Doing home improvement has become one of the most common ways for people to show their love to their house as well as increase its value on the market. Home improvement can be easy or hard to do depending on which types of home improvement you are going to do, but they are all possible if you put your mind and your soul into it.

However, we have noticed that there are quite a few things that people who do home improvements on their own tend to overlook which lead to unsatisfactory results. As such, we have decided to list them out today in order to help you with your future and upcoming home improvement plans.

  1. Budget: A lot of people tend not to take into consideration of their budget when they do home improvement projects. Budget is one of the most important factors in deciding whether a home improvement project is going to succeed or not. A lack of fund can lead to postpone in the project or even cease the whole project from continuing. That is why you need to know how much money you have in your hand and try to avoid overspending on things that you may not need.
    1. Ask for help from professional: Another thing that people who do home improvement project on their own tend to overlook is that they do not ask for help form professional. It can be due to it is too costly or they are just simply too busy to make the call. You need to keep in mind that you cannot do everything by yourself because there are a lot of complicated things in home improvement that you can mess up if you do not have the experience for it. And once you mess up, you are going to have to spend even more money on fixing it; something would not happen if you hire professionals to help you in the first place. As such, do not try too much on saving money, you should ask for help on things that you feel are out of your reach
  2. The right time to do the home improvement: Some house owners try to do home improvement whenever they can thank to it many benefits. However, you need to understand that there are downsides to this as well. You can be left in red if you do home improvement projects too much, which is not good if you need to spend money somewhere else.


Paint color has been one of the most talked about problem in term of designing a house. There are a lot of reasons for this. First of all, if you choose the wrong paint color, it can ruin the whole dynamic of the rooms and no one would want to live in a room that does not look good. That is why you need to be extremely careful when you are going to choose the paint color for your room.

There are a lot of different factors involving in the decision of choosing the right paint color for a room. And these factors sometimes can be small or big; however, they always have a huge effect on the outcome of the paint color. That is why you should and must not leave out any of these factors in the process of making your choice on what color you should choose for each room. To help you to make the decision quicker, we have listed out all of these factors in choosing the right paint color for the rooms in your house below.

Which room is the paint color for?

The first thing you need to take into consideration is to see whether which color you are going to choose the paint color for. The room you use the paint for plays a major part in the decision making process and choosing the wrong one can lead to a disastrous result. Here is a list of suggestions that you can use to make your decision based on the room

  • Living room: For living room, you should choose light color because you would want to make the room feel relax and comfortable for you and your guests. Some of the suggested colors are: light blue, light pink or light yellow
  • Bedroom: The same rule for living room but you can choose darker tone as well such as dark crimson or dark blue.
  • Bathroom: White, light blue or yellow are good choices for the bathroom
  • Kitchen: You can choose the color based on your preference.
  • Entertainment room: Choose bright and bold color such as bright red or orange to ignite the energy of people staying in the room.

The light of room

  • The light of the room is very important factor as well because it can change the whole color. When you look at a certain color at the paint shop, it may change into a different color when you paint it on your wall thank to the light shining on it. For example, an average tone of red can change completely into the tone of bright red if there is light shining on it. That is why you need to check the light in the room beforehand as well as check the color at the shop to see how it will change when there is light shining on it before making your purchase.
  • That is also the reason why you should avoid using bright tone for the living room where light hits the most. The color can become way too bright and it will be too intense as well as too overwhelming for the eyes that it is going to make your living room feel less attractive

Above are two suggestions of us on how you can choose the paint color for each of the room in the house. Although they may be a little bit difficult to understand on paper, when you get yourself into it, you are definitely going to understand when we mean and you will be able to make the right decision.


Kitchen is no doubt one of our most favorite places in the house. It is one of our most loved places for a lot different reasons. It is the place that you can share a lot of quality with your friends and family. You can chat with them; laugh with them in the kitchen without caring about someone will see you or laugh at you. You can be yourself here without having to care about what other people will think about what you do. Moreover, this is also the place that you can cook up and serve a lot of delicious dishes to the people you love to make them feel full and happy. And what can be better when you see their smile eating what you cook? Such as a best electric smoker?

