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What an Online Presence Can Do for You


What an Online Presence Can Do for You

Whether you’re starting small and plan to stay that way or intend to scale up to Fortune 500 size, an online presence is an important branding tool. According to Google, 97% of consumers search for businesses online. If the vast majority of consumers are online, isn’t it in the best interest of your business to be as well?

Chances are your business has open and close hours. When your physical storefront is closed your opportunities to convert don’t have to wait until opening. The internet has no closing time and your web space can be a permanently open showroom. Prospective customers or clients can view your digital storefront from the comfort of their homes or on their phones while on the go. This is invaluable to sales based businesses because e-commerce means opportunities to convert are 24/7.

What an online presence says about your brand

Depending on the source, over 50% of consumers don’t trust a business without a website. The internet age has enabled people to verify anything they may not immediately trust. An online presence gives your brand a starting point that you control. The presentation and initial reaction to your business online are entirely up to you. Make it a positive experience.

Marketing beyond your locality

“If your business is not on the internet, then your business will be out of business” – Bill Gates. The beauty of the internet is that it isn’t limited to zip codes. An ad in the newspaper or fliers around town may be great for local business, but your website can reach literally anyone else with internet access. The effectiveness of this comes down to company success and personal marketing strategy, but the benefits of global reach are massive.

A pressure free environment for your buyers

Your online showroom or storefront enables prospective consumers to gather information on their items of interest from a place of comfort under no outside pressure. This is invaluable as consumers love to buy but generally aren’t interested in being sold to. If they’re immediately interested they can buy on the spot, but they maintain the option to enter your brick and mortar location to ask further questions.

How to begin

The most popular way to begin is to set up a WordPress blog or site. You can select from a plethora of colors and templates to match the ideal “feel” for your online presence. When listing information on your site, take into consideration questions you’re asked most often by customers. Here is some basic information –

  • Business hours
  • Brick and mortar location
  • Menu if your business is a restaurant
  • Sales and specials
  • Product list (as well as if they’re out of stock)
  • Contact information

Links to other online media

Once you’ve properly updated your site, it’s time to make sure it gets noticed. This is where SEO or “search engine optimization” comes into play.

SEO for the layman

Bringing acronyms into play can make things intimidating and SEO can be complicated at times, so here is the gist of what you need to know –

  • The vast majority of internet users trust search engines to find websites.
  • SEO relates to how well search engines can find your website.
  • Consistent, relevant and well-formatted posts to your blog aid in SEO.
  • Content by others mentioning your business aid in SEO.

Those looking to scale majorly should contact a professional.

This explanation is oversimplifying the concept but on purpose. SEO is an art form unto itself and there are other areas of your web footprint to focus on before delving into it.

For those looking for a professional online presence

If you’d prefer to keep your focus on the growth and sales end of your business and leave the web design and development to the professionals there are a multitude of options out there for you. When searching for a professional, these are some key things to look for –

  • The design and function of their site
  • The capability to work with the platform you prefer (WordPress etc.)
  • That their websites are responsive (mobile ready)
  • An understanding of Google, Adwords and other relevant SEO tools

Social media and API integration capabilities

Your web presence can also extend onto Facebook and various forms of social media. In fact, both are suggested for those looking to take their business to the next level and reach a greater number of consumers. If you’re in the market for a web design team and in Toronto, Canada, you need look no further than Toronto web design and development. They’re more than capable of meeting all your early web presence needs and have a service to update your current website. For ore information visit: Toronto web design and development – Outshine your competitors!

first aid kit


5 Items Your Home Emergency Kit Needs

Disasters can happen at any time. Every family needs to be prepared in the event of a major power outage, storm or other event. While many families put off creating a disaster preparedness plan, there is no time like the present to get started.


Aside from writing out contingency plans for every type of disaster, homeowners should put together a small emergency kit to help them get through troubled times. In many cases, your emergency kit is going to consist of things you already own. This means there is no excuse not to know where these items are.


If you aren’t sure what items belong in an emergency kit, read this guide to get more information.


Flashlights, Lanterns, and Candles

Light is incredibly important. Whether you are without power for a few minutes or for a few weeks, you will need to be able to see in your dark house. Most families include a single flashlight and a few extra batteries in their kits, thinking that their smartphones will provide them with all the light they need. The problem is, batteries die after a few hours. If you are without power for a long period of time, you could wind up using up your light sources on the first night. Instead, pick up a few candles and a lighter at the store. Manual crank flashlights and oil lanterns also make much better alternatives to traditional flashlights.


Smartphone Battery Pack and Charging Cable

If disaster strikes and you’re at 1%, you might not be able to use a wall socket to charge your phone and call for help. Having a fully-charged extra battery pack and cable with your emergency supplies could make all the difference. If you live with family, consider including a pack for each member.


Air Compressor

Transportation can be vital if you are trying to evacuate your home. Whether you are escaping on bicycle or by car, you don’t want to risk tire problems. If the whole town is without electricity, your local gas station probably isn’t going to have an available pump. Not only are air compressors great for everyday use, small portable designs can go right next to the disaster kit in your home. You have to understand the details to realize just how important and versatile portable air compressors can be.


First Aid Kit

The first aid kit is something that every family knows to include, but few people ever do. A package of bandages and a bottle of aspirin can be helpful, but it certainly isn’t the same thing as a first aid kit. Don’t rely on pre assembled kits to get the job done. Grab a small box or bag and fill it with bandages, peroxide, medical gauze, safety pins, plastic gloves, tweezers and a small sewing kit. If there is room, a full-size bottle of aspirin or ibuprofen is recommended, but be mindful of expiration dates.



If there is an emergency, you need to be able to eat food and drink water. Selecting a few non-perishable goods, whether they be cans of soup or freeze-dried camping rations, and including them in your kit is a great idea. Keep a few gallons of purified drinking water and a rain catching kit just in case. Make sure you have a few days’ worth of supplies for each family member so you don’t have to venture out of the home if conditions aren’t safe.


