What is Digital Signage?

Digital signage refers to the use of modern display panels, digital content and Internet technology to deploy a network of rich-media signs to replace traditional print signs. Digital signage is a new generation screen-based media network created to deliver dynamic advertising and communications at various out-of-home locations. Today’s widely available broadband infrastructure and increasing affordability of display panels are spurring a fast adoption of this new generation digital media network. Digital signage can be deployed at almost any locations where people gather, shop, entertain, walk by and wait.


What is Gas Station TV

GSTV is an IP-based digital television network offering ABC programming; local news, sports, weather and traffic; original content; advertising and local market weather that reaches your customers at the pump while they're on-the-go.
  Read more...  

Skoda India Launches Super-Hatch Fabia

Read more.....

Baked potatoes in the half shell
Quick capsicum and potato
Palak aaloo
Potato Sandwich Recipe
Holiday Spiced Sweet Potatoes (Yams) Recipe


Canon India has announced the availability of its limited edition digital camera, named the IXUS 950 IS, in the Indian market, to celebrate its 10th anniversary.

Quick Fixes for Small Automotive Problems


Renovation & Repair Tips


How to plan for retirement? - 5 steps to beat the retirement blues

Rainwater harvesting in Kochi Refinery

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How Digital Signage Works?

A typical digital signage network is comprised of a centrally located management server and many networked display panels installed at various locations. A local media player, which is usually installed at or near the display panels, receives contents from the central management server and plays the contents locally for one or several display panels. For example, a large retail store chain can deploy a digital signage network for in-store advertising and customer communications. One or many displays and media players can be installed at each store. The management server can be hosted centrally. The marketing department can centrally deliver weekly or even daily sales and other messages to some or all of its stores in real-time or based on predefined schedules. Below is a digital signage network diagram with Dynasign technology.

Digital Signage Advantages

Whether you are looking for new ways to reach your customers or a better and more efficient media to communicate with your employees, a digital signage network is the ultimate solution to reach your audiences with dynamic up-to-date content and messages. Digital signage can maximize your message and maintain relationships with your customers. With digital signage, you can extend your messages to follow your audiences where they go.

Traditional media tools including billboards, print posters, standalone video displays have all been created to deliver messages at high traffic locations. However, those traditional displays take a long and costly cycle to produce, distribute and update. More importantly, in today’s global economy the static nature of those traditional displays greatly handicaps a business that has the needs to reach the audiences spreading around a large geographical region or even across continents with timely, up-to-date and localized contents. As our society and technology continue to evolve, digital signage is becoming a new generation digital media network in delivering dynamic and relevant content to target audiences in a way beyond the reach of those traditional media tools.


Digital Signage Applications


Digital signage can be deployed at almost any businesses or locations to provide an appealing visual environment, to promote products and services and to improve communications with customers or employees. Those businesses or locations may include retail store chains, shopping malls, banks, pharmacies, hair salons, hotels, restaurants, office buildings, doctor offices, libraries and many more.

Digital signage has also been used to establish a new generation out-of-home advertising network by installing displays at high traffic locations with unique demographics. This new generation advertising network not only offers advertisers a new channel to reach audiences with unique demographics at specific locations, but also picks up where TV, newspaper and online advertising leave off, as it is able to reach targeted audiences while they are away from home and office.


Why Digital Signage Works


Our advertisers and service organizations are always trying to reach consumers at the right time and place with helpful information. Whether it is called digital signage, narrowcasting, or in-store digital media channel (ISDM), it may well be marketers’ greatest tool since the dawn of the Internet. From boutiques to waiting rooms, marketers benefit from digital signage by controlling and adjusting their product information, advertising, entertainment and shopping experience at a time and place that people are most likely to make a purchase decision.

Point-of-decision marketing is the rising star of high-ROI advertising, and you can put it work with digital signage.


Even in its infancy, this powerful medium has already proven its worthiness as a marketing tool. Many businesses have attributed positive, quantifiable revenue gains to digital signage, including:

  • A doctor’s office improved the customer experience by reducing perceived wait time by 35 percent.
  • An auto parts franchise increased motor oil sales by 8 percent with digital signage.
  • An international fast food franchise increased sales by 13 percent with digital signage.
  • A national movie rental franchise credited digital signage with a 16 percent increase in rentals.
  • A retailer discovered digital signage can increase brand awareness and revenue by 30 percent during promotion period.

Digital signage is among the fastest growing businesses around the world in delivering advertisements, corporate communications and other messages. The increasing use of modern display panels in the out-of-home locations as well as the widely available broadband Internet infrastructure have provided unprecedented opportunities for businesses to deliver dynamic content to their audiences. A digital signage network is not an end product, but rather an ongoing process. Understanding what it takes to build and manage a digital signage network before jumping into it is critical to your success. As price for display panels continues to drop and the digital signage technology continues to improve and standardize, the explosion of this new generation media network is yet to come.


