What is living on benefits really like?

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Americans might not have heard about people living on benefits, but such cases are more or less common in the United Kingdom. Furthermore, over the years, various TV channels have taken the opportunity to describe the cases of multiple individuals, but the fact of the matter is that the so-called ‘truth’ exposed by the media couldn’t be farther from reality.

In an attempt to grow their audience, many TV channels from the United Kingdom have showcased some circumstances where people receiving out-of-work benefits were even more privileged than those who are forced to take a traditional 9-to-5 job.

Of course, such cases are spectacular and have somehow managed to convince the public that it is only due to a failing benefits system that these people are allowed to avoid work altogether and worse yet, even be paid for it.

The hard truth? Living on benefits is definitely not a lifestyle choice

Most of those watching these TV shows or the producers themselves have somehow gotten it into their heads that living on benefits was a personal choice of those shown on TV. In fact, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Most people on benefits need a loan today, and that’s because it is virtually impossible for them to survive on as little as forty to fifty pounds per day.

What’s more, many of these individuals have a hard time coping with the situation from an intellectual standpoint. Many claim that they feel useless and that they constantly have the feeling that, just because they are walking down the street on a workday, passersby will know that they’re living on the social aid offered by the government.

While most of the TV audience for these shows have made the call to ignore the cases altogether, others have decided that they can’t keep quiet any longer. The critics say that living on benefits is a decision that anyone can take with ease. In actuality, more than half of those who receive any type of financial aid are job seekers just like any other random person down the street.

But who makes up the rest? Some are single parents who can’t cope with taking care of their children without providing them with the attention they require. Others are disabled individuals, who make up another important part of the percentage of people living on benefits. And finally, there are people whose pensions just aren’t enough to provide them with what they need.

As some of the resources we’ve come across have pointed out, the system is failing in one respect, and that is that it is incapable of removing the stigma around this type of living. Both the politicians and the media have somehow ended up in charge with the role of stigmatizing those on benefits.

 

It’s not only happening in the UK

In the spring of 2016, VICE published an article about a 31-year old Frenchman, Benjamin, who had decided to quit his job and start helping the people around him. The French have a unique benefits system of their own, although it might be slightly more intelligent compared to that available in the United Kingdom, which is to say that not anyone can receive financial compensation from the government.

Benjamin was a young individual who had worked long hours at a startup for approximately two and a half years before becoming a part-time worker. After standing up for an employee who was being ill-treated by the bosses, he made sure everyone at the office started to know that he hated his job and wanted to be fired.

And fired he was, after sending an email to a shareholder with all of his bosses on cc inviting him out for a meal to tell him his perspective on his job. The VICE article was written in April 2016 and Benjamin hadn’t had a job since 2014. Guess what? That wasn’t because he was looking or because people weren’t willing to hire him — but because he wasn’t.

The man claims that he now has time to pay attention to the people and things that truly matter in his life. Whenever he gets too attached to the idea of having money, he starts reassessing his personal needs.

People quit their jobs because of burnouts

For people who have never worked in the IT and online marketing environments, it might be more or less difficult to understand the concept of burnout. In fact, it might seem like a grave exaggeration, especially in the eyes of an individual who has to make a lot of effort to get through a day’s work.

However, the hard truth is that surviving in the corporate world is very difficult. The first time you apply to a job for a big company, the ad might appeal to you because of sayings like ‘office perks,’ ‘flexible schedule,’ ‘great pay,’ or whatever else recruiters might use to lure in the candidates. Unfortunately, it doesn’t take more than two to three months for things to turn sour – overtime, not as many perks as you might have thought, and hardly any free time because you also have to work from home or on the weekends.

Of course, this isn’t the case of all corporate environments, as there are happy cases such as Google, which is a company that obviously cares about its employees.

