iPhoneSome people purchase an iPhone and just expect it to just do the basic calling, app downloading, and Facebook browsing. But there are so many other purposes for an iPhone that you’d be overwhelmed at the different choices available to you if you knew about them.  Below are a few things your iPhone is good for that you may be surprised about.

It Can Help You Get Pregnant

Your iPhone can actually help you become pregnant. Obviously it can’t do much babymaking, but it can certainly help you get pregnant with an assortment of menstrual calendars. One famous case actually has a woman in the UK becoming pregnant after using the app, even though she believed she was infertile for over four years. She even gave birth on the day that the calendar in her iPhone said she would!

It Can Warm Up Your Hands

You don’t have to jailbreak your iPhone 3G to make it warm – you can download an app straight from the Apple store that acts as a heat warmer. An app called the “Hands Heater” will run your phone and make the processors hot to the touch. The result? Toasty hands no matter what the weather outside. And don’t worry – the app is specially formatted to not fry your battery or your skin.

It Can Tune Your Guitar

Did you step on your guitar tuner again and don’t have the time to go out and get a new one? Don’t worry; your iPhone can do it for you. Though this app will cost you a few bucks if you don’t jailbreak your iPhone 3gs, it’s still worth the cash if you have it. The iPhone’s microphone may not be super sensitive, but the app is specially designed for the iPhone, which means it knows and understands that insensitivity and works around it. You can tune any guitar you’d like with it, and there is even a metronome and chord library in several of the more expensive versions.

So even if you just picked up an iPhone because you heard it takes exceptional pictures, see if it may hold other uses for you as well.

Car ShippingSo you’ve bought a house cross country, or perhaps even in another country. Packing everything up and filling a U-Haul or dragging a bunch of boxes to UPS—that’s easy. But the car? Not so much. Every year, thousands of transplants tell horror stories about their auto shipping woes. Usually, it’s related to cost. But a variety of other agonizing anecdotes are just as common.

So if you’re stuck having to ship an auto, how do you do it? And via what method? Here’s a quick guide.

Door to Door Shipping

Within the United States and Canada, door to door shipping is one of the fastest and easiest ways to move your car from one place to another. It eliminates the hassle of driving the vehicle yourself or of having to worry about turning your car keys over to someone else. Door to door shipping usually relies on large trucks pulling car carriers to increase efficiency and reduce your cost. A good place to start to get an idea of what this might cost you can be found here: http://www.autoshippingrates.net/

Terminal to Terminal Shipping

Similar to door to door shipping, terminal to terminal follows the same principle but offers substantial cost savings. Rather than having a truck come to your old house and deliver your car to your new one, terminal shipping requires that you drive your car to a nearby drop off location and then catch a ride to the pickup depot at your new location. Terminal to terminal shipping might take a grand total of an hour or two more of your time, but it can save you hundreds of dollars.

Overseas Shipping

Some companies offer land transport services for overseas shipping (as long as an ocean doesn’t need crossing, of course), but container shipping is almost always a better option. If you’re planning on shipping your car to a country that isn’t next to the one you’re already in, then driving it into a container with the rest of your belongings is usually one of the safest and more economical choices.

DebtIt’s a common situation: You lost a job—or perhaps had an unexpected major medical expense—and you had to use a high interest credit card to get by. Even if the situation only lasted for a month or two, it’s easy to rack up $10,000—$20,000—or even more in expensive credit card debt. The minimum monthly payments themselves can be crippling, but only paying the minimum is even worse: The interest costs just keep mounting and mounting.

Thankfully, there’s a solution; it’s called debt consolidation. Debt consolidation essentially means taking all of your debt—credit cards, personal loans, car loans, medical debts, and more—and rolling them into a single monthly payment. Common goals of debt consolidation also include principal reduction and lower interest rates.

