• There are many high-class escorts who have been in the industry for many years, and who have slept lots of different men so that they know exactly what gentlemen actually want. Therefore, we hope you enjoy the following secrets that sex workers have revealed regarding what men want from them.

    Gwyneth Montenegro is a beautiful woman who has worked as an escort for more than 10 years. In all this time she has slept with lots of men of all ages and with different personalities. Gwyneth has actually written a book about her long experience in the sex industry, in which she has revealed the surprising things that gentlemen will pay for. Her book is called ''Being financially successful in the sex industry'', and she said that in many cases men don't even want sex from an escort, which is surely quite surprising for many people. Why do men see escorts then? Well, because they need someone to talk to about their intimate things and problems, or because they are suffering.

    During the time she has been in the industry, the most important thing to her customers was the ''feeling of being needed as well as wanted''. Men absolutely love being wanted badly by a very horny lady, and this is their ultimate fantasy. This is a vital aspect, no matter the sex act you are actually doing. If you as a woman look like you want him bad and you are enjoying him a lot, then this will definitely make a man go crazy. In the book, the ex-escort also mentioned the fact that lots of girls in the sex industry try to ''outdo'' other ladies with acts or techniques they use, but this should be avoided. Why do men go to escorts? There are other reasons as well. Maybe they haven't had sex in a while and they don't have a partner, or maybe they just want to experience something new.

    While many women think that men like big boobs, escorts reveal the fact that this is not true, as many of them like the feel of real small boobs. One of the biggest myths is the fact that gentlemen want younger women. In this industry, women can be successful at any age, as there are plenty of men who want to experience sex with mature ladies and even with those who are in their 50 or 60s. These days, there are so many escort agencies, that it won't be too difficult to find one and choose an attractive girl to spend your time with. In the United Kingdom, one of the most reliable and popular escort directories is uEscort. Here, you have the possibility to choose between various sex workers of all ages, with different characters and personalities, as well as nationalities. Returning to the book that Gwyneth wrote, it is important to know that she had written it in order to empower women all over the world who want to become escorts and to teach them how to survive once they are in the sex industry.

  • There are numerous beautiful birds that exist today; some sing or talk more than others, some are more intelligent than others and some make great pets. One particular parrot is called the African Grey Parrot. This African parrot is one particular bird that is not only beautiful, it is very smart, has the ability to speak many words and makes a good pet for bird lovers.

    In addition to their high level of intelligence within bird species and their ability to have a big vocabulary, the African Grey is also admired for their coloring. The colors are not vibrant like many parrots you may find in the jungle or zoo, but this parrot is sleek and elegant. African Grey's are of two different families, one is the Congo African Grey and the other is the Timneh African Grey. As the name states the bird is of a grey color but the Congo has a lighter grey compared to the Timneh whose grey is darker. Both types do have a colored tail, the Congo's is red and the Timneh's is maroon.

    The African Grey's Characteristics

    The African parrots are considered to be medium sized and their length can be 10 to 14 inches. Within many bird species, the male usually has more vibrant colors than the female but this parrot the coloring is the same for both the males and females. There is one physical characteristic between the males and females and that is that the female has a narrower head as well as a slender neck. The life span is quit long and they can live around 60 years in age.

    When choosing this African parrot for a pet, it is best to keep in mind its long life span as well as its intelligence level. Are you willing to commit to this responsibility for a very long period of time? In regards to the parrots intelligence, just like a human, it needs constant interaction otherwise it will be bored. If a human becomes bored, they can have behavior problems and this is the same for the African Grey. Understanding the needs of this African parrot is very important so that it will receive a quality of life that it deserves as it won't be living in its natural environment.

    Knowing the history and behaviors of the African Grey, it will help you to provide both physical and mental activities so that your parrot will maintain a healthy life and have a good behavior pattern. Although the parrot is relatively easy to care for, it does require discipline to keep up the good behavior. If there is no discipline or interaction with the African parrot to keep its mind occupied in a positive manner, the parrot might begin to be cranky or even show negative behavior such as feather picking, chew on its cage or even bite. If the African parrot is left unattended to for too long without positive interaction, the parrot may also begin to cause self-infliction; this can lead to very serious physical complications.

    The beak is extremely hard and strong as it is used as a tool to not only search for as well as other uses. By nature, African Grey's are extremely social birds; they tend to group together and will show affection for one another. In captivity, the parrot's owner tends to be considered the parrots flock and the parrot will show certain signs of affection to the owner. The African parrot may not prefer a lot of cuddling from its owner but it does enjoy having its head petting or scratched. One deep sign of affection is when the parrot will regurgitate and may even try to "kiss" the owner's mouth (the human mouth has many bacteria that could harm the bird) so try to prevent the "kiss" of possible.

  • Where do you get an idea for an abstract landscape painting? It's difficult to clarify on the grounds that it originates from the way you see a scene and not just the trees and slopes, but rather the shapes and shading. Reduce the subtle element in your brain consciousness down to just basic forms.

    The photograph shows a scene. The territory is loaded with serious green, moving fields and slopes secured in dim lines of dry-stone walls, white specks of sheep, and the incidental sprinkles of splendid pink foxgloves.

    So what is it about this specific slope among the various bits and pieces that got my attention so emphatically that I had to pause and take a photograph? It's the lines - the dim cocoa colored ones, resounded by the extensive green, followed by the yellows. It's the bend of the fields against the horizon. It's filled with straightforward, rehashed shapes with a constrained palette of normal and natural hues.

    Making Abstract Landscapes

    Making a painting is similar to being in a battle. Controlling the different color tones, color values and color temperatures needed to do the job on a level surface is a battle. Each new stamp on a canvas depicts something else will happen. Hues move in or out, shapes make negative spaces, and lines characterize and demonstrate rhythms.

    Abstract landscape painting is about a concordance of shapes, light and dim masses, and warm and cool hues. Modifying color temperature and color quality empowers you to move the visual planes forward and backward on the canvas plane.

    Step 1: Turning Landscapes into Abstract Landscapes

    The scene to turn is the photograph. Be that as it may, you don't paint what you see in the photograph. You paint what your mind frames from the photograph. This is the abstract. Including a portion of water to the base of my abstract painting craftsmanship would bring about a mass of color.

    Step 2: Complementary Ground Color

    Covering the white canvas with purple would bring about blue and a substantial, warm, grayed yellow mass.

    Step 3: Darker Color Value and Cooler Color Temperature

    Apply the under-painting masses in a darker color quality and cooler color temperature.

    Step 4: Layers of Color

    Include layers of lighter, hotter shades of the same qualities over the previous layers. On account of the push and pull between the warm and cool hues, the surface seems to vibrate.

    Step 5: Completed Abstract Landscape Painting

    Avoid diving into excessive detail with the grass and reflections on the water in light of the fact that you don't need another point of convergence that is not quite the same as what your mind considers.

    Field: Get the color running over the middle of the finished painting with cadmium yellow light and white to the first under-color. Pick cadmium yellow light over Hansa yellow on the grounds that cadmium yellow is hotter. The tone that is closest to the highest point of the field will get some phthalo blue with white added to cool it off and to give it the look of sliding back.

    Skyline: Not too far off, a blend of ultramarine blue, cadmium red light, and somewhat white would yield a grayish, cocoa colored mass of brush.

    Sky: For the sky, layer phthalo and ultramarine blue for the surface, bringing down the quality of both with cadmium red light

    Water: Cool the tint with phthalo blue.

    If you need more information about abstract landscape painting, please check our site.

  • alex jacob about 1 month ago

    Yoga is an age-old science made up of different disciplines of mind and body. It has originated in India 2500 years ago and is still effective in bringing overall health and well being to any person who does it regularly. The word yoga is based upon a Sanskrit verb Yuja. It means to connect, to culminate or to concur. It's the culmination of mind and body or the culmination of Jiva and Shiva (soul and the universal spirit). It's also a culmination of Purush and Prakriti (Yin and Yang).

    The term Yoga has a very broad scope. There are several schools or systems of Yoga. Dnyanayoga (Yoga through knowledge), Bhaktiyoga (Yoga through devotion), Karmayoga (Yoga through action), Rajayoga (Royal or supreme Yoga) and Hathayoga (Yoga by balancing opposite principles of body). All of these schools of Yoga are not necessarily very different from each other. They are rather like threads of the same cloth, entangled into each other. For thousands of years, Yoga has been looked upon as an effective way of self-improvement and spiritual enlightenment. All these systems essentially have this same purpose; only the ways of achieving it are little different for each of them. In its most popular form, the term Yoga has come to associate with the last of these systems which is Hathayoga. For the purpose of this article too, the term Yoga is used with the same meaning. Although, when it comes to Philosophy of Yoga, which is at the end of this article, the term Yoga will have a broader scope.

    Asana and Pranayama

    Let's take a detailed look at the main two components of Hathayoga i.e. Asana and Pranayama.

    a) Asana: Asana means acquiring a body posture and maintaining it as long as one's body allows. Asana, when done rightly according to the rules discussed above, render enormous physical and psychological benefits. Asana are looked upon as the preliminary step to Pranayama. With the practice of Asana there is a balancing of opposite principles in the body and psyche. It also helps to get rid of inertia. Benefits of Asana are enhanced with longer maintenance of it. Asana should be stable, steady and pleasant. Here is the summary of general rules to be followed for doing Asana.

    Summary of rules:

    1. Normal breathing
    2. Focused stretching
    3. Stable and pleasant postures (sthiram sukham asanam)
    4. Minimal efforts (Prayatnay shaithilyam)
    5. No comparisons or competition with others
    6. No jerks or rapid actions. Maintain a slow and steady tempo.

    Each asana has its own benefits and a few common benefits such as stability, flexibility, better hormonal secretion, feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. It's a misconception that an Asana (Yoga stretch) has to be difficult to do in order to be beneficial. Many of the easiest Asana render most of the common benefits of Yoga to their fullest. Besides, the beauty of Yoga is in the fact that at a not-so-perfect level most of the benefits are still available. That means even a beginner benefits from Yoga as much as an expert.

    In their quest to find a solution to the miseries of human body and mind, the founders of Yoga found part of their answers in the nature. They watched the birds and animals stretching their bodies in particular fashion to get rid of the inertia and malaise. Based upon these observations, they created Yoga stretches and named them after the birds or animals or fish that inspired these stretches. For example, matsyasana (fish pose), makarasana (crocodile pose), shalabhasana (grasshopper pose), bhujangasana (cobra pose), marjarasana (cat pose), mayurasana (peacock pose), vrischikasana (scorpion pose), gomukhasana (cow's mouth pose), parvatasana (mountain pose), vrikshasana (tree pose) etc.

    Many of the Asana can be broadly categorized based upon the type of pressure on the abdomen. Most of the forward bending Asana are positive pressure Asana as they put positive pressure on the stomach by crunching it e.g. Pashchimatanasana, Yogamudra (Yoga symbol pose), Hastapadasana (hand and feet pose), Pavanmuktasana (wind free pose) etc. The backward bending Asana are the negative pressure Asana as they take pressure away from the abdomen e.g. Dhanurasana (bow pose), Bhujangasana (cobra pose), Naukasana (boat pose) etc. Both types of Asana give excellent stretch to the back and abdomen and strengthen both these organs. Alternating between positive and negative pressure on the same area of the body intensifies and enhances blood circulation in that area. The muscle group in use gets more supply of oxygen and blood due to the pressure on that spot. E.g. in Yogamudra (symbol of Yoga), the lower abdomen gets positive pressure due to which Kundalini is awakened. Hastapadasana refreshes all nerves in the back of the legs and also in the back. As a result you feel fresh and rejuvenated. Vakrasana gives a good massage to the pancreas and liver and hence is recommended for diabetic patients.

    1. Pranayama Practicing Pranayama is one of the ways of getting rid of mental disturbances and physical ill health. Pranayama means controlled and prolonged span of breath. Prana means breath. It also means life force. Ayama means controlling or elongation. Just like a pendulum requires twice long to come back to its original position, the exhalations in Pranayama are twice longer than the inhalations. The main purpose of Pranayama is to bring mental stability and restrain desires by controlling breathing. Breathing is a function of autonomous nervous system. By bringing the involuntary process of breathing under control of mind, the scope of volition is broadened. Pranayama is a bridge between Bahiranga (exoteric) Yoga and Antaranga (introspective or esoteric) Yoga. A body that has become stable by Asana and has been cleansed by Kriya (cleansing processes) is ready for Pranayama. On the other hand Pranayama prepares the mind and body for meditational and spiritual practice of Yoga such as Dhyana, Dharana and Samadhi. On physical level, practice of Pranayama increases blood in oxygen, subsequently refreshing and rejuvenating the brain and the nerves. Here are a few physical benefits of Pranayama. a. Lungs, chest, diaphragm become stronger and healthier. b. Capacity of lungs is increased. c. Slow changing pressure creates a form of massage to all organs in the stomach cavity. d. Purifies blood by increasing blood's capacity to absorb more oxygen. e. Brain functions better with more oxygen in the blood. f. Neuromuscular coordination improves. g. Body becomes lean and the skin glows.

    There are 8 main Pranayama namely, Ujjayi, Suryabhedan, Sitkari, Shitali, Bhastrika, Bhramari, Murchha, Plavini. Among these, Ujjayi is the most popular Pranayama. Pranayama consists of 4 parts in the following order: 1) Puraka (Controlled inhalation) 2) Abhyantara Kumbhaka (Holding breath in) 3) Rechaka (Controlled exhalation) 4) Bahya Kumbhaka (Holding breath out).

    The ratio of these parts to each other is generally 1:4:2:4 with a few exceptions. Patanjali's Yogasutra agrees with this ratio along with many other scriptures. For the purpose of overall well-being, practicing the first three parts is sufficient. A spiritual practitioner generally practices all four parts including the last one i.e. Bahya Kumbhaka. Such a practitioner also does many more repetitions than someone who does it for general health and well-being. Out of the four parts of Pranayama, it's the Abhyantara Kumbhaka that is essentially identified with Pranayama. There is one more Kumbhaka that happens spontaneously and is called Keval Kumbhaka.

    Bandha (Locks) are very crucial to the practice of Pranayama. Mulabandha (locking the anus), Jalandharbandha (locking the throat area or jugular notch), Udiyanabandha (locking the abdomen or diaphragm) and Jivhabandha (locking the tongue) are the four locks that are performed during Pranayama. Depending upon the purpose of Pranayama (spiritual or general health), locks are performed. Mulabandha, Jalandharbandha and Udiyanabandha are the common Bandha performed by everyone. Jivhabandha is mandatory only if done for spiritual purposes.

    Characteristics of Yoga

    Let's take a look at some of the chief characteristics of Yoga.

    1) Yoga is not an exercise.

    To understand the concept of Yoga one must keep in mind that the positions in Yoga are not exercises but bodily stretches and maintenance of stretches. You may describe Yoga in terms of Yogic stretches or Yogic practices. Acquiring a body position by stretching the muscles and then maintaining this position as long as one's body allows, that is what Yogic stretches are. Yoga requires very smooth and controlled motions and a slow steady tempo. To achieve this one needs to have total concentration of mind while doing Yoga. The movements in Yoga are smooth, slow and controlled. Comparison with others is greatly discouraged. Doing something beyond one's capacity just out of competition generally results in hurting one's body and hence is greatly discouraged. Breathing in Yoga remains steady unlike many aerobic exercises. Yoga is also Isotonic unlike bodybuilding exercises, which are isometric in nature. In isotonic stretches, length of the muscles increases while tone stays the same as opposed to the isometric exercises in which length of the muscles stays the same while the tone changes. In Isotonic stretches, body is stretched in a particular manner and maintained that way for some time.

    2) Longer maintenance and fewer repetitions (as per the body's capacity).

    Benefits of Yoga are enhanced with the maintenance of a body stretch. Longer the maintenance better will be the effect. However one cannot force oneself into maintaining the stretch longer than the body can bear. Each and every position is pleasant and stable (Sthiram Sukham Asanam). Sthiram means steady. Sukham means pleasant and Asanam means a body posture or position. The right position for you is that in which your body remains steady (sthiram) and which is pleasant and comfortable to you (sukham). The moment a stretch becomes unbearable and uncomfortable and the body starts shaking, one needs to come out of that position in a very slow, smooth and controlled manner. There will be more repetitions and shorter maintenance for a beginner. With more practice, the repetitions will be fewer and maintenance will be longer. After doing Yoga one should only feel pleasant and fresh and nothing else. If you feel tired or fatigued or any part of your body aches, it only means that you have tried beyond your capacity.

