A Paycheck is a Paycheck is a Paycheck, Right? Wrong!

Ok so you get a paycheck. It is delivered to you, sent by email or handed to you by your arch-nemesis (your supervisor). Or maybe you are the person handing them out. Either way, the scenario is the same. You have in your hand or inbox a document showing you what you were paid. And to some, quite mysteriously, there is money taken out of your earnings and given to the government, or whoever, and it reduces the amount that you have to shop, save, or pay bills with. It could happen to you every week, every other week or each month. And you take that money that is left over and do with it whatever you chose. So why should you care where the extra money goes? It's gone, right?

But here is the thing …. where did it go? Did it go in the right amount? How does it affect you? Your spending habits, your budget, and the way you save for the future? It's gone, right? So who cares where it went, it's not coming to you, right? WRONG!

I'm not going to be one of these people to tell you that you can not afford things, or will ring bells and make funny noises to indicate that something to do with your finances should be important to you. But I will tell you this – it's your money and you need to know where it goes and why.

Now, most of us are savvier about money than say our mothers. (Sorry Mom!) Or we think we are. I was recently working with my mother going through her financial paperwork and was surprised about the things I took for granted as common knowledge that she was not aware of. She is a smart woman, so I was a little surprised. So we might be ahead of our mother's generation in terms of being more financially independent, but ask yourself, where does the money that comes out of your paycheck go? Do you know? Do you know what all of those fancy little acronyms mean? And why should you care?

First: the paycheck. And yes, we are going to go through it line by line. But I promise it will not be torture. We'll make it quick and then talk about why you should look at this every pay period and how it affects you.

So, what should you look at when you receive your pay stub? You may not like my answer, but the answer is everything. Let me ask you a question. If you lost $ 141.63 from your wallet would you care? Would you look for that money? Be honest with yourself, would you panic? Now I am not saying that you have lost this $ 141.63 from your pay, but if you do not know what it is or where it goes, it is as good as lost.

So now for the fun! Let's go through this pay stub line by line so that you can understand what you are being paid and where those deductions end up.

The first box is Emp #. This is your employee number that is assigned through payroll. This one does not have relevance without your HR department requests you to supply this to them as a routine part of how they identify you before speaking with you about a problem or question with your pay.

The next box is Company Name. It is important for you to know what the legal name of the company you work for is if you have an issue or a problem. An example of an issue or a problem that would be affected by you knowing your company's legal name would be if you needed to apply for Worker's Compensation or Unemployment. Again, why? Because these agencies refer to the company you work for by their legal name. If you do the same you will avoid confusion when dealing with them.

The next box is Period End date. This box is important to check because it states the period for which you are being paid. You may ask yourself, who cares? The answer is -you should. Does the amount being paid agree with the period that you worked for? In our scenario we have a salaried individual but if you were being paid by the hour, how can you know that you have been paid for the hours you worked without you know what period your employer is paying those hours for?

The next box is Dept #. Even I will admit that this one is not too important unless your employer deducts things from your pay for working in a specific department. For instance, in restaurants employers may deduct an amount from your pay for uniform maintenance or you might have a deduction from your pay if a department in that restaurant is allowed to eat lunch while working and the employee deductions a flat amount for food costs.

Our next box is the mystery box! It says FW = M 01. Is it an algebraic formula? Is it something Einstein invented? No, this is actually an important box! The FW stands for Federal Withholding. The M stands for Married and the 01 is the number of dependents that is being claimed on form W4. This box drives what comes out of your pay for Federal Withholding and can determine the all important game of whether or not you receive a refund after filing your annual tax return or whatever you will have to send money into the IRS.

What is important to know about this is that the Federal Withholding taken from your pay each pay period is based on a tax table. So the way this calculates is any payroll system will look at your gross pay, the frequency you are paid (weekly, every two weeks, etc.), and what you claimed on your W4 to see how much tax to take from your check.

The tax table calculates based first on whether you are claiming the status of Single or Married and then on the number of allowances you have claimed, in our case 01. The general rule of thumb is that Single claiming 00 allowances takes the maximum tax and Married with more allowances takes less and less tax. We will get further into this in why you should care a portion of this article.

Our next box SS # xxx-xx-0123 again looks something we learned in high school algebra. It's not. It is your social security number. What do you need to know about this? You need to know that this is the way it should look on your check stub. Or it could look like: *** – ** – 0123. Or it could be all exes or all * s. What you should NEVER see on your check stub is your full social security number printed out.

Our next box is your name and address. This one is only of concern to make sure that it is correct. Sounds simple. Make sure it stays simple. Your company may have different policies of how they get information to you. Most will mail at least your W2 form directly to you at the end of each year. So make sure your information is current so that there is no disruption to you receiving important tax information. If you move, alert the appropriate person in your company as soon as possible so that they can get your salary records updated.

Under your name and address are two boxes: check # and net pay. The check number is not something that you need to look at. It is the check number assigned by your company. If you misplace a check or need to speak to someone regarding your check they can look up the information they need in their records. The net pay is the amount of pay that you will take home after taxes and payments have been taken from your pay.

Our next box is the earnings box. Stay with me here we are getting to the good stuff! This box tells you how much you are being paid before taxes and other items are deducted from your pay. In this pay stub we have a salary amount (Sal1). However, if you are paid by the hour, you will want to make sure the hours you told your employer you worked and the hours on your pay stub match. Mistakes can happen in processing payroll, they are not intentional. It is your responsibility to check your pay stub and let your employer know if there was an error in reporting your hours to the payroll company.

Other types of earnings may include commissions, bonuses, and even reimbursements for telephone usage, mileage or office supplies purchased.

The next box is labeled taxes. We are going to go through each item in this box to explain the different payroll taxes.

– FWH = Federal Withholding. Weave the example of this above when looking at the SS # box. This is your Federal Income Tax being withheld from your pay each payroll period.
– FICA = This tax is the Federal Insurance Contribution Act tax. It is taken at a flat percentage of 6.2% up to an annual earnings cap. These taxes are taken to provide a variety of benefits to qualifying workers and their families through the program known as social security.
– MEDFICA = This tax falls under the Federal Insurance Contribution Act and allows an additional 1.45% of your pay to be withheld for Medicare, which provides health insurance for qualifying disabled workers and people 65 years of age and older. There is no earnings cap with this tax.
– ST = State Withholding. Here in Pennsylvania this is a flat percentage tax. However, in many states the withholding works much like the Federal Withholding tax. It is based on what you claim on your state W4 form. Again the principle is the same, the tax table calculates based first on whether you are claiming the status of Single or Married and then on the number of allowances you have claimed, in our case 01. The general rule of thumb is that Single claiming 00 allowances takes the maximum tax and Married with more allowances takes less and less tax.
– WCHPA = This is the local tax where my company in this example is located. In Pennsylvania there are thousands of local taxes. They range from.5% to the Philadelphia wage tax that exemced 3%. The tax is based on where you are employed and not where you live. The next state close to Pennsylvania in the number of local taxes is Ohio. Many from this area would have surprised to know that many states have no local taxes.
– PA UNEM = This tax is the Pennsylvania employee share of unemployment. This tax can come and go. In times of high unemployment percentages the State deducts this tax from employees to help offset the cost of the payment of unemployment to those who do not have work. Other states have similar taxes and some also have employees contribute to disability and state paid health care.

Next is our discounts box. There are two discounts here as an example of what you could expect to see.

The first deduction is labeled MED125. Med125 refers to medical insurance premiums that are deducted from your pay and that are run through a Section 125 plan as defined by the IRS. What does this mean to you? If you have a health insurance premium deducted from your pay there are two ways to do it. One is a standard deduction that comes out of your pay after all of the taxes have been deducted. The other is through a Section 125 plan. If your company has an established 125 plan then your health insurance deduction comes out of your pay before taxes and is not subject to payroll taxes. If you are not sure what your company offers ask someone in your HR department. Using a Section 125 plan saves employees the cost of paying taxes on their health insurance contribution deductions.

The next deduction is labeled LST. This is the Local Services Tax for Pennsylvania. The local services tax is a tax that is deducted from your pay up to a maximum of $ 52.00 per year. It is collected on a pro-rata basis that is determined by the number of payroll periods established by an employer for a calendar year. This tax is used to help offset the cost of emergency services and also is used to reduce property taxes through homestead acts in certain municipalities.

Our final pay check stub box is Year to Date. Ok, we are almost done here! This is just a total of what has been paid to you and what has been deducted from your pay for the year.

So, now the all important part of this exercise. Why should you care about all of this and how does it affect you?