Gas Station TV

  Gas Station TV is an Effective Medium for Reaching People at the Pump

Airport and sports arena installations may be the poster children for digital signage, but they don't really represent the future of the burgeoning industry sector. After all, there are only so many cities with airports and major sports complexes large enough for major installations. A broader, lower-profile penetration is needed to reach a critical mass and signal to the potential client base that digital signage can pay off.
And what could be more broadly based than digital signage at gas stations? Standing at the gas pump and watching the numbers race is not fun. So an enterprising company called Gas Station TV wants to give gas customers something else to do—watch television with advertising—naturally.

What is GSTV?

GSTV is an IP-based digital television network offering ABC programming; local news, sports, weather and traffic; original content; advertising and local market weather that reaches your customers at the pump while they're on-the-go.

GSTV also carries Amber Alerts and select PSAs as part of its programming.
Indeed, the gas stations themselves have little to lose, other than the closet space needed to house a local computer and Scala player. That's because, somewhat surprisingly, GSTV doesn't charge the gas stations for the equipment. Working with local contractors, GSTV installs the equipment and maintains ownership of the physical LCD displays at the pumps, the networked computer driving the displays, and the Avocent wireless extenders that deliver content to the displays without the need for awkward — and potentially hazardous — cables around the pumps.
GSTV is building a national digital media network with compelling programming and unique advertising opportunities for the marketplace, and an unrivaled gas retailer consumer entertainment experience. Content programmed for a highly desirable, captive audience on the network can be specifically tailored to geography and time of day. GSTV has secured pre-eminent partnerships with ABC, the number one television network; Murphy Oil USA, Inc., the premier "big box" gas retailer in the nation, with approximately 1,000 stations at Wal-Mart stores; Gilbarco, the world's largest manufacturer of gas retailer equipment and technology; and Delphi Display Systems, the market leader in outdoor digital video display systems. With full motion video and audio, GSTV is a proven tool for enhancing the customer experience and increasing the revenue stream for participating gas retailers.

No doubt, the aggressive policy of installing equipment at no charge is geared toward gaining a large number of screens — and eyeballs — in a relatively short period of time. More eyeballs attract more potential advertisers, which has already allowed GSTV to demand ad rates that are comparable to many typical cable TV stations.
Yet, GSTV — indeed digital signage — may already have a huge advantage over traditional television and television advertising because of its inherent nature of targeting viewers that already have specific characteristics. It's no secret that in the age of TiVo and other digital video recorders, fewer viewers than ever are actually watching the expensive ads that play on broadcast television. TV advertising is a broken — or at least breaking — model for reaching customers, and major corporate marketing departments around the country are trying to find more effective ways to reach their target demographic.
Gas Station TV is offering those advertisers four to five minutes of virtually uninterrupted eye time from people that are mostly between the ages of 18 to 54, own a car, need to travel, are already spending money, and typically are returning customers. It's the kind of focused demographic that TV stations used to offer regularly before TiVo.
It's also the kind of demographic that ought to ignite the digital signage market, or at least open the eyes of visionary installers looking to expand their digital signage businesses. We typically think of digital signage in terms of the cost of installing equipment and the challenge of producing continually changing content to fill the screens. Those digital signage poster children have it easy because their job is simply to disseminate information more efficiently than before.
But maybe those high-profile airport and arena installations are underselling themselves and, by extension, the digital signage sector. Information dissemination is critical at places such as airports, but digital signage may have a lot more to offer in terms of revenue models. Maybe it's not so much about the costs of installation, but the opportunity to communicate to a targeted audience.
By its nature, whether digital signage is at a terminal, shopping mall, restaurant, business lobby, college campus, or gas station, whoever put it there probably has a pretty good idea of who is likely to view its content. And while nobody really wants to be inundated by more advertising at every turn, that is the reality of the culture in which we live. If it has to happen, at least it ought to be to the benefit of our industry.

  Please visit http://www.gstv.com/ for more information.

Update: Skoda has launched Fabia now. The car is available in 5-8 lakh price range. Two engines (1.4L MPI petrol, 1.4L PD TDI diesel) are offered in a total of four trim levels i.e. Active, Classic, Ambiente and Elegance. Dealers are provided the prices of three diesel (Classic, Ambiente and Elegance) and one petrol version (Elegance) only.

