Archive for April, 2007

The Easy Way To Build A Good Credit Score

Posted in Credit Score on April 30th, 2007

If you want to have a good credit score, you need to be very decisive and flexible at all times. Although there are some people who have large credit lines, this does not mean that they can always handle their debts properly, resulting in bad credit.

If you’re applying for credit, be sure that the consumer reporting company who processes the application uses accurate information in your credit report. If there are any disputes, you must be sure to ask them to include copies of the documents that can support your position.

With regard to providing complete information like your name and address, you must clearly state in your letter the identification of each item in your report that you dispute. You must state the facts and explain why you have disputed the information. You must request that the information should be corrected or deleted.

You can also enclose a copy of your report along with the items in question. You can send your letter through a certified mail and you should keep the return receipt that is requested so you can document what the consumer reporting company has received from you, and when it was sent. It is important that you keep the copies of your dispute letter with the enclosures.

The consumer reporting companies should investigate the items in the question, this usually takes no more than 30 days unless the company considers your dispute frivolous. If you make a request, the consumer reporting company should send notices of some corrections to anyone who has received the report in the past six months.

You must tell the creditor or the one who provided the information that you are disputing an item. Make sure that you include copies of documents that give support to your position.

Many of the providers specify an address for disagreements. If your provider makes a report about the item to the consumer reporting company, the report should include a notice of your dispute. In this case, if you are correct and the information has been proven to be inaccurate, the information provider will not report it again.

Your credit report will not actually echo all your credit accounts, even if most of the department stores and bank credit card accounts are included in your file, some are not. Some that are not included are those from the local retailers, gasoline card companies and credit unions.

If you are planning to start your own credit line, make sure that you are familiar with the credit score tips and ways to build your credit score. It might not be easy to build and keep good credit, but if you know how to watch and take care of your credit line, you will find out that you can keep your shopping worry-free.

Where to Find Custom Truck Accessories

Posted in Custom Truck Accessories on April 30th, 2007

Are you currently looking for that certain something to kick your truck’s look and performance up a notch? Are you frustrated with the lack of options or selection that your local dealers provide? There is a world of products out there just waiting for you – we’re talking everything from exterior to interior, lights to suspension, and anything in between. In this article, we’ll show you where to find custom truck accessories that will give your truck the look and performance it deserves.

When looking for custom truck accessories, it is important that you first rely on reputable sources. If Joe Schmo down the street tells you about a great place to find designer grills, you probably should walk in the other direction. However, if you have friends or co-workers who you trust give you some tips, it may bear checking out. Word of mouth tends to be a very strong marketing tool, and acquaintances will be hesitant to provide you with a bum tip.

Another great resource is to look in your local print journals. Magazines such as AutoTrader and AutoMart are usually available for a very small fee in most convenience stores. These publications can put you in touch with the businesses you may have never found otherwise. One word of caution however: you should check out any new business before blindly doing business with them. Make phone calls and check references to ensure that you are doing business with an honest dealer.

Aside from local resources, the internet is filled with amazing dealers who offer custom accessories for any ride. Businesses such as JC Whitney and StylinConcepts (just to name a few) offer an incredible selection of sweet gear for all makes and models. Better yet, these businesses offer free shipping on all orders and have prices that trump most chain dealers. You would be doing yourself a huge disservice if you neglected to check out any of the custom dealers currently online. It is recommended that you do research on any internet company as well before purchasing. There a few essentials that you must look for. First, make sure that you can speak to a customer service representative who can answer any and all of your questions. Second, make sure the site uses some type of encryption service to protect payment information. This will ensure that you are dealing with a solid company who cares about its client base.

One last advantage to the internet can be found in the literally hundreds of message boards and communities. By signing up for a message board, you will be put in touch with people just like you, and you will be able to get valuable insight into the absolute best and worst places to find your custom truck accessories. This will further help you separate the high quality businesses from the low class dealers.

