeliers are again high fashion for homeowners. The elegant lighting fixtures lost points in recent decades for their ornate “fussiness” and the (incorrect) perception that they required onerous maintenance.

As with anything that comes back in vogue, though, today’s chandeliers feature a few changes from their predecessors, most notably price. Lightening manufacturers have made the beauty of chandeliers more accessible by offering attractive designs for hundreds–instead of thousands–of dollars.

Much of this has to do with the manufacturer’s newfound willingness to deviate from the standard brass and crystal design. While plenty of traditional models are available, homeowners can now purchase chandeliers made from rustic iron, as well as fixtures made of alabaster and stone and even tropical-themed bamboo styles.

Pastoral antler chandeliers are also making a comeback, popular with both the country sophisticates and those who appreciate a fair amount of kitsch. Tiffany-style and stained glass chandeliers–the kind found in casual eateries and barrooms throughout the 1970s–are back too, but with a twist. New color palates featuring the softer, neutral hues used in many home decors are replacing the gaudy patterns from years ago.

Mottled paper shades featuring pressed flowers, vibrant colored crystals in abstract shapes and modern “wire” chandeliers are also popping up in households everywhere.

Perhaps most interestingly, where as years ago homeowners were loathe to hang any chandeliers, a new trend is to double up. Designs show that many people are opting to use two smaller chandeliers to light a space, rather than one grand fixture.

The best rule of all, though, is that clean, simple lines never go out of style. After all, no homeowner wants to be stuck with a chandelier comparable to acid washed jeans or bouffant hair.

Cape Waits For Decision

In less than two weeks, the fate of a clean-energy project eight years in the making will finally be determined. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has announced that he will determine if the Cape Wind offshore wind project will go forward by Friday, February 12.

Environmentalists greatly supported the Cape Wind project because the plan calls for 130 wind turbines, which would generate up to 420 megawatts of clean energy. This would be enough electricity to replace the current oil-burning power plant located in the area, thereby reducing the area's greenhouse-gas emissions by 734,000 tons per year, according to Greenpeace. This is equivalent to removing 175,000 cars from the road.

"We're confident that the concerns about preserving the historic and cultural value of Nantucket Sound can be met while still moving forward with the Cape Wind project," said Kert Davies, research director for Greenpeace, in a press release. "In fact, the impacts of unchecked global warming – including sea level rise that would all but erase the region's current coastline – are the far greater threat to Cape Cod."

This $ 900-million-project would be the United States' first offshore wind farm, and probably the only offshore farm approved and built during President Obama's first term, says Greenpeace, so its completion would demonstrate America's commitment to reducing our nation's carbon footprint and transitioning to a clean-energy economy.

Wind generated enough electricity in 2008 to power more than 1 percent of total electricity in the United States, according to the American Wind Energy Association. That equals 4.5 million households. This form of energy is renewable, widely distributed, plentiful and produces no greenhouse-gas emissions, which makes it an ideal substitute for fossil fuels and nuclear energy, and reduces America's dependence on foreign oil.

It may sound good, but the Cape Wind project has faced its share of opposition. Each turbine would stand 400-feet-tall and all together would cover 25 miles of the sound, which angers some environmental groups, who worry about the ecological impact of these large structures. American Indian tribes in the area also oppose the project because it interferees with their ancient religious rituals, which require an unblocked view of the sunrise. The National Park Service says the Nantucket Sound is eligible to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Non-Profit Retirement Planning

U.S. employees of government agencies and organizations and tax exempt organizations should know about tax code section 457 when planning their retirement. This section of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tax code governs the compensation plans that are deferred and non-qualified for those employees of governments and tax-exempt institutions other than churches. The pension plan that has been created for the retirement of these folks has been named the Section 457 plan. These employees can defer part of their compensation pre-taxed through deductions from their payroll. This defers both state and federal taxes until these retirement assets start being withdrawn.

Such eligible retirement plans have monetary ceilings on the amounts that can be deferred. The amount that is deferred in this way for retirement cannot be more than either 100 percent of the employee’s pay or $15,000 – whichever is the lesser. This $15,000 2006 figure will increase each year by $500 to adjust for increases in cost of living.

