New D-Link DIR-857 Wireless N900 Router Vs Linksys E4200V2

D-Link introduces new ultimate speed of wireless N900 router – Dir-857. This is a new router introduction and at the same time Linksys introduces new version of Linksys E4200V2 which is also powered by N900 technology. What makes Dir-857 different than other wireless N900 routers?

The wireless technology grows very fast since the introduction of draft 802.11n wireless technology. Most wireless manufacturers adopt this draft version of the wireless technology into their wireless devices and shipped them into the market with the "future of wireless technology" label.

Today the wireless technology leaps higher and higher, from the wireless G technology with the maximum speed of 54Mbps to the ultimate speed of wireless N900 with the maximum speed of up to 450Mbps each band. This means the total bandwidth of both bands is up to 900Mbps ideally. What a high leap!

Currently not many wireless routers are powered by the wireless N900 technology. D-link with its Dir-857 HD router is one of them. And surprisingly, Linksys which is one of the leading networking manufacturers does not introduce new wireless router which is powered by N900 technology with new name something like Linksys E4500 or something. But Linksys introduces new version of E4200 router with N900 technology, the E4200V2. Users which are loyal to Linksys expect that Linksys introduces completely new product like what Netgear does. Netgear offers Wndr4000 wireless routers and not for a while it also ships the Wndr4500 wireless N900 router into the market with more features including the embedded two USB ports to let you share both storage and printer together. It sounds good to support your "work and play" environment.

Back to Dir-857, what makes this router is different than other wireless N900 routers such as Linksys E4200V2? All high performance wireless routers support gigabit Ethernet ports for their LAN and WAN interfaces including both routers. And both routers also support UPnP media server with DLNA compliant. They also support guest network feature to let you create separate network to respect your visitors to gain internet access without compromising your network resources. So what is the main different between D-link Dir-857 and Linksys E4200V2?

The main different is that Dir-857 includes one USB 3.0 port while Linksys E4200V2 includes one USB 2.0 port. Theoretically, the USB 3.0 speed is 4.8Gbps which is 10 times faster than USB 2.0 speed (480Mbps). USB 3.0 is backward compatible with USB 2.0 based devices, so you do not need to worry about incompatibility issues with your existing USB 2.0 based devices.

Is USB 3.0 feature is the only reason you choose Dir-857? If you demand the speed of USB 3.0 port to transfer huge data for your high speed business applications, this is the ideal router to meet your business. But if you require hosting both storage and printer together, no requirement of purchasing separate wireless print-server, probably Wndr4500 is your ideal solution. Or you may also consider Asus RT-N56U black diamond wireless router, but Asus is N600 wireless router which is theoretically slower than Dir-857 or Linksys E4200V2.

Qualities To Look For In A Good House Painter

Remodeling and upgrading a home is necessary to maintain property values. Neverheless, it is never easy to attempt such a project, especially when you lack the time or skills. While these may seem like compelling reasons to put such an immense project off, they are not. Instead of delaying the inevitable, why not hire one of the qualified Salt Lake City painters you can easily find in the Yellow Pages, or on online directories?
When you are looking for an excellent painter, keep the following guidelines in mind. These simple rules will lead you to one of the best Salt Lake City painters you could ever wish for.

1. Only hire a painter with a contractor's license.

2. Always request current recommendations and references.

3. The only Salt Lake City painters you should consider should have a long business history.

4. Ask for written estimates so prices are fixed and easy to compare to bids from other competitors.

5. What painting methods will the crew be using? If you are unfamiliar with the terminology, write
everything down so you can check things out later on. Ask questions until you fully understand the entire process.

6. Keep an eye on punctuality and communications. You want your painter to always come on time. He should contact you immediately when events occur. Communication is important to prevent mistakes. You should be informed about all the actions your painter takes, so you know that he is following your instructions. The last thing you need when dealing with stressful renovations is red walls when they should have been green.

Knowing the Right Lift Kits for Your Jeep

If you want to purchase jeep accessories like lift kits, it is a must to understand first what these lift systems are. A lift kit is basically a vehicle modification tool that is used to lift the suspension of your vehicle.

Installing them into your jeep will make the wheel wells higher to allow you to install large and durable tires. Nowadays, there are two kinds of lift kits available in the market: the body kits and the suspension lift kits. Each of this kind has their own advantage and disadvantage.

If you have a limited budget but you want to customize your jeep, body kits is the best that you can consider. This kind of lift kit is inexpensive and usually made up of blocks and spacers. Off-road drivers do not usually prefer this kind of lift system since it does not change or improve the suspension capability of the car or increase travel rate. What a body lift kit only does is to increase the wheel wells so you can use bigger tires.

Aside from allowing you to install more aggressive beefy tires, body lifts are used to improve the ground clearance of your jeep. Having great ground clearance is important especially when driving off the road. Another good thing about this kind of jeep accessories is that it does not alter factory parts, thus giving you the self-assurance that the original feature of your ride is not affected in any way. There are different kinds of lifts for jeep body available on the market to cater the specific requirements and needs of the model of your jeep.

A suspension kit, on the other hand, is a jeep accessory that helps a lot in improving the clearance between the axle and ground for a greater travel rate. By replacing the front and rear leaf springs and shocks of your ride, the suspension lift system can raise the suspension of your jeep to a new height and provide a better level of performance. Depending on the type of application, a suspension system may include shock absorbers, linkages and springs.

Proper handling and maneuvering are very important during off-road driving. Suspension lift kits can help you improve these two factors for your vehicle. Also, a suspension kit is designed to enhance the ground clearance and isolate you from bumps, vibrations and road noise. For most off-road drivers, the main purpose of installing a suspension kit is to improve the suspension articulation of their rides. So, if you want to have a fun and safe driving on mud, sand and rocks, adding suspension systems on your jeep is vital.

