Always Cold (or Hot) at Work ?


Is your office too cold, too hot or just right?
As you grab your favourite fleece — again — and curse management for banning additional heaters, the answer might be easy … until you look around. As your teeth chatter uncontrollably, the person sitting right next to you is typing away, comfortable as can be, in short sleeves.

This leaves workers facing a baffling question: How can some people in an office feel too hot, and others too cold, when they’re sitting right next to each other?
Vicki Rackner, a doctor and author of ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul Healthy Living Series: Heart Disease,’ says some variation in perceived temperature is normal. “Unique biological differences cause every person to have a unique ideal temperature,” she says. “We each have an ideal temperature at which we thrive.”
Donadio says a multitude of factors can cause an otherwise healthy person to feel warmer or colder than his or her peers. “The reason why a person is cold is very individual and unique to that person,” she says.

Weight — “The more body fat you have, the more insulation you have, so you tend not to be as cold, generally,” Donadio explains.
Fitness — Having more dense muscle helps the body regulate temperature more efficiently, Donadio says. “There’s no question,” she says, “that if you want to enhance the overall regulation of your system — exercise! It’s scientifically proven that it’s the single most important thing anyone can do for themselves, ever.”
Diet — People who do not get enough vitamins, minerals, protein, vegetables and other essential nutrients for a healthy metabolism could find themselves feeling tired and cold because their metabolism is not getting the nutrients it needs to work efficiently, Donadio says.
Gender — Women are more prone to hypothyroidism than men are, according to Donadio. Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid works too little and causes the patient to feel cold. Women’s body temperatures are also prone to irregularity due to their menstrual cycles and menopause, and women generally have less dense muscle mass than men do, which lowers their average body temperature.
Age — According to Donadio, as people age, their hormonal systems may begin to function differently. When they do not produce as many hormones as they once did, they may find themselves feeling colder. Likewise, hormonal surges associated with menopause can cause hot flashes.
Stress — Being too tense or uptight in the office could reduce your circulation, making you feel colder, Donadio says.

If you find your office is unbearably hot or cold, don’t immediately head to the doctor, Donadio says. Instead, first try some personal reflection. “If we listen to our bodies, our intuition, we can know why they’re not warm or able to adapt to our environment — and we know what’s causing it,” she says.
But if there is a very sudden or dramatic change in your body temperature, it may signal something more serious, like a thyroid problem, Vicki Rackner says.
“People who always have to wear more layers, for their whole life, that’s probably just who they are,” she says. “If they suddenly find they need four more layers, that may mean it’s time to go in and see the doctor.”

Types of Fire Extinguishers for Home & Office Use



While fire is considered as one of the most essential part of our lives, it can be very destructive when uncontrolled. Every year, lots of structure fires happen all over the world causing severe casualties such as loss of homes and properties, and even death.

The most common tool used for firefighting is the fire extinguisher. Most homes, schools, offices and commercial areas have fire extinguishers in them. Extinguishers are used to put out small fires. They are metal cylinders that contain fire-extinguishing substance and air under high pressure. The kind of substance that is contained inside the extinguisher varies according to the type of fire situation to be resolved.

The following are the different types of fire extinguisher according to their use:

Water fire extinguisher

This type uses water extinguish Class A fires or those fires that start from organic solids such as paper, wood and clothing. This should not be used on electrical fire because water (containing some metal elements) conducts fire.

The color of the band at the side of the cylinder is solid red.

Foam fire extinguisher

Best at extinguishing Class B fires or flammable liquid fires, this type smothers the fire using foam. Same as the first type, this should not be used to put out electric fires but also works on Class A. The extinguisher can be easily recognized because of the cream-colored band located near the top of the container.

Dry powder fire extinguisher

This type is suited for Class C fires or fires from overheated flammable gases or combustibles. It can be identified by the blue band or panel on the cylinder.

Powder fire extinguisher

This one is considered to be the most flexible of all fire extinguisher types. It is able to extinguish all kinds of fires or those that come from solids, liquids, gases and even electric. Also, it is referred to as the ABC type because it can be used on A, B, and C fires.

Specialist powder fire extinguisher

This type is used for Class D fires or burning metals like sodium, titanium, magnesium, potassium, steel, calcium, uranium, lithium, and plutonium.