Where to Put Your Emergency Kit

An emergency kit can go anywhere in the home, but make sure each family member knows exactly where it is. Many people keep their kits in the garage, as it makes it easy to use the air compressor or flashlight and then put it back. It also makes it easy to grab these crucial items if you are leaving the home in a hurry.

While it can be difficult to think about what we will do in the event of an emergency, it is important to be prepared. No one sees disasters coming, so it is better to build a kit and not need it. Make sure you and your loved ones are ready for anything with a disaster preparedness kit.



How to Build an Instagram Following

Instagram. Not as wordy as Facebook, not as witty as Twitter. A place where a picture is worth a thousand words. A place where some pictures are accompanied by a thousand words (less ideal). Either way, Instagram is slowly stealing more and more of our attention as it takes its spot as one of the most popular social media websites on the internet today.

Some people use it to show just how much they’ve benched that day, some people use it to channel their inner model, and some people just use it to keep the relatives pacified with cute baby photos. However you’re using it, there’s an important thing to remember, and that is that it’s a social media website – it’s interactive, and your profile has the ability to capture the attention of hundreds, sometimes thousands of followers. But it’s a community, and you’ve got to do your bit to become a successful, devoted Instagrammer who recognises exactly why your followers are there, and how you can keep them coming.

There are numerous ways to grow a following on Instagram so that the people out there that didn’t even realise they needed a daily picture of your dog now can’t walk out the door without checking to see if you’ve put up a new one. For example, I found a coupon from http://followadder.com/ which gets you 20% off the usual price for their services. Follow Adder takes over the boring and mundane tasks that you have to keep repeating to maintain a successful Instagram account – posting scheduled photos for you, engaging in your growing community, and easily managing multiple Instagram accounts for you. It acts in replace of you in all the right ways, because it is automated to know exactly what it takes to build a successful Instagram account and grow your following.

Here’s a couple of tasks that it completes so that you don’t have to that really help to build your Instagram following.

It follows similar accounts to your one. Remember, Instagram is a community, and the more you participate as an active member of that community, the more followers you will get in return. You’ve got to interact beyond simply uploading photos to your own page. A good thing to remember when doing this is to only follow accounts that you find most interesting and relative to your own, otherwise your Instagram will quickly become overloaded. But Follow Adder can do all this for you, and knows when to stop the “follow” button – probably before you do.

Like and comment on people’s pictures. You can’t just start following people and then stop the interaction there. Liking and commenting on other people’s pictures will make them feel good while also putting your name out there for them to see, making it more likely for them to like or comment in return and therefore check out your page. Staying active can lead to a steady stream of new followers, which is why consistency is key – one of Follow Adder’s best advantages.

Start a conversation with your followers. When you post captions with your photos, try to come up with questions or “call-to-actions” that prompt your followers to want to comment and answer, or come up with an idea for themselves related to your photo. Things like “share your story in the comments” really helps followers to feel like you’re being relatable and personable, which will encourage them to be so in return and leave comments on your posts. This also helps to drive the community that is Instagram to your page, drawing the conversation to you and what you have to post about.

Instagram can be a fun, fickle, mysterious community that takes dedication, consistency and thinking beyond the filters and the photos that you put up every day. Apps like Follow Adder can really help to make this whole process a little bit easier, allowing you the space and time to really think about what you want out of a successful Instagram account and how you’re going to keep those growing followers satisfied as they become more interested in what you’ve got to post. Leave the more boring bits to the professionals, and have some fun with those filters.


Gaming Mice Reviews Based On Data (From Amazon)

When it comes to gaming accessories, a lot of the decision-making comes down to your preferences. And no accessory is more important to a PC gamer than the mouse. Are you left-handed? Do you have expensive taste? Does size matter? Are you brand loyal? Do you prefer style over function or the other way around? All excellent questions that will help narrow down your search to the best mouse for your needs. We perused Amazon’s catalog of gaming mice to find the top five based on category and rating. Check them out below. If you’re looking for other choices, check out Armchair Empire’s Top 5 of 2017.

Average Rating

Based on most reviews and average 5-star rating, the EUKYMR Wired Computer Gaming Mouse with LED Optical USB hits the top of the chart. However, this is currently unavailable on Amazon’s site. Uniquely designed with a sleek size and stylish LED lighting, reviewers claim this mouse is perfect for the price range. Designed for right-handed gamers, this mouse leaves reviewers excited to utilize the extra buttons for plus/minus, forward/backward control. The ergonomic design and sliding rollers are one of the most highly praised features of the mouse. This product has 100% 5-star rating on Amazon. Want even more proof that it’s one of the best? The product only first appeared on Amazon on June 25th, and has already sold out, with 248 5-star customer reviews.

Want proof that it’s not all it’s cracked up to be? None of those reviews are verified purchases. Take that however you wish.

Current Price: Unavailable. But it could be restocked soon. The brand also turns up results on eBay.

Coming in second place is the EUKYMR Gaming Mouse Backlit Wired optical Gaming Mouse. With a price of $39.99. Also with 100% 5-star reviews, this mouse has similar boasts in the comments of its 225 reviewers, but has no verified purchases. Which means, coming in third place is The Optical Wireless Mouse by LseaM. For a price of $10.99, you can afford to take a risk on the third-place mouse on Amazon. With a 100% 5-Star rating, unlike the first and second place top reviewed mice, this product actually has 31 verified purchases of its 63 reviews. Hopefully you noticed, however that this is a wireless mouse. The top two best rated mice were wired, but, the verified purchase reviewers of this product claim that there is virtually no lag, and that the accuracy is amazing for a wireless mouse.

Amazon’s Choice

Think of an Amazon’s Choice product as the most well-rounded choice in the market. It is highly rated, a great price, and if available to ship immediately. Unlike our top-rated options from the previous category, the chances of being highly satisfied with this product are greater because you won’t have buyer’s remorse from spending too much money, or feel cheated if when you get the product it doesn’t meet your expectations (as you can tell, I’m awfully skeptical of high-rated products with no verified purchases).