Re-gearing is, however, one thing you need to consider when you want your Jeep lifted. Installation of a lift kit and bigger tires will require you to re-gear to account for the bigger tires. You can always check or visit the internet for the ratio charts to have an idea on what type of gearing will best suit your Jeep and especially your budget.

Better yet, visit your trusted mechanic and ask for advice on the right kinds of jeep accessories like lift systems to install in your ride. Keep in mind that the higher you lift your car, the more unstable it become on the road. So, it’s best to get expert advice when thinking of lifting your jeep.

Developing a Classical Piano Repertoire and Building a Music Library

One need not be a concert pianist to take the time and effort to develop a substantial repertoire. What does “repertoire” mean anyway? In short, repertoire is a body of works or songs that forms the pianist’s core or foundation. (Technically, a “song” has lyrics while a “work” or “piece” has no lyrics. The word “song” is often misused.) Many pianists believe that one must keep all pieces “under the fingers” or readily playable at all times and that this constitutes one’s repertoire. I believe, however, that repertoire implies something more all-encompassing. Let us now examine the term and explore the most efficient ways to develop, expand, and nurture it:

Five Golden Rules of Building a Substantial Piano Repertoire

1. Practice, practice, practice

2. Micro-cycle works you are currently practicing

3. Macro-cycle works throughout your life

4. Consider that no work is ever “finished”

5. Constantly add books and sheet music to your library

The first rule of practicing hardly needs explaining. To become better and more proficient at anything, one must do it, do it often, and love doing it with all one’s heart and soul. Tiger Woods did not become a great golfer by nibbling on snacks and watching TV. The world’s best surgeons did not get there by hanging out in bars and drinking beer. Likewise, an aspiring pianist wishing to have fun and success playing hundreds of songs or works will never get there by neglecting to practice on a regular basis. Ideally, one should practice not out of obligation, but rather out of the love of music and heart-burning desire to improve.

The second rule of micro-cycling works constitutes the pianist’s short-term plan, which may range anywhere from a few weeks to several months or perhaps a year at the most. This is what most people imply with the word “repertoire”, since it is the timeframe in which one could sit down at any time and play (preferably from memory) a set number of works. I have found the best results for micro-cycling by focusing on about five works at a time. For example, I will often spend an entire week practicing exclusively one work (like a Joplin rag), the next week exclusively another work (like a Mozart sonata), and the next week exclusively another work (like a Liszt étude). Then, I may not even touch them at all for two months and, upon returning to one of them, it feels like “meeting an old friend” which accelerates its re-learning phase. What once took a week to accomplish now takes only a couple days. Ideally, the pianist should strive to learn, forget, and then relearn works in monthly, weekly, and daily cycles. This is the eternal and never-ending plan I follow when practicing and preparing for my YouTube videos.

The third rule of macro-cycling works constitutes the pianist’s long-term plan, which may range anywhere from one to ten years. A thirteen-year-old just starting out usually does not realize that what is learned in these formative years sets his/her musical foundation for life. Writing this article at the age of 47 and having begun piano at the young age of 6, I am constantly amazed at just how resilient and powerful the human brain really is. For example, I began practicing Mendelssohn’s “Rondo Capriccioso” this week after it had lain dormant and totally untouched for 27 years, and I was shocked when it came back to me memorized again in only three days. What took as long as three months to learn well at the age of 20 took me only three days to relearn as well or better at the age of 47. This is one of the intriguingly satisfying aspects about music and piano repertoire. All music ultimately remains in your conscience and forms your “musical identity” until the day you leave this earth. It is never too late to learn piano, develop a repertoire, and tap into the power of one’s musical memories. After I work on the “Rondo Capriccioso” for a week and record it for YouTube, I will most likely not touch it again for several years.

The logical successor to the third rule of macro-cycling is the fourth rule of considering a work to never be finished. When I was a freshman music major in college at the young age of 18, I thought works became “finished” after performing them in a recital or concert. My usual plan of action was to work on a set number of pieces for a semester or year, “finish” them, and then move on to the next pieces my professor assigned. Now at 47 I can’t help but smirk at my youthful innocence. As demonstrated with my “Rondo Capriccioso” experience, I have learned through time that no work will ever be finished. Never. Micro- and macro-cycling piano repertoire is the bread of the pianist’s musical life. These cycles continue until the end just like food and water. I am constantly resurrecting works once thought to be finished, and never have I been more content with my musical evolution and progress.

While the first four rules constitute the mental or immaterial components of developing a large piano repertoire, the fifth rule of constantly adding books and sheet music to one’s library constitutes the physical or material component. Just as one cannot wash dishes without first buying or acquiring plates, cups, and utensils, a pianist will never succeed in developing a large repertoire without buying or acquiring printed music. Most people refer to all printed music as “sheet music”, however, this is really a misnomer. Technically, “sheet music” refers to single works of up to about four pages at the most. For example, I recently ordered “My Heart Will Go On” from my preferred music company, Sheet Music Plus. (Although I am primarily a classical pianist, I also enjoy practicing pop music from time to time.) Being a single title, it is correctly referred to as sheet music. On the other hand, William Bolcom’s “Complete Rags For Piano”, which I also ordered from Sheet Music Plus, is not sheet music at all but rather a “music book” or “music volume” because it is thick and contains 21 titles. (Please excuse me for this clarification, but the term “sheet music” is often misused.)