Well, to start this is your money. And yes it is important to know where it goes. This is really not the day and age where a woman is kept in the dark and her husband takes care of all of the financial responsibilities while the woman takes care of the house and children. Most families are made up of two working parents. For most it is a necessity to meet the rising cost of food, fuel and health insurance and it is not an option for many mothers to stay at home. It is also unfortunate that the divorce rate in our country continues to rise but it also means that women, like it or not, are almost forced to be financially savvy. So let's get started on the importance of understand how your money comes and goes through a paycheck and why you should care.

You earn an amount from your employer. You submit a time sheet or some type of data to your employer letting them know what work you have accomplished or the hours that you have worked. They take that data and process it through payroll. You then receive a net amount and it is direct deposited in your bank or you take a check to the bank and deposit it each pay day. We have established that there are taxes and deductions taken from your pay and you get what is left over. Now here is why it matters.

Unlike the popular thought that taxes and deductions are taken from your pay and there is not much you can do about it, there are portions of your pay that you can directly control to put more money in your pocket now!

We are going to reference back to those pay check boxes again and go through the portions of those taxes and allowances that you have control over. I know what you are thinking! Not the boxes again, but bear with me. There will be strategies to help you put money into your family's hands. It will be up to you to decide what strategies to use and what your comfort level will be with their affect.

So let's get started.

Ok, the first thing you should take a serious look at is your Federal Withholding. Let me ask you a question; are you one of those folks that get a huge refund when you send in your Federal tax return? If you are, you might want to think about what you are doing. By allowing the federal government the use of your money through the year you are missing opportunities. Do you have credit card debt? Is the credit card company charging you interest on your outstanding balance? Then why "loan" the IRS your earnings when you have debt to pay? Yes you get a big refund at tax time, but what if you had use of that money through the year? What would you do with it? Could you pay down debt? Invest it? If you invest this money, even in a money market account you could be earning money with these funds instead of allowing the federal government to use it and then pay it back to you later.

You have to be careful with this one. Think about your comfort level. Are you comfortable using that money through the year or do you have a need to get this all in one lump sum? If you are not a disciplined saver then that lump sum return of your money may be attractive to you. You also have to make sure that if you decide to take that money now that you check with your accountant or with an online paycheck calculator at the very least to make sure you do not reduce your Federal Withholding too much and end up owed money at the end of the year. That will certainly not help you achieve your personal financial goals, not to mention the IRS frowns upon you owed them money. Ironic, is not it?

There is another item on your paycheck that is important and can keep money in your pocket – it is your social security number. When we went through the individual boxes on our check stub I stated that you should NEVER see your entire social security number on your check stub. Instead, the number should be masked by stars or exes. Why? Because identity theft is a real threat in our society. So if your paycheck is lost in the mail, that is bad enough, but if your social security number is on it you are just asking for trouble. Check your latest check stub. If you see your social security number on your check contact your payroll administrator right away and they can have that number masked. It should be standard practice with payroll providers, but some are not paying attention to those trends that can affect the end user, namely, you.

Another item that can save you considering money is that MED125 deduction. A lot of companies have their employees pay a portion of the cost of health insurance. With the increasing cost of health premiums it has become a necessity for most companies. But how can you pay towards your health insurance save you money? Remember this health insurance deduction is taken from your pay and is not taxed.

You can not assume that if you have a health insurance deduction that it falls under a Section 125 plan. You have to ask your employer if they have this plan. If they do not you could ask them to research one. In the past it was a headache for companies to maintain a 125 plan. But now a plan that only contains health insurance premiums or a premium only plan has little administrative headache to it if your part of a company with under 99 employees.

Also, another way to save money through payroll is to ask your HR or payroll contact if your company has a Full Flex Plan as part of their 125 plan. What does this mean? A Full Flex Plan or A Flexible Spending Account as a part of a 125 plan gives you a great opportunity to save money. It allows you to have a predetermined amount withheld from your pay each year to pay for various medical needs. If you are having electrical surgery, it could be run through the Flex account at your work, so you do not pay tax on that amount. Many Flex accounts have a list of items that you could put this money toward, such as, contact solution, certain over the counter medications, and even nicotine patches are reimbursable. The thing to watch with Flexible Spending Accounts is that they are what is called "use them or lose them". So if you have $ 2000.00 deducted from your pay each year, but only submit reimbursements for $ 200.00 then you lose the $ 1800.00 you contributed. Check with your HR or payroll administrator to find out the rules to your company's Flexible Spending Account.

Another expense that you could be running through payroll using your company's Section 125 plan is Dependent Care. So if you have children that go to a day care facility during the week the amount that you pay to the day care could be run through your pay check and be deducted from you untaxed.

So to summarize this Section 125 plan, when these items are run through your paycheck on a pre-tax basis (meaning the amounts deducted from you are not taxable) you in effect save approximately an automatic 12-15% on health insurance, medical necessities , and child care. Really think about that statement. If you child's day care asked you if you wanted to save 15% on their fees, would you look into? If a pharmacy offered you savings of 15% off of all purchases would you go to there? This is like an automatic paycheck coupon to save your family money.

My final suggestion is what is missing from our check stub. There is no 401 (k) or Simple IRA deduction on our stub. These are savings for retirement accounts that are taken from your pay and are not subject to Federal Withholding. If your company offers one of these options look into it. 401 (k) plans are run according to the way your company sets them up, so the rules are not standardized. However, many companies offer what is called an employer match for discounts that you make into this type of retirement account. If your company does offer a match then this is instant earnings on your contributions. Simple IRA plans require an employer match so you are guaranteed to have an immediate return on your investment.

Consider carefully before you decide that you are not going to participate in one of these plans. If you put aside even a small amount I would venture to say that you are not going to miss that money on a pay pay basis and it will go to securing you financial freedom when you retire.

So now your paycheck should not just be a piece of paper to you. The mystery of what is taken out and why has been explained. I would challenge you to think about some of these strategies for putting money back into your pocket to see how you can save your family money through payroll. Of course, everyone's financial situation is different, so review these strategies with your financial professional before implementing them.

I would also challenge you to look at your pay stub each pay period. The more you look at it the more familiar you become with it and you will start to know what to expect. When you know what to expect then you will get a feel for what you are paid, when you are paid and how you are paid. Knowledge is one of the first steps towards becoming more financially savvy.

How to Seduce a Woman Using Covert Hypnosis – Under the Radar Tricks That Make Her Like You Quickly!

It's a myth that a hypnotist can put a woman in deep trance without her permission. The fact is that you can never hypnotize someone who is unwilling to be hypnotized in the first place. However, there are certain techniques you can use to go "under the radar" and mildly hypnotize a woman into liking you. When you know the techniques of covert hypnosis, you will find it easy to make a woman develop affections for you. Read on to discover the killer ways to seduce a woman using covert hypnosis and get amazingly effective results fast …

How To Seduce A Woman Using Covert Hypnosis

"Hypnotic Gaze". You can hypnotize a girl without words – by using eye contact alone! An easy tactic is to hold your gaze a little longer than usual – the ideal would be around two seconds longer than usual. The weird thing about this tactic is that a prolonged gaze would have somehow excite a woman sexually – nobody knows why it works so well! When you do this (especially when you're starting out), do this sparingly until you really master the technique. Remember not to come across as a nut job – and stop staring at her.

"The Mirror" . One easy way to make as if a woman feels emotionally connected with you is to mimic her body movements. To pull this technique off, you will need to be acutely aware of her body language. Copy how she positions her body, and all the substance things that she does. When you do this, you will subconsciously send her signals that she is in "familiar" territory, and as a result, she will put her guard down. Amazingly effective stuff!

The Cold War: A Look At The Myths And Reality Of Berlin

I will take you on a fascinating journey through a time where the World was completely different to the one of today, a journey that I hope you enjoy.

10. Access to West Berlin.

During the Cold War Berlin was divided into four sectors. The West was controlled by the French, British and Americans and the East was controlled by the Soviets. Sat in the heart of East Germany West Berlin was connected to West Germany by three main supply routes. The Berlin transit corridor was an autobahn that ran from Checkpoint Alpha in Helmstedt, West Germany to Checkpoint Bravo on the East German/West Berlin border. The Berlin railway network – The British train ran to and from Braunschweig. The French train ran to and from Paris and the American Train ran to and from Frankfurt. Finally there were the Berlin air corridors.

Travelling along the Berlin transit corridor was fascinating. Approaching the border was like something out of a science fiction film. Row after row of high-powered lights lit up no-mans land and the sentry towers. The Soviet manned checkpoints were an opportunity for me as a child to spot the rank, unit and sporting medals worn by the Soviet sentries. The Berlin travel document contained all names of those travelling in the vehicle. It was written in English, French, German and Russian. The only two places that Allied soldier’s and their families were allowed to stop in East Germany was at the Soviet controlled checkpoints.