Now that you know where to find custom truck accessories, what are you waiting for? Your ride isn’t getting any younger, right? So get out there and get shopping for the items you need most to turn your truck into a complete monster.

Steps on How to Make Perfect Curtain Rods

Posted in Curtain Rods on April 28th, 2007

While redecorating your home’s interior is an expensive project, there are some simple ways for you to cut costs just by making some items yourself. For example, did you know that it is possible to make perfect curtain rods that look great and save you money? If you think that making curtain rods will be too difficult or time-consuming, you may want to think again. In this article, we’ll give you all the necessary steps on how to make perfect curtain rods. You may be surprised at just how simple this project can be.

The first step in making perfect curtain rods is to make perfect measurements. Use a standard tape measurer above your intended window to find out how long of a rod you will need. It is important to measure 2-3 inches beyond the actual width of the window. This will ensure that your curtain rod provides sufficient coverage.

The next step involves driving to your local home improvement store. These stores (such as Lowe’s and Home Depot) have all the supplies you will need for making perfect curtain rods. Don’t forget to bring your measurements and tape measurer along with you. This will prevent you buying ill-fitting materials.

So, what exactly are you going to need to make perfect curtain rods? The first item you need to purchase is the rod itself, and the best fit is usually a dowel (these are very inexpensive and can usually be found in the lumber section). This is where it is important to know the proper measurements of your window, so you can choose a dowel of proper length. Remember, it is always better to buy a dowel that is too big as opposed to one that is too small. A bigger dowel can always be cut down to size. Once you have selected a dowel as your curtain rod, you will also need two large hooks (to support your curtain rod), screws to apply the hooks, and two decorative attachments to put on each end of the rod (these are known as finials). Depending on the color of your interior, you may also need to buy a paint or finish to apply to the curtain rod after completion. Usually, browns and tans work well for curtain rods, but the decision is strictly yours. You now have all of the necessary items needed to make a perfect curtain rod.

Now that you are back at home, you can begin the simple task of putting up your curtain rod. The first thing you want to do is to screw both large hooks above the window according to your measurements. There should be atleast an inch of room on both sides for the curtain rod to comfortably rest. This will reduce the likelihood of the rod falling down. The next step is to sand down your dowel and apply your chosen finish to the rod. After a period of drying, you can then slide your curtain onto your new curtain rod (make sure the rings are big enough!). The last step is to attach the finials you have selected to complete your curtain rod’s look. Hang on the hooks you previously attached, and there you have it! You have made a perfect curtain rod!

Wasn’t that easy? By following these steps on how to make perfect curtain rods, you can create a cheap alternative to standard curtain rods while giving any room in your home a truly unique look.

Pros and Cons of LCD Flat Screen Monitors

Posted in LCD Flat Screen Monitors on April 28th, 2007

LCD flat screen monitors have become incredibly popular for a number of reasons. Many a home office or work space now has an LCD screen in front of the chair. In fact, it is the overwhelming success of the LCD flat screen monitor that eventually led to the development of LCD flat screen televisions that have even begun to give plasma televisions a run for their money on the entertainment market. If you are considering an LCD flat screen monitors, it is helpful to know a little bit about the pros and cons of lcd flat screen monitors.

One of the big pros of LCD flat screen monitors is the space they require, or rather lack of space required. If you have limited space on your desk, then you will find that the thin and light weight nature of a flat screen LCD monitor to be very agreeable. They are easy to move between computers and to keep back so your eyes are not focused on such a nearby point. They also leave more room for reasonable arrangement of your keyboard, printer, and other accessories. More space means more efficiency and less clutter so that you can do your work more easily. Space sounds simple, but more of it can be a big help. If you ever have to move your computer and monitor you will also be able to do so with much more easy because of the size and weight of your LCD flat screen.