If you think you’re a candidate, here are five tips from industry experts that you need to know:

  1. Avoid bankruptcy at all costs. Bankruptcy itself is a form of debt consolidation, but it comes at a disastrous cost to your credit rating. Whenever possible, try to negotiate directly with creditors before contacting a bankruptcy lawyer.
  2. Talk to a bank first about debt consolidation loans. In many areas, the Internet is a better starting place for loans, insurance, and similar financial areas. But that’s not the case here. Given the unique situation and high risk involved with debt consolidation loans, only a loan officer can truly give you the honest answers and facts you need to proceed on the best course.
  3. However, once you’ve talked to a loan officer, then move on to the Internet. With the expert information provided by a licensed loan officer, you’re in a much better position to judge online offers and see how they compare against offline ones.
  4. Negotiate directly with creditors before having any debts rolled into a consolidation loan. For unsecured debts, particularly those for which you’ve missed or made chronically late payments, many companies will be willing to negotiate significantly better terms if you threaten to stop making payments.
  5. Use credit card debt consolidation solutions as a last resort. While introductory rates are often attractive, they come with variable rates that typically balloon after the first year.

ComputerAs computers become faster and more nimble—and the software that runs them more intelligent—it’s only a matter of time before more and more industries see their workers replaced by computers and software applications. Even in medicine, robots are already performing some surgeries, and machines fill prescriptions at large mail order pharmacy centers.

One area particularly susceptible to “computer outsourcing” is the Human Resources department. Many HR departments already rely on algorithms and websites to sort and qualify candidates for interviews, a process that humans once did (and in many places still do—but for how long?) Whether or not the software does a better job seems almost inconsequential. Rather, corporations want to know whether it improves their bottom line. And the answer is almost invariably, “Yes, it does.”

Beyond the mildly controversial applicant sorting and rating software lies more mundane but even more effective comprehensive HR management software tools. In other words, software that handles mechanistic procedures like benefits tracking, payroll processing, document and form handling, regulatory compliance, etc.

These “process oriented” HR management solutions handle boring and repetitious tasks with what’s essentially perfect accuracy (as long as the software has been programmed correctly, of course). The benefit of these applications is that they only need to be done right once (or perhaps updated very occasionally to account for new regulations and policies). On the other hand, when a human handles these matters, every repetition is a new opportunity for error.

Timesheet tracking is one of the most obvious areas in which errors can prove costly, for both employers and employees. Given the high rate of errors on timesheets, it’s no wonder that timesheet software has grown dramatically in popularity in businesses of all types and sizes. With most work tracking apps, employees don’t have to remember to do much more than turn on their computer and log off at the end of the day.

With both mechanistic and analytic HR software on the rise, the question is—How long can traditional HR departments last? The day might not be long off when nothing more than hiring managers and IT are necessary for a smoothly running HR department.

Preparing for Retirement

December 15, 2012

RetirementIn an ideal world, we would all begin preparing for retirement on the first day beginning our careers. However, it is typical to put off thinking about it until our forties, fifties, or even later. Whenever you do decide to begin making these preparations, it’s important to keep in mind all the factors involved in retirement.

The foremost concern on most people’s minds is money. Obviously, you will need to have a reliable, steady income in order to support yourself during the later years. This is why we have pensions, but you should never become complacent about your pension and simply assume the money will be there when you need it. Pension annuity rates fluctuate, and you have the right to shop around for the best rate available.

With annuity rates continuing to stay low, you may want to consult with a personal financial adviser who can help you find ways to maximize your savings and pension plan. There are many different avenues you can pursue in order to make the best possible preparations for your future financial stability. For more about the ways in which a personal financial adviser can help you prepare for retirement, click here.

It is also very important to create a contingency plan, both for you and your spouse, to prepare for the possibility of a serious health condition. We all want to picture ourselves happily spending our retirement years relaxing on sunny beaches or enjoying Caribbean cruises, but the facts of life sometimes intervene in our plans. Be sure to make your wishes known, and make financial arrangements for the possibility of needing long-term personal healthcare either at home or in a specialized facility.