That is why a lot of house owners have spent a lot of money, time and effort in turning their kitchen into the dream kitchen where everything can be accomplished. This can be done via doing home improvement projects. However, it is not easy to do one. The task can be quite difficult, and to be honest, quite daunting if you do not know what you need to do in the first place. That is why in this article we are going to show you step by step what you can do to turn your kitchen into a dream kitchen.

  1. Paint color: The first step in creating the dream kitchen of your own is to have the right paint color painted on the wall of your kitchen. There are a lot of choices available on the market to choose from and you can choose the right color for you with ease. However, if you find it difficult to choose your color, we are going to show you how to choose it. For example, if the room you are currently using as the kitchen do not have much sunlight in it, it is advisable for you to use bright color to make up for the lack of light in the room. Some of these colors you can use are red, pink or orange. All of these colors are going to make your room stand out and create an impact in term of visual and they will make your kitchen a lot more fun to stay in. However, if you do have a lot of sunlight in your kitchen, it is advisable for you to go for lighter tone for the paint color because if you use bright color for this case, the wall can become too intense and overwhelming for the eye. Depending on how much sunlight you have in your room, you should choose the color of the wall accordingly.
  2. Having the right equipment in the place: If you are going to turn your kitchen into the dream kitchen, you cannot and should not leave all the amazing equipments out of the picture. You need to install them in your kitchen in order to make your kitchen function fluently as possible. Some of these equipment are:
  • Stove: The first thing you need in your kitchen is the stove. This can be used to cook up a lot of different food from fried to boiled food. As long as you have the right material, you are going to be able to serve a lot of delicious dishes if you have the stove. Stoves come in two different types: gas and electric. Depending on your preference, you can choose the type of stove that you think you are able to work with. Both of these types of stove are efficient in their own way.
  • Fridge: The fridge is also an important addition in your kitchen appliance. This is the place that you can store your food as well as restore raw food so that you can use them for future use. Without the fridge, you are going to have a lot of trouble trying to find a way to prevent all your food form spoiled in the heat of the summer
  • Microwave: The last thing you need to have in your kitchen is the microwave. Microwave can be used in many different ways. They can be used to heat up the food that you left the night before or pop some popcorn for a movie night.

Somethings to keep in mind when furnishing the living rooms

Living room is an important part of a house. It is considered as the center of a house where many activities taking place. Because the living room is much focused on when designing the house, in this paper we will more discuss the vital factors in this important area.

Most of living rooms in the house are not shown properly their role as a place for living but merely used as a common room. These restrictions originates from the problem of narrow area, especially in urban areas, it is unable to separate the living room and the common room of the family.

Below are some important factors in living room design that you should take note:

  • Seats

The habit of living in the family is usually sitting and chatting rather than standing so the first point of interest in living room decorated according to their functions such as seat.

You should not only care about sitting comfortably by the quiet and cool chair but also make a reasonable sort of conversation more interesting. It should be designed towards the open space, more access to space or airy views

The chair should be prescribed in a reasonable location, close enough to talk for not turning into shouting matches or not too difficult to see the face, the expression of the face of the chatters . Moreover, it also create the space to move easily in the room when necessary.

  • Chairs

Choose the chair for the living room is easy but that’s hard because they are the most used place in the room, the time may be extended continuously to hourly and also the most affected the user.

So when buying a chair for the living room, not just focus on durability, safety, smooth surface of the seat but also to pay attention to their back rest.

  • Table

The water table in the living room used to be the big table. Small tables with medium size that can contain only the cups is no longer in vogue, but instead the vast table is more preferable.

Besides the cup alone, living room coffee table also must be large enough to fit a number of magazines underneath or some set of remote controls for audiovisual equipment such as a trend new in interior design.

  • Wall Decoration

To add excitement and not rigid, you can decorate the walls in the living room cabins. However they are not the gallery to admire so the layout should have theme or certain respect certain principles

You can design with individual or group cohesion theme on one or more walls. A wall you can hang one or more of the same idea or picture of the same artist. Or maybe the pictures retain a certain memorable moments of family.

  • The light

You cannot deny the the role of light in the interior design so the use of light in the living room should be considered carefully. In the sitting area lighting effects to create a gracious elegance with bulb illumination beam at the center table, from which the light will be spread throughout the room.

Do not get too low compared with the ceiling lights so the upper part of the space will not make the room light enough to be broken down, lose their overall decoration and also does not use the overhead lights on one side, which makes room lose the balance.

