Popular Spring Renovations For Your Home

It is FINALLY that time of the year, homeowners come out of hibernation and start the renovations they have been planning for all winter long.  Here we will examine the spring home improvement projects that will bring you the biggest bang for your buck while increasing function and aesthetics.

Kitchen Renovations

Let’s start with the kitchen!  Most homeowners hear the phrase kitchen remodeling and immediately rule it out because they think it is going to cost and arm and a leg.  This doesn’t have to be the case.  With the help of a local contractor your kitchen can be transformed from ordinary to extraordinary.  You don’t have to completely gut your kitchen to change the way it looks or functions.  Simple changes such as adding a touch of color to the cabinets, new hardware, and updated appliances can make a huge difference.

Updated Flooring

Spring is the perfect time to think about updating the flooring in your home.  Hardwood flooring is a popular choice for homeowners because it withstands the test of time.  The most common rooms in a home to replace carpet for hardwood include kitchens and dining rooms.  Carpeted bathrooms are often undesirable however wood flooring isn’t necessarily a good choice.  For bathrooms homeowners often choose ceramic or stone tile because it is durable and can withstand the moisture that is present in bathrooms.

Fresh Paint

The warmer weather presents a perfect environment for painting the interior and exterior of your home.  Spring is neither hot nor cold which makes it the perfect season to add some color to your home with a fresh coat of paint.  Paint totally changes the entire look of a room.  Changing the color of your homes exterior not only changes the look of your home, it adds to the aesthetics of the entire landscape.

Existing Decking

Deck and porch areas are best treated in the spring as well.  It is important to do a full inspection of the decking materials.  All loose and rotting boards should be replaced.  After this has been done it is time to clean the deck thoroughly which then allows stain and water preventative from adhering properly.  The same process should be followed when updating painted areas on the deck and porch. 

Deck Installation

Installing a new deck is also best done during in the spring.  Once the ground has thawed and footings can be placed a deck can be constructed.  Adding a deck to your home increases your living space.   Deck installation is not always simple.  This is especially true for raised decks or decks with multiple levels.  Hiring a contractor can turn a project that will take you a full month of weekends into a two- or three-day process which is most often the case with home improvement projects.

JFC Remodeling is a full-service licensed contractor out of Howell, Michigan.  Specializing in kitchen and bathroom renovations, flooring upgrades, and home remodeling services.  More information can be found online at https://jfcremodeling.com/.

A Little Preparation Goes A Long Way When Selling Your Home

The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and trees are starting to bloom… Spring is FINALLY here!  As we enter into the month of May the real estate market will see an increase in homes for sale and buyers hitting the streets trying to find a home of their dreams.  If you are one of the many homeowners looking to sell their home over the next few months, it is important to make sure your home stands out as a top choice for buyers.  Our local Century 21 Lady of the Lakes Real Estate team has a few tips to help ensure your home sells without a hitch.

Make Necessary Repairs

When preparing your home for sale it is important to showcase it in the best possible way.  Minor home repairs and maintenance that you may have been putting off need to be a top priority.  It may not have previously seemed important to paint the front door or re-caulking the shower however, it is now.  Fixing the minor defects around your home ensures your home is showcased in the best possible manner.

Curb Appeal

Before scheduling an appointment to view the interior of your home most buyers will do a drive by to look at the exterior.  Your homes curb appeal is what gets buyers interested in what’s inside.   It is crucial that your home makes a first impression that knocks their socks off! Take the time to wash the windows, power wash the siding, freshen up the trim paint, clean debris from the roof and gutters, and landscape as if you are planning on staying in the home.  The bonus of beautiful flower beds and trimmed trees is that it eliminates the need for the new homeowners to do when they move in and it boosts the colors boost your homes curb appeal.

Remove the Clutter

It is important that the buyers can see themselves in your home.  When we live in a house, we personalize it with the stuff that makes it our home.  These things distract buyers and don’t allow them to fully see themselves in the house which is why it is important to declutter prior to listing it for sale.  This is the perfect time to prep yourself for your eventual move as well.  Take time to go through your home and separate what you want to keep, donate, or throw out.  Organize closets and keep only what you need for the next couple of months to function comfortably.  Renting a storage shed allows you to store items that are viewed as clutter that you want to keep.  Store seasonal items including clothing and decorations, extra furniture, off season sporting goods, and items that overly personalize your home.

