Archive for January, 2011

Check Your Tires regularly

Everyone usually takes their tires  for granted. Usually, your car’s tires are ignored as long as they are working fine and do not appear to need additional air in them. Check Your Tires regularly. In fact, many people do not even check their tires on a regular basis. Even though everyone knows that a properly inflated tire will deliver maximum gas mileage as well as being safer to drive .

Most people would not even know what their condition is until they experience a flat tire or a tire blow up. Some will not even notice the lack of control Check Your Tires regularlythat you have when a tire is slightly below normal tire pressure. Many newer high end cars now have tire pressure monitoring systems as standard equipment. These are excellent warning systems when tires are low on air pressure, yet not obvious to the naked eye.

Your car’s tires are one of the most and often times ignored parts of your vehicle. They are also  one of the most vital parts of your vehicle, even compared to your car’s other vital parts such as brakes and the engine. Tires provide stability at high speed. They provide traction in snow, ice and even water covered roads. They are designed for your car’s size and weight. Your tires are designed to deal with the majority of road conditions most drivers encounter. They do all of this as long as they are properly inflated.

Check Your Tires regularly – Tire Safety

With good tires and properly inflated tires, you can control your car better. But with tires that are already worn down, you might find driving to be more dangerous and could lead you to accidents or collisions. For example bald tires in wet conditions will tend to hydroplane, which means they will float on the water and lose all traction and control. You can skid off the road very quickly in these conditions. Bald tires on ice or snow are even worse! They will slip and slide on even the slightest amount of snow or ice.

Tires may seem to be insignificant to many drivers, but the designers and engineers of tires work to the best of their capacities and capabilities to create tires that help car drivers and owners be safe on the roads. In fact, did you know that there are tires that can be actually created as per your preferences as the driver. Some factors that you can have customized are tread design, the inner cord structure, the tire profile, rubber compounds to be used, load rating, and even the tread life. With these in mind, you now know why your car’s tires are very essential.

Check your tires regularly – Tires in Good condition

Keeping your tires in good condition would help to ensure that your car wheels are delivering optimum performance. And if you need to replace your car’s tires, automobile experts suggest that you should try, as much as possible, to replace these tires with the same kind of tires that were fitted to your vehicle when it was purchased from the dealership. You can find the tire specifications in your car owner’s manual as well as on the side wall of the tire. The dealer or tire shop such as Canadian Tire in Canada or America’s tire in the US can also help you with the correct tire size for your car.

Most people will use all season tires which are fine unless you get into heavy snow conditions in which case proper snow tires are really required. Consumers will even purchase additional steel rims for the snow tires so that they are easy to change in the fall and spring. Regardless of what kind of tire you have on your car, it is a good idea to get into the habit of checking the tire pressure on a regular basis to ensure a safe smooth ride as well as optimum fuel economy.

Feel free to leave comments about check your  tires Regularly or any other subject related to tires.

New Years Resolution

New Years ResolutionMany people around the world make New Year’s resolutions about money, jobs, life style and health. It is a great thing to do, but not if only to see these  promises easily broken or even forgotten before the year is a month old. We thought we would write this post 3 weeks into the new year to remind everyone that it is never too late to pick up those resolutions and make an attempt to start again. By the way most New Years resolutions if kept will also help you to save money as well in the long run, for example, reduced or stopping smoking, drinking by adding years to your life and save you money at the same time. These are resolutions with side benefits.

New Years Resolutions Surveys

According to a Sun Life Financial survey conducted by Ipsos Reid, with the new year quickly approaching, three-quarters of Canadians are resolving to improve something about themselves. We are convinced that this is typical of many people around the world.  Health-based resolutions are by far the most popular with over two-thirds of those making resolutions (74 per cent) stating they resolve to either increase exercise or lose weight in 2011. Eating healthier (31 per cent) rounded out the top three choices.

