Desktop Pet

Pets are fun and they have been proven to reduce stress. Some people, due to their living situation, are unable to own pets like dogs and cats. However, there are some pets that will fit on a table to even your desk at work.

Desktop pets are a great idea to add scenery to your desk or your small apartment. Believe it or not, there are many pets that fit in a small tank or habitat. These pets typically require little care, and are fun to watch.

Before you consider a pet at work, make sure it is allowed. Some places may have rules in place preventing any pets. Also, make sure that your co-workers will not be nervous having your chosen pet around. You do not want to cause tension at work. Your goal is to make a positive impact with your tiny pet.

As you might have guessed, a fish is one of the most popular desktop pets. Some fish can fit in a tiny vase or glass. Ask someone at the pet store how much space the fish needs to swim around. You want to make sure that your fish will be happy and safe in the environment you provide. Beta fish or goldfish are both colorful and easy to care for. They are not pricey and typically do well in smaller fish tanks or other containers.

Another fun option is a frog. Many companies sell baby frogs, or tadpoles, that will change into a frog. The tadpole often comes with its own habitat and food. You may be able to find these at pet stores, too.

Hermit crabs are a fun way to bring the beach to your desktop! These pets are cute, cheap, and easy to care for. You can purchase a fun, painted shell for your crab and change it out as they grow. They live in a fairly small box that will take up a small amount of space.

If you are feeling adventurous, a tarantula is another example of desktop pets. You may scare off some friends and family with this choice, however. Before you bring home such an eccentric pet, do your research. Make sure your furry guy is in a container that will stay closed and that you know how to care for him.

Hamsters, mice, and rats are great small pets, although if you plan to keep several of them, you will need a larger space. Again, make sure that you have a good, secure habitat for them, as rodents can be escape artists!

As you can see, no matter what your space limitations, you can have a pet. Desktop pets are a great choice for those who live in apartments or who want a pet at work. Just make sure that you know how to take care of them and that you are ready for the commitment.

Comparing The OPQ With The Saville Consulting Wave Personality Assessments

It’s difficult to change from a psychometric test that you have perhaps been using for many years to a new personality assessment that you may have heard relatively little about. We know because we underwent the same process.

When in doubt, sometimes busy humans think it’s best to leave things as they are! However, upon spending just a few minutes invesigating what really gives in the range of Saville Wave assessments, we decided that it was a “no brainer” as they say in Australia! It makes sense really…please read on!

The original author of the OPQ is Professor Peter Saville. Professor Saville was in fact the ‘S’ of SHL (‘H’ standing for Holdsworth and ‘L’ for Limited). He is responsible for the new Saville Wave, developed by him and his team at Saville Consulting. He has remarked in relation to the older OPQ that it was a great test in its day.

Nowadays however, we need newer, more modern and innovative tests that are relevant to a new and constantly evolving workplace. Looking at both the design of the Saville Wave and the content of the questions, it’s immediately noticeable that the questionnaire better reflects today’s workplace. The OPQ was written some 25 years ago. There was some updating of the questions in 1988, but mainly the items reflect the world as it was those years ago.

The Saville Wave has captured the modern world by asking questions related to networking, engaging others, comfort level with information technology, written communication, receiving feedback, encouraging others, developing strategy, identifying business opportunities, speed of learning, taking responsibility for big decisions, building rapport, sticking to decisions and more.

Remember, a lot of these concepts did not really exist 20+ years ago;networking for example was a whole different ball-game in the pre-internet world. Not to mention the fact that most of us did not have to deal with IT unless we were in an IT job, whereas nowadays, vast portions of the workforce must use computers. However, that’s not all.

Whilst the OPQ was validated following its production, the Saville Wave was designed within a research and validation centric model. This meant that all questions were validated internationally prior to publishing. These results were then published in the British Psychological Society’s Selection and Development Review.

Furthermore, the Saville Wave includes completely new scales which were not available within the OPQ all those years ago. For example, the Wave can directly assess strategic thinking, learning styles, self-assurance, motivating others, conflict resolution and integrity.

In terms of measuring different facets of behaviour, the OPQ measures to dimension (scale) level only and does not report on individual facets of behaviour. E.g., ‘persuaive’ is made up of ‘selling’, ‘negotiating’ and ‘convincing’ facets, but these are not independently validated or scored. Saville Wave on the other hand provides very rich interpretation at facet level.

