Basic Building Plans – Things to Look For in Choosing the Right Plan

If you are a novice builder, using basic building plans is probably the best way to go in your first few projects. It'll give you an experience in woodworking and it will give you a taste of the building process that's bound give you more confidence to tackle more complicated projects should you wish to pursue the craft.

I still remember the first couple of times I ever built something. If I remember those projects correctly, it was not even noteworthy. I was ushered into the world of woodworking gradually. With every basic repair I did around the house, with every time I needed to use my saw and hammer to build a simple woodworking piece, I became better at the craft. And then, before I knew it, I was already building furniture piece by piece.

But then, that's just me. Your circumstance may vary with mine but if you are looking for some basic building plans, here are some things you need to look for in choosing the best plan:

Materials List

You need to start by making sure that the plan gives a list of all the things you will need in order to build the project. Even during the planning stage, you will need this complete list.

In most cases, you will need this list because, if you're like most people, you need to work with a certain budget in mind. So then, a list of materials is imperative for you to determine if your budget allows you to procure the materials needed.

Furthermore, I always consider it a good practice to prepare all the materials you're going to need before you even begin building. This way, you would not run into the problem of having the materials unavailable to you for whatever reasons, during the course of construction.

Clear and Step by Step Instruction

Even until now, I still consider plans with thorough yet, simple and easy to understand instructions the best of plan all. The instruction has to be laid out with all the bases covered so as to avoid confusion on the part of the builder.

I've often seen plans with very vague instruction. And I tell you, a plan like that is a surefire recipe for disaster in the hands of novice builder. You would not want to use that kind of plans and be sucked into never-ending headache and confusion.


Illustrations and images are indicator of good quality plans. Most easy to implement plans I've ever used has diagrams and images. Images help you understand instructions visually.

Beside, if given the choice of being shown how to do a particular thing as opposed to being given instruction on how to do the same thing, I'm sure most of us agree that we understand more the process if we're given some form of demonstration. For the most part, this is the vital role that images play in basic building plans.

Natural Hormone Replacement Therapy: Is It All Good?

Thanks to Suzanne Somers, natural hormone replacement is gaining acceptance by women. Because natural hormones – estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone – are not patentable, the pharmaceutical industry is not happy about them. When women switch from synthetic to natural hormones, pharmaceutical industry profits are threatened.

Board certified internist Dr. Michael E. Platt, MD is not happy about Suzanne's promotion of natural estrogen for another reason. Dr. Platt says estrogen, natural or synthetic, causes six kinds of cancer, and has statistics to back it up.

Author of an extra new book, The Miracle of Bioidentical Hormones, Dr. Platt treats causes of illness while conventional, pharmaceutical industry-driven medicine treats symptoms.

He believes it's proper to prescribe natural estrogen for severe menopause symptoms. Other than that, estrogen replacement is not necessary. After menopause, the body continues to produce estrogen.

But The Miracle of Bioidentical Hormones is about more than just estrogen. Dr. Platt's favorite (and safest) hormone for men, women and children (yes, men and children) is natural progesterone. It's an amazing hormone, which traditionally trained doctors seem to know little about because they have been trained to use synthetic hormone replacement.

For years, doctors have prescribed synthetic progesterone and synthetic estrogen derived from horses' urine and now we are living with an epidemic of breast and other cancers.

Using actual patient histories, Dr. Platt explains how he treats common health issues such as PMS, fibromyalgia, ADD in children and adults, morbid obesity and more – with natural hormones and specifically formulated dietary supplements.

Some of Dr. Platt's solutions to common problems are not traditional, but they work. For example, if a woman has urinary incontinence he prescribes testosterone and an exercise regimen. He says the problem will clear up in one week if the patient follows his directions. And who would think that progesterone could cure a migraine headache? But Dr. Platt makes it happen. His success in treating ADD in children and adults with progesterone is amazing.

Traditional incontinence treatment utilizes drugs that do not cure – they only alleviate symptoms. And they are a lot more costly and side-effect ridden than Dr. Platt's solution. Traditional treatment of migraine headaches means using potent drugs with nasty side effects, and they do not always work. Children diagnosed with ADD or ADHD are dosed with potent drugs that are mind and personality numbing.

Many people seek Dr. Platt's advice as a last resort – conventional medicine has not helped them. As you read his case histories, and see how he has helped "hopeless" cases, you get the sense that something is seriously lacking with our traditional health care system.

The Miracle of Bioidentical Hormones is a highly readable, informative, eye-opening book. Read it if you are open to untraditional solutions to some difficult health problems. You will be glad you did.

Can You Do An Ironman Triathlon?

