Koi Pond – Dispelling Myths About Concrete

What do some liner promoters and salesmen say about professional pond installations using concrete and rebar, plus mortar to hold the rocks?

(1) “One problem with concrete and mortar construction is that of cement alkali leaching out for some time after construction, poisoning the pond water with high alkalinity. It also leaves unsightly white deposit build-ups at the points of exit and on the surface of rocks in the waterfall.” NOT TRUE!

If the concrete you use to pour the shell is a 7-sack mix with 40% pea gravel and stealth fiber mix, the concrete is so dense that no leaching can even occur. Also, because of the density of the concrete, it is not only waterproof, but stronger than normal 5-sack mix used to pour driveways, patios and sidewalks. Finally, if you coat the finished surface with Thoro-seal, one of several non toxic concrete sealers, it cannot leach.

(2) “When you use mortar mix to secure the rocks in a waterfall, the water that soaks into the porous mortar joints, leaches out alkali and phosphorescence that poisons the pond. TRUE in the past, but not anymore. Regular mortar is porous, allowing water to pass through, dissolving and collecting the cement residue. This had been a major concern of mine for many years. After the completion of a waterfall, I would have to run the waterfall for two or three weeks, shutting it off every 4 or 5 days, and acid-clean the white alkali residue off the rocks that had built up.

Then, when we were finished, we would have to acid clean and rinse out the pond. Fifteen years ago I discovered a secret formula that would render the mortar mix non porous and waterproof. It also makes regular mortar mix three times stronger. It is produced by adding one 45# bag of thinset (used to apply ceramic tile to a shower wall) to two bags of type S mortar mix. Once it cures, it becomes so dense, it is totally waterproof and will not leach any alkali after it cures (3 to 4 days). In addition, this mix is so strong in its holding ability that once it cures, a sledge hammer is needed to remove a rock. In most cases, the rock breaks up before coming free from the secret formula mortar.

It is not only waterproof, but it bonds very well with all types and textures of rocks. It will create a watertight barrier that comes in handy when building rock dams in the waterfall. The main feature of my special formula is that it allows for much more creativity. You have the ability to raise the water level above the confines of the concrete shell without water leaking through the mortar joints, as in the case of regular type mortar mix. This special mix is not for sale in the stores, and never will be, because I give the formula away for free! This discovery has revolutionized the effectiveness of mortar mix and its ability to bond, waterproof, and prevent alkali leaching.

A Dramatic Test

A 4,000 gallon swimming pool was converted into a concrete koi pond with two large waterfalls, held together with my new mortar mix, and an 8′ x 12′ island. The rocks surrounding the island, were also held by the new formula. When the project was completed, all the surfaces were given a quick, mild acid wash, and the pond was filled and dechlorinator was added. The following day, $3,000 worth of my own personal koi fish were transferred into the concrete koi pond. They all swam calmly around the island, inspecting every nook and cranny.

None of them experienced any stress and they remained in their temporary quarters for three months with no incidents. If that dramatic demonstration was not enough to convert the skeptics, nothing will. So what is the bottom line? Pond liners cannot be guaranteed not to leak, for a myriad of reasons. Concrete and rebar ponds, if built properly, will stay leak-free for decades, if not generations. You be the judge. You’re the one investing your hard earned money and time into it.



How to Cure Genital Herpes Blisters

Blisters are the most obvious symptoms of genital herpes, a type of sexually-transmitted disease caused by the herpes simplex virus. Genital herpes blisters are generally painful and filled with liquid. When the blisters break open, they can cause the patient more pain. They appear on the on and around the genital area and the rectum. Once a person gets infected, it will stay in the body’s system forever. The person will experience outbreaks from time and time and can be subdued by taking medication.

To cure genital herpes blisters, it is best to consult the doctor about it. He will be the one to determine if you do have herpes or not. After some tests, the doctor will prescribe the right medication. These medications will help soothe the pain of the blisters and alleviate the other symptoms that you may have. Aside from blisters, infected persons also experience fever, nausea and muscle pain. Women will experience painful vaginal discharges. The most common medications prescribed by doctors are acyclovir, famciclovir and valacyclovir.

