Monthly Archives: February 2016

A Defining Comeback: What Art Deco Is, Means and Stands For

Return of Art Deco Architectural Designs in Perth

Return of Art Deco Architectural Designs in PerthBeaten, battered and bruised from the past half-century’s turmoil, people went into the 60s clamouring to see a more positive vision for the future. The new millennium could not come any sooner. People looked beyond what they had in front of them, seeking to experiment and create new, positive things. They turned ‘The Future, Today!’ into a guiding mantra for everything from movies (2001: A Space Odyssey), music (The Beatles/Motown), culture (Love and Peace), science (Moon Landing) and architecture (Art Deco).

Today, the media is able to relive these pivotal 60s influences, all but one.

Style Moderne

You may have encountered the term before, or stared in unexplainable nostalgia at one of its iconic buildings, but Art Deco remains one of the most obscure design movements between its formal definition and physical examples.

The eclectic Art Deco movement used smooth lines, geometric shapes, streamlined forms and bright, sometimes garish, colours. Mass produced materials such as chrome, plastics and Bakelite (think billiard ball) represented this opulent yet affordable reflection of the future.

Art Deco Down Under

From art to architecture, you can readily identify whether something is Art Deco: geometric shapes and sweeping curves, made of materials emulating a vibrant 60s idea of the future. Designers from GranDesignsWA.com.au say that Art Deco eliminated the bleak and boxy aesthetic of the early 20th century, retaining practical functionality as it circles the edges of avant-garde territory.

There are a handful of Art Deco buildings in Australia, like the Astor Theatre in Perth and the Mitchell House in Melbourne. All it took for these otherwise clean-cut traditional buildings to capture a feeling of futurism and nostalgia were symmetrical curved corners and numerous ‘wide-awake’ windows. The best thing is you can bring a bit of the 60s into your home as well, and just in time, as Art Deco is making a 2016 comeback.

Art Deco endured decades of war and fallout before it finally flourished, and now that people are seeking digital simplicity in everything they do, a throwback to the 20th century optimism school of design could not have come at a better time.

Eco-driving 101: Efficient Ways to Use Your Vehicle

Eco-DrivingAs private car owners, you have a responsibility to use your vehicles efficiently. The fuel your vehicles need to run does not come in unlimited supply and the gases your vehicle emits greatly affect the environment. But instead of just stating facts and statistics, governments and organizations should continue to educate and urge people that a few good driving habits and vehicle care can make a big difference.

Make a Commitment to Drive Less

Driving offers convenience, which is why owning a car is part of your future plans. But if you bought the false belief that owning a car is one of life’s rewards, then you’ve got it wrong. More than the convenience, owning a car entails a responsibility that many overlook.

In reality, people don’t need to own a car; for some, it is a mere luxury, to avoid the inconvenience and discomfort of public transportation. If you can get to a destination through other means, such as walking, biking or taking the train or bus, don’t bring your car. Only bring your car if you need to carry heavy stuff, when you’re in a rush, or if there’s an emergency.

Recycle Waste Engine Oil

Yes, you can recycle your waste engine oil. In fact, there are available waste oil collection companies in your community. New Zealand has a very proactive and efficient oil recovery scheme across the country that provides car owners the opportunity to dispose of and recycle your waste oil safely and sustainably. Take advantage of it. It will benefit you and the environment in ways you can’t imagine.

Drive Properly

Jack-rabbit starts, hard braking and aggressive driving are the biggest consumers of fuel. Driving your car beyond the speed limit along a highway will not only make you look obnoxious and reckless, but tree-hugging drivers will definitely shun you – and probably blame you for global warming.

The proper way to drive is to accelerate smoothly and then shift into high gear quickly. Also, drive steadily at the speed limit to raise your car’s fuel consumption up to 20%. Select the right gear at all times, especially on long stretches of highway driving.

Clean and Maintain Regularly

Regular vehicle care will not only prolong the car’s service life, but it also improves the fuel efficiency of your car. Make sure that your tires are properly inflated to prevent increased rolling resistance. Under-inflated tires can increase your car’s fuel consumption by over 6%.

Have your engine tuned regularly to lessen emissions. Clean your air filters to improve the indoor climate of your vehicle and invest in an efficient heating and cooling system. If you don’t need air conditioning while driving, roll down the window. Monitor your power-consuming accessories to decrease engine load and increase gas mileage.

