Seven Life Lessons Learned as Dell Interns

first_imgThe following is a guest post from Amulya V. Dhupad and Ashwini Madivalara.It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the creditEvery year Dell opens its doors to interns around the world. In 2017, they had just shy of 2,000 interns join their offices and our 2018 class of interns is still growing. As interns, we come to Dell EMC from campus eager to learn and willing to grow in our field of choice. It is Dell’s responsibility to live up to these expectations while also conveying the culture of the company in an engaging, fun way.Recently our class of interns in India gathered from Bengaluru, Chennai and Hyderabad for an event dubbed “Intern Mélange,” a FUN off-site for us to enjoy our peers while experiencing the five culture code pillars of Dell: Customers, Winning Together, Innovation, Results and Integrity.The day began with the value of ‘Customer’ and proceeded to work its way through all five culture code pillars. For ‘Customer,’ we were made to innovate ideas that helped reduce risk while delivering a product. The end of the activity put a light on the ‘Innovation’ culture of Dell. The second activity revolved around our culture code, ‘Winning Together.’ During the activity, teams of three had to help each other reach the desired goal. The journey towards the goal taught us how to help, when to help and the positive results in helping each other.The day flew by as we collaborated, laughed and continued to play games such as pace the parcel which brought some of us back to a feeling of childhood. Dell EMC has a way of teaching things via day to day experiences and now that our internship is coming to an end, we realize Dell’s culture is embedded in us. We headed home that day with a bag full of memories to cherish and learnings to build ourselves as better people than we are today. Drizzling rain added colors to our thoughts on our way back home as well as selfies, songs and some napping.As we drove back, many of the interns summed up their key learnings and realized how they could impact not only their careers, but also their approach to their everyday life. These learnings included:Learn to appreciate, help, support and encourage team membersPlan before you actExtend your helping hand; you lose nothingDon’t be a victim, or be responsible for others to be the victimBe a good observer; eyes can be a good listenerThere is no harm in helping others at same level, but it is always easier when you are a level upShowing gratitude costs nothingAt the end of the event, the following quote echoed in our minds: “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.”Today, life in IT sector means ‘continuous learning.’ It is a key to survive. The more you are up-to-date the better you perform, many companies invest in the growth of their employees to ensure that they constantly deliver valuable products and services. This investment is noticeable, appreciable and applicable. As a Dell EMC employee, I feel lucky to work in a company that invests in its employees and ensures that we stand by the company culture.Thank you Dell for investing in our growth.Amulya V. Dhupad is an intern at Dell EMC Bengaluru, India, in the quality engineer team at RSA – a security division of Dell EMC. She feels fortunate to begin her career working at Dell EMC and is looking forward for more opportunities to learn and grow along with Dell EMC.Ashwini Ashok Madivalara (left) is a programming enthusiast currently interning with RSA – a security division of Dell EMC in Bengaluru, India. When not programming she loves trekking and biking.last_img read more

Laurent Koscielny takes sly dig at Alexis Sanchez with Aaron Ramsey tribute

first_img Comment Metro Sport ReporterWednesday 1 May 2019 11:23 pmShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy link362Shares Ramsey’s commitment cannot be questioned (Picture: Getty)The Welshman signed a pre-contract agreement with Juventus in January but his form has been brilliant and nobody could question his commitment to the club.AdvertisementAdvertisementAnd, in praising Ramsey’s attitude, Koscielny appeared to take a dig at Sanchez for the way he left the club.‘What I like about Aaron is that, we know he signs for Juventus but he is still a professional and he always fights for the club and for the team,’ said Koscielny.‘Sometimes you have players who have stopped fighting for this team, but I think he has loved this club and that is why he stayed at 100 per cent for us. It shows a great mentality and character’More: Arsenal FCArsenal flop Denis Suarez delivers verdict on Thomas Partey and Lucas Torreira movesThomas Partey debut? Ian Wright picks his Arsenal starting XI vs Manchester CityArsene Wenger explains why Mikel Arteta is ‘lucky’ to be managing ArsenalRamsey confirmed on Wednesday that injury will prevent him from playing for Arsenal again before his move to Juventus this summer.The midfielder joins the Old Lady in July and hopes to return to full fitness by the time he arrives in Turin.MORE: Rio Ferdinand blasts Virgil van Dijk for ‘criminal’ mistake against Barcelona Alexis Sanchez left Arsenal in January 2018 (Picture: Getty)Arsenal captain Laurent Koscielny has taken a sly dig at former team-mate Alexis Sanchez for the manner in which he left the club.The Chilean swapped the Emirates for Old Trafford in January 2018 in a swap-deal involving Henrikh Mkhitaryan.Sanchez had been desperate to quit the club for over a year and did little to conceal his displeasure at being kept at the club against his will.The 30-year-old’s situation is not too dissimilar to that of Aaron Ramsey, who has known he’d be leaving the Gunners for over six months.ADVERTISEMENT Laurent Koscielny takes sly dig at Alexis Sanchez with Aaron Ramsey tribute Advertisement Advertisementlast_img read more