Available Versions


Skoda Fabia Ambiente 1.4 MPI
1390 cc, Petrol, Manual transmission, 5 seater

Skoda Fabia Classic 1.4 MPI
1390 cc, Petrol, Manual transmission, 5 seater

Skoda Fabia Classic 1.4 PD TDI
1422 cc, Diesel, Manual transmission, 5 seater

Skoda Fabia Elegance 1.4 MPI
1390 cc, Petrol, Manual transmission, 5 seater

Skoda Fabia Ambiente 1.4 PD TDI
1422 cc, Diesel, Manual transmission, 5 seater

Skoda Fabia Elegance 1.4 PD TDI
1422 cc, Diesel, Manual transmission, 5 seater


For more details on the version click on the link below :  


Source: http://www.carwale.com/blog/upcoming-cars/44-skoda-fabia-in-second-half-of-the-year/

The United Nations officially launches “International Year of the Potato 2008”. The International Year of Potato aims at raising the profile of this globally important food crop and commodity, giving emphasis to its biological and nutritional attributes, and thus promoting its production, processing, consumption, marketing and trade.
Baked potatoes in the half shell
A simple and elegant recipe for baked potatoes.
Method :
  • Bake six cleaned and scored medium size potatoes until softened clear through (test with a fork).
  • Remove from the oven and cut a wedge out of each potato, then put the inside meat of the potatoes into a bowl.
  • Mash with a fork, adding two tablespoons butter, salt and pepper to taste, and three tablespoons milk (not cold).
  • When this combination is well mixed, add the beaten whites of two eggs, and then refill the potato skins and sprinkle with grated cheese.
  • Bake the filled shells 5 to 8 minutes more in a hot oven.
Source : http://bissectrisa.wordpress.com/2008/01/15/interesting-potato-facts-and-a-few-potato-recipes/

Quick capsicum and potato



  • 1 Medium sized potato
  • 1 Big capsicum
  • 1 Small tomato, 1 table spoon oil
  • 1 Teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 Teaspoon red chilly powder
  • 1 Pinch cumin seeds
  • Salt to taste






Method :


  • Cut the potato into cubes and the capsicum into small pieces.
  • Take a frying pan and pour one table spoon oil.
  • Add the cumin seeds once the oil is well heated.
  • Fry till they are golden brown, and then add the potato cubes and capsicum pieces. Add the turmeric, red chilly powder and salt.
  • Stir well and cover with a lid.
  • Cook on low flame stirring now and then.
  • After five minutes beat the tomato in the mixer and add it. Cook till the oil starts coming out by itself.
  • Turn off the flame.
  • Garnish with coriander leaves and serve.

Source : http://www.bestindiancuisines.com/quick-potato-recipe.shtml

Palak Aaloo

Ingredients :
  • 2 Bunches Of Palak (Spinach)
  • 1 Medium Sized Potato
  • 2 Green Chillies
  • 3 Garlic Flakes
  • 2 Table Spoons Oil
  • 1 Pinch Cumin Seeds
  • 1 Pinch Turmeric
  • 1 Teaspoon Chaat Masala
  • Salt To Taste







Method :


  •  Assort the spinach and remove the stems.
  • Ensure that only the leafy part is left. Boil the spinach, garlic and potato in a cooker. Let it cool.
  • Once it is cool peel the potato and cut it into cubes.
  •  Drain all the water from the spinach and blend it in the mixie with the green chillies and garlic.
  • Take a frying pan and pour the oil. Bring to heat and then add the cumin seeds. Cook till it turns golden brown.
  • Then add the potato cubes and turmeric.
  • Stir it well then add the spinach paste.
  • Stir well and add salt to your taste. Cook for a minute.
  • Garnish with flakes of butter and serve.
Source : http://www.bestindiancuisines.com/quick-potato-recipe.html

Potato Sandwich Recipe


Ingredients : 

  • Bread  Fresh - 1 Loaf
  • Potatoes - 2 Nos  Chopped finely.
  • Oil -  2 Tsp.
  • Onions -  1 No Chopped finely.
  • Salt & Chilli Powder -  To Taste.
  • Cumin Powder - 1 Tsp.
  • Cilantro leaves - For Garnishing.
  • Cheese Singles -1 Per Sandwich(optional)
  • Margarine - As Spread



Method :
  • Heat oil in a pan, Add in the Onions & fry.
  • Reduce the flame & add in Potatoes , salt.
  • Cover to cook for few minutes.
  • Keep stirring in between to prevent from sticking.
  • Sprinkle water if too dry.
  • Add the Spices, garnish with cilantro leaves &
  • let it cool.
  • Take a slice and spread with margarine.
  • In another slice , scoop in potato mixture.
  • Press with cheese single and press the two slices together.
Source : http://www.indianchild.com/Recipes/sandwiches_recipe/potato_sandwich_recipe.htm
Holiday Spiced Sweet Potatoes (Yams) Recipe
Ingredients : 
  • 3 Pounds (about 6 medium sized) red-skinned sweet potatoes (yams)
  • 1/2 Cup (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 1/4 Cup (1/2 stick) butter, room temperature
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 Teaspoons grated orange peel
  • 3/4 Teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 Teaspoon ground allspice
  • 3/4 Teaspoon ground nutmeg



Method :
  • Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 400°F. Pierce sweet potatoes in several places with fork; place on rimmed baking sheet. Bake until tender when pierced with fork, about 55 minutes. Cool slightly.
  • Cut the sweet potatoes in half. Scoop out pulp into large bowl; discard peel. Add brown sugar, butter, lemon juice, grated orange peel, ground cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg to sweet potato pulp. Using an electric mixer, beat until mixture is smooth; season with salt and pepper.

