Archive for July, 2014

Kitchen Ideas For Modern Living

Service Week July 31, 2014 at 11:35 pm

kitchen designsThere are many options available in terms of kitchen design. From the old country inspired styles to the compact designs for smaller spaces, these kitchen design ideas are enough to make a homemaker feel like a child in a candy store.

More and more though, modern kitchen designs are becoming more abundant. In today’s fast-paced world, modern designs simply go better with modern living. The kitchen is of no exception. It is always a good idea to keep up with technological improvements and utilise them for your benefit. Why not use them to improve the kitchen?

Here are a few design ideas many kitchen fitters in Milton Keynes implement to liven up any kitchen and give it a modern look:

Safety first

Before upgrading your kitchen with a modern look, be sure to outfit it with safety features.Preventing untoward kitchen mishaps is your first order of business.

Accessorise

Outfit your kitchen with modern accessories like range hoods, wine coolers, compact refrigerators, compact dishwashers and other such appliances with the modern feel.

Bigger is not always better

Making the most of the space you have can sometimes be a challenge. With the right approach and a little bit of creativity, however, you can maximise space.This will help you turn the kitchen into a haven for good food.

Avoid cramping

Be wary of cramping your kitchen. Doing so will only leave you with a clean-up disaster waiting to happen. Stock up with only the essential kitchen needs for smaller spaces. Make sure to utilise storage and display cabinets to keep kitchen messes from happening.

Having a chic and stylish kitchen with the latest kitchen gadgets makes for a better cooking experience. You will be a step closer to being one happy family at the dining table, as you serve up one delectable dish after the other.

These are among the latest trends in home kitchen designs. Kitchens should be comfortable to work in and have all the necessities for the best home cooking. Before you contact kitchen fitters, make sure to keep in mind how well your chosen kitchen type matches with the overall design of your house.

Appreciating the Beauty of Trash

Service Week July 30, 2014 at 10:10 am

Green living is the currency of the times; many companies are spending top dollar to make their modern buildings more sustainable. The effort to make structures eco-friendly is not just for the modern metro landscape. Even religious buildings are doing their part to make the planet better.

Temple of Bottles

glass bottlesThe Wat Pa Maha Chedio Kaew temple in Thailand’s Sisaket province is a religious site made entirely of glass bottles. An estimated 1.5 million bottles are in the temple. Everything from the walls to the toilets is covered in glass bottles. The monks in the temple want even more bottles so they can build more structures.

Construction of the glass bottle temple began in 1984. Glass bottles are a surprisingly good building material as these do not fade, and let in natural light. It is a novel idea that though impractical in the urban setting, creates a unique and tourist-worthy destination.

Green Business

The possibilities of recycled materials are endless. Companies are benefitting from the green craze, and offer recycled products as part of their line. Online shops like longacres.co.uk even have an entire section of products made from recycled materials.

This gives business owners a new way to re-market both their brands, and their products. One of the dangers that retailers worry about is the product look and quality. They are quite right to be worried of course; these used to be other products, after all. There will be questions of sanitation, and durability.

Good Green Business

Fortunately, the Long Acres model gives companies a very good perspective on how marketing recyclables can work. The truth is products made from recycled material are just as good as the originals. Professional artisans use the same skills and techniques to create them. Unfortunately, people find it hard to see anything good coming out of things that came out of the bin.

The answer to that dilemma is making the products more presentable. Just like in the temple of bottles, the idea sounds absurd. With a little visionary design, however, it turned into a beautiful spot that people would travel to see. Making things presentable gives people the power to look beyond the product’s past, and embrace them for what they are now.

The Fuss about the ‘Right to be Forgotten’

Tech Week July 28, 2014 at 6:14 am

internetIt all began with one lawsuit against Google that requests the removal of one link. The case went on for quite some time, escalating up to the European Court of Justice. The high court issued a verdict in May 2014, and along with this ruling came a slew of arguments and discussions concerning one aspect of the decision: the right to be forgotten.

The right to be forgotten compels search engines like Google (which, by the way, has been taking the brunt of the decision) to remove links about a certain person or interest on the Web upon their request. Of course, the removal is still subject to scrutiny, but as long as the matter does not concern public interest, the search engine has to comply.

Datacenterjournal.com notes that since the verdict in May, the issue has been a hot topic in tech and IT sites. So far, the matter’s popularity is due to the many issues surrounding it.

A Form of Censorship?

For one, some critics think that the ECJ’s verdict can spark Internet-wide censorship of many different things. When there is a complaint about a certain story online, it should be escalated to Google – not the publisher of the story. The website and the page where the story was put up will remain, but the search engine will stop indexing the content and prevent it from appearing in search results. For critics, this is a form of censorship and a breach of the rights to free speech and free expression.

