Daily Archives

August 29, 2018

Lifestyle

How To Keep On Top Of Home Maintenance

August 29, 2018

As a homeowner or landlord, the responsibility for home maintenance and repairs lies squarely with you. It is your responsibility to ensure your rental is appropriately cared for and safe for tenants, and as a homeowner, you will want to make sure your home is safe for yourself and family. Should you be only just starting out on this exciting road of home ownership, you may be overwhelmed by all your new-found responsibilities and be uncertain about where exactly to begin. Allow this handy guide to prepare you for any home maintenance pitfalls and to ensure you know precisely where to turn should you require any assistance with domestic repairs and assistance.

Simple decorating

When trying to rent out a property it is important to not only ensure it is safe and habitable, but to make the house presentable. A shabby property will not attract many tenants, and if you want to be able to charge a reasonable amount of rent, your property will need to reflect this. A simple coat of paint can be all it needs to brighten up a home and removing dated wallpaper, paint colours, and worn carpets immediately rejuvenates a property. Save money by carrying out this simple type of maintenance yourself. Do not be tempted to take shortcuts such as papering over existing wallpaper as this will make redecorating difficult in the future. Opt for neutral colours for both walls and flooring. A durable, wipe-clean paint is an excellent choice for walls as wallpaper can easily rip or stain, and will, therefore, need to be replaced sooner, accruing further expense. Flooring should be easily cleaned and be able to withstand a heavy footfall. Polished wood floors, although very hardwearing can also be very expensive so perhaps not the best choice for a rental property. However, if you are redecorating the family home, consider investing in a wood floor as this can last for several years. If your budget is limited or you are looking for flooring for a property you intend to rent, opt for laminate, vinyl, or a durable, washable carpet. Steer clear of wool carpets and light-coloured carpets that will show stains easily.

Heating and air-con

When you live in an area with changeable weather or a region that embraces the seasons, both heating and air-con are essential. The life-expectancy of centralised air-con or a furnace is thought to be between 10 to 15 years, which seems like a reasonable amount of time for a feature in your property, but if not well-maintained, an aircon system or a furnace can break down and need costly repairs. When these systems are well looked after you can enjoy up to approximately 20 years of service. During the cooler months, you may forget how essential centralised air-con can be, and when the heat hits you immediately regret not investing in a system, or not maintain the one you own. The same can be said when winter approaches and your heating system fails. It is important that you as a homeowner know who to contact when needing air-con and furnace repairs, and if you are a landlord, that you can ensure the immediate repair of any tenants’ systems. For more information about centralised air-con and furnaces, and how best to maintain these systems visit this HVAC contractor website.

A blocked toilet

This is one of the most common, and frustrating problems that households face, and one that can be tackled without the need to call out a professional. Be prepared for this eventuality and look like the hero of the hour by knowing exactly how to unblock a toilet without the situation getting messy, or expensive. A simple plunger can be all that is needed to unblock a toilet so ensure you have one in your home in preparation. If the water in the toilet has receded after flushing but take some time to do so, place the plunger in the toilet, so it covers the base and keep pressing and lifting, feeling the suction action until the water level lessens and the toilet is unblocked. However, blockages are not always this simple to resolve, and you may need to use a different method. When the blockage is formed further down the pipes, a different home-remedy method will be required. Many people resort to pouring all manner of stringent chemicals down the toilet, but this is not environmentally friendly. For a less abrasive approach, try pouring a litre of liquid soap into the toilet and then pouring very hot water into it until it reaches the brim. Leave the toilet for several hours, until the water has receded somewhat then flush. The blockage should have dissolved with the aid of the hot water and soap solution. If this does not work initially, try the same method again and leave overnight. This simple solution can save you a lot of money and only requires some patience, and that you have another toilet in the house to use while you wait for the solution to do its work in the blocked toilet!

Contacts

Maintaining your home can be expensive, but by using a combination of ensuring you invest in the right products initially, and simple old-fashioned home remedies, you can keep your home or your rental in tip-top condition. However, when it comes to trickier jobs that could potentially be dangerous, such as electrical faults, it is always best to consult a professional. Research the best electricians, plumbers and builders in your area, before you actually require their services. Speak to family and friends about their experiences to discover who can be relied on in an emergency and what professional gives the best rates. Once you have decided which ones you want to use in the future, keep their contact details on a notice board, in an app or in a prominent place where your whole family can see them. This way, when an emergency arises, you and your family will be able to resolve the situation quickly.

Technology

How tech-savvy is the global elderly population?