Canon IXUS 950 IS Digital Camera Limited Edition Released in India

Developed in a curved and streamlined design, the Canon IXUS 950 IS digital camera includes 8.0 megapixel CCD in a 4x telephoto, a Fantasy Night Mode to add an extra touch to photos clicked in the night and a stronger anti-blurring effect.

“Canon has always enjoyed and loved celebrating memorable occasions such as anniversaries, festivals and special moments with its customers. This New Year and on the occasion of completing our 10 th year, we are launching the limited edition of an aspirational IXUS 950 IS. We are confident that this initiative will help us to reach closer to our customers and encourage them to capture their everlasting memories,” stated Alok Bharadwaj, Vice President, Canon India.

In addition, Canon offers vouchers for spas, special dinners and a stay at a five star resort along with other list of gifts such as a free 2GB card, a leather case and a sling strap.

Parveen Sahni, Assistant Director, Imaging Communication Product, Canon India, mentioned, “This camera is targeted at premium seekers who want to own a stylish and slim digital camera with the latest technology and be seen using the most stylish cameras so as to stay on top of the fashion / technology trend. We are the first ones in the industry to launch such an innovative product for a limited edition. This is a perfect camera for the users who want to carry a compact and stylish camera around with all the advanced functions.”
Moreover, it also carries a special letter from Canon’s brand ambassador and India’s top cricketer Sachin Tendulkar together with a congratulatory note from the Chief Executive of Canon India.
Canon’s IXUS 950 IS digital camera is available in pearl silver color for a price of Rs. 20,995.


Click Here to know more: http://www.canon.co.in/default.asp
Source: http://www.techgadgets.in/digital-cameras/2008/09/canon-ixus-950-is-digital-camera-limited-edition-released-in-india/


Quick Fixes for Small Automotive Problems

Car repairs are costly. Parts and hourly labour can drive a small car repair right through the roof. Use this handy guide to make small repairs to your car or truck, and pick up a few tips and tricks that will make car maintenance and driving life a little easier.
Sticky Locks
For a lock that sticks, you might immediately think lubrication, but it is actually best not to spray oil inside a sticky lock. Oily lubricants only collect more gunk that gums up the locks even more. To free locks, ground up bits of powdery graphite (pencil lead) is what you need. Graphite powder is sold commercially in aerosol cans, but if you don’t have a can on hand, try this quick home fix: colour the end of your key with a soft lead pencil, then insert it and turn the lock a couple of times to free it up.
Body Rust
If a patch of rust on your vehicle is small and only on the surface, you can save yourself a costly trip to the body shop with this tid-bit of handy automotive information. Rub away small rust patches by dipping a piece of steel wool in kerosene and buffing out the spot. Balling up aluminium foil and dipping it in water is another reported method for rubbing rust away.
Here’s something to try before you pay the body shop big bucks for a fast fix on a dented car or truck body. Get the toilet plunger (clean if necessary) and place it over the dent. Pump the plunger to create suction, and pull. The dent should pop out when you pull away the plunger. For a large dented area, you might try to pop most (or all) of the dent out by carefully banging on the dent from the back of the panel using a rubber mallet.
Sticker removal
Old parking stickers or permits clouding your view? Try these tips for getting off stickers and the residue they leave behind.
Rub stickers and left over glue with nail-polish remover or lighter fluid and scrape away with a flat razor blade.
Rub salad or cooking oil onto the sticker and let it penetrate the old decal. Scrape with a razor or similar flat edge. Flat nylon pan scrapers are harmless scraping tools, too.
For a gentle scrubber to loosen remaining glue goo, ball up a plastic net bag (the kind onions come in). Scrub the goo with soap and water or one of the products mentioned above.
Tar and Bugs
Two of the most plaguing nemeses on the road: tar and insects. Follow these tips for removal.
Soak caked on tar in linseed oil. Leave the oil to soak until the hardened tar softens, then rub it away with a cloth.
The plastic net onion bag you used to scrub away the sticker glue makes a great scrubber for removing dead bugs, too. Use it to rub insect carcasses from the windshield.
Here’s a bonus: sap drips from trees can be rubbed away with a little turpentine on a cloth. It is supposed to be safe for your paint if you wash the turpentine thoroughly immediately afterwards, but turpentine is a paint thinner, so it is probably best to save this tip for windshields and windows only. Still be sure to thoroughly wash the turpentine from your windows, to be safe.
Extra Shine
Want a super-gleaming shine on your car? After you wax it, sprinkle a little cornstarch onto a buffing cloth and buff. Cornstarch is known to remove built-up polish and will give your car an extra shiny coat.
Foggy Windows
If you hate looking at your smeared handprint left from when you weren’t patient enough to wait for the defroster to clear the windshield, keep a chalkboard eraser in the glove compartment and use it to wipe the windshield down. Better yet, prevent fogging by coating your window with shaving cream. Apply the cream to a damp sponge and buff the window clear with paper towels. Repeat whenever the windows begin to collect fog again, or after washing your windows with window cleaner.
Air Fresheners
Keep your car smelling great by filling the ashtray with potpourri. Potpourri has a stronger scent and lasts longer than cardboard air fresheners.
Another option- tuck fabric softener sheets into seat and door pockets.
Ash Trays
Are you a non-smoker and you want to discourage others from smoking in your car? Fill a clean ash tray with pieces of hard candy or gum. Your guests won’t be able to put their cigarettes out in it, and the candy might just give them an alternative oral fixation to focus on for a little while. By the way, gum is also recommended as an on-hand emergency quick fix for patching up small leaks, like covering up a hole in a leaky fuel tank until your can get to a repair shop.

