Blog Blog Copyright by en Mon, 24 Sep 2018 00:15:31 -0400 Jobs that Require Specialist Training Courses There’s a lot of manual jobs in the world that need specialist training before you can dive in. Find out some of those roles, in this post.

For every job, there’s varying levels of training required. For some, you’ll need a degree and for others, it’s simply learning the basics. However, there are some roles which aren’t that simple. Yes, there are some industries where it’s vital to have specialist training, in order to work safely and effectively in the job role. Whether it’s confined space training, for working in tight spaces or working from height training, for those working on tall buildings etc. this training can keep workers safe when carrying out their daily working tasks.

In this post, we’ll be looking at some of the job roles that require specialist training. We’ve found 4 different specialist training courses and roles that require them. The point of these courses is to make sure those undertaking the work, and those working around them, are safe and properly informed. We’ll be looking at everything from the job to the training required for it. Learn all about 4 specialist training courses and jobs that require them, right here.

1. Confined Space Training

The first training course is confined space training. Yes, this is a course for those that work in confined spaces. But, the definition of what a confined space is varies from person to person. However, it’s usually based off of a few factors. If it’s an enclosed space, with fewer exit routes available and a limited flow of air, then it’s considered a confined space by the standards of safety boards. We’ve got some examples of ‘confined spaces’ below.

  • Vats
  • Silos
  • Tanks
  • Pits
  • Trenches
  • Pipes
  • Sewers
  • Ship Holds

All of these mentioned above are spaces that carry a risk if being worked in. For a number of reasons, it’s become apparent that the need for confined space training in areas that are limited is essential. There have been many related accidents and incidents in confined spaces, which highlights the need for training. It’s about making sure those working in the conditions are safe. Some causes of issues are:

  • Lack of ventilation (which can lead to asphyxiation)
  • Lack of liquid or solid control (which can lead to suffocation or drowning from spaces being filled with liquids or solids)
  • Lack of gas control (which can lead to explosions or poisoning)

Ensuring that workers operating in confined spaces are safe is essential. As there are many hazards in confined spaces that can easily be avoided with sufficient levels of training in place. Confined safety training is essential.

2. Chainsaw Training

Operating machinery always requires training, but for something as powerful and potentially hazardous as a chainsaw it requires a different kind of specialist training. Specific chainsaw handling training covers how to safely handle, use, and essential equipment required when using a chainsaw in a working environment.  For roles that use chainsaws, such as construction and tree cutting (to name a few), all staff must be properly trained in the use of equipment. Chainsaw training courses will look into the following:

  • An individual’s fitness to operate
  • Assessing competence through training
  • How to maintain a chainsaw
  • When to use certain types of chainsaws for different roles
  • What to do when working alone with a chainsaw
  • What equipment to wear while operating
  • First-aid training, in the event of an accident
  • Working around others using chainsaws
  • Using chainsaws on trees
  • Working with chainsaws off of ground level

Using a chainsaw at work requires the right training, from experts who can give certification of said training. Chainsaws are a risk to health and safety, so having staff who know what they’re doing, how to handle and operate as well as the potential risks involved is vital to ensure safety in the work place.

3. Working at Heights

As you readers can imagine, working at heights have their risks. The danger of accidentally slipping and falling is ever imminent, and not one for those that are afraid of heights. But, as with all the other jobs on our list, it’s imperative to make sure that proper training is given to those working at heights. However, it doesn’t apply to those that are just working on tall buildings or structures, it can defined as the following.

  • Working on a ladder or flat roof
  • Working near or on a fragile surface (which could lead to falling through)
  • Working near an opening or hole in the ground (which could lead to falling down)

Like other courses, it will assess if those undertaking it are competent and capable at of working at heights, ensuring they understand the correct practices and the right equipment they should be wearing. It’s important for both employees and employers to understand the risks and hazards of working at heights. However, with the right training, staff and employers can be armed with the knowledge and skills to reduce work place risks.

4. Forklift Truck Training

As with operating any form of machinery, be it smaller (like a chainsaw) or larger (like a forklift truck) understanding the safety behind using it is vital for keeping workers safe. Similarly, to chainsaw training, forklift truck training teaches users how to properly operate, maintain and work around a forklift truck, whilst ensuring that the user is both competent and capable of working the machinery. It’s an essential part for those working in warehouses or factories where forklift trucks are used. Making sure workers are safe when using and working near forklift trucks reduces the risk of potential accidents.

All of the above are essential to keep workers, in specialist environments and with equipment, safe. The best way to prevent accidents and incidents occurring is to make sure everyone understands the risks, as well as having the proper training for those operating/working and those working around them. By providing the proper training courses, both employers and employees are assisting in reducing risks.

Business and Law Editor Tue, 11 Sep 2018 10:05:23 -0400
Tactics Special Investigators Use When on a Case There are a number of reasons why more and more people are now hiring private investigators. Right from the cases of a cheating spouse to a fraud business partner, a private investigator can help you to catch them all. Wondering how they do it? There are effective tactics that they use to when on a case.

Special investigators are often required to don multiple hats at one time. There are a number of tasks up to their sleeves; thus, they use these tactics to solve those cases. Let’s have a look at some of these tactics:

Detailed Notes

One of the basic tactic used by special investigators is that they take detailed notes of the person they are investigating. If accurate, this information can come in handy for the attorneys to turn the court decision in favor of their client. For this purpose, the conventional way is to use a pen and paper. However, some special investigator may also use a laptop or voice recorder for this purpose. The information they typically take note of is the whereabouts of their vehicles. Furthermore, they also note down the addresses they frequently visit.

Use of Advanced Technology for Surveillance

Special investigators typically use advanced equipment in order to conduct surveillance. Small-sized cameras with clear HD vision and crystal-clear sound are easily available on the market. They come with certain advanced features such as reduced movement, night-time recording, noise reduction etc. Investigators rely on them for recording the video that can be presented in the court.

Such equipment is used by them since if the audio or video quality of the recording is poor, it would prove to be of no help to their client. Thus, all their effort, time, and resources will go in drain.

Apart from cameras and audio devices, the use of GPS trackers is also extremely common with special investigators. These trackers are hidden in the vehicles of the target to keep an eye on them even if they aren’t following them.

Maintain Anonymity

Special investigators are required to trail their target all the time. However, this makes them vulnerable to be caught as continuously following a person can make them suspicious; thus, alarmed. The key tactic used here by the special investigators is that they blend effortlessly in the crowd and maintain anonymity. This helps them to keep an eye on their target and gather the required information and evidences.

Most of them use mini-vans for following their target as they can easily carry their equipment in them. if they have the services of an assistant, they can let them drive the car and keep an eye on their target by sitting in the van’s back and watching them through tinted glass.

Noticing Small Signs

There are numerous signs around us that generally do not look suspicious but if carefully looked on can give vital information. Special investigators specifically take note of these signs and abstract important information from them. For example, placement of certain things in the home, vehicle’s condition etc. They often take pictures of these signs in order to support evidence they have collected.

Keeping an Eye on the Mailbox and Other Small Details

An expert and experienced special investigator usually keeps an eye on the mailbox of the home of their target. This can help them to get hold of vital information. For example, from the letters hanging in the mailbox, they can get to know about their names of the inmates of the home. Other tactics they use to extract important information related to the inmates include noticing the lighting pattern of the rooms, number of vehicles in use etc.

Getting their Hands of Smartphone of the Target

While it is a really difficult tactic but, if the investigator is successful in doing so, it can prove to be extremely effective. Simply put, it is just like a wealth of evidence that they can use in the court in favor of their client.

Not Losing the Sight of the Target

Another basic but effective tactic! It is a must for every special investigator to not lose the sight of their target. For this purpose, they take note of the places their target frequently visits and map the entry and exit ways of those places. They make themselves completely familiar with the areas they most commonly visit. Apart from knowing the whereabouts of their target, this practice also comes in handy if the target is becoming suspicious of their presence. They can use alternate routes to reach the places they visit and keep an eye on them.

Final Thoughts

As the technology is evolving, more and more technology-based tactics are now becoming common with special investigators. Instead of relying on conventional methods that have become obsolete, they are now shifting to applying cutting-edge technological approaches and tactics to keep an eye on their target.

