Home Improvement Tips For Smart Homeowners

When making improvements to your home, often times small things can make a big difference. Below are six little tips that you may not have thought about, but could be quite helpful in your next home project.

1. Pick out a suitable height for wall outlets. Though most electricians place outlets 12 inches up the wall from the floor, many people find that height is not high enough to be convenient. As an alternative, consider whether 16 inches might be a better height for less bending, and to get the most out of power cord length for tabletop electric items such as lamps.

2. Use a stainless steel taping knife. Use a tool made out of this material for your sheetrock taping to minimize the amount of cleanup time that is needed after the project is done, and to limit any possibility of having rust forming on the knife, which will make it useless for future projects.

3. Recycle old electronics and appliances. Many electronics recycling establishments are popping up all over the nation and will take your out of date electric products for free disposal that is a lot more eco friendly than putting them in the trash to be put into the landfill. If they’re in working condition, see if a charitable organization will take them so that they can be used again for extended life before they’re recycled.

4. Be organized. Know about every major element, each step of the way through the remodeling process. This will help you to ensure that your contractors will all arrive on the right days for tasks to continue progressing. When your electrician arrives at the correct point, for example, it means that the building team won’t need to wait to put up the walls or ceiling.

5. Put in a dormer to turn your attic into livable space. By building a dormer or two into the attic space, a properly constructed attic will receive natural light and added height to make it a much more appealing room. This can give your home a whole new space like a home office, play room for the children, or even a guest bedroom.

6. Measure everything. There is no such thing as guessing or “eyeballing” a measurement when it comes to the perfect home renovation. More often than not, you’ll find that the way that something looked inside a huge store is quite different than the way that it will appear in your residence. You don’t want to end up getting a kitchen island that will consume every square inch of floor space, and returns are costly and time consuming.

PayPal IPN – Creating Listener Code to Process IPN Messages

You have finally decided IPN is the solution to your website application. You do not want to pay someone else to do it. It can not be that hard, can it? Where can you get some practical advice from people who have been there, done that. This article will answer these questions and help you decide if you are able to write that code. If you find it too complicated there are a few commercial products out there that will handle everything for you so do not lose heart if you find yourself stuck.

PayPal IPN

Instant Payment Notification is better known as PayPal IPN and is PayPal's interface for handling real time confirmation of purchases. A typical use for IPN is where you want to use the software to download.

PayPal provide 3 different types of account. Personal, Premier and Business. You will need Premier or Business to use IPN.

Listener

PayPal IPN messages are not synchronized with actions on your website. You detect IPN messages from PayPal with a piece of code known as a listener.

You specify the URL of your listener in your PayPal account's profile but you can override this for specific transactions when you setup a button or API operation. You can also temporarily turn off the sending of IPN messages, useful if your site is down for maintenance. They are still generated and stored until you switch sending back on again.

You must perform a number of checks on the IPN message received from PayPal.

  • Check the email address to make sure it is yours
  • Check that you have not already processed the transaction identified by the transaction ID
  • Make sure that the transaction's payment status is "completed"
  • Verify that the payment amount actually matches what you intend to charge

PayPal Sandbox

When you are developing your website you really do not want to be trying to get it working by experimenting on a real money system. Any early bugs in the system could leave security holes but even if you write perfect code it is best not to do your testing using real money.

PayPal provides what they call a sandbox, almost identical to the live PayPal system. You can setup fake customers with fake money and make as many test purchases as you want. The perfect system to fully test your web application.

There is a Sandbox Forum on the developer network. It's a great place for advice.

Testing your Listener

The Sandbox has an excellent IPN Simulator (under Test Tools) which lets you choose the transaction type, fill in all the parameter values ​​and send a test IPN to a specified address.

IPN History

PayPal provides an IPN history page under the My Account tab. Click on History to see it. It includes everything you want to know about each IPN message including the following Status values.

  • Sent: indicates that PayPal sent the message to your IPN listener
  • Failed: indicates that PayPal did not receive an acknowledgment to the message
  • Queued: indicates that PayPal is ready to send the message
  • Retrying: indicates that message was resent between 1 and 15 times and PayPal continues to be resend the message
  • Disabled: indicating that the message will not be resent because the merchant's account has been disabled

Conclusion

The best place to search for information is the PayPal Integration Center which has guides, code and links for everything to do with integrating your website with PayPal.

The one place you MUST visit is the PayPal IPN Forum on the developer website. As well as a constantly changing list of discussion topics about IPN, there are some good sticky posts about troubleshooting tips, IPN variables, template code etc.

