The History and Movement of Dungeons and Dragons

Dungeons and Dragons. These three words bring many thoughts to many different people. People think about nerds, geeks, dorks. Others think of fun, adventurous, stimulating. Some people think of live action role playing (LARPing). The bottom line is that Dungeons and Dragons has been around for quite some time, and has entertained millions of people around the world due to its open world, open imagination based game. Dungeons and Dragons has expanded into a multi-billion dollar idea that has spawned many copies of the D20 system.

Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) was first published in 1974. The game quickly grew in popularity and the demand for the basic book sky-rocketed. D&D is a D20 system. D20 systems are role-playing games where each player has a character sheet with statistics, equipment, spells, race, age, class, and other abilities. Players play on either a mat or some other form of board with which the Dungeon Master (DM) molds his story for the players enjoyment. It is called a D20 system because most actions require the player to roll a 20 sided die. D stands for die, 20 the number of sides on the die. In D&D the D20 is used to attack, make saving throws to avoid spell damage, or to use an ability such as stealth or intimidation. Damage rolls on successful attack rolls usually use D6, D8, D10, or D12s. The main focus players have in their characters are the abilities and attacks they can perform. Abilities and attacks depend greatly upon the class of the character.

Dungeons and Dragons has a plethora of classes for players to choose from. They can choose from a basic fighter, barbarian, sorcerer, wizard, bard, cleric, monk, paladin, to even a druid. There are well over 40 different classes for players to choose from and even more prestige (expansion) classes. Each class has different abilities and play a different role in the party. Players can choose from being a melee damage (rogue), ranged damage (archer, wizard), support character (bard), healer (cleric), or a tank type of character (barbarian). Dungeons and Dragons was set up to be a team game that required every player to take his role seriously. Like the common phrase says, “You only as strong as your weakest link”. If a groups healer is fooling around in combat, the entire team can suffer. The use of roles ensures everyone has an equal playing field in terms of their importance to the party.

Perhaps the greatest part of D&D is the length games can go on for. One game of D&D consists of sessions. Each session can last anywhere from one hour to an entire day depending on how dedicated and free the players and DM are. Games consist of these sessions and certain games can last several years, even up to 10+ years of gaming. I’ve personally played in games that have been going on for 3 years now and have grown attached to my character. Dungeons and Dragons is perhaps the only game that people become attached to their characters on a normal basis. Although it may take several gaming sessions, many people begin to envelope themselves in their character and each decision they make.

Many people believe D&D sessions are always a Dungeon adventure that ends with killing dragons or saving the princess. However, luckily for most gamers, the man behind D&D, Gary Gygax, added alignments to each characters. You character may be lawful, neutral, or chaotic. Several DMs make their adventures chaotic only, which leads to many characters doing whatever they want, when they want. Several of my sessions have been focused on internal issues with our party instead of external issues such as what has red eyes and is looking at us while we set up camp at night.

In my experience, the easiest characters to begin playing Dungeons and Dragons are fighters. Fighters must know their Armor Class (AC), Health Points (HP), and what attacks they can perform. Fighters have the least amount of material that needs to be memorized in order to play effectively. Although they are a simple class to play, they can play a great role in any party. Upon learning the basics of the game, experiences players may explore into the Arcane or Diving classes such as the cleric, druid, or wizard. These classes must know the same information as fighters, but must also pay attention to their spells. A good wizard knows what spells to use and when. Casting classes are limited in their spell casting capabilities and if they run out of spells, they must resort to hand to hand combat. A Wizard fighting in hand to hand combat is much like a quarterback attempting to tackle a linebacker in football.

Dungeons and Dragons is a game meant to be played by anyone. The game is only limited by your imagination. I’ve played D&D with a wide range of characters. From 16 year old punks to 65 year old grandfathers and everything in-between. It takes an open mind to try Dice Dungeon and Dragons out for the first time, but it doesn’t take a nerd or geek to enjoy playing it. I consider Dungeons and Dragons to be the equivalent of a video game, except it was first created when video games were barely even known about. Today, everyone knows what video games are and the majority of citizens enjoy playing them. If people were to try D&D just once, I’m sure they would an enjoyable experience. Dungeons and Dragons games can be found in many places. You’re able to find groups that play online or you can even walk into a comic shop and ask if they host games. D&D is more popular than most people expect. Through the use of imagination and the collective thoughts of many willing participants, Dungeons and Dragons has grown from a home-made basement gathering to a world-wide game enjoyed by millions.

