The Significance of Computers in Our Lives

2010; mankind has come a long way since the first discovery of fire a few hundred thousand years ago. Fire used to be a necessity then, now the computer is a necessity for us as we use it in our daily lives.

One way computers help us is in our lives. We use the computer to communicate with people such as web conferencing with friends who are overseas, to look up on information about a particular topic, socialize on social networks such as Facebook or even to do something as simple as sending an email or digital cards to friends and loved ones.

The computer has also managed to change us from reading hard copies of books, magazines and newspapers, to reading online digital documents such as online newspaper articles and e-books.

In education, lecturers are now using PowerPoint to make their lecture slides which are used during their lectures and students are now able to download the lecture slides into their computers and store it as reading documents.

In the working place, paperwork is now slowly converting from manual printing and keeping documents to storing documents in the computer. The problem with paperwork is that it takes up a lot of space and an office has limited space. Moreover, going digital will help the environment as there will be less demand for paper which results in lesser trees being cut down to be made into paper.

However, there have been some issues raised about digital documents. A digital document can be created and edited by anyone, thus this leads to the owner verification problem. It is dangerous in the working environment, because anyone can edit a contract or agreement after it has been signed and used it against the other party. Another problem would be if one accidentally deletes the document, it will be hard to trace the perpetrator and also very hard to retrace the document.

Which Wood is Best For Outdoor Furniture – Teak Or Cedar?

If you are looking to landscape your backyard, reinvigorate your tired porch or patio, or even create a warm and welcoming living area out of that new deck, you may need some new furniture.  After all what good is having a great place to entertain if your guests don’t feel comfortable while they’re there?  When you need a few chairs to fill some space on the porch, or that plush, comfortable, deep seating sofa for the veranda, chances are that Teak or Cedar will be your best choice for this outdoor living furniture.  Which to choose will depend on a variety of factors however most importantly you will need to consider the look you are hoping to achieve, maintenance required, and the price you can expect to pay in order find the best fit. So read below and you’ll be lounging by your new poolside bar in a new sun lounger in no time at all!

The Look

One of the most important features of any new furniture is the appearance that it gives off.  Is your outdoor patio living space better suited for a rustic appeal or luxurious contemporary style?  Perhaps neither.  Maybe just a simple, yet warm, elegance speaks to you more.  But whether you’re looking to create a fun, relaxing environment with a pool side bar and some sun loungers or a simple conversational seating area you will have many choices with both Teak and Cedar.

Cedar usually has a very natural look, accenting your living area with soft red, light brown, and gray tones.  Lightweight and porous, cedar can easily accept a stain, sealer, or even paint, but most commonly is left in a raw finely sanded finish to preserve its natural look, feel, and smell.  Cedar is aromatic by nature which not only adds to the ambiance of a relaxing evening, but also helps preserve and protect the wood from insects and weather.

Teak is almost the polar opposite of cedar in terms of just about everything.  Teak is by nature a hardwood and as such, is more dense and heavy than cedar.  Grown exclusively in subtropical and tropical regions, and most commonly in the dense jungle of Indonesia and other Asian countries, teak is almost always imported and therefore is also more rare.  As a result of the exoticism associated with teak furniture it has achieved a perception of rarity and wealth and thus portrays a look of luxury and prestige.   Teak outdoor furniture is commonly purchased in one of two ways.  It can either be oiled, to achieve a darker “stained” look, or it can be left in its natural unfinished state where it will gracefully age and turn a soft patina gray color.  This color, unique to teak furniture, contributes to its exotic appeal.

Maintenance

Another very important factor to consider when deciding to purchase outdoor patio furniture is the level of maintenance that you wish to employ in living with your new furniture.  Luckily the maintenance factor, or lack of, is one of the main reasons that both teak wood and cedar wood are top choices of furniture manufacturers and consumers. 

Cedar, by nature is a very resilient wood whose properties help to resist weather of all climates but specifically heavily climates with heavy precipitation.  Snow, sleet, and rain are no concern for the long lasting properties of cedar, which will maintain its brilliance for many years.  This is one of the reasons why leaving cedar furniture in a sanded unfinished state is by far the most popular finish.  Like with many other woods though, some wish to finish their cedar furniture to achieve an altogether different look.  Several refinishing options are listed below in order of popularity.

  1. Stain - many prefer the finished look of a nice stain on their outdoor furniture.  The benefits of using a stain include being able to change the color of the furniture to virtually any color for which stain is available.  Stains are now offered in many shades through the dark to light color spectrum.  The stain may also provide a slight protection from the elements although with cedar it’s not really necessary and so mainly should just be used to alter the color.  The disadvantages of stain are that in order to maintain the original stained look, the stain needs to be reapplied every 2-3 years as the stain itself is not as resilient against the suns UV rays and weather elements as the wood is.
  2. Sealer – some prefer to “lock in” the natural look of their cedar furniture and so choose to use a high end sealer.  Sealers are made by many companies and are available at any hardware or big box store.  The sealer will prevent the cedar patio furniture from fading and will slow down the aging process.  Keep in mind though that this aging is often a desired affect of the cedar.  The downside to sealing the cedar furniture is consistent with the drawback to using a stain.  In order to maintain its effectiveness, it must be reapplied every 2-3 years which can be tedious and cumbersome.
  3. Paint – like any wood surface, cedar can be painted with a fine outdoor wood paint.  This is not as common as staining or sealing the furniture because paint will crack and chip, and also drastically alters the appearance of the furniture from its natural state.  Once the paint cracks and chips the entire painted surface must be completely sanded and repainted, sealed, or stained.

