Best Way to Heal Hemorrhoids

The best way to heal hemorrhoids is to heal it at the earliest possible time, when the slightest or when the initial signs of hemorrhoids are visible. If hemorrhoids are healed early then, lots of pain and agony can be averted. The hemorrhoids can be prevented progressing into the next stage. The best way to heal hemorrhoids is through foods and natural products.

There are several best ways to treat hemorrhoids. Some of them are discussed below:-

o Drink plenty of water. Drink minimum 8 glasses of water per day. Consumption of water acts like a stool softener.

o Apply ice to the anal opening or to the affected area. This will decrease the blood flow to the area and will numb the thrombosed hemorrhoid.

o Avoid exercising too hard as lifting heavy weights and cycling can worsen your hemorrhoids. Perform exercises like swimming, aerobics or yoga where the sensitive muscles get some rest.

o Increase intake of Dietary Fiber to heal hemorrhoids. Lack of fiber in the diet can give rise to hard stools and to constipation. Rich sources of fiber are Peanut butter, delicious legumes, fresh vegetables, fruits, etc.

o Suppositories, Gels and creams can be used to reduce the swelling and the pain of hemorrhoids.

o Soak the affected part in warm water. This is the best way to heal hemorrhoids. Fill the tub with water and sit in it for about 10 or 15 minutes. You can add a cup of Epsom salt to the water but consult your physician before doing so. Sitz bath should be repeated thrice daily.

o Carrot and spinach juice, apple juice, and celery juice help in healing hemorrhoids.

o Starch content, sugar content foods, chilly or spicy foods should be avoided to heal hemorrhoids.

o Vitamins offer effective results to heal hemorrhoids. Vitamin E 4000 IU should be taken three times a day. It helps in dilating the thrombosed hemorrhoids so that the blood can flow through easily.

o Fruits like banana, apple, and straw berry help to treat hemorrhoids.

o Herbs such as green tea, calendula, etc.

o Drink buttermilk after food which helps to cool the body.

o Drinking white radish juice or applying paste of white radish in anus, coriander juice, cumin seeds paste alleviates pain.

o Bioflavonoids have a direct impact over the circulatory system health, and on hemorrhoids.

o Surgery in extreme cases helps to treat hemorrhoids.

o In some cases minimal invasive procedures like rubber band ligation, cryotherapy, laser therapy and Sclerotherapy are indicated.

The above mentioned tips, if used in time, work effectively to heal hemorrhoids. But in case the hemorrhoids fail to heal completely or return back within a few days then, you must consult a physician urgently.

5 Ways to Get Rid of Pet Hair in Your Home

Our dogs and cats can bring smiles to our faces and joy to our hearts, but those little fur balls also leave hair all over our households. Pet hair is a real nuisance. It’s big enough so that your neighbors can see it on your couch, yet too small to pick up with just your hands. It collects not only on our fabric furniture and carpets, but our clothing as well. In addition, pet hair can often cause allergic reactions not only in humans but surprisingly in pets as well. Let’s face it, pet hair is not an easy thing to clean, but these five tips should help keep life a little less hairy.

Use Lint Roller. While you should try to keep your pet off of your furniture and out of your closet, the lint roller can be a very effective tool for removing hair from those attracting surfaces. Simply grab the handle and roll the adhesive surface up, down and across any item. The sticky surface grabs each strand and when you’re done, you just peel off the old piece and a new one is there under it ready for use. Also, mainly used for big pieces of furniture like couches and chairs, sticky sheets are extremely effective for hair removal. Sticky Sheet act like the lint roller except it’s larger and more adhesive. It is made up of a large transparent piece of plastic with a sticky surface on one side. You apply the sheet with your hand on the desired surface and then peel away. One sheet should be able to de-hair all of the furniture in your living room. Keep in mind furniture is only half the battle.

Vacuum Often. Our rugs are where our cats and dogs spend must of their time so, maintaining their cleanliness is not always the easiest task. A vacuum is a necessity when it comes to owning a pet, but you can’t just own it; you have to use it all the time. I know it sounds tedious, but it’s completely necessary in maintaining rugs, drapes and furniture. We recommend to all our Denver house cleaning clients to get small vacuums with detachable handles, which would allow you to get into all the nooks and crannies.

Brush Your Pets Regularly. Brushing your cats and dogs everyday, outside removes dead, unwanted hair and gets rid of tangles and decreases the amount of hair that ends up in your house in the first place.

Wash Your Carpet. Giving your cat or dog a bath twice a week will greatly decrease you’re the amount of hair around the house. Similar to brushing, shampooing and scrubbing your pets coat will get rid of dead hair and moisturize the skin making the follicles stronger. Try Anti-Allergen Solution. This shampoo will not only decrease shedding but, it will clear up dander for your allergic friends.

Hire a professional cleaning service. This could be the first step in the process if the pet hair problem is out of control, hiring a professional crew will give you a head start on controlling the hair problem in the long run.

How to Make Mini Cake Towel Slices

Towel cake slices are an easy DIY favor for weddings and bridal showers. They are a unique way to add flare to your event. They can be made in any color you like to match your wedding theme which allows them to stand out when placed next to a plate in a seated dinner, or stacked on a gift table.

Things You’ll Need:

  • Cardboard
  • Scissors
  • Small towel
  • Safety pins
  • Ribbon
  • Gift boxes or bags
  • Toppers and fillers (candles, soap, candy, etc.)
  • Optional:
  • Hot glue
  • Fabric glue

Step 1

Create a template. With a ruler and pencil, draw onto the cardboard a triangle with a 6 inch base and two 3 ½ inch sides that will form the top of the cake slice. At both sides and the base, draw two-inch thick rectangles that will fold down to serve as the sides of the slice.

Step 2

Place the templates together to form the top and bottom, and then tape all the sides together, except one.

Step 3

Pour your choice of filler into the cardboard slice. Once you have filled the slice, tape the final side together.

Step 4

Place the towel in front of you, and place the top of the cardboard slice on the towel. Make sure the tip of the slice meets the centre of one of the edges on the towel.

Step 5

Fold each side of the towel up and over to the bottom side, starting with the two towel sides that meet the slice tip. If there is excess, fold back to the center, and pin it in place. Pin the towel as flat as possible.

Step 6

Turn the slice over and wrap the ribbon from the back of the slice around until it meets again. Pin, glue or tape the ribbon together. If using fabric or hot glue to attach the ribbon, glue only the ribbon ends and not the towel.

Step 7

Place your finished cake slice in a clear or open-top box, or a gift bag. Add your toppers by placing them on top or around your cake slice. Stack your slices on top of each other on a small table so your guests can grab one on their way in or out. This will add beauty to your event, especially if the cake slices are in your party’s theme colors.

Resources: eHow: Cake Slice.

The Virtual Reality Rise?

Virtual reality, the idealised next step in both gaming and simulations. With the rise of Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Sony’s Project Morpheus and the recent OnePlus Cardboard virtual reality is beginning to find a place in the consumer household, rather than with only arcades and technology enthusiasts.

The question is, and will be whether virtual reality is here to stay and how will it affect the current gaming market. TMR, a market intelligence company has released a report estimating that the United States virtual reality market was worth US $466.6 million in 2012. With anticipated growth to reach US $5.8 billion dollars by 2019.

Such massive market potential is likely the driving force behind the broad range of companies jumping on the VR scene. Everyone from Sony to Valve are currently developing or have released early products, such a range of heavy hitting gaming companies is a sign that virtual reality has a place. Whilst this anticipated growth is impressive, it remains to be seen if this new technology will be purely a passing fad or a long-term gaming option.

According to this report the constant increase in technology, such as 3D effects and motion tracking are pushing the rise of virtual reality. Whilst increasing disposable incomes are letting more and more households give this new technology a try. On the flip-side the cost of these technologies, demonstrated by Valve stating that their HTC Vive is aimed at the high-end consumer is expected to harm growth and widespread adoption.

