How to Plan a Wedding – Get the Wedding of Your Dreams With a Low Budget

Okay so it finally happened. He popped the question and now you have to plan the big event. So how do you start? Where do you go to plan a wedding? What's the first thing you need to do in planning a wedding? Your head is swimming the many details. Hopefully the following information will help you out and cut down on some of the stress.

So first things first, what kind of wedding do you really want? I'm sure as a little girl you always dreamed what your wedding would be like, and now here's your chance. Picture your wedding from beginning to end. Where and when do you want the event to take place? How do you want your wedding? What is the wedding party going to wear? Do you want a full blown dinner or finger foods? Or are you even going to serve food?

Next on the agenda you need to pick a date. Once you have a date in mind, the where and when can easily be decided. Also what everyone is going to wear might also be easier to decide.

Decide and settle on a budget for the event. It needs to be functional and practically but flexible as well. Consider what is included in the budget before writing it in stone. You have rings to order, dresses, tuxedos and a reception.

All of these items are part of planning a wedding.

The next step in planning the wedding is choosing and booking the sites for the wedding and the reception. If the places are very popular you may be required to book a year in advance. Now would also be a good time to meet with the official who will be performing the ceremony and be clear about any restrictions involving the ceremony or the site where it is being held.

Now comes the part where you get to decide who you want in the wedding party and what you want them to wear. Remember it is your wedding it can be as large or as small as you want it. This includes guest as well, get with your betrothed and make out the list together. You want to make sure you get all the relatives from both sides and your friends.

Planning a wedding is very stressful for both of you, remember that when making decisions and tempers get short. If you can not make a decision right then, agree to resume the discussion later once you have calmed down.

Some other things that you will need to take care of are hiring a photographer, florist, baker for the cakes, and possible musicians. You will need to decide on any pre-ceremony parties, the ceremony, and reception and of course the honeymoon. Ordering invitations once everything has been decided is next on the list, and last but not least, check the state requirements for obtaining a marriage license. Make sure you pick it up early enough to take care of any waiting time, but not so early it will not be valid.

Some fun things to do in this stressful time is signing up with wedding registries. Take you fiancé along with you and make decisions on dishes and colors for the house together. He will be living there too!

Get a notebook or a folder and keep everything together. You may also want to keep swatches of material, or examples of invitations or flowers and such in it for future reference. Everything will happen quickly, and this is a good way to stay organized.

Overcoming Firewalls With a Proxy Server

Often, the computer that runs in a corporate setting or university will have limited access to the Internet, thanks to the blocking software installed. However, with a proxy server, you can navigate around this difficulty.

Quite often, the blocking or filtering software that will be used by the company will be the firewall. This usually consist of software (and sometimes hardware too), which purpose is to detect the sites that the computer accesses on the Net. This is done through tracing of the IP address of the user's PC. Aside from tracking though, others will have blocking capabilities built in.

This can make it very, very difficult if not impossible to go to these banned sites without getting caught or causing the system to crash altogether. A proxy server, however, can go around this easily.

There are a lot of these available on the Internet, but the real key to using them is an understanding of just what is going on. In simple terms, the server will cloak the user's computer so that every time a blocked or banned site is accessed, the IP address, which is always requested by the host site and is detected and instead, the IP address of the server is used.

This is how the user evades detection from the filtering software. In other words, the proxy server will act like a filter itself.

All the information, files, pictures, etc that the user views on the banned website will be transmitted through the server, and then rerouted to the user. Even though the process may be complicated, the bottom line is that any trace of the user, from the IP address to cookies, will be removed and deleted.

Without this information, there is no way that the blocking software will know that a banned site has been accessed. The only way is if the software you use has a log. If there is, you should clear it. But most do not use them.

To find a proxy server, one can do a simple search on the Internet. There will be multiple sites shown. As much as possible you will want to pick one that is near your country so that access and connections will be quicker.

Once you have gotten used to this, you may want to check out the various types of software that you can download. These help modification and use of the servers much easier. Even though they may seem a little difficult at first to use, the truth is that it will only take a little bit of getting used to.

There is no reason why you should put up with the hassle of trying to access a blocked site. With the proxy server, you can overcome that firewall and check out your favorite Web pages with ease.

Iron Fist – Clothing and Footwear With Attitude

Iron fist is an innovative and distinctive brand of clothing and footwear. It is was founded by two friends who were both bored with the existing clothing and footwear that was already on the market for skateboarding and action and adventure sports. They thought they could do better than the existing brands already out there in the stores. Brands like the once cutting edge No Fear and Swag had become commercial over time and as they became more popular they just seemed to be getting more commercial. Mike and Travis, the two friends who coincidentally are both from South Africa too, longed for return to the bygone days of punk and skate being closely linked. They wanted clothing and footwear with an attitude, clothes that could make a statement and shout look at me, “I am rebellious”.