Teak is also a very weather resistant and ultra resilient wood due in part to its propensity to secrete a natural teak oil which helps to self condition it and protect against the harsh demands of a wet and/or humid climate.  Many shipbuilders choose teak as a main wood for the decks of their ships for this very reason.  Many sunken ships have been raised from the depths of the ocean only to show the teak beautifully preserved and in tact.  It’s this property that makes teak more commonly found in its natural unfinished state as there is no functional reason to apply any external finish to the surface.  Some customers however choose to apply additional amounts of this teak oil to achieve a darker more stained look.  While this will preserve the “new” look of the furniture it must be reapplied every 2-3 years to maintain this appearance and so can become burdensome.  Also by leaving the teak in its natural state, the often desired patina gray look is naturally achieved where it cannot be, if a teak oil or other finish is applied to the surface of the furniture.

Price

While price is often a concern for consumers, sometimes it is not such a factor for consumers of wood patio furniture.  As with everything else, price is a measure of perceived value.  The more valuable a product is perceived to be in the mind of the consumer, the more it will cost.  This reason alone is why both teak and cedar patio furniture are generally more expensive than other common outdoor furniture materials such as plastic, wicker, or rattan furniture.  Teak and cedar themselves have a price difference too though which can be quite significant depending on the individual furniture item.  Here’s why.

Cedar – because of its lightweight, proximity, ease to harvest and availability, cedar is the cheaper choice of the two wood furniture types.  While it will last a long time and is very durable, typically teak will last longer.

Teak – for all of the reasons opposite cedar, teak is the more valuable wood.  Simply not having the availability of cedar or other woods helps to create this elite, rare, sort of feeling that teak carries with it, which raises the price.  The purchase of teak furniture is often perceived as a sign of affluence or wealth because teak has a widely known reputation for commanding a higher price.  More expensive to harvest, more expensive to ship, and its long lasting appeal coupled with its novelty together contribute to its higher cost to produce which in turn creates a higher price for the consumer.

In summary, “better” or “best” can only be determined by the customer.  However taking appearance, maintenance, and price into consideration, teak and cedar can easily be compared and contrasted for similarities and differences.  Cedar, the more light weight, commonly used wood makes great patio furniture because of its ability to resist insects, rot, and weather elements (specifically rain, sleet, and snow) and also because it is relatively inexpensive to produce.  Teak, the hardwood of the two, is more exotic, rare, and will last longer.  Therefore, it commands a higher price, but also delivers a greater perceived value in terms of prestige, longevity, and maintenance free ownership experience.

Man-Made Diamonds; A Buyer's Guide

It seems almost impossible to watch TV or open a newspaper without seeing something about man-made diamonds. For centuries of years science has tested to create a perfect synthetic diamond. Finally, 21st-century technology has made that prospect a reality.

There are many reasons to purchase synthetic diamonds instead of the mined variety. The prices charged for mined diamonds are, in the very best verbiage, an illusion. To put it more bluntly, Cecil Adams, in his award-winning newspaper column "The Straight Dope" says: "Diamonds are a con, pure and simple." Diamond prices are largely controlled by the DeBeers diamond cartel, and they are not a fair reflection of diamond scarcity. Additionally, studies show that one out of three diamonds sold in the US today has been altered to artificially increase its value. Further studies have shown that on average a couple pays 40% too much for their diamond engagement ring.

Beyond deceiving pricing, there are the issues of "blood diamonds", forced child labor, and a myriad of other disturbing diamond facts.

Recently, socially conscious celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Minnie Driver, and Angelina Jolie have made a vocal issue of wearing only synthetic diamonds to the many gala events they attend.

Good synthetic diamonds are naturally indistinguishable from the mined variety, but without the baggage, and additionally, they cost thousands of dollars less. But, which synthetic diamond is the best choice?

There are many types of man-made or synthetic diamonds available. The choices are numerous, but unbiased information is scarce. Here is an overview and comparison of the synthetic diamonds currently unavailable on the market:

Cubic Zirconia

The grandfather of simulated diamonds, Zircons are available wide. In their best examples, CZ's are actually a fairly decent diamond replica. Unfortunately, the commodity-like availability and vast differences in quality have made the stone synonymous with low-cost fashion jewelry. Perhaps a good choice for cheap bling, but not for fine jewelry. Many sources are available, a decent one is: http://www.czfantasy.com

Russian Diamonds

Including Russian Brilliants, Russian Stars and others, they are in fact nothing but high quality cubic zirconias. This is not mentioned prominently on their web sites and they will only cop to it when pressed, but that is the fact. Russian diamond simulates are priced around $ 280 per carat.

