Floor Tile Grouting – Mixing the Grout to the Correct Consistency

With your tiled floor swept clean of mortar chips, vacuumed free of mortar dust, and wiped down with a wet sponge, you are finally ready to begin with the process of tile grouting. First up though, you must mix a quantity of grout to the correct consistency, similar to the methods of mixing floor tile mortar.

Floor tile grout comes in a wide variety of colors from popular manufacturers such as Mabei for example, but normally only comes in two different varieties depending on your application. There is un-sanded or non-sanded grout which is ideal for grouting wall tiles, or specialist floor tiles such as marble and granite which require a narrow 1/8 "inch wide grout line. is perfect for the common and popular application of ceramic floor tiling.

The only difference between the two is with the addition of tiny particles of polymer sand grains used to thicken out the mix, as with narrow grout lines the use of grain particles are less fitted tighter areas where sufficient waterproof sealing is required.

There are also as I said a wide variety of colors available to choose from, and it is usually best to pick the best grout color which accents the color of the tile design. With this being said though, do try to stay away from light grout colors. These tend to show visible stains more so darker grouts, which can be from anything such as ground-in dirt to even water residue, so choose wisely when coordinating your colors.

As with mortar, tile grout is bought as a dry powder substance to which water is added and mixed to get the correct consistency of mud. Like mortar though, there is no exact measurement or ratio of powder to water to get the correct consistency, but as a rough starting guide you can follow the rule of two cups of grout to one cup of water.

With your water already in your mixing bucket, add your tile grout and mix thoroughly. This again can be done using the drill and mixing paddle if available, but grout is normally mixed in much smaller quantities than mortar and the consistency should be less thick, therefore mixing by hand can be just as effective and not really that tiresome.

In saying that though, grout does have a tendency to require more working-in than mortar does, in order to obtain a necessary smooth and creamy consistency. The best way as always though, is to start small if you are new to the process, to get used to what it is you are trying to achieve. The correct consistency you need for floor tile grout differs from the thick molten lava or mashed potato characteristics of floor tile mortar. Grout requires a more creamy soup consistency, being able to pour out of your mixing bucket without actually being sloppy, or simply just slop out in one big lump. If it's too thick just add a little water, and if it's too thin, then add a little more grout, but keep the additions in gradual and small doses.

To mix the grout by hand, you can use an epoxy grouting float, which is actually the ideal tool for spreading tile grout also. There are other float tools available for spreading, but I personally find the epoxy float to be the best method of giving a solid and even spread compared to some of the sponge floats available. Having used many of these methods in the past, I certainly would not go back to them since having experienced the solid epoxy float. It may be a little on the pricey side compared to the others, but if looked after it will last you a lifetime as opposed to sponge based grouting floats.

Once you have your grout mixed to the correct consistency, before laying and spreading into your grout lines always allow it to have a settling period between mixes to ensure a good chemical bonding, just as with floor tile mortar. First mix the grout for approximately 5 to 10 minutes, then let it sit for approximately 5 to 10 minutes, and then give it one final mix for 2 minutes before actually applying it to the tiled floor.

History of Pasta

When most people talk about pasta, they probably think of Italy as its birth place. Historians would disagree however, and give credit to our neighbors in the east for inventing the earliest form of this much loved food.

It was around 1700 BC when the Chinese came up with a noodle made from rice flour. While not a popular theory with those who insist on giving credit to the Italians, the Chinese do get the vote from most historians.

That does not mean that the Italians were not major players in the evolution of pasta as we know it. Around 400 BC the Etruscans, who live in an area in the western part of Italy, made a noodle similar to lasagna. This noodle was made from spelt, a grain from which wheat has evolved.

Much later the Romans are credited with making a noodle similar to the one made by the Etruscans, out of flour and water. These noodles, like the earlier versions by the Chinese, were prepared by baking in an oven.

Boiled noodles came later and the Italians do not get credit for inventing these either. Instead, we can thank Arab traders who would bring dried noodles along on their very long trips to the Orient. Who does not want a hot meal while traveling? The Arabs did, and they realized that this dried pasta along with a little boiling water was a quick, hot and easy to carry meal.

The Arabs bought this food with them to Sicily during the 8th century invasions. Before too long the Italian city of Palermo was producing huge quantities of dried pasta. So, can we give Italians the credit for mass producing pasta? Much to the delight of the Italians, most historians would say, yes.