For full Wave there are 109 separately scored facets. Facets provide insights into unique areas of individual difference and therefore facilitate better person job fit and development diagnostics.

A further innovation within the Saville Consulting Wave is that it has been designed to assess both talent and motive. This is useful as it may highlight for example that whilst a candidate is not very good at problem solving, they will give it and go and even do their best to improve. Or, whilst a candidate is very good at creating novel solutions, they prefer to go with the tried and tested.

Saville Wave distinguishes both effectiveness and motivation for 36 behavioural styles. This provides rich diagnostic information for selection, placement and development and is key to predicting sustained performance.

The model underlying any personality assessment is a crucial factor in both the validity and utility of the tool. Wave is built from a single model of behaviour with a common language for measuring and matching, behavioural style, motivation, competencies, culture, organisational environment and 360 degree performance. It is fully integrated from inception. OPQ is not multi-dimensional and relies on different measures and different models to arrive at total solutions.

When assessing a potential job-holder’s personality or when testing a current incumbent as part of a development process, we are looking for a true picture of that individual. There are many tests available on the market and many of them really do not hit the mark. For example, assessments which aim to paint a picture of your candidate on the basis of 4 simple scales!

Whilst the OPQ has always been a respected test, it offers a choice of ratings (normative) or rankings (ipsative) with a strong practitioner preference for ipsative as it controls for social desirability responding. Both ratings and rankings have unique advantages and disadvantages. In the case of rankings (ipsative), the resulting profile artificially exaggerates good and bad features. It is not possible to be good at everything or bad at everything. Hence we do not get a true picture of the candidate.

With the breakthrough combination of both ratings and rankings in a dual dynamic format, Wave provides the truest picture of an individual’s self-reported style to date. This provides increased validity over normative and ipsative scores on their own. This contributes significantly to improved validity and a truer picture of the individual.

Furthermore, whilst the OPQ is able to report on social-desirable responding, it cannot home in on it. By reporting statistically significant differences between ipsative and normative scores, Saville Wave homes in on exactly where distortion is likely to have occurred.

A hot question on the minds of test choosers is “how long does the test take to complete”! For the OPQ, it takes about 1 hour to complete the ipsative version alone. It provides no information on motivation or culture fit, nor individual facets of behaviour. Compare this to Saville Wave which takes about 35 minutes to complete and includes both effectiveness and motivation scores for 36 dimensions, and scores for 109 individual facets of behaviour.

It provides ipsative, normative and combined profiles in the one questionnaire. In addition, Wave reports cultural/environment enhancers and inhibitors. If even that is too long for your busy people, Saville Wave Focus, the shorter version of Wave is even shorter, taking around 15 minutes to complete and yet still offering exceptional reliability and validity.

Finally, the reason for using a personality assessment in the first place is to predict job performance. Saville Consulting has referred to this as “horsepower”. The technical term is Criterion Validity and this has a direct impact on return on investment. The more validity the better the people decisions. OPQ has good validity.

The published average composite scale validity is around 0.38. This is the average correlation of each scale with actual job competencies. However, for Saville Wave, the published average composite validity is higher at 0.46 (about 20% more predictive).

In addition, Wave predicts overall job proficiency at 0.38, and promotability at 0.59. 75% of Wave’s validities are 0.4 or better and 25% are between 0.55 and 0.70. Directing correlates 0.7 with ‘Leading People’. Add this information to study results released in the UK in summer 2008 which demonstrated that Saville Consulting Wave outperformed all competitor tests on the market in predicting job performance (including OPQ, 16PF, 15FQ+, Hogan Personality Inventory, MBTI, DISC and others). This in our view is the single biggest motivator to switching to the Saville Wave test.

Notes: – OPQ is a registered trademark of Saville & Holdsworth Limited – Saville Wave is a registered trademark of Saville Consulting Group

How To Climb Better

The proliferation of climbing gyms has rapidly changed the climbing sport scene. Now, people who otherwise would be too scared to try rock climbing are flocking to gyms. As a result, the sport is growing at an exponential rate. People are progressing from easy 5.7 grade climbs to more difficult 5.10+ climbs at an unprecedented speed. Gyms make climbing a spectator sport where people go to see and be seen. There are simple things that you can do to improve your climbing ability, at any level. In this article, I will discuss tips for climbing better through movement, technique, mentality, and training.

