The Best Tips for Choosing a Fun Board Game

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From the thousands of board games on the market, the consumer can pick any one that can really get the whole family or a group of friends engaged in fun competition and entertainment while developing teamwork, good sportsmanship and a variety of valuable life skills such as decision making and prioritizing. At play in this kind of entertainment are family dynamics, age groups and personal interests, so choose the most applicable board game that maximizes those elements. To be able to thresh out which board game is the best for your group, take note of the following essential factors.

 

Board game

 

 

Board Game Type

To narrow down your choices, start with the game type the whole group can enjoy playing together.

A matching game such as dominoes or Memory is perfect for players fascinated with pattern recognition and memory. Word games such as Boggle, Scrabble and Prolix are suitable for developing word recognition, reading skills and ability to do simple math to keep score. Chess, checkers, Blokus and Go are good strategy games that require the employment of advanced planning as well as critical thinking. Some fantastic choices for reading, making inferences and trivia knowledge are Trivial Pursuit and themed variations of it. You will want to play Fantasy games such as Dread Pirate and Settlers of Catan to use your critical thinking, planning and creativity skills.

For players enticed by monetary values, counting and strategic planning, financial games in the likes of Monopoly, Easy Money and Life can be the perfect board games.Party games such as Pictionary, Cranium and Scattergories test your ability to work as a team member, read, draw and do critical thinking.

 

 

Suitability to the Group’s Age Bracket

You won’t want to have children under ten having to think of the most outrageously horrid replies to cards in games touted to be designed for people with horribly dark humor, will you? A suitably complex game is perfect for experienced gamers who like to do plenty of critical thinking. For those new to board gaming or for children, go for something simple and non-elaborate. Many games cut across borders easily, while others can get older players bored despite being tremendously entertaining for children. The bottomline: choose a board game that will engage everyone playing and not leave some participants completely out.

 

 

Fits the Allotted Time

Play times are often indicated on the box cover, so you should determine if the play group can play within this time. While some games can be finished in less than half an hour, there are some board games that provide hours of playing. For family game night, the playing time can be an issue, since young kids generally have shorter attention spans compared to older kids, making quickly finished games a suitable choice. Extended gaming sessions may not even be something that teens and older kids who can focus longer can truly enjoy. There are also games that take multiple game sessions to do completely. In order to find a suitable board game, determine the suitable length of time the players are willing to devote to it.

The most sensible thing to do is to have several games on hand and find out which one can be suitable for the time everyone has.

 

Board games

 

 

Number of Participants

Fortunately, there is a huge variety of board games designed to be played by two or more participants. This makes them perfect for various size families. On the other hand, there are games that call for at least three players or perhaps a number of teams. The information is typically found on the box cover as well as the product description. The number of tokens in the package also indicates the maximum number of participants. Other indicators are the quantity of play money, cards or dice in play. For players who are fascinated by head-on challenges, tournaments can be organized using one-on-one games.

 

 

Classic Games never lose their charm

Classic games always make good family games. People of all ages have enjoyed them for years. Suitable for kids while amply entertaining for adults, many of these do not need skills more complex than color recognition and counting, which can easily get the youngest family member to take part.

Candy Land features color-coded cards that players use to go along a path dotted with a variety of pitfalls or traps. Special cards allow players to advance to different slots through the board.

Chutes and Ladders has had variations including Snakes and Ladders and more, with a single die rolled or a spinner to indicate how a participant will move across the board, whether it is to go forward with a ladder or to slide back down through a chute.

Other classic games that only require a player to get to a finish line ahead of the others include Trouble, Sorry, and Parcheesi. These can involve bonus moves dictated by lucky card draws or dice rolls, and sending fellow players back several paces as a factor of competition.

 

 

The Best Tips for Huting Deer with a Crossbow

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Making a clean and ethical harvest out in the field when hunting deer with a crossbow will require that you practice a foolproof protocol for targeting at close range. Any small change could influence the results of your hunting trip, and you could either come home successful with a great catch or shamed due to being empty handed. Before heading out to bag your biggest buck ever, you need to know how to hunt deer with a crossbow.

 

Crossbow for deer hunting

 

 

Practice using your crossbow on a target before actually heading out

This will help you know the range you are comfortable with. Practice using several ranges, from 30, 40 to 50 yards or more so you can feel really comfortable making a shot. When you do get to the field and know what range you’re comfortable with, it’s important to mark that range so when the deer comes out, you are confident you can knock it down.