One con on LCD flat screen televisions is the price. They are expensive to buy. However, the good news on that front is that every year the price goes down a little more. As technology and manufacturing improves, the prices become more reasonable. On the other hand, a pro of the price is that they cost less to own. The energy they use and the upkeep on them is less than traditional monitors. If you use your computer, and thus monitor, a lot then you will find the savings to be significant when you are talking about the long life of a monitor.

Finally, a pro of the LCD monitor is that it is easier on the eyes. Most users of flat screen LCD monitors will tell you that they feel significantly less eye fatigue with the use of their monitor over the traditional monitors with tubes in them. Also, if you get an adaptable monitor, you can use it as both your television and computer monitor, which can be a great addition to your home office and entertainment center. Either way you will find that your eyes will be happy that you have a flat screen LCD monitor when you do your work.

Though the cons are few and pros are many, it is still important that you understand the pros an cons of LCD flat screen monitors before you get one. In the end, the choice is yours and it may depend on your budget. However, if you have the money, it is unlikely that you would ever regret buying an LCD flat screen monitor for your home office.

How to Create Free Ringtones

Posted in Free Ringtones on April 28th, 2007

Do you have a different favorite song every day of the week?

If you feel like changing your ringtone as often as you change your clothes, that’s not difficult. You may think it would be time-consuming and troublesome, but it’s really very easy to turn your favorite songs into free ringtones. All you need is a phone that supports mp3 or MIDI files and computer software that can convert audio CDs into digital music.

If you have the old phone type that plays simple, monotonous ringtones, you’ll have to buy the downloadable tone from a commercial source. But cell phone technology has changed rapidly in recent years, with phones evolving into multi-task devices that take photos, receive and send e-mail messages, and play mp3 music that you can upload as your ringtone.

You can have two choices for mp3 ringtones – you can buy them or you can create them yourself. First make sure your cell phone can play polyphonic tones, MIDI tones or mp3 songs. And if you’re unfamiliar with these files or what your phone’s capabilities are, you can search for information on your make and model on the Internet.

The source of the music you choose can be your own CD collection or songs you’ve downloaded from the web. If a song isn’t mp3 format, there are software programs that can convert it – one example is the dBpowerAMP Music Converter. There are also software applications that can extract music directly from compact discs. Windows Media Player, MUsicmatch, Real Player and iTunes are some of the more popular software programs that download songs from online sites and organize them into a personal library.

Some programs like Audiograbber, Winamp and Cdex are designed for only one particular task, extracting songs from CDs and compressing them into mp3 format. But even if your phone can’t play mp3 files, you can still use MIDI music as your ringtone. Programs like Anvil Studio and Mobile Music Polyphonic are two programs that create MIDI files.

To create your own custom ringtone, insert a music CD into your computer and then launch the program you’ve chosen to extract the songs from your CD. The program will ask you to choose from different recording options – mp3 is the preferred format as it has better compatibility with phones and audio players. Then simply copy the song from the computer to your phone by using the phone’s memory card. If your phone doesn’t have a memory card, other devices such as Bluetooth are helpful.

Top Choices of Houston Mortgage Brokers

Posted in Mortgage Brokers on April 28th, 2007

A brokerage, in financial terms, is a company that processes – or brokers – the transaction between an equities trader and a major equities exchange. A broker is also the party that mediates between a buyer and a seller, acting as a principal party in the deal.

In the past, banks and other lending institutions handled their own loans. But as the mortgage market has grown in size and competitiveness, mortgage brokers have become more common. In fact, in most markets, mortgage brokers are now the largest distributors of mortgage products for lenders. In order to ensure consumer protection, most mortgage brokers are regulated. The extent of the regulation depends on the jurisdiction.

The broker is responsible for providing advice that is appropriate for the borrower’s circumstances, and they’ll be held liable if their advice is unethical or damaging to the client. In some jurisdictions, a broker’s responsibility is limited to pointing the borrower in the direction of an appropriate lender, and they don’t otherwise advise the clients.