    3) Trust your body. Apply minimum efforts:

    With the practice of Yoga, you also learn to trust your body's capacity to progress in terms of flexibility without conscious efforts. As long as the aim is in mind and the body is stretched only to its current capacity, the flexibility develops on its own. One needs to just focus on breath, focus on the present state of the body pose and enjoy that pose as long as it feels comfortable. 'Prayatnay Shaithilyam' means minimum efforts. Although there is an ideal position described and desired for each asana, no one is forced into attaining the ideal position. Yoga is done with the trust that flexibility is acquired after a continuous and regular practice. There is a message here and that is to have faith in the unknown. This message along with the improved endocrine function, better muscle tone, calmer mind and increased positive outlook can be enormously beneficial for recovery from any illness.

    4) Focused stretching: The ability to stretch or pressure one muscle group while relaxing the rest of the body is called focused stretching. For example if a particular Asana is based upon stretching the stomach as the main muscle group (the pivotal muscles), then the rest of the body is relaxed while the stomach is stretched or pressured. One has to watch for unnecessary straining of those muscles that are supposed to be relaxed. Initially this is hard to follow nevertheless it becomes easier with some practice. This habit of differentiating between different muscles for the pressure becomes very useful in other areas of life too. It enables you to relax better while driving during rush hour. While doing normal daily tasks it makes you aware of the unnecessary tension on different parts of your body. You are watchful even while talking to someone or while brushing your teeth or when stuck in a traffic jam. You learn to ask yourself, 'Am I holding my breath, are my shoulders tense, is my neck stiff, are my fingers curled?' etc. etc. These acts are unnecessary and they dissipate energy. Yoga teaches you how to relax and gives you time free of worries and regrets, impatience and anxieties.

    5) Breathing: Monitoring your breathing is an integral part of Yoga. Common mistakes such as holding of breath or breathing deliberately occur during Yoga. Both these mistakes must be avoided. Holding back on breath gives headaches, fatigue and thus the benefits of Yoga are lost by improper or inadequate breathing.

    6) Anantha Samapatti (Merging with the Infinite):

    Ultimate goal of Yoga is the amalgamation of self into the greater self. Yuja means to combine or to connect. A connection of Atma and Parmatma is the merging of the body and the spirit. Yoga is a way of life. It's a total integration. According to Patanjali (founder of Yoga), two things define Yoga postures; a stable and comfortable body posture and Anantha Samapatti. Therefore you cannot separate bodily postures from meditation. In fact a body that has become flexible and steady through practice of various positions becomes a good basis for the ultimate transcendental state of mind (Samadhi). The kriya (cleansing processes) purify the body. Mudra and bandha bring the necessary stability of mind and concentration, initially on one's breathing (pranadharana) and then on God (Ishwarpranidhana). Initially the mind wanders a lot and that's o.k. One should let it wander. Later one should count his breaths and should observe the inner and outer flow of air through the air passages. (pranadharna). This will enable him to concentrate better on himself (sakshibhavana). In the beginning it will be difficult to concentrate since the body postures are not that steady. But with practice it becomes better and better. For this one must purposely take away his mind from body posture and focus it on to the breathing process (pranadharana).

    Benefits of Yoga

    If you follow the basic rules, several benefits can be reaped. Maintenance of body stretches makes the body supple, lean, flexible and stable. Breathing techniques purify the blood and cleanse nasal passages and sinuses. Stress relief is the greatest of all the benefits. Relaxing positions in Yoga teach you to relax your muscles and let the gravity work on your body. The ability to differentiate between tension on different parts of the body, i.e. to stretch one muscle group while relaxing all the others teaches you to relax and not waste energy during your daily routine. The part about concentration is important in providing relief to your mind from worry and stress of everyday activities. Here is a detailed look at some of the major benefits of Yoga.

    1. Stress relief

    Stress, tension, anxiety are the inevitable features of modern day life. Yoga offers many techniques to cope up with the stress and anxiety. A stress free mind reduces the chances of catching a disease to half, this has been widely known by now. Yoga teaches very effective breathing and relaxing techniques to achieve this. Yoga also helps you to feel relaxed quicker and raise your energy reserve by teaching you how to let the gravity work on your body. Half of the fatigue in any activity comes from improper and inadequate breathing and by holding breath unnecessarily. Yoga teaches you how to breathe adequately and how not to make your body tense and stiff while doing other daily tasks too. The principle of focused stretching teaches you how to not waste energy during your daily routine. It makes you aware of the unnecessary tension on different parts of your body. Yoga teaches you to relax fully and gives you time free of worries and regrets and impatience and anxieties. People having busy schedules who are used to being in action all the time, must understand that relaxing is not a crime or not a waste of time. On the contrary it gives you new energy to do your tasks better.

    1. Feeling energized and refreshed

    Adequate breathing plays a great role in rejuvenating and refreshing mind and body. Breathing techniques in Yoga provide abundant supply of oxygen to the lungs, cleanse nasal passages and sinuses and thus help feel refreshed. A body that has become lean and flexible with stretches and maintenance of the stretches gets purified by breathing techniques and becomes energized. Various Yoga stretches induce a balanced secretion of hormones, which subsequently rejuvenates the whole body and one feels refreshed and energized as a result.

    1. Flexibility of mind and body

    Apart from the relaxing effect, yoga also consists of many body stretches which when maintained for a few minutes give a wonderful flexibility to our muscles. One starts wondering, 'Am I the same person who used to be so stiff?' In many chronic disorders of the spine, Yoga has helped many people to reduce the frequency and intensity of the disorder such as spondylitis, arthritis etc. Maintenance of body stretches makes the body supple, lean, flexible and stable. In the process, not only your body but also your mind becomes flexible. The mind acquires faith that things can change favorably given enough time.

    1. Relief from chronic disorders

    Yoga is particularly good for having control over breath and spine. Breath and spine are like wild animals. You force them to do something they pounce on you. You coax them, be patient with them, they can be tamed to any extent. Many Yoga stretches make the spine strong and flexible. Time and again Yoga has proved to be a blessing for all kinds of disorders of the back. The technique of exhaling twice longer than inhaling (Pranayama) gives abundant supply of oxygen to blood and many impurities of blood are cured. The deliberate exhaling technique (Shwasanmargshuddhi) cleanse the nasal passage and the sinuses. They help get rid of chronic sinus trouble or clogging of nasal passage for many people. That makes the lungs and respiratory organs stronger. The abdominal breathing technique (Kapalbhati) helps people with asthma or weak diaphragm to breathe easily.

    1. Focus of mind

    Practice of Yoga helps in getting better focus of mind. Meditation, being part of Yoga, teaches you how to focus better and achieve more from any activity. Dharana, which means narrowed focus on a subject by restricting Chitta (mind) is one of the 8 limbs of Ashtangayoga. It teaches you to get rid of all other thoughts from the mind and focus on the target. People have benefited enormously in terms of focus of mind by doing meditation (Dhyana) and Dharana throughout all ages.

    1. Benefits at not-so-perfect level

    Even if one cannot achieve perfection in an Asana, the benefits of an Asana are still available at a not-so-perfect level such as calmer mind, better flexibility, better blood pressure, lower pulse rate and better endocrine function. Whatever state of Asana one is in, if one maintains the pose comfortably, body gets the necessary massage and stretch. There is a better secretion of endocrine glands as a result of the steady and sufficient stretch. The brain cells get the necessary signals and mind becomes calmer. Breath is more controlled and as a result feels refreshed. All of this happens regardless of the level of perfection. It's the steadiness and level of comfort that's more important than perfection.

    Origin and philosophy of Yoga:

    Ashtangayoga

    Among the many proponents of Yoga, Patanjali (2nd century B.C) is the most well known and most revered of all and is well accepted as the founder of Yoga. His book Shripatanjali Darshan which is a collection of hymns (also called as Patanjali's Yoga Sutras) is held in high esteem by the experts and practitioners and is known as one of the most revered reference book (a workbook for actual practice) on Yoga. Patanjali's Yoga is called Patanjala (that of Patanjali) and is also considered as Rajayoga, which means the royal Yoga or the supreme, sublime Yoga since it consists of practices that lead to spiritual liberation (Moksha). Rajayoga is a part of Sankhya philosophy and is known to awaken Kundalini (Complete opening of Chakra when reached in transcendental state of meditation) and results into complete spiritual enlightenment if practiced regularly.

    Patanjalayoga is also called Ashtangayoga since it has 8 dimensions or 8 limbs. Ashta means 8 and Anga means dimension or a limb in Sanskrit. Yama (Rules for the social life), Niyama (Rules for personal development), Asana (Yoga Posture), Pranayama (Prolonged and controlled breathing), Pratyahara (withdrawal of senses), Dharana (narrowed focusing on a subject), Dhyana (continued experience of meditation), Samadhi (transcendental state in which there is only an essence of pure existence) are the 8 limbs of Ashtangayoga. The first four dimensions make up the exoteric (Bahiranga) part of Ashtangayoga while the last four dimensions make up the esoteric (Antaranga) part of Ashtangayoga. Out of the 8 limbs of Ashtangayoga, Asana and Pranayama are the only two limbs that generally stand for the term Yoga in its most popular form.

    Hathayoga

    In the 15th century A.D. Yogi Swatmaram founded one of the six systems of Yoga called Hathayoga. Although the term Hatha in Sanskrit means being forceful, Hathayoga is not about Hatha but is about the balance between the two principles of the body. Ha and Tha are essentially symbols. Ha means surya (sun). Tha means chandra (moon). Right nostril (Pingala) is the Surya nadi while the left nostril (Ida) is the Chandra nadi. Just the way the sun and the moon balance the life cycle of the world; the two nostrils balance the life cycle of the body. Nadi is a channel through which the life force flows. Hathayoga helps to maintain this balance by correcting the functional disorders of the body and bringing mental peace. Hathayogapradipika is the standard textbook on Hathayoga written by Yogi Swatmaram. Hathayoga accepts Patanjala Yoga as standard. Although it's a completely independent school of philosophy in its own right, it's essentially based upon the philosophy of Rajayoga expounded in Patanjali's Yogasutra.

    In fact, every school of philosophy culminates into Rajayoga since the aim of every school is the same as Rajayoga i.e. to attain ever-lasting peace and happiness.

    Hathayoga consists of a. Asana (body positions or stretches e.g. mountain pose, cobra pose) b. Pranayama (controlled breathing techniques e.g. Ujjayi, Anuloma Viloma) c. Kriya (cleansing processes e.g. Kapalbhati) d. Bandha and Mudra (Locks and symbol poses e.g. Udiyana bandha, Jivha bandha, Simhamudra)

    As per Hathayoga, Asana, Pranayama, Kriya, Bandha and Mudra are stepping stones to achieve the ultimate psycho spiritual effect of Rajayoga. They create the necessary foundation of stable and calm mind and body for Rajayoga. There are however subtle differences between Patanjala Yoga and Hathayoga. Patanjali emphasizes more on the psycho spiritual effect of Yoga rather than the physical aspects and actual techniques of Asana and Pranayama. His Asana and Pranayama are also much simpler and easier to do than the ones in Hathayoga. For this he recommends least amount of efforts (Prayatnay Shaithilyam) and maintaining a steady, rhythmic tempo and a stable, comfortable body position. Patanjali's Yogasutra discuss Asana and Pranayama only in the chapter of Kriyayoga (part of Sadhana pada) as the tool to achieve physical and mental health. On the other hand, the emphasis of Hathayoga is more on the techniques of Asana and Pranayama, Kriya, Bandha and Mudra.

    Philosophy of Yogasutra:

    Patanjali's Yogasutra consists of 195 sutra and 4 Pada (sections or chapters): Samadhi pada, Sadhana Pada, Vibhuti Pada and Kaivalya pada. Kriyayoga, the chapter on the actual practice of Yoga is a part of Sadhana Pada (section about the means of study and practice of Yoga). Kriyayoga discusses Asana and Pranayama viz. the physical part of Yoga. Just to give a glimpse of Patanjali's philosophy, here are a few thoughts from the Samadhi Pada and Sadhana Pada of Yogasutra:

    According to Patanjali, meaning and purpose of Yoga is to attain Samadhi (ultimate transcendental state in which there is sense of pure existence and nothing else). Yoga is a union of mind and body. It's compared with a calm river, which flows down towards its inclined bed without efforts. Thus Yoga is more than a physical exercise. To be able to concentrate your mind is the greatest benefit of Yoga. Yoga is nothing but self-study. Purpose of Yoga is to be self-aware. Yoga teaches you to be nearer to nature and lead a healthy life. For this you need determination and faith in Yoga.

    Tapaswadhyayeshwarpranidhanani Kriyayogah

    Tapa (austerities), Swadhyaya (reading of scriptures), Ishwarpranidhana. Tapa is to make body alert and active glowing with health. Swadhyaya is the continuous study to sharpen the intellect. These sadhanas are to be used to wipe out faults of human nature. There are five kleshas (bad tendencies) such as avidya (ignorance), asmita (ego), Rag (attraction-affection), dwesh (hatred) and abhinivesh (self insistence, stubbornness). These five vrittis disappear by Dhyana.

    Yogaschittavrittinirodhah. By practice of Yoga, all the functional modifications of the mind completely cease.

    Control of your mind is what Yoga is about. You have to involve your mind in the Asana. Asana is an instrument to Yoga. Body postures, maintenance and rounds of an asana are to be done according to one's own capacity. Retention is more desirable than repetition. Meditation cannot be separated from Yoga.

    Prayatne Shaithilyam anantha samapatti. While doing Yogasana (Yogic postures), two things need to be observed. One is to be relaxed mentally and physically. The second one is Anantha samapatti. It means to merge with something infinite. Patanjali says that all good things happen when you stop trying hard. You become one with Ishwara, you let go your control and forget that you are in particular body posture. Yoga should be the way of life.

    Yoga chitasya malam apakarot, Padena vachanam malam, sharirasya cha vaidyaken yo apakarot. The speech is improved by reading loud a Pada (stanza of a poem) and a physician cures the diseases of body. Similarly, Yoga cures and cleanses an ill mind.

    According to Samadhipada, all kinds of mental and physical problems such as disease, laziness, doubts and suspicions, disobedience, misunderstandings, temptations, unhealthy thoughts are the modifications of Chitta (mind). Consequences of these modifications are unease, instability, shakiness and disturbances of inhalations and exhalations. Patanjali says that through total concentration and steadfastness and a regular practice of Yoga, one can get rid of all these problems.

    Ishwarpranidhanadva However if that is very difficult for someone, there is another way to achieve total health and peace and that is to surrender to God (Ishwarpranidhanadva). According to Samadhi pada, when you have no knowledge whatsoever, surrender to God completely and you will gain knowledge.

  • Retirement is a tricky thing, one day you feel good about it as you will be relaxing, finally, and the other day you feel worried about your finances. But people who plan for their retirement beforehand may have little or nothing to worry.

    Retirement planning is a continuous process, and you would have to try to foresee things. Although, no one can predict everything and it will be better to try to be close enough can do some benefit.

    Many people are too scared to retire because they are worried about how things will go when they cut that income off. However, retirement planning is not a hard science and following these 7 steps may let you secure future.

    1. Retirement Planning - Assess your financial situation

    First of all, make an inventory of all your current assets, liabilities, incomes and expenses. You can sit with your retirement planner and make an estimate of what your responsibilities and expenses would be. When you've retired, some expenses may stay the same, like groceries and insurance, and others.

    However, some expenses may increase like travel cost, vacation costs, and spending less on growing-up kids. Some expenses would also be taken care of by pension and social security. Highlight your worries and questions that haunt you at night and discuss them with your planner.

    1. Calculate the value of your assets and Liabilities

    Here are a few tips on how to calculate the value of your current assets.

    Write down the current amount in each of your account where you keep cash and liquid savings. These include checking, savings and money market accounts and certificates of deposits. If you have saving bonds, then calculate and determine the current value or call the bank to find out the current value. Call your agent and find out the cost of your whole life policy also. Invested in stocks, bonds or mutual funds, then check the value on financial websites or from your last statement. Use the current value of your house and other real states. List the current value of your pension, IRAs, or other retirement plans you have in mind. Try to know the value if you decide to get them cashed today. Keep other assets such as business and rental property in mind too. The balance of the mortgage on your house is a monthly liability. Keep all other mortgages or home equity loans in mind as well. Record the balance due on credit cards, installments, loan, and investment accounts. List all the current and over-due bills you owe. These include utility bills, doctors, dentists, telephone, water, gas, property tax, etc. 3. Know what you want

    We all want so much that we confuse ourselves with so many things. Make up the list of the things you think must be in your lifestyle after your retirement. Consider everything that may even seem small to you so that you would be prepared for it.

    Are you aware of how much money would you need to retire and live comfortably?

    Well, research says that you need to replace 70-90 percent of your pre-retirement income. It helps you to estimate your target based on your current income. Although it is a rough estimate, and keeping this in mind allows you to be on track. Maintaining factors such as vacation habits, medical expenses, house rent will have a substantial impact on how much you need to save.

    If you can save a right amount of money for retirement, then you will also have options for living the kind of life you want. Proper retirement planning lets you overcome any barriers and constraints, and add to the leisure of golden retirement period. You might even also have enough to leave something for your next generation. Don't be scared to aim high!