PayPal IPN is a difficult subject but the combination of an excellent testing environment in the form of the sandbox and the good quality advice provided through the forums should make it possible for you to get your website application up and running.

How To Start An Internet Marketing Business The Right Way

Running your own Internet Marketing business is really the best way to make money in the world. You get to set your own hours. You can work from almost anywhere in the world. All of your efforts go towards your business and your success, rather than a large corporation's. You write your own paycheck. And I do not know of any business in the world where the start-up costs are so low (often as low as the cost of a monthly website fee), or the knowledge barrier is so small (in other trades, it can take YEARS to learn the basics).

The "problem" (and I only say it's a problem because it seems to discourage so many people) is that you have to treat your business like a business. Anyone can make a few dollars here and there online. But to get the kind of thousands-of-dollars-a-month success that lets you quit your day job and buy a larger house, you're going to have to put in some work upfront.

To illustrate what I'm talking about, let's look at a normal job: you go to work for a specified number of hours, and get paid a certain amount for those hours. If you're salaried, you get a certain amount per month or year no matter how much you work. Hopefully, if you do a good job you get a raise. In either case, you're guaranteed to make a certain amount within a specified time-frame.

With an Internet marketing business (as with any business) you have to do some things upfront: you have to set up a website and a few other tools, you have to promote your site or service, etc. This can take a bit of time before you see profits. The reason an Internet marketing business is the way to go is because (if you're doing things correctly) when you DO see the profit, you're going to be seeing a lot more of it. And because everything is semi-automated (the order-taking, often the delivery of goods, etc.) your business requires a LOT less time later on to sustain than an hourly job.

It's a actually a bit like growing a tree. To grow a tree you have to:

– Learn how to care for the tree you want to grow.

– Spend a little cash up front for some seeds or a sapling.

– Find a good place to plant your seeds or sapling. Make sure it's fertile ground and out of the shade of larger trees.

– Care for your tree as it grows. Keep it watered and fed.

– THEN, when it's bigger, harvest the fruit.

– Do minor upkeep on tree, keep harvesting fruit, plant new trees.

It's the same process with an Internet marketing business. Your sapling / seed is your business plan. and your basic tools such as a website, a mailing list, etc. Hunting for a good spot is your market research. Fertilizer and water are your promotional methods. And just like a tree, once it's up and running it requires a lot less care.

I'm not telling you all of this to discourage you. I just want you to understand that overnight profits are rare, and you can not count on them or you'll end up frustrated. And even overnight profits require planning. But if you're willing to do some basic set-up work and have the ability to focus and take action, you'll see more money than you could dream of an hourly or salaried job. Plus, being able to sleep in when you want is nice, too.

The three magic steps to making it all happen are:

– Step One: Learn how an internet marketing business works.

– Step Two: Make a plan for your business based on solid market research.

– Step Three: Follow through with the plan, one step at a time.

Just remember: shift your mental focus from "money right now" to "longterm, increasingly-large profits." You must treat your Internet marketing business like a business to be successful. And remember, take things one step at a time.

Unique Gifts – Are They a Thing of the Past

Well are they? How did you stumble across my article? No doubt you were looking for this very thing "Unique" am I right?

Lets face it times have changed long gone are the days of knitting and crocheting. Yes I know what you are thinking; there are still a few talented people around that do these crafts. But let's admit it now with the introduction of computers & Xbox the next generation is more interested in helping scratch than ice age rather than doing embroidery. And with mass production of goods, from China and other countries unique is becoming rarer.

Well I have made it my personal quest to find "Unique".

Let's start by saying that on a trip to Africa, I most definitely found it. The African tribal people would unduly have to be some of the most talented people in the world.

There Beadwork / Wirework designs are really amazing. Yes you heard right! These talented artisans for the Ndebele tribe express themselves through this very art form.

Dating back they used the beadwork mostly for ceremonial occasions, using organic materials, but now with the introduction of glass beads through overseas visitors, there artist has turned to something with a more modern and creative twist.

Traditionally over the years, the tribal women were renamed for the ceremonial costumes and for basket basket weaving, put the two together and they started creating
the most beautiful designs.

Today Africa is experiencing a revolution. Numbers of talented artisans, are making these steel wire sculptures and then beading them with bright bold colors. Animal sculptures, jewelry, mobiles, wall art, decorative bottles, vases, and cutlery the list is endless.

This truly is unique artisanship.