Specifically, Naples gets the credit for the invention of techniques that allowed dried pasta to be produced en masse in 1600's. This pasta, which could last long time, is credited with bringing Naples out of an economic depression. No wonder Italians love their pasta!

This pasta was often sold by street vendors and was ate with the bare hands. If you're thinking the sauce must have made quite a mess then you're jumping ahead in the story. Pasta at this time was eaten either plain or sprinkled with cheese. It's not until a couple of centuries later that sauce is introduced.

The first written record of a tomato sauce recipe is 1839. Soon pasta was becoming popular all over the country of Italy, and pastas of various shapes were being introduced. Still, even with its popularity, pasta was being made by small family businesses. Spaghetti, macaroni and vermicelli were being handmade by those specially trained in the art of pasta making.

The Agnese family changed all of that in 1824 when they opened the very first pasta factory in Northern Italy. It's easy to see why Italians get the credit for this favorite food, and in the United States a wave of Italian immigration would help the cement the idea that pasta was an Italian food.

Even though Thomas Jefferson had brought pasta to America as early as the late 1700's, the food did not become widely popular in the country until 1880-1900 when large numbers of Italian immigrants came to America, bringing pasta with them.

The next several years would bring even more advances for pasta such as the addition of meatballs and later, thanks to the Franco-American company, canned pasta.

Pasta has a place in American history as well. In the 1920's farmers used pasta as a marketing campaign for wheat. During the depression, the inexpensive and filling dish became a staple in many households.

Today, pasta is as popular as ever. In tiny sidewalk caf├ęs to the fanciest of gourmet restaurants, you are sure to find a few pasta dishes on the menu. Whether you choose to thank the Italians for this delicious food or their eastern neighbors, we can all agree that our dinner tables would not be the same without this fabulous food.

The Inner Island Of Addiction

Addiction recovery is developing right now. New and older but still effective treatment plans are being researched and honed. Each type of addiction is studied to unlock the chemical hooks that entrap the user.

Prior research on the neurobiology of addiction has focused on the subcortical systems, such as the amygdala and mesolimbic / dopamine system, to understand the motivation to seek drugs. Recent evidence indicates that a largely overlooked structure, the insula, plays a critical part in the conscious urges to take drugs.

The insula has been highlighted as a region that integrates bodily states into conscious feelings and into decision-making processes that involve uncertainty risk and reward. It has been dubbed 'the hidden island of addiction' by researchers.

Addiction to drugs is at epidemic levels. Mobile morgues are handling overdose victims in some states hardest hit by the opioid crisis. By itself, cigarette smoking is the most common addictive behavior and is the largest preventable cause of death in the developed world. Some say nicotine is harder to give up than heroin. Its chemical hooks plunge that deep.

Drug addiction is a psychological imbalance that turns into a physical addiction. Compulsive use of drugs that persists despite negative consequences is the hallmark of addiction. Impaired driving is the awful choice many make.

'Chemical use disorder' is a set of physiological and psychological processes, such as tolerance, withdrawal, constant urges and poor decision making. Each have distinct yet complementary roles in the development and maintenance of addiction.

For now, an addict's best friend is knowledge. Choosing who to share information with is critical in getting actual help and not a damning lecture. Exposing an issue leads many to immediately shun the user. What has been described as 'tough love' has led straight to the cemetery or morgue for thousands upon thousands of families.

These 'incidental addicts' are the product of a profit-driven drug industry that is crippling our country. Oxycontin was introduced with a 'low risk of addiction.' My little sister 'accidentally' believed them and took what her doctor 'accidentally' prescribed. We buried her two years later.

There is no more time to blame the user until we reserve the innocent victims. Treat addiction as an imbalance, instead of a moral failing, that must be addressed by professionals. MAT-medication assisted therapy-is new but starting to prove effective in combating active addiction.

Every addict tells the same story. Not one planned to get up, ingest a soothing chemical and completely destroy his life and everyone around him. It is a nightmare that is shared in recovery groups around the world.

Addiction treatment is like fishing in the boat with Jesus. If you've tried it before and it did not work, cast your net again. This time, a treatment option that works may be within reach. Be ready for it.

The Invisible Has More Power Over Us Than We Realise

We all feel emotions, we all experience energy. But we can not see them. They are invisible to us except when we express them through our bodies. We express them through our facial expression, our demeanour, our whole being.

