A Successful Sound Test

Onsite Acoustic Installation for a Successful Sound Test
Despite contractor’s best endeavours, it’s very difficult to build to the stringent standards of the laboratory. When the construction assembly is tested in the lab, it is after it has gone through an exacting installation technique. The installation is described in detail and followed to the letter, obviously although this should be replicated on site, it seldom is.

On site other issues such as time and programming constraints come into play, that’s why  onsite construction often fail sound testing even though the actual design should pass at over 50dB. This is why a 5dB point difference should be allowed between the dB rating of the acoustic solution and the onsite construction. Unfortunately allowances aren’t made for the acoustic performance of the onsite construction then there is a high probability it will fail the sound testing which may lead to expensive remedial works as well as delayed handover.

With onsite construction many other issues often come into play, such as installation of the wrong fixings and missing insulation to name but two. Either of these can easily lead to a sound test failure.

It is very important that installation details are closely followed to ensure that the onsite results are as close as possible to the laboratory.

The following list explains what should be done to achieve Part E compliance:

  1. If you are installing floating screed ensure all isolation layer joints are overlapped and taped.
  2. Ensure that the Acoustic floor is fitted with staggered joints.
  3. Ensure all the Acoustic floor is sealed watertight even around heating pipes.
  4. Do not nail or screw through an Acoustic Floor.
  5. Do not screws plaster board into joists, when using a Resilient Bar system.
  6. Ensure the insulation fills the whole width of void, also pack around pipe work.
  7. Ensure that the plasterboard on any walls is complete right down to sub-floor, seal all gaps.
  8. Ensure you use the isolation tape around the wall of each room.
  9. Ensure plasterboard is fitted with staggered layers and all joints sealed.
  10. If using Resilient Bars ensure that they are fitted as per manufacturer’s recommendations.
  11. Ensure all Fireplaces are blocked up with brick or a twin lined plasterboard system.
  12. Ensure that any RSJ’s or supporting steel work is insulated and isolated from plasterboard.
  13. Ensure all waste pipe service runs are boxed in with insulation and plasterboard.
  14. You must fit doors and windows before the test is carried out, to stop noise transference.

APT offer a site survey service to make sure the acoustic elements are being installed as per the manufacturer’s guidelines, if you are worried about passing your sound testing at the first attempt please don’t hesitate to contact us now at: info@aptsoundtesting.co.uk or visit our website at: www.aptsoundtesting.co.uk

Business:             APT Sound Testing

URL:                       http://aptsoundtesting.co.uk/


Computer teaches itself Common Sense!

Computer Uses Images to Teach Itself Common Sense
A computer program is trying to learn common sense by analysing images 24 hours a day. The aim is to see if computers can learn, in the same way a human would, what links images, to help them better understand the visual world. The Never Ending Image Learner (NEIL) program is being run at Carnegie Mellon University in the United States.

The work is being funded by the US Department of Defense’s Office of Naval Research and Google.

Since July, the NEIL program has looked at three million images. As a result it has managed to identify 1,500 objects in half a million images and 1,200 scenes in hundreds of thousands of images as well as making 2,500 associations.

The team working on the project hopes that NEIL will learn relationships between different items without being taught.

Computer programs can already identify and label objects using computer vision, which models what humans can see using hardware and software, but the researchers hope that NEIL can bring extra analysis to the data.

Common sense facts that NEIL has learned

“Airbus_330” can be a kind of / look similar to “airplane”.

“Deer” can be a kind of / look similar to “antelope”.

“Car” can have a part, “wheel”.

“Leaning_tower” can be found in “Pisa”.

“Zebra” can be found in “Savanna”.

“Bamboo_forest” can be/can have “vertical_lines”

“Images are the best way to learn visual properties,” said Abhinav Gupta, assistant research professor in Carnegie Mellon’s Robotics Institute. “[They] also include a lot of common sense information about the world. People learn this by themselves and, with NEIL, we hope that computers will do so as well.”