CO2 fire extinguisher

The CO2 stands for Carbon dioxide which is the chemical used in this type of extinguisher. This is the only type that is safe to use on electric fires because CO2 gas does not conduct electricity. It can be easily distinguished by a black band near the top of the cylinder.

Wet chemical fire extinguisher

This is designed specifically for extinguishing Class F fires or deep fat cooking fires. It cools the burning fat and therefore prevents re-ignition. The containing cylinder of this type has a yellow band on it.

find the computer desk that’s right for your home office



If you are about to become one of the many people in the UK who now work from an office at home, or if you are simply looking for an occasional use laptop desk, here are a couple of tips to help you choose the desk that’s right for you.

First of all, you have to decide the position of the desk in your home office, taking into consideration how much space you have and also the layout of the room.corner computer desks are ideal if space is limited and can fit into a spare corner. An L-shaped desk might be preferable if you want to divide the room.

Secondly, you need to think about what you will be using the desk for. It sounds simple but, do you simply need somewhere to rest your laptop, or would you prefer a large workspace with lots of storage for suspension files, stationery, CDs etc. Perhaps a complete hidden office or computer hideaway would be more practical, since all your computer equipment can be hidden at the end of the day.

Another thing to consider is whether you will need any additional furniture for your office. Many computer desks are part of a range of office furnishings, which will allow you to buy a matching filing cabinet, bookcase or cupboard.

If you are going to be spending long hours at your desk, then you should definitely consider an ergonomic desk with a shelf to raise the monitor to eye level, to avoid eye strain and back-ache.

Top 5 HP Multifunctional Printers for Office Use



Having a multifunctional color printer around the office certainly helps to pick up the pace when projects are due. The issue becomes, however, how much needs to be spent to get the quality and efficiency required without having a hunk of plastic sitting in the office when there are fewer smaller projects in the pipe line.

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Striking the even balance of having a multifunctional color printer around and sending out the bigger jobs is an age old issue. With Hewitt Packard (HP), however, there may be some comparison shopping to be done so that the office supplies and capital expenditures budgets do not get too depleted.

Depending upon the layout of a particular office there may not need to be a need for more than one multifunctional color printer. In some instances having a few lesser quality multifunctional printers available in a cube situation, with a lead unit as a center piece for larger projects, may be an option.

Cube top

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In this instance, hp multifunctional color printers can range from $70.00 on up. Reviews suggest that the functions, on the lower cost machines, may require a bit more attention from the user but that they work well in situations that may just require a visual hard copy for inspection. The HP Office Jet 4315V may work in this situation. The unit was perceived to be slow (in the users’ perception) and the scans could have been better. Each, however, was acceptable to a degree. The real “pain” was in the need to swap ink colors in and out depending upon need.The next step up but along the same lines, at $170.00, is the HP Office jet 7410. A workhorse of a printer by most accounts it provides hard copy with little effort. It does not shoot out the copy with remarkable speed but it does produce at a solid rate. Swapping out color and black ink continues to be an issue but for the given application this is less of an issue.

Upper end

The hp multifunctional color printer designed to meet a vast majority of office needs is the HP Jet Pro L7680. This unit offers all the bells and whistles that an office could want and was named Editors Choice by several computer magazines. Media card slots, hp OEM ink cartridge, filing options and 16 pages per minute page speed. For a unit that doubles the cost of the other smaller machines, at $358.00, this unit does the trick. Scanner and fax finish off the unit so that a complete system is included.

If the top end is desired the Laser Jet 3390 is available at $437.95. This unit includes the other options mentioned with solid performance characteristics. As a laser may suggest, paper throughput is high at 29 pages per minute.

Middle end

As is often the case a purchaser wants something in the middle. In this case, the HP Photo Smart 2575 XI may be the unit of choice. The unit is still fast and has all the features but at a varying level of sophistication.

Facts About Office Temperature



Office temperatures that are too hot or too cold are one of the most common complaints amongst staff in a work environment and contribute to millions of dollars in lost productivity each year.

Here are the top ten facts about office temperature that will help you win the battle for the air conditioning controls:

The Australian Standard AS 1837 – 1976 Code of practice for application of ergonomics to factory and office work recommends a temperature range of 21~24 degree Celsius for both offices and factories in summer. The preferred winter temperature is usually about two degrees lower than in summer.