The worldwide spread of VR is obviously concentrated within North America and Europe, with both representing 69% of the revenue share. Though surprisingly Asia is slated as the region of highest potential due to the growing online involvement and presence of Sony, who have easy to Asia for their Project Morpheus.

This single report highlights that VR has huge potential, both for the companies producing them and the consumers. Yet ultimately it will depend on the content that will be available for these machines and the cost of them. At the current time an average consumer will not spend the equivalent of an Xbox One or PlayStation 4 for a machine that offers only a limited range of games. Though if games such as the “Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes” demonstrate anything, it is that the right sort of game style can work seamlessly with headset VR. We look forward to the day that Call of Duty can be played on a virtual reality machine, or maybe that wouldn’t be such a good idea.

Woodworking With Oak – Tips to Help You Out

Oak is among the most beautiful woods for all kinds of woodworking projects. It's known for being hard, durable, and when finished properly, it can look amazing! However, if you have not heard it yet, woodworking with oak can be a royal pain.

Fear not! If you're really up to the challenge, there are a few things you can do to help give you the results you want with minimal effort.

Types of Oak:

There's a lot of difference among oak species. For example, European oak's usually of a higher grade than the American variety that even churches and boats since the olden days have primarily used it. English oak has always been known to be durable and beautiful; nowdays, varying strengths along the species is readily available. American oak on the other hand, does not always have the best notes. In some cases however, the American white oak is favored over the red oak because the latter tends to shrink since it has open grains which make it porous. In contrast, white oak has tighter grains and is almost resistant to water.

Woodworking with Oak:

Now that you've learned a bit about the differences among the varieties, the first rule is remembering that when working with this kind of wood, you need to have a lot of patience. Oak requires more of finesse than just relying on brute strength. To give you a better idea, when you're routing the edge of the wood, rather than going through its entire profile in a single pass, it's actually better to cut it in two or even do three passes. Because of its training, oak easily chips or splits when you're routing its edges and you'll end up removing unnecessary chunks of the material rather than a few tiny chips. This result may oftentimes be frustrating.

The second tip if you're working with oak is always ensuring that all of your tools are very sharp. Since oak's a hardwood, it can easily dull tools more often than other materials so, always ensuring that your woodworking tools have been finely sharpened each time you work with oak.

Oak also has a record for being sensitive to burning so as to keeping all of your woodworking tools at their sharpest, have operating tools like the router bit modified at the appropriate speed to prevent this problem.

Finishing Oak:

Most woodworkers prefer to have a minimal finish to fully show off the oak's character. Anyone who'd opt for the minimalist approach should also consider taking time in sanding. You should use fine-scratched sandwich and do progressive work to prevent getting sanding lines. As for the shellac, it's commonly used to seal the oak. In most cases, you can apply the shellac after oil staining to seal its color better. Once you've done this, you can just cover up visible blemishes with the help of a grain filler paste, to be followed by the gel stain. The final touch you can do when woodworking with oak is usually an application of a few polyurethane coats to perfect the look.

A Potted History of Rainscreen Cladding

Norway is the place where rainscreen cladding had its birth. It was not a scientific breakthrough, however, but more a gradual discovery that happened centuries ago in a largely intuitive way. Norwegian builders, probably through trial and error, found a way to utilise drained and back-ventilated cladding with joints that were both closed and open.

The first buildings to have this type of cladding were large barns. This is why they called it “the open-jointed barn technique.” The timber cladding had closed joints with opening at the top and at the bottom of the timber to allow for water drainage, and also for the evaporation of any rain moisture that managed to penetrate inside.

Scientific research of the underlying principles of a rainscreen didn’t start until as late as the 1940s. It was quickly recognised that the principles involved in rainscreen cladding was vastly superior to anything else in use at the time. That still holds true today.

The early research concluded that it is unwise to allow walls made of brick or cement to be exposed to rain over a long period of time without having anything to prevent the porous nature of the materials from absorbing water in a way that is similar to blotting paper.

The idea of fitting an outer screen wall to porous brick and cement walls that could repel rainwater was adopted. It was also easy to make this screen aesthetically pleasing at the same time. Just because its primary purpose is to serve as a rainscreen, there is no reason why it can’t look good too.

The outer screen also needs to have strength qualities and it needs to have an acceptably low cost. The design also needs to be such that it can, through proper ventilation, remove any water vapour that finds its way into the space between the wall and the cladding.

The Alcoa building in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania was one of the first very large buildings to utilise modern rainscreen cladding. The 30-story building was built with large baffled aluminium panels. The baffling provided resistance to penetration from water and the ventilation to dry and water moisture was provided in the airspace between the cladding and the main wall.

In the early 1960s the Norwegian Building Research Institute published the idea of equalising the air pressure between the screen and the wall with the air pressure on the outside. This has the effect of preventing water penetrating into the wall. The rainscreen prevents the actual wall becoming excessively wet.

The terms “rainscreen principle” and “open rainscreen” were first used in 1963 by the National Research Council of Canada. Research continued through the 1960s and 1970s with refinements being made principally in Canada and in Europe.

By the 1980s the principles of rainscreen cladding was well understood. Its use has proliferated, especially in Europe, and experimentation with various different materials is ongoing. Today, the potential problems that may arise through the effects of global warming is now being taken into consideration in building techniques and industry standards regarding rainscreen systems.

Places in Sacramento to Rent an Apartment With a Broken Lease

Sacramento is the capital of California, and the city boasts a rich history and culture, being home to a diverse population. In a way, the city is one of the most racially diverse and because of its political bearing, continues to attract businesses and people throughout the year. This has made it the operating headquarters to many large companies and organizations. The city also affords a very hospitable climate and as such is a great place to live. Sacramento has many apartment homes that cater to almost any housing need. But renting an apartment in Sacramento can be problematic if you have a previous broken lease. This is because many apartment do rental background checks where they check for the applicant previous rental record. If one has a blemish on their record, they may be denied approval. An option is to look for places in Sacramento where there are second chance apartments willing to rent to people with a broken lease. Let us examine some of these:

Here are some neighborhoods in Sacramento where one can be able to find an apartment that approves even with a prior broken agreement with another apartment:

  • Tahoe Park
  • Curtis Park
  • Land Park
  • Oak Park
  • Ben Ali
  • Robia
  • Boulevard Park

Apartments that are willing to work with problem applicants in Sacramento are called second chance apartments. These are rental units and real estate management companies that are willing to consider tenants who have had issues in the past. It is however, good to note that even though this is the case, certain requirements will still need to be met:

  • One must demonstrate that they have a job
  • The applicant must earn enough to satisfy the rent requirements
  • A criminal background check may be conducted

The challenge

Even though these second chance apartments do exist, they are difficult to find. This is because they do not readily advertise that they are willing to consider applicants with tainted rental pasts and because of that, one can become very frustrated when it comes to searching for them.

One place to search is off course the Internet. The realm of second chance apartments in Sacramento is not very wide and there are very few websites that give information as to the exact location of these types of apartments. Furthermore, many applicants are weary of renting apartments in crime-ridden parts of town therefore they exercise caution when searching.

Do you have a broken lease and are looking for an apartment in Sacramento that will consider you?

Waipi’o Valley on the Hamakua Coast – Perhaps the Most Beautiful Place on Hawaii’s Big Island

Waipi’o Valley is arguably the most magical place on the Big Island. Hawai’ian myths hold that the fastness of Waipi’o Valley is guarded by Night Marchers, legendary ghosts of Kamehameha’ long-dead armies, and that the impossibly steep, incredibly beautiful valley was excavated by a bragging warrior using his club to demonstrate his strength. While the geologic explanation is more prosaic and certainly much less colorful, that doesn’t detract from Waipi’o Valley’s charm and allure. Always listed among the most beautiful spots in the State of Hawai’i, this valley is as hauntingly lovely as it is distressingly difficult to see in its entirety.