Clean, Clean, Clean

Your home should sparkle like it never has before.  From the inside of the dishwasher to the baseboards, everything needs to be thoroughly cleaned.  When buyers walk into your home the only thing that they should smell is the scent of a clean home.  If you aren’t known for being the most in-depth cleaner consider hiring a service to come in and shampoo carpets, wax hardwood floors, wipe down the surfaces of your home, clean appliances, and make your home twinkle.

Prepping your home is one of the most important things you can do as a homeowner to get your house sold quickly, at asking price, and without the headaches that can come with buying and selling a home.  The experts at C21 Lady of the Lakes are here to help!  Not only will we get your home sold, we will get you settled into a new home of your own.

C21 Lady of the Lakes is a full-service realtor serving Livingston County and the surrounding areas with all their real estate needs.  More information can be found at http://www.ladyofthelakes.com/.



Treating Medical Conditions With Radiation Treatment

Radiation therapy is just one treatment used in the treatment of cancer.  Linear accelerators, LINAC, are often used to deliver radiation which destroys cancerous cells.  LINAC machines use high energy x-rays to deliver radiation to cancerous tumors.  This breaks down and destroys the cancer cells while trying to minimize the damage and exposure to the surrounding healthy cells.  Radiation therapy is used to shrink and destroy cancer to prevent it from spreading. 

Radiation treatment can vary a great deal depending on the type of cancer and where it is located.  Linear accelerators are just one type of machine used to administer radiation.  When a patient is diagnosed with cancer, your oncologist will work with a team of experts to determine what type of treatment is best for you depending on your cancer, its location, overall health, and medical history. 

Keep in mind when a cancer treatment plan is being created that it may involve more than one type of treatment including radiation therapy, surgery, and/or drug therapy.  The best-known type of drug therapy is chemotherapy.  This is a medication that moves through the bloodstream in order to attack cancer in the body. 

Your team of doctors, including your oncologist will prescribe a treatment plan for your unique cancer.  Often this includes a combination of treatments.  When a combination of treatments is prescribed to treat cancer, it is important to follow the order that your doctor specifies as there often is a specific order that treatment needs to be given in order to treat specific conditions. 

Cancer is not the only medical condition that is treated using radiation therapy.  Below we will highlight different diseases that respond well with radiation therapy.

  • Acoustic Neuroma

This is a tumor that is not cancerous.  It is produced when the body over produces Schwann cells.  When this occur the abundance of cells presses on the nerves that control hearing and balance within the inner ear. 

  • Arteriovenous Malformations

This occurs when a connection between the arteries and veins in the brain and spine are atypical.  When this happens there will be neurologic symptoms and bleeding. 

  • Bone Cancer

Bone cancer is a growth of abnormal cells in a bone.  These cells can either be cancerous or benign.

  • Brain Tumor

Like bone cancer a brain tumor may be either cancerous or non-cancerous.  A brain tumor occurs when there is an irregular development of tissue in the brain. 

  • Chondrosarcoma

This is a type of bone cancer that is malignant.  It most often is seen in the cartilage cells of the femur, arm, knee, pelvis, or spine.  Other areas that may be affected, but less often are areas like the ribs. 

  • Chordoma

Chordoma is very rare.  It grows slower than most cancerous tumors that occur along the spine from the bottom of the skull all the way down to the tailbone.

  • Ewing’s Sarcoma

This is a type of cancer that occur in soft tissue and bone.  It is often located in extremities and can involve muscles and soft tissue close to the site of a tumor.  It is also a cancer that spreads to areas throughout the body. 

  • Leukemia

Leukemia is a type of blood cancer that develops in bone marrow.  This type of cancer produces three major blood cells including platelets, white and red blood cells.

  • Meningioma

One type of tumor that cultivates from meninges, the protective membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord is Meningioma.  This is often a benign and slow-growing tumor.

  • Osteosarcoma

Most often occurring in children and young adults, this is a type of bone cancer that cultivates in the osteoblast cells which form the outer covering of bones.

  • Soft Tissue Sarcomas

This rare cancer is just one of many soft tissue sarcomas.  Soft tissue sarcomas, overall, are rare.

  • Trigeminal Neuralgia

This is a disorder in the nerves which causes pain in parts of the face that feel like a stabbing or electrical shock like pain.