The abundance of strong climbers can be daunting to the beginner. It is important not to become discouraged by comparing your climbing level to those who have been climbing longer. Remember not to put yourself down. For example, don’t tell yourself that you are a slow climber. Instead, say that you are climbing slowly. See the difference? You have the potential to learn from your mistakes and, in time, become an amazing climber. Learning and development is the journey, and you must accept that you will improve over time. Instead, try to learn from the other climbers by watching their movement. Where are their feet when they climb? How do they shift their body weight? Do they look relaxed or strained? Are their movements deliberate?

Let’s talk about the mental state of climbing. This is often overlooked by people when they are learning to climb. You must not try to rush through a route too quickly. Remember to relax. The best climbers do not try to defeat their route. Instead, they observe the climb, and work with it. Their body flows effortlessly through the moves, and they appear relaxed. Your goal should be to climb as smoothly as possible, not to merely finish the climb. Above all else, you must remember to breathe. Breathing relaxes you and provides vital oxygen to the body. It also helps disperse lactic acid build up in your muscles. Many beginners hold their breath while climbing. This almost always results in them becoming stressed and exhausted.

Observe the climb before you begin. Picture yourself successfully progressing through each of the moves. Have a positive attitude, and tell yourself that you can succeed. Take a few deep breaths before you begin the climb. When you are on the wall, let your mind go blank. It is easier to get into the zone of climbing when you are not thinking about failure, or who is watching you. One of the wonderful aspects of climbing is the freedom that you can feel on the wall. You are leaving your problems behind on the ground. While you climb, focus on your movement. While climbing, focus on the present. Don’t worry about the moves to come. Instead, focus on the next two moves. Climbers often speak of their 8-foot bubble of awareness. They don’t think about how high they are. They are conscious only of the task at hand.

When you fall off of a route, do not get discouraged. Through falling, you will learn how to climb better. Also, holding your muscles until they cannot grip anymore is the best way to gain muscle endurance. Consider your falls a stepping stone to success and better ability. Even the best climbers have “high gravity days”.

Climb at your level. Although it is fun to attempt climbs that are difficult for you, it is best to climb mostly within your level. Know what you can climb and focus instead on your movement. When you are climbing outside of your ability, you will make more desperate moves and you will not be working on technique. Do not over-reach or use too much energy. Make every move deliberate. Work on shifting your weight.

Remember to always warm up on easier climbs before attempting harder ones. Warming up is better for your body, and it will allow you to climb stronger longer. I can climb 5.11s in the gym, but I always start with 5.8s and 5.9s. I once made the mistake of climbing a 5.12+ without warming up after taking 2 weeks off of climbing. My arms pumped out extremely fast, and I could not climb at any level for the rest of the night.

Accept that you will be sore after climbing. People who climb a lot are often sore after climbing hard. Also, you must take breaks from climbing. Climbing hard everyday increases your risk of injury. I have heard many horror stories of people of climbed hard too many days in a row, and ended up hurting their hands. Rehabilitation can take months, and it is not worth the risk. Besides, your muscles rebuild and grow during the time that you are resting. When you come back to climbing, you will feel stronger and more capable.

Remember to keep your balance while climbing. This is vital to your success. Notice how it feels to shift your weight from your hands to your feet. Instead of relying on your hands to pull yourself up from hold to hold, use your feet. Good climbing is achieved mostly through your footwork. Instead of straining yourself to reach the next hold, notice how shifting your feet even just a few inches can give you the extra height you need. Even when you do not have a better foot hold, you can “smear” your climbing shoe on the wall itself. This is achieved by pushing your foot against the wall and pressing down and stepping up. You will be surprised by how well your shoe can stick to the wall.

Take breaks while you climb. You will find yourself at rest spots on a route that feel more secure. Get comfortable, shake out your hands, and breathe. You can even sit in your harness if you like. Clap your hands to increase blood circulation.

Remember to use your skeletal system when you climb. Instead of flexing your arms needlessly, you can lean back and extend your arms out straight. Your skeleton can handle your weight without pumping out your arms. This is a secret that many climbers do not know. Try it out next time you are climbing.

