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3 Key Items The FICO Score Does Not Consider

The FICO score has become the most popular credit scoring model. In our society, when many of us have learned to depend on credit for many things (credit cards, houses, cars, furniture, etc), the FICO score has become a very important part of our lives. Our FICO scores tell potential creditors what type of risk we will be to lend to. It ends up determining our interest rates, and whether or not we will be accepted for loans or new lines of credit in the first place. Read more

7 Cool Gift Ideas For Dad This Holiday Season

Here are 7 awesome as well as cool gift ideas for dads:

1.    Wallet loaded with his Favorite Pictures:
Here, the core part is photo art. Purchase a wallet that he will love. It should be something with properly placed spots for all his cards and cash. Most importantly, add in some awesome photos of your family and yourself. You are all done with the finest gift for your dad.  Watch out for his reactions!

2.    Framed Photographs
Here, you ought to avoid all those dull pictures and ask your friend or some other person to click a few cool photos of your family members and yourself.  Now, try your hands at computer to enhance the photos. Purchase a nice looking frame to complement the primary colors that you used in the artwork for enhancing the pictures. Box the entire thing graciously. This particular gift idea will definitely please your dad. After all it has your creativity in it a dad would always be happy to see his son’s or daughter’s
creativity.

3.    Sporting Gears
This goes for all those sporty dads. If your dad is one of those active individuals, then nothing can work well than gifting him with his favorite sporting gears. Here, make sure that you put a small and cute card with the gift. You may knit or tie it to the sporting gear.

4.    Media Gifts
DVDs, CDs and films all make awesome gifts for your dad if he enjoys media. You can buy CDs of some cool songs for your dad that he loves listening to. If he stays outdoors most of time due to his work schedules, then consider gifting him an iPod to help him stay cheerful while he is away from his family.

5.    Winter Clothes
Just because he is your dad and aged does not mean that he can’t be stylish. Thus, consider gifting him some outstanding winter outfits such as leather jackets or bombers. Make him look stylish and young again with these rugged and manly outfits. Gloves and scarves pair up well with these winter clothing.

6.    Hats
You must be knowing about your dad’s tastes when it comes to styling it up. Thus, try gifting him some cool winter hats or caps this winter. Try buying something new and unique that he can add up in his wardrobe for the first time.

7.    Wristwatch
Watches are something that every other man is crazy for. Further, you get tons of options when it comes to buying wristwatches today. Get a cool and frenzy watch for your beloved dad that he can flaunt in style.

8 Easy And Eco-Friendly Tips For Your Pet House

With the fall in full swing, it is an awesome time for creating that perfect and cozy home for your beloved pet. However, it is simply a wonderful way to render your love upon your pet by building an eco-friendly home. This way, you contribute towards our environment as well as make a healthy and soothing abode for your pets.

Here are some easy eco-friendly tips for your pet’s house:

1.    Do you wish to have a clean pet house without using harsh or toxic chemicals? If yes, then it is advisable to make use of eco-friendly cleaning products that are free from toxic chemicals. Phosphate free and non-toxic cleaning products are sure to keep your furry mate healthy and fit.

2.    It is great fun to be an eco-friendly pet owner. You are sure to become the favorite of your pet with toys or hemp toys created from environment-friendly materials. These toys undoubtedly are non-toxic in nature as well as are free from dyes and other toxins making them safe.

3.    A huge number of pet owners these days are following a common rage. The rage is of bamboo made bowls for your beloved pet. These are microwave, dishwasher as well as eco friendly. In addition, these are quite easy to find in the market today due to their growing demands.

4.    Keep a watch on your pet. For instance, if your furry dog loves rolling down in the grass out there, which in turn leaves you with stringent body cleaning procedures using several chemical based shampoos, then consider non-toxic and eco friendly dog shampoo here. It will make your doggy look extremely cute in no time.

5.    Talking about eco-friendly pet food, you need not worry too much, as there are several eco-friendly pet foods available in the market. These might be lightly dehydrated foods without any added salts, sugar or preservatives. Get these for your pet on a regular basis and you will see your pet crawling around for more in no time!

6.    With too much of running and humping around the entire day, your pet needs a soothing place for a quick nap. Thus, provide your pet mate with a nice and warm bed created from sustainable and eco-friendly materials. These are highly comfortable as well as cozy putting your pet at ease.

7.    Further, get a good eco-friendly pet litter. It is not only good for the environment, but is also perfect to make your house spring fresh and nice.

8.    Lastly, get a doggy bag. In fact, biodegradable and eco-friendly waste bags truly are excellent for clean-ups and walks.

So stride slowly and gradually to a cleaner as well as greener home for your pet with the above-mentioned 8 cool and easy eco-friendly ideas.