The Consultant Singularity

We all understand that consultants come in every shape, size and flavor. Consultants, to be effective, take the “lessons learned” from decades of experience and couple those experiences with strong investigative skills and tools to define a path forward that will result in the outcome that the client is anticipating. We consult on business processes, management approach, specialized applications and we even apply our ability to uncover need such that it results in consultative selling. Regardless of the client’s mission, the desired outcome, or the impetus for the consultation, there is one overriding truth (a singularity) that must always be maintained. Consultants, to be true to their calling, must always be the client’s advocate.

For information on TMForum click here.

I define an advocate as someone who supports and defends a particular group or cause. To be a client advocate, the consultant must be willing to forego any personal bias or preconceived notions to become a proponent and promoter of the client’s intellectual capital (and by intellectual capital we mean “everything that goes out the door at the end of the day”). Some synonyms for a good consultant might be Champion, Supporter, Campaigner or Crusader. To be effective, the consultant must be able to assume the role of a dedicated defender against anything that detracts from the client’s mission.

Client advocacy may seem contrary to those in a consultative selling role but without this singularity the consultant can never achieve the credibility that is crucial to a successful consultancy. Even in consultative selling, acting in the client’s best interest has to be the foundation of every action. Each consultant in a selling role must ask themselves “Are you first a consultant, or a salesman? ” If your answer is Salesman, this article isn’t for you. But, if you are promoting an effective solution, and if you truly believe in that solution, resolving the need for promoting the sale and the paramount need for acting in the client’s best interest can be complimentary. Just be aware that there will be times when your solution may not be in the client’s best interest, and in those cases you must suggest that the client take an alternative path. The credibility you gain by staying true to the role of an advocate may be of more value than that single sale.

Client Advocacy may seem easier for those consultants who are engaged purely to improve the client’s operation or processes. But it does have its pitfalls. Rarely is the consultant an expert in the client’s business. Each client has their own differentiators (that’s why they can compete), and their own corporate culture. To be a functioning advocate, these are the elements of the client’s business that the consultant must learn quickly or suffer the consequences. We’ve all heard the jokes about consulting… I especially like this one. A consultant is one who knows more and more about less and less, until he knows absolutely everything about nothing. This outcome is the result of a consultant attempting a solution based solely on data and documentation. To be an advocate, the consultant must assume an integrated role in the client’s culture and buy into their corporate vision. This can be accomplished in short order if the consultant understands the definition of SONDER.

The Urban Dictionary defines the word Sonder as a noun. It describes the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own. What that means to the consultant, is that there is no such thing as IBM, or Ford Motor Company, or any other firm you care to mention. Those company names are really just terms to address the collective Sonder of each person employed in the mutual success of that company. The client is not a company, but rather a collection of individuals working toward a common goal; we call them stakeholders. The effective consultant understands this and insists on interviewing the stakeholders.

The goal for these interviews is to gain insight into the drivers for each stakeholder to refine the consultants understanding of the VISION and the role for each stakeholder, and to use that information when investigating the processes and procedures currently employed to achieve their objectives. The result is a strong picture of the AS IS situation and will establish the starting point for the consultants work to craft a path to the SHOULD BE position. Keeping the stakeholders Sonder in mind ensures that the consultation is based on true advocacy and that the outcome is in alignment with not only good management theory, but aligned with the individual needs of those who must implement your solution (and, consequently, rate your performance).

If I have been “preaching to the choir”, I apologize. But consultants, like every other professional, need to be reminded form time to time that there are fundamental truths that must be held above all others. That while consultants are trained and skilled in all the mechanics that result in improved efficiency and method, their most valuable contribution is when they tailor those practices such that the engagement is one of true client advocacy. This is the Consultant Singularity.

Ten Reasons to Hire Professional Pool Service

Of course, hiring someone to do a job is always somewhat more expensive than doing it yourself, but in this case, the difference is often smaller than most imagine. The only way to really know if hiring a pool service is worth the cost in your particular situation is to get estimates. And consider the ten reasons to hire a professional pool service in Irvine (Irvine was incorporated in 1971. The city of Irvine has enjoyed consistent recognition as an economic, environmental and educational leader among cities across the nation.):

1. Professional swimming pool services will guarantee the work and swimming pool to function correctly.

2. Pool maintenance, while it appears simple, when you get involved either daily or burn through your time on the weekends devoted to cleaning your pool.

