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How Science is Cleaning Up the Mean Streets of Online Gaming

Have you ever logged onto an online game, only to immediately regret your decision? Online gaming is a marvel of modern technology, where you can play with someone halfway around the world without latency or difficulty. No matter what your preferences are, you can find a game that fits your taste. Do you like small scale strategy and working with a team? Check out the MOBA games League of Legends and DOTA 2. What about a larger scale operation where you manage units, resources, and other parts of industry? Download Starcraft 2 and it’s sequel, Heart of the Swarm, to get your fix. If you’re more of a peaceful sort and you like to conquer a new territory, then you may prefer a game like Terraria or Minecraft. Being able to meet people from around the world and join up with them to tackle challenges is fantastic, and it almost sounds too good to be true. So, what’s the catch? Unfortunately, not everyone you play with is a good natured person looking to help you out. Online games are rife with griefers, trolls, and other never do wells who are looking to spoil your fun. This has been a problem since the inception of the Internet, and it shows no signs of going away on its own. Game developers have decided to face the problem head on by using science. Next time you log on your Mumble server to play some games with your chums, you may notice their results. Science is doing a great job at taming the ‘Wild West’ of online gaming. Read on to learn how they’re succeeding.

Woah! Turn away angry gamers and keep your Mumble server clear of shouting with social conditioning

What Does Toxic Behavior in a Video Game Look Like?

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”, or so goes the children’s rhyme. Some people are skeptical that behaviour in a videogame can have a big impact. After all, it’s just a digital playground, right? What’s the worst that can happen? In reality, the Internet gives people many tools to bother other players, and online games suffer greatly from their antics. There are different ‘subgroups’ of toxic players. One type is the ‘troll’, who relishes getting a negative reaction out of their teammates. The troll makes their own game out of infuriating other players. Whether it’s selling all of their items to buy six boots, pretending like they don’t know the basics of the game, or riling up other players with taunts and jokes, the troll casts a negative pall over the rest of the game. The troll’s cousin is the griefer, who exploits game mechanics to harass other players. The griefer makes alts on a server to yell at a player they dislike, takes advantage of a player displacement spell to throw allies off a cliff to their death, or summons allies to the bottom of a lake where they’ll inevitably drown. Finally, there’s the verbal abuser, who doesn’t use gameplay to harass other players, but just insults them over text or voice chat with the rudest insults they can muster. All of these players make the other people in the game miserable.

How Have Scientists and Social Experts Been Addressing These Problems?

Riot Games, the creator of League of Legends, is notable for dedicating an entire department to improving player behaviour. One of the first things that the game established was ‘The Tribunal‘. The Tribunal is a system that punishes players that have garnered many reports for negative behaviours. Players volunteer to judge Tribunal cases, where they are presented with the chat logs and information about the game, and then vote ‘guilty’ or ‘innocent’. The Tribunal took the load off of Riot’s support staff and gave players a tool to curate the community. Secondly, Riot instituted an Honor initiative. Players can reward each other with Honor after a game, which offer aesthetic rewards on your profile. When this positive reinforcement fails, Riot steps in and gives players warnings, temporary bans, and finally permanent bans. These initiatives have proven incredibly successful: 47 million votes have been cast in the Tribunal, with 51% of offenders being found guilty. A shocking 94% of players who are found guilty and are punished never re-offend.

Create Your Own Tribunal System With Clever Use of a Mumble Server

A Mumble server allows you to make your own system of checks, balances, and accountability. Do you have a friend who rages & yells at every provocation? Does your teammate love to taunt the enemy team every time they make a minor mistake? Chide them for these errors and let them know that you won’t stand for such behaviour. Social conditioning from peers is an effective way to curb bad behaviour and get your team back on track. Friendly jabs and silly jokes are all well and good, but you shouldn’t have to tolerate trolling, griefing, and all around bad behaviour. Having immediate, latency free feedback allows you to step in when things get out of line and your teammates are creating a negative environment. You can take a note from the Tribunal and improve the behaviour of your friends and allies with one Mumble conversation at a time!

Online games should be about friendly fun and fierce competition, not raging and blaming other people. If you’re tired of a negative environment, take heart in the fact that science is on the job. Initiatives like the Social Behaviour Team and the Tribunal at Riot Games are a great way to reform rude players and reform them into useful teammates and kind players. A system of checks, balances, and positively reinforced behaviour has been proven to work when things get out of hand. Harness this power for yourself by using a Mumble server with your friends. You’ll have more fun and cut down on the things you hate about online gaming. Best of luck on the digital battlefields!



Category: Video Gaming  Comments off

How to Attract the “Write” Kind of Customer Through These 3 Social Media Writing Skills

Social media started out as a sort of frivolity that was targeted at teenagers, students, and other young people. MySpace pages would have carefully posed pictures with a top 40 song playing in the background, and Facebook was closed to anyone who wasn’t currently at a university or college. If you told a successful business owner that social media would become one of the most important tools that a business could harness, they probably wouldn’t believe you. Today, it has become obvious that social media isn’t going anywhere. Businesses both big and small use it in their daily operations to connect with customers, clients, and fans. Millions of people log onto Facebook every day to chat with friends, play games like Farmville and Mafia Wars, and look at galleries of photos they enjoy. This is a prime time for a savvy business to give them an offer that intrigues them. With the right skills, you can snap up customers and bring in new streams of business. However, it’s not as simple as writing a status. You have to be clever, and follow the rules of psychology. You also want to attract the customers in the demographic you’re aiming for. For instance, if you’re aiming for a 18 year old male, that’s a different process than going for a 40 year old female. While there are subtle differences in pulling in these two different demographics, you can also use tools that work on most people. Traditional business writing skills can be adapted and used in social media for great results. Read on for three great writing skills that really shine on social media.