The same VICE article we were referring to earlier mentioned the case of Vincent, aged 37, who was used to making 4,800 pounds per month as a project manager in information technology. In 2008, he left the company he was working for after attempting to kill himself. He had already suffered a burnout in 2003, but he received only three weeks of sick leave.

Cases where people working for various corporate companies either die from exhaustion or suffer burnouts are extremely common nowadays, and some have even died at the office. In October 2017, a Japanese woman died from overwork after logging 159 hours of overtime in a month.

The common signs of burnout range from severe exhaustion, cynicism, and emotionally draining work to a complete absence of positive emotions and dire thinking, also known as catastrophic thoughts. It’s very easy for other people to judge individuals who are caught in a vicious circle that entails overworking day in, day out, but the truth is that not many of us could do it without suffering a burnout ourselves.

 

Let’s talk figures. What is it like to live on benefits?

Whether they were laid off or they now receive benefits because they are single parents, most of the people in these situations find it difficult to manage their money and will often end up in debt. The cases where these individuals have to live on less than 100 pounds per week are extremely common, with many of them having to do the same for not just one, but two persons.

Most people living in the United Kingdom will know that it is often difficult to rent a room in a house or flat with a minimum of 300 to 400 pounds. If what you receive per month in benefits is about 600 pounds, that 100 pound-figure we were mentioning earlier on isn’t even real. You’ll have to live with approximately fifty pounds per week, which is virtually impossible as a daily trip to any supermarket might cost you at least ten to fifteen pounds, and that’s only if you stick to the basics for yourself — not for your family, too.  

 

Prejudice makes it worse

There have been cases where people have tried to get a job time and again using their local Job Centers. Unfortunately, upon being unsuccessful for several weeks, they started becoming depressed, and once they manifested their concerns to the counselors at the centers, they were looked down upon and were even removed their benefits.

The reason why this has happened to so many people is that many consultants don’t have the open-mindedness that’s necessary to manage such circumstances and they fail to manifest an empathy toward the person who is in dire straits.

A small study performed by Robert de Vries in Oxford has revealed that people are far more tempted to associate benefit claimants with words like ‘useless,’ ‘bad,’ or ‘dirty’ than they would with ‘wonderful’ or ‘clean,’ for example.

What’s the progress?

According to the Quarterly Benefits Summary published by GOV.UK in November 2017, things aren’t so bad as one might think. In fact, the jobseeker’s allowance number has decreased from 1 million in 2000 to 460 thousand in May of 2017. The same happened for those claiming income support, as there used to be about 2.5 million in 2000 and in the month of May 2017, there were only 600 thousand.

The areas where we’ve noticed an increase in numbers are Universal Credit, Carer’s Allowance, as well as Employment and Support Allowance. Both the pensions benefits and the housing benefits figures have remained somewhat stationary.

So, as much as the media might like to hyperbolize the whole situation, it isn’t as tragic as one might be tempted to believe it is.

 

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.

 

 

 

4 Effective Tips to Clean the Carvings in Wooden Furniture

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I am sure that there might be many folks like me who just love the antique look that wooden furniture can bring to their homes. Are you one among them? Well, happy to hear that!

However, now, we can buy some of the most premium quality wooden furniture from the high-end online stores like made.com at an affordable rate.

So, the barrier of expensiveness would most likely not come into your way anymore to feel the grandeur of wooden furniture at your home!!

But, when you have such furniture in your home and that too the highly carved gorgeous ones then you face a major problem.

Let me guess it!!

Isn’t it the difficulty of cleaning the carves in them?

 

I, too, go through this problem almost daily!! Those things that look so stunning and ornate always need an extra attention to let them look as beautiful as they are.

 

You need to act a tad smarter and keep the following tips in your mind:

 

1) Remove the gunk smartly

 

If you have neglected the carved areas of the wooden furniture in your home for quite a while then dust might just get strongly settled over. So, all that you need to do is simply take every possible stride to clean up.