We feel emotions in our hearts, we say, yet we know it is not our physical heart. We say we feel butterflies in our tummy, yet we know they are not coming from our physical stomach. We sometimes feel a lump in our throats when our emotions well up and we choke, yet we know it is not coming from our physical throat.

Then where are they from? And why do we experience them?

These are energies moving in our energy system! If we talk about our energy body we could also refer to it as the etheric body. I've learned from a teacher psychologist a long time ago, that this is our blueprint body. It is the foundation of our physical body. I imagine that this is like the steel frames of buildings before a building is set in concrete, the steel frames are built to hold the building up.

The thing is, our etheric body is often not taken care of, simply because it is invisible. We wash daily, but our etheric body does not get the same care somehow. And if left on its own over long periods of time, these blocked and built up negative energies can cause us to become unwell physically. Just as if you do not wash yourself daily, you can become infected with all kinds of bacterias, germs or viruses.

Some of you may not know this, but as a life coach, I teach just about time management, goal setting, living one's life purpose. One of the things I am passionate about educating people is the importance of taking care of one's invisible body – the body where we experience our emotions, our butterflies and our limbs in the throat.

How do we keep it clear and clean? Here are some simple exercises you can easily do on your own daily.

  1. Connect with nature daily (if possible) I personally like walking bare feet on the grass to feel the earth and I find it both nourishing and grounding. Grounding our energies like a tree with and imagining our roots reaching deep into the earth, gives us strength.
  2. Deep breathing exercises help us to expel deep emotions locked under our skin, in our liver and in our tummy. Do this outside where you can get fresh air! (Some yoga and tai chi exercises helps with this a lot!)
  3. Drinking water is also a good way to flush out negative emotions, this is something I always advocate, to all my clients and family. It is amazing how just drinking water makes a difference to one's well being.

If you feel you need more help with this, I also offer sessions on this to cleanse and clear your invisible energy body. We do this via video conference and this service is available to anyone in any part of the world. This is what we will cover:

  • We will go through every part of your being to help you to understand where the energy blocks may be residing
  • We will clarify what is known as invisible tumors in your energy field and etheric body
  • We will clear unnecessary connections and cords you may have with things, people or places.
  • Sometimes we may have tears, wounds or light damage to our invisible body, which can be 'repaired'. I'll give you advice on how this can be done.
  • We will examine how your energy body may be affecting your physical body (I'm not a doctor so this is not a physical diagnosis of your health, our goal and focus is keeping your energy body clear)
  • We will also learn how to protect your energy body
  • And a list of homework will also be given to you on how to maintain your energy system

I am currently offering this session at a 25% discount to the first 30 sign-ups. The usual price is S $ 200 (about $ 145USD), but I'm now offering it at S $ 150 (about $ 109USD).

How To Build Bigger Muscles And Burn Fat At The Same Time

Most people want to know how to build bigger muscles, while burning a large amount of fat at the same time. In fact, some say you can definitely do both at the same time where others deny otherwise.

This has been debated for quite some time now. Well, the answer to this question is yes and no and depends.

You see, you can build bigger muscles and burn fat at the same time. However, if you are using a fat loss exercise workout routine and also at the same time going through a fat loss diet, you will not be able to build a lot of muscles.

You will also burn more fats during your routines if your body possesses more muscles. Well, it is a common impression that more muscles will cause a person to look big and bulky, but this is not always the case.

Bodybuilders are known to have a small amount of body fat while having a huge amount of muscles.

The reason why body builders are able to burn fat and muscles because they do it in phases. It is called periodization in the muscle building world.

When body builders build muscles, their diet differs drastically from their exercise routines compared to when they are in the phase of losing fats. These body builders will build mass muscles for several months by segmenting different body part workout routines, as well as lifting heavy weight with low repetitions.

It is only that they will change their diet completely from one building muscle to one which is trying to lose fat.

If you have the time, energy and dedication, you may work toward that time of routine, hence, eventually becoming a body builder yourself.

But if you just a novice exerciser who just wants to burn fat and build muscles which are just nice, you can choose a routine and diet which you can burn fat and at the same time, burn a small amount of muscle.

A great way you can approach this to under cardio training combined with total body strength training.

You see when you perform total body strength training, this will help you increase your metabolism rate to help you burn the unwanted fats. When combined with the right type of cardio training, you are on the pathway to successfully burn fats and building larger muscles at the same time.