Author Bio:

This post was written by Specialized Investigation Consultants. Specialized Investigations Consultants is a professional Miami-based investigation company founded, owned and operated by current and retired law enforcement professionals. Our Miami-based investigations business serves all of South Florida with over 100 years of combined State, Federal and Local law enforcement experience.

Business and Law Editor Mon, 23 Jul 2018 22:46:41 -0400
Working in a Confined Space There’s 100s of different working environments, some tougher than others. Here’s all you need to know about working in a confined space.

This article isn’t one for the claustrophobic amongst you… Whilst there’s 100s of different working environments, none quite makes our hands sweat more than imagining working in a confined space. But, many men and women all work in these spaces on a daily basis. Whether it be electricians or fire fighters, they crawl and clamber into these not always tiny spaces to do the necessary work for their job. Confined spaces can be defined not only as small spaces, but work environments that are partially, largely or fully enclosed. If we haven’t scared you off as of yet, and you’re looking to learn more about working in a confined space, this is the only article you need to read!

We’ll be going through everything you need to know, from confined space training to what roles involve working in confined areas and more! If your interest is piqued, and you want to read more, keep scrolling through! We’ve got you covered…

Confined Working

Yes, working in a confined space is not for the faint hearted (or those with a fear of confined spaces). It’s tough work, and involves working in areas like pits, trenches, sewers, drains, vats, silos, tanks, chambers and ducting as well as any smaller area which is unventilated or with limited ventilation. This can involve workers such as electricians, fire fighters, sewage workers, gas engineers and even ship maintenance workers too! Anything that involves a potential threat of safety in these confined areas, requires confined space training (but we’ll get into that).

The Risks

Now we have to get to the serious bit. Unfortunately, the mortality rate can be very high in professions inside a confined space, and there are numerous accidents and incidents that have occurred. The fact is, that working in confined spaces is a risk. Some of the examples of incidents that have occurred can be seen below.

  • Oxygen Levels

A lack of oxygen in confined spaces can lead to asphyxiation for individuals working within this environment – this is one of the most common causes of death.

  • Temperature

Sudden increases or decreases in temperature in these areas can lead to the deaths of workers in confined spaces.

  • Introduction of Liquids or Solids

Flooding chambers or cave ins (and more) in confined spaces are more examples of hazards and potential risks when working in these spaces.

Other hazards such as high concentrations of dust and no natural light are potential safety risks to confined space workers. The correct training for confined space workers and employers too is essential, to make sure these hazards and risks are fully understood by all involved in this work.

Preventative Measures

As well as making sure all staff are fully competent and trained to standards of confined space training. There are so many courses all across the UK that make sure confined space workers are properly trained, understand the risks and know what to do in the event of an incident. For those managing the areas? Proper training and effective maintenance, monitoring confined space areas to ensure that they are safe for staff to work in. Here are but a few examples of what can be done to prevent incidents happening in confined spaces.

  1. Testing the Air

One massive risk and hazard is the quality of air available in these confined spaces. Lack of oxygen or harmful gasses are the cause of death by asphyxiation in these confined areas. Ensuring that the air is tested frequently and made sure it is safe for work is key to prevent incidents in confined spaces.

  1. Proper Training in working, safety and rescue

Like we’ve said, training should be up to high and qualified standards, for workers. Not only training in working and knowledge of hazards, but knowing proper safety procedures and, in the event of an emergency, proper rescue procedures too.

  1. Implementing proper ventilation

Circulating air, making sure that there will not be a lack of oxygen is vital for those working in a confined space. Be it mechanical or natural ventilation, each confined space needs adequate ventilation to make sure air is circulated and safe.

  1. Equipment Maintenance

Respiratory equipment and all other safety gear must be properly maintained. It’s to make sure that workers kit won’t fail them whilst working in these confined spaces. Prevention is key, so making sure equipment is up to scratch can save lives.

Final Thoughts

Working in a confined space can be risky, but with proper training and procedures in place, the number of incidents in the work place can be reduced significantly – because prevention is key. With safety measures in place, mortality rates shouldn’t rise for confined space workers. There have been some horrific incidents which could have been prevented with proper testing, training and procedures. All those considering working in confined spaces must undergo the proper training.

Business and Law Editor Thu, 28 Jun 2018 05:55:48 -0400
All You Need to Know About PASMA Training All You Need to Know About PASMA Training

Do you or someone in your organisation need PASMA training? Find out all the information you need to know right here!

PASMA – The Prefabricated Access Suppliers’ and Manufacturers’ Association. A governing body that ensures proper standards of training for assembling mobile access towers, as well as dismantling, moving and inspecting them too. Why? Because health and safety that’s why! It’s crucial to ensure the safety of everyone who uses these mobile access towers, and to make sure that there is a proper set standard of training all over the country.

In this post, we’ll be covering everything there is to know about correct PASMA training. From what it is, what it covers and where you can get yourself or someone in your company qualified. We’ll even explain what mobile access towers are – for the true beginners. So, if you’re looking to undertake PASMA training or just want to know more about it, you’re in the right place. Welcome to your introduction to PASMA training.

What is PASMA training?

Like we’ve said, PASMA training specifically focuses on setting a proper standard for training across the UK. Mobile access units need to be assembled, dismantled, moved and inspected in a set way – so, PASMA surmised that they’d create a set standard for this. As a one-day course, this qualification is valid for 5 years, and is essential for tower users (you won’t be able to work with mobile access towers if you’re not certified).

This PASMA training also offers variants courses too, for different levels required. These include: training for Tower Users for Low Level Access, Towers for Managers and Working at Height training too. Training of this level ensures that all that work with mobile access towers are certified and qualified under the same governing body.

Why PASMA training?

As part of the 2005 Work at Height regulations, it’s essential that all those working at a height undergo this training. Proper training and knowledge is a measure that helps prevent accidents or incidents occurring in the work place – especially when working at height is involved. This training ensures that someone is qualified to assemble, move, inspect and dismantle mobile access towers.

According to PASMA, this training is in place to ensure that someone competent – with the correct, knowledge, experience and training – is there to carry out the duties needed to ensure the safe use of these towers. This training provides an individual with all the relevant skills and knowledge, including risk assessment, assembling and inspecting the tower in the correct way (whilst keeping a record of each inspection) as well as meet the set regulations of inspection and assembly.

This training becomes essential for anyone who falls under the Work at Height (2005) regulations, whether they be employed by a company or self-employed. If they work with mobile access towers, over a certain height, PASMA training is vital.

Mobile Access Towers

If you’re already familiar with the term, this section may not be for you… However, if you’re not – you’re in the right place. Mobile Access Towers are essentially scaffolding, but they differ greatly. For one, they’re much quicker to build, and dismantle, as well as being able to be moved more easily around a select area – due to having wheels on their base. They can be built to different heights, to accommodate difficult positions and navigate hard to reach areas. These towers can be built between 2.5 to 8 meters outdoors, and inside can be built to heights between 2.5 and 12 meters indoors. These can either be freestanding or with stabilisers or a ballast.

These specific towers should only be erected where the ground is solid and stable, because of their design. It’s also essential to make sure these towers, if not assembled on solid ground, should make a strong foundation to put this mobile access tower up on. When it comes to accessing the tower, it must be noted that workers should not climb the structure itself. Instead, must make use of built in stairs or ladders to access the tower. All of this is covered in greater detail throughout the PASMA training course.

Where to find PASMA training

There are loads of places, all over the country where you can receive sufficient PASMA training. All you need to do is do a little internet search to find the relevant centre to undertake your training. North, South, East and West – there’s places all over the UK that can ensure you or your staff become qualified for the proper use of mobile access units. This training is an essential part for anyone that falls under the Work at Height (2005) regulations and uses mobile access towers in their work place.

To ensure the safety of you or your staff, you need to appoint someone to undergo this training. It’s a vital part of any organisation that works with mobile access towers. On this course, you’ll understand all the potential risks and hazards involved, as well as learning how to assemble, dismantle, move and inspect these towers properly.

Business and Law Editor Fri, 15 Jun 2018 05:00:44 -0400
5 Essential Considerations When Hiring a Truck Rental Service

Moving or relocating can really take its toll on you. This will also be the time when you will be torn between doing the move yourself or just simply hire a moving company to do it for you. And although the two options differ greatly with its cost, it also gives a big difference in the amount of stress you may get.

Regardless of which option you choose, hiring a truck plays a vital role. Alleviate the hassle by considering the 5 things you need to look for when hiring a truck rental service below:

The truck that fits your needs

The very famous question people who are moving tend to ask is “which size of the truck should I go for?”