  • Consider size living room and furniture layout

You need to calculate the area of ​​a living room with furniture size to be able to reasonably allocate space. You should not put large furniture in the living room which has an too small area, which will make your living room becomes crowded. You also need to note the movement in the room between the larger furniture usually 55-60cm.

Today, people often prefer to design furniture for the living room according to the available styles. But you absolutely can create a unique decorating style of their own with the basic principles on to have a nice room and family suite. Decorating house seems to be a hard task for house owners. These notes are hoped to help you most in designing your house.

Some important rules in house décor

Some important rules in house décor:

  • The general rule for hanging pictures

– Do not hang paintings in places where have too obscure or too narrow walls, even a small poster. If you have a large wall, maybe just hanging a large format oil paintings is very impressive. The small wall should be hanged with several small paintings horizontally or vertically, depending on the preference if you want to change the rhythm of the room. Do not hang on the side walls positioned too close to windows or doors because backlight from outside to ruin the beauty of the paintings. You should not hang two paintings of different sizes in the same location. Need to blank walls minimum two paintings side by 2/3 the width painting.

– With wide wall already decorated with a beautiful picture, do not put too much presentation sundry belongings found near the painting. Maybe two or three bowls dotted with slender lines, sparse landscape leaves like coconut, areca scenes, to break the monumental impression that bring big picture.

– To reduce the impression of a narrow room you can hang a beach landscape or green pastures spread over the wall. Painting with too many colors will cause feeling cramped. Picture frame as a decorative element suit the material and the subject of controversy. Watercolors, silk paintings, ink painting to simple frame piece. Oil painting can be used to frame the many vignettes. Using frames is a delicate art, you should consult the expert.

– Art frame can not be more focused than the painting. The unique frame types of homemade wood, bamboo and iron can also nice if you dexterity. A wall hanging many paintings, the themes, colors and even picture frames also have similaritiesIf you don’t know how to choose the color of the painting you can consider the suggestion of the consultants. If there are multiple pictures with different framework, you want to hang together on a wall, do not arrange scattered but rather to the bottom edge of the frame lie on a straight line, make a formal balance. Jack logical layouts is also a great way in the small vertical wall by the window. Pay attention to hide the nail (screw hatch). Many small-sized paintings hung together in same room feels more lively than hung a large picture in the same location. They create the impression of the small window.

– Pictures are items in need of protection against the effects of nature. Not so light shines directly into the frame, either as prints or paintings will quickly faded. Also not to use chemicals to wash, wipe paintings. To preserve the paintings are long, you can give the frame to the rear layer (layer lining paper) a few small holding laced cotton against cockroaches, termites. Cotton hygroscopic effects do not damage pictures.

  • Indoor decorations

– Previously, workers who must be skilled can fill the finely detailed decorations on the walls. Today, with the emergence of patterns, plaster cornices prefabricated, people easily get the array pattern very picky. However, everything just become too far when people overdo this decorative details. Many houses are divided into plots, and the houses in the city also have small area. However, the house owners try as much as possible to fulfill their house with expensive items and furniture. This action only makes the house more fussy and disordered without any beauty. When people began boring with plaster ceiling panels, new materials appear: adorned with composite ceiling panels. With many advantages over plaster, composite allows for finely detailed, sharper, solid as a rock surface so it is not easily break apart like plaster. This material is lighter and easier to install, just use small screws began blooming on the wall. The surface of the painted ceiling panels can create very artistic brushstrokes, and can be combined with brocade fabrics with floral motifs very picky made into a work of art.

-They can use gypsum reliefs paints to create a fake copper artwork that is beautiful. The trend of using classical motifs, the renaissance paintings to decorate the house as being favored, giving you the feeling of luxury, elegance. But you should avoid too much abuse, because materials are cheap, easy to make beauty but not easy as you think.

– Decorative light wall’s plaster sculptures on the wall if you know the appropriate sample. They are dotted expensive materials for walls, lights gently splashing on the walls to create magical spaces, more romantic.

– Column support domes, wall, eaves, cornices patterned ceilings, wall ledges just make buildings alive. Cornices Plaster is an important invention for architectural magnificence and splendor. However, because of the inexpensive factor, it is easy to over use the plaster, which lead to an excessive abuse and make many people allergic to the decoration made of plaster.