Vagueness of the Concept

What some people also criticize about the ruling is the concept’s inherent vagueness. By definition, the right to be forgotten covers any event in the past that no longer occurs today – ergo, anybody reserves the right to delete any form of past information concerning themselves. On paper, the whole idea sounds great; but critics lambast this notion for its vagueness and its scope. So far, only matters that are of public interest cannot be removed from Google’s indexed pages.

Implementation Problems

The implementation of the “right to be forgotten” is not making things easier. News stories point out how Google struggles to deal with hundreds of thousands of requests to remove links online.

Apart from the myriad of requests Google receives on a daily basis, the search giant has to scrutinize every request to determine whether or not they deserve to be forgotten by the cyberspace. Two months after the issuance of the directive, implementation remains a problem to those involved – Google, especially.

The right to be forgotten has been talked about for quite a long time, but that’s for good reason. With its possible effect on the Internet as we know it, the issue does deserve its space in the blogosphere and mainstream media.

Only time will tell whether the critics or the supporters are on the right fence concerning this matter, but current discussions will surely pave the way for a better cyberspace for all.

Do Neckties Really Have a Purpose at All?

Service Week July 28, 2014 at 1:25 am

They’re a staple in a man’s wardrobe. Some love them because they add variety to an otherwise cumbersome ensemble, while others insist that they’re better off without them. If you’re part of the latter group, you might have already asked, “What is the purpose of this tie?” especially during the occasions where this article of clothing has accidentally plunged into a bowl of soup.

They’re part of corporate uniforms or school wear. Some even use them as part of their casual get-ups, and they’re practically everywhere. But really, what’s the purpose of a neck tie? You might have an impression that neckties have no necessary purpose other than being an ornament. But if you look back on history, you’ll realise that they were once fully utilitarian.

What History Says About This

necktiesDuring the reign of the Roman Empire, soldiers were ordered to put on some sort of neckwear that would absorb sweat and protect themselves from cold. You can easily say that this is perhaps the origin of neckties, but this wasn’t the only time when neckties were seen in a military setting.

During the Thirty Years’ War in the 17thCentury, Louis XIV teamed up with Croatian soldiers. These soldiers donned colourful neckerchiefs, which didn’t only serve as a decoration, but also provided the shirts with protection and kept the soldiers warm. These Croatian neckerchiefs, which were later named “cravat,” attracted the attention of the civilians who then began sporting them. As cravats became an object of fashion, designers found ways to streamline their structure, until they apparently lost their function and had been reduced to what we know as modern neckties.

The Modern Purpose

Modern fashion mavens contend that the neckties haven’t lost their purpose; the function has just changed. They say that neckties fulfill the desire of men to incorporate style in clothing without putting too much effort. Others believe that they come in handy during formal occasions, as they conceal the buttons of the shirt, which may look unsightly in such settings.

Some say that neckties are particularly useful in the academe. Being part of the school uniform, they can help in lifting the school spirit and promoting the institution’s reputation.

You can’t deny that the value and the importance of neckties are already ingrained in culture. It would be safe to say that neckties still have a purpose—just reinvented.

It’s Okay to Meat

Product Review July 27, 2014 at 6:55 am

meatThere are many reasons that humanity started eating meat. There are benefits that come with consuming beef, pork, fish, and chicken. Completely stopping the meat diet can be detrimental to a person’s health.

Meat On the Brain

It is a scientific fact that cooking meat gave early humans the advantage over every other species on Earth. It takes animals nine hours to process the necessary nutrients from raw meat. Cooking the meat unlocks those nutrients, and gave people enough energy to feed their brains. As a result, humans had brains with three times more neurons than their closest relatives did.

Meat is Life

The oils, fats, calories, and proteins found in meat give people a better lease on life, especially when it comes to health. Fish, for example, has Omega 3 proteins that help the heart pump healthier blood through the body. While it is true that vegans can get many of the same benefits through vegetable proteins, convenience may be a factor.

Soy is one the plants vegans always use to supplement their body’s protein needs. But, there are not many soy dedicated restaurants in Australia, especially outside the major CBDs. On the other hand, people go online when buying meat at meatcart.com.au and other similar sites.

Herbivores and Omnivores

How many times have people who avoid eating meat been to parties where they cannot eat anything? This is perhaps one of the strongest motivations vegans have for holding strong to their way of life. There is nothing wrong with that, but not everyone should stop eating meat all of a sudden.

Meat-eaters respect a vegan’s right to abstain from meat; likewise, vegans should respect a meat-eaters right to enjoy a steak. There is now a greater need to encourage people to stop meat shaming. Eating meat is both a necessity and a pleasure, which will probably stand the test of time.