They were founded in San Diego, California, initially out of the boot of a car, that’s the trunk if you are American. They quickly gained a small but loyal following and went onto establish Iron Fist as a brand to be reckoned with, a brand that could be associated with street cool and the attitude and style they believed was missing. Within five years, Iron Fist Clothing had expanded from being sold out of the boot of a car by creators Travis Anderson and Mike van Senus to becoming a globally recognised brand with a huge range of individually designed and distinctive products. And despite being a worldwide success Iron Fist has retained it’s connection to the skate and alternative music scenes that led to it’s conception.

From an initial smallscale start up, the brand grew rapidly gained and gained a reputation first in the United States, then Europe and is now an internationally recognised clothing and footwear company with a reputation for edgy and off beat design along with quality construction, demonstrating that the brand is not simply style over substance. This was all achieved within a timespan of eight years, far exceeding the two South African friends initial expectations.

Iron Fist is a favourite brand of celebrities due to the design graphics and offbeat alternative styles. National exposure and publicity in numerous magazines helped to raise the brand’s profile with the Zebracorn and the Zombie Stomper heavily featured in style magazines.

Iron fist heels, flats and bags are rapidly becoming must have items for the glamorous grunge fans out there with shoes sporting such fierce names as the Ruff rider ballerina and the Sugar Witch range. Booze cruise peep toe platform shoes and the Digiskull platform court shoes are two more examples of the outrageous names from the Iron Fist range. The companies own blog describes itself as a brand as both impulsive and raw and states that they never want to be perceived as mainstream regardless of the exposure and success the brand has rapidly achieved. I think Iron Fist will always remain an extremely niche brand though, the two founders are determined to remain true to the original ethos of the brand, founded to make clothing and footwear purely because they wanted to and not really interested whether you buy it or not, it’s your choice, I don’t think the guys at Iron Fist really care.They just make the clothes they want to make.

How to Lay Drainage Pipes

Drainage pipes are used in the system of removing effluent from utilities to the sewer or septic tank. In sewer systems from houses, pipes are laid in between inspection chambers. The system must be able to clean itself without blockage. This is achieved by having the correct gradients. The system uses mostly UPVC tubing. Its important after laying to sufficient test before commissioning the system. This should be done between the inspection chambers.

Drainage pipes should be laid in trenches. The average depth is three hundred to five hundred millimeters. When the system passes below a parking, walkways or driveways, it is encased in concrete. When concluding the work, excavate to the required levels. These should be graduated toward the tanks or sewers. The slope should be in the ratio of one is to four. The trench bottoms are well compacted and rammed. Use pegs to set the levels in the trench bottoms.

Drainage pipes should be laid in a straight line. This should be joined with sockets leading uphill or towards the building. The system should lie on a solid and even ground. A good adhesive for the joints should be used for joining the male and female sockets. Ensure the manufacturers instructions are followed with the adhesive. When connecting to the inspection chambers, the pipe should go into the full wall thickness. Keep devris off the pipes.

The drainage pipes are carefully examined when laying. This is to ensure they are not punctured. Ensure the socket recesses are formed in the foundation. They should also be kept as short as possible. The entry and exit points in an inspection chamber should be level and well graded. The system is then covered with soil after all joints are complete. Connect to the sewer or septic tank. After this connect to the utilities to complete the drain.

What Are The Disadvantages Of Using A Gaming Laptop?

Some people love using laptops but also like playing games. Most know that playing games on standard laptops doesn’t always give that great of performance. Because of this you might have the temptation to go buy a gaming laptop. While it sounds nice to have a laptop that could play high end games on it, you really should consider the disadvantages of these first.

These machines cost some serious money. They aren’t cheap at all. You could purchase a gaming desktop and a very good laptop for the same price as just one gaming laptop. You are really cutting out many options by investing this kind of money in hardware like this.

The weight of it is a huge problem. While you might think it’s portable because it’s a laptop, it really isn’t that portable. It will be too heavy to carry around all day. Additionally, you will need a gaming mouse to go along with it which adds to the weight and makes it more complicated.

The battery life of these machines are fairly worthless since it’s running high power hardware. You will be stuck near a plug if you want to do anything more than an hour of gaming. This really defeats the purpose of using a laptop. Most people purchase laptops so that they can be portable.

There is a huge risk with these laptops. The parts on them tend to go bad quickly. You will have to service the whole computer versus repairing a part or two yourself like on a desktop. This will also up the cost of owning this type of computer over the long haul.

You can’t upgrade that easily. As a gamer you know it’s best to have frequent upgrades. A gaming laptop will become old much faster than a desktop that you can upgrade. Most gaming computer laptops have most of the upgrades already installed when you purchase if you are serious about gaming. This limits future upgrades which would require you to purchase a new model in order to upgrade.