Furniture for decorating living room’s walls

Living room plays an important role in a house because it is the center of a house where we welcome the guests and hold some special events. By the design of the living room, the house owner can also show their life’s style as well as personality. In this paper, we will more focus on the décor of the living room’s walls. Below are some furniture that you can use for hanging on the wall.

  1. Using pictures

Pictures plays artic role in the interior. They also represent the personality portion of the house owner. How to select paintings hanging in the house to suit each location, each room and a highlight, enliven the space and not create feeling grotesquely, that’s what you should consider. Besides, the arrangement of decorative objects, like a statue, or pots, vases (often referred to as miniatures) will indicate the level of sophistication of your taste.

Choose the right paintings’ location

– Do not just think that paintings is filler material on a wall poster in arbitrary place anywhere you see emptiness. Although you may have a lot of paintings available, the diverse types of frames, you should not hang them arbitrarily, and it must be considered relative to surrounding objects and the whole room. The picture should not be too contrasting color to the walls.

– These beautiful paintings hanging point is often large enough with the wide range wall space to view the painting. The picture is not necessarily expensive to take effect by the normal picture, but grouped in place. The owner of a beautiful house do not necessarily have the picture that is too expensive. The key is exhibiting in the right and proper place. Spacious living room, big walls can hang large paintings. In the dining room, still life or landscape is most appropriate. Hang pictures of girls in the same location as the living room, common room or large hall. Bedrooms should only hang soothing paintings, color is not too opposed. Bathrooms also a place to relax, if you hang in there some small paintings, playful colors, maybe you will like it when you are in the toilet. Note the high position, the water level can avoid incoming.

– In the working room, you should not hang landscape paintings, portraits because it will very distract you from working. Family photos hang in the bedroom, or hallway on the floor, do not hang in the living room. Stairs is the place to go to and no broad vision, but small poster hanging on each ladder gradually also make a reasonable vivid, which undo the monotonous feeling of space on the ladder .

Color and picture on picture have to harmonize with the room’s overall color. When hanging pictures, you need to pay attention to proper lighting arrangement. It should have separate lights for the big picture, wide frame, easily create accents for walls. Glass framed paintings, lacquer has high reflectivity so you should pay attention to appropriate directional light, no light shines from the opposite side that should oblique angle of 30 ° from the top down. The lighting for paintings must be taken not to light in the eye to see. Light is considered effective when illuminating from above through the translucent reflective shine shot all over the room, point sheds some light on the controversy hit the most eye-catching point.

Pictures and decorative items are not used to fill the wall. Actually that they bring a touch of lively, pleasant or frustrating is depending on the location, the size and the topic of the pictures. You should consider the suggestion of experts or architects before choosing pictures or ornament for wall decoration.

  1. Silk flowers for wall decoration

Decorate your living space with lovely colorful flowers is not new. But we are very afraid to buy flowers to decorate the house frequently because they require time to care. That’s why using the handmade silk flower for hanging on the wall seems to be cost saving solution if you want to decorate your house with flower.

So the solution to the above problems is that we take a few decorative floral options for living spaces that are the most affordable. Nowadays with high technology, artificial flowers made of cloth or rubber will give us the flowers with colors and materials look exactly like real, if not carefully observed or touching, it is very difficult to distinguish between artificial flowers or real flowers.

With large ceramic pots, high neck, you can plug the large flowers as tuilip, sunflowers and placed in the indoor walkways, entrances to create a feeling of comfort, closeness to nature.

  1. Wall Clock

Currently, these products are made more diverse both in design, size and material as well as the intended use. So you need to choose the most appropriate product to suit the location, layout space.

  • Wall clock for luxury living room

Living Room is the place to visitors as well as a gathering place for the whole family activities. Therefore, the selection of the clock hanging on the wall in this room is not easy, you should consider which room style towards your style as classical, contemporary, simple or sophisticated …

If your living room is too complex and multiple devices, select the clock on the wall with a simple circle, but never outdated. If your living room is too monotonous, select the devices to track stylized time to replace a picture or create a focal point for the room.