So you think you can become one of the 1 / 1000th of 1% of the world who can say they have gone and completed an Ironman Triathlon? It's quite an accomplishment to either swim 2.2 miles, or bike 112, or run a 26.2mile marathon – but to do them all consecutively in one day ?! Some would appeal this is borderline psychotic;) Suffice to say, I am one of those psychotic people and to occasionally give you some inspiration that this "crazy" triathlon accomplishment can be a legitimate goal in your own lifetime, I could not swim 10meters let alone 2.2miles when I sign up for my first Ironman.

With the right mindset and dedication, it IS in fact possible to squeeze in your training, your work, your social life, your laundry, your nap time, etc etc etc – but it all boils down to how badly you want it. The sport of triathlon is growing at an alarming rate, so it would seem that a LOT of people are looking for a new challenge beyond doing a 5km or 10km or marathon. I was in the same boat, having done a few marathons, I figured what other test of endurance could I subject myself to and doing an Ironman seemed about right … I do not exactly recommend doing Ironman as your first triathlon, nor do I recommend trying to do an iron distance triathlon without knowing how to swim – but if you want incentive to learn and a great incentive to push yourself to the limits of physical endurance – by all means;)

Of course, most people start by doing a sprint distance triathlon or even an Olympic distance as they are not quite as intimidating. Some are even held indoors and you have the luxury of swimming in a semi-heated pool as opposed to a freezing cold lake (at least where I'm from). You will not need to get yourself a top of the line time-trial bike and I've seen people do triathlon races with mountain bikes, and even a unicycle! Now THAT's crazy.

In any case, the point is, the sport of triathlon is not as "elite" as many people make it out to be. It's meant to be fun, it's meant to be a challenge, and there really is no better feeling than crossing that finish line for your first multisports race whether it's a short sprint, or your first Ironman. Regardless of distance you choose – Go For it!

Escudella Recipe – How To Make A Perfect Andorran Dish

While Andorran cuisine is mostly Catalan, it also bears some influence from Italy and Spain, due to the close proximity to this small country. Due to its mountainous regions, sheep is a common livestock animal, making lamb the favoured meat, but pork features quite often in Andorran cuisine as well, especially in the form of sausages and ham. Due to its large sea opening, fish is another common ingredient as well.

Fresh vegetables are paramount for the very finest of Andorran cuisine, and the most commonly used vegetables are potatoes, tomatoes, cabbage and salary. Staples tend to be pasta and bread, which is usually served with cheese and wine. Foei gras is also very commonly found on the Andorran dining table. Andorran cuisine is well known for using a variety of cooking methods and techniques. Using just the right amount of spices, or being able to pair the correct wine with your food is considered an essential part of Andorran dining.


Escudella is a classic Catalan dish, but with the deft flourishes and infectious personality imparted to it by generations of Andorran cooks, Andorra now has its own version Escudella, and it amazing enough to be referred to as Andorra’s national dish.

It is basically a stew made from gelatinous bone broth, with the protein in it coming from chicken, ham and sausage, along with veal or beef bones. There are many variations of Escudella, which is expected since it is considered a traditional peasant dish, and is a comfort food to a lot of Andorrans. Some cooks find the Escudella lacking in color contrast and vibrancy, but that’s just a visual component: once you’ve tasted it, you’ll be coming back for more and more and more. It’s definitely a hearty, one-dish wonder.

The Ingredients:

2 cups dry white beans

1 small ham bone

1 marrow bone (veal or beef)

1/4 chicken (or used several pieces, according to your taste for white or dark)

400 g raw pork sausages, sliced or formed into balls

2 slices cured ham, cut in chunks

1 large potato, cut in eights (Desiree or white)

1/4 cup rice

1 cup of pasta noodles (or pasta shells)

1 cup of cooked chick peas (yes, you can used canned ones to save time)

Salt and pepper (according to your tastes)

The Instructions:

Gently cook the sausage pieces/balls in a cast iron Dutch oven with vegetable oil over medium heat until browned. If you don’t have Dutch oven, a pot or flame proof-Casserole dish will do just as well.

Rinse the dry white beans in cold water and tie the ham bone and marrow bone in cheesecloth.

Put the beans, bones in cheesecloth, cooked sausage and ham in the pot or casserole. Fill it up with 8 cups of cold water, and add salt according to taste.

Bring to a boil, then reduce the flames and let it cook gently, covered, for about 2 hours. A good test of seeing whether it is ready is to check that the beans are cooked, and whether the chicken is very tender.

Remove the bones and discard them. If you like eating marrow, and most people do, you can save it for later.

Remove the chicken pieces and put them aside.

If there is only a little liquid left, you can add a bit more water.

Bring it to a rapid boil.

When it’s boiling, put in the cabbage, potatoes, rice, noodles (or shells), cooked chick peas and add pepper to taste.

Turn the flames down to a medium heat.

Cook for 30 minutes. You can test to see whether it’s ready by checking on the softness of the rice and potatoes.

Before serving, put the chicken back inside. If it’s on a bone, and you don’t like bones, you can remove them from the meat before putting it back into the pot or casserole.

