Archive for January, 2014

Streamlining Business Communications: A Quick Guide

Tech Week January 30, 2014 at 5:39 am

With the heightening competition in today’s market, businesses must maintain a competitive edge. One of the many strategies large multinational firms employ is to streamline their business communications.

Here is a quick guide to some of the tactics they employ:

Integrating technology

sip trunk

Technological innovation in has sped up the way we communicate with one another, be it in business or any other field. Companies have to keep up with technology to stay ahead of the game.

One method many firms use to streamline their communications is referred to SIP Trunking. It is similar to running phone lines from a T1 circuit. SIP trunking connects all incoming calls to computers and even mobile phones instead of organisations being tied to traditional cable desk phones. Reliable SIP Trunk providers in the UK and other parts of the globe ensure that connections has little to zero downtime, paving the way for more efficient business communications.

Hosted PBX is also away to streamline communications across offices and employees while cutting down on overhead. A high-speed Internet connection is definitely an advantage in the workplace, as it hastens the completion of every task at hand.

A unified workforce

Clearly, it is easier to convey messages to a workforce if the employees and the management are consistently in sync. Many companies prefer to prevent the likelihood of any disputes with open communications’ attitudes. More often than not, updates from a business’s key decision-makers, setting of goals for sales and other aspects of the trade are essential in the growth of any firm.

Aligned with open communication, maintaining a positive team culture in the office is fundamentally important. Team building activities and other employee-focussed approaches are something that most companies make the most of, to keep the workforce efficient and satisfied.

Often, the best way to streamline office communication is through a combination of these two methods.

For one, implementing technology that speeds up company processes is important, and companies must regularly do this to maintain a competitive edge. For companies that want to grow and succeed, this would be a pointless exercise without a workforce that collaboratively aims to achieve a company’s goals.

In essence, a good mix of these two ensures progress and efficient implementation of business processes inside and outside the office.

The Pipes You Know: The Different Kinds of Sewers

Service Week January 29, 2014 at 6:08 am

men at workSewers are one of the necessary things in a city that people would rather not go to, or think about. Plumbers are the only people who might even be aware of what the sewers under Melbourne even look like, much less the different kinds. Oh yes, there are different kinds of sewers, much to the surprise of many people. There’s more to the city’s watery underbelly than a mishmash of tunnels and pipes.

Effluent Sewer

No, these aren’t sewers for rich people. Effluent sewer systems, also known as septic tank effluent drainage (STED) or solids-free sewer (SFE), collects sewage from residences and businesses via septic tanks, with most of the solid waste stopping there. The outflowing gas or water that comes out of the tanks goes to a centralised sewage treatment facility.

Effluent systems have smaller pipes and use pumps instead of a gravity system. Effluent systems are usually some of the shallower buried pipes, only laying a metre or two below street level.

Sanitary Sewers

Sanitary sewers, sometimes called foul sewers, are a separate undercarriage system specifically for transporting sewage from houses and businesses for treatment or disposal. Sanitary sewers were built separate from storm drains to discourage early Melbourne residents from throwing their waste into steel runoffs that carried untreated waste to the river.

During the years before the sanitary sewer system, the Melbourne population used a device called the ‘thunderbox’. People would do their business in the box, and a night man would come and empty it. The only problem with this setup was that the night man only came once a week, making the thunderbox an impractical and smelly method.

Stormwater Drains

Stormwater drains are runoff systems designed to carry excess rain and ground water from paved streets. Most people recognise these drains as the grilled holes in the street, and are what many immediately recall when talking about sewers. Drains vary in size from small residential dry wells to large municipal systems, with most public drains connected to street gutters, motorways, and other busy roads. Since only excess water is expected to pass through these systems, the pipes carry untreated content directly into rivers and streams.

Commercial plumbing in Melbourne has come a long way since the early days of the city’s settlement. People take these services for granted every day and never even think about what goes on beneath their feet. If you’re one of those people who’d rather live in the early settlement era, think about what you’ll do when the handle on the toilet is broken, and maybe you’ll change your mind.

Lighting the Sky: How Fireworks Explode in Different Colours

Product Review January 28, 2014 at 4:15 am

colourful fireworks displayFireworks are made of stars. No, really, there are things in fireworks called stars that make them blow up in different colours. Stars are cube-shaped, dough-like materials that are a mix of oxidising agent, metal salt, and a reducing agent. Different ratios of these three basic ingredients are what give fireworks their colourful display.

Naming the Star

It may be strange for some to imagine why a cube that’s just around four cm. in diameter is called a star, and they would be right. But, stars don’t get their name for what they are; they get their name for what they do, which is exploding in a bright array of colours.

Timing is Everything

Pyro technicians, and sometimes fireworks sellers pack stars carefully in compartments within the fireworks shells. Time delay fuses control the ignition of stars by fractions of a second so that they explode after the firework shell expires. The firework needs to reach its maximum height and die out before the stars should explode.