However, when it comes to making permanent changes, eight out of ten respondents admit they’ve failed to keep past resolutions with a lack of motivation and willpower (76 per cent) identified as the main barrier to maintaining new year lifestyle changes. Thirty-eight per cent also cited a lack of money followed by lack of time (35 per cent).

How to Keep those New Years Resolutions?

Any resolution to improve your health is a step in the right direction and working together with a friend, loved one or professional to put together a plan which incorporates your changes makes them easier to stick to. It is much easier if you have a partner to help you stay motivated. Even a simple statement, ” Are we going to the gym tomorrow?”, is sometimes enough to motivate us to get out and visit the gym, go for a walk or do something that involves exercise.  Look into wellness offerings that may be available at work that can keep you motivated and provide support, which we know is key to any successful change.

More than half of Canadians (58 per cent) say resolution success or failure depends on what the resolution is and the study found that some are easier to keep than others. According to the poll, those who have resolved to travel someplace special, save money and spend more time with loved ones in 2011 have had the most success keeping past resolutions. If you like what you are doing or have fun at it, chances are that you will keep your resolution.

If your new years resolution involves something that is not pleasant, you do not enjoy or don’t like you are going to have a far harder time keeping your resolutions unless you put a plan in place. People who’ve resolved to drink less and quit smoking reported the least success in the past.

Set Objectives that are Achievable

For those of you that have difficult or unpleasant resolutions, you need to set an objective and then set a series of stages or milestones that lead to the final goal. We all need positive feedback and there is nothing better than achieving a milestone that gets us a bit closer to our goal. For example if our goal is to lose 20 pounds and we do not set goals and interim objectives then there is a low probability of meeting this resolution. Divide the 20 pounds into quarters so that you must lose 5 pounds every 3 months, decide that you will go for a walk 3 times a week, decide that you will eliminate a food type that adds a lot of calories or whatever you feel will work for you that helps you get to were you want to be.

Evaluate your progress on a regular basis and if necessary reset your objectives so that you are still on target, but are setting realistic goals to achieve. Celebrate success when you reach a milestone with friends, family and loved ones.

Let us know how your new years resolutions are coming along. Leave a comment about what you are trying to achieve, writing them down is a step in the right direction!

Technology creates smarter clothes

Technology creates smarter clothesThis is another prediction involving technology and using the online web. We found this story really interesting and decided to re-post it here with full attribution to the author. We are unsure as to how far this concept will go, since it has been the traditional garb of the James Bond types. Google is working on glasses that let you browse the web and do your email. You never know what will turn up in the future.  Hope you enjoy this article as much as we did.

Fashion: ‘Technology creates smarter clothes’

Fashion is such an important part of the way in which we communicate our identity to others, and for a very long time it’s meant dress: the textile garments on our body. But in the coming decades, I think there will be much more emphasis on other manifestations of fashion and different ways of communicating with each other, different ways of creating a sense of belonging and of making us feel great about ourselves.

We’re already designing our identities online – manipulating imagery to tell a story about ourselves. Instead of meeting in the street or in a bar and having a conversation and looking at what each other is wearing, we’re communicating in some depth through these new channels. With clothing, I think it’s possible that we’ll see a polarization between items that are very practical and those that are very much about display – and maybe these are not things that you own but that you borrow or share.

Technology is already being used to create clothing that fits better and is smarter; it is able to transmit a degree of information back to you. This is partly driven by customer demand and the desire to know where clothing comes from – so we’ll see tags on garments that tell you where every part of it was made, and some of this, I suspect, will be legislation-driven, too, for similar reasons, particularly as resources become scarcer and it becomes increasingly important to recognize water and carbon footprints.

Fashion Changes

However, it’s not simply an issue of functionality. Fashion’s gone through a big cycle in the last 25 years – from being something that was treasured and cherished to being something that felt disposable, because of a drop in prices. In fact, we’ve completely changed our relationship towards clothes and there’s a real feeling among designers who I work with that they’re trying to work back into their designs an element of emotional content.