The steep canyon walls and verdant fields of the valley floor, the mile long black sand beach and numerous immense waterfalls that line the valley walls all call out to the visitor for exploration, but this can prove challenging.

There is a four-wheel drive jeep road down into the valley but you really (and I mean REALLY) do not want to drive it, even in a four-wheel drive vehicle. The road is constantly steep (25% grade!!!), poorly paved, always narrow and winding, unbelievably hazardous and tricky, deceitful and populated by local drivers who really do not want you on their road. Really. Tours down into the valley in vans, on horse drawn wagons and ATVs can be booked in the town of Honoka’a. Over-flights in fixed wing aircraft and helicopters also offer fine venues from which to see this amazing piece of Hawai’i.

Perhaps the most satisfying way to see Waipi’o Valley, however, is the way the ancient Hawai’ians did, by walking forthrightly down into it and then creeping, wheezily, back out. However, if you attempt this hike, don’t be deceived by the numbers. The hike may entail less than a thousand foot elevation loss (and subsequent gain to climb out) and fewer than 2 miles actual walking, but it feels much longer; it is hard, hot, dry, steep and, oh yes, did we mention hard? Really, really hard; no one who is not in very good physical condition should attempt this hike-better to pay for the van tour or flight. But the views and the photographs to be had by making this difficult hike are well worth the price of sweat and time. The hike down into the valley takes about ½ an hour. Allow twice that again for exploration of the valley floor and beach and at least an hour to walk back up. Be ever vigilant when walking on the road; local drivers will not deign to give you right of way and tourist drivers are notoriously at the very edge of losing control.

If you do go down into the valley, no fresh drinking water is available, so take lots. When you hit the valley floor, the road to your right (toward the ocean) goes to the beach and a spectacular 300 foot waterfall. Here, you may wander through tamarisk and fir copses along the black sand beach, bathe in the waterfall or hike across the ridge into the next valley. Be forewarned, swimming and surfing here are for experts only, due to the strong currents and big waves. Do not attempt to hike past the headland cliffs into adjacent vallies-it may seem passable, even tempting, but it is in fact impossible and extremely dangerous.

At the intersection at the foot of the valley, the road through the jungle tunnel to your left crosses private property; you should have permission to drive or walk here. Down this road, toward the back of the canyon are numerous, enormous, crazy waterfalls and scenery like you will see no where else on earth. Waipi’o Valley is truly a magical place.

Below the Observation Platform, there are no services available in Waipi’o Valley. Hiking and camping are permitted in the valley by permit only; there is one small bed and breakfast establishment, but it is generally booked many months in advance.

Natural and Human History: To the geologist, Waipi’o, Pololu and the other northern Hawaiian vallies provide exquisite evidence of the extremely ephemeral nature of the islands in the Hawai’ian Archipelago. Lava flows at the top of Waipi’o Valley which are cut by the stream are fewer than half a million years old, indicating the whole valley has formed since then. 

Early in the history of Pololu, Waipi’o, and the vallies in between, rift vents that formed along the flanks of Kohala Volcano evolved into major faults; relative movements up and down these faults caused large blocks of rocks between faults to be relatively down-dropped forming what geologists call “grabens”, or flat-bottomed vallies.   Streams poured off the relatively uplifted blocks into these grabens causing erosion which further lowered the floors of these grabens with secondary, steeply sided stream cuts. At some point between 450,000 and 150,000 years ago, a huge section of the north side of Kohala Volcano became detached and slid into the sea, forming the steep cliffs we see today on the north side of the island. The formation of the grabens, their subsequent incisement by streams and the truncation of the northern portion of Kohala Volcano by enormous landslides accounts for most of the landscape we see in these vallies today, but the questions arises: “why are the valley floors so wide and flat instead of the narrow, steeply-sided valley one would normally expect a small stream to carve”?

Although the streams continue to erode down into the floor of these canyons there are two more geologic processes at work on the formation of the Waipi’o Valley landscape. Remember that due to their own enormous weight, all the Hawai’ian Islands are slowly sinking-or “subsiding”–into the hot, plastic rocks below the earth’s crust. This subsidence causes the bottom of the canyon to be continually sinking below sea level, and thus filling up with sediment. Secondly, the mouth of Waipi’o Valley acts as a funnel for tsunamis, causing them to back up into the valley and drop enormous quantity of sediment, also filling the valley. In fact, during the tsunami of 1946, the ocean flooded Waipi’o to 40 feet deep and half a mile inland! The infilling of the valley by these two processes accounts for why the valley bottom is so broad and flat, rather than the narrow, steeply sided valley we might expect here.

The human history of Waipi’o Valley is every bit as interesting as its geologic history. Waipi’o was considered a place of great mana (power) and was densely cultivated in pre-contact times. It was a favored place for the ruling Ali’i to meet and many chiefs who had lands and homes elsewhere on the island maintained royal homes in Waipi’o Valley. It is estimated by some historians that at the time Captain Cook arrived as many as a hundred thousand native Hawai’ians inhabited Waipi’o and the region surrounding it. Waipi’o has been continuously inhabited in excess of fifty generations; native Hawai’ians believe the power of their ancestors’ spirits infuses the land today with mana and honua–power and peace.

King Kamehameha the Great was brought here for safety as an infant. It was interpreted by many when he was born that the Baby Kamehameha was the fulfillment of ancient prophecies which bespoke the coming of a great king, one who would overthrow all other kings and unite the islands. This notion did not sit well with many ruling families and did not fit their agendas or ideas about who should lead the people of Hawai’i. Fearing for his life, young Kamehameha’s mother fled to the safety of relatives living in Waipi’o, hiding with the infant in the jungle when royalty sent warriors out to hunt him down.

The tsunami of 1946 pretty much cleared out the inhabitants of Waipi’o and it was more or less abandoned until the 1960s when counter-culture types and native subsistence groups started to move back in. Today, the population of Waipi’o Valley is a colorful oddment of farmers, artists, surf bums, recluses, hermits, dreamers and others, whose only point of common interest is to make sure that everybody else stays the heck out of Waipi’o Valley.

Forces and Trends in Business

The corporate environment is characterized by a number of variables: competition, dynamism, turbulence, complexity and change. All organizations must develop ability to continuously and consciously transform themselves and their contexts. Such contexts include restructuring for optimum effectiveness, reengineering key processes and streamlining functions that are able to provide a source of competitive advantage. The aim is to adapt, regenerate and most important, survive. (McLean, 2006).

For a company to thrive today, strategists must find ways to increase the organization’s ability to read and react to industry and market changes. They must know their goal to boost the company’s strategic flexibility by recognizing disruptions earlier and responding faster.

Strategic flexibility or adaptability can be defined as the organization’s capacity to identify major changes in its external environments, quickly commit resources to new courses of action in response to such changes, and to recognize and act promptly when it is time to halt or reverse existing resource commitments. Being adaptable means leaders must not get stuck in a too-rigid way of looking at the world. The organization must view change as an inevitable and essential part of an organization’s growth, in order to achieve this adaptability.

When there is uncertainty or unpredictability in the environment, managers tend to focus almost all their energy on successfully executing the current strategy. What they also should be doing is preparing for an unknown future. Flexibility stems from the ability to learn; managers tend to overlook the negative and emphasize the positive. They need to understand not only what led to the positive outcomes but also what led to the negative ones. This will optimize their learning experience. According to Ford (2004) four points to foster and maintain adaptability include challenging complacency, giving all employees a voice, encouraging participative work and driving fear out of your group.

