Monthly Archives: March 2016

Clay vs Concrete – Paving

Block paving is generally manufactured from one of two material types, either concrete or clay – there are of course many other types such as rubber, stone, glass and plastic but the two most common types are concrete and clay. But what is the difference between them? Does one have a benefit over the other, or are they just personal preference?
Concrete Paving Blocks

Concrete paving blocks are made up of a mixture of stone or aggregate and cement, the sizes of aggregate used very from around 10mm down to 1mm aggregate dust. The dust is primarily used to bind the stone together and create a stronger material. Aggregates and cement is mixed together with water to create the concrete, which is then dyed with a coloured pigment to create the final colour of the paving stone. The pigment can be added in different amounts to create different colours and shades. Once the desired mix is created, the concrete mixture is poured into block moulds and either pressed or vibrated to remove air and smooth the mixture. Concrete paving blocks are air dried, and then turned out of the mould and loaded onto pallets ready for delivery when required.

Clay Paving Blocks

Clay paving blocks, unlike concrete paving blocks, are made from natural clay which is locally sourced from the area near manufacturers. This differs to concrete blocks because concrete blocks are made from man-made materials. Much like concrete pavers, clay paving blocks can have colour pigments mixed into them whilst the clay is still soft and workable, once the desired colour is reached, the clay is placed into a mould and left to dry slightly before being oven fired in a high temperature kiln. You may have seen this process used to fire clay pottery, the process is exactly the same.

Once the firing process is complete, the clay paving stones will be very hard. They are left to cool before being stacked onto pallets ready for delivery to any projects which require them.

So it’s clear that these two main types of paving blocks are both diffrent, and similar at the same time – so what are the benefits and downfalls of using one over the other?
Clay paving stones

The benefits of clay paving stones: extremely durable and hard wearing, many vibrant colour choices, as well as natural clay colour, do not stain or fade easily, very easy to keep clean.

The bad points of clay paving stones: They are generally more expensive than concrete alternatives, can be brittle and chip or shatter, due to the firing process there can be slight size differences, colours are harder to match due to the natural colour varying from slab to slab, some areas do not have a ready supply of clay paving stones, so they need to be shipped in from further afield.

Concrete Paving Blocks

The main pros of concrete pavers: cheap and cheerful, can be sourced in many different colours, colours remain true throughout a batch so can be easily marched. almost all local suppliers will stock concrete paving blocks.

The downside of concrete block paving: Requires sealing regularly to avoid staining. Can absorb dirt and grime. Is not as hard or tough as clay based paving blocks.

If you’re unsure exactly which block type is best for your need, you can ask a specialist paving company such as a birmingham paving contractor, they will be able to advise you of which material will be best for your application, and whether there are any downsides to your plans.

Does development ever end?

If you’ve ever created a website, a product, or an ebook, you’ll have asked yourself the question “Am I done?”

In the world of development, continually tweaking and optimising your product is a simple habit to fall into, and can mean the product is never truely finished.

Use our simple tips to ensure you finish your development project to the highest standard, and more importantly, reach your end goal.

Plan

Whether you’re creating a physical product, an ebook, a website, or something else, the first step of the process should always be to plan. You should have an end goal in sight and this is what you should aim for. Sure, it’s ok to modify your plans along the way, but you should always have an end in sight, if you don’t, you risk overthinking your plan and ending up with a half finished product that doesn’t meet your original requirements.

Take a website for example, you know exactly what the website needs to achieve, and you have a rough idea of how it should look, but once it’s done you find yourself not liking what you see, you then begin tweaking the site, missing release deadlines, and ultimately, no longer believing in your product, or yourself.

Stick to the plan, your initial ideas were likely good, once you have your project complete give it time, gauge the results and then think about making changes if required – remember, you’re creating your product, design, website, whatever for other people, not for yourself.

Manage Your Time

Once you’ve started your project, break it down into bitesize chunks, work on each step in order and don’t be tempted to do the good bits first, whilst it may be fun, you’ll be left with a bunch of boring tasks needing done before you can go live, and you’ll soon lose interest.

As you complete each step, mark it off your list, visualise your goal and see how near you are getting.

Compromise

Sometimes even the most thought out of plans can hit unforeseen issues, if you come across an issue that you really can’t overcome, carry on with the rest of your plan. A completed project is better than a project which has been half completed and left by the wayside, and you can always revisit later.