first_imgBY EMMET RUSHE: Here we are again. It’s January. It’s January 2016.The new wave of ‘New Year’s Resolutions’ will have started as people set out to undo the Christmas excess and ‘finally’ reach their goals.If I have seen one ‘New Year, New You’ meme, I must have seen a hundred.Every year it is the same thing; motivating posts, detoxes, weight loss shakes and workout programs that seem to get shorter each year. Let’s face it, if these actually worked we wouldn’t be back here again, repeating the same old mantra: ‘This year is my year.’Yet with all these options available, statistics show us that 90% of New Year’s Resolutions won’t make it to the end of January.The reason for this is that the goals that people set are end-goals.For example, It is very easy to say that you want to lose 2 stone.Actually losing the 2 stone is the hard part.What are you going to do to actually lose the 2 stone?Have you thought out that part? Do you know the path that you need to take in order to succeed in the goal that you have in mind?Without a clear path you could end up spinning your wheels regarding your goals.So what do we do?Don’t worry, I am going to give you some simple tips that will help to keep you motivated as you set out.Here’s what I want you to do.Take out your calendar and plan out the next few weeks on it regarding your exercise and your nutrition. Mark in any events that you have coming up that might set you back slightly from your overall goal.Once you know they are there, you can prepare for them in advance.Don’t worry about a weight stall that week, or even a slight gain, that is to be expected if you have an event like a wedding or a birthday in the middle of your plan.The main thing to remember is that once it’s over, it is time to get back on track and stay focused.Now on the calendar, set yourself smaller mini-goals that you can work towards.Once you have your main goal in mind, allow enough time to reach it. For example, 2 stone is 28lbs.If you allow for 1 lbs weight loss per week, that’s 28 weeks to reach your goals.Please don’t flinch at the thought of 28 weeks and think of it as a long time, it really isn’t.This is why we are going to set mini-goals in-between to help keep you motivated.So, instead of saying that you want to lose 2 stone, let’s say that by the end of January, you will have 5lb off.If we are allowing for 1lb weight loss per week, that leaves you 1lb over your target.You have just achieved a small win.Winning keeps motivation high.The next goal can be something else.Take out a pair of jeans that are a bit snug.Hang them up in plain sight and make them fit over the next 4 weeks.If you succeed, along with a weight loss win, you now can fit into a pair of jeans that you probably had given up on.Another small win to keep your motivation high.Your goal could be to exercise 4 times each week, not only will this help with your weight, but it will also improve your fitness and your health.This system is not a quick fix. It is not intended to help you to lose a large amount of weight in a short period of time, but rest assured, if you start making small changes like this, not only will you lose weight, you will be more likely to keep it off.These small changes can help you to breed new habits and because you are allowing a suitable time frame to adjust to these changes, you are more likely to succeed in keeping them.It will take slightly longer to achieve your goals, but you will achieve them and along with achieving them you will have achieved numerous mini goals along the way.If you have been doing the same thing for a while now and it isn’t working, try stepping outside your comfort zone and try something new.You might just love it.#TrainSmartTo keep up-to-date with tips and information on how to stick to your goals in 2015, check out my page through the link below. RUSHE’S FITNESS COLUMN: HOW ‘NEW YEAR, NEW YOU’ WILL FAIL YOU was last modified: January 3rd, 2016 by John2Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:donegalemmet rushefailed resolutionsfitnessnew year new youlast_img read more