 

 

Wind direction, as well as camouflage, is extremely vital

Deer hunting is a stealth activity. Whenever possible, the wind should be in your face. Hunting downwind gives away your presence easily. It is sensible to have various places and stands to hunt so you can make sure the wind is always in your face.

To ensure that you do not stick out in the hunting environment, do wear camouflage clothing. This will enable you to blend yourself as much as possible into the environment. Your face and hands should also be covered.

 

 

Be quiet and scentless

Movement and sound can give your presence away. Do not move around too much while waiting for the prey to show up, or just make sure any movements are executed slowly. Be as perfectly quiet as possible. None of your gear should rattle or create noise. As the deer moves into your area, take the safety off the crossbow slowly and quietly so as not to startle the prey away with a loud clicking sound.

Scent control is also essential. Your hunting clothes shouldn’t carry a strong scent, preferably laundered in scent-blocking detergent or ordinary baking soda and then hung to dry outside.

Refrain from chewing or smoking while in the hunting stand, but if these can’t be helped, do not throw or spit your cigarette butts on the ground. Put the trash in a receptacle and never leave trash lying around after hunting.

Lure the deer in using proper deer attractants, so the prey will focus on that smell and not on yours.

Avoid brushing up against branches and leaves on the way to the stand. Instead, use the crossbow to push aside any branches.

 

 

Being out in the field is a lot different from shooting at a target

Try going after a good mature doe before trying to knock down a big master buck.

Be in the stand at least an hour early, preferably even before the sun rises to allow the woods to settle back down. Hunting in the evening requires that you go ahead of the normal time the deer moves, so the area can also settle down.

When you sight your deer, make sure the line of vision of the prey is obstructed by a bush or tree, or that its head is turned away from you. Raise your bow, making sure the deer doesn’t see your movement. Keep in mind that the whitetail species will try to see if they can detect any movement by surprise. Just keep immobile and do not look whitetails in the eye. Keep a steady stare and do not move your eyes. Look to the side of the deer’s face and not directly at the eyes. Breathe deeply and calm yourself down.

 

crossbow target practice

 

 

Take the kill shot

After making sure you are calm enough to take a sure, slow and steady shot, wait until the deer moves into a kill shot position. Do not take spine or brain shots. Aim instead to execute a center lung shot. Follow the back line of the front leg from broadside up to the center of the chest, then drop down a bit to obtain the perfect shot. Should the deer be at an angle, just visualize where its lungs are and aim for the center of this specific mass. When hunting from a treestand, this is the spot just behind the deer’s shoulders and right at the center of the body. This spot will ensure that you hit the heart, lungs or spine, delivering a one-shot kill.

Do keep in mind that if the deer does not move into the kill shot position or for you to take a kill shot, you should never attempt to shoot.

You’d be better off going home empty-handed than just wounding a deer superficially without killing it.

A lost or wounded big game animal is something that a serious hunter cannot easily live down.

 

 

The Best Tips for Using or Installing a Climbing Tree Stand

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Hunters utilize a deer stand or tree stand secured to trees to provide them with an elevated vantage point for sighting their prey. This type of equipment is either open or enclosed, depending on preference. A similar device is a tripod stand that is technically not classified as a tree stand because it is not attached to a tree and instead has a freestanding design. Knowing how to install and use a tree stand could spell the difference between optimizing every hunting trip and ending up hospitalized or dead.

 

Climbing tree stand

 

Know the parts of the climbing or tree stand

The base piece is what the hunter climbs on to get on the seat, and also serves as the platform to hunt from, to look through the woods and to shoot from.

The top portion of the stand facilitates the climbing process, and from a safety standpoint, provides a place to sit on.

Some hunters prefer leaving the climbing or tree stand attached to the bottom of the tree, especially when they own the property they hunt in. Attachment is pretty straightforward and simple.

The tree stand comes with essential accessories such as the climbing harness, which is considered by many to be the most important piece of (separately bought) equipment that should accompany the tree stand. The climbing harness is used much like a parachute harness that you suit up with. It has a D- or O-ring that clips to another harness that goes around the tree to keep the hunter strapped to the tree. It has a strap that goes between the legs, ensuring the user is secured to the tree. There are other rings through which the straps go through. Pull up any loose straps tight under your legs.

Attach the bag holding your quivers to the stand. For safety’s sake, when bringing a bow and arrow or gun to hunt, leave the bow and gun on the ground and simply attach a rope them that you can use to pull the weapons up when you’ve climbed up the tree.