Business writing skills get you to the demographic you want through social media platforms

Grab the Reader’s Attention and Don’t Let Go With a Snappy and Engaging Title

Most people are on social media for fun, and they’re quickly scrolling through endless pages of material. Business writing skills teach you to start a report with a sentence that piques the readers interest, and the same thing holds true for social media.  You want to be able to grab them with something that really catches their attention. The key is to be engaging, to the point, and exciting. It also helps if you can provide something relevant to the average reader’s life. Here are some examples of engaging social media titles that make a reader stop and pay attention.


  • 6 Mind Blowing Discoveries Found in Places You’d Never Expect
  • How Leaving the Scene of a Car Accident Can be a Stupid Mistake
  • 5 Writing Exercises That Make You More Creative
  • Buyer Beware! This Consumer Fraud Can Give You a Scare


No matter what age, gender, or demographic someone is, these are all titles that make people click. Understanding the psychology behind these titles is important, because once you know how to construct an engaging title, then you can tweak it to draw in the demographic of your choice.

The Title Makes All the Difference in the World

These titles all have one thing in common – they make the reader interested. If each title was written in a dryer, more authoritative tone, they’d look something like this:


  • Archeological Discoveries Found in Unusual Places
  • Leaving the Scene of a Car Accident May Open You Up to a Lawsuit
  • Exercises That Help You Work Creative Skills and Refine Your Art
  • Avoid Consumer Fraud By Reading the Fine Print


Would you click on any of those titles? It’s not likely. Use business writing skills to spice a boring title up and pull in your target audience.

Be a Trustworthy Source Without Repelling Your Target Audience

When many people try to apply traditional business writing skills to social media without using any tweaks or changes, they can come across as a fish out of water.  Savvy business writers know that you have to adapt to the new audience. This means relating to people on their level and being ready to start a conversation. Titles should encourage readers to click, but the tone of your social media content shouldn’t be as though you’re pronouncing a verdict from on top of your ivory tower. Instead, you want to appear relate-able. Think about American presidential campaigns. People often talk about how they’d love to get a beer with one candidate, or how the other candidate is a stuffy prig who is out of touch with the common person. Try to apply that same line of thinking to your social media campaigns. You want to relate to your target audience, not repel them!

Why Overusing Authority in Social Media Communications Can Backfire

When people are browsing through social media, they are in a different mindset than when they are on your website. If someone goes to your company’s website looking for a good way to decorate their patio, improve their car’s mileage, get a discount on training courses, or any other number of services and products, then it makes sense that they are looking for an expert who is telling them what to do. On social media, the atmosphere is more relaxed and casual, and therefore you don’t want to come across as being too firm. You want to grab your target audience’s attention and gently reel them in, not overwhelm them with a stern tone and relevant statistics. Play it cool for the ultimate pay off of a new customer earned through social media.

Give Your Customers an Incentive to Use Your Services, and You’ll Get Huge Returns

Facebook and Google Plus are both full of companies who are giving their customers small incentives and deals regularly, like a stream of benefits. 10% off a product here, a free trial of a service there, or even early access to certain goods adds up fast. Customers love getting in on these deals, and they will return to your page to see what else you offer. Even better, people have a sense of ‘fairness’ ingrained in them. When you take the time to reach out and give someone a favour, they’ll respond with loyalty. Business writing skills can convince customers to shell out their money once, and giving them a discount or a trial can make them a customer for life.


Business owners need to get on top of the social media trends and master the ins and outs of communicating with customers through this medium. Luckily, business writing skills give you the tool set you need to grab people’s attention and get them to click your links. Use these traditional skills in a digital medium for big results and new customers.

Try Facial Muscle Exercises Instead of Needle Tips and Camera Tricks

Let’s say it’s a Monday evening, and you’ve just plopped yourself in front of your laptop after a hard day of work. You open up your favourite blog and your Facebook account. Your eyes stroll over to your notifications, and upon clicking, you find yourself tagged in a stream of photos. To your dismay, they look like anything but your usual self. Maybe the ‘photographer’ needs some lessons. Perhaps you’ll smirk instead of smile, or you might add a little more concealer under your eyes.

However, there’s a simple way to keep your beautiful face camera-ready. We’re not talking about a two-hour photo shoot preparation, but rather, a daily exercise routine that only takes a few minutes. With a few facial muscle exercises, you can spruce up those tissues to reveal the refreshing look you naturally possess! With that in mind, you won’t have to dread the flashes and clicks of a camera the next time someone calls for a ‘group photo’! A dull photo doesn't justify the knife, so choose facial muscle exercises over cosmetic surgery.

It’s a Crime When Photos Don’t Do You Justice 

That little word, ‘photogenic’, can feel like a swear word for some. For those who don’t feel like they are blessed with those features, there could be a degree of envy when they see others who seem to have them. If you feel that nature snubbed you of ‘model-like features’, there are good reasons for you to avoid this thinking.

While some people do have cheekbones and jaw lines that look great in photos, the quality of being ‘photogenic’ is actually subjective. When we label a person as photogenic, it usually doesn’t describe a feature or trait in detail. Rather, it simply means that the person looks good in the photo (or photos).