Not to forget, your diet will affect your capacity to burn fat and muscle too. Consuming quality protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates in a small meal scale 4 – 6 times a day will help you burn more fats because your blood sugar is more constant to help in controlling your appetite.

Best Home Fitness Abs Workouts

Are you looking to shed stubborn fat from your stomach area? Dreaming about flat washboard tummy or sporting a 6 pack abs? Well, though there are innumerable programs that claim to be effective, professional fitness experts stress on just a few.

Beachbody's Hip Hop Abs is one of the most popular home fitness abs workouts that has been developed by Shaun T, world famous instructor on fitness. When you workout with Hip Hops Abs you will be able to melt fat and shed those extra pounds while dancing to music. Yes, he teaches you dance moves and focused 'Tilt, tuck and Tilten' moves. So if you are hated with cycling gym workouts and crunches or have not been seeing any results, it is time to start with a home fitness abs workout.

The basis of Hip Hop Abs utilizes Tilt, Tuck and tighten technique which uses dance moves while you tuck the tail bone, tilt the shoulders and tighten the abs. It's hard to beat the fun aspect of the Hip Hop Abs workouts. All of the workouts by Shaun T's target the abdominal muscles to tighten and strengthen it through dance moves. Using intensive cardio workouts, Beachbody has been able to bring fitness right into your home. Hip Hop Abs has three phases exercise routines namely, Ab Sculpt 1, Ab Sculpt 2, and Last Minute Abs.

Stressing on oblique and abdominal muscles, these workouts work on increasing the heart rate, enhance metabolism so that you can burn the fat and let the abs show up. Although you need to stick to Hip Hop Abs to really lose fat and tone up, it is never to late to start.

Fur Coats – 10 Best Ways to Take Care of Them

Fur coats are expensive garments that are made to last for years. However this cannot be achieved without taking proper care of them. Here are 10 tips for you to follow.

  1. Avoid light overexposure. Natural or artificial light is responsible for oxidation and color fading. Of course, this does not mean that you cannot wear your fur during daylight. Try not hanging your precious in a spot that is not hit directly by sunlight.
  2. Let your coat breathe when hanging it in the closet. Leave adequate space between garments so that there is proper ventilation. Poor ventilation conditions provide an excellent environment for moth.
  3. Do not exert pressure on your fur. Avoid sitting on it when you are in a car. Avoid using a shoulder bag when wearing your precious garment. Always buy one size larger. You will need that extra space for winter clothes and extra comfort. This way the seams in sensitive areas, like the armpits and shoulders, will not suffer.
  4. Do not use moth balls. The odor is absorbed and it gradually becomes unpleasant.
  5. Inspect frequently for small tears and have them mended. It costs significantly less than having a whole pelt replaced. No need to mention that in most cases, colors will not match.
  6. The ideal humidity and temperature conditions are 50 degrees F and 45 per cent humidity. These are the conditions that you find in a professional vault.
  7. Do not store or hang near a heat source. Heat will dry up the pelts.
  8. If your fur coat gets wet, leave it dry naturally. If it gets soaked, then you will need a furrier’s help.
  9. Wear them as often as you like. This helps the pelts get naturally hydrated. There is also a wide variety of special oils that will hydrate your coat.
  10. Use only professional cleaning services. Never put them in a regular washing machine.

Mink is one of the longest lasting furs. There is also a wide range of fur types that can last for a long time. Raccoon, bobcat, sable and wolf are renowned for their durability. Beaver, fox and Persian lamb are somewhere in the middle. Chinchilla,ermine and rabbit are more sensitive.

If you own a fur coat, then you have probably spend a small fortune to get it. Treat and protect your investment accordingly to its value. Always remember that is a sensitive and delicate material.Show some love and you will get it back.

Internal Hemorrhoids Symptoms – 3 Sure Symptoms That You Have Piles

When it comes to internal hemorrhoids, the question is this, Do you have them? There are specific sure fire signals that you may or may not have this. You'll be able to tell right away if you have this – and if you do then it's time to treat it naturally, right? Internal hemorrhoids do not have to be as bad as they sound. The thing about them is that they are generally less painful than the external hemorrhoids – known as piles.

Let's get that straight, hemorrhoids are hemorrhoids, and when someone says piles then they are actually referring to external hemorrhoids – something that is most common. So here are some symptoms that will differentiate between piles and internal hemorrhoids.