 

climbing tree stand safety

 

Get on the stand

Get on the platform section and into the center of the stand, which will move on you while you get in it. The tree stand works on a fulcrum mechanism. This functions by taking the hunter’s weight on the stand to brace onto the tree even more. At the base section are straps where the feet or hunting boots are put in. While the feet are attached to the straps, the hunter uses their legs to pull the base of the tree stand up.

A strap goes around the tree, and it has the same type of latching mechanism as the harness the hunter suits up with at the start. This strap is a little more substantial than the first to ensure holding capacity. Take the strap with the D-ring that is at the back of the climbing harness, pull it to the front and hook the D-ring through the loop on the second strap attached to the tree. Listen to a click to ensure it’s in, then twist the knob around to tighten. This attaches the hunter to the harness around the tree, keeping them safe from falling to the ground. Position the harness above the head or at head level.

Make sure everything is secure and…

 

 

…start climbing

While seated on the top portion of the stand, pull your feet up. Using a fulcrum mechanism, the bottom portion attaches to the tree a little higher. Stand up, pull the top portion to you, sit then pull the bottom portion up again. This brings you higher up. Move the climbing harness with the strap higher up. Remember not to move a lot while positioning the strap and harness to a higher position, to prevent potential falls.

Sit down again to take the weight off your legs, pull the bottom portion up with your legs and move the top portion to you again while standing. You will feel the clasp of the bottom of the tree stand bite into the tree, letting you know you’re connected to the tree. The fulcrum action occurs as you lean back. Worm your way up the tree this way till you get to the height you want to hunt at.

Should you encounter a tree limb such as a twig, break it off to move the strap up. If it’s a branch, see if you can work your way around it. If not, you can only go to the height of that branch. Tip: pick trees that are clean and that will allow you to climb to the level you want to be at.

 

climbing tree stand height

 

 

Free your feet from the base

Make sure all the parts are secure and well attached. You will still be connected through the climbing harness, of course, but you’re free to move around in the tree stand.

Pull up your bow and/or your gun that you left on the ground below.

Remember to hunt safe. You can use a face mask so your prey won’t see you. Gloves for holding the bow can also be used. Avoid moving around too much in the tree stand. Despite the secure performance this type of equipment is supposed to deliver, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

 

 

The Best Tips for Buying a Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker

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Bluetooth speakers have come a long way and today they are more popular than ever, with users looking for portability so they can hook up their mobile devices with highly reliable speakers everywhere they go. Here are some tips on how to purchase a great waterproof Bluetooth speaker for your needs.

 

Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker

 

Go for a reputable brand

Although there are plenty of Bluetooth speaker models on the market, not all of them offer the same quality for the same price. If quality is what is most important to you, for sure you need to go for a reputable brand, such as Logitech, Olixar or Jawbone, since they are the biggest players in the field. The good news is that they do not make only very expensive Bluetooth speakers and their low entry models still deliver a level of quality you can live with, unlike no-name units that may not be able to live up to the task.

 

Strike a balance between sound quality and portability

Ask any salesperson from the electronics department worth their salt about what size your Bluetooth speakers should have for great quality sound and they will tell you that bigger is better. This is a simple principle that relies on how sound is rendered within a close container: the larger the enclosure is, the louder the sound will be. However, with larger sizes, portability is slowly decreasing and you also need to shell out more money. Bluetooth speakers are built for portability and this is one of their main purposes, so you should not go for the largest model unless you only want to use it at home.

The good news is that the most important players on the market have introduced portable speakers with decent sound, so you will not lose on anything if you decide to go for one of those. Make sure that you take the time to compare different models to see which is able to deliver louder, clearer sound without sacrificing portability.

 

Purchase a model that uses reliable, rechargeable batteries

Although AAA batteries are not as common as they were in the past, and many Bluetooth speakers use rechargeable batteries, it is worth looking into the specs to see if the model you want to purchase works with the latter. The problem with AAA batteries is that they get drained really fast, and they represent an expense that will unnecessarily increase the cost of using your Bluetooth speakers. Rechargeable batteries, on the other hand, will cost you only the electrical power you will use to recharge them which is far less than buying AAA batteries in bulk.

Do not forget that battery life is very important, too. The whole idea of getting Bluetooth speakers is to be able to use them on the go. As a rule of thumb, search for models with batteries that can last for 8 hours or more, so you can take your speakers with you on trips where you cannot reach a power source for recharging anytime you want. Here is a tip: look at the specs and subtract 1-2 hours, and you will have a clear idea about how long your battery will last.

