Remodeling your home is a long, tiring, stressful, and often expensive process. I remember growing up, we lived with the same early 1980s appliances, carpet, couches, etc. well into the late 90s simply because it was too much work, required more time than either of my parents could spare, and cost money they’d rather spend on other stuff (probably bills and food now that I look back). These are all things that prevent people from remodeling their homes. My family was comfortable and it wasn’t until we saw our neighbors homes that we realized it was time to remodel. It wasn’t easy and took over a year, but by planning correctly and being smart, we were able to do it on our limited household income. If you want to make some changes here are some things we did that could possibly help you as well.
- Make a schedule with prices and priorities.
If you are doing a full home remodel, there are going to be projects on top of projects. Make a detailed list of everything that needs to be done and put your priorities at the top. For example, it was much more important for my mom to remodel the kitchen before the guest bedroom. The kitchen is also one of the more expensive rooms to remodel, so it’s a great place to start.
- Set a date to start the remodel and save everything you can until that date arrives.
As mentioned above, remodeling is not cheap! It takes some serious saving if you want to update everything. If you have your list of priorities, it’ll give you an idea of your budget and how much you’ll need to spend. Whatever you think you’ll spend, add some more on top for unexpected expenses.
- Shop around…. A LOT!!
When making big purchases like new appliances, carpet and furniture, explore your options. You can get a base point to start with at AO.com. They have great deals from Groupon on appliances and furnishings to show you what to expect. When you are carpeting, see what kinds of guarantees different companies offer, installation fees, and other incentives that might lower the price in the long run. Remember, these will be there until the next remodel so be sure you like them!
Monday 5th December in the Alb - 6.30 till late! Free tickets.
We’ve invited some of the digital industries leading talent from both Shropshire and further afield to come along, share skills and present earth-shattering ideas.
There will be four speakers and five minutes at the end of the evening to give you opportunity to share any news or announcements you have. What more could you want?
So why not come along and join us, listen to some inspiring talks, spark your creativity and chat with like-minded people over a beer or maybe even a cocktail or two.
This event will be perfect for anyone that runs a business or freelances within the technology / creative / digital / marketing industries.
Our Rebellion #14 headliners include:
James Arthur - James is Co-founder and CTO of Opendesk and previously Co-Founder of WikiHouse and green.tv.
Phil Nolan - from Lloyds Banking group speaking about Blockchain (the technology behind bitcoin) and it's potential to disrupt the financial sector.
Dale Shepherd - Dale is the manager of Shropshire Council's Digital Services (AKA Project WIP), and a ShropGeek regular. When he's not doing either of those, he can be found at home.
Aaron Child - Aaron is a film maker based in Shrewsbury. He specialises in creative marketing and has made over 100 films for businesses based around Shrewsbury in the last 3 years. His next goal is to buy a VW van, convert it into a travelling office, get a pug (named Diego), and travel Europe making films.
Shropshire has a huge digital / creative industry and there are very few events in the county that directly cater for those involved. This event promises to be a fantastic evening combining talks from some of the most innovative thinkers and doers.
Tickets are free of charge. The doors open at 6.30pm with the first speaker starting at 7pm. Spaces are limited so book now to avoid disappointment.
Last week Roxio's Napster(here) launched in the UK for the first time as a legal music distribution service. Napster is one of many legitimate music site entering into the increasingly crowded market.
The most popular legal on-line music company currently is called On Demand Distribution (OD2) (here). This service is behind some of the big on-line music brands including My Coke Music, Ministry of Sound digital downloads, Virgin downloads, MSN music and HMV downloads.
I subscribed to the HMV (here) download site just over a month ago to check out the content and quality of service available. I choose HMV over the others at the time mainly because the site layout was the best, for instance the Ministry of sound site uses an awkward frame and the My Coke Music site seemed to cluttered. Other than they they all follow a similar design and serve the same content.
There are two different ways to purchase music through HMV, the first is through buying individual tracks similar to the way Apples iTunes (here) works, tracks start at about 99p and increase in price depending on the song. The second way to purchase tunes is through a subscription which is what I chose. The subscription offered is ?4.99 a month which entitles you to 500 credits per month.