Get to know your banknotes

first_imgSouth Africa now has a new set of banknotes, with the Nelson Mandela notes going into circulation on Tuesday 6 November. The current and new banknotes will circulate together and both remain legal tender.The back of the new notes still feature the Big Five animals and other cultural elements such as San art (Images: South African Reserve Bank, Facebook)Brand South Africa reporterSouth Africa now has a new set of banknotes, with the Nelson Mandela notes going into circulation on Tuesday 6 November.People used to the colourful animal-themed banknotes will now see an image of the former president on the front, while the reverse will feature the Big Five animals as before.South African Reserve Bank governor Gill Marcus described the South African currency as a symbol of the nation, with people handling millions of banknotes every day.“The Reserve Bank is proud to be able to honour South Africa’s struggle icon and first democratically elected president in this way,” she said, “and we thank all our stakeholders for their hard work in making this process possible.”Education and awareness campaignThe Reserve Bank has been running a countrywide educational and awareness campaign in the months leading up to the launch, with advertisements in all media formats including social media, and a dedicated minisite.Citizens have had the chance to familiarise themselves with the security features of the new banknotes through events such as road shows and other outreach initiatives. The region’s common monetary areas of Swaziland, Namibia, Lesotho, Mozambique, Botswana and Zimbabwe were not left out.At the launch of the communication campaign in September, Mandela’s former wife Winnie Madikizela Mandela said she was proud of the new design and thankful to the staff of the Reserve Bank.The current and new banknotes will circulate together and both remain legal tender, said the Reserve Bank.South Africa’s notes are printed by the South African Banknote Company while all coins are manufactured by the South African Mint, both subsidiaries of the Reserve Bank.Improved security featuresThe Reserve Bank has advised people to get to know their new currency through the look, feel and tilt method.Holding the note to the light will reveal a watermark of Mandela on the upper left side, while a representation of the animal that appears on the reverse will be seen in an oval on the lower left. The note’s denomination is written in micro-lettering in the animals just to the left of the main Mandela image. This feature can also be seen on the reverse.Each note has a unique code comprising letters and numbers – these are printed vertically on the bottom left and horizontally on the upper right of the back.By feeling the note, several raised features can be discerned – they are the denomination numeral, the image of Mandela on the front, the words “South African Reserve Bank”, the coat of arms in the top left corner, and the motif on the back.In addition, there are raised lines on the bottom left and right that will help visually impaired people to identify the denomination. The R10 has one raised line and the R20, R50, R100 and R200 have two, three, four and five raised lines respectively.When the note is tilted, further features become apparent – the security thread colour will change to the colour of the respective banknote, and in the thread, the note’s number, the coat of arms and the words SARB and Rand will be seen.The back of the new notes still feature the Big Five animals and other cultural elements such as San art.The number on the bottom right of the R10 and R20 notes is printed in colour-changing ink, while the ink on the R50, R100 and R200 notes gives a rolling-bar effect.Finally, when the note is tilted almost to the horizontal, the denomination numeral appears in the band below the image of Mandela.Decorative elementsThe new notes are decorative as well as functional – each features elements of traditional San rock art, depicting the ancient figures hunting, fishing or engaged in other activities. The familiar Big Five animals are still present on the back – they are the rhino (R10); elephant (R20); lion (R50); buffalo (R100); and leopard (R200).In terms of size, the new notes are the same as the current banknotes. They are 70mm in height, with 6mm differences in length. The colours are also for the most part the same, except for the R200, which is an orange-yellow colour that distinguishes it from the R20 note.Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.last_img read more