 

Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker1

 

Waterproof speakers are the best for outdoor use

When you are looking at the specs, it serves to see if the model you want is waterproof or not. Many of the Bluetooth speakers out there are ruggedized, which means that they can handle some splashes and they can take some bumps along the way. However, take into account that these models are not waterproof, so you cannot rely on them in case plenty of water gets on them by accident. If you plan on taking your speakers out camping with you, search for an outdoor waterproof model that can really fit the bill.

 

Make sure a protective bag or case is included

For sure, you do not want to spend money on Bluetooth speakers that can get damaged any time or need a lot of protection and care from your part. Decent models come with their own protective case or bag for easy storage when they are not in use. An integrated handle or strap is also a convenient feature because it makes carrying the Bluetooth speaker around much easier. As these units are built for portability, it is only natural to seek more portability features in the model of your choosing. Some models even come with water resistant protective bags that allow you to hear the sound through it unhindered.

 

The Best Tips for using a Shortwave Radio

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While using a shortwave radio doesn’t look like rocket science, it may not be as easy as you might have imagined it. Don’t be baffled by the amount of information you’ll find online. You can become a shortwave radio user in a timely fashion provided you use a set of tips and tricks.

To make matters easier, we’ve decided to give you a helping hand. That’s why we have put together a short list of the best pieces of advice we’ve found to be the most helpful when it comes to operating a shortwave radio as efficiently as possible.

 

shortwave radio

 

 

The right unit

If you already are the owner of a shortwave radio but find that you’re a bit disappointed by the features and quality it comes with, you might want to purchase a new one. Choosing from a plethora of models that now exist on the market can look like a daunting task, but you need to know that most radios can be split into three main categories.

There are analog shortwave radios, of which the price point is somewhere between thirty and seventy dollars. Then, there are SSB radios that are capable of getting both AM and single side band modes, whereas radios capable of receiving just AM. Digital tuners are the last type that can be bought nowadays, but they’re somewhat less affordable compared to the previously mentioned two kinds. They’re easier to manage as users may find it less difficult to find the right frequency.

 

 

Understand the shortwave bands

The simplest way to understand shortwave bands is to associate them with a particular frequency range. While some models display the frequency using megahertz, others do the same in kilohertz. If you’re feeling puzzled about what your unit does, just consult the instructions provided by the manufacturer to find out.

Some broadcasters and websites can announce their frequencies in megahertz or kilohertz, depending on their preferences. Just three decimal places make the difference between the two. For instance, a frequency of 15.5 MHz is the same as a frequency of 15500 kHz. If you’re trying to convert kHz into MHz, all you have to do is move the decimal place three digits to the left instead of to the right.

Why is frequency so important? Let’s say you’re talking to a friend and he or she forgets to say whether he or she is giving the frequency in MHz or kHz. As a general rule, it’s far easier to use megahertz than kilohertz, as they’re significantly easier to pronounce and won’t require you to jot down tens of zeros on end. However, if you’re an amateur who knows little to nothing in regards to the right way to give the frequency, it would be easier for you to use kilohertz. This way, switching to megahertz would be less complicated.

 

 

Can the reception be improved?

You can improve the reception by using an SWL antenna. The simplest way to get one is to look for it online, as you’ll find units you can buy and units you can make on your own if you’re into DIY. Unfortunately, most telescopic rod type antennas that come with the shortwave radios aren’t the best ones in the world, so improving the reception is something you’re likely to want to do.

 

Shortwave radio with antenna

 

How to find the shortwave bands and broadcasting schedules

If you’re willing to invest in a publication filled with the frequencies and schedules, you may want to consider the Passport to World Band Radio or the World Radio TV Handbook. These two come out every year and are filled with new and updated schedules.

Another way of finding the bands is by simply scanning them. Regardless of how efficient this method is, it does little to nothing when it comes to finding out about the schedules. If you don’t want to purchase an annual publication, just look for the schedules online, as there are several websites that offer them for free.

Various websites have even grouped the content according to what users are searching, and thus provide data regarding foreign station, specialized shortwave transmissions and the actual number of channels of which the purpose may or may not be espionage.

 

 

Get a QSL card

Receiving a QSL card can be done by sending feedback to the broadcaster. While most broadcasters will ask for specific feedback, the classic way would be to create an SWL Reception Report, based on the SINPO code. You’ll have to analyze the signal, the interference, the noise, the propagation and the overall quality of the broadcast you’re receiving.