Our Amazon’s Top Choice product is the HAVIT HV-MS672 Ergonomic Wired Mouse, with 7 LED colors, and 6 buttons, this product comes in at $20 for a regular price, but only $7.99 if you’re a Prime member. With free one-day shipping, you could be plugged in and playing right away. Blowing our competition away in the previous category, this product has a whopping 3,239 out of 3243 verified purchases. The average rating for this product t is 4.1 out of 5 stars (59% of reviewers left a 5-star review. A disgruntled buyer claimed that they bought two of the mice and they flat out didn’t work. Havit responded to remind the customer that the product has a 1-year warranty and that this case is rare, but they do have a no-return policy, which means you’ll have to use that warranty if you are one of the few who receive a non-working product.

The mouse has an amazing design and looks really cool. One of the best draws to the product is that you’ll have it the next day you purchase through Amazon. Many reviewers enjoyed the ergonomic design and its response time. Check it out for yourself–with high marks from reviewers, and Amazon backing the product, chances are you’ll be pleased with your decision.

Highest Price

It wouldn’t be fair for me to list off the top-priced items as they appear on Amazon, unless any of your are interested in paying $4000 for a mouse who’s newer model counterpart is only $50. Maybe it’s just me, but if you have that much money laying around, you might want to invest it something more worthwhile. There are cheaper products on the market that work just as well. Troll me if I’m wrong.

Scrolling down a bit and you’ll find products ranging from $300 to $800, all with only a few available, most from third-party sellers. Keep scrolling and you’ll find the Logitech G9x Programmable Laser Gaming Mouse with Precision Grips. For Prime members this price comes in at $238 and free one-day shipping. This mouse has interchangeable grips to find the best fit for your preferences, is programmable up to five ready-to-play profiles, and has lighting options to match your mouse to the rest of your system. Another bonus this product is verified by reviewers to work well on Windows 8 and 10. With 4.4 out of 5 stars and 490/490 verified purchase reviews, this is the best mouse on the list, if you’re looking to shell out some cash.

Bonus: Left-Handed Mouse

If you’re one of the many left-handed gamers who feel ostracized by, literally, everyone and every product, have no fear. I haven’t forgotten you. The Razer Naga Left Handed MMO Gaming Mouse is a wired gaming mouse and has 12 programmable thumb buttons, one-size-fits-all design for usability, and is responsive to your moves with an 8200dpi 4G laser. The mouse can be wired, or charged and used wireless. Priced at $79.99 with free one-day shipping for Prime customers, this product is a great buy, for a little extra cash. All 1,028 reviews are verified purchases, and the product has a middle-range of average positive reviews. At 3.9 out of 5 stars, most people enjoyed this mouse, while others were not sold on the one-size-fits-all design. Of the displeased reviewers, the consensus was that the size was too big and uncomfortable. Although many of the negative reviews claim that customer support was not helpful when they reached out, every reviewer had a comment from the company apologizing and seeking to make things right. All in all, this mouse seems like a great option for the south-pawed of the gaming world.

Need more choices? Armchair Empire reviewed and tested 41 and picked the 5 Best Gaming Mice of 2017. Check these out and compare them to what you see here.


Cleaning Your Home: Where to Start

Maintaining a good, clean home can be a challenge. There are many small details throughout the home that can have an impact on overall appearance. For example, if there are spots on your television screen, it can make the whole living room feel old and dusty. Use this quick cleaning checklist to learn how to spot-clean your home and keep it looking its best.

Foyer and Entrance Way

While the foyer sees a lot of foot traffic, people don’t usually spend a lot of time in the room. This makes it very easy to clean. Simply wipe everything down and mop or vacuum once per week. The biggest concern about maintaining your foyer should be the décor. This area needs to feel warm and welcoming to guests. If your foyer looks outdated after cleaning, try adding modern wall art or seasonal crafts to brighten things up. 

Living Room

Depending on the layout of your home, you could spend a lot of time cleaning the living room. For example, if you must walk through the living room to get to the kitchen, you will need to vacuum more often. If you store a lot of items in the room, you may also spend a lot of time dusting. Media shelves are a prime example, as they often hold dozens of small items, each one needing cleaning on a weekly basis.

You will also likely have furniture to clean in the living area. Televisions, as mentioned before, can easily become dusty. Even the spaces between the couch cushions can collect thick layers of dust. Covering furniture with washable cloths can be a great way to maintain the appearance of the furniture. Then, all you need to do is throw the covers in the wash once a week to keep the living room looking great.


The kitchen may seem like a complex area to clean, but it can be one of the easiest. The trick is to work your way down when cleaning. Start by scrubbing the counters, sink, stove, and dining table every day after you eat. These areas are at eye-level, so they are going to be seen right away by guests. Your floor is the last area that gets noticed; however, it should be mopped at least twice a week.

Like other areas of the home, small details matter when it comes to keeping a kitchen clean. Leaving dirty dishes in the sink, for example, can cause odors and attract bugs. 


Bathrooms should be one of the first areas of a home that get scrubbed down. These areas are prone to mildew and dirt buildup due to excess water being used in the small space. Proper maintenance is also important as there can be huge consequences for not following through with repairs. For example, an untended shower can quickly grow bacteria. The Shower Expert lists a wide range of cleaning tips to teach you how to scrub tiles and clear out drains. Plan on scrubbing all of the fixtures at least twice a week.

In addition to basic cleaning, you may also need to inspect the fixtures for damage on a regular basis. Because shower heads, toilets, and sinks are used every day, so they are prone to damage. If something doesn’t appear quite right, you should contact a local professional to identify the problem. 


Bedrooms can be the easiest area to clean. The two most noticeable features are usually the bed and the floor. Making the bed daily is a good starting point, but you will need to keep the floor clear if you want to make an impression. Keep all lose items, such as toys or books, off of the ground. If you need to, invest in a few storage containers or a night stand to control the clutter. Then, vacuum the room twice a week.

Keeping your home clean can be easy if you know where to start. By focusing on the places people notice the most, you can make an impression. If you want to ensure your guests are comfortable, clean bathrooms, kitchens, and living rooms first. Pay close attention to detail to ensure each area is highly functional and looking its best.