Surprises across the board for corn, soybeans, and wheat

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest By Doug Tenney, Leist MercantileCorn was bearish with the U.S. yield at 181.3. Soybeans were higher in spite of larger than expected yields. China soybean imports are declining less than expected tempering bearish numbers for soybeans. Russia wheat exports are unchanged.It was surprises across the board for corn, soybeans, and wheat.A news flash from Reuters News and the WSJ from earlier this morning, said, “U.S. proposing new round of trade talks with China in the near future.” That news moved soybeans 12 cents off the day’s lows. Moments before the report release soybeans were 6 cents above the day’s lows.Harvest is only underway in limited areas across Ohio. Today’s USDA report has producers across Ohio and the Midwest anxious for even a whisper somewhere of friendly news in the grains complex.The biggest concern today is the U.S. soybean yield, production, and ending stocks. It seems a forgone conclusion those numbers will increase from August. How much they increase remains the 64 million dollar question. Corn production estimates were mixed. The landfall of Hurricane Florence looming  is also on many minds.USDA put the U.S. soybean yield at 52.8 bushels per acre. Trade estimates place the U.S. soybean yield at 52.2. Last month the USDA US yield was 51.6. The U.S. soybean production was 4.693 billion bushels. The production average estimate is 4.649 billion bushels. August USDA soybean production was 4.586 billion bushels. USDA estimated the U.S. soybean ending stocks at 845 million bushels. Soybean ending stocks average estimate is 830 million bushel while it was 785 million bushels last month.The U.S. corn yield was 181.3 bushels per acre. The average trade yield estimate was 177.8 bushels per acre. Last month it was 178.4 bpa. Corn production was 14.827 billion bushels. The average production estimate was 14.529 billion bushels. In August it was 14.586 billion bushels. Ending stocks were 1.774 billion bushels. The average ending stocks for corn was 1.639 billion bushels. Last month it was 1.684 billion bushels.Just minutes before the noon report, corn was down 2 cents, soybeans down 4 cents, while wheat was up 5 cents. Following the report, corn was down 13 cents, soybeans up 4 cents, with wheat down 10 cents.Weather forecasts for Ohio and the Midwest are for dry conditions this week and next.Weather concerns from the fast approaching Hurricane Florence into the U.S. southeast have North Carolina at ground zero for landfall. Looming in their minds is the potential of seeing 15 to 25 inches of rain along the coast and inland. Agriculture is a big deal in North Carolina. They are a major producer of U.S. meats, accounting for 12% of hog production, 13% of turkeys, and 9% of chicken.Hurricane Florence brings back chilling memories for North Carolina residents. Past hurricanes have seen thousands of hogs and millions of poultry birds not surviving the torrential flood waters. Manure holding lagoons are also at risk of overflowing. Those hurricanes include Matthew, 2016; Floyd, 1999; and Fran in 1996. Also, North Carolina has dozens of toxic coal ash lagoons containing millions of tons. The ash is a decades old byproduct from coal used in power plants to generate electricity. Fears of escaping water from those lagoons are rampant as Hurricane Florence makes landfall over the next 48 hours.Brazil is quickly running out of soybeans with the monstrous export program to China that has been underway the last several months. It comes as a result of the U.S. tariffs implemented upon China earlier this summer. Current Brazil shipping values for September soybeans are $2.47 over November while soybeans from the U.S. Gulf are 15 cents over November. That represents a 27% premium for Brazil soybeans compared to U.S. soybeans, right in line with the 25% tariff.Ohio fall basis levels for corn and especially soybeans continue to be large. Illinois soybean basis has fallen nearly 20 cents in just two days. The U.S. soybean tariffs on China have resulted in virtually zero soybeans able to move off the U.S. Pacific Northwest. It has been reported that some facilities in North Dakota are not even bidding for fall delivery soybeans.Reports are wide ranging as to settlement prices today. Soybeans could be down 20 cents to up 10 cents, corn down 5 cents to up 5 cents, and wheat down 20 cents to up 20 cents.In a surprise, crop ratings this week were up for both corn and soybeans. The trade had expected a small decline. The Monday 4 p.m. weekly report was delayed until yesterday at noon due to a computer glitch.last_img read more

