Introspection for improvement

Introspection for improvement

Christopher Walker No Comments

Whether you take photographs purely for pleasure or you rely on your snaps to pay the bills, it is easy to get stuck in a rut.


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You can start to approach every project in the same way, leaving little room for imagination and creativity. If this sounds familiar, it may be time to take stock and re-evaluate your techniques, equipment and approach.

Explore new avenues

If you’re an amateur, you could sign up for training with the likes of renowned professional Grant Scott – find him at – or simply take heed of his top tips for improving your game at

The very best snappers in the world, whether they are working for the glossies or for Lemontree a Hampshire based wedding photographer – are committed to learning and growing every day of their working lives.

A simple solution

Taking your photography skills to another level doesn’t have to be complicated either; sometimes it can be as simple as making a decision to move with the times or take a break from technical obsession in favour of a more improvised approach.

You could choose to step away from your passion for stunning scenery in favour of a spot of foodie snapping or go for some interiors if gardening is normally your thing. Of course, this is not always possible during your working day – a successful wedding photographer in Hampshire can’t just start focusing solely on what’s on the breakfast plates – but reigniting a passion for photography as a hobby as well as a job can do wonders for the creativity, enthusiasm, and quality.

This renewed passion and enthusiasm will show in the photographs you take; in the same way that boredom, lethargy or complacency can so easily be reflected. It will make it easier to fully engage with your human subjects and draw out the quality shots you want and need.

Try to take a figurative step back in time. If just for one day, leave all your preconceptions and past experience behind. Head off and take photographs of what you want, in the way you want to do it – regardless of how you have always worked or what you normally snap. You might just be very surprised at the results – and enjoy the experience as well.

A major breakthrough from financial software brand IRESS

Christopher Walker No Comments

Financial planning software provider IRESS has entered into an important agreement with the Commonwealth Bank Wealth Management Advice business. The deal will allow IRESS technology to be used in the future across all of the bank’s advice units. When announcing the new partnership, General Manager Marianne Perkovic said that her organisation’s key objective was to leverage the available technology to deliver better financial advice at a lower cost.


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Relevance of FinTech

The news of the IRESS breakthrough highlights the ever-increasing significance of innovative financial technology (FinTech) products to financial institutions which, against a backdrop of tighter regulation and growing expenses, are constantly seeking out ways to enhance their efficiency and profitability. They are also looking hard at productivity issues and turning to FinTech for solutions in growing numbers. Indeed, there is a perception that wider productivity problems could depend on the latest generations of FinTech.

Help for the Independent Financial Adviser (IFA)

It’s not just the banking behemoths that are learning the advantages of great FinTech solutions. Smaller firms and IFAs are finding that carefully designed technology platforms can help to provide effective financial advice to clients quickly, cheaply and in full compliance with the local and international financial regulatory framework. It’s fair to say that IFA software has become an indispensable tool in the successful IFA’s armoury in recent years.

The Electronic Office

This type of software isn’t just invaluable for the client-faced work of any IFA. It can also help with back office processes that were traditionally managed at great expense by clerical personnel and overseen by management-level staff whose efforts would ideally be deployed on more strategic and profitable matters. The right financial software can free up vital resources for business development in all its forms. It’s easy to find IFA software online that offers these benefits.

FinTech is international in its application, as indicated by the IRESS deal. The UK has traditionally been at the vanguard when it comes to the development of financial technology solutions, just as the country is one of the world’s foremost financial services centre. As other countries gain the expertise to challenge London’s primacy in banking and investment services, it is reassuring to know that the country’s innovators are refining the software that can keep Britain at the forefront of both FinTech and the wider financial services industry.

Four in ten children don’t go to the dentist, according to new research

Christopher Walker No Comments

In an extremely sad statistic, only 40 per cent of children visited the dentist last year, according to recent studies. Oral hygiene is vital not only to protect our teeth but to prevent diseases, some of which can be fatal.


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Dental decay in children is one of the most common reasons for children to be admitted to hospital according to BBC News, and this often results in teeth being extracted. This is particularly prevalent in children between the ages of 5 and 9. What is causing this issue? One of the main reasons, apart from eating too much sugar and poor brushing habits, is failing to visit the dentist on a regular basis.

From the first tooth

As soon as the first tooth appears, regular dental check-ups are vital to a child’s health. In the UK, all children are entitled to free dental check-ups. However, in Southern Ireland, the HSE operates a schools screening service that screens children for free dental care during their school years. This system can’t be relied upon due to budget cuts, so it is important that children are registered with a dentist as soon as possible. For those living in the capital, finding a Dublin dentist shouldn’t be a problem as there are several reputable practices to choose from. It is worth noting that PRSI members and medical card dental scheme members are entitled to a yearly oral examination free of charge.

Which dentist should you choose?

This is never an easy decision to make, particularly with so many options available. If you live in Dublin, most practises will offer an initial consultation for free. Given the importance of making sure children get regular check-ups and avoiding nerves at an early age, you might want to allow your children come with you to decide which dentist they would feel most comfortable with. A dental practice such as will offer a free consultation and provide some great tips on getting children excited about visiting the dentist. That first visit can leave a lasting impression, so choose carefully.

With this advice in mind, don’t wait too long to bring your children to the dentist; after all, their health is at stake. Regular dental screening and sound oral hygiene to prevent gum and tooth decay should start at an early age.

Modern adhesives: Manufacturing of the future?

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Modern adhesives are becoming increasingly widely used in industry because their ability to bond diverse types of material securely and quickly, offers huge advantages in the
manufacturing process.


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It’s now possible to bond almost every type of metal. That includes stainless steel, aluminium and conventional standard steels. They can be joined to fibre composite materials, synthetics, glass or ceramics.

This ability to combine materials means that the properties of each material can be used to produce a high performing component in the manufacturing process. In fact structural bonding is fast becoming a key fitting method in nearly all industrial contexts where different materials need to be bonded. For example when trucks are being manufactured nearly all of the box bodies are both sealed and bonded simultaneously.

Using Structural Adhesives as a Fitting Method

Processes such as bolting and riