Category Archives: Development

Tips to Choose The Right Water Softening System For Your Home

A water Softening system is an essential component in any home that is located in an area served with hard water. Understanding the nature of the problem you are solving is crucial in choosing the best solution to the problem. Hard water is water that contains high levels of mineral content, especially calcium and magnesium. These minerals in hard water make cleaning operations at home quite difficult; leading to wastage of soap and synthetic detergents. Other numerous effects of hard water including clogging of pipes, formation of scales on bathtubs and sinks among many others make it crucial for home owners to install Water softening systems in their homes. Choosing the best water softener system for your home is crucial.

Salt based Ion exchange water softeners

This type of water softener cycles your household water through two tanks. One tank has special resin beads while the other tank is filled with brine. The resin beads come in handy in getting rid of the hardness ions. It basically works on the concept of ion exchange where it softens hard water by way of substituting salt that is the sodium, for the hard minerals such as calcium and magnesium hard. When the resin beads become exhausted and cannot extract any more of the hardness ions, the beads are refreshed in the regeneration process. Here a sodium solution is generated and washed through the resin beads. With this option remember that the softening process indeed adds some tiny amount of extra salt to the water which is however safe for consumption.

Salt-free water softeners

Unlike with the above discussed water softener, this uses potassium-chloride salt instead of sodium to regenerate. So if you are concerned about salt intake in your home, this option is convenient for you. To be precise this category of water softeners is really a descaler; it prevents minerals from actually depositing as sales on kitchen appliances and pipes rather than effectively reducing the hardness of the water.

Dual tank water softeners

This comes with two tanks. The advantage here is that while one is in use, the second tank is regenerating. This ensures an uninterrupted supply of soft water to your home.

Magnetic Water Softener

This is a newer approach to solving some of the challenges posed by hard water. In this approach, the system generates a magnetic field which changes electromagnetic properties of the hardness causing calcium carbonate minerals. This makes the minerals to be repelled by each other and by the water pipes. This technology doesn’t alter the chemical properties of the hard water. Hence the benefits of calcium and other particulates in the water are retained. This however implies the problem of soap and detergent lathering remains.
So depending on your needs these are the options available. But for you to determine the right water softener for your home, establish the following:

· The water softening capacity of the system.
· The amount of water and salt used in the regeneration
· Suitability of the design in ensuring your home’s water will be totally softened.
· The price is good enough and guarantees reliability and reduced running costs.

The developing world aids mobility

Mobility aids are devices designed to help individuals to walk and get around easier, their main purpose is to aid mobility. Mobility aids are generally used when it’s becoming hard for individuals to get around by themselves, e.g an elderly person who is starting to find moving around more challenging and needs help to keep them mobile. Of course, mobility aids are not just for the elderly, in fact they are for any person who has a disability and may need some form of help to get around. Someone with a sprained or broken leg might need to use crutches to help them get around until the leg has healed, they may even need to use a wheelchair, both wheelchairs, and crutches are mobility aids which are commonly used in the world today.

If you’re looking to buy mobility aids, it’s important to know exactly what kind of mobility aid you need.

What are some examples of mobility aids?

Wheel Chairs – Probably one of the most common mobility aids, a wheel chair is used in many different cases, from people who are paralysed to people who are being moved around in hospital – even if they can walk on their own steam. Wheelchairs have a few different common types – the normal wheelchair, this has 4 normal sized wheels and involves the patient or user sitting in the wheelchair whilst a second person pushes them around. The second type is an electric wheelchair, much like a normal wheelchair, however this has a small joystick style control on the armrest which electronically moves the wheelchair via the use of motors. The final type has 2 small wheels at the front, and large rear wheels which can be turned by the hands of the people who are sitting in the chair – these are also used in sports such as wheelchair basketball etc, and give some independence to the user.

Mobility Scooters – Similar to an electric wheelchair, but more like a 4 wheeled motorcycle, mobility scooters often come with baskets mounted to them to allow the user to go shopping. These scooters give freedom to people who can walk short distances and get on and off by themselves. These are common amongst elderly people who wish to keep some of their independence without having to ask other people to help them out.

Zimmerframes, Walking Sticks and Crutches – these devices all have plenty in common – they are not motorised, generally do not have any moving parts, and their primary purpose is to take some of the weight off the users legs. Crutches are commonly used for people with broken legs, ankles or feet and are often used in pairs so that the leg with the issue does not need to touch the ground at all.

Walking sticks generally take the weight on one side of the body, for people who have a bad hip, knee or perhaps have athritis – walking sticks come in many shapes and sizes and are more common amongst the elderly.

Walking/Zimmer frames are small frames which usually have 4 legs and is lifted and moved forward with each step – they are built this way so that they are sturdy and do not easily fall over, they are generally used more commonly by the elderly who are more frail and have less strength which means they can’t use a walking stick efficiently

There are of course other types of mobility aid available which can be used to help people with disabilites and injuries of different types, that is why in today’s world, less and less people are being confined to their homes, or even worse, their beds – mobility aids are keeping people mobile for longer, and this will only get better with ever advancing technologies.

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.

Web Development

Web development is big business, it is used to develop websites and online applications, every time you browse the internet you are using multiple examples of “web development” even this website you’re reading right now used web development to get it online!