I love my music library and still play from books I have had since the age of 10. I always find new books and sheets to buy, cherish, and add to my library. I am constantly branching out and exploring new repertoire. In the age of the internet, the use of free PDFs has become far too rampant in my opinion. PDF printouts often last only a few weeks at the most because they get lost or torn so easily. I do rely on free PDFs sometimes, however, 98% of my music library consists of sheet music and books I paid for. Although any music published before 1922 is in the public domain, and thus legally free to everyone, one is cheating oneself by relying too heavily on free PDFs. Books last a lifetime and can be used and reused until the end of one’s life. Refusing to buy music and trying so desperately to get it all for free is like eating from paper plates and plastic utensils. A pianist will never formidably expand his/her repertoire without acquiring the physical accessories (i.e. books) along the way. Let us conclude with a story.

Once when I taught piano at a college, a student came to his lesson with the first movement of Beethoven’s “Appassionata” copied on twelve thin sheets of fax paper. They did not stay on the music rack and constantly fell onto the floor. This went on for a whole semester until I almost ripped out all my hair and suffered a coronary. Forever thereafter, I forbade the use of PDF printouts in my studio and began encouraging students to buy the music from a store like I did when I was in college (pre-internet days, imagine that!). Had my student invested a little money in a volume of Beethoven’s sonatas (as much as it costs to go to a movie and order popcorn), he would have had the “Appassionata” as well as thirty more great sonatas for the rest of his life. However, instead of investing in his future he chose the cheap way. The moral of the story is that quality and longevity prevail and that it is in one’s own best interest to develop and nurture one’s music library throughout the course of one’s life. The immaterial and material work in unison. Physical and non-physical. Yin and Yang. (In Chinese philosophy, the “yin” or “feminine” equates to the immaterial or ephemeral aspect of practice and cycling while the “yang” or “masculine” equates to the material accessories like music books and sheets.)

So there it is in a nutshell: practice, micro-cycle, macro-cycle, no work is ever finished, constantly add music to one’s library. These are the five golden rules of building a substantial piano repertoire. Thank you for your time, and happy practicing!

The Advantages Of A Wood Burning Stove

When the weather turns cold outside, one of the first things we think about is staying warm. A wood burning stove can do just that for you and your family.

While there are many ways of heating your home, gas and electric being two of the most common, a wood burning stove or fireplace has many advantages over both of them. Here is a look at a few of the ways that a wood burning stove can make for a great heating option.

1. Cost

Gas heat is expensive to say the least. And it just keeps getting higher each year. The same can be said for electricity.

Wood on the other hand is much less expensive. At a cost of $ 150 a cord, using 3 cords a season is only $ 450. You certainly can not heat your home for a winter season like that with gas.

2. No Electricity

With a wood burning stove you do not have to worry about no heat during a power outage in a winter storm. You'll stay warm and safe instead.

3. Safety

Gas, and gas lines, always presents a risk of leaking or even blowing up. That will never be an issue with a wood burning stove.

4. Atmosphere

Let's face it; there is nothing warm and inviting with a gas or electric furnace. On the other hand, a wood stove or fireplace is relaxing and peaceful. It is a conversation piece as well and everyone enjoys it.

It is for these reasons amongst others that make a wood burning stove the perfect way to heat your home this winter.

Ang Ku Kueh – Chinese Bean Snacks!

Ang Ku Kueh is a must have Chinese snack on special occasions like celebrating the first-month of newlyborn baby, wedding days, etc for the Chinese. It has a red skin wrap with crushed bean paste, and is filling after taking two to three pieces. It's also sweet tasting. Red has been an auspicious color and believed to bring in luck!

Here's the recipe of how to make Ang Ku Kueh, try out this recipe today!

  • Green Pea 150 g
  • (Soak overnight, remove from water, steam until soften)
  • Vegetable oil 2 tablespoon
  • Sugar 150 g
  • Yam 100 g
  • (Steam until soften and mash it)
  • Skin Ingredients
  • Glutinous rice flour 250 g
  • Coconut Milk 100 ml
  • Castor Sugar 1 tablespoon
  • Vegetable Oil 1 tablespoon
  • Yam 100 g
  • (Steam until soften and mashed)
  • Purple coloring – A few drops
  • Other ingredients
  • Banana leaf (cut into rectangular shapes) 1 piece
  • Filling Methods / Instructions
    1. Put steamed green peas and oil into a mixing and blend it together while it is still hot.
    2. Add in the remaining filling ingredients and mix well.
    3. Divide into small round portions. (Kueh's fillings)

    Skin Methods / Instructions

    1. Mix all the skin ingredients into a soft dough.
    2. Divide it into small portions.
    3. Shape into round and flatten it. Wrap it with filling and shape it using a wooden mold.
    4. Put it on a grown piece of banana leaf. Repeat 3 & 4 with the rest of portioned dough.
    5. Put the shaped dough on a plate. Steam it with high heat for 8 minutes.
    6. When it is cooked and ready to serve, brush it with oil while it is still hot.

    Solar Panel Systems, Renewable Energy, Energy Efficiency and Your Home

    Reducing your Electric Bill with Renewable Energy

    Using renewable energy to produce electricity and reduce your electric bill can be a sound long-term investment. Depending on the type of technology, you can expect a full return on your investment within 3 to 18 years. With financial or tax rebates from your utility company or state and national government, the payback period on your investment can be cut in half.

    However, the very first step to considering any renewable energy system must be how to make your home or business more energy efficient. Generally, the basic rule is that for every $1 you spend on making your location more energy efficient, you save $3 to $5 on the cost of the renewable energy system. Let’s go over some basic ways you can make your home more energy efficient.