Heat will make it uncomfortable to use and eventually kill your hardware. There is a limited life span with these devices compared to a desktop that can deal with heat better while playing games.

A gaming laptop is something that many want to buy. Find out the disadvantages to this and why you might avoid buying a computer like this. Ask you friends if they think it would be a good investment before you go out and purchase one of these gaming laptops.

When Back Pain Happens

When back pain strikes it may seem sudden in its beginning but the truth is that often the origin may have been accumulating over a period of many years.

My story began on a dairy farm in rural New York State. Chores and grown-up responsibilities became a part of my life at a very young age. Hard work and long days were the realities of life as I knew it. I grow up strong of body and blessed with a resourceful and capable mind.

Little did I know that many of the things I did in those early days were setting me up for back problems down the road. Lifting heavy objects was an everyday activity. Long hours wielding a shovel or pitch fork, pound fence posts or handling hay bales took an unseen toll.

My first indication that my back was not invincible occurred when I was about 13 yrs. old. I had jumped off a rock into our favorite swimming hole at a nearby creek, and stuck the bottom of the creek-bed stiff-legged. By that evening I was hunched over like an 80 yr. old man listing to one side. By the next morning I could hardly move and my mother took me in to see the chiropractor. After several adjustments my health returned and I soon forgot all about it.

Upon graduating from high school I took a job working for a local building contractor and soon began hanging drywall full-time. Holding these heavy sheets of plasterboard over my head at awkward angles added to a steadily growing "back" account. But, I was young … I was strong and did not notice.

From there I moved out west to Montana to fulfill my dreams and soon I was working as a logger. I loved working in the outdoors and welcomed the hard work and the new skills required to wield a chainsaw and fall timber with precision. The strain of using a chainsaw while twisting and bending over was deposited straight into my "back" account … but hey … did I mention I was young and strong and did not notice?

Soon I graduated to heli-logging where powerful helicopters were used to lift and fly the logs to a distant landing where they could be loaded onto trucks. We were the professional athletes of logging … hard, strong and invincible. We worked on the most treacherous terrain, the stuff no one else would or could touch. Ten years of this abuse; the brutal falls, the bangs and bruises, the strain of packing the heavy steel chokers, all took its toll. But, I was still young (although I was starting to feel old) and I was still strong. I cheated death on a daily basis and so far I had gotten the best of it. But, that would change very suddenly.

I never saw the tree that stuck me on the head but the compression that occurred to my spell would haunt me for years. That fateful day changed my life forever.

So was it the mysterious injury or the accumulated effects of years of hard work that contributed to my demise? In all likelihood it was both. A healthy back can take a lot of stress, but that stress can catch up to you. My experience taught me that maintaining a healthy back is far easier than repairing a damaged one. If you find yourself sliding down the slope of accumulated back trauma it is vitally important to take steps now to reverse that slide, before it becomes a life altering experience.

How to Make Your Bedroom Comfortable a Space?

Your bedroom is your haven, an extension of your individuality. Make it sparsely furnished- essentially a quiet, restful space. A wellplanned bedroom effectively spaces space and colors; it can even alter the mood of individuals and rooms.


Initially viewed purely as a source of illumination, this is today an important design accessory. The right lighting sets the ambience and creates the necessary atmosphere. Recessed lighting, especially near the windows at two extremes of the room under pelmets, lends a romantic touch to curtains, creating a dramatic effect. Localized lighting creates little spaces for oneself, highlighting the use of color in the room and ensuring a romantic setting at all times. Avoid tube-lights. They are not just harsh, they also lend an almost dreary and unflattering uniformity to the room.

Use lamps – big, small, wall brackets, lanterns, antique looking pieces (good old Manish market, Lohar Chawl or Heera Panna, starting at Rs. 300 upwards and do test your negotiating skills here) or even convert an artifact, eg. a wooden carving into a trendy wall bracket with a shade to match. Adjustable reading lamps come in various styles and metal finishes to complement the décor.

One suggestion for a soft, dreamy bedroom atmosphere is the use of bedside lamps with a large shade surrounding one in its golden shadows. Floor lamps and concealed spotlights strategically placed just over the dresser or wardrobe are alternatives.