Russian Diamonds are a fine jewelry selection and are usually mounted in quality precious metal settings.

Russian Brilliants are one of the best and oldest sellers of "Russian Diamonds" available at: http://www.russianbrilliants.net

Moissanite

Moissanite is a lab-created mineral that is a very good diamond simulant. Moissanite has been on the market as a fine jewelry choice since the early 90s and has picked up quite a few fans. Moissanite is a hard mineral that, like diamond, will cut glass. There are a couple of minor downsides to moissanite however. First, it is quite expensive, (though still cheaper compared to diamonds) usually priced about $ 500 per carat for good samples.

Secondly, moissanite does not have the same optical qualities as diamond and there are several indicators that make them easy to spot with the naked eye for an experienced practitioner. It is difficult to produce a pure white moissanite and they often appear slowly green when viewed in natural light. Also, moissanite has significantly higher radiance and brilliance factors then natural diamond, causing them to appear "too sparkly" to some. Overall though, moissanite is a beautiful synthetic diamond choice.

"Moissanite From the Sky" at http://www.fromthesky.com is a good source of fine moissanite jewelry.

Diamond Nexus

Diamond Nexus gemstones are the result of a fairly new scientific advancement in processing technique, and have only recently been available in the United States.

Diamond Nexus gemstones are excellent diamond simulants and come very close to matching the properties of mined diamonds at many different comparison points. They cut glass, being virtually identical to diamond on the Mohs (hardness) scale. They refract perfect "hearts and arrows" and have radiance and brilliance statements very close to flawless diamond.

Best of all, they are currently introductory pricing for the US market, and are a steal at $ 79 per caret. Diamond Nexus gemstones are only available in precious metal, solid-gold settings.

Diamond Nexus is only available from Diamond Nexus Labs at: http://www.DiamondNexusLabs.com

White Sapphire

Sapphire is the second hardest natural mineral on the Mohs scale, surpassed only by diamond. They are, unlike the others in this review, a natural stone. Their radiance and brilliance are not up to the standards of diamond however. Neverheless, quality white sapphires priced at around $ 220 per carat are a good diamond alternative.

A quality source is: http://www.TheNaturalSapphireCompany.com

Gemisis Cultured Diamond

Gemisis diamonds are beautiful and almost perfect diamond replicas. Unfortunately, they are not available in a clear, white color, so they are not a good choice for traditional diamond settings. However, if a yellow, orange or pink diamond is what you crave, Gemisis offers stunning choices in beautiful precious metal, fine-jewelry settings.

Gemisis Cultured Diamonds are only available at: http://www.gemisis.com

Recap:

Synthetic diamonds offer many advantages over the mined variety. You can buy with confidence, knowing that you are getting exactly what you paid for, and have not been the victim of diamond pricing chicanery. If you are concerned with the world around you, you can have a clear conscience, knowing that your money has not contributed to the support of an unethical and abusive industry.

However, there are many choices of synthetic diamonds, with varying degrees of quality. Take a little time to review the seller's information to get a clear idea of ​​what the science is behind the gemstones you are buying.

For my money, I believe the best choices are quality Moissanite stones or the new diamond simulant gemstones available from Diamond Nexus Labs.

What Exactly is Buffet Furniture?

Many people wonder what buffet furniture is exactly. You hear the word buffet, and you think of the best all-you-can-eat place in town. This of course is not what buffet furniture is, but it can help if you want to put out a nice spread when you are entertaining guests in your home. Buffet furniture includes different pieces for your dining room, living room, or kitchen, including: buffet tables, buffet cabinets, buffet huts, buffet sets, and sideboards. Buffets are not only functional pieces of furniture, they are also beautiful accent pieces to add to your home's decor.

So what is the difference among the buffets? It can be broken down by function and appearance. The largest is the buffet hutch, which provides spacious cabinets on the bottom, and a hutch display case for your fine China or precious knickknacks on the top. The next largest would be the buffet cabinet, which provide much more storage space for extra dishes, glasses, and table linens, as well as providing that extra tabletop during festive occasions when you could use the table space for food dishes.

Buffet tables are the smallest of the three, taking up less floor space, but providing less storage. A buffet table provides drawers for storing small items such as silverware and napkin rings, and like a cabinet serves as an extra tabletop for entertaining. Then there is the buffet set, which usually includes a matching buffet hutch and table, giving you the best of both worlds.

Another word you may hear bandied about when buffet furniture is mentioned is sideboards. A sideboard is another word for a buffet cabinet or table, and may be used synonymously for either term. So when you choose a cabinet-style sideboard or a table-style sideboard, they will add storage space and an extra tabletop to your dining room or living room.

So now you have the 411 on every type of buffet out there. It's up to you to choose which piece of buffet furniture most appropriately suits your lifestyle and home. And do not worry that all buffets are traditional or old fashioned if you have a different interior design theme in your home. There are a wide variety of styles, including antique, wooden, traditional, and contemporary designs. Whiche buffet you choose, you can be sure that it will provide beauty as well as function to your home.