Archive for July, 2015

How Has The Internet Contributed to Employee Education?

Back2School July 30, 2015 at 7:09 am

employee trainingOver the last two decades, the Internet has paved the way for many developments and innovations. Employee training is one of them.

Cloud-based software training programs are recognised to be just as effective as classroom-setting trainings, under the best circumstances. With eLearning at the forefront of staff education, administrators can save time, enhance training quality and improve retention.

Here’s how the Internet takes part in all these possibilities.

Increased accessibility

The Internet exists anywhere, anytime. This, perhaps, is its primary advantage. On these online learning platforms, administrators can upload their modules and keep them visible 24/7. Velpic, an e-Learning specialist, says this capability allows employees to access to the lessons anytime of the day, whether in the comfort of their home, at work, or at coffee shop with a Wi-Fi connection.

The bottom line is that unlike before, today’s training modules are consistently accessible, viewable and editable.

Improved interactivity

eLearning training platforms are designed to be more interactive and engaging. With bite-sized presentations, stimulating quizzes and impressive visual features, they are likelier to capture audience interest and keep the mind at work throughout the course.

These added elements can make a significant difference from the traditional mode of training, and can play a major role in increasing learner retention.

Cost-effectivity

eLearning platforms are comparably less expensive than classroom training. Since companies no longer have to hire trainers to do the training in exchange for an online module, less manpower is involved.

There are also no downtime, travel or accommodation costs. Hence, the company pays for less. Additionally, most eLearning software platforms offer no-fee updating or changing of any section in the module. Not only does it save you money, but also reduces your carbon footprint by doing away with reprints.

A company with a well-trained staff has nothing to lose and has everything to offer. As such, these training programs make for the soundest investments. Fortunately, the Internet has made that part significantly easier, allowing a cost-effective, highly accessible and better-quality training.

Novice Drinkers’ Guide to Craft Beers

Service Week July 28, 2015 at 7:24 am

BeerAre you a man’s man who really likes his beer? Do you know exactly what you taste with every sip of that bottle? Here is a simple and brief guide to the first craft beer you down and the many more you’re going to after. Let us help become a craft beer expert. Before you head to the pubs nearest you, like Speight’s Ale House Nelson, here are things you need to know and watch out for:

What It’s Made Of

95% of beer is water; the other 5% consists of hops, malt and yeast. Hops are a cone-shaped flower that adds the bitterness and aroma to the beer, while malt or, rather, malted barley is barley grain soaked in water, mashed and gets the brew started. Yeast ferments your drink, which makes beer taste all funky.

How You’re Drinking It

While you can drink your beer any way you want to, focus on the four key components of appearance, aroma, flavour and finish to experience its fullness. The colour dictates the taste; a darker beer is sweeter, while a lighter beer is more crisp and clean. The aroma, on the other hand, can help you point out if the beer is more grapefruit or more tropical.

Unlike big brand beer, drink craft beer with a few sips at first. Move it around a bit in your mouth to see how full or how light it is. After swallowing, examine the aftertaste. If the bitterness lingers long after, that would be called a strong finish. If the taste leaves practically with the beer itself, then it has a lighter finish.

What You’re Tasting

Now that you know what you’re drinking and how to drink it, can you talk beer? Light beers, such as lagers and ales, are great for sunny days and great with practically any food. Fruity beers, on the other hand, are heavy on the hops. Malt/toffee is for those with a sweet tooth as these aren’t particularly bitter. Dark beer is full-bodied while wild/funky beer tastes tart, smoky and sour.

So what sets craft beer different from your regular beer? Brand lagers focus on creating a mainstream product. Craft beers are experimental. Some flavours turn out a little too wacky, a little too complicated; which makes each craft beer distinct and drastically different. In fact, the current trend today is ageing beer in wood, which adds more layers of character and complexity. Go on and have a taste.

AG Lime: Effective Transporting and Spreading on Farmlands

Service Week July 27, 2015 at 8:47 am

farmlandsOne of the most frustrating things a farmer may face is finding out that their soil is high in acidity. Plants grown in acidic soil have a more difficult time growing since the acid levels hinder their ability to take in the nutrients they need.

The answer to this is AG lime, which is one of the most important soil additives used in most farmlands. Also known as agricultural lime, it naturally lowers the acidity of the soil since it is alkaline, increasing potential crop yield and quality.

While there’s no doubting the benefits of agricultural lime, transporting it is a different story altogether. If you own a larger property with big plots of land, carrying each sack of AG lime isn’t just difficult, but it also wastes a lot of time.

Transporting

For larger plots of lands, sacks of agricultural lime bought at stores usually aren’t enough to cover considerably wider tracks of land. It’s necessary to transport agricultural cartage in bulk, such as lime and fertilizer, to correctly and effectively spread the additive onto the soil itself, especially when planting crops like legumes as they are more sensitive to the soil’s acidity than other plants.