The reason for this is threefold; first, if the stars explode before the firework reaches its maximum height, then it wouldn’t be much of a firework because not as many people would see it. Second, if a star explodes at the same time as the firework, the shell of the firework might affect the display of the star, either through the colour or design of the explosion. Finally, when spectators look at the colours of a firework, it’s actually the result of compounds starting to cool down as they start to fall. The heat energy of the explosion only transforms into light energy after the initial heat goes down a significant number of degrees.

Chemistry is Key

Most people who buy fireworks don’t spend much time thinking about what’s inside the packages they’re about to set on fire. But, the different compounds that go into making colourful fireworks isn’t short of amazing. For example, the three base colours of fireworks are red, blue, and green; created by strontium, copper, and barium respectively, following the RGB primary colour model.

Conventional colour knowledge may tell you that yellow and orange is produced from a combination of these three elements, but they actually have their own compounds; sodium makes yellow sparks, while calcium produces orange sparks.

Aluminium, magnesium, and titanium create silver and white lights.

Do people need to know about all this before they light a firework, though? Of course not; it’s here to give you something to brag about to your friends when you decide to light a firework.

Keep it Cool: Extra Features for Your AC

Product Review January 25, 2014 at 5:59 am

an air-conditioned roomAir conditioners today function far more efficiently than older models. Most of them can cool air faster, save utility bills, and last longer. The recent developments in air conditioning systems offer features that can satisfy your budget and comfort level.

Here are a few notable developments in air conditioners:

Energy Efficient

Energy Star certified air conditioning units have higher energy efficiency and are more economical than conventional models. This only means that you can enhance the comfort of your home while saving energy. Saving energy helps you save money on your electricity bill and protect the environment by preventing carbon pollution and reducing greenhouse gases.

Ducted Air Conditioning

Ducted air conditioning units provide year-round climate-controlled comfort at home. These systems are ideal for multiple room applications and can incorporate up to six separate air-conditioned zones. They can be installed in a new home or tailored to fit an existing one. It is more affordable to install a ducted air conditioner than to put up wall-hung split systems in every room.

Portable Units

Portable air conditioners are systems that can be easily moved from room to room depending on your daily needs. Most portable units can cool a room up to around 300-400 square feet in size. While they offer convenience and portability, they cost more to purchase.

Quiet Units

Modern air conditioners feature quiet operation. These sound sensitive units can cool your house without all the noise, making them ideal in a bedroom or any other area in your home where silence is valued.

Air-Cleaning Filters

Air conditioning units with an air cleaning filter freshen up the room quality and prevent the spread of viruses and bacteria at home. There are also units that come with an air purification filter which can remove unwanted odour and impurities in the air.

Sophisticated Designs

Units with sophisticated designs are durable, easy-to-use, and look attractive. Such units ensure a comfortable environment without intrusion into the overall look of your rooms.

Other features

Modern air conditioning units feature multiple cooling and fan setting that gives you the power to personalise your comfort. They also provide a 24-hour on/off timer that lets you control the system to turn on and off at specific times.

Invest in the latest advances in air conditioning to add more comfort to your home. Choose the most advanced system for your budget and hire reliable air conditioning services for its installation and maintenance.

Future Perfect: Tips for a Successful International Business Relocation

Service Week January 23, 2014 at 7:29 am

men transferring boxes into a truckThe expat life isn’t just for couples and young professionals. Many companies pull up stakes and move to a new place to find better odds for business success. Business relocation has special challenges that couples and yuppies don’t face. After all, focusing on expanding your business while dealing with the logistics is trickier and more challenging.

From learning their language to hiring the right executive moving services, these following tips will help you make an easy transition to your new business address:

Go Where the Expats are

If your business seeks to upgrade facilities or reach new market, it’s better off moving to an expat haven than to a country with few or no expats. After all, you’ve made a life-changing decision, and your best bet for upgrading facilities or seeking new market is among others who’ve done the same.

Learn Their Language

Communication is something many people take for granted, but when you’re in a foreign country, you might not be able to speak to locals and express yourself. Learn and practice their language before you relocate. Take intensive language lessons once you arrive to ease the linguistic transition.

Get to Know Your New Environment

If you have the luxury of time to explore your new business address, do so. Explore the neighbourhoods in the area to ensure that you find the best suited one for your business needs. If you’re not able to visit the country before the move, talk to people who do business there or used to run a business there. Read local news and blogs to understand the vibe and learn what’s going on in your new country.

Find International Moving Services

Planning business relocation is tough, but it’s nothing compared to actually making the move. To ease the transition, get full executive moving services to support you and your relocating employees. This ensures that all logistical considerations are dealt with, and your relocating employees and their household items arrive safely at their new location on time.