There are two main types of radiation therapy that are used in treatment including external and internal radiation.  External radiation is delivered using a LINAC.  This is a machine that gives treatment outside of the body by moving around it without touching the patient.  External radiation using a linear accelerator causes patients no pain and cannot be felt during treatment. Internal radiation, brachytherapy, is radiation therapy that is used to treat certain gynecological and prostate cancers.

Information on linear accelerators, new and refurbished or parts for maintenance and repair can be found at https://www.acceletronics.com/ and https://radparts.com/.

More on Electrical Distribution Equipment Failure – Should It Be Kept or Discarded?

As we promised in our last installment, we will continue the discussion on equipment failure.  We will continue to dive into various electrical components and how they work, their longevity, usage, and testing. 

Transformers

Transformers are large scaled pieces of equipment that are used to either reduce or increase the voltage produced by a current.  Liquid filled transformers are most often installed outdoors on a concrete slab, under a canopy to protect against the elements.  The liquid serves two purposes, it cools the transformer coils and provides insulation between the coils and the grounded tank. 

Older transformers use insulating mineral oils where as newer transformers use either a silicon based, fluorinated hydrocarbon, or combustion resistant vegetable oil based dielectric fluid or synthetic esters.  These insulating fluids break down first due to the entrance of moisture, impurities, and intermittent periods of heating and cooling.  Liquid transformers can deliver consistent service for more than 30 years with regular maintenance, fluid replacement, testing, and repairs.

Low Voltage Circuit Breakers

LV distribution systems commonly use molded case circuit breakers.  These systems contain two elements that deteriorate when used, a spring-loaded operating mechanism and copper contacts.  These two components will wear out from abrasion while closing and arching when the breaker is opened.  Larger breakers can be replaced. 

As these systems age the mechanisms that operate will start to slow down which delays clearing times.  The springs operating the mechanism are strong and hardly ever need to be fixed or repaired.  Lubrication however will deteriorate and need to be replenished to avoid the slower clearing times.  When a breaker operates above the normal trip rate it should be replaced.  These systems often last upwards of 20 years.  After 20 years replacement is most often recommended whether or not you are seeing slower clearing times during testing.

Low Voltage and Medium Voltage Cables

For most of us cables are quiet simple consisting of a stranded aluminum or copper conductor that is wrapped in insulation as well as a jacket that is resilient to the weather.  The manufacturing of electrical power and control cables sounds fairly simple however this industry is one that is in fact highly specialized.

Assessing the integrity of electrical cabling and its remaining longevity is important however can be quite complicated.  Cables can quickly lose electrical integrity while it is in use because of air pockets, gas pockets, and the voids found in the insulation.  This occurs due to thermal expansion and contraction.  If cables are in water their deterioration will occur at a faster rate.  Testing and analysis on these voids will offer up an estimate on the life that remains for the cable. J & P Electrical Company is a full-service electrical company that supplies contractors, end users, and supply houses with new surplus, quality reconditioned, and obsolete electrical equipment. We purchase a wide range of electrical equipment such as bus plugs, bud ducts, panel switches, substations, and transformers.  More information can be found at https://www.jpelectricalcompany.com

Home Maintenance Musts This Spring

For most of us the warmer weather brings about the yearly ritual of spring cleaning.  For many of us we this has only included the interior of our homes however, that is a mistake.  Exterior and interior spring cleaning and maintenance are both equally important to the well being of your home as a whole.  It is during these times we are able to evaluate and plan for repairs and maintenance that will keep your home from disrepair.  Create a checklist for interior and exterior spring tasks where you can include notes on maintenance and repairs that are completed from year to year.  This will serve as a record from year to year for both you as the current homeowner and those who may own it after you.

Spring Maintenance for The Exterior of Your Home

The Roof

Your roof is an important part of the structural integrity of your home.  It creates a barrier between the elements and the structural base of your home.  The roof is a key element and therefore needs to be inspected and maintained on a regular basis.  If you are unable to get on the roof use a pair of binoculars to inspect the shingles or contact a local roofing contractor.  Any shingles that are showing signs of wear such as cracks should be replaced.  If you notice shingles missing it is important to replace them right away.  Pine needles and leaves should be removed as they will weaken the valleys of your roof. 

The Siding

No matter what material is used on the exterior walls of your home it is important to make sure that they remain damage free.  Siding contractors suggest doing a thorough inspect under the eaves, gutters, and downspouts.  If water stains appear it is a good indication that your homes gutters are not working properly and aren’t adequate in containing the roof runoff. For homes with wood siding check for damage from ants, birds, and other nuisance critters.