The benefits and drawbacks of WiFi

Nowadays, everyone wants to be connected to the internet. Especially the millennials cannot imagine themselves without being connected to their favorite social media accounts. They keep updating their profiles with their photographs and news about their day. In fact, some people tend to exaggerate since even when they go out with their friends, they ask for the Wi-Fi password of the place they are in.

But, how many people do actually know and understand what Wi-Fi is? The answer is simple. Most people do not even know what Wi-Fi means. That is really ironic since you can use the internet (and thus the Wi-Fi) in order to find information on almost anything!

In this article, we will try to present the most important benefits and drawbacks of Wi-Fi in order to help you realize if it is actually good or bad for you and your everyday life.

Let’s start with the benefits of Wi-Fi:

  1. Easy Access

As the title suggests, connecting to a Wi-Fi network is really easy and it does not require any technical knowledge. Once the initial setup is in place, all you need to do is find your desired network and connect. Even when you are travelling or when you are in a café, it is really easy to connect to their Wi-Fi network. Just ask for their password.

  1. It does not cost much

The great thing with the Wi-Fi is that the initial setup does not cost much. In fact, most service providers will give you for free the router that you will need for your setup. Then the fee that you pay every month is relatively small considering that you can connect as many devices as you want.

  1. Productivity

After the introduction of internet, it is not necessary to be in office in order to work. You can be wherever in the world you like. Especially with the use of Wi-Fi it is possible to work in your favorite environment. Of course this increases your productivity since you can work from your convenient location.

  1. You can connect many devices simultaneously

As said before, you can connect to your Wi-Fi as many devices as you want. Of course this will have an effect on your speed, but still it is a great benefit. Imagine how much it would cost you to have a separate Wi-Fi connection for every device you own in your house! The cost would be really big anddeterring.

Now, let’s see some of the drawbacks of Wi-Fi:

  1. Limited radius of action

As you probably know if you have used Wi-Fi at least once in your life, the range of Wi-Fi is limited. With a standard equipment the typical range of a common network is only a few tens of meters. In fact, a typical home router with Wi-Fi in the room has a limited radius of action of up to 45 meters. In most houses, this range is more than ok, but if you have a big house with a yard, the simple router does not cover your needs.

  1. Security

For those who use Wi-Fi in public areas, the news is not so good. Wireless networks usually use the common encryption methods that are known to have major security weakness. Thus, you cannot actually know that you are 100% safe. This is really important for those who perform their financial transactions online since they can be potentially hacked.

  1. Quality Issues

As said above, one of the great disadvantages of Wi-Fi is that it has a limited range. Another issue, related to that is the fact that at high density Wi-Fi points that operate in the same channel, which usually happens apartment buildings and cafeterias that are very close to each other, these channels can interfere with each other and thus the end quality that the user receives can be significantly affected.

  1. Speed

It is a fact that if you test the speed of a wired network and a wireless one, the latter one will be significantly slower. In many cases, this difference can be very big. This can cause many other problems like lower call quality when you use the Wi-Fi from your phone in order to communicate.

Even though, the Wi-Fi technology is not perfect and has many flaws, improvements are constantly made in order to fix all the above issues.

Now, let us see one fun fact about the Wi-Fi. There are over sixteen 802.11 Wi-Fi protocols. The first one was established in the 1990s and some of them are proposed for the future. If you want to find out more, The Smart Future has tried to describe them as accurately as possible. It is always good to have a deep knowledge on everything that you use in your everyday life, right?


The USB Mic: Convenience, Mobility and Perfect Delivery

In the audio universe, everything begins with the microphone. However, when you are on the move, you face a big challenge of producing music because traditional microphones and other tools aren’t convenient. This is where a USB microphone comes in handy. All you need is to attach a single cable to the computer and you have a full-blown recording studio. Let us understand the technology behind this mic so that you can make a smart buying decision.

What is It?

Don’t be fooled, the USB mic contains all the elements that a normal mic contains including a fully functional diaphragm, capsule and more. The only difference is the inclusion of 2 circuits: the A/D converter and an onboard pre-amp. Having the online preamp saves you the hustle of having an external mic preamp or connecting the mic to a mixer.

An A/D converter converts the mic’s output from analog direct to digital so that you can plug the mic direct into the computer to use it with recording software. The converter makes the whole process easy – plugging the mic into the computer, running your software and recording your mix.

The mic comes with an audio interface incorporated directly into the body of the mic, making the mic plug-and-play and very convenient. You don’t need an extra piece of software to record audio. The mics will work using the standard drivers and audio manager on your operating system, whether Windows or Mac. Some companies also give you additional control software that you can use to adjust the volume level and other parameters. You can also get mics that give you the capability to plug the earphones into the mic itself, making everything easier.

A Variety to Choose From

These mics come in a wide variety of sizes, types, pickup patterns and features. You get to choose a mic with a smaller diaphragm or one with a larger one. USB mics with a larger diaphragm have a larger surface area for recording, making them ideal for those situations that need rich detail and higher sensitivity. On the other hand, choose a mic with a small diaphragm to enjoy a high level of internal shock mounting, so that you can hold the mic without producing any handling noises. Check out some of the top mics at http://microphonegeeks.com/pro/usb-mics/.

Cardioid Pattern

Most of the USB mics you will come across feature a cardioid pattern. The heart-shaped design is very useful since it focuses on the sound source without being too wide or too narrow, making it the perfect mic for different uses. This pattern also makes it possible to enjoy perfect sound emanating from off-axis sources while rejecting sound from the rear.  However, you need to experiment with the placement so that you get the perfect sound. See how the mic you have behaves at different positions and distances.

1,001 Applications

You will find various situations ideal for a UB microphone:


Lugging several pieces of audio gear can be inconveniencing and tiresome. Why not carry a USB mic to the venue, plug it into your computer and spend more time concentrating on gathering the information you need?