If you do smoke or allow others to smoke in your vehicle, make sure the butts go out and aren’t left to smoulder in the ashtray by pouring baking soda in bottom of the ashtray. The baking soda will smother the burning cigarette and help absorb the odours, too.
Corroded Terminals
Corroded battery terminals that are losing their connectivity can be cleaned with a solution of baking soda and water. Prevent corrosion by covering the terminals with petroleum jelly, but make sure the connection points are clean and secure.
Spark Plug Cleaner
Dirty spark plugs that aren’t firing correctly are fairly easily cleaned with commercial oven cleaner. Soak the spark plug tips in the oven cleaner for two hours. Scrape away hard to remove or left over grime with an emery board (fingernail file) or sand paper.
Leaky Radiator
Until you can get it fixed, try dumping a little black pepper into the radiator to seal a small leak. The pepper travels and collects to stop up the hole.
Is your car or truck impossible to find in a crowd? Try topping the antenna with a bright coloured ribbon, a hollow rubber ball, or one of those funny antenna ornaments. Focus on looking for your decoration rather than just your vehicle in a crowded lot.
Don’t sweat it in the summer time, try this tip to keep your seats cool in the sun. Put an open umbrella upside down on the seat to avoid burning yourself when you get in.
These are some fast and fun tips and tricks to keep your car or truck running, clean it up nicely and save yourself some hassle. Think about them the next time you have a tough to clean car project or if you need a fast, cheap fix.

Source :http://www.doityourself.com/stry/handycartips


Renovation & Repair Tips


A matched speaker ensemble offers far more cohesive sound than odd speakers cobbled together.

Alleviate paint smells from a newly decorated room by leaving an onion cut in half in the room.

Avoid paint splatter on window panes by coating pane with undiluted liquid detergent and allowing to dry for a day before painting. If splatters do occur  they will wipe off easily.

Check you have all required permits - before you start any big renovation project ensure you check with your council and obtain any required building permits. Remember that your insurance company will not cover you for 'jobs gone wrong' if you have not had the required permits to do the work.

Check your electrical cords and plugs regulary for damage and wear and replace or repair if necessary.

Choose a quality of carpet relative to the traffic in the area, high traffic areas should have good quality highly durable carpet.

Choose light coloured walls and white ceilings for small rooms to help them appear larger.

Dyeing carpet. Instead of replacing carpet which has lost its lustre, consider dyeing it. This is suitable for both wool and nylon and the cost is usually less than half the replacement value

Ensure doors & windows are protected by wire screens and repair any holes or damage to screens to help keep pests out.

FIXING FLY-SCREENS - Cut wire and pull at the centre of each edge to line strands along the frame and fasten. Cut away excess wire. Mitre-cut the beading, prime the raw wood ends and nail to frame at about 100mm centres. The beading should hide the wire edge and its inner edge flush with the frame’s inner edge.

Garage doors should be serviced on a regular basis to maintain to ensure of fault free operation.

Get the best contractor your budget will allow. When building or renovating a house, quality is usually more important than quantity.

Great paint jobs - for a professional painting finish the key is in the preparation. Make sure you clean walls, scrape off any peeling painting, patch all holes and sand to a smooth finish. Use painters masking tape to protect corners and skirtings from overbrushing. 