You can just fold a small business card or any kind of hard paper into a cone-shaped structure and push it into the narrow carved areas of your furniture. Moreover, you can even use a toothpick or a soft toothbrush to do so as those artifacts can be something perfect to remove debris from the complicated grooves and cervixes.

 

 

2) Go for homemade cleaners

 

Want to know about a magical homemade cleaner? You can just add one part of gum turpentine and three parts of linseed oil together to make this stuff. Then, you just have to shake this up, and finally, mix it with a shallow amount of hot water in a disposable container use. Trust me, this cleaner is going to work really well!

 

 

3) Dusting is must

 

If you will thoroughly dust your furniture in every a few week then it will definitely help you to keep them always clean. If you just brush over the whole wooden furniture with a feather duster or a soft cloth then it will remove the majority of the dust. When it comes to the carved areas then don’t forget to brush many times with such a duster.

 

4) Remove the scratches frequently

 

If somehow you get scratches in those carved areas then you can just rub it down with a crayon which is having one shade lighter brown color than wood. Then, you can just follow the same with another crayon which is having a kind of darker shade than the first one. Finally, just swipe up the excess crayon wax with a piece of cotton cloth.

So, what are you waiting for? If you have some premium quality wooden furniture at your home with some attractive but complex carvings within the same then just opt for these tips. Thus, I am sure that you would be able to keep your favorite furniture shining always!!

 

 

 

5 of the best casinos to play poker in

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Online poker is a tremendous invention that has brought poker enthusiasts around the world together in the past decade. The ability to bluff, raise and bask in the glow of a massive win from the comfort of your own home have revolutionised the gambling world.

Texas Hold ‘Em, Chinese poker and a plethora of other card games are all available at the touch of a button whether you’re sat in bed, on the sofa or on the bus. However, one of the downsides of online poker is that it has discouraged people from visiting some of the best venues in the world.

Despite the allure of online poker, nothing can compare to the buzz of putting on your best clobber and looking your opponent in the eye as you bluff him to rake in a huge stash of chips. Casino holidays and poker holidays have become ever popular in the last 20 years and some of the best destinations in the world are all a budget flight away in Europe.

In this article we take a look at the five must-visit locations in the world for poker lovers.

 

1) The Fitzwilliam Casino and Card Club – Republic of Ireland

 

Known by locals as ‘The Fitz’, this historic venue has played host to a number of poker luminaries over the years including Padraig Parkinson and Liam Flood. Up and coming poker players across Europe visit The Fitz regularly to test their metal against some of the best amateur players in the world.

If you’re not flush with disposable income, don’t worry, The Fitz offers a range of daily tournaments which cater for all budgets. Although there are plenty of other casino games available, poker is the main draw of The Fitz with bi-monthly cash prize pools regularly exceeding 40,000 euros!

The casino is situated perfectly in the heart of Dublin allowing you to take a tour of the best cultural destinations in the Irish capital.

 

 

2) Casino de Barcelona – Spain

 

One of the main beneficiaries of the 1992 Summer Olympics was the Casino de Barcelona that benefitted from the renovation of the Olympic Port. The resort offers a full range of casino games, poker rooms and amazing restaurants.

The biggest draw for poker enthusiasts is the fact that the casino regularly plays host to a plethora of prestigious poker tours and festivals including The Spanish Championship, The World Poker Tour and The European Poker Tour.

For those celebrity spotting lovers amongst you, Gerrard Pique and his wife Shakira have been known to frequent the Casino de Barcelona. Along with footballing legend Lionel Messi and film star Antonio Banderas.

The casino is regarded as one of the best places to Texas Holdem in the country, although you’ll need to know what you’re doing to get a look in. The venue attracts the most serious of players, so it’s not for the faint of heart.

 

 

3) Concord Card Casino – Austria

 

Regardless of what you read on Lonely Planet, the Austrian capital Vienna is not a terrific holiday destination, it’s intensely boring. But if you are stuck in Vienna, you can find solace by heading to the Concord Card Casino.