The companies chosen for this task vary by industry: a famous automobile manufacturer (Ford) a bank going through a merger (Compass) and a start-up software company (DawningStreams). Ford and Compass have been in business for a long time; it is likely they have changed their strategic plan based on changing forces and trends. DawningStreams is new (established in 2005 and incorporated in 2007). Even though they have not had their first sale and have no staff, the owners have devised several iterations of their strategy.

There is a diversity of stakeholders all that are interested in the activity of business organizations. Emphasis must be placed on their adaptability in strategic analysis and their adaptability in strategic management of business organizations. The organization must have a strategic management model.

Each company might scan the same areas, but for different reasons. Considering technological advances, Ford would prepare itself to lead the market by having various electronic equipment in their vehicles, as well as robotic equipment with which to build them and the supply chain technology to keep all in check. Compass Bank is going through a merge and expanding globally; therefore they will need to keep abreast of communication technology. DawningStreams is a software company; they will need to monitor those companies who would be their competition to ensure their product offers better functionality. All three companies would make sure potential customers would be able to get good information from internet websites and advertisement, which encompasses yet another area of technology the organizations may need/want to scan. In this instance, many members of the organization must be enrolled: upper management and finance, who will determine budgetary factors; the IT department, who will be responsible for the implementation and maintenance of some of the technology; the staff who must be trained to use the technology; a sales force who will sell the technology.

To the outside observer, it may seem unnecessary for any but Ford to scan the (actual) environment when it comes to issues such as emission control, fuel efficiency and hybrid cars. That is true however; Compass Bank and DawningStreams can plan a strategy to be friendlier to the environment (and their pocketbooks) by practicing paper reduction (through the aforementioned technology). Lastly, DawningStreams’ product may be useful as a file sharing service to environmental groups.

With regard to the legal environment, all three must be acutely aware of laws, which affect their respective industry among others. To Ford, legal applies, among other areas, to environmental protection laws and department of transportation safety laws. To Compass Bank, they would abide by the rules of the Federal Reserve ( and the Federal Insurance and Deposit Corporation ( DawningStreams must follow laws as they pertain to the transfer of files, which have intellectual property and also the export of products, which have algorithms. All three companies are global and will need to monitor those laws in other countries, which could effect the strategic planning.

At one company after another–from Sears to IBM to Hewlett-Packard to Searle, strategy is again a major focus in the quest for higher revenues and profits. With help from a new generation of business strategists, companies are pursuing novel ways to hatch new products, expand existing businesses, and create the markets of tomorrow. Some companies are even recreating full-fledged strategic-planning groups. United Parcel Service expects to spin out a new strategy group from its marketing department, where strategic plans are now hatched. Explains Chairman Kent C. Nelson: “Because we’re making bigger bets on investments in technology, we can’t afford to spend a whole lot of money in one direction and then find out five years later it was the wrong direction.”

In such a world we need a planning model that allows us to anticipate the future and to use this anticipation in conjunction with an analysis of our organization–its culture, mission, strengths and weaknesses–to define strategic issues, to chart our direction by developing strategic vision and plans, to define how we will implement these plans and to specify how we will evaluate how well we are implementing these plans. The fact that the world is changing as we move forward in the future demands that the process be an iterative one.

Ford Motor Company – Socio-cultural

Ford Motor Company embraces the socio-cultural changes taking place to allow the company to move in the right direction with respect to attitudes in the society. Two areas that stand out in terms of socio-cultural attitudes would be that of fuel economy and smaller cars. The growing concern by the public for better fuel economy has influenced the company’s introduction of the Ford Escape Hybrid and Mercury Mariner Hybrid. The organization is committed to the hybrid to improve fuel economy as a global strategy to meet customer demands. The increased demand in society for such environmentalism has assisted in the decision for Ford Motor Company to look forward to adding the hybrid feature to the Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan and continue in such a strategic planning direction.

The customers that use these vehicles get a substantial break on their insurance in many states and a tax credit as well while enjoying the increased mileage of a vehicle that runs on gasoline and capabilities for 100 percent electric power. The environmental scanning by Ford Motor Company has allowed the company to be knowledgeable of the fact that the people in the United States are buying more small cars today than any other type of vehicle segment. The lifestyles changes have been monitored and there is good data that shows that such a trend will continue in this direction and the expected growth in this segment will continue. The company has redesigned the inside and outside of the Ford Focus to set the car apart from the competitors in the small car segment while increasing upgrades and features to experience positive outcomes. The direction that the company is taking is based on a competitive advantage and being a leader in the industry. The vehicle line has both a sedan and a coupe to attract targeted markets including younger buyers at an entry level to build upon brand loyalty and customer retention. Ford Motor Company will continue to use the socio-cultural factors to drive the business and enjoy future success.

Ford Motor Company – Legal –

Ford Motor Company with regard to the Environmental Protection Agency adheres to the legal aspect of environmental scanning. Ford Motor Company accepted an award in March 2007 from the Environmental Protection Agency called the Energy Star 2007 Partner of the Year Award in Energy Management. The company is the first automaker to have ever been awarded the award two years in a row. The award has come to be presented due to the commitment made by the company to increase energy efficiency and to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions from all of the facilities in the company.

The organization is committed to the responsible use of resources and energy efficiency. The leadership realizes that the environmental protection laws are of great importance and use the environmental scanning to move in the right direction to obtain future success in the company. In 2006 alone the company has improved the energy efficiency in the United States operations by five percent and saving approximately $25 million with enough energy saved to equal 220,000 homes. The effective energy management protects the environment and reduces the greenhouse emissions. Some of the actions taken by the company include replacing lighting fixtures that use 40 percent less energy and using different low-energy, long-lasting compact fluorescent lamps in the properties to include the plants, corporate offices, distribution centers, and research and development campuses. Due to the environmental scanning that takes place at Ford Motor Company the company will use the information that is collected and continue in this direction. New projects for the company include Fumes-to-Fuel that is a system that converts paint fumes into electricity that is being performed with Detroit Edison along with attempting to consolidate the application of primer, base and clearcoat paint applications into a single application to eliminate the need for separate applications and ovens. In addition to the paint booth emissions Ford Motor Company will continue to rely on alternative energy sources such as landfill gas and wind and solar technologies to power their manufacturing facilities.

Ford Motor Company – Technology –

Another environmental scanning tool that Ford Motor Company monitors and uses would be the technological portion. The company has invested $1 billion in the latest technology for flexible manufacturing. The technology that is involved is in many forms to include wireless technology that is installed on the delivery trucks with supplies to the plant as a monitoring status and improved efficiency to reduce inventory. The flexibility of products in the same plant allows the organization to use the same machinery and process for all areas from body assembly, paint facility, and final assembly. The improved efficiency at the manufacturing facility allows for several vehicle platforms to be built on the same line to produce multiple models and quickly change the vehicle mix, the volume, and options based on customer demand.

The technological changes that are being embraced by Ford Motor Company through environmental scanning enables the company to experience huge cost savings through new product launches and 50 percent reductions in cycle changeovers along with waste reduction. Robots are among the technological changes that are being experienced within the organization to include the 400 from the project that are used to weld and assemble the metal body of the vehicle for stamping and assembly. Artificial intelligence in the form of advanced visions systems and laser tracking systems are used to ensure quality through accuracy and dimension abilities. A multi-million dollar training facility is used to ensure that the workforce has the knowledge, skills, and ability to reap the benefits from the new technology that is being used by the company. The training that is administered includes the new servo-electric weld gun system that identifies the perfect center for welding that has replaced the older and loud air-powered system that used a less sophisticated spring system. The environmental scanning of technology that is performed by Ford Motor Company has allowed the company to have positive outcomes in efficiency while remaining a competitive company in the industry through cost savings and continuous improvement.