Before you turn on the ignition and head to your destination, think about how you, as an individual private car owner, can help reduce the effects of global warming. If you practice eco-driving and reduce your vehicle use, you can significantly improve your carbon footprint.

Smart Home Security Systems Can Do More Than Just Protect Your Family

Home Security Systems in NashvilleFrom smart phones to smart watches, almost every gadget and system today is smart.

One smart system that people should be thankful for is the smart home security systems. According to SecureProTN.com, provider of home automation system in Nashville, this system enables you to take full command of your home’s security with just a few clicks on your smart device. Moreover, they do not only protect your home from burglars, but they also have other benefits for your family.

  1. It Saves You Home Insurance Money

The Insurance Information Institute (III) notes that homeowners with burglar alarms can receive at least 5% discount. Homeowners may lower their insurance by 15% to 20% if they install state-of-the-art or smart security systems that have the ability to alert the local station in cases of fire or burglary.

  1. It Lowers Your Energy Bill

Some smart home security systems have motion sensors that can detect if somebody is at home. If the system finds that nobody is home, it automatically turns off all the lights. With this feature, the homeowner can save hundreds of dollars in energy costs per year.

  1. It Can Monitor Your Children at Home

Most of the smart home security systems are programmable. Some of them have a feature that alerts you whenever your kids arrive home. If you are away from home, the system can send you an email or text with a video attachment of your children’s whereabouts. Other systems allow you to know the exact time of your kids’ arrival. They can monitor the log-in time of each person who enters your home, as everyone has different PINs.

With these benefits, it is evident that smart home security systems can do more than just protect your family.  Thus, no matter how costly these systems are, it looks like they are worth the price. 

Why Australia Has the Best Coffee Culture

CoffeeA big part of Australia’s culture revolves around a nation’s shared enjoyment of and love for brewed coffee. It’s not surprising to see that more and more tourists are coming to Australia looking to get a piece of the growing culture.

Any part of Australia has its own coffee culture, but what sets it apart is that even something as simple as a flat white can bring some intense flavours worth visiting the coutry for. The Royal shares more information below:

Where the Coffee Experience Began

Coffee did not use to be Australia’s best choice of drink. Rum used to be the go-to favourite drink, followed by coffee, and then tea broke out in 1920, when refugees started opening up coffee shops. This growth went further as the 1950s brought in Italian migrants who started arriving on Australia’s shores bearing coffee makers. This paved the way towards the boom of Italian cafes and the coffee roasting industry.

From Australia to the Rest of the World

The coffee industry in Australia has already grown around the country. The market research conducted has showcased that over the past five years, the culture has grown exponentially.

Australians love quality coffee, and not even the likes of the Starbucks brand can compete with existing individually-run coffee shops all over the country. In fact, according to Ibis World, the industry is already expected to grow at an anniual rate of 7.4 percent until the expected rise in 2016.

In addition, there are more specialised coffee shops and cafes popping up. This brings up the competition but at the same time, gives a more diverse playing field and more options to customers. More visitors and tourists are getting attracted by the coffee culture, especially now that even cafes are making their mark by adding a touch of artisan food and snacks into the mix.

Where to Find the Best Coffee Shops in Australia

It is difficult to judge the best coffee shops in Australia, simply because there are so many of them. The fact that Australia-run cafes and coffee shops in New York City are being celebrated just goes to show how other countries are enjoying the flavours of Australian-brewed coffee. There are now more coffee cafes appearing that have the full experience offered as it is in Australia.

By bringing in flavours from Nundah coffee shops to Melbourne cafes, even New York City is trying to revamp the experience in The Big Apple.

Roaming Costs: What Causes Excessive Charges?

International Roaming Charge

International Roaming ChargeToday, smartphones have become a travel essential, along with clothes, camera, money and any other items in your travel kit. When travelling overseas, one of the issues we commonly deal with is the international roaming charges. Do you know what causes your bills to pile up?

What You Need to Know

Are you one of those people who travel overseas frequently yet worry about the high costs of phone bills waiting for you at home?

Roaming charges start to kick in when a phone has been detected on an overseas network. As we make use of our mobile phones to stay connected wherever we are, we should also be aware that roaming charges can add up immediately into our bill and can be very expensive. Even if you are extra careful in using your mobile phone by avoiding unnecessary calls, you can still be charged by simply receiving a call or picking up a voicemail message.

