Livingston Reporting - page 268

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The Ins and Outs of Finding Good Computer Help

Finding good help of any kind these days is difficult. Let alone when dealing with something like a computer. Computer help is hard to find because of the whole computer language. Another thing that gets me is the technicians always seem to assume that I have a clue about what they are talking about. Which I don’t nor do I pretend to. Then I ask a question that seems to change everything. Now they seem lost too. So how do we find computer help these days? Is it possible to find a computer repair shop that can speak computer in plain English? The following tips are helpful when looking into finding a qualified computer service team.

The first think is to ask the people in your network who they have used in the past and their thoughts on them and about using their services again. You will also want to inquire on the work that was done, what steps were taken to repair the problem, the shop name and technician that they used.

If your network proves to be fruitless then look into search engines, newspapers and phone books. Call around to different computer help stores and speak with the staff. Check out prices, turnaround time and ask questions related to your computer. This should give you a good idea on how they will handle your issues when you are in the shop. If you have a gut feeling that makes you squirm then it is not where you should take your computer. You need to feel confident in your computer repair choice. It is also important that you understand what they are telling you. If you went to the doctor and he fixed you without telling you what was wrong you would feel a bit violated. The same is true when it comes to computer repair. If a computer shop is helpful and polite than they are most likely going to service your needs appropriately.

Make sure that you gather as much information as possible before you seek computer help. This is helpful in giving the technician a point to reference. Write down any issues that you are currently experiencing. It is important to let the tech know what errors are coming up and if you have been experiencing difficulty in opening files or programs. This is helpful for the technician as he uses this information to diagnosis your computer.

It is important that you understand what was wrong and how it was fixed. Make sure that before you pay for any repairs that the work has been completed to your liking. Make sure that you get what you are paying for but remember no service is for free. Computer help is just like any other help that we seek out. The biggest difference between say appliance repair and computer repair is that we take our computers in to be serviced. Like appliance repair we expect that our computers are performing as they were before the initial issue.

Tips on Living in a Vermin Free Environment

What type of pictures come to your head when I mention the word VERMIN? Do you cringe? Most people don’t have images of cute, cuddly household pets. We think of bugs, squirrels, raccoons, beetles, maggots and other small creatures that cause ruckus and delay to normal life. Vermin removal takes time you don’t have. Vermin don’t always go away nice and easy. Most of the time it takes major dedication to completely rid yourself of pests. Vermin navigate by smell and nothing smells better than your trash. Your trash is like a mega phone broadcasting a signal to your home.

There needs to be a plan for managing your outside trash to make sure that vermin stay at bay. Once you have attracted these mega pests removing them is a difficult process. Vermin attract stray animals to your home. In turn the chaos that they attract will bring dirt and disease to your home environment. It is much less work on a homeowner’s part to manage their waste than to go through the processes of vermin removal. Managing the waste in your outside trash cans will eliminate the attraction of vermin to your home. This will decrease the possibilities of an infestation of vermin inside your home.

How can you minimize the attraction your garbage has to vermin? It is much easier than most would believe. First you will want to make sure that you have created a situation where it is virtually impossible for pest to get into your garbage cans. Many people who live where trash management companies are abundant have bins to hold their trash. Bins are a wonderful distraction for vermin but unless they are properly latched and sealed the critters can intrude. You will want to place latches on the trash that are sufficient in locking critters away. If you are out in the country where trash management companies are less abundant you will need to store your garbage properly until you can take it to the recycling facility. Many folks use bins made out of wood materials and chicken coop wire. A lock is place on the top portion of the bin to secure the waste inside of the enclosure. The chicken coop wire is used to provide proper ventilation so that the scent does not start to attract the vermin.

Another tip in minimizing the attractiveness of your trash is to bleach out all of the containers that hold trash. Keeping the containers clean and free of trash juice will make sure that vermin such as maggots don’t start to make a residence in your trash receptacles. Even the slightest crack or hole in your trash can enables the smallest of vermin to enter. The use of trash can liners can also help decrease infestations. Another tip if you find yourself with a crawling vermin infestation is to keep your trash cans in trays lined with water. Vermin cannot swim and will drown getting to the intended promise land.