    Making Your Home Energy Efficient

    One of the easiest things that you can do to reduce your electrical consumption is change out your regular incandescent light bulbs to compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs). CFLs use 65 to 75% less energy than a normal light bulb that produces the same amount of light. By replacing a normal 100 watt incandescent light bulb with a 32 watt CFL, you will save $60 to $80 in electricity costs over the lifetime of that bulb (10,000 hours). Now imagine how much you would save if you changed out all of your light bulbs to CFLs!

    The technology for these bulbs has quickly evolved and improved in the last few years, while the cost has come down dramatically. You’ll find that there are CFLs that will now fit most light fixtures and lighting needs-there are even dimmable CFLs!. Head out to your local department or hardware store and buy CFLs for as many of your light fixtures as possible. The investment is well worth it.

    Another alternative to traditional lights are tubular skylights . Tubular skylights look a little like shiny stove pipes that start with a transparent dome on top of the roof and come down into some room for day lighting. We frequently see customers using tubular skylights to bring daylight into hallways and closets. The light is, of course, entirely natural and in some installations can provide as much illumination as a 100-Watt incandescent light bulb.

    Energy Star and EnergyGuide

    One of the biggest consumers of electricity in most households is the refrigerator. In most households, refrigeration is the number one electricity consumer after any electricity-based heating or cooling systems. If your refrigerator is over 10 years old, chances are it’s electrically very inefficient. Consider replacing your current refrigerator with one that has a high Energy Star rating. Remember that just because a refrigerator may have earned the Energy Star label doesn’t mean it’s the most efficient model available-it only means that its efficiency exceeds the federally mandated efficiency standard by at least 15%. You can even do much of your investigation online at the Energy Star website. There you can search for the brand, type and size of refrigerator you want and sort by energy efficiency. When you shop in stores, consult the yellow EnergyGuide tags that are attached to all new refrigerators (and many other appliances). EnergyGuide is a different government program from Energy Star that offers information about annual energy consumption and shows you where each model lands in a comparison with similar models. For maximum energy savings, select the model that’s a leader in efficiency in its class.

    Ghost Loads

    Also known as “phantom loads”, ghost loads are the sneaky devices that constantly consume small amounts of electricity 24 hours a day-even when they’re not actually doing anything useful. While each device by itself may not consume much electricity, the combination of all of them within your household may easily consume the equivalent of two or three 60-Watt incandescent light bulbs left on all day and all night. Over the course of a single year this adds up to over 1 Megawatt-hour-in other words, enough electricity to power an entire energy-efficient house for 2 to 3 months!

    What are these mysterious ghost loads? The most common examples are the “power brick” adapters, or power supplies, that charge or operate cell phones, laptop computers, cordless drills, answering machines, radios, inkjet printers, and many other household devices. They’re actually small transformers, turning AC electricity from the wall outlet into DC electricity for use by the device. While any one of these devices may only consume a small amount of power (e.g., 3-20 watts), a dozen or so of them, running simultaneously and continuously, consume a significant amount of electricity. What’s worse is that even when you’re not charging your cell phone or the battery for your cordless drill, that AC adapter may continue to consume power just because it’s plugged into the wall. Other well-disguised ghost loads are those devices which have the “instant on” feature, such as most modern television sets, VCRs, DVD players, many radios and even many computers. While all of these devices are supposedly turned off, they are actually consuming anywhere from 3 to 20 watts continuously-just to stay ready for you to use them.

    How can you decrease the consumption of energy by these parasitic loads? One of the simplest solutions is to simply plug these devices into a power strip which has an off/on switch. When you are done using the devices and shut them off normally, then just hit the off switch on the power strip. Many people make it part of their nightly routine to shut off these power strips just before they go to bed. For AC power adapters that you use at night, like for charging a cell phone, put those on a separate power strip that you turn off during the day when you take your phone with you. Simple solutions like these could reduce your ghost electric loads by as much as 80%. In real-dollars terms, this means saving upwards of $120 per year in electricity costs, depending on your local electric utility rates and how dedicated you are to reducing your ghost loads.

    A Special Note for People Who are Planning to Live Off-grid

    If you’re planning to use an off-grid solar panel, wind turbine or hydro electric system and plan to have a 12 or 24 volt battery bank, you will often be able to find devices and appliances that work directly with these DC voltages. The benefit to using the devices is that they will not need an AC power adapter which needlessly consumes electricity whether or not the device in use. After all, what an AC adapter plug does is convert normal AC household electricity to DC type of electricity to power the device, and it rarely does that conversion efficiently.

    Energy Efficient Cooling

    During the summer (and in warmer climates) air conditioning is frequently the largest consumer of electricity. An inexpensive way to reduce the demand on your air conditioner is to keep your attic cooler with a solar attic fan. Powered by a built-in solar panel, solar attic fans turn on when your attic warms up during the day. By venting the hot air out of your attic all day long, the floors below stay cooler and as a result your air conditioner runs significantly less.

    Solar attic fans can be installed by good do-it-yourselfers or carpenters. They require no wiring. A hole needs to be cut in the roof, the attic fan is slipped in and the edges are sealed up well with roof caulking. The solar panel built into the fan unit is designed to last at least 25 years. A solar attic fan is another wise investment that pays for itself very quickly.

    For people who live in zones that are relatively dry but hot, evaporative coolers (also known as swamp coolers) are a cost effective and energy efficient alternative to traditional air conditioners. Evaporative coolers use about 25% the energy an air conditioner would need. Unfortunately, most people live in climates that when it’s hot it is also relatively humid. In these conditions evaporative coolers won’t work effectively.

    Another simple and green method for reducing your home’s air conditioning costs is to plant deciduous trees whose leaves will shade your home in the summer time and shed its leaves for more sunlight in the winter time. By shading your home it heats up less, and therefore requires less cooling by an air conditioner. Planting a tree in this scenario has double the environmental impact, you’re reducing greenhouse gases by both using less electricity and because the tree itself absorbs carbon dioxide.