Only certain eligible employers are allowed to set up a section 457 plan. These are defined by the IRS as states and their subdivisions, instruments or political subdivisions of the states, and any entity that is not a unit of the government but is exempt from federal income tax. The latter includes religious and charitable organizations, educational institutions and organizations, private hospitals, labor unions and trade associations, private foundations, farming cooperatives and fraternal orders.

A section 457 plan will not pay out for retirement before the calendar year in which the participant reaches age 70 ½ and has severed employment with the participating firm. A severe financial hardship, unexpected illness or injury due to accident or other unforeseen emergency can allow for withdrawal from the retirement plan as well.

How to Know If a Woman’s Attracted: The 5 Signals

Maybe she’s that waitress at the local café. Or maybe she’s a coworker or classmate or even the friend you’ve always secretly had a crush on. Regardless who she is, if you like her, then you want to know if the feeling’s mutual.

Lucky for you, all women give off signals when they’re attracted. Most guys never pick up on these signals. If you don’t know what you’re looking for, you could easily overlook these secret signals, as well. And you probably already have. You have probably let countless women slip through your fingers in the past because you failed to see the signals.

But you’re never going to make that mistake again. By learning the 5 most common-but least understood-signals of female attraction, you are prepared to get the girl. Just look for 1 of these 5 signals, and then make your move. It’s as simple as that!

1.) She says your name a lot in conversation

If you find a woman saying your name in conversation, there’s a good possibility she has feelings for you. When someone has feelings for another person, the sound of that person’s name gives them a little emotional rush. (Just think of children in the schoolyard writing their crush’s name in their notebooks!) While adults don’t skip around the playground and chant their crush’s name, they do unconsciously say it whenever they can. So if she says your name a lot, there’s a good chance she’s attracted to you.

2.) She fidgets with her hair

When a woman plays with her hair, it often means she’s turned on. It’s a grooming reflex: primate females groom themselves for males before mating. (If you want proof, just go to your local zoo!) Thus, if you catch a woman stroking her hair as she talks to you, it means you’re probably arousing her interests.

3.) She breaks eye contact first

Poets say the eyes are the windows to the soul. Well, her eyes are also a window into her feelings. It’s a well known fact that eye contact signifies confidence. And confidence is nothing more than comfort in one’s status. So, for example, if you were training some new entry level employees at your job, then you’d probably feel very confident in holding strong eye with all of them. If, however, you were having a business with your boss’ boss, then you probably wouldn’t feel as comfortable maintaining strong eye contact (since your boss’ boss has higher status). Likewise, if you notice a woman continually breaking eye contact first, she’s probably nervous with attraction for you.

4.) She gets carried away with emotion sometimes around you

A major misconception most guys have of women is that they need to “like” you to feel attraction. Just think of all the bad boys who do amazing with women! Now, you don’t need to become a “bad boy” just to attract women; however, you shouldn’t be discouraged is a woman isn’t always in a peachy mood around you. In fact, it’s better if she’s not! A woman would never waste her emotions on a guy she didn’t like. So if she sometimes gets frustrated with you or even angry at you, it’s a good thing.

5.) She speaks in the future tense about you

Here’s a very subtle-but very powerful-attraction signal that women give off. If a woman’s interested in you, she’ll make comments about seeing you in the future. It’s important to note that none of these signals will be overt; instead, they’ll be little offhanded comments like, “Are you going to x, y, z event next week?” If a woman is asking such questions, it’s a telltale sign that you’re on her mind.

Working With PT100 Temperature Sensors

Highly accurate and stable temperature measurement is possible with a PT100 temperature sensor between -200 and +850°C, which makes it a popular choice in many industrial applications. In particular, the high degree of accuracy across the -50 to 150ºC range means that it is the preferred choice for temperature measurement in Pharmaceutical applications, such as in sterilisation processes.

The following guidelines will help users to specify the correct configuration.

They are written with Pharmaceutical and Healthcare applications in mind although the concepts apply across all industry sectors.

What is a PT100 Temperature Sensor?

The PT100 sensor is a popular example of a resistance temperature detector (RTD). It is based on the principle observed in metals whereby a change in temperature will cause a change in the resistance of the material. Platinum exibits a positive temperature coefficient I.e it shows an increasing resistance with increasing temperature, and so is the most common material used to construct RTD’s.