The Chimney

Masonry chimneys should be examined as well.  The joints between the stones and bricks of the chimney should be examined for fall out as well as the growth of vegetation.  These issues can be signs of water entry. If you notice a white deposit of calcium this is also a sign that your chimney needs repair and you should contact a contractor specializing in masonry.

The Foundation

Poured concrete should be examined for cracks.  If a crack exists in the foundation of the home, it will require more than just a routine caulk job.  If you notice cracking in your foundation it is time to call in an expert who specializes in concrete foundations.  They will fill the crack with a two-part epoxy that will chemically bond with the crack when injected.

The Windows

Check the windows throughout your home for leaks that could be letting air filter in or out of the home.  The caulk and weather stripping is important in ensuring that the cool air doesn’t escape during the summer and the heat stays put in the winter. Check for condensation between the glass if you have double or triple paned windows.  This could indicate that the seal is bad and that you should replace the window or possibly just the glass.

The Deck

Check decking for boards that are loose, warped, or splintered.  These should be replaced to avoid injuries.  Take time to sweep the build up of debris between the deck boards.  If left to accumulate it will prevent water from draining.  Wooden decks that have faded or become worn from the sun should be thoroughly cleaned, stained, and resealed.  If you have composite decking it is important to maintain it according the maintenance instructions provided by the manufacturer.

As a full-service home improvement contractor servicing all Southeast Michigan, Kearns Brothers, Inc. offers clients a wide range of services to meet their construction needs including: roofing, siding, window, masonry, chimneys, gutters, and insulation services.  More information can be found at www.kearnsbrothers.com.

Springtime in Michigan Is the Perfect Time For LASIK

Spring has finally sprung here in Michigan, which means warmer weather, spring cleaning, and new beginnings.  We begin to look forward to outdoor activities of all kinds and how much simpler these activities would be without the hassle of glasses and contact lenses.  This spring might just be the start of your new beginning without the worries that come along with glasses and contacts. LASIK surgery has helped millions of Americans live a life free of correct lenses.  It’s possible it can do the same for you!

The benefits of LASIK are endless.  Here we will discuss just a few of the reason’s patients give us when looking into laser vision correction surgery.  Whatever your reason, don’t procrastinate any longer.  Spring is the perfect time for LASIK.  You will be enjoying a life free and clear of restrictive vision before you know it.

Allergies

Many Michigan residents suffer from allergies throughout the spring.  The trees are blooming, the flowers are popping up through the ground, grass is growing, and people are suffering from itchy, red eyes and constant sneezing and runny noses.  A lot of times over the counter medicine just doesn’t cut the severe effects that allergies can have. 

LASIK surgery can actually help improve your allergy symptoms! For many allergies suffers contact lenses intensify the symptoms people are experiencing.  A lot of LASIK patients experience a vast improvement after surgery.  Contact lenses are the worst when you are dealing with itchy eyes because the first thing you want to do is rub your eye and contacts make this a challenge. 

Outdoor Activities

When it comes to playing sports and outdoor activities, contact lenses and glasses can really hinder your enjoyment (and performance).  With LASIK surgery you no longer need to worry about breaking your glasses or losing a contact when you are in the heat of the game.  Even gardening is simpler with laser vision surgery; never again will you worry about getting dirt and grime caught between a contact and cornea.

Traveling

Michigan residents are known for travel throughout the spring season.  “Spring break” is basically a holiday for most families. Traveling as a family is hard enough without the added stress and worry that comes with packing extra glasses or the endless supplies needed for contact lenses.  LASIK eliminates this all together.  Laser surgery gives patients freedom to play without a concern.  You can enjoy all of your favorite activities from swimming to rollercoaster rides with ease.

Busy Summers

Let’s face it, the spring season is going to fly by.  Before you know it, summer will be here and so will the longing to spend your days camping, swimming, and enjoying friendly backyard barbecues. Having LASIK done in the spring allows eyes to heal properly before the enjoyment of the summer begins.

If you are considering LASIK and unsure if you are a candidate today is the day to find out.  Rohr Eye & Laser Center will provide you with a free LASIK consultation to determine if you are an ideal candidate for vision correction surgery.  Don’t eliminate yourself as a LASIK candidate, call our LASIK surgical coordinators today to schedule your free consultation.

