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Home Automation is Growing Fast

The dream of home automation has been around for a long time, but it is only recently with the advent of low cost microprocessors and the availability of the internet for communications has the reality caught up with automation ideas. As well as the basic controls and automatic systems, simple user interfaces have also been needed for average consumer acceptance. Today’s widespread use of smart phones and familiarity with web browser interfaces has made the user-interface part of the puzzle more accessible. Because of the ease of use, controlling multiple appliances at home has become much more popular.

Home automation is how the main items of a home are controlled automatically, either by being programmed in advance, or activated remotely via a communication link. Typical home automation includes control of lights, HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning systems), smart appliances, and security monitoring. We are all familiar with the programming of an a/c system to start cooling or heating just before we get up, switch off during the day and resume in the evening, but newer automation systems allow us to control the a/c remotely. So for example if we will be arriving home earlier than usual, or later than usual, then we can switch on the a/c remotely, and it will be a more pleasant environment when we arrive.

Automation Becomes More Affordable
In the past, having high-tech control of home devices was restricted to rich people, but with the number of smart (electronically controllable) appliances in the home increasing, and the cost of smart appliances falling, many regular people are enjoying the benefits of automation as well. Home automation system are more easily integrated together with the use of Ethernet cables, or more commonly wireless communications. Once an appliance is on a home network, then it is relatively easy to provide internet access to the home network, and so allow remote control by consumers away from their residence.

electronic-controlsIn easy setups, automation might be as uncomplicated as switching on the lights when an individual gets in the room. In innovative installations, rooms can pick up not only the presence of a person inside however understand who that person is and maybe set suitable lighting, temperature level, music levels or tv channels, taking into account the day of the week, the time of day, and other elements. Other automated tasks might include reduced setting of the heating or air conditioning when our home is unoccupied, and bring back the regular setting when an occupant is about to return.

Automatic Home Security can use the Internet
A home security systems incorporated with a house automation system can supply added services such as remote security of security cameras over the Internet, or main locking of all boundary windows and doors. With house automation, the user can pick and view cams live from a Web source to their home or business. An automatic security system will frequently have motion sensors that will certainly discover any type of intruder movements and notify the homeowner or security company through a range of different options either by telephone or smart phone notification. A nervous homeowner can usually check on what is happening inside the house by logging onto the web cam monitoring interface.

Reliable Automotive Repair is Essential on Dallas Area Roads

For those of us who drive around Plano and the north DFW area in Texas, safe and reliable car maintenance is essential. The sheer number of cars on the interstates and roads has increased enormously in recent years, in line with a massive increase in population around Plano, Frisco and McKinney. With the increased population, new roads are being constructed, with the inevitable delays to go with it. Most roads and interstates are undergoing a constant state of construction and repairs, leaving to major tail backs. If a vehicle is stuck in traffic for a long time in hot temperatures, many will overheat and leave the driver stranded. With all the technology in vehicles these day, it is easy for an electronic sensor or controller to go faulty, So it is essential to have any problems checked with an auto repair Plano Tx ASE certified mechanic, to keep you moving whatever the road conditions.

North Dallas Roads Where Breakdowns Occur

US 75 starts in Downtown Dallas at the Woodall Rodgers Freeway and I-345. It goes north as the North Central Expressway through the most popular and affluent neighborhoods of Downtown Dallas, leading to Richardson, Plano. Allen, Frisco and McKinney – all high growth areas. SH 121 also runs near US 75 in McKinney and the highway continues up through northern Texas. Other high density roads include the tollway, which goes north out of downtown Dallas and goes through Plano, and into Frisco, with an almost endless number of shops and restaurants along the way. The Tollway stops at U.S. Highway 380, just north of Frisco will be extended further north. Another major road of note is the Interstate 635 (which is actually a half-loop around the north side of Dallas. It starts at I-20 in Balch Springs and extends to the International Parkway adjacent to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.

Growth in the Numbers of Drivers in DFW

Recent estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau show a rapid growth of small and medium-size cities around the Dallas area, and is not showing any signs of slowing down.
Two small cities adjacent to Plano in Collin County, have added more residents in the past year than any other small town in Texas, namely Frisco and McKinney, both adding over 5% population in a single year. In the last twenty years, Frisco alone has gone from a town of around 7,500 to now over 140,000. If the average household has 1.9 cars, then the number of cars in the north Dallas suburbs has increased in the same time by approximately 500, 000. Recently Frisco Mayor Maso said: “Here’s an eye-opener,” Maso said. “The majority of people who will live in Collin and Denton counties aren’t here yet. There will be approximately 2.5 million people in Collin and 2 million in Denton in the next 25 years”. That is a huge number of drivers and with that comes a number of poorly maintained vehicles, any of which can break down at any time. For the foreseeable future it would be wise to have your car service in Plano Texas on a regular basis. After all, it may be your well-maintained brakes that prevent an accident from happening.