# 1 – Internal Hemorrhoids Results in Blood Stools
Although this sounds more uncomfortable and gruesome, you'll soon find out that it's less painful, it's just a sign that you have internal hemorrhoids and that you have blood stools, if it is piles or external hemorrhoids, then you will be dealing more blood on the outside on the outer rim of the anus.

# 2 – If Really Bad, Will Protrude from the Inside
That's right, if it gets really bad, you can actually see the hemorrhoids protrude from the inside to the outside – this is something that you definitely want to avoid if you are trying to reduce it there are natural things and expensive procedures to fix this problem .

# 3 – As Said Before, External Hemorrhoids is More Painful
When you have piles or external hemorrhoids – it feels more painful, but it is actually less serious than internal hemorrhoids. You want to make sure that if you have external hemorrhoids or even internal hemorrhoids that you perform certain specific natural remedies to soften your stools and to help you feel better!

Irritation will occur with most hemorrhoids, the most painful of them all is thrombosed hemorrhoids and will require surgery; no questions asked! Be sure to try natural therapies and if that does not work in a matter of 3-4 days, then consult your doctor!

Screen Porches – A Little Slice of Heaven at Home

Who does not love a screen porch? We actually bought a house once because of the screened porch – and never regretted that decision! Screen porches are considered outdoor living spaces and therefore have less building code restrictions than a three season or four season porch. However, if your screen porch plans include adding heating or cooling, you would need to comply with all of the codes for indoor living space like insulation, heating, lighting, and electrical.

DIY project

Building a screen porch can be a great DIY project if you have some prior building experience. You can either build it from scratch or purchase a screen porch kit. If you decide to hire a contractor, your costs should be minimized as it usually only requires basic carpentry skills without additional structural components are required. You can add skylights for more light and fans to keep you cool! Use a space heater in the cooler months to extend your enjoyment.

Combination screen porch / open porch

Screened porches can be very sophisticated and visually appealing if designed properly and can be used year round in some locations. You'll be considering happier if you consider the architecture of your home when designing or purchasing your porch. Ours actually became an extension of our home and we used it almost year round. Many people choose to enclose part of their porch or deck leaving a territory totally open to the outside. This option allows you to be more creative with both spaces. You can use the enclosed portion for insect-free dining or entertaining while also having space to decorate a little differently.

Choosing materials for your screened porch

Care should be taken when choosing materials. Choose materials based on durability. Cedar and redwood are excellent choices if you want natural resistance to insects and rot. Pressure-treated lumber and simulated wood products (poly-woods) made from a blend of recycled materials and wood fibers are insect and rot resistant and weather to a nice color of gray. Most people do not realize they have several options of screening material to fit any budget. From nylon to copper and from aluminum to brass opt for porch screening that is both attractive and functional.

How will you use your screen porch?

Before building consider how much room do you need, will your porch be used by many or just a few? Will it be used primarily as a quiet reply for you and your sweetie or are you going to entertain lots of friend and family? This will help you determine what type and how much furniture will be needed on the porch. That will, in turn, help you determine the size of porch you need. And remember, your porch need not be square or rectangular. Octagonal, oval, or hexagonal are options and will make your porch even more interesting.

If you enjoy your screen porch even half as much as my wife and I do, then the time and money invested will be so worth it.

The Leaning Tower of Pisa

The Leaning Tower of Pisa is the bell tower (campanile) shared by the cathedral and Campo dei Miracoli. The tower is one of the Seven Wonders of the World, even when it would stand straight up. The atypical design of the tower is similar to the design of the Tower of Babel, according to the Greek writer Herodotus. The bell tower has 7 bells which are tuned to a musical scale and counts 294 steps.

Construction Took 199 Years
The construction started in 1173. The tilt was already visible when the third layer was built in 1178. The construction stopped for near a century, because of Pisa's wars with the neighboring city Florence. Under the command of Giovanni di Simone the work started again in 1272 and four floors were built in an altered angle to the previous levels. In 1284 construction stopped again, because Pisa was acquitted by Genoa in another war. In 1372 the making of the bell tower finally begun, exactly 199 years after the first construction started.

Fixing The Tilt
Nowadays the cause of the tilt is obvious, but back then they did not know that it was because of insufficient foundations sinking into the weak subsoil. Many different efforts were taken to solve the problem, such as digging out the pathway around the foot of the tower. Under the command of Mussolini they even filled the foundations up with concrete, which made the looming even worse.

