ThinkersHome.com http://www.thinkershome.com Think before you code! Fri, 08 Dec 2017 19:40:19 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.1 Solving Your Snoring Problem http://www.thinkershome.com/solving-your-snoring-problem/ http://www.thinkershome.com/solving-your-snoring-problem/#comments Thu, 07 Dec 2017 22:56:39 +0000 http://www.thinkershome.com/?p=64 asdSnoring is a common, yet troubling phenomenon. In the United States alone, 46% of the population are snorers. That is a fantastically high statistic considering how bad it can be for the snorer, and the person who is sleeping next to them. If the person you love snores, you can relate to the difficulty of sleeping together.

Snoring is not just an unwanted nuisance, it can be a sign of a much more dangerous condition called sleep apnea. Sleep apnea occurs when the snorer’s airway is completely closed during sleep, causing a lack of oxygen. As a result, the person will wake up to correct it. This creates a disturbing sleep/awake trend that can make ordinary life impossible, if not …

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asdSnoring is a common, yet troubling phenomenon. In the United States alone, 46% of the population are snorers. That is a fantastically high statistic considering how bad it can be for the snorer, and the person who is sleeping next to them. If the person you love snores, you can relate to the difficulty of sleeping together.

Snoring is not just an unwanted nuisance, it can be a sign of a much more dangerous condition called sleep apnea. Sleep apnea occurs when the snorer’s airway is completely closed during sleep, causing a lack of oxygen. As a result, the person will wake up to correct it. This creates a disturbing sleep/awake trend that can make ordinary life impossible, if not dangerous.

What most people are also not aware of are the alarming health conditions that are directly related to snoring. This site has a ton of sleep oriented information. People who snore are at a higher risk of developing strokes, heart disease, heart attack, heart arrhythmias and high blood pressure.

Considering this evidence, if you snore, it is highly recommended that you find a way to correct the problem. There are many devices available on the market today with a proven, scientific track record of significantly lowering snoring, and in some cases completely eliminating it. Always see your health care provider before beginning any treatment.

The devices we will be discussing are the most popular and effective methods to treat your snoring. You will need to find the device that will work for you. Snoring can be caused by a multitude of problems. Finding the problem may take some time, be patient until you find the right option for you.

Anti-Snoring Mouthpieces: These are very similar to what you see people wearing who play contact sports. It is a small device that is inserted into your mouth and worn throughout the night. There are two types. A MAD (Mandibular Advancement Device) and TSD (Tongue Stabilizing Device). The MAD works by holding your jaw in place during sleep, in most cases people who snore – when they fall asleep – their jaw and mouth muscles relax allowing gravity to pull them backwards. These muscles then vibrate when air passes by, creating the snoring sound. A TSD works by holding the tongue in place, similarly as above, when a person falls asleep, their tongue will fall backwards, blocking their airway. This device holds it in place. Both have been rigorously tested and have been scientifically proven to work to reduce or eliminate snoring. The downside is, you are not used to wearing something in your mouth while you sleep, however most people report they are able to get comfortable with the device in a short period of time. Expert opinions and FAQs on both types of snoring mouthpiece are here.

Nasal Strips: If the reason you are snoring is a result of nasal congestion, then this option is for you. You simply stick the nasal strip to your nose prior to sleeping, this will help your nasal passages to be more open allowing more air to pass through as you sleep. This can be a viable, possibly less effective choice if wearing a mouthpiece is not an option you want to explore.

Anti-Snoring Pillows: The anti-snoring pillow works to keep the airway open by supporting your neck in a specific position while you sleep. In most cases, a person’s head and neck are tilted backwards during sleep, the anti-snoring pillow corrects this by tilting and keeping the head forward. As a result, the airway has less ability to become flattened when the person falls asleep. Anti-snoring pillows have been rated less effective, but again, you need to find the solution that is right for you.

Snoring can be a nightmare. Thankfully there are many options, with advance technology available on the market today to provide snoring relief. Many of these options have been rigorously tested and provided excellent results to reduce or eliminate snoring. Be sure to do your research and read reviews to find the option that is best for you.

 

 

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Scripting Has Never Been More Powerful http://www.thinkershome.com/scripting-has-never-been-more-powerful/ http://www.thinkershome.com/scripting-has-never-been-more-powerful/#respond Tue, 22 Dec 2015 16:00:39 +0000 http://www.thinkershome.com/?p=10

The days of writing NLMs are all but gone. Those beasts had a cryptic API, confusing documentation and scarce support from Novell. But starting with NetWare 4, Novell has opened its API to developers through the NetWare Developer Kit. Using the NDK, developers can code in ActiveX, C/C++, Java and various scripting languages. NetWare 5 has full support for JavaScript, NetBasic 6.0, Novell Script, PERL 5, REXX and ScriptEase.