Web design vs web development

Do you really know the difference between a web designer and a web developer? Many think of them as one of the same – sometimes there are crossovers as the fields of expertise are complementary. But there are things that set them apart, and it’s helpful to understand the distinction.

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Designer – The Graphics Expert

So your business needs a new logo and you want shapes, colours, vector art imaging for various platforms, including your website. This is where the experienced designer puts graphics and creative skills into motion using professional media tools such as Adobe Illustrator. A web designer can build a user-friendly website using graphics-based software such as WordPress without knowing how to code. Templates and plug-ins within this type of software provide many graphical interfaces, keeping the nitty-gritty stuff behind the scenes.

Developer – The Code Expert

Dive into the back-end of any website and you’ll find a web developer working with logistical skills to design and build from scratch detailed scripts in HTML, CSS or JavaScript as well as APIs. If you’re looking for database work or the integration of payment systems for an e-commerce website, this is the professional you’ll need on your project.

Front-end developers work with the designer to bring the code and the graphics together into a user-friendly interface.

The Hybrid

There are those who have an understanding of both competencies, who can visualise and appreciate that the complexity of code shouldn’t come at a cost of a superb user experience. Working with a skilled hybrid who has insight into your business ethos can grow into a creative relationship. Sharing concepts and graphical content together makes for an in-depth mutual understanding and a productive outcome.

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There’s more detailed information in a good read at https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-difference-between-web-development-web-design, and if you’re looking for a website design company in Gloucester, pop over to https://www.net9design.com/ for a chat.

When you’re searching for the right person or company to build your online presence, it’s helpful to appreciate the skills you will need: design, development or a mix of both. Usually, the web designer who has front-end development expertise is suited to the small/medium-sized business entrepreneur maintaining cost-effectiveness. For bigger organisations, firms that employ a number of web professionals with the diverse disciplines will be a better fit.

7 Benefits to Flat Living

For many people in the UK the dream of owning a home with a white picket fence is likely to remain a dream. Getting onto the property ladder is tougher than ever and a lot harder for young people today than it was for their parents or even grandparents. There are reasons to remain positive though, as we should take a look at our European counterparts who enjoy a lot more apartment living. Apartments and flats are at the more affordable end of the property scale and there are many benefits:

1: Sociable Living

There are many benefits to having good relationships with our neighbours and apartment living is more sociable. There is a closer feeling between people when they share a building, with greater opportunities to look out for each other, contacting management agents when something needs fixing, signing for parcels and any other emergency. There is a greater sense of community.

2: Smaller Space means Smaller Price

While you don’t have as much space as you’d enjoy with a house, the advantages do include smaller space to clean and maintain, lower initial cost and lower utility bills. Many flats will use only gas or only electricity, so bills should be lower and council tax is not quite so painful. This could provide you with a better opportunity to gather some savings for the future.

3: Location

If you don’t drive, then living close to amenities is important and the location of your residence needs some extra consideration. There are loads of apartments and flats located in town and city centres, which could suit you far better for work and entertainment then buying a house in the suburbs. Houses are more expensive to build in highly-sought after central locations which is why you find more apartment blocks. If you want to be lose to the action and even be able to walk to work, then you’ll find living in a flat offers much more flexibility in this respect.

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4: Amenities

Many apartment blocks offer additional amenities that you won’t get with a house, such as shops, gyms, laundry facilities and even swimming pools! This gives you so much more for your money, is incredibly handy and provides even more opportunity to meet new people.

5: Less Responsibility

One of the biggest advantages of flat living is that you don’t have to worry about maintenance issues. You might have to pay a service charge but when communal areas are looking rundown or the lift is out of order, it’s not your problem. A management company will ensure everything is seen to. Many issues are dealt with by a management agent, leaving you stress-free. For a Block Management Company in Cheltenham, visit http://www.completepropertygroup.co.uk/property-block-and-estate-management/

6: Nature

If you’re concerned about not having a garden, some locks will have shared outdoor space. You can still enjoy the great outdoors by having house plants or a beautiful window box. Treat yourself to a herb box for the kitchen window and if you have a balcony, a couple of small potted trees are another possibility. Just because you don’t have a private garden doesn’t mean you can’t get imaginative with bringing the outside in.

7: Security

Many people who live in flats report feeling safer. There could be a gate with CCTV, an access code, apartments higher than ground floor, alarms and individually locking doors.

Team Building Workshops

A healthy work atmosphere is for the benefit of the business, especially well-coordinated team plays an important role both for the individual team members and the organization as a whole. Corporate businesses spend a lot of resources on team building exercises in order to benefit from the advantages of a powerful team. These workshops involve artificial situations that test different skills of the teams and give them a clear idea on areas where they need to improve. These are then followed up with strategies to improve their skill sets.

