Siding and the Environment

In today's increasingly environmentally-friendly climate, the construction industry has begun to get something of a bad reputation for utilizing materials that are known to be harmful to the planet. The siding industry is no exception. With vinyl being one of the more popular and affordable materials for siding installation, the siding industry is often accused of contributing to the demise of the planet by introducing the modifying chemicals of PVC (polyvinyl chloride) into the atmosphere. Of course, the benefit of PVC is that it is inexpensive and quite easy to work with. But in the eyes of the average environmentalist, the advantages inherent in PVC do not outweigh its destructive impact on the planet.

So which types of siding are the best options as far as the environment is concerned? According to Ruben Jeruco, solid wood is probably the most environmentally-friendly siding material available today. Although wood siding requires a fair degree of maintenance, the fact that it is renewable makes it attractive in the eyes of those who are environmentally-conscious. Fiber cement siding is also known to be a reliably earth-friendly product. Offering the same great look and feel of wood but without the significant maintenance, fiber cement is another good choice for people who do not want to run the risk of destroying the planet.

Although it is quickly becoming a less popular choice among homeowners, aluminum siding is actually regarded as fairly environmentally-friendly. Although its production requires a significant amount of resources, aluminum siding is often made of recycled materials, making it a winner in the eyes of those who think green. Finally, natural stone and classic cement stucco are both regarded as earth-friendly siding options; however, the cost involved in stone and stucco puts both choices out of reach for homeowners with limited budgets.

Of course, despite the fact that vinyl is often regarded as the planet's greatest enemy, vinyl siding might not actually be as ecologically destructive as some might think. Vinyl siding requires far less maintenance than most other types of siding once it's installed, few environmental resources are needed in order to preserve it. Vinyl siding is also said to use little energy as part of its manufacturing process. So while the material itself is definitely not the most earth-friendly, vinyl might not be quite as bad as some people think.

If preserving the environment is important to you, then make sure that your siding contractor is aware of your feelings as he helps you select your siding material. With so many earth-friendly siding choices available, you can improve the exterior of your home without having to choose between conservationism and aesthetics. And while you may pay a bit more for your eco-friendly siding, you'll be rewarded with the peace of mind that comes along with knowing that you're doing your part to preserve our planet for many generations to come.

5 Tips for A Creative Retail Branding and Design Strategy

Quality retail branding is meant to connect businesses with customers in a way that builds trust and desire in the consumer for the brand and their product. Branding has been around since ancient times (from Roman columns to Chinese stamps), but modern commercial branding is a new phenomenon. People are more involved with brands than ever, locally and globally, to the point where two golden arches are immediately recognizable by almost everyone around the world, without any words in the picture.

In the complex world of retail, which is composed of multiple elements and disciplines, a consumer can see connections, or a lack of connections, between all the different aspects of retail at a glance. And that is where design comes in. Retail branding and design aims to create a harmonious and holistic schema out of all of the elements of retail, from personnel to product presentation. Design is not just about looks, but about function. Without a good branding and design strategy, retail stores are a mishmash of unrelated ideas that can confuse and put off potential customers.

Design your layout based on traffic flow:

When customers enter the store, where do they look? Which way do they go? Position your best products in areas where customers are more likely to notice them. Pedestrian traffic is often influenced by vehicular traffic. That is, in areas where people drive on the right side of the road, in-store traffic patterns tend to move in a clockwise pattern. Use these patterns to your advantage.

Create a focal point in your visual displays:

Don’t just bring attention to anything and everything in the store, but draw customers in by featuring one item prominent, whether that’s in a window display or in the middle of your store. Strategically position lights and other items to point to your featured product and avoid distracting customers by putting equal weight on too many items at once.

Make window effects:

Windows make small spaces look larger and more inviting. Creating windows in the walls separating two rooms can give the entire building a more airy ambience, or creating visual illusions of windows such as white panels or drapes around mirrors, can also create a window effect, increasing the feeling of light and movement, especially if you are in a small space.

Avoid clutter:

Clutter feels noisy and uncomfortable for customers. Don’t overload your customer’s visual circuits with signs and patterns and displays galore. Instead, use neutral colors for larger items and accent the space with smaller items with brighter colors, and do not place your merchandise too closely together.

Use lighting to your advantage:

Lighting is important in any shop, and especially so in small corners. Make sure that your store is well lit, or else you will not be making good use of your space – customers don’t usually prefer to wander into dark, shadowy areas, so any merchandise displayed there will not receive a fair consideration. Use a combination of different lights to keep the space illuminated and to add variety and interest to the space.