The use of a dimmer serves functional as well as aesthetic considerations. Uplighters in wall mounted fittings serve as beautiful accompaniments to other accessories strewn over the bedroom. They are particularly efficient at lighting art effects or highlighting a cherished nook. Use easy to maintain fittings – it's best to wipe the fittings with a soft dry cloth to prevent dust accumulation. An elegant glass wall bracket creates a spacious effect. Use bright pillows, colors like peach and gray with chandeliers …


Use approved varieties and save your back – coir, or a combination of coir and foam, but definitely go in for branded ones like Kurl-On: costing Rs. 6000 and more, it is worth the investment. Want to splurge on a water bed? Go on, fuel your pleasures …

Curtains and drapes:

One has a varied range to choose from – white lacy, see-through curtains, heavy drapes that keep the sunlight out during harsh afternoon or even your good old organzas in vibrant colors. Heavy layers of drapes help in keeping sounds low and subdued. Fab India, Cotton Décor have a good choice ranging from Rs. 250 and upwards a piece.

Dress it up:

Bed spreads and quilts in sparkling tones and exotic designs. Patchwork, embroidered patterns in shades of blues, greens, stunning combinations of black and gold, satin sheets, cotton sheets or even velvet ones for the royal touch … Explore Spaces – Bombay Dyeing, Zeba and Yamini at leisure.


Most astrologers and space consultants will tell you that a mirror in front of your bed is inauspicious. Here designers have eliminated the need of an individual dresser and incorporated the full length mirror inside the wardrobe.


A necessity to house your personal belongings that you need to access every day, a little pull out trolley to dump used laundry for wash, cabinets for your daily wear like lingerie, towels and personal effects.

Side table and chairs:

A little glass table top, with a couple of cushioned poofies or modas in a cozy corner of your bedroom, preferably facing the blue skies and the greens, could make this an ideal place for your morning Earl Gray cuppa.

Private pictures:

Imagine not smiling to yourself while looking at your wedding or honeymoon pictures or even snaps of your toddler. The nostalgia immediately transports you to happier times and your mood is eased for the night ahead! So, while you may be possessive about not letting everyone visiting your house catch a glimpse of your most intimate pictures, the bedroom becomes the ideal setting to either frame blow ups or place pictures in pretty frames by your bedside.


A little private collection, your favorites pages to get lost in … You could house them on a simple glass bracket on the wall, easily accessible.


Choose between metal cupboards or the built in wooden wardrobe. A young interior designer had inherited metal cupboards from her parents, when she moved to Mumbai. She jazzed them up by painting abstracts in zany, whacky colors and that has become the highlight of her one-bedroom apartment.

Air conditioner or heaters:

It is imperative to maintain the right temperature. Keep filters of ACs clean to avoid dust allergies and service regularly.

Green rule:

It is advisable to keep plants out of your bedroom or transfer them out at least during late evenings. They release carbon-dioxide that our systems can do well without.

Electronics- forget it !:

Research has indicated that it is not healthy to have gadgets like the TV or cell phones around while you are sleeping.

Avoid clutter:

Do not relegate your bedroom into a junk yard, just because it's out of visitor's view. Magazines have to go into a rack, old newspapers have to be rid off, and clothes must never be strewn around. Take care of little things to make your bedroom pleasant.

Color schemes:

Pale colors like beige, pink, mauve, greens put you at peace; whereas the ones on the other extreme of the palette like reds, oranges, yellows, purples energize you. At the end of the day, it is a matter of personal choice of what you prefer.


When homemaker Beena and husband Mathews from Goregaon W, wanted to revamp their master bedroom they approached their interior decorator with a clear cut idea of ​​a simple, warm bedroom. The color would be light blue – Mathew's favorite – a huge bed, wardrobe with built in mirror-dresser, a CD rack, side tables and drawers. At the end of a month's labor, they had their fantasy land ready, all under Rs. 60,000.

Simplistic pleasures:

If nothing else, try the Spartan look – a mattress on the floor, with cotton sheets, fluffy pillows, music, dim lights and give in to life's most basic delight – deep slumber!

Bearded Dragon Care Sheet – 6 Top Tips

This bearded dragon care sheet will hopefully help you better understand and care for your Bearded Dragon

I want to stress the importance of knowing what a bearded dragon needs to be healthy and happy, BEFORE you purchase one!

Healthy Looking Bearded Dragon:

Whether you decide to purchase your bearded dragon from a breeder or pet store there are certain things you must look for before you purchase your beardie.

They should be alert and active. They should be watching you with interest and curiosity. Their eyes should be clear and bright, you shouldn’t be able to see any puss or anything in the eyes.

When looking at their bodies you should look for any sores or infections of any kind, especially if the beardie is housed with other beardies. Male beardies will fight!

Make sure that where ever you purchase your beardie you have a reasonable time frame to return him if you need to. usually 14 days to a month is good, and that you take him to your Vet as soon as you can and have him checked over carefully.

Bearded Dragon Habitat

The bearded dragon needs room to run around, not climb too much. These pets are from Australia and are use to being able to roam free in the desert area. The best enclosure for beardies in my opinion is a glass aquarium. The aquarium should be big enough for them to run back and forth, but not that big they can not catch their crickets.