Compass Bank- Political –

On February 16, 2007, Compass Bancshares, Inc., the parent company of Compass Bank, announced the signing of a definitive agreement under which Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria, S.A. (NYSE: BBV Madrid: BBVA) (“BBVA”) will acquire Compass for a combination of cash and stock. Compass will become a wholly owned U.S. subsidiary of BBVA and will continue to operate under the Compass name. The transaction is expected to close during the second half of 2007, pending customary closing conditions, including necessary bank regulatory approvals in the U.S. and Spain and the approval of the stockholders of both Compass and BBVA.

BBVA, which operates in 35 countries, is based in Spain and has substantial banking interests in the Americas. The transaction will facilitate BBVA’s continued growth in Texas and will create the largest regional bank across the Sunbelt. Upon completion of the transaction, Compass will rank among the top 25 banks in the United States with approximately $47 billion in total assets, $32 billion in total loans and $33 billion in total deposits. In addition, the combined company will rank fourth in deposit market share in Texas with $19.6 billion in total deposits and 326 full-service banking offices.

Compass is a $34 billion Southwestern financial holding company that operates 415 full-service banking centers in Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, New Mexico and Texas. Compass provides a broad array of products and services through three primary lines of business – Corporate Banking, Retail Banking and Wealth Management. Compass is among the top 30 U.S. bank holding companies by asset size and ranks among the top earners of its size based on return on equity.

Under the terms of the definitive agreement, which has been approved by the board of directors of Compass and the relevant bodies of BBVA, Compass will become a wholly owned subsidiary of BBVA. After closing, BBVA intends to merge its U.S. based banking affiliates – including the former operations of Texas Regional Bancshares, State National Bancshares and Laredo National Bancshares – with Compass.

The aggregate consideration is composed of a fixed number of approximately 196 million shares of BBVA common stock and approximately $4.6 billion in cash. The merger is subject to customary closing conditions, including necessary bank regulatory approvals in the U.S. and Spain and the approval of the stockholders of both Compass and BBVA. The transaction is expected to close in the second half of 2007.

The merger between both companies will be determined by the political factors ranging from implications of laws and regulations to the state of world politics including the consideration of wars which may be going on in different parts of the world. New laws, regulations, tax programs and public policy create forces and trends, which may provide challenges and barriers or opportunities for any company or organization.

Compass Bank – Technology –

Ford is in the process of implementing a laser marking system on its production line to ensure the highest standard on each transmission assembled. The system will be checking for quality on different points on the assembly line. Ford is teaming up with a company called MECCO to implement this process and a trial run of the new system will last for 3 months. MECCO is a leader in its industry when it comes to laser technology. The decision to implement this new laser marking system came because it is more cost- effective and safer than previous ways of marking checkpoints for quality.

Although this process at Ford has not officially been implemented yet, Compass Bank can learn a few different things. It may be a good idea for Compass Bank to do a short trial of online cell phone banking to see how popular it becomes and if it worth all the time and effort, being spent to get it launched. Compass Bank should also consider investing into a company who is the best at what they do, is in the same time zone, and can meet their demands in a timely manner, not simply because they may be cheaper. Finally, Compass Bank can learn that they need to consider what will be most cost-effective and in the best interest of the company over time. Organizing a time line and a list of costs and potential risks would also be beneficial to Compass Bank so they know what to expect and when with the implementation of online cell phone banking.

When completing the global scan one looks for emerging new technologies which may impact any business in any industry. At one time the emergence of the Internet was a technology that was becoming an emerging trend across all industries. Today very new technologies are used to develop information systems at a fraction of the cost and time of processes that were used five years ago. Wireless is a telecommunications technology that may have moved from a trend to a force in revolutionizing the way information is stored, accessed and used across all industries around the world. Some, if leveraged by a company within an industry before competitors use it, may even provide a competitive advantage.

Compass Bank – Competition –

Although mergers may be costly and rather difficult, the value it creates in the end is the desired outcome companies seek. The eagerness to merge is based on several beliefs, those beliefs are, that the performance gains are greater, expenses are reduced, market power is increased, and shareholder’s wealth is also greater than before. The value of a merger is enhanced when the overall benefit is more valuable than the aggregate of two separate pre-merger companies.

In the end, both John and Bernard should consider this before finalizing a decision. When Zion’s purchased Stockmans, there overall value increased by 43 branches. These branches will help performance and brings much more power to the financial market. In the Journal of Money article, Pilloff states “Companies are more willing to acquire others to avoid being acquired themselves.” Keeping this in mind, companies must figure out a cross border strategy.

As part of the broad environmental scan, it is important to identify the internal capabilities of the organization. There are various models for defining capabilities. Most focus on the broad set of intangible assets such as brand, human capital, organizational capital and even relationship capital. Others include the more concrete assets such as available capital, the organization structure, current technologies and information technology infrastructure. In addition to doing a broad environmental trend, Compass Bank needs to do a more detailed capability assessment using any of the models available.

DawningStreams – Competitors –

Business activities are becoming more and more complex to manage, because of distance, time zones, number of parties involved in projects, number of tasks to achieve, multiple prioritizations, lack of general synchronization, insufficient secure and confidential communication channels and growing complexity of IT infrastructures. The use of task list managers has become very common. It is becoming more difficult to keep teams synchronized, to follow and to implement new business processes and to exchange sensitive information confidentially. The DawningStreams software application is aiming at increasing the practicality of daily executive activities. The types of business, which will most probably be interested in our product, are construction (size of network), consulting (need for synchronization), pharmaceutical research (secure exchange of information) and the software industry (complexity of manufacturing).

Many companies have already developed software applications that enable secured communications and file sharing. However, most, if not all, are relying on Microsoft technologies, which prevent them from expanding to Mac or Unix users. DawningStreams is developed in Java, which can be used on any platform, including Mac and Unix. Microsoft has acquired the Groove Company and has released a new version of the product, which can perform many of the functionalities of DawningStreams, but not generic activities ( This is our closest competitor by far. More recently, we found, merely by accident, a company called Shinkuro (, which offers the file sharing aspects of DawningStreams but lacks other capacities.

Although DawningStreams will face competition from many existing players, the fact that it will combine a super-set of functionalities in one application, for a very reasonable price, will give it some leading edge over other competitors. If the US patent is granted, the position of DawningStreams will become a niche. Even if the patent were not granted, it would take a profound architectural redesign of Groove (or other competitors) to include generic activities and match the offer of DawningStreams. As a strategy we will monitor the activities of those companies’ websites and understand what they offer in terms of similar functionality and try to ensure we match or best those functionalities to the best of our ability and resources

DawningStreams – Political –

Maintaining the secrecy of information is the fundamental function of encryption items. Persons abroad may use such items to harm US law enforcement efforts, as well as US foreign policy and national security interests. The US Government has a critical interest in ensuring that persons opposed to the United States are not able to conceal hostile or criminal activities, and that the legitimate needs for protecting important and sensitive information of the public and private sectors are met. Since 2000, US encryption export policy has been directed by three fundamental practices: technical review of encryption products prior to sale, streamlined post-export reporting, and license reviews of proposed transactions involving strong encryption to certain foreign government end-users and countries of concern. US encryption policy also seeks to ensure that American companies are not disadvantaged by the European Union’s “license-free zone.” (Bureau of Industry and Security, 2007).

DawningStreams will contain cryptographic functions. Any reliable and efficient cryptographic system requires a central authority to avoid identity theft. Cryptography is a key functionality of DawningStreams. All specialists insist on designing systems using well-studied algorithms and fully tested protocols; novelty is considered a source of risk. The cryptographic layer of DawningStreams will rely on a dual public-private key system. The private key encryption system will implement Rijndael, the Advanced Encryption Standard (, the public key system will implement RSA ( and the hashing function will implement the 256 bits version of the Secure Hash Algorithm ( ).