Temperature affects productivity. Studies in the US show that productivity can drop off by up to 20% if the temperature is so uncomfortable it causes a distraction to the employee. Productivity drops off when the employee feels either too hot or too cold but surprisingly the major contributor to lost productivity is when the temperature is too cold.

Keeping all employees “comfortable” in an office is almost impossible. The bad news is that everyone is different and what temperature is comfortable for one person is not necessarily the same for the person working next door.

The human response to temperature is adaptive. In summer we can tolerate a lot more ambient heat than in winter, because our bodies become used to the higher range of temperatures. So the ideal thing is to measure what the outdoor temperature is and set the indoor temperature accordingly.

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Women can feel the cold more than men. Since women tend to be less muscular than men and wear less layers of clothing they tend to run colder. Men tend to dress in sleeved shirts, pants and sweaters that leave only face and necks exposed. That is why so many women turn to the trusted office sweater draped over the chair.

The best solution to office thermostat wars is to poll the audience. If 99% of people are comfortable then there has to be give and take. Use the exercise to explain how the system works in your building. Maybe bring in an expert to talk to staff at the next OHS Toolbox Talk.

Older buildings with out of date heating and cooling systems can have uneven results. An office might have two or more distinct climates under the one roof.  Some buildings have poorly designed air conditioning systems that deliver too much to one part of the office and not enough to other sections. Check that the thermostat has not been situated directly in the air flow from an air conditioning vent. Also office temperatures can be localised. A desk situated in direct sunlight will be much warmer than a desk situated directly under an air conditioning outlet

Some older personal computers can generate as much heat as a small fan force heater raising local temperatures above the room average. This problem can be compounded by the clustering of servers, printers and computers in one particular section of an office.

Humans have a thermostat centre located at the base of the brain called the hypothalamus where a thyroid gland regulates our body’s metabolism. For example, when it is cold outside, the skin registers the change in temperature and stimulates the hypothalamus and thyroid to increase metabolism and generate body heat. How these personal thermostats sense changes in temperature vary between people. Some people feel the cold more than others and yet can tolerate much higher workplace temperatures than their peers.

Other causes of office temperature discomfort include your level of fitness, your diet and even your age.

Other causes of office temperature discomfort include your level of fitness, your diet and even your age. Being fit means regular exercise that leads to more dense muscle which in turn regulates body temperature more efficiently. Our metabolism needs healthy nutrients from a proper diet to work efficiently and as people age their normal hormone systems start to function differently making it harder to keep warm or to stay cool. Lastly being too tense or stressed in the office can impact on your circulation and make you feel colder.

The History of Parker Pen


George Safford Parker, the founder, had previously been a sales agent for the John Holland Gold Pen Company. He received his first fountain pen related patent in 1889. In 1894 Parker received a patent on his “Lucky Curve” feed, which was claimed to draw excess ink back into the pen body when the pen was not in use. The Lucky Curve feed was used in various forms until 1928.

From the 1920s to the 1960s, before the development of the ballpoint pen, Parker was either number one or number two in worldwide writing instrument sales. In 1931 Parker created the Quink (“quick drying ink”) which eliminated the need for blotting and led to the development of the most widely used model of fountain pen in history (over $400 million worth of sales in its 30 year history) the Parker 51. Manufacturing facilities were set up over the years in Canada, United Kingdom, Denmark, France, Mexico, USA, Pakistan, India, Germany (Osmia-Parker) and Argentina. Parker pens were frequently selected (often as favorite pens of the signers) to sign important documents such as the World War II armistices, and commemorative editions were sometimes offered. The company bought retailer and catalog company Norm Thompson in 1973, and then sold it off in 1981.

In 1976 Parker acquired Manpower just as the temporary staffing market was surging. In time Manpower provided more revenue than the pen business. A 1982 spinoff, Sintered Specialties, Inc., became SSI Technologies, a manufacturer of automotive sensors. A management buyout in 1987 moved the company headquarters to Newhaven, East Sussex, England which was the original location of the Valentine Pen Company previously acquired by Parker. In 1993 Parker was acquired by the Gillette Company, which already owned the PaperMate brand, one of the best-selling disposable ballpoints. Gillette sold the writing instruments division in 2000 to Newell Rubbermaid, whose own Stationery Division, Sanford, became the largest in the world owning such brand names as Rotring, Sharpie, Reynolds as well as Parker, PaperMate, Waterman and Liquid Paper.