The card room is solely dedicated to poker, unlike many card rooms that focus on blackjack and a plethora of other card games. The venue plays host to the Concord Masters, the PartyPoker GrandPix and the 100,000 euros guaranteed game.

There are also plenty of games to suit a range of different budgets, with cash games ranging from 1,000 euros to the aforementioned 100,000 euros. Celebrity chef Scott Conant and footballer Stephan Lichtsteiner have both been seen playing poker in the Concord Card Casino

 

 

4) Les Ambassadeurs Casino – United Kingdom

 

One of the most historic casinos in the United Kingdom, Les Ambassadeurs or ‘Les A’ as it’s known by its patrons was first opened in the 19th-century. Previous owners include the Conyngham family and Leopold de Rothschild, son of Baron Lionel de Rotschild.

The venue was re-opened 27 years ago and plays host to a range of diplomats, royalty, celebrities and aristocracy. Phillip Green, disgraced former CEO of British Home Stores almost put the casino out of business with monster hauls of £2 million at the roulette table in 2006.

The intimate private room named in honour of Leopold de Rothschild is one of the best places to play poker in Europe. It’s reserved for small and intimate gaming parties so you can only expect to get an invite if you’re a high-roller.

 

 

5) Casino de Monte Carlo – Monaco

 

The casino of choice for James Bond can be your casino too. Set in the luscious backdrop of the Monegasque coast with stunning views of the Mediterranean, the casino de Monte Carlo is one of the best casinos in the world.

The venue has a very strict dress code and plays host to some of the richest and most famous people in the world, including European royalty. The best room for the new visitor in the casino is the American Casino Games room where you can play ultimate Texas Hold ‘e Poker.

The minimum bet is 10 euros so it’s not just exclusively for the high-rollers and royalty, and there is also the Societe Des Bains de Mer to visit afterwards and check out the other casino games on offer.

 

Summary

Casinos are some of the best places on the earth, especially when you’re on a running streak. However it’s not just about the poker, it’s about the entire ambience and vibe that you get in the casino.

All of the casinos mentioned above offer the player a unique experience, whether that’s sitting and looking out over the Mediterranean coast, gambling in the Leopold de Rothschild room or wagering bets against Gerad Pique and Lionel Messi.

 

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 Taking Care of a Leather Sofa

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To keep a leather sofa looking good through the years, the homeowner may be tempted to try out the many leather conditioners out there to ensure a waxy finish on their favorite loveseat or couch. Contrary to popular belief, leather sofas age beautifully and are not that tedious to care for. Unlike fabric that wears out, leather wears in, giving it a natural patina with time. Leather is a natural material and leather furniture can last a lifetime. Here’s what to do to ensure that the investment made in a leather sofa is truly worth it.

 

Leather sofas

 

 

Wipe the sofa down regularly

Caring for a leather sofa only entails regularly wiping down the piece of furniture using a clean, dry cloth. Spills should be wiped up as soon as they happen. With regular wiping down, dust is removed from the leather to keep it looking fabulous.

Leather conditioning should never be considered optional. You can use leather conditioner either annually or semi-annually. Otherwise, the material will develop cracks or can dry out and turn brittle.The creamy consistency of leather conditioner enables you to buff it into the material. The leather conditioner you use will depend on the type of leather used in making the sofa. It is best to ask the manufacturer about a suitable leather conditioner for the unit.

 

 

Clean out dust and debris from the sofa’s crevices

This is where a good vacuuming can be effective. Like any other piece of upholstered furniture, your leather sofa can accumulate its share of debris and dirt in those tight corners and crevices, as well as under the cushions. Use a vacuum hose attachment to suck out the collected dirt. Vacuuming leather furniture entails no precautions whatsoever.