I suggest both bouldering and top roping every time you go to the gym, even if you prefer one style. Bouldering with give you practice with weight shifting and power moves, and tall wall roped climbing will give you vital endurance. It is important to train in all parts of climbing.

Finally, once you are feeling confidant about climbing, you can teach others what you now know. By teaching, you are solidifying what you understand about the mental and physical aspects of climbing. It’s fun to climb with others, so find yourself some climbing partners, and get to it. With a little persistence, you will become a better climber.

For more information of climbing tips and techniques, feel free to email me via my websites.

Bird Watching In Puerto Rico

Tourists come to Puerto Rico throughout the year, most often from cruise ships. While there are many things to do while on the island, birding in Puerto Rico definitely should not be missed.

Puerto Rico is a beautiful collection of islands. Most people think of Puerto Rico as one large island. In fact, there is the island of Puerto Rico and the territory of Puerto Rico. The territory, or Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, actually consists of one large island and several small islands, some of which are uninhabited.

Puerto Rico is ideal for birding because the temperature remains fairly constant. Bird watchers can expect temperatures in the low eighties for most of the year. The lack of seasons makes it possible to enjoy the hobby year round. Over fifty species of birds can be seen on the island, some of which are native to Puerto Rico. Birding can be done throughout the island, although some spots are more popular than others. Cabo Rojo Recreational area is in the Southwest. There is a Wildlife Refuge located there with quality bird watching trails. Visitors have the opportunity to see several endangered birds. There is a visitor’s center which can provide information and guidance. Cabo Rojo is also a great place for swimming as it has a beautiful white sand beach. There is also a lighthouse which was constructed in 1881. The view from the lighthouse, which overlooks a 200 foot drop down to the sea, is breathtaking.

For many, the Puerto Rican Amazon is one of the main attractions when going birding in Puerto Rico. The Puerto Rican Amazon is the only parrot that is native to Puerto Rico which still remains. It is extremely endangered, and is on the list of the ten most endangered species of birds in the entire world. In the wild, it is estimated that only forty-four of these birds still exist.

The Puerto Rican Amazon is a green parrot whose feathers have blue edges. Its forehead is red and its eyes are surrounded by white ovals. Its tail is a yellow-green. As with many parrots, it is impossible to distinguish the males from the females, except through DNA testing or by observing their behavior during mating. At one time, the Puerto Rican Amazon was seen in vast numbers. As the number of humans began to increase on Puerto Rico, the number of Puerto Rican Amazons began to fall quickly. In 1975, the birds reached an all time low, with only 13 left in the world. Conservation efforts began in 1968 and in 1972, attempts to breed the birds in captivity began. These efforts have been largely successful. When Hurricane Hugo struck Puerto Rico in 1989, many birds were lost, but now the population is growing and efforts to protect the birds continue.

Whether one comes to Puerto Rico to view the Puerto Rican Amazon or any one of the fifty species of birds seen here, the bird watching opportunities will surely not disappoint. People traveling to Puerto Rico on a cruise or other vacation should set aside some time to experience all that birding in Puerto Rico has to offer.

Compressed Air Tanks

CO2 has traditionally been the gas source of choice since the early days of paintball. The concept borrowed from bb guns and air pistols, paintball guns began using CO2 in the form of 12 gram disposable cartridges. Soon refillable CO2 tanks entered the scene, making the sport more affordable and enjoyable. Even though CO2 has done a lot for paintball, it is not without its drawbacks. When a CO2 tank is filled, it’s done so with liquid CO2. In order for the liquid to be a usable air source it must be converted into a gas to power the marker. This conversion requires thermal energy or heat. This is the reason why paintball guns and bb guns that use CO2 will get cold when firing. When the marker gets cold and heat is less available, the conversion from liquid to gas may be incomplete. This can allow liquid CO2 to enter the internals of the marker causing freeze-ups and inconsistencies in operating pressure, distance and accuracy.