Aside from medications, there are natural remedies that can help cure genital herpes blisters.

-Avoid taking drugs that can depress the immune system. These include nicotine and caffeine. Stay away from alcohol because it can greatly reduce the body’s oxygen and nutrients.

-Avoid too much sun exposure. Patients are allowed 20 minutes of exposure to early sunlight, but nothing more than that. The skin needs the vitamin D that comes from morning sunlight, but too much exposure can irritate the skin and can cause further damage to healing process.

-Take a bath in warm water at least twice a day. Use clean water and make sure to use unscented bath products. It’s best to use natural herbal soaps which can help make the blisters heal faster.

-Tea tree oil helps fight off infections and makes the skin heal faster. Apply 4 to 5 drops of tea tree oil to sores before bedtime.

-Eat foods rich in lysine, an important amino acid that can provide collagen to the body. This will help the skin stay healthy even during a herpes outbreak. Foods rich in lysine include eggs, tofu, soybeans and lean organic beef.

-Drinks lots of carrot juice. Carrot juice will help the body tremendously in alkalizing the body during outbreaks. It detoxes the body and gets rids of toxins that make the sores worse.

-Wear loose and comfortable clothing to help the skin breathe and stay fresh. Blisters need to be aired for it to dry faster. Wearing tight clothing will only trap sweat and bacteria which can make the blisters worse.

Persons infected with genital herpes blisters are advised to refrain from any sexual activity during an outbreak, when sores and lesions are very much visible. There is a very high risk that they will pass on the virus to their partners. Using condoms does not guarantee safe protection; condoms cannot cover all areas with blisters. Pregnant women who have symptoms of herpes should inform the doctor immediately, for she can transmit the virus to her unborn child. To prevent catching the virus in the first place, always practice safe sex.



What Are Lava Rock Beads? How They Are Formed and How to Make Lava Bead Jewelry

What are lava beads

They are a new type of jewelry-making gemstone that is becoming increasingly popular. Everyone who makes and sells home-crafted jewelry should try some. The inexpensive stone is surprisingly light, making the present fashion for large chunky jewelry, comfortable to wear. The chic usually-black beads are also available in many different shapes and sizes allowing creative designs. Some are even dyed brown, and others brighter colors.

How they are born

Lava beads started life as molten rock over 1,000 degrees Celsius. It takes this high temperature and huge pressure to make rock melt beneath an active volcano. Most rock deep inside the Earth’s interior is not molten. This molten rock is spewed out of the erupting volcano and flows in streams until cooler air freezes it solid. Sometimes the flow can travel as fast as 30 km/hour on steep slopes and reach tens of kilometers, destroying everything in its path. However, usually it moves less than 1 km/hour, giving people time to move out of the way.

Properties

Lava beads promote strength and fertility. Bringing stability in changing times, driving away anger – and helping one to understand a problem in order to spring back to a stronger position. A very grounding stone that strengthens our connection to Mother Earth.

Lava bead jewelry

Beads from these rocks make very unusual jewelry. Used as pendants or parts of a necklace, these unusual black beads ooze style and mystique, drawing attention whenever worn. When admiring lava bead jewelry, people will ask, “whatever is it made out of?” This ensures all the mystique and power of a volcano are in your design!

Designing lava bead jewelry

Take advantage of how light these beads weigh, and try making long earrings to match large lava bead pendants for necklaces and bracelets. Mix different sizes and shapes to make the design interesting. Because most are jet-black, they go well with any color or style of clothes, making them more appealing, and so easier to sell. By their nature, these beads create an earthy rustic style – ideal for “wild” outdoor jewellery, especially for late-in-the year or Halloween. And as most are large and powerful in a design, you need fewer beads to make your piece, saving you money.

Lava bead finish

Although looking coarse with tiny holes and cracks, most of these beads are polished to feel smooth, making your jewelry comfortable to wear.