The credits then let you do various things for instance to ? stream ? a song (listen to it once) normally costs 1 credit (roughly equivalent to 1p), to download a song costs 10 credits and to be able to permanently download a song so that you can burn it to a CD costs about 100 credits. Songs that are downloaded for 10 credits can only be listened to while you are subscribed to the service.
In my view the payment model is not very flexible, its certainly not over priced but say I wanted to purchase some extra credits one month I would have to order a second ?4.99 monthly package. There is no way to purchase an extra number of credits or choose my own monthly number of credits.
Some people may be more than happy just to pay for extra credits when needed (in blocks of say 500) when they ran out instead of the monthly charge. Currently only credit cards are accepted (Visa and Mastercard etc), no debit cards (Switch Solo etc) are accepted which does limit the audience to only people with access to credit cards.
For a music site to be successful clearly what is important is the content rather then the pricing model. I have looked quite carefully into various different on-line download sites including E-music (here) and Napster for the music I'm interested - dance/trance.
E-music does the annoying thing of classing dance under the more American title of ?Electronic? music while Napster classes Usher and Beyonce as their most important dance artists which probably also shows the lack of research for the European market.
The HMV site does a bit better here by having a ?Dance? section but doesn't go as far as splitting this category down more into its sub sections. Napster does split the categories down into more detail but still seems confused as to what should go where. It almost seems as more of an attempt to fill an empty category then to insert good content.
To test the content on the HMV site and Napster I took this weeks top 10 (from the BBC's website here) and searched for these tunes on both sites. From the HMV site (OD2) I found 6 out of the top 10 songs of the week while on Napster I found 8 out of 10.
Napster certainly seemed better for HipHop and other more American music while the content provided by OD2 did have a lot more dance but had a certain amount of the content Napster had. In a way deciding which service to use goes hand in hand with the type of music you enjoy. When searching for music I found that the HMV site came with better results for what I was searching for than Napster, though both services have to go a long way to get better library's of music.
Napster had a better way of cataloguing their content then OD2 and searching was significantly faster, both services I didn't think were good at helping you discover new artists. Something simple that showed you what new content had been added in the various sections that week would be more than enough to help you discover new music.
iTunes is the only service to offer a client for an alternative operating system to Windows, Napster installs its own client and the HMV site will only work in Microsoft's Internet Explorer which is restricting for people who use alternative browsers.
Personally I found the HMV site to be better overall for what I wanted, its not as polished and sleek as Napster and isn't a big a brand as iTunes for on-line music but for content it was the best in my opinion. The service is far from perfect and until you can find any chart song, whether it be from the pop chart or dance chart then people will still use the illegal downloading sites.
Planetside is the new massive multiplayer online first person shooter game from Sony entertainment. It incorporates thousands of players fighting it out on gigantic maps trying to take over as many bases as possible.
The game is set in the future on a world cut off from the rest of man kind from the collapse of a wormhole. Over time 3 factions formed the Terran Republic, the New Conglomerate and the Vanu Sovereignty, each race with its own specific vehicles and weapons.
As you progress through the game you get experience points which lead to certifications, with these certifications you can learn various skills from hacking to sniping to flying to combat. These skills help to make your character more individual and specialized.
You play the game over a enormous map of over 100 square kilometers, which is split up into smaller islands with a number of bases on. One of the best ways to get experience points is to take over a base by hacking its central computer. When playing you normally join a squad which can be up to 10 players of the same team, the advantages of being in a squad are that you get each others experience points when they are earned and you can keep better track of people on the map.
Playing Planetside is unlike any other first person shooter or multiplayer game, it has similarities to Half Life in that is it a first person shooter but it also has similarities to older games such as delta force with its larger maps.
While combat plays a large part of Planetside it is not the only side of the game, you can quite happily play the game without even shooting a weapon by learning to fly drop ships or hacking which is why Planetside is a very broad game. The game makes it very easy to learn new skills and forget old ones when you get fed up. The other day my squad didn't have any means of transport to the battle zone so I learn't how to fly a Galaxy dropship and soon enough my squad were fighting away.