    1. Cash Flow Planning

    Present value is significant for your retirement planning. It is the amount of money you need in your account today to plan and save for your future. Many people work with their financial advisors or their retirement planners and make individual retirement accounts to prepare for their retirement. You can do so while planning before and after retirement.

    Planning Before Retirement

    Budgeting It is almost impossible to start any retirement planning without budgeting. Your budget is an essential part of your cash flow planning for both before and during retirement. It is an essential analysis that one should necessarily do to determine how much cash is needed to maintain the lifestyle you and your family is used to living.

    Once your budget is in place, it should be reviewed annually to determine if the addition and subtractions are changing the planned budget or if any other adjustments are needed. A budget will also help to protect your long-term and retirement savings.

    Emergency Fund Let's face it, unexpected financial problems can arise anytime, and it's not easy to avoid them too. So, it's always a good idea if we have some savings to help you in your inevitable needs.

    Your emergency fund should be set aside in a liquid manner because you never know what time or situation you might need those. The total amount needs to be decided by you and your family, and it should be at your comfort level. Some people might agree on having $10,000 or $20,000, whereas some people would want to put a higher amount for their emergency funds.

    Risk Management One area that is often overlooked in retirement planning is risk management. People usually focus on saving money for retirement. However, they forget to keep risk management in their minds. Risk management includes car insurance, house insurance, short-term and long-term disability, and health insurance. You need to make policies regarding these and should be monitored, reviewed and updated as needed.

    Planning During Retirement

    Budgeting During retirement, your plan should again start with budgeting. Your income will be changing after retirement, so it is essential to monitor your cash flow through-out retirement.

    Budgeting after retirement does not only mean to keep a check on the flow of cash. In fact, it also involves analyzing all your expenses throughout the year. It lets you identify places where you can use other or less expensive substitutes or how to plan a significant expenditure.

    Taxes Tax planning is a massive ordeal for some retired people. It takes up a lot of planning regarding analyzing the sources of funds. It allows you to maintain your lifestyle and hence you need to keep your tax consequences in mind.

    Different types of accounts have different types of tax consequences when funded or get withdrawn. Retirement savings or qualified accounts are taxed as ordinary income level. Non-qualified accounts are taxed with capital gains levels.

    When specific funds are needed to maintain a lifestyle during retirement, it is essential to keep the tax consequences of the accounts funding your retirement.

    Taxes should not be the only consideration when making your retirement planning. Instead, it should be combined with other aspects of your overall financial planning.

    Estate Planning While necessary estate planning is a critical component before retirement, but post-retirement planning has a more important role in managing real estate. It is essential for you to determine what you and your family would like to settle for.

    What is crucial is that the approach to estate planning should be similar to your attitude towards risk management. Your estate plan should be reviewed and updated regularly.

    1. Invest or Save

    It's entirely okay if you start late as well. The key to expecting success has a positive outlook and understanding that being late is better than never starting!

    If you are over 55 years of age, the government offers savings on the catch -up contributions so you can get help to save a little bit more. Sometimes, the chances are that savings account and employee pensions are not enough to reach your goals. That's when you explore investment products.

    It is always good to have an investment on your side if you are planning to upgrade your living standard and staying financially sound for long. There are many different ways to save your money, but IRA accounts have proven to be the best. If you do not know about it yet, then search the mighty internet for guidance.

    Create a diversified portfolio of savings accounts, investments, stocks, bonds, property, and insurance that can all contribute to benefit you.

    1. Make Strategies to Maximize Your Social Security Income

    Social security is likely to remain an essential part of your retirement planning, and it is essential to maximize this benefit.

    To maximize the benefits of social security, you need to sit with your retirement planner and make effective strategies for collecting social security. The age at which you decide to withdraw funds will also have an impact on your lifetime savings. You can start receiving from the age of 62. Moreover, the more you wait, the more you will be paid. If you wait till 70 years of age, your payment will increase up to 77%.

    Another important thing that you should be aware of is if you're eligible for more than just your own retirement benefits! You might also be eligible to claim "spousal" or even "survivor" benefits, if you are married, divorced, or widowed. Although, these are based on your records with your spouse, whether they are dead or alive.

    Remember not to file for two or more types of benefits at once. Chances are you will lose one of them if you file for both simultaneously. Make strategies to claim the smaller one first, and later on the larger one.

    Social security uses the best 35 years of your working life to calculate your monthly earnings. If you have worked less than 35 years, you should keep working. As this will also help you to bump some of your lower earning years.

    1. Check and Repeat

    The most important thing to keep in mind while doing retirement planning is to focus on your savings. It needs to be updated and changed as needed. Review your retirement plan annually. Nothing is set in stone and with a strong and stable planning leads you to live a happy retirement life. All you need is to put yourself in a position to be successful and organized.

    Retirement is a life transition process. Just like other major life transitions, retirement requires you to adapt and grow. It might involve some sad moments for you like leaving your workplace, workmates, moving houses, having ups and downs, being short on money, etc.

    However, these grieve moments don't last forever! The efforts that you make before and during retirement to have a balanced life will help to ensure that your retirement is a smooth and pain-free process.

    Although the act of retirement happens in a day, or a week. In fact, the retirement process is taking place over the years before your actual departure. Retirement cannot be successful overnight and it requires in-depth planning and preparation. Your retirement plan might even change at some points in life, depending on your interests, activities, and health fluctuations.

    Trust yourself that you will adjust to retirement, relax and enjoy!

  • Many claims are made about CBD oil's ability to relieve pain, anxiety, MS symptoms, colds, and arthritis.

    But does CBD oil really work?

    Is CBD oil able to treat the symptoms of many diseases, illnesses and injuries? We have investigated this issue and found evidence to support it.

    Although research on the health benefits of Cannabidiol oil remains in its early stages, it is being explored. This being said, studies have been conducted extensively and have shown that the oil can be used to treat a variety of conditions.

    What is CBD oil?

    Let's first look at the product. Oil is a compound extracted from cannabis plants. The oil is obtained by extracting the oil and then diluting it with carrier oil. Typically, hemp oil or coconut oil are used.

    CBD oil is not from the same plant as the one that gives you the "high" when it's smoked. It is therefore not psychoactive and safe to use.

    It is available in oil, but it can also be found in capsules, creams and soft-gels.

    There are many types of oil, but only organically produced oils should be used. Only reputable companies should use these oils.

    Is CBD oil effective?

    Let's take a look at some of these studies to see if CBD oil can be used to treat various symptoms and ailments.

    Acne

    Acne is one of many things the oil can help with.

    A 2014 study found that CBD may help reduce acne. It has a positive effect on the human sebocytes. These cells produce sebum which can lead to pimples. The study examined topical oil, and it was found to be beneficial.

    Anxiety

    Anxiety affects millions of people all over the globe. In 2019, a study on the effectiveness of CBD oil was conducted with Japanese teenagers.

    To reduce social anxiety, the teenagers tried CBD oil tablets. The results were promising.

    Alzheimer's disease

    The effectiveness of CBD oil in Alzheimer's patients was studied. It may have neuroprotective properties to prevent the onset.

    Chronic pain

    A study was done to determine if CBD oil could be used to reduce chronic pain.

    The oil may be effective in reducing joint pain and inflammation, as well as arthritis symptoms.

    Epilepsy

    The FDA approved Epidolex which contains CBD oil. There are strong indications that CBD oil may be able to treat epilepsy symptoms. CBD oil is used to treat epilepsy patients with severe or rare cases. Research has shown that CBD can reduce seizures.

    Insomnia

    According to current psychiatry reports, CBD oil can have a sedative effect when taken in moderate to high amounts. It can be used to treat insomnia in people who have trouble sleeping. The oil's relaxing properties could also help those with insomnia or anxiety.

    Multiple Sclerosis

    Multiple sclerosis can cause stiff muscles which can make it difficult to move.

    Research has shown that CBD oil can be used as a spray to reduce stiffness and spasticity.

    Different types and potencies of CBD

    You need to know the differences in potencies and types of CBD if you're considering CBD for an illness.

    A full-spectrum oil is the first type. This oil contains all the cannabinoids found in cannabis plants, with a small amount of THC.

    Broad-spectrum is the next type of oil most people use. It includes all cannabinoids, but does not contain THC.

    Isolated CBD is a pure form of cannabis oil. It does not contain any cannabinoids, nor any other compounds.

    Is there any side effects to CBD?

    CBD has many benefits. You may be concerned about side effects.

    Some side effects of oil use have been listed by the FDA. The FDA has suggested that it could have the following side effects and risks.

    It can cause liver damage.

    It could interact with other medications that you have been prescribed, or are currently taking

    It can make you sleepy.

    It can make you hungry or hungrier.

    It can Cause diarrhea.

    Why CBD might not work for you

    Some people do not experience relief to use the oil. There may be circumstances and reasons it does not work.

    Is the oil coming from a reliable source?

    It is possible that the oil was not 100% organically produced and came from a reliable source. Only oils of this quality will contain the right cannabinoids. They also won't have any other chemicals.

    To prove that the oil is 100% organic, reliable companies will issue a certificate of analysis.

    This certificate will show the lab testing results for CBD oil, so that you can ensure it is pure and without contaminants.

    Is your dosage correct?

    The incorrect dosage is another reason. The amount of oil taken will not be sufficient to relieve the problem. To treat chronic problems, it is common to consume up to 1,200mg per day.

    You can also build up a tolerance to a certain dose. If the oil seems to work well when you first take it, but then it stops working, this could indicate that you have developed a tolerance and require a higher dose.

    It can take some time for the CBD oil to show any effect

    CBD may not be effective immediately. You might need to use the oil for a while before it starts to work. You might also be using the wrong oil. There are many types of oil: creams, oils, capsules and gel.

    Is the oil old?

    You should verify the expiration date of any oil you use, as they do have a shelf-life. It will usually last between 1 and 2 years before it loses its potency.

  • Cheap limo hire can only mean one of two things. You have either got an excellent deal or a very old limousine. It is true that most people would settle for a cheap price, however you need to make sure the deal is a good one. Prices in limo hire London vary just as much as with limo hire Midlands, but why such a great variation? If you are looking to rent a particular limousine such as a Hummer H2 limo and you find prices vary then double check to make sure some of the cheaper prices are actually for Hummer limos and not Hummer style limousines. Many limousine companies advertise their Excursion limos or Navigator limousines as Hummer style limos knowing that unsuspecting customers will believe they are getting an actual Hummer limousine. If you are not sure about the type of limousine on offer ask for some pictures and tell them to clarify which limousine it is going to be. The dearer the price is the more likely it will be a Hummer H2 limousine.

    Many people will opt for a particular limousine such as the Hummer or Navigator without realising the full capacity of the vehicle. These limousines are the biggest of all the limos with some able to transport up to 20 people. Therefore it stands to reason that if you have a group of just 8 people the price per head will be a lot greater. Fridays and Saturdays are peak times for limo hire and limousine companies will almost always rent out the vehicle rather than on numbers of people.

    Fridays and Saturdays are peak times because this is when most people are likely to hire for their birthdays, hen nights or stag nights. However you will find that if you were to hold your birthday or hen night on a Sunday or midweek the price difference could be considerable. This is because demand for limousines is a lot less on these days. The limousine companies would far rather their limo goes out than remains in the depot so cheap prices are a definite possibility.

    Finally, to get cheap limousine prices you have to book well in advance. This is especially true for proms and weddings but for any event, booking early has many advantages. By booking early, not only will you avoid disappointment and get the limousine you wanted to hire, but the same demand factors for midweek limousine hire apply to early bookings. Limousine companies will never know how busy a particular date is likely to be they can only guess. They are far more likely to offer a favourable price than if you leave it last minute when demand is at its greatest. Prices can in some cases be up to 50 percent less if you book well in advance.

    If you book early, fill the limousine to its capacity and hold your occasion midweek or on a Sunday then cheap limo rental is a distinct possibility. Just beware of excessively cheap prices for limousines particularly for Lincoln Town Car limos that sound almost too good to be true. There are many old models around and if quoted a cheap price you may just be getting one.

    Limotek limo hire - providers of limousine hire to all areas of the UK including limo hire London, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Midlands and Edinburgh. We also specialise in hummer limo hire.

  • When first used in branch circuit wiring, aluminum wire was not installed any differently than copper. Due to increased copper costs in the mid 1960's, aluminum wiring became more prevalent in wiring homes. It was known at the time that aluminum wire requires larger wire gauge than copper to carry the same current.

    For example, a standard 15-amp circuit breaker wired with No. 14 gauge copper requires No. 12 gauge aluminum. Typical connections from electrical wire to electrical devices, also called terminals, are usually made by wrapping the wire around the screw terminals and tightening the wire or pushing the wire through the back of the outlet. Over time, many of these terminations to aluminum wire began to fail due to improper connection techniques and dissimilar metals. These connection failures generated heat under electrical load and resulted in overheated connections.

    History of Aluminum Wire

    Electricity is transmitted from the utility generating stations to individual meters using almost exclusively aluminum wiring. In the U.S., utilities have used aluminum wire for over 100 years. It takes only one pound of aluminum to equal the current carrying capacity of two pounds of copper. The lightweight conductors enable the utility to run transmission lines with half the number of supporting structures. The utility system is designed for aluminum conductors, and utility installers are familiar with installation techniques for the types of aluminum conductors used in utility applications. Prior to 1972, the aluminum wire was manufactured to conform to 1350 series alloy. This alloy was specifically designed for power transmission purpose. Due to its mechanical properties the 1350 alloys were not suitable for use in branch circuitry. At this juncture in time a "new technology" of aluminum wire was developed, known as AA-8000 series which is the current aluminum wire used today for branch circuitry, however it is extremely rare to find in branch circuit wiring. This type of wire when installed properly can be just as safe as copper wire.

    Problems with Aluminum Wires

    Aluminum wires have been implicated in house fires in which people have been killed. Reports of fires with aluminum wiring generally show that poor workmanship led to failures. Poorly made connections were too often the cause. There were several possible reasons why these connections failed. The two core reasons were improper installation and the difference between the coefficient of expansion between aluminum wire and the termination used in the 1960's.

    Feeder and branch circuit wiring systems were designed primarily for copper conductors. Aluminum wiring was evaluated and listed by Underwriters Laboratories for interior wiring applications in 1946; however it was not used heavily until 1965. At that time copper shortages and high prices made the installation of aluminum branch circuit conductors a very attractive alternative. At the same time, steel screw became more common than brass screws on receptacles. As aluminum wire was installed more frequently, the industry discovered that changes were needed to improve the means of connecting and terminating smaller aluminum wire. Installation methods for utility grade aluminum, or series AA- 1350 alloy were also different and workmanship was an important factor in making reliable connections.

    The most often identified culprits for poor workmanship involved: incorrectly tightened connections, wires wrapped the wrong way around the binding screws, and aluminum conductors used in push-back connections or with devices meant only for copper. Because the connections were made incorrectly, a chain of events of failures erupted. The connection was loose to begin with due to improper tightening torque, and the physical properties of aluminum / steel interface tended to loose the connection over time. Aluminum and steel have significantly different rates of expansion which would increase the resistance and temperature at the termination point. Similar problems occurred when aluminum conductors were incorrectly terminated in the push-in connections intended only for copper wire.

    Corrosion is often cited as a contributing cause of aluminum connections. In 1980 the National Bureau of Standards performed a study to determine what caused the high resistance at aluminum / steel connections in receptacles. The study revealed that the formation of intermetallic compounds (alloys of aluminum and steel) caused the high resistance terminations, not corrosion or aluminum oxide. The thin, protective layer of oxide on aluminum conductors contributes to the excellent corrosion resistance of aluminum. When terminations are made correctly, the oxide layer is broken during the termination process allowing the necessary contact to be made between the conducting surfaces.

    One of the most fundamental principles of electrical safety for wiring buildings is that high temperatures are hazardous. Heat is a major contributor to potential electrical hazards. A compromised connection creates additional heat. The additional heat contribution can "snowball" problems. Sometimes if sufficient heat is created, it can start a fire. Even if the heat does not directly start a fire, the heat can melt and or burn away insulation, which can create a short that may arc. Electrical arcs often reach temperatures in excess of 10,000 Fahrenheit. Aluminum wired connections in homes have been found to have a very high probability of overheating compared to copper wired connections.

    Upgrading aluminum wired homes

    There are several "upgrades" that are commonly done to homes with pre-1974 aluminum branch circuit wiring:

    o Ensuring that all devices are rated for use with aluminum wire. Many are not, since they do not meet the CO/ALR specification

    o "Pigtailing" which involves splicing a short length of copper to the original aluminum wire for use with devices not CO/ALR rated

    o COPALUM a sophisticated crimping system that creates a cold weld between copper and aluminum wire, and is regarded to be a permanent, maintenance free repair. These connections are sometimes too large to be installed in existing enclosures. Surface enclosures or larger enclosures may be installed to remedy this problem.

    o Completely rewiring the house with copper instead.