I think there’s definitely a place for technology in creating a dialogue with you through your clothes

Dilys Williams, designer and the director for sustainable fashion at the London College of Fashion

End of original article

Even today consumers are customizing their smart phones and their iPads etc. They make them fit into their clothing styles and make fashion statements. There are all kinds of covers for iPhones for example that come in a variety of practical colors and shapes with and with out covers and protection for screens. This is just the beginning of what we as writers believes will be a significant change in technology and how we use it in the future.

For more predictions, click here.



Hardwood Floor Costs

hardwood floor costsSo you have decided that you want to install a new hardwood floor. Your old carpets are beginning to look pretty grungy, matted and generally just not nice. Being the smart consumer you are, you have requested several quotes from several stores which also include installation. You have no idea what Hardwood Floor Costs are until you begin looking at various quotations.

You have just received your first estimate and are suffering from sticker shock from the cost estimate to place a hardwood floor in your home. Now what to do, should you go back to carpet or take the plunge and go for hardwood flooring? Most people do not realize is that there are parts of a hardwood floor that are more expensive than others. It is important to identify these areas and make a decision regarding what you want to do in these specific areas,  especially if you’re cost conscious.

Stairs are Expensive

For example one of the most expensive portions of a hardwood floor are the stairs. Most people will want to continue their hardwood floor up the stairs and into the upstairs hallway and bedrooms. Even a straight stair is more expensive per square foot, while a stairway that is curved will drive up the cost considerably.Many people avoid placing hardwood on the stairs due to cost, but also due to a concern about the floor being more slippery. They are afraid they may slip and fall down the stairs. From many years of walking up and down stairs with hard wood on them , we can say that you adapt and are just as sure footed on these stairs as we would be on carpeted stairs.

So if you are at all counting your pennies, consider leaving the stairs covered in carpet that blends well with the hardwood floor that you have placed in other areas of your home. You could  also place a carpet runner on the hardwood stairs, however we think this kind of defeats the purpose.

Hardwood Floor Costs

Another significant cost area is the labor that is required to install your hardwood floor.  Typically, installers will charge equivalent dollars for installation to the cost of the material. Floors that are rectangular, with lots of straight stretches are easy to install. Floors with lots of doorways, curves or fancy patterns just take longer to install due to the cutting and fitting that is required. Installers may increase their charges somewhat to accommodate this extra work. Take this aspect into account when you are making decisions about the design of your hardwood floor.

You may also want to consider installing the floor yourself. Take a course at a local renovation store, such as Home Depot, and do the installation yourself. Not only will you save lots of money, you will be able to afford to do some of the other renovation projects that you planned to do.

Pre-Finished Hardwood Flooring

The final aspect we want to mention is whether to install pre-finished hardwood flooring or to install hardwood floor that must be finished after installation. This is very much a pricing issue and consumers should obtain several quotes before they make a decision. However there is one other critical issue. A pre-finished hardwood floor can be installed rapidly and be finished in several days or less, while a natural hardwood floor is going to take several weeks due to installation, sanding and finishing activities.For my money and time, pre-finished hardwood floors are the only way to proceed.

Although sanding generates lots of dust, so does the installation of any hardwood floor. The process of nailing seems to dislodge dust on the floor and even  if you vacuum ahead of time there is still lots of dust you cannot get to. If you do decide to sand a floor, always use a dustless sander which has a vacuum attached and expels the dust outside the home into a bag that contains all of the dust generated by the sander.

Choosing Snow Tires

Choosing the right tires for your car, SUV or truck  is one of the most important decisions we have to make in regards to our personal transportation. It is of utmost importance during the winter, when in many areas of the country the presence of ice and snow on roadways creates a deadly hazard. So many people try to get by on so-called all season tires and tires that are nearly bald.

When you hit ice and snow, with these tires you are just not going to go anywhere and worse you may be Choosing Snow Tiresinvolved in an accident.  It is not a difficult process if you have the necessary information.