August 29, 2018

Some grandmas and grandpas are more ‘down with the kids’ than others — they have smartphones, know how to Skype and have their own Facebook profiles. But, does it depend on what country you live in as to whether the older locals have a grip on the latest technology? Together with Acorn Stairlifts, retailers of Straight Stairlifts, we take a look at the latest figures:

Internet users

When it comes to using the internet, many of us couldn’t imagine our daily lives without it. You probably use it to read the latest news, check the weather forecast or use it hourly at work. But, is the older generation as reliant on the World Wide Web?  

In the UK, research showed that 41% of adults aged 75 and over had recently used the internet when they were asked in 2017. This illustrates a 20% increase since 2011, showing how widespread the internet has become over the past seven years.

How does this compare to the older generation in the US? Well, figures show that 64% of over 65s were internet users in 2016. There was also a 46.4% growth reported in US internet users over the age of 55 from 2014 to 2017, with around half of American seniors say that they now have high-speed internet at home. This is a 4% increase on 2013.

However, the internet hasn’t quite won everyone over yet – only 44% of those aged 80 and upwards said that they used the internet and just 28% said that they had a home broadband service.

In Germany, only 29.6% of mobile internet users were aged 50 and above as of January 2017 and in France, 48% of people aged over 70 were internet users in 2016. Compare this to the 100% of internet users who were aged 12-17 and it’s clear to see the generation gap when it comes to getting online. In Belgium, 35% of the population that were aged between 65 and 74 admitted that they had never used the internet at all.

What about in the aging country of Canada, where there are now more over 65s than under 14s? In 2019, experts forecast that 53.4% of over 65s will be internet users. And, in the technological hub of Japan, 44.3% of over 80s who accessed the internet said that they did so at least once a day, along with 48% of those aged 70-79.

Smartphones and tablets

Our instantaneous access to the internet is enabled by the widespread use of smartphones and tablets. Many of us have these tiny touchscreen devices at hand which can answer to our queries, connect us with friends and provide us with useful information at the tap of our fingers. Has the older generation realised the potential of these devices?

In the UK, it was revealed that 45% of over 55s used a smartphone in 2016. This seems like quite a significant figure, however, when you compare it to the fact that 97% of under 25s used a smartphone, it’s clear to see how age affects behaviour.

In the US, 32% of those over 65 and 20% of those over 80 said that they owned a tablet computer and 19% said that they owned an e-reader.

It’s important that older people reach out for help and direction in using a new device, should they need it. Around three-quarters of Americans over 65 said that the statement, ‘When I get a new electronic device, I usually need someone else to set it up or show me how to use it,’ describes them very, or somewhat well. Also, only 26% of older internet users said that they felt very confident.

Although some may think that older people don’t understand technological advancements and are not willing to learn how to use them, findings have proven different. In fact, 58% of adults aged 65 and over said that technology has had a mostly positive impact on society. Of course, it can depend on annual income and disposable income as to whether an elderly person owns a smart device — 81% of older Americans who earned over $75,000 said that they owned a smartphone while only 27% of those who earned less than $30,000 owned one.

Banking

Much of the younger generation has welcomed technological advancements to help them with banking and quick payments in restaurants and stores. With one simple tap of the debit card, something can be paid for instantaneously.

In the UK, Barclaycard said that 20% of contactless users are 65 and over — suggesting that they are welcoming the new system. More people are jumping on board too, 55% of over 65s have used the tap to pay service, up 3% from 2016. Saga supported this research too, saying that one in five over 50s use their contactless cards up to three times per week.

Staying connected

For many of the younger generation, the internet is the main way that they stay ‘connected’ with the rest of the world. Through Twitter and Facebook, people can read instantaneous news from their local area and worldwide. And, with downloadable apps, smartphone users can receive notifications of the latest headlines. Is the older generation accessing news in the same way?

In the UK, 21% of over 50s said that they get their news daily from social networks. This could mean logging onto Facebook to see what the latest status’ are or checking what’s trending on Twitter. In the US, this number rose to 26% with 70% of older Facebook users saying that they log in to the site daily. In fact, there has been a reported change in the demographics of Facebook users — with the number of 12-17-year-olds who use the site declining by 9.9% in 2017.

How do these figures compare to elderly people across Europe? In Germany, only 9% of those over 50 said that they get their daily news from social networks and 34% said that they get their daily news from the internet. In France and Italy, 13% of the mature generation stated that they went to social media sites for their news.

In Canada, these figures were relatively high — with 25% of over 50s heading over to social networking sites to find out the latest headlines.

So, as we can see, the technological habits of the mature generation changes from country-to-country. Eventually, it’s likely that the majority of the older population will understand the benefits of technology and come to accept it as a way of life. In the meantime, younger people should be educating their elders on how to use the devices and how it could enhance their daily activities.

