Digital Scrapbooking – The Great Possibilities to Explore

Have you been asking yourself what great things you can make using digital scrapbooking? Well, it's a normal question, since we keep hearing lots of great things about the versatility of this method these days. And to tell you the truth, you can do everything using the technique. In other words, your digital scrapbook can be as variant, creative and unique as the paper version. And considering the kind of flexibility and ease you get with the digital version, it's much better to do your work digitally on your personal computer.

To give you a better idea of ​​how to get things done well using a digital scrapbooking software application, here are some handy tips. We hope you'll be able to make the most out of these suggestions.

You can craft stickers, creative text overlays, colorful ribbons, eye-catching shadows or even curled edges. Use these techniques to create a unique design.

You can easily cut out various types of shapes without taking measurements time and time again, when you wish to have multiple items in similar shape. Consider making use of dissimilar brushes when you are trying to make a wide array of effects on a digital scrapbooking project.

Also consider adding some pop out effects or outline texts along with vellum shadows. Using reflections makes great sense as well. You'll be able to add some attractive wrinkles onto the paper!

And here comes the "tip off the iceberg"! It's hard to mention all the things that can be done using digital scrapbooking software applications. In other words, sky is the limit when you want to beautify your layouts and make them unique. You can be your friends and family members have never seen something like this before. Just imagine the brilliance of these software solutions. You get to implement all those versatility decorations without even using a paper till your creation is done!

A Worm Farm on a Budget

Have you wanted to set up a home worm farm, but been put off by the high cost of purchasing one of the neat “designer label” multi-tiered ” vermicomposting” kits, promoted by garden centers and mail order companies? Well, let’s cut through the crap! – ITS ACTUALLY NO SECRET !!! -You can easily make your own DIY three bin kit for a just a few dollars and your worms will be as happy as little pigs in the yellow stuff, with no big bad wolf in sight. Moreover, you do not need to be an expert handyman to achieve this!

  • Hardware stores, supermarkets and camping outlets sell tough, general purpose black (opaque) plastic storage containers for a very reasonable price. These are usually tapered so that they can be nested to facilitate stacking on the retailer’s shelves and come with a ” snap-fit” ce lid. For your worm farm, you will need three of these tapered containers (but only one lid). For a simple home worm farm I would advise going for 12 gallon (45 liter) containers. Typically, they will be about 15 inches deep (400mm). You can go smaller, if you want.
  • In the first storage container, drill a 3/8 inch (15mm hole), centrally placed, in the side of the bin, just above the base. Insert a inch inch (12mm) cheap plastic barrel or irrigation tap (with washers) into your hole and tighten fast with lock nuts – make sure you get a good seal – test by filling the container with tap water. This container is to be the lowest one in your stack and will retain the highly nutritional ” worm tea ” leachate, that will start dripping down from the composting bins above. Worm tea is a valuable liquid organic fertilizer, that can be diluted and used directly on your organic vegetables.

The two upper bins will actually hold the worms. They are to be identified and are prepared as follows: -

  • Drill a pattern of inch inch (6mm) holes across the entire base of each container for drainage and to allow drainage and the upward migration of the compost worms, these holes should be regularly spaced at approximately two inch (50mm) centers in either direction.
  • For aeration, drill two rows of inch inch (6mm) holes at two inch (50mm) centers, in a continuous band around each of the bins. This band of holes would be about four inches (100mm) below the top rim of the bin.
  • It is not essential to drill holes in the lid, which is closed tightly over the upper bin. As you should get enough air through the sides.
  • You first set up the lower (sump) bin on bricks or blocks, allowing enough space to tap off the fluid from beneath it. Choose a shady location for the worm farm (in a shed or garage, if you are subject to frosts).
  • The second and third bins are “nested” within each other and dropped into the sump bin. To maintain a working space for the worms, and for accumulation of compost, you need a few spacers or packers of about six to eight inches height, between the two upper bins and some smaller packers of about four inches in the lower (sump) bin . You can use wood blocks or sealed food jars for packers. The packers also prevent the tapered worm bins from jamming together.
  • To prevent “nasty bugs” from squeezing in between the bins, you should close ( caulk ) the small gap between them with strips of shade cloth, or mosquito netting.

Now you are ready to go into production. Spacevents us from giving fully detailed notes here for the fine points of operating the system, such as selecting and feeding your worms, eradicating pests and maintaining the worm farm etc – you can visit our website for this information. However, just make sure that you cover the following points: -

  • Set up your worms in the top bin with a good (damp) fibrous bedding (or even shredded newspaper) and after a few days you will be ready to start feeding in your kitchen scraps. Cover the food with more bedding material to discourage pests and keep the lid closed.
  • Make sure the worm farm is never allowed to dry out, by sprinkling water over the bedding periodically, if there is not already enough moisture coming from the food scraps.
  • When the top bin has been fully productive for a while, the worms will multiply and compost will be start accumulating from the worm castings. When the quantity of compost is meaningful, stop putting feed into this bin and swap over the upper two bins by putting bin No 2 to the top of the stack, with bin No 1 now in the middle. Set up this new top bin with clean bedding, a small amount of the old castings and immediately start feeding your kitchen scraps into it. The worms will naturally migrate upwards towards the new food source, leaving the lower bin with only a few stragglers and ready for the harvesting of your compost within about three weeks after the swap.
  • All you need to do is to keep repeating the process of alternating the top two bins on a regular basis, taking out the compost, whenever it accumulates, and tapping off the worm tea from time to time. Use both products in your garden and grow delicious fully organic vegetables and stunning roses. Sit back and enjoy the fruit of your labors – your worms are doing most of the work anyway!