    When deciding to repair or replace any electrical installation, a qualified professional should be consulted. The majority of homes wired with the general purpose circuits wired with aluminum are now over 30 years old. The likelihood of experiencing any problems unique to having aluminum is slight.

    Any electrical system should be evaluated every 10 years by a qualified electrical professional to determine if it is likely to operate safely under the increased loads in different rooms being used differently, i.e. home office or bathrooms with larger dryers.

    Alan Trauger is a Building Consultant that performs property condition assessments for residential and commercial properties. An experienced and knowledgeable problem solver, understanding processes and issues related to building structures and their systems. An expert witness, trainer, and educator. To view past newsletters on construction and buildings

  • alex jacob about 1 month ago

    INTRODUCTION:

    In 1602, there supposedly existed a railway in Nottinghamshire in England. Though it is not verified and is debated by various historians but the origin of the English Railway can be traced back from that period. By 16th century tram roads were being used. The first public railway was the Stockton and Darlington Railway in 1825. This railway transported both passengers as well as freight.

    ORIGIN OF THE ENGLISH RAILWAYS:

    Earlier small patches of rail lines were laid. Each railway line was undertaken by a company. They were all under private sector and there was no uniformity. Economic pressure after the first world war lead to decline of many small railways. To face this crisis all the railway companies in Britain grouped themselves into four big groups which were called the 'Big Four". The members of this Big Four included The great Western Railway, The London, Midlands and Scottish Railway, The London and North Eastern Railway and The Southern Railway. After the second world war the railways in Britain were nationalized as the British Railways. This nationalization occurred in the year 1948. The British Railways thus came into origin from the year 1948 and from then there has been no looking back.

    DEVELOPMENT OF THE BRITISH RAILWAYS:

    The Modernization plan in 1955 stressed upon the development of British Railways. This plan included:

    Electrification of important lines

    Dieselisation of Trains

    New rolling stock for passengers as well as for freight

    Re-signalling and Track Renewal

    Closure of unnecessary lines

    THE BRITISH RAILWAY:

    The British Railway is the world's oldest Railway. High-speed trains of speed more than 125 miles per hour were introduced in the 1970s. It also has Metro Rails as an integral part of its network. These metro Rails run under the ground in major cities forming a high-speed mode of travel for the urban commuters. It is advantageous for the people over road transport since there is no problem of any traffic jam. These underground system of railways are used in the cities of London and Glasgow.The British Railway thus not only serves as a transportation between two cities but also as a transport system in a city.

    The British Railway was mostly overhauled by the diesel engines in the 1970s and 1980s. These diesel engines belonged to the class series which constituted of several types of locomotives were replaced by high-speed electric locomotives.

    THE PRESENT DAY BRITISH RAILWAY:

    The present-day British Railways offers many services like freight and passenger transportation. The system has also provided employment to many people. It is now fully computerized with facilities like online booking of ticket reservation, checking the expected arrival and departure timings on the Internet etc. It also provides special packages for tourism and travel. There are both sitting as well as sleeper classes of travel in the trains.

    In some cases, they have also collaborated with airlines as well as ferry services to provide a convenient journey for foreign tourists as well as for native passengers.

    CONCLUSION:

    The British Railway has majestically traveled a long journey from its origin in 1602, till now crossing many stations and milestones. There have been many developments and achievements in this long journey.

    Now, the British Railway is at the summit of development, with all sophisticated modern equipment. Let us hope that this great system will still travel a long distance with many more great achievements.

    English Railway is the backbone of the transport system in United Kingdom. The London Underground or Tube is also considered as the lifeline of the mega city. So, if you are planning to visit UK or London, please make sure to check out more details about the same in their official websites.

  • The railway to Tibet is one of the world's top 25 iconic rails

    Qinghai-Tibet Railway, the only railway to Tibet is one of the world's top 25 iconic rails according to the US-based Society of International Railway Travelers that has published a list of the world's top 25 iconic rail adventures. The list includes a variety of trains from the first-class Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express, which crosses eight time zones from Europe to Asia, to India's wheezing 125-year-old steam Toy Train.

    The Qinghai-Tibet Railway, dubbed the railway on the "roof of the world", was put in operation in 2006 and has carried millions of travelers to Tibet. This railway to Tibet greatly changes travelers' way of travelling to Tibet. In the past, tourists can only travel to Tibet by air and overland. By train to Tibet seemed delusional before the construction of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway.

    The Qinghai-Tibet railway, a miracle in human's project history, makes many world's firsts.

    1. World's highest railway - With an average altitude of 4,000 meters, the Qinghai-Tibet Railway ranks the highest railway in the world.

    2. World's highest train station - With an altitude of 5,068, Tanggula Railway Station along the railway to Tibet is renowned as the highest train station in the world.

    3. World's longest plateau railway - Extending 1,956 kilometers from Xining to Lhasa on the Tibetan Plateau, the Qinghai-Tibet Railway is considered at the longest plateau rail.

    4. World's longest rail on frozen earth - With 550 kilometers constructed on frozen earth, the Qinghai-Tibet Railway has the longest rail on frozen earth in the world.

    5. World's highest railway tunnel - Located at 4,905 meters above sea level, Fenghuoshan railway tunnel on the Qinghai-Tibet Railway is the highest in the world.

    6. World's longest plateau tunnel - With 1,686 meters in length, Kunlun Mountain Tunnel is the world's longest plateau tunnel.

    If you miss an experience on such a miraculous railway when travelling to Tibet, it will be a great regret in your lifetime. At present, travelers can take train to Tibet from Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Xining and Chongqing. Except from Xining, it generally takes two days to arrive at Lhasa by train. For instance, the Beijing to Lhasa train will take about 44 hours to Lhasa and the Shanghai to Lhasa train will take around 47 hours to Lhasa.

    Besides, if you travel to Tibet by train, a copy of Tibet permit is enough to board the train to Lhasa together with your train ticket, but if you go to Tibet by air, the original Tibet permit is required. It is quite easy to get a copy of the Tibet permit. For example, your travel agency can send you a scanned copy of the Tibet permit by email or fax, and then you print it by yourself. Very easy!

  • Although railway freight is one of the ancient modes of transport that has evolved through time, it has got a share of its own shortcomings. The disadvantages include the following.

    First, railway freight can be affected by unforeseen delays in its operations. The delays may be caused due to mechanical breakdowns, adverse weather conditions like snow and ice that may cover the railway lines making rail freight almost impossible. This can be a major setback in the railway transport industry as the delays are unpredictable.

    Secondly, another shortcoming is that one has to rely on the schedule or timetable of the railway freight company. If the freight company does not have services for a given day, one has no option but to wait till when the service will be available next. If the service decides to suspend or postpone its activities for a certain period, one will be forced to wait until the services resume. Therefore, the users do not have control over the rail freight services.

    Another major disadvantage of railway freight is that most of the customers or users of this service are not located near the railway depot or terminal. They have to travel over some distance so as to reach the service. Most of the services can only be accessed from railway stations or depots and are not distributed. The terminals are found along the railway line meaning that where there is no railway line, there is no rail freight service. This means that the user has to travel over long distances to access the service. This also means that moving from the railway terminal to final destinations is also cumbersome. Accessibility to railway freight thus becomes a problem.

    Furthermore, railway freight also has a limited number of carriers for transporting cargo. For instance if the number of coaches is twenty, they cannot be increased and one will have to wait for the next trip in order to make use of the service. This limits the amount of cargo that rail freight can haul at ago. Their transport service is limited to the number of containers that can be hauled at one go.

    Moreover, railway freight requires intensive capital investments. Most of the railway machinery consumes a lot of capital ranging from the railway line to the engines. This also means that should there be any mechanical problem, it will require a lot of funds to fix the problem. Such amounts may not be readily available which may end up stalling the railway freight service altogether.

    Finally, railway freight has got limited and fixed routes that do not have much connectivity. Connection between two different points that do not have a railway terminal is impossible. Connection is only established where a railway line passes through meaning that cargo can move only along the railway line to a specified destination. The problem is even made worse due to the fact that expansion of the rail network calls for massive capital investment which may not be readily available. This works against the expansion of the railway network.

  • If you are interested in the idea of using free, environmental friendly energy to power your household, and you want to have a solar panel array installed, one of the most basic requirements you need to keep track of is the number of solar panels that you need.

    There are many factors that would determine just how many you would need to use, and how many you will actually be able to buy. Some of these include the results of your energy consumption target calculations (how much energy your household appliances and devices need in order to function properly), the budget you have at your disposal and the type of solar panel you are using.

    Also, depending on whether you are considering the purchase of a high-tech solar array or you're thinking of building your own panels yourself out of cheaper materials, the prices may vary. Therefore, the number of solar panels you can put together in an array may be different, and their quality might also have to be assessed.

    Calculating Energy Consumption

    If you want to determine precisely how many solar panels you need, it is essential to measure the amount of energy that a solar panel can offer, and compare it with the value that you require. Considering that a normal household consumes about 8000 - 9000 kwh on a yearly basis, and the fact that a $300 solar panel of good quality can only provide about 100 - 200 watts of energy, the number of panels you need to power your entire home may be quite substantial.

    Of course, depending on your needs, you might not always have to use up so much energy on a regular basis. Especially if you are an environmental enthusiast, and you know how to choose appliances that provide better functionality, while consuming less energy, you might actually be able to reduce that number to half, or even less.

    Also, if you want to build your own solar panel, you might find that the manufacturing costs can effectively be reduced to under $200 for a standard 36 cell solar panel. Depending on the quality of your homemade solar array, you only need about 30 or 40 panels to provide enough power for your entire home.

    This number may still be too large, but it can be reduced if you wish to use an additional type of energy, such as wind power. This can offer you more energy on cloudy and rainy days, when solar panels don't operate as well, and reduce the need for panels to half or even less.

    Use caution, as different types of solar cells will provide a varying amount of energy. You can calculate the energy output easily, however: after you build your DIY solar panel, measure the current and voltage it produces, and multiply them to obtain the watt value. As a result, a small, 6 ampere solar panel that produces 12 volts, for instance, will offer about 72 watts.

    Now, such a weak solar panel may not provide you with too much energy, but the good news is that there are many inexpensive panels on the market that can offer two or more times as much power, and you don't have to pay more than 300 to 400 dollars for one. A solar array made of 10 to 20 of these panels would, therefore, represent a viable option when it comes to powering a large number of low energy appliances or gadgets.

    Different Solar Panel Types

    The rate and efficiency with which solar cells are able to transform solar energy into electricity also plays a part in determining how many solar panels you will need.

    In the case of panels using monocrystalline solar cells, for example, the amount of sunlight needed for generating a specific amount of energy is far less than in the case of thin film or polycrystalline cells.

    In 2010, a company that produces high quality monocrystalline solar panels was able to break the world record for solar energy efficiency, producing solar cells that could transform more than 24 % of the sun's rays into usable electrical power.

    Some researchers even consider that, in a few years, it may be possible to create monocrystalline solar cells that are able to go beyond the 30 % or even the 40 % mark, significantly increasing the efficiency rating of these types of solar cells, and that of solar energy in general.

    A good example of the energy efficiency that these solar panels can offer would be that a solar panel using a total of 36 monocrystalline cells can generally produce around 100 to 130 watts. This practically means that if you want to get 1 kw (1000 watts), you will need about 10 of these panels. Depending on the quality and brand of the panel, pricing can range between $3000 and $5000 for this plan.

    In contrast with these results, technologies using polycrystalline cells are barely able to get close to the 20 % limit today, while thin film based technologies hardly provide about 15 to 17 % efficiency.

    These numbers may conclude the technological superiority of monocrystalline PV cells, but they do not prove that the best decision is to buy such panels. It's true that you will not need as many panels to reach a general output of about 1 to 3 kw in this case, but the problem is that the more monocrystalline solar panels you buy, the greater the price difference becomes.

    You may also opt for less energy efficiency and a better pricing option in order to save money. In this regard, polycrystalline cells are far better, as they are not as weak as thin film-based technologies, and are somewhat less expensive than monocrystalline solar cells.

    Budget Issues

    Now, everyone is usually thinking about budget issues when it comes to buying or manufacturing a solar panel. DIY solar panels are obviously cheaper, however, the quality differences can be great, not to mention that you will need to put a lot of work into it, if you want your new panels to perform properly.

    If you decide to buy a solar panel, on the other hand, you will already have all the numbers necessary regarding how many watts it produces, and how stable it is. By using some simple math, you can then calculate exactly how many of these devices you need in order to meet your energy target.

    The main problem here is that there are many brands focusing on offering different types of solar panels based on a large number of different technologies. As a result, you may have a hard time choosing between them, and you will have to look around on numerous websites to find out what past buyers think about any particular product.

    Most people would believe that about $3000 to $8000 would be enough for a viable solar panel array; however, the numbers might double depending on your needs and the technology you want to use. Fortunately, most manufacturers are already starting to develop better technologies that allow people to buy more efficient solar arrays at a considerably lower price.

    You have to take all the options into account, however, and avoid clinging to some brands simply because they have a "catchier" marketing agenda. Ultimately, the numbers will show you everything you need to know, and you can make up your own mind regarding which types of panels you should buy, and how many of them you will need.

    Summary

    You will often find that the company you do business with may actually provide you with a viable plan when it comes to dealing with energy consumption and solar panel numbers. Based on your budget and the proficiency of the solar power array you require, they can often give you a precise estimate of how much energy you can get from your purchase.

    Use caution, however, since various brands may at times come up with new technologies that are cheaper and more effective, and would make the designs of other companies seemingly obsolete. You might actually realize then that new opportunities can appear at every step of the way.

    So, if you are thoroughly informed about the factors that determine the quality of the technology used for manufacturing panels, you will find that you are in a much better position to establish how many of them you need yourself, without having to worry about any unknown factors.

    To find out more about the advantages and disadvantages of solar energy go to

    You'll discover... The facts about solar energy Exactly how solar energy works The price of installing solar energy Solar energy for home and business How to build a solar energy system How to make a solar oven ...and lots more! The information is ideal for students learning about solar energy and home owners who are looking into installing solar panels in their home.

  • Are you looking to get new NFL Team Clothing Apparel for yourself, or someone else that you know that is a fan? If so there are a couple of things that you will want to keep in mind. Follow these three steps and you will be sure to have a positive experience in your search for the right merchandise.

    1. First of all make sure that you are not paying too much. You shouldn't have to pay more than about $20 unless you are trying to get an actual team jersey.

    2. Make sure that you get and item, shirt, or cap that sends the message you want to express to the world. This may be by either a symbol or even it just saying something in words that you really like. This is your chance to express yourself.

    3. Get something that has your team colors on it. It is good to have your colors on it because than you will not cloud the message. You want people to know exactly what it is that you are trying to say to them.

    All of these items are just little things that you want to keep in mind when you are looking to get your NFL Team Clothing Apparel. You don't want to get something that will make you or your team look stupid, and if you follow these three steps you will be sure that you won't. You are now prepared to find the NFL item that is right for you.

  • Today the world is experiencing advancement in computer technology due to development in information technology. Usage of internet has made a drastic change. Even in case of games. Various online games are available to play with players worldwide. Advancement in technology made a magic in online games. The most excited product of this advanced technology with the help of internet is Virtual Online Games. A virtual world is computer generated online environment. We can find millions of user for online virtual games.

    With the advancement of internet, online games have become the most popular among all age group. You can start playing game just by logging to various sites of online games. You get various options to choose. The conventional sports games such as basket ball, cricket, hockey, football, tennis, etc were originally introduced to play online, which have been left far behind. Online games are now becoming more and more interesting and interactive as you are playing the game actually. These games come in various categories such as 3D, people, pets, babies and horses.

    There are some virtual games like Second Life, where we can find schools are having classes. Here teacher can teach easily with the help of slideshows and student no need to go to school. The student can watch and listen the teacher from comfort of own home. We can find various types of virtual online pet games such as dog virtual pet game, car virtual pet game, dog and cat virtual game, fish, cattle, cow, steer, horse, bull, camel, chicken, etc virtual pet games are available to play online. In these virtual pet games you have to design your pet and you can play with online.

    You can even make a design a virtual plant or child to play online virtual games. Avatar is the most online virtual game. Here you can change the appearance of hair style, body features, and facial features and so on. Changes in clothing style by selecting the inventory, changing the accessories, equipments of your choice is available. You can even communicate with another online player either by chatting in writing or by voice chats. Communication is also possible with gestures. Type whatever you want to talk in the dialog box, select the user and press enter. Gestures can also be selected from the inventory. This second life virtual game also provides fly options to its users.

    You can play online virtual games of sports. Every virtual sports game is the replica of game of its corresponding sports. People involved in playing online sports virtual games take it real which is more precipitated by online rating system.