3. There is never enough time during the day to deal with daily life much less your pool.

4. The experience and training that your pool service has is vastly different from a one pool owner in the back yard. On average most pool guys visit over 60 swimming pools in one week and each one individually
unique.

5. Some retailers that sell pool supplies and chemicals may offer free services to get you to buy their own overpriced products that administer to your pool at their mercy. However not every situation is fixed from the desktop of a pool supply store. The staff is trained to give answers to particular problems and most have very little to no experience in pool service save for the maintenance they performed on the own family pool.

6. Water balance-clear water is not always balanced water. The clearest water is actually way out of water balance and is not inviting to any swimmer, their skin will itch, possibly welt up into have and bathing suits ruined. I know what most pool owners want it, is to see the bottom of the pool and no green algae.

7. Equipment- with out of balance water becomes costly repairs to equipment of filters, heaters, pumps, salt cells, and plaster.

8. For an extra fee, some pool maintenance companies will also close your pool at the end of the season for those who live cold climates and when the warmer weather returns will open the pool. Closing a pool requires is to add anti-freeze to the pipes, and then cover the pool. Opening the pool reverses the process, plus checking the circulation and filtration systems for the pool.

9. The pool service in Irvine come out on weekly bases and will come more frequently if it becomes necessary.

10. The maintenance crew will be professionals that will scrub your pool walls and steps, clean the filter and empty skimmer baskets and ensure that equipment is working properly.

There are many reasons to have a professional pool service in Southlake Texas take care of the hard work it takes to keep up the maintenance of your pool, but the best reason of all is so that you can sit back and lounge at your pool and enjoy watching your family and friends have a great summer.

The Best Fat Burners For Natural Weight Loss

Anyone who has ever tried to lose weight knows that any fat burning advantage can be well worth the effort or price. For this reason picking the best fat burners to meet your weight loss goals can be vitally important. Understanding the fat loss principle behind these supplements can help you decide if fat burners are right for you.

The primary function of a fat burner is to increase your metabolism which helps the body break down fat stores as an energy source. It also needs to be able to keep your body’s metabolism raised in order to burn of excess calories before they are moved to fat storage. You should also be working on raising your metabolism through diet and exercise as well, using a fat burner supplement to speed up your weight loss results.

Most people turn to natural fat burners when they decide to use one to help meet their weight loss goals. While you can in some instances get a prescription fat burner through your doctor the side effects they cause make the natural way a better choice. There are many of these types of supplement to choose from including green tea, thermogenic fat burners, lipotropics, and combination fat burner and appetite suppressants that normally include hoodia. You can find the best natural fat burners at health food stores and on the internet from websites that specialize in these types of weight loss supplements.

Probably the most convenient of the fat burners to use is green tea. It comes in pill form, as a powder that can be mixed into shakes and smoothies, or the just brew it up and drink as a tea. It contains polyphenols which increase metabolism and burns away excess body fat. It is also rich in antioxidants which helps the body flush toxins and strengthen the immune system.

Lipotropic fat burners work by helping to clear fat from internal organs, particularly the liver. This helps return these organs to more normal function which helps your body run more efficiently which includes reducing excess fat storage and lowering cholesterol. Thermogenics, on the other hand, work by increasing your metabolism and raising body temperature which requires fuel. This fuel is normally fat deposits.

The best fat burners for each individual situation are dependent upon individual weight loss goals and the way you wish to achieve your desired results.

Do I Really Need to Call a Pest Control Company If I Get Bed Bugs?

If you get bedbugs, you don’t have to call a licensed pest control company, but you’d be foolish not to, is the take-away message from a warning issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last August. “Using the wrong pesticide or using it incorrectly to treat for bedbugs can make you, your family, and your pets sick,” the EPA said in a consumer alert quoted by The Hill Healthwatch online. “It can also make your home unsafe to live in – and may not solve the bedbug problem.”

Alarmed by reports of dangerous pesticide misuse and extreme measures being taken by some homeowners and apartment dwellers in do-it-yourself efforts to eradicate bed bugs, the U.S. EPA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a joint statement last July warning consumers against using outdoor pesticide products inside their homes in attempts to get rid of bed bugs. Reports from licensed pest control professionals in the field and news media of people dousing their beds, their pajamas and even bathing their children in garden insecticides has caused growing concern among government officials, the medical community, public health guardians, and the National Pest Management Association (NPMA). The use of harsh chemicals not approved by the EPA for residential use can cause severe burn-like irritation of the skin and eyes, possible damage to the central nervous system, and may even expose you to carcinogens.