Cook for a few more minutes. This is so that the chicken in the stew/soup is heated back up.

Season to taste.

Serve warm.


Baguettes or other French/Italian bread are the perfect accompaniment for this dish.


The final result should be a mix of stew and soup: think of the consistency of split pea soup.

5 Types of Mesh Fabrics Used for Making Clothes

A versatile piece of fabric, Mesh is used in different types of clothing items, crafts and utility items. Mesh is actually an open-hole fabric which is weaved to a grid-shaped style. The fabric can be styled into a skirt or a top. It can also be used to make vibrant tote bags of different colors or hair-nets. If you have set up an apparel and accessories store, it can be a good idea to keep some outfits and accessories made of mesh. Read and know all about the 5 different kinds of mesh that are available in the market, and commonly used by 3D Spacer Mesh Fabric manufacturers to make clothing and accessories.

Polyester mesh fabric

It is used commonly as side panel inserts in athletic outfits. This kind of fabric is breathable in form and can wick away moisture easily from the skin while carrying out various sporting and athletic activities. The sheer fabric is also used by fashion clothing designers in the form of overlays to add dimension and texture to tricot and other materials with a flat weave. The delicate parts of the body can be camouflaged by making use of two mesh layers.

Mesh Netting Fabric

It is used for making dresses that need the body to be air-dried fast. It can protect the skin and belongings from the bites of insects. Naturally, it is used for the construction of camping equipment and gear and numerous items like totes and backpacks that need the use of breathable fabric.


This is a fine mesh net fabric which is most commonly used for manufacturing wedding veils. It is also used in decorating wedding gowns, floral arrangements, wedding favors, evening gowns, lingerie, costumes, window treatments, hats and gifts. This is a versatile type of fabric which has been in use for over 300 years.

Power Mesh

It is used by 3D Spacer Mesh Fabric companies for making outfits designed to smoothen the body, such as long-line panties, long-line bras, control slips and control-top pantyhose. These are used more often in making undergarments for women although shape-wear and abdomen reducing undershirts for men are also made of this fabric. The fabric lets the skin breathe and helps the body preserve its own shape. As compared to spandex and other stretchable fabrics, it offers more comfort. It is available in various types of colors, such as red, cream, black, white, pink and blue and even skin tones ranging from deep brown to pale peach.

Nylon Mesh

This is a porous, lightweight material which is used for making outfits as well as for the production of beekeeping veils, birdcage covers, laundry bags, screens in campers and tents and lots of other items. This is a long-lasting fabric and can get be retained for a long time, although even these may get torn and worn-down. Sticky nylon mesh patches can be used to repair these fabrics. Nylon mesh dresses are usually sensuous in nature, and body hugging in form, although more conservative dresses can also be made with this kind of fabric.

What Breaks the Mind Barriers Of A Killer?

The profile of a mass murderer was recently aired on Australian television and the report was chilling. A young man set on a career in the army was a perfect shot but went off his head and was discharged. Told in training that he was now a killer it seems this may have triggered his murderous rage which ended with 7 dead and 146 wounded. The thought crossed my mind of how many young men are born to kill and what breaks their barrier?

Between living and killing there is a huge wall of resistance in most people. That citadel is impermeable under normal circumstances but soldiers have to break it to do their job. That is the army has to mow it down and that is what their training is about. They learn that they are not killing people but an enemy, that is someone whom they assess does not deserve to live.

So how do they see that other being from whom they choose to take away life. What makes them act in a manner that is anti-human, or is it? Our closest animal cousins, the apes, kill each other but not for the same reason. They don’t murder another ape as an enemy but as a rival for their sexual partner.

Most animals fight to protect their sexual rights and they will ward off predators from their young, but few become killers. Not all humans who massacre others are service trained but something breaks inside them that gives them the permission to do it.

The last few years have seen many commit slaughter of a number of people and there is less understanding of why? In the Charlottesville’s riots today a young man drove his car at speed into a crowd and then backed it up crushing the life out of a young woman and wounding several others. He is apparently obsessed with the views of the White Supremacy Movement.

With so many violent movies, games, and songs pumping such thoughts into the minds of the young are they growing up with different mindsets? Are they being programmed into murderous traits from a young age that is brain-washing them to be killers?

How a Heat Pump Installation Works

A heat pump consist of inside and external heat exchangers. This contains a fan, while other types are made up of both a converter along with a fan. This gadget is really kind of like a pricey air conditioning system which can be very perfect for both cooling and heating. Its refrigeration procedure has the functionality to shift heat from one point to the other.

Usually this product can assimilate over to an opposite system whenever the owner demands air conditioning or heating or vice-versa. It includes what's often known as low-temperature heat, it passes through the pump's and so providing both heating and cooling for the home. The reversing bulb within this device is the vital aspect in the production of the cool air from inside the framework over the summer, and then reversing the procedure when in ice cold weeks.