9. The Berliner Fernsehturm.

The Berlin TV tower is an iconic sight that sits just inside East Berlin. The Soviet/East German propaganda machine was always in play and the story of this building was no exemption. Construction started in 1965 and was completed in 1969. It stood at 356 metres and registered as the fourth highest free standing building in Europe. An old cold war tale suggests that Pope Paul VI gave millions of dollars to the East German Government in order to build churches. The East German Government was lead by Walter Ulbricht. Ulbricht decided that the money should be spent on a TV tower instead.

So when construction on the tower was completed in 1969, 3 million turned out to see it. When the sun shines on the steel dome at the top of the tower a cross appears in the reflection. Rumour has it that the planners were not aware of this ingenious creation. The citizens of Berlin nicknamed the tower the ‘Popes Revenge’.

The Berliner Fernsehturm is still going strong today giving tourist an opportunity a bird’s eye view of a magnificent city. At the top sits a café, which rotates twice in the hour and sits just below the viewing platform. This is not a place to eat for those with a fear of heights.

8. The BRIXMIS & SOXMIS.

The British Commanders’-in-Chief Mission to the Soviet Forces in Germany and The Soviet Exercise Mission were in a nutshell ‘authorised spies’. The BRIXMIS were made up of officers and NCO’s who were trained in identifying different types of Soviet armour and units. They worked out of their HQ in Potsdam, East Germany. Travelling around in small teams generally in Range Rovers or Opel Senators, these were known as ‘Tour Cars’. Tour Cars were marked up with a yellow number plate, a number and a Union Flag.

Tours took BRIXMIS teams across East Germany to the training areas of the Warsaw pact forces. Often crossing the line of duty, BRIXMIS operators would go that extra yard to get a close up photograph of a new piece of Soviet armour.

The SOXMIS ran in a similar format, operating out of black Lada cars in West Germany and West Berlin, somewhat less luxurious of their British counterparts. British soldiers and their families were encouraged to report Soviet tour cars. If I remember rightly the number was Herford military 2222.

The French and Unites States military also ran missions in the East. If you are interested in Cold War history there are numerous books worth reading on the subjects. The missions literally took part in a game of Cold War hide and seek.

7. The Stasi.

The East German Secret Police were ruthless and feared. Approximately 13 million residents lived in East Germany and around 900,000 were employed by the Stasi is some form or another. This was a big case ‘Big Brother’ and paranoia.

The Stasi developed out of the internal security and police apparatus established in the Soviet zone of occupation in Germany after World War II. The law establishing the ministry, whose forerunner was the Kommissariat 5 (modeled along the lines of the Soviet KGB), was passed by the East German legislature on February 8, 1950, four months after the establishment of the German Democratic Republic. The Stasi, whose formal role was not defined in the legislation, was responsible for both domestic political surveillance and foreign espionage, and it was overseen by the ruling Socialist Unity Party. Its staff was at first quite small, and its chief responsibilities were counterintelligence against Western agents and the suppression of the last vestiges of Nazism. Soon, however, the Stasi became known for kidnapping former East German officials who had fled the country; many of those who were forcibly returned were executed. Source Britannica Encyclopidia

Any telephone call made by a resident was automatically recorded if the call was over a certain distance. Residential flats were bugged and generally at least one flat belonged to the Stasi and was used as an intelligence cell.

It was encouraged to report any suspicious activity undertaken by your neighbour, failing to do so could result in a prison sentence.

Millions of files were produced by the Stasi on its citizens. To date almost 2 million people have looked at records that were kept on them. What is ironic about this organization is that it was still active less than 25 years ago. The chilling Stasi museum was opened to the public and can be found in Berlin.

8. Intelligence gathering.

Intelligence agencies will go to any lengths to gather information. In this list you will be interested to know that they were given information for free.

Due to the fact that East Germany was a communist country, Westerners including Allied troops and their families enjoyed cheap shopping in East Berlin. Porcelain could be bought at giveaway prices. Such was the value of dining in East Berlin, social function were often organised by British soldiers wives committees.

The wives would travel across into East Berlin via Checkpoint Charlie and enjoy cheap dining and alcohol. It is rumoured that the Stasi and KGB bugged waiters, tables and restrooms for purposes of intelligence gathering. Wives would often have ‘lose lip’ syndrome after a few glasses of wine. In turn snippets of information would be leaked, intercepted and analysed by specialists. Even the smallest amounts of information were priceless. What seemed as an innocent social function turned into an information gold mine for Eastern intelligence services. I am sure that any of the good lady wives that are reading this will laugh about this today, at the time it was a serious matter. I never did like East German restaurant food, especially the cheap imitation black fizzy soda.

7. Soviets In The West.

I have already touched on the SOXMIS. Despite having control of East Berlin, the Soviets also had a permanent location in the West of the city. The Brandenburg gate is one of the most iconic buildings in the World and lies in between the Reichstag and where checkpoint Charlie used to stand. During the time of a divided city, the Brandenburg gate sat in the East a few hundred yards away from the Berlin Wall.

From the West you could drive slowly up to the Berlin Wall and approach the Brandenburg gate. On the left where two Soviet tanks from the Second World War which formed a monument for all the Soviet soldier’s who lost their lives in street to street fighting in 1945. Guarding those tanks were two ceremonial Soviet sentries.

It is rumoured that a vehicle once stopped and the Soviet sentries were photographed. Remember this is a time where digital photography had not been invented. As a result stopping in a vehicle was completely forbidden.

The Soviet memorial in the West was another reminder of the cities dark past and a reality check that there was indeed a ‘Phoney War’ taking place. As a child I remember my parents driving around the sights of Berlin. As I was sitting in the back of the car looking at two Soviet sentries I often wondered who they were. The were probably thinking about being stood inside the warmth.

6. The Teuflesberg.

Situated in the Charlottenberg district of West Berlin, the Teufelsberg or Devil’s Hill was man made. In 1945 Berlin was just a sea of broken buildings. Millions of tons of rubble were moved and a lot of it ended up in the spot that is now known as the Teufelsberg.

Its origin does not in itself make Teufelsberg unique, as there are many similar man-made rubble mounds in Germany (see Schuttberg) and other war-torn cities of Europe. The curiousness begins with what is buried underneath the hill: the never completed Nazi military-technical college (Wehrtechnische Fakultät) designed by Albert Speer. The Allies tried using explosives to demolish the school, but it was so sturdy that covering it with debris turned out to be easier. In June 1950 the West Berlin Magistrate decided to open a new rubble disposal on that site.[1] The disposal was planned for 12,000,000 m3 (16,000,000 cu yd). Wikipedia

The Teuflesberg had two main functions, it was a recreational area for the public and it was also the eyes and the ears of Western intelligence. In 1961 Allied intelligence agencies ran operations from the top of the hill. They listened in on Warsaw Pact radio traffic. Such was its suitability it was decided to build a permanent sight there. The field station was manned 24 hours a day and I recall a neighbour of ours worked there as an operator in the Royal Signals. I would love to bump into him now and chat about some of the intelligence that he was privileged to have handled.

What was once at the heart of the Cold War now lies in ruins. Vandalised and covered in graffiti, the famous land-mark can still be visited by tourists.

5. The Iron Curtain.

The thousands of miles of barbed wire, watch towers and lights were given the name the Iron Curtain by Sir Winston Churchill in his famous speech. Even today the sight of the heavily manned border that divided Western and Eastern ways of life still are still fresh in the memory.

People talk about light pollution, unless you actually crossed the border at night you have never seen light pollution. Evenly spaced out watchtowers dominated the skyline, they overlooked no-mans land to their front and beyond into the West.

Attack dogs roamed in areas between the huge fences, a deterrent to any would be escapee. Reports have recently suggest that the attack dogs were pretty docile. Either way, I would not have like to have taken any chances.

East German border troops where paired up according to their marital status. Two single border guards where not posted together for fear of one of them trying to escape themselves.

German civilians who had been granted authority to travel from the West to the East or vice versa where subject to strict vehicle searches, even to the point of having their fuel tanks dipped. I will come on to escape attempts later on.

For those that never had the chance to see the East-West divide, imagine a prison but only on an enormous scale. That was what the ‘Iron Curtain’ looked like.

4. The threat of war.

The Allied troops in West Berlin were simply there as a token effort. Britain had just 16 tanks stationed there. Some 40 miles to the North West of Allied controlled West Berlin was a Soviet garrison that housed some 15,000 troops. Vogelsang was a ghost town that was home to armour, howitzers and infantry fighting troops.