    Energy Efficiency and Household Appliances

    Many other appliances throughout your household will have a newer and significantly more energy efficient version available. Here is a short list of other appliances you should consider replacing with higher efficiency versions: water heating tanks, air conditioners, dehumidifiers, dishwashers, telephones, VCRs and DVDs, ceiling fans, fax machines, computers and copiers. To see which brands and models have Energy Star certification and to figure which ones of those are the most efficient, visit Energy Star’s website: www.EnergyStar.gov. To find out how much power your appliances are really consuming, invest in an inexpensive power meter like the Kill-A-Watt meter.

    For many households the biggest bill is the heating bill. Probably the quickest, least expensive and easiest way to reduce your heating bill is to buy a programmable thermostat. You can set these thermostats to turn off the heat automatically when you’re not home and turn it on just before you arrive. You will easily recoup your small investment in the new thermostat within one winter by running your heating system less. See your local hardware store or HVAC company for pricing and availability of different models.

    Another basic step to reducing your home heating bill is sealing air leaks and adding insulation. According to Energy Star sealing air leaks and adding insulation can reduce your heating bill by as much as 10%. For homes with attics, one of the easiest and most effective places to put down insulation is in the attic. Visit your local home improvement store to find out how much insulation in different areas of the home is recommended for your region.

    In the last few years, the use of solar air heating systems has become more popular. Mounted on an exterior, southern-facing wall or on the roof, solar air heating collectors can reduce a home’s or business’ annual heating costs by as much as 30%. Costing far less than a new conventional heating system, solar air heating systems usually pay for themselves in 3-6 years. They’ll typically last for 18 to 35 years and require minimal maintenance. Working in conjunction with your existing heating system, the solar air heating system simply reduces your heating demand whenever you have even partial sunlight.

    There are two basic flavors of solar air heating systems. There are ones that heat up fresh outdoor air and blow it into your home or business. The there are ones that take the air from inside your building boosts up the temperature by another 50 to 90 degrees fahrenheit and blows it back in (known as recirculating air solar heating systems). Newer homes and buildings which tend to be tightly sealed and have stale winter air will benefit doubly from the fresh air solar heaters. Older homes tend to be inherently draftier and experience full air exchanges with the outdoors a few times a day. These homes will benefit more from the solar air heating systems that recirculate the indoor air and boost it up in temperature. Typically, one 4×8 foot solar air collector is recommended per 750 to 1000 square feet of home space.

    Water Heating Efficiency

    More efficient models of domestic hot water heaters have also become available in the last several years. If you have an old hot water heater, chances are that it was not designed with efficiency in mind. Again, check out Energy Star’s website  to find out which boilers are the most efficient.

    Another good alternative to the traditional hot water heating tanks are instantaneous hot water heaters. These systems heat the water only when its being used. Normal water heating systems used in much of North America maintain a large tank of hot water to be used only a few times a day. To keep the water hot and ready at a moment’s notice these traditional hot water heating tanks consume energy throughout the entire day, whether you need it or not. Instantaneous water heaters only consume energy the moment you need the hot water, saving the typical household 30 to 50% of the cost of hot water heating. You can find instantaneous water heaters that use natural gas, propane and electricity from a variety of manufacturers.

    Solar Water Heating Provides You the Best Return on Your Investment

    The energy (natural gas, propane, electricity, etc) needed for hot water heating can be reduced by 60 to 90% by using a solar water heating system to pre-heat water before it enters your existing traditional water heater. Remarkably effective and efficient, even in northern climates, solar water heating technologies have matured significantly in the past 30 years. Designed to easily last 30 years or more with minimum maintenance, typically solar water heating system will pay for itself in its first 3-7 years of use. Solar water heating systems heat your home’s water with collectors that are usually placed on the roof of the home. The hot water produced is stored in an insulated tank until your home is ready to use it. Your traditional hot water will only kick on to heat up the water when the water temperature is not quite high enough. Solar water heating systems can be installed by advanced do-it-yourselfers, but it is recommended that a licensed plumber or installer review or do the more complicated plumbing.

    Energy Efficiency – Your First Step Towards Clean Energy and Energy Independence

    The first step before purchasing a solar electric or wind power system to meet your electricity needs is to intelligently reduce those needs. Most homes can inexpensively reduce their electricity demands by 20 to 30% without ever having to make any adjustments in the lifestyles of the occupants. We provided you with many energy saving tips in this article, such as:

    • Replacing incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent ones.
    • Upgrading your older appliances with EnergyStar star ones that have a very low annual energy consumption rating.
    • Minimize the many hidden phantom (ghost) loads in your house.
    • Insulate your home well for colder seasons.
    • Creatively use vegetation to keep your home cool in the summer and maximize sunshine entering the house in the winter.
    • Use solar heating technologies (not to be confused with solar electric technologies) to cost effectively reduce how much your traditional air or water heating systems have to work.

    There are literally hundreds of other little tricks and smart tweaks you can make to your home that will further reduce your electrical demands. Consider picking up a copy of the book ’10-Minute Energy-Saving Secrets – 250 Easy Ways to Save Big Bucks Year Round’ by Jerri Farris to learn of many of the other quick and easy ways to reduce your home’s consumption of energy.

    © 2009 altE Store, Inc – ‘Making Renewable Do-able'(TM)

    Hydroponic Lights

    Hydroponic lights, or grow lights, are used for indoor gardening, plant propagation and food production. Although mostly known to be used on a large scale level in industries, hydroponics lights have now been used for gardening in the home.