What this really means is that there are several reasons (besides a person’s look) that make them appear attractive on camera. It could be that the person knows subtle poses or movements that give their face a pleasing shape. Also, the hairstyle they sport when the photo is taken can also complement their face. And then there are things like lighting, angles, and camera settings that can affect the quality of a picture. That’s why there’s no point for you to be so hard on yourself!

The Factor of Facial Fitness 

A lot of the factors mentioned above are ones that hard for you to control. However, there is an overlooked aspect that you can control; your facial fitness. What a lot of people don’t realize, is that the condition of your muscles and tissues contribute to your facial expression. Remember, every time you laugh, smile, frown, or pout, several muscles work together to help make those expressions possible. So if you think that strong facial muscles don’t make a difference, think again! Facial muscle exercises help you to strengthen the tissues that influence the movement and appearance of your face.

Take this into consideration:

As you can see from the points listed above, your facial muscles play a major role in your facial appearance. For the times your photos don’t come out right, there’s a good chance that your facial muscles were not cooperating. Perhaps they were too relaxed, too tense, or maybe lacked adequate blood flow. With the use of facial muscle exercises however, you can ensure that they get a vigorous workout that keeps strong and fine-tuned.

Keeping Your Face Muscles in Good Shape:

Isometric Exercises – These exercises involve the use of your fingers and fingers, and they are the easiest to work with. They are also very effective if you have minor issues such as puffiness and minor laugh lines.

Common Isometric Exercises Include:

  • The Lion (Yoga Posture)
  • Eye Lifts

Resistance Exercises – These exercises often involve the use of a device that massages the facial muscles by means of vibrations. These machines provide a more intensive workout since they work with the deep tissues of the face. These devices are more effective for more concerning skin issues, such as double chins and wrinkles.

Facial muscle exercises address facial issues by reaching deep tissues and muscles.Wave Goodbye to Procedures and Poses 

While there is a time and place for expensive cosmetic procedures and camera poses, they’re often unnecessary. The problem with these techniques is that they are short-term fixes for a problem that occurs over a long period of time. Most of the problems that occur with our faces start in the tissues, and many of those techniques don’t address these issues. In other words, they are just like putting a band-aid on a deep cut that really needs stitches.

Although cosmetic procedures offer the fastest results:

  • They often require tons of maintenance
  • They are very costly
  • These procedures can carry some very damaging and even life-threatening risks
  • Involve unnecessary pain and recovery times
  • Sometimes fail to even fix the problem

If you don’t know how to pose, you’ll make things worse because:

  • You might end up making a silly face that just raises eyebrows
  • You may not a hide the problem at all
  • You might position yourself in way that causes the image to look distorted

However, facial muscle exercises work well because they:

  • Strengthen facial muscles and collagen
  • Stimulate blood flow in the face
  • Are cost-effective (It costs you nothing to massage your cheeks!)
  • You can do them anywhere
  • Virtually risk free (the only consequence may be a tingle)

So the Winner is…

The method that works best for you, ultimately depends on how you feel about your appearance. Realistically speaking, however, you most likely don’t need to go the invasive route. Neither is there a need for you to force yourself into an awkward and uncomfortable stance in order to hide a minor facial issue. The most natural and effective way to address the problem is by working with your body. In this case, facial muscle exercises go deep into your tissues, and tighten them so that your face looks youthful and radiant on the surface. When you consider that they are convenient, accessible, and cost-effective, it is hard to deny how they can help you out!

Category: Health  Comments off

A Marketing Company Can Help You Stop Bleeding Your Advertisement Budget

Running a business can be a thankless task! Many people start a business, but not all of them succeed and the difficulty of this task is a large reason why. In America, over 50% of small businesses fail in the first five years. When you look at the work and energy that is required to run a business, it’s easy to see where the trouble comes from. There are a thousand plates to keep spinning in the air at all times in order to keep your operation efficient and running up to speed. You have to hire qualified employees and delegate the necessary tasks to them, as well as check in on them and ensure that they’re the right fit for the position. You have to work with customers and clients to keep them happy and satisfied with your product or service. You’ll also want to keep your product or service at its absolute best and that requires a great amount of research, preparation, innovation, and so on. You also have to make sure that people actually know about your product! Otherwise, all of your hard work can be for naught, as a product is useless without someone to buy it. Unfortunately, a business doesn’t just run on willpower and determination. Your fiscal success matters and a business that bleeds money and doesn’t make any back is doomed to fail. So what can a small business owner do? Don’t throw your hands up into defeat. Put your advertising budget back into the black by hiring a marketing company. Having the professionals on your side will allow you to focus on what you’re good at, and you’ll draw in more customers or clients.  Read on for the full overview on why these companies are your best choice for advertising. A marketing company helps put a face on your business, and draw in new customers.

Advertising is Essential in Today’s Day and Age 

There are a few small companies who believe that a solid product and word of mouth is all a business needs to thrive. Sadly, this is not the case, and if you believe it you are putting your business at risk. There are dozens of companies who are offering something similar to your product, or something that is a direct competitor. If you do not advertise, they will drown you out. A marketing company helps you pierce through the noise and reach your customer base. You certainly want to set some money aside to get the word out and draw in a whole new customer base.

Why Do Many Small Businesses Fail at Marketing Their Own Product?

There’s the old stereotype of a mother who loves her child so much that she is blind to their faults, and sometimes this is true of a small business owner. He or she may see his product or service as being a certain way, or directed towards a certain demographic. Sometimes all it takes is a slight adjustment to reach the true target audience with a proper message, and other times it takes a full overhaul. When you’re a small business owner, you want an outside perspective that can help you understand the basics and how to approach this initiative. A marketing company fills this role and provides an unbiased view of your strengths and weaknesses.