Compressed air, aka Nitrogen, is the other primary propellant in paintball today. Unlike CO2, a compressed air paintball tank is filled with normal air. They are sometimes called ‘Nitro’ tanks only because the air we breathe is primarily made up of nitrogen. A nitrogen paintball tank is made with special materials and designed to store very high pressure. A standard CO2 tank will hold 850 psi of pressure. A compressed air tank can hold either 3000 or 4500 psi of air, depending on the model that you choose. A special compressor is used to fill a nitrogen tank. They can also be filled using a reserve tank of higher pressure and a filling adapter system. All compressed air tanks have a regulator installed on them which brings the pressure exiting the tank down to a usable level for the paintball gun. Regulators can be factory set, fixed at either high pressure (850 psi) or low pressure (400 psi). Some regulators are ‘adjustable’, allowing the user to set the output pressure to work with a number of different guns. Because compressed air is already in a usable form, no conversion is necessary. Therefore you will not experience coldness or freeze-up with compressed air. Paintball markers using compressed air are also more consistent in pressure and less affected by outside temperatures. This all equates to overall better performance.

You can easily calculate how many shots per fill you will get from a nitrogen paintball tank. As mentioned about, tanks come with a pressure rating of either 3000 or 4500 psi. They are available in different sizes including 45ci, 68ci and 88ci. If your tank is rated at 3000 psi, simply multiple the size (ci) by 10 to estimate the amount of shots per fill. For 4500 psi tanks, multiple the size by 15. For instance, a 68/3000 tank will give you an estimated 680 shots per fill (68 x 10).

What brands are best and what exactly makes one tank better than the next? Visit us using the link below and to find out more.

Do Road Signs And Billboards Contribute To Vehicle Accidents?

Have you ever been driving along and all of a sudden you were distracted by a billboard that you have never seen before? Well, this response is all too common among drivers on today’s roads and highways. A recent poll conducted by Privilege Insurance determined that 30% of drivers in the United Kingdom admitted to losing concentration while driving because of a billboard or sign.

Why Driver Distraction Matters

Driver distraction increases the chances that a vehicle accident will occur. It is a major underlying cause of auto accidents. In fact, driver behavior is cited as one of four causes of vehicle accidents listed below in order of most major cause to least major cause:

1. Driver behavior

2. Poor roadway maintenance

3. Roadway design

4. Equipment failure

In fact, over 95% of motor vehicle accidents have some amount of driver behavior as a portion of the cause even if some or all of the other major causes are involved.

Why a Few Seconds of Inattention Matter

We’ve all done it-momentarily moved our eyes away from the road. The problem is that sometimes drivers take their eyes off the road for too long or at a crucial point. If a driver is distracted by the bright colors or someone in sexy lingerie on a billboard while they are diving near you, you could wind up being the victim of a vehicle accident. Orlando auto accident attorneys Best & Anderson are very familiar with this scenario.

Also, electronic and moving billboards with pop-out sections may increase the chances of an accident because people tend to look at them longer than traditional billboards.

If drivers are distracted for five seconds while traveling at 60 miles per hour, then they aren’t looking at the road for 100 yards or more (the length of a football field), which is more than enough time for a vehicle accident to occur.

Even more disturbing, a 2006 study performed by Nottingham University, determined that as much as 50% of a driver’s time spent on the road may involve paying attention to roadside distractions.

Drivers are even distracted by the sheer volume of signs that are actually supposed to help them navigate roads.

All of this adds up to great potential for auto accidents to occur.

The “Highway Hypnosis” Phenomenon

Some people may claim that billboards help relieve driver boredom on long road trips. This would be a positive benefit to billboards. However, a counterargument to this idea is the phenomenon of “highway hypnosis.” This is so-named because when you are driving along a straight, flat section of highway, you enter into an almost trancelike state because of the monotony of everything looking very similar. Drivers can end up fixating on a billboard that seems to pop up out of nowhere during their “hypnosis” and end up causing an accident.

Privilege Insurance determined that in the United Kingdom, roadside distractions affected 83% of UK drivers. That number can surely be applied to United States drivers as well.

This is a startling statistic because it validates what we already suspect: being inundated by signs and billboards as we drive down the road can distract us while we are driving. In fact, there is even a billboard that says, “”Keep your eyes on the road and stop reading these signs.” This billboard confirms that even companies who place billboards know that they are a distraction!