Accessible For Public
In 1999 the tower was finally returned to a tilt of 13 degrees. They reinforced the foundations and removed parts of subsoil under the high side. The question nowdays is if the leaning Tower of Pisa is still a monument according to the original designer and a testimony to Pisa's twelfth century status and wealth. You can again access the tower, but you have to pay an entrance fee and tickets are strictly limited and queues very long. If you have little time, take a look at the tower and visit the cathedral, baptistery and museum, the National Museum of San Matteo and the Church of Sante Catharina.

Copper Pipes and Connectors

Plumbing reiterates to a system of pipes that allows water into and out of a building or a structure. The term itself comes from a Latin term, plumbum, which is commonly known as lead.

Here is a piece of history on plumbing.

The first plumbing systems were installed to get rid of human wastes. In the Indus Valley, which is found in western India and Pakistan, most Shelters had assembled drainage for waste disposal by the year 2500 BC. Moreover, a palace on the island of Crete had pipes to supply the donors with drinking water by about 2000 BC. The ancient Romans used lead metal for their pipes. In addition, their old systems still have installed iron pipes and older homes have lead pipes for their water and wastes, respectively.

However, present-day plumbing make use of copper pipes for central heating pipe-work and for water feeds. However, the use of modern plastic pipes, brass, and even steel are also slowly taking place.

Why is copper popular in modern plumbing?

Many Plumbers and manufacturers have discovered some advantages of copper over lead and iron pipes and these are:

1. Copper costs low as compared to lead and iron.

2. Copper does not corrode relative to iron.

3. Copper is non toxic relative to lead.

4. Copper is easy to work with and reliably soft as compare to both lead and iron.

5. Copper pipes are manufactured in an array of sizes:

a. between 8 and 10 mm – for micro-bore heating systems

b. between 12 and 15 mm – for connections to appliances and individual taps

c. 22 mm, 28mm, and 35 mm – to over pressure drop

Moreover, trade outlets may keep stocks between 3 and 4 meters while those DIY or Do-it-yourself outlets may stock sizes between 1.5 and 2 meters.

Below is some information on connectors:

1. Connectors are typically fitted to the size of pipe. The main styles, which cater for needs for pipe-runs are:

a. straight connector

b. connector with 90-degree bend

c. T-shaped connector

Normally, they are made to connect to pipes that have the same sizes or different sizes at each end.

2. Connectors can be made to integrate modern pipes that have sizes in meters to copper pipes that have larger sizes to outside screw threads such as used on sink taps and / or iron pipes.

The two basic types of connectors used for linking copper pipes are:

a. Compression connectors

These are used as internal rings, which are compressed onto the copper pipe. In addition, end nuts are tightened onto the body of the connector.

These connectors can be reassembled and dismantled easily. Also, if a pipe run is to be dismanted, the end of the pipe can be cut so that the end nut can be removed. Then, the connector can be reused again with a new set of olives.

b. Solder connectors

These types of connectors are made to provide a fit that slides into the pipe that is made of copper. To do this, the joint is usually heated. Then the gap between the connector and the pipe is filled with solder through capillary action.

There are connectors that assemble a ring made of solder into the body, while others are made of solder and copper and need to be integrated around the exposed gap after heating the pipes or connectors.

Unlike compression connectors, solders are not reusable. They can not be dismanted and disarranged too.

This article is made to provide you with basic information on copper pipes and connectors. I guess we can leave the plumbing to the plumbers themselves!

Halogen Desk Lamps – Light and Shade

It has to be said that when it comes to choosing a desk lamp, halogen lighting is truly fit for purpose. Having made such a bold statement, it also has to be said that, whilst halogen lamps do indeed have many advantages, this form of illumination is surrounded by many myths, which this article aims to dispel.

First things first, halogen bulbs are what is know as incandescent bulbs, as are ordinary light bulbs. In basic terms, a thin wire filament is caused to glow by passing an electric current through it; oxygen is kept out by the glass bulb, which is why the filament does not just burn up.

In halogen lamps, the filament is housed within a glass envelope and surrounded by a mixture of inert gas and halogen. The result is that the filament burns brighter, hotter and for longer. The downside of this is an increased running temperature, which means that halogen lamps should not longer be the first choice for inset ceiling and wall lights. This is because they back into a small enclosed space, which makes them a potential fire hazard.