  1. Gun for wall decoration

It seems a special and unique idea to decorate the wall with guns. For some people who love hunting and have an available gun in house, they can entirely use it for hanging on the wall to create a strange style and show their personality. Actually, a gun can express the strength and the seriousness of the house owner. You can use one of the best pellet gun to decorate your home with the wild style and familiar with the nature.

The way to solve when a lawn mower not ignite when being pulled continuously

There are always items that have been used for years in our house, so they often get the problem in the process of use. For example, you own the best air compressor bought at , Now it is old and often have problems with booting, the first thing you think about is to take it to a repairer. Or with the lawn mower, you get problems that you continue to pull it, but it does not run, you do not know how to solve? This article will help you fix the problem.

Mowers are pulledcontinuously without igniting, this one is the case that users have to face when using lawn mower because they make annoyed and uncomfortable feelings. So how do we overcome this situation as quickly as possible and fix immediately? In this article, we would like to provide some information which can help customers repair immediately by themselves.

  • Check the electric sparks of the spark plug: The inspection of the electric spark of the spark plug must have dedicated tools, however, we can check with the naked eye through the color of electric sparks. The standard electric spark of the engine 2 in particular and gasoline engine in general, must be blue and not red. The spark must be decisive, not prolonged but ignited immediately.

If lossing the fire, we re-check the spark plug to see whether itstops or not. Replace a new spark plug and test the fire as above. If there is no fire or the flame is weak, we check to see whther spark plug cables are cracked and thetangential contactrelays the electrics well or not. Ifthe cable is good, we will conduct to check the fire roll (the fire of the lawn mower). The inspection of the fire must have a dedicated tool, without this device, we only have to check by replacing thefire roll to know its condition.

Note: The spark plug need checking and cleaningperiodically, which helps you identify the condition of the engine and timely adjust to always achieve the highest efficiency. When cleaning, you should clean the coal carbon layer stuck on the electrodes and adjust the spark gap between two electrodes.

Normally,a machinist look at the color of electrodes to identify the condition of the engine. There are three basic colors:

  • spark plug is light brown and red: Fuel mixes with theappropriate ratio and ignition system works well, the spark plug uses the correct temperature range.
  • spark plug is dry, white: Fuel blending with excess air ratio of gas shortage, could spark improper use temperature range.
  • Spark plug is black and lots of soot: fuel blending with the ratio of lacking wind and plenty ofgas, perhas,thespark plug uses thetoo cold type compared with the heat of engines.
  • If the ignition system is good, we check the second step.

2) Check the steam

  • The way to check the pressure of the steam must have a dedicated tool for measuring the pressure of cylinders. However, this test can also be performed manually. If the steam must be closed, which means the pulling hand has to be strong when assembling the spark plug or when surpressing the spark plug hole by hand.

3) Adjust incorrectly gasoline,wind on carburetor:

  • For 2 Stroke Engine, complyingthe adjustment of the carburettor as recommended by manufactures:
  • Adjust the default (factory setting):

The screw H (High Speed needle – used to adjust the maximum speed of the vehicle): gently twist clockwisely until it closes completely.

Note that do notuse the twist power too strongly, if not, it may cause damages for screws. After that, turn it clockwise 1 and 1/2 round.

  • The screw L (Low Speed needle – used to adjust the level of acceleration of the vehicle): gently twist clockwise until it closes completely.
  • Note that do not use the twist power too strongly, if not, it may cause damages for screws. After that, turn it clockwise 1 and 1/4 round.



Plastic plumbing –an expert’s tips on doing it right

Are you planning a major remodeling job, complete with plumbing? You can make the job easier –assuming your local codes permit (as most do)–by using chlorinated polyvinyl chloride (CPVC) tubing. CPVC is ideal for most water-supply plumbing work, and its versatility makes the job easider than it seems. CPVC has revolutionized home plumbing in recent years, making most jobs possible for the do-it-yourselfer. But to avoid hassles, you still need to know exactly how to plan and install a run in your home. Here’s what I’ve learned from the many plumbing jobs I’ve tackled.