Examples of the links that NEIL has made include the facts that cars are found on roads and that ducks can resemble geese. The program can also make mistakes, say the research team. It may think that the search term “pink” relates to the pop star rather than the colour because an image search would be more likely to return this result.

To prevent errors like this, humans will still need to be part of the program’s learning process, according to Abhinav Shrivastava, a PhD student working on the project.  “People don’t always know how or what to teach computers,” he said. “But humans are good at telling computers when they are wrong.”

Another reason for NEIL to run is to create the world’s largest visual knowledge database where objects, scenes, actions, attributes and contextual relationships can be labelled and catalogued. “What we have learned in the last five to 10 years of computer vision research is that the more data you have, the better computer vision becomes,” Mr Gupta said.

The program requires a vast amount of computer power to operate and is being run on two clusters of computers that include 200 processing cores. The team plans to let NEIL run indefinitely.

Buying Travel Luggage

Importance of Brand when Buying Travel Luggage
There are many advantages to purchasing good quality, more often than not, branded, travel luggage and laptop bags. Longer lasting, better protection for your luggage and of course, quite reasonably, it makes sense for frequent travellers to invest in better quality, branded luggage which will provide the protection required.

Travel luggage is primarily designed to help carry your clothing and other valuables, plus protect these belongings during the travel. For many people, the luggage set should also be modern and fashionable and a more expensive, high-quality, name-brand set of luggage will last much longer and endure the inevitable impact of travel and automated luggage handling while keeping personal items safe and intact.

Less expensive luggage often comes with problems regarding quality, such as substandard zippers, poorly designed wheels and cheap security latches. Experienced and well informed travellers should search for bags with high-quality inline wheels, smooth, sturdy zippers and most importantly, a high density ballistic nylon.  In addition, they should find out what type of luggage warranties and quality guarantees are provided by their selected sales company. These are often not included with the ‘cheaper’ travel luggage available at some of the discount stores. Travellers on a budget can find reasonably priced name-brand leather and nylon luggage from online retailers, who will also often charge less than traditional stores that build overhead costs into baggage prices.

Specialist online travel luggage companies such as Bags4All  offer top quality branded luggage sets, laptop bags, travel products and leather goods from recognised companies such as Wenger (Maker of the Genuine Swiss Army Knife), Swiss Gear (by Wenger), Calvin Klein, Pierre Cardin, Saddler and Gino Ferrari.

Their range of travel luggage (Pierre Cardin, Gino Ferrari and Calvin Klein branded) includes wheeled holdalls and duffle bags, single trolley cases (including our compact, space saver wheeled cases and cabin size luggage), 4-pc and 3-pc luggage sets, garment bags (suit carriers), backpacks and messenger bags. For the business traveller they stock a large variety of business bags from the Gino Ferrari, Wenger Swiss Gear and Calvin Klein brands, such as laptop briefcases (including messenger bags), laptop backpacks, wheeled laptop cases (compurollers) and ladies laptop bags.

Business:             Bags4All

URL:                       http://www.bags4all.co.uk/

Police Warn of ‘Ransom’ Spam Targeting UK Users

Police Warn of ‘Ransom’ Spam Targeting UK Users
Tens of millions of UK internet users could be at risk from “ransom” email spam seemingly sent from financial institutions. The email has an attachment that looks legitimate but is malware that encrypts computer files. If the attachment is opened, a displayed countdown timer demands a ransom to decrypt the files.

Small to medium businesses seem to be the target and the National Crime Agency says there is significant risk.

Lee Miles, deputy head of the National Cyber Crime Unit, says: “The NCA are actively pursuing organised crime groups committing this type of crime. We are working in co-operation with industry and international partners to identify and bring to justice those responsible and reduce the risk to the public.”

The malware installs a piece of “ransomware” called Cryptolocker on computers running the Windows operating system. The ransom demands that the user pay two Bitcoins, a virtual currency, that would be worth £536 to release the decryption key.

Reports suggest that people who have paid the ransom have not had their files decrypted and it has been impossible to restore encrypted files. The NCA said it would never endorse the payment of a ransom to criminals and warns that there is no guarantee that the people behind the demand would honour the payments.