Another character that some people see as a disadvantage is the lack of the rosy glow that comes from traditional light bulbs. When it comes to task lighting, however, a rosy glow is far less essential than clear illumination.

And this, of course, is the crux of the matter – the characteristics of light produced by halogen lamps are very different from the light we have grown used to. It is not cozy, it is not soft focus, it is not good general illumination; it is clean, it is white, it is directable – it is ideal task lighting.

Halogen light is bright and white, not only making colors appear brighter but also reducing eyestrain, which specifically explains why halogen lamps have become so popular as reading lights and desk lights.

Because of the brightness, halogen lamps must be shaded. The Benefit of a shaded halogen lamp is that you can use the shade to direct the light where you need it. In the case of a halogen desk lamp, the illumination falls onto your paperwork and is not dissipated around the rest of the room.

The most regularly cited advantage of halogen lights is their long life. The fact is, if you turned on your halogen desk lamp today and left it on, day and night, it would run significantly longer than a standard light bulb before failing. And amazingly, it would do all of that on just 20% of the energy used by a standard bulb.

So there you have it – the truth about halogen lighting. These lamps may not be the definitive answer to all your lighting needs but when it comes to desk lamps they really are the light of choice.

Printed Circuit Board Assembly

Manufacturing circuit boards is a process that takes time and is not considered a “simple thing” to do. Although, there are enthusiasts who are able to make their own boards at home with the right materials, but they usually tend to be not as complex as machine made ones. Also, it would be pretty time consuming to hand make 20,000 PCBs. Below, I will briefly walk you through the PCB Assembly process and what is involved at each stage.

PCB Assembly, which is also known as Printed Circuit Board Assembly is when you solder electronic components to a PCB or printed circuit board. A circuit board that has not yet been assembled with the electronic components are called PCB or Printed Circuit board and once the boards have soldered components on them, they are technically referred to as Printed Circuit Assembly or Printed Circuit Board Assembly.

Keep in mind that circuit board assembly is not necessarily the same as circuit board manufacturing. When you manufacture PCBs, it involves multiple processes that include PCB Design and actually creating the PCB prototype. Before the board can be ready to use in electronic equipment or gadgets, the correct components need to be added by soldering them on. The type of components and the process of the assembly depend on the type of circuit board it is, kind of electronic components that need to be connected, and what electronic device the board is going to be added to.

So, after the PCB is done being made, it is time for the various electronic components to be attached to it in order for it to actually be functional. This is sometimes referred to as PCBA or Printed Circuit Board Assembly. There are two types of construction methods used for the assembly.

1) Through-Hole construction: Component leads are inserted into the holes
2) Surface-Mount construction: Components are placed on lands or pads on the outer surfaces of the PCB.

However, in both construction types, the component leads are still electrically and mechanically fixed to the PCB with molten metal solder.

Depending on the volume of boards that need to be assembled will determine how the components are going to be soldered. If it is for a high production volume, then soldering components to the Printed Circuit Board is best done by machine placement. Machine placement is done with bulk wave soldering or reflow ovens. Otherwise, if the production quantity is for small volume prototypes, soldering by hand works just fine in most cases (Ball Grid Arrays are actually impossible to solder by hand).

Often, through-hole and surface-mount construction has to be performed in one PCB assembly because some needed electronic components only available in through-hole packages, while others are only available in surface-mount packages. Also, it is a good reason to use both of the methods during the same assembly because through-hole mounting can actually provide more strength for the electronic components that are likely to go through some physical stress. If you know that your PCB isn’t going to go through any physical stress, then it can be more wise to use surface-mount techniques in order to take up less space on your board.

After the components have been fully constructed on the PCB, it is always best to test to make sure that the board functions correctly and to the performance needed. Here are some of the ways that they are tested after they have been assembled.

1) A simple visual inspection to make sure that there are no electrical components out of place on the circuit board. It is also a good time to double check all of the soldering. (power is off)
2) Analog Signature Analysis: when you applie a current-limited AC sinewave across two points of the electrical components and circuit. (power is off)
3) Performing an In-Circuit Test: checking various physical measurements with the board like voltage, frequency, etc. (power is on)
4) Performing a Functional Test: verifying that the circuit board actually does what it is intended for. (power is on)

If some of the printed circuit boards fail any of the above tests, not all is lost. You are able to find out where the problem is happening and replace the failing components and/or board to allow for it to pass. This is sometimes referred to as reworking.