 

script

Universal Component System

Novell’s UCS (Universal Component System) exposes NetWare services to the scripting engines regardless of the underlying scripting language. UCS is a scripting-language interpreter that lets programmers develop scripting applications using various components implemented as JavaBeans, Java classes, CORBA (Common Object Request Broker Architecture) objects, UCX (Universal Component Extension)

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The days of writing NLMs are all but gone. Those beasts had a cryptic API, confusing documentation and scarce support from Novell. But starting with NetWare 4, Novell has opened its API to developers through the NetWare Developer Kit. Using the NDK, developers can code in ActiveX, C/C++, Java and various scripting languages. NetWare 5 has full support for JavaScript, NetBasic 6.0, Novell Script, PERL 5, REXX and ScriptEase.

 

script

Universal Component System

Novell’s UCS (Universal Component System) exposes NetWare services to the scripting engines regardless of the underlying scripting language. UCS is a scripting-language interpreter that lets programmers develop scripting applications using various components implemented as JavaBeans, Java classes, CORBA (Common Object Request Broker Architecture) objects, UCX (Universal Component Extension) objects (which are C or C++ objects for NetWare/UCS), or even ActiveX and OLE Automation objects running on a remote Win32 machine. All access is achieved through a single homogenous interface.

The system acts as a conversion layer between the programming languages and the reusable components.

An example of a UCS-supported script is the snippet of PERL code at right. This code logs a user into an NDS tree under a particular context and lists the available objects. Many similar scripts are available on Novell’s NDK Web site.

Novell Script for NetWare

Your first stop for NetWare scripting is Novell’s own Novell Script for NetWare. The most noticeable feature is its complete compatibility with Microsoft’s VBScript. It supports true software component semantics, allowing the use of functions, properties and events much as you would use ActiveX components on Win32. Novell Script replaces the NMX architecture of NetBasic 6.0 with UCS.

Because Novell Script is both BASIC- and VBScript-compatible, you can leverage your BASIC, VBScript and Visual Basic programming skills while using the power of NetWare services. Unlike its Microsoft Windows counterpart, the Novell Script seamlessly integrates with Java classes and nonvisual JavaBean software components.

PERL

PERL has its roots in Unix. However, Novell has ported PERL to NetWare, which is interesting since the PERL community had ported it to almost all other platforms with minimal help from vendors. PERL’s process-, file- and text-manipulation facilities make it ideal for tasks involving prototyping, software tools, database access, graphical programming, networking and system management.

NetWare 5 supports extended PERL syntax. Extensions may be developed in C and linked into your PERL scripts, making any component appear as merely another PERL function. You also can code your main functionality in C and then invoke PERL code on the fly. Novell has a special version of PERL that is UCS-enabled, so you can use any UCS object from PERL just as you would through the native NetBasic as shown in the UCS-supported script at lower left.

REXX

Ease of use was a primary goal in the design of REXX, making it usable by both the professional programmer and the casual user in need of a quick fix. Everything in REXX is handled as a text string, obviating data typing and conversions. REXX is used to execute and monitor programs, and it can take specified actions based on the output of the programs it’s monitoring. REXXware, developed by Simware, is an implementation of REXX for NetWare. On NetWare, REXXware’s features include clib calls for specific NetWare functions, a compiler, a scheduler, NDS library support and events support. REXXware also ships with a complete NDS administration application for helpdesk environments.

Rapid Application Development

As mentioned, UCS lets programmers use scripting languages to invoke external components to perform various OS functions. Novell takes this concept one step further with ready-to-use components that expose the majority-if not all-of the services available to NetWare programmers. These components come in two flavors: ActiveX components to be used from within COM (Component Object Module)-capable calling environments such as ASP (Active Server Page), Visual Studio and WSH (Windows Scripting Host), and Beans for Novell Services. As the name implies, the last are JavaBeans that can be used on the server to abstract significant NetWare networking services and data sources.

Win32 and Scripting

Almost any scripting language available for Unix is available for Win32 in a native format: no OS middleware, no fuss-just install and use. Some of the more common languages available for Win32 are PERL, Python, Tcl/Tk and most Unix shells. If you are serious about scripting on Win32, you should become intimately familiar with WSH. Until recently, the only native scripting language available for Microsoft OSes was the Command prompt and its associated scripting environment, which is limited at best. However, Microsoft recently changed that with WSH, a native environment that supports an assortment of scripting languages-much as UCS does on NetWare. WSH on its own is not a scripting language but a platform that enables the use of various scripting engines. The two engines available are VBScript and JavaScript. Microsoft expects other software companies to provide ActiveX scripting engines for other languages, such as PERL, Python, REXX and Tcl.

WSH controls ActiveX scripting engines, much as Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) does on the client side and Internet Information Server (IIS) does on the server side for ASP pages. However, WSH has a much smaller footprint than either IE or IIS, making it ideal to run systems-administration scripts. Version 1.0 of WSH makes use of the script file’s extension, looked up the appropriate scripting engine in the registry and feeds the script to that engine (see “WSH 1.0 at Work,” below).