In parts of RAF Gatow the only thing that separated it from the might of the Soviet Army was a 12-foot fence. The Allied Forces stationed in West Berlin were little more than a token effort of force. It is hard to say how long they would have lasted in the event of an all out war.

Both Allied and Soviet powers paraded their military machines through the streets of West and East Berlin respectively on an annual show of strength.

The British often ran an Exercise known to the troops and families as the ‘Rocker’. Exercise Rocking Horse and later Exercise Berlin Bear Defender was a crash out test. Troops were called into their respective garrisons in response to a ‘notional Soviet attack. There were often wagers between friends on when the next ‘Rocker’would be called by the Brigade Commander.

3. Checkpoint Charlie and the escape attempts.

Some 24 years after the Berlin Wall was declared ‘Open” Checkpoint Charlie still holds a vivid image for me. The checkpoint was the main crossing point between West and East Berlin. Plenty of myth and legend surrounds the famous land-mark. Bizarrely it has been moved from its original location along the Berlin Wall.

East German guards would occupy the controlled crossing point and would demand to see an individual’s passport from page one all the way through to the back page.

The Checkpoint Charlie museum paid homage to those that had escaped from across the border to West Berlin or West Germany. One such escape attempt involved an East German athlete hurdling the checkpoint barriers and leaping for safety into West Berlin.

Another audacious attempt involved a pilot flying a light aircraft underneath East German radar and over the border into West Berlin.

Arguably the most famous escape attempt was depicted in the film ‘The Crossing’. Two families made a hot air balloon of a period of months. The piloted the balloon from East Germany across the Irion Curtain into the West.

West German officials often returned some successful escapees to the East. They were not the lucky ones; interrogation normally proceeded a long stint in the Siberian salt mines.

2. Life in tow cities.

A city of enormous proportions, the residents of West Berlin went about their daily business just like any other populous in Western Europe. The only disruption came during the Berlin Blockade, which will be covered in my final list. Public transport was what you would expect of any normal German city, first class, reliable and punctual. Shops were always well stocked and showed no signs that it lay in the heart of communist East Germany.

The City often hosted the biggest rock concerts. Artists such as Michael Jackson performed in the West. His ‘Bad’ tour in 1988 attracted hundreds of thousands of supporters. Concerts where often held on 17 Juni Strasse near to the Brandenberg Gate. This was a propaganda stunt designed to show the East what they were missing.

In the East, the residents lived a completely different life. Paranoia, empty shelves, poor housing and low wages where typical of any communist state. There was a very long waiting list for the East German car the Trabant. Made from fibre glass with a two stroke engine, the cars often looked like patch work duvets. In late 1988 advances were made on the cars, they came fitted with a sun roof. I remember walking along the streets of East Berlin on our monthly visits, locals would literally stand and stare at you the ‘Westerner’. It was surreal.

1. The Berlin Blockade.

It was arguably one of the most iconic events in Cold War history, along with the Cuban Missile Crisis. On the 24th June 1948 until 12th May 1949, the Soviet Union blocked the rail, air, road and canal routes into West Berlin.

The Berlin Blockade resulted in a massive operation undertaken by the Royal Air Force, United States Air Force, Royal New Zealand Air Force and South African Air Force. Fuel and food was flown into West Berlin in wave after wave of logistical resupply sorties. Over 200,000 flights were flown.

The Allied powers never gave up on West Berlin and eventually the Soviet’s lifted the blockade. Their plan had failed and brought about the berth of two new states of power.

In 1949 East and West Germany were born as a result of the Berlin Blockade. The separate German states would remain for another 50 years.

On 5 April, a Soviet Air Force Yakovlev Yak-3 fighter collided with a British European Airways Vickers Viking 1B airliner near RAF Gatow airfield, killing all aboard both aircraft. The Gatow Air Disaster exacerbated tensions between the Soviets and the other allied powers. Internal Soviet reports in April stated that “Our control and restrictive measures have dealt a strong blow to the prestige of the Americans and British in Germany” and that the Americans have “admitted” that the idea of an airlift would be too expensive.

On 9 April, Soviet officials demanded that American military personnel maintaining communication equipment in the Eastern zone must withdraw, thus preventing the use of navigation beacons to mark air routes On 20 April, the Soviets demanded that all barges obtain clearance before entering the Soviet zone. Wikipedia

Looking back, living in Berlin, the history and the situation at the time almost seems mythical. It wasn’t, it was very real but it felt very surreal. Even after all these years talking about those Cold War days still make the hairs stand up on the back of my neck. I recently sat down for a discussion with my uncle who served in Berlin as a British Soldier. He visited a Soviet camp shortly after the German unification. He talked about the large number of Soviet vehicles that were just static lumps of rusted steel and iron. It makes you wonder, had the balloon gone up, would the Soviets have been in any shape to put up a fight against the Western Allies?

How to Prepare Yourself for CFP Exam

Certified Financial Planning is the most recognized, prestigious and internationally accepted degree course. Material for CFP exam is easy to verify on-line. Stay updated via E-services and download latest CFP course and list of best authors for certain subjects. Make the best approach to crack CFP exam as it is a tough nut to track yet hard work and proper knowledge could enable you to grab far better degree of CFP course.

Postgraduate Certificate of Financial Planning is a mystery, but it opens all doors of success and evaluation of their abilities. To request a certificate of CFP course is used in many approved course providers need to take care of some things before taking a responsible course. The list is a consideration in the selection process and raises the benefits associated with the certificate of CFP exam:

The title is written in an accredited university, is an "accredited university", which was approved by the Ministry of Education accreditation accredited explained that the license, see the course schedule online subscriptions check, compare the cost of education, reviving the style of education and a careful analysis and comparison of all databases, select the most appropriate and continue to use the CFP course certification.

Instant credibility and respect of clients, employers and collections is available. Provided the same competitive advantage over other financial advisors impressive. A complete analysis of the skills and knowledge of complex financial planning. Belonging to a global network of professional trainers certified financial planner.All are united in a celestial facts certified financial planner to be.

Certified Financial Planner have different functions, including not only basic financial planning for the management of social security benefits, pensions, real estate and tax planning, insurance planning and risk planning. Everything strengthen opportunities for huge growth and big profits

Educate family doctors; you can take your career to great heights. The correct choice is the key to some ideas for assessment for selection and certification of their financial advisers to help education.

The benefits of a certified financial planner depends on many factors such as education, skills, certificates, customers, the stock market and other investment vehicles, experience and desire.

Anyone can sell insurance and annuities, stocks, bonds and mutual funds – but only a global financial planner can add value to their financial security through various tactics.

A better understanding of the origin of the CFP course, you can understand the logic and the importance of proceeding in this way. Enter all necessary information on-line access to different places and with many years of experience available 24/7 for the address.

The designation of Certified Financial Planner certification is important for financial planners, CFP exam is Board of Standards in the United States and recognized worldwide by other financial institutions associated with the planning of customized global business.

Prepare yourself for CFP exam with best developed technological tools to upgrade your knowledge status and acquire internationally known CFP course degree. Grab best possible material and keep in mind above points while preparation and make best efforts.

21 Quotes You Can Use To Inspire Yourself to Fire Your Boss and Build Wealth at Home

It has been said that it takes 21 days of consistent action to change a behavior or create a new habit. Often times we want something different but old tapes continue to play in our head that keep us from reaching our goals and dreams. This can range from trying to drop 10 lbs to earning the courage to start your work at home business.

The truth is going from an employee to an entrepreneur can be a little scary. However one of the ways to reduce fear and increase success is to lean on the wisdom and experience of others who have been successful in life.

Some may be famous and others not. Neverheless, the wisdom if you choose to listen can help you create a paradigm shift in thinking which the foundation to massive success. I have always loved to listen to the champions that have gone before.

Here are 21 quotes that I have thought about often and used to inspire me to down size my boss and it can do the same for you.

1. Once in a while it really hits people that they do not have to experience the world in the way they have been told to. — Alan Keightley

Were you told to go to school and get a good job? I was. While I know my mother meant well and thought she was preparing me tobe able to have access to the pearly gates of success she could not know how things would change.

However, I knew that I wanted more? How about you? Remember, you do not have to set up for 60 hour work weeks, 30 minute commutes, your kids in day care or relocating for the promise of career advancement. You do not have to be part of the grind … the rat race.

2. You will never change your life until you change something you do daily. — Mike Murdock

Are you afraid to get started? It may seem overwhelming but if you focus on simply daily actions the big goals take care of themselves.