Finding out the truck size that would fit your need can be tricky. You want to, as much as possible, minimize the moving cost. Hence, making multiple trips for the hired truck is not really what you should aim for. To find out, reassess the place once again. Suggested truck sizes mostly depend on the size of a home. Example, for a studio or a small one-bedroom apartment, suggested truck size is 10’. For 1-2 bedrooms, it’s 14’ and for big houses which has 4 or more bedrooms, than a 26’ sized truck is being suggested.

Once you have an idea of which truck size you should get, you may now check the website if ever they offer one. Some companies have a limited truck size options, so this narrow down your choices.


When assessing for the truck’s rental price, you also have to look at other additional costs. Distance is actually the major factor to be considered. The total cost basically sums up the mileage, fuel used and the amount of time it is with you. Companies who offer a certain mileage cost within the rental fee surely has an edge. Because you would only have to think about any additional mileage after that. Unlike some who separates the rental fee, then the whole mileage fee from each other.

Also, it might help if you plan your move during the off-season or in the middle of the month. Prices are better at this time.

How they handle the contents

The things you placed inside the boxes are obviously important stuff. Because if not, you’ll just leave them behind. Thus, look for a company who can handle different types of loads. It could be fragile, overweight and so much more.

A good company has their own set of moving tools which sometimes you cannot find from others. It basically shows that this certain company knows how to take care of their customer’s belongings, hence invest in such tools. You may either rent them out as an additional item, or some companies offer it for free.

Also, you can check the internet for truck rental providers. It is always nice to do some comparison between these providers to source out the best option for you. Try visiting this website - - they provide truck rentals specifically for heavy transports.

We love Discounts

To get a discount does not necessarily mean slashing off a portion of the amount you’re supposed to pay. Sometimes it also means offering freebies outside of what package you have already paid for. Example, a certain company may provide a helper depending on the size of truck you’ll hire. Or let you borrow moving tools with no extra charge. This is why doing a bit of research and compare companies with each other really help a lot and could help you save a lot too.

After all, competition is prominent in this kind of business, so I’m sure companies can do a little stretch and will end up offering you something.

Consider on availing Insurance

Availing an insurance is important, yet tend to be overlooked at most of the time.

If it is your first time to drive a large-sized vehicle like a truck, then there’s no question here. You have to avail an insurance. Most especially if you are driving a long distance too. Forget about the additional charge it might cost you; instead think of it as a preventive measure.

There are 4 types of truck rental insurance.

Damage waivers protect you from having responsibilities concerning the loss or theft of items or damage to the rented truck. Supplemental liability insurance relieves you and your items from damage claims made against you by other drivers or people. While personal accident and cargo protection basically covers you and your item while inside the truck rental. And lastly, auto tow protection. This insurance covers the vehicle being towed by a trailer against any damage while in transport.

It won’t hurt to ask the truck rental company about the insurance they offer. After all, we’re talking about your own safety, and your things as well.

Business and Law Editor Mon, 04 Jun 2018 02:20:08 -0400
Solar Panels 101: Help Yourself & Your Pockets               Solar panels are still considered a fairly new technology for everyday consumers. The process, cost, and availability in always improving each year and in certain geographic locations. There are some common questions regarding solar energy which will be addressed below:

What is a solar panel?

              Solar panels are groups of solar cells which are specially designed to absorb the sunlight. It is converted into DC electricity, then to AC electricity via an inverter, that is fed into the power grid of the home. Although solar energy is environmentally friendly, the process of making these panels is not yet “green”. They require traditional manufacturing in factories, use of dangerous chemicals, semiconductors and transportation and distribution. Although these steps are based on fossil fuels the industry is slowly become more efficient.

How long will solar panels last?

              Solar panels can have different life expectancy based on their size and technology. A typically warranty period can be about 20 years or more. Owning solar energy panels might require occasional maintenance but generally speaking maintenance is low for solar panels. The most important factor is keeping them clean and clear of debris.  Over time the technology does begin to become less efficient, so they can be working at less than full capacity at the end of the 20-year period. Additionally, the technology is improving always, so there will be more efficient models on the market at that time.

Roof mounted solar panels

              There are usually two options for mounting solar panels, roof mounted or ground mounted. The benefit of the roof mounted ones are the require little additional support structure and only use space that would have otherwise not have been used. There is one significant downfall to the roof option and that is the cost of removal or replacement, which can be thousands of dollars. If you will need repairs on the roof the removal of the panels can add significant cost.

              The ground mounted ones require special support brackets and equipment to keep them sturdy and at the correct angle. This comes at a cost, and they must have the free space on the ground to maintain the number of panels needed for your home, which can take up a lot of space.

Are they worth it?

              There is a principle in that electrical engineer use that says that when one form of electricity is converted to another form, there is lost efficiency. This is one reason why incandescent light bulbs get hot, because of the lost efficiency that was not converted into light. The same is true for solar panels, Various models have more or less efficiency, but there is loss because of the conversion. There are other factors to consider like local regulations, nearby trees and tall building among other things. Solar power panels have came a long way in the last decades and have really improved. The best option is to consult with a local solar company that can give appropriate pricing, incentives, and evaluation based on your unique circumstance. When properly installed cost savings can add up as time passes.

Shopping Editor Thu, 17 May 2018 09:38:08 -0400
Ways to Never Drunk Drive Ever Again

Everyone, who drives, must have heard this phrase a thousand times: “don’t drink and drive”. It can be annoying at certain times, but there is a strong reason why friends or family keep on reminding you about that. Studies show that approximately there is someone who gets killed in an alcohol-related crash every half an hour. And that is one serious issue to be tackled.

Being said that, there are ways on how to eliminate that risk.

Learn about the safe alternatives below rather than be charged by driving home under the influence of alcohol and know what works best for you.

  1. 1. Assign a designated driver. If you are going out with a set of friends, always assign 1 or 2 designated drivers. The other assigned driver for the night is a backup plan in case the first choice decided to have “too much” fun. Use only one car and pick everyone up, and make sure to drop everyone off as well after. Then take turns next time you go out.
  2. 2. Get a Plan and Stick to it. If there is no possibility of picking everyone up the same night, make a deal with everyone and stick to it. If you need to swear down on everyone's life, to not let anyone from the group does drink driving then do it. It might sound easy to break, but do not forget that it is your precious life or your friend’s that matters here.
  1. 3. Arrange a Paid Ride Beforehand. There are apps right now that makes it easier to arrange a paid ride, like Uber for example. Or if you don’t like the idea of leaving your car somewhere and get it the following morning, try arranging a chauffeur instead. lets you book a personal driver who will drive your own car, instead of you doing it. It comes handy because their drivers even pick you up wherever you might be.
  1. 4. Stay cool, yet persistent. To be confrontational with someone who is drunk may not be particularly helpful. Because it will just make things worse and more complicated. Remain cool but be persistent when you stop them. Make sure to grab the keys away from them and don’t even let them get in the car.
  1. 5. Let them stay for the night. If you’re the only sober in the group, even if you just live a few blocks away then let them stay over. Or if the party happened at your place and everyone had too much fun that night, bring out those extra duvets and offer them your couch.
  1. 6. Don’t be afraid to get help. Sometimes conniving is not just a negative act to do. Especially if it could save a life. Talk to the rest of the group and decide as one to not allow one friend set off while drunk. After all, if everyone is ganging up on one, it’s difficult to negate.
  1. 7. Be Although it might be hard to communicate with a friend who is not in his right state of mind, be firm. Let them shout at you if need be, but stay focused on what you’re trying to achieve. And that is to prevent them from driving while under the influence of alcohol.

How to Detect Drunk Drivers:

Listed below are some signs officials would look at to detect drunk drivers on the road:

  • Doing wide turns and sudden swerving
  • Driving too close to the vehicle in front
  • Driving on the wrong side of the road
  • Driving very slow or sometimes very fast
  • Sudden stops and doing erratic brakes
  • Doesn’t respond quickly to traffic signs
  • Doing illegal turns
  • Driving with headlights off at night


The alternatives suggested above are not rocket science ideas. They can be easily done and followed. So the next time you go out with friends or even alone for drinks, never assume you are safe to drive. Remember that your definition of sober may not match a law enforcer’s version of it. Always do the safer alternatives and never drive under the influence of an alcohol.