If you have an idea or a message you wish to pass across, you can use podcasts. However, it becomes challenging because you need to concentrate on the information you wish to deliver, rather than spending more time on the setup of the equipment. The easy to set up, plug and play nature of these mics make them superb for podcasts. All you need is find a convenient place, plug the mic into the laptop and you can share them with the world.


When it comes to voiceovers, sound quality becomes paramount. Many voiceover artistes aren’t sound engineers; all they need is a quick setup that can allow them to do their thing. Having a USB mic lets you enjoy unlimited sound quality without the need for dozens of cables and gear. You also don’t need extensive expertise to get into the game.

Quick Recording

Whether you are an artiste traveling on the road or you have just come up with an idea you wish to record, a USB mic becomes very useful. This gives you a quick and effortless way to record your audio within minutes.

You can also add clarity to your VoIP sessions, Skype, news gathering or capture any multimedia project. You can also record the rehearsal for review. You can do all these using a single cable connection. No fuss. No muss.

Dynamic or Condenser?

Simply put, dynamic mics come self-powered and create a signal using the sound pressure that moves a cartridge coil located between a set of magnets. On the other hand, condenser mics work by applying an external current to the circuit in the mic. This current is referred to professionally as phantom power.

Condenser mics offer a smoother audio response over a wider frequency range. Dynamic mics can handle a higher dynamic range and use a more powerful magnet structure, making them perfect for stronger vocal performance.

What Speed Should You Choose?

The speed, often referred to as the sample rate, is denoted in kilohertz (kHz). To make sure you capture the whole spectrum (or most of it) of frequencies within the range of the human hearing, you need to have a mic with a minimum sample rate of 44.1 kHz, which is the rate used on CDs. This rate is adequate for general recording purposes. A higher sample rate is ideal for professional production, offering the best editing and definition options.

You also need to consider the bit depth of the mic. This refers to the number of bits of info each sample holds. This depth determines the resolution or detail of each recording. CDs use a 16-bit depth, which is the minimum your USB mic should handle. You can as well go for a 24-bit sample, which some of the USB mics can deliver comfortably.

The Latency

Latency refers to how long the sound takes to be converted from raw sound into the digital format. Latency can be a problem especially during playback. Generally, the higher the USB mic quality, the lower the latency. This is one of the reasons to avoid cheap mics especially if you plan to use them for real-time monitoring.

Above and Beyond

There is more to a USB mic than just picking any and connecting it to your computer. In as much as it makes things easier for you, you also have to make sure you get a perfect mic. With so many options available on the market, you ought to take time and choose what suits you. Once you have the best mic for your task, you are assured of mobility and convenient recording.


Cleaning tips for people who hate cleaning

Hate cleaning? You’re not alone. While a clean home is something pretty much everyone aspires to, many of us often put off cleaning our home until dirt and mess build up. This is especially true if you are busy, have kids or pets or are ill, stressed or depressed, although, ironically, many of these conditions can actually be made worse by living in a dirty home. Clutter and mess can make even a bright, spacious apartment seem cramped, dark and depressing. If you’re physically ill, they can also worsen your symptoms, making recovery even slower. It’s a vicious cycle that is difficult to get out of once the mess gets too much. The best way, of course, is never to get there in the first place, keeping your home relatively neat and tidy to begin with. We’ve collected a few tips to help you get into the habit of cleaning your home regularly. They’re based on things we’ve learned the hard way, so hopefully they can help you have an easier life!

Make cleaning part of your routine

If you watch people whose houses are always super clean, you’ll see that they often have one thing in common – they clean as they go along. They wash the dishes after every meal, they clean every spill as it happens and they sweep the floor every morning, evening, or both. If you hate cleaning, this may seem like an annoying process – why not clean once in a while and get it over with? But while it’s true that cleaning thoroughly once a week or even once a month can appear to save you some effort psychologically, cleaning as you go along helps keep your home clean constantly. On top of that, it only takes a few minutes each time, so is actually not very demanding.

Make it fun

Put some music on, open the windows and make cleaning into something you may actually enjoy. If you’re a part of a couple or a family, make it a family event where everyone is working together. You can reward kids for participating in a clean-up to make it something they associate with something fun. But why not reward yourself as well? Make a date with yourself to go out somewhere nice when you’re done or buy yourself a present every time you do a big clean-up. Maybe you’ll learn to associate cleaning with something fun too!

Use the right tools for the job

Cleaning with poor cleaning products or tools can be a drag. You want to use effective stuff that will make the job easier and, more importantly, quicker. Good products, tools like mops and brooms, as well as appliances such as hoovers, floor cleaners, etc. are among the main factors that affect your cleaning experience. Investing in a good hoover or steam cleaner, for example, can save you a lot of time and effort when cleaning the house and make the job look professional. A strong all-purpose cleaner can make cleaning kitchen worktops and bathroom surfaces a breeze. Make sure you research or try a few brands to see which ones work best for you and your home.

If all else fails – get help

If all else fails and you can afford it – get a cleaner. Many people have a problem with the concept of someone else cleaning for them, but cleaning is a job like any other and there is no shame in giving someone work. If you are too busy to clean your own space but still want it cleaned, this is the best way to go. Getting a cleaner needn’t be expensive. While it’s true that cleaners do charge an impressive hourly rate (depending on where you are), you don’t necessarily have to have someone clean your home every day or even every week. Getting into a routine of cleaning as you go along is much easier when you’re starting from an already relatively clean home. So why not get a cleaner every two weeks or once a month, then do the rest of the cleaning yourself? Having a cleaner come over once a month may not seem like a lot, but unless you have a particularly messy home, it could be more than enough.


Do it yourself – the healthier way to save!

Most of us consume far too much processed food and it’s easy to see why. In today’s modern, busy world, the vast majority of us don’t have the time or the energy to spend hours slaving over a hot stove — we have jobs, hobbies, interests and other demands on our time, so why not save time and effort and get some readymade food? It used to be a woman’s job to clean and cook, while the man went out to work and feed the family. In the Western world, this is far less common now, not only because of changing gender roles, but also because many families simply can’t afford to live without two paycheques. But what if I told you that there are things you could make yourself at home that are not only healthier for you and your family, but also cheaper? The following are some ways of reducing processed food and taking control of your own diet. You’ll be surprised at how easy it is to save money while actually consuming better quality food. And the best thing about it is that you don’t need to be a master chef to do any of them!