An international move carries risks, but it’s one of the best things you’ll ever do for your company. By looking closely at your reasons for moving and ensuring the chosen country addresses your needs, the odds will be in your favour.

Resources:

http://www.globalrelocations.com/services/corporate-solutions/?detail=Executive%20Moving%20Services
http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/81406-1
http://www.bizjournals.com/bizjournals/how-to/human-resources/2012/01/how-to-create-a-successful-relocation.html?page=all

Top 3 Ways to Get Rid of Your Old Laptop

Tech Week January 22, 2014 at 5:42 am

woman using a laptopThere are several ways to get rid of your old and outdated laptop other than throwing it in the trash bin. You can reduce e-waste and get a monetary incentive as well. Many organizations, along with the US Environmental Protection Agency, are leading the way to reduce e-waste.

Here are three ways to safely dispose of your old laptop:

Trade it for a New Unit

Many electronic retailers and websites have trade-in and buyback programs that offer store credit toward a purchase. Some trade-in websites buy back slightly used laptops and offer gift cards in exchange of the units.

Sell it Online for Fast Cash

Sell your used laptops online if you prefer to cash in. How much money you earn depends on the market data and condition of your laptop. Don’t bother selling at pawn shops as you won’t get a good deal. For an easier and efficient selling experience, think about selling it to websites that would gladly take old electronics off your hands and offer cash in return. If your unit is in bad shape and cash isn’t an option, they’ll even help you recycle it.

Recycle it for the Environment

If your laptop is too old or damaged to sell, recycle it. Most states provide local options and drop-off locations for electronics recycling. Some companies buy old and broken electronics and sell them to manufacturers. This keeps dangerous chemicals out of landfills and saves natural resources by reducing pollution from manufacturing new components.

Remember that while an old system might be worthless to you, it’s certainly worth something to somebody out there. If you’re planning to sell, make sure the website is trustworthy and will guarantee quick payment for your laptop.

Most importantly, before trading in or selling your used laptop online, make sure to wipe it clean and permanently delete all your personal data to avoid becoming a victim of identity theft.

Resources:

http://www.cashforlaptops.com/
http://www.techradar.com/news/computing/pc/upgrade-resell-or-recycle-what-you-should-do-with-your-old-pc-1162285
http://www.epa.gov/epawaste/partnerships/plugin/cellphone/index.htm

Press Enter for Lobster: Buying Seafood Products Online

Product Review January 21, 2014 at 1:48 am

wholesale seafoodBuying consumer products like clothes and books via the Web is already common. In fact, you can easily order fast food items or request plumbing services online today. But not many know that they can purchase wholesale seafood online. With the convenience this brings, on many levels, homeowners, culinary professionals, and restaurant owners are in for a treat.

If you are interested in buying wholesale seafood online, take these things into account:

Knowing the Seafood Purveyor

Storing and delivering a product as fresh and delicate as seafood takes careful hands and keen eyes. The shop should make sure that their seafood products are stored in ideal conditions at all times. To ensure that your purchase is of high quality, do a little research and know more about the online shop. It helps if they have a physical store you can visit and check the quality of their operations.

Variety of Seafood Choices

One benefit of buying online is that you can be sure that the one you want is in stock. Many shoppers encounter this problem when buying at a market. Sometimes they leave the shops empty-handed because the item they need is not available. It’s even more difficult if they need uncommon seafood products like gator meat.

With the convenience of an online shop, you have the option to purchase seafood items without leaving the comforts of your house. Make the most of your purchase by buying in bulk. You can save more by doing this. It also helps if you specify the cuts beforehand.

Delivery Method and Return Policy

The last thing you want to receive is rotting fish. So learn as much as possible about the delivery methods and policy of your chosen seafood online shop. Ask about their return policy before you place your order. You’ll know if the online shop is credible if it has clear guidelines on these matters, as well as efficient customer service.

With the help of the Internet, you can now create that seafood dish you’ve always wanted to try. From the delectable lobster to grilled tuna steaks, you can now have your fill of the ocean’s bounty without stepping out of your front door.

Three Signs You’re Ready to Buy Your Own House

Product Review January 17, 2014 at 4:16 am

a house propertyInvesting in a house is one of the biggest purchases you’ll ever make in your life. With that said, here are some signs to know if you’re ready to buy your own property or not:

You Know What You Want

Once you know what you want, you’ll know deep inside that you genuinely want that house. It’s not enough that one of the two ideas is present in your scenario, because you need both.

You’ll need to know what you want to buy, if it’s a condo unit in Makati or a house in a gated community. At the same time, you may want a home for yourself. If you’re still half-hearted about the matter, maybe you’re better off renting a condo unit instead of investing in a house and lot.