 

 

Refrain from using regular cleaning products to wipe down the leather sofa

Soaps, solvents, detergent and other cleaning reagents need not be used. Dusting spray such as Pledge will only cause buildups that become so difficult to eliminate without ruining the leather. Varnishes, oils, rubbing alcohol and too much water may create a bigger problem than the offending stain.

 

 

Small scratches can be buffed with a microfiber cloth

There may be times when inconsiderate guests or crazy relatives can leave cigarette burns of knife gouges on your priced leather sofa. Eventually too, since animal hide is what leather is made from, the material can develop small scratches and cracks or just dry out. You can coax such damages into healing themselves by gently buffing them with a microfiber cloth until they no longer look so wicked or their appearance improves.

 

Leather sofa cracks

 

 

Keep in mind that sunlight can have damaging effects on leather as much as it does on human skin

It is important that your leather sofa be kept out of direct sunlight or light. Fading can happen with constant sun and light exposure. The material will also dry out.Position leather couches and loveseats away from windows through which the sunlight will be shining through. If there’s no other choice because of space restrictions, simply condition the often exposed areas more frequently.

 

 

Select good quality leather when you have kids or pets in the house

Generally, your leather sofa should be as safe as any other piece of furniture even if you own pets or have kids in the home. With that said, you can always go for protected leather in your sofa. This type of material is given an extra application of finishing to help protect the material, so children and house pets can settle on the sofa without you worrying constantly about the material getting damaged.

 

 

Don’t experiment with various types of cleaning reagents to work on persistent stains

Handling a persistent stain by yourself may not be sensible and could easily result in further damage to your investment. It is better to seek the assistance of a professional leather specialist to clean out stubborn stains and prevent creating greater damage to the material itself.

 

Leather sofa stain

 

 

Keeping a leather sofa covered ensures protection from dust and dirt

If you own a leather sofa and do not want to have to be constantly worried about maintaining its rich, clean look, covering it with a lightweight sheet when not in use will help protect it from dirt and dust. This will also reduce the maintenance you have to do to it so you won’t have to clean the sofa as often as when it is kept without a cover. A lightweight sheet will also keep sunlight off from the sofa to prevent the material from cracking and drying out over time. If a leather sofa is placed in a high-traffic area, having a slipcover on it may be more effective at keeping grime and grease away.

 

 

3 California Travel Tips for Digital Nomads

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Being a digital nomad has become one of the most popular types of employment over the course of the past decade, and that’s because this type of job has a lot of perks and very few downsides. You get to travel to a lot of places, and in most cases, all that you need to be able to do your work is a decent Internet connection and a more than decent laptop. You can be an entrepreneur, a computer programmer, a web designer, or a copywriter — all of these can allow you to live the life of a digital nomad.

You can even travel overseas, if you want, to places such as Thailand or other exotic destinations, but you always have to make sure that you have the practical means to be able to do what drives you — your work.

Whether you are an American or not, you’ve probably dreamed of traveling to the Golden State before. After all, the sun, the sea, and the amazing beaches are some of the common reasons you might want to consider California to be your next destination. But that’s not all. Some of the most iconic American cities are located in this state, and even the smaller ones have their charm.

But one thing that we would recommend before you set out on your Golden State adventure is to do your homework about some of the things that could get you in trouble. Some bizarre laws are still very much applicable despite being dated or downright useless. But California has unique laws. Here, you can buy marijuana, but smoking it under certain circumstances could get you in real legal trouble, in which case you’d need a Criminal Defense Lawyer.

If you want to make sure that you do not end up paying a hefty fine or risk jail time, perhaps you should take a couple of minutes to read some of the tips we’ve listed below. Some of them might even put you in a good mood, especially if you’re a digital nomad.

 

Data protection

We’ll start with something positive and we’ll tell you that California is one of the places where companies cannot keep the data of their users without their consent. According to Harvard Business Review, even companies that generate revenue from targeted advertising over Internet platforms, as is the case with Google, Twitter, and, of course, Facebook, must give their users the permission to delete their data if they so wish to do.

