Importance of a Maid in Your Life

In today’s world, when people are fully occupied with busy lifestyles and hectic schedules, there is hardly any time to do the various household activities. Cooking, cleaning and taking care of the house and the kids become a challenging affair. A house becomes a big mess. During such situations, hiring a maid can help you and your house from becoming a mess. Read the article below to know more about maids and how to get a good maid.

How does a maid help?

You want your house to be cleaned regularly. But apart from your household chores, there are many other things in your daily life that are important. Hence, you get very less time to look after your home. But with a maid you can solve this problem. Maids can do a wide range of services from cleaning services to janitorial services. Hence, you can free your mind of worries and get your home cleaned by a maid.

Generally, maids are of three types;

• Untrained maids- Those who have never worked before as a maid.

• Semi trained maids- Those who have limited number of experience working as a maid and can do only certain tasks.

• Trained or Professional maids- Those who are experienced and can perform a variety of household chores.

Out of these, always professional maids are the best one to opt for. These maids can handle and perform numerous jobs properly. Due to their experience they do not require any extra training. They have the capability to keep your house neat and clean but also can take care of your family well in your absence. This gives you a great sense of satisfaction. Most of the maids are trained to get along with your family members.

How to choose a good maid

Choosing a housemaid depends on your choice and requirement. Factors such as the number of maids you want, whether on a daily basis or weekly basis or long term basis, etc. should be decided before hiring a maid. If your house is small, then you probably require only one maid and if it is large, then you should choose to avail the services of many maids. Hiring a maid through maid service agency is always better than keeping individual house keepers. The risk associated with keeping individual housekeepers is many because you don’t know whether the person comes from a good background or not. But through a maid servicing center, you can get the details of a person and you can select them as per your desire. They can lend you as many maids you want or even if you want to change your maid you can just directly contact them over a phone. They also provide bonded maids. It gives you a guarantee by taking full responsibility of an employee if they cause or create any trouble with your family. Hence, hiring maids through maid service agency is always the safest and the smartest way.

With maids you can make your life easier and smoother. Simultaneously, it is also important to respect them. They can make your daily chores simple, uncomplicated and trouble free.

Discover the Most Dangerous Forms of Water Pollution & How You Can Protect the Health of Your Family

There are many different forms of water pollution, all of which are caused by people's carelessness. Agricultural run-off is a serious problem and one of the largest forms of water pollution. Large factory farms use huge amounts of herbicides and pesticides that all wash into the ground water when it rains, polluting the groundwater for thousands of miles around.

The herbicides and pesticides are deadly cancer-causing chemical compounds that can not be removed from the water by any method but proper filtering. The thousands of tons of manure from these farms also run into the water carrying herbicides and pesticides that the animals have ateen as well as the bacteria and microorganisms in the manure.

Industrial Waste is another major form of water pollution. Factories, large companies, manufacturers, mills and plants often dump their waste directly into the rivers, lakes, streams and oceans. Those who do not dump directly into the water, dump into the ground, causing more groundwater contamination. Recent studies have identified 2,100 of the 80,000 chemicals in North American drinking water to be carcinogenic chemicals.

Household Waste – You and I are water pollution culprits too. Every time someone pours a cleaner, detergent, soap, chemicals, medicines, paint, solvents or anything else that does not occur in nature down the drain, it becomes a form of water pollution.

Sewage – Many countries and states still dump raw sewage into the harbors and bays. Millions of tons of raw sewage are being dumped into the water every day. In some countries raw sewage runs in the gutters along the streets. This sewage obviously puts many different types of toxins into the water.

What Can We Do?

The best thing we can do to protect ourselves is to install a certified multi-layer water filtration system in our homes. All water that you come in contact with must be decontaminated- not just your drinking water.

The chemicals and metals in the water can see through the skin or be inhaled in the form of steam, as well as being ingested. Protect your family from all of these forms of water pollution with a proper water filter.

Best Brow Enhancing Products of the Day

Looking good is about looking good from head to toe, and today eyebrows are the hottest feature to focus on. This is necessary because well groomed brows give your face a polished and focused look, while bushy, overgrown brows make you look unkempt and make people think you have a mono-brow instead of two eyebrows.

Here are some eyebrow products that you must have in your eyebrow makeup collection for the perfect brow shape:

• Tweezers
The ideal pair of tweezers works best on any type of facial hair, thick or thin. They are perfectly aligned and point flawlessly. Good tweezers are super efficient at grabbing the short, dark eyebrow hairs that most blunt and clumsy tweezers find difficult to forgive, giving your eyebrows sharp and precise arch lines.

• Brow Shaping Color
If you are looking for eyebrow makeup that grooms your brows without making them look artificial, then go for brow shaping color. With a mascara-like brush, the believable color is ridiculously easy to apply as you can just brush the color onto your brows naturally. It just enhances your natural eyebrow shape, makes it fuller and darker without making your brows look like they have been hideously penciled in.

• Brow Wax and Powder Combo
Get a compact with a wax and powder combo for your eyebrows. These two components are the best eyebrow products as they blend in seamlessly with your natural brows without looking made up. The combination is fake proof and lasts until you decide to take it off. Available in a myriad of complexion friendly shades, your brows would thank you for using this product.

• Powder Eyebrow Pencil
A powder pencil gives you the best of both worlds when it comes to eyebrow makeup. It is the best tool for you if you are not steady with a brush but still want your brows to have the soft look powder gives. The texture of the pencil is unbelievably soft and smooth and the color and staying power are both exceptional. Unlike typical pencils, powder based brow pencils do not give your brows a waxy, shiny look.