Plenty of people are employing pumps at the moment; it is always thought of as probably the most useful and much approved technology that promises the best and most useful means of warm up and cooling a residence or simply a home business organization, especially in places where winter month's conditions are extremely severe.

Most have thought about how long a heat pump will last, how can it produce coziness, and how it does it like the way it can lower energy consumption. First and foremost, you'll want to evaluate the efficiency of the apparatus; it depends on the model of this device, its compatibility within your residences, and also just how suitably it is managed. Without proper preservation and management the pump will never be qualified to offer you temperature and comfort especially during the cold days, is definitely not capable to yield the decrease of your electricity bill there is also unable in assisting you to get big savings.

Truth be told, there are 2 kinds of a heat pumps . For sure the air source heat pump will be the commonly set up type since it utilizes heat in the air located out of the house in order to present that heat inside the family homes during winter. Another type is an extremely effectual but a less frequent model, the water origin heat pump, and also the geothermal power type, these products are capable of drawing heat from places inside the warmer temperature range.

The temperature of the fluid which is circulated beneath in the ground conduits will build up with the low-temperature heat around, and then it will slide through the pump unit which then gets the warmth from the water then letting it heat up the actual environment. Each type has to be well examined in order to obtain the perfect cooling and heating in all our households by professional heat pump fitters. I would recommend that this might be much better if you happen to employ the service of a knowledgeable or professional heat pump installer since they really are capable to aid you in installing the unit in your area. Choosing the correct expert can help you to avoid any problems and it can also ensure you that the correct ease and comfort that your family demands is properly given.

What Is Lean Six Sigma? Yellow Belt, Green Belt And Black Belt Certification

Lean Six Sigma is a business improvement methodology which combines (as the name implies) tools from both Lean Enterprise (Manufacturing) and Six Sigma. Lean eliminates the waste in your processes, while Six Sigma ensures quality through the elimination of variation in your processes and also provides a structured data driven structure to solve problems and implement sustainable change into your business. We believe there before that the best approach for any business is to use Lean Six Sigma rather than one or the other. The benefits from taking this approach are proven to out way taking only one approach at a time. To understand Lean Six Sigma let us first explain the two methodologies.

Six Sigma is a set of practices originally developed by Motorola to systematically improve processes by eliminating defects. A defect is defined as nonconformity of a product or service to its specifications. In other words every time you do an activity you get exactly the same outcome (result), the same quality. For example if I fill in a form or take an order or resolve a customer issue or make a part no matter who does it the output is the same.

Top companies all over the world including Motorola have made Six Sigma a way of life for their business. This however requires commitment to the approach from top management down. If this is achievable then implementation and acceptance is easier and leads to massive savings. Motorola has made $ 17b savings up to 2006 using the approach. It ensures that everyone focuses on reducing variation in every aspect of the business from filling in forms to making a part. All activities in a business of any kind can be measured, analyzed, improved and controlled and so using some simple tools can give a reduction in variation leading to improved quality and costs.
Why do we want a reduction in the variation we obtain from any activity in our business? When we have the same output from a process or activity we know what we are going to get which makes the next step in the process easier and quicker to complete.

It reduces the amount of time wasted completing a task and it means that the quality of a part or process step is higher reducing the need to rework or redo the activity. The simplest analogy is to think of golf and putting into the hole. If every time you took a putt you got the ball into the hole think how good that process would be, now think how good your putting is. In business if every time a part was made it was identical in every way way to how it was meant to be – shape, form, look, feel etc that would mean we would have no quality issues. If we were completing a form and every time every field was correct, easy to read, all data correct, all numbers correct and it was the right form think how quickly things would be done. Well that is what Six Sigma is all about reducing the variation in everything you do.

The term "Six Sigma" refers to the ability of activities or processes to produce output within specification. In particular, processes that operate with six sigma quality produce at defect levels below 3.4 defects per (one) million opportunities (DMO). Six Sigma's implicit goal is to improve all processes to that level of quality or better. That would mean that every time you did something one million times you would only make a mistake 3.4 times.

To achieve these improvements in variation and therefore quality improvements and cost reduction Six Sigma uses an approach to solve problems (sources of variation) which is a standard methodology which everyone must use when solving problems regardless of size. DMAIC which was inspired by Deming's Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle is a sequence which if followed will ensure that not only will the root causes be identified but the best solution will be found then implemented into the organization permanently rather than for a short period before it goes back to how it was. If you are designing a new process or product then the method used would be DMADV.


Basic methodology consists of the following five steps:

"Define the process improvement goal or problem to be resolved this should be consistent with customer requirements and the business strategy.

"Measure the current process and collect relevant data for future comparison.

"Analyze to verify relationship between factors and to identify the real root causes ensuring that all factors have been reviewed.