Rohr Eye & Laser Center offers the most advanced technology available to suit your lifestyle and visual needs.  As a leader in laser vision correction and cataract surgery, our goal is to help you achieve the best vision possible without glasses or contact lenses.  More information can be found online at https://michiganlasik.com.

Solutions for Rust and Iron Prevention In Well Water Irrigation Systems

Throughout the year we spend a lot of time thinking about the water quality in our home.  We all desire high quality water in our homes which is why many of us will install a system to treat our water.  There are several different water treatment solutions available including water softeners, water conditioners, reverse osmosis filtration, iron filters, and water purification systems. Each available system serves a different purpose and meets the needs of homeowners differently.  Testing and analyzing the water from your home will determine what system or systems best fits your needs.

When warmer weather starts to move in, we quickly shift gears from the water in our home to the water outside of our homes.  Let’s face it, water is essential to create and maintain a healthy landscape.  When Mother Nature isn’t producing the water, we need for this to happen we turn to our irritation systems.  For many of us this is when we start to notice the unsightly effects of rust and iron within our irrigation systems.

There isn’t a whole lot treating your water will do for existing rust and iron stains however installing an irrigation stain control system can prevent further damage.  Rust and iron prevention and remover are two different aspects in preparing your home and irrigation system for the spring and summer seasons.  In order to remove existing stains on landscaping, siding, sidewalks, and more there are many safe, biodegradable options available to homeowners.  For irrigation rust and iron prevention, the experts at Reynolds Water Conditioning Company can help! 

There are three different water treatment systems that work well in irrigation applications.  The results of your well water analysis will better help to determine which system will best suit your specific need.  The most common option for irrigation systems using well water with a high density of rust elements is the installation of a system that combines specialized equipment and chemicals. 

The Reynolds Irrigation Stain Control System is a combination of the best equipment and chemicals available on the market today.  It is a system that has over 25 years of results to prove it is effective in preventing the rust stains that can be found on the outdoor surfaces around your home. This specific system works to prevent red water stains and rust from forming on patio furniture, siding, and more without the use of harmful chemical solutions. 

The specialized RC solution used in the Reynolds Irrigation Stain Control System is not only safe for plants and animals it protects against corrosion and pitting as well as being 100% bio-degradable and safe for the environment. This solution is added to a tank that includes a flow switch and an injection pump.  The solution is introduced to the water stream as it enters the irrigation system which prevents staining. 

Other options that are available to improve the quality of the water running through your irrigation system include the Reynolds ClearStream Iron-Rust-Odor Filter and Reynolds Chlorinator.  Both systems treat the amount of iron in well water.  When iron is removed for the water before it enters the irrigation system, outdoor staining can be prevented.  

.  Both systems treat the amount of iron in well water.  When iron is removed for the water before it enters the irrigation system, outdoor staining can be prevented.  

The experts at Reynolds Water Conditioning have a solution to your homes unique water quality needs including: arsenic, bacteria, chlorine, rotten egg smell, fluoride, hard water, iron, lead, acid, tannins, radon, and more.  More information on our water treatment solutions including water softeners and conditioners, water filtration and purification, reverse osmosis drinking water, and iron & odor removal can be found online at https://www.reynoldswater.com/irrigation-iron-removal.



What’s the Difference Between Computer Viruses and Malware?

Often the terms malware and computer virus are used interchangeably however they are in fact not the same.  A computer virus is just one type of malware that a computer can become infected with.  It is a commonly used term to describe an infection within a computer system.  The term malware is a broader term and refers to any and all malicious software that infects a computer, including a computer virus.  Two common types of malware that users are familiar with are spyware and adware.  It is crucial that users install protection software to fight off new malware as it occurs. 

Malware infections are infecting computer systems and mobile devices at growing rate.  Malware is a software program that has been created to cause damage and spread infection from a host system to systems the host comes in “contact” with.  Including computer viruses, malware includes various types of software including trojan horses, worms, adware, and spyware.  The most aggressive malware, known as ransomware, works to gain financially from computer users. 

Viruses:  As previously stated, a computer virus is one type of malware on its own.  A virus is infectious software code that is used to infect a host system and spreads when it runs.  Computer viruses are most often spread when software is shared between computers.  It is similar to a parasite in that the virus “feeds” off the host computer and spreads from the host.  Once the host shares the virus it then continues to spread to systems that it is shared with.   A lot of users with viruses end up with them due to receiving and opening an email that has a virus infection. The more the email is shared, the more systems ultimately become infected.