HANGING HINGED DOORS - Use existing hinge recesses to mark your new door. Trace the hinge shape onto the new door, including depth of the hinge leaf on the door’s face. Next, chisel out shapes and screw hinges into recess. Place the door at right angles to the opening, adjust height and screw hinges into frame recesses.

Hard to open drawers - whilst open spray generous amounts of furniture polish on edges of drawer and polish well, this makes drawers slide out easier and less likely to stick.

Hardened paint on paintbrushes - can be softened by placing in a container of hot vinegar for 30 minutes.

If you need to wiggle your key to open your door, your lock should be replaced before it jams up altogether or your key breaks inside it at a time when you least need it.

Loosen tight screws in old wood by dripping a little vinegar on their heads. When the vinegar penetrates the threated they will be easier to unscrew.

Never build strictly for your own needs and tastes - a 1 bedroom 3 bath house may be perfect for you, but it will be next to impossible to sell.

Never over capitalise on your investment. Remember it is better to own the worst house in the best neighbourhood than the best house in the worst.

Never under estimate the importance of lighting it adds atmosphere, shows style and sets the mood and should be a major consideration when decorating.

Plan a logical order for each step of large renovations - For example there is no point tiling the floor and then knocking out a wall. Also if you are living in a home whilst renovating it is best to avoid renovating both kitchen and bathroom at same time so that you are less inconvenienced and have at least one 'wet' area which is functional.

Prepare yourself with the right tools - make sure you're equipped with all the tools you need before you start the job. It's also best to invest in decent quality equipment, avoiding things like bargain bin paintbrushes as they often end up costing more in the long term in both your time and in the quality of the finish.

Professional painting tips - only dip half of the bristles into paint before tapping gently against both sides of the tin to remove excess. Use a criss-crossing stroke to spread paint evenly and start from the unpainted area, working back into the painted area, always maintaining a wet edge to avoid lap marks.

Rectangular tiles laid vertically will give height to a bathroom with a low ceiling.

Remove old paint from window glass by rubbing with heated, undiluted vinegar. This will soften the paint enabling you to remove it and clean glass as normal.

Remove stains from concrete by scrubbing with a steel scouring pad, hot water and a heavy duty grease cutting detergent.

Repair an imbalanced ceiling fan by clipping a clothes peg midway along the leading edge of each blade, one at a time then turning the fan on to a low speed to see if the added weight stops the wobble, when successful, replace the peg with adhesive-backed lead-weighted tape.

Replacing broken tiles - remove the broken tile and scrape debris from the area. Cover the back of the replacement tile with tile adhesive and press onto the wall. Put masking tape over the tile to hold it in place for at least 24 hours before grouting.

Rollershutters can reduce street noise, heating & cooling costs as well as secure your home.

Squeaky Floorboards - use talcum powder in the cracks between floorboards to stop squeaks. Fix loose floorboards that squeak with a hammer and use a nail punch to drive down nails. If this doesn’t work, drill holes next to the nails and fix boards with counter-sunk headscrews.

Stiff windows - apply surf board wax where sash rides in the channel.

Stop doors squeaking by either dripping some olive oil onto the hinges, sprinkling with talcum powder or rubbing with dry soap.

Stop nails bending when nailing into wood by lubricating first by driving nail through a cake of soap. If you have a tendency to oily hair you can also try rubbing first through your hair.

The entry door is the beginning of a journey through your house and should represent the character of your home.

To remove wallpaper add a good tablespoonful of baking soda to a bucketful of water or hot water containing vinegar. Dip a paint roller or large sponge into the solution and soak the paper thoroughly. After a couple of applications the wallpaper should peel off easily.

Too much is better than too little - Try and be as accurate as possible with your measurements but if you are making estimates, remember that it is better to overestimate than underestimate. You cannot lengthen a piece of wood or a tile you have cut, however can always cut them down further. 

Source: http://www.top5guide.com.au/handyhints_detail.php?MCatId=30

How to plan for retirement? - 5 steps to beat the retirement blues

Most of us like to live in the present, so much so that often, we end up ignoring the future. We splurge on present needs and retirement planning to most of us is something esoteric that is best relegated to financial planning magazines. To be sure, saving and planning for retirement is a real and urgent need; it's a lot more urgent than the latest mobile or car or the grand vacation to Europe. And retirement planning is too pressing and long-drawn to be taken up when you are a just few years away from retirement; by then its probably a little too late in the day to wake up to the rigours of retirement planning.
It is often recommended that one should start saving for retirement at an earlier stage of their lives. This helps in two ways, a) it reduces pressure on finances at a later stage and b) it enables one to aim for an ideal retirement scenario and not a compromise.