• The Complete Brow Shaping Kit
Eyebrow shaping kits make grooming your brows really easy. They are simple, easy and cheaper than buying individual products. These usually contain brow powder, highlighter and brow stencils. The stencils work best for people who are not that good at makeup since they are foolproof and shape your brows to perfection with minimum effort.

• Eyebrow Masks
Eyebrow masks are great if your natural eyebrows are sparse or have not been growing properly due to illness or accidents. They come with fillers, stencils, templates and diagrams so that you can completely reshape your brows, make them look as natural as possible and enhance your natural beauty.

Why Laminate Flooring is So Popular

Laminate flooring is an affordable alternative to hardwood flooring or ceramic tile. It is available in a wide array of colors to give the appearance of different species of wood in a variety of finishes. You can also have the look of natural stone in a laminate floor with such choices as colonial brick and granite.

The ease with which you can clean laminate floors is also another reason why homeowners are opting for this choice of flooring material. You can sweep the floor or vacuum it. Washing up requires only a mild cleaner and warm water. The flooring has a wear layer so that it resists wear and tear in high traffic areas and it will not stain easily when such liquids as juice are accidently spilled on it.

Laminate floor looks very realistic even though it is not made from real wood or stone. Along with its long lasting qualities, it is easy to install. The planks or tiles have interlocking features through tongue and groove applications so that you simply snap each piece together. You can choose to either nail the planks to the subfloor or glue them down to give the effect of a floating floor.

You do not have to bother with refinishing laminate floors as you would with hardwood. Neither do you have to take the time to apply grout like you would with ceramic tile. Laminate is not recommended as the material of choice for kitchens or bathrooms because of the high moisture content in these rooms of the house. Neverheless, many people have installed laminate flooring in these rooms with great success.

You do need to use an underlay on the subfloor before you install the laminate planks. This is because the planks can cause hollow sounds when someone walks over them and this can be particularly annoying for anyone on the floor benefit.

8 Deadly Mistakes That Can Disable Your SSDI Claim and 6 Actions That May Help You Win!

Applying for and obtaining Social Security Disability Benefits (SSDI) can be a frustrating and confusing process. Did you know that almost 70% of claims are denied initially. That is staggering. While there is no surefire way to guarantee you will get SSDI benefits, this article outlines some of the common mistakes Louisiana SSDI claimants make. Also included are a few actions that you can take during the process to help give your social security disability claim the best opportunity for approval.

Deadly Mistake No. 1 – You Take "NO" For An Answer.
The truth is that close to 70% of initial social security disability applications are denied. If you take "NO" or "DENIED" for your answer, you miss out on your right and ability to appeal your denial. Statistically, social security disability claimants do much better on appeals to an administrative law judge (and then the court) than they do to the initial review. You have to be persistent, patient, and willing to be told no, or denied, and then move to the next step.

Action No. 1 – Appeal Every Denial and Reapply If Necessary.
Do not take NO. If you believe that your medical records and functional limits qualify you for disability, do not give up. Keep fighting by appealing the denials until you can no longer appeal. If you miss an appeal, or your limitations worsen after you have reached a final decision on a prior claim, apply again.

Deadly Mistake No. 2 – You File An Incomplete Disability Application.
Many social security disability claims fail to provide all of the necessary information or documentation social security needs to properly review your file. Sometimes, it is not your fault, but the fault of your doctor or medical facility. But either way, the result is the same, failing to provide all necessary information and records, and make sure your doctor has done so as well, can kill your SSDI claim.

Deadly Mistake No. 3 – You Fail to Dispose All Medical Conditions or Injuries.
Some SSDI claimants will only tell social security about their most obvious medical problem – for example, back pain – but not about other medical issues they may be experiencing, especially mental health problems – such as depression. The fact is that in examining your claim, social security is required to determine how ALL of your medical conditions affect your ability to work. If you do not tell them about all of your problems (no matter how minor each is), they will evaluate you only on your major issue.

Action No. 2 – Discose ALL medical conditions and limitations – physical and mental.
Social Security has to determine how all of your medical limitations affect your ability to work in determining your disability claim. So you need to tell them about all of your problems. Your knee that locks up and hurts for 20-30 minutes every once in a while after strenuous activity is as important as your congestive heart failure. Your ability to maintain personal relationships and take direction from supervisors can be as important as your back pain. Tell Social Security about all of your impairments.

Deadly Mistake No. 4 – You Wait Too Long To Appeal Your Denial of Disability Benefits.
You have 60-days from the date of your denial to appeal to the next step of the process. This is true with each relative denial. Missing the 60-day window to appeal can and often does spell the end of your disability claim. Now you can reapply, but you have to go back to the beginning of the line.

Action No. 3 – Appeal Within 60-days.
Social Security laws and regulations provide you 60-days from the date you receive a denial to appeal. In determining what day you received the denial letter, Social Security rules assume that you received it 5-days after it was dated. To make life easier, if you believe the denial was in error appeal as soon as you can after receipt of the letter. You can appeal online at http://www.ssa.gov or by calling your local social security office. You do not want your valid disability claim to be denied simply because you failed to file your appeal within 60-days.

Deadly Mistake No. 5 – You Over Exaggerate Your Limitations or Speak in Absolutes.
Some SSDI claimants will tell social security – "I can not sit" or "I can not walk". For most disability claims, this is simply not true. You will be able to sit for some period of time or walk some distance. (I do admit that there are a few people where these absolutes are true, but not for most.) When you speak in such terms, the examiner gets a bad impression of you because this is simply not true in the large majority of cases. What happens when the examiner gets a bad impression of you and your credibility is asked? You get denied. Be truthful.