Self Help Editor Fri, 11 May 2018 05:59:39 -0400
The Video Wall System and its Uses in Business

Several establishments use video walls nowadays. The video wall system is a growing business in itself as well. Companies, malls, schools, offices and many other establishments are already taking advantage of this technology to get a particular message across. Our world has become fast-paced and some people do not have the patience to stop and hear someone talk about their company, brand or product.

Yes, it is an investment, but it will greatly help your business in the long run. With the technology improving over the years, the scope of use of video walls increases as well. It is a medium where you can reach out to your potential customers. It is an effective business tool which can perform a wide range of operations. Here are some of its advantages:

  • This system allows you to schedule, manage or change content and monitor different devices attached to it from a single location. You can make changes on short notice and you can almost instantly see the reaction of your audience.
  • Unlike television commercials, the video wall system allows you to be more interactive with your audience. There are several options to help you keep the people’s attention and meet their expectations. It is a good medium to build brand engagement for any business with customers.
  • It is way cheaper than traditional marketing media, such as print ads and television commercials, where you pay large sums of money for a few seconds of media exposure.
  • It is, without a doubt, eye-catching and entertaining to the audience. With high definition and stunning colours, passers-by cannot help but stop and appreciate what it has to offer.
  • It definitely enhances the ambiance of your space. It creates a positive and pleasing impact to get the attention of everyone in the room.
  • Effective communication. Video walls can also be turned into a communication medium for conference rooms, reception areas, and public areas as well, displaying real-time data from anywhere in the world.

How to pick the best materials for your video wall

There are a lot of options. You can use either an LCD video wall or LED video wall. LCD screens are preferred for their ability to adjust levels of brightness. It also provides the highest resolution available in the market. Meanwhile, if you are on the eco-friendly side, the LED video wall is for you. LED screens are lightweight, energy efficient and compact.

Make sure that the video wall processor you use is of high quality. This is used to split the images on the screen. You also have to take the video wall mount into consideration. You want something durable to hold the screens. Once everything is installed, do not hesitate to ask assistance from a certified technical team who are experts in the video wall system.


Business and Law Editor Tue, 20 Feb 2018 10:55:56 -0500
3 Ways to Prevent Common Forklift Accidents

One of the most reliable equipment in the industrial field is the forklift and based on research, it is involved all over the United States in more than 856,000 task. It helps to make things easy for laborers to do their job in lifting and moving things in a certain distance and place. It may sound friendly, however, misfortunes with forklifts are currently increasing.

Usually, accidents happen because of unbalanced load that can cause a forklift to tip over, sometimes pinning and pushing a person against another thing that stands on its way makes it very fatal for its operator and unwanted victim.

There are approximately 61,800 minor injuries, less than 35,000 major injuries and 100 deaths that forklifts are responsible for these incidents according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration of Depart of Labor in the United States.

Precautionary measures, training and adequate knowledge in operating forklift could lessen the said accidents and increase the trust rate of having one in your work or business. In order for us to help you avoid this threat when working with forklifts, we listed down the right safety measurements that you would really need.

Keep up with Training

Department of Labor’s OSHA mandated every operator to have a proper training in working with forklifts. Not to mention about their $2 million collections every year because of the violation of some companies and establishments that didn’t meet this requirement. A study even showed that accidents with this machine come from lack of training.

An annual review exercise aside from new hires creates an association with tenured ones that could help them grow as an operator as well. On the side of the fact that this training is necessary to avoid foreseen accidents, it is actually a great kick-start as well for those who are new to this environment.

Speed Management

It’s actually time savvy for everyone when we accelerate above the norm. But this thinking is not appropriate when it comes to forklifts. Using it too fast is one of the main reasons why accidents are being associated with the said equipment. Regulating the speed based on the weather conditions and driving situations is a must to prevent unwanted injuries and worse, even death! Remember, it can happen anytime and the only thing that can resolve this are safety measures that should be understood every now and then.

Operators should maintain the forks not to be leveled more than 4 inches above the ground. Slowing down won’t hurt in driver’s safety especially in sharp corners that are really tricky to travel on. But for those who have loads greater than 10,000 lbs., their forks should be elevated 8” off the ground to prevent forklifts tip over that gives a result for the 14% of accidents happening with the same cause.

Ensure Safety of Surrounding Pedestrians and Workers

Confidently speaking, it is really the machinist’s responsibility to avoid nearby workers even when the forklift is not moving. They might think that since it is not powered, anyone can always pass through a forklift but they never see it in a different picture. The hazards tangled within forklift and the vicinity made it more complicated for some to understand the accidents. But one thing’s for sure, making the trail visible for the handler will make things easier for them in order to finish their work and help the others proceed with their own specialization.

Placing safety lights in front of the forklift and at the back of it is a big help for others to be notified instead of getting caught in an accident! Sometimes, several signs and ads to inform employees in the area to be careful with forklifts are applied but they tend to ignore it, not because it looks very easy to use but with the fact that operators are expected to avoid them. A helper that can check everything for drivers when they have big loads will make them at ease to proceed with what they’re doing, and will also increase hazard literacy in this industry.

Sure there are more things to remember but these are the foundation that will help any driver master the safety measures in using forklifts. This equipment looks subtle, but it is chaotic in a way when improper usage and lack of skills combined with making it work. Simple guidelines and awareness will prevent statistics regarding forklift accidents increase.

Business and Law Editor Thu, 15 Feb 2018 10:18:39 -0500
The Main Differences between Extra Virgin and Regular Olive Oil – and which is Best for Your Business

Olive oil is one of the most popular oils in the world today, and if you use it regularly for your business, whether you have a restaurant or a food business where you mix olive oil with other food items, you should know that it is comprised of different kinds. The most common, of course, is olive oil and extra virgin olive oil, but what exactly do you understand about the differences between the two? Here’s what you need to know about the main differences between extra virgin and regular olive oil – and which is best for your business.

The basics of olive oil

Basically, olive oil is the oil extracted from the olive fruit. Whilst this sounds quite straightforward, there are still plenty of varieties of the oil extracted from olives which are distinguished not by their type, but rather by the process through which the oil is extracted. Another distinguishing quality between the kinds of olive oil is the additives that they are comprised of, as well as the level or degree of free oleic acid in the oil.

Olive oil grading

If you place a bottle of extra virgin olive oil and regular olive oil side by side, you will notice a difference in colour. Extra virgin olive oil tends to be darker green, whilst olive oil has a lighter yellow tinge. The difference in colour, however, will often depend on the brand, and you can’t use it to determine the oil’s grade. The colour of the oil is only one factor, as there are the quality and the taste to consider as well.

In other words, olive oil is actually graded based on its acidity level – or its level or degree of free oleic acid. The amount of the acid in the oil is an indication of the extent of fat which has been broken down, turning the fat into fatty acids.

The difference between refined and unrefined

As confirmed by bulk olive oil suppliers like the Kiril Mischeff Group, olive oil is distinguished into two categories as well – refined or unrefined. An unrefined oil will often be untreated and pure, whilst refined oil will often be treated in order to get rid of ‘flaws’ which can affect the oil’s salability.

Here’s another distinct difference: refined oil hardly has any olive ‘smell’ or aroma, colour, or flavour, and it has no bitter taste. Extra virgin olive oil is referred to as an unrefined olive oil, and it is of the highest quality.

What to use

Extra virgin olive oil has a lower smoking point compared to other oils, and whilst you can cook with it, it’s better to use it in dips, salads, cold dishes, and so on, and to use regular olive oil for baking and cooking.

Image attributed to

Business and Law Editor Tue, 13 Feb 2018 07:57:58 -0500
"Experts" Are Not Always Right About Cryptocurrencies

Bitcoin peaked about a month ago, on December 17, at a high of nearly $20,000. As I write, the cryptocurrency is under $11,000... a loss of about 45%. That's more than $150 billion in lost market cap.

Cue much hand-wringing and gnashing of teeth in the crypto-commentariat. It's neck-and-neck, but I think the "I-told-you-so" crowd has the edge over the "excuse-makers."

Here's the thing: Unless you just lost your shirt on bitcoin, this doesn't matter at all. And chances are, the "experts" you may see in the press aren't telling you why.

In fact, bitcoin's crash is wonderful... because it means we can all just stop thinking about cryptocurrencies altogether.