1. Start early
One reason why retirement planning is looked upon with much apprehension and even distaste is because most investors are late off the starting blocks. When they finally get down to saving for retirement, there is the initial resistance and protest. If the same investor had commenced his retirement planning exercise a little earlier, a lot of those complaints against retirement planning probably would have evaporated. So the secret lies in making an early start.

2. Make a plan
Before you embark on saving for retirement, you must have a plan in place. While a plan may sound fancy and even intimidating, rest assured it is not all that complicated. Your retirement plan is simply your wish list of how you wish to spend your twilight years. For instance, if you wish to retire in the suburbs in a 2-bedroom flat with a porch outside the house with a monthly income of Rs 30,000, then you must make a financial plan based on these inputs. Put simply, this plan must incorporate all your inputs to tell you how much you need to save today to live your dream retirement. Among other expenses, when you plan for retirement, you must make it a point to set aside money for medical expenses and contingencies, as any retirement plan without them is incomplete.

3. Consult a financial advisor
While retirement planning is a process that requires a high level of involvement from your side, you must look for someone to partner you. The partner over here is your financial advisor. While you have to decide how you wish to lead your life in retirement, your financial advisor will help you translate that dream in numbers. He will put a number to everything i.e. your dream house, vehicle, post-retirement income, medical expenses and contingencies among other inputs. He will tell you how much you need to save and where to invest your savings so as to achieve your retirement corpus. In other words, he will outline a roadmap and more importantly, will implement the same for you.

4. Track and review your plan
Once the plan is outlined and implemented you have to still ensure that you are on track at all times to meet your targeted return at the desired level of risk. This calls for a periodic review of your investment plan. This is a task that is best left to an expert, which is where your financial advisor will once again have a role to play. He will actively monitor your investments, exit the investments that are not performing upto the mark and invest in alternative investments. Over time as you approach retirement; he will reduce allocation to risky assets like stocks and/or equity funds in favour of more conservative avenues like fixed deposits. He will also alter your investment plan based on any additional inputs you give him (maybe with a change in lifestyle you may choose to have a 3-bedroom flat instead a 2-bedroom one).

5. Don't dip into your retirement savings
To successfully implement your retirement planning calls for loads of investment discipline. One aspect of discipline involves religiously setting aside the money that is committed towards retirement. Another aspect of discipline relates to treating your retirement corpus as sacred. This means that every time you are confronted by a financial emergency you should not rush to withdraw from investments that are earmarked for retirement. Of course, if there is no way out, then you can withdraw from your retirement kitty, but make sure you make good that withdrawal by putting an equal amount at the next opportunity.

Source: http://in.biz.yahoo.com/070404/93/6e51d.html
Rainwater harvesting in Kochi Refinery

Rainwater is one of the purest sources of fresh water available. A major portion of the rainwater falling on the earth is now lost as run off to the sea. A rainwater harvesting system for storage and direct use along with arrangements for ground water recharges is an appropriate and sensible option for water management for industrial units. Blessed with a naturally undulating topography and abundant rains, most importantly the monsoons, this water management system has been a natural choice for Kochi Refinery.

The technology
Rain water harvesting traces its history to biblical times. The methodology existed as early as 4000 years ago in Palestine and Greece and in ancient Rome; houses were built with individual cisterns and paved courtyards to capture rainwater in addition to the water from the city’s water channels. It has also been recorded that in the third millennium BC, farming communities in Baluchistan and Kutch channelled rainwater and used it for irrigation dams.

Rainwater harvesting is a technique of developing surface and groundwater sources to augment the quantity and quality of existing water supplies. It is an artificial method for collecting and storing precipitation until it can be used for watering crops, domestic and industrial purposes. Rainwater harvesting arrests groundwater declines and improve ground water levels and availability, beneficiate water quality in aquifers, arrest pollutant water ingress, conserve surface water runoff during monsoons and to enhance availability of ground water at the specific place and time.


Outstanding features :

The technology implemented in Kochi Refinery is an integrated rainwater harvesting system to collect, conserve and protect rainwater for effective utilization.

(i) Rainwater is collected from roof-tops during the monsoon period for the process operation and drinking requirement there by marginally reducing the intake of water from Periyar river,

(ii) Collected rainwater is used for charging the ground water table

(iii) A 1,25,000 KL capacity rainwater harvesting pond has been constructed at the low lying area for collecting the surface runoff and thereby augmenting the quantity and quality of existing water bodies. The rainwater collected in this pond is used for the day-to-day activities of the company and for replenishing the ground water table.

Total rainwater harvesting system is also been implemented in the coastal area (land area of around 9 Lakh M2) in connection with the Single Point Mooring project.