Tasks of a Houston mortgage broker:

1. It is the responsibility of a mortgage broker to conduct marketing strategies in order to attract clients.

2. It is the mortgage broker’s responsibility to properly assess the borrower’s circumstances, including credit history and the ability of the borrower to pay off debt.

3. Searching the market to find the right mortgage product for the client.

4. Applying for a lender’s agreement in principle (pre-approval)

5. Gathering all necessary documents.

6. Completing the lender application form.

7. Explaining the legal disclosures.

8. Submitting all material to the lender.

A Houston mortgage broker will usually work with several lenders to find the best financing for a borrower, whether they have perfect credit or bad credit. A mortgage broker will always search for the lowest mortgage rate at several institutions, unlike the loan officer at a neighborhood bank. Brokers are paid by adding on fees, or “points,” so it pays to shop around for a mortgage broker.

And to help you search for the top chosen Houston mortgage brokers you may try browsing on the internet since most of the reputable mortgage brokers are found online. A reputable online mortgage broker is ideal for mortgage lenders since they are able to save time and effort since all the information that they need is consolidated into one site.

Moreover, it also easier for borrowers to get quotes from online mortgage brokers and allows borrowers to conduct mass canvassing. The mortgage rate is usually based on current interest rates, the property’s location, the borrower’s credit score and employment history so it vital for a borrower to provide the mentioned information in order to receive a rate quote.

Top 10 Best Desktop Computers

Posted in Desktop Computers on April 28th, 2007

If you are in the market for a new desktop computer, you know that the number of choices available is staggering. We know how difficult it can be to wade through all of the information, so we have put together a list of the Top 10 best desktop computers. This list should give you a better idea of the type of computer you want, while giving you a broad range of companies to select from. So, without further ado, let’s check out the computers that make the grade.

#10 – Lenovo 3000 J Series: These computers are geared towards families, and they combine the power of AMD 64 processors with the function of a 250MB Hard Drive. Priced at less than $800, these systems clock in as a real crowd pleaser.

#9 – Fujitsu Esprimo C: This is one of the smallest desktops available on the market, and it is also one of the sleekest. These machines can be tailored to your individual needs, and will not disappoint.

#8 – Alienware Area 51 Series: These great looking machines offer unparalleled performance to even the most serious game enthusiasts. The graphics and sound capabilities coupled with the speed of Intel 4 processing make this a must have for those who want a desktop that entertains.

#7 – emachines D5039: Hands down, this desktop is the best value on the market. Emachines is a well repected PC company that has the family in mind, and does a great job of offering amazing products at unbeatable prices. This unit contains everything you need to get started – definitely worth a look (or two!).

#6 – Sony Vaio RB60: This desktop from Sony comes bundled with a lot of cool Sony software, and it also comes equipped with a 17” LCD display. This is a perfect choice for those wanting a great entertainment PC that also handles work and internet. This product is definitely a solid choice.

#5 – Compaq Presario Series: These computers are very affordable and very reliable. Compaq Presario desktops are the perfect choice for families, and come standard with everything you need to instantly start surfing the web.

#4 – HP Pavilion Series: A much underrated desktop line, the HP Pavilion series features dual core processors, which make multi-tasking a breeze. They also offer easy memory expansion as well as some of the sharpest graphic and sound cards in the business.

#3 – Apple iMac: When it comes to music and video capabilities, the Apple iMac desktop is second to none. Macs are quickly gaining steam in the computer race, and with good reason. You won’t be sorry giving this one a try.

#2 – Gateway DX310 Series: Dual core processors mean this unit is just as fast as other higher priced competitors. Gateway offers amazing customer support, and also has some of the most generous rebate offers in the business. In addition, they make it very easy to earn free upgrades. Do yourself a favor and give Gateway a look.

#1 – Dell XPS 400: This computer tops our list for many reasons. The only thing you need to know is that it look great, it runs amazingly fast (and quiet), and it comes bundled with a 19”flat screen monitor. All of this for under $1000 makes the Dell XPS one sweet deal.