Frugal Happy: Demolition

first_imgWith permit in hand, it was now time to prepare for demolition. The plan is to live in the bedrooms while we do construction on the living room, dining room, and kitchen — rooms we collectively refer to as the common area, highlighted in the floor plan (see Image #2 below).After the common area is done, or at least livable, we will switch and live there while the bedrooms are under construction. Because we were about to lose our living room and kitchen during construction, we set up a living and dining space in the master bedroom and turned the covered back patio into a makeshift outdoor kitchen. (The living room prior to demolition is shown in Image #3 below.)We began clearing out the space. A lot of stuff we donated. Some stuff we kept and moved into other rooms. Some items were harder to move than others.Eventually all the rooms in the common area were empty. In the living room, the carpeting is extremely worn in some areas, and looks brand new in others. I’m leaving it in place to protect the hardwood floor underneath during construction. When everything else is done, I’ll remove the carpet and refinish the hardwood floor. And now the chimneyOnce upon a time our living room had a fireplace. It was a gas fireplace, but it looked like it had never been used. Wen moved into the house in 1992 and she said she can’t ever remember her family using the fireplace (see Images #5 and #6 below).The rocks lend some interest to the living room because of the angled wall, their texture, and their color. Fireplaces can be nice to look at, but they tend to be huge energy wasters, even if they’re not being used.The R-value of brick is estimated to be R-0.8 per 4 inches. So if the fireplace ranged in depth from 8 inches to 12 inches, then its R-value ranged from R-1.6 to R-2.4. It would be very difficult to air seal the perimeter of the fireplace, and for the flue itself it’s nearly impossible to get a good air seal with the damper. All in all, a fireplace represents a huge thermal liability in a building envelope because of unavoidable thermal bridging and infiltration. If heating with wood is a priority, then a free-standing wood stove is a much more effective and efficient option.A rotary hammer was a big help in breaking up the brick-and-mortar chimney.So that’s the technical energy efficiency and indoor air quality rationale for getting rid of the fireplace. But the hearth has a deep place in our psyche, I think, since fire and warmth have been so important to our survival. For most of our history, the fireplace was the essential anchor of our homes, the setting around which every domestic task was oriented. Without the hearth, where is the heart of the home? Can it be a coincidence that these two words differ by only one letter?That said, our hearth was never much of a center to our home. It’s not even clear that it was ever used. Even so, the prospect of its demolition seemed a little sad. We would be destroying the physical product of a skilled mason, razing the labors of a dead man’s dying trade. It felt like we were being too good for open fire, like we thought we are better than our forebears. Actually it’s true: we kind of are too good for open fire, with its inefficient heat, its air pollution. And if we’re not better than our forebears per se, then we are least more knowledgeable than them about the importance of a high-performance home.And so, with mixed feelings and though the path forward seemed difficult and uncertain, we embarked on the demolition of the chimney. Naively, I began with an actual chisel and a hammer. I didn’t know what to expect or how it would be constructed inside, so I started slow.We also began demolishing the stones on the wall surrounding the fireplace. They look like volcanic rock of some kind, and were set in what appeared to be mortar that was on the surface of the interior brick. Our neighbor let us borrow a tool called a rotary hammer that can act like a mini jackhammer to chisel out the rocks and bricks. This tool made the demolition go much faster (see the photo at left).One of the contractors who was helping me (or vice versa) put up the structure for the vaulted ceiling (more on that soon) let me borrow his rotary hammer, and after a few days most of the bricks of the exterior were down.The same contractor also generously let me borrow his 35-pound demolition hammer for the bigger chunks inside. Using the demolition hammer higher up was not possible, because doing so would have been unwieldy and unsafe. But now that we were at ground level, I could go at it. The demolition hammer was a heavy monster and tiring to use. But it was effective. Soon there were increasingly large patches of daylight coming into our living room wall where the fireplace used to be.All the bricks that I determined I could not reuse I schlepped, wheelbarrow load by wheelbarrow load, into the 30-cubic-yard dumpster. Based on the weight of each brick and an approximation of how many bricks I removed, I estimate the total mass of the bricks I removed to be something like 14,000 pounds. This unbelievable number seemed to be substantiated by a bill I later received from the dumpster company charging me for exceeding their 6-ton limit. RELATED ARTICLES Editor’s Note: This post is one of a series by Chris Stratton and Wen Lee, a husband-and-wife team living in the Los Angeles area who are turning their suburban house into an all-electric, zero-net energy home. They chronicle their attempts at a low-carbon, low-cost, and joyful lifestyle on their blog Frugal Happy. This post was written by Chris. BLOGS BY WEN AND CHRIS A Car-Free ExperimentAn Introduction I’m being somewhat glib about the prospect of beginning the demolition