Action No. 4 – Be Truthful And Tell Social Security The Details.
You can never go wrong with the truth. The truth is important to your Social Security Disability Claim. While you do not want to over exaggerate your limitations by speaking in absolutes, you also do not want to under report your abilities. Good responses are those that include details such as "I can hold a gallon of milk and walk with it for 10 feet before I need to put it down and rest," or "I walk to my mailbox to collect my mail. 30 feet. Before I walk back, I need to rest for a few minutes at the mailbox to regain my strength. " Responses such as these that accurately describe your true limitations and provide concrete details allow an examiner to effectively evaluate your limitations. You should also remember that these examiners have heard it all and hear it all. They are very adept at spotting exaggerations and untruths. If they sense that with you, you will lose credibility, which is important.

Deadly Mistake No. 6 – You Approach the SSDI Process Without Understanding It.
For most people, the only experience you will ever have with applying for disability benefits is when you have to do it for yourself. Do you know exactly what you are trying to prove? Many people do not. Often, disability claims think all they have to prove is that they have some type of medical condition and they should win. This is not correct. You need to know what you need to do and prove in order to do it and prove it. Otherwise, you could have a ship sailing to an unknown harbor without a map.

Action No. 5 – Read Informational Sources to Help You Understand The Process.
I believe it is important for social security disability claims to know something about the process the government uses to determine whether or not you will qualify for disability benefits. That's one of the reasons why I write articles, blog, and provide information to disability applicants – it is a complicated process. You can find valuable information across the internet and especially on SSA.gov (the Social Security Administration's homepage). These resources can help you better appreciate the process, especially if you are determined to fight for your benefits alone.

Deadly Mistake No. 7 – Failing to Dislose Your Entire Work History and Vaguely Describing Your Duties.
Sure, you have been doing the same job for the last 7 years, and before that you worked for another company for 5 years. You remember those. But what about in between those two jobs, when you worked with your brother-in-law for 2 weeks and was paid. Social Security will know about every job you had where you paid taxes – no matter how much. You need to think about exactly what jobs you had and what you were required to do in each job and accurately report that to Social Security. This again will go to your credibility if you fail to do so.

A second part to this mistake is not accurately describing your duties. You may tell social security you drive as part of your job. But for how long at one time? How often each week? These details can have a major impact on the disability determination. Leaving out these details can be deadly to your disability claim.

Deadly Mistake No. 8 – Failing to Get A Disability Attorney To Help You.
Disability attorneys are familiar with social security's complex rules and regulations. They know what medical records are necessary to prove up your diagnosis and know the questions to ask your doctor to help prove your limitations. Do you? They know what role a volunteer expert will play during your hearing. Have you heard of a volunteer expert? Do you understand what they are trying to do? I am not saying that you can not win a disability case without an attorney (actually, many people have), or that an attorney guarantees you a win (even the best football teams lose during any given season), but having a well prepared attorney who knows the game plan of the opposition can put you in a better position to find success.

Action No. 6 – Hire A Disability Benefits Attorney.
This may sound self-serving, but doing so can help you present your disability claim in the best possible manner to social security. You would not treat your own broken arm although you have seen a doctor wrap it in plaster of Paris and put it in a sling. A doctor can make sure that it is set properly and knows precisely how long the arm needs to remain immobilized. Similarly, with a Social Security disability attorney, the attorney knows and understands the process as well as certain strategic moves that can bolster you chances for success.

By avoiding these deadly mistakes that can disable your disability claim and taking the actions that could help, you will give yourself the best opportunity to get the SSDI benefits you need to survive.

Insurance For Coach Houses

Coach Houses are built over 3 floors; similar to town houses, except the ground floor is a single garage. This is a popular and space-saving option for house builders to incorporate all the facilities a modern family needs using smaller plots of land to provide it. It is therefore considered financially economic house building. Economical house building means economic house prices! Everyone is a winner with this new space-saving concept!

This design of property is typically smaller, reflecting just 1 or 2 bedrooms – 3 bedroom coach houses are unusual, but we are seeing them being built more so laately.

The Coach houses are typically 3 connected properties (although in some cases can be more), one property owner will be responsible for insuring all of the garages upon which the block of coach houses are built, and can request that the other home owners – who will have access to their garage with a 999 year leasehold, pay a contribution to the insurance costs, even though the policy is not exclusive to the garages and will include their house too !. It is deemed reasonable however, that the policy holder can request around 25% of each of the other coach house owners towards his buildings insurance costs.

This is an effective way of sharing the cost of insurance and protecting every body's legal liability. The other house owners will also have to have their own Coach House buildings insurance policy however, to insure their own home (excluding the garage of course which is on leasehold through their neighbor) Tricky to follow? It can be without you have been given good advice! You will need to clarify detail of how everyone should protect themselves and their property against being uninsured in the event of a claim! This tend to be when policy holders realize that they are uninsured, in the event they make a claim!

There are usually significant areas of shared driveway space with these plots too, and this liability has to be included in the policy of the coach house owner who is insuring the garages also.

There are policies available to cover these risks, although they can be difficult to find! There are not many available on the market so it can take time to find the right policy for you. The most important thing is to ensure that the insurance policy you choose includes all of these risks and the insurance provider is fully aware of the build, set up of lease holdings, and the shared liabilities involved. Without investing the right time, ensuring that you purchase the right buildings insurance policy, could result in you finding out that you are, in fact, uninsured in the event you come to make a claim!