Whatever you do to keep vermin at bay will help in the long run. Vermin removal is a long a tedious process so anything that you can do to maintain an environment that does not promote vermin will be beneficial. Another key is to help spread the word and promote cleanliness within the neighborhood. If everyone is taking an active role in preventing vermin than the neighborhood should stay vermin free.

How to Handle an Unwanted Mouse

Here is a riddle: It is inevitable. Every home owner will experience it at least once if not more. It is a nuisance. It leaves a trail. Sometimes it steals your food. It visits at night when you are least expecting it. What is it?

If you guessed mice you are correct! Mice are a problem because they destroy your home, carry infectious disease and are hard to rid of yourself. We would all like to believe that we can prevent mice from visiting our home. The truth is that no matter how sanitized your home is, no matter how many entrances and exits are blocked and no matter how much care is taken to prevent an attack it will happen. Whether children accidently drop cookie crumbs or a dish is forgotten in the sink mice will smell food and come running. Being prepared and not scared is the best option you have to rid your home of the mouse. Then you can start to plan against an infestation.

There are really three main ways to get rid of a mouse. Your humane options are limited but it can be done. The key with these methods are to release the mouse far away from his current environment. If death is the message that you would like to send to this mouse there are two different options snap/clap/sticky traps or poison. The disadvantages range from visually seeing a mouse suffer on a sticky trap, headless on a clap trap or decaying in your walls after having ingested poison. I know it is all a little graphic and overwhelming but these are the facts you need to face before one mouse turns into twenty.

There are advantages and disadvantages to all methods of mouse removal. Let’s begin by exploring the poison method. The major advantage is that you can cover a great deal of ground with it eventually you will hit the exact location of your mouse. This will bring the desired consequence and the mouse will no longer exist. The major disadvantages start with the fact that you are using a poison that could ultimately be ingested by something other than the intended recipient. A pet or child digesting poison could cause major medical issues. Another major disadvantage is the mouse will still live once he has taken in the poison leaving him to go back to his home and die. The bad part is that his home could be your cupboard. A rotting mouse is not a pleasant smell so I don’t think that is much of a solution to a household mouse.

The next method of mouse removal is traps. There are two major traps; sticky ones and snap traps. Snap traps cause immediate death. They work by placing bait on the end of the trap and the mouse steps onto the trap releasing a clasp that basically snaps the mouse’s neck. The advantage of this method is that the mouse does not suffer and his death is immediate. One disadvantage is that mice are sneaky and can steal the bait without getting trapped. You might find yourself in a cat and mouse type battle. Sticky traps work in a similar fashion. The good thing about sticky traps is that there is no way a mouse will steal the bait. The minute the mouse steps onto the trap they are stuck. That is a major advantage to sticky traps. The disadvantage is that you are left removing a mouse that is suffering and still alive from your home. If you want to lessen the cruelty you are left to kill the mouse yourself. Removal is not an option. If you try to remove a mouse from the sticky trap you will see that all you are doing is tearing the apart.

The humane method is of course the one I would advocate for. There are two major disadvantages to this method. It takes planning and effort on your part. Also you will need to release the vermin in an environment that is far enough away that they don’t remember the path into your home again. The advantage is that you using a non-lethal method of mouse removal. Mice are basically a pest. They are pretty harmless to most households and can be dealt with fairly easily without causing harm to you or the mouse. A catch and release method involves minimal clean up and you won’t be scarred by the mouse’s death.

Whatever method of mouse removal you choose in your home the key involved is to be prepared. Mice can strike at any time, during any season. As mentioned above keeping a clean home will eliminate the draw a mouse has on your home. However even the best laid plans can fall apart. All it takes is one crumb or dirty dish and a mouse can scamper into your life.