Getting Digital Photography Jobs

You have been a photography enthusiast for quite a while now. You can do a good job of creating nice digital photography. You know many tricks and techniques about photography. You know and understand your camera as if it is an extension of you. You can create photo works that grab peoples' attention. People say that you are good at photography.

Perhaps, it is time to make some money from your competency in photography. It is time to get some nice digital photography jobs.

Can we generate an income from this fantastic but expensive hobby of photography? Yes, it is absolutely possible. We will need to find digital photography jobs.

There are several areas that require constant digital photography jobs. These areas are:

1. Weddings. A wedding is not complete without a photographer. This is one area that digital photography jobs are alway in demand. Photographers are required for studio shots as well as outdoor shots. These photos will usually be binded into the wedding album. But more importantly, a photographer is need to capture the memories of the wedding itself.

2. Stock photographs. The demand for stock photographs is huge. This is a constant need for fresh and new stock images. You can sell your photographic works with stock photograph vendors. There are many that are on the internet. They give you a commission for each photo sold. The demand for digital photography jobs in this field will never fade away. This is because advertisements alway require new and relevant photo images.

Well, these are just two ways of making money using photography. The process actually entails a lot of self-promotional effort. These promotional effort are what that help to convert your skill into many digital photography jobs.

Helping Your Pre-Education to Reflect and Evaluate

We are now one-third of the way through this series. This is a good time to reflect on and evaluate your progress with helping your pre-Education Student develop math skills. What strategies worked as you hoped? Have you encountered any problems? Do you still have a clear view of what you are trying to accomplish and why?

In the introductory article of this series we discussed the research finding that the critical years for learning logic and establishing a solid math foundation are ages 1 to 4. Equally startling, from continued studies, are results showing that a Student’s math skills at kindergarten entry are a better predictor of future academic success that are reading skills, social skills, or the ability to focus.

Read that again! A Student’s math skills at kindergarten entry are a better predictor of future academic success than even reading skills. This result is HUGE! I hope this fact brings into focus just how very important your efforts are for your Student’s future.

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At this point you might be thinking that you should transfer the responsibility for math learning to an organized preEducation, but I strongly caution you against this idea. PreEducation, whether started at 3 or 4 years of age, can be beneficial, especially for social skills, and might become appropriate for your Student. However, it misses those initial critical years for establishing a good math foundation. In addition, as this knowlegde of the importance of preEducation math education becomes more widely known, more programs are being devised that rely too heavily on “seat work.” PreEducation Student lack the motor skills and attention span to be successful in an all seat work environment. Sadly, in too many of these programs our very young Student are losing their enthusiasm for learning. It is imperative that this NOT happen to your Student!

Now might be a good time to re-read the second article in this series: 7 things You Must Always Do. Realize that these procedures and attitudes are important for all learning to occur. In fact, you have probably used most, if not all, of these as you have worked with your Student’s language skills. Realize, too, that most of the early math skills can be handled along with the early language skills. Learning to count–1, 2, 3, 4, 5,… –is the same skill as learning to say the alphabet–a, b, c, d, e,… Learning to write numerals can accompany learning to write alphabet letters. Your Student’s expanding vocabulary can and should include math vocabulary as well.

So far in this series, we have discussed helping your Student master counting, number recognition, using number lines, focusing on “if-then” thinking, addition, subtraction, number families, even and odd numbers, and a quick look at some simple number patterns. Hopefully, you are taking advantage of “teachable moments” rather than trying to schedule learning sessions. Your routines, like trips to the store, fixing meals, play get-togethers, going to the park, bedtime reading, etc., provide many opportunities for learning to occur.

Let your Student’s interest and enthusiasm guide what you do, when you do it, and for how long. Frequently return to previously learned skills to check that their understanding is still present and correct. This will let you know if you need to re-teach a skill. Know that having to re-teach is a normal part of learning and does NOT indicate a failure on your part.

I am going to postpone articles introducing new math skills until after a few articles that will address some related issues, like the importance of reading to your Student, fixing learned mistakes, task analysis, and learning styles, Continue working with your Student as you have been, always staying positive, keeping things fun, reinforcing success, and paying close attention to your Student’s body language and mood.

Points to remember with preEducationers:

Student learn at their own pace. They will pick up some skills quickly while other skills will need repeated practice.
Student need to be actively involved in their learning. They must DO things rather than watching and listening to you.
Repetition is necessary for learning to occur. However, make certain that what is being repeated is correct. Practice only makes permanent. Only perfect practice makes perfect.

Keep up the good work with your preEducationer! Never lose sight of just how important you are to future success.