To see a detailed diagram of this simple worm farm, as described, and some illustrative photos, you can visit our web site at http://www.working-worms.com/

Happy worming!

Wallrock Thermal Liners for a Building's Energy Efficiency

The Wallrock thermal liners have been used for the past few years but had remained an undisclosed breakthrough to the world. These wall coverings are manufactured with the aim to offer multiple benefits to their users. On top of the features' list is an energy-efficient thermal insulation to your buildings. In addition to this, these coverings give a stylish look to your existing rough plaster or textured wall surface by converting it to a smooth and plain surface. A few other features include soundproofing, damp fixation, and mold resistance.

Wallrock thermal liners carry the following benefits (but are not limited to these only);

  • A fast room cooling or warming with minimum energy consumption
  • A good fire rating
  • Free of any undesirable plastics like PVC / fiberglass
  • Hide the rough surfaces
  • Return a smooth and plain surface, ready for paint or other wallpapers
  • Induce an essence of breathing to your walls
  • Overcome the molds and dumps

The technology was originally developed for the automotive and space industry. To offer you the best of all the above-mentioned features, we have added more value to the existing technology by using our research and experience. A detailed explanation of working mechanisms for the above-mentioned features is presented below.

Saving the Energy:

If the rooms are lined with the Wallrock thermal wall covering, these are actually capable of reflecting warm air from walls back to the room environment. So the highest amount of heat is present to warm up your room consuming less amount of energy. The warm-up time is also reduced up to 65% as compared to same for the rooms with no such liners. If an automatic control of the heating system is utilized (ie using a thermostat), this will act as a booster for energy-saving.

Now let us see that what happens if there are no such covers on your room walls. Your heating system will initially heat the room walls themselves, and only after that, the room air can be warmed up. One might think about what magical property does these thermal liners possess? These actually give a thermal insulation between room air and wall so act as a cold reservoir for your heat energy. So the wall covering quickly warm up your room to a comfortable temperature. This energy-saving feature is also effective for the buildings equipped with ETICS (External Thermal Insulating Composite Systems).

To give you an idea, if a conventionally designed room takes about 100 minutes to warm up its air to 21 degree Celsius, the same warmth can be achieved in only 25 minutes by just adding these thermal wall coverings.

Mold Resistance:

You probably know that the room walls possess a lower temperature than the ambient room temperature, this welcomes the mold formation. This is the reason mold formation is more common for a rooms' outer walls as well as those near windows and doors. This affinity towards mold formation is due to condensation of warm room air over the colder walls. Such walls are actually pronounced to mold formation.

The Wallrock thermal wall covers provide the best solution to such problems. These permeable coverings offer an insulation between walls and room air, thus reducing condensation, moisture and mold formation.

Sound Proofing:

These thermal liners are capable of absorbing noise with a higher degree so rewarding you with an acoustically pleasant room environment. Even with an unpainted or uncoovered covering, the audible sound is absorbed to a factor of 0.02. This factor is equal to the performance of a velor carpet with 5 mm thickness for acoustic absorption.

Crack and Texture Coverage:

These liners are made up of flexible elastic fibers, and their thickness is capable of covering the class A and class B cracks in the wall surfaces. In addition to this, these are also capable of hiding the low to medium level textures on wall surfaces without any need of pre-levelling.

Now let's come to the specific point. If you need a high-quality thermal wall covering, we recommend you to choose the Wallrock KV600 thermal liner. It is actually an improved version of an existing thermal fiber liner backed with a novel thermal insulation material. The thickness is reduced to 25% of the conventional wall liners but benefits are almost doubled. You will not only get a quick warm up of your room but also this will save the heat energy to a greater extent thus reducing your utility bills.

In summary, the 3.2 mm thick KV600 is a highly durable wallrock thermal wall covering , which offers you mold and damp resistance, cracks coverage and sound proofing to a high extent as compared to conventional coverings.

Lessons Learned From An E-Commerce Adventure

It is better to have tried and failed than never to have tried at all; and even more important to learn from your mistakes.

That is what I keep telling myself after having invested the time and cash equivalent to a Harvard MBA in an e-commerce start-up that has stalled and is winding down. Not a happy prospect in light of all the media pre-occupation with e-commerce success stories and the young millionaires watching their IPOs rocket into cyberspace. But the headlines ignore the more frequent stories of new e-commerce businesses that do not hit the stock market jackpot. Many of them either settle into a low-key niche or exhaust their resources and fold.