How to Help Your Disorganized Child – Seven Tips For Better Organization

It’s not just ADHD kids who are disorganized? Kids who don’t have ADHD sometimes can’t remember to bring homework home either. Can’t remember to take the homework back to school when they did bring it home. It’s not intentional. He really means to get his homework done. He just forgets. Maybe her school materials are poorly organized. Maybe he has poor time-management skills. With all the distractions bombarding kids today, it’s not surprising that they forget so much and are so unorganized.

Without some basic organizational strategies, kids do poorly in school and their grades plummet. Some kids end up cheating or lying–whatever it takes to survive school with a minimum of criticism and punishment. Disorganization and forgetfulness get in the way of success at school.

You can teach your child how to be more organized. Maybe you’ll even find some of these tips useful around your home.

Seven Tips to Help Your Disorganized Kid

1. Color code: Help your child organize his school books and notebooks by color-coding them. Use colored book covers, stickers, labels, stars, or markers with one color for each subject. You can also color code the books by adding colored stickers.

2. Clear book covers: Consider using clear book covers to cover books so that your child can always see the covers.

3. Locker organization: Help your child organize his locker. Brainstorm with him to come up with the best solution. Often locker organizers or locker shelves help a lot. Put morning  books on one shelf  and afternoon books on another, or math and science on one shelf, language arts and social studies on another, for example. Label the shelves.

4. Extra set of books: Keep an extra set of textbooks at home. Before you buy them, ask if the school can provide them. Check the web too for companies who rent textbooks.

5. Organizer: Help your child develop daily schedules. Some schools provide daily planners. If your child’s school doesn’t give out planners, you’ll need to buy one or a PDA (personal digital assistant) from an office-supply store. While you’re there, you and your child can look around at other products that help with organizing.

6. Structure: Offer to help your child organize her homework time. As soon as she gets home, go over the list of assignments due the next day as well as any long-term assignments. If you wait until later, it may be too late to get an assignment from a friend or a book from school. Help her decide which assignment she’s going to do first. Then help her figure enough time for each assignment.

7. Home organization: You and your disorganized kid need to decide on one place to put finished homework. One place to put everything that needs to go back to school including his lunch. One hook for his jacket. And keeping his room uncluttered helps also. Have him set a weekly schedule for cleaning and organizing his room. For some kids, they’ll need to do this every day for awhile until organization becomes a habit. Just as you did for his locker, find shelves and cubes to put things in. Color coding helps here also. You may need to help them at first.

Kids will do best at this new organization routine if it’s simple, and they’ve had a say in deciding what will work and what won’t. Disorganized kids can go overboard with color coding, labels, and stickers which only leads to more disorganization because it’s too complicated. They may need help in making it easy.

Being organized gives kids a sense of power and control over school and their lives. As they begin to feel good about themselves, they’ll start doing better in school.



The Top Five Benefits of IT Auditing

IT auditors frequently find themselves educating the business community on how their work adds value to an organization. Internal audit departments commonly have an IT audit component which is deployed with a clear perspective on its role in an organization. However, in our experience as IT auditors, the wider business community needs to understand the IT audit function in order to realize the maximum benefit. In this context, we are publishing this brief overview of the specific benefits and added value provided by an IT audit.

To be specific, IT audits may cover a wide range of IT processing and communication infrastructure such as client-server systems and networks, operating systems, security systems, software applications, web services, databases, telecom infrastructure, change management procedures and disaster recovery planning.

The sequence of a standard audit starts with identifying risks, then assessing the design of controls and finally testing the effectiveness of the controls. Skillful auditors can add value in each phase of the audit.

Companies generally maintain an IT audit function to provide assurance on technology controls and to ensure regulatory compliance with federal or industry specific requirements. As investments in technology grow, IT auditing can provide assurance that risks are controlled and that huge losses are not likely. An organization may also determine that a high risk of outage, security threat or vulnerability exists. There may also be requirements for regulatory compliance such as the Sarbanes Oxley Act or requirements that are specific to an industry.