There have also been numerous news reports of house and apartment fires begun by desperate people using highly flammable liquids to kill bedbugs. In January, a Cincinnati, Ohio man who was wiping down his furniture with a mixture of insecticide and alcohol started a fire in his apartment when his cigarette ignited fumes from the chemical mixture. In July 2008, an Eatontown, New Jersey man blew up his apartment while attempting do-it-yourself pest control. A pilot light ignited the chemical spray and fumes causing an explosion that blew out the front windows of the apartment and resulted in a fire that destroyed the man’s apartment and caused serious damage to neighboring units.

Pest control firms reported seeing many ineffective and potentially dangerous measures used by do-it-yourselfers, including ammonia, bleach, fire, smoke, kerosene, wasp spray, and bug bombs, as well as concentrated pesticides bought on the internet,” University of Kentucky entomologist and national bedbug expert Michael Potter, writes in Bugs Without Borders, Defining the Global Bed Bug Resurgence, an international survey of pest management companies recently conducted by the University of Kentucky in conjunction with the NPMA. “As bedbug victims become more desperate, serious injury may result from such applications, especially among those who choose not to hire a professional,” he warns.

Bedbugs do not always respond to home treatment. These apple seed-sized insects that feed on human blood are hard to kill, a function of their biology and behavior. At best, do-it-yourself home treatments may force bedbugs to relocate, spreading infestations more quickly. These insects have a tough, protective carapace that is not easily penetrated. To kill, pest control products must come into direct physical contact with the insect; and their eggs are unaffected by products currently approved by the EPA for residential use. When not feeding, bedbugs hide in inaccessible spaces deep inside minute crevices, inside walls, behind baseboards, under floorboards, and inside electronic devices. Bedbugs and their eggs are also easily transported on clothing and belongings, allowing infestations to quickly spread through a home or apartment building. This combination of biology and behavior makes it nearly impossible to kill an entire bedbug infestation with a single pest control treatment. Three professional pest control treatments spaced two weeks apart are typically required to successfully exterminate a bedbug infestation and ensure that all hidden bugs and newly-hatched eggs have been killed.

Professional extermination by a licensed pest control company with an expertise in bed bug elimination is the most effective way to exterminate bed bugs. The EPA, on the Bed Bug Information Page posted on its website, states, “Getting a pest management professional (PMP) involved as soon as possible rather than taking time to try to treat the problem yourself is very effective at preventing further infestations.”

Fast action is essential in battling bed bug infestations. Bed bugs reproduce at an alarming rate and infestations can grow quickly. During its 6- to 12-month lifespan, a female bed bug can lay 500 eggs with offspring capable of reproducing within a month. It is common to see three or more bed bug generations present in an established infestation. Prompt treatment in the earliest stages of infestation can limit the infestation and prevents it from spreading.

To successfully treat bedbug infestations, licensed pest control professionals employ a combination of environmental management procedures, called Integrated Pest Management (IPM), and a variety of pest control materials approved by the EPA for residential use only by licensed pest management professionals. Effective bedbug extermination begins with meticulous pre-treatment preparation to remove clutter, clothing, bed linens and other items that might allow bedbugs to escape exposure to pest control materials. When site preparation is complete, a combination of pest control materials is employed to attack bedbugs on multiple levels.

Concerns about health and safety issues that have arisen from misuse of pest control chemicals by unlicensed or improperly trained pest controllers and unqualified contractors trying to cash in on public fear prompted the EPA to warn consumers to avoid insect extermination services made with “unrealistic promises of effectiveness or low cost.”

Last July, a Newark, New Jersey pest control company was accused of illegal application of chemicals not approved for residential use. While providing bed bug treatments to 70 homes and apartments units, technicians sprayed powerful chemicals on mattresses and children’s toys. In Cincinnati, Ohio last June, an unlicensed contractor hired to exterminate bed bugs saturated an apartment complex with an agricultural pesticide, sending seven tenants to the hospital and causing public health authorities to quarantine the property.