Finally, speak to a lawyer and create a personal will, so that your family members are aware of your end-of-life wishes. This takes the burden of making burial decisions off of their shoulders and ensures your final wishes will be fulfilled.

Should You Get a Cloud?

December 15, 2012

CloudYou may have heard a lot about clouds lately, and it’s not because you’re watching too much Weather Channel news. This term refers to an online storage system that allows you to back up all of your files and access them from any location. Just Cloud is a popular example of a cloud system. For more information you can check out a Just Cloud review.

At first you may think you don’t need a cloud. You have all of your documents, photos, and music files securely backed up in your computer – or at least you think you do. Remember that one bad virus can completely wipe out your hard drive, or render your computer completely useless. Even if you have files backed up on a jump drive or your cell phone, these small items are easily lost and can also break.

A cloud will give you the ability to access your information from any computer or device which connects to the internet. Just think how convenient that service would be when you need to upgrade your computer or smart phone. Since these devices don’t last forever and eventually have to be replaced, you can at least be sure that your important files are not lost in the transition. Once you have your new device, you can access your files which are securely stored on your cloud.

Having a cloud is a great money saver, too. Most of us don’t buy CDs at the record store anymore. All of our music is purchased online as MP3 files. If a virus destroys your computer or you lose your backup device, your entire music collection can be gone in a flash. This could mean hundreds or even thousands of dollars worth of files have been lost. Not to mention, if your music is a huge part of your life, you’re going to feel pretty lost without it. A cloud keeps your cherished and expensive music files safe, and you will be able to access them from any device in the future.

Read a Just Cloud review to see how popular and helpful this product can be. Just Cloud is compatible with so many different operating systems and platforms that you can feel confident in your ability to access your files when they are needed, no matter which of your devices you need to use.

Food CateringIn today’s languishing economy, more and more people are developing an interest in entrepreneurship. Perhaps they’ve realized that owning their own business gives them powder over their future—or maybe they understand that most employees contribute far more to the profitability of a business than the amount of income they receive in exchange for their work.

Whatever the reason, starting a business can be a rewarding venture—both personally and financially. Unfortunately, many businesses have high barriers to entry. But that’s not true of the catering business. An individual can start a private catering company—even if only for small events at first—with less than £10,000. Here are five steps for getting up and running:

  1. Find a quality, reasonably priced catering supplies distributor. If you can afford it, it pays to purchase all of your equipment. Otherwise, you can begin by renting.
  2. Develop a niche for your company. Perhaps it’s children’s birthday parties, elegant office lunches, or even emergency requests for next day catering equipment and services.
  3. Offer to cater a few events for friends or business associates at cost to develop a reputation and several solid (and grateful) references.
  4. Make connections with event planners—especially wedding planners. The local event planning community is usually a rather small one, so it pays to get to know the people who can drive significant amounts of business to you. Don’t rule out a bit of polite schmoozing either!
  5. Develop a professional website with high quality photos of extremely scrumptious food and alluring décor. You can save money by doing this yourself—or perhaps hiring a college student. With content management platforms like WordPress and Blogger, it’s easier than ever to build a website. You can also accept online orders through companies like PayPal and Allpay.net.
  6. Focus on a small community at first and consider advertising in local community newsletters. Also try to find publications that are interested in accepting content contributions—for example, recipes of ethnic specialties which reference your company at the end in the “about the author” section.

Starting a business isn’t easy, but it can pay huge dividends in the long run. Just remember that you’ll need to constantly network and look for sales opportunities if you decide to get into the catering business.

The Next Big Trend in Catering

December 13, 2012

ChiliCatering is similar to most other businesses, in that popular trends will often dictate the course of your business. If you’re thinking of starting a catering business, or want to expand your existing one with fresh new ideas, then looking at popular trends in food and party planning is a good idea. You’ll look at trends in food for obvious reasons, but trends in party planning are also important because many people like to use themes for their events that will tie into the food they choose to serve.