Beardies 3 to 7 inches can be kept in a 10 gal. aquarium while 7 to 12 in. beardies can be kept in a 20 gal. tank. Beardies over a foot long, which is 12 in., should be kept in a 40 gal. tank.


Make sure you have a Basking Lamp and a UV Bulb. The uv/uvb rays provide vitamin D which helps with the body’s ability to adsorb calcium. The temp should be around 90 degrees and 100 degrees during the day, and during the night the temp shouldn’t go below 70 degrees at all during the night, however if it does your beardie can survive one night if it drops that low then you should invest in a night heating light.

Make sure your beardie has a cool side and a basking side in his tank. Beardies love to bask during the day but you need to keep his food and water on the cool side

The best way to heat a glass aquarium is to use what is called under-the-tank heating pad, you can get one of these at most all pet stores. You do not, I repeat, do not want to use any kind of heating rocks or fixtures in the tank your beardie can reach.


Now this is a very tricky section, why? Because each dragon is different and it seems to depend on your region. I recommend reptile carpet because its easy to clean, its inexpensive, and it comes in variety of colors and sizes.

With young beardies try to use the felt type carpets, other types have loops that their nails will catch and can harm them.

Water Needs

Bearded dragons need access to water all day and all night. Their natural habitat in Australia provides water for them from the dew on the plant leaves and ground. They are use to drinking this way and a lot of beardies do not drink from any type of water dish.

It is important to make sure they are misted regularly with a misting spray bottle. For babies and juveniles mist them daily and also mist their perch and the sides of the glass aquarium. You should put enough mist on their heads until they no longer drink it or run off.

Also, your beardie needs to absorb moisture their the skin pores, so they should be bathed in a tub of water that comes no higher than their elbows for at least 15 to 20 minutes. You should do this daily for babies and juveniles and weekly for adults.

Proper Diet for a Bearded Dragon:

Bearded Dragons are omnivorous, this simply means they eat both meat and vegetables. Now they can not eat just anything, they have a very special diet you must follow to keep them happy and healthy.

The size of their food should no bigger than the space between their eyes, if given too big of food it can cause impaction and other health issues, so be careful on the size of food, any food items, you feed your beardie.

One thing some new owners don’t seem to realize is that baby beardies and juvenile beardies need to eat 2 to 3 times a day! Not just once a day.

The Annoyance of Good Example

Mark Twain once said, “Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example,” and though it seems quite an odd statement on the surface, it’s so very true when we take a closer look. We often hate being caught out by someone else’s stoic example when we could’ve done the very same thing, in fact, we might’ve even thought so. Ah, the itch of regret!

Good examples place heat on situations. They make would-be leaders stand up and take notice, as if these leaders in fact sensed their own inadequacy.

Role models who act according to the strength of their designed role are more of a rarity these days than the norm, so they do stand out. But, then, there are many. We’re all finding ourselves in these roles, and certainly we notice others who act as good examples when they ‘put us to shame,’ so to speak.

The common wisecrack used to be, ‘Nobody likes a smart-aleck.’ And it seems people with good intent are sometimes fashioned as those with bad, certainly in regard to those with a guilty conscience.

But to get back to the original point of Twain’s saying, we know that being a good role model is the way to lead not only others, but also ourselves. For instance, who sees when no one is looking? (Well… we do, of course.)

The good example motivated from without is a good thing, but the good example motivated from within is a great thing, for here we have a welling reservoir of good intent–a self-sustaining spring that promises to go on everlasting.

And this model of “modelhood” not only goes on, it flourishes in many directions. Surely there are few better things than being a good role model. Not only for others, but for ourselves also, this is a model for growth and life.

© S. J. Wickham, 2009.

The Super Falcons of Nigeria FIFA World Cup Performance

In the history of the FIFA Women World Cup only Four countries have dominated the competition-China, Norway, Sweden, USA and Denmark. The Super Falcons of Nigeria have attended all previous FIFA tournaments since 1991. At the 1991 FIFA Women World Cup held in China, Nigeria lost their first first round matches, conceding seven goals without scoring. They were hammered by Germany 4-0, Italy 1-0 and Chinese Taipei 2-0. At the 1995 edition, the team managed only a 3-3 tie with Canada, but still ended up at the bottom of their group with just one point, after being humiliated by Norway 8-0 and falling to England 3-2 in their final group match.

Their best show yet in the FIFA Global fiesta was in 1999 in USA, where they got to the quarterfinals, under the tutelage of Coach Ismaila Mabo. The Super Falcons defeated DPR Korea 2-1 and Denmark 2-0 at that tournament, The Super Falcons became the only country in Africa to reach the quarter-final stage of the Women World Cup and unluckily lost to Brazil via a Sissi's golden goal. It was a historic game of two halves, with Brazil scoring all three goals in the first half and Nigeria replacing in the second half. The Super Falcons were at the verge of qualifying for the semis, when Brazil knocked them out on a golden goal rule.