Basic CNC Preventative Maintenance Program and Best Practice

Its amazing how little preventive maintenance is ever performed within the majority of manufacturing companies today. I am often asked by Maintenance personnel on how other companies take care of there CNC equipment. What's my answer? This is typical if its not broken do not fix it.

What I have outlined below is how you can set up a preventive maintenance program based on little knowledge of CNC and maintenance and minimal amount of downtime by covering the most basic and important parts of a PM program. The items below will save you the most money down and prevent a future breakdown.

Minimum Basic CNC preventive maintenance program

1. Check your machine oil levels – turret, B-axis, ATC & magazine gear boxes, spindle gear box, hydraulics. If you have a leak-fix it. You are contaminating your coolant, reducing your tool life and putting more contaminants into the oil system every time you fill the tank.

2. Clean chips out of every corner of the machine.

3. Pull back the waycovers and clean out the troughs in the ballscrew area and allow coolant to drain properly and avoid flooding into your bearing housings.

4. Check for lube on your box way machines. There should be a line from the wiper every time you reverse the axis on the leading edge.

5. Check the clamp force of the spindles every 3 months- this is a 15 second check. This PM check is so important- you could save a spindle, increase tool life and part quality.

6. Check your pallet change alignment and operation if equipped. The last thing you want to do is throw a fixture in a machine. Also clean chips from under the pallets and B-axis

7. Perform a basic inspection of cables, hoses and electrical fans on the outside and inside of electrical cabinets. Do not forget to check the drive fans or computer fans as well.

8. Clean & replace any filters as necessary.

9. Check your CNC tool change alignment. Maybe not the easiest for a novice but at least look at it for something obvious. Fix any CNC machines that are dropping tools on occasion. There is a reason! Do not let it go. Damages to waycovers, ATC cam followers and gear boxes, tool fingers, and spindle damage will occur.

10. Check your backup batteries and make backups of parameters through your DNC system. With today's economic times many machines are powered down for intensive periods of time. Hope you have backups or original data sheets.

Front Porch Swings Make a Porch

How we loved to swing as children. That feeling of going back and forth, our feet coming off the ground and flying like a bird.

Outdoor porch swings have become a highly desirable furniture piece for various areas. They have a wide variety of uses from providing comfortable living, a quiet place to chat with a friend, a special nest to curl up next to your sweetheart for a romantic evening, a small nook for reading a book and drinking a cup of tea, or a place for enjoyment of a nap.

There are porch swings for every type of house and every type of swinger. Like most furniture, they come in all sizes, materials, colors and styles. It just depends on what you like, how many bodies you want to accommodate, and how much you are willing to spend.

Hard to believe that outdoor porch swings come in a variety of materials. The classic porch swing is made of domestic woods like cedar and cypress, and tropical woods and their special qualities. Which wood you choose is going to be based upon exposure to the elements and use. For example, wood has to be stored and maintained to keep its magnificent look. Left untreated, it will slowly dry up, with wood splintering and the color turning to a dismal gray potentially. Yet, selecting an ideal outdoor stain with the proper application, and your swing can enjoy a long and lustrous life.

The thought of a wicker swing is certainly inviting. Yet, there is always that worry with wicket and how it will hold up. Most wicker outdoor swing and furniture manufacturers now offer all-weather or resin wicker instead of natural fiber wicker. This type of wicker can remain outdoors all the time, is UV resistant, and is much simpler to clean.

For something more durable, Polywood is one of the most popular recycled materials on the market. It is a high-density polyethylene resin product, formed to resemble painted "lumber" and comes in a variety of colors.

How you hang a porch swing is really not the issue. It is like hanging a heavy potted plant. The trick is getting the proper hardware. There are hardware kits available that include the screw hooks and chain. Be sure to get either galvanized or stainless steel. Otherwise, you will be switching hardware out every year because of rusting.

If possible, use four chains to hang your swing from its hooks: two chains from each hook / eye bolt, one to the back of the swing and one to the front. You want the height from the ground to be between 17-and 19 inches. (Most folks opt for 17 inches – unless they are taller in which 19 inches is preferred.) Your height from the ground is what determines the length of each piece of chain.

While you will be in a hurry to get your front porch swing up and functional, take your time to ensure that it is safe and secure. This will give you a piece of mind the more it is used.

Outdoor swings can be placed anywhere around your property, but there is something to be said about a front porch swing and the pleasure it brings.

Mixed Media Painting Tips

I have been painting, as a hobby and commercially, for approximately 10 years now. I first started with acrylic but have more recently dumbled in watercolors. I have always loved texture in my art work but could never afford to buy oil paints. I consider myself quite a resourceful person and this has led me to think out of the box. I will hopefully enlighten you as to some of my more creative ideas which you may want to incorporate into your own pieces.

Before I start I apply Gesso primer to my canvases. This assists with ensuring any medium added to the canvas adheres well.

Tip One

I have found a product called "Decorator's Caulk" which works as a great way of adding texture to your canvas. I buy trade tubes which can be fitted to a "Sealant Gun" and this is the tool I use to apply the caulk to the canvas. From there you have to let your imagination take over. I use a large pallet knife as well as various other tools to manipulate the caulk across the canvas.