Below we discuss five key areas in which IT auditors can add value to an organization. Of course, the quality and depth of a technical audit is a prerequisite to adding value. The planned scope of an audit is also critical to the value added. Without a clear mandate on what business processes and risks will be audited, it is hard to ensure success or added value.

So here are our top five ways that an IT audit adds value:

1. Reduce risk. The planning and execution of an IT audit consists of the identification and assessment of IT risks in an organization.

IT audits usually cover risks related to confidentiality, integrity and availability of information technology infrastructure and processes. Additional risks include effectiveness, efficiency and reliability of IT.

Once risks are assessed, there can be clear vision on what course to take – to reduce or mitigate the risks through controls, to transfer the risk through insurance or to simply accept the risk as part of the operating environment.

A critical concept here is that IT risk is business risk. Any threat to or vulnerability of critical IT operations can have a direct effect on an entire organization. In short, the organization needs to know where the risks are and then proceed to do something about them.

Best practices in IT risk used by auditors are ISACA COBIT and RiskIT frameworks and the ISO/IEC 27002 standard ‘Code of practice for information security management’.

2. Strengthen controls (and improve security). After assessing risks as described above, controls can then be identified and assessed. Poorly designed or ineffective controls can be redesigned and/or strengthened.

The COBIT framework of IT controls is especially useful here. It consists of four high level domains that cover 32 control processes useful in reducing risk. The COBIT framework covers all aspects of information security including control objectives, key performance indicators, key goal indicators and critical success factors.

An auditor can use COBIT to assess the controls in an organization and make recommendations that add real value to the IT environment and to the organization as a whole.

Another control framework is the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (COSO) model of internal controls. IT auditors can use this framework to get assurance on (1) the effectiveness and efficiency of operations, (2) the reliability of financial reporting and (3) the compliance with applicable laws and regulations. The framework contains two elements out of five that directly relate to controls – control environment and control activities.

3. Comply with regulations. Wide ranging regulations at the federal and state levels include specific requirements for information security. The IT auditor serves a critical function in ensuring that specific requirements are met, risks are assessed and controls implemented.

Sarbanes Oxley Act (Corporate and Criminal Fraud Accountability Act) includes requirements for all public companies to ensure that internal controls are adequate as defined in the framework of the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission’s (COSO) discussed above. It is the IT auditor who provides the assurance that such requirements are met.

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) has three areas of IT requirements – administrative, technical and physical. It is the IT auditor who plays a key role in ensuring compliance with these requirements.

Various industries have additional requirements such as the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard in the credit card industry e.g. Visa and Mastercard.

In all of these compliance and regulatory areas, the IT auditor plays a central role. An organization needs assurance that all requirements are met.

4. Facilitate communication between business and technology management. An audit can have the positive effect of opening channels of communication between an organization’s business and technology management. Auditors interview, observe and test what is happening in reality and in practice. The final deliverables from an audit are valuable information in written reports and oral presentations. Senior management can get direct feedback on how their organization is functioning.

Technology professionals in an organization also need to know the expectations and objectives of senior management. Auditors help this communication from the top down through participation in meetings with technology management and through review of the current implementations of policies, standards and guidelines.

It is important to understand that IT auditing is a key element in management’s oversight of technology. An organization’s technology exists to support business strategy, functions and operations. Alignment of business and supporting technology is critical. IT auditing maintains this alignment.

5. Improve IT Governance. The IT Governance Institute (ITGI) has published the following definition:

‘IT Governance is the responsibility of executives and board of directors, and consists of the leadership, organizational structures and processes that ensure that the enterprise’s IT sustains and extends the organization’s strategies and objectives.’

The leadership, organizational structures and processes referred to in the definition all point to IT auditors as key players. Central to IT auditing and to overall IT management is a strong understanding of the value, risks and controls around an organization’s technology environment. More specifically, IT auditors review the value, risks and controls in each of the key components of technology – applications, information, infrastructure and people.

Another perspective on IT governance consists of a framework of four key objectives which are also discussed in the IT Governance Institute’s documentation:

*IT is aligned with the business *IT enables the business and maximizes benefits *IT resources are used responsibly *IT risks are managed appropriately

IT auditors provide assurance that each of these objectives is met. Each objective is critical to an organization and is therefore critical in the IT audit function.