3. No one lives long enough to learn everything they need to learn starting from scratch. To be successful, we absolutely, positively have to find people who have already paid the price to learn the things that we need to learn to achieve our goals —. Brian Tracy

Get help right out the gate. Find a mentor, coach, mastermind or become a part a community that will help to support you in your success. You want to become a life long learner. Attend seminars and boot camps in your specialized area knowledge. When you learn from people who have been successful and you model their activities you will get their results.

4. By stretching yourself beyond your perceived level of confidence you accelerate your development of competency. — Michael J. Gelb

The only way to gain confidence in a certain area is to take action. It is in the action you will start to have small victories which will increase your level of success.

5. If you do not program yourself, life will program you! — Les Brown

Do not let other people make decision for your life. If you have no plan on you will create wealth during your working years your employer will. Have no retirement plan? You do not the government to be your strategy. Remember, it's your life and it's now or never.

6. There are two primary choices in life: to accept conditions as they exist, or accept the responsibility for changing them. — Denis Waitley

No matter what your current conditions are you have the opportunity to change them. However, this only can happen if you take total responsible for the direction of your life. If you do not like where you are forgive yourself and focus on solutions. Do not focus on problems or why you think something can not happen. Start to ask strong questions the answers will start to appear.

7. Everything you need you already have. You are complete right now, you are a whole, total person, not an apprentice person on the way to someplace else. Your completeness must be understood by you and experienced in your thoughts as your own personal reality. — Dr. Wayne Dyer

8. Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frigtens us. Who are we NOT to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in us all. — Marianne Williamson

When I first heard this quote it brought tears to my eyes. What talent or gift do you have that you are allowing fear to rob you from achieving? Do what you were called to do it is bigger than you. You are unique and sharing your gift with someone could make a difference in their life. Are you playing it too small? Are you staying in a job that does not stretch you? What can you do to make a difference?

9. You'll see things "you never knew you never knew." — Disney's Pocahontas

The journey and pursuit of freedom allows you to see the world in a different way than others. As you grow you will naturally see opportunities that others can not see. Jason Oman author of Conversation with Millionaires calls it "Money Goggles." Even if you were in a pitch black room you will have an infrared vision in the area of ​​creating opportunities to make money.

10. A different world can not be built by individual people. — Peter Marshall

You can not have what you want in life by being different. Successful people are passionate and sometimes radical in pursuit of their dreams. Do not allow yourself to be in environments that discourage you.

11. What is it that you like doing? If you do not like it, get out of it, because you'll be lousy at it. You do not have to stay with a job for the rest of your life, because if you do not like it you'll never be successful in it. — Lee Iacocca

Why would you ever spend most of your waking hours doing something that you do not like? The key to success is finding something you love to and set the standard for excellence.

12. Simply making consistent investments in our self-education and knowledge banks pays major disputes through our lives. — Jim Rohn

The self-education I have pursued after college has been my greatest return on investment. There is something to be said when you develop skills that you know will support you in any economy. Specialized knowledge applied with all out massive results will yield hefty financial and emotional rewards.

13. Finding your purpose may be a lifelong pursuit or you may have discovered it when you were 5 years old. There's no absolute timeline for anyone. That's a good reason never to give up, to keep on discovering things every day. — Donald Trump

If you have not discovered your life's purpose do not be hard on yourself. Start to ask yourself questions and enter into a discovery process. Allow yourself to dream without concerns of how you will get it done. Every time you think you have found the answer did a little deeper with more questions. Rarely are your true goals, purpose and desires on the surface of your soul. Often times they have been put away for safe keeping to protect yourself from disappointment. Keep discovering new things until your purpose is crystal clear.

14. What material success does is provide you with the ability to concentrate on other things that really matter. And that is being able to make a difference, not only in your own life, but in other people's lives. — Oprah Winfrey

When you get the money out of the way your world expends even greater. Oprah exemplifies this principle. She now looks for ways to help others in everything she does. Whether it is giving more support to your family or contributing to a worthy cause, having freedom as a work from home entrepreneur will allow you to make your mark in the world.

15. The world cares very little about what a man or woman knows; it is what the man or woman is able to do. — Booker T. Washington

So what can you create and add value to the world? I love this quote because it demonstrates very clearly that what matters are results at the end of the day. Do not get caught up in theories. Make sure you are constantly taking action that moves you towards a specific goal.

16. There are risks and costs to action. But they are far less than the long-range risks of comfortable inaction. — John F. Kennedy

Are you so afraid to fail that you just can not get out of the box? Do not be. Many people have "failed" their way to million dollar empires. It is better to do something and be wrong then to do nothing at all. When you choose to do nothing someone else typically makes a decision that affects you and you ending up doing something you do not want to do.

17. I do not believe in circumstances. The people who get in this world are the people who get up and look for circumstances they want. – George Bernard Shaw

There is no such thing as luck. You create the luck by working and preparing for the opportunity. When you start to put yourself out there there the universe gives back. Make sure you are clear of your intentions and then go and make it happen.

19. It's not the hours you put in your work that counts, it's the work you put in your hours. — Sam Ewing

You have the same 24 hours in the day as Bills Gate and Oprah. Do not sabotage yourself by saying, "Well they can do it because their rich." Unless you inherit wealth there is a price that everyone has to pay. You do not have to work all day at your work from empire. However, you must consistently put time in if you want success.

20. You must do the thing you think you can not do. — Eleanor
Roosevelt.

One of the greatest gifts you can give yourself is to do something you think you can not do. It does not have to be something huge. A simple action of courage goes a long in adding to your confidence in every area of ​​your life.

21. You will never leave where you are, until you decide where you'd rather be. — Dexter Yager

Until you know your purpose you will be at risk for staying in a job that slowly eats away at you. Why? You simply do not have a strong enough goal to leave your current job. When the goal is strong enough you will search to find the answers.

Network Design Process – Effective Network Planning and Design

Overview

The network planning and design methodology describes a process with 9 specific steps and a sequence for those activities. As mentioned it is an engineering life cycle that supports technical initiatives such as Windows migration, IP telephony and wireless design to name a few examples. The methodology begins with examining company business requirements. It is absolutely essential that you understand the company business model, business drivers and how they are growing from a business perspective. That will build the foundation for a design proposal that serves the business, technical and operational requirements of the company.

STEP 1: BUSINESS REQUIREMENTS

Any design project starts with an understanding of what the company does and what they need to accomplish from a business perspective. This begins with an understanding of their business model, which really describes how their company works from an operational and business perspective to generate revenues and reduce costs. Many vendors today have contacted their own return on investment (ROI) studies for new implementations such as Unified Communications and Telephony. It is an effective sales tool that illustrates the cost benefits compared with investment over a specified period of time.

This is a list of some typical business drivers:

• Reduce Operating Costs

• Generate Revenue

• Client Satisfaction

• Employee Productivity

This is a list of some typical project business requirements:

• Budget Constraints

• Office Consolidations

• Company Mergers and Acquisitions

• Business Partner Connectivity

• Telecommuter Remote Access

• Implement New Offices and Employees

• New Data Center Applications

• Reduce Network Outage Costs

• Cost Effective Network Management

• Vendor Contracts

STEP 2: DESIGN REQUIREMENTS

Now that you understand the basic business requirements of the company, you can determine the standard and specific design requirements. The design requirements process is focused on clearing requirements from a technical perspective. Those requirements along with the business requirements will build the framework that is used to define infrastructure, security and management. Design requirements are defined as standard and miscellaneous. The standard design requirements are generic and represent those considered with many design projects. Miscellaneous requirements are those that are not defined with any of the standard requirements.

• Standard Design Requirements

• Performance

• Availability

• Scalability

• Standards Compatibility

• Rapid Deployment

STEP 3: NETWORK ASSESSMENT

A network assessment is conducted after we have finished the business and design requirements of the company. A network assessment provides a quick snapshot of the current network with an examination of the infrastructure, performance, availability, management and security. That information is utilized for making effective strategy recommendations and design proposals to the client relating specific information systems configurations. The network assessment model has 3 sequential activities, which are assessment, analysis and recommendations. The current network is examined using five primary surveys: infrastructure, performance, availability, management and security. When the surveys are completed, the information collected is then reviewed for trends, problems and issues that are negatively affecting the network.

STEP 4: INFRASTRUCTURE SELECTION

After doing an network assessment we are ready to start selecting specific infrastructure components for the network design. This phase starts building the infrastructure with a specific sequence that promotes effective equipment selection and design. It is important that you consider business requirements, design requirements and the network assessment when building your infrastructure.

The following numbered list describes the specific infrastructure components and their particular sequence.