on the house, but it really was a scary thing to undertake. There’s so much uncertainty, so much self-doubt and second-guessing. How much is this project going to cost? Is it okay that I don’t really know what I’m doing? What if I mess it all up? So many questions, and so few easy or certain answers.The house was kind of shabby in places and had some deferred maintenance, but it was perfectly functional. And I was about to start tearing it apart and turn it into an unlivable construction zone! And this is my wife’s childhood home, no less.Before I began demolishing the ceiling drywall, I collected samples of it from different parts of the house and sent them off to a lab so that the “popcorn” finish could be tested for asbestos. It came back negative. And with the first hole poked in the ceiling, it begins…Demolition of the common areaThe idea was to take off the drywall in big sheets by trying to find the seams and pulling the nails out rather than just smashing it all apart. But as we were very much amateurs, we often ended up just smashing it apart. Wen and her brother Bin helped take out the ceiling.We got the living room ceiling out after several hours of work. For me this was the first of many, many long, hot, sweaty days. Next came the decidedly less fun and exciting process of shoveling up hundreds of pounds of drywall first into a wheelbarrow, and then into a huge dumpster (see Image #4 below).The dumpster gradually got more full. But it was still only about 75% full when they picked it up — not the most efficient use of an expensive resource.A lot of the equipment I bought can be used throughout the project, so it can be considered an investment. The dumpsters, however, I did not use efficiently enough. I underestimated just how how laborious the demolition would be, and struggled to fill the 30 cubic-yard dumpster by myself within the seven-day rental period. I overworked myself that first week, so much so that the next week I needed a few days to recover and couldn’t work. I learned later that I could have just extended the dumpster another week at no charge. I guess the lesson is to know what your options are and to be realistic and conservative about what you can get done within a certain time period, especially when you haven’t done it before and uncertainty is high.For some reason, there were no volunteer helpers for the cleanup part or any of the subsequent days of demolition. In any case, I pressed onward. After cleaning up the living room somewhat, I moved on to the kitchen. Also to be removed was the forced-air heating and cooling system of the house. We will be without central heating and cooling until I install the new heat pump system. We either donated or recycled the appliances.I wanted to open up the common area and remove walls that made small spaces feel dark and even smaller. One of those areas to be opened up is the front door entry (as opposed to the entry door from the garage). With the HVAC being moved, there would be more space to make a mud room area for removing and storing outdoor clothing like jackets and shoes, and for more easily transitioning between inside and outside.center_img A bigger job than expectedThe demolition required a significant amount of time and money. I spent about 115 hours and approximately $2,500 on the demolition. Of the total, $1,300 was for dumpster rental (it turns out that dumpsters are expensive), and the remainder was mostly spent on tools, safety gear, and equipment, including wrecking bars, gloves, hard hats, goggles, respirators, ladders and scaffolding, a wheelbarrow and brooms and dustpans and shovels, and blades for the reciprocating saw, angle grinder, and oscillating multitool. It sounds like (and is) a lot money for a DIY demolition of a space that’s only about 700 square feet.With the ceiling gone and a good portion of the drywall on the walls gone and the kitchen appliances and about half the counter removed, and the forced-air heating and cooling system and ducts removed, I deemed the demolition sufficiently complete to begin construction on changing the roof structure of the common area. In retrospect, knowing what I know now through my own experience and based on conversations with actual contractors, even though the initial demolition felt like an enormous undertaking and a hell of a lot of work, it was far from complete.In retrospect it was premature to declare the house ready to begin construction. There were too many electrical wires hanging down from the attic, too many walls that had nails and staples and little annoying bits — or even entire sheets — of drywall and plaster on them. And the chimney and fireplace should have been gone.Everything should have been removed from the kitchen, including all the counters and cabinets, and yes, even the kitchen sink. Everything should have been down to bare, clean studs and ceiling joists. The initial construction — which I’ll talk about in another post — would have gone faster without having to backtrack and do more demolition. I didn’t know that then, but now I do. And learning’s the main goal of this project, so it’s okay. It’s good, in fact.Another thing I’ve learned is that there’s such a thing as taking the “insourcing” (that is, DIY) dictum too far. In this case, in fact I probably should have hired some outside help for the demolition. Considering what I ended up paying for dumpster fees because it took so long to do the work myself, getting outside help for demolition would likely have cost about the same or only slightly more, and would have been much faster. There’s only so much to be learned about the physical process of demolition. At some point it just becomes mindless tedium.But mindless as it is, sometimes