The Death of Bitcoin...

In a year or so, people won't be talking about bitcoin in the line at the grocery store or on the bus, as they are now. Here's why.

Bitcoin is the product of justified frustration. Its designer explicitly said the cryptocurrency was a reaction to government abuse of fiat currencies like the dollar or euro. It was supposed to provide an independent, peer-to-peer payment system based on a virtual currency that couldn't be debased, since there was a finite number of them.

That dream has long since been jettisoned in favor of raw speculation. Ironically, most people care about bitcoin because it seems like an easy way to get more fiat currency! They don't own it because they want to buy pizzas or gas with it.

Besides being a terrible way to transact electronically - it's agonizingly slow - bitcoin's success as a speculative play has made it useless as a currency. Why would anyone spend it if it's appreciating so fast? Who would accept one when it's depreciating rapidly?

Bitcoin is also a major source of pollution. It takes 351 kilowatt-hours of electricity just to process one transaction - which also releases 172 kilograms of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. That's enough to power one U.S. household for a year. The energy consumed by all bitcoin mining to date could power almost 4 million U.S. households for a year.

Paradoxically, bitcoin's success as an old-fashioned speculative play - not its envisaged libertarian uses - has attracted government crackdown.

China, South Korea, Germany, Switzerland and France have implemented, or are considering, bans or limitations on bitcoin trading. Several intergovernmental organizations have called for concerted action to rein in the obvious bubble. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which once seemed likely to approve bitcoin-based financial derivatives, now seems hesitant.

And according to "The European Union is implementing stricter rules to prevent money laundering and terrorism financing on virtual currency platforms. It's also looking into limits on cryptocurrency trading."

We may see a functional, widely accepted cryptocurrency someday, but it won't be bitcoin.

... But a Boost for Crypto Assets

Good. Getting over bitcoin allows us to see where the real value of crypto assets lies. Here's how.

To use the New York subway system, you need tokens. You can't use them to buy anything else... although you could sell them to someone who wanted to use the subway more than you.

In fact, if subway tokens were in limited supply, a lively market for them might spring up. They might even trade for a lot more than they originally cost. It all depends on how much people want to use the subway.

That, in a nutshell, is the scenario for the most promising "cryptocurrencies" other than bitcoin. They're not money, they're tokens - "crypto-tokens," if you will. They aren't used as general currency. They are only good within the platform for which they were designed.

If those platforms deliver valuable services, people will want those crypto-tokens, and that will determine their price. In other words, crypto-tokens will have value to the extent that people value the things you can get for them from their associated platform.

That will make them real assets, with intrinsic value - because they can be used to obtain something that people value. That means you can reliably expect a stream of revenue or services from owning such crypto-tokens. Critically, you can measure that stream of future returns against the price of the crypto-token, just as we do when we calculate the price/earnings ratio (P/E) of a stock.

Bitcoin, by contrast, has no intrinsic value. It only has a price - the price set by supply and demand. It can't produce future streams of revenue, and you can't measure anything like a P/E ratio for it.

One day it will be worthless because it doesn't get you anything real.

Ether and Other Crypto Assets Are the Future

The crypto-token ether sure seems like a currency. It's traded on cryptocurrency exchanges under the code ETH. Its symbol is the Greek uppercase Xi character. It's mined in a similar (but less energy-intensive) process to bitcoin.

But ether isn't a currency. Its designers describe it as "a fuel for operating the distributed application platform Ethereum. It is a form of payment made by the clients of the platform to the machines executing the requested operations."

Ether tokens get you access to one of the world's most sophisticated distributed computational networks. It's so promising that big companies are falling all over each other to develop practical, real-world uses for it.

Because most people who trade it don't really understand or care about its true purpose, the price of ether has bubbled and frothed like bitcoin in recent weeks.

But eventually, ether will revert to a stable price based on the demand for the computational services it can "buy" for people. That price will represent real value that can be priced into the future. There'll be a futures market for it, and exchange-traded funds (ETFs), because everyone will have a way to assess its underlying value over time. Just as we do with stocks.

What will that value be? I have no idea. But I know it will be a lot more than bitcoin.

My advice: Get rid of your bitcoin, and buy ether at the next dip.

Ted Bauman joined The Sovereign Investor Daily in 2013. As an expat who lived in South Africa for 25 years, Ted specializes in asset protection and international migration. Read more of what he has to say about offshore living here.

Money and Finance Editor Mon, 29 Jan 2018 02:54:31 -0500
What You Need to Know About General Surgeries

General surgery is a specialty, which focuses on different abdominal contents like the bile ducts, the appendix, the gallbladder, the pancreas, liver, colon, small bowel, stomach, and esophagus. Most times, it involves the thyroid gland, but this mainly depends on the referral patterns. General surgery also deals with different diseases that affect hernias, peripheral vascular surgery, trauma, soft tissue, breast, as well as skin. Procedures like colonoscopy and gastroscopy are also included here.

The scope

Trauma surgery

In many locations, the responsibility for trauma care usually falls under general surgery. There are surgeons who obtain more training to offer critical care. The general surgeons should be in a position to handle all sorts of surgical emergencies. They are often called so as to handle patients who are injured critically or those that are very ill. They are required to perform different procedures so as to stabilize the patients. They should be able to do thoracotomy, emergency laparotomy, compartment fasciotomies, cricothyroidotomy, and thoracostomy so as to staunch any bleeding. These are the people you will find in trauma or surgical intensive care units.

This area also covers emergency surgery like organ perforations, bowel obstructions, infections, and bleeding. Gallbladder removal is one of the surgical procedures that are very common all over the world. It has to be done electively. However, the gallbladder is at risk of being inflamed acutely and may require one to get an emergency operation. Other common emergencies include small bowel obstructions, rupture of the appendix, and infections in the appendix.

Laparoscopic surgery

This is a specialty that is new. It mainly deals with techniques for access where cameras, as well as small instruments, are inserted through small incisions. A lot is evolving from the concept such as robotic surgery. Colons, appendices, and gallbladders can actually be removed by application of the technique. Hernias can be repaired using the method. It is possible to perform bariatric surgery in this way and there are many benefits that are associated with this. They include the reduction of complications of surgical wounds, especially in the obese patients. It is important that the general surgeons be well trained in the area and proficient too.

Colorectal surgery

General surgery also deals with lots of minor and major rectal and colon diseases. This includes the inflammatory bowel diseases like Cohn's disease or ulcerative colitis. Others are hemorrhoids, gastrointestinal bleeding, treat cancer, colon cancer, and diverticulitis.

Breast surgery

General surgery also handles lots of breast surgery that is non-cosmetic. This includes mastectomy all the way to lumpectomy. This usually pertains to the diagnosis, the evaluation and the treatment of cancer.

Vascular surgery

Vascular surgery is also a specialty of general surgery. However, for this one needs to have special training in the area. This area is usually handled by specialists. Most of the times, the general surgeons can actually handle the minor disorders.

There are many other areas covered by general surgery. These areas include endocrine surgery, transplant surgery, surgical oncologists, cardiothoracic surgery, pediatric surgery, and so on. Minimally invasive surgery has become prevalent in the present day. Robotic surgery has come with a lot of enthusiasm even though it is very costly.

Dallas surgical center offers all-round medical treatment including general surgery. There is a team of medical experts who are trained and capable of handling different surgical procedures. Visit for more information.

Health and Fitness Editor Wed, 27 Dec 2017 02:56:53 -0500
10 Easy to Minimize Household Expenses Are you running out of money before you run out of month? Running a household can be expensive. With so many different expenses, it’s easy for the costs to get out of control unless you’re careful. You can certainly find more exciting ways to spend your money than paying too much to your auto insurance company! You can even add to your savings account each month.