In the hopes of preventing such incidents, the NPMA recently developed Best Management Practices for Bed Bugs (BMP) to serve as a guide for both the industry and consumers. A list of consumer tips for selecting a pest professional provided in the BMP recommends that consumers hire only qualified and licensed pest management firms to protect their health and safety and ensure that the pest control services they receive are safe and effective. The NPMA further recommends that consumers give preferential consideration to licensed pest management firms that have attained QualityPro certification, indicating that they exhibit the highest technical, educational and ethical standards in the industry.

The History of Pest Control

The application of pest control ranges from do-it-yourself arrangements to
scientific and very precise deployment of chemicals and predatory insects by
highly skilled practitioners. Despite the fact that pest control is a world-wide
industry it is still dominated by family or 1-person businesses. Those that need
to control pests range from householders to
large scale agri-conglomerates who need to maximise their yield. In between
these two are restaurants, bars, food production facilities, farmers – in fact,
anybody that routinely deals with food. Pest control can make us more
comfortable – but can also save lives.

The word pest is subjective as one man’s pest may be another man’s
helper. For instance, pest A may be a threat to crop A, and pest B a threat to
crop B. However, if pest B is a natural predator to pest A, then the farmer who
wishes to protect crop A may cultivate and release pest B amongst his crops.
There is a theory that without man’s intervention in the food chain through
agriculture, hunting and long distance travel there would be no pests. The
theory continues that man’s intervention (for instance, in cultivating and
releasing pest B, or in carrying creatures long distances) has upset the balance
of the food chain, producing instability in insect and other animal numbers and
distorting their evolution. This instability has led to over-population of a
given
species with the result that they have become pests. Having said this, if we assume that the very first fly swat was the first
instance of pest control – and we know that large animals swat flies – it could be
argued that pest control dates back way before humans came on the scene.

The first recorded instance of pest control takes us back to 2500BC when the Sumerians
used sulphur to control insects. Then around 1200BC the Chinese, in their great
age of discovery towards the end of the Shang Dynasty, were using chemicals to
control insects. The Chinese continued to develop ever more sophisticated
chemicals and methods of controlling insects for crops and for people’s comfort.
No doubt the spread of pest control know-how was helped by the advanced state of
Chinese writing ability. Although progress in pest control methods undoubtedly
continued, the next significant scrap of evidence does not come until around
750BC when Homer described the Greek use of wood ash spread on land as a form of
pest control.

Around 500BC the Chinese were using mercury and arsenic compounds as a means
to control body lice, a common problem throughout history. In 440BC the Ancient
Egyptian’s used fishing nets to cover their beds or their homes at night as a
protection from mosquitoes

From 300BC
there is evidence of the use of use of predatory insects to control pests,
although this method was almost certainly developed before this date. The Romans
developed pest control methods and these ideas were spread throughout the
empire. In
200BC, Roman censor Cato encouraged the use of oils as a means of pest control
and in 70AD Pliny the Elder wrote that galbanum resin (from the fennel plant)
should be added to sulphur in order to discourage mosquitoes. In 13BC the first recorded rat-proof grain store was built by the Romans.

The first known instance where predatory insects were transported from one area to another comes from Arabia around 1000AD where date growers moved cultures of ants from neighboring mountains to their oasis plantations in order
to prey on phytophagous ants which attacked date palm.

Despite the enlightenment provided by the ancient Chinese, Arabs and Romans,
many of their teachings did not pass down though time. Certainly in Europe
during the dark ages, methods of pest control were just as likely to be based on
superstition and local spiritual rituals as any proven method. Pests were often
seen as workers of evil – especially those that ruined food, crops or livestock.
Although there were undoubtedly studies of pests during the dark ages, we do not
have any recorded evidence of this.

It is not until the European renaissance when more evidence of pest control
emerges. In 1758 the great Swedish botanist and taxonomist Carolus Linnaeus
catalogued and named many pests. His writings were (and remain) the root and
source of future study into pests (as well as plants and animals generally). At
the same time, the agricultural revolution began in Europe and heralded a more widespread application of pest control. With the work of Linnaeus and other
scholars and the commercial needs to ensure crops and livestock were protected,
pest control became more systemized and spread throughout the world. As global
trade increased, new pesticides were discovered.

At this point pest control was carried out by farmers and some householders
as an everyday activity. By the early nineteenth century however, this changed
as studies and writings started to appear that treated pest control as a
separate discipline. Increasing use of intensive and large scale farming brought
matching increases in the intensity and scale of pest scares such as the
disastrous potato famine in Ireland in 1840. Pest control management was scaled
up to meet these demands, to the point that dedicated pest controllers began to
emerge throughout the 20th century.