Encryption products can be used to conceal the communications of terrorists, drug smugglers, and others intent on harming U.S. interests. Cryptographic products and software also have military and intelligence applications that, in the hands of hostile nations, could pose a threat to U.S. national security. The national security, foreign policy, and law enforcement interests of the United States are protected by encryption export controls. These controls are consistent with Executive Order (E.O.) 13026, which was issued on November 15, 1996, and the Presidential Memorandum of the same date. (Bureau of Industry and Security, 2007).

DawningStreams also plans to be an international company, as offices now exist in the Netherlands and the US. As part of the strategy, we will ensure we remain compliant by registering our product with any necessary agency and allowing those agencies access to the processes if they feel there is a threat. We will be responsible to monitor (as best as we can) our client base and to put the proper verbiage in our contracts that illegal activities will not be tolerated. We will continue to monitor the BIS site mentioned in previous paragraphs and also sites in the European Union such as the Crypto Law website of legal expert Bert-Jaap Koops (

DawningStreams – Technology/Intellectual Property –

The management of organizational strategy requires a comprehensive assessment of the macro environment of the business. Intellectual Property (IP) refers to the original ideas and innovations evolved by an organization in order to haul up its systems and processes. Creation of ideas requires large investments. This necessitates the protection of IP. Benchmarking is the continuous process of measuring products, processes, and systems of an organization against those that are rated best in the industry. It helps in uncovering weaknesses and flaws in the organizational systems, processes, and products. (Watson, 2003)

The study of the global research conducted by McAfee Inc. and MessageLabs Ltd. on security threat in small businesses in the U.S. reveals that 80 percent of small-and-medium-sized businesses (SMB) believe that an information technology (IT) security failure would be damaging in attaining their business priorities. Yet, only few are courageously making steps to fight against infringements due to resource limitations from other business related priorities. The research implies that company size plays an essential part in the way senior management views security. Among the challenges that SMBs face include keeping up-to-date with security solutions and keeping costs low. Small-to-medium businesses’ behavior towards security is very tactical and meets only immediate requirements. (unknown, 2007)

DawningStreams’ relevance to these forces is two-fold. We are a software company—there is an opportunity for us to lose the intellectual property by those who would download and attempt to modify the code. We have competitors who offer functionality similar to ours, however we offer an additional functionality the others do not. It is this ‘specialty functionality’ for which we applied for a patent the United States Patent and Trademark Office. If the patent is granted, there is less likelihood of software piracy or the loss of our IP. Environmental scans should show us if there are other companies trying to do this.

The functionality, which most resembles our competitors’, is the ability to share files. That brings in a different concern with intellectual property- the possibility someone else’s IP could be sent from one of our users to another, as this could seriously damage our reputation, as what happened with Napster. (


At one company after another–from Sears to IBM to Hewlett-Packard to Searle, strategy is again a major focus in the quest for higher revenues and profits. With help from a new generation of business strategists, companies are pursuing novel ways to hatch new products, expand existing businesses, and create the markets of tomorrow. Some companies are even recreating full-fledged strategic-planning groups. United Parcel Service expects to spin out a new strategy group from its marketing department, where strategic plans are now hatched. Explains Chairman Kent C. Nelson: “Because we’re making bigger bets on investments in technology, we can’t afford to spend a whole lot of money in one direction and then find out five years later it was the wrong direction.”

In such a world we need a planning model that allows us to anticipate the future and to use this anticipation in conjunction with an analysis of our organization–its culture, mission, strengths and weaknesses–to define strategic issues, to chart our direction by developing strategic vision and plans, to define how we will implement these plans and to specify how we will evaluate how well we are implementing these plans. The fact that the world is changing as we move forward in the future demands that the process be an iterative one.


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Investor Relations. Retrieved from the Internet on March 31, 2007 at

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from the World Wide Web, Web Site: []

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Press. Retrieved March 31, 2007 from EBSCOHost Database.

Hockenberry, Todd. (2006). Ford implements advanced laser marking. Industrial Laser Solutions, 21(4), 6-7. Retrieved March 31, 2007, from EBSCOhost database

Jacobs, P. (2005) Five Steps to Thriving in times of Uncertainty. Negotiation (p.3) Retrieved

April 1, 2007 from EBSCOHost Database.

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54. Retrieved March 30, 2007 from EBSCOHost Database.

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Author Unknown, Strategic Planning, After a decade of gritty downsizing, Big Thinkers are back in corporate vogue. (2006) Retrieved from the Internet at

Unknown (2007) 80% of Small-to-Medium Sized Firms Fear a Security Threat. Computer Security Update 8 (4). Retrieved March 30, 2007 from EBSCOHost Database.

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in corporate vogue. Retrieved from the Internet at

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Watson, G. (2003) Business Environmental Scans for Intellectual Property Strategy (PowerPoint Presentation). Retrieved March 28, 2007 from the Oklahoma State University website at,1,Business Environmental Scans for Intellectual Property Strategy

Shakespeare’s Sonnet XVIII, Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer’s Day?

Shakespeare’s sonnets require time and effort to appreciate. Understanding the numerous meanings of the lines, the crisply made references, the brilliance of the images, and the complexity of the sound, rhythm and structure of the verse demands attention and experience. The rewards are plentiful as few writers have ever approached the richness of Shakespeare’s prose and poetry.

“Sonnet XVIII” is also known as, “Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer’s Day?” It was written around 1599 and published with over 150 other sonnets in 1609 by Thomas Thorpe.

The first 126 sonnets are written to a youth, a boy, probably about 19, and perhaps specifically, William Herbert, Earl of Pembroke. His initials, W.H., appear in Thorpe’s dedication, and the first volume of Shakespeare’s plays, published by two of his fellow actors, Herminge and Condell, after Shakespeare’s death, was dedicated to William Herbert.

“Sonnet XVIII” is one of the most famous of all of Shakespeare’s sonnets. It is written in the sonnet style that Shakespeare preferred, 14 lines long with three quatrains (four rhymed lines) and a couplet (a pair of rhymed lines).

The Sonnet praises the youth’s beauty and disposition, comparing and contrasting the youth to a summer day. Then the sonnet immortalizes the youth through the “eternal lines” of the sonnet.

First Quatrain

The first line announces the comparison of the youth with a summer day. But the second line says that the youth is more perfect than a summer day. “More temperate” can be interpreted as more gentle. A summer day can have excesses such as rough winds. In Shakespeare’s time May was considered a summer month, a reference in the third line. The fourth line contains the metaphor that summer holds a lease on the year, but the lease is of a short duration.

Second Quatrain

This quatrain details how the summer can be imperfect, traits that the youth does not possess. The fifth line personifies the sun as “the eye of heaven” which is sometimes too scorchingly hot. On the other hand, “his gold complexion,” the face of the sun, can be dimmed by overcast and clouds. According to line 7, all beautiful things (fair means beautiful) sometimes decline from their state of beauty or perfection by chance accidents or by natural events. “Untrimmed” in line 8 means a lack of decoration and perhaps refers to every beauty from line 7.

Third Quatrain

This quatrain explains that the youth will possess eternal beauty and perfection. In line 10 “ow’st” is short for ownest, meaning possess. In other words, the youth “shall not lose any of your beauty.” Line 11 says that death will not conquer life and may refer to the shades of classical literature (Virgil’s Aeneid) who wander helplessly in the underworld. In line 12 “eternal lines” refers to the undying lines of the sonnet. Shakespeare realized that the sonnet is able to achieve an eternal status, and that one could be immortalized within it.

The Final Couplet

The couplet is easy to interpret. For as long as humans live and breathe on earth with eyes that can see, this is how long these verses will live. And these verses celebrate the youth and continually renew the youth’s life.