In 2003, the Female National team turned out to be the biggest disappointment of the first round, failing to score a single goal and losing all three Group matches. The Super Falcons lost 3-0 to DPR DPR, 5-0 to the USA and 3-0 to Sweden. In the 2007 edition, the Golden Girls from Nigeria once again qualified to represent Africa at the FIFA Women world cup for the fifth time running along the Black Queens of Ghana. Nigeria coach Effiom Ntiero was so sure of his girls, that he told a newspaper: "I believe the 2007 World Cup is going to be good to us". The opposite proved to be the case, as the Super Falcons were once again booted out in the first round without a win to show for it. In a group made up of Sweden, USA and Asian top female team Korea DPR, they were unable to win a single match. They were held to a 1-1 draw by Sweden, beaten 2-0 by DPR DPR and sent packing with a narrow 1-0 loss to USA in their final group match.

Concrete Paint Facts

Concrete floors are ubiquitous around most homes. You will find them in garages, basements, and even the ground floor level of many houses. For years, most people thought the only way to deal with a concrete floor was to leave it a dull gray or to apply asphalt tiles. This is no longer the case as there are many more options now available. One of the best looking choices is to apply a concrete paint product which will seal the floor, add color, and can also increase safety by the application of an anti-slip medium.

If you are contemplating using a concrete paint then there are several things you need to know. The first is that there is a difference between interior and exterior paints. For example, one of the best indoor paints is epoxy based. It seals the floor and also adds a very nice coating which accepts the anti-slip material readily. The problem is, epoxy can not be used out of doors because it tends to degrade when exposed to the UV rays of the sun. This is even true if the rays are just shining through the window. This is something to be aware of because you really do not want to spend all that time and effort applying a floor paint which will just peel up in a few months or years.

If you are looking for a long lasting exterior paint then you should check out an acrylic. These take a little more effort than the epoxy type but they do not have a problem with sun light. Both types of paint require the same prep work in that the floor must be absolutely clean of any dirt, grime, and other contamination. This includes oil stains which are often times found in the garage or driveway. If you do not get these stains completely removed from the surface, no paint is going to stick very well.

Where more work comes in with an acrylic is the fact that a primer must be used. With an epoxy this is not the case, you just mix up the resin and hardener and then roll it on like any other paint. The acrylic, though, requires a good primer in order to get an adhesive bond with the concrete surface.

Another option, if you are painting an area with low traffic levels indoors, such as a basement, is a water based latex. These are extremely easy to work with, are easy to clean up, and are the least expensive. The problem is they do not hold up well to heavy foot traffic or even light vehicular traffic.

If you have an ugly, gray concrete floor then a floor paint may be just what you need. Use the information above to choose the correct one for the job so you will be happy with the results for years to come.

Replacing RV Water Pumps; Do it Yourself ShurFlo Remove and Installation

Water is one of the most important things for human life and when you are touring the country in a Recreational Vehicle you must consider that you will need water. Usually water is delivered when hooked up in an RV park by a garden hose into your coach. When you are dry camping you have a fresh water storage tank on board and you use that instead.

Of course then you must have a water pump usually usually electric in most all RVs to get the water to your shower and faucets. Unfortunately, these little temperamental devices, electric water pumps, do not last forever.

Some think it is planned obsolescence and sometimes some of that does go into the quality of the manufacturing considered in their designs, but the facts are that there will come a time that you need to replace your in-electric electric water pump.

The most common pumps for RVs are the Shurflo models, which put out low volumes of water to help you not burn through your water supply too fast. Replacing your water pump should not be too difficult and I recommend doing this yourself.

Water pumps seem to last about 1.5 years before needing replacement and they are relatively simple to install. I recommend installing a new one when you RV fresh water storage tanks are empty to help prevent dynamic pressure from flooding your work area during the removal and installation process.

Your new Shurflo pump will run you about $ 70.00 retail and has installation instructions. As you pull the wires off the old unit tape them to one side or the other so you can remember which came off where and match them to the corresponding places when you install the new one.

Remove wires first and put them on the new one last. Take the outlet hose off second and the inlet hose off the old unit last. Upon installation install the inlet hose first then the outlet fittings, make sure they are not leaking and then install the wires and test the system. Good luck on your install.

Management by Quality

I attended the WCBF Six Sigma Summit in Chicago. The overriding theme from the conference from presentations by Forrest Breyfogle, Thomas Pyzdek and Peter Pande was that American business leaders need Management By Quality to avoid the kinds of economic disasters we’ve seen lately. Management schools and MBAs were all skewered on the facts of their failure.