Identify your teams strengths and weaknesses
As a team member, spend some time analyzing where your team is lacking. Note down the weak points and try to improve these areas by planning different exercises that may include outdoor activities or strategy games to address them.  An external agency trying to put together a team building exercise for your organization will do their analysis of different teams and plan out activities. Some of the common problems that teams face are

  • Members are not open to discussion and change.
  • Infighting between members, basically a clash of egos.
  • Poor communication between team members.
  • Working for individual glory than team success.

There may be many more issues that can be a hindrance to the team’s performance. Depending upon the kind of problems, the team building exercises are planned.

Team Building Activities
Different business houses make use of different team building techniques, this is decided by the size of the team and also the organization and budget and time factor also play a decisive role. Some activities are planned outdoors with time targets for different challenges that have to be completed with full team coordination. Sometimes the teams are just allowed to spend time in the wilderness hiking or walking, teamwork their way out of the different trails. The list of activities is endless with different training specialists having their own set to target different skill sets. They may include some individually impossible tasks that can be accomplished with teamwork thus enabling the team members to bond and improve their communication skills and enjoy the benefits of success as a whole.

These kinds of workshops conducted by a corporate trainer have found to be very beneficial for the business houses, their investment in such team building exercises is definitely money well spent since their team is a big asset to their business.  With a well-set team they can confidently plan their business strategy for the future.  A motivated team tends to stay together and this has also reduced the attrition rate in many of the companies.

Top 5 Japanese Food

Japanese cuisine is considered as one of the finest in the world. Its distinct flavors and use of uncanny ingredients make it a favorite by locals and foreigners alike. If you want to get a feel of the true essence of Japanese food, then here are the top five specialties you should try out.

Japanese Sushi

Japanese Sushi is hands down, the most famous Japanese food in the entire world. In this recipe, vinegared rice is combined with seafood or other meats. It is then rolled in Nori or seaweed wrap. There are several types of sushi, namely Chirashizushi, Inarizushi, Makizushi, Narezushi, Nigirizushi and Oshuzushi. It is dipped in soy sauce and wasabi, a green paste which puts a spicy kick to the dipping sauce.

Tempura

Tempura is a recipe of seafood or vegetables that are soaked in batter and deep fried. The batter is usually made from cold water, wheat flour, oil, starch, baking powder and several spices. This famous dish is usually fried in vegetable or canola oil as hot as 160 to 180 degrees Celsius. The most common seafood ingredients used are prawn, shrimp, squid and crab, while the often used veggies are potatoes, carrots and bell peppers.

Ramen

If you want to keep warm during the rainy days, then Ramen is a Japanese dish you should try out. Ramen is commonly known as a noodle dish featuring Chinese-style wheat noodles swimming in fish-based broth. The soup is flavored with soy sauce or miso, and the Ramen is topped with sliced pork, corn, green onions and dried seaweed, to name a few. Each district specializes in a certain kind of Ramen recipe. Hokkaido is known for its Miso Ramen while Kyushu is flocked for its delicious Tonkatsu ramen.

Yakitori

Yakitori is a famous Japanese recipe characterized by skewered grilled chicken. It’s usually eaten by working men after a day of hard work.  The usual Yakitori dish is made from bite-sized pieces of chicken offal or chicken meat, which are then skewered and cooked on top of hot Binchotan charcoal. You can also choose from other chicken parts, such as the skin and liver. You can ask for chicken meat seasoned in salt, or tare sauce, a mixture of sake, mirin, sugar and soy sauce.

Okonomiyaki

If you are looking for a unique kind of pizza, then the Japanese Okonomiyaki is what you need to eat. While it’s actually a savory pancake, most eaters see it as a different kind of pizza. The Okonomiyaki recipe was originally created in the districts of Hiroshima and Kansai, but you’re sure to taste Okonomiyaki in any district in Japan. The most common type of Okonomiyaki is the Osaka or Kansai variety, which is made of flour, Nagaimi, water, eggs and shredded cabbage. It is topped with meat, kimchi, mochi, cheese and green onion. As for Hiroshima-style Okonomiyaki, the ingredients are layered rather than mixed with each other.

What is ‘Green’ UX?

With the carbon footprint of the World Wide Web rising steeply, sustainable UX is about to have its moment.

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Have you ever thought about the health of the World Wide Web? In the 2018 edition of its yearly Health Report, Internet giant Mozilla has attempted to answer this very question. Although there is much to be optimistic about, such as improved security and more inclusive communities, the report also highlights several areas of concern.

The web’s voracious desire for energy

If the World Wide Web were a country, it would be the world’s fourth largest emitter of CO2. Data storage and cryptocurrency mining have widely discussed environmental costs, however, our online behaviours are also fuelling the web’s increasing energy consumption.