Planetside does however still suffer from a few bugs, one the other day wouldn't let me do one of the training mission and I have had the game crash on me twice since I have had it which can be very annoying when in the middle of a battle. Not all the bugs are annoying, earlier today I managed to flip my ANT vehicle and it landed so it looked like it was hovering, I got some very funny screenshots of my squad hailing me while upside down.
The graphics are another bonus, they might not run on lower spec machines but they are lovely on my Pentium 4. The effects are nice such as the weather and light levels, trying to fight a battle in the rain can be especially hard giving yet another aspect to the game.
The single thing that makes Planetside for me is that you are playing against real people and not bots, it makes the whole team effort a lot more fun when you are chatting through the game or on voice chat to other people around you trying to coordinate attacking or defensive maneuvers. However with multiplayer games there does come in the increased costs and at about ?7 ($12(US)) a month a lot of people may be put off but in my view its a lot more satisfying to play.
So do I think its a gaming revolution? Well no I don't think it is but it will certainly change the way people think about first person shooters. A lot of people will be put off by the subscription charge like they have with other massive multiplayer games but its what is needed to support the expensive server setups. I do think that Planetside will be very popular and I doubt there will be any direct competition giving the costs of setting up a online game such as Planetside.
All in all Planetside is a great game that you will spend hours playing, if you love playing CS or TFC then you will most likely love Planetside as it varies the game so much more making it more fun.
Reviewers PC Spec:
Pentium 4 ? 2 gig
120gig Hard drive
GForce 4 MX 420.
All hard disks have to have partitions on to hold any sort of data, different operating system require you to have different partitions. Windows generally uses either a FAT32 partition type or NTFS. If you have a pc with windows on the chances are that you only have 1 partition on. For Linux we're going to have to make some changes to your partition table and introduce 2-3 new partitions.
Don't worry if this all sounds complicated, the newest distributions especially SuSE has tried to make partitions as easy as possible, it comes with a utility built into YaST (SuSEs installation program) which automatically resizes your main fat32 partition to fit Windows and Linux on along with any other small changes which need to be made. If you feel more comfortable controlling how much space exactly to give each operating system I suggest you use a program like Partition Magic rather then Fdisk.
I'm not going to go into great detail on how to use these programs but I will mention what you need to do with these programs. Depending on how big your hard drive is will depend on how much space you want to allocate for Linux. I normally go for around 10gbs as my root partition for Linux as this gives me plenty of space to work with. You can install Linux on a number of different partition types the most common being EXT2/EXT3.
The newer distributions will use EXT3 and the older EXT2. Though the differences between the partitions do not concern us, it does not make a major difference which you choose. Once you have your main Linux root partition you will need a swap partition. It took me a while to get my head round this concept but swap partitions come in very handy and speed up day to day tasks a lot. Swap partitions originally came from the days when ram was very expensive so the idea of using your hard drive to substitute ram came about. Windows uses a similar technique known as virtual memory.
Your swap partition doesn?t need to be over big, a minimum of 128mbs and a maximum of around 500mbs. Generally the less ram you have the bigger the swap partition you need. If you have a large enough hard drive and space isn?t a big issue it doesn't harm having a bigger swap partition but there is no need to over do it. Finally if your hard drive is bigger then 8gbs and the Linux partition isn?t the first on the drive then you may need to make a boot partition if you intend to duel boot with windows. Boot partitions have to be the first partition on the drive as need only be a maximum of 50mbs formatted to EXT2.
This makes it easier for installing any boot managers needed to duel boot the system. Without one you may find when you reboot your pc after installation only windows will boot and the only way you will be able to access Linux is with a boot disk. The exact principles behind how partitions work is not really relevant for using Linux. The general idea is that Windows uses either FAT16, FAT32 or NTFS partitions and Linux uses EXT2, EXT3, REISER and SWAP. All these can easily be created using Partition Magic or Linux Fdisk.