Preventing the Spread of Bedbugs

Bedbugs are creepy little critters that invade and spread in the correct environment. They are persistent and hard to get rid of. Bedbugs are able to hide in the smallest cracks and crevices where they breed and are not easily found. These critters are nocturnal and only come out when most people are asleep. This makes getting rid of bed bugs very difficult. Another thing that makes them so difficult to get rid of is that they can live for long periods of time without food and can survive traveling long distances. They reproduce quickly laying approximately 300 eggs that hatch every 10 days. These reasons make it difficult to keep bedbugs at bay. Prevention is the key element in keeping your home free of bed bugs.

To keep your home free of bedbugs you will want to avoid bringing them into your home in the first place. Many people believe that travel within the United States and abroad is making the resurgence of bedbugs possible. When people travel from one place to another they can unknowingly carry these tiny creatures with them. Bedbugs thrive in tight dark spaces. Luggage makes a perfect home for traveling bedbugs. In order to keep your luggage free of bedbugs follow these tips.

1) When traveling keep luggage zipped and elevated on a luggage rack at all times. Many people believe it is best to keep luggage in the bathroom. This environment is not one that seems to draw bedbugs.
2) You may hang your clothes using caution. It is unadvisable though to make use of hotel dressers.
3) Make sure that when you arrive home that you instantly wash and dry your laundry. It is important that you leave your luggage in the garage until you have time to thoroughly inspect it for bedbugs.

In order to be extra cautious review the hotels you are looking at staying before booking a room. If a hotel has multiple reports of bedbugs it is best to book elsewhere. Once an infestation is reported it is difficult to ensure complete bedbug removal. You can improve your chances of not getting bedbugs by taking the following precautions.

1) When arriving at your hotel ask to inspect your room before settling in.
2) When inspecting a room look for telltale signs of bedbug infestations. You will look in the seams of the mattress and furniture for molted skin and light brown fecal matter.
3) Check in nightstands and headboards, cracks are perfect hiding spots for these nasty nuisances.
4) If you see any signs of bedbugs request a different room or for that matter find another place to rest your head.

Remember prevention is the only way you can truly keep your home bedbug free. Take the necessary steps to avoid an infestation because bedbug removal is a long a tedious process that is never a hundred percent effective.

Kid Toys: Deciding What to Keep Among the Chaos

My children have thousands of toys. Each Christmas, birthday or generic holiday in between grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends load them up with the latest toy fad. One year our son ended up with two dancing Boohbah toys. Who in the world needs two of these creatures? Each year right after Thanksgiving we sit down as a family and decide what we must keep, what we can throw out and what is still okay enough for donation. I will admit I have one child who would toss it all except her dry erase board. The other is so wrapped up in his toys he wants to keep even the tiniest of broken pieces. One thing that we can come to a final agreement on is that there is someone who wants toys that won’t have any this year and we have an abundance. The other thing we agree on is that the holiday and coming year will bring many new toys for them to enjoy.

The kid’s toys that we always choose to save are the ones that the gift giver has personalized. The kids love the toys that have been printed with their names or have been personalized to the sport they enjoy. The other toys that seem to find their way back into the toy box each year are the ones that are part of a special collection. Barbie was never important to my daughter. We always donated them. However my son still gets out every hot wheel car in his collection to play with at least once in awhile. Those toys have personal meaning. I can’t bear to give them away. The toys that are adorned with the children’s names end up finding their way to a high shelve to live out their lives.

I bet if you dig into your childhood memories you can think of that one toy that was so special to you. A toy so personal that you were devastated when you came home to find mom had “misplaced” it. I do that with broken toys. I misplace them into the trash can. Is there on toy from your childhood that you wish your parents would have had the foresight to keep? I feel like when my children are given a personalized kids toy that I am responsible to save it. I now wish I had the things from my childhood to share with my children. Personalized kid’s toys are glue that can help you relate to one another.

My kids don’t think I was ever a child. I really have very few things to prove that once I was full of imagination and love for toys. What better way to share memories with your children than with toys that are personal to your childhood? I will forever keep a box filled with these items for my grandchildren. I will keep those special collections and dry erase boards filled with pretend lesson plans to prove that their parents used to be cool, fun and filled with imagination.