Now that vegan food is becoming so much more common, many people are incorporating it into their event planning. When two vegans get married they can hardly be expected to serve steak tartar to their wedding guests. If you advertise that you are now serving vegan-friendly fare, you can steal business from other catering businesses in the area who are more complacent about following trends. Vegan dishes are even popular among non-vegans who are simply trying to make healthier choices at some meals, so your business won’t be limited to strict vegans only.

Since theme parties are popular, you should think about ways you can incorporate your new vegan dishes into events. For example, many people are throwing environmentally friendly “green” weddings these days. Vegan food is the perfect compliment to this type of event, because it will emphasize the earthy, healthy, and sustainable message of the theme.

Your new vegan menu may also be popular at weddings or other events representing certain religious groups, so look for business in those communities as well. For example, many pagan people are strict vegans or at least try to eat as close to the earth as possible. Hindu weddings may be another type of event where your food is requested.

Whatever vegan dishes you decide to prepare, you’ll also want to make sure that you prepare and present it with the most reliable and elegant equipment possible. Check out catering supply sites like http://www.nextdaycatering.co.uk to discover some of the hottest catering supplies.

Apple iPhoneSome people find themselves with a broken electronic and believe the only way to go is to buy a new one. Since a standard phone contract only lasts two years, often these pieces of technology are the fastest to circulate, and good phones get tossed in the trash more than they should. Instead of switching out your perfectly good iPhone with a cracked screen, why don’t you consider iPhone repair services instead? Here are a few reasons you should consider repair over the purchase of a new one.

It’s Cheaper

Let’s say your screen is cracked and that’s the only reason you find yourself back at the Apple store. They’ll probably convince you to buy a new one, which when activated with a contract will still likely run you a few hundred dollars. A cracked screen, when you approach the proper experts, will cost you less than $20 to fix.

It’s More Convenient

You don’t have to go through the hassle of transferring all of your numbers and data over to a new phone. While phone companies have found a way to make contact information transfer fairly pain-free, you still have established apps, games, and other accounts on your current iPhone that you may want to maintain. The easiest way to keep all of that data is just to keep your current phone.

You Can Change Your Phone on Your Terms

Every day you keep an old phone over the two year contract period is one more day you aren’t paying for a new phone. That’s saving money that you may not otherwise have. Keeping your old phone also means you don’t need to sign a new contract, so if a better plan from another company comes up, you can switch without the massive fees associated with cancelling an account while still in contract.

When you choose to keep your iPhone and repair it at a place like Westbury iPhone Repair, you’re choosing to save yourself hassle and time that could be better spent.

New Fashions for Kids

December 13, 2012

Kid FashionIn the old days, practicality was key in children’s clothing items. Most people didn’t really care how their children looked, as long as they were clean and warm. Fashion didn’t really play much of a role for children, and clothing was mostly designed to be child-friendly. Materials were easy to clean, snaps were used instead of buttons, and shoes were very basic and meant to be worn in every situation. Now, however, manufacturers are responding to popular demand for more fashionable children’s clothing. People have figured out that clothes and accessories for children can be convenient and easy to wear, but also be attractive and follow current fashion trends. For many parents, letting their child share their personal sense of style is part of the fun of parenting.

When it comes to kids shoes stockists have begun to carry a wide variety of styles and colors that are popular with both children and parents. Children may have different shoes to coordinate with different outfits, and styles often mirror popular adult fashions. For example, the recent trend in women’s boots is tall riding boot styles with a flat bottom or very low heel. Manufacturers are now producing these same styles for little girls, so that they can dress up like Mummy. When paired with tucked-in skinny jeans and a stylish tunic top, little girls can mirror their mother’s fashion sense.

Other styles popular with children include kids Converse shoes. These styles directly mimic the adult versions, so that children can enjoy wearing shoes that mimic their parents’ styles. They’re also a good choice for active children, because they hold up well to running and playing. This makes them not only a fashionable choice, but appropriate for daily school wear as well. Kids love the fun colors and designs, and adults appreciate the quality construction that will last until the child grows into the next size.