"Improve or optimize the process based upon various analysis tools to identify a number of solutions and then using data determine the most optimal for the problem.

"Control to ensure that the solutions is implemented into the organization and embedded so that it does not return.


Basic methodology consists of the following five steps:

"Define the goals of the design activity that are consistent with customer requirements and business strategy.

"Measure and identify CTQs (critical to qualities), product capacities, production process capability, and risk assessments.

"Analyze to develop and design alternatives, create high-level design and evaluate design capability to select the best design.

"Design details, optimize the design, and plan for design verification.

"Verify the design, set up pilot runs, implement production process and handover to process owners.

Many people get confused by Six Sigma and believe that it is simply a case of applying a number of tools. This has lead to many failed implants of the methodologies. Other people are put off Six Sigma by the amount of data collection and analysis which is used. Simply put Six Sigma is all about data, if you have not got data you are just another person with an opinion. One of the reasons Six Sigma has been so successful in companies such as Motorola is that it is all data driven the methodology makes you use the data, analyze the data and then come up with solutions. To do this you must use statistics and tools which use stats to investigate and solve problems. As such typical tools used in Six Sigma include:

They can seam daunting and put off many people but the simple truth is that you do not have to know them all. You do not even need to use them all. It is good ideas to have one or two people in your organization who have detailed knowledge of them all you have to do is to know when they should be used then call in the experts.

When used properly Six Sigma can dramatically reduce variation in your processes and lead to massive savings. However when coupled with Lean it becomes even more powerful.

Key Cutting Machines

There are more key cutting machines around than I thought at first. I have found six different types. The first one is the old standard that I am most familiar with, a manual key cutting machine. You place a blank on the side with the cutting tool and the key to be copied on the side with the guide. Turn on the motor rotating the spindle holding the cutting wheel. The next step is to move the key over the guide, maintaining even pressure while doing so, till all the excess material on the blank is removed. Finally you need to buff the excess material hanging on the newly made key away so that it will move smoothly in the lock it is meant for. It is important that the blank is the same key type as the key being copied.

With the second key cutting machine I found, another one I have used in the past, the operation is similar. Again the first step is to place the key in the side with the guide and the matching blank in the side with the cutting wheel. From here, the steps are simpler, but still similar. Simply turn the machine on and press the start switch or lever and the key cutting machine will cut the key for you. You still need to buff away the residues left from removing the material from the blank so that it will enter the lock smoothly, but it is simpler to operate than a manual key cutting machine as you do not need to maintain even pressure. This is a semi-automatic key cutting machine. With a fully automatic key cutting machine, the on switch of the motor starts the cutting process also.

A tubular key cutting machine is used to cut the style of key used on soda vending machines. It operates in the same manner as the manual key cutting machines do. A code cutter is the type of key cutting machine lock manufacturers use to make their originals for your locks. You place a blank of the type needed into the slot by the cutting wheel. The next step is to enter the code for the key. This is done either by the use of a code card furnished by the manufacturer or by looking it up in a code book furnished by the lock manufacturer. All codes come from the lock manufacturer. After the cutting, the key still needs to have the excess burrs removed so that the key will enter the lock smoothly. Another version of the code cutter is called a punch code cutter. This key cutting machine operates just to the code cutter, but instead of rotating the wheel to cut the key, a punch mechanism is used. This is used mostly for two sided keys like some automotive keys. Entering the code sets the punch up. After placing the proper blank in position, the use of a lever attached to the machine operates the punch and makes the key. The key will still need some buffing to remove burrs, but less than other styles of key cutting machines. Always remember to wear protective eyewear when operating a key cutting machine to protect your eyes from the metal being removed.

What Different Types Of Exercises Can You Do With An Exercise Ball?

As children, there was nothing more fun than playing with that favorite ball. Unfortunately, we ever grow out of it and it finds its place in ball heaven to never be played with again. However, the end of childhood does not mean that a good old inflatable ball can not have a permanent place in our lives. In fact, there are inflatable balls that are made for adults to have fun with. And that would be the exercise ball.

The exercise ball is a great way for the individual to receive a workout of their core muscles, which are the muscles that keep us balanced. How this is achieved on the exercise ball is that certain exercises are conducted that require both the body and the bal to be balanced. The goal is to keep the ball from rolling out from underneath you and in the process you are receiving an excellent core workout.

There are a vast number of exercises that can be done, but there are 10 exercises that can be a lot of fun and those exercises are:

1. Squats: Hold the ball between your lower back and the wall. Slowly bend at your knees and hips in order to achieve a sitting position. Make sure the ball stays between you and the wall. Return to the standing position and repeat this between 8 and 15 times to strengthen the legs and hips.