For example, a script file called rotate_logs.vbs would be run with the VBScript engine, and delete_logs.js would be executed using JavaScript. Running scripts under WSH 1.0 is limited in use without the availability of an object model. For security reasons, neither the scripts nor the script engines could connect to the operating system resources. Pressure from the WSH newsgroup opened Microsoft’s eyes to the weaknesses of WSH 1.0, and WSH 2.0 was introduced to rectify these shortcomings.

Administering Windows

ADSI (Active Directory Service Interface) extracts the capabilities of various directory services from different network vendors to present a single set of directory-service interfaces for managing network resources. Administrators and developers can use ADSI to manage the resources in a directory service, no matter which network environment contains the resources. ADSI lets administrators automate common tasks such as adding users and groups, managing printers and setting permissions on network resources. Using ADSI, an administrator can develop easy-to-understand scripts to manage user accounts without relying on custom C++ or VB objects (see “Sample Add-User Script” below).

PERL, Python and Tcl for NT

PERL 5 for Win32 offers all the features available to the Unix programmer, plus it has specific functions to manipulate the Windows NT event log and to query the system registry. Additionally, modules allow for manipulation of user accounts and groups. Recent builds of PERL 5 require no registry entry, and their DLLs don’t have to be installed under the Windows folder. Thus, they easily can be shared off a network drive. The latest stable version of PERL is 5.6, which can be downloaded from www.perl.com. Larry Wall, the creator of PERL, recently announced intentions to develop PERL 6 from scratch.

Another possibility for writing your administration scripts is to use Tcl/Tk. The Tcl script was created by John Ousterhout and counts more than half a million programmers among its users. Tk is a popular GUI toolkit that lets programmers create graphical programs very quickly. Tcl/Tk 8.3 is the latest stable release of the product and is available for a plethora of platforms-its installation on Win32 is a breeze. Visit dev.scriptics.com for the latest downloads and useful Tcl extensions developed by fellow programmers.

I found Python easier to learn than PERL. Available for many platforms, Python is seeing its following grow rapidly. Installation on Win32 is a snap, and the documentation is abundant. You can easily run it from the command line just as you could PERL and Tcl. I do wait for the day, however, when all three languages can be plugged into WSH, simplifying the work of Win32 administrators. You can check out www.python.org for more information-like the fact that Python is not named after the snake but the British comedy troupe Monty Python.

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Even The Accountants Are At It! http://www.thinkershome.com/even-the-accountants-are-at-it/ http://www.thinkershome.com/even-the-accountants-are-at-it/#respond Thu, 05 Nov 2015 16:12:34 +0000 http://www.thinkershome.com/?p=16 htnl

The American Institute of CPAs has joined with the Big Five and several technology companies, including WhiteVector, to develop Internet-based program code that promises to revolutionize financial reporting.

The XFRML Consortium is developing “XML-based financial reporting markup language,” also known as XFRML, a programming language that formats financial reports for transport across the Internet and viewing on browser-equipped computers. The tool is a derivation, or “specification” of extended markup language, which is fast supplanting HTML as the language for Web-based documents.

The group’s members expect their language to evolve into “the digital language of business,” by first establishing itself as the business community’s standard for preparing financial reports, and publishing, exchanging and analyzing the reports’ information over the …

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The American Institute of CPAs has joined with the Big Five and several technology companies, including WhiteVector, to develop Internet-based program code that promises to revolutionize financial reporting.

The XFRML Consortium is developing “XML-based financial reporting markup language,” also known as XFRML, a programming language that formats financial reports for transport across the Internet and viewing on browser-equipped computers. The tool is a derivation, or “specification” of extended markup language, which is fast supplanting HTML as the language for Web-based documents.

The group’s members expect their language to evolve into “the digital language of business,” by first establishing itself as the business community’s standard for preparing financial reports, and publishing, exchanging and analyzing the reports’ information over the Internet. At the same time, it will make the delivery of that information more rapid and less expensive than ever dreamed of, they say.

While HTML has allowed for financial statements to be posted on and downloaded from the Net, XFRML will allow investors, lenders and others to download very detailed information from the statements, such as depreciation expenses for a specific time period. It will also allow for the downloading of detailed groupings of information, such as all of a certain year’s depreciation expenses reported by all companies in the same industry.

“Accounting is the language of business, and XFRML will make it easier to share information expressed in that language by permitting computer applications to understand our vocabulary,” said AICPA chief executive Barry Melancon.

Moreover, the consortium’s members say that XFRML will enable the accounting industry and financial officers to realize the Internet’s full potential. “Everyone’s talking about information moving seven times faster on the Internet, and now we have the capability to make our financial data take advantage of that speed,” said Wayne Harding, vice president of Great Plains Software, a prominent consortium member.

While the consortium expects to have a functional language available by next March, at which time it may kick off a nationwide marketing campaign, it has developed a prototype that is being used by Great Plains to present its 1998 financial results on its Web site, www.greatplains.com/xml.