Although the terms are often used together, or in place of each other, web development should not be confused with web design, likewise, search engine optimisation, whilst linked, is not the same. – web design is the art of physically designing a website, the images and the look of the website, whilst the web development part of the process puts the website together and makes it work. Search engine optimisation does what it says – optimises the website for search engines, to encourage better rankings.

Do you use Google or Bing to search for the answer to questions, or to find a website covering a topic you’re interested in? If so, you’re reaping the rewards of thousands of hours of web development time, not only the website itself, but the workings behind the scenes, the databases, the scripts and the calculations that take place in order to serve you the most relevant accurate results possible all take place because of web development.

Ever used a website to find out when your favourite game is being released, or to organise matches with friends, or even play in Online Fifa Leagues? Those websites have had countless hours of development put into them too!

If you’re an amatuer when it comes to web development, there are many systems out there which take out all of the hard work – one such system is WordPress (this website is built using WordPress). With thousands of pre-built themes, and plugins to add any functionality you could think of, you can have a website up and running out of the box within a couple of hours from start to finish.

If you choose to build a website using WordPress you have a choice to make – WordPress.org or WordPress.com. What’s the difference? I hear you ask!

Simply put, WordPress.com is slightly simpler to use, however, it is a hosted solution, you will need to host your website over on WordPress.com and if you wish to use a domain name you own, you’ll need to pay them extra. Some plugins are included for free, as are a selection of themes, however if you wish to use custom plugins or themes you would need to pay extra again.

WordPress.org can be used on any webhost (as long as it supports the minumum requirements – PHP 5.6 and MySQL 5.6, we strongly recommend that mod_rewrite is also supported) and has no restrictions on which plugins or themes can be used, you will also be encouraged to use a custom domain name as with any standalone hosting, so you will not be stuck with the WordPress.com domain.

Should you decide to go with WordPress.com and switch to WordPress.org down the line, you should note that whilst moving your posts and images is easy enough, it’s trickier to move custom themes and plugins, and you may need to manually install these and configure them to look like your old WordPress.com hosted website.

So you’ve chosen WordPress as your website’s platform – either .com or .org, you now need to install a theme (or go with the default!) and add your content.

WordPress has 2 main content types, “pages” and “posts”. I’ll quickly explain the differences between the two so you can decide which is more suitable for your requirements.

A page;

A page in WordPress is basically what it says on the tin, we generally use these for the main pages such as About us, Contact Us, Home etc – these are static pages and would not show up in a blog or news feed.

A post;

Posts should be used for news style content, for example announcements, industry news, random musings, all of your posts will show up on your “posts” page in a blog style format, you can then click on these posts to read the full post.

Once you’ve added your posts and pages, your theme, and any plugins you wish to use, your basic website is complete, the actual web development involved was minimal, but why is this?

Well quite simply, the majority of the development work itself has been done by the team of coders who work on the WordPress core, WordPress themes and WordPress plugins – if you needed some form of custom functionality then you would need to get into the real gritty side of web development – writing custom code, and that is certainly a lot less achievable than setting up a basic WordPress website for most people.

So if you’re looking to develop a website from scratch, take a look at a pre-built content management system such as WordPress, Joomla or Drupal before you think about considering expensive custom development, you might be surprised just how versatile these systems are!

Product Development

When we hear the word development, we think about the technical side of things, whether it be web development, software development or application development, but did you know, development goes into almost everything around us from the food we eat, to the sofas we sit on, to the TVs we watch whilst sitting on our sofas, to ensuring we get the best dash cam video quality.

One local company has gone through multiple development processes when bringing their Smart TV Box to market. Talking to the head of marketing, he gave us an insight into exactly what was involved, and the various different development processes which came together to make the product what it is today.

“Firstly, we knew what we wanted to market, where we wanted to market it, but we weren’t set on the how” he said, continuing “We knew we wanted to retail Android TV boxes to the mass market, to do that we had to stand out from the crowd, and thats where the Starbox name was born.”

“The name itself was chosen and we knew we needed to develop a recognisable brand around the name, with the products themselves, our website, our stationery and invoices, and indeed our shop livery all going to feature the logo, we had to get it right”.

The guys over at DroidStar Electronics had a logo created by a professional team of designers, both for their DroidStar Electronics brand, and also the StarBox brand too.

“Next up, we had to do some work on the product itself, we worked with a trusted group of manufacturers we’ve used over the years to make sure the product was of the highest quality, and could be the best value for money possible”

So the business was born, with the product in production and the logos and brand rady to go, the next stage was to market the product.

“We have a team of in-house web-designers and developers so this part was fairly painless for us – we could create our vision exactly as we wanted it, and we soon had a website online accepting orders from across the globe”

Something that not all products and brands require, but DroidStar did, was a custom Android firmware for their TV boxes, this was also created in-house.

“We didn’t want our boxes to run a stock version of Android, we wanted our customers to feel the love we’d put into our product, all of our Starbox range runs a fully customised version of Android, with each new box we add to the range having the same level of development time put into it to ensure we keep everything truely StarBox”.

So to market a product, not only was product development involved, there was also brand development, website development, electronics development and Android development all required. We asked if knowing what they do now, they would do it all again.

“Absolutely – in fact, we’re still developing new models and Android versions, we’ve just re-developed our website, and we always have some exciting new projects in the pipeline too!”.