When you ask Alexa to turn off lights, you kick-start a chain of reactions which stretches far beyond the boundaries of your own home. Although we perhaps don’t think about energy expenditure in the moment, if we consider that information must first travel through a series of data centres to complete this apparently simple action, it becomes easier to see how the web is creating such a large carbon footprint.

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Sustainable web design

Everyday online actions are using large quantities of energy, so careful thinking is required to reconsider how apps and websites can be designed to be more sustainable.

Minimising the footprint of digital products is crucial to the sustainability of the web. Sustainable web design must consider everything from relatively small refinements like video, image, and graphics optimisation to reduce the processing power required to load each page, to full-scale user experience (UX) redesigns.

More energy is used each time someone finds themselves needing to trawl through a poorly designed website to locate the information they require. As well as being better for users, well designed websites that aren’t weighed down with extraneous code and images are also better for the planet.

Creating a ‘Green’ UX

Reducing digital clutter and bloat are crucial to the creation of a greener UX. Working closely with a professional Yorkshire web design team, such as the one that can be found here https://www.etempa.co.uk/, will help you to identify ways in which you can boost the usability of your website whilst also doing your bit to take care of the environment too.

Importantly, digital sustainability is not a trend. Simpler, less cluttered websites are the future.

Why SMEs Choose to Hire Their Vehicles

Most SMEs rely on motorised vehicles for the smooth running of their business, and many of them choose to hire rather than buy.

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For the average SME, it’s not always financially practical to own a full fleet of vehicles, particularly for those which are seasonal. The pressure for company vehicles to positively represent the business means that keeping them current and in immaculate repair is costly but crucial and can cripple the bank balance of a small business.

To Buy or Not to Buy

Of course, some business owners simply desire the freedom to use their vehicles without the restrictions or limitations which may be imposed by lease hire companies regarding mileage limits or vehicle modifications. In which case, buying is the best option. However, according to the BVRLA, in 2016 there was a 16.2% increase in the number of van rentals, suggesting that leasing also offers some interesting incentives.

The primary benefit of leasing for most people is that you don’t require a lump sum of money upfront. Most leasing contracts require a small deposit and then spread the cost of the lease term over the period of the contract with payments on a monthly basis.

Other incentives to leasing, providing your vehicle is for sole business use, include being able to claim up to 100% back on your monthly VAT payments, and the fact that repair and maintenance costs are usually covered by the leasing company. Lease hire companies that offer van hire in Gloucester, such as https://www.fleetwayrentals.co.uk/, have a wide range of makes and models to chose from and usually ensure that their vehicles are in excellent repair at all times.

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No Right or Wrong

According to Simply Business, buying brings you more freedom and the right to treat the vehicle as you wish – for example, to stamp your brand across the roof – whereas leasing brings you more flexibility and financial security, knowing that in quiet business periods you won’t have the added concern of the cost of running your vehicle.

There is no right or wrong answer about whether to buy or lease: what is right for one business may not be right for another. Each business must simply choose the option which best suits their needs.

How the rent a room scheme works

The UK government has been running the rent a room scheme for a number of years, and it’s an excellent way of earning some extra income, tax-free.

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Anyone with a spare room in their house can rent it out as furnished accommodation and there is a tax exemption if you earn up to £7,500 a year (or £3,250 if you are jointly letting the room with your partner).

If the amount you earn is lower than the threshold then the tax exemption is automatic. However, if you earn a greater amount a tax return will need to be completed even if you don’t usually do so. You can then do either of the following:

– Opt into the scheme and complete your tax return in order to claim your tax-free allowance.
– Choose not to opt-in and simply include your income on the property pages of your tax return.

Full details and help sheets are available on the government site.

Things to consider before you advertise for a lodger

Check that renting out a room in your house doesn’t affect any means-tested benefits you receive such as housing benefit and income support. Also, any reduction you may receive in council tax if you were living alone will no longer be available.

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If you own the property check with your mortgage company that you are able to rent out rooms under your mortgage terms. Also, check with your home insurer if you can take in lodgers under your current insurance contract and make any necessary amendments. You can still use the rent a room scheme if you rent a property, but make sure that it is permissible under your lease terms.

Keep records

Even though you can’t claim for any expenses of renting out a room, you should keep records. Keeping an inventory of the furnishings in the rented room is also a good idea, and using property inventory software such as that from https://inventorybase.co.uk/ makes the task easy to carry out.

Renting out spare rooms in your home is a fantastic way of earning some extra cash, but do make sure that you are able to do so with the necessary authorities and make sure that your tax return shows the income, even if you are below the tax threshold.

 

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