Picking the Perfect Fence

Landscape fencing is one of the hardest outside details to pick for your home. It is as equally important to the style of your home as is the siding and landscaping. There are many factors in deciding about what landscape fencing is right for your home. Those factors may include the purpose of the fence, the maintenance of the fence and the character you want your yard to portray. There are dozens of pros and cons to landscape fencing and for this there is a diverse number of landscape fences to choose from.

You must decide what you end goal is with adding fencing to your yard. Pinpointing the need and wants of your family in regards to the fencings purpose will save you time and money in the long run.
1) Is the fence going to be put up to establish a boundary? Do you want to keep your kids in or others out? Do you want it up just so that there is distinct beginning and end to your yard?
2) Is the fencing going to be put up for safety? Do you need swimming pool fencing so that people are not allowed to enter the area without supervision?
3) Are you using the fence as a decorative piece? Will it be used for roses and vines in a garden?
4) Are you trying to create privacy for your backyard using fencing?
5) If you live close to a busy street are you using the fence to soften the sounds associated with it?
6) Do you want a fence that will keep live stock in place?
All of these are things you need to think about before investing in fencing. If you are trying to establish a boundary between your yard and the neighbors you don’t need to invest in top quality swimming pool fencing.

Fencing can come completely maintenance free or require tedious maintenance each year. It is up to you to decide what type of fencing maintenance you are willing to do. Now days fencing materials are easier than anything to maintain. However if you like the look of a wood fence but are afraid of the maintenance look for a look alike made out of a maintenance free material.

The character of your fence will vary greatly depending on your surroundings. If you live in an old country barn home the last thing you are lolling for is a modern glass railing with wrought iron accents. The same is true if you have home in the heart of the city with a home that has modern lines. You would never pair a coarse natural looking fence. Your fences character should suit the look of your home so that it looks flawless. You want the landscaping to appear as it as one with your home and the surrounding environment.

Picking out the perfect landscape fencing for your yard can be a little tricky. Many distributors now have equipment that allows you to view your home with the fence laid out. This is a great feature because it is easier to visually see if something looks like it belongs or if it is completely out of place.

Safety Tips for Your Next Backyard Gathering

It is so important to me when having a backyard gathering that my guests are safe. Most of our guests have little kids. I don’t want them to have to spend the entire time worrying about their children’s safety. Backyard parties should be full of fun and entertainment not concern and dread. There are many steps that we take as a family to prepare for a backyard gathering. This is one of the preparations we takes to ensure our guests are safe and having a great time.

We love to share a campfire with friends throughout the summer. One way that we keep our guests safe around the campfire is by proving a fire ring that is two layers deep. We have taken two metal rings, one slightly bigger than the other and filled it with concrete. This helps to eliminate to possibilities of small children burning their hands on the fire ring. This is also useful in keeping the fire under control. The ring is only able to hold a medium size fire.

The next area that we looked into protecting our guest is lighting. We knew we did not want huge flood lights that would wreck the outdoor ambience so we installed motion detectors. When guest are trying to find the way to the house or to their car the path is lit with motion lights that turn off the minute no motion is detected. This is convenient for our guests that are not necessarily familiar with our home and backyard.

With the water within spitting distance from our deck we have added removable aluminum pool fencing for occasions such as these. When small children are out and we are gathering on the deck for dinner we install the aluminum pool fencing so that the kids are not able to get off the deck. This was we can eat without worry that a little one has escaped. The nice thing about them being removable is that as soon as we are done on the deck and the party moves to the back the fences easily are relocated to their storage spot.

It is always a must to check out the play toys and equipment. Splinters are easily picked up on wooden play equipment so we always check for rough sections on the play area to sand down. We also are very good at removing swings and equipment that is not up to par. My family refreshes the cushion, wood chips, under the play set each year. This leave the ground nice a cushy incase one of the little ones takes a spill off the play set.

Making sure your guests are safe is an important part of playing the part of a good host. Make sure that before your next backyard gathering you take time to look for hidden obstacles that might cause issues for your guests. It is important that people feel comfortable while they are in your environment.