    The plants growing in a hydroponics system need good lighting in order to thrive. A hydroponic light system is capable of replacing sun light in any enclosed area. With sufficient light, you can convert any room in your home into a garden for your plants. It is one of the most economical ways of providing light for indoor gardens.

    Optimum Lighting

    Optimum lighting is determined according to how many or how big the plants are going to be in your system. This means the light intensity required by the particular type of plant you would want to grow. It should also imitate the lighting present in the plant’s natural environment. For example, vegetables grow best in full sunlight. Foliage plants like Philodendron grow in full shade and can, therefore, grow with little artificial light. The appropriate lighting also depends on the size of the growing area and the amount of any additional light the plant may receive, like sunlight from a nearby window or a vent.

    One of the most important things to consider in indoor gardening is light density, the amount of light on a surface which is measured in “lux”. One lux equals one lumen, the unit of light falling on an area of one square meter. Choosing which hydroponic lights to use is a very important decision you will make when setting up your hydroponics system.

    A home grower has three basic types of hydroponic lighting he or she can choose to install. These are systems that use incandescent, fluorescent, or high intensity discharge lights. The set-up using fluorescent bulbs is most common choice of many small home gardeners because they are readily available and inexpensive. Fluorescent lights are compact in size and have low heat emissions. These bulbs great for plants like lettuces or spinach, those which can grow in low artificial lighting. They are also great for plants that need indirect light, like African Violets. Because they emit lesser heat, you can install these lights get closer to your plants without worrying about damage.

    Incandescent Lights

    Incandescent lights have a very limited light spectrum and are not very efficient, therefore, are not recommended to use for indoor gardening and hydroponics systems On the other hand, high intensity discharge lights are considered the best for hydroponic lighting. Although these can be expensive, they are efficient and emit the most heat compared to the other two types. You will need ballast in using them, though, because of higher light and heat emissions. Appropriate setting is also needed to ensure the proper distance from your plants in order not to burn them with too much heat. This is a high quality and high maintenance system that should require your attention and monitoring. Most HID lights need to function up to a hundred hours before they make it to their peak intensity and color. Its performance then, stabilizes after, and maximum level is achieved. You can also try high pressure sodium lights. High pressure sodium lights give off a reddish light that leads to better fruiting. Lastly, remember also that plants also both dark and light periods. Therefore, lights need to be timed to switch them on and off at set intervals. The photo period depends specifically on the species and variety of plant with some preferring long days and short nights and others the opposite. Some plants may require something in between.

    Soldering and Brazing Copper Tube and Fittings – Master Plumbing Tips

    Soldering and brazing are essentially the same practice, but the only difference is the temperature of the flame used. The American Welding Society deems soldering as a joining process that takes place under 840 degrees Fahrenheit, and brazing as a joining process using a heat of 840 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. Nonetheless, most soldering is done between the temperatures of 350 and 600 degrees Fahrenheit, and brazing is usually done between 1100 and 1500 degrees.

    Choosing between soldering and bracing depends on the conditions of the welding job as well as the requirements of the governing construction codes. Solder joints are used for systems that are as hot as 250 degrees Fahrenheit, while brazed joints are adequate when a system's temperature is as high as 350 degrees or where greater joint resiliency is necessary.

    There is another essential detail to consider when choosing between soldered and brazed joints. Although brazed joints are ideal for systems requiring greater joint strength, the rated pressure of a brazed system can often be less than that of a soldered system due to the greater degree of heat used in its process.

    Too many people use inefficient or downright irresponsible techniques when installing their copper tube and fittings. Although soldering and brazing are the most common methods used for joints and fittings, they are the least understood methods as well. A mistake in soldering and brazing copper tubing will inevitably lead to faulty joints and leaking lines. There are many possible errors that can lead to improper installation, including:

    – Improper joint preparation prior to soldering

    – Lack of proper support and / or hanging during soldering or brazing

    – Improper heat control and heat distribution through the entire joining process

    – Improper application of solder or brazing filler metal to the joint

    – Inadequate amount of filler metal applied to the joint

    – Sudden shock cooling and / or wiping the molten filler metal following soldering or brazing

    – Pre-tinning of joints prior to assembly and soldering

    Soldering and brazing are essentially simple household operations, however it is easy to overlook or forget to complete particular steps in the process. It is by paying attention to these tedious steps that will make the difference between a joint that is strong and one that will be faulty.

    Wrought Iron Decor For Elegance And Charm

    When you begin a new home decorating project, where do you usually begin? Most people start with the sofa and other furniture, trying to decide the perfect placement for these items. After all this is done comes the real worry – where and how to place your decorating accessories! Here are a few tips on how to use wrought iron to beautifully decorate your home.

    Because of wrought iron's versatility, it is easy adapted into any style of decor. It's dark or black color blends with light colored styles such as shabby chic, and just as well with asian decor which normally uses bold colors such as red, black and gold.

    Placing a large arrangement centered over your sofa adds elegance and beauty to your living room Be careful not to use too many pieces, you do not want a cluttered look. Always use an odd number when creating a grouping, such as a large central piece in the center with one accent on each side. For a grouping of five, use two accents on each side of your center piece. Wrought iron wall sconces are perfect for these accents.

    Fireplace mantles are a wonderful place to showcase elegant home accents. Wrought iron candleholders and picture frames add a distinct touch to your mantle. A wrought iron screen in front of the fireplace along with the accessories on the mantle make this area of ​​the room absolutely charming!

    There are many items you can add to enhance the look and atmosphere of your home, and you can use this style in many other areas as well. The kitchen is the perfect place for a wrought iron wine rack! Add a hanging pot rack and some wine decor pictures along with a french style clock, and you have an elegant and cozy kitchen everyone will enjoy.