The caulk can be found in all trade shops and is not a specific art product. It is typically used to fill gaps and cracks in walls. It can take up to one one hour to dry but this will depend on how thickly you applied it to the canvas. I just touch it light and you can tell when it has hardened. You are ready to paint over it. You will find acrylic paint sticks to it with no fuss. The result is awesome and you have the perceived texture of an oil painting but at very little cost.

Tip Two

Crepe paper is a cheap and interesting way to add texture. I usually make a solution of PVA glue with some water to assist with sticking the paper to the canvas. Again your own imagination has to come to play here and depending on the look you want as to how layered and textured you want your piece to be.

Tip Three

Plaster of paris infected crepe bandages. These are a tad messy to work with but the results can look fantastic. I find that rather than trying to achieve a perfectly smooth finish it can look great if you leave it rough and if not all of the bandage is covered with the plaster of paris it adds a mottled porous look which is spectacularly organic in its texture.

Tip Four

Rope of all size and thickness can add a really great three dimensional quality to your piece. I use decorator's caulk to stick it to the canvas as not only does this act as a great adhesive you can also paint over it quite easily.

Tip Five

Cutting into the canvas. I know this sounds like a cardinal sin but the results can be quite spectacular. I have created many industrial looking pieces by combining rope, netting, plaster of paris and by cutting into the canvas and bending it back upon itself you can achieve a very raw look.

These are just a few ideas which will hopefully fire up your imagination and assist you with trying out different materials. I am sure your artwork will take on a whole new look and feel with the added bonus of very little cost.

Roofing – A Guide To Installing Corrugated Iron Roofing

Corrugated Iron Roofing is durable, lightweight and easy to install. If a few extra precautions are taken with handling and fixing, the finished product will greatly be improved.

White Rust

Over half of the mistakes made while constructing a corrugated iron roof can be traced back to incorrect storage or handling. The iron has to be handled and stored correctly because the surface is very easily damaged.

Leave the metal roofing at the manufacturers until you are ready to start installing it. Aim for delivery the day before roofing starts. If the roofing iron arrives before you are able to fix it, you must ensure it is kept bone dry. It is a common mistake to assume that because they are roofing sheets, they can withstand moisture. If the roofing sheets are stacked together and they get wet, they will stain. White rust forms on the coating and it is very difficult to remove. If your roof sheets do get wet, separate each individual sheet. Use bearers to allow airflow around the metal. This will prevent the corrosion.

Gently does it

As for handling, care needs to be taken in order not to damage the paintwork. Sliding sheets across one another will damage them. When separating the roofing sheets, you should lift them cleanly upwards without scratching the one underneath.

Spend more money

Installing a roof can be time consuming and costly. The last thing you need is to have to keep spending money on maintenance. If you scrimp on the cost of fasteners you will forever be replacing loose nails and fixing leaks. Choose good quality roofing screws. These will provide a more secure fixing and last as long as the roofing iron. It’s important not to over tighten the screws. Just tight enough to lightly compress the neoprene washer is sufficient.

Drilling

If you pre-drill the holes for your roofing screws on the ground, it will be safer and give the roofing a neater appearance. This is only possible if the purlins run parallel to the eaves and the roof is reasonably square.

Using a quality drill bit makes the job easier. The drill bit should be slightly larger than the diameter of the roofing screws. This will prevent stress fractures as the sheets expand and contract.

Take accurate measurements of the purlin centres from the eaves and mark the roofing sheets ready for drilling the screw holes. Don’t forget to add the drop into the gutter to your measurements, usually about 50mm. It’s better to use chalk for marking corrugated roofing iron because pencil may damage the surface.

Cut to the quick

Cutting corrugated iron roofing sheets with a disc cutter makes the job easier and faster. Unfortunately, it also damages the roofing iron beyond repair. Hot particles of steel imbed themselves into the surrounding metal allowing it to corrode. Nibblers will do the job adequately as long as you are careful with the swarf. It’s preferable to cut the sheet with hand shears or best of all power shears. A better finish can be achieved if you make two cuts. The first cut 50mm away from your finished edge allowing you to neatly trim to the line with your second cut.

Scratches

If you find scratches on your roofing during installation resist the urge to paint it. The paint may well look like a good match from the tin, but after a couple of seasons weathering the patched paintwork will stick out like a sore thumb. Contact the manufacturer and ask for advice on making repairs to their product.

Laying the roofing

Before you start laying the roofing sheets check that the roof is square. If the roof is not square you can still achieve a good finish if you even out the difference, between the two barges. The difference will then be less noticeable as it will be covered by the barge flashing. Run a string line along the eaves, 50mm into the gutter and it will provide you with a straight edge for the roofing sheets.

Clean up

On completion it’s important to clear the roof of any loose swarf. Tiny particles of iron left on the roof will rust and ruin the surface. A soft brush will do the job or ideally a leaf blower can be used.

A well installed corrugated iron roof will give years of maintenance free service. If you take a little extra care with the preparation and fixing, you will achieve a superior finish.

Team Building Part 2: Honesty is the Key!

The second in a series of 2 articles giving a slightly different perspective on effective team building, condensed from an original seminar presented by the author, John Roberts. John is a Freelance Training Consultant and director of JayrConsulting Ltd. Part 1 (Another Brick in the Wall) deal with selecting and building the initial team. Part 2 deals with the culture that need to be in place to run the team really effectively. The ideas expressed are personal opinions built up from many years of experience in the Electronics / Aerospace industry, the Armed Forces, the Telecoms industry and the Training industry. There is no suggestion of this being a 100% solution applicable to or workable in all situations, but it is aimed at getting people to think outside of the norm and question the 'normal' way of doing things.