 

Responsive Websites for Service Businesses

One of the biggest recent trends in web use is the increased use of multiple devices, especially smartphones. According to Google insights people are increasingly using their smartphones more and more. In fact consumers are spending an average of over two hours per day on smartphones, which is more than on TV or laptops. Not only that, but smartphones are getting ‘smarter’ with more features and more interconnectivity, which means we will be using them more and more. The more connected we all are, the quicker we expect our information to be presented, and the quicker we will make decisions about consumer services.

One of the impacts to service business is that when consumers are looking for a local business to repair their car or clean their carpet, they are more likely to do that on the move, or when out and about rather than sitting behind a computer or desktop. And consumers increasingly want their information delivered rapidly in the format to match the device they are searching on. People are getting used to having all the information they want at their fingertips, and expect service businesses to have rapid response and be easy to connect to with features like click-to-call.

For website designers, this is very significant, because a traditional fixed website displays great on a desktop or laptop, but is inconvenient on a tablet or smartphone. The small screen size and varying orientation means that website visitors have to do inconvenient scrolling around or se-sizing to get the information they are looking for. Some companies have produced mobile-only versions of their websites, which work fine on mobile devices, but not so well on tablets and larger mobile devices. There is a trend for smartphones to have larger displays, which are becoming more tablet sized.

responsive websiteThe latest solution to address the display on multiple devices and screen sizes is to use a responsive website layout, which adapts to the size and orientation of the screen that the consumer is using. This allows a consumer to find the information they need quickly and are able to contact the business easily. This carpet cleaning company in the Wirral UK is a good example of using a responsive design for consumers searching locally, allowing consumers to get the service they need quickly and easily. The actual responsive website can be seen and tested out at CleanDirect Wirral. In the fast-paced life that we all live these days, it seems fewer and fewer people are sitting behind a desk all day, and using a smart phone to make life easier is something that we all do more and more.

Rather than have a wide range of pre-designed fixed sizes for different devices, a responsive website dynamically changes the layout according to the viewing device characteristics. This is achieved by using relative size grids and images. Rather than having a table or image in a fixed pixel size, they are laid out in a relative way, so the elements are re-sized according t a given percentage to keep the overall look and feel consistent whatever the device. Usually the width of the browser is the determining factor to re-size the layout. For smaller screed devices a more compact navigation menu is usually displayed, and text and images flow downwards rather than wrap around. With the constant influx of new size devices, and wearable devices not a reality, responsive web design is the only way to go to be able to adapt to the increasingly fast paced world we live in.

One great resource to check if a site is responsive for mobile phones is here: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/. A site’s URL is entered in the tool, and it is checked for being responsive, together with a screenshot.

Electronic Metronomes Help To Learn Piano Playing Rhythms

Once you have mastered the basics of musical notation and basic sight reading, your piano teacher will most likely recommend the use of an electronic or online metronome. This will help you keep time as you play, especially when exploring new musical genres.

New Piano Pieces
One of the great things about learning to read sheet music is that it greatly expands your musical repertoire, because you are not restricted to playing popular tunes that you already know and are familiar with the beat. Once you learn about the lengths of time for each of the different notes such as minim, crotchet, quaver and semi quaver, then you will be able to pick up a sheet of music with a melody that you may never have heard before, and start to play it. This is particularly common when learning basic classical piano pieces as there are just so many to choose from when first learning.

Time Signatures
Once the timing of the notes has been mastered, the next step in playing a new piano tune is the time signature. A time signature is found at the start of a piece of music after the clef. It has two numbers, the first is the number of beats in a group or measure, and the second number is the time value of each beat. For example 4/4 time is four quarter beats in a measure (bar) and 3/4 time is three quarter beats in a measure. Different time signatures will determine the rhythm of the tune, for example we are familiar with the 1-2-3, 1-2-3 of a waltz.

Keeping the Correct Rhythm
When you are first learning to play a piano piece, often you are concentrating on reading the notes on the sheet, and forget about keeping the time or beat of the melody. That is where an electronic metronome is useful. You can buy one to sit on your piano or there are online versions available for those who prefer a web-based application, on your ipad for instance. There are a number of ways to use a metronome for learning rhythm, either to have it set to just the first beat in each bar, or for each note in the measure, with an optional emphasis on the first note in each measure. Start with the metronome on a slow speed to begin with, and then gradually increase the speed until you reach the recommended speed of the piece you are playing. If you want to learn to play the piano with other musicians or to accompany a singer, you will need to play the rhythm accurately.

electronic-metronome

Different Speed Settings or BPM
Most metronomes have a setting of BPM or Beats Per Minute. There is a wide range of possible speed settings for electronic metronomes, from the slowest (largo with 40 to 60 beats per minute), to larghetto, adagio (slowly), andante (walking speed), moderato, allegro (quickly), and presto through to fastest (prestissimo with 200 to 208 beats per minute). If you can play any tune at a presto setting, and keep up with the steady rhythm, then you have really mastered it!