An NCCU investigation is seeking to identify the source of the email addresses used.

Computer users are being warned not to click on any suspicious attachments, to have updated antivirus software and to regularly back up files. If a computer is infected the advice is to disconnect it from the network and seek professional help to clean the device.

The NCA said that anyone infected with this malware should report it via actionfraud.police.uk.

Delivering Fun & Effective PE through Hoopstarz

Delivering Fun & Effective PE Lessons through Hoopstarz
Kidz R Fit are now offering Hoopstarz childrens fitness activity as a ready to teach, easy to use, simple to follow package for teachers. Hoopstarz is one of the most exciting, unique and engaging activities available for children and you can’t fail to be impressed by the enjoyment it creates and the sense of achievement the children gain from participating. The classes build confidence and self-esteem, promote the importance of staying fit and healthy and ultimately engage more children in physical activity

Using up to date music in the activity sessions, which adds to the atmosphere and makes it almost like a party, you will introduce the children to a world of PE that they will all enjoy. They will learn tricks and games, there are hoop wars to be won and skills to be mastered making it a high energy, fun packed session.

What are the Benefits of Hoopstarz?
More pupils taking part in physical activity, even the most difficult to engage pupils will participate, improving health and fitness in your setting.

A programme that is fully inclusive, that will not only improve health and fitness but also self-esteem and confidence. You will be amazed at which children will excel and which of them will stand up in front of their peers and show off their skills.

A simple to use member site via our website www.hoopstarz.co.uk This includes easy to follow lesson plans, videos, ideas on how to get the most out of the package including how to raise funds for your school. On-going tips, games and tricks.

Will cover areas such as dance activities, gymnastics activities, games activities, team work, balance, coordination, agility

CPD for all staff which fulfills part of the criteria for the ring fenced funding available from September
Kidz R Fit help children to develop confidence  and respect through fitness and organised play and are now widely recognised as a leading provider of  children’s fitness and dance packages within schools, nurseries, playgroups and communities, throughout the North East of England.

Business: Kidz R Fit

URL:  http://kidzrfit.co.uk/ & http://www.hoopstarz.co.uk/

Bitcoin Ransom Scam – Warning For Email Users

Bitcoin Ransom Scam – Warning For Email Users
Tens of millions of email users could be targeted in a “mass spamming event” designed to collect people’s financial details. The National Crime Agency (NCA) said small and medium businesses have been receiving the fraudulent messages, which appear to be legitimate communication from banks.

Each email comes with attachments that look like files such as a voicemail, fax, an invoice or details of a suspicious transaction, but is in fact malicious software that encrypts the user’s computer. The screen will then display a countdown timer that demands the payment of two Bitcoins in ransom, worth around £536, for the decryption key.

Lee Miles, deputy head of the National Cyber Crime Unit (NCCU), said: “The NCA are actively pursuing organised crime groups committing this type of crime. “We are working in cooperation with industry and international partners to identify and bring to justice those responsible and reduce the risk to the public.”

The NCCU is trying to uncover who is sending the emails. Anyone whose computer is infected should report it to www.actionfraud.police.uk.

Experts are advising internet users not to click on any attachments like those described, to update anti-virus software and operating systems, and to back up files. If a computer is infected it should be disconnected from the network and a professional called in to clear the machine.

Winter Driving Tips – Check your Car Tyres

Winter Driving Tips – Check your Car Tyres
The Institute of Advanced Motorist magazine for winter 2013 included an article on winter driving. Within the article the following guidance was given to help UK drivers – and any others, drive more safetly in the forthcoming winter and snow.

Slow down on the straight. Accelerate on the straight. Steer round bends. Plan to only ever do one at a time.

Speed of reaction is vital. Not just how quickly you twist the wheel – how quickly you begin is really important. You do need to be prepared for what might happen next.

Electronic stability control is great but it can’t do anything the tyres won’t

Given the experience from the IAM survey they state they would always choose a four wheel drive car in winter conditions.

In a manual car put the clutch out if you get into a skid. But it will take lots of space to stop.