UK Prepaid Sim Card says price rates for data roaming vary between operators depending on your destination. Some service providers tend to benefit from this kind of setup. Your roaming charges can reach thousand by simply using your phone for text messages, voice calls, and Internet browsing. Voice calls usually have a higher charge when you’re overseas. Receiving SMS and MMS may be free; but sending messages may be slightly costlier.

How to Manage Roaming Charges

The best way to avoid costly roaming charges is to contact your service provider. They might offer you an international package or a data plan, so you can easily monitor your bill. This will help you know what international fees will apply to which services to make tracking trouble-free. Switching off access to any subscriptions and applications which you won’t use overseas can also keep your international charges manageable.

Roaming charges are certain fees which consumers are contractually obligated to pay. Proper usage of your phone’s data and awareness of data rates will prevent you from getting high bills.

Choosing a Hotel to Get Some Work Done

Hotel Choices in West JordanAll the noise and interruptions in the office can make you less productive, as you are unable to concentrate on one task long enough to complete anything. There are people who thrive under pressure, but even the best of them sometimes have to get away from it all if only to accomplish something.

Plan a trip to a hotel that has amenities that will help you do your job away from the office. Many hotels cater to such needs. Here are some pieces of advice to help you in choosing the right hotel.

Check the reviews

It may be fun to find the spontaneous side of things, but not when you have things to do and you want the place to be ready. So before choosing a hotel, check the reviews online. You can also ask some colleagues if they have suggestions, although that might open you up to phone calls or visitors when all you want to do is to be alone and work. To avoid that, tell them you need some quiet time.

Check the Internet

You’ll have problems if you find that there’s no Internet at the hotel you’ve already booked. Although it’s rare these days to find a good hotel with no connection, it will only take you a minute to ask if they would allow a hotel guest Wi-Fi access without any time or data limits. Most of the time, you’ll find this information on their web page or on a review site, but ask anyway just to be sure. According to Ecommnetworks.com, hotel guest wifi is pretty common these days.

Check the services you need

Room service is great, but what if you’d like to have a decent meal outside your room? If the hotel has a restaurant, you don’t have to leave the building to eat. If you’re the type who likes to work at a café from time to time, then see if they have one. This will work well too if you want to schedule a business meeting with staff or a partner at some point during your stay. The hotel may even have a meeting room.

Experience the Best of Vail Without Breaking the Bank

Skiing in VailVail, Colorado is an amazing place to visit, being a world class tourist destination. The place offers luxury, romance, adventure, and fun. Nonetheless, people who have financial constraints think twice before considering this destination. This shouldn’t stop you from experiencing the best in this winter wonderland, though.

With a little research and planning, you can make a fun-filled trip to Vail:

  • Stay at condos and vacation rentals

Choose accommodation along the free shuttle route in Vail—the shuttle is the most reliable way to get to the lifts and the village. This will be less expensive than staying in premier hotels in the area. You will find these rental homes larger, helping you allot more of your budget to other luxuries. Find a good vacation condominium or apartment, as they are great for groups and families.

  • Know your transport options

Do not go for a rental car or SUV, as they are likely to cost more. You can take the Mountain express shuttle to Colorado from Eagle or Denver airport right up to your lodging. As American Ski Exchange notes, Vail’s shuttle can also take you anywhere you want in the village. Apart from saving on rental costs, this will save you from paying parking fees.

  • Take package deals

Go for package offers on gear, lift tickets, and ski lessons. Your entire family can take skiing lessons together, as rates are lower if you go in a group. Visit travel websites to get discounted lift tickets and the best package deals available. Buying the lift tickets online can save you money. You can also save money by renting the boards and skis in advance.

Going on a vacation in Vail does not mean having to splurge and empty your pockets. The right plan and itinerary can make a difference to your travel expenses.

Choosing Between a Gas and Electric Hot Water System

Electric Hot Water System in TaurangaEveryone needs hot water every morning, be it for a warm shower or a good cup of coffee. In the winter, having a steady supply of hot water is critical, unless you would like to bathe in ice cold water. Every modern home simply must have a hot water system.

The basic hot water system is composed of a water tank with a heating element to it. Pipes run to and from the water tank to supply and distribute water. The system is generally the same for most units. The main difference will be in the heating mechanism. Two of the most common heat sources are electricity and gas.

Here are the differences between these units:

Electric Hot Water Systems

If energy efficiency is what you are after, electric hot water systems make an excellent choice. A conventional electric hot water tank system can have an energy efficiency rating of 0.90. Compare this to a conventional gas heating system’s energy efficiency rating of 0.60, and you will understand that electric hot water systems are the way to go. Their initial startup costs are lower, as well.