This list of the Top 10 best desktop computers should make buying your next computer a quick and painless process. In fact, considering how great these desktop computers are, you might just find yourself wanting to take more than one home! Have fun!

Wood Burning Stoves Timeless Classics

Posted in Wood Burning Stoves on April 28th, 2007

Wood-burning stoves can be installed in any room of your house, but most often they are placed in living or dining rooms, as well as in patios. While traditional fireplaces generally work as a piece of décor, free-standing wood-burning stoves are generally used for more practical purposes, namely, for heating and even cooking. Thanks to new designs, your wood-burning stove will look attractive and still remain perfectly functional. Because it isn’t attached to the wall, a wood-burning stove will radiate more heat throughout a small or large room.

Most often, wood-burning stoves are usually built of stainless steel, soapstone or ceramics study stone and brick but can remain sleek and contemporary thanks to new materials such as fireproof glass and stainless steel details. The shape of these stoves is most commonly tall and cylindrical, with built-in wood storage under the burning chamber.

When choosing a new wood-burning stove, keep in mind that the size of your wood-burning stove is determined by the size of the space that needs to be heated. The fire of the stove should be substantial enough to please the eye as well as heat the room, but too much fire can literally turn your place into an oven.

When picking a place to put your new stove, avoid traffic areas such as doors. A stove surrounded by windows may be a good solution. The fire chamber door should face the room. Don’t forget to take stovepipe requirements into the account, making sure they are in compliance with your local building codes. Since wood-burning stoves are not strictly fireplaces, they don’t require any clearance between the fire chamber and surrounding combustible materials, such as wood or fabric.

Conventional wood-burning stoves vary in heat efficiency because their construction can be very different, too. The efficiency of a wood-burning stove depends on how much of its combustion energy turns to heat, which in its turn depends on how well it burns wood. Even the best wood-burning stoves don’t burn all wood completely. The smoke is actually composed of unburned wood particles. Another factor that impacts the wood-burning stove’s efficiency is how much heat escapes through the chimney.

To improve the efficiency of your wood-burning stove, consider a chimney sweep in the first place. This should be done by a professional fireplace expert. If you noticed that a lot of smoke is produced during the wood burning, you may need to alter the size of your stove opening, or reconfigure the existing fire chamber. If you notice that a lot of hot air escapes through the chimney, you may consider replacing the fire basket – the metal rack that supports the burning logs. New designs of fire baskets can greatly improve air circulation and heat efficiency.

Wood burning stoves today offer a great variety of looks and designs to suit any home style, from a retro Victorian house to a steel loft condo. Painted black, brushed steel or even red, with stovepipe to match, wood burning stoves with generous glass doors allow you admire the dancing flames during the cold winter season.

Is Hidden Caffeine Aggravating Your IBS?

Posted in Health & Fitness on April 27th, 2007

There are many things that can trigger bouts of IBS, but there are times when you might not know what is doing it. There are many things in the diet that can cause the bloating, cramping, constipation, or diarrhea that comes with flare ups, but some of them are easier to pick out than others. Have you considered that hidden caffeine is aggravating your IBS symptoms? It’s quite possible. You may have cut out coffee and caffeinated soda, but there are other places where you might be unknowingly getting enough caffeine to upset your system.

Diet Products:  There are many different diet products on the market that you might be taking. Some are supplements that help with energy or with appetite suppression. There are weight control bars that are much like granola bars, and other products that are closely related. These often contain natural substances that have caffeine in them. It won’t necessarily say so on the label though, so you have to know what to look for. If you don’t recognize anything on the label, make sure you look each thing up to see what it really is and if it might contain caffeine. Guarana is one of these that claims to be a natural alternative to caffeine, but it’s basically the same thing and will have the same effect on your IBS symptoms.
 