2. Birddogs: You want to get on all fours like a dog with the exercise ball under your stomach. You are now going to extend an arm and a leg that are opposite from each other off of the floor at the same time and keep the ball balanced benefit you. Repeat this o 8 times for each side to strengthen arms and legs

3. Subpine Bridges: Have your hands on your hips while sitting on the ball and start walking. The ball should roll out until it gets to your head and your shoulders, then walk back to go back to the sitting position. Repeat this 8 to 15 times to strengthen the thighs and buttocks.

4. Pushups: Put the exercise ball underneath your stomach and have your palms flat on the floor. Walk out with your hands until the ball is somewhere between your hips and your ankles. Now bend your elbows to do pushups. Repeat this 8 to 10 times to work the upper arms

5. Abdominal tucks: Being in the same position as with pushups except with the ball under the knee, tuck the knees to make the ball roll toward the ankles and then return to the beginning position. Repeat 8 to 15 times.

6. Hamstring curls: This one requires you to lie on your back. With your palms flat on the floor, the ball should be under your hills. From here you will slowly bend your knees while lifting our hips to bring the ball towards your buttocks. Repeat 8 times.

7. Crunches: Crunches benefit the abdomen and the mid-back should be against the ball with feet shoulder-width apart flat on the floor. Your hands should also be behind your head and repeat 8 to 10 times.

8. Walk-outs: Walk back and forth with the ball under your belly, walking out with your hands until the ball reaches your ankles. Repeat 6 to 8 times for abs and upper arms.

9. Balance: Sit on the ball with hands on hips and spine straight and lift one foot at a time. Repeat with each leg 8 times to balance your core.

10. T, Y, I: This exercise has you placing the ball between the hips and thighs while keeping the knees bent and the toes down and moving the arms into a position, a Y position, and then an I. Repeat this 4 times to strengthen abdominals and shoulders.

These fun exercises using exercise balls are a great way for you to get in shape.

CIF – SIF What’s the Difference

In this article I’m going to explain the differences between CIF and SIF. In keeping with our sanity and to continuing with the theme of keeping it simple I’m going to attempt to use as few techno jargons as possible. CIF and SIF are most notably used to describe video resolution and are used heavily to specify CCTV camera equipment resolution.

So you say, what’s the difference? And why the double spellings like double spelled words? Which one is better? I’m going to answer these questions but first little history of the word. CIF and SIF are surprisingly not double spelled word like “aeroplane and airplane” a British or American spelling difference. CIF and SIF actually are three letter acronyms that do the same thing. Depending on the spelling you may be buying inferior product or a highly adaptable robust product.

OK, enough talking in codes. Let’s first take the word CIF and break this down to a much simpler term. C.I.F is not a three letter acronym meaning “California Interscholastic Federation”, CIF is a resolution format meaning Common Intermediate Format. Keep in mind we are talking about resolution format. If you are using hardware that specifies the resolution as CIF and spelled with a “C” you are using technology that has a resolution of 352×288 pixels. If you need to know the H-dot number CIF is commonly associated with is H.261/H.263.

So what’s SIF, you ask. SIF is a three letter acronym meaning Source Input Format. SIF is most commonly associated with MPEG video format and to confuse you more I’ve seen it spelled as CIF. Depending what side of the world you’re on you are either using PAL for the European standard or NTSC the North and South American standard. PAL SIF resolution is 352×288. NTSC SIF resolution is 352×240. Doesn’t seem like much of an advantage over old regular CIF resolution.

Here is what I haven’t told you. If your hardware says it uses CIF resolution (spelled with a C or 2CIF or 4CIF) you are using an old H.261/263 codec. If your Hardware specifies it is using SIF resolution (spelled with an S) then it can take advantage of MPEG-4 and H.264 compression format. I will have another “Keep It Simple” article to discuss MPEG and H.264 compression standards.

So which one’s right? They are both right. CIF is still being used for video conferencing solutions or applications. SIF on other hand has evolved and is predominantly being used as the codec of choice for IP cameras and encoders. What you need to know is how to talk the lingo and that what to write on your RFP is the correct resolution you are looking for.

One last thing, SIF and CIF are used interchangeably which is where most of the confusion is. To write this article I read several resource materials. Each one used both SIF and CIF to describe 325×240 which is SIF. So how did I determine which SIF/CIF they were referring to? Here is little tip. If the CIF is followed by 352×240 (NTSC) then they are referring to SIF. If you see CIF followed by 352×288 then they really mean CIF. Another tell, tell sign is if the encoder, transmitter, coded is H.264 compatible or MPEG-4 compatible then there is a good chance they are talking about SIF.

A to Z About TiVo System

A common disturbance or annoyance that TV viewers dislike is the interruption of TV commercials. Although commercials could sometimes be useful information but most of the time, it is more likely a disturbance.

However, with the new digital technology available, we can say bye to these problems. This is all possible because of the introduction of the digital recorder device which is famously known as the DVR. With this new device, viewers can record hours of their favorite shows. Furthermore, the DVR also lets you pause or play the programs in slow motion. All your favorite shows can be saved without the hassle of the old video tape. Best of all, the videos you recorded are all kept in digital quality. The top brand leading this sort of technology in the market today is TiVo.