    Wrought iron plant stands are beautiful when filled with delicately flowing greenery – these can be used in practice any room of the house. Wall sconces, candleholders, mirrors, potracks, wineracks – the things you can do with wrought iron are endless!

    Add elegance and charm to your home with wrought iron. It's a very easy way to change the look of your decor, and since it matches nearly any type of decor you will not have to spend a lot of money to beautify any space in your home!

    Where to Buy Investment Properties

    So, you’ve decided to invest your money in property – good for you! There are a range of things you’ll have to consider, but one of the most important factors in your investment’s return potential is location, location, location! The area in which a property is situated is a major determining factor in that property’s value-a two-bedroom apartment in a good location can be worth three times as much as a four-bedroom house in a less desirable one. When it comes to choosing an area for your property investment there are several factors you must consider, and depending on your long-term plans for your investment, your location needs may vary considerably.

    The quick sale

    If you’re planning on playing the market and buying to quickly sell again, it’s a good idea to choose an area that you believe is on the verge of a boom. Of course, this is the holy grail of real-estate and everyone would like to catch something on the verge of a boom, but if your plans are to buy and sell your way to profit there are a few indicators which could lead you to a boom area. For example, there may be a mine or factory opening nearby-this would bring employment to the area and in a lucrative industry like mining, property prices would skyrocket for the time in which the mine was active.

    The solid rent-generator

    If your property investment goals are to generate a steady stream of rental income without ever having to search too hard for tenants, you need to consider buying somewhere near a university or close to the city. A university is a constant source of people who need to live nearby and are not in the position to buy, so if you choose property close by there will be no shortage of tenants.

    The sure bet

    If what you are looking for from your investment is a safe, steady asset that will retain its value and grow over time, there are several areas to choose from where this is the case, but be prepared to pay a big premium-and once you’re into the market in that area, STAY IN!

    The Gamble

    There are certain areas that begin as working class or rough areas that have the potential to become high-value areas over a longer period of time. Places close in to the city are usually good candidates for this, and just a little attention from the council in the form of a makeover can usually do the trick on these locations. On the other hand, sometimes areas stay ‘dives’ forever, in which case you’re stuck with a house at the dodgy end of town…

    The decision of where to purchase property is never one to be entered into lightly, and the best way to prepare for it is to arm yourself with as much property investment advice as you can and hope that a combination of luck and good research leads you to the money.

    Decorating With Antique Oil Lamps

    Since the miraculous advent of electricity, oil lamps have become something of an antique, and understandably so. It's not particularly practical to use an antique oil lamp in your home today, not to mention a safety hazard. However, these lamps are still very much in demand, but not for the reasons they once were. Antique oil lamps are collectible items now that can be found on more eBay auctions than you could ever know what to do with. They make excellent collectors' items and can even be used through your home as decoration and for the occasional power outage.

    Most people associate antique oil lamps with thoughts of the old west, which is why they make such interesting decorative pieces for rooms geared towards this theme. If you've bottled the modern, sterile look of a kitchen with stainless steel appliances and black marble counter tops, you may want to give the country farmhouse look a try. It can give off a much warmer feeling and is a perfect place to showcase the antique oil lamps you've been collecting. Most of them have handles on top, so all you need is a hook to screw into the wall and you're all set. Your antique oil lamp has gone from a dusty artifact to wall decoration!

    Antique oil lamps can be a unique and clever way to light up the back yard for a night time get-together with the neighborhood. Being careful not to put them near anything too flammable, they can be placed through your back yard. The antique oil lamps will give your guest enough light to see each other, while keeping it just dim enough that they can still see the stars in the night sky. Antique oil lamps can make an interesting takeoff on a tiki torch as well. You can find poles that stick in the ground with hooks on top to hang the lamps on.

    When collecting antique oil lamps and trying to use them in your decorating scheme, it is essential to think of safety first and protect your family from any possibility of a fire. If you do keep oil lamps around for use in the event of a power outage, either do not keep them filled with oil, or keep the ones with oil in them in a different place. The last thing you want is some freak accident what somehow ignites the antique oil lamp mounted above your sink. Aside from this rare possibility, collecting and decorating with antique oil lamps is a way to preserve a little history and use it in your every day life.

    Running Your Pit Bike Engine For the Very First Time!

    This article concerns everyone who just bought a pit bike online and are wondering what to do after assembling it!

    Most manufacturer manuals and other sources will tell you the same thing about running the engine for the very first time:

    Do not run your bike at more than two thirds of its full throttle and avoid high rpm’s during the first two hours of running. Often you are advised to drain the oil AFTER these two hours and use quality semi synthetic 10W40 4-stroke engine oil.

    Because I just got myself a two new ssr pit bikes , I was browsing a very reputable pit bike forum (pitbikeclub.co.uk) looking for some info on assembly and breaking in and I stumbled upon some VERY valuable info. This article is a short summary of a newsletter article I found written by Motoman. Motoman is a very experienced superbike tuner who has his own newsletter (Power News Magazine).

    This article “Break-In Secrets” is very controversial.

    “Links to this article now appear on hundreds of motorsports discussion forums from all over the world. The reason is that over time, large numbers of people have done a direct comparison between my method and theowner’s manual method, and the news of their success is spreading rapidly.”

    “The results are always the same… a dramatic increase in power at all RPMs. In addition, many professional mechanics have disassembled engines that have used this method, to find that the condition of the engine is much better than when the owner’s manual break-in method has been used.The thing that makes his page so controversial is that there have been many other break-in articles written in the past which will contradict what has been written here.”