Preparing for a Mediation Session

Service Week July 15, 2014 at 12:29 am

mediation sessionMediation is one of the most commonly used services when going through the process of divorce. Mediation has many benefits. It is much more affordable than having to go through the trial process and all the hearings it entails.In addition, mediations are a private matter with no public record of what goes on during the sessions. Finally, both parties have more control in the process as opposed to having the court control the proceedings in the case of divorce proceedings.

Mediation services are called upon in events when two parties fail to settle disputes as well as agree upon terms. Through the intercession of a mediator that is of a neutral stance chosen by both parties, both parties may then reach an agreement.

Below are some key points to remember when entering your first mediation process, as noted by a divorce attorney in Nassau County:

Prepare the necessary documents

It is vital to arrive at the mediation session with organized financial documents. A single file in a sensitive legal matter such as divorce could make or break a party’s case.

Negotiate, do not argue

Remember that the purpose of the mediation process is for both parties to reach an agreement that is beneficial for both parties. Arguing will only serve to deter the process. The sooner both parties reach an agreement, the sooner everyone will be able to get on with their lives.

Get advice

It is important to get as much legal counsel and advice from your attorney to not end up on a significantly shorter end of the stick come the negotiations.

Educate yourself

Learn as much about the process and legalities. Doing so can help you to protect your rights and know about your own obligations.

Set a budget

Knowing how much money you need, whether on a monthly or lump sum basis, can help you to achieve exactly how much you are after or how much you can afford.

Divorces are a messy process, which is why having all the help you can get to sort through the legalities and different facets of divorce would be valuable. Consult mediators for help to settle matters between both parties of a divorce and to avoid having to go to court.

4 Trailer Towing Mistakes You Should Avoid

Service Week July 9, 2014 at 2:53 am

trailerTowing a trailer is not for the uninitiated. You must know about proper towing techniques before you hit the road. There are many factors involved and it can be overwhelming, especially if you are unprepared for the things that could happen. Sometimes even the most seasoned drivers fail to realise that they are committing towing mistakes.

The only way to master the task of towing a trailer is to gain experience. Sometimes, however, one can become accustomed to wrong towing practices before even realising it. The following is a short discussion on some of the most common towing mistakes drivers make; see if you have made one or two of these blunders:

Improper Hitch Setup

When coupling a trailer to a vehicle, you do not just hitch the former to the latter. You have to take the hitch ball height and weight-distribution spring bars into consideration. For instance, if the hitch ball sits an incher higher or lower, you run the risk of having what the experts call “trailer sway”. It is when the trailer sways out of position and becomes harder to control.

Not Minding the Brakes

With an added load behind, braking can become an entirely different task. Trailer weight adds extra momentum, so you have to reduce speed much earlier. It also pays to take into account state regulations as some places require specific trailer weight limits.

When you have to tow a heavier load, you can equip the trailer with a separate braking system. This is the reason A1TrailerParts.com recommends checking trailer parts for sale and other electronic components carefully before pulling out of the driveway.

Reversing in a Straight Line

Reversing with a trailer in tow is a near-impossible job. Unless extremely necessary, do not attempt to reverse in a straight line. You can still practice reverse driving, but just make sure to leave enough space on both sides of the vehicle. The trailer tends to shift sideways as you reverse, and it can be hard to control.

Mistakes can be corrected anytime. But when it comes trailer towing, it is better if you know the best towing practices sooner.

Benchmarks: Using Them to Audit-Proof Your Business

Finance Week July 7, 2014 at 5:02 am

A young businessman in a suitBad news for small business owners: the Australian Taxation Office has strengthened its monitoring process to ensure companies of all sizes report income accurately. The department is using key financial ratios called benchmarks, which contain information from your tax returns and business activity statements, to check how your business compares with other enterprises in your industry. If your company falls outside the benchmark, you may become candidate for an audit. This is why it’s important to audit-proof your business.

If you don’t want to get in trouble, experts suggest working with an accountant to check ATO’s benchmarks before preparing your tax returns. Find a licensed accountant in Perth, Bunbury, or Fremantle if your business is based in Western Australia and start audit proofing your company.

Types of Benchmarks

The ATO monitors two types of benchmarks, including those covering performance and input. Performance benchmarks consist of different ratios that help the office identify companies that aren’t reporting all of their income in their statements. Input benchmarks, on the other hand, apply to trades people who purchase their own materials and work directly with household clients. These benchmarks provide an expected range of income based on the materials used and the labour provided.

Using Benchmarks to Your Advantage

ATO’s audit process has become more sophisticated, but the good news is that you can use industry benchmarks to your advantage. You can use performance benchmarks, for example, to compare the performance of your enterprise against others in your field and input benchmarks to set your services’ prices.