The TiVo device is build with its own hard drive accompanied by its very own software to give you the power to record. It is smartly build to help viewers to record their favorite shows with ease. All the user need to do is do a little programming and the device will automatically record movies or programs according to the user’s choice. The amount of video that can be recorded will depend on the capacity of the device. The recording capabilities of the models range from 30 hours to 300 hours. The recorded video are not only payable on the TV, it can also be transferred to a computer or handheld video device.

TiVo have a lot of special features that will keep the user happy. It possesses the ability to let users watch and record another program simultaneously. It can also let the user pause a live program for as long as 30 minutes. The device can also be programmed to record a certain TV show episode after episode. This feature is called the Season Pass feature. A TiVo system also features skip ability to avoid recording shows that is repeated over and over again. The TiVo device also has another smart feature that lets you search and record your favorite movies from you favorite directors or actors. This function is called the Wish List Option. With this option, you can also search for your favorite sports team or personal for programs that are related to them.

With the improvement of the connectivity technology, you could connect with your TiVo even when you are not at home to press the button on the remote. You can use the internet to connect with your Series 2 TiVo box. Connecting the device with internet will allow you to set the device to record your favorite TV shows when you are unable to rush home in time. With this function, you will definitely never miss any programs anymore.

This TiVo device will work with antenna, cable or even satellite TV receivers. However, it does not work with the C -Band satellites. Those who are using DSL should face no problem with TiVo. If they can use it, all they have to do is add a DSL filter and TiVo will work just fine.

Bodybuilding Facts: How to Get Stronger Legs

More people have started working out recently. Because of this more people are focusing on how they are working out. A key foundation to any workout program is having good bodybuilding tips for strong legs.

There are many different exercises that can be completed by someone that is working out their lower body. It is important to remember to always use proper form when doing the exercises to work the muscles in the proper way. Always consult with a physician prior to starting a new activity.

To build strong legs it is a good idea to switch the workouts that are completed up as well as changing the amount of repetitions that are included in each set. To build strength it will be necessary to work in occasions when the exercises are completed with a low repetition but high weight variation. Working out with heavier weight can build strength and muscle mass.

The large muscles of the legs are the quadriceps in the front and the hamstring in the back. To properly build up the lower body an individual should work both sets of muscles. This can be done all in one day or separated during someone's regular workout routine.

The top exercise for the quadriceps is the squat. The squat is a great all around leg exercise since it includes much of the body in the movement. To properly squat place the loaded barbell on the squat rack. Move under the bar until it rests on upper back across the shoulders. Step away from the squat rack then slowly lower the body down by sitting back. Lower as far down as feet comfortable but aim for a point where the thighs are parallel to the floor. At that point push the body back into the starting position.

The best hamstring exercise is the deadlift. The deadlift is another compound exercise so it incorporates a lot of muscles throughout the body to complete. To do a deadlift an individual would have a loaded barbell on the ground. They would then grab the bar with an overhand grip with their feet shoulder width apart. While keeping the legs straight lift the weight off of the ground until the standing position is reached again. After standing straight up again follow the same range of motion back to put the barbell on the ground to the starting position.

It is important for anyone working out to have a strong foundation. Following good bodybuilding tips for strong legs will help ensure that someone builds that foundation. Always use proper form when lifting weights to help minimizeize injury risk.

How to Flatten Your Postpartum Belly Quickly

Okay, so by now you have your precious bundle of joy in your arms. You look down at your sweet baby blissfully and you are in awe of motherhood and your baby. But, there are a few things that you were not expecting. One of them is how flabby and out of shape your belly would be after delivery. There is hardly any way to escape this unless you are blessed with incredible genes and even then your belly may require a little work on your part to get back to flat.  There are some things that you can do to help flatten your midsection and return to pre-pregnancy shape quickly, and this is where binding or wrapping your postpartum belly comes in along with some other good ab flattening tips. I have birthed four children. For the first two births, I never really considered belly binding. My aunt kept encouraging me to do so, assuring me that binding would flatten my belly and get me back into shape fast. I was young and laughed off her suggestion as mere myth. For the last two births, at which time I considered myself older and wiser, I decided to indulge my aunt and give belly binding a try. It has been the best thing I have done to get my new mommy tummy under control. Think about this for a moment – your belly has carried around another human being for nine months. Your abdominal muscles get stretched out and weakened as your baby grows. Once you deliver your baby, your muscles are very weak and are going to need some extra support. Here are some tips to follow to shrink down your postpartum belly quickly.