To sum up, IT auditing adds value by reducing risks, improving security, complying with regulations and facilitating communication between technology and business management. Finally, IT auditing improves and strengthens overall IT governance.

References:

ISACA. Control Objectives for Information and related Technology (COBIT).

ISO/IEC 27002 Code of practice for information security management.

Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (COSO) Framework.



Advantages of Opening a Restaurant Business

Restaurant business is very lucrative. Apart from the initial investments that you need to invest it can earn you life long revenues and luxurious life. For excellent and very high results from opening a restaurant business there is a lot of hard work and planning required. Everything needs to be perfectly implemented for gaining high profits. A restaurant business is a safe business with no or little risk. You get what you have invested in a short period of time for sure. Profits can be assured if regularly you are making amendments in accordance with the changing trends. If you have targeted the mass then you will surely enrich benefits. You have to produce good quality services to your customers in order to enjoy the success.

The success of your restaurant business mainly depends on two major things:

  • The quality of services that you provide. If the customers like what you offer to them then they will surely cover to your restaurant again and again.
  • Marketing. The better tactics you will utilize for your restaurant business the more customers you will get. If you are opening a restaurant business then do not forget to market it well.

Customer satisfaction is the key to your success. Put in all your efforts for impressing those who visit your restaurant. The better you will make them feel then they will come more often to your restaurant. Here are several advantages you can get when opening a restaurant business:

  1. Restaurants are in huge demand. A good restaurant is always filled with customers. You can earn millions from a restaurant if everything is perfectly executed. Probability of earning huge profits and less loss is high in opening a restaurant business.
  2. It is very easy to get finance for opening a restaurant. Banks and investors understand the profit that they can get by helping you in opening a restaurant. They see profit and that is why they very easily finance your project.
  3. There have been only a few food courts or restaurants which are not successful otherwise maximum number of restaurants are successful. Youngsters prefer to eat out in restaurants and the working class also considers restaurants to be the perfect place for filling their tummy.
  4. Restaurant owners always get a chance to meet with the high profile people and enjoy a luxurious life. A restaurant owner enjoys profits all through their life and gets a key to live a life in a luxurious way.

All these advantages of a restaurant business instill confidence in the person who is planning to actualize this dream. Opening a restaurant business can prove to be the best decision of your life provided you take up the opportunity in a perfect way and work for it day and night. Every business needs good investments, patience and smart work. If you have good amount of finance can work smartly and have patience for observing your restaurant grow gradually then no one can stop you from earning good profits in the longer run.



Advantages and Disadvantages of Mainframe Computing

Mainframe computers perform complex and critical computing in large corporations and governments across the world. Mainframe machines are fast, smart, and capable of the advanced computing necessary to our generation of corporate IT infrastructure and business goals.

The emergence of newer computing technology has not killed demand for mainframes, as they offer unique benefits that make them one of the most reliable business computing solutions.

Let us look at the features that make mainframes a preferred computing platform, and also a few of their drawbacks.

Advantages of mainframe computing

High-level computing: One of the main characteristics of mainframe computers is their ability to process data and run applications at high speeds. Business computing requires high-speed input/output (I/O), more than raw computing speed. Mainframes effectively deliver it. Further, as business computing also demands wide bandwidth connections, mainframe design balances I/O performance and bandwidth.

Increased processing power: Mainframe computers are supported by large numbers of high-power processors. Moreover, unlike other computers, mainframes delegate I/O to hundreds of processors, thus confining the main processor to application processing only. This feature is unique to mainframes and makes them superior in processing.

Virtualization: A mainframe system can be divided into logical partitions (LPARs, also known as virtual machines). Each LPAR can run a server. Thus a single mainframe machine can do the work of a “server farm” that employs scores of servers built on some other platform. As all these virtual machines run on a single processor in a single box, mainframes effectively eliminate the need for a lot of other hardware.