You Can Do It

The purchase needs preparations, and you have to know that you are prepared – physically, emotionally, and financially to handle the cost. It’s best that you don’t have debts to pay before you make the purchase, as chances are you’ll file a housing loan to finance it. At the same time, you should have a job that can pay for the loan or other sources of income that will secure your finances even while you’re paying off the debt.

Ideally, you’ve saved up a sizeable amount of cash before deciding to purchase a home. It’ll help if you have an emergency fund set up as well to combat any untoward situation.

You Understand What’s Involved

Having a title to your name means many responsibilities. Unlike when you’re renting an apartment in the city or staying in your parents’ house, you’re on your own once you buy a home. You’ll have to buy some things for the house such as a bed, furniture, kitchen appliances, and electronics. You would also handle the monthly costs of utilities such as electricity, water, gas, and subdivision dues should you decide to move to one.

Having your own home isn’t just about readying your finances, but also about preparing yourself. Keep these things in mind before you decide on this huge investment.

Tax Time: Solving the Dilemma of Tax Preparation

Finance Week January 14, 2014 at 3:12 am

essential things to compute taxFiling taxes doesn’t always have to be an ordeal. With the right planning and a few preparations, you can ensure that your tax filing process goes smoothly. Make filing easier and reduce your chances of getting penalties with these tips:

Be Organised

A little organisation will help you prepare for tax time. Make sure to sort and store your paperwork to make the filing a little easier. This will help you know exactly where to find the important documents for your calculations.

Create a Schedule

Always be focused when examining all your receipts. Schedule a time to get to work and commit to it. Pay attention to scrutinising your files to avoid errors and discrepancies, which can lead to delayed filing and penalties.

Gather Relevant Records

The key to successful tax filing is proper reporting. In completing your tax return, you need at least two types of records: one that shows the income you’ve received and records that show any tax-deductible purchases you’ve made.

Think Ahead

Don’t rely on the sporadic arrival of your tax forms. Make a list of what you are expecting by identifying your income sources.

Avoid Faking Data

Be 100 per cent honest when calculating your income tax. Inflating the expenses or not declaring your income honestly is illegal. It can lead to a costly penalty and problems with the law.

Learn From Previous Experiences

Create a better system for filing your next return. Learn from your previous mistakes including missing receipts and discrepancies in the calculations of gains and losses. Understand the records you need to keep and designate a place for those files.

Consider Getting Help

Consider consulting a tax professional or accountant to help you manage your files. A tax accountant can review your situation and offer advice to help you plan. Make sure to call for an appointment early so they’ll have more time to prepare for your filing.

Keep Your Files

Don’t shred or throw away your previous tax returns. The tax agency has several guidelines on how long you should keep them. Previous tax returns can help you see the trend in your taxes and help you prepare your returns in the future.

Be Updated

Be aware of the recent changes about tax payments. Browse the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) website every now and then to get updates. You can also look through the website’s articles to further your knowledge about tax filing. Talking to an accountant can help you keep up with the latest changes.

With a little planning and preparation, you can have an easier time filing your taxes. Follow these tips and always keep your tax affairs in order.

Weaving a Tattered Tale: Top Reasons to Reupholster Your Furniture

Back2School January 11, 2014 at 8:06 am

house installed with durable furnitureIf you’ve ever furnished a house or an apartment, then you’ll know that one of the biggest problems is whether to buy new furniture or keep the old ones. A new sofa for your California home may seem tempting, especially if the one you currently have has holes or is showing signs of wear and tear. You may think it’s time to retire it, but throwing it out could be an expensive proposition.

Rather than replacing worn-out furniture, reupholstering it could be a better, more cost-effective solution. As long as your couch, chairs, and other furniture are still structurally sound, you can give it new life by looking for new upholstery in Agoura Hills or at your nearest local furniture shop.

Here are some good reasons why reupholstering your old furniture is a great deal.

Save Your Furniture

A reupholster is the ideal solution if you love your furniture too much, but can’t stand the unsightly holes, scratches, and tears. Sometimes, the style, lines, and design of your current sofa becomes so familiar that you just can’t stand the idea of parting with it. Working with experts in upholstery in Agoura Hills and nearby locales means you can breathe new life into the tired furniture, giving it added life for several more years.

Preserve Antiques

Upholstery is one of the best ways to preserve your antiques. Professionals specializing in reupholstering antique furniture can preserve the beauty of the piece without damaging its details and history, while restoring it to its former glory.

Update Styles

Getting new upholstery for your living room set means giving your Los Angeles home a new look without the need for new pieces. Matching design styles can be difficult in the ready-made furniture market, but with upholstery, you can change up the interior décor of your home to give it a new color or design. You get to choose the fabric, foams, and accents you want that will fit your planned design scheme.

Although a reupholster requires time and effort, it’s an attainable goal that costs very little, but gives back a lot.