In 1921 the first crop-spraying aeroplane was employed and in 1962 flying insect control was revolutionized when Insect-o-cutor started selling fly killer
machines using ultra violet lamps.

Pest control is still carried out by farmers and householders to this day.
There are also pest control specialists (sometimes called pesties); many
are one-person businesses and others work for large companies. In most countries
the pest control industry has been dogged by a few bad practitioners who have
tarnished the reputation for the highly professional and responsible majority.

One thing is for certain, from way before the Sumerians of 2500BC to us in modern times, there have always been – and probably always will be – pests (including some human ones!). Thank goodness, therefore, that we have pest controllers.

For information in Scottsdale for pest control click here.

Options for Stump Removal

As valuable as landscaping trees may be to a home, there are reasons why some homeowners may choose to have a tree removed. Perhaps the tree is an impending danger to property or power lines. Perhaps it is in a spot where a home addition, storage building, or garden is to go. Perhaps the tree is dead or dying from the effects of inclement weather. If you have ever had a tree removed, whether intentionally or not, an unsightly stump may remain. If this is the case, there are several options for stump removal to consider.

Perhaps the most natural option for stump removal is to cover it with soil. This produces a natural decay (rot). It is a completely organic, environmentally friendly way to break down the stump. The potential drawback, however, is the length of time it takes for the process to take place. This can be reasonably estimated by the size of the stump to be removed. Typically, the larger the stump is, the longer it will take for it to decay naturally.

If waiting for a natural, organic decay is not an option due to any time constraints a homeowner may be facing, another possibility for stump removal is to use a commercial chemical to assist with the breakdown in a more expedient timeframe. Consistent applications according to the directions on the product can accelerate the breakdown process. Once the stump is soft enough, many attempt to remove it by burning it. However, there are several other considerations to bear in mind with this method.

First, even using a chemical in an attempt to accelerate the decay process, followed by a burn, may still take more time than the homeowner desires. Second, there are legalities to consider before burning a stump, such as acquiring a permit to burn and any “no burn” injunctions municipalities may enforce. Finally, there are safety concerns to consider. Would a burn somehow become uncontrolled? Is it near your home or that of a neighbor’s? Is it near other personal property, such as outbuildings, equipment, orlivestock? Is it near brush that could catch fire and spread easily? As this method certainly involves a certain degree of risk, it should not be approached with a flippant attitude.

The quickest method for having a tree stump removed is stump grinding. There is generally more expense involved with this method, but the equipment used by professionals is much more efficient than the other options discussed here. Consult an expert in stump removal Hampshire professional for more information regarding procedures and overall cost. Depending upon the size of the stump, in very little time at all, the stump can be completely removed. Of course, stump removal through grinding may be done for aesthetic purposes, but there is also some practicality to it. If a stump is removed by grinding below grade level, then new grass can grow and mower blades are less compromised. There is also a decreased risk for termites when a stump is removed.

When it comes to stump removal, these are some possibilities to consider. However, consulting an Austin tree removal specialist is a great idea before any action is taken. Solicit their expertise to become more well-informed about how to proceed. The information and intervention you receive may make the process less worrisome and time-consuming, especially when time constraints are an issue.

Stump Removal and Grinding Services

Whether you have had trees cut down as part of a landscaping project, because of storm damage or due to a disease, removing the leftover stump is not an easy task. Often, the tree service that cut down your tree does not offer stump removal. Make sure that during your contract negotiations that you ask if their service includes the stump removal to avoid any misunderstandings.

It is possible to rent a stump grinder from an equipment rental company and take care of the stump yourself. But if you are not experienced with this type of job, it is not a good idea. The equipment can be very dangerous if not used properly. This is a job that you should take off your to-do list and hand over to an expert.

What Should I Look For When I Am Hiring a Stump Removal in Hampshire?

There are several things that you should consider when hiring a stump removal company. First, look at the reputation of the company. Ask around to see if others have been happy with their work. Your landscaper should be able to suggest a professional tree removal service.

Second, make sure that they are insured. Many fly-by-night inexperienced tree removal companies are not covered by insurance and you could be stuck holding the bill if there is any damage to your property.

Third, deal only with professionals. If you deal with a professional company you will get better results. Keep in mind, if your estimate sounds like a deal that’s too good to be true, it usually is.