The first thing you should do is check your vehicle owner’s manual to find the manufacturer specifications for the types and sizes of tires recommended by them. If your tires were new with your car, then the dealer will have installed the correct tires and you can usually get the same size as those that are on the car. Of course you will want snow tires instead of summer tires, but they will be the same size.

Your dealer or your local mechanic can usually look up the information as well regarding the best tires for your car. Install mud and snow tires on your car or SUV. These tires can be used anywhere as long as they do not have metal studs on them. Studs were allowed at one time, however communities found that studs would chew up the road too much and they were also dangerous if a stud became loose and flew out of the tire.

Choosing Snow Tires – Metal Stud Tires

If you live in an area where ice is common in the winter, be sure to use metal-stud tires that are available. Keep your other tires(if they are in good condition) for the end of the winter. These metal stud tires are only allowed during the winter season in some states. They are banned in 10 states and in most provinces of Canada.

Make sure that all of the snow tires you use are of the same size, type and tread. This is particularly important if your vehicle is front wheel drive. Using mismatched rear wheels may result in a loss of traction when braking on the icy roads of winter. You can also lose stability at higher speeds. All four tires must be the same.

When choosing tires be aware that equipping your vehicle with over sized tires may result in difficulty steering. They can also rub the fender wells or suspension underneath. You will also find that you are actually going faster than what is reported on your speedometer. The speedometer is driven from the transmission and not from ground speed.

As a rule, snow tires are manufactured with large empty areas in their tread so that they will have more traction on snow than normal tires. Regular all season type tires are more concerned with marrying a quiet ride with a modicum of traction. Snow tires are also made of softer rubber to enable a stronger grip on the road. They tend to wear more quickly, especially if you drive your car with them in the summer time.

Using Tire chains

Another time tested method that can be used when conditions warrant is the use of tire chains. Installing tire chains can increase traction as much as 200%. However you are limited to the speed that you can travel with chains installed. Your gas mileage will suffer significantly. Again, make sure that these chains are of the right size and type for your particular tire .

The final tip is check on the age of your new tires. Many, although new, are sold years after they were manufactured. Rubber does dry out and become brittle. Better to go with tires that have been manufactured  more recently. Following the preceding tips will help you to safeguard you and your family in the upcoming winter.

Draft Proofing Doorways

Draft proofing doorways can have almost as much of an impact as installing a new energy efficient front door. In fact if your new energy efficient door is not well installed, you may have little improvement on drafts with your new door. Before Draft Proofing Doorwaysyou spend the money on a new door it may be worth it to try to draft proof the existing door first!  New doors can cost up words of $1000 to $2000! Why not spend $10 and try draft proofing your door first.

You can use either caulk or weather strips that will seal your door and avoid letting in cold air into your home. Even if you have to also spend $50 on a can of paint to give your door that new fresh look it is well worth it. Compared to spending over $1000 on a brand new door that may still have some of the same problems!

Draft Proofing Doorways – Check for Drafts

The first step is to check for drafts around all windows and doors.  You should even check for drafts around electrical outlets and electrical switches that are on outside walls.  You may feel a lot of cold coming through your front door, windows or outlets  in the winter. A few simple steps can cut both your heating costs in winter and your cooling costs in summer.

A snug fit is key

The first step in draft roofing a door is to make sure the main door fits relatively smugly against the door frame. If there are gaps at the sides or top or bottom, you’ll likely get drafts there.

Check the molding around the interior when draft proofing a door. You may have a good seal in the doorway itself but air may be sneaking through the walls and out the edges of the molding.

On a cold day, or even on a windy day, try turning on any indoor exhaust fans you have to draw warm air out of the house and cold air in.Use your fingers or a piece of paper held to the area you are checking to feel for any strong drafts in the molding and around the door; seal them as well.  This should make a big difference not only to the drafts. If you do not have insulation in the wall around the door you may want to reconsider how you will seal the doorway and how you can inject insulation around the door.

Seal up Mail Slots – Remove the Mail Slot!