Antique FurnitureWhen choosing furnishings for your home, you may be facing a common dilemma. Should you choose new furniture or antiques? Each type of furniture has its own pros and cons, but for most people antique furniture ends up being the best choice.

New furniture usually follows current fashion trends, so if you want a certain look that is popular right now, you may be attracted to trendy new furniture stores. These stores also offer zero percent financing plans, which can be a tempting lure at first. However, if you miss one payment or are late by even one day, the interest on that loan will skyrocket. Don’t make your final decision based solely on these payment plans, because they can really backfire. Another downside of new furniture is that it simply isn’t constructed the way antique furniture usually is. If you think about it, there is a very good reason an old chest of drawers can be 80 years old and still look as good as new. It’s highly unlikely anything manufactured today will still be around in 80 years. For that matter, many new pieces are worn out after only 5 or 10 years.

Antique furniture, on the other hand, usually provides solid construction that will often last the rest of your life. If you furnish your home with quality antiques, you may never need to purchase another piece of furniture. The styles are also timeless, and a creative decorator can certainly mix them in with new furniture if you want a more modern, eclectic look. Another great thing about antiques is that they are often multi-functional, and can serve a modern purpose that is quite different from their original intent. For example, antique chests actually make a wonderful base for flat-panel televisions. They can also be stacked in a corner and topped with a lamp or other decorative items. Creativity is key with antiques, and if you keep an open mind and experiment you can end up with unique décor that is both stylish and of the highest quality.

Purchasing a Fixer-Upper Home

December 13, 2012

RoofingFor many people, buying a brand new home is simply beyond their budget. If you’re tired of renting and still want to become a home owner, one option is to purchase an older, fixer-upper home and renovate it yourself. You can find a great bargain this way, especially if you mostly focus your search on homes that need significant cosmetic improvements. If a sound structure exists within the home, then cosmetic work can be done slowly over time. You can usually do most of this work yourself, which will save you a vast amount of money.

Of course, many older homes need more than simple cosmetic upgrades. Sometimes there is significant and expensive work to be done on a vital part of the home, such as the plumbing, electrical wiring, or roof. If you’re really short on cash, or you have to spend all of your savings on the down payment, you may not wish to purchase a home that needs vital repairs right away. If you do have some money to spend on costly repairs, try to find a home that only needs one major repair completed immediately. This way you can get that repair out of the way, and continue working on smaller repairs yourself. If a home needs several very large and expensive repairs it should not be your first choice unless you have a significant amount of money to spend upfront on these issues.

Many times it is the roof that needs to be replaced. When looking at older homes, remember to ask when the roof was last replaced. If it’s not in horrible shape, you may be able to live with it for another six months or year while saving for a new roof. Once you’re ready to hire roofers Leeds has several roofing companies who can come out and give you an estimate on the work.

When you’re looking at older homes, remember to hire an expert to come with you and give estimates on the cost of renovations. Also ask them to prioritize the list and give you a timeline, so that you can see how urgent each repair is. If electrical work needs to be done immediately in order to make the home safe, for example, you might decide to pass on the home if you don’t have that much money. On the other hand, if the repairs can be reasonably spread out over a couple of years you may be able to find quite a bargain in a fixer-upper.

Back Pain During Pregnancy

December 13, 2012

PregnancyPregnancy affects pretty much every system in your body, and your bones and joints are no exception to that rule. During pregnancy various hormones have consequences beyond what you would normally expect to be related to your condition. For example, they usually cause a woman’s joints to loosen so that her hips will be able to widen enough to allow the baby to pass through during labor. Bones are also negatively affected by her body’s increased need for calcium, which is one reason doctors recommend a calcium supplement for the duration of the pregnancy. This is also why many doctors will advise against heavy lifting during pregnancy. The idea that lifting will cause a miscarriage is an old wives tale. The true reason bending and lifting are discouraged is that the softening of joints allow for an increased risk of injury. If you hurt your back, the baby will almost always be just fine, but you’ll be in significant pain for quite some time.