In July of 2009 the 180 workers at Parker Newhaven, UK, got notice that the factory was to be shut down and the production moved to France. On August 18, 2009 Newell Rubbermaid Inc. announced that Janesville Wisconsin will close the remaining operations tied to Parker Pen and eliminate 153 jobs. The company said: “This decision is a response to structural issues accelerated by market trends and is in no way a reflection on the highly valued work performed by our Janesville employees over the years.”

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Dynamic sitting. Dynamic working.

Adjusting the seat height
The seat height is adjusted by using the button on the front right. Seat adjustment range: 400 – 510 mm. Optimal seat position: A 90 degree angle between lower leg and thigh, feet fl at on the fl oor.

Locking the backrest
Using the lever on the front left, the seat and backrest can be moved in synch and locked in one of four positions. Press the lever again and lean on the backrest to release.

Backrest resistance
By turning the knob at the front left, the amount of pressure of the backrest can be adjusted to fi t body weight and the user’s individual impression of what is most comfortable. Quick and easy to adjust while sitting. Adjustment range: 45 – 120 kg body weight. 

Seat depth adjustment
Optional. With the button at the right back the seat depth can be increased up to 50 mm. Range: 390 to 440 mm; can be locked in place in 5 positions.

Adjusting the forward tilt
Optional. When the lever on the front left is in the lowest position the angle of the seat can be tilted forward by 4 degrees. This setting option helps to relieve pressure on the back during prolonged computer-related tasks.

Fixed armrests: Make getting up and sitting down easier.
Loop armrests: Make getting up and sitting down easier.
2D armrests: are adjustable in height and width. Adjustment range: Height 100 mm / width 70 mm.
3D armrests: are adjustable in height, width and depth. Adjustment range: Height 100 mm / width 70 mm / depth 60 mm. Pivotable up to 30 degrees inwards and outwards.

Ten tips for designing your home office furniture


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Nowadays,working from home is becoming increasingly popular. But creating a dedicated home office space within your living environment is something that needs careful consideration, here are some tips for you:

 1. Natural light – situate your desk near a window to make the most of daylight.

2. Your seating position – do you want to look out into the room or facing a wall?

3. Comfort – consider the position of radiators or windows.

4. Professional ambience – do you want a simple, functional space or an office designed to impress?

5. Technology – designate a practical place for your printer, scanner and desktop computer.

6. Filing and storage solutions – built in cupboard space or cabinets can help keep your office tidy.

7. The look and feel – do you want a family friendly study or a traditional boardroom feel? 8. Hot desking – is your home office going to be shared?

9. Traditional or contemporary – think about the style you want and the colour, character and finish of the wood.

10. Part of your home – do you want a study that blends into the style of your home or stands out with a personality of its own?

three pencil accessories



Here are three pencil accessories. They are all inexpensive products aimed at children.

The pencil cap with sharpener allows you to keep a sharpener adjacent to your pencil .

Next, a pencil cap which can theoretically become an extender. It looks okay, but I’m not sold on the value.

The Tombow Ippo grip. It has a mushy rubbery surface . This will obviously be a matter of personal preference. I can see it being an aid for anyone, young or old, who is seeking assistance in gripping a pencil.

Overall, the three products are quite helpful to some.

Put Green Plants in Your Office


Plants do more than just enhance the beauty of your surroundings, many actually clean pollutants out of the air as they add oxygen and humidity to the indoor environment. New findings suggest, however, that they may add more than just color and interest. They also filter the air, and can fight against the common high-tech ill, sick building disease.

Recent research undertaken by the NASA Space Administration in America has yielded some very interesting results. In a test lasting two years conducted by Dr. B.C. Wolverton at the Stennis Space Centre in Mississippi it was discovered that common houseplants are capable of converting chemical air pollutants into harmless substances.

Ivy, one of the smallest of houseplants, does an excellent job of cleaning the air of toxins, especially benzene and TCE. The humble potted Chrysanthemum is another goodie. You can place a number of plants around your office or make up a high scoring clean-air cocktail by adding such plants as Peace Lilies and Parlour Palms. Better still are various forms of Dracaena, Dracaena Warnecki and Dracaena Janet Craig are real pollutant sucking types. Chinese Evergreen and the humble Philoderdron are also two to watch out for.