Coffee:  You probably already know there is caffeine in coffee, and you may have had to cut it out of your diet. Some like to have decaffeinated coffee instead so they can still enjoy the taste of coffee. The problem is that there are some brands that are called decaf, yet they still have some caffeine in them. The amount may be small, but it still might be enough to aggravate IBS.

Coffee Flavoring:  Though you might think that ice cream and yogurts would only contain an artificial flavor that mimics the taste of coffee, many of them really have caffeine in them. Check the labels carefully to see if there is caffeine. You may have not thought to look, but if you eat these products often, this might be a troublesome source you never considered.

Candy:  Sadly, chocolate contains caffeine, and it might contain more than you think. This includes chocolate drinks like hot cocoa. Something as small as a Hershey’s Kiss has caffeine, though it should only contain 1 mg.

Medications:  There are some medications that claim they are non-drowsy. These are supposed to help with your symptoms while keeping you awake. It makes sense. No one wants to take something for a cold only to fall asleep at work during a meeting. The problem is that some of them use caffeine to help keep you awake, and you probably don’t realize it. This is also a problem with some children’s medications also. Children should have very little, if any, caffeine.

Eliminating these things might help, but if it seems to make no difference, it might not be hidden caffeine that is aggravating your IBS symptoms. You may be able to tolerate some of them on occasion if you choose ones that have a very low amount. When it comes to decaf coffee, you might have to experiment with a few different brands until you find one that it totally caffeine-free.

Grab your free copy of Susan Reynolds’ brand new IBS Newsletter - Overflowing with easy to implement methods to treat IBS & help you find out about IBS symptom and for information on IBS recipe please visit Irritable Bowel Syndrome Relief Secrets.

Got IBS? Try Exercise

Posted in Health & Fitness on April 23rd, 2007

Those with irritable bowel syndrome know that there are many things you can do to your diet to help control some of the more troubling symptoms, but they may have never considered that exercising might be an answer. Though there are times that exercise can make matters worse, there are some forms of exercise that can actually help keep the symptoms at a manageable level. The trick is find the one that works for you. Exercise along with the right diet can help someone with IBS enjoy a better quality of life.

One problem with IBS is that it can leave you feeling tired. When you feel this way, you are less likely to want to get up and get moving. You have to find a way to overcome that. If you have a friend that might be willing to work out with you, it can help you gain the motivation you need. If you have a favorite sport, you might want to try that instead of joining a gym and finding you never set foot through the door…. Whatever it takes, you have to find some motivation to get moving, even when it seems like it is the last thing that you want to do.

One thing you might want to consider when it comes to exercise to help with IBS is to take up something like yoga. Yoga is a stretching and muscle toning exercise program that also has one really great side effect. It is excellent at reducing stress. Episodes of stress are known to make the symptoms of IBS much worse. If you can combine your exercise and your stress management into one activity, you are going to be feeling better quickly, at least mentally. Concentrate on learning the deep breathing exercises that are associated with yoga, and use them any time that you feel overwhelmed, stressed, or overly excited.

If you think you want to join the gym, you should try a few easy exercise machines when you first begin. You shouldn’t overdo it or you may become discouraged and quit. Try whatever you think is fun, and limit your time until your body is adjusted to your new level of exercise, then you can turn it up. If you don’t like the treadmill or the elliptical, you can always take advantage of many different dance or aerobic classes that can offer you a great workout. Do what you think is fun and you will be more likely to stick with it.

Exercise will not be an instant cure for all of your symptoms. You have to keep at it to see results, though the stress management that comes with exercise will help you almost immediately. You will begin to look and feel better as time goes by, and you will notice that your symptoms will begin to happen less often. Combine that with a great eating plan designed to help with IBS, and you may find that you feel better, and that you can live a fuller life.

Grab your free copy of Susan Reynolds’ brand new IBS Newsletter - Overflowing with easy to implement methods to treat IBS & help you find out about IBS recipe and for information on natural cure for IBS please visit Irritable Bowel Syndrome Relief Secrets.