If you have a mail slot in your door, or even one of those pet doors as many older homes do in climates that are only moderately cold, one of the best ways of draft proofing a door is to seal the mail slot opening off all together. Place a small block of insulating material in the mail slot and seal it off so no air can pass. You will want to place an outdoor mailbox on your outside wall instead. Homes in very cold climates do not seem to have these mail slots which is a good thing.

Windows inside doors

If you have a window in the door itself you’re likely losing quite a bit of heat through the frame for the window, or, if the glass is leaded, through the gaps in the lead. Draft proofing a door with an old window in it really starts with the window.

For leaded glass, the first thing you should do is look for places in the lead came where it’s not snug against the glass. You can often just push the came back in place by rubbing back and forth with the end of a wooden spoon. Even placing a little transparent caulking in gaps can help. If there’s room in the window frame within the door, consider adding a piece of glass cut to the size of the opening, and use 3/8″ molding to hold the glass in place (and use clear caulk around the molding). You now have an insulating pocket of air between the two pieces of glass.

The door latch

Make sure your door closes tightly.This is an absolute must do. No matter how much weather stripping you add, if the door does not close tightly, you are going to have drafts. Correct any loose fitting latches prior to adding any weather stripping around the door. In some cases this might be the main reason for allowing cold air into your home.

Weatherstripping and a threshold

Draft proofing a door can make a big difference to your front door energy efficiency if you include installing a door threshold (sometimes called a bumper threshold) at the base of the doorway, and a weatherproofing door kit for the sides and top. The threshold screws into the bottom of the door frame, and provides a strip of rubber or other flexible weatherstripping across the base of the door. You install it so that when the door is closed the weatherstripping presses against the door and seals the bottom off.

The weatherproofing door kit does the same thing for the top and sides. The bumper threshold is almost always sold separately from the weatherstripping. You can also get a door sweep instead of a bumper threshold – it attaches to the underside of the door instead of to the base of the door frame. The only problem with door sweeps is that because they are rubbing against the floor every time the door opens or closes, they are more quickly worn out (on the other hand, people don’t step on them every time they walk through the door!)

Payback in as little as two months!

With the price of heating fuel continuing to go up in many parts of the country, draft proofing a door can have a very quick payback. In general, draft proofing a door and giving it a face lift with some new paint is a much better approach and lower cost solution than buying a new ENERGY STAR door. If  your door has major structural problems, or you want to replace it for aesthetic or security reasons then you may have no choice but to replace it. For $50 or less in materials and a half hour or so of your own time draft proofing a door, you can wipe out most of this air leakage, leading to a big difference in your home comfort and home heating bills.

And you’ll have $1,000 or more  left over to spend on something you really need. For more energy saving ideas, click here.


Web Internet Predictions

Web Internet PredictionsThe following was an interesting set of web internet predictions that we read on the web and we found it so interesting, we decided to re-post it here with full attribution to the author. We do not often do this, however some of these ideas are really neat. We wanted to make them available to our readers. If you have already seen them just skip to the next post and please do leave a comment about what you think the predictions will be for the future. We live in an exciting world and the possibilities going into the future are just astounding. This post was originally written in 2015. Depending on when you are reading this, some of these predictions may have already come to be, while others may not.

Web/internet: ‘Quantum computing is the future’

The open web created by idealist geeks, hippies and academics, who believed in the free and generative flow of knowledge, is being overrun by a web that is safer, more controlled and commercial, created by problem-solving pragmatists.

Henry Ford worked out how to make money by making products people wanted to own and buy for themselves. Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs are working out how to make money from allowing people to share, on their terms.

Facebook and Apple are spawning cloud capitalism, in which consumers allow companies to manage information, media, ideas, money, software, tools and preferences on their behalf, holding everything in vast, floating clouds of shared data. We will be invited to trade invasions into our privacy – companies knowing ever more about our lives – for a more personalized service. We will be able to share, but on their terms.