Avoid spending more than necessary on your household expenses:

  1. Always ask if a generic version is available for your prescriptions. Generics can cost as much as 85% less. There are also online services that will inform you of the best prices for your medications. is a well-known example.
  2. Find ways to spend less money entertaining your family. Matinee movies are typically half the price of later showings. The park near your apartment is free. During much of the year, the weekends offer various festivals and fairs that can be both fun and inexpensive.
  3. Cable TV. How many of your 172 stations do you actually watch? With much less expensive options like Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube, you might find satisfactory options for less money.
  4. One of the reasons most monthly plans are so expensive is that the cost of the phone is included. You didn’t really think that fancy phone was free, did you? After your 2-year contract is up, you can continue using your phone and switch to a month-to-month plan that only costs about half as much.
  • If you can do without a smart phone, there are options for as little as $15/month for basic phone and text message service.
  1. Food is a significant and ongoing expense for all families. Eating out is especially expensive. Whether it’s morning gourmet coffee, going out for lunch every day, or taking the family out for dinner.
  • The grocery store can also be an expensive place if you fail to keep the cost in mind. A family of four can easily spend $800 a month on food. This is an excellent category to minimize your expenses.
  1. Plant a garden. Not only can you grow a lot of your own food for practically free, but also there always seems to be more than you can eat. Take the excess to a local farmers’ market and make a profit. Put that income towards the food purchases your garden can’t satisfy.

  2. Refinance your home or automobile. Compare the interest rate of your loans to the current interest rate. You might be able cut your monthly payment considerably. Be sure to factor in the cost of refinancing.
  3. Shop around for new insurance quotes. It’s a good idea to check your insurance rates each year. Do some research and ensure that you’re paying the lowest rate for the coverage you require.
  4. Ask for a reduction in your credit card interest rate. Many credit card companies will lower your interest rate if you just ask. They’d rather receive less interest than risk having you transfer your balance and cancel your current credit card account.
  5. Buy second-hand clothing. It’s easy to find perfectly good, brand-name clothing for as little as $2 per item. Consider how many pieces of clothing you own that you barely wear. There’s a lot of used clothing out there that’s practically brand new.

It’s easy to believe that you’re already spending as little as possible on your household expenses. However, there are many ways to trim your expenses without dramatically altering your lifestyle. Spend your money on something more enjoyable or grow your savings for the future.

Money and Finance Editor Sun, 19 Nov 2017 18:04:29 -0500
8 Steps to Becoming a Top Earner in Your Field

In most fields, whether medicine, law, business, consulting, or accounting, there are a select few that make far more money than the rest. There are steps you can take to become a top earner in your field of employment. Is it luck? Do you need to be extremely charismatic? Do you require some special talent? No, no, and no.

Consistently being a little bit better than your peers and focusing on success is all that’s required.

Separate yourself from the rest in these ways:

  1. Have a goal. Achieving exceptional results requires a goal or luck. Luck is uncontrollable, so focus on creating a goal instead. Have a specific goal in mind that includes a specific dollar amount and deadline. Wanting “a lot of money” isn’t an effective goal.
  2. Keep money in mind when making decisions. When choosing a career, consider the earning potential. A personal trainer could choose to focus on bodybuilders or high school athletes. One that works with famous actors, executives, or professional athletes has far more opportunities to earn a large income.
  3. Find a mentor. A suitable mentor is someone that has accomplished what you wish to accomplish. It would also be advantageous if they had a genuine interest in providing guidance and advice.
  • Following in the footsteps of someone that’s already successful can save a lot of time.
  1. Spend time with those with similar goals. There are others with the same goals and aspirations as you. Seek them out and become friends. Find those that are already successful at the level you hope to attain. You’ll learn things you’re unlikely to learn from your current crowd.
  2. Seek to enhance your performance each day. There are a few fields where the participants regularly attempt to enhance their performance. Musicians, artists, and athletes regularly spend time getting better at their craft.
  • How often have you seen a lawyer or a manager set aside time to boost their skills? Rarely, if ever.
  • If no one else is striving to become more skillful, how much competition do you have?
  1. Increase your knowledge each day. Gaining more knowledge will allow you to apply your skills more effectively.
  • Thirty minutes each day is enough to get ahead. Spend this time reading books or researching your field online to seek a higher level of understanding.
  1. Get used to being uncomfortable. As you stretch yourself to think and do new things, you’re going to feel that uncomfortable twinge we’ve all felt. It’s just a physical sensation, like a sore toe or a hand that’s fallen asleep. There’s no reason to let it control your thoughts and actions.
  • Why would you quit because of a slight queasy feeling in your stomach? Your subconscious knows which buttons to push to encourage you to quit. Avoid giving in.
  1. If there’s one trait found in all top earners, it’s perseverance. It’s not difficult to be incredibly successful if you’ll keep getting better and refuse to quit. In fact, it’s just about impossible to fail. Some days are more promising than others, but great days are on the way.

Becoming a top earner is well within your reach. Have a goal and keep it in the front of your mind. Find a successful mentor. Continue to learn and increase your skills and knowledge. Persevere until your goal of becoming a top earner has been reached.

Money and Finance Editor Wed, 18 Oct 2017 12:51:30 -0400
Some Tips to Save Money When You Travel

Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, your next trip doesn't have to cost a small fortune. Regardless of your current financial situation, it's wise to plan ahead so your travel adventures don't derail your budget.

According to, one of the most common areas that folks exceed their budgets is excessive spending on vacations and other forms of travel!

The good news is that there are several ways you can reduce your travel costs, whether you’re trotting the globe or just taking a brief excursion to a nearby city!

Follow these steps to reduce your travel expenses:

Book early

You can save a lot on the cost of your tickets and reservations by booking well in advance. Early planners also grab the best hotel and transportation deals by booking way ahead of time. 

It's not uncommon to save 50% or more on the cost of your airline ticket if you can make your reservations 6 months in advance of your trip.

You can save even more on your airline costs by using nearby regional airports rather than flying directly into a large city.

If you’re required to travel on short notice, seek out the services of a travel club or online travel site that offers price comparisons, discounts for bundles, and special rates for members.

If you’re traveling internationally, use the train or bus to save big. Go directly to the provider's website at least 2 to 3 weeks in advance to save up to 50% on train and bus tickets.

If you’re planning to make stops in several international cities, consider buying a rail pass for your entire route for additional savings.

If you plan to attend a concert or theater event, get your tickets online rather than waiting. Online coupons and discounts can help you save up to 45% off the price you would pay at the box office.

Travel during the off season

Hotels, hostels, and resorts offer steep discounts to travelers who visit during a specific location's "off season."

Most hotels and resorts offer lower rates for rooms booked for Sunday through Wednesday nights, rather than the weekend.

Be selective when deciding which activities you want to do on your trip

It's easy to fall for local "tourist traps" when you’re on a vacation in an unfamiliar location. Entrance fees and other charges quickly add up.

If there are attractions that you’d really like to visit on your trip, look for free ways to enjoy the site. A great way to enjoy a site for free is to picnic and play on the grounds outside rather than paying entrance fees to take an inside tour.

Reducing the number of locations that you explore on your trip will help you preserve your energy levels as well as your wallet!

Buy groceries rather than dine out

Shop at a local grocery store to provide some of your meals and snacks each day.

Many hotels offer their guests complimentary breakfasts during their stay. Be sure to take advantage of this deal if it's offered!

When dining out, do so during lunch hours to receive special offers and discounts.

It’s unnecessary to go into debt or exhaust your life's savings just to have a good time when you travel. These simple, money-saving tricks will help you stick to your budget, even when you’re on vacation!

Travel Editor Fri, 15 Sep 2017 03:45:44 -0400
13 Things You Can Do When You Can't Take a Vacation

It’s been called a staycation, or a vacation spent on your home turf. It’s possible to have a better vacation at home, since you’re saving so much money on travel, lodging, and food. You can spend some of that money at a high-end restaurant or golf course. There’s no reason to be upset if you can’t afford a week in Paris. You can find plenty to do at home!

Avoid the stress of traveling, sleeping in a different bed, and paying too much to eat every meal at a restaurant. Spend that money on more enjoyable activities.

Enjoy your vacation at home:

  1. Spend the day at the beach. If you’re lucky enough to live near a lake or the ocean, a day at the beach is a good way to spend the day. Work on your tan and get some exercise swimming.

  2. Spend the day at the pool. Those without access to a beach can take advantage of the next best thing: the local pool. Splurge for snacks and live it up.

  3. Go for a long bike ride. Your bike might be hiding behind the lawnmower or beneath the rake, but it’s ready to go. Add some air to the tires and go out for a long ride. Look online for bike paths and popular routes.

  4. Have a picnic. Whether it’s at the park, pool, or beach, a picnic provides a relaxing, enjoyable time. Pack your favorite foods and bring your favorite people. A bottle of wine can be a nice touch.

  5. Attend a sporting event. Professional sports are exciting, but expensive. If an NBA game is out of your budget, check out the local high school team. Sports can be exciting at any level.