    Let us have a list of Virtual Online Games those are very popular among the children and adults. Second life, world of warcraft, playstations, the Sims 3, IMVU, Blue Mars, Avatar, Utherverse, Kaneva, Active world, Meet Me, etc. All these virtual games are based on two dimensional and three dimensional effects. Most of them allow live chat either in written or voice chat.

  • Internet is filled with hundreds and hundreds of free games, played by people from all parts of the world. Regardless of their age or occupation, all of them enjoy the multitude of online games present on the internet that become a passion for them should they spend a large amount of time playing them.

    The demand for such games is now such that new titles are being churned out by the minute. There is no shortage of variety for online gaming enthusiasts that choose to spend time every day choosing their favorite online titles to play and be relaxed. If you choose the appropriate online portal, you get an almost ad-free gaming experience where there are no annoying pop-ups to spoil the game-play for you. The games are sorted into columns or pages of the most popular, critics' favorites, fashion games and so on. The advancement in technology in contemporary times has enabled developers to reproduce an almost console-like gaming experience for their users. In fact, for beginners at gaming, online gaming is the most recommended form because the titles on offer are relatively easy to understand and have great entertainment value for the average user.

    Regardless of the fact that most of the games present online are free and tend to be smaller than their desktop and console counterparts, the difference in game-play between the two is hardly ever noticeable to the amateur gamer. 3D online games have also been available for a while now, and enjoy exponential rise in popularity among all the action and adventure games out there.

    Virtually every genre of games is present on major online portals, be it airplane missions, first-person shooters, aliens, zombies, space, stars, racing, cooking, fashion, design, etc. As they say, name it, and they'll have it. Card games and casino games are rivals for the top spot when it comes to interest, and the list of titles available would take a lot of time to write here, should we bother trying. Be sure to take your pick among the games that you're most passionate about, and the experience will be worth the extra effort spent in choosing the right game rather than picking a random one. It's only the personal preferences that matter with online gaming, because the rest has been provided for by the developers who have left no stone unturned in developing ample number of free games for every genre. It's now virtually impossible not to find something that suits your interests and preferences.

    Kids can also benefit from the avalanche of online games. There are huge numbers of free games that have animals, balls, balloons, sports, bubbles and fruits in them, in addition to jigsaw puzzles, army-based and board games that are all available under different titles for your child to play and enjoy. They can even be enjoyable for parents, who will then tend to join in and compete with the kid playfully. So if you're one such parent, don't be embarrassed. It's time to spend some quality moments with your child.

    All major internet gaming portals offer you accounts. Once you have an account made, which is optional of course, you can submit scores online, vote for games that you like or hate, maintain your statistics effectively, find out how many hours you've spent playing a game and your own high scores. Do give a moment to reading the game's description and get yourself acquainted with the controls so you know what you're supposed to do once the game begins, that is to say if you don't know it already.

    As for teenagers, the games that enjoy great popularity among them are sports games, racing and adventure ones. They enjoy the simulation offered by these online games and most of the times get their friends involved to take full advantage of the unlimited number of players they can enjoy competing with over the internet. Such games also appeal to users of this age group because off the highly graphic content and rapid game-play which tests their reflexes like no other test can. Be it skateboarding, racing, or a sport, every game is available by countless developers so even the most feature-hungry teenagers are unlikely to miss a feature they enjoy on their consoles.

    Online free games are easy to play, they have few controls and the diversity in game-play plus the multiplayer gaming offered absolutely free of charge is a major ace in their pack. The use of flash technology has increased the accessibility to online games and there is not a person out there who has internet access but cannot enjoy such an activity! So get yourself an account today, and enter the online world of gaming where the world is your competitor, and you are the person that you have always fantasized yourself as.

    Racing games are no doubt a lot of fun. You will love Y8 games [http://www.y8.to/]. There are a lot of racing games accessible for every age group. Also get your hands on free games .

  • The online gaming market is booming with technology. Now, fantasy sports and online games are not only for entertainment purposes. Online games are platforms to show your skillset and use your knowledge to win exciting rewards. Since the launch of the first video game in 1950, the online game has never stopped growing.

    Online Gaming Business Across the World

    In the year 2020, the global gaming market was approximately $62 million. As per the statistics, the business will be worth $300 billion by 2026. Mobile gaming makes almost 50% of the share market and generates revenue worth $80 billion. Online gaming is the family of streamliners, developers, publishers, gaming arenas, coaches, and 2.5 billion users across the world.

    The start-ups of online gaming have grown in India, in the last few years and attracted huge funding from both domestic and foreign investors of more than $ 1 million. The shares of gaming platforms are split between the US and China equally 24 % each, in the Asia-Pacific excluding China is 23%, Latin America has 4%, Canada has 2% and lastly, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East holds 23 % of shares.

    Even after such huge success and a big user base, the Indian government is not considering the online game legal. In various states of India, playing fantasy sports is not allowed and is considered gambling. Pandemic has just doubled the growth of the online games and fantasy sports industry in India in terms of both fantasy sports app development & fantasy sports app platforms.

    Government should look at online gaming with an open mind and understand it in-depth, instead of considering all online games, gambling. Government can target betting and gambling but should spare fantasy sports. However, fantasy sports can help the government to generate huge revenue and increase the economy of the country.

    Types of Online Gaming

    Fantasy Sports One of the most popular gaming platforms for sports fans. Online fantasy is completely different from other gaming styles. The user creates their team online of real players playing out there on the ground. The user's performance completely depends on the player and real-life statistics of the game. IPL is the most beloved format of Fantasy Sports in India. Along with playing the game, many users religiously follow the score and live matches on the fantasy Sports platforms. It is not a game of chance; you need skills and knowledge of the game to play and win rewards. "NITI Aayog" has released guidelines to play fantasy sports. Users can play fantasy sports for free and real money.

    The fantasy sports industry is growing and the user base is increasing exponentially. Due to the involvement of money and few cases on the fantasy platform, the government considered it as a gambling platform and doesn't consider it legal on the central level. The online fantasy platforms follow all the rules of the Advertising Standards Council of India.

    The government has asked state governments to issue guidelines to play fantasy sports.

    User base and Revenue

    The revenue generated by fantasy sports in 2020 is Rs 2470 crore. 10 crore people play fantasy sports in India and almost 80 crore people watch the game.

    Online Rummy Rummy is a very popular online card game with a huge user base. Rummy is a game of skill; it demands memorizing the discarded card and the ability to calculate the probability of winning the game. The player should be a keen observer and all his/her game depends on the undistributed cards. It can be played for free or for money. The victory and loss in the game depend on the user. User base and Revenue

    According to the reports in 2019, the online rummy was worth $335 million in the Indian market and will probably grow up to $1.4 in 2024.

    The user is solely responsible for winning or losing the game.

    Electronic Sports It is also known as esports, a game based on skill. eSports are played in video games format and are conducted in both online and offline mode. There are numerous tournaments conducted on esports. Numerous electronic forms are live telecasts of sports like cricket, football, etc. User base and Revenue

    In 2021, the US global market of esports is estimated to reach $1.08 million. North America and Asia are the largest consumers of esports. All the esports market revenue is generated from sponsorships and advertising. 474 people watch esports worldwide in 2021, the numbers will be increased up to 577 million in 2024.

    Esports is a recognized game by the Olympic Council of Asia and the International Olympic Committee when India won a medal in Asian Games 2018.

    Online Poker Online Poker is the online mode of the offline game that requires both skill and luck. People can play the game with real money. Players call and raise the real bets which involve money. Due to the involvement of money and betting, it seems to be illegal and gambling. User base and Revenue

    The poker industry is growing in India at the rate of 35% to 40% every year. At present India has 3 million active users of online poker.

    Final Words

    All the online games which involve money are eagerly waiting for the NITI Aayog's final guidelines to run a smooth gaming platform. The government approval will help the online games to conduct numerous tournaments and generate huge revenue. Hope government will soon legalize online games which involve money.

  • An outdoor deck is becoming an increasingly important asset to the homeowner and family because it provides a perfect space to enjoy the good life in the outdoors day or night. So it's important to find a qualified deck builder who can construct this new outdoor living space for you.

    The search involves five simple steps.

    Step one involves asking relatives, friends and neighbors about contractors who have worked for them. Try talking to staff at the home improvement retail outlets for deck builder contractors that they recommend.Try contacting your local home builder association for a list of recommended deck building contractors. And finally, look in the Yellow Pages for companies that specialize in deck building.

    Once you have decided upon at least three companies to provide you with a deck estimate complete step two. This involves checking with the Better Business Bureau to discover if they are members. Arrange for a time when each of these deck builders can come to your home and discuss your project. Explain clearly when they arrive what you want in terms of deck shape, dimensions, materials to be used, railing type, stair type and placement as well as any special features that you wish built.

    In step three ask the deck builder to provide customer references for projects similar to yours. Make a point to call these homeowners. Ask them if the work was done properly and if the work was completed on time. Ask if the project was completed on budget and find out if any follow-up work was required. Inquire if the follow-up work was done satisfactorily. Determine if these customers would hire the contractor again.

    Most importantly, go and see for yourself the work done by this deck builder on projects that are similar to yours.

    Step four deals with ensuring that you are protected from any risks:

    1. Check to see that the deck builder has a registered, legitimate business license.

    2. Ensure that the contractor has business liability insurance in case he or she damages your home or a neighbor's or causes an injury to a third party like your neighbor.

    3. Make sure that the deck builder has worker compensation coverage to protect against the risk of claims or financial loss if a worker is injured on your project.

    4. Ensure that the contractor's written warranty specifies what is covered and for how long.

    5. Make sure that the contractor's name, address, telephone number and business license number are on the contract.

    6. Check that the contract contains a full description of the work to be done as well as the materials and products to be used in the construction process.

    7. Ensure that the contract states when the work will start and when it will be completed.

    Step five involves making sure that a building permit is obtained for the project by the contractor. This will automatically guarantee that the local building codes are complied with and that a local building inspector will visit at required intervals to check on the progress and quality of your deck's construction.

    Following these five steps will make the construction process stress free because you will have found a good deck builder qualified to do the job professionally and honestly and who will completed the project to your satisfaction.

    So, save yourself a lot of headaches and follow the 5 step to finding a good deck builder.

    Richard Vande Sompel is a professional deck builder of 35 years and over 850 decks built and is the author of "How to Plan, Design and Build a Deck from Start to Finish". To Learn More About a Good Deck Builder [http://www.DeckBuildingRevealed.com] and Claim your 2 FREE Deck Plans, Insider Report, MP3 Audio and discover everything to know about building a deck visit:

  • The History of Cosmetic Surgery

    Cosmetic surgery has been around for so long that it actually has no traceable beginning. As far back as ancient Greeks and Romans there are depictions of cosmetic procedures occurring to fix disfigurements that occurred at birth, as punishment for a crime, or war injuries. Of course, there have been constant improvements since the very first nose job, but the fact remains that for as long as there have been people, they want to look and feel their best.

    Cosmetic surgery was once thought of vanity procedures reserved for the wealthy and the famous. This is no longer true. With increased pressure from society to reverse aging and to lose weight, cosmetic surgery has been steadily increasing in popularity and accessibility. "Medical Advancements In Cosmetic Surgery" has made it accessible to any one who desires it.

    Once upon a time cosmetic procedures were considered appropriate for aging women. Today, it is no longer a gender specific specialty. Men are having more nose jobs and even tummy tucks performed than it was ever once thought possible. Age is no longer a critical factor. People in their teens, although most surgeons don't recommend it, are having cosmetic procedures done. Those in their thirties and forties are quickly replacing the market and having anti aging procedures done as early as twenty seven.

    Regardless of personal opinions about the popularity of cosmetic procedures and the "Medical Advancements In Cosmetic Surgery", the increased desire to fix ourselves has led to a revolution within the industry. No longer are simple procedures cost prohibitive as price reduction has made it possible for many more people to elect to have these procedures performed.

    "The medical advancements in cosmetic surgery" that have taken hold within the cosmetic industry have decreased the associated risks as well as decreased the drastic healing time that was once necessary for these procedures. It is now possible for a person to have a cosmetic procedure done on a Friday and return to work the following Monday, depending of course on the procedure.

    There has been a race among plastic surgeons to make their services more accessible by making them more attainable. Medical advancements have led to less intrusive procedures and of course, more quick and easy procedures.

    The Most Popular Cosmetic Procedures

    "Medical Advancements In Cosmetic Surgery" have made cosmetic surgery very popular some procedures more then other. No one can really answer why certain procedures in the cosmetic industry have become so popular other than their ease of recovery and their basic simplicity. Most of the popular cosmetic surgery procedures are simple and easy fixes that aren't nearly as dramatic as some of the more global enhancement operations.

    The nose job, of course is ranked the most popular cosmetic procedure out there. A nose job is mostly a low to moderate intrusive procedure that dramatically alters the appearance of the face. A good rhinoplasty can significantly improve an individual's facial appearance.

    Liposuction is a very close second in the cosmetic procedure popularity contest. Americans in particular are quite overweight. In fact between five and fifteen percent of the American population is dramatically obese while seventy percent is a least somewhat overweight. These are staggering numbers. Liposuction has become popular because the results are typically top notch.

    A simple eyebrow lift can truly enhance a face and take years off tired eyes. It is one of the most popular cosmetic procedures because it is truly a simple procedure with dramatic results. Both men and women find eyebrow lifts to be worth the money for their combination of results and discretion.

    Breast enlargements are the fourth most popular cosmetic procedure despite the scare of the early nineties when breast implants began to leak silicone into their clients' bodies. With the medical advancements in cosmetic surgery, the following year the plastic surgery community was able to produce safer breast implants and once again breast enhancement surgery was on the rise. Breast enhancement surgery has been a hot topic of social debate since the seventies when they first began their popularity ascent. Breast enhancement received a lot of attention for their medical advancements.

    The face lift comes in at number five in the popularity contest regarding cosmetic procedures. While most clients are quite happy with the results, it is a more intrusive procedure and requires a longer recovery period than most of the more popular plastic surgery procedures.

    Psychological Benefits of Plastic Surgery

    Since its inception and "Medical Advancements In Cosmetic Surgery", plastic surgery has allowed people to feel better about their outward appearance. Though it originated as a medical process of repairing disfigurements, the medical advancements of plastic surgery have encouraged the world to embrace a more beautiful side to themselves.

    Most patients who have undergone cosmetic procedures report having a higher self esteem and a better quality of life. It is difficult to say whether their improvements in the quality of life come from a prettier face or from their improved self esteem, but ninety seven percent of all plastic surgery patients report appreciating the difference and would do it again if faced with the same options.

    There are of course risks that are involved with any cosmetic procedure. These risks include complications from anesthesia, incomplete improvement and even disfigurement. Most doctors will tell you that the "medical advancements in cosmetic surgery" have drastically reduced the chances of the associated risks.

    Two Brand New Procedures

    Two of the newest "medical advancements in cosmetic surgery" are captique and contour threads. Both of these new procedures were designed to minimize both the typical risks involved with cosmetic surgery and the invasive procedures available. The medical advancements in cosmetic surgery push through quickly in an effort to provide faster, less invasive options to the clientele.

    Captique is a new procedure that has jest been introduced to compete with the face lift and Botox. It is a chemical filler that is injected into the skin which in turn drastically reduces wrinkle appearance. It is completely synthetic and not derived from any animal products. The entire captique procedure is a quick outpatient visit that can be completed in about fifteen to twenty minutes, and the patient is then free to drive home. It does not act as a paralytic as Botox does, so the patient can reduce wrinkles while still maintaining facial expressions. Captique is currently only available in a few select clinics.

    Contour threads is a brand new procedure that resembles a facelift, but it allows for the patient to retain their more natural and relaxed appearance rather than end up with tight skin pulled back over the head. Contour threads have actually been used in various other medical procedures, but have only recently become available in the cosmetic industry.

    Contour threads are made from a clear, soft polypropylene. This eliminates the dark stitch areas that traditional stitches are known to leave behind. In the correct hands, contour threads can produce a very soft face devoid of wrinkles and serious signs of aging.

    These two "medical advancements in cosmetic surgery" have created quite the excited buzz in the cosmetic industry. With leaps forward such as these it may actually be possible one day to get anti aging procedures done in an afternoon and return to work the next day as though nothing extraordinary happened.

    Continual Progress

    The cosmetic industry will continue to have remarkable advancements in its field and continue to produce procedures that can create wonderful outcomes with minimal interference in daily life. The less invasive these procedures become, the more popular they will become as well.

    The cosmetic industry is attempting to produce natural results that only those closest to the patient will ultimately be able to discern plastic surgery procedures. The surgeons and researchers have of course not forgotten the original intent of the cosmetic industry. They are continually prototyping advancements in correcting birth defect and accidental disfigurements as well.

    It is an exciting age to live in. We are rapidly approaching another outstanding revolutionary period in the cosmetic industry. It is important to keep yourself informed is you are even contemplating having any cosmetic procedure done. Sometimes waiting as little as two or three months prior to committing to a cosmetic surgical procedure can allow enough time for a new product to finish being tested and hit the market. With each "medical advancement in the cosmetic surgery" industry, each procedure will become less invasive and easier to recover from.