Julian Assange and the movement that has been ignited by WikiLeaks is the most radical version of the alternative: a free, egalitarian, open and public web. The fate of this movement will be a sign of things to come. If it can command broad support, then the open web has a chance to remain a mainstream force. If, however, it becomes little more than a guerrilla campaign, then the open web could be pushed to the margins, along with national public radio

By 2035, the web, as a single space largely made up of webpages accessed on computers, will be long gone.

As the web goes mobile, those who pay more will get faster access. We will be sharing videos, simulations, experiences and environments, on a multiplicity of devices to which we’ll pay as much attention as a light switch.

Yet, many of the big changes of the next 25 years will come from unknowns working in their bedrooms and garages. And by 2035 we will be talking about the coming of quantum computing, which will take us beyond the world of binary, digital computing, on and off, black and white, 0s and 1s.

The small town of Waterloo, Ontario, which is home to the Perimeter Institute, funded by the founder of BlackBerry, currently houses the largest collection of theoretical physicists in the world.

The bedrooms of Waterloo are where the next web may well be made.

Charles Leadbeater, author and social entrepreneur. For more predictions, click here.


Hardwood Floor Cleaning Tips

Five Steps To Protecting Your Hardwood Floor From Disaster
Common knowledge states that hardwood floors are a great investment for a Hardwood Floor Cleanershomeowner, both for personal enjoyment as well as adding value to your home when you decide to sell your home. They add a certain charm and character to a home that can’t be replicated by laminates, carpeting, or any other type of flooring.

However, the investment does not stop with the decision to purchase hardwood for your flooring. To retain the value, the hardwood must be properly cared for and maintained just like any other flooring. Fortunately, with a few simple, easy, inexpensive steps, your hardwood flooring will always remain in perfect shape. In the longer term you may have to sand your flooring and apply stain, however this really depends on how well you care for your floor as well as how much foot traffic it receives.

Hardwood Floor Cleaning Tips

Do not use Murphy’s Oil Soap.

Murphy’s works great on wooden furniture, but don’t make the mistake of using it on your hardwood floors. You won’t notice anything wrong after applying it once, but if used consistently, residue will build up and leave your floor with a dull appearance.

Do not use a Wet Swiffer.

A Dry Swiffer is great for collecting dust, dirt, and pet hair from your floors, and it is also less abrasive than a vacuum cleaner. However, a Wet Swiffer can cause major long-term damage. The chemicals in the cleaning solution can break down the urethane finish on your floor and leave it dull, faded, and lifeless.

Area Rugs.

Place area rugs anywhere that might collect water or receive lots of traffic. Prime areas are in front of the refrigerator, by the dishwasher, and near any sinks. If you do spill liquid on the floor clean it up quickly and if the rug is wet or even damp, take the rug outside or place it somewhere, were it can dry before placing it back on the floor.  Make sure that the floor is protected in any spot that is susceptible to minor leaks and water collection. A pool of water is the quickest way to destroy your floor.

Floor Mats.

Use floor mats in spots where people step on the hardwood directly after being outside. Do not allow people to walk around your home with shoes on. In particular, high heeled women’s shoes are really bad for leaving marks on the floor. In addition to protecting against wet or muddy footprints, floor mats will help collect any sharp or abrasive materials stuck in the treads of shoes. This step will help prevent accidental scraping or scratching.

Use felt pads when moving furniture.

Or better yet, lift the furniture off the ground instead of sliding it across your hardwood floor. If felt pads must be used, please make sure that they are free of any debris. Place pads under all furniture feet to avoid leaving a permanent mark on the floor from the contact of the furniture with the floor. Even if a tiny little object like a staple is under that pad when heavy furniture is set upon it,your floor could receive some serious gouges.

These steps will help ensure that your home retains its value by protecting your hardwood floors against major damage. A gleaming clean and unmarked hardwood floor will add thousands of dollars to the value of your home.

Accidents do happen, however, no matter how careful you are. Clean up immediately to avoid any long term damage to the floor.  If your floor becomes damaged, and requires repairs,  contact the manufacturer or the installer for advice.


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