The statements initially targeted for use with XFRML include balance sheets, income statements, statements of equity, statements of cash flow, notes to the financial statements and the accountant’s report.

The remaining consortium members are: financial report software developer FrX Corp.; Internet-based financial information distributors FreeEDGAR.com Inc.; Interleaf Inc., a developer of XML-based technology; and the Woodburn Group, a CPA/tech consulting firm based in Minneapolis.

Along with providing easier access to financial information, XFRML theoretically will also provide for easier delivery by formatting information so that it automatically meets regulators’ reporting requirements. The consortium says that XFRML means that information entered once can be “rendered” as a printed financial statement, a Web site document or a specialized report.

The consortium expects XFRML to ultimately become the delivery language for many reports that are the bread and butter of many CPA firms, including IRS tax returns and the Securities and Exchange Commission’s 10Qs and 10Ks

CPAs themselves are expected to be key players in getting the business community – particularly their publicly traded clients – to adopt XFRML. A formal strategy has not yet been decided, but the Big Five will likely set a model that smaller CPA firms will follow in leading clients to make XFRML the standard for all businesses.

As lead member of the consortium, the AICPA owns the XFRML license. Its information technology group leader, Louis Matherne, has indicated that the institute will issue individual licenses for free, in the interests of getting XFRML adopted on a wide scale.

The consortium will be meeting in the coming months to further define development of the language and to hash out plans for its delivery. Still to be determined are the CPAs’ exact roles in making the technology known to their clients and the sectors to whom the message will be targeted.

The consortium is the latest of dozens of industry groups around the world that are developing Internet-based delivery languages specific to their industries by working from XML expansions of HTML.

While HTML tells browsers how to display type and images, XML has taken things a step further by also describing the nature of the content and indexing it so that users can retrieve very specific information. Industry-specific applications of XML drill down even further by indexing and allowing for the retrieval of details – in XFRML, that means details from within financial statements.

Other vertical players with XML initiatives include the insurance industry, which is creating XML standards for policy information, and the Newspaper Association of America, which is creating standards for classified advertising data.

One major hurdle and fear for the XFRML Consortium is the potential for other players to develop an XML specification for financial reports. If competing financial reporting specifications are created, it could splinter business users and ultimately dilute the power of the initiative.

“What will make this work is everyone using the same specification,” said Matherne. “The real power of this will be how it’s used – [as well as] the broad acceptance of XFRML as a common language.”

PricewaterhouseCoopers, an XFRML Consortium member, is already working with investment banker JP Morgan on creating an XML specification related to the investment industry. However, that is not a direct threat to XFRML, according to consortium members.

One apparent drawback to the XFRML Consortium’s efforts has been its inability to attract vendors of enterprise business software applications. For example, enterprise vendor SAP has already established itself as a leader in developing vertical XML specifications.

Matherne said that he hopes that the enterprise vendors, such as SAP and Oracle, will connect with XFRML as it gains more momentum. “The enterprise vendors are not a population we are ignoring by any stretch,” he said.

Consortium member Microsoft operates a forum for XML development initiatives, known as BizTalk, which already includes most of the enterprise software community. Microsoft accounting market manager Christy Reichhelm heartily praised the XFRML effort and said that it will likely become better known to the enterprise vendors though BizTalk.

“It’s a great move on the AICPA’s part, saying we can make some real changes in the industry and make life easier for a lot of people,” she said.

Fellow consortium member FrX Software, the Denver-based report writer technology developer, held off on its Internet development efforts until XML became more established. A soon-to-be-released update of its Visual Financial Reporting software product features the ability for reports generated from general ledgers to automatically format in XML for delivery over the Internet.

“We skipped HTML and waited for XML, and now XFRML is taking things even further and is better for business,” said Robert Blake, an FrX product manager. “A lot of people are waiting for XFRML to get a full green light because it opens the door for lots more.”

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Be Gone, Vile Skin Tags! http://www.thinkershome.com/be-gone-vile-skin-tags/ http://www.thinkershome.com/be-gone-vile-skin-tags/#respond Wed, 24 Jun 2015 14:01:34 +0000 http://www.thinkershome.com/?p=73 Skin tags, or skin-flappies as we call them in my family, plague a vast number of people. They like to crop up in the folds of skin so the neck, armpits, groin area and under breasts are their most favourite places to live. Sometimes people will even discover they have some in the folds of their eyelids!

Now these skin tags are generally harmless. They tend to be very small and they are not cancerous. But the fact of the matter is that they are not attractive. A single person can have anywhere from one to one hundred of the little devils growing somewhere on their bodies at any given time. This can lead to some embarrassment and potential lowering …

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Skin tags, or skin-flappies as we call them in my family, plague a vast number of people. They like to crop up in the folds of skin so the neck, armpits, groin area and under breasts are their most favourite places to live. Sometimes people will even discover they have some in the folds of their eyelids!