For many digital nomads and people working in the IT&T industry, this change is more than beneficial. California passed the law in July of 2021, so it is rather recent, and there are many companies that have tried to fight it as best as possible.

The personal information that falls under the categories of data that a consumer can choose to delete, thereby forcing the service provider (such as one of the social media networks mentioned previously) to do the same ranges from personal identifiers to Internet browsing history.

So, in many ways, using the Internet in the state of California is much safer than in many other places. The law is set to come into effect at the beginning of 2021, though, so that’s one mention we must make.

 

Drinking, driving, and other important aspects

Not that we’d like to suggest that it’s one of the things you want to do when you’re traveling, but it’s good to know that California has a set of rather unique laws in this respect and that its penalties are even more so.

This state has some of the most stringent DUI laws in the United States. For example, a first offense can set you back by $2,000 for a fine, but that’s only if you’re lucky. You can also get 48h in jail, your license suspended for as many as several months, as well as an obligatory completion of a 3-month alcohol education program.

Subsequent DUI offenses have more severe punishments. A third one can get you an $18,000 fine, a 30-month alcohol treatment program, as well as a whopping of 16 months in state prison. Understand the law before you decide to get behind the wheel while you’re under the influence. Better yet, take a cab or an Uber.

Something else you might want to know about California is that the law requires you to stop for sobriety checkpoints, which means that the Police can test your blood alcohol content pretty much anytime. Don’t drive without a license, a suspended one, or a revoked one because the Police can take you into custody right away and can impound your car.

Also, it is outside the law to talk on your cell phone as you are driving, at least without the use of a headset. You cannot use the device to email or text, but apparently, you are allowed to use navigation apps such as Google Maps as there was the case of one Steven Spriggs of Fresno who appealed a ticket that he received for using the app. And he won.

 

Smoking marijuana

One thing that sets the Golden State aside from many of the rest is that marijuana consumption is legal here, under certain circumstances and limitations. If you are over the age of 21, you are allowed to purchase up to one ounce of cannabis per day, which should be enough for you to fill at least a dozen joints. If you don’t like smoking the thing, you can purchase it in the form of edibles ranging from brownies to breakfast bars, but only up to the amount of 8 grams.

Purchasing the pot needs to be done at a state-licensed recreational dispensary, where you will be required to show an ID or a driver’s license. Because it is illegal to sell marijuana from 10 pm to 6 am, you’ll have no means of getting it at night.

Another essential aspect that you have to be aware of is that you can’t smoke marijuana anywhere. If you’ve ever been to Amsterdam, you probably know that you can get the pot from a licensed store, but you aren’t allowed to smoke it in that place. However, you are allowed to do so in the street.

This doesn’t happen in California as marijuana buyers are required by law to consume it only on private property. You can’t even eat a special brownie in public. There have been some attempts to change this law so that people are allowed to smoke in public cafes (not in those on university campuses, however), but no such efforts have been successful just yet.

Since both alcohol and marijuana can affect a person’s perception of reality and most of all, reflexes, the consumption of both is illegal if you intend to drive. While there’s a limit to alcohol, there isn’t any for pot, so you’d better avoid smoking any at all if you want to get behind the wheel at some point.

If your stay in California is approaching its end and you’d like to take some of the pot with you on the road, you might want to know that transporting it by plane is illegal even if it is medicinal. According to the Department of Homeland Transportation Security Administration, you are not allowed to carry marijuana in your carry-on or checked bags.

While the security officers won’t search for it on purpose, the dogs are trained to look for potentially dangerous substances and you will undoubtedly get searched if a security screening singles you out.

 

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 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 Cleaning Your Toilet Reliably

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Keeping your toilet clean will ensure that your household stays healthy. A dirty toilet not only looks bad but also smells bad and can be a great breeding place for germs. Although cleaning the toilet is not one of life’s easiest tasks, it still has to be done to save the homeowner from headaches in the long run. There are hundreds of toilet cleaning reagents on the market, but doing the cleaning quickly and efficiently is ensured by following these instructions.