If you have a large truck or transporter, it would be better if you carry the lime to your fields yourself as you can then better gauge the amount of additive you need to apply on the soil. You may also enlist the aid of a transporting service as there’s a guarantee that they have a strong enough vehicle to transport the material, especially if you need to cover entire acres of land with the soil additive.

Proper Application

Using specialised equipment such as a tractor and a spreader is the best way to correctly apply agricultural lime throughout the field. The layer of lime should cover the field evenly and uniformly, and this includes the corners of the plot of land. As AG lime is crushed and powdery, it is important to avoid applying it when it’s windy as it may cause uneven patches on the soil, minimizing the effectiveness of the soil additive.

When you’re about to actually till the soil with the lime, it is important to disk it properly so that it is distributed evenly within the soil. You may have to disk the soil twice though, particularly if the plot of land is larger and naturally uneven. This guarantees that the soil is fed with lime properly and efficiently neutralizes the soil’s acidity levels.

Hire a Certified Plumber to Meet All Your Plumbing Needs

Service Week July 23, 2015 at 9:14 am

PlumbingLike hiring any contractor, there are some factors that dictates the choice of a plumber. To get the best value for your money, choose only certified plumbers. Whether you need a new plumbing system for a new home, repairs for a leaky toilet, or new kitchen plumbing fixture installation, know your priorities and specifications so you can be sure the plumber you hire is qualified to do the work.

Keep in mind that hiring a certified plumber is the only way to be sure your money won’t go to waste. Here is how to do that:

• Ensure That They Have a License and Certifications

It is very important to make sure that they are licensed and carry full insurance that protects you and your property in the event of a misfortune. It is a basic rule to find out if the contractor can send certified plumbers. This shows that a plumber is authentic, knowledgeable, and highly skilled. The insurance is of the utmost importance because you don’t want anyone coming to your home, much less tinker with it, without a licence.

• Find Out about Their Accreditations and Credentials

Exceptional credentials are great indicators of professionalism and excellence. It is also a good idea to use a government recommendation as your reference to find out what companies are actually licenced and insured, as well as which ones have consumer complaints against them.

• Inquire about Their Guarantee

Plumbing companies with great belief in their work and performance standards put their money where their mouth is. Enquire if there is a money-back guarantee or warranty for their service.

• Read Reviews and Ask for Referrals

Read online reviews for plumbing companies. Past customers give reviews for contractors, which you can use to ensure you bring the right people into your home. You can also ask for referrals from people you trust. Seek the help of your friend, relative, or neighbour for a recommendation.

Not all plumbers are created equal, and just like buying any product or paying for a service, some are more ‘bang for the buck’ than others. It’s merely a matter of finding the right people.

Why Nutritional Content and Ingredient Analysis are Crucial for Your Cows’ Daily Rations

Service Week July 22, 2015 at 12:11 am

cowThe nutritional value of animal feed ingredients determine their capacity for supporting animals’ overall health and performance. In the case of dairy cattle that are used to diets that are fairly high in fibre, forage is typically a huge fibre source in their diets. These are usually homegrown and may be utilised for minimising the need to bring in additional nutrients to the farm. On the other hand, they can’t provide the best balance of nutrition and digestion support.

What Your Dairy Cows Need

The ration formulation for your dairy cows must first strive to comply with fibre requirements for their optimum rumen health, while still maximising forage intake and incorporating adequate concentrates, vitamins and minerals for proper nutritional requirements. For starters, dairy cows need:

  • Carbohydrates – These include the two primary classes called neutral detergent fibre (NDF) and non-fibre carbohydrate (NFC). NDF contains hemicellulose and cellulose and lignin. On the other hand, NFC provides rumen microbes energy for producing volatile fatty acids, VFAs, as your cows’ energy source.
  • Protein – This contains amino acids that are crucial for producing milk, reproduction and general body maintenance. Proteins B2 and B3 are generally available in the cows’ rumen, albeit slowly, while acid detergent insoluble protein is not digestible.
  • Starch – Delivers around 20% to 30% of dry matter for lactating cows. It is typically sourced from corn, silages, sorghum, potatoes, other smaller grains, and bakery waste. It is important to note that a lot of factors such as sources, processing, and the size of particles can affect its digestibility.
  • Fats – Fat content in your cows’ dry matter diet must be around 2% to 6%. These are often added to the daily rations of lactating cows for supporting their Net Energy for Lactation (NEL) in the event that their intake of animal feeds may limit their ability to produce milk.
  • Sugars – These are commonly sourced from fresh forage, molasses, hay, bakery waste and citrus pulps.