 

 

The Best Tips for Sharpening Your Axe

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If you have been wondering what the most efficient methods of sharpening an axe were, you’ve come to the right place. We enjoy giving out a hand to people who might be struggling with sharpening and maintaining their cutting instruments. As is the case with any other tool designed for cutting, proper use and maintenance are two core ways of keeping your axe in perfect shape.

Even though sharpening an axe might look like a daunting task, we think that it might be a good idea if you had a look at the following tips and tricks that we’ve gathered for your consideration. They speak to beginners and advanced users alike.

 

Sharpening axe

 

The basics

Before getting to work, you should assess the condition of the axe and its handle. Closely inspect the cutting edge and focus on the nicks. Then, decide whether you want to sharpen it for carving or shaving, for smoothing planks for a table, or for felling a tree. You may find different methods on the internet but take into account the fact that there isn’t a universal way of doing the sharpening for every task you might need your axe for.

For example, cutting requires a flat angle while for splitting firewood you will need an axe with a short and abrupt edge.

The simplest way of removing excess metal is by axe grinding. However, this isn’t the most recommended option for people who have little to no experience, as you’ll need to use the grinder very slowly to determine whether or not you still need to remove metal. Perform any quick movement and you might end up ruining the blade.

 

 

The easiest way to sharpen an axe

If you are looking for a hassle-free experience, you might consider using an emery tool or a fine-toothed flat file. The main idea to keep in mind is to stick to the original shape of the blade. With straight bevel faces, you will have to keep the entire bevel face on the wheel or file.

As previously mentioned, a grindstone can do the trick when it comes to repairing minor damage. Wear is something that occurs naturally in an axe, and sharpening against the rotation of a grindstone can be done efficiently and in a rather timely fashion. Perform slow and careful movements both back and forth, so that you even out the entire edge.

Once you’re satisfied with the level of sharpness, you can proceed to hone the edge. This task can be performed with a coarse and then a fine whetstone, which has been previously dipped in water or oil. If you are still looking for a keen edge once you’ve done all this, use a length of leather.

 

Axe sharpening

 

 

Sharpening with a file

This technique is different compared to the one we have described above. It won’t get you the sharpest edge, and therefore, it doesn’t speak to people who are looking to use the axe for shaving. Nevertheless, it’s a great alternative for people who don’t own a grindstone and the sharpness will do its job for all around use.

Start by removing the burrs and nicks with a rough file, once you have clamped your axe. Use a downward motion and remove the metal as evenly as possible, until you start to notice that the edge has started to reflect some light. Be careful when doing these movements, as you don’t want to risk performing a bad cut. Also, if you’re not the handiest person in the world, try using a pair of proper gloves.

Once you’ve reached the sharpening level you have been looking for, it’s time to use a fine file in order to finish the edge.  Use the same downward strokes we were mentioning above and keep the same angle all throughout the operation. To get the right finish, you are likely to require a medium stone.

This sharpening method is rather easy and offers good results for people looking to use their axe on a regular basis.

 

 

Don’t forget about safety

The process of sharpening an axe should occur slowly and carefully, regardless of the method you think is the most convenient. Always pay attention to what you are doing, particularly once you have partially managed to sharpen the blade. In the event you have to attend to some other activity, simply take a break and don’t trust your multi-tasking abilities. Once again, a pair of cut resistant carving gloves never hurt anyone, and it won’t hurt you.

 

 

The Best Tips for Snow Boots Maintenance

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Protecting snow boots can look like a daunting task, particularly if this is the first pair you have ever owned. The important thing to keep in mind is that it doesn’t have to be all that complicated. With several simple tips and tricks, you can maintain your winter and snow boots in perfect shape. We’ve put together a short guide that can assist you in caring for your boots, since they can be damaged by a lot of things, including mud, rain, and snow.

 

Snow boots

 

The basics

Let’s say you’ve recently purchased a pair of new snow boots. Believe it or not, maintenance should start ever since you’ve received them at your doorstep. Often times, the manufacturer will recommend a waterproofing spray that the buyers can utilize in order to increase the water resistance of the model they have purchased. If possible, begin by spraying the waterproofing product right off the bat.

If your boots are made of leather, you might want to consider saddle soap. Even though it might be regarded as an old-fashioned product, you may find that it can do wonders when it comes to cleaning, conditioning, and protecting the leather. If you are feeling a bit puzzled as to how you may use saddle soap to cover the boots, we’ll put your mind at ease. Use water and saddle soap to create a lather to cover your boots. Allow it to set and dry for a couple of minutes, and then remove it with a piece of cloth.