1. Honesty – The Key!

It really is that simple! The basic foundation of building and running REALLY successful teams is TOTAL honesty! Sounds simple, but it can be one of the hardest things to implement due to existing workplace cultures and peoples long-term conditioning to them. If you are not prepared to implement this culture change, you will only ever have functional 'teams' that are purely paying 'lip service' to the whole idea of ​​team building.

Being honest starts here! You cant pretend to be honest, or only implement some parts of it, either as a team member or as a team leader. If you are not going to give it 100% – Give it up, because the rest depends on this to work properly!

There are two separate parts to honesty within the team scenario and both are equally important:

(a) Being honest with other people

You have to learn to be honest with everyone. If someone is not performing properly-Tell them as soon as possible, and help them to overcome the cause. If someone is performing well-Tell them as soon as possible, and help them to do even better.

If there is good news about the project / team / company-Tell people as soon as possible, without hiding things and deliver praise where appropriate.
If there is BAD news about the project / team / company-Tell people as soon as possible, without hiding things and discuss what can be done about it at a team and personal level-ask for input and ideas to resolve things. Most people can handle most situations well, as long as they feel they are being informed and involved.

Make sure that you are doing your share of the teams work, to the best of your ability. If the team are having to cover for you, you are not being honest with them.

If you make a mistake- admit to it, as soon as possible and if necessary get help to resolve it. If you try and hide your mistakes you are not being honest and it just leads to more work for others in the long run.
Do not perpetuate rumors! It is one of the fastest ways to break down trust in a team culture. If you do not know something is a fact-don't repeat it!

(b) Being honest with yourself

For a lot of people this can actually be extremely difficult to achieve, due to long term conditioning in a competitive work place, but once it started builds up to build on itself as long as everyone is really committed to long-term success of the team building process. You have to really look at yourself deeply and honestly and work at correcting your individual behavior patterns and shortcomings.

If you can not cope with something-tell someone and get some help with it. No one is perfect and we all need help sometimes. In a good team environment, nobody is going to think less of you for asking help-just the opposite if it helps to get things done.

Be honest about your skills and abilities starting with your cv!). If you will not find out ever, but by that time, you may have let a lot of other people down!

Do not steal credit / ideas from other people and put them forward as your own. Any gain for you is only short term and it is one of the quickest ways of destroying trust amongst your team.

Question your commitment and work ethos continuously-Are you really giving 100% effort all the time? If not-why not -do you need to seek help or are you just being lazy?

Do not lie! It's infectious in a team environment. If you want a day off- take a leave day-don't keep re-burying your grandmother!

Admit when you are wrong in a discussion-and apologise!

Do not moan and grumble about work – if you do not like being there -Leave!

2. Communication

Communication is one of the most important factors in successful teams. To be effective it must be continuous and completely OPEN – both between team members and between the team leader and their team. There should be no secrets. The team need to know how they are affected by corporate plans and decisions. Members need to know if they are doing things correctly. The team leader needs to know if their team members have any ideas or problems that should be acted upon. People respond better if they know the facts – even to bad news! (I had a team where they all volunteered to take a 10% pay cut to save a team member from redundancy, when the financial figures were explained to them openly!)

This DOES NOT mean that you need to have interminable 'formal' team meetings! People should be encouraged to talk to each other and to the team leader all of the time. A good team leader will set out time every day, (YES, you can do it, if you are organized!), Purely to get around and talk to their team. The better your communication is, the less meetings you will need to have!

3. Trust

Trust between team members and between the team and team leader MUST be absolute. If you do not trust people to get on and do their job – why are they in your team? If you trust people to do a job, you have to relinquish power to them to make their own decisions – and they have to be responsible for those decisions! Team members must have trust in the team leader – that they have their best interests at heart and are working for team rather than individual success. In the ultimate team, people have to depend on each other for their lives – that can only be done with trust in your fellow team members.

4. Conflicts and Compromise

Teams are made of PEOPLE! You have to expect conflicts and confrontations. They should not be arbitrarily stamped upon – people have to be made aware that at some point they will have to compromise with other people in order to continuing functioning as an effective team. Members should be encouraged not to hide conflict, but to work it out and arrive at a compromise. The team leader should try and be aware of any conflicts and help to resolve them where necessary. Do not expect your team to never argument – they are all different people, and just like in a family, there is nothing wrong with a healthy argument, as long as it is resolved

5. Chinese Councils

ALL team members should have an input to planning and decisions concerning the team. People in the team should be treated as equals. The team leader is not in that position because they are 'better', it's just that they have different skills to the others. where necessary amend plans and decisions relating to the team and its objectives. However, everyone should be aware that at the end, the team leader has the ultimate responsibility and therefore the final say in any decisions, having taken into account the input from other team members This should be a regular ongoing procedure.

6. Assessment and reward

Forget 'Annual Assessments', Competency grids and pay rises based on individual performance! What matters is, "Is the TEAM successful?" The team leader should be constantly aware of how team members are performing and giving them feedback and assistance where necessary as the project progresses. It is no good leaving it until some later point to let people know if they are not achieving what is required or patting them on the back if things are going well. People need constant feedback -with honesty!
Reward should be based on the success (or failure!) Of the whole team, not individuals, so that people are encouraged to make sure that everyone in the team is pulling together to achieve the team goals -not trying to score 'smarty points' for their own individual advancement. (This would not work in a 'sales' environment, which is why sales people tend to work as individuals rather than as teams!)