What Sort of Services Will a Marketing Company Provide Me?

Every marketer has a somewhat different approach, but they do have some things in common. Generally each service or package will have a cost point you can discuss with the professionals beforehand to ensure you do not exceed your budget. Each firm will help you come up with concepts and a ‘starting point’ for what your brand is, and what customer base you would like to bring in, then extrapolate that into a marketing campaign. This means that you will spend some time working on ‘concept development’ and approving these steps and idea. Some of the services provided are more abstract, but are important to hash out. Corporate identity, websites, and brand strategy are all important things to know. From there, more concrete plans can be put into action. Your business’s marketing can have a visual element in graphic design that will appear in print and graphic media, or on your website. If your business travels to trade shows or is involved in networking, then the marketing can center around these strengths with trade show booths, sales kits, and eMarketing. When you need content to draw people in, then copywriting, blogging, and social media marketing can save the day. Finally, there are many small services that tie your package together, such as printing, video production, web hosting, and so on.

Small Businesses Succeed With The Power of Marketing By Their Side 

These are all great services, but before you invest in them, you may be wondering if they actually work. After all, if you spend money for no results, then your marketing budget will vanish! A marketing company is actually a fantastic investment, and can help you overcome many speed bumps on the road to help expand your business. 66% of small businesses are increasing or maintaining their spending on digital marketing due to the success it brings. Falling behind on this trend could be a big mistake! Consumers trust in digital marketing as well, with 72% of consumers trusting online reviews just as much as real life recommendations. 82% of small business owners get new business from referrals. All of these numbers show a trend that you can’t afford to ignore – small businesses thrive with the right marketing on their side.

There are so many things to keep track of in a day when you run a small business, and that’s why delegation is such an important skill. When you need to market your company and get the word out about your product or service, then a marketing company is the perfect choice. These professionals are able to leverage the strengths of your company and mask the weaknesses. When you want to reach new demographics and launch new initiatives, talk to these professionals. They have a bevy of services that can make you new customers and clients, while improving the way you present yourself. If you don’t have very much money to spend, then they can work within a budget for great results. Don’t bleed your advertising budget when you can stay in the black and get ahead!

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Why Buying Cars Privately is Risky

You most likely want a car that’s stylish, powerful and affordable. It’s a universal dream for all car owners. It’s hard A private seller may offer a tempting deal, but you should investigate it thoroughly. to find a vehicle that delivers in the triple threat department. As a result, many people are looking to private sellers who offer deals not seen in dealerships. Perhaps you’re considering such a move. If so, it’s important to recognize the risks in addition to the rewards. You might certainly find a deal that’s one of a kind, but you may also find a vehicle with problems that are also…one of a kind. So be very careful if you decide to go private!

Why Choose a Recognized Auto Dealer First

Ideally, the best people to buy a car from, are those working at a recognized auto dealership. First of all, they are licensed to do so. The government of Ontario, for example, has imposed strict laws on the sale of new and used cars, and only the companies which meet those standards will have the necessary qualifications to sell cars through the Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council (OMVIC). These rules also make them liable for the vehicles they sell, so you can be sure that they take extra care of their property.

Additionally, going through a dealership gives you options that private sellers can’t offer. One such advantage is your method of payment. A private seller may only accept cash or cheque, but a recognized dealer will also give you auto financing options. And if you’re facing tough circumstances or credit problems, you can even work around the issue of bad credit by securing a car loan. Such a plan gives you the ability to finance a car at an affordable rate, while helping you stay within your means.

Going through a dealership also opens you up to another feature: warranty. You won’t regret choosing a vehicle with warranty on it if something goes wrong. When a private seller offers you a car, the warranty is likely to have already ceased, meaning the costs of emergency repairs will come out of your pocket.

What to Remember

There’s a shady underworld out there, waiting to put its hands into your pocket, taking your money and giving you nothing in return. We’re not talking about mobsters here. Everyday people, seemingly unassuming individuals who look like good citizens are waiting for their opportunity to take advantage of honest and innocent people looking for a good deal. Cars are often at the centre of fraud. And there are many reasons why private sellers succeed in their devious acts.

Why Private Sales Are Often a Gamble

  • No Regulations Over Private Sales – There are no regulations or government organizations to keep tabs on the individual transactions between people. There are only laws that come into effect if one person commits a criminal act against another – in this case, defrauds them while selling a car. Basically, there are fraudsters out there who will sell you a defective or malfunctioning vehicle if they can get away with it. After all, they don’t need a license or certificate to sell a car. All they need is an ad.
  • Listings May Not Be What They Seem – In today’s era of copy and paste, all it takes is a person with high speed internet and some free time to sell a car. How? They can pull images of cars in mint condition, and upload them to their online marketplace profile or personal website. If the image looks identical to what they’re selling, it may be difficult, if not impossible to tell it is a fake. Also, those bolded descriptions – “ALMOST BRAND NEW” or “NO DAMAGE, DRIVES LIKE IT’S NEW” – are often poor indicators of a vehicle’s condition.
  • Court Battles May Turn Into Lengthy Affairs – Remember, not much can be done to prevent a fraudster from ripping you off besides good judgment. Even though you can take a criminal to court, it doesn’t mean you’ll automatically have an easy time bringing them to justice. They might present startling counter-evidence that could make your claim harder to accept. That’s why it’s best to avoid such confrontation in the first place by approaching a private seller with care.