it’s still fun. Building a new floorEventually we got everything out. The good news was that there was poured concrete below the fireplace. This meant that we would not have to excavate and pour a footing for the new concrete stem wall foundation.Now that I had finished the demolition grunt work, I hired two skilled contractors to help me form and pour the foundation wall. You only get one chance pouring concrete and I didn’t want to screw it up. We cleaned out the pit with water and compressed air so that the new concrete could bind well to the old concrete and brick. We constructed wooden forms for the new foundation wall and installed rebar.To tie the new foundation to the old, we drilled holes about 10 inches deep into the sides of the existing concrete walls flanking our new one. Then we cleaned the debris from the holes using compressed air and what appear to be giant pipe cleaners. This helps ensure a clean surface for the epoxy to set to. We then filled these holes with epoxy and inserted the new horizontal rebar that would go across the new section of foundation wall.The two pieces of threaded rod sticking up out of the top of the wall (see Image #7) will be used to tie down the sill plate (a 2×6 placed on top of the foundation wall) to the foundation, using the nuts and giant square-shaped washers at the bottom left of this image. This anchors the house to the foundation. After the foundation was poured, the contractors’ work was done and I was in charge of framing the new wall and floor on my own.After the sill plate was in place, the next step was to frame the rest of the floor using the existing pattern and spacing (see Image #8 below). I thought this was going to be difficult, but it turned out to be fairly intuitive. (This is notable because in general in this project tasks have tended to be much harder and more time-consuming than I expect.)The 2×6 band (or rim) joist goes on the outer edge of the wall and on top of the sill plate. The new 2×6 floor joists are sistered to the existing ones, overlapping enough to be supported by the 4×6 girder that’s spaced about 4 feet from the foundation wall, and which itself is supported by the concrete footing. Since the new floor joists were overlapping the old ones, I didn’t need to be precise about their length, as long as they were well connected to the existing joists, were supported by the girder, and terminated perpendicular to the band joist. I air-sealed the seam between the sill plate and foundation with spray foam, and the seam between the sill plate and band joist with caulk.Next I put in 3/4-inch plywood on top of the floor joists to form the subfloor, then a sole (or bottom) plate — the 2×4 lying flat that forms the bottom of the wall. Farewell to the Chimney?Tips from a Commercial Demolition Company An Agent of Green Invention in Philly: Row House DemolitionJob-Site Recycling: PVCGBA Encyclopedia: Job-Site RecyclingRecycling Vinyl SidingJob-Site Recycling: Asphalt Roofing ShinglesAsphalt Shingle Recycling LocatorJob-Site Recycling: Gypsum WallboardSaving Energy by RecyclingCarpet RecyclingVideo: Grinding Drywall and Wood Finishing up the exteriorNext on the list of things to do that I have never done before is: stuccoing the wall. I first used a pneumatic air hammer to chisel away the ragged bits of stucco around the perimeter. This was to straighten the edge and expose the existing lath wire and building paper so it could be more easily tied into the new section. I then put down two plies of 60-pound building paper, lapping the upper layers over the lower ones, like shingles. This is to drain away any water that gets behind the stucco.On top of the building paper I put horizontal strips of “pre-furred” metal lath (see Image #9 below). This would provide a substrate for the stucco to hang onto. I don’t think I did the lath quite right — there should have been more overlap, and the piece one up from the bottom is oriented upside down — but in the end it seemed to work well enough.I prepped the edges of the existing stucco with glue that’s supposed to help it bind to new stuff. Then I mixed the stucco powder with water in a wheelbarrow until it reached something resembling the consistency depicted in videos I’d watched and which I’d read about. Then it was time to try my hand at slathering it on. It took four coats instead of the typical three, and lots of trial and error, but the end result is not too bad. Once it’s painted it shouldn’t be terribly noticeable, I hope (see Image #10 below).I installed rafter tails and sheathing to roof the overhang where the chimney used to be. It’s pretty rough-looking so far, but it’s structurally secure and once it’s painted and cleaned up should be less offensive to the eye. After framing the wall, you might not have any inkling that there used to be a chimney there, except perhaps that the floor is different. Also the new studs stand out, but they will be covered up soon enough.All in all, removing the chimney was a huge amount of work. It took me approximately 90 hours to demolish the chimney and haul the bricks to the dumpster. And the dumpster itself cost about $950, after the overage fee. There were many moments when I questioned my decision to undertake it.Before beginning the renovation, I spoke with an experienced contractor about the prospect of removing the chimney and he said, “I removed a chimney once. Never again.” He advised me to leave it in place. In the end, I’m glad I did remove it, but I don’t know if I would have undertaken it had I known how much work it would entail. For anyone else contemplating a DIY chimney removal, I advise you to get the right tools, have patience, and work deliberately from top to bottom.last_img read more