Driving an automatic on stud tyres was fine in winter condition.

Don’t try doing 60MPH on sheet ice. The IAM driver was in a specially designed centre using studded tyres, with no other traffic close enough to hit, and no trees or ditches nor the like to worry about, and friendly soft cushions / padding to assist the unplanned stop.

Quite obviously it is also absolutely essential you have good tyres on your car and we at Tams Tyres would always suggest you frequently check the tread depth and general condition of your tyre. Why not call in at our tyre centre and ask for a free tyre check. Better still, why not consider asking about our range of winter tyres. Call us not on 0191 4604809 to make your booking and let us help you drive safetly in the forth coming winter conditions.

Business:             Tams Tyres

URL:                       http://www.tamtyres.co.uk/

Perfect Home Gifts from The Home and Gift Shop

Perfect Home Gifts from The Home and Gift Shop
In today’s fast-paced, highly connected world, circles of friends and family connections are becoming ever wider, and you’re more likely than ever to have birthdays, holidays and other milestones to celebrate in the lives of friends and family. Whether for a wedding, housewarming party or any other major event in your friend or relative’s life, you can find just the right gift at The Home and Gift Shop who offer a vast selection of gifts for every person and every home.

Appropriate gifts for the home depend largely on the tastes and interests of the recipient. If you’re looking for a gift for someone with an appreciation for creature comforts, consider a Yardley toiletry set, cashmere socks for those cold winter days when only cashmere will do or a beautiful rose fleece blanket or bedspread set. For someone who appreciates nature and enjoys spending time outdoors, consider a set of Wild Birds china mugs, a book on gardening, leather gardening gloves or a suet feeder or flip-top peanut and seed feeder set to enhance their enjoyment of backyard birds.

Attractive and practical gifts for men to enjoy at home include dressing gowns in fleece, cotton and velour as well as slippers that are sturdy yet fashionable. A variety of Argyll and Shetland sweaters are also available in cashmere, lamb’s wool and alpaca.

And let’s not forget about pets! For your four-legged friends, consider one of many gifts that your dog is certain to enjoy such as a new toy, treat or bed.

If you are like most people, you often find that finding the right gift can be a challenge. With the wide variety of gifts for the home available at The Home and Gift Shop, you’re sure to find exactly the right gift for every occasion.

Business:             The Home and Gift Shop

URL:                       http://www.thehomeandgiftshop.com/

Apple and Samsung back in Court over Patent Damages

Apple and Samsung back in Court over Patent Damages
Apple and Samsung are returning to court in one of the most high-profile patent battles of recent times. In August 2012, a jury found Samsung guilty of infringing six Apple patents and awarded one of the largest payouts of its kind on record. The verdict and $1bn (£626m) awarded in damages were seen as a massive victory for Apple. This is just one of many patent cases the two companies are fighting in courtrooms across the world.

In March 2013, a judge re-examined the $1bn awarded to Apple and reduced the amount saying the damages would need to be assessed at a new trial. Judge Lucy Koh said the original jury in the court in California had incorrectly calculated part of the damages. The judge said that $550m of the award had been worked out in the proper manner but she ordered that the remaining $450m be reassessed.

That $450m could be increased or lowered meaning that Apple could conceivably end up with more than the original $1bn awarded at the first trial. Apple had originally sought $2.5bn in damages from Samsung.

It argued that the South Korean company had copied its designs for the bodies of the original iPhone and iPad as well as user-interface elements such as the bounce-back response when a person scrolls beyond the end of list and tap-to-zoom. Samsung argued it was already working on rounded rectangular handsets dominated by a screen and a single button months before the iPhone was revealed. It sought $519m in damages from Apple.

At the time of the original ruling Samsung said the decision was bad news for consumers and would “lead to fewer choices, less innovation, and potentially higher prices”.

Apple said it applauded the court “for finding Samsung’s behaviour wilful and for sending a loud clear message that stealing isn’t right”.

Even after this latest trial, which will involve a new jury, both companies could appeal.