“Shall I Compare Thee” is one of the most often quoted sonnets of Shakespeare. It is complex, yet elegant and memorable, and can be quoted by men and women alike. It has been enjoyed by all generations since Shakespeare and will continue to be enjoyed “so long as men can breathe, or eyes can see.”

Sonnet XVIII, Shall I Compare Thee?

By William Shakespeare

Shall I compare thee to a Summer’s day?

Thou are more lovely and more temperate:

Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,

And Summer’s lease hath all too short a date:

Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,

And often is his gold complexion dimm’d;

And every fair from fair sometime declines,

By chance or nature’s changing course untrimm’d:

But thy eternal Summer shall not fade

Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st;

Nor shall Death brag thou wander’st in his shade,

When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st:

So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,

So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

RJ45 Connectors

RJ45 being a standard type of connector for networking cables is widely used in Local Area and Wide Area Networking.

RJ45 stands for Registered Jack 45. RJ45 broadly refers to RJ45 connector, RJ45 cable and RJ45 port. A RJ45 Connector is an eight-wire connector used to connect computers in a Local Area Network (LAN) via Ethernets. RJ45 originally used in telephone cables was a 8P2C (8 position 2 conductor) modular connector whose pin 5 connects to tip and pin 4 connects to the ring. Computer RJ45 is an 8P8C (8 position 8 conductor) connector with all conductors present. Today RJ45 is used almost exclusively to refer to Ethernet type computer connectors. In general all 8P8C connectors are also referred to as RJ45 connectors.

RJ45 cables fall into three main types namely a) straight-through, b) crossover and c) rolled. The colored wires are in the same sequence at both ends of the straight-through cable. In crossover cable the first (far left) and the second colored wires at one end of the cable are the third and fourth colored wires at the other end of the cable while the third and fourth colored wires at one end are the first and second in the other end. The colored wires at one end of the cable are in the reverse sequence of the colored wires at the other end of the cable in the rolled type. The most common RJ45 connector uses four of the 8P8C wires for Ethernet communications. Pins 1 and 2 are the transmit pair while pins 3 and 6 are the receive pair.

The Ethernet port resembles a wider looking regular telephone jack. The cable and the RJ45 data port support communication at speeds up to 1 Giga bits per second (GBps) (one thousand million bits per second). In addition to Ethernet, RJ45 cable is used for WAN connections. Faster serial communications also employ modular 8P8C. Six of the eight connectors are used in certain Integrated Services Digital Network. Augmented RJ45 (referred as ARJ45) to be used with a modified RJ45 port has been designed for high speed communications (10GBps).

The benefits of using RJ45 / Ethernet connections are the high speed data throughput reaching up to Gigabit/s levels over long distances. The other competing LAN standards like Token ring, Token Bus, etc., suffer degradation as when new nodes come into LAN. With a locking boot RJ45 plug connector remains free of any inadvertent disconnection taking place.

Are Your Loan Officers Employees or Independent Contractors

Many mortgage lenders/brokers treat their loan officers (who are their salespersons) as independent contractors. Those loan officers are paid on a commission based on the successful funding of a loan. The mortgage lenders/brokers pay the loan officers either as each transaction closes or on a periodic basis. The amount paid to the loan officer contains no deduction for federal, state or local taxes. Frequently, the loan officer does not receive any benefits, such as company-paid health insurance or paid sick or vacation time. At the end of each year, the mortgage lenders/brokers issue IRS Form 1099s to their loan officers.

As a mortgage lender/broker, you cannot classify whether your loan officers are independent contractors or employees. That task has been given to the Internal Revenue Service, the U.S. Department of Labor, your state unemployment insurance agency, your state department of labor and your state workers compensation insurance agency. Although each agency has its own guidelines, typically the determination turns on the degree of control that the mortgage lender/broker exercises and the degree of independence that the loan officer enjoys. When the mortgage lender/broker has the right to dictate what will be done and how it will be done, then the loan officer is an employee. The government agencies look at facts concerning the behavioral control of the loan officer, the financial control of the loan officer and the relationship between the mortgage lender/broker and the loan officer. The Internal Revenue Service has a 20 factor test to determine whether an employer/employee relationship exists. Such factors include whether the loan officer has to comply with instructions, gets training from the mortgage lender/broker, works exclusively for the mortgage lender/broker, whether the loan officer can independently hire assistants, whether the loan officer has set hours of work, whether there is a continuing relationship, and whether regular reports must be given to a supervisor. The IRS seems to have a bias towards finding an employer-employee relationship. Even if the mortgage lender/broker has a written agreement with the loan officer classifying him/her as an independent contractor, that is not binding on any federal or state agency.

If you have been treating your loan officers as independent contractors, when in reality, they pass the 20 factor test as employees, what are the ramifications? If the Internal Revenue Service or Department of Labor find you have misclassified employees, they will require you to pay back withholding taxes plus interest, or they can assess fines that can bankrupt a company, or even file criminal charges against the owners. Once the IRS has come in, other federal and state agencies follow right behind them and assess their fines and penalties as well. If there is anything left, the loan officer can sue for unemployment compensation, retirement benefits, profit sharing, vacation pay, disability or any other benefit that he/she would have received as an employee. Many mortgage companies have gone out of business because they treated many of their loan officers as independent contractors and did not comply with wage-and-hour laws

How does the Internal Revenue Service or Department of Labor find out about you? Usually, a dismissed loan officer will file for unemployment benefits or a disgruntled loan officer will make a telephone call to the agency. And the agency will always follow up.

You should also be aware that the agency that approved your lender/broker license considers the loan officers to be employees because you have responsibility for their actions. Although some states do not require that the loan officers be W-2 employees, they will not care how you classify the loan officer who is in regulatory hot water. The Banking Departments are concerned that your company supervises the people operating under the auspices of your license. This requires that you supervise the activities of your loan officers regardless of whether you pay them as employees or as independent contractors. After all, you are responsible for any violations of the mortgage lender/broker law, rules and policies committed by anyone, including a loan originator, operating under your license. Therefore, it’s in your best interests to supervise them.

This Article is designed to be of general interest. The specific information discussed may not apply to you. Before acting on any matter contained herein, you should consult with your personal legal and accounting adviser.

How to Makeover Your Boat on a Budget – A Look at Custom Cushion Covers and Other Tips

Changing a boat’s interior and exterior appeal can take time, effort, and resources; however, by including cushion covers and slipcovers in one’s revitalization effort, individuals can make this undertaking quick, easy, and economical. An individual’s creative side can be explored with a variety of fabrics and colors. Why buy new furniture or hire expensive interior designers when the task can exhibit one’s own personality and save money at the same time? More importantly, perhaps the extra savings could be used to entertain family and friends in the unique environment that has been designed.

Ideal Alternatives For Corrosive Environments

Let’s face the inevitable: boat cabin interiors suffer from the same corrosive elements as deck furniture does. It must endure bone-chilling cold, water damage, salt deposits, and mold and mildew incursions. Aside from natural elements, interiors are also subject to heavy usage by the people who enjoy it. This type of environment demands durable fabrics that can withstand even the toughest of circumstances. Cushion covers are a perfect alternative to buying new furniture or having furniture without any cushions at all. One of the best fabrics for maritime environments is marine grade faux leather vinyl. It is durable, water repellent, and cleans easily with glass cleaner. Not only is it ideal for cabins, but it can also add a unique ambience that is all your own. Leather-look fabric comes in a variety of colors that range from biscuit to brown to forest green, all of which will surely complement the harsh yet beautiful ocean and lake environments.

The advantages to having custom cushion covers do not end with physical and aesthetic appeal. These alternatives are also made to fit your existing cushions. Available in wedge, t-cushion, rectangle, square, trapezoid, and diamond shapes; cushion covers allow one to redecorate without having to purchase anything else. They come with concealed zippers and are professionally sewn by experienced staff members who work with the dimensions you provide to ensure a perfect fit for each cushion. All of this adds up to a beautiful cabin interior that you have chosen without the associated costs of redecorating. It just doesn’t get better than that.