  6. Read a book. It can be hard to find time to read when you always seem to be busy with work. Take advantage of your free time and relax with a good book. You might even find the time to get a library card. Then your books are free.

  7. Visit a local museum or zoo. Most people go out of town to visit the zoo or museum. Now is the time to check out your local offerings.

  8. Spend a day at the movies. Pack in three or more movies in the same day. The real cost is the food. Consider watching one movie, then heading out for lunch. You’ll be full and satisfied for the next couple of movies.

  9. Have friends over for a movie night. Stay at home and rent movies on demand. Invite over a few friends and tell them to bring their favorite snacks.

  10. Rent a boat. Rent a speedboat or sailboat for the day. Test out your skills and spend some quality time on the water.

  11. Check out a local band. Get out for an evening and enjoy the local music scene. Enjoy the nightlife for a change of pace.

  12. Go out for a fancy lunch. Since you’re not spending money on a vacation, you might have the funds available to have lunch at that fancy restaurant downtown. Splurge a little bit and enjoy yourself.

  13. Work on your golf or tennis game. You’ve always said you’d be great at golf if you just had the time to practice. Now you have the time. Consider taking a few lessons and concentrate on improving your game.

A staycation can be a better option than going out of town. The sights might be familiar, but you’ll have more money to spend on entertainment if you stay at home. Use your vacation time wisely, get out of the house, and enjoy your time off.

Travel Editor Wed, 16 Aug 2017 14:40:38 -0400
5 Inexpensive Home Improvements to Instantly Increase Your Property Value

In order to increase your property value, it's important to pay attention to the desires of prospective buyers when doing upgrades in your home. However, bringing your home up-to-date needn't cost you an arm and a leg. In fact, it'll generally cost you an afternoon and less than $1,000 to create the look buyers and appraisers are fawning over.

Try these inexpensive home improvements that are sure to increase its value and aesthetic appeal:

1. Crown Molding. Rather than spending hundreds of dollars on having luxurious crown molding installed, you can create the look yourself by using inexpensive faux techniques!

Using a nail gun, nail decorative molding to the top of the wall adjacent to the ceiling. Four inches below this molding, nail another stripe of this decorative molding throughout the room. Then, simply paint the blank 4-inch area with white paint.

2. Hardwood flooring. Hardwood flooring is generally a very costly endeavor, often costing more than $4 per square foot. However, bamboo flooring is surprisingly inexpensive, costing as little as $1.79 per square foot.

For a 1,500 sq. ft. home, the cost of purchasing bamboo flooring for the price mentioned above would be approximately $2,700. However, keep in mind that it generally isn't recommended to lay hardwood in bathrooms and kitchens. Therefore, omitting these rooms would result in an even lower cost.

Many homes have hardwood flooring only in the entryway, living room and dining room. The kitchen and bathrooms are generally tiled, and the bedrooms and upstairs hallway are carpeted.

3. Landscaping. Your home's curb appeal will set the tone for how a buyer will feel before even entering your home. If your landscaping is lacking and the siding of your home is dingy, they won't expect much of the interior.

Tidying up can go a long way. Rent a power washer to deeply clean your home's siding, deck, driveway and entryway. Renting a power washer can cost as little as $70, but it can increase your home's curb appeal exponentially.

Planting flowers and plants on both sides of your porch to flank your entryway is a nice way to say "welcome home" to buyers (and the appraiser). To save money, purchase plants and flowers that are in season. You can also plant flowers as bulbs to save a few dollars, though the effects will not be instantaneous.

Exterior shutters add traditional charm to your home. The best part is that you can purchase shutters for as little as $65 each at home improvement stores like Lowes and Home Depot.

4. Add a backsplash. A backsplash is to the kitchen what eyebrows are to the face - it frames the room. By simply adding a backsplash to the bare space between your countertops and cabinets, you can transform your kitchen from blah to ta-da!

While kitchen backsplashes are generally a high-cost project, you can minimize this expense by using a low cost tile for the majority of the backsplash and placing a stripe or pattern of luxurious coordinating tiles throughout.

Consider using unconventional materials, such as tin ceiling panels, vinyl tile flooring, or even painting a backsplash by using faux finishing techniques. Out-of-the box creativity can often pay off nicely when re-decorating.

5. Upgrade a bathroom. A bathroom upgrade needn't cost $10,000 in order to look beautiful. Rather than adding a new garden tub or replacing a vanity, make small upgrades in order to achieve an equally impressive impact.

Frame your builder-grade mirror by using a $100 mirror framing kit from companies like MirrorMate or Moen.

Add new hardware to your vanity for less than $25.

Paint an outdated vanity for less than $25 and paint over tired laminate with a $50 faux-granite countertop paint kit from a company such as Giani.

Remember to apply a fresh coat of neutral paint to the walls.

In total, your bathroom upgrade would cost approximately $200. Now, that's a big bang for your buck!

As a homeowner, it's your responsibility to ensure that your home is up-to-date in the real estate market to routinely increase your home's property value.

In reality, your home is only worth as much as a buyer is willing to pay for it. Therefore, it only makes sense to upgrade your home with the trimmings you know are sound investments because they're highly requested features by buyers.

Real Estate Editor Thu, 06 Jul 2017 20:35:07 -0400
Wholesale Real Estate: What You Need to Know Want to invest in real estate with no financial risk and no money or credit? Wholesaling houses is a popular choice. I personally think wholesaling can be a challenging way to get started, but the fact that you can get started in real estate investing without any barrier of entry makes wholesaling an attractive option. If you can get good at this side of the business, you will be success with anything you want to do. The reason I say that is finding deals is what makes a wholesaler successful. If you can get good at finding deals, you have unlimited potential.

Once you find a deal, you need to understand how to sell it to make your profit. Here are four ways you can structure your wholesale properties.

Contract Assignment: This is the easiest, but comes with some risks if not done correctly. It is also somewhat restrictive as bank owned properties will prevent this. This works well when you negotiate your deals directly with the seller. The way this works is you will get a house under contract and then you will assign your rights in the contract to another buyer for a fee. That new buyer will take on the rights and responsibilities in the contract and will close in your place. It is best to get your fee paid up front, but it is very common to get your fee when your buyer buys the house. Here are a few things to keep in mind when assigning contracts.

Be sure that you always disclose to your seller that you are or may assign the agreement to another buyer for a fee. I suggest you actually put this in the contract. Sellers should be OK with this if you are transparent that you are an investor who buys houses for a profit before you start to negotiate.

I would get money from your money that is at least enough to cover any earnest money you put up with your seller. That way if your buyer defaults on the agreement you at least cover your costs. Always try to get the entire fee paid when you assign the contract.

I like this way the best because it is easy to do on your end, it is easy for the buyer and the buyer's lender, and it is the cheapest way to go.

Double Close: This just means that you actually buy the house and then resell it. There are several ways to do this, but the most common is to buy and sell in the same day or within a day. Typically, you will need to bring in financing to get your closing done with the seller, which is why this is my least preferred method to wholesale. Also, because you have two closings you will have two sets of closing costs, so it is the most expensive way too. With that said, some wholesalers prefer this method because they do not have to disclose to the seller their intent to resell and they can both keep their deal with the seller and their deal with their buyer private. It is believed by some that this is a good way to protect your profits. The information will all become public record at some point, but that is well after the closing.

This is the method you will use by default if you do not do your contract on the front end correctly, so we do see double closing frequently.

Flip the Entity: This has become the most common way to wholesale in my market. Most, if not all, the successful wholesalers will use this strategy. Especially when wholesaling foreclosures where contract assignments are forbidden.

The way this works is the wholesaler will set up a separate entity, like an LLC or a Trust, and put that entity as the buyer of the house to be wholesaled. They will then sell the entity itself for a fee. The benefit with using this strategy is that actual contract on the house does not change. Since the buyer of the house is the entity, there are no issues with any regulation or assignment restrictions. The downside is it could be more work because of the extra step to set up the entity, and there could be additional fees to register the entity with the state. The risk for the buyer is whenever you buy a company you are buying all of it. So, if the entity was used in another transaction and owes money to anyone, the new buyer could be on the hook. Knowing this, the best way to do this transaction is with a brand-new entity used for this one purpose.