How to Approach a Private Seller

It’s almost always better to go through a licensed auto dealer. Fortunately, dealing with a private seller doesn’t have to feel like skydiving without a parachute. If you feel like a private seller is the only way to go, there are measures you can take to increase the safety of your transaction, especially if it involves an online component.

Tips for Safe Private Dealings

  • Check their online reviews – Online marketplaces generally allow shoppers to comment on their experiences with a particular vendor. And people are almost always honest. If the person selling you the car has received great reviews, you can contact them for more details. However, beware of good reviews that seem exaggerated or spare. Such comments could very well be from a friend supporting a dishonest friend.
  • Take a closer look at their profile – If anything, and that means anything, seems out of the ordinary, stay far away. Your gut reaction is a powerful feeling, and you shouldn’t ignore it. Strange messages or obscure contact info for example, are all things that should serve as red flags. There is no reason for a vendor to leave potential customers feeling confused.
  • Visit before buying – Seeing the car and the vendor in person is extremely important. Think of this stage as the deal-breaker. This is where you get to inspect the vehicle, looking at it up close for signs of damage or defects. Also, this is where you get to meet the person behind the sale. Pay attention to their demeanor. If they are respectful, patient and willing to answer your questions, then buying the car from them may be a good idea. If they are aggressive, indifferent or insulting, turn the other cheek.

Proceed with Caution

Going through a private seller can be good way to save cash since many of them are eager to rid themselves of a car. However, it’s not always easy to separate the genuine ones from the fraudulent ones. You need to spend much time investigating and learning as much as you can about the person selling the vehicle of choice. With that said, it’s usually a safer bet to go through a recognized auto dealer when looking to buy a new car. It’s safer, not to mention more flexible. Even if your credit score isn’t the greatest, a dealership still gives you options by means of a bad credit car loan and other financing options. The takeaway here is to consult a fully licensed auto dealer first, turning to a private dealer only if there is no other option.

Category: Cars  Comments off

Finding Friendly Plumbers – A Diamond in The Rough

Owning your house comes with its own series of headaches. Chief amongst these is finding a good plumber. Some people settle for a neighborhood DIY type guy, with no formal training. These people often end up regretting their decision later when the work has to be redone, or causes damage to their property. Instead of just settling, you should endeavor to find the best plumbers in your area.


The time spent locating and contacting the best plumbers more than pays for itself. A good plumber can field calls with common questions, maintain your plumbing on a regular schedule, and even come to your aid in the middle of the night when emergency strikes. You should be looking for the most knowledgeable plumbing contractor possible, with a large enough staff to accomplish any job in a reasonable amount of time.

A neighborhood plumber with only one or two employees may be ideal for the random clogged toilet, but if you end up in a situation where a large job needs to be done, and schedules must be kept, you want a true plumbing company. Look for a company that is licensed, as well as insured and bonded.

Where to Start Looking?

There is a lot of information on how to find great plumbers on the internet. Unfortunately, we’ll be rehashing some of it but it’s all to make sure you get the best possible plumber so I’m sure you won’t mind.

Start by searching the Internet, the Yellow Pages, and review sites such as Yelp! These will help you pick out a batch of likely contenders. Take the next step and call each of them. Make sure they service your area. Make sure that you can communicate easily with their staff, and that they understand you. Ask them if they have an emergency service. Ask if they are licensed and insured. Are they members of the Better Business Bureau? How many employees do they have, and what kind of training do they receive?

Asking these questions can help you weed out the lower-tier plumbers from the best plumbers. Once you have found a plumber, start out by scheduling a simple inspection. A common first inspection would be a CCTV camera inspection, where the plumber looks through your pipes with a camera and looks for any problems. If they say work is required, ask for an estimate, and tell them you will call them back. Get a copy of the CCTV footage if possible.

Take your estimate and get back on the Internet. Research the problem, and see if the plumber knew what they were talking about. Check on prices for similar jobs. Call competitors and ask their prices. If everything checks out, you have probably found a very good plumber. Once you’ve located your ideal contractor, keep their number handy in case you ever have a plumbing emergency, or are unsure of what could be causing a problem.

Check These Plumbers Out

For Toronto area residents, we highly recommend the experts from Absolute Draining & Plumbing. They meet all of the requirements listed above, and more. Their staff is responsive and knowledgeable, and they quote prices that are, on average, under the going rate. Grab the number of their site and keep it handy for all your plumbing needs.

Category: Uncategorized  Comments off

Put an Overhead Door Company on Speed Dial If Your Garage Goes Haywire

Running a business can sometimes feel like you’re juggling dozens of balls, each one whizzing up in the air in perfect synchronicity with the others. If you slip, or misjudge the weight of the ball, or move your hand just at the wrong angle, the flow is disrupted. One by one, the balls will miss their proper trajectory and slip and fall, tumbling down onto the ground. When you run a business, this is how you manage your duties, every single day. Of course, things aren’t that dramatic. You have tools and people who can help you manage the never ending flow of tasks and achievements that must be done. Having staff at your disposal is an invaluable tool, and equipment allows them to get their jobs done. The people in charge of your outbound paperwork have programs that automate most of the work and allow everything to be documented, recorded, and given the go ahead. Your receptionist might field calls. You may have an intern or a temp in the back sorting and filing paperwork before it drowns the entire office. Workers do the heavy lifting (with the helping hand of a forklift). Sometimes, things go wrong, and just like the juggler, everything starts to fall apart. One of the biggest problems a warehouse can face is the overhead doors completely refusing to work. When this happens, an overhead door company can be your savior  If you run a shipping business, it’s time to put these people on speed dial. Read on for the full scoop of how they can turn a crisis around before it overwhelms your business.