Make your own bread

The price of bread varies quite greatly depending on where you live.  It can be pretty cheap, making you wonder why you need to bother with making your own. The truth is, most store-bought bread is packed full of preservatives and made with white flour, which is not exactly the healthiest. Invest in better quality bread and the price begins to steadily rise. If you want really healthy bread or have gluten intolerance, you’ll be paying through the nose. So why not bake your own? Yes, you can actually bake really good bread at home in your regular oven, and if you do have the time and patience to do it, it’s highly recommended. If, however, you prefer simplicity, you can cut pretty much every corner by simply buying a bread machine. A good bread machine will do everything for you. All you need to do is pour the ingredients in. You can even time it so that the bread is ready for breakfast when you wake up! A bread machine may seem like an unnecessary investment, but if you consume a lot of bread, you will quickly make the money back with the money you save on buying store-bought bread. Flour is cheap and goes a long way. Of course, the other obvious advantage to using a bread machine is that you are in complete control of what ingredients you put in the bread. You can make it as healthy as you like, adding seeds, specialty flours and even olives, dried tomatoes and herbs. Homemade bread doesn’t last as long as store-bought bread because it has no preservatives in it, but don’t worry – it’s usually so good that it won’t be around for long anyway! If you’re new to the world (or even concept) of bread machines, you can find some more information on Oven Shopper. It reviews a whole range of popular models.

Grow your own food

If you have a garden, you could do well converting it into something that can feed your family. Even cold climates allow for some crops, such as kale, which actually improves after being hit with frost. Buying or even making a small greenhouse can allow for other types of vegetables to grow throughout the year. But even if you don’t have a garden you can still grow herbs, salad leaves and even tomatoes on a balcony or even indoors. Even growing a few things can save you money in the long run. Another advantage is knowing your crops are organic and not sprayed with any nasty insecticides.

Make your own sauces

Are you a curry or pasta fan? Do you normally buy store-bought sauces? Better check the ingredient list! You’ll be surprised at how much nasty stuff goes into innocent-looking sauces. You can easily make your own using fresh ingredients and save money, while looking after your health. Don’t have the time to cook? No worries! All you need to do is cook once, make a large quantity and then freeze it in small bags or containers. Fill your freezer with a variety of ready-made sauce and you can simply reheat it whenever you’re ready. Because many sauces have salt, sugar, vinegar or chili in them that act as preservatives, you can even get away with buying large quantities of reduced price vegetables that are about to go off. Turn them into sauce, freeze and save!

Make your own desserts

Nothing hides more nasty ingredients than desserts and store-bought spreads. But you can easily make your own peanut butter, Nutella clone and chocolate spread at home with a food processor. Also, there are plenty of fast, simple cookie and cake recipes online you could whip up in 10 minutes. Apart from being healthier, they are also cheaper than what you’d find at the supermarket – yet another reason to save!


6 Critical Things to Look For In a Vacuum Sealer

Grocery stores, food manufacturers, and lots of people use vacuum sealers to conserve and safeguard food. Unlike canning, vacuum sealers prolong the shelf life of food and retain the original taste. Finding the best vacuum sealer can come in handy in various ways. One is able to not only save time by cooking in bulk, owning a vacuum sealer also helps to lessen one’s grocery store expenses.

However, finding the right food saver is not always easy. Do not regret your purchase after a few days. These vacuum sealer reviews will help you learn more on what to look for in a sealer, in order to make the right choice.

Here are some factors to take into consideration when making a purchase.

Type of Sealer

The most common types are chamber and external vacuum sealers. External vacuum sealers gets all the air out and keeps the food fresh. Chamber vacuum sealers remove air from the whole chamber and also seals the bag. For a daily use, you can opt for an external vacuum sealer and for a bulky storage, a precise chamber vacuum sealer would be an excellent option.

Suction ability

The suction is what creates the vacuum while packaging food items. A sealer with a weak suction can’t create a good vacuum and may compromise food safety by allowing growth of mold and other organisms. Moreover, it may lead to freezer burn. Choose a sealer with a strong suction capability to prevent these problems.

Ease of use

Finding a sealer that has accessible controls that are well labeled will make work easier. Check if the unit is able to lock down by itself. Check to see if the pulse control is manual, automatic, or both.


Having a budget is critical when looking for a vacuum sealer. While owning an expensive model would be ideal, the reality is that one needs to find a model that’s within their budget.  Do not forget the cost of bags as they could end up being expensive if you select the wrong sealer.  Check if the sealer will work with non-manufacturer bags and what it will cost to buy manufacture bags.


For individuals who love to take food on the road or on a trip, portability is key. There are counter top models that make it easy to enjoy fresh foods no matter the location.  Moreover, one can carry products with high fluid quantity such as juice and milk. While handheld models are easy to carry, they are not as effect as they rely on electric vacuum pumps and zip lock pouches that are not like fully sealed bags.


Most vacuum sealers are built to last. Nonetheless, some may need small repairs and maintenance. For this reason, it’s essential to find a vacuum sealer with a strong warranty from a company that values their customers.

Additional features such as a canister port, built-in bag cutter and holder, and its sealing ability are also important.  Do your homework to learn of your needs and how often you are going to use the sealer before making a final decision.


Hipsters – who are they?

The hipster subculture is a global phenomenon that seems to exist all over the world. No matter where you are, you’ll be able to find hipster cafés, bars, venues and fashion boutiques. Hipsters themselves may very slightly according to the country they’re in, but some things are seemingly always the same. What is it that makes this scene so popular and what’s made it so global?

What are hipsters?

Similarly to the word “hippie”, which was originally used in the 60s to describe people from possibly the first truly global sub-culture, the word “hipster” is derived from the word “hip”. Of course, was deemed hip in the 60s and 70s is quite different to what is considered hip nowadays. There are a few things that characterise today’s hipsters by means of being considered hip or cool.