Aircraft Hydraulic Hose And Hydraulic Hose Fittings

Carefully inspect all hydraulic hose and fittings at regular intervals to ensure airworthiness. Investigate any evidence of fluid loss or leaks. Check metal tubes for leaks, loose anchorage, scratches, kinks, or other damage. Inspect fittings and connections for leakage, looseness, cracks, burrs, or other damage. Replace or repair defective elements. Make sure the hoses do not chafe against one another and are correctly secured and clamped.

a. Replacement of Metal tube. When inspection shows hydraulic hose to be damaged or defective replace the entire line or, if the damaged section is localized, a repair section may be inserted. In replacing aircraft hose, always use tubing of the same size and material as the original line. Use the old tubing as a template when bending the new tube, unless it is too greatly damaged, in which case a template can be made from soft iron wire. Soft aluminum tubing (1100, 3003, or 5052) under half-inch outside diameter may be bent by hand. For all other tubing use an acceptable hand or power tube-bending tool. Bend tubing carefully to avoid excessive flattening, kinking, or wrinkling. A small amount of flattening in bends is acceptable, but do not exceed 75 percent of the original outside diameter. Excessive flattening will cause fatigue failure of the hydraulic tube. When installing the replacement tubing line it up correctly with the mating part so that it is not forced into alignment by tightening of the coupling nuts.

b. Hose couplings and Tube Connections. Many tube connections are made using flared tube ends with standard connection fittings: AN-818 (MS 20818) nut and AN-819 (MS 20819) sleeve. In forming flares, cut the tube ends square, file smooth, remove all burrs and sharp edges, and thoroughly clean. The tubing is then flared using the correct 37-degree aviation flare forming tool for the size of tubing and type of fitting. A double flare is used on soft aluminum tubing 3/8-inch outside diameter and under, and a single flare on all other tubing. In making the connections, use hydraulic fluid as a lubricant and then tighten. Overtightening will damage the tube or fitting, which may cause a failure. Under-tightening may cause leakage which could result in a system failure.

CAUTION: Mistaken use of 45-degree automotive flare forming tools may result in improper tubing flare shape and angle; causing misfit, stress and strain, and probable system failure.

c. Repair of aircraft hydraulic Metal Tube Lines. Minor dents and scratches in tubing may be repaired. Scratches or nicks not deeper than 10 percent of the wall thickness in aluminum alloy tubing, that are not in the heel of a bend, may be repaired by burnishing with hand tools. Replace lines with severe die marks, seams, or splits in the tube. Any crack or deformity in a flare is unacceptable and cause for rejection. A dent less than 20 percent of the tube diameter is not objectionable unless it is in the heel of a bend. A severely-damaged line should be replaced; however, it may be repaired by cutting out the damaged section and inserting a tube section of the same size and material. Flare both ends of the undamaged and replacement tube sections and make the connection by using standard unions, sleeves, and tube nuts.If the damaged portion is short enough, omit the insert tube and repair by using one union and two sets of connection hose fittings.

d.Replacement of Flexible Hose. When replacement of flexible hose is necessary, use the same type, size, part number, and length of hose as the line to be replaced. Check TSO requirements. If the replacement of a hose with a swaged-end type fitting is necessary, obtain new hydraulic hose assemblies of the correct size and composition. Certain synthetic oils require a specially compounded synthetic rubber hose, which is compatible. Refer to the aircraft manufacturer’s service information for the correct part number for the replacement hose. If the fittings on each end are of the correct type or sleeve type, a replacement may be fabricated. Before cutting new flexible wire braided hose to the proper size, tape the hose tightly with masking tape and cut in the center of the masking tape to prevent fraying. The use of a mandrel will prevent cutting the inside of the hose when inserting the fittings. Install hose assemblies without twisting. A hose should not be stretched tight between two fittings as this will result in overstressing and eventual failure. The length of hose should be sufficient to provide about 5 to 8 percent slack. Avoid tight bends in flex lines as they may result in failure. Never exceed the minimum bend radii.

(1) Teflon hose is used in many aircraft systems because it has superior qualities for certain applications. Teflon is compounded from tetrafluoroethylene resin which is unaffected by fluids normally used in aircraft. It has an operating range of -65°F to 450 °F. For these reasons, Teflon hose is used in hydraulic and engine lubricating systems where temperatures and pressures preclude the use of rubber hose. Although Teflon hose has excellent performance qualities, it also has peculiar characteristics that require extra care in handling. It tends to assume a permanent set when exposed to high pressure or temperature. Do not attempt to straighten a hose that has been in service. Any excessive bending or twisting may cause kinking or weakening of the tubing wall. Replace any hose that shows signs of leakage, abrasion, or kinking. Any hose suspected of kinking may be checked with a steel ball of proper size.The ball will not pass through if the hose is distorted beyond limits.