How Much Does a Painter Cost?

These days, we're all tightening our belts and trying to save a few pennies here and there. However, when your paint is cracked and peeling off your front porch, it's time to call a painter even if your budget's tight.

The only trouble is that your usual painting job, whether it's one room of the house or the entire outside, is going to run you more than a couple of bucks. Some people try to get around this by heading to the paint supply shop, picking a few colors that look alright and whatever tools the guy at the shop says are needed, and tackles the job themselves. This is a terrible idea for two reasons:

1. You do not know anything about painting. Or maybe you know a few things about painting, but you're not a professional who can make a house really look good.

2. It's a lot of darn work. Seriously, if you've tried painting a tiny portion of the house, you know that you're going to be sore the next day after you've spent 8 plus hours slathering paint.

It's time to hit the yellow pages or get online and look for a professional painter. But the big question is – How much does a painter cost?

How Painters Decide What To Charge

Painting jobs range in price from the very small to the very, very large. The key to what makes the price is, of course, the amount of work to be done. The walls of a small room are going to cost way less than a full house job. Here is how the cost breaks down:

– Labor. Labor is the largest part of the charge, varying from around 75 to 85 percent of the whole job. It's a lot of work! And, as we mentioned before, a good painter knows how to mix those colors and apply them just right to make it look great.

– Paint. Paint price is figured on a per gallon basis. It's not cheap. Quality is also a big factor. The cheap stuff usually costs 30-40 dollars a gallon, but the good, high quality stuff can run anywhere from 70-100 dollars. Remember, high quality does not just mean that it looks good, but that it'll last a long time.

– Tools and supplies. This is a smaller part of your price, but it's important. They'll charge you for the brushes, rollers, drop clothes and other stuff they use.

So, How Much We Talkin 'Here?

To give you a VERY ROUGH idea, a medium sized room of 12 by 12 feet, including walls and ceiling, could run as much as 100 dollars. For a whole house job, you're looking at anywhere from 2,000-6,000 dollars, and we're talking about a medium-sized house.

However, the only way to get an accurate estimate for the work you need done is to call a painter and have them come out and look. There really is no ballpark way to figure how much it costs otherwise. Decide how much you can spend, and then call a few local painters, have them look and talk it over with them. You'll have some choices, like quality of paint, how many coats and other things that will affect price as well.

A good painter can turn your cracked and peeling house into a beautiful work of art. It may not be cheap, but it's well worth it!

5 Tips on How to Work Out Smartly!

Often you see people starting working out, very eager and motivated. They often start to abruptly and end up having problems and finally quit. Such a shame. You see the same scenarios in gyms. This is why I came up with a few tips to put you on the right track before starting your journey to a better health.

  1. I know how it feels, a new year has started and you're motivated, have many new resolutions, and working out is one of them. But before you decide on starting any type of physical activity, consider going to a specialist first and have yourself checked properly. In doing this you'll have a good idea what kind of sport is suitable for you. As I always say: Prevention is always a lot better option than revalidation!
  2. Do not start to enthusiastic! Do not go out and start working out everyday. Make sure that there's at least one day of rest after an intense day! Always give your body the opportunity to recover from the exercise it sustained. It's good practice and it will keep your far away from overloading your body.
  3. Be patient! Rushing things will lead you to injuries. Start slowly from the beginning and step by step you'll progress to another level. Start with the foundation and after you can start on the building part. And most importantly have a REALISTIC goal.
  4. No pain no gain. I remember this phrase from one of the Rocky movies. Ever heard that sentence? If yes, forget about it! It's totally wrong! Whenever you feel pain, stop what you were doing! If you feel pain, this means that it's already to late and the damage has already ben done. Give your body some time to rest and start over. If it lasts go and see a specialist asap!
  5. Make good decision when choosing your sports gear. There's no point in going for the low-priced and low quality gear. Make sure the gear you buy is properly adapted to your needs. Go to the shop and ask for advice. Do not be shy to ask questions. Some sellers will try to sell you the "good" stuff, but mostly in these specialized shops you'll get someone honest (more or less) and he will advise you according to your needs. This will end up a bit more expensive, but it's a good investment that will prevent you from having problems later on.