1. Enterprise WAN Topology

2. Campus Topology

3. Traffic Model

4. Equipment Selection

5. Circuits

6. Routing Protocol Design

7. Addressing

8. Naming Conventions

9. iOS Services

10. Domain Name Services

11. DHCP Services

STEP 5: SECURITY STRATEGY

We must now define a security strategy for securing the infrastructure. The need for enterprise network security should not be ignored with the proliferation of the Internet. Companies are continuing to leverage the public infrastructure for connecting national and international offices, business partners and new company acquisitions. The security requirements and network assessment recommendations should drive the selection of security equipment, protocols and processes. It identifies what assets must be protected, what users are allowed access and how those assets will be secured.

STEP 6: NETWORK MANAGEMENT STRATEGY

This section will define a network management strategy for managing all equipment defined from infrastructure and security. It is necessary to define how the equipment is going to be monitored and determine if the current management strategy is adequate or if new applications, equipment, protocols and processes must be identified. Management components are then integrated with infrastructure and security to finish building the proposed design. These primary elements comprise any well-defined management strategy and should be considered when developing your strategy.

• 7 Management Groups

• SNMP Applications

• Monitored Devices and Events

STEP 7: PROOF OF CONCEPT

All infrastructure, security and management components must now be tested with a proof of concept plan. It is important to test the current design, configuration and iOS versions in a non-production environment or on the production network with limited disruption. Implementation of newer network modules at a router, for instance, could require that you change the current iOS version that is implemented. Making those changes could affect WAN or campus modules already installed at production routers. That is the real value of doing a proof of concept and certifying that the new equipment and iOS versions integrate with each device as well as the network. The following list describes the advantages of doing a proof of concept with your network design. The proof of concept test results should be examined and used to modify current infrastructure, security and management specifications before generating a design proposal. The proof of concept model suggested here involves prototype design, equipment provisioning, cleaning tests, building equipment scripts and examining test results.

1. Prototype Design

2. Provision Equipment

3. Define Tests

4. Build Equipment Scripts

5. Review Test Results

STEP 8: DESIGN PROPOSAL / REVIEW

With the proof of concept finished, you are now ready to build a design proposal for the design review meeting. Your intended audience could be the Director, CIO, CTO, Senior Network Engineer, Consultant or anyone that is approving a budget for the project. It is important to present your ideas with clarity and professionalism. If a presentation is required, power point slides work well and could be used to support concepts from the design proposal document. The focus is on what enterprises a standard design proposal and the sequence for presenting that information.

The working design proposal is presented to the client after addressing any concerns from proof of concept assurance testing. The design review is an opportunity for you to present your design proposal to the client and discuss any issues. It is an opportunity for the client to identify concerns that they have and for the design engineer to clarify issues. The focus is to agree on any modifications, if required, and make changes to the infrastructure, security and management before implementation starts. Business and design requirements can change from when the project started which sometimes will necessitate changes to infrastructure, security and management specifications. Any changes should then go through proof of concept testing again before final changes to the design proposal.

STEP 9: IMPLEMENTATION

The final step will have us defining an implementation process for the specified design. This describes a suggested implementation methodology of the proposed design, which should have minimal disruption to the production network. As well it should be efficient and as cost effective as possible. As with previous methodologies there is a sequence that should be utilized as well. Once the implementation is finished, there is monitoring of the network for any problems. Design and configuration configurations are then made to address any problems or concerns.

Copyright 2006 Shaun Hummel All Rights Reserved

Veneer Brick Looks and Feels Like Real Brick But is Much More Affordable

Veneer is a material that is used in construction for decorative purposes. The material is also referred to as facing and can be found in many different materials. Veneer brick is one of the most popular kinds of this material and has the appearance of brick without the cost of brick.

Facing is a term used to identify the application of a material to a wall surface. This material is often used on both exterior and interior walls. Veneer provides a textured finish and creates a richer appearance than a standard flat painted wall. Both brick and wood are common veneer materials.

There are many different types of hardwood that can be found in veneer. Typically exotic woods have a prohibitive cost for the average homeowner, but these same woods are available in veneer at much more affordable prices. Also popular among veneer finishes are plaster and stone. By using these materials a space can be transformed.

The good look and durability of veneer make it just as qualified for commercial spaces as it is for residential ones. In fact, if the material is applied properly it may be impossible to tell the difference between the real thing and veneer. This is particularly true with woods such as oak or pine.

Veneer brick can be commonly found in rustic settings, but is just as conducive to classic or contemporary decors as it is to rustic decors. It all depends on how it is used and what materials are used to accent it. By using the correct type of brick and the right decorating accents, you can use veneer to create a setting style you desire.

Applying veneer is actually pretty simple and quick. Before starting the process it is necessary to apply a damp cloth to the wall and make sure the wall is clean and free of bumps. If there are bumps on the surface of the wall they should be sanded down. Once the surface of the wall is clean and free of debris, mortar can be applied. The mortar adheres to the wall and is used to stick the veneer to the wall in a manner that is similar to applying tile. The veneer is placed over the mortar and allowed to dry. While it is drying, there is a plastic mold that is commonly used to make sure the brick places in place and is uniformly placed around the entire wall.

Brick veneer looks particularly smart used around a fireplace and has the illusion of being the chimney. This material also looks good as a closure around a wood burning stove. Another neat decorating trick is to use this material along with some plaster to create the feeling of an old factory loft. A wine cell or the new cool 'man cave' can also be decorated with this material.

How To Buy Replacement Wood Shed Doors For Your Back Yard Storage Shed

Generally speaking, shed doors are the first problem you'll have with your shed (other than Mother Nature). It makes sense as your shed doors are the only moving part of your shed and are opened and closed many times through their use.

If you purchased your shed from one of the big box stores, you will have shed door problems sooner than later because of the way their doors are built.

The sheds the big box home improvement stores sell are shipped by the manufacture on tractor trailers and all the parts and pieces of the shed must fit into a nice box so they are lighter and take up less room to cut down on shipping costs and make them easy to load and unload.

Quality wise, the item that suffers the most are the doors. They need them to be as light as possible and fit flat into the box; so many shortcomings are taken giving the shed buyer a weak set of doors that will fail sooner than later.

The shortcuts include; using weak trim pieces as the actual frame structure of the door, only using staples to fasten the door sheeting to the trim and not using a complete 2×2 "or 2×4" frame on the inside of the doors for strength.

As your shed ages and settlements into its footprint in the backyard, the shed floor becomes un-level resulting in hard to open doors. The shed owner must use more force to open and close the doors which loosens the staples and nails that hold the doors together. Note: the shed builder is trained to add screws to the factory built door for added strength but seldom is this actually done and if it is, they use too much force and spin the screws which result in no holding power at all.

As the staples and nails loosen, the seams and trim in the door start pulling farther apart making it even harder to open and close the doors. Even more force is needed and before you know it, the doors are falling apart.

Most big box sheds come with a warranty and you can get the doors replaced. Most warranty claims are not scheduled appropriatively and it will take many calls to get your new doors. The squeaky wheel will get the grease in this case so be diligent in your complaining.

The bad news; the replacement doors will be the exact replica of the existing doors and the same problems you're having will happen again. There is no warranty on the replacement doors so be prepared to spend around $ 500.00 for doors from the original manufacture.

The good news; you can buy replacement doors on the Internet that are better than the doors that came with the shed and are easy to get and install yourself.

The first step is to measure the vertical and horizontal door opening (also called rough opening) of your shed. Use your measuring tape and measure from the bottom of the header to the floor. This is your vertical measurement. The header is the piece of wood (usually a 2×4) that is above the door opening. It could be a 2×6 if you have a larger shed. Then measure your horizontal width from the stud (usually a 2×4, also called a jack stud) on one side of the opening to the stud on the other side. This is your horizontal measurement.

On cheaper sheds, the jack stud could be a 2×3 (which is okay) or the door opening may not have 2×4 studs on both sides. If this is the case, you can easily add a stud (s). Measure the length needed cut to fit and toenail the new stud in.

Once you have your measurements, you can shop online and find the best deal. As of this writing, there are only 2 companies that build and ship wooden replacement shed doors. Both companies are reputable, make a superior shed door to the one you'll replace and both ship UPS. All you have to do is find the best deal.

A Migraine and Tension Headache May Be Relieved By Simple Self-Massage Technique

While it may seem like the most effective way to combat a headache is to reach for an over-the-counter or prescription pain-killer, it's possible that a natural solution may not only attach your headache faster but may attack the pain at its source . If tension or migraine headaches are caused by muscle tension, then it makes more sense to relieve the tension instead of just numbing the pain.

Tension Headaches

Three of the muscles belonging to the suboccipital group at the base of the skull are reasonably responsible for many cases of tension headache; These muscles are the rectus capitis posterior major, rectus capitis posterior minor and the obliquus capitis superior. All three muscles attach to the skull; the first two connect to the topmost cervical vertebrae in the neck, and the third connects to another muscle in the neck.