Each speaker issued a challenge to the quality community to elevate Lean Six Sigma methods and tools to better manage American business.

Social Responsibility

When asked the primary reason for the existence of business, the audience answer was to “maximize shareholder value.” Unfortunately, this alone can lead to all kinds of idiotic economic behavior. This single-minded focus leaves out several major stakeholders:




Without satisfied customers there can be no shareholder value. Without satisfied employees there can be no satisfied customers. Without satisfied employees, customers and shareholders, society suffers.

At every conference lately, I’ve heard the term “Social Responsibility” bandied about as the solution to our mess. I’d like to suggest that rather than focus on maximizing shareholder value, businesses need a new definition of success:

Optimize customer, employee, shareholder and societal value.

This implies a balancing of competing requirements. Does Quality Function Deployment (QFD) come to mind? It should.

Changing the Course of the Titanic

While saying leaders should use Management by Quality sounds good, it’s about as likely as the moon reversing its orbit. Consider how much unlearning would be required to make room for MBQ. Consider all of the leaders and managers that have succeeded by gut-feel, trial-and-error and common sense. They aren’t going to suddenly switch to a completely new management method without a significant reason to do so. An economic crisis isn’t going to do it. We have to think of a better way.

LSS Isn’t Blameless

The Quality community is not without blame. As most speakers noted, Lean Six Sigma has become a project-oriented methodology with little or no focus on the long-term evolution of businesses and management. Peter Pande also pointed out that narrow focus on process can prevent a company from seeing opportunities. We have become too narrowly focused on improvement projects. We need to think bigger.

Stealth Conversion

Let’s face it, most quality practitioners aren’t in a position to convert leaders to Management by Quality. We aren’t part of the “C” club. But there are a couple of “stealth” way’s to go about it.

1.The July-August 2009 Harvard Business Review (pgs. 90-91) has an article: Shareholders First? Not So Fast… by Jeffrey Pfeffer which argues against “shareholder capitalism” in favor of “stakeholder capitalism” (i.e., “customers, employees, suppliers shareholders and the culture at large”). This is the kind of article quality professionals can highlight and send to their leadership team to start shifting the business toward Management by Quality. The HBR can tell leaders things that quality professionals cannot.

2.When I worked in the phone company IT department, we had several legacy information systems that were growing too cumbersome and expensive to maintain. Several attempts were made to rewrite these monoliths at an expense of hundreds of millions of dollars. Unfortunately, systems that have been around for two decades have too much embedded wisdom; it was impossible for any team to get their mind around all of the requirements. And, the business was changing (cell phones, fiber optics, cable, etc.). In the time it would take to rewrite the system, the business would have changed too much for the new system to work.

I was responsible for maintaining several smaller legacy systems. I used a different approach. Whenever I went into a program or module to make a change, I would edit or rewrite the code to optimize future maintainability. Little by little, line by line, I bought these dinosaurs more time and saved several from extinction.

I’d like to suggest that we can do the same with quality.

Shortcut to Management by Quality

Anyone who thinks they can institute a whole new way of running a business is probably crazy. There are too many forces holding the old one in place. Remember re-engineering? Far too many efforts crashed and burned, almost taking companies down with them.

I’d like to suggest that every Lean Six Sigma project can achieve its project goals and add a little dose of MBQ. Maybe the control phase initiates a dashboard of management metrics to help managers keep a finger on the pulse of operations. Maybe a dash of systems thinking that links up cross functional work. Maybe add a pull system with some one piece flow.

Little by little, project by project, Lean Six Sigma can add MBQ to any business system and straighten out the value stream. With every project LSS can steer a business away from the icebergs in its path and stealthily convert managers and leaders to a new system of management.

Chaos theory says that a butterfly flapping its wings in Brazil can raise a tornado in Texas. I’d like to invite you to be the butterfly’s wings.

Teaching Management by Quality

I had an interesting discussion with Forrest Breyfogle who has created his Integrated Enterprise Excellence system for management. Forrest is a statistician to the marrow of his bones. He’d like every manager and leader to have his level of understanding of variation. Heck, I’d like to have his understanding of variation, but we disagree on how to get managers to that level of understanding.

If you imagine an S-curve of statistical thinking:

While it might be fantastic if every manager or leader (or employee for that matter) could suddenly arrive at statistician-level understanding, it’s unrealistic to expect it. If, however, we borrow the perspective of marketers who use this curve to invite people to join at whatever level they are comfortable and then lead them up along the curve, I believe we can succeed without alienating anyone.

It’s a covert, stealthy approach to shifting the business management system.

Here’s My Point

Weave the methods and tools of Lean Six Sigma into the fabric of business operations with every project you do. Little by little, employees, managers and leaders will learn the methods and tools of Management by Quality. Little by little, the business will shift to a more robust way of measuring and delivering quality on-time and under budget…which will delight customers which will delight shareholders which will deliver value to society.