(2) If the hose fittings are of the reusable type, a replacement hose may be fabricated. When a hose assembly is removed, the ends should be tied, so that the preformed shape will be maintained.

(3) All flexible hose installations should be supported at least every 24 inches. Closer supports are preferred. They should be carefully routed and securely clamped to avoid abrasion, kinking, or excessive flexing. Excessive flexing may cause weakening of the hose or loosening at the fittings.

Electric Train Sets Mimic Real Trains And Railroads

Model electric train sets first appeared in the mid-1800’s and they quickly became a popular hobby. With time, these model train sets exercise the hobbyists imaginative capacity and innovative designs and creative displays were a common occurrence. That’s because electric trains gave users the opportunity to design their own trains and railroads. Through great effort, participants designed and produced grand miniature railways that mimicked the real thing. And with increasing experience, the designs became ever more detailed and meticulous.

These days electric train sets are designed in way that incorporates both engineering and art. Enthusiasts have gone to great lengths to improve all the aspects of these electric train sets. Exacting elements include the technical requirements of the equipment, the gauge of the trains, and the replication of the train sets itself. It all calls for a large amount of creativity, research, and energy.

In the beginning, model train sets were made of molded plastic. The shape and the size of electric train sets also varied from place to place and from manufacturer to manufacturer. However, most of these model trains were common in one respect and that was their close likeness to the original trains. However, after the introduction of electric trains, many changes were implemented. Trains made using this design run on metal rails that are charged with direct current (D.C). A conductor is attached to the mechanism, which controls the voltage of the flowing current.

With the evolution of electric train sets, their popularity has grown tremendously among people of all ages. In comparison to the original model trains, electric models have seen reductions in size and they look more exacting as well. These new trains run on three types of scales-namely G scale, N scale and HO scale. All these three scales represent different ratios of the dimensions. Among these three scales, the HO scales is most widely used.

The popularity of this new hobby started increasing in the 1950’s when people saw and realized the attractive elements and challenges of this hobby. These trains look more realistic and people can feel a visceral connection to the world of rail roads and a sense of adventure while pursuing this passion. Another very important fact about these electric sets is that they remain fully functional in all types of weather. The special plastic finish of the trains makes them always look attractive so they can even be used in outdoor environments.

How To Shoot Video In Low Light

Some may think that shooting in low light will result in bad video, but in many cases, the increased ratio of darkness to brightness results in a more dramatic and artistic looking image. However, shooting in less light requires more attention to detail and familiarity with your camera. I’ve listed below what I feel are essential tips when shooting in such conditions.

1. Wide Angle Lens

I often get better results in low light by using a wide-angle lens because of the greater depth-of-field. This allows me to keep more of the foreground in focus and allow more light into the lens. For example, when I’m shooting a wedding, many of the reception halls dim down the lights to create a romantic mood. As a result, I equip one of my cameras with a wide-angle lens to capture a panoramic view of the dance floor – often from the 2nd floor. I use the wide-angle perspective to my artistic advantage and never have to worry about shallow depth-of-field or focusing issues.

2. Say “NO” to Zooming

As you increase the focal length (by zooming in), you reduce the amount of light allowed into the lens. As a result, you will find your image gets darker as you zoom in. This can be problematic if the ambient light levels are already insufficient. If you must get closer to the action, then you need to physically move closer.

3. Be Pragmatic

Don’t expect the quality of your image to on par with a daylight lit, grain-free, video set-up. I find the heightened drama of the picture often outweighs any quality loss. Some of my best shots were taken under low lighting. Often times when I’m at a wedding and shooting dance footage, I prefer to keep my on-camera light off in favor of the more seductive look of the multi colored DJ lights. Don’t be afraid to experiment and go natural.

If I’m filming on the beach natural lighting can be my best friend. If you live in Southern California, you won’t have to worry much about overcast skies. The golden tinge produced at sunset on a clear day will surely give your video that expensive look without costing you a dime.

4. Pros and Cons of On-Camera Lights

Having an on-camera light can be a lifesaver when you’re left with little or no options for shooting in the dark. However, when shopping for a light I would stay clear of any that don’t allow you to dim your output (brightness). The problem with a fixed light intensity is that it is very easy to over or under expose your image. As a result, you will have to constantly adjust your aperture or shutter speed to compensate. Considering it’s hard enough to focus in low light, the added complications inherit are simply not worth it.