If you are going to keep your hot water tank running all throughout the day, you will be paying a lot more in the end. If your community experiences a power outage, expect to bathe in cold water for the meantime.

Gas Hot Water Systems

If performance is what you are after, gas hot water systems in Tauranga make a better choice. These systems can heat a full 50-gallon tank within an hour, and recover heat faster than an electric hot water system does. Even if you do not have electrical power, you are still guaranteed hot water at all times.

Its energy efficiency may be lower due to heat loss from the tank’s walls, as well as from exhaust gases. The initial startup cost is also higher. Nonetheless, gas hot water systems are more economical than an electric hot water system in terms of long-term use.

Choosing between gas and electric hot water systems is easy. If you want steady supply of hot water, get the gas. When it comes to energy efficiency, get the electric hot water system. The choice is up to your preferences.

Building a Home Rather than Buying One

Home Construction

Home Construction in UtahMost people go with the option of buying a home that is already built and ready for move-in. Inflated prices notwithstanding, they usually find something that suits their taste and needs. But, most of the time, they actually settle with a property that they end up paying more for something that they don’t need in the future. Some find homes that cost less, but they end up with a house that doesn’t fit their particular needs.

Real estate agents themselves know that buyers often have to skew visions of their future home because it doesn’t exist. At least someone already bought it, right? More than that, there is the chance that the next ideal property is out of the way. It may not mean anything, but starting a new life like that? Before anything physically begins, there are already compromises.

Bucking the Trend

If the perfect house just doesn’t exist, you can always opt to build it. It may be too much to ask for people who will be buying a house, but there is a credible case for a new property. For one, you don’t have to lower your standards just because there isn’t anything good available. Getting what you want will give you satisfaction in life, especially if it concerns a home.

More importantly, there’s no hiding those faults. Hardrock Homes and other contractors will ensure that everything will be in mint condition: the plumbing, insulation, heating and structure. In many ways, you will get what you will pay for. You also own the land, presumably. In the future, you will be glad that the place where you lay your head is actually yours.

Perfecting Your Choice

Your plan may be perfect in your head, but once it’s in the real world, you will notice its flaws. You probably thought that you don’t need floor heating, or maybe you wanted to have a luxurious bathroom. On the other hand, you may have considered home security as an unnecessary expense. Building a home will give you time to decide on what things will make your life better.

It’s probably different than how your family and friends started their home life, but you will end up happy with this decision. Harder your path maybe, it’s more worthy than taking the easy way and risking your future.

The Things Your Customers Hate the Most When They Call

Call ServicesWhen it comes to running a business, it is no secret that you will have to deal with difficult customers at some point. Hiring call answering services is a necessity to service your growing number of customers. However, just because you use a popular medium for support (like the phone) it doesn’t mean you’re assured would be happy and satisfied after the call. Making your business awake 24/7 doesn’t always lead to positive customer experience.

In many cases, your customers might even loathe your brand even more. Although the main idea of having skilled representatives ready to service your customers any time of the day is to provide satisfaction, achieving that goal requires more effort.

Scarce Options

Even if the phone is still a common channel to access customer support, a lot of people would prefer to have more options to get their issue fixed. Customers of today want things get done fast without needing to exert too much effort.

No thanks to relatively confusing phone menus and occasional queueing, reaching your contact centre isn’t the most convenient method to access customer service. It might cost more money, but investing in email, chat and forms of self-support services can be worthwhile.

Long Waits

If you’re a customer in need of quick customer support, nothing is more upsetting than painfully waiting for a long time just to get a live person for assistance. Queuing is sometimes inevitable, but if each of your customers has to stay on the line for at least a couple of seconds before an agent becomes available — regardless of the time, or even without problems prompting large volumes of calls — then staffing is the real culprit provoking the ire of your valued customers.

Unless you hire more representatives or make sound schedules, there’s no solving your lengthy waiting time problem.

Incompetent Agents

When customers call, chances are, they’re already frustrated due to their problem, and the last thing they need is to speak with an agent that lacks what it takes to provide quality service. Sufficient product knowledge is paramount, but soft skills are usually useful to pacify irate customers and create a positive call experience.

Your representatives must be by the book, however, they must possess certain attributes to make every call a fun conversation.

You must identify the specific needs of your customers and anticipate their expectations to ensure you can satisfy them in every call. While you can’t certainly control their emotions, you have the power to significantly influence them.