I wish we could just flip a switch to change cultures and management systems, but it’s just not that likely to succeed. Instead, we should be like the waves that come back again and again, wearing down the rocks that stand in our way.

Pick Your Deck Railing Designs for Elegance and Safety

Deck railings are beautiful, elegant additions to your home, but their primary purpose is protection. Anyone on the deck
is protected against falling off the deck because the railing creates a safety barrier for them. A deck railing is a
necessary item on a deck. If a deck is built, and a railing is not included, it will be unsafe, and probably even be a violation of building codes. You are setting yourself up for a legal suit if you do not have a deck railing, especially if your local code calls for one. Bad enough that you created a dangerous situation, but if you did it against the law, you are really going to be sued. It is foolish to take such a risk, it is easier to just build the railing. You may want to build a railing that is lower than the height required by the code, but this is against the law.

The building codes for decks and railings differ from municipality to municipality, but most of them are in agreement that if
you have a deck that is more than three feet above the ground, you require a deck railing to prevent people from falling off.
A wall, built out of brick, cement, wood or even PVC is probably acceptable, but not usually the preferred solution. A wall
is more expensive to build and will block the view completely. For the fraction of the amount of weight on the deck, you can
have a railing which affords just as much protection as a wall.

There are many choices available for deck railings. Even though the primary purpose of a railing is safety, it can be used to
add a great deal of elegance and beauty to your home. You can even incorporated color in to the railing to make it more
interesting. Choices for railing materials are wood, PVC and aluminum. You can even combine all three, but this is unusual.

Certain requirements must usually be met when constructing railroads. The height of the railing is very important. Every
building code will most certainly indicate the heights railings should be, and this code should be followed. Most building
codes will require a height of at least 30 inches. Construction requirements of railings will also be stipulated by the
code. Posts should be placed at certain minimum intervals. The post spacing required may depend upon the material you are using for the railing. The code in your town may have different spacing based on how strong the materials are. Deck trains have a bottom rail, a top rail, and verticals (posts and verticals). Verticals will always have to be spaced so that a child will not be able to slip through the railing. A bottom rail adds extra design to the rail and keeps costs down since verticals do not have to be attached to the deck. Top rails can be single or double. If a double rail is used, they are usually about 6 inches apart; double railings give extra strength to your railing.

How Does a CD Player Work?

Today there is a wide range of CD players available for the consumer and choosing the right CD player can feel like an arduous task. Style, quality, design och technical solutions vary greatly between the different players. Some players are portable; others are included in larger sound systems. Some players can only handle one disc at the time; others can easily skip between 50 discs or more. Some CD players are very cheap, others are highly expensive. The list goes on and on. Regardless of which CD player you choose it will however consist of three basic parts that are found in all moderns CD players: a drive motor, a tracking device and a laser and lens system. Another thing that all CD players have in common is that they interpret data that has been stored in the form of elongated bumps on a CD (compact disc).

The drive motor in your CD player is the part that makes the disc spin round and round at a correct pace. The drive motor will gradually adjust the speed, since the correct pace depends on which part of the disc that is currently being interpreted. At some spots, the pace will be no higher than 200 rpm, while at other spots the pace needs to be increased up to 500 rpm. As the disc is rotated round and round by the drive motor, the tracking mechanism will adjust the laser assembly and make it possible for the laser and lens system to focus on the minuscule bumps where data has been stored. The laser is constantly being pushed from the center and outward over the disc by the tracking mechanism.

The data interpreted by the laser and lens system has been stored in the form of elongated bumps on the surface of the CD. One single bump is very small and no wider than 0.5 microns. The height is greater than 125 nanometres and the length is 0.83 microns or slightly more. All these bumps are very neatly organized at the surface of the CD in the form of a 5 kilometer (3.5 miles) long spiral.

The CD itself is made up by several different layers, including a polycarbonate layer and an aluminum layer. When the laser tries to interpret data that has been stored on the CD, it will first penetrate the polycarbonate layer. The aluminum layer will then reflect the laser beam, and the light alterations will be detected by a special optoelectronic mechanism in the CD player. Since the bumps in which data has been stored reflectors light in a different way compared to the areas between the bumps (commonly referred to as "lands"), the CD player can determine exactly which parts of the disc that is made up by bumps and which parts that are not.

If a CD is scratched or injured in any other way, it can be impossible for the CD player to interpret it. Sometimes only a minor part of the data will be skipped, but larger damages can render the entire CD useless. Always store your CD's in a protective casing to decrease the risk of scratches. When you clean your CD's, carefully move your hand from the center and outwards to the edge rather than just swabbing around. Scratches that occurs from a radial movement tend to be less damaging than other scratches.