Now these skin tags are generally harmless. They tend to be very small and they are not cancerous. But the fact of the matter is that they are not attractive. A single person can have anywhere from one to one hundred of the little devils growing somewhere on their bodies at any given time. This can lead to some embarrassment and potential lowering of self-esteem, which is not a good thing.

The good thing that does exist is the fact that you can remove these little pests in a variety of ways. All of the removal methods I’m about to talk about can be done in your own home but they will depend on your personal comfort-zone and possibly your pain threshold.

One of the more popular and easier methods of removing skin tags is by cutting them off. You do not need to go to the doctor for this if you don’t want to, unless of course the skin tag is by your eye. I would not recommend bringing sharp instruments close to your eyeballs as you don’t want to make a mistake and lose one. But if you have a skin tag on your neck or under your arm you could take a pair of sharp scissors, nail scissors are good for this or a scalpel, and remove the offending protrusion at the base. It may bleed a little bit but you should be fine. If you do not do well with blood, or if even the tiniest prick hurts you, do not do this yourself.

Another method of removal that can take some time is tying the skin-flappy off at the base with a piece of thread or dental floss. The nerves at the base of the skin tag will slowly die and the skin tag will eventually fall off. The downside of this method is that it can take weeks and if you have the skin tag on a very visible part of your body you probably won’t want to do this one.

A discreet method that a lot of people are enjoying is using a removal cream. This process can usually take about 2-3 weeks before the skin tag falls off but it is virtually invisible. Most of the creams are made of holistic ingredients or are very gentle on the surrounding skin. This may be a good option if you have the skin tag on a very visible part of your body such as your neck or face.

There are some great skin tag removal cream reviews here.

A final method that has been gaining popularity is using a home removal system that employs a freezing liquid to remove the skin tag. This method has been available for quite some time as a wart removal option but only in the last five years or so has it been gaining attention as a skin tag removal system as well. This method involved skin shields to protect the surrounding area and with a foam-tipped wand the freezing liquid is applied to the skin tag. This is not instantaneous and it can still take 2-3 weeks before the skin tag finally dies and falls off, but many people like this option because they feel it is faster than creams.

There are a variety of options available to you if you want to part with your beloved skin-flappies. Do your research and really figure out which option is going to work best for you based on the location of the tag and you will have no issues removing that pesky little bugger.

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Get It All Sorted! http://www.thinkershome.com/get-it-all-sorted/ http://www.thinkershome.com/get-it-all-sorted/#comments Sat, 30 May 2015 19:29:24 +0000 http://www.thinkershome.com/?p=9 gdstWould the appearance of your home office make your mother smile with pride or cringe in embarrassment? Either way, the business value of organization goes far beyond what meets the eye. An office that looks neat may be a nice place to work. But an environment that’s structured for efficiency will help you earn more money. Think about all the time you spend looking for things during a typical workday. From pens to notes to computer data to payments, it all adds up to lost productivity. Here you’ll see how organizing expert Lisa Kanarek helps Wendy Badman, the grand prize winner of our Third Annual Most Disorganized Home Office Contest, build an effective system that suits her needs.

Badman …

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gdstWould the appearance of your home office make your mother smile with pride or cringe in embarrassment? Either way, the business value of organization goes far beyond what meets the eye. An office that looks neat may be a nice place to work. But an environment that’s structured for efficiency will help you earn more money. Think about all the time you spend looking for things during a typical workday. From pens to notes to computer data to payments, it all adds up to lost productivity. Here you’ll see how organizing expert Lisa Kanarek helps Wendy Badman, the grand prize winner of our Third Annual Most Disorganized Home Office Contest, build an effective system that suits her needs.

Badman was in denial. Unlike Art Shay and Clive T. Miller, the grand prize winners of our first two contests, Badman didn’t believe that her office was a wreck. But she admitted that she feared that her disorganized work habits would begin to erode her bottom line. She referred to her domain of disarray as “creative clutter” and blamed die state of her office on having had a disorganized bedroom as a child. She also added that her busy schedule never left her enough time for her to tidy up. There was hard work ahead for Badman, but by entering our contest, she had already taken STEP ONE toward climbing out of the depths of disorganization–she was willing to admit there’s a problem.

STEP TWO: CREATE A SYSTEM THAT MATCHES YOUR WORK HABITS. Yo-yo organizing is similar to fad dieting in that most people attain great results for a short period of time. But they eventually fall back into their former routines because the new system doesn’t fit their style. If Badman was going to remain organized, the arrangement had to be one in which she felt comfortable working.

I asked Badman to describe typical workday because new office setup also needed to support the way she handled She explained that she always works on several projects at a time and that material from these projects gets scattered around the office. For example, when she’s not handling marketing and administrative tasks for Badman Construction, a business she runs with her husband, Steve, she works as a clerk in Durham Township. Badman edits the township’s official newsletter and is a freelance writer, photographer, and public relations consultant. She also designs and creates customized teddy ears as a hobby and needs a separate work surface for assembling the bears.