    Keep yourself informed of upcoming advancements and procedures that may very well benefit you. Visit lifeplasticsurgery to keep on top of the latest news and happenings in the cosmetic industry. Here you can learn about nearly every available procedure and even a few that are almost available. An informed client is a client that is truly ready to face cosmetic surgery and come through with reasonable but good expectations. The miracle of science will never stop creating these advancements and people will never stop wanting to utilize them. Don't be the last to know. Stop by the lifeplasticsurgery regularly and find out what's coming your way.

  • Types of Foundations

    The building construction can be a simple process or a complex one. The complexity depends upon the nature of construction. House construct is much simpler than making structures for manufacture or research. Nevertheless large or small technology is always involved in modern buildings. Even in ancient structures technology and team work was involved. Some of the magnificent monuments dating back in history are an architectural marvel.

    One prime example of architectural magnificence is the Taj Mahal at Agra. There are many such examples of superior building construction in India.

    Constructing a building is a process that requires team work. The process begins with conceptualization of the building. This is put is a design by the architect on a laminated design poster. The engineers work their way out to interpret and add security and safety measures in places. In many countries specified codes exist which are followed as norms. These are basically concerned with safety and environment. Local municipal bodies may places guidelines and limitation of residential and commercial constructions.

    Engineers conduct many tests including check the soil and the terrain before the construction can start. Laying the foundation is the first step executed as per the specifications set by the engineers and the architect. The foundation varies depending upon the type of structure, soil conditions and the impending load of the building itself.

    Materials to be used also make the difference. Light gauge steel construction requires a different approach to laying the foundations

    The involvement of the labor starts at this stage, brick layers and masons are involved. The basic foundations are of the following types;

    Shallow Foundation: These are of the following types

    Spread Footing Foundations Mat Slab Foundations Rubble Trench Foundations Earth Bag Foundations Common in residential construction the weight is spread over a wider area for support and stability.

    Deep Foundations: This is resorted to whence the upper layer of soil does not promise stability. The foundation is established in the deep layer of the soil where it is the strongest.

    Types of strong foundations:

    Driven Foundations

    Pile Foundation Systems

    Monopile Foundations Augercast Pile Drilled Piles Under reamed Piles Pipe Piles (Steel)

    Besides there are many types of specialty piles used in building constructions all over the World.

    In all building constructions the cost matters hence use of optimum in materials consumption and limitation in design and infrastructure comes into the picture. The technology put to use may differ from region to region.

    Uday writes on top builders of India [http://www.durablesteel.co.in] hence the article. He also writes on new home construction in LI NY. Uday write articles on many construction related topics.

  • The latest news reports show that the new Apple iPhone 3G is taking the world by storm! It is currently one of the top selling and most requested products on Ebay. Have you gotten yours yet?

    The much anticipated release of the Apple iPhone 3G exceeded all expectations, with features that blow away the 2nd generation iPhones. Here are five reasons why everyone is so excited:

    1. The number one reason for the ruckus is that the new Apple iPhone 3G now gives you the capability to add third party applications. Already the iTunes App Store has a huge number of applications for both business and entertainment. Opening it up to other companies to develop authorized iPhone applications has started a frenzy of companies clamoring to give you the biggest and the best there is in the way of increased functionality. This one capability means that what you can do with your iPhone is virtually unlimited, as better and better applications get invented.

    2. As phenomenal as the first reason, the new Apple iPhone 3G now gives you access to higher Internet speeds. Super sonic is just one way to describe it. Compared to the 2nd generation models, everything you do on the Net is now better and faster. Webpages show up faster, audio and video media download faster for an enhanced experience, and file downloads don't take up as much of your time.

    3. The enhanced email functions of the new Apple iPhone 3G give you more options with your email - more accounts and faster, more reliable email service.

    4. If you are a gaming enthusiast, you'll really enjoy the new gaming capabilities of the Apple iPhone 3G. Better controls and exciting new iPhone games released for this newest model mean that you can now take your games with you. The thrills of gaming are now portable. No longer are you locked in to staying at home to finish a game on your home-bound game console. Throughout your day, anytime you have to wait for something or stand in a line, you can now whip out your trusty iPhone and enjoy a game. Boring moments are a thing of the past, thanks to this new iPhone.

    5. Besides all the awesome new features, the Apple iPhone 3G also delivers improved call quality and speakerphone quality over the 2nd generation models. You can hear the person on the other end of your call louder and clearer, without that distracting buzzing in the background!

    There is virtually no comparison between this new model and the older ones. The Apple iPhone 3G almost makes the 2nd generation models look like toys. That's how much difference there is. Try one out for yourself, and discover the joys of this wave of the future.

    Get access to over 58,530 iPhone ringtones [http://www.theiphonedvd.com/faq.htm], applications, themes, wallpapers, skins and games...

    Now you can load up with iPhone with this amazing multimedia package. I'll show you how harness the full potential of your iPhone quickly and easily - Discover why iPhone users & enthusiasts are raving about this!

    Visit the official site below to download free wallpaper sampler pack now!

  • Jobs revealed the new iPhone 4 to us on WWDC today; you may already know something about the new iPhone from technology blog such as Engadget. But there are some details you don't know. I got some hands on time with the new iPhone right after Steve Jobs introduced the device at his WWDC keynote. Let's tell you the remaining details.

    Video Calling - FaceTime Finally, the video chatting experience, courtesy of FaceTime, is elegant. We love that it's built into the phone, something that's not true of the new EVO 4G, and that calling someone is as easy as pressing Video Call on Skype.

    Powerful A4 processor It has an Apple A4 chip inside, just like the iPad. Inside the A4 there are a few interconnected chips: A Cortex-A8 main processor unit-the main brain-paired with a PowerVR SGX 535, which handles the high definition graphics of the new iPhone. These are directly connected with each other and two low-power 128MB DDR SDRAM chips. Since all these components are in the same chip, Apple claims the iPhone 4 can process data more quickly while consuming less battery than before.

    iPhone 4 Price The Phone 4 will be available in black or white on June 24, and will cost $199 and $299 for 16 and 32GB if you are a new user or you are eligible for an upgrade. If you are an existing iPhone user, the early upgrade will cost you $399 and $499. Without contract, the iPhone 4 is $499 and $599.

    High-Resolution Retina Display The iPhone 4 was rumored to have a high-resolution 960 x 640 display, but what no one knew was that it has a new technology called Retina, which Apple described for the first time today. This construction, which crams in 326 pixels per inch, allows the display to look sharp even when you zoom in on text, photos, or within apps. While not as sexy a feature as video chatting, 720p movie recording, or an iMovie app, it's details like these that make this new iPhone impressive.

    5 megapixel camera - support HD video editing and recording The new iPhone has a bigger sensor for the main camera. the sensor maintains the same 5 megapixel count. They are bigger dots, however, so it has a higher ISO-or sensitivity to light. That means that you would be able to take better photos and video in low light conditions, and your pictures will look a lot better. In the front, there's a video conference camera, with standard VGA resolution. This camera will be used with third-party applications, as well as Apple's own video conference solution.

    iBooks is available to iPhone iBooks will also be available for the new iOS4. Apple claims that the new iPhone 4's 325 pixel-per-inch display will make the books perfectly readable. It will use the same controls as the iBooks application in the iPad.

    For more features and reviews of iPhone 4, you can refer to this iPhone 4 review website. I can't wait to get the new iPhone 4.

    I'm a geek! I can't think of a better way to describe myself. I'm a geek about internet marketing and creating software. I love to learn new things and experiment with almost everything.

  • With the release of the iPhone 4 on the Verizon network consumers have been making the switch despite former reports on lackluster sales. Estimated at one million sales in the first week alone, Verizon looks to have made the right moves with their pre-order launch. Many Verizon network users were able to order their phones early thereby avoiding the usual new Apple release long lines. Some say the lack of long lines at the Verizon store what somewhat disappointing but analysts say that the numbers indicate that around 38 percent of iPhone purchasers visited their pre-order page in hopes of avoiding the hassle. Other analysts have suggested that many users are waiting for the much anticipated iPhone 5 release that is due out later this year.

    What can new iPhone users expect with the Verizon network iPhone 4? Some slight modifications have been made to the casing in the new Verizon version of the iPhone 4. This most likely has been done to rectify the previous antenna issue that the AT&T model was having at its inception. Internal differences can also be seen in a side by side comparison where there have been some changes to the layout in order to rectify the antenna issue. What this means for users is not clear yet although early reports are not mentioning any types of antenna or reception issues with the Verizon mode.

    Other iPhone models have been dropping in price with some models such as the 3G sitting in the $50-$99 range with a contract on the AT&T network. This may be just the beginning for Apple as up until now most models were around the $199 range with a contract. Offering a phone at a lower price point may prove to be just the right tactic for Apple by keeping an entry level model for consumers to jump to.

    For users of the iPhone 4 on either cellular network many people are still faced with concerns for maintaining the device in its optimal condition. Repair centers across the US have seen a surge of iPhone 4 repairs over recent months as these sensitive devices become damaged from drop and falls, water, and basic wear and tear. It looks like repair centers will have to once again gear up their inventory on new parts for the new Verizon model do to the internal layout changes. As with the original 2G iPhone the Front Glass and LCD are fused together in a clean room environment. This method eliminates the collection of dust between the Touch panel Digitizer and the LCD screen but also greatly increases repair costs due to the addition of parts that are not necessarily needed for the repair. If the Touch panel or Front Glass break consumers will have to replace the LCD screen as well. This has been somewhat of a shock to people as repair costs have skyrocketed. What consumers are usually unaware of is the actual cost of purchasing an iPhone outright without an AT&T or Verizon contract is extremely expensive. What we need to remember is that Apple products carry a high premium and when you invest in an Apple product you should also be aware of the high cost of replacing that product. Unfortunately as many of us have been accustomed to lesser technology in the past this is a shocking revelation when a product this technologically advanced breaks down.

    All in all the new iPhone 4 for Verizon is just as stunning as its AT&T counterpart. The iPhone is sleek and stylish and offers many advanced features. New iPhone lovers are taking advantage of such applications as Facetime which allows for video chatting. The main camera is 5mp just as the AT&T version and offers stunning picture quality from a device this size. This phone is recommended for anyone that wants to meld both ease of use and high tech features into a small form factor. There are appealing qualities to both the younger and older crowds given its capabilities and the OS and feature set it is built around.

    Repair Sharks specializes in the parts and repair of Apple iPod, iPhone, iTouch, and Microsoft Xbox 360. Repair Sharks sells and installs replacement parts for the iPod, iPhone, and Xbox 360 console. Repair Sharks offers iPhone 3G, 3GS, and iPhone 4 repair service as well as repair services for the iPod Touch 4th Generation.

  • VIPSlots is a new online casino offering numerous tournaments throughout the year. At their web site you can see the tournament schedules; there are tournaments that are special for that month as well as daily and weekly tournaments.

    VIPSlots offers $777 Free on your first three deposits and offers more than 180 games with 8 deposit options. They also offer other bonuses as well as weekly promotions so make sure to read carefully to ensure that you understand what you are getting. They also offer a loyalty/rewards program of varying levels.

    Downloading the VIP Slots was very easy. It did not start upon download so I had to click the desktop icon and it took a very long time to start up. Once downloaded and installed it was a very nice treat with good graphics and a pretty intuitive user interface. It is easy to get from game to game.

    Contrary to its name, VIPSlots also offers table games as well as the multitude of slots games. In addition to the tournaments, VIP Slots offers over 60 Slots Games (of course), Table Games, Video Poker, Specialty Games, Progressive Games and Featured Games, a total of over 100 games all together. The first time you play a particular game it must be downloaded so if you want to play them all, be prepared to wait a little while depending on your network speed.

    I went right away to BlackJack, my best and favorite game. The game was pretty much like the other blackjack games I have played. I did win, so that is always a plus. In returning to the lobby, the progressive jackpot is displayed and continuously updated. Slots tournaments also popup to alert the user of current tournaments, which I thought was a very nice feature.

    The Help screens are easy to read and can be printed if you prefer reading a paper copy or want to keep for reference. They explain the point of the game and how to play it, but they do not unfortunately explain how to make that particular screen work. I guess that is OK for the experienced casino gambler but newbies will have a hard time figuring out some of them. Good news is that VIPSlots offers 24/7 help via phone or live chat, in addition to email support. The on line chat help can be accessed from the top of the game screen.

    I tried Keno next and had a lot better luck with that game; it was more intuitive than some of the others. I found that game to be a lot of fun. I always won at least $1.00 and it was quite fun to watch as the balls rolled out. Graphics were very nice in this game and speed was just right. Of course I had to have a look at some of the slots too, so I played the Atomic Jackpot which is very nice, easy to play and I won some money on this game as well. I also tried a few other slots and found them very entertaining; I won enough times to keep me in the game.

    The VIP Players club is one of the best player loyalty programs around with a range of six levels all offering higher and higher rewards. Between the weekly bonuses, players rewards, tournaments and monthly cash rebates VIP Slots is definitely a must visit. The summary of my VIPSlots Review is that over all I did make money and I had a lot of fun. It is definitely worth a look.

    Please visit VIPSlots review for more information.

  • You've probably been getting the warnings popping up on your computer's desktop and in your Microsoft Security Essentials dialogs for a few weeks, and you've been seeing the headlines for longer than that. If you have Facebook friends in the IT industry, doubtlessly they've been sharing articles for the past six to twelve months.

    By now, you've realized that your Windows XP computer didn't explode or stop working after the sunset of support, so what are the implications of continuing to use an unsupported operating system? For one, if you need to call Microsoft for support with any problems from this day forward, they're not going to help you. If you're like most people, you probably haven't called Microsoft in the past dozen years, so you won't miss the fact that they're not going to be there going forward. Rest assured that for as long as you want to continue using XP, consultancies like Maverick Solutions will be there to help solve any problems you may have.

    Without Microsoft support, however, there will be no more security patches, feature updates, bug-fixes, or driver updates. Presumably after 12 years, Microsoft has probably found and resolved most of the bugs. For all the current hardware in existence, drivers have already been published if they're going to be. There will be no new Windows features, so today's Windows XP is the best it's ever going to get.

    What about security? Hackers have been attacking technology for as long as people have been using technology, and nothing is going to change that. In the past, when Microsoft identified a vulnerability in Windows XP, they released a patch to correct it. The identification of vulnerabilities, however, is typically the result of analyzing exploitations of those vulnerabilities, after the fact. Just like medicine doesn't create vaccinations before diseases are discovered, so, too, security experts don't patch security holes until someone finds and exploits those holes. Even then, it takes time to develop solutions, and it takes time to distribute them to Windows users. If your computer was configured to automatically download and install Windows updates, it still might have taken a week or longer before your computer received and installed security patches. If your computer was configured otherwise, you might have never received such patches.

    In fact, there are millions of bad guys attacking technology, and many fewer security experts defending us from them, so the good guys tend to apply a sort of triage when determining which holes to patch first. The ones which have the potential to cause the most widespread damage are remediated first, and the more-obscure or less-harmful ones are left on the back burner. Third-party anti-malware software has the same shortcomings, so relying solely on operating system patches and anti-malware software is never the best way to protect your systems.

    The fact that Microsoft is stopping support for XP and moving their security experts to the later operating systems is actually a good sign for Windows XP users, in a way. Just as security experts try to make the most of their time by remediating the most-widespread, most-harmful malware, hackers economize on their time, too, by attacking the most common software. If less than one percent of today's computers still use 1980s Microsoft DOS, there's no vig in finding vulnerabilities; there would be terribly few places to exploit those vulnerabilities and it would take time to even locate those systems. Microsoft moving its security experts' mitigation efforts from Windows XP to the later operating systems is indicative of the increasing market-share of those operating systems, which will also attract more hackers away from Windows XP.

    As a strategy, however, the best anti-malware idea continues to be effective, and continues to be free: don't use an administrator account as your everyday user account. The second-best strategy will also continue to be free and effective for a little longer: install and update Microsoft Security Essentials. Microsoft announced they will continue to offer it to Windows XP users through July. If you need help employing either of these strategies, seek out a local consultancy like ours to come set them up for you.

    So if everything is going to keep working, why would anyone want to upgrade to a new operating system? The vast majority of technology consultants has been touting security concerns as the reason to upgrade, but we at Maverick Solutions believe that functionality and features are more likely to make you take the plunge.

    Windows XP only supports Internet Explorer up to version 8, but later versions of the operating system support later versions of IE - it's up to version 11 already. You may have noticed that some of the more interactive Websites are already acting sluggish or buggy in IE8. Facebook crashes frequently, for example. Other than upgrading Windows, you could add a third-party browser, such as Firefox or Chrome, but bear in mind that every additional piece of software you install takes up room on your hard drive, which makes your machine operate somewhat less efficiently.