Since saddle soap can affect the coloring of some types of leather, it might be a good idea to test the lather on a small portion of the boot to realize whether or not it might affect the overall color of the unit.

 

 

Salt and the winter season

Above all, salt can take a toll on snow boot. In this sense, the crucial consideration is to clean the boots right after taking a stroll in the snow. You’ll require warm water, laundry soap or detergent, some baking soda, vinegar, and a towel, as well as soft cloths and sponges. Salt stains have to be cleaned as quickly as possible, provided you take notice of them in a timely fashion.

If you plan on soaking your boots in their entirety, use a mixture of warm water, white vinegar, and detergent. Just allow the inserts to soak and gently rinse the outside and inside of the boots.

Things are somewhat different you’re the owner of a pair of suede boots, you might want to remove salt stains by using an eraser or sand with an emery board. Brush the flattened nap with the help of a towel or toothbrush.

If possible, don’t allow the salt to penetrate the surface of the snow boots. Sometimes, whatever you do, this might occur. Rest assured, you still have the ability to clean them, but you’ll probably need to use commercial products.

 

Cleaning snow boots

 

 

Shiny, polished, and clean

Leather boots are the most difficult ones to maintain, as you’ll have to polish them rather frequently. Nevertheless, even models made with synthetic fabrics require a little maintenance, as a little warm water never hurt a pair of boots. If you are looking to remove scuff marks, you might want to know that the most effective combination is the one composed of baking soda and warm water.

If you came across an unhappy accident and somehow managed to get oil stains on your suede boots, don’t panic. Use either talcum powder or cornmeal to brush off the stains as soon as possible.

 

 

Store in a clean, dry place

This piece of advice might come up with any product you might purchase, be it food or clothing. Nothing beats storage when it comes to snow boots, because some people live in areas where winter isn’t something that goes on for ages. If you don’t store your boots properly, you have a high risk of finding them either moldy or cracked. It goes without saying that the mold that affects your snow boots may just as well contaminate the other pieces of clothing you have stored in the same area.

Both leather and suede have to breathe from time to time, which is why plastic bags should be out of the question. While keeping your boots in direct sunlight isn’t the right way to go about things, checking on them from time to time is. The warmer and sunnier the place, the more likely they are to develop cracks.

 

 

The Best Tips for Top Loading Washing Machine Maintenance

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Top loading washing machines are known to be the most efficient at helping you have clean clothes all the time. While they are great at what they do, and they are built to last, this does not mean that they do not need some regular maintenance. What many users often overlook is the fact that even a washing machine needs to clean itself, and the fact that it washes clothes doesn’t count. There are areas inside the washing machine that are not easily reached by water and detergent, and, while it may look clean to you, this doesn’t mean that some germs and allergens cannot find their way inside and make nest there. Here are some great tips on how to offer the best maintenance for your top loading washing machine.

 

Top Loading Washing Machine

 

Use the sanitize cycle

New models of top loading washing machines come with a sanitize cycle, which, as you may well suspect, is there for a reason. Now you should know that there are different models and each one comes with its own set of instructions. Some may require you to use bleach or another kind of cleaning substance, while others do not because they come equipped with onboard heaters.

What to do if your machine does not have a sanitize cycle? You can create one yourself. Set the machine on the hottest setting and the largest load. Add a quart of vinegar and 4 ounces of baking soda, to create a grime removing agent. This combination is very effective against removing hard water buildup, as well, which will translate in a longer life for your washing machine.

 

Protect your house against flood incidents

The hoses that connect your washing machine to the water supply can suffer from wear and tear. Cracks and small blisters can lead to serious damage and, if they burst, you will end up with a flood incident on your hands. This type of incident can cause serious damage and you will have to pay more than just for replacing the hoses. The best course of action is to inspect the hoses regularly, and replace them every five years, even if they don’t look that worn. This way, you will not have to worry about floods caused by your washing machine and the unpleasantness that comes with them.

Water level switch malfunctions are other culprits for such accidents. You can appeal to some clever products especially designed to detect water flow related malfunctions and stop the alimentation with water right away.

 

Make sure the washing machine is leveled on the ground

All the legs of your washing machine should sit firmly on the ground. If they are not leveled, the machine will start to vibrate and even shake a lot. This can cause the machine to be thrown off balance and, in time, this can lead to malfunctioning. It is a good idea to purchase a machine with adjustable legs, so you can place the machine as near to the floor as possible. You will be able to avoid any vibrations in the body of the machine and the eventual damage that can appear over time.