CPVC tubing generally comes in 1/2- and 3/4-inch nominal sizes and in 10-foot lengths. It can be cut with any fine-toothed saw or with a tubing cutter that has a plastic-cutting wheel. Tubing and fittings are joined by solvent welding–you use an all-purpose solvent cement in a two-step process [“Solvent Welding Simplifies Plastic Plumbing,’ PS, Jan. ’81].
First, plan your system based on the direction of water flow. Position the fixtures first, then the tubing necessary to serve them. Space hot- and cold-water lines a reasonable distance apart so that heat is not transferred to the cold line, and never cross-connect a potable-water line with a source of potentially contaminated water, such as a lawn-sprinkler system. Use an air gap or an approved backflow-prevention device.
If you use isometric paper to lay out the system, you can plot each pipe direction along a different set of lines, showing the system clearly. I recommend that you simply sketch out the system, but not necessarily to scale. Show all pipes and fittings, and label each one.
Although initially it might seem bewildering, don’t allow the characteristics of the material to confuse you. Consider, for instance, tubing sizes. All CPVC materials designed for domestic hot- and cold-water lines are sized the same as copper tubing–that is, they closely follow the nominal sizes of copper for inside diameter. The two sizes of CPVC commonly used for domestic-water supply are: 1/2-inch tubing, which measures about 1/2 inch ID and 5/8 inch OD, and 3/4-inch tubing, which measures about 3/4 inch ID and 7/8 inch OD.
In general, here’s how to size your system to avoid flow problems: Use 3/4-inch tubing for the water-service entrance. CPVC may be buried below-ground (be sure to test the system for leaks before backfilling).
Use 3/4-inch tubing to supply the water heater, for the hot and cold mains, and to serve the water softener. You should branch to fixtures with 1/2-inch tubing, but bear in mind that a 1/2-inch branch should serve only one fixture.

A shower or tub-shower is the place where plumbing flow problems are most noticeable, so make sure that 1/2-inch hot- and cold-branch tubing run untapped from the 3/4-inch mains to the fixtures. Fittings such as shutoffs are permissible, but no tapoffs. Treat a shower with great deference.
Make 1/2-inch taps from 3/4-inch hot and cold mains with 3/4-inch reducing tees. Two kinds are available–3/4-by-3/4-by-1/2-inch and 3/4-by-1/2-by-1/2-inch. The latter splits a 3/4-inch main into two 1/2-inch branches at its end. [Note: Tees are described with the two run diameters given first, followed by the branch diameter.
You can fashion other kinds of reducing tees by solvent welding 3/4-by-1/2-inch bushings inside the 3/4-inch tee sockets to be reduced. But remember, once you’ve reduced the tubing size from 3/4 inch to 1/2 inch, you mustn’t go up in size to 3/4 inch again. That is a plumbing misdemeanor.
To keep garden-hose use from stealing too much water pressure from house fixtures, make hose-outlet runs with 1/2-inch tubing. If a branch is to serve two hose bibbs, make it with 3/4-inch tubing–but use 1/2-inch tubing for the bibb runs. Try to tap hose-bibb runs from near the service entrance. Minimize or, better yet, don’t install end-of-main hose takeoffs, which could cut down on water flow through the house cold-water main.

If your house water pressure exceeds 50 psi, install a 3/4-inch pressure-reducing valve after the water meter. Adjust the regulator to about 50 psi. Outdoor water taps may come before or after the pressure reducer, depending on how much pressure you want them to have. Remember, though, that water running at high pressure through house piping creates noticeable sounds.
There are a great many CPVC fittings. They include couplings, caps, 45- and 90-degree elbows and street elbows, reducing bushings, reducing tees, unions, and male thread adapters. For secure mounting of faucets and fixture stubouts, there are wing elbows and new wing tees.
Transition unions are also available for adapting threaded metal fixtures and appliances (transition unions are required on pressurized hot-water connections to prevent leaks that can be caused by thermal movements). For instance, use transition unions to connect CPVC to the threads of your water meter, pressure reducer, water softener, water heater, and tub-shower mixing valves. Simpler, lower-cost male adapters may be used at hose bibbs, T and P valves, and for non-pressurized shower risers.

My detox diary

I live in L.A., detox capital of the U.S. I’m talking about detoxing not from drugs and alcohol but from food. Cleansing here is a rite of passage, fueled by the fact that stars do it to drop weight fast. Yes, Philly has cheesesteaks, Chicago has deep-dish, and we have the Master Cleanse, an ostensibly purifying mix of water, lemons, maple syrup, and cayenne pepper. But when I hear A-listers are now forgoing food for drinks delivered daily as part of the iZO Cleanze (, I’m intrigued. I have habits no nutritionist would approve of: wake up, down a pot of coffee, skip breakfast, add mayo to everything, hit 7-Eleven often. I’ve got insomnia and five new pounds to show for it, so when my editor asked me to do diet rehab with iZO, I said yes, yes, yes.