Check Your Benchmarks Regularly

The best way to audit-proof your business is to check your performance or input benchmarks regularly. If you fall outside the commended range, determine where you’ve gone wrong. It’s also helpful to take a look at your tax return before submitting it. The ATO will use the business activity description and industry code you provided on your return to determine your benchmark, so it’s important to double-check all information.

By checking your benchmarks regularly, you can audit-proof your business and see how your company performs against other enterprises.

No, it’s not Evil: Myths and Misconceptions About Offshore Investing

Service Week July 2, 2014 at 12:41 am

offshore companyThe media tends to demonise offshore investments by portraying them as a way for shady corporations to evade taxes or launder money; how many times have we heard of people hiding funds in some obscure, far away island? While there will always be suspicious deals that give the practice a bad name, most offshore investments are perfectly legal, safe, and very beneficial.

The key to separating fact from fiction is knowing what offshore investing is, and what it can or can’t do.

Offshore Investing defined

Offshore investing covers a range of strategies that are designed to help investors save money through advantages offered outside their native country. The particulars are far more complex, and the benefits are numerous, but to put it simply the investor forms an offshore company to increase returns.

Recent years have seen the U.S. government create stricter and more defined laws to close tax loopholes, but the lower corporate expenses of offshore companies and the benefits of investment diversification can still translate to better gains for investors. In depth knowledge is necessary to maximise returns, avoid scams, and to make sure that laws are followed.

Myth 1: Offshore investing is illegal

As we mentioned earlier, offshore investing in itself is perfectly legal. What constitutes a crime is when you use a tax haven to avoid paying taxes, or for money laundering.

Myth 2: Offshore investing is only for the extremely wealthy

While many offshore investments require a high initial investment, some require as little as $150. The required initial amount is no indication of the quality of an offshore investment option; as with any investment, knowledge and research are still necessary.

Myth 3: Being far away, offshore investments are difficult to manage

The rapid advance of technology has rendered distance all but meaningless for communication and transactions. It doesn’t matter if you’re on the other side of the world; depositing and investing your funds through secure and reliable channels is perfectly possible.

There are many ways to use offshore investments to diversify portfolios and increase returns, but investors need to know what they are doing. Many scams masquerade as financial institution, and offer implausible benefits to foreign investors.

Wade, Haslem Opt Out; Bosh Still Unsure

Service Week July 1, 2014 at 9:00 am

Dwyane Wade and Udonis Haslem, two of Miami Heat’s franchise pillars, have told the management on Saturday that they are opting out of their contracts for the 2014-2015 NBA Season.

Free Agents

Dwyane_Wade_Dec_2012

Image by scott mecum | Wikimedia

Wade clears up $42.5 million, which is set for his last two years had he not opted out, on the Heat’s cap space, while Haslem’s contract is worth $4.6 million. These two were the only players remaining of the team that won the 2006 NBA Championship.

”Today we were notified of Dwyane’s intention to opt-out of his contract and Udonis’ intention to not opt into his contract, making both players free agents,” said Heat President Pat Riley. ”Dwyane has been the cornerstone of our organization for over a decade, and we hope he remains a part of the Heat family for life. Udonis has been the heartbeat of this team for 11 years. He has sacrificed countless times to make this organization successful, and he is the epitome of what this organization stands for.

”We look forward to meeting with Dwyane and Udonis and their agent in the coming days to discuss our future together.”

Still a Member of the ‘Big Three’

Meanwhile, Chris Bosh is the remaining member of the ‘Big Three’ to decide his future with the Heat as LeBron James has already exercised his player option to join the free agency market earlier this week. Bosh has $43 million left in two year on his deal.

”We want this to work out and I think we’ll find a way to get it done,” Bosh told The Associated Press.

The decision of the ‘Big Three’ to opt out of their contracts will free up a lot of space for the team to sign role players for the next season. Heat’s front office has already made their first move by getting the rights of Connecticut guard Shabazz Napier from the Charlotte Hornets in a draft deal. Napier happens to be James’ favorite player on the draft pool, and signing him increases the chance to convince the superstar of a comeback with the team.

‘We’ve got a lot of room for flexibility,” Riley said. ”There is a tremendous amount of flexibility depending on what happens. We’re ready. Now, do I feel any pressure? No, I don’t. I don’t feel any pressure at all. I’m going to do the best job that I can do and we will all do the best job we can do. I don’t think we have to recruit Chris and LeBron and Dwyane again.

”I’m not dropping championship rings on the table for those guys,” he added, referring to his famous recruiting trick from 2010. ”They can drop their own.”