If you want your employees to stay smiling, an overhead door company should be your first call in case of emergency

An Overhead Door Allows Your Business to Function

Cargo has to get from point A to point B – this is the most fundamental, unchangeable part of your business. You have merchandise and goods, and they need to receive them. When this basic exchange breaks down, everything can get chaotic. If a truck broke down on the side of the road full of merchandise that needed to get to the customer, then you would send out a mechanic as soon as humanly possible. If your overhead door breaks, you’re left in a similar quandary. The door won’t open, and you can’t get the merchandise into the truck! The customer can’t come and pick it up, so take charge to get things running again. An overhead door company can fix your problem and get your business running again.

Fix the Problem Before Clients and Customers Weigh In

When your business breaks down, it’s inevitable that customers are going to get upset. This only adds to the chaos in the office. They might call in and make demands, ask for refunds, or simply vent out their frustration. If you don’t act soon enough, they will likely lose faith in your business and may even go and see a competitor to solve their problem. Stop this problem before it starts by calling in an overhead door company. They can get your business and your deliveries back on track, and customers will be relieved to know that you were on the case. With a quick enough response, they may even be none the wiser as to the hiccup in your schedule.

Prove Yourself to be Responsive and Trustworthy

You won’t always be able to fix things before the customer or client realizes there’s a problem. However, no one expects that you will never make a mistake or suffer some bad luck. Everyone is human and everyone can fall victim to issues. However, the difference between a company that addresses their issues and is honest throughout the entire process and a company that doesn’t get things done and prefers to use smoke and mirrors communication is night and day. Your clients and customers will move on and scorn you if you prove to be the second kind of company; if you’re the first kind of company you’ll likely gain their respect and repeat business. Acknowledge and fix the mistake instead of burying your head in the sand and hoping it fixes itself. Calling in an overhead door company is more than proactive – it’s good business sense.

Get Things Running Before the Problem Spirals Out of Control

When one thing goes wrong, others soon follow. Your overhead door completely bites the dust – and that starts a domino chain of events that just complicate everything even further. Your employees become stressed as they wait for you to come to a solution. The tension in the office becomes so thick you can cut it with a knife. People begin to quarrel as a way of venting that stress. Customers and clients begin to call in, demanding answers. The stress multiplies, and maybe some unkind words are exchanged. What started as a broken overhead door has become a complete and total crisis in your business. What a nightmare! Fix things before the situation spirals out of control by phoning an overhead door company. Stopping the root issue will prevent all of the branching issues from spreading out.

When an employee refuses to show up to work, you have to make do without them or call in a replacement. When your overhead door refuses to work, then you have a much bigger problem. Call in the experts to fix your issue before it becomes a full blown crisis. Your overhead door is essential to the daily operations of your company, so you want to have it running 100%. Clients and customers will be displeased if you don’t fix it, or if you try to ignore the problem and cause them difficulty as a result. If you call in an overhead door company, then you can fix the issue before things go sour. Put an overhead door company on speed dial to have a quick fix for when things go wrong.

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Follow The Highs and Lows of Your Favorite Pro Team with a Mumble Download

Once upon a time, playing video games was considered something that only nerds and losers did. Only a dork would drag out an Atari and load up a riveting game of Pong! Everyone else was too busy following the exploits of the rich, famous, or fascinating. The Beatles caused chaos with interviews about faith, love, and life and were trailed everywhere they went by hordes of reporters and teenage girls. Everyone loved to gawk at the life styles of rock mavens like Robert Plant, Jimi Hendrix, Joan Jett, and Jim Morrison. The love life and exploits of Elizabeth Taylor has been the subject of many books and movies. We love to watch professionals go about their life in dramatic, fascinating, or audacious ways. In today’s world, we can see some unfiltered, high octane personalities on the professional gaming circuit. Video games are no longer just for nerds – they’re incredibly popular methods of entertainment. The games have also become to complex and skill based that a circuit has sprung up of tournaments, online streaming, and other methods of watching people play and compete at these games. Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm, League of Legends, and DOTA 2 are examples of games with flourishing competitive circuits. If you are interested in watching these players compete, interact, and share in the latest news with your friends, you’re in luck. A Mumble download means you can discuss the newest announcements, watch a tournament together in real time, or share your favorite moments. Read on for a full explanation of how Mumble opens up an avenue to discuss the latest plays and news, as well as giving you a front seat to every gaming tournament and press conference.

A Mumble download lets you follow the antics and exploits of Team SoloMid and their peers

Watch New Strategies Unfold and New Stars Rise

When games first come out, there’s just the surface level there to keep people happy. The real fun comes when the pros and dedicated players start digging past the surface to find cool things, new tactics, new strategies, and then put them into action. Starcraft 2: Wings of Liberty went through a fad where Zerg players thought up a clever use for the Queen unit. The Queen is meant to be a strictly support unit to spread creep and boost larval numbers. Clever players realized that they could also be used for a devastating mid game attack. The game was supposed to have one or two Queens milling about your base – not twenty of them storming your base at the ten minute mark! In League of Legends, Season 1 was marked by two bruisers going into the bot lane while the AD carry went mid. The European teams shook that up and sent the AD carry bot with a support for farming. The game now follows this vastly superior strategy. With a Mumble download, you and your friends can watch these strategies unfold and jump on board. The players who come up with these ideas are clever, resourceful, and you’ll likely soon see them on the pro circuit. You’ll be able to claim that you knew them before they were cool!