THE DAY BEFORE I meet Tim Martin, iZO’s founder, at his cheeky offices, a hot-pink former Hare Krishna temple. “IZO is a luxe, designer detox. We do everything for you and can adjust the program to your needs,” Martin says. Fittingly, it’s also as pricey as a new pair of Choos.

I decide on a five-day, preweekend improvement plan (starting at $150 per day). But I warn him that I’ve never mastered the Master Cleanse. “That’s because it’s depleting to the body. The sugar gives you just enough energy to get by on, but you can’t thrive on it. It can lead to binges,” he explains. He assures me iZO’s organic produce will flood me with antioxidants and minerals as I detox.

That night, I get rid of my coffee and the food in my fridge so I’m not tempted.

DAY ONE 9:00 A.M.: Wake in a sugar coma from last night’s “last supper”: Doritos, M & M’S, movie popcorn, and cheesecake. Intense headache brews instead of coffee. I peruse the iZO cooler that was dropped outside my door at 6:00 A.M. It contains 11 mayonnaise-like jars of liquid. My goods: four green jars (a veggie blend of broccoli, algae, and more), four teas (Purify and Elevate), two white protein shakes, and one murky brown concoction. As instructed, I down the vial of mineral-rich marine plasma, which tastes suspiciously like seawater, and then use the first of my green drinks to wash down enzymes, parasite killers, and Liver Rescue. This will be the daily routine. Noon: Dying for my Starbucks Sumatra, I swig more fennely-tasting green juice straight from the jar. It’s filling and hard to finish. 3:00 P.M.: Everything’s too loud. I dream up ways to off the leaf blower outside. 4:00 P.M.: Drink herby-tasting tea, marveling that I’m not hungry. 6:00 P.M.: Savor the protein drink–pureed almond milk, black beans, and black rice–the best so far. 9:00 P.M.: My neighbor Mark calls for a chocolate-and-doughnuts run. “Didn’t I tell you I’m cleansing?” I snap. I haven’t left the house all day, and it’s my first human contact. I choke down the salty brown stuff. 9:55 P.M.: Feel like a victim. Slap on toxin-removing foot pads. 10:00 P.M.: Deep sleep–the best in ages.

DAY TWO 10:00 A.M.: Help. I’m seriously bloated. 1:00 P.M.: Martin recommends a colonic. I shudder at the thought, partly because it requires getting off the couch. I nap instead. 6:00 P.M.: I call Daisy Fuentes for support. She lost five pounds in three days on iZO. “Three days was so easy. It helped me get healthy,” she says. I wonder if it would be unprofessional to hang up on her. 7:00 P.M.: Drink Elevate tea and feel no such thing. 8:00 P.M.: I miss chewing. Chew (forbidden) gum for two hours.

DAY THREE 11:00 A.M.: I’m cranky and tired, and I feel heavy. I book a colonic appointment. 4:00 P.M.: Colon hydrotherapist Leah Joiner gives me a flush. 7:00 P.M.: Feeling lighter, I go to the movies, but I fear my jar of white liquid makes me appear to be nursing a child I’ve misplaced.

DAY FOUR 11:00 A.M.: I commiserate with actress Patricia Heaton about iZO detoxo, the brown seaweed-and-mush-room drink. “Pond water!” she cries. But it’s her only complaint; she lost six pounds in 10 days. She also did fitness boot camp. I don’t have energy for the gym, but I meet a friend for brunch. I stare at her coffee.

DAY FIVE Finally, I see the light. I’m centered. I have rosier skin. My insomnia is gone, my stomach is flat, and I’m relaxed. I drink my last jars of juice, thinking of the grilled-chicken salad I’ll have tomorrow. I feel too healthy to consider junk food. Martin’s farewell advice: “Continue eating as raw as possible–salads, steamed vegetables–and ease back into protein and grains. Try to avoid dairy and processed foods, and chew everything well.” Oh, the irony.