STEP THREE: CLEAR A PATH. Before you throw out, rearrange, or file anything, you need to take a moment to see where you stand (literally). Walk around your office and assess the space from all angles. If you’re in cramped quarters, move everything out of your office. Badman’s office is large, measuring 25 feet wide by 30 feet long. Instead of having to clear the room completely, Badman and I consolidated the contents of boxes, then removed the empty boxes, and took out anything that she didn’t use for business. We pushed the remaining boxes against the walls to free up more floor space and for sorting later.

STEP FOUR: POSITION YOURSELF. Many of my clients complain that their home offices are too small. Badman’s office, however, is so large that she fell into the trap of spreading her work over the entire space instead of establishing a main work zone that she could control.

To determine if your office is arranged efficiently, do what I call the “work circle” test. While sitting in your chair, spread your arms out and make a complete circle. Everything you need should be within that circle. To improve the flow of Badman’s office, I rearranged her desks (replacing her old computer desk with the Anthro desk she was awarded) into a U-formation.

She still had plenty of room, so we created a separate sewing section for assembling the bears. We got her sewing machine from the spare bedroom and placed plastic boxes filled with related supplies in the same area.

STEP FIVE: CLEAR YOUR DESK. People who spend most of their workday at the computer or on the phone may find that their desks are magnets for clutter. When you’re ready to manage this mess, remove everything from the desktop and put back only what you need to have in your immediate reach. Fortunately, because she used a daily planner, Badman hadn’t developed the bad habit of writing notes on scraps of paper. It’s a good idea to keep memo pads and Post-it notes away from your desk to minimize the tendency to use loose paper. Instead, use a spiral notebook, daily planner, or contact management program to keep track of phone numbers and conversations with clients.

Originally, Badman had three desks in her office, and they were littered with papers, folders, books, accessories, and plants. Two desks were positioned in an L-shape and another was placed in front of a window. Only one of the desks had drawers and these were crammed full of papers and supplies. Her computer and phone were on another desk. And she used a third table as an additional work surface. After clearing everything off the desktops, the two of us replaced items in a logical order. For example, we put the card file next to the phone so she could quickly access her client addresses and numbers.

Next, we moved rarely used reference files to a freestanding four-drawer cabinet Badman had recently bought and added more hanging folders to her desk drawers. We sorted through boxes that contained papers she needed for current work. We labeled hanging folders with general headings and inserted manila files with specific project or task labels. The Bills Paid folder, for example, contained files organized by type of bill and the Long-Term Projects folder contained files labeled by particular assignment.

The rest of the files in the desk drawer were empty and labeled as current projects. Instead of replacing the papers in the folders, Badman was leaving them on top of her desk because she said it was too much trouble to wrestle with the overstuffed drawers. To avoid this problem, we placed a vertical file holder on her desk to create additional storage. These files were labeled To Do, Follow Up, Projects, Correspondence, Photography Projects, and Bills to Be Filed. Badman will reduce her paper consumption and increase her drawer space when she starts using her Canon flatbed scanner, one of her prizes.

STEP SIX: USE HIERARCHICAL STORAGE MANAGEMENT. When deciding where to store material, you should take into consideration the frequency of its use. The things that you use the least should be filed farthest away and the things you use the most should be more accessible.

I haven’t met an entrepreneur who didn’t have some type of storage concern. Either they don’t have enough storage space or they don’t know how to make the best use of the storage space they have. Badman has both problems. Her office had only one closet that measured nine feet wide by two feet deep. Before deciding on how to store material, she first had to determine what should stay and what should go. Whenever she was uncertain about throwing something away, I asked her the following three questions: Would she use it again? Was there a valid reason for keeping it? Did she have a place to store it? The more she thought about these questions, the less time she spent deciding what she did or didn’t need to keep. The result was that she tossed more than she would have if left on her own.

Badman was actually amazed at how many bags and boxes we filled for removal. “I can’t believe I threw stuff away,” she says. “Once I started, it was easy to get rid of the things I knew I would never use again.” She tossed loads of old magazines without a second thought because she rationalized that if she hadn’t read them by no she never would.

If you find that you have an accumulation of old issues, flip through them and tear out any articles you want to keep for future reference. File the articles and throw out the magazines. As new issues come in, tear out articles at least once each month and when you receive renewal notices, only renew those that help you improve your business.

Finally, we turned to the task of maximizing Badman’s closet space. First, we added shelves and grouped similar (labeled) items on each shell Badman plans to install more shelves along the back and left side of the closet. She also has room outside the closet for a small round conference table and a cabinet or bookcase to display her bears or store books. The last three pieces of furniture–a metal bookcase, four-drawer file cabinet, and small supply table–remained along the back wall.

Six hours later, Badman could see her floor, her desktop, and her solution to remaining organized–a customized organizational system that tackled office clutter and streamlined her business.