Sources

https://www.statista.com/statistics/266587/percentage-of-internet-users-by-age-groups-in-the-us/

http://www.pewglobal.org/2018/01/11/detailed-tables-global-media-habits/

https://www.ons.gov.uk/businessindustryandtrade/itandinternetindustry/bulletins/internetusers/2017

https://www.statista.com/statistics/425292/mobile-internet-usage-by-age-germany/

https://www.statista.com/statistics/410850/france-internet-usage-penetration-by-age/

https://www.statista.com/statistics/568707/share-of-the-population-that-never-used-the-internet-in-belgium-by-age/

https://www.statista.com/statistics/373955/canada-online-penetration-age/

https://www.statista.com/statistics/732535/united-kingdom-smartphone-users-by-age/

https://www.recode.net/2018/2/12/16998750/facebooks-teen-users-decline-instagram-snap-emarketer

https://isl.co/2017/02/2017-facebook-demographic-report-adults-on-the-rise-the-teen-question/

https://www.visa.co.uk/newsroom/the-contactless-revolution-ten-years-on-two-thirds-of-brits-now-tap-to-pay-2130476

http://www.pewinternet.org/2017/05/17/tech-adoption-climbs-among-older-adults/

http://www.pewinternet.org/2017/05/17/technology-use-among-seniors/

http://www.pewinternet.org/2017/05/17/barriers-to-adoption-and-attitudes-towards-technology/

http://www.pewglobal.org/2018/01/11/detailed-tables-global-media-habits/

https://www.statista.com/statistics/421839/netflix-internet-user-age-usa/

https://www.statista.com/statistics/698020/netflix-subscription-by-age/

Business

3 Reasons Every Entrepreneur Should Consider Getting a Degree

August 29, 2018

The saying goes that knowledge is power and in this information age, it couldn’t ring truer. As a result of the internet boom, people all over the world can access information on various devices. However, this doesn’t mean that traditional forms of education such as getting a degree aren’t still valued. This could be because of the technical and fundamental knowledge that you can learn as a result. If you happen to be working or aspiring to work in the world of business, you may have been contemplating whether or not you should get your first or second degree. The good news is that this article is going to give you three reasons why you should pursue a degree as an entrepreneur.

To Gain Structured Knowledge

No matter what entrepreneurial venture you decide to pursue, you’re going to need increasing amounts of information and knowledge. For this reason, you should consider getting a degree to learn in a structured environment as well as learn the fundamentals. There are several degrees that you could earn that have the potential of increasing your knowledge base such as the many business-related degrees at Assumption College. Some of them include business admin, digital marketing, human resources, project management, and marketing. For the most part, getting a degree can be a good investment considering the invaluable knowledge you can use to grow your business in return.

To Get Access to High-Paying Jobs

Another reason every entrepreneur should consider getting a degree is to get access to high-paying jobs. You may be wondering what the relevance of this point is seeing as this article is targeted at entrepreneurs. However, there are different routes to starting a business and every entrepreneur’s journey is different. While some people jump into the deep end and start a business with nothing, others choose the option of saving first. The chances of getting a high-paid job is more likely when you have a degree, and it also gives you the flexibility to save before starting your business. In addition, every business goes through its highs and lows and the reality is that most don’t last. In case you ever have a change of heart, you want to have something you can fall back on, even if it’s just until you get back on your feet.

Interact with Professionals

In addition to the mentioned, another reason to consider getting a degree is that you get to interact with professionals and potentially expand your network. You never know the type of people that you could meet in your class or on campus and how they could contribute to your success. Some networking tips that could lead you to meet valuable people while studying include putting yourself in the right situation as well as focusing on building genuine relationships. By doing these things, you should find that you’re able to connect with people that have key knowledge and resources that you need.

Knowledge is a necessity to excel in just about anything. It helps equip you with the information you need to get through challenges, expand and grow. However, in addition to knowledge, you also need key skills if you want to survive in the business world. Hopefully, this article inspired you to consider a degree to help improve your entrepreneurial ventures.

Lifestyle

What are some of the weirdest fitness trends?

August 29, 2018

Every so often, a new fitness craze sweeps gyms and exercise classes across the world as people look for more exciting ways to get fit. But, what are some of the strangest fitness fads that we’ve seen over the past decade?

Jogging without shoes

The fitness trend of jogging barefoot, or in running ‘socks’ came along in 2010.

Partakers in the trend expressed that running in trainers or running shoes can make you more prone to injury as it encourages running with unnatural form. It’s also said that running barefoot strengthens the tiny muscles found in feet, ankles and legs which can also reduce the risk of injury.