Be the First One to Hear Rumors and News From the Front Lines

Players who follow the pro circuit are the first ones to hear about all the big changes going down. Is there going to be a change to your favorite team? Is someone leaving the circuit to focus on their personal life, or are they all moving to a house in Korea to focus on mastering their game in time for the world tournament? A Mumble download lets you swap rumors and be the first one to know all the big shake ups in the professional circuit.

Cheer for Your Favorites (and Boo the Teams You Love to Hate!)

When the tournaments and matches roll around, you’ll want to watch every moment, analyze every replay, and cheer at every move. Whether it’s a Baron steal at the 40 minute mark, a 1v5 showdown, or a skirmish over the last mineral patch on the map, you can cheer until your throat is sore over Mumble’s low latency, crystal clear channels. On the other hand, if your least favorite team or player is up to bat, you and your friends can trash talk and snarl until your throat is sore. A Mumble download brings all the fun and joviality of a ringside seat right to your computer desk.

Follow the Narratives and Stories of Your Favorite Players

Watching a star rise is exciting, and so is watching these players meet head to head. There are tons of fascinating narratives that a Mumble download lets you experience fully. When Team SoloMid went through a crisis due to TheOddOne contracting a disease, fans around the world waited with baited breath, only to see them recover and become stronger than ever. When a young sixteen year old who’s famous for their lighting quick reflexes goes up against a seasoned veteran who has years of experience under their belt, people wait to see whether youth or age will win out. When two teams or players collide after months of trash talk and preparation, the results can be electric. Experience all of these things for yourself on Mumble with your friends!

The professional circuit of video games has turned from a small scale novelty into a full blown phenomenon. Hop on board with the millions of cheering fans with a Mumble download. You and your friends can become the John Madden of your favorite game, pointing out all the best plays and scoffing at the silly mistakes. Enjoy cheering for your favorites and heartily booing the teams you love to hate, and enjoy watching players evolve, grow, and go up against equally talented competition. The professional gaming circuit isn’t going anywhere, so hop on board and join in on the fun!

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Employ a Tacky Mat as the New Member of Your Cleaning Staff

Running a small business necessitates that you hire a capable staff. For instance, let’s say you run a bakery. You can’t make everything you plan to sell, make the drinks, get everything prepared, clean the shop, take care of customers, serve the goods, manage the cash register, clean the shop and bathrooms, do necessary maintenance, and take care of every single task yourself while keeping everything under budget and up to your high standards. That’s impossible! So, to make sure everything is done right and on time, you hire staff for your bakery. Every time you hire a new employee for a position, you interview them to make sure that they’re up to the task. When you hire a barista, you make sure that he or she actually knows how to make drinks. The person on the cash register must know how to make change and do the necessary math. Anyone in your kitchen has to work with food and make only the most delicious treats. The real unsung heroes of your business, however, are the cleaning staff. They have to make sure that everything is cleaned up and taken care of at the end of the day and the start of the morning – especially when you’re dealing with a business where hygiene is of the utmost importance. Luckily, there’s a tool that makes their job so much easier. A tacky mat can turn out to be the surprise star of your sanitary staff. What’s this amazing mat, and how does it help your business? Read on for all the details you need to know.

employ a tacky mat as a new member of your cleaning staff

Can a Simple Mat Really Help My Business Sparkle?

You might be skeptical about the power of this mat – after all, how much can it really do? You’d be surprised. A tacky mat is built from the ground up to prevent dirt from getting past its confines. Whereas other mats expect guests to patiently stop, kick their shoes, and scrape their soles against its surface, a sticky mat refuses to lie down and only do part of the work. This mat is durable and tenacious, meaning that it can stand up to the droves of customers coming in to sample your tarts and treats. The top layer is coated with an adhesive. Don’t worry – your guests won’t be tripped up, or caught in a web. The adhesive is specially formulated to only pick up mud, dirt, and other undesirable particles. Rubber and other materials that shoes are made up of will not be picked up or trapped by the surface. The dirt stays on the surface of the mat, until it comes time to strip off the top layer. Waiting underneath is a new, fresh layer, ready to get to work. It’s easy to see why a sticky mat is effective at keeping out dirt while remaining stealthy and underfoot. These products are used in hospitals and construction sites, so you know they’ll be able to take the challenge of your small business on and come out ahead every time.

Why a Mat Serves Your Business Better Than a Mop

Some business owners might look at the description up above and scoff. “I have a cleaning staff.” they might say. “Why should I spend money on a mat when I have employees who can clean up every night and morning?” A tacky mat actually works in tandem with your cleaning staff, and cuts down on issues while smoothing out the workload. You don’t be replacing your staff, just giving them a helping hand. Consider it like this: If you buy an expensive blender or food processor for your kitchen instead of having your employees do the work themselves, is that replacing them, or helping them and giving them the tools to do more? The same principle applies with a sticky mat. Your cleaning staff won’t resent its presence – they’ll love it! In many ways, using one of these handy mats is actually superior to the traditional broom and mop. Here’s a run down that can dazzle even the most uncertain small business owner.