This includes collection of roof rainwater and surface runoff, and conserving the rainwater on the earth surface for charging the ground water and thereby arresting seawater ingress. It is likely to be fresh water reserve after two or three monsoons. The ground water could thence be drawn for various purposes.


Distinguishing scientific and technical features
The main source of water to Kochi Refinery is the Periyar river in Aluva. Water drawn from the Periyar river is stored in the abandoned quarries inside the Refinery and distributed for various operations in the entire unit as this remained the only available water source. Until 2005, had not used the ground water for any of its operational purposes and envisaging the Short Term, Long Term and future plans to collect and effectively use the rainwater came the scientific answer to:

(i) Use the roof rainwater collected during the monsoon for its process requirement there by reducing the intake of water.
(ii) Charging the ground water table using the collected roof rainwater

(iii) Harvesting the rainwater fall on the land area by collecting the surface
runoff and replenishing the ground water table.

Positive impacts of the Innovation
- Enhance sustainability of water supply projects and structures
- Improved well yields & reduced pumping lifts and costs
- Improved water quality
- Conservation of water lost to run off and evaporation
- Enhances well yield in areas were over draft of ground water
- Arrests decline in groundwater levels during summer.
- Helps conservation and storage of excess surface water lost due to run off and evaporation during monsoons
- Reduce flood hazard and soil erosion.
- Improves quality of groundwater through dilution, especially fluoride, nitrate, salinity and other pollution
- Enhances availability of water at the place and time of need.
- Arrests ingress of seawater and other industrial pollutants.


KR Schemes for Rain water Harvesting:
Roof top rainwater harvesting:

Roof water collected from the roof of main Administrative building of Kochi Refinery, which has a roof area of around 2455 M2 has been routed through concrete/ steel pipes to an underground storage tank constructed near the cooling tower. The stored water is diverted to a filter tank and the water after filtration is used for cooling water makeup. The surplus water is diverted to an existing dug well for charging the ground water table. Based on the rainfall data
available, the quantum of water collected from the Administration building roof alone would be around 5400 KL/ annum.

Roof water from the roof of four buildings located at the Aromatic Recovery Unit /Crude Distillation Unit II area, which has a roof area of around 2425 M2 has been routed through concrete / steel pipes to an underground storage tank constructed near the existing raw water quarry. The stored water is diverted to a filter tank and the water after filtration is diverted to fresh water quarry and is used for all purposes including drinking. Quantum of water collected from these buildings is around 5300 KL/ annum. 

Preserving rainwater on the earth surface

We are also harvesting the rainwater fall on the land area of ACTP/APTP tank farm and DHDS area. Surface runoff from around 8.0 Lakhs M2 of land area routed through open drains is collected in a large detention pond. The topography of this land is ideal for collecting the entire surface runoff to a low lying area without expending much on constructing drains or diversion canals etc. Lowlying wetland was identified for the construction of the pond. Earthen bund was
constructed all around the low-lying area to hold the surface runoff. We are now collecting around 1,25,000 KL of water during the monsoons though the total surface runoff generated in this area is much more than the capacity of detention pond.

The detention pond has two compartments. The first compartment has an area of 6200 M2and water holding capacity 15,000 KL where as the second compartment has an area of 74,300 M2 with water holding capacity of 1,10,000 KL. The depth of water varies from 30 cm to 250 cm. These two compartments are separated by an overflow / underflow concrete weir. This arrangement has been made to prevent the entry of any debris/oil traces etc into the pond. Another overflow/underflow weir has also been provided at the outlet of pond.

The scheme aims to replenish the ground water table of this area, and also to charge and improve the quality of ground water using the storm water collected/ stored. The charged water aquifer will be the source of supply of ground water and will be used for various purposes in the Refinery throughout the year. The work was completed in May 05.

Environmental considerations and social benefits:
- Collect the whole rainwater from the newly acquired area during monsoon and make available during dry season. Raise the ground water table in the nearby areas and increase the availability of water in nearby public wells.

- Water from this pond can be used for plant requirement. This would reduce water demand of KR from Periyar River, Aluva. Water collected during monsoon could be used in the dry season, when demand of water is high.
- The rainwater pond also provides a very large area for settling of any suspended solid waste / chemicals / pollutant material and thereby prevent the immediate release of the same by turbulence created during floods

- This pond provides availability of pure water for the natural flora and fauna and other smaller eco systems.

Visual treat
A well-landscaped island has been constructed in the centre of the pond with shady coconut groves. A structural bridge over the pond takes visitors to the island where park benches have also been placed at different spots. Visitors could get a panoramic view of the pond, wells and weirs from the island. Even the migratory birds from Siberia have discovered these water bodies as an irresistible haunt, a much more calm and peaceful haven than their otherwise favorite spot, the fire pond inside the refinery.