This is the story of an Internet venture that did not make the headlines, but offers some useful insights for entrepreneurs evaluating their own initiatives. The lessons learned are applicable to your own new venture or to an investment in someone else’s.

In mid-1998 we launched a new company called nxtNet (www.nxtnet.com) with the slogan … “taking you to the next level on the Internet”.

My partner and I both had prior successful entrepreneurial experience in computer products and wanted to start a new venture together. We decided to develop a business that would catch the next wave of e-commerce services for mid-sized companies seeking to do business on the Internet. After long discussions, searches for a unique service offering, and many draft business plans, we developed a market strategy and then chose Intershop Communications as our software development platform. This product had the advantages of being suitable for single or multiple online storefronts, and offered a flexible, economic and comprehensive solution. We committed to the product, staffing, facilities and equipment to start training and development immediately. The two of us provided the time and cash required to get started.

By October 1998, we had an initial product with application as an online storefront for an associated computer business. At the same time, we realized that the application had wide appeal to other computer dealers and could be sold as a multi-user database service and e-commerce resource. We had developed a consolidated catalogue of 85,000 computer products from multiple distributor product databases that allowed rapid search and comparison for product information, pricing, and current sources. Users could access the catalogue from the Internet and find a product by manufacturer, category, and part number, key word or price range and immediately see the alternate sources and prices with links to more technical information, preferred dealer pricing and actual stock levels. Additional features allowed the catalogue to be customized so that any computer reseller could present the database as his own online storefront. This option offered all the search and product information features to his customers, but showed only retail pricing and enabled the online ordering process.

The product offering quickly received positive feedback and strong indications of support from all the participants – resellers, distributors, and manufacturers. It was a comprehensive, powerful, and effective tool for buying and selling at all levels within the Canadian computer distribution channel. Resellers recognized the value in an online resource to save time and effort. Distributors and manufacturers saw the opportunity to promote their products, and major publishers in the industry wanted to offer complementary online services to their subscribers and advertisers. How could we fail with all this enthusiasm and support?

While the potential for success clearly existed, everybody had the same questions and reservations – “Who is there now?” “How many are using it?” and “I don’t want to pay until it’s bigger”.

Reasonable objections we thought, so we added features and content for free. We promoted the product with free trials and low cost subscriptions for reseller access. Then we coaxed, persuaded, sold hard, and made deals. The “contra” became the standard for obtaining press coverage, free ads, mailing lists and promotion in exchange for free participation and future consideration. Activity on the Web site and catalogue grew to 3000 visitors per month with over 800 subscribers and the distributor list increased from three to twelve.

But revenue remained near zero as most reseller subscribers declined to pay for the service. Reasons were “it should be free – let the advertisers pay”, “I don’t use it enough”, “there are lower cost options”, or “we built our own solution”. The audience did not grow fast enough even after we offered it for free, to satisfy the advertisers and content providers. Without persistent and conspicuous sales and marketing efforts, all the participants quickly lost interest. Meanwhile the costs of database maintenance, ongoing development, site hosting, Internet access, sales, marketing, and administration were increasing.

Clearly the old entrepreneurial model of controlling costs and growing revenue was not going to apply. We had to realign our profile to show how zero revenue and high initial costs could still lead to significant investment returns like other well-known Internet ventures. So from early 1999 we started an aggressive search for financing, estimating our requirements at $500,000 to $1,500,000 over the next two years before achieving positive cash flow. More business plans, spreadsheets, and glossy presentations to demonstrate future valuations up to $20 million, even $40 million.

We knocked on many doors, from banks to government agencies, from angel investors to venture capital, from stock promoters to business consultants, and again received lots of encouragement, but no financing. So the founding partners were faced with a continuing cash drain, no relief in sight, and the limits of their own resources rapidly approaching. It was time to put the project on hold. Strategic partners or investors might still be developed to proceed with the project, but the ongoing expenditures were stopped in late 1999.

So what are the lessons learned? We already knew that nothing ventured, nothing gained. We now also knew that big successes in the new economy require big investments. Entrepreneurs may start small, but large investments will be required from new sources to achieve significant success. And no one will put significant money into a venture unless it is the only remaining requirement.

The concept, product, development, marketing and staffing all have to be in place before an investor will provide the final ingredient – his cash. Exceptions are likely only where the management team has already succeeded in the same arena, or the investor himself can deliver the missing elements, such as customers or management skills. No investor is going to take the chance that the entrepreneur with a good concept or product will also be able to deliver the required management and marketing skills to succeed, after he has the cash.

Next time we will know better. And there are side benefits from this expensive learning experience. I can now admit that with the knowledge gained through our association with Intershop Communications, I was confident enough to make an investment in their stock on the German Neue Markt at 65 Euros last year. It went over 400 Euros last month and is still rising with their rapid growth and the prospect of a NASDAQ listing this year. Almost enough to recover my investment in nxtNet.

So the most important lesson is that education in the new economy is essential, and not free, but it can lead to success outside the original plan. Learn, be aware, and be aggressively opportunistic.