What are today’s hipsters into?

Geek chic is a big trend when it comes to hipsters. Witty T-shirts, thick, nerdy glasses and fancy personal electronics are all part of being cool. Hipsters are early adopters of personal technology such as MP3 players, ebook readers, etc. They like to show off their knowledge of obscure, often nerdy and retro TV shows and books by wearing related fashion.

Hipsters don’t like overt consumerism when it comes to fashion choices. They will often prefer vintage clothes that make them stand out and appear unique and different or go for the complete opposite – well made, basic and nondescript clothing without obvious branding. While some brands are popular, big logos are often not, unless the brand in question is well known for being of high, lasting quality.

Hipster guys often sport beards, including quite long, elaborate ones. In fact, while hipsters are predominantly an urban phenomenon popular with metrosexual men, many hipsters go for the full “lumberjack look” with plaid shirts, tatty blue jeans, a long beard and muscles earned at a gym. This may appear fake to some, but a good explanation for this phenomenon is that hipsters are trying to reconnect with older styles of masculinity. Another option, of course, is that they simply just like the look of the style, which is a common feature of the hipster scene.

Both men and women often colour their hair, with bright colours of multicolours being the norm. While not as extreme as punks, hipsters do like to make an instant impression and there are many trends in hair design that are meant to give the wearer a completely unique look (until everyone else imitates it).

Although often misguided, hipsters generally attempt to be environmentally aware. They will often prefer tote bags to plastic bags, ride bicycles rather than drive cars and follow trends like juicing and organic living. They will often ignore the fact that many of their personal electronics come with a high environmental price tag.

Hipster superficiality

In fact, while appearance and style are extremely important to hipsters, there has been much criticism of the scene when it comes to actual substance.  Also, as most hipsters are millennials, they are often accused of selfishness and lack of global awareness, in spite of the subculture’s global reach.

The hippies had obvious ideals of personal freedom, free love and a certain return to nature. The punk scene was anti-establishment, while 80s goths came together as a subculture of depressed rejects. With hipsters, it’s hard to find a common thread that goes beyond the desire to be unique, stand out and consume popular culture. While it’s true that some great things have come out of the hipster movement such as shared working spaces, an emphasis on locally sourced artisan foods and crafts, etc. Much of it still comes across as a simple attempt to be cool.Hipster popularity

Hipster popularity

The Internet and the prevalence of American movies and TV shows featuring hipster characters has led to an explosion of this subculture across much of the world. Like with every other scene, what travels first is the look, followed by popular music and culture. Digital nomads are often hipsters, as this subculture is popular with the creative and digital crowd. As a result, you can find more and more nearly identical cafés, bars and restaurants around the world, all based on the hipster design. Like the fashion choices, this design is based on quirky, retro elements (often mismatched) or a modern, somewhat nerdy look with clean lines and witty, clever cultural references. Like the rest of the hipster scene, this homogenous look has raised some criticism. It’s part of the gentrification of many old neighbourhoods, as they turn into the favourite haunt of the arty, affluent crowd.


A New Way To Buy Recumbent Execise Bikes

Using an indoor exercise bike is a fantastic way to keep trim, fit, and healthy. Come rain or shine, it doesn’t matter for indoor workouts. This is why exercise bikes are extremely popular. Now we all know the standard bike keeps the back upright, and more often than not, we all end up hunched over the handlebars at the end of a training session. This can often lead to back pain, which really isn’t good for anyone. That is why recumbent bikes have become all the rage these days. The seat is set in a reclining position to give full support for your back. This design feature has made it possible for anyone to use this piece of workout equipment, even those with back issues that often hinder any kind of workout regimen.

It is often believed that recumbent bikes are a new invention, when in fact, they were invented way back in 1896! It leave’s anyone wondering why it has taken so long to add this seat to the exercise bike. Whatever the reasons, it is here now and is improving backs everywhere. Hurray!

Just as with upright bikes, the recumbent bikes come in a variety of designs with gadgets and tools to help maximize or make the workout easier. It all comes down to the preference of the cyclist. Many questions should be asked before heading out to the vast world of recumbent bikes. What is expected from the bike? What’s the maximum and minimum cost? Are all those gadgets needed, or with a simple one do? Answering these questions does help when selecting a bike because it reduces the chances of being blindsided by the various bikes available.

With your bike desires at hand, it is now time to research. Researching products can almost guarantee the avoidance of disappointment. It is advised not to just read the ads description and promises of the bikes, but to look at what other customers have said about the products. Advertising is simply a tool to suck in customers to buy their product. Everyone will say that their bike will give you washboard abs in just three weeks when the reality is it probably will never happen. Customer reviews are written by real people who have bought and tried the product, and are simply letting others know their opinions. Did they love it or hate it? What are the pros and cons? There is an abundance of valuable information about the products within customer reviews that simply cannot be found anywhere in the ads and descriptions. Because they have been written by real people, they are more trustworthy, too.

This alone has put confidence back into purchasing an exercise bike, but there is something new out there that has made researching a whole lot easier. Sites are popping up everywhere giving consumers a safe place to visit and to read the reviews of the best recumbent exercise available. The noteworthy people at http://www.indoortrainingbikes.com/recumbent/ as well as many others, have taken out all of the hard work, leaving nothing but the joy of selecting and purchasing a bike. It must have taken hours for them to research so many bikes, to read all the reviews from customers, but they have done this with great care and compassion so we don’t have to. It certainly gives a whole new level of confidence and gives back valuable time that can often be wasted on hours of searching for just the right exercise bike.

Anyone would think because of the considerable amount of time they have put in to bring the best products to light, they would be expecting something in return. There is always a catch to something this great. But in this case, there really isn’t. There is no sign-up or fee required for their services. Just simply pop onto their sites, have a look around, read the reviews, and select a bike. It is as easy as riding a bike!

It really is something to consider when selecting a bike. It is by far much easier to click on a link or do a quick search for the best recumbent exercise bikes than to trawl through many, many reviews in hopes of finding the best bikes available.