Keep Things Clean Without Going Overboard

Traditional cleaning supplies and methods can contain harsh chemicals. Working around these chemicals can even have an effect on your employees and customers, and you need proper ventilation to make sure everyone is safe. The humble tacky mat, on the other hand, can just have the top layer taken off and be ready to go in a second. No bleaches or chemicals that hurt the environment, and the clean up is far faster. Another benefit to this quick cleanup is that the physical strain on your employees is minimized. Mats don’t require intense chemicals and cleaning supplies.

Remove the Human Element From Your Busy Clean Up

Your employees are a valuable part of your business, and they work hard to help you succeed, but they are also human beings. They make mistakes, they forget things, they take sick days, they go on vacation, and so on. A tacky mat doesn’t need to go to the Caribbean or take a week off for the flu. It just faithfully works to keep your business clean, no matter how busy you are or how many customers you have coming in, or even the time of year. You may have to award it your Employee of the Month award!

If your business is having problems with dirt and dust, don’t panic. There’s a way to keep everything spic and span without breaking the bank on your cleaning supplies and staff. Augment your employees with a tacky mat at the front door, and you’ll notice a change in hygiene immediately. This sticky mat will pick up unwanted particles and stop them from making it any farther, and it’ll be reliable every time you put it down. Don’t use harsh chemicals or rely on employees who can make mistakes or call in sick when a sticky mat can save the day!

Category: Cleaning, Construction, Health  Comments off

3 Ways Project Management Certification Turns You From a Graduate to a Leader

From birth to death, we’re encouraged to accept forms of authority and follow their directions. When we’re kids, we grow up with our parents teaching us right from wrong and helping us get through the day without everything being a crisis. They teach us discipline, responsibility, and help us get past temper tantrums and the spats of childhood. When we’re older, we’re sent to school. School is the next step after that, and there we learn how to deal with our peers in the form of other kids studying there. Teachers make sure everyone gets their homework done and play nice with each other. When we graduate into high school, we’re dealing with the same environment, with more pressure and higher expectations. Many teenagers start their first job while still in high school, working part time in a fast food joint or a retail store. These experiences pave the way for people to become comfortable with dealing with authority and a chain of command. By the time business and IT students have graduated post-secondary education and enter the workforce, this programming may actually backfire on them. Many people, fresh out of university, lack the ability to lead. Leading isn’t an easy burden for many people to take on after a lifetime of being conditioned to follow. Very few people can naturally break out of their shell and take the reins on a project. There’s a way to reverse that paralyzing feeling you get at the idea of taking charge and turn you from a graduate into a leader. Project management certification is a great way to learn leadership chops without spending years in the trenches. If you want to harness leadership power and learn the fundamentals of being a manager, this is the first step you can take on that journey.

3 ways project management certification turns you from graduate to leader

Shift Your Paradigms and Open New Possibilities

Part of leading is having the ability to see yourself as a leader and what that means relative to your team. There’s a lot of jokes about bad bosses, suspiciously absent team leads, and misanthropic, micromanaging managers. This is because being a manager isn’t so much a science as it is an art – you have to be familiar with your coworkers and colleagues, the project that they are working on, and so on. Just look at the popular television show “The Office”, about a socially awkward boss with no experience with either people or leading and those who have to deal with his shenanigans. The problem with the perception of bosses is that people look at them in the wrong light. A project management certification course helps you get past the wrong conceptions about management and gives you the tools to put your team on the right track.  Think of a sled pulled by huskies up north. Many people think that leaders should be the rider on back, urging the dogs on. In reality, the leader should be the dog in the front breaking a path. Project management is all about being the one to lead a path, no matter how hard the going in. This requires interpersonal skills, a strong understanding of your project, and how the two might combine or clash.

Less Efficiently by Utilizing SCRUM and Agile Techniques

The manager on the American version of “The Office” says “If I had to choose between being feared and loved, I’d choose to have people love me so much it’s scary.” In reality, leadership isn’t a binary between fear and love. You want to be able to lead efficiently and make tough decisions while still having your team respect you and understand your decision process. A project management certification course helps you understand realistic goals versus biting off more than you can choose, and it also helps you understand the steps that you can take to achieve your goals. This means you’ll likely become familiar with the SCRUM and Agile techniques, as well as interpersonal training tactics. These schools of thought are focused around breaking tasks down into easily managed and finished steps, so that an enormous task has many checkpoints along the way. Agile and SCRUM make intimidating tasks seem manageable, and your team will be better able to handle the workload.

SCRUM and Agile Turn Your Subordinates Into a Team

These two leadership schools of thought also centre around having team members take on roles that suit their strengths. These team mates can sometimes switch roles between projects to give them new perspectives, but generally, this style of management allows people to stick to their strengths and avoid their weaknesses. Part of being a leader is being able to notice strengths and weaknesses of colleagues and figure out what that means for the project. Very few people are ‘jack of all trades’, so the SCRUM system of using roles is useful at letting people do their best work without feeling the pressure of having to tackle things they aren’t comfortable or familiar with. Project management certification courses help you become familiar with the different roles, their responsibilities, and interpersonal management that you will do with assigning people to duties.

After graduating from post secondary education, you’re likely deeply entrenched in the role of being a follower. If you want to climb the corporate ladder and go for the most fulfilling kind of work you can do, it’s essential to shake that idea. This is where project management certification comes in. It is a forcible way to shake your training since childhood to follow and turn from a graduate to a leader. You’ll have an impressive bullet point on your resume, as well as ready made training that will serve you well in the workforce. If you’re worried that you won’t be able to transition from a graduate to a leader, this is the first step you can take. Don’t allow yourself to be intimidated or scared – take control, take a course, and be in charge.

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