 

Cleaning toilet

 

 

First, remove items on countertops and ledges around the toilet

Before you work on the nitty gritty of toilet cleaning, you must first clear the top surfaces in the toilet of any items that can merely obstruct your progress while cleaning. This includes tissue boxes, photos, shampoo and fragrance bottles and other toiletries. Doing so will ensure that you can clean every nook and cranny in the toilet, allowing you to give the toilet a thorough cleaning. You won’t have to be bothered by too much obstruction to clean under and around. It will also keep the various items out of the way, uncontaminated by the strong cleaning chemicals you will be using and preventing accidental dropping into the bowl.

 

 

Wear clean gloves

The various toilet cleaning chemicals can be harsh or even harmful to human skin. You must put on clean gloves for protection. Be sure to have a pair of gloves for exclusive use in cleaning the toilet since the toilet can be a breeding ground for myriads of germs. With gloves, your hands stay as clean and dry as possible when cleaning the toilet. Be sure to keep the toilet cleaning gloves separate from other gloves you may have in the household that you use for other purposes. Buying them in a different color is sensible so you don’t mistake them for dishwashing gloves.

 

 

Wipe down every surface with a damp sponge

Give every surface in the toilet an initial once-over with hot water. While the rest of the toilet is being cleaned, the hot water will penetrate the surfaces to loosen up dirt and grime so cleaning will be easier. You can moisten a sponge with hot water then use the sponge to wipe around the tank, seat, base, lid and exterior surfaces of the bowl. This will often be enough to remove the dirt without having to use special cleaning reagents.

 

cleaning toilet with sponge

 

 

Start the cleaning process with the bowl

Apply bowl cleaner under the rim and allow the reagent to flow down to the bowl. Using a toilet brush, scrub the bowl, making sure to get everything hiding under the rim. Close the toilet bowl lid and allow the cleaner to soak the bowl, preferably between 10 to 15 minutes.

Open the toilet bowl lid and work on the rim of the bowl. This task may be the grossest you have to do but it can be accomplished with the right kind and quantity of disinfectant and some serious elbow grease. A good homemade soft scrub formulation requires some baking soda, liquid castile soap, tea tree oil and as an option, some sweet orange, lemon or lemongrass oil. You can also make your own toilet bowl cleaner using equal parts baking soda and white vinegar, and about 10 drops each of tea tree oil plus lavender essential oils. Scrub the bowl with your prepared mixture.

You can also use specially formulated commercial toilet cleaners to remove tough mineral deposits, stains and rings that form in the bowl.

 

 

Use a disinfectant cleaner to clean the rest of the toilet

While waiting for the bowl to soak, spray some disinfectant on the outside of the toilet, working your way from the top of the tank going down. Use the sponge and wash the surfaces out with hot water as you go. Use a spray bottle with bathroom disinfectant or all-purpose cleaner to mist the whole toilet. You should get the top and bottom of the seat, the whole exterior of the bowl as well as the base. Use some light pressure with a paper or cloth towel to work the cleaner in and wipe it off.

 

Ceaning toilet

 

 

Flush the toilet

To rinse the brush and the bowl, flush the toilet. As the water drains from the toilet, continue scrubbing the interior surface, as the motion of the flushed water may be insufficient to rinse all the dirt off.

You may have to reapply the toilet cleaner and allow the bowl to soak in it, scrub and flush until the stain has been removed.

 

 

Clean the handle thoroughly and spray disinfectant on the floor of the toilet

You touch the handle of the toilet every time you use it. You must clean it thoroughly to ensure germ-free use. Give it a heavy coating of disinfectant spray.

Clean the surrounding section of floor. Sweep up any loose debris or hair around and behind the toilet body. Use wet paper towels, cloth or disposable wipes to wipe the area clean