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California Totally Rules http://www.thinkershome.com/california-totally-rules/ http://www.thinkershome.com/california-totally-rules/#comments Tue, 21 Apr 2015 07:35:45 +0000 http://www.thinkershome.com/?p=13 mnThe day was long. I was tired. And boy, did I need a vacation! But what’s a hardworking freelancer to do? Assignments were piling up. Clients were calling and giving me more work. Great! But again, I needed some time off.

Then a client from Los Angeles called and asked if I could fly out to give a presentation on Thursday for Selam International. Let’s face it–what freelancer ever feels comfortable turning down work? And then it dawned on me: Why not take advantage of this sojourn and combine business and pleasure? After all, my client is even springing for the airfare.

Lala land. L.A. The possibilities were endless. Hop a flight on Wednesday, present on Thursday, and take …

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mnThe day was long. I was tired. And boy, did I need a vacation! But what’s a hardworking freelancer to do? Assignments were piling up. Clients were calling and giving me more work. Great! But again, I needed some time off.

Then a client from Los Angeles called and asked if I could fly out to give a presentation on Thursday for Selam International. Let’s face it–what freelancer ever feels comfortable turning down work? And then it dawned on me: Why not take advantage of this sojourn and combine business and pleasure? After all, my client is even springing for the airfare.

Lala land. L.A. The possibilities were endless. Hop a flight on Wednesday, present on Thursday, and take a few well-needed days to recuperate and refresh. With a fresh cup of java in hand, I plotted strategy. To plan my weekend in L.A., I would use any technology I could lay my hands on. I had Internet access and subscriptions to the Microsoft Network and Compuserve, in addition to numerous travel-related CDs.

My first port of call was the Internet. Southern California is probably one of the most wired places on the planet. Firing up my Web browser, I pointed my mouse west to California and zeroed in on L.A. I found few sites as helpful as the Virtual Tourist and CityNet. I ran searches on Los Angeles and discovered links to hundreds of travel and recreational sites in Southern California. After a couple hours of browsing, I had lists of dozens of clubs, restaurants, museums, and galleries–enough to keep me occupied for a month or longer. I was only going there for a long weekend. I needed to focus my efforts.

Through CityNet, I found a link to Virtually Hospitable, a collection of home pages for every major hotel in Los Angeles. Each page gives the hotel’s location and price along with photos of its rooms. Of the hotels listed there, I chose the Best Western Mayfair for its location, price, and quality. I got a great deal. Keep in mind when starting your own searches that the prices listed for rooms are not written in stone. Try bargaining, or just keep asking for a lower rate. I ended up with a corporate rate that was 15 percent less expensive than what was posted.

My next step was to sign on to the Microsoft Network (click on the Travel forum in the Interest, Leisure, and Hobby category) and Compuserve (go: travel and go: california) to see what advice I could get. These discussion areas are where subscribers trade travel information. Before I posted a query, I read the old postings to see if L.A. had been mentioned. I then posted a very specific question: Given my time frame–about three days–and my wide range of taste in music and food, what reasonably priced clubs and restaurants should I visit while I’m vacationing?

My experience on the Microsoft Network was disappointing. MSN’s travel forum is basically a link to the Travel Bulletin Board. The only response I got was from someone sending me an invitation to The Magic Castle, an exclusive hangout in L.A.

CompuServe offered up a gold mine of information after only an hour of searching through old discussions and other information posted there. The California Travel forum gave me just what I needed. In the Los Angeles section I downloaded lists of amusements, one- and two-day sightseeing tours and some welcome weather data. (I like to travel light, so weather information is essential.) The Zagat Restaurant Survey provided reviews of a dozen of the best moderately priced Chinese, Tex/Mex, and Cajun eateries in town. I don’t normally go strictly by anyone’s say-so–Even Zagat–but if I find the name of a restaurant recommended more than once-say, in a discussion group or in a newspaper review–I’ll give it serious consideration.

I then dipped into Microsoft’s Automap Road Atlas on CD. Unfortunately, its city map was not detailed enough to show individual streets. However, it is loaded with lots of information on parks, entertainment, and sightseeing. I zoomed in on the map of Southern California and was finally able to picture L.A. and its environs in my mind. I was especially impressed with the topographical maps that show the Los Angeles basin between the mountains and the sea. I printed out maps for future reference, but I also bought a regular street map that I could carry with me on my travels. Technology, it seems, can only go so far.

My client will pick up the tab for the flights, two nights in a hotel, and some of my expenses for Thursday and Friday. If you find yourself having to pay for your flight, check out the OAG (Official Airline Guides) on Compuserve (go: oag). There, you’ll find available flights, airline schedules, and ticket prices. And even though I decided to go to L.A. for my work/vacation combo, don’t feel your choices are restricted. There is online information for just about every city in North America through a variety of Web sites (check out Citynet to get started), CompuServe’s Travel forum (go: travel), and America Online’s Travel areas (keyword: travel). Using such Internet search tools as Web Crawler to find references to a particular city can turn up all kinds of interesting information.