Relationship Close: I don't know if there is an actual name for this method. In fact, it is rarely seen. What I mean by relationship close is that you have such a strong relationship with a buyer that you write offers in the buyer's name. For this to work, you should be a licensed agent and preview houses for your buyer. You would need to understand their criteria and only offer on houses they will want to buy. I have a client that works this way. He has an agent write his offers and the agent/wholesaler gets paid a commission with each successful closing. They do 2 to 3 deals a month with this strategy. My client just signs contracts without looking at them at this point and trusts what the wholesaler is putting together solid offers. There is always an inspection clause protecting the buyer and the agent, but more than 9 out of 10 houses that go under contract close. That is because the agent/wholesaler knows the business and knows what this buyer will buy.

I would stay away from this method, especially if you are just starting out. A lot can go wrong. I wanted to mention it because it is one of the 4 ways that I see people wholesale. If you are just getting started I would focus on contract assignments and then flipping the entity.

Real Estate Editor Thu, 29 Jun 2017 07:30:38 -0400
What Is Serverless Computing and Whay It's Important

The term serverless grew in popularity as Amazon first launched AWS Lambda in 2014. Since then it has grown in both usage and reference, as more and more retailers enter the market with their own solutions.

Serverless Computing is a computing code execution model where the developers are relieved of several time-consuming activities so that they can focus on other important tasks. This trend is also known as Function as a Service (FaaS) where the cloud vendor is responsible for starting and stopping a function's container platform, check infrastructure security, reduce maintenance efforts, improve scalability, so on and so forth at low operational costs. The aim is to develop microservice oriented solutions to help decompose complex applications into small, easily manageable and exchangeable modules.

This brings us to the question - are there really 'serverless' computing services?

Of course, it is only logical that there should be servers in the background, but developers need not bother about the operation or provisioning of these servers; the entire server management is done by the cloud provider. Thus, the developer can devote more of his time to creating effective and innovative codes.

Here is how it works:

  1. Being serverless, the developers are relieved from the tension of server operation and maintenance and hence, can focus on the codes.
  2. The developer gets access to a framework with which he can create codes, which are adaptable for IoT applications as well, and that means handling the exodus of inputs and outputs. The cause and effect of the code will be reflected in the framework.
  3. It takes on the role of a service, by providing all requisites for a functioning application.

The upsides and downsides of serverless computing

Serverless computing has the following benefits:

It Saves Time and Overhead Costs

Many large companies like Coca- Cola and The Seattle Times are already leveraging the benefits of serverless computing to help trigger code in response to a series of pre-defined events. This helps them to manage their fleet of servers without the threat of overhead costs.

One of the main attractions of serverless computing is that it is a 'pay as you use' model. You just need to pay for the runtime of your function - the duration your code is executed and the number of times it's been triggered. You don't have to incur the cost of unutilized functions as seen in a cloud computing model where even 'idle' resources must be paid for.

Nanoservices takes Serverless Computing to a Whole New Level

Serverless architecture gives you the chance to work with several architectures including nano-services. It is these architectures that help you structure your serverless computing application. You can say that Nanoservices is the first architectural pattern because each functionality comes with its own API endpoint and its own separate function file.

Each of the API endpoints points to one function file that implements one CRUD (Create, Retrieve, Update, Delete) functionality. It works in perfect correlation with microservices, another architecture of serverless computing, and enables auto scaling and load balancing. You no longer have to manually configure clusters and load balancers.

Enjoy an Event-based Compute Experience

Companies are always worried about infrastructure costs and provisioning of servers when their Functions call rate become very high. Serverless providers like Microsoft Azure are a perfect solution for situations like this as they aim to provide an event-based serverless compute experience to aid in faster app development.

It is event-driven, and developers no longer have to rely on the ops to test their code. They can quickly run, test and deploy their code without getting tangled in the traditional workflow.

Scaling as Per the Size of the Workload

Serverless Computing automatically scales your application. With each individual trigger, your code will run parallel to it, thereby reducing your workload and saving time in the process. When the code is not running, you don't have to pay anything.

The charging takes place for every 100ms your code executes and for the number of times the code is triggered. This is a good thing because you no longer pay for an idle compute.

Developers can Quit Worrying about the Machinery the Code Runs on

The promise given to developers through IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service)- one of the service models of cloud computing and serverless computing is that they can stop worrying about how many machines are needed at any given point of time, especially during peak hours, whether the machines are working optimally, whether all the security measures are offered and so on.

The software teams can forget about the hardware, concentrate on the task at hand and dramatically reduce costs. This is because they no longer have to worry about hardware capacity requirements nor make long-term server reservation contracts.

Downsides of serverless computing

Performance can be an issue.

The model itself means you'll get greater latency in how the compute resources respond to the requirements of the applications. If performance is a requirement, it's better instead to use allocated virtual servers.

Monitoring and debugging of serverless computing is also tricky.

The fact that you're not using a single server resource makes both activities very difficult. (The good news is that tools will eventually arrive to better handle monitoring and debugging in serverless environments.)

You will be bound to your provider.

It's often hard to make changes in the platform or switch providers without making application changes as well.

The serverless architecture is an innovative approach to deploying as well as writing an application that enables the developers to focus on code. This kind of approach can decrease time to market, system complexity and operational costs. While the third-party services like AWS Lambda are leveraged by AWS to eliminate the need to set up as well as configure virtual machines or physical servers, it also locks in the application as well as its architecture to the particular service provider. In the near future, more movement towards the unification of FaaS frameworks or APIs like IronFunctions can be expected. This will help to eliminate vendor lock-in and allow us to run serverless applications on various cloud providers or even on-premises

Computers and Technology Editor Fri, 09 Jun 2017 15:27:13 -0400
Why It's Very Important to Have A Investment Portfolio

Investing is not a game. Not for the weak hearted. Stock markets move up and down. One cannot just predict the market. Not possible to predict its movement. Hence cannot time it's up and down. One can build a solid portfolio so as to possibly succeed. Few considerations to keep in mind.

Invest with a goal in mind - As discussed in one of the point, the purpose of investing should be kept in mind. Even before starting with the investment. One should know what it will cost to achieve that purpose. Purpose shows the path to investment. Always correcting it when invest is going off the path. Yogi Berra, a wise baseball philosopher sums up "If you don't know where you're going, you'll miss it every time."

Your present situation and risk you can take - What is the financial position today? How much one has earned and how much one has saved till date. In future date what will be the need. How much earning should be there so as to save enough amount to fulfill the required goal.

If the savings is insufficient then that saving should be channelized for investment. Then the amount will increase in the shorter period. When investment comes into picture the topic of risk arises.

All investment carries risk. The level may vary from type of investment. One extreme is high-risk takers and another extreme is risk-averse. This depends upon nature of the individual and the circumstances.

With risk comes the reward. High risk, high rewards. Low risk, low rewards. Usually, individuals take the middle path. Medium risk and medium rewards. One can take help of the best share tip provider to ease the situation.

Purpose - There should a definite purpose or goal for investment. It should personal one like a holiday abroad or buying a home or marriage or education or retirement or anything. Once the purpose or goal is set, next is setting the time to achieve it. It can be a week or month or a year or a decade.

Example, going for a holiday trip to Europe next summer. Here the purpose is holiday trip. Time duration is 2 years. What you want to do and when. Get nifty future tips, two-day free trial.

Quality, not quantity - For the long term, it is the quality which lasts, not quantity. Whatever be the components of your portfolio, see that it maintains quality. Because one's holdings are critically important.

Diversified investment - The portfolio should not be put up in a haphazard manner. It should be put up with proper planning. It should be put up after considering the fundamental and technical's of the securities.

The portfolio should be diverse across sectors (IT, banks), caps (small, mid, large) industries (cement, mining, pharma), bonds, fixed deposit, provident funds, precious metals and stones (gold, diamond), MFs, real estate, geographical regions, commodities tips etc.

Here risk tolerance of the investor should also be taken into account. Certain investments are risky in short terms but are not risky in long term. There are many share market advisory company who can calculate the risk associated.

In shares, one should look for cash flow, product, profits, dividend history, management, place of among peers, etc of the company.

Current market shares may be expensive or cheap, which depends upon present political environment, demand and supply, etc. Buy only quality 'A' listed shares.

Mudassir Hasan is a financial enthusiast and likes to share his knowledge on Indian financial market. He also provides commodity tips, share market tips and nifty tips.

Money and Finance Editor Mon, 29 May 2017 03:24:22 -0400