Reliability, availability, and serviceability (RAS): The RAS characteristics of a computer have often been some of the most important factors in data processing. Mainframe computers exhibit effective RAS characteristics in both hardware and software.

Mainframe systems are reliable because they can detect, report, and self-recover from system problems. Furthermore, they can recover without disturbing the entire working system, thus keeping most applications available.

The serviceability of mainframes means they make it relatively easy to detect and diagnose problems, making it easy to fix problems in a short time and with little downtime.

• Security: As mainframes are designed specifically for large organizations where the confidentiality of data is critical, mainframe computers have extensive capabilities for securely storing and protecting data. They provide secure systems for large numbers of applications all accessing confidential data. Mainframe security often integrates multiple security and monitoring services: user authentication, auditing, access control, and firewalls.

• High-end scalability: The scalability of a computing platform is its ability to perform even as processors, memory, and storage are added. Mainframe computers are known for their scalability in both hardware and software. They easily run multiple tasks of varying complexity.

• Continuing compatibility: Continuing compatibility is one of the popular characteristics of mainframe computers. They support applications of varying ages. Mainframe computers have been upgraded many times, and continue to work with many combinations of old, new, and emerging software.

• Long lasting performance: Mainframe computers are known for their long-lasting performance. Once installed, mainframe systems work for years and years without any major issues or downtime.

Disadvantages of mainframe computing

One of the prominent drawbacks of mainframes is their cost. Hardware and software for mainframes are clearly expensive. However, compared to the cost of other routes to security, IT management, virtualization, etc., the cost of mainframes is significantly less.

Secondly, mainframe hardware occupies more space than other computers. That large space might be a constraint for small establishments. But that problem is not so severe as it once was. Compared to earlier machines, today’s mainframes are small.

Finally, one needs high-end skills to work with mainframe computers. You cannot operate a mainframe environment without specific training. However, as one skilled administrator can serve a large group of mainframe users, using mainframes significantly reduces people-costs and thus offers a significant staffing advantage.



Asian Walnut Hardwood Flooring – Everything You Need to Know Before You Buy

Asian Walnut wood flooring is one of the most unique hardwood species available in the market today. Often referred to as Acacia, this walnut hard wood floor is harvested obviously in Asia. Asian Walnut wood floors have become increasingly popular in the last few years. Although Oak is still the #1 seller in wood flooring, exotic species such as Asian Walnut and Brazilian Cherry have made long strides towards becoming main stream wood flooring choices. If you are looking for a very distinct floor that is considered a center piece for your room or home, Asian Walnut hardwood flooring is certainly worth considering. There are several things you need to know when considering the exotic Asian, Acacia Walnut species of floors.

Most Asian Walnut floors are offered with a factory finish. Factory finished means the factory has applied multiple, protective coats of either polyurethane, aluminum oxide, or a combination of both. These finishes protect the floor from minor scratches and wear. Of course any wood floor can be scratched, but the current factory finishes are much better than 20 years ago. The best option is to find an Acacia wood floor with either an aluminum oxide or combination of aluminum oxide and polyurethane finish. If you buy unfinished, Asian Walnut wood flooring it will have to have the protective finish applied after installation in your home. This type of in home finish is not very comparable to a factory finish as a installer cannot duplicate the heat and pressure to the boards the same as a manufacturing process in a factory.

Asian Walnut is usually available in 3 colors or stains. Natural is the most common color. Actually, natural is unstained but has a protective finish. The natural Asian Walnut boards will have a wide variety of color ranges from dark to light. The darker colors will be slightly more predominant though. Another color commonly sold is Cinnamon or sometimes called Cherry. This color has slight, red hues to give a classy, semi formal look. Cinnamon is a very rich, deep stain. The final color you may find is a stain sometimes called Smoke or Toffee. Smoke stained, Asian Walnut floors have a very similar appearance to another species, Black Walnut. The stain isn’t actually black or extremely dark, but does have a deeper, darker hue than the other colors you will find. A Smoke stain, Asian Walnut is a nice alternative to it’s cousin, Black Walnut as the Asian version may be priced slightly less.