With all these in mind, regular analysis of your cows’ feeds must be performed to ensure proper nutritional value and digestibility. In addition, multiple sources of carbohydrate and protein must be used for balanced rations, and dependence on different sources of carbohydrates can be reduced when fibre digestion is improved.

Ideas to Prevent Carpet Beetle Infestation

Product Review July 17, 2015 at 7:53 am

Prevent Carpet Beetle InfestationCarpet beetles are small little critters that often go unnoticed in homes with carpeted floors. They are a common household pest and can cause all kinds of trouble. These insects normally thrive in carpets fibres, by the windowsills, in stacks of clothing or even on food.

Damage Caused by Carpet Beetles

A carpet beetle bite may cause dermatitis, a skin ailment that triggers an intense itch and a noticeable rash on the bitten part. There are cases of respiratory tract and eye irritation after infection.

Carpet beetle larvae damage furnishings, clothes and other items. These insects feed on natural fibres, while their mature counterparts eat primarily pollen and nectar from plants. Larvae search for food in hidden and dark sections of the house such as carpets, under flooring, baseboards and in ducts.
Infestations happen quickly and remain unnoticed until widespread damage.

Carpet beetle larvae eat plant and animal materials, namely, wool, feathers, dander, furand silk. Furniture, clothing and other household items made from these are likely targets. Their preference for organic fibres does not deter them from feeding on synthetic material.

Prevent Infestation

There are ways to effectively remove carpet beetles from your property, but why wait until an infestation? There are preventative methods to stop these insects from invading your house.

Steam cleaning and drying your carpets keep them clean, germ-free and bug-free. Carpet cleaning specialists agree that this method is not only effective, but also eco-friendly.

Steam cleaning gets into the fibres of a carpet to do a thorough cleaning. This does not leave any chemicals unlike other cleaning detergents or solutions.

When you store clothes and textile like beddings and linen, keep the storage area clean and dust-free to prevent carpet infestation. Cover the items in plastic and seal them properly for protection against carpet beetles and their larvae.

Clean up after your pets; animals leave a trail of hair or food stains that carpet beetle feed on. Vacuum or sweep the area where pets sleep. Avoid eating outside of the kitchen or dining room, this makes sure that food does not stain or spill on floors or furniture in various parts of your house.

These preventative methods reduce the possibility of carpet beetle infestation and keep your home clean, bug and germ-free.

Smart Home Makeovers: Planning Your Balustrade Project

Service Week July 15, 2015 at 10:50 am

stainless steel balustradesContemporary materials for balustrading are becoming popular, thanks to their versatility and durability. Homeowners in Australia prefer structures that are easy to maintain, strong and highly resistant to outdoor elements. The good news is you can get customised designs for your balustrades.

The team of ActiveMetal.com.au notes that great skill and attention to detail is the key to creating exceptional balustrading. Of course, this will depend on your personal preferences.

Here are some things to consider if you’re planning your balustrade design:

The Balustrade Material

Among the different materials that manufacturers use to fabricate balustrades, stainless steel is the most popular. With its resistance to corrosion and versatility, this type of steel is becoming the top choice among many homeowners and builders. You don’t have to apply a layer of coating on the surface of the metal, which, in turn, lowers the total costs of the installation.

Stainless steel balustrades are ideal for interiors; they can easily match the design requirements of industrial, commercial and residential settings. Some manufacturers use toughened materials to meet standards for external balustrading, such as in decks, outdoor patios and pool areas.

Building Requirements

The Building Codes of Australia specify requirements for the design and manufacture of structures, including balustrades and stair systems. These standards ensure the safety of everyone who will be using the structures.

Contractors can only proceed with the installation once the design meets the minimum requirements. An extensive range of options is available, which make it easier to fulfil the design requirements. Balustrading companies show great workmanship to ensure quality installation and materials for every project.

Choosing the material and design of your new balustrade system is not that difficult. All you need to do is keep the design requirements in mind and choose a professional builder for your balustrade installation.

How is a Hedge Fund Different from a Mutual Fund?

Service Week July 15, 2015 at 10:49 am

Mutual FundMany people are dissatisfied with the returns offered by mutual and index funds. They desire a far more aggressive option, one that was agile enough to adapt to changes in the marketplace, and they were willing to accept a higher risk in return. The answer was the hedge fund, an industry now worth trillions of dollars.

Today, an investor has no shortage of high performing hedge funds to choose from. The more enterprising investors can even decide to form one of their own, with the help of legal consultants, such as CapitalFundLaw.com. But how exactly is a hedge fund different from normal mutual funds?

1. Investing Restrictions – The biggest selling point of the hedge fund is its versatility. A hedge fund manager has much fewer regulatory constraints, has the freedom to use derivatives, and can change the fund strategy whenever he or she feels it would be beneficial. Understandably, this also carries significant risks, but a skilled fund manager is capable of consistently outperforming the market.