“I think they will appeal unless they settle,” intellectual property consultant Florian Mueller told the BBC. “But at this point neither party has enough leverage to force someone into settling if they don’t want to. And we’re not there yet,” he said.

Apple has asked for a sales ban to be imposed on the Samsung products that had been found to infringe the patents. But the judge ruled that Apple could adequately be compensated financially. “Between these types of big players a $1bn damages award is not as bad as a sales ban,” said Mr Mueller.

Apple appealed against that ruling and the result of the appeal is due before the end of the year. Samsung and Apple are currently locked in a battle in the courts of more than 10 countries across Europe.

But some senior technology experts believes the legal conflict is bad for consumers. Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak told the BBC recently that: “There are good things I see on Samsung phones that I wish were in my iPhone; I wish Apple would use them, and could use them, and I don’t know if Samsung would stop us. “I wish everybody just did a lot of cross-licensing and sharing the good technology; all our products would be better, we’d go further. “I do kind of wish they were more compatible.”

In October, Samsung offered to stop taking rivals to court in Europe over alleged infringements of certain types of patents for a period of five years.

The European Union authorities had said the South Korean company’s litigious actions were stifling competition. Samsung faced a potential £11.3bn ($18.3bn) fine if found guilty of breaching European anti-trust laws.

Noise at Work Assessments

Noise at Work Assessments
The decibel (usually shown as dB) is the unit used to measure the intensity of a sound. The decibel scale is a little odd because the human ear is very sensitive. Your ears can hear everything a moving insect to a loud firework.  In terms of scale and power, the sound of the jet engine is about 1,000,000,000,000 times more powerful than the smallest audible sound. That’s a colossal difference! The smallest audible sound, (near total silence) on the decibel scale is 0 dB.

A sound 10 times more powerful is 10 dB. A sound 100 times more powerful than near total silence is 20 dB. A sound 1,000 times more powerful than near total silence is 30 dB. Here are some common sounds and their decibel ratings: • Near total silence – 0 dB • A small insect walking – 5db • A whisper – 15 dB • A standard conversation – 60 dB • A lawnmower – 90 dB • A jackhammer  – 110 dB • A rock concert or a jet engine – 120 dB • A firework  – 140 dB One important consideration id the difference distance makes to sound – if further away you are greater the power is diminished. All of the ratings above are taken while standing near the sound at a similar position.

Another important fact is that any sounds above 85 dB can cause hearing loss, and the loss is related both to the power and length of exposure to the sound You know that you are listening to an 85-dB sound if you have to raise your voice to be heard by somebody else. Eight hours of 90-dB sound can cause damage to your ears, i.e. a normal working day.  On the extreme end of the scale exposure to 140-dB sound causes immediate damage and pain. To overcome these dangerous noise levels, new technology is being embraced. For instance due the constraints of acoustic exposure on building sites, robotic demolition equipment are being used to undertake heavy jackhammer works, thus alleviating the need to put peoples hearing at risk.

Here is a quick breakdown of the sound levels and exposure times:

• 110 Decibels Regular exposure of more than 1 minute risks permanent hearing loss.

• 100 Decibels No more than 15 minutes of unprotected exposure recommended.

• 85 Decibels Prolonged exposure to any noise at or above 85 decibels can cause gradual hearing loss.

APT often under take exposure at work noise reports often for construction noise monitoring. We undertake measurements using class 1 equipment that allow you to ensure that your workforce is protected from the effects of excessive construction noise exposure.

Once the levels are recorded you can quickly reference the hearing protection manufacturer for specific muffs, inserts etc to pick the correct hearing protection.

This is crucial on a busy site as that other warnings are put in place to allow workers to communicate effectively if they have full hearing protection, i.e. being njured by moving plant or objects because you can’t hear what is happening

The doseBadge system is also very useful in almost all Noise at Work applications, especially as it is so small that it does not interfere with work patterns.

If you would like more information in regards to sound testing please follow our blog at: http://soundtestinguk.blogspot.co.uk/, or contact us at: info@aptsoundtesting.co.uk or visit our website at: www.aptsoundtesting.co.uk