7. Buddies

Team members must all be 'Buddies' with each other. This does not mean that you have to be close friends or socialize with each other! What it means is that team members have to support one another at all times. Everyone has 'off days', and team members should notice when someone else is not performing 100% and offer help and support to get them through this period. Sometimes all it will take is a joke or remark to buck someone up or they may need help with a particular task that is getting on top of them. All members should get into the habit of 'watching out' for each other. There is no shame in seeking or accepting help – we all need it sometimes. We all have different skills and abilities and team members should be encouraged to make use of each other's skills to achieve the team objective as efficiently as possible. I was never very good at producing diagrams for presentations, but I had someone in my team who was brilliant at it, and I would always ask her to critique my work so that I could produce a better finished product.

8. No Blame – No Shame

EVERYONE MAKES MISTAKES! The secret is to have a culture where people are not ashamed to admit to having made a mistake! That way, mistakes can be rectified quickly, and more importantly, learned from! If someone makes a mistake (deletes a file or something), you do not want them to feel that they will be penalized or marked down in some way. You need them to tell someone and if necessary seek help to rectify it as soon as possible. (Needs 'honesty', as above!)

Summary

You may have noticed something in reading the above? No jargon, no 'hype', no 'games', no 'exercises', no 'concepts'! – NOT NECESSARY! Successful teams are all about PEOPLE, their natural skills, abilities and relationships. Running a successful team is very much like running a successful family and most of the values ​​are the same – BUT, it will not work WITHOUT HONESTY as above! Remember that is probably the hardest thing to achieve due to human nature and the conditioning that people are subjected to in the normally competitive culture of most work places, but it is worth the effort if you really want to achieve effective team building.

Think about all of the above – how much of it currently applies to teams in your workplace? Could you implement this? Remember – unless you start with HONESTY, it will not work, and you will always just be going through the motions of team building!

As always I am completely open to any comments – the whole idea of ​​this seminar is to get people thinking and discussing what they do in their teams and how it could have improved.

Acknowledgments

Adapted from an original article by John Roberts, freelance training consultant, Director of JayrConsulting Ltd., www.jayrconsulting.co.uk . John can be contacted at john.roberts@jayrconsulting.co.uk

This article may be freely reproduced / modified and used in any way, providing this acknowledgment is left in its entity.

Advantages of Growing Tomatoes on a Trellis

Tomato planting has been one of the greatest passions of home gardening. And as you indulge yourself in growing healthy and tasty tomatoes you also long to grow bigger and bigger tomatoes. Anyhow, you wondered what could be the best way to growing tomatoes – trellis or ground gardening.

Here are some tomato trellis ideas:

1. When making a tomato trellis, you may put a support beam or a pipe overhead wherein your tomato plant can stretch out as they grow.

2. You may use PVC tomato trellis as an overhead because they are light in weight.

3. From the support beam, you may hang another knot or twine or stick where the plant can cling and grow upwards. This is what you call vertical gardening.

4. You can use as many vertical knots from the top to allow the spread of its growth. Just make sure to place the hangers not to close to each other. Keep a distance of at least 24 to 36 inches apart.

Homemade tomato trellis is highly recommended because you can easily adjust the size and style just as the way you like it. You can design the trellis according to your needs and comfort.

Growing tomatoes up on trellis are notably great with tomato varieties that grow very tall. Some of the varieties you can try planting on your trellis are Celebrity, Mountain Delight, Fantastic, Better Boy, Burpee’s Big Girl and the like. You may also want to try on the extra-large type of tomato variety.

The good things about growing your tomato plant on trellis are the advantages you can draw from it. Take note of the following benefits you can get in growing tomatoes up on trellis.

1. Tomatoes grown on trellis evades from being affected with fungal bacteria coming from an infected soil. Your fruits and foliage are safe from touching the infected soil thus making them safe and sound above the ground.

2. Fruit rotting can also be avoided when your tomato plants are hanged above the ground.

3. Tomatoes grow perfectly on trellis, ensuring blemish free produce.

4. Trellis can give your plant tremendous support as they grow, and consequently give you an easy access to your plant for weeding, watering and even on foreseeing your plant bear fruits.

5. Homemade tomato trellis also gives you the benefit of a carefree way in reaching your tomato produce especially when harvest time comes.

6. Tomatoes grown on trellis gains a free flow of air supply and sunlight penetration thus ensuring healthy tomatoes.

7. Tomato plant on trellis gives you the ease and convenience of pruning suckers that may affect other branches as well as remove any unwanted excess leaves that may block sunlight penetration.

8. Another good reason for using trellis is that you can easily keep them and reuse them when you decide to plant again.

9. What’s more is that you can eliminate constant bending and kneeling when taking care of your tomato plant trellis hence, minimizing messy hands and dirty shirts.

See, growing tomato on trellis is really a piece of cake as much as it is pleasurable and relaxing. So much more, you may relish luscious, full-tomato-taste fruit crops during harvest season.

Service Virtualization Facilitates DevOps Implementation

DevOps is the new paradigm in software development that is meant to bring about synergy amongst development, quality, operations, delivery and management teams. This helps to bring out better quality products in the shortest turnaround time, thus helping businesses to stay ahead in competition. Traditionally, various departments within an enterprise worked in silos with different work ethos and more often than not, at cross purposes with each other. DevOps adopts lean and agile methodologies to break barriers between various disciplines and work seamlessly to achieve optimization and automation.