THE DAY AFTER I’ve lost eight pounds and 3 percent body fat. I won’t say I’ll never have M & M’S again, and coffee is like a lover I can’t quite forget–but now I think one cup is enough.

A matter of perspective

Sjoerd Lammers street photography

One major advantage to FDMA is that it allows the spectrum to be more “finely sliced” than TDMA does.

Dividing the bandwidth into narrow carriers means that any given carrier is less likely to be hit by noise if there’s interference in the return path. Scientific-Atlanta’s FDMA-based CoAxium system, for example, features 50 kHz carriers, while most TDMA-based systems slice the return path spectrum into 1.5 to 2 MHz windows.

However, FDMA requires complex filters between channels to prevent interference, which results in less-than-efficient bandwidth use. A technology adopted by ADC Telecommunications, orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (OFDM), eliminates that problem.

By constructing the wave forms orthogonally, OFDM eliminates the need for filters between tones, allowing the tones to be stacked together so closely that they overlap, says Hal Roberts, senior principal engineer for ADC.

Sjoerd Lammers street photography

And because it doesn’t require those guardbands between channels, OFDM allows the bandwidth to be divided into 9 kHz windows, which are even smaller than those offered by most FDMA systems, Roberts says.

“We decided that the best way to deal with dirty upstream spectrum was to slice it up as fine as we could,” he says.

Another vendor has taken OFDM one step further. DSC is using OFDM technology combined with discrete wavelet multitone technology (DWMT) from Aware.

While regular OFDM uses digital Fourier transforms as the modulation engine, DWMT uses digital wavelet transforms, which allows for even smaller subdivision of the bandwidth, says Rick Gross, lead project manager for the HFC program at Aware.

The result is a 4 kHz carrier, which is far smaller than the 2 MHz carrier of most TDMA systems and even significantly smaller than the carrier size that traditional OFDM offers, says DSC’s Crowley.

Sjoerd Lammers street photography

“[Aware’s] technology allows us to subdivide the spectrum into very small segments that we can deal with individually,” Crowley says. “We can easily notch out signals being hit by interference without affecting large portions of bandwidth.”

While the obvious benefit of a smaller channel is that it’s less likely to pick up interference, Crowley and other proponents of FDMA-based technology argue that smaller carriers are an important enabler of another technique vendors use to combat upstream noise: spread spectrum technology, otherwise known as frequency agility.

Both TDMA- and FDMA-based solutions use frequency agility, a technique in which the carrier that is hit by interference “jumps” to another channel. Without frequency agility, the carrier is forced to absorb the impact of the noise, which can result in static, interruptions and, if the interference is bad enough, termination.

“When situations like ingress arise, we have to be able to react to them, particularly when we’re talking about high-reliability services like telephony,” says Tellabs’ Partington. “If the interference is creating problems with voice or data transmission, then we have to be able to move the payload accordingly and reallocate those carriers into another part of the spectrum.”

But the smaller channels that FDMA enables make frequency hopping more efficient, says Scientific-Atlanta’s Frendberg.

“If you’re trying to get across the city during rush hour, would you rather be riding a motorcycle or a bus?” he asks. “When you’re talking about 1.5 or 2 MHz channels, it’s harder to move those relatively big blocks around than if you’re talking about a 50 kHz channel.”

An eye on the network

Sjoerd Lammers street photography

Regardless of which combination of modulation and multiplexing they use, all vendors agree that network management is key to reliably delivering telephony service over an HFC network.

Scientific-Atlanta’s CoAxium product for example, allows the NIUs on the side of the house to communicate directly with the headend; letting the network operator identify specifically which calls are encountering interference. CoAxium also records whenever a call jumps from one frequency to another and which NIU was involved, allowing the operator to correlate the information to look for systematic problems.

Similarly, Nortel’s Cornerstone product automatically samples the return path every two and a half seconds and can display that data in a three-dimensional form that shows frequency, time and amplitude.

Cornerstone can also help cable operators identify which nodes are contributing a lot of noise to the system, which could be resolved by simply reallocating resources within the network, says Arris’ Mitchell.

“This tells us we had a frequency hop at 2 a.m., so we can look at the return path spectrum between 1:30 and 2:30 a.m. and see what happened to cause that hop,” Mitchell says. “One of those charts is worth 10 truck rolls.”