The suboccipital muscles are responsible for head extension, or raising the head. Commonly, these muscles are tight in people with forward head posture. This postural dysfunction occurs when the head extends forward of the body's center line; the suboccipitals must work overtime to keep the head facing forward from this position.

Place your fingertips on the back of your head and arch your neck back; you'll likely feel the muscles in your skull tense up. When the suboccipitals tighten, they exert a pull on muscles through the skull. This tension is believed to result in tension headaches – the throbbing, aching and tightness that wraps around the head for anywhere from hours to days.

Chronic tension in the suboccipital muscles can cause trigger points – knots that form in the connective tissue surrounding the muscles that make it difficult to relax them. Myofascial release is a targeted form of massage therapy designed to loosen tight connective tissue. You can practice self-myofascial release (SMR) at home with the use of a trigger point device to treat suboccipital tension.

You can view a video of suboccipital SMR at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kHF95SF8cYw . Be careful not to roll over your spell when performing this technique. When you encounter a tender knot, pause on it and apply deep, sustained pressure for 30 seconds.

Migraines

There is a theoretical connection between migraine headache and the rectus capitis posterior minor muscle. This muscle connects to the dura, a pain-sensitive protective layer that supports the brain. Tension in this muscle can exert a pull on the dura, and this may cause migraine pain.

See http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14979889 for more on this connection.

If dural traction is the cause of your migraine headaches, then simple SMR may be enough to relieve pain. Before taking medication next time, consider trying out this technique.

On top of myofascial release, you'll need to work to correct postural distortion and other causes of chronic muscle tension like stress. Chronic pain often has a complex of causes and, therefore, solutions; seek out natural treatments before investing in risky and invasive methods.

What is a Soft Splint?

A soft splint can be wrapped around the joint limb of a patient. The interlinked soft and elongated fabric sleeves are joined flexibly at the edges of the sides that create a uniform structure. These sleeves make up for the individual pockets that are full of lightweight and flow able extended from beads partly or in any other material that does not absorb moisture and where the air and moisture can pass freely in the structure.

This lightweight structure makes for the soft splint that has to be wrapped around the affected area of ​​the patient and should be secured in place by means of quick fastening.

You can remove and install this splint easily. The sleeve members when compressed resist bending in order to maintain your limit in an unflexed extended position. This lightweight construction allows the passage of air and moisture through it quickly and it dries fast after washing. About 3-4 sleeve members, are linked together to make a splint that has suitable size.

o These soft adjustable splints with polystyrene bead filled splint positions of the wrist, knee and elbow are used in order to immobilize passively protect your joints and prevent pressure applied on the bony prominences. Adjust the splint simply by adding or removing the beads from the invisible zipper opening. There are Velcro closures that enable easy removal. These splints are very comfortable to use with a white cotton lining and gray vinyl mesh covering. The fill is radiolucent and it is machine washable.

o A soft splint cast is a kind of a splint that is made from soft cast material made by 3M for casting. It can be used similarly like Fiberglass cast. But, in soft splint cast, the casting material is not set as firmly as fiberglass cast, thus enabling one to make some movements. The more number of materials used, the more rigid the cast becomes.

o A soft cast splint is very comfortable to wear. It is unsuitable for immobilizing the limit, in case of a fraction. But is a great help in cases where one needs support preventing some movement. Such soft cast splints are used to treat transition from rigid splinting to nothing at all and tendinitis. The splint limits your movements and thus, protects the injured tissue.

Many different materials are used to make a splint. It depends largely on the type of injury, the person who requires a splint and tier goals of immobilizing. Many people prefer these soft splints because of the comfort it offers and it's softness.

Art of Egypt – The Hyksos and the New Kingdom

The Hyksos, literally "Shepherd Kings," were a group of tribal Canaanite tribes who somehow migrated to Egypt. These races were Israeli in origin, and whether they invaded or just moved in, historians held divided opinions on that. However, they unanimously agree that from 1650 BC to around 1550 BC, Egypt was ruled by dynasties that were not essentially native Egyptians.

Those kings, mostly Semic in origin, and superior to the Egyptian techniques of warfare, moved in with a host of cutting edge technology (body armors, chariots, spears, etc), but almost subdued the minority and the elegant Pre-Hyksos Art of the Egyptians. Hyksos, in its basic character, was a more primitive form of art, to say the least. It was the art of the hunter-gatherer, as opposed to the "avant garde" Egyptian motifs of yesteryears.

Although the Hyksos used Egyptians artisans, their art was apparently rudimentary. Pottery, painting, and, especially, architectures fall prey to this primitive wave. In fact, when they moved in, the Pyramids were already half a century old. The Hyksos Art however, was way behind the finesse of Pyramid architecture, even at that point of time. Clay figurines of this period, called the "Second Intermediate Period," demonstrated an utter disregard to form, proportion, and color. That the Hyksos were different from Egyptians could not have had any more evidence evidence than these sculptures. The difficulties of Hyksos were crude, and mostly mud baked, as compared to the superior stone temples of the Egyptians.

Almost after a hundred years of reign, the Hyksos Kings were finally driven out by Ahmose-I, who ushered in the era, the "New Kingdom" (1550-1070 BC). In this period, the entire Egypt was united under a single Pharaoh and the Hyksos were untraceable on the Egyptian territory. New brands of dedicated artisans, termed as, "Servants in the place of Truth," were intended to decorate the tombs of the kings of this era. Magnificent rock tombs of the Pharaohs became the landmarks of this golden era of Egyptian Art and architecture.

Although Thebes remained the cultural heart of this "New Kingdom," these artists built a set of exquisite tombs, at a place now known as Deir el-Medina. Recognition to the individual artist names, an uncommon practice in the ancient societies, became famous norm in this rule. For instance, from the old records it has been established that an artist named "Khonsu," was the master architect of a major of royal tombs. Most art-loving monarchs of Egypt namely, Thutmose, Nefertiti, and Tutankhamen belong to this era, which, in a way, was a period of Egyptian Renaissance. In this melee of re-birth of Egypt, most evidences of Hyksos Art were either destroyed or chiseled out. This stands as an unfortunate reminder of the vengefulness from the most noble of the artists of the ancient era, the Egyptians.

Xiaomi Redmi Pro: New Redmi Smartphone With Deca-Core Helio X20 Processor

Recently, the Xiaomi company has released a new product, Xiaomi Redmi Pro. It is the first affordable smartphone to come with dual cameras. Another highlight is that it is configured with the latest deca-core Helio X20 processor. At this article, I will do a review of this new product. This article involves three aspects, including appearance design, configuration and camera.

Appearance Design

The new product features a full metal unibody fuselage with a brushed metal finish, and up front is a 2.5D glass that covers the 5.5-inch full HD OLED display. Compared with the normal IPS LCD screen, the new OLED display displays 100% NTSC color gamut and 60000: 1 super high contrast ratio. That is to say, this outstanding display will provide a more viable and pleasant viewing experience.

In terms of the prompt change in appearance design, Redmi Pro moves the fingerprint sensor from the back side to the front side. And it is embedded into the physical home button below the display. This is to make way for the dual cameras setup.

Configuration

Exactly, it is powered by the latest MTK Helio X20 64 bit deca-core processor running at 2.1GHz. This powerful processor has the tri-cluster architecture to improve more 30% powerful efficiency, which allows highly intensive tasks. Comes, it comes with Mali T880 MP4 700MHz GPU. Midgard parallel processing architecture results 180% higher performance. Except for that, combined with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage, it enables you to complete multitasking without a hitch.

In terms of the software configuration, it will be running the latest MIUI 8 OS, which is based on Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow. Other hardware includes a USB Type-C port, dual SIM cards, and a 4,050 mAh huge capacity battery.

Camera

Dual cameras setup is the highlight of Redmi Pro. This is the first attempt of the affordable smartphone to come with dual cameras. The setup includes a 13MP camera with Sony IMX 250 sensor that captures the still images and a 5MP Samsung camera that captures depth information. Outstanding DSLR-quality bokeh plus hardware-level DOF processing, these dual cameras brings pretty good shooting effect.

Summary

To sum up, Xiaomi Redmi Pro has two obvious features of deca-core Helio X20 processor configuration and dual cameras setup. Beside, 5.5-inch body size will bring you nice holding feeling. It is an affordable smartphone. If you like, you can have a try!

Dante's Inferno – A Summary of the Circles of Hell

Dante's Divine Comedy is a journey through the afterlife of Inferno, Purgatory, and Paradise.