2. Fees and Incentives – A hedge fund usually charges both an asset level and a performance fee. This incentivizes the fund manager to strike a careful balance in fund size. If the asset base is too small, the fund manager earns less from asset fees. However, a larger fund is harder to generate high returns with, affecting its performance and again reducing what the fund manager earns.

3. Expected Returns – When it comes to performance, mutual funds are held up to a pre-defined benchmark, such as the S&P 500. But hedge funds are different; they are judged solely on their ability to produce absolute returns, regardless of market conditions.

4. Lockup Provision – Unlike mutual funds that have near constant liquidity, most hedge funds come with a lockup provision that restricts when investors can withdraw their money. This allows the fund to maintain a lower amount of cash on hand, and keep a more illiquid investment composition.

5. Fund Manager Investment – Because of the high-risk nature of the hedge fund, the fund manager is commonly expected to invest some of his own capital. If he or she does not, most investors will see this as a red flag, as it potentially signifies a lack of confidence in the fund’s direction.

When it comes to aggressive, high return investing, a hedge fund is the tool of choice. Whether you decide to invest in one or form one yourself, be prepared for the challenges that come with it.

The Ecosystem of Germs in Your Living Room Carpet

Product Review July 14, 2015 at 2:34 am

Germs in Your Living Room CarpetDirty does not even begin to describe a used and poorly maintained carpet. In fact, in-depth research concluded that most domestic wall-to-wall carpet hosts about 200,000 bacteria per square inch. To put things into perspective, that number is 4,000 times more than what is typically found in toilets.

This only underscores how imperative it is to impose a healthy cleaning and maintenance routine at home or with the help of your reliable carpet cleaners. EmeraldCarpetandPestServices.com.au advises clients to consult only with companies fully trained by the Australian Carpet Cleaning Institute.

Let’s Talk Dirty

Households with athletes in the family run the risk of cohabiting with Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus, a bacterium that runs rampant in carpets. Staph, as it is commonly called, is brought home from the gym, the locker room or from shoes that run laps in the tracks.

MRSA enters the body through small cuts, and causes red bumps that become more painful over time, fever and rashes. Left untreated, a staph infection could lead to death. Meanwhile, families with members who have compromised immune systems, like toddlers or elderlies are at greater risk because of Campylobacter.

This particular bacterium attacks during colder months when the carpet is most usually damp and causes a deadly disease called Campylobacteriosis. Noro Virus or Norwalk Virus, on the other hand, is common across carpets exposed to dust or homes in areas prevalent to dust storms.

Noro Virus causes symptoms identifiable with stomach flu and food poisoning. Apart from these three, mould and fungi are also common carpet invaders. Because the carpet is a high-traffic area and receives the most amount of dirt, dust and pollution, it is crucial to cut the life of these bacteria short.

Keeping the carpet dry, along with regular vacuuming and cleaning, can eradicate these unwelcome ecosystems out of your carpet and homes. Not only will it keep the carpet clean and your family healthy, it also creates a fresher and more inviting atmosphere inside the home.

Gas Heaters are Out: Manage Expenses with Air Conditioners

Service Week July 13, 2015 at 9:15 am

Air Conditioners When it comes to comfort, reverse cycle air conditioner is popular because of its dual functions. It can provide cool air during the summer and warm air during winter. The reverse cycle allows the unit to absorb warm or cold air outside and convert it to your desired temperature.

Ducted reverse cycle air conditioning is a good choice for those who want to warm or cool down the home using a central system. This unit is best utilised for homes with open area.

The system usually consists of heat pumps placed outside the house, duct system installed above the ceiling, and vents and return vents to distribute the air. Why choose ducted reverse cycle air conditioner? Here are the advantages:

1. Save money

This type of unit can help save a lot of money because it is more energy efficient compared to conventional air conditioners. It is also better than gas heaters because electricity is cheaper than gas.

2. Get even air distribution

The ducted system provides even air distribution in the areas you select. You get to enjoy the desired temperature without worrying about wasted energy.

3. Increase home value

If you have plans to sell your home in the future, installing ducted reverse cycle air conditioners can actually help. The unit can increase the value of your home, making it an asset to any homeowner.

The unit is designed with durability in mind. With proper maintenance and care, a unit can last up to 20 years. This gives value to your hard-earned money.

4. Get cleaner air

Other than providing cool and warm air, a reverse cycle air conditioner also dehumidifies and filters air before it enters your home. Heating and cooling company All Air Services says comfort is important in the home; safety is important as well. With clean air filters, reduce family sicknesses.

No matter the weather, comfort is important. Keep the family safe and healthy while having manageable bills by choosing the right air conditioner.