A tip to remember when getting samples of Asian Walnut hardwood flooring is to ask for two samples. Asian Walnut, or Acacia wood has largely varying characteristics between every board. Two samples will give you a much better idea of what the floor is going to look like. Another hint is once you have decided to go with a specific color or dealer, buy one box first. When you get the box, loose lay it out in an area of your home to make sure you like the color and style. You may or may not be able to send the box back to the dealer, but, your initial investment will be much less than if you had purchased the entire job. If for some reason you don’t like the Acacia hardwood floor, you are only out about $100 or so instead of thousands.

A few design and construction notes to consider are the characteristics of Asian Walnut wood flooring. Almost always, Asian Walnut is a 3/4″ solid board which is designed for a nail down installation. The Asian species of Walnut wood flooring also has a distinct grain pattern. Large swirls and a loose grain structure give Asian Walnut one of the most unique looks of any wood species sold today. This unique grain pattern works very well in large rooms and areas. Another characteristic of Asian Walnut, or Acaica hardwood flooring is the board lengths typically are not longer than about 4 feet. The tree itself is not a tall growing tree, so the boards tend to be slightly shorter than traditional walnut trees. A final note on Asian, Acacia Walnut properties is that it rates very highly on the Janka Scale coming in around 2,300. The Janka scale is a measurement used to determine the hardness of a hardwood species. The higher the number, the harder the wood. At 2,300, Asian Walnut is much harder than common Oaks which are around 1,300 or so. As a reminder, any hardwood floor can be dented, scratched, scuffed etc, however, the harder the wood, the tougher it is.



The Advantages and Disadvantages of Agile Development Software Methods

Agile development software methods have certainly been the hype for software developers everywhere since 2001. There are so many different kinds of agile methods available that it’s a bit of a challenge to choose the right one for your project. The simplest way to find out would be to read up on the pros and cons of each of the three most popular methodologies, and figure out which one suits you and your project best.

1) Scrum

Developed by Jeff Sutherland and Ken Schwaber, this method involves one or more small teams (composed of a ScrumMaster, a Product Owner, and a development team) that work together to complete a project based on a list of tasks that are arranged according to priority. They do this by dividing the list into shorter ones that will be completed within a “sprint”, or a set period of development that lasts from 2-4 weeks. While this is one of the most popular agile development software methods because of its simplicity, the problem with it is that most programmers find it necessary to integrate other methodologies to cover for additional practices that fall outside of agile scrum.

2) Dynamic Systems Development Method (DSDM)

DSDM is an agile method that has multiple variations, but the most recent and popular version of it is the DSDM Atern method. This method focuses primarily on projects that have tight schedules and budgets, and adheres to eight main principles:

• Focus on what the business needs

• Deliver work on time

• Collaborate effectively

• Never, ever compromise quality

• Build the project incrementally using solid foundations

• Develop the project iteratively

• Continuously communicate with clarity

• Demonstrate control

Because of its strictness and eight principles, the main problem with DSDM Atern is that it can be restrictive and difficult to work with compared to other agile development software methods.

3) Extreme Programming (XP)

XP, developed by Kent Beck, is a methodology is somewhat similar to Scrum in that it “timeboxes” or uses short development cycles throughout the entire process. This helps reduce costs compared to having one lengthy process, and helps keep the project dynamic and adaptable. This method makes use of four activities:

• Coding – where the program or software is actually coded

• Testing – where the product created through Coding is tested

• Listening – where the developers listen to the needs and suggestions that the clients or customers point out after Testing

• Designing – where developers organize and design the system’s logic based on their experiences from the first three activities

This agile development software method is popular for its more laid back and non-restrictive method, but is highly criticized for its lack of a solid structure since everything is mostly done on-the-fly without any prior planning.