Adware: Infected software that comes through in the form of advertisements is known as adware.  This type of malware that provides advertisements in order to bring in revenue for the source.  The infected ad is shown to the computer user and when the ad is installed the system is infected.  Adware software is coded in a manner that it uses the sites that users often visit to create related ads.  Although all adware does not have the intent to harmful it becomes a problem because it slows down computer function and can be quite aggravating. 

Spyware: Software that spies on your online activity and tracks where you go on the internet in order to gather information on the user is known as spyware.  Users do not consent to the tracking and often do not know it is running.  Spyware is a difficult type of malware to detect.  Employers may install spyware programs to monitor the online activity of users.  Employer installed spyware software will not spread.

Worms:  A worm is a malware type that duplicates itself and annihilates the information and files that are saved on the pc including the operating and data files.

Trojan: Trojans are a virus that has been created in a manner that builds user trust by making them think they are about to tun a safe program.  They are designed to steal information and then take over the files within the computer system.  In larger commercial settings, Trojans can make network resources unavailable to users when they try to reach it.

Ransomware: The most malicious type of malware is known as ransomware.  Users are unable to access the system until they have paid a fee.  Often times a pop-up shows on the computer screen which states the user has been locked out.  It will state that a ransom fee needs to be paid in order to remove any restrictions that have been placed on the system.  Cryptolocker is the most well-known type of ransomware today. 

If you believe that your personal computer, server, or network workstation has become infected with malware it is critical that the system is shut down and immediately scanned by software that is specifically designed to locate and remove infections.  The professional IT specialists at Creative Programs and Systems can perform these scans via remote desktop, in person at your location, or on-site in our Brighton, MI location. 

Creative Programs and Systems, CPS, is an all-inclusive IT solutions company offering a variety of services including: managed IT services, IT consulting, residential computer services, custom programming, website design, iphone & android app development, and more.  More information can be found at https://cpsmi.com.

Creating An Outdoor Space With Purpose

There is a new trend in home improvement, and it doesn’t have anything to do with the interior of your home.  The creation of outdoor living spaces takes a boring green lawn without any dimension and turns it into a usable space the whole family can enjoy.  Not only can homeowners take their backyards and turn them into a functional space, many outdoor home improvement projects increase home value and outdoor safety.   

There isn’t a one size fits all project to choose when considering outdoor upgrades.  Consider your family, the size of the space, areas you want to highlight, and the overall purpose you want the space to serve.  If you aren’t sure exactly what you want but you know you are ready to take your lackluster landscape and turn it into something that inspires you consider some of the options below.

An Outdoor Living Area

One of the most common trends for homeowners in climates where the temperatures are consistently warm is livable outdoor spaces.  Common design elements for outdoor living areas include an outdoor kitchen, access to water, comfortable seating, a space for games, and some may include an area for television viewing.  For many this includes the creation of an outdoor covered patio area or a space that is partially covered. 

Outdoor living spaces require many of the same elements that are needed within the home such as plumbing, electricity, and gas.  Firepits are a popular feature that is often included in outdoor living spaces.  Firepits have changed a lot with the addition of outdoor living spaces.  Long gone are the metal rings and fires fueled by wood.  Instead many homeowners opt to use gas and glass to create a truly unique ambiance. 

A Landscape with Purpose

Your landscape should be more than just grass.  Create a landscape with a purpose.  Create spaces within the landscape using plants, trees, fencing, statues, seating, and such that give the space purpose throughout the yard.  This can be done with minimal maintenance required.  The last thing most homeowners want is to increase the amount of maintenance required around their homes.

Think about your current landscape.  Envision the space divided up into several usable spaces.  You don’t have to reinvent the space all in one day. Often landscaping with a purpose is done throughout an extended period of time.  A great place to start is to choose a space within your landscape to create a seating area that is sectioned off from the rest of the lawn.  Create a platform that sits under a canopy of shade trees.  Simple platforms can be created out of concrete or bricks, add comfy seating and tables for drinks and snacks, sit back and enjoy. 

A Vacation Oasis

The installation of a backyard swimming pool is another popular outdoor home improvement that is often considered when homeowners want to create an outdoor space that can be enjoyed by the entire family.  Swimming pools are a fabulous way to bring people together as well as enhance the visual appeal of your landscape.  When a pool is installed the sky is really the limit from waterfall features to diving boards there is something for every homeowners’ desires.