The Journey begins with Dante lost in a dark wood. His only escape is down through Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven, guided by the poet Virgil.

This epic poem tracks that amazing journey through the afterlife. Dante first enters the afterlife through the gate of Hell.

The Gate of Hell – Cowards who refused to take a stand for or against God

Forever running and getting stung by wasps.

Circle one – Limbo

Virtuous pagans, Virgil, Plato. Unfulfilled desire and hopelessness.

Circle two – The lustful

Francesa and Paolo. Cleopatra. Eternally being swirled in wind.

Circle three – The gluttons

Guarded by the three-headed dog, Cerberus. Eating slime and muck.

Circle four – The prodigal and the miserly

Hoarders and wasters pushing an intense stone against each other.

Circle five – The wrathful and the sullen

Thrashing and bodies torn apart in dark filthy water.

Circle six – The heretics

Living in smoking tombs.

Circle seven – The violent, the suicides, the blasphemers, the sodomites, the usurers

A river of boiling blood guarded by Centaurs. Souls become a forest of suffering trees, others torn apart by dogs, rain of fire, mutilation.

Circle eight – Fraudulent, pimps, seducers, flatterers, simonists, sorcerers, corrupt politicians, sewers of division, falsifiers, alchemists, thieves

Eternally walking and tormented. Living in excrement. Stuffed into holes. Heads turned backwards. Boiling tar. Lead capes. Snakes. Flames.

Circle nine – Sinners against family, betrayers, traitors against country

Encased in ice. Home of Satan. Cannibalism. Judas being eternally chewed by Lucifer.

Tips for Choosing a Chiminea for Your Backyard or Patio

Imagine that you want to stay warm in your backyard on a cool, starry night. One of the ways you can do so is to invest in a clay or cast iron chiminea. A chiminea is nothing more than the modern version of a traditional Mexican outdoor fireplace. This type of outdoor fireplace was used for hundreds of years as a source of warmth and a place to cook. Nowadays you see them in many backyards as sources of warmth and as accent pieces adding charm to a patio or garden.

You can find chimineas made of clay, aluminum and cast iron. Which one you choose depends on what style fits your patio or backyard and how much money you are willing to invest. (Note: There are several accepted spellings for a Mexican fireplace.) The common spellings are: chiminea, chimenea, chiminia, chimenia.)

Choosing a Clay Chiminea

When choosing a clay chiminea, you should look to see if the fireplace was air-dried or kiln-dried. In general, an air-discharged fireplace is usually "untreated." This means you would need to paint it and seal it before use. Kiln-dried versions are typically prepainted and sealed.

Clay chimineas are constructed in two pieces. The bottom piece, called the "bowl" is the largest piece, and looks like a potbelly stove. The smokestack, or "neck" is attached separately on top of the bowl. The joint where the two pieces come together is usually rather weak, so you should never lift a clay chiminea from the neck.

In general, clay chimineas are not designed to handle large fires for extended periods of time. They are also more likely to crack and break than a cast iron or aluminum model.

Finally, remember that a clay chiminea is nothing but a combination of water and dirt. If you let it sit in water long enough, it will turn back into mud. Therefore, cover it during rainstorms and never let your clay fireplace sit in a pool of water!

Cast Iron and Aluminum Chimineas

In general, a cast iron or aluminum chiminea is more durable and sturdy than a clay version. Although they tend to be heavier than clay models, they will not crack or break as easily. However, they will need occasional maintenance.

For example, if you leave a cast iron chiminea outside long enough, it will rust. Rust is a normal occurrence, so if you sand out the rust spots and paint them as they appear, your fireplace should give you many years of enjoyment.

Cast aluminum models are relatively low maintenance, lighter in weight than cast iron, and also rust-resistant. Therefore, painting and sanding is not necessary.

What to Look for in All Chimineas

As you shop for a Mexican fireplace, pay close attention to the size of the fire bowl area. This is where you will be placing the wood to burn, so be sure it is large enough to accommodate neatly large pieces of wood. The size of the fire bowl is more important than the height of the neck.

You might also consider purchasing a spark arrestor for your chiminea. A spark arrestor is a mesh screen that you place over the chimney hole to prevent sparks from escaping. You might also consider a spark arrestor for the front of the fire bowl, too.

A modern Mexican chiminea is a great addition to any backyard, both as a source of heat and as a decorating accent piece. Make your choice between clay, cast iron, and cast aluminum models. With a little yearly care, you will have a wonderful conversation piece for your patio or backyard. Plus, you will have a romantic and charming way to stay warm as you gaze into the sky on a cool and starry night.

Film Set Scaffolding Suppliers and Movie Scaffolding

South Africa has become a haven for film productions. Cape Town is a particularly popular location, but the rest of the country has also seen an increase in the number of films being produced.

With the increased number of productions being shot in both studios and on location in South Africa, the demand for film set scaffolding suppliers has increased in recent years. Film productions make heavy use of scaffolding and rigging, relying on scaffold hire contractors to provide film set scaffolding.

South Africa has very diverse scenery, perfect for films needing to be shot in a multitude of locations. There are first-class beaches, attractive business districts with high rise buildings, deserts, wetlands and lakes, small rural towns and high mountains that are snow capped during winter. Labour in South Africa is also comparatively cheap, lowering production costs significantly.

The Rand exchange rate is favourable to overseas film makers and South Africa offers a setting which has all the necessary scenery and facilities at a fraction of the cost of filming in other locations around the world.

The film industry in South Africa is booming with many film and production companies available to assist on films. These few points are just a couple of the many reasons that South Africa makes a great location for film productions.

Scaffolding Requirements in the Film Industry

When films are produced, scaffolding is required for many purposes. Film sets, temporary structures, platforms and access ramps for high areas are some of the uses of scaffolding on a film set.

Enormous sets require a lot of scaffolding to create items such as fake streets and imitation buildings. Scenes shot from an elevation require scaffolding and platforms to allow the equipment and crew access to high points, while assuring the safety of the crew and the equipment.

Film set scaffolding suppliers in South Africa are usually contracted to provide the movie set scaffolding and rigging.

The equipment used in filming can cost millions of Rands, making the stability and reliability of scaffolding a key concern for film makers. Scaffolding used also needs to be adaptable to different terrains. Many films are shot in locations where the ground is unstable or uneven; making the need for scaffolding that is able to perform its duties on unstable locations extremely high, as well as upholding the health and safety of the crew and equipment whilst constructed on uneven ground.

Health and Safety

Scaffolding used on film sets not only needs to be safe for the filming equipment, but also for the safety of the staff, crew and actors. If scaffolding does experience a problem in terms of a collapse or any other issue, even if no one is hurt, filming can be delayed which causes massive problems with budgets, the time schedules and many other important factors which the film depends on to be reliable.

Flexibility and Reliability

‘Time is money’; a statement which could never be truer than in the film industry. When producing a movie, film makers depend on efficiency and the ability to shoot the production without delays. For this reason the scaffolding used in films for sets, temporary structures and access platforms needs to be quick to assemble, dismantle and move around. The production of a film can be more expensive and delayed by scaffolding which is not easily constructed and dismantled. Complex scaffolding that is difficult to work with will require more man power, increasing costs further.

When a film is in production, certain unpredictable elements such as natural light and the weather are important factors, yet these are not easily replicated artificially and require swift movement to have everything ready in order to film when conditions are perfect. This is another reason why the scaffolding used needs to be very dependable in term of its ability to be erected and dismantled quickly and efficiently.

Kwik-Stage Scaffolding and Self-Lock Towers

Scaffolding types such as Kwik-Stage Scaffolding systems and Self-Lock Tower systems are extremely useful and popular in this regard. These types of scaffolding are extremely reliable for many reasons.

Kwik-Stage Scaffolding and Self-Lock Towers are very easily assembled and just as easily dismantled requiring much less man power to do so than other types of scaffolding. Because the scaffolding is dependable in terms of time saving and lessened need for manpower, Kwik-Stage Scaffolding and Self-Lock Towers are a massive benefit to the film industry as they save time and cut back on costs.

The Kwik-Stage System is also very useful in the film industry as it is able to be erected on uneven terrain without compromising on efficiency or safety. This scaffolding system adheres to strict health and safety regulations. The scaffolding system is tested by engineers before use to make sure that it is compliant with the standards needed for heavy industrial scaffolding.

Using reliable scaffolding such as Kwik-Stage and Self-Lock systems from a film set scaffolding supplier in South Africa, the film industry reaps a sizeable benefit in terms of time saving, less man power and ultimately lowered costs. Couple this with a favourable exchange rate and dramatically different types of scenery within close proximity to one another; South Africa is a prime location for successful film production.