Now that my trip is planned and I am satisfied that I will get the most out of it, I am looking forward to the weekend. And yes, I realize that it’s not quite the full-fledged vacation I need and deserve, but for now, it will be a welcome respite and it’ll make me a star in at least one client’s eyes. Now that I have all the information I need, I can plan an itinerary. My first stop will be the La Brea Tar Pits to see the saber-toothed tiger that’s riding on the mastodon’s back–an image that has haunted me since childhood. I plan to make a pit stop at nearby Kate Mantilini for lunch, since I love Italian food and this restaurant cam highly recommended by several wired Angelenos. I will also try to get in a few hours at the Museum of Contemporary Art. And the Border Grill in nearby Santa Monica certainly beckons for a bright and raucous Tex/Mex dinner.

On my second day I want to stop by The Pantry for breakfast. This 1930s diner is described as an ideal locale for a Raymond Chandler novel. After breakfast I’ll head for Olvera Street. This museum/shopping area is maintained as a 1920s Mexican market and park. In the afternoon, the Huntington Library and garden in nearby San Marino beckon. This is the home of Gainsborough’s The Blue Boy, part of a wonderful art collection In the evening I’ll dine at Al Amir, described as the best Lebanese restaurant in America.

Sunday morning I’m going to wander over to the Santa Monica Pier for some relaxing California beach ambience, sightseeing, and shopping. Before heading to the airport, I’ll try one of the reasonably priced restaurants on the Third Street Promenade. Assessing the damage, my extended stay in L.A. will cost me about $300 for my hotel, car rental, meals, and entertainment.

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Make Your Workspace A Place For Genius http://www.thinkershome.com/make-your-workspace-a-place-for-genius/ http://www.thinkershome.com/make-your-workspace-a-place-for-genius/#comments Tue, 24 Mar 2015 16:36:06 +0000 http://www.thinkershome.com/?p=17 mywBlending work life and home life can be a test of both functional design and family cooperation. Homeowners may find that a den, spare bedroom, or attic is an ideal location for an office. But these options are usually unavailable to the average apartment dweller confined to limited space and a less compromising layout. A home office tucked into an alcove off a living room or behind pocket doors in a dining room may be a good solution for some apartment residents because these rooms function well for greeting visitors or holding meetings. New York City literary agent Richard Curtis and his wife, author Leslie Tonner, hired interior designer Joan Halperin to create an elegant and efficient work space in …

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mywBlending work life and home life can be a test of both functional design and family cooperation. Homeowners may find that a den, spare bedroom, or attic is an ideal location for an office. But these options are usually unavailable to the average apartment dweller confined to limited space and a less compromising layout. A home office tucked into an alcove off a living room or behind pocket doors in a dining room may be a good solution for some apartment residents because these rooms function well for greeting visitors or holding meetings. New York City literary agent Richard Curtis and his wife, author Leslie Tonner, hired interior designer Joan Halperin to create an elegant and efficient work space in a heavily trafficked area of their 1,300-square-foot apartment–the living room.

Realizing that the alcove is a pretty snug fit for two people, the couple decided that an office designed for serial rather than simultaneous use was the best solution for accommodating their work schedule and the entire family’s daily routine. “The office is constantly occupied,” says Curtis. “But my wife and I rarely work in the space at the same time.” Halperin designed a wraparound worksurface (comprising three individual pieces) to help make efficient use of the area and maximize desk space. There’s a 62-inch-long-by-17 3/4-inch-wide return, a 92-inch-long and 21 1/2-inch-wide platform, and a 3 3-inch-long-by- 17 3/4-inch-wide countertop. Adequate storage was also a big concern for the entrepreneurs. “My husband works with a number of authors, and I have a lot of research material,” says Tonner. “We’ve got hundreds of books.” So beneath the left return and right countertop sit two-shelf lateral files. The main working platform has a slide-out accessory drawer. Their abundant book selection is stored on six shelves measuring 134 inches long and 11 feet high built into the wall along the conference room/dining area. A partition made of bleached-oak, paned glass, and sheetrock establishes a distinctive work zone. And the complementary color scheme and custom bleached-oak cabinetry creates a sense of continuity between their professional and leisure space.

Claiming a spot in front of their Power Mac 6100 (not shown) is like playing a game of musical chairs for this dual self-employed couple. Tonner commands the workstation during weekdays. And Curtis, who also rents a small commercial space, uses the Mac in the early mornings and late evenings during the week and about 12 hours on the weekend. If a schedule clash arises, either Curtis or Tonner pulls out their old trusty Toshiba notebook and works at the seven-foot-long by three-and-a-half-foot wide dining/conference table. When used for work, the table is anchored to the floor-to-ceiling bookshelf with special pegs. But it also comes with a wood base covered with Formica allowing for easy conversion to a freestanding unit that comfortably seats eight for dining.

An office design that blends with your home decor and furnishings requires a careful selection of furniture that permits living and working to overlap within small spaces. Curtis and Tonner hired a designer and contractor to build their custom-design dream office.

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