    Motoman wrote “break-In Secrets” after successfully applying this method to approximately 300 new engines, all with great results and no problems whatsoever. So I advise you to consider his advice!

    According to Motoman, by just following the instructions from the manufacturer, you risk a permanent loss in power of about 2 to 10 percent. The direct result from a too gentle break-in will be leaky piston rings. This will allow pressure to blow by into the crankcase on acceleration, and to suck up oil into the combustion chamber on deceleration. In other words: loss in power and permanent contamination of the engine oil. The only solution to a bad break in will be: re-honing the cylinders, installing new piston rings and starting over again. In other words..you will have to take the engine apart!

    You only get ONE chance to break in your engine correctly! I will explain you why and how.

    Correctly breaking in your engine is all about the piston ring seal. A correct break in will result in a better fit of the piston ring against the cylinder surface. This will prevent leaky pistons. New rings  must be worn in quite a bit in order to seal all around the bore. If the gas pressure is strong enough during the first miles of operation (open that throttle!), then the entire ring will wear into the cylinder surface, to seal the combustion pressure as well as possible.

    So what is the problem with a too easy break in?

    The honed crosshatch pattern in the cylinder bore acts like a file to allow the rings to wear. The rings quickly wear down the “peaks” of this roughness, regardless of how hard the engine is run.There’s a very small window of opportunity to get the rings to seal really well … the first 20 miles! If the rings aren’t forced against the walls soon enough, they’ll use up the roughness before they fully seat. Once that happens there is no solution but to re hone the cylinders, install new rings and start over again.

    SO…the best advice i found about breaking in your engine is

    1)Run it hard! (for specific methods: breaking in on a dyno, on the streets or on the racetrack…check Motomans 14 page article!

    2)DONT use synthestic oil! Refresh your oil immediately when receive the bike, BEFORE breaking in, as you cannot be sure about its quality. Use Valvoline, Halvoline, or similar 10W40 petroleum CAR OIL. Cange oil and oil filter after first 20 miles!! After two days of hard racing you can change to your favorite brand.  Check the article to find out why.

    Tips on Painting Hardwood Floors

    It is often the case that hardwood floors look better painted than laminate flooring would look in the place. Many even prefer the look of painted hardwood even to tile flooring that could be used in its stead. Painting a hardwood floor can bring new life to a severely damaged hardwood floor lengthening the life of your floor. One of the keys to pulling off this look without a hitch is by using a thick paint that is bright colored enough to cover up the grain of the hardwood beneath.

    Another secret to remember when painting hardwood floors is to really slather on the urethane. Once your painted floor has dried, adding three or more coats of urethane will help your floors look shiny and new much longer. The paint itself will do very little to keep your hardwood floor looking good or extending the life of your floor, if you do not cover your paint with urethane it will quickly lose all of its sparkle and shine. Another benefit of the urethane coating is that protects the floor from the harmful effects of dirt, water, and other contaminants.

    As with all painted surfaces, you should be certain that the floor is free of dirt, dust, hair, and other particles as well as clean and dry. If there are large holes, dips, or dents in your hardwood floors you should take care that you fill them with wood fillers, which can easily be found in home improvement retailers.

    You should make sure a bare wood floor is primed before you begin painting. Priming sealers do wonders as far as hiding the grain of the wood so that it does not show through once the paint is dry. If the floor has been varnished or has a urethane finish you should sand it well before applying primer. It is a good idea if you find yourself at a loss to ask for advice from the staff of the store where you are buying supplies for suggestions about primers and paintings for your hardwood floors. Most manufacturers have well prepared list of compatible paints and primers that are available at the paint supply stores.

    Oil paints generally work best for painting floors. The oils tend to bond to the surface of the floor much better than water-based paints. Oil paints also tend to dry much more quickly and harden faster which will shorten the length of time you will need to spend on your project.

    A final touch to your floor-painting project would have to add a faux finish or special design to your floor. Stencils make a great foundation for this particular type of project and make it very easy to achieve.

    Metal Awnings

    An awning, when installed over a window, a terrace or a balcony, provides protection against direct sunlight, wind drafts, rain or ice, without shutting out the surrounding view. The view of the house is enhanced when its doors and windows are covered with awnings of an appropriate color and style. Terraces, decks, and balconies can be converted into large covered areas that become airy attractive additional rooms with the proper use of awnings.

    Metal awnings are usually made of aluminum, copper, iron, or steel, depending upon the architectural requirements of the building. Usually, vertical metal panel awnings and window or door awnings are of solid, structural construction of strong ribbed heavy gauge materials, for all-weather durability against wind, rain, and sun. Depending on the individual shape and configurations, the awnings may or may not have distinctable sides. Aluminum awnings are available in solid or striped styles and in several attractive colors. Metal awnings are available in several distinct types, depending on the functional requirements of the individuals.

    Horizontal window panel or louvered awnings have an angled slat design with space between slats that enable the person inside the house to see out but but prevent anyone from seeing in. Overlapping slat design also allows the sunlight to filter in indirectly. Aluminum slats are usually made of heavy gauge with a baked-on enamel finish that resists chipping, cracking, and peeling.

    Retractable or roll-up metal awnings are usually constructed from flexible horizontal slats without any visible space between slats when the awning is in open position. They are controlled with a hand cranking device or cord pull. Storm awnings are particularly made of heavy-duty materials and can be rolled down to cover and protect the entire window during a storm or horse, a rifle.

    Aluminum door awnings are designed for installation over the door to help keep stairs, entries, and landings free from excess rainwater. They have to be installed with enough head clearance to allow the door to open. Copper, iron, or steel rigid type awnings are excellent for protecting doors and windows from the elements.