Some people still enjoy running in this way, but it’s not as popular as it used to be. Experts have said that switching to barefoot running without properly transitioning makes you prone to injuries. Only try this one if you’re willing to practise walking barefoot before running.  

Eco-friendly jogging

As people become more eco-conscious, we should have known it wouldn’t be long before people combined their love of the environment with exercising. And then, plogging arrived at the start of 2018. It’s a Scandinavian based trend that encourages people to pick up litter while out running — improving health and the environment.

The actual term ‘ plogging’ is derived from the word jogging and the Swedish phrase ‘plocka upp’ which means pick up. The exercise part comes from running with intermittent squatting and lunging so you can pick up rubbish from the ground. It is an effective calorie burner too — fitness app Lifesum estimates that a typical user will burn 288 calories from 30 minutes of plogging.

Ploggers are showing off on social media too. Many are posting images of them in running gear with plastic bags ready to fill with litter. Could we see this trend become widespread sometime soon?

Working out in high-heels

It may sound strange, but over the past decade, studies have discovered that there are some benefits of working out in high heels. Research has suggested that even walking in high-heels (below three inches) can shape the calves and improve muscle tone and shape.

Doing exercises such as lunging, squatting and lifting small weights while wearing high heels can improve balance. It hasn’t been fully determined whether wearing high-heels for a workout can result in weight loss, but it can help you learn how to walk better in them.

Hot barre

Have you noticed that many of the weird and wonderful fitness classes begin in New York and Los Angeles? And hot barre was no different.

Hot barre involves doing classical ballet moves in a room heated to 40 degrees and it took off around 2015. Advocates of the fad say that hot barre encourages you to gain a deeper stretch while helping you release toxins and feel detoxed. Then, as the body has to work hard to cool itself down, you can expect your metabolism to boost and number of burnt calories to increase. In addition to gels that offer pain relief, some people turn to exercises such as yoga to relieve musculoskeletal discomfort too.

You might’ve seen some similar classes pop up today such as ‘hot yoga’ where classic mindfulness movements are performed in a heated pod — a guaranteed sweat stimulator.

From plogging to barefoot jogging, could you predict what the next weird fitness fad will be?

Sources

https://mashable.com/2018/02/13/plogging-fitness-trend/?europe=true#RFlZ5e3n0mq6

http://www.mandatory.com/living/1059872-twerking-fitness-classes-now-exist

https://footwearnews.com/2017/fashion/womens/high-heel-workouts-lose-weight-449703/

 

Technology

3 Tips on Pursuing a Career in IT

August 29, 2018

If you enjoy technology, are always fiddling with software, and find yourself fascinated by computer systems, then you may be thinking about pursuing a fruitful career in IT. There are several roles that you could decide to take up depending on the area you want to specialize in and the sector that you hope to contribute your skills to. If you’re at the incipient stages of pursuing your career, it’s possible that you’re looking for some basic tips as well as useful advice before getting started. If that’s the case, you should continue reading as you’ll find three practical tips for pursuing a career in information technology below.

Get the Right Education  

When pursuing a career in IT, one of the first things that you’ll typically need to do is get the right education. Although in this blog and YouTube age many people are teaching themselves some of the basics, you should still aspire to learn the fundamentals of IT such as problem-solving and trouble-shooting for computer-based systems, project management and foundations of database management through formal education. This is also important as some jobs will require that you have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree before you stand a chance of being employed. If you’re working full-time and don’t think you have the time to attend classes physically, consider getting an information technology degree online as an alternative. This added flexibility can make improving your IT skills much more attainable.

Get Experience

In addition to the mentioned, another tip in pursuing a career in IT is getting the right experience. This is essential as theory is different from practice, especially in the world of information technology. There are many routes you can take to get experience in IT which include interning at an IT firm, shadowing a professional, or working in the IT department of an organization. You can also try practicing on your own by thinking of and completing IT related projects. For the most part, experience should help you develop key IT skills such as coding, communication, networks, analytics, big data, and cloud application.

Stay Up to Date

Aside from getting a degree as mentioned above, you still have to ensure you stay up-to-date on the latest trends in IT as they’re always rapidly changing. You should, therefore, surround yourself with vast amounts of information and resources which could mean signing up for newsletters, buying the right books, reading articles on reliable news sites and attending industry events. Some tips on keeping up to date with technology include using curated information from social media, using news aggregation sites, as well as smart personalization algorithms.

Pursuing a career in IT in this day and age can prove to be a promising move. The demand for IT professionals seems to be steadily increasing, so it’s likely that you’ll have numerous career prospects depending on the niche you choose. However, there are different routes to get to your desired destination, but some of the fundamentals have been mentioned above. Hopefully, you can apply a few of them in your journey to becoming an IT professional.