How Are the Stumps Removed?

Stumps are removed by using specialized equipment. The stump removal equipment systematically reduces the stump to wood chips. The stump grinder reaches between four inches to a foot below ground. The resulting wood chips are often used to fill in the hole left from the stump being removed and the excess can be used as mulch. Depending on the age, size and the development of the root system, there may be more work involved to remove the roots.

Stumps can be unsightly and can make an otherwise well-maintained yard look unkempt. They can also be difficult to mow around and create a hazard. Take the time to ask the appropriate questions when you receive your estimate to make sure that your needs will be met and that you understand what services are covered. To achieve the best results, hire a professional stump removal and tree service that is insured and well-recommended.

Top 5 Super Cute Nursery Decor Ideas You Must Know

Whenever you are up for decorating the nursery, you should know that there are few ideas that never grow old. In this article, I have made a list of five super cute ideas that you can use in the decoration of your home nursery. Have a look:

  • Let’s Get Back to Pastels

There is nothing cuter than pastel colors so the first tip for today would be to set a theme of pastel colors for your baby nursery decor and wooden signs. You can choose all mild tones of pink, green, blue, yellow and more. From the furniture to accessories, try to keep everything light in color. Keep in mind that the nursery should be soothing for the eyes of the baby so avoid any sharp colors.

  • Wooden Accessories are Always a Good Idea

When we talk about decorating the nursery, we can’t forget about using wooden accessories. Try to choose the crib with a solid wood frame that can also be turned into a child’s bed as your baby grows up. You should also invest in some good wooden rocking chair for yourself such as a glider chair. A glider style rocking chair will make the nursery look simple and cute. The glider will also provide comfort to the parents for the long feeding sessions.

  • Floral Designs are Super Cute

Yes, floral designs are super cute. Flowers are not meant for girls only; they can be used in the nursery for a boy as well. You can paint the walls with some nice floral print, or use the floral wall stickers as they will cost you less than paint. You can also use artificial flowers to decorate the nursery. They will make the nursery look perfect and the artificial flowers will stay the same even if the baby grabs them or plays with them.

  • Try to Personalize the Nursery

Making your baby’s room more personalized is always a great idea. You can use funny bedsheets and glider slipcovers with cute prints to give a room more personality. Also, you can go for some funky curtains or get personalized curtains based on what you’d like your nursery to look. Other than the bedsheets and curtains, you can customize accessories like lamps. You can cover the lamps with some cool textured pieces of fabric so that it looks customized.

  • Wall Art

Wall art is again a great idea. You can use different wall hangings or paintings that make the room look cute overall. If you don’t want to spend money on paintings or wall hangings, you can use large stickers too or fun pictures and paste them on the wall of the nursery.

Buy Google Reviews: an Ethical Business Practice?

As soon as you throw around words like “Ethical”, I get ready for a lecture on morality and religion. That is not the intent of this article. However I will provide you with a sliding scale and you can impose your own sense of ethics and morality to determine which end of that scale you are comfortable with. I am quite convinced that ethics is a sliding scale affected by Risk, Reward and Motivation.

· Risk = Likelihood of punishment

· Reward = Size of the prize

· Motivation = Emotional drive derived from positive or negative circumstances.

As an example, if you ask most people if they would eat food from a dumpster, most would say “Hell No”. However, as your hunger grows and your options for something better recede, your willingness to partake of the dumpster dining experience will grow.

When it comes to buy Google reviews there is the obvious question of what will reviews do for me. I believe there are four primary benefits for reviews:

1. Ego boost for the business owner. “They like me!, They really like me!”

2. Social signals to the search engines that people are engaging with your company. This tends to effect ranking to a small degree.

3. A visual indicator that makes your business listing stand out. In the instance of a Google listing, the 5 yellow stars show up after you get 5 reviews and that makes your maps listing more noticeable and more likely to get clicks or calls.

4. Positive affirmations to your new potential customers that others have found what you provide to be of value.

Obviously, the fourth is the primary factor of interest. 60% of online shoppers look at reviews before making a decision. Refer to link at the bottom.

Most business owners already know this. So, reviews are something that business owners want. However, I’ve seen a lot of confusion about where the reviews should be placed and how much value and weight they carry. The primary value is based on credibility from potential customers and possibly search engines. Here are where most of the reviews end up and the value that they carry.