The PT100 sensor is designed to have a resistance of exactly 100Ω at 0.0°C, and a resistance increase of 0.385Ω per 1°C increase between 0 and 100°C according to ISO 60751: 2008

PT100 sensors are commonly constructed using two methods:

Wire wound sensors

Platinum wire wound sensors consist of a thin platinum wire loosely wrapped around, or threaded within, a ceramic core.

Wire wound sensors can be used over a wide range of temperatures, however they can be susceptible to mechanical shock, which induces measurement drift.

Thin Film Sensors

Thin film sensors are based upon a ceramic substrate with a deposition of high purity platinum, laser etched to give 100Ω at 0.0°C. This is then sealed within a glass adhesive.

These sensors are cheaper than wire wound detectors, and are less sensitive to impact damage. However they operate within a smaller temperature range than wire wound sensors.

PT100 sensors are commercially available to several different tolerance levels, according to BS EN 60751:2008, as class B, A and AA in order of increasing precision. In addition 1/10 DIN sensors are available which are picked to ensure a tolerance band 1/10th that of a Class B detector.

Selecting the Right PT100 Detector

This is a balance between competing factors. For example, selecting a PT100 sensor for use in a pharmaceutical autoclave chamber, it is a balance between the optimum tolerance of the temperature measurement and the resilience of the sensor to frequent handling by process operators.

So a class A thin film sensor would be most appropriate for pharmaceutical applications, whereas a class B will have sufficient tolerance for most chemical or manufacturing applications. Maximum service temperature may also dictate a ceramic detector in preference to a thin film sensor.

Impact of Probe Lead Length on PT100 Measurement Accuracy

PT100 sensors are connected to the measuring instrumentation using any one of three different connection principles:

• Two wire, with no lead wire compensation

• Three wire with partial compensation

• Four wire with full compensation.

The PT100 sensor will be located at the desired measurement point which may be some distance from where the measuring instruments are located. The length of the connection wire can influence the accuracy of the reading as described below.

Two wire connection is the simplest wiring method. Since the variable output of a PT100 sensor is resistance, it follows that the resistance of the connecting leads between sensor and instrument will also have an impact on the final measurement, and therefore the temperature inferred at the sensor.

Where the lead lengths are short, and where they are exposed to the same temperature as the sensor, then in theory this can be accounted for.

However in, for example, a Pharmaceutical autoclave chamber, where the lead length between the sensor and the instrument can be very long, a two wire connection would lead to significant measurement error.

A high proportion of the leads will be inside the chamber during the sterilising cycle, and therefore at the same elevated temperature as the sensor. The remaining lead length will be outside the chamber and at ambient temperature. These temperature differences will cause resistance change in the lead wire conductors contributing to poor reading accuracy.

The 3 wire compensation method was therefore adopted using a modified Wheatstone bridge. In this configuration the sensor lead wires are connected to the opposite sides of the bridge, effectively compensating for each other, with the third wire supplying power to the bridge.

However this will produce a thermal gradient along the leads themselves. Although the effect of Joule heating is reduced, it cannot be eliminated altogether because the heat transfer conditions at the sensor will be different from those of the matching 100Ω resistor in the bridge circuit.

To enable more accurate measurements to be made, particularly when the connecting lead wires are relatively long and passing through varying ambient temperatures, a 4 wire connection system was developed.

One pair of lead wires takes the constant current power source to the sensor and the other pair is used to measure the actual voltage drop across the sensor. Therefore by using a constant current source and being able to simply measure the change in voltage across the PT100 sensor rather than a change in resistance (Ohms Law), any fixed or varying lead wire resistance is totally eliminated.

It is worth noting that when calibrating either a 3 or 4 wire PT100 sensor in an oil bath or hot block, the difference in readings between these two connection types may appear to largely disappear. This is due to there being no temperature effect on the leads of the 3 wire connection.

The realistic choice for a PT100 sensor is therefore between a 3 and 4 wire system, and the user may be constrained by the limitations of existing instrumentation that may already be in place.

Where possible, a 4 wire system would be preferable to ensure the most accurate reading.

The use of a 3 or 4 wire PT100 temperature transmitter is a further option to reduce the overall lead length and convert the probe reading to a 4-20mA signal which will be easily integrated into process instrumentation.