Another tool to consider is a diffusion lens. Without any sort of damping an on-camera light will project a harsh beam onto your subject and give them a washed out appearance. If you’re a wedding videographer or trying to create a romantic look it is imperative that you apply a diffusion lens onto your light.

5. Use Electronic Gain Smartly

In film terms, electronic gain is like using a higher speed film. The advantages include greater light sensitivity but with the expense of increased video noise. For every 3 decibels of increased gain the increase in light is equivalent to 1 f-stop. Sometimes the increase in noise can be used artistically but exercise caution.

How To Plan An Outdoor Baby Shower Party

During the beautiful days of Autumn, it’s so fun to be outside when you can. So, if you are planning a baby shower, why not go ahead and decide to have the shower outside. This way everyone can enjoy the outdoors and it’s a lot easier for you to clean up too. To help you plan it all out, here are some great tips and ideas to help you plan an outdoor baby shower party that will thrill the mom-to-be and all your other guests.

Choosing a Location

First of all, you need to choose a location for the baby shower. Ensure you choose a location that will have plenty of room for all the guests you plan on having. It’s also a good idea to ensure you have an alternate plan if the weather ends up being less than perfect. Often the easiest place to have these showers is in someone’s backyard, so you don’t have to move food too far from home.

Great Food Ideas

Speaking of food, you want to have tasty food at the baby shower as well. Considering the baby shower themes you intend to use may help you come up with some food ideas. It’s a good idea to go with picnic style foods for an outdoor shower. You want foods that are easy to take outside. Consider cool salads, sandwiches, fresh fruits, or you may even want to grill out for the party.

Fun Outdoor Baby Shower Games

Games are half the fun at a baby shower, and when you have the shower outdoors, you can really have a great time with all the games you choose. Consider having a treasure hunt, playing some easy sports related games, and maybe even do some outdoor baby bingo games. Try to limit games that involve paper, since the wind may blow it away.

How Many Guests Should You Invite?

You are going to need to figure out how many guests to invite as well. A lot of this can depend on the room you have outdoors, especially if you are doing this in a back yard. You need to have plenty of room for all the guests you invite to the baby shower. Ensure you invite guests that are important to the mother-to-be. This may include her mom, sisters, other family members, and her good friends. Remember, this is all about the new mom.

Outdoor Decorations

Decorating for the outdoor baby shower party can be a bit tricky. You need to make sure you use decorations that aren’t going to blow away easily. When you are choosing the decorations, consider the baby shower themes that you are using, which can help inspire the decorations to use. Consider nice banners that you can tie up so they won’t blow away. Decorations that can be driven into the ground are great too. Even the dishes and paper products you choose to use can be decorative.

Party Favors for Guest

Having baby shower favors for the guests that attend is a great idea. Since you are doing the baby shower outdoors, consider going with favors that go along with this idea and with your baby shower themes. Mini tubes of sunscreen or lip gloss with sunscreen make great party favors. If you live in a hot area though, avoid any favors like candles that may get melted in the sun. You don’t want the guest’s favors to turn into a mess in the heat.

Great Gift Ideas

Wondering what gift ideas are appropriate for the mom at an outdoor baby shower party? Really all the traditional gifts are just perfect for the shower. After all, mom is going to need all those traditional baby items for her new baby. Of course since the party is outdoors, you can get creative with the way you present the gifts to go along with the outdoor theme. Consider putting gift items in a little wagon or instead of a gift table, have a nice plastic pool (without water of course) where all the gifts can be placed until it’s time to open them.

Inviting the Guys – Should You Do It?

Since you are going with an outdoor baby shower party, you may be wondering if you should invite the guys. Well, this is perfectly acceptable today, but make sure that the mom-to-be is comfortable with this arrangement before you decide to do it. If you do have the guys, consider turning the event into a nice barbecue that everyone can enjoy. You can even have some separate games for the guys to keep them entertained or set up the TV inside so they can watch their favorite sport. Probably an activity they’d prefer anyway. 

Whatever the season, having a party outdoors can be fun for the guest and easy for the host. Outdoor baby showers provide a way that offers a quick way to clean up, it ensures there is room for everyone, and allows the guest to relax and have fun!