Another bad habit that can throw the machine off balance is to overload it. Manufacturers strongly recommend to avoid overloading the washing machine and always pay attention to the advised loading sizes.

 

Top Loading Washing Machine1

 

Take care of the outside, too

It is very important to pay proper attention to the exterior appearance of your washing machine, as well. The eventual gashes and scrapes in paint that can appear over time will give room to rust, and this is something to avoid, if you want to use your washing machine for a very long time. Some touch-up paint can solve the problem fast and easy.

Clean the exterior at least once weekly, as the remains of detergent, softener and other substances used, can turn the washing machine into a sticky mess that can accumulate a lot of germs and bacteria. An all purpose cleaner and a soft piece of cloth are all that you need to clean the exterior and give your washing machine the shine and cleanliness it deserves.

 

Avoid mildew and mold

Once you are finished with the washing machine and you have to let it rest until next time, make sure to leave the lid open, so that the interior can dry properly. Any traces of moisture remained in the washing machine can prove the perfect environment for mildew and mold which, in turn, will cause your clothes to smell badly and also put your health in danger.

 

 

 

The Best Tips for Using or Installing a Wireless Range Extender

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Typically, people install a wireless range extender so wireless signal can cover all areas in the home or office. This type of equipment provides internet connectivity through wired or wireless connection in hard-to-reach areas or wireless dead zones, repeating the wireless signal of any router or access point. Configuring the range extender can be a lot easier with an installation CD or simply changing the wireless settings on the access point or router. However, if those elements are not provided, you may have to do manual setup of the device.

 

wireless range extender

 

 

First, choose a wireless extender that really expands your wireless coverage

Wireless extenders can halve the throughput even when they extend the range. For users who have wireless coverage issues, it is best to get a dual-band router. This type of device allows the user to boost a 2.4Ghz signal further while boosting the 5Ghz short-range signal to make it stronger. Pairing the extender with the 2.4Ghz band allows the user to reserve that band for tasks that require lighter throughput, such as checking email and web browsing. The 5Ghz band can be employed for streaming multimedia or linking to gaming consoles or smart TV’s on wireless devices, which pretty much covers throughput-intensive tasks.

 

 

Check out models with a signal strength indicator

With the right equipment, you also have to determine the best location to have your wireless extender at. The ideal position is midway from the router to where the wireless coverage seems to drag. It won’t do to put the device too close to the WiFi modem, since this would hinder you from getting the best coverage. Too far and you just waste what you have with a weak signal.

It is good advice to buy a wireless extender that has an indicator for signal strength to help you locate the perfect spot.

Some experts suggest setting up a chat app between two users on different devices in the home network to find a good place to position the wireless extender. The two devices have to be wirelessly connected to the router. One of the users positions themselves next to the router, while the other moves farther and farther from it. Once the chat connection drops or lags, the weak signal area has been found, making it the ideal location for the wireless extender.

Yet another means of determining where the signal drops is to employ free software such as the inSSIDer, which allows you to view the signal strength of the router. This software can be installed on both a Windows and Mac laptop or an Android device. It will work the same way as when using a chat app: the location where the signal strength drops is where the device has to be positioned.

 

 

Identify the wireless settings of the router or access point

These include: the wireless network name or service set identifier (SSID); the hardware identification number; and the wireless password, security/network key or the modem’s wireless security key.

The network name or SSID of the extender is a 32 case-sensitive alphanumeric character identifier sent over a wireless local area network, which acts as the password to connect a mobile device to the basic service set. It is what differentiates one WLAN from another WLAN. In principle, all devices connecting to a particular WLAN should utilize the same SSID.

The hardware identification number is a number that identifies each device connected to the network. The last four digits of this number have to be written down.

The WPA key is typically on a sticker found either on the back of the modem or underneath the device. It’s the same security key used to have the laptop connect to the modem.

 

wireless range extender position

 

Choose a Method for Setup

One quick method is WPS, which broadcasts the same network name and password as the source modem so it’s no longer necessary to switch between WiFi networks. This is a simpler method.

The slightly slower Ethernet Cable method enables the user to specify the SSID of the extender, allowing manual switching between WiFi networks based on signal strength.

Plug the range extender to the AC outlet, and make sure the LED lights for power and signal strength are stable. The WLAN light will keep flashing.