Another type of pain that occurs during pregnancy is called sciatica. This type of pain will be felt in the lower back, hips, or down the backs of your legs. It’s not actually caused by bone or joint problems; this type of pain originates from the sciatic nerve which is located in that area. Sciatica can occur in non-pregnant people, too, but during pregnancy it is caused by the weight of the pregnant uterus bearing down upon that nerve. When sciatica is caused by pregnancy, the pain will often diminish or go away once the baby is delivered and pressure on that nerve has been relieved. It can, however, persist in some women and require treatment beyond pregnancy.

Since you shouldn’t take pain relievers while pregnant, you will have to rely on other methods to deal with persistent pain of any sort. First, report any problems to your doctor rather than assuming it’s just normal pregnancy aches and pains. Very rarely a low backache and other symptoms can signal the start of premature labor or other medical problems. Once your situation has actually been diagnosed as normal back pain, you can use heating pads, rest, massage, and other methods to deal with the pain.

Flea MarketContrary to popular belief, you don’t have to spend a lot of money on expensive new furniture in order to have a beautifully decorated home. Antiques will lend a timeless quality to your home’s décor, and you can usually keep using these pieces for the rest of your life because they are so well constructed. Of course, quality antiques can also be expensive. That’s why decorating with thrift store or flea market finds can be an inexpensive way to furnish your home with nice antique pieces.

The key to shopping flea markets is to keep an open mind about the furniture you find, and remember that spending a small amount of money and some time repairing certain pieces can bring them back to their original glory. Always approach each item with an eye for quality, and disregard current cosmetic problems. The most important thing is structural integrity. If a piece is soundly constructed of quality materials, then it is just a matter of refinishing or painting it to bring it back to life. Flea market treasures can often be purchased at such a discount that even after you spend a little money restoring them, you still end up with an amazing bargain.

If you don’t know how to do the work yourself, you can always hire a professional to restore your new furniture. There are French polishers in Yorkshire who can lend their years of experience and expertise to your project. They can repair small amount of damage or completely renovate a piece, depending upon your needs and aesthetic preferences. The end result will be a beautiful piece of furniture that adds a decorative touch to your home, for a fraction of the cost of new furniture. By using a professional you will be assured of a quality restoration for your antique, and your bargain flea market find can become a treasured heirloom to be passed down for generations.

Build a Greener Home

December 13, 2012

Green HomeIf you’re planning to build a home in the near future, you may be paying attention to all of the buzz about building “green” homes. Taken literally, you might be picturing a lot of houses all painted the same green color, but that’s not what the term means. “Green” refers to environmentally friendly building methods. This can encompass a lot of things from recycled building materials, materials which preserve forests, or innovative technology which allows for renewable green energy sources within the home.

For example, you may wish to utilize SIPs (structural insulated panels) when building your home. These panels have many benefits aside from being ecologically friendly, such as providing a strong structure that is resistant to many different types of natural disasters. The panels are prefabricated, providing for a much shorter building time. From an environmental standpoint, they are made of sustainable materials and have an ODP zero insulated core. The materials are recyclable, making the building process much more friendly to the environment. The high degree of insulation means that the panels are energy efficient, saving you money on heating and cooling costs as well as lowering your energy use.

If you’re really serious about conserving energy, installing solar panels on your roof will reduce or completely eliminate your dependence upon conventional electric services. This will also save you money over the long run through your utility bills. Some people who live in sunny climates even make money from their solar panels, because they create more energy than the household can use. The extra electricity can be sold back to traditional utility companies and provide a small side income. Also remember to install energy-efficient appliances in your new home, to reduce the amount of energy you even need to use.

When equipping the inside of your home, investigate green solutions like bamboo materials for flooring. When used in place of hardwood floors, bamboo flooring can help save forests which are cut down to harvest building materials. Bamboo can be grown quickly, and so it is a renewable source for supplies. There are also many other options for the interior of your home, using recycled or recyclable materials, so that you don’t add more waste to your local landfill.