The most important element when having a pool installed is safety.  Inground swimming pools must have a fence and latching gate that encloses the perimeter of the space.  Not just any fence will do either, the fence must meet the standards in place by the B.O.C.A.  Aluminum fencing is the most popular option amongst pool owners because it is not only attractive but requires little maintenance to keep it looking as sharp as the rest of the landscape does. 

Aluminum pool fencing that meets B.O.C.A. standards can be found online at iFenceUSA.  Not only are there 18 different aluminum pool fence panels to choose from, homeowners can customize their fence with a number of ornamental features and décor options.  Classic black aluminum fence panels are a popular choice for pool owners however, homeowners have 9 different colors to choose from.  No matter what fence design is chosen homeowners are sure to make a bold statement with the addition of a beautiful backyard oasis.

An Impressive Entry

Another way homeowner can not only create an outdoor space that speaks volumes but also add security is through the installation of a gated entryway.  Driveway gates are terrific statement pieces that offer visitors a first impression like no other.  There are a number of types of materials used for entry gates however when looking for a material that is durable, long-lasting, and low maintenance, aluminum is once again your go to.  Aluminum driveway gates can be installed in a number of ways from attaching them directly to fencing or grand pillars.  Homeowners have a lot of options when enhancing their landscape with a driveway entry gate.

As you can see there are a number of ways to add purpose and increase the attractiveness of your landscape.  The exterior of your home doesn’t have to be boring.  With a little bit of thought your homes outdoor space can be turned into something special.

iFenceUSA is an online distributor of wholesale aluminum fences and gates for residential, resort, commercial, and industrial installation.  As an industry leader in maintenance-free aluminum fencing products we have all your aluminum fence and gate needs covered.  More information can be found online at https://ifenceusa.com/.

Software Development For iPhones and Android Using Cordova


One of the greatest challenges of a software development company working with iPhone and Android apps is time to develop on both platforms. While native programming these devices has its positives, rapid deployment of software is crucial in maintaining a profitable business model.  Using Cordova (PhoneGap) to achieve this, we have realized 200-300% reductions in time to market. Several of our apps run on Cordova and are available in the Apple Store, Google Play and Amazon.

Cordova allows you to keep one set of source code for both platforms, utilizing HTML and JavaScript.  This means you can simply develop your software one time for both devices and deploy.  Cordova comes with a breath of plugins from camera management, screen rotation, keyboard pop up, uploading file and more.  You install Cordova, add required plug-ins and develop.

Cordova is available here http://cordova.apache.org/

If you really want to speed up design time, you can actually develop your phone or tablet app on a website, using Chrome, FireFox or Edge.  Utilizing the CSS and HTML power of real time editing, you will see many apps can be produced in 1-2 days.  This allows for greater profit margins, less stress, and an ease on deadlines.

We have developed a technique to do just that.  By using the code below, you will disable Cordova (PhoneGap) in the browser view.  Then you upload the www project files to a website you have control of and can edit it right there.

var isApp = document.URL.indexOf( ‘http://’ ) === -1 && document.URL.indexOf( ‘https://’ ) === -1;

if(isApp){

                loadScript(‘cordova.js’, function(){  })

}

This code works by checking the URL of the device.  When running in app mode (on a device) the system does not use http protocol.  When in the browser we do.  This code simply checks to see if we are on a browser or not, then includes the cordova.js file.

This will allow you to program your app without the errors in the console on a website.  To continue to speed up development, we utilize jQuery.  If you are not familiar with jQuery, it’s a library of incredible useful shortcuts and tools for JavaScript.

jQuery may be downloaded here http://jquery.com/.

I highly suggest you rip out much of the default code that comes as a new project in Cordova.  The only thing you really need to include is the cordova.js file.  Using simple document ready function for the JavaScript replaces the cumbersome device ready code provided in the project.  Using jQuery $(document).ready() will fire when the page is loaded.

Using a combination of the process above, one should be able to rapidly deploy apps for home or business use, in a stable and reliable environment.  One of our big concerns when we first started this process was how Apple would react to an app not “natively” programmed in XCode.  The team at Apple will not reject your code because you used Cordova.  We have multiple apps in the Apple Store programmed using Cordova.  Give it a try, you will not be disappointed.

Creative Programs and Systems, CPS, is an all-inclusive IT solutions company offering a variety of services including: managed IT services, IT consulting, residential computer services, custom programming, website design, iphone & android app development, and more.  More information can be found at https://cpsmi.com.