 

 

Set up the wireless extender with WPS

Launch a web browser. Enter the default IP address in the address bar. Note:should your PC have a defined default startup web page on its browser, a dialog box requesting entry of a username and password will appear automatically.

A window prompting you to enter a username and password will appear. Leave the username blank then enter admin in the password field and click Log In.

Click Wireless, then choose Basic Wireless Settings. Next, set the radio button to Manual and put in the router’s network name or SSID.

On the Wireless Security section, choose the security settings that correspond to the configuration of the router. Put in the WEP key or passphrase and click Save Settings. It is recommended to utilize WPA/WPA2 wireless security on both the range extender and router.

 

wireless range extender with WPS

 

 

Synchronize the range extender with the router

Unplug the power cables for the range extender and router for about half a minute. Plug the router in first, then once all the lights are stable, plug in the range extender.

To ensure successful installation of the range extender, open your router’s DHCP table and make sure the range extender is there along with its IP address. Ping the device using a wireless PC and make sure you can elicit replies from it.

 

 

Expand your network

Some other devices on the market aside from wireless range extenders can help users expand their local network whether wirelessly or through wired means. These include wireless bridges, access points and switches.

 

 

 

The Best Tips for Installing Ceiling Speakers

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Ceiling speakers are a great idea for those who want to setup a really great looking audio system that will also sport high quality sound. Of course, the quality of the speakers purchased is very important in this regard, but how you choose to install them is equally important. Here are some tips on how to install ceiling speakers so you get the best sound with minimum effort and zero headaches.

 

Ceiling Speakers

 

Safety comes first

This is the first tip and it is the most important. Installing your speakers in the ceiling or walls needs to take certain things into consideration, such as, for instance, the fire codes in your building. You will need to make sure that you do not stumble upon any electric wires when you install the speakers.

Other safety information is related to how you choose to work when doing this operation. For instance, if you use a ladder, make sure that the ladder is very stable and it is placed in an area where it is comfortable for you to easily reach the area on the ceiling you are working on. Make sure to always have a hand on the ladder and do not carry heavy objects while climbing the ladder.

Make sure you turn off the electrical power while you are drilling holes for the ceiling speakers. Since there could be electrical wires in the wall, you should use an exploratory wire wrapped in electrical tape, so you can avoid any accidents.

In case you plan to install your ceiling speakers in an attic, keep in mind that these areas are poorly ventilated and you need a fan for circulating air. Stay hydrated and let a friend or a member of the family know where you are.

 

Plan ahead

It is no use to just start drilling and cutting drywall for installing your speakers without a bit of planning in advance. Decide where you want your ceiling speakers to be placed before making any purchase. Depending on what you want to do once your audio system is set in place, listen to music, watch movies, or play games, you may want to opt for a different placement for the speakers.

 

See if the desired locations work

It is very important that you do not start drilling in areas where electrical wires go through the walls and ceiling. So, a highly recommended advice is to drill a pilot hole and use a stud finder to see what you are dealing with behind the wall. Besides eliminating any possibility to puncture an electrical wire and cause an electroshock, you need to see if the speakers you want to install have enough room. Mounting dimensions should be listed inside the manufacturer’s manual, so pay attention to what is written there. If you are satisfied with the results, fix the templates provided for your speakers and use some tape to keep them in place, so you can get to work. Check to see if the templates are positioned properly, and you will be able to setup your ceiling speakers fast and easy.

 

Ceiling Speakers 1

 

Search for any pre-wired wires for speakers

There are homes where pre-wired wires for speakers may be in place. This means, of course, less work for you, so you should be interested in finding out whether or not your home has such features included. Check the documentation of your home and any pictures showing the wiring before installing the drywall. Hole saving brackets are also a solution in case they were used by the people who installed the drywall in your home.

 

Proceed with caution when cutting drywall

In order to install your ceiling speakers with ease, you will need to cut the drywall to the necessary dimensions. The templates mentioned earlier will give you the guidelines for cutting the drywall according to specifications. In case you want to install rectangular speakers, first drill two holes in two opposite corners. Round speakers require you to drill two holes opposed from one another. Professionals advise using a manual drywall saw and carefully proceed to cutting starting from one hole and going towards the next, abiding by the template.

Keep the saw at an inward slant, so that you do not have to patch your work a lot later on, or to minimize the amount of patchwork needed. Get rid of all the excessive material before you get the speaker inside. Repair and patch the drywall, so you do not have to work more later, with the speakers already in place.