    New hardware is less and less likely to be supported by Windows XP, so when you upgrade your multifunction printer or buy whatever technology of movie player comes out after Blue ray, you may not be able to install it at all, or even if it does install, you may not be able to access all of its features. New software will stop being developed for Windows XP, too, so at some point your annual tax-prep package of TurboTax or Tax Cut, for example, will not be available in an XP flavor. If you're a gamer, you're not reading this article - you've already upgraded years ago.

    Windows XP also isn't quite as interoperable with Windows Phone technology as are the newer versions of the operating system. While Windows Phone isn't a huge slice of the cell phone market today, we at Maverick Solutions believe that it will increase as Apple without its visionary, Steve Jobs, will stagnate. Android will capture the lion's share of those jumping ship from Apple, but Windows Phone will see more sales, as well.

    Even if you can live without any of these improvements on a day-to-day basis, at some point when your power supply or hard drive fail, you may find it difficult to justify the cost of repairing your old system rather than investing that money into something newer. Bearing in mind that those moving parts absolutely won't last forever, and that your computer is definitely going to break at some point, planning your upgrade gracefully before then is probably a better strategy than recovering from the catastrophe after it happens.

    Microsoft Windows XP was developed in 2001 and fully released in 2002, so it's been around for a dozen years. Since then, Microsoft has released several other operating systems: Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8, and they've recently updated Windows 8 to 8.1. In fact, Windows 9 is currently under development, and probably being prepared for release within the next year or two. If you're still using Windows XP, it's had a good run, and you've gotten your money's worth.

    When you're finally ready to upgrade, the first thing you need to know is that any of the operating systems after Windows XP are more demanding of computer resources, so you're probably not going to be able to upgrade the operating system on the same hardware like you may have done from Windows 2000 to XP; you're going to need a new computer. Windows Vista was so poorly received by the market that Microsoft had to rapidly release its successor, Windows 7, which was much better-accepted. Consequently, don't even consider Windows Vista. You're left with basically three choices: Windows 7, Windows 8/8.1, or wait for Windows 9.

    Windows 7 has a somewhat new look and feel, but largely operates similarly to Windows XP. Things are in roughly the same places, and similar tools control similar features and functions. If you want to transition into an operating system in which you can rapidly be efficient, despite its age, Windows 7 may be the way for you to go. It still has a desktop, and something like a Start menu and a task bar, and its applications still have title bars, menu bars, toolbars, and status bars. It's no longer being sold by Microsoft, but third-party resellers still have it available in boxes or preinstalled on PCs. Although it's the oldest of the post-XP operating systems, which means it will be the next one to sunset, once you upgrade to Windows 7, your new hardware will support Windows 8, so your next upgrade could be performed in-place, whenever you're ready for that. For the vast majority of businesses that need to function with minimal training downtime and loss of productivity from unfamiliarity, Windows 7 may be the best next-step.

    Windows 8/8.1 is a completely new paradigm in desktop operating systems. It has the look and feel of a smart phone or tablet, and is in fact probably better suited to such environments. Don't even consider getting Windows 8 without a touchscreen - you'll miss out on too much of the operating system's wow. With a touchscreen, it will take a little getting used to, but once you get past the learning curve, it does become intuitive, and you can be productive with it. It has a Windows desktop, but not as the main focus of the operating system - it looks like an afterthought, just bolted on to retain compatibility with executable applications. The true vision of the operating system is for it to use apps available for download from the Microsoft Store, similar to the way iPhones and iPads use apps from iTunes. In fact, Windows 8 RT is a flavor which only offers compatibility with such apps - no executables. It's cheaper than Windows 8 Pro, but before you go that route, research the availability of apps for whatever you need apps to do for you. Windows 8 Pro will be the operating system of choice for the vast majority of users taking the Windows 8 plunge.

    Windows 9 is still in development, so all we have are rumors about it. With the recent release of Windows 8.1, not even Microsoft's marketing guys have started fluffing Windows 9 for us. The consensus appears to be that it will have a more centrally-focused desktop like XP or 7, rather than being primarily targeted for apps like 8. This is supported by the history of operating system development, too. Windows ME brought a new look and feel to Windows 98, but didn't sell well - Windows 2000 tempered it with more of what the market wanted. Windows Vista brought a new security paradigm to Windows XP, but was too overbearing; Windows 7 tempered it with what the market was ready to accept. Windows 8 is a more interactive, visual, touchy-feely environment, and app-centered, but since the market hasn't fully-embraced it, Windows 9 may well be a tempering of it with consumer expectations. If you need to upgrade sooner, this isn't an option for you, but if you can hold onto XP for another year or two, you may be able to bypass Windows Vista, 7, and 8, and jump straight to 9.

    If you need help strategizing how to proceed, schedule a consultation with a qualified specialist to discuss budgets & requirements and the options & costs to meet them. Maverick Solutions performs this type of planning as part of its routine work with all of its IT consulting clients, and would be happy to consult with you about it, too. Contact us to discuss or to schedule an appointment.

    About the Author:

    Brian Blum is the founder, president, and chief consultant at Maverick Solutions IT, Inc. Maverick Solutions provides affordable IT consulting and technology support services, primarily to schools, NFPs, and SO/HOs in the New York Metro Area. Maverick Solutions is the alternative to keeping your own in-house IT staff, and we'd be happy to help you get more value from your existing technology investment. Visit our Website to learn about the services we offer, or read our blog, Maverick Ramblings, for assorted tips, tricks, and information of technology interest.

  • The effectiveness of technology use in the classroom has become a controversial issue. While many teachers and students feel that it's best to use technology because it enhances teaching many others feel that it causes too many challenges and that it is a waste of time. If technology is as effective in the classroom as many teachers believe it to be; why do some students dislike it so much?

    In order to objectively respond to this question, 3 articles were examined. 2 out of the 3 relate how the use of technology in the classroom frustrates students while the last one translates the thoughts of students who feel that technology in the classroom has responded to their need. So the issue is not that technology is not effective but rather that some teachers need to be mindful about technology use in the classroom and others need to be trained in order to properly use technology to teach so that students do not view technology as obstruction learning but as an enhancing tool.

    After summarizing the 3 articles that have been reviewed we will be able to prove that there are 2 groups of students who claim to dislike technology in the classroom: Those who are improperly exposed to it by their teacher and those who did not give themselves enough time to familiarize themselves with it. We will then be able to get to the logical conclusion that those same students would appreciate the value of technology in the classroom if their teachers used it properly. Let us first summarize the articles that we are referring to.

    The article "When good technology means bad teaching related that many students feel that teachers and professor use technology as a way to show off. Students complain of technology making their teachers "less effective than they would be if they stuck to a lecture at the chalkboard" (Young) other problems related by students include teachers wasting class time to teach about a web tool or to flab with a projector or software. When teachers are unfamiliar with the technological tools, they are likely to waist more time trying to use them the technological software that is used the most according to students is PowerPoint. Students complain that teachers use it instead of their lesson plan. Many students explain that it makes understanding more difficult "I call it PowerPoint abuse" (Young). Professors also post their PowerPoint Presentation to the school board before and after class and this encourages students to miss more classes.

    Another problem reported in the article with the use of technology in the classrooms is that many schools spend time to train their staff about how to use a particular technology but it does not train them on "strategies to use them well" (Young). The writer believed that schools should also give small monetary incentives to teachers and professors to attend workshops.

    In an interview made with 13 students, "some gave their teacher a failing when it came to using Power Point, Course Management systems and other classroom technology" (Young ) some of the complains were again about the misuse of PowerPoint's and the fact that instructors use it to recite what's on the scale. Another complaint was that teachers who are unfamiliar with technology often waste class time as they spend more time troubleshooting than teaching. The last complain mentioned is that some teachers require students to comment on online chat rooms weekly but that they do not monitor the outcome or never make reference to the discussion in class.

    Similarly, the article "I'm not a computer person" (Lohnes 2013) speaks to the fact that students expectations as far as technology is concerned is very different. In a study done with 34 undergraduate university students, they advise that technology is an integral part of a university students life because they have to do must everything online from applying for college or university, searching and registering for classes, pay tuition and that in addition to being integrated in the administration, etc. technology is also widely used to teach and is valued by higher education.

    Those students, however, feel that technology poses a barrier to success as they struggle to align with the ways in which the institution values technology." A student explains that technology is used in her freshman year to turn in assignments, participate in discussion boards and blogs, emailing the professor, viewing grades and for a wide range of other administrative task including tracking the next school bus. This particular student whose name is Nichole says that she does not own a laptop but shares a family computer. She has a younger brother who also uses the computer to complete his school work so she consequently has to stay up late to complete assignments. She states "technology and I? We never had that connection" (Lohnes). Nichole dislikes the fact that her college requests that she had more contact with technology than she is conformable with. Nonetheless, she explains that as she started doing those school online assignments so frequently she came to realize that they were not that bad.

    One of her issues though with technology is that she had come from Puerto Rico about a year prior entering college and that she never had to use the computer so much there. The articles relates that other college students like Nichole have admitted that they are "reluctant technology users" (Lohnes) The article wants to explain, in essence, that although most people would expect that college students prefer technology and are already familiar with it," that assumption is faulty" (Lohnes).

    On the other hand, the article "What Screenagers Say About... " High school age students were asked about what they thought of technology but most expressed liking it. One of them said about PowerPoint: "My history teacher did a good job with Power Points. He would put them online, which made for really great reviews." (Screneagers, 2011) Others expressed how technology was really who they are and that teachers should understand for example that when they text in class, they are not being rude but that they have gotten used to multi tasking. Another student invites teachers to not be afraid of technology "Teachers shouldn't be afraid of technology. Understand that it's how we live our lives. So don't just push it out. Learn to cope with us and how we work." (Screenagers, 2011)

    Another student however, expressed how she prefers simpler technology that her teacher is comfortable with rather than high tech that the teacher does not manipulate well "The most important thing for teachers is to be comfortable with what they're using. It doesn't have to be super high tech. My math teacher used a projector, and it was one of my favorite classes. Then I would go to this other class where the teacher used Power Points and the SMART board, but I didn't get any more out of it because she wasn't comfortable with the technology" (Screenagers, 2011) Students spoke about their appreciation for virtually all types of technology used in the classroom. Another said "One of my teachers used Skype. That's face-to-face interaction. If I had a problem with some math problem I was working on, I could take a picture of it and put it on the Skype screen. She could see where I was making my mistake. It really helped." (Screenagers, 2011) The bottom line is that those high school students wanted to let teachers know that they really like technology and that it is already a great part of their daily routine but that it had to be used properly in order for them to enjoy it.

    Similarly, they summarize a few things that they dislike as well. Among the list, they said: reading on the computer, paying a lot for an online textbook and the fact that they often forget everything else when they get caught up with using technology.

    Nonetheless, they had much more positive things they liked in technology like for example that some teachers would text a question for them to think about before class, so if they do not know they answer, they would communicate with classmates to discuss the possibility for the answer before class. This allows them to go to class prepared. They also like using Skype, emailing their teachers instead of going to speak to them in person. They also enjoy discussion boards. The advice they would like to convey to their teachers is to make sure that they are comfortable with whatever technological tools they are using, to give them more freedom to use the good sites and those in the middle range when they are surfing the net using school computers and to understand that technology is part of their lives.

    After summarizing those articles, we can see that the students mentioned in Youngs, 2004 dislike technology because their experience with it was not satisfactory. In other terms, a group of students dislike technology because some teachers are not mindful about technology use or they need additional training. For example, some students are frustrated because they feel that instructors waist their time when they are not properly trained to use the technological tools. Others disliked the fact that some teachers had PowerPoint presentations which were either not meaningful or they would just read whatever they wrote and add no additional comments. Those examples are called "bad teaching (Young, 2004) and they are in fact terrible examples that teachers should not follow because technology is not meant to help teachers do the least work or to adopt poor teaching practices. Somme students related that PowerPoint was widely used by teachers so they even call it PowerPoint abuse.

    I can relate to what is being expressed by those students. I observed a Teaching Assistant teach a grammar class recently. He purchased a device to allow him to monitor the screen without touching the computer. He was able to walk throughout the class while changing slides. It all looked so impressive but despite all of this show, students were left so confused at the end of the lesson. When they asked questions, he went back to the slide that had the grammar rule and read it over to the class. The PowerPoint was a duplication of the textbook chapter. The same examples of the book were used. At the end of the course, he felt that he had done a great PowerPoint when in fact, it was not meaningful. It was a copy/paste project from the text book to the screen. This example shows that we need to use common sense when using technology. When teaching grammar, a teacher has to be able to come up with examples other than those in the book, you have to write on the board, have student practice what they have learned. PowerPoint use was a real bad idea, in my opinion, for teaching this course. It was just not the right technological tool for the lesson.

    Students in that class may decide that they hate Power Points because it confuses them more while the issue is not with the use of PowerPoint but instead with the teacher's poor choice of technology. The point I also want to make here is that teachers may sometimes be unaware of their improper use of technology. This is why, as educators, we sometimes need to ask students for their feedback so we may make corrections where needed.

    We can then conclude that those students dislike technology as a result of improper technological use by teachers, and also because many teachers do not attend workshops or training sessions to help them obtain a broader knowledge of technology since they are so busy. Like suggest (Youngs, 2004) and (Lohnes, 2012), those same busy teachers would have attended those trainings if there were given an incentive. In the article "Technology Standards in a Third-Grade Classroom" (Kovalik, 2001), it is related how a study done on a 3rd grade class of 25 showed that students were properly using technology. There is no indication that those students dislike using technology. The article also mentioned how the teachers were highly trained because the Ohio board pays incentive to teachers to participate in technology training which teaching them not only how to use technology by teaches them strategies on when to use them.

    Boards from other states should consider doing the same thing to ensure that their teachers are responding to the technological need of their students and that they are teaching them according to the standards. The Ohio school mentioned above met the standards as far as technology is concerned because of the technology coaching received by the teachers. If teachers learn how to properly use technology in the classroom, it will be a less frustrating experience for them and for the student who will less likely dislike technology since it will meet its purpose to enhance teaching.

    The other groups of students who dislike technology are those who were not exposed to it for long enough. The College Freshman, Nichole advises that she was not exposed to so much technology while she was in high school in her home country; consequently, it seemed to be a burden to her to have to need a computer to complete most of her school assignments but also to interact with her classmate via a discussion board. What is interesting though is that even though she claimed to dislike technology so much, she advised that once she started to spend so much time using it, she realizes that it is not so bad. Even though it is likely that some people do not like the telephone and texting so much, the computer and some website have become part of most people daily routine. In Nichole's case, she does not own a laptop and has to wait for her turn to use the family computer which means that she has no attachment to this media because her use of it is controlled. However, once she gets to own her own computer, it is a guaranteed that her view of technology will change.

    I returned to school after about 12 years. When I was in college the 1st time around, nothing was electronic but when I contacted USF to apply, they told me that everything was online. At first, I asked why everything was online but once I got used to it, I started to understand the value of having the convenience to do a lot of things without having to live my home.

    Therefore, Nichole will certainly not continue to dislike technology that much once she gets more familiar and more attached to it. The fact is that she stated that she started to realize that it was not that bad once she started doing so many assignments. She came to the conclusion that the computer was not yet a friend but that it was no longer an enemy; it became to her an acquaintance.

    With this understanding, depending on the background of some ELL students and depending on whether or not they were exposed to technology in their home country, they may not like technology at first but this should not be a sign that they will never come to appreciated it. As teacher, we will need to allow them time to familiarize themselves with it while we continue to properly use it so that we do not advocate against it or involuntary send missed information about its true value.

    On the other hand, the last article testifies to the fact that the new generation is technology driven and that when used properly, they benefits from it in the classroom, there are several examples of how teachers originally used technology to teach which are appreciated by students. What should the conclusion be then?

    We have proven that technology use is effective in the classroom but that teachers need to take some actions in order to make this tool useful to students. It is necessary that they received some training if they lack it, and like a student suggested in the Screenager article, they should refrain from using complicated tools if they are not sure about how to use them. It's best to properly use something much simpler that they are familiar with like a high school student suggested.

    In addition, it is important for teachers to screen the countless technological tools and to research them before introducing them to their teaching. Should they test some that do not work well, they have to stop using them and seek one that is more appropriate. Most importantly, technology is not always the answer this is why teachers should be balanced when using it. If it is required that we use the board and chalks to help students better understand, this is what we should do. Doing so, we will ensure that more students appreciate the use of technology in the classroom for what it is worth.

    Work Cited

    Kovalik, Cindy, Lynn Smolen, and Jazmine Toddy. "Technology Standards In A Third-Grade Classroom." Journal Of Research On Computing In Education 33.5 (2001): 1-17. Academic Search Premier. Web. 9 Aug. 2013

    Lohnes Watulak, Sarah. "'I'm Not a Computer Person': Negotiating Participation in Academic Discourses." British Journal Of Educational Technology 43.1(2012):109-118. OmniFile Full Text Mega (H.W.Wilson). Web.9Aug. 2013.