· Company Website: Written Review – This type of review carries no weight with search engines and very little credibility with potential customers because everyone knows you control the website and you can put anything you want on their regardless of the truth of the statement or if the customer is a real person or not.

· Company Website: Video Review – This carries more weight with your potential customers because people can see that it is a real person and not just a creation of your imagination. They still don’t know if this person is actually a customer of yours or just a good friend that owes you a favor, but it looks more realistic. Many times these types of reviews are great for a specific product page or the page that discusses a service you provide.

· Google Plus: This tends to carry more weight with potential customers because they know you can’t delete a bad review and it is slightly difficult to fake the reviews.

· Yelp: This tends to carry more weight than Google reviews because it is even harder to fake these reviews and you cannot delete bad reviews from this forum. This review platform carries a lot of credibility with Google as well. Yelp has a loyal following and there are a lot of people who use that instead of a search engine.

Facebook: It is good to have the stars and a written review on Facebook because there are loyal Facebook followers that give this platform credibility. Although you can’t delete bad reviews from Facebook, it is not a well-known fact.

· Yellow Page or Dex: It is good to have at least one review on this platform because it tends to influence that group of people who like to use this search tool.

· Other places that you may want to have reviews include: Citysearch, Manta, Superpages, Kudzu, Best of the Web, and Better Business Bureau. If you can get reviews on Angie’s list those are pretty solid because they are nearly impossible to fake.

Now that you know the value of reviews and where to put them it’s time to address the original question of should you “pay” for them?

As you may know, it is against Google’s terms of service to pay for reviews: “Conflict of interest: Reviews are most valuable when they are honest and unbiased. If you own or work at a place, please don’t review your own business or employer. Don’t offer or accept money, products, or services to write reviews for a business or to write negative reviews about a competitor. If you’re a business owner, don’t set up review stations or kiosks at your place of business just to ask for reviews written at your place of business.

Yelp doesn’t even want you to ask customers for reviews!

Those are some of the more strict rules for reviews. Most of the other business listing sites where you can put reviews are much more liberal in their policies.

To keep this simple, let’s just use these categories regarding ethical standards.

1. Morally Ambiguous – You bribe, cheat, steal and take blackmail photo’s to get any and every review you can squeeze out of people that are not even your customers.

2. You “encourage” clients to give you a review on the part of the web that will benefit you the most.

3. You just let karma take care of you by allowing whatever happens to happen.

Option 1 might work for most areas on the web, but not Google, Yelp or Angies list. Those three review areas will either not let it happen to begin with, or they will delete your reviews or your business listing completely.

If you think nobody will find out, try putting your offer in print and find out how quickly your competition sends it to Google or Yelp.

Option 2 is the grey area that should be looked at in more depth.

Option 3 will most likely result in not much happening at all, because people are busy and more often than not can’t be bothered. The exception to this rule is foot and drink. For some reason everyone wants to tell you what they had to eat. The other thing to consider is that when a customer is happy with you they will tell nobody and when they are mad at you they will tell everybody. So, negative reviews will take care of themselves.

Regarding option 2, there are a few things that people have done to get reviews.

· Offer a discount for services if the customer does a positive review before they leave. This is an effective process, but nothing will stop them from deleting the review after they leave. As for the ethics of this, I’ll leave that up to you.

· Ask the customer for a review via email. It is fairly common for a business to email their list of clients requesting a review and offering instructions on how to do it.

· Asking for reviews through social media. Same as above, just different delivery.

· Getting a customer to give a review on their cell phone before they leave. Very effective.

· Having a drawing for a gift if the customer can prove they did a review. Although this is in violation of the terms of service, you can decide for yourself if it is ethical.

· Offering a gift if the customer gives you a good review before they walk out. Same as above.

· Asking the customer how they feel about your service before they leave and getting them excited about the result before they leave. Then ask them to help you out by giving you a review on the platform of your choice.

The most useful thing a business owner told me about reviews is, “Excited customers give reviews, and satisfied customers do not”.

So, whatever ethical course of action you choose, I would recommend a high level of excellent service and don’t be afraid to encourage your customers to share their experience online. It doesn’t hurt to ask and most people are way too busy to just do it on their own. Some will ask you for help because they don’t know how, in which case, you should have a written walk through you can give them that illustrates the process.

Just a brief warning: Do not have a person use your internet connection to give you a review on Google. They will see multiple reviews coming from your IP address and will delete them. Also, do not get 10 reviews in 1 day. Google will also delete those as well.