Never Give Up

Perhaps the most important thing you can do in any project is persevere, never give up, always reach your intended goal – many a time in the past we have given up on a project, only to kick ourselves down the line when someone else has succeeded where we failed, and we have to watch someone else reap the rewards, the very rewards we would have achieved had we stuck to our guns and got the project finished.

When everything on your list is ticked off, your project is complete – you have a success whether it takes off or not, you can of course start a second project revising the first – if doing this you should follow the same initial process, planning, managing, compromise and persevering.

Develop a more involved visitor base

Five simple suggestions to improve your email marketing.

1. Have a mobile friendly site

Responsive web designs can increase your email list by up to 130%. No – that’s not a typing mistake, we really mean 130%. A huge amount of website visitors these days use a Smartphone or tablet, a website which automatically fits itself to these devices will make them much more user friendly, and in turn allow more users to submit their email to your mailing list.

2. Track your signups using analytics

Having multiple places for a user to sign up to your mailing list can increase the likelyhood someone will sign up, but it may also annoy people into leaving your website, if you use an analytics type system to track which signup forms are converting, and which are not, you can get rid of some of your signup forms which will in turn de-clutter your website.

You can also use analytics to track how many people on your mailing list are opening and reading your emails, and again, how many of the people who do read your emails are returning to your website (or to the product you are marketing).
3. Engage your readers

Building an email list is all well and good, but if you don’t engage your readers, if you can’t convince them to do what it is you want them to do (buy your product or service, visit a website, visit your store) then your list is not much use to you. It is important that you treat your readers as people who are valuable to you, and give them something of value in return, why not offer them free guides or discounts in return for their loyalty?

4. See your material from your readers eyes

When you write content for an email, or your website to try and engage a user, think of your target market, then put yourself in their shoes – is your content giving them something useful, or does it feel like it’s sole purpose is to market a product or service? If it’s the latter then you need to work further on this, or employ someone such as Calagry Internet marketing to handle your email marketing campaigns.

5. Use rich media

Whilst plain text emails are supported by all email clients, the use of images, videos and formatted, rich text (html style) in emails can really catch the users eye – If you’re marketing a new product, include images and a demo video, if you want to highlight a particular part of your email, try bold, or coloured text, or header tags, draw the readers eye to exactly what you want them to read, encourage them to perform the action you want – make your email a call to action.

If you still don’t feel confident in carrying out a successful campaign then you should consider employing Calgary SEO or a similar company who will be able to handle all of the hard work for you, meaning you don’t need to get your hands dirty, or worse – risk getting it wrong!

Warranties to cover new technology

Car warranties – what will and won’t void them?

So you’ve got a new car and been given a 3 year warranty (or some other time), or you’ve purchased an extended warranty for your current car, now you’re hearing horror stories about what you can’t do if you don’t want your car warranty to be void, well let us help you out.

Generally, car warranties DO have a clause in them which will state exactly what will void them, red that clause carefully just in case your chosen provider has any additional voidable “offences” within their contract, however, in general reasons for voiding will be things such as;

-Using your road vehicle for off-roading.

-Damaging your car during a race event / otherwise in a manner which would be reasonably expected of a road going car.

– Modifying your car in a way which may cause damage or reduce the life span of a part covered by warranty, this could include things such as modifying or removing certain sensors, making modifications to the cars ECU or onboard computer, for instance a remap – remaps often change the fuel/air ratios and could cause damage to the engine (this is of course highly unlikely, but if there is a chance that it caused the damage then it will be seen as your fault, and will not be covered).

– Not sticking to an agreed service schedule. If you don’t have your oil, or belts changed, and as a result your engine seizes or breaks its valves, then you would not be covered under warranty, however, the services must be carried out correctly, but DO NOT need to be carried out by a main dealer, a local independant garage is completely fine, as long as you can prove it was carried out, for example with a stamp in your service book, or with receipts for the work.

Things which will not (unless explicitly stated in your contract) void your car warranty include;

Changes to the physical appearance of your vehicle, such as paint, stickers, window tints, bodykits etc, unless they can be proved to have contributed to the fault.

Interior changes such as new headunit, leather seats, lighting upgrades etc (if these items break they are unlikely to be covered under warranty though!)

So don’t let people misinform you, it’s harder than you think to void a car warranty, if you use your car in a normal manner and don’t do any crazy engine mods, you should be completely fine.