DevOps is more to do with a change in the work culture of an organization, where synergy and collaboration are the buzzwords. As development and testing of software simultaneously by incorporating various discriminates of an organization becomes the new norm, creation of a real test environment where different components of software can be tested assumes significance.

However, there are a few challenges to create a real test environment for DevOps testing:

• The software architecture has individual components that are either evolving or not tested properly.

• The individual components or dependencies are mostly developed and controlled by third parties or partners – at locations that are far off from the parent organization.

• Ensuring dependencies and various teams handling them to work in tandem is difficult.

• The dependencies may be separated by distance, language and time zones, which are not always possible to be included in a real test environment.

• Dependencies need real datasets to validate their results, which are not always available.

• The task of aligning dependencies for testing purpose is cost prohibitive.

• Delays are inevitable if testing teams have to wait for dependencies to be ready.

The above mentioned challenges can be addressed by using Service Virtualization technique. In this process a virtualized test environment is created, wherein the behavior of dependencies is simulated as if they form part of the embedded software architecture with connections to other parts of the system. Here, the entire system architecture is not simulated, but only the ones that are needed for testing purposes. Service Virtualization strategy does not require setting up a real test infrastructure or data sets, but helps testing or development teams to record the behavior of dependencies – if they perform as desired.

How Service Virtualization works to the advantage of DevOps

• Creates a functional test environment without real dependencies and datasets

• Leads to cost savings, as setting up real test infrastructure is not required

• Shorter turnaround times as testing teams need not wait for dependencies to be ready or available

• Any number or type of datasets can be used to check the behavior of dependencies, which can be helpful to study abnormal behavior of components (if any)

• Glitches thus identified are addressed promptly leading to better quality software made available in the shortest time

• Better quality product leads to better user experience, so better brand value

Conclusion

The integration of various disciplines in a business to work in tandem is the hallmark of DevOps testing and leveraging service virtualization to achieve the same is the proverbial icing on the cake with respect to savings on cost and time, and enhancement of an organization's brand value.

Porch Cost

I have always been a fan of porches. When I was little I would spend hours on my front porch watching the world move by. Now that I have kids, summer hours are often sent sitting, swinging, eating and entertaining on our porch. The wonderful thing about being out on a porch is that you are physically alone inside nor completely completely exposed to the elements on the outside. Psychologically I almost feel as though I am on vacation when I sit on my porch and listen to the birds, smell the fresh cut grass and enjoy the kids and dogs playing in the yard.

Having designed many porches, I knew that the impact of adding a porch was fundamental both for the look of a home and the lifestyle of its owners. I also knew that the cost of a porch was well below the average cost of interior space. However we rarely, if ever, only add a porch to a home, but usually include a porch as part of an overall renovation project. As a result, when my clients have asked about the cost of adding a porch all I could do was give an educated guess.

To some degree, asking the cost of a porch is like asking the cost of a house; it depends on what you put into it. With that in mind I decided to take a simple porch that had been part of a renovation many years ago, and ask four contractors who are currently working on our projects to give me bids on that porch. They are geographically diverse with their businesses being located in Litchfield County, Connecticut, Dutchess, Ulster, and Westchester County, New York. What they have in common are high standards of quality and a love of porches.

The simple porch that we used to figure costs has a metal roof, exposed painted rafters, a painted mahogany deck and stairs, simple railroads and posts with a foundation only under those posts. This porch was designed to last a lifetime.

When the bids were in, we found that a 9 'x 36'-324 square foot porch cost an average of $ 48,000 or approximately $ 148 / square foot. Compared to interior finished space that's a bargain.

To view a photo associated with this article, please go to: http://blog.crisparchitects.com/2010/02/porch-costs/

Insulation Installation

Homes require insulation in order to keep you warmer in winter, cooler in summer and to reduce outside noise. Insulation is also environment-friendly as it preserves precious energy while lowering your energy bills.

Insulation installation reiterates to installation of materials which provide substantive resistance to heat movement. When insulation is present in the walls, ceilings and floors of a building, the inflow and flow of heat in the buildings are minimized. During the summers, insulation reduces the amount of heat entering through walls and ceilings. As a result, the rooms are cooler. On the other hand, during winters, insulation retains the warm or heat inside the building and sequentially, the rooms are warmer.

There are mainly two different ways in which insulating works typically bulk insulation and reflective insulation. Bulk insulation traps pockets of still air within its structure. These air pockets provide the resistance to heat flow. Alternately, reflective insulation works by reflecting large amounts of heat from its polished metallic surface. It works in conjunction with a still air layer for maximum effectiveness.

The performance of an insulator is indicative of its 'R' value. 'R' values ​​refer to the thermal performance; its ability to restrict heat transfer. Components having a higher 'R' value are considered to have greater insulating effect. Fiberglass insulation is not only a cost-effective and energy saving option, but also possesses significantly high overall 'R' values ​​ranging from R-11 to R-38. Additionally, Fiber glass insulation is naturally non-combustible because it is made from sand and recycled glass. The insulation requires no additional fire-retardant chemical treatments.

With increased awareness among people about using environment friendly products and protection of environment against toxic products, fiberglass insulation manufacturers have begun using increasing amounts of recycled materials in their products. In addition to its recycled content, an analysis from a life-cycle perspective reveals that fiber glass demonstrates environmentally beneficial attributes as opposed to other insulating materials like cellulose.

Before choosing the right insulation for your homes or offices, you must take into account the building orientation, window sizes, construction materials and most importantly, the external and internal temperatures. This will help ensure that the insulation is effective, consumes less energy and is environment-friendly.