2015 Annual Military Family Lifestyle Survey

first_imgBy Christina Herron, MSThe Blue Star Families Military Family Lifestyle Survey, which has been conducted annually since 2009, gathers information about the mental health of military families. A previous blog, Resource Discovery: Enhancements to the Family Lifestyle Survey, featured the new additions made to the 2015 Annual Military Family Lifestyle Survey. These additions included:  New survey questions about mental health including: depression, substance abuse and stressAdditional questions regarding veterans’ transition, education, and use of resourcesBlue Star Families recently released the results of the 2015 Military Family Lifestyle Survey. Below is a highlighted infographic from the survey results.The complete survey results come in the form of the 2015 Executive Summary, 2015 Comprehensive Report, and the 2015 Comprehensive Report Infographic.Blue Star Families. 2015 Military Lifestyle Survey. Retrieved from post was written by Christina Herron, MS, a member of the MFLN Family Development (FD) team which aims to support the development of professionals working with military families. Find out more about the Military Families Learning Network FD concentration on our website, on Facebook, on Twitter, YouTube, and on LinkedIn.last_img read more

Pro Tip: Background Rendering in After Effects

first_imgWant to speed up your Adobe After Effects workflow?  In this post, we share a video tutorial that shows you a trick to being more efficient: background rendering in After Effects.One quick way to kill editing momentum is to start a render.  It’s necessary, but can be painful waiting for your motion graphics or video editing app to process your project.  In the past, I’ve always twiddled my thumbs while rendering in After Effects (or jump over to a different program).  Now, here’s a better way.In this video by, you’ll see how to use Adobe Media Encoder to do background rendering in After Effects.  After saving your After Effects project file, open up Encoder.  Bring the AE file into Encoder and target a composition to render.  It’s as simple as that.Note however, background rendering in After Effects (using Encoder) will not be as fast as if you were actually rendering in AE.  Glen from DigitalSandwich explains that Adobe products place the highest priority on the application that is at the forefront of your system (the one you are actively using).  So, if you’re working in AE while you’re rending your After Effects project in the background using Encoder, After Effects will get a higher percentage of your available RAM.  The trade off here is that youre actually able to keep working.  In that case, I’ll take the slower render speed.If you want to see how to do background rendering in After Effects check out this quick and informative video tutorial:last_img read more

Leading With Discounts and Offending Your Customers

first_imgA game salesperson from a game sales organization would have replied to my offer to take the discount like this: “I’m sorry, sir. I didn’t know you were a customer. If you signed up last year, you got a way better deal than the one I am offering your neighbors. But you really have to see this new offering we have for you! You’re going to love it! Check this out!” The poor salesperson that rang my doorbell had a wonderful deal for me. He said, “I have my trucks in the area over the next few days, and if you sign up for service, I can do it for half price.” I told him that I would accept his deal for half off the regular price, but then added: “By the way, I am already signed up with you. Thanks!”Poor kid had no game, so I let him off the hook. I said, “No worries, kid. I’m busting your chops.” He was relieved and walked away as quickly as he could.Last week I received an email from another salesperson. He promised he could save 40% over whatever I am paying for Internet bandwidth and voice over IP services. I didn’t reply, but I should have. I’m already their customer, too. I’d happily take the 40% savings his email promised.Transactional sales organizations are funny.Why would you send your salespeople out into the world to sell without giving them a list of your existing clients?Why would you offer a new customer a deal that you wouldn’t offer your existing clients? Why would you treat strangers better than you treat the people who are already writing you a check? What do you want your existing customers to believe about your relationship?And why on Earth would you lead with a discount?The answer to these questions are many:Because you don’t intend to create value.Because you don’t know how to create value.Because you are transactional.Because you won’t train your salespeople.Because you don’t care about anything but the sale.last_img read more