    Young, Jeffrey R. "When Good Technology Means Bad Teaching" Chronicle Of Higher Education 51.12(2004): A31-A31. Academic Search Premier. Web.9Aug.2013.

    What Screenagers Say About... (2011). Educational Leadership, 68(5), 44-46 Wed. 9 Aug.2013.

    By

    NICK MYRCA MALEBRANCHE- GAUTHIER

    Subject: Classroom Technology 8/9/13

  • Introduction: We're Not #1

    I believe Americans need a new way of thinking about health. Look where our current perspectives on the subject have gotten us - we are last among the world's 17 most industrialized nations in all the key indicators of health. It's hard to believe but true: we're last in life expectancy; we have the highest rates of obesity, infant mortality, low birth weights, heart disease, diabetes, chronic lung disease, homicide rates, teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.

    The lead author of the Institute of Medicine, NIH sponsored study that revealed this situation remarked that "Americans get sicker, die sooner and sustain more injuries than people in all other high-income countries." (That's a quote from the report.) Then he added this coup de grace: "We were stunned by the propensity of findings all on the negative side - the scope of the disadvantage covers all ages, from babies to seniors, both sexes, all classes of society. If we fail to act, life spans will continue to shorten and children will face greater rates of illness than those in other nations."

    Two Ways to Think of Health

    I believe Americans are overly passive about their health. Good health can only be attained and maintained by conscious deeds. These deeds require planning and disciple. Examples include exercising regularly and vigorously, dining in ways that nourish the body without causing problems and otherwise behaving in positive, active ways.

    The level of health you will enjoy is clearly affected by your lifestyle choices. Your health status depends to a great extent on whether you invest in your well being or not. If you make little or no such investments, your health will depend on chance, genetics, the aging process and the timeliness of the quality of medical care you receive.

    If, on the other hand, you do invest, if you seek, protect and defend an advanced state of well being, the nature of the health status you will have will be dramatically different - and better.

    Therefore, we need to distinguish these two kinds of health situations - one passive, one active.

    The Institute of Health report that places America last reflects that segment of America that is passive. If the quite small segment of the American population that practices active health were separated, if their health data were compiled and compared, I'm sure we would be #1.

    For these and related reasons, I propose we view health in two different ways - by making a distinction between static health - which is how most view and approach their health, and earned health. The latter is what you get when you invest wisely in your own well being.

    It's a way of life I call REAL wellness.

    Health As Currently Perceived

    The WHO definition of health is unrealistic (nobody, not even the most devout wellite, enjoys "complete physical, mental and social well-being," at least not every day). Most think of health in far less exalted ways. Most think they are well if they are not sick. This is pathetic. It equates with not needing immediate medical attention. For the vast majority, this is a "good enough" view of health. Thinking that way is a self-fulfilling prophesy. It means that not healthy is the best you can hope for. This is the static definition of health and it must be reformed and at least accompanied by another, comparison perspective for those Americans willing to do their part. That would be earned health.

    I think we need ideas about health that remind people of a key fact, namely, that a passive situation is not as effective, desirable, protective or rewarding as a dynamic earned state of health. We should all be aware that static health, the default setting you get for just existing and doing nothing special to enhance health, can and must be reinforced and boosted.

    Employing a term like earned health might remind people that health can be much more than non-illness. The term earned health can signal the availability of a richer level of well being. It can remind everyone that health at its best is more than a static condition. Health is a dynamic state; it gets better with effort, worse if ignored.

    Earned health represents a higher health standard. Earned health is more ambitious and more consistent with a REAL wellness mindset and lifestyle than the current norm of health as non-sickness.

    The Static/Earned Health Continuum

    This continuum is another way of expressing Dr. John Travis' original, simple line drawing model of health along a continuum, with "premature death" on the far left side of his continuum) and an ever-changing dynamic of "high level wellness" at the other, right side extreme. The "0" in the middle represents a neutral point, which could be simple non-sickness.

    The Static/Earned Health Continuum

    -10 ______________ 0 ______________ +10

    Earned health is what happens from the neutral point to the +10 indicator. Everyone moves along an imaginary continuum of this kind every day, because health is dynamic, under constant change. By living wisely with the right behaviors, we fuel a state of health that is better than if we allow health status to be determined by the passage of time (i.e., the aging process, chance, medical interventions, circumstances and events.

    This continuum is a simple way of depicting the basic fact that earned health evolves largely due to our own efforts to improve and protect our well being; static health, on the other side is affected by what happens to you.

    By the way, Dr. Travis made regular expansions to his original model. You can view the latest edition and read more the continuum here. A related construct that will interest wellness enthusiasts is Dr. Travis Wellness Energy System.

    Earned health is not determined or advanced by medical interventions. Static health, that is, health along the continuum from the center to the left of the of the continuum, is so influenced.

    The Path to REAL Wellness

    To become healthier in an earned sense, it's up to us to act so as to move along the right side of the continuum.

    The failure to appreciate the different nature of health, earned from static, partly accounts for why America can have so much medical care and yet not enjoy the best quality of health status. After all, modern medicine is a wonderful thing but there are two problems: people expect too much of it and too little of themselves.

    Understanding the difference between static and earned health might encourage people to be less passive - to realize the need for and value of REAL wellness lifestyles.

    A Fable

    Here is a fable to express the limits of medicine to boost health status versus the power of our own behaviors.

    Imagine a country where everyone owns high powered luxury cars - they cost next to nothing and are easily replaced. In this mythical country, everyone gets unlimited free medical care of the highest quality, plus all the medications they need plus there are highly skilled trauma teams set up at every intersection. The thing is, the people in this mythical country can do whatever they like - there are no laws governing auto safety. Everyone drives way over the speed limits, nobody wears seat belts, there are no air bags and no stop signs, traffic signals or rules of the road. One more thing - brakes haven't been invented yet. Interpretation of the Fable

    The greatest advances in the mythical society would not follow from introducing more doctors, hospitals, drugs or trauma teams. Changes in customs and driver behaviors would, on the other hand, go a long way to promote a healthier society.

    Changes in lifestyles are also the key to better health outcomes in the real world, our country in particular. We have a great health care system - now we need sensible people making wise lifestyle choices that make life not just healthier but more rewarding, more fulfilling and more attractive. We need to help people understand that health is not only a static phenomenon: Earned health offers so much more.

    The philosopher Epicurus (c. 341-270 BCE) offered this bit of wisdom long ago: "It is impossible to live pleasurably without living prudently, honorably, and justly; or to live prudently, honorably, and justly, without living pleasurably."

    We all want to live pleasurably. Let's recognize and act on the other qualities that enable us to earn active positive health. Let's embrace REAL wellness lifestyles.

  • In the last few months we've seen a lot of Health Care Reform rules and regulations being introduced by the Health and Human Services Department. Every time that happens, the media gets hold of it and all kinds of articles are written in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and the TV network news programs talk about it. All the analysts start talking about the pros and cons, and what it means to businesses and individuals.

    The problem with this is, many times one writer looked at the regulation, and wrote a piece about it. Then other writers start using pieces from that first article and rewriting parts to fit their article. By the time the information gets widely distributed, the actual regulations and rules get twisted and distorted, and what actually shows up in the media sometimes just doesn't truly represent the reality of what the regulations say.

    There's a lot of misunderstanding about what is going on with ObamaCare, and one of the things that I've noticed in discussions with clients, is that there's an underlying set of myths that people have picked up about health care reform that just aren't true. But because of all they've heard in the media, people believe these myths are actually true.

    Today we're going to talk about three myths I hear most commonly. Not everybody believes these myths, but enough do, and others are unsure what to believe, so it warrants dispelling these myths now.

    The first one is that health care reform only affects uninsured people. The second one is that Medicare benefits and the Medicare program isn't going to be affected by health care reform. And then the last one is that health care reform is going to reduce the costs of healthcare.

    Health Care Reform Only Affects Uninsured

    Let's look at the first myth about health care reform only affecting uninsured people. In a lot of the discussions I have with clients, there are several expressions they use: "I already have coverage, so I won't be affected by ObamaCare," or "I'll just keep my grandfathered health insurance plan," and the last one - and this one I can give them a little bit of leeway, because part of what they're saying is true -- is "I have group health insurance, so I won't be affected by health care reform."

    Well, the reality is that health care reform is actually going to affect everybody. Starting in 2014, we're going to have a whole new set of health plans, and those plans have very rich benefits with lots of extra features that the existing plans today don't offer. So these new plans are going to be higher cost.

    Health Care Reform's Effect On People With Health Insurance

    People that currently have health insurance are going to be transitioned into these new plans sometime in 2014. So the insured will be directly affected by this because the health plans they have today are going away, and they will be mapped into a new ObamaCare plan in 2014.

    Health Care Reform Effect On The Uninsured

    The uninsured have an additional issue in that if they don't get health insurance in 2014, they face a mandate penalty. Some of the healthy uninsured are going to look at that penalty and say, "Well, the penalty is 1% of my adjusted gross income; I make $50,000, so I'll pay a $500 penalty or $1,000 for health insurance. In that case I'll just take the penalty." But either way, they will be directly affected by health care reform. Through the mandate it affects the insured as well as the uninsured.

    Health Care Reform Effect On People With Grandfathered Health Plans

    People that have grandfathered health insurance plans are not going to be directly affected by health care reform. But because of the life cycle of their grandfathered health plan, it's going to make those plans more costly as they discover that there are plans available now that they can easily transfer to that have a richer set of benefits that would be more beneficial for any chronic health issues they may have.

    For people who stay in those grandfathered plans, the pool of subscribers in the plan are going to start to shrink, and as that happens, the cost of those grandfathered health insurance plans will increase even faster than they are now. Therefore, people in grandfathered health plans will also be impacted by ObamaCare.

    Health Care Reform Effect On People With Group Health Insurance

    The last one, the small group marketplace, is going to be the most notably affected by health care reform. Even though the health care reform regulations predominantly affect large and medium-sized companies, and companies that have 50 or more employees, smaller companies will also be affected, even though they're exempt from ObamaCare itself.

    What many surveys and polls are starting to show is that some of the businesses that have 10 or fewer employees are going to look seriously at their option to drop health insurance coverage altogether, and no longer have it as an expense of the company. Instead, they will have their employees get health insurance through the health insurance exchanges.

    In fact, some of the carriers are now saying they anticipate that up to 50% of small groups with 10 or fewer employees are going to drop their health insurance plan sometime between 2014 and 2016. That will have a very large effect on all people who have group health insurance, especially if they're in one of those small companies that drop health insurance coverage.

    It's not just uninsured that are going to be affected by health care reform, everybody is going to be impacted.

    Health Care Reform Will Not Affect Medicare

    The next myth was that health care reform would not affect Medicare. This one is kind of funny because right from the very get-go, the most notable cuts were specifically targeting the Medicare program. When you look at Medicare's portion of the overall federal, you can see that in 1970, Medicare was 4% of the U.S. federal budget, and by 2011, it had grown to 16% of the federal budget.

    If we look at it over the last 10 years, from 2002 to 2012, Medicare is the fastest growing part of the major entitlement programs in the federal government, and it's grown by almost 70% during that period of time.

    Because of how large Medicare is and how fast it's growing, it's one of the key programs that ObamaCare is trying to get a handle on, so it doesn't bankrupts the U.S. Medicare is going to be impacted, and in fact the initial cuts to Medicare have already been set at about $716 billion.

    Medicare Advantage Cuts And The Effects

    Of that $716 billion cut, the Medicare Advantage program gets cut the most, and will see the bulk of the effects. What that's going to do is increase the premiums people pay for their Medicare Advantage plans, and reduce the benefits of those plans.

    Increased Medicare Advantage Costs

    Right now, many people choose Medicare Advantage plans because they have zero premium. When given a choice on Medicare plans, they view it as an easy choice because it's a free program for them, "Sure, I get Medicare benefits, I don't pay anything for it; why not." Now they're going to see Medicare premiums start to climb, and go from zero to $70, $80, $90, $100. We've already seen that with some of the Blue Cross Medicare Advantage plans this year. It's going to get worse as we go forward in the future.

    Reduced Medicare Advantage Benefits

    In order to minimize the premium increases, what many Medicare Advantage plans will do is increase the copayments, increase the deductibles, and change the co-insurance rates. In order to keep the premiums down, they'll just push more of the costs onto the Medicare Advantage recipients. Increased premiums and reduced benefits are what we're going to see coming in Medicare Advantage plan.

    Fewer Medicare Physicians

    And then if that wasn't bad enough, as Medicare doctors begin receiving lower and lower reimbursements for Medicare Advantage people, they're going to stop taking new Medicare Advantage recipients. We're going to see the pool of doctors to support people in Medicare starting to shrink as well, unless changes are made over the course of the next five years. So Medicare is going to be affected, and it's going to be affected dramatically by health care reform. Everybody's kind of on pins and needles, waiting to see what's going to happen there.

    Health Care Reform Will Reduce Healthcare Costs

    The last one, and probably the biggest myth about health care reform, is everybody thinking that ObamaCare will reduce healthcare costs. That's completely hogwash. Early on in the process, when they were trying to come up with the rules and regulations, the emphasis and one of the goals for reform was to reduce healthcare costs.

    But somewhere along the line, the goal actually shifted from cost reduction to regulation of the health insurance industry. Once they made that transition, they pushed cost reductions to the back burner. There are some small cost reduction components in ObamaCare, but the real emphasis is on regulating health insurance. The new plans, for example, have much richer benefits than many plans today: richer benefits means richer prices.

    Health Care Reform Subsidies: Will They Make Plans Affordable?

    A lot of people hope, "The subsidies are going to make health insurance plans more affordable, won't they?" Yes, in some cases the subsidies will help to make the plans affordable for people. But if you make $1 too much, the affordable plans are suddenly going to become very expensive and can cost thousands of dollars more over the course of a year. Will a subsidy make it affordable or not affordable is really subject to debate at this point in time. We're going to have to actually see what the rates look like for these plans.

    New Health Care Reform Taxes Passed On To Consumers

    Then there's a whole ton of new health care reform taxes that have been added into the system to help pay for ObamaCare. That means everybody who has a health insurance plan, whether it's in a large group, a small group, or just as an individual, is going to be taxed in order to pay for the cost of reform. Health care reform adds various taxes on health care that insurance companies will have to collect and pay, but they're just going to pass it right through to us, the consumer.

    Mandate Won't Reduce Uninsured Very Much

    During the initial years of health care reform, the mandate is actually pretty weak. The mandate says that everyone must get health insurance or pay a penalty (a tax). What that's going to do is make healthy people just sit on the sidelines and wait for the mandate to get to the point where it finally forces them to buy health insurance. People with chronic health conditions that couldn't get health insurance previously, are all going to jump into healthcare at the beginning of 2014.

    At the end of that year, the cost for the plans is going to go up in 2015. I can guarantee that that's going to happen, because the young healthy people are not going to be motivated to get into the plans. They won't see the benefit of joining an expensive plan, whereas the chronically ill people are going to get into the plans and drive the costs up.

    Health Care Reform's Purpose Is Just A Matter Of Semantics

    The last portion of this is, one of the key things - and it's funny, I saw it for the first two years, 2010, and '11 - one of the key things that was listed in the documentation from the Obama administration was: Health Care Reform would help reduce the cost that we would see in the future if we do nothing today. That was emphasized over and over again. That was how they presented health care cost reduction, that it would reduce the future costs. Not today, but it would reduce what we would pay in the future if we did nothing about it now.

    Well, that's great, 10 years from now we're going to pay less than we might have paid. And we all know how accurate future projections usually are. In the meantime, we're all paying more today, and we're going to pay even more in 2014 and more in 2015 and 2016. People are going to be pretty upset about that.

    Conclusion

    Those three myths, that health care reform is only going to affect the uninsured, that it won't affect Medicare beneficiaries, and that ObamaCare is going to reduce healthcare costs, are just that. They are myths. There's nothing to them.

    It's really important that you pay attention to what's happening with health care reform, because there are more changes that are coming as we go through this year, 2013. Knowing how to position yourself so that you're in the right spot to be able to make the best decision at the beginning of 2014 is going to be really important for everybody.

    Tim Thompson is the founder of SPF Insurance Services in San Diego, CA and has been writing about insurance topics for over 10 years. http://spfinsurance.com

    At SPF Insurance we are your Health Care Reform experts in California. Sign up for our newsletter at the SPF Insurance website to stay updated on changes, or you can subscribe to the SPFInsurance YouTube channel to get our video updates, or you can sign up for our podcasts and see the updates through iTunes. Any of these will keep you up-to-date on what's happening, and in particular, how it will affect you.

    At SPF Insurance, we don't just give you "here's the news that happened," we tell you what you can do to to make your situation better despite all of the changes taking place.