Based on the pros and cons listed above, you probably have a good idea which method to go for now. If you want something done in a more disciplined fashion while still adhering to the agile concept of speed, go for DSDM Atern. If you feel that the project will benefit from a more laid-back sort of process that allows your development team to take the wheel and gives them freedom to be creative, go for XP or Scrum. If none of these three methods appeal to you, don’t fret – there’s a large number of other agile development software methodologies out there to choose from; it’s all a matter of finding the method that caters to your project’s needs.



Nothing Fancy About These Preps

My oldest son is an easy going individual who is a firm believer that nothing is going to happen which would require preparations. He appears to lack the insight to see exactly what the future will hold concerning our personal liberties as well as our survival. He never has been able to get intricately involved in any sort of survival details and his level of preparedness is exceptionally low. Does that mean he is doomed when the balloon goes up and we need to rely upon our resources? Not necessarily, I would like to present the simplest preparedness program in existence.

The adult son in question resides in his own three story home with neighbors on each side of his house. He is not rich but gets along well on what he and his wife earn by working. He owns a car but it is never setup as a BOV so we may as well consider him as having no means of escaping his current environment. My goal is to establish an easy, simple and practical method to get him to prepare at least some what for any potential crisis. Here is what I have to offer.

He never was much to store up on a lot of extra food. He and his wife generally purchase enough pantry supplies to last them for approximately two weeks at the most. To start him out in the right direction I would suggest that he purchase at least 30 cans of pre-made canned foods which should not require water to be added. These quick foods could be stews, spaghettis in a can or something of a similar nature. Add to this another 30 cans of various types of vegetables and meats, such as peas, carrots, pork and beans, canned fish, canned fruit or any other types which appeal to the family. Lastly, include 30 gallons of water to this list of essentials. That concludes my suggested food supplies. It isn’t very elaborate and the problem of food fatigue may enter the picture but food in the stomach is of utmost importance and if one is hungry enough they will eat the food.

Now for providing light in an emergency we must understand that my son lives in a three story home and has two young children. Taking that into consideration, I suggest two hurricane lamps along with several battery operated flashlights. The lamps are fairly inexpensive items and can be purchased at any department store or Wal-Mart for less than $15 dollars. Add four gallons of lamp oil to that list along with batteries for the flashlights and you are ready for action. Keep in mind that batteries when used for the sole purpose of light do not last very long however they are warranted so that the family members can go from floor to floor safely as well as a means of seeing while outside the confines of the home. The lamp oil on the other hand will consume a mere ½ ounce per hour. Not bad at all.

Heating the home presents a bit of a dilemma since it is so large and occupies three floors. Granted the oil lamp will provide a small measure of heat but nowhere near what would be needed. The only alternative would be to stock up on plenty of warm clothing for each family member and lots of thick wool blankets. Open flame devices for heat are not acceptable due to fire safety reasons as well as for the carbon dioxide hazard presented.

For their sanitation needs they could obtain a five gallon plastic bucket similar to those found in cake decorating shops from bulk icing. These are generally free or at a small cost of one dollar or so. Toss in several boxes of garbage bags and enough toilet paper to handle the family’s usage. To freshen up the smell keep several bottles of dishwashing liquid nearby. For washing up after use include a bottle of waterless hand soap.

To account for minor health related issues you should include the more common over the counter items like pain killers, bandages and a small bottle of iodine. Add the kind of simple items which one would find in a first aid kit. Serious health issues which require prescription drugs should be dealt with accordingly.

No home is a fortress and security should be adequately addressed. Place a few 2×4’s in a convenient location along with some nails to secure them across the homes doors and windows. To use nail one of the boards into the floor near the base of the door. Next nail two others at 45 degrees angles across the middle section of the door or window. This naturally means keeping a few hand tools such as a hammer and screwdriver readily available. Be sure that you keep one exit clear for departure in dire emergencies.

As you can readily see these items do not involve any long term efforts to organize as they are short and to the point. For less than $150 dollars you can assemble these emergency supplies which will easily take care of several people without difficulty for at least one month. I have deliberately kept everything as simple as possible. In addition to the above suggestions try to keep a low profile and windows covered with heavy blankets at night.

Copyright @2011 Joseph Parish

http://www.survival-training.info

By Joseph Parish