Wrap your belly as soon as you can after delivery. There are several good abdominal binders and compression garments on the market for this today. You can use a strong girdle, belly binders that are sold in stores and online or if you are short on cash you can even use a plain bed sheet by cutting it down to about 12 inches thick and leaving the length. Place the center of your strip on your belly and wrap around your torso and tie it back in the middle near your navel. Don’t tie too tightly, you don’t want to constrict, but rather support your belly as things go back into place. How do you think women in the eighteenth century got their waists to be so tiny? It was all of those corsets under their dresses which over time left them with tiny waists even if the rest of their bodies were larger. This is the same principle behind belly binding.

Another thing to consider when trying to regain your pre-pregnancy shape is this: How you get up from a lying position?  You hear baby crying at night and you jump out of bed by flexing your abs and jumping up unsupported by your arms or hands. Not good at all. Instead of that maneuver, try using your arms and hands to support your body weight while getting up from a lying down position. When you just spring up you are causing further stress and strain to your already weakened abdominal muscles and if you have diastasis (a separation of the lower abdominal muscles that most mothers have) then you are really hurting those abs. So, try to retrain yourself to get up slowly while supporting your abs.

Walk, walk, and walk. I cannot say enough about the power of walking. Put your belly binder on and take your new baby for a walk around your area to get some fresh air. If the weather is bad, you may consider walking at your local mall or some other spacious indoor area. Walking will make you feel good and you will get the exercise you need to begin toning your body. Just be sure not to overexert yourself and of course, always follow your doctor’s recommendations for postpartum exercise.

Finally, really consider your posture. When you are slouching you are not giving your body total support and your neck, shoulders, back and abdominal muscles all suffer and may feel fatigued.  From now on, you should try to stand straight with your body in alignment. Make sure both of your legs are in a straight line and that not just one of your legs is supporting most of your body’s weight.  Breathe deeply and draw your belly button into your spine and imagine them touching. This is how you should stand in order to be supportive of your belly and its healing process. 

While my aunt has been the advocate in my life for belly binding, I can’t say enough about some of the postpartum exercise programs I have encountered. There is one in particular that really stands out to me which I have enjoyed very much and learned a lot from. You may want to look at the book, “Lose Your Mummy Tummy,” by Julie Tupler. It is excellent and Ms. Tupler provides some great techniques for supporting your postpartum belly. As always remember to take your diet into account and make sure that you are eating healthy foods and drinking plenty of liquids. Remember, Rome was not built in a day. It took you nine (plus!) months to get here and it may take you a full nine months or more to get your tummy perfectly flattened. Just hang in there and be sure to spread the word to other new moms and encourage each other!

Questions to Ask Before Hiring Search Engine Optimization Services

If you want the best SEO services, you first have to rule out the bad seeds and the not so great companies. You have to eliminate those charging too much for the services and those who do not have enough time to take on one more client. Asking plenty of questions before you hire anyone will help you to obtain the very best SEO services.

Search Engine Rankings

The best SEO services are going to be able to improve your search engine ranking. If you already have a high ranking they can help you stay there. Remember, your competitors are always trying to move up the ladder. Ask about the methods they will use so there is consistent leverage with your rank and position.

Successes and Challenges

You need to know what the record is for those that work for you. What is their success rate and what challenges have they faced? The best SEO services need to tell who they have helped and what they did to achieve results. Even if they can not share the names of those clients they should be able to share the stories and details.

A great question to ask them is how long they have had their longest clients. Hopefully, they have some longevity with many of them. This helps you to determine if they are able to meet the ongoing needs of a business like yours. If they can not, you may soon be looking for another provider.

Ethical Methods

You only want to work with those offering the best SEO services that are considered to be ethical. You want to avoid any issues that could get you into trouble. Not all methods of marketing are a good idea. Some of them can violate the rights of consumers. Even if you do not get into legal trouble, it can create a bad reputation for your business.

Tools and Techniques

While the specific tools and techniques they offer for your marketing will depend on your needs, find out what all they have to work from. Their options should include a wide range of elements so they can successfully customize something for your business to really benefit from. Ask them how they determine what to use for a particular business too.


They may have a guarantee in place with the SEO they offer. It certainly is enticing when a provider goes that route. It reduces the risk of you investing money in services that are not going to pan out. The guarantee needs to be read though as they can vary in coverage. Some of them have so many holes that they do not mean much at all.

Those that are concrete though show the company is going to invest their time and resources to help you. They are going to go the distance so they do not have to repay you for what you have paid to them. Such a business may be one which is highly favorable on your list of possibilities.

Information Sharing

You always need to be kept current about the changes and updates being implemented. You should have the final say on issues even though they are the experts. Their job is to present the possibilities with you along with the pros and cons each can come with. The best SEO services will always do their best to get you data, to share information, and to answer your questions.

Since the algorithms change often within the search engines, they have to be ready to make changes to your SEO quickly and efficiently when that happens. They should give you reports at regular intervals that show traffic and track any changes they have made.