Looking for a Cheese Knife Set? Here are Some Options to Consider

Cheese knives are special types of knives meant to cut hard, semi-hard and soft cheese. Different types of cheese call for different knives; the choice of the knife depends on the hardness of the cheese. Soft cheese knives deal with soft cheese, which usually contains high moisture content. Hard cheese knives are designed to cut through firm cheese. Different cheese knife sets give you a host of capabilities to handle the different types of cheese. Here are some of the sets you might want to consider.

1. Picnic Time Circo Cheese Set

The blades on the knives are made of stainless steel for resilience and strength while the handle is made of rubber wood for an easy grip. The set includes a cheese shaver, one hard cheese knife, a cheese spreader and a curved knife with a double-pronged tip. The cutting board gives you over 80 square inches of an ideal cutting surface. The board is specially designed with a moat running along the edge to collect brine or any liquids.  The board wipes clean very fast to allow you time to spend with your family.

2. Prodyne K-7-S stainless Steel Cheese Knives

This set comes with two open surface knives. The knives are differently shaped to give you all you need to handle all your favorite cheeses perfectly. The knives are ideal for slicing, cubing and cutting any cheese type. Each knife comes with a long handle to prevent slipping as you work, eliminating the risk of any accidents. The blade on each knife is made of brushed stainless steel so you are sure it won’t stain easily and will last you a lifetime.

3. Lenox L-22507 3-Piece Cheese Knife Set

This set comes with 3 cheese knives, each coming with a forged bolster to protect your hands and fingers from coming into contact with the stainless steel blade. You get a 5.5 inch hard cheese knife, 3 inch Parmesan cheese knife and a 5.5 inch soft cheese knife. The blades are manufactured from high carbon no-stain German stainless steel to give you a sharp edge that sharpens perfectly. The handles are forged and skillfully positioned to provide better leverage for effortless cutting.

4. DCI Cheese Knives

If you are out for color and functionality, this is the cheese set for you. Each knife comes with a label indicating the type of cheese the knife should handle. This is perfect if you are a beginner and you don’t know much about cheese. The blades are made of solid stainless steel, which, apart from being strong and reliable, is easy to clean. The knives are dishwasher-friendly eliminating the need to use your hands for the task. The longest knife in this set measures about 5 inches long, so they easily fit in your storage cabinet.

5. Jetty Homes’ 4-Piece Stainless Steel Cheese Knife Set

This set comes with each knife imprinted with labels so that you know what to pick for a specific task. The blades are made of brushed stainless steel which is durable. Best of all, the set is crafted inside an attractive box set that can act as a gift box for any occasion.

6. Wusthof Gourmet #8933 3-Piece Cheese Knife Set

This set comes with a soft cheese knife, hard cheese knife and a cheese board. The blades are laser cut from high-carbon German stainless steel plate and designed to suit your needs. Each edge has been individually laser-tested for durability and consistent cutting. The handle is made of tough poly material with triple riveting for strength. A full tang design provides a balanced and sturdy grip keeping your comfort level to the optimum.

7. Victorinox Swiss Army 3-piece Gourmet Cheese Knife Gift Set

This is the perfect set if you wish to offer it as a gift to someone special. The set consists of three knives. The hard cheese knife comes with a small blade and a long handle to apply more force to cut through hard cheese. The soft cheese knife comes with perforated blades to make the job easy as it goes through the soft cheese. The third piece is a semi-hard cheese knife that comes with a special fork tip.

The Bottomline

These knife sets are a result of advanced technology and craftsmanship. Each knife in a particular set is designed to handle a specific task in cutting cheese. To make a decision, visit http://www.cutitfine.com/ to find information on various knives.


Is There a Way to Make Your Cordless Lawn Mower Last Longer?

Changes in technology have resulted in the cordless lawn mower – whereby all you have to do is plug in the battery and you are ready to mow away. After choosing the suitable cordless lawn mower, you need to maintain it so that it can serve you better. Here are several ways to help you get the most out of your mower.

Pay Attention to the Battery

The cordless mower mainly runs on a lithium ion battery pack. This battery is rechargeable and comes as part of the mower package. Being the core and reliable source of power for your mower as they demonstrated, you need to take good care of it. Another rationale why you should pay attention to the battery is that it is costly to replace. Here are some tips to maintain it:

•    Never let the battery run totally flat. Draining the battery affects the storage capacity negatively.

•    Don’t overcharge the battery. Understand the charging mechanism and the type of charger you use. If it is a smart charger, it will detect when the battery is fully charged and disconnect. On the other hand, you have to keep an eye on the battery and disconnect it when it is full in case you use a manual charger.

•    Always check the charging components for wear and tear. Damaged charging systems can ruin the battery.

•    Store the battery for winter. When storing the mower for long periods, make sure to disconnect the battery and store it in a cool, dry place. This decreases the discharge rate of the battery.

Protect It From Weather Elements

After a mowing job, make sure you store the mower in a safe place, most preferably your garage or shed. Rain, sleet, snow and hail can lead to wear and tear of the mower’s components. This would be detrimental to the performance of the mower. Make sure you don’t pile other items on top of the mower as well. Some of the parts on the mower are breakable, and a little load can be detrimental.

Keep It Clean

Compared to traditional gas-powered mowers, cordless lawn mowers don’t require high maintenance tasks. You don’t have to change oil, nor replace plugs or air filters. However, make sure you clean the mower regularly to keep it in top shape. Do this every time you finish a mowing task, to make sure the mower works perfectly the next time you take it out to mow your lawn.

Always Perform a Pre-mowing Lawn Inspection

Always inspect the lawn you plan to cut before you carry out the job. The intention is to remove objects that might affect the mower. Look for items such as stones, hoses, sprinkler heads and toys. Passing the mower over these objects can spoil the mower blades.


It is apparent that just like any other machine, the way you take care of your cordless lawn mower will dictate how best and how long it serves you. Replacing lawn mower components is expensive and demanding. Regular maintenance helps to avoid some of these costs and gives you peace of mind knowing that you can rely on the lawn mower for the upcoming landscaping job.

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