Slipcovers For Nautical Tastes

Nautical environments used to be designed with white and blue stripes, anchors, and heavy rope motifs. This is no longer the case. Individuals are free to choose alternative patterns that still fit into their social settings yet allow them to express themselves. When redecorating a boat, slipcovers are an inexpensive technique for people to stay current yet create a style that is unique to their personality. Slipcovers are made to the measurements provided, much the same as the cushion covers are, yet have a versatility that is their own.

For marine deck environments, there are two basic requirements in slipcovers; they must be durable due to the corrosive element they reside in, and they must be water resistant. All other prerogatives are left up to an individual’s taste. Faux leather vinyl offers an inexpensive authentic leather look; however, all-weather fabric offers another dimension for adding color to the deck of a boat. It is constructed from extremely durable material, which makes it great for high traffic areas. The water-repellant duck fabric enables it to be cleaned in a washing machine. Added to these benefits is the wide array of pattern choices. Perhaps your tastes run in a more tropical vein. There are varieties that bring the warmth and elegance of Hawaiian style to any environment. The pattern consists of a rich dark chocolate background with a variety of tropical leaves infused with spring buds of teal, turquoise, fern green, lime green, and lemon chiffon. Perhaps you are more interested in a lighter hue. There are patterns displaying a multitude of wild orchids in shades of pink, yellow, and mauve.

Creating A Unique Marine Experience

Refurbishing one’s boat does not need to be exasperating or expensive. All one needs to do is find their unique style, choose their colors and patterns, and provide the measurements to a quality provider for the slipcovers and cushion covers. The manufacturer does the rest. By including custom cushion covers and slipcovers along with new carpet, draperies, and boating decals, boating enthusiasts can express their personalities without the hassle and expense of a large boat renovation. Creating a unique marine experience with cushion covers and slipcovers is an ideal alternative to buying expensive new furniture. They are made of durable, water-repellent materials that will give the proud owner years of enjoyment and beauty.

Debt Collection – A Look Inside Collection Training

As if the mass mailings and multiple calls weren’t enough to drive you to drink, collectors are also obtaining free online tips on how to better bang out calls to bring in your bucks. Learn what collectors are being coached on to better their efforts against consumers with accounts in collections. Read through these training tips collectors are using to manipulate or trap you into making a payment over the phone.

1. Be Prepared: Write down a list of common excuses debtors make and prepare your rebuttals to combat the debtors excuses. Exchange other ideas with co-workers and then categorize the possible excuses and incorporate them into your call script. It’s also wise to have handy: Exact amount of debt owed, Terms of sale, Product/service purchased, Payment due date.

2. Think Positive: Develop a positive mental state before jumping on the phone. Act as if every call is your first call on a great day. Wear a smile, it helps with tone. Be positive and maintain control of the call. Give the debtor a good personal vibe and work a payment out of them in a positive, professional manner. They may not like the collection agency, but you could be their best friend.

3. Respect My Authority: Tone is a strong tool when dialing for dollars. Debtors respond to tone. The tone, pitch, and speed at which you speak can have a powerful influence over your debtor. Take an anchorman or a radio DJ for example. Their voices command attention with little effort. You can take control of your call the same way with a confident tone and still maintain professionalism.

4. Establish Control & Maintain It. Address the debtor by name during the entire conversation. This displays respect and demands constant attention. Agree with your debtor, right or wrong. – I understand why you feel like that John – Validating their concerns keeps the lines of communication open and will eventually disarm the debtor. Ask open ended questions to lure your debtor in and absorb as much information as you can squeeze out. Silence is deadly. Count to 5 before replying to a debtor, wait a few seconds after being asked a question. An uncomfortable silence can create a sense of urgency in the debtor to satisfy the dead air, losing focus of the original reason for the call.

5. Lock & Key. Don’t waste your call. Every call should end with a payment, partial payment, or a commitment to make a payment in the very near future. If you don’t get a payment by phone at least you have obtained some ammunition and an open invitation to continue contacting the debtor for a committed payment. Have the debtor set up a payment for an extended date. This alleviates playing cat and mouse down the road and locks the debtor into a payment.

6. Adaptation. Every debtor is different. Lock into details like location and accents. What was the debt you’re collecting on? Identify who your debtor is before making contact. Listen to your debtor and pick up clues about their lifestyle and personality. This will help you decipher the best way to handle each situation.

Understanding your rights under the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA) will enable you to defend yourself against collection tactics and unscrupulous measures to collect. Use the information collectors are using against you to prepare and protect yourself when combating collection calls.

Nonprofit debt consolidation counseling services can stop collection calls and enforce your rights under the FDCPA for you. Make one monthly payment without the hassle of dealing with your creditors and collection agencies and be debt free in 5 years or less. Speak to a certified credit counselor today at 800.905.1563 or visit our website and learn more about how you can stop collection calls and improve credit while getting out of debt. You can be debt free, Freedom Debt can help.

A Super Vocal Health Tool – Oregano Oil

Oil of Oregano and Vocal Health Care

Oil of oregano is one of nature’s most potent and powerful healing substances on the planet. It has been tested against a variety of infections and has been found to exert a high degree of anti-fungal, anti-parasitic, anti-viral, and anti-bacterial actions. It is also one of the most important tools a voice professional can have in their vocal health tool box.

In his book, The Cure is in the Cupboard: How to use Oregano for Better Health, Dr. Cass Ingram, one of the world’s foremost experts on the healing and curative powers of Oil Of Oregano, describes the unlimited uses for this amazing oil. The main and most effective use is as an outstanding agent for respiratory illness, lung problems and expelling mucus from the lungs (which usually results in mucus on the vocal cords).

These are major issues that we as voice professionals always need to be on top of. If we are having difficulty with our lungs and breathing or have mucus in our chest and throat, we are in big trouble. Our breathing needs to be open, full, and free of any debris or obstruction.

Vocal Health Care Tool

I use Oil of oregano when I feel ANY type of cough, scratchy throat or weakness in my body, or any other sign of possible illness creeping into my system. The oil itself is very, very powerful and extremely potent. In his book, Dr. Ingram directs to put 1 or 2 drops into juice and drink it down. This is okay for those who can tolerate the intensity of the oil. However, another way to use it is to put it into an empty pill capsule and swallow it. Empty capsules can be found at any health food store or pharmacy.

When pouring the oil into the capsule, be very careful not to get any on your hands or the outside of the capsule. It is very powerful and can slightly burn your skin if you have open cuts. And it will do the same to your throat if it is on the outside of the capsule, so be very aware when preparing it for use.

Mucus and Lung Troubles

If you are hit with respiratory problems, you may want to begin using the oil immediately a couple of times a day. The antibiotic-like effects of the oil are incredible, and the oil does not destroy the good bacteria in your gut like antibiotics do. Instead, it helps the body use its own healing powers, and less energy is used toward fighting the adverse effects of the antibiotics. I sometimes mix a few drops with honey, lemon, water and a spoonful of olive oil to cut the taste and the burn. I use this as a gargle if I am in really deep trouble and need to sing soon. I can feel the healing begin almost immediately.

Remember, never use more than 1 or 2 drops when applying the oil to your throat directly, and always be sure to check with your doctor or health practitioner first before adding or changing any medications or herbs into your diet.

I do not usually endorse or pitch any particular brand of product on my blog. However, when it comes to some formulas or manufacturers, one needs to be very careful as to what they use. Such is the case with Oil of Oregano. The most reliable and extensively tested and researched product on the market today is Wild Oregano P73. It is a bit pricey for the amount you buy, but it goes a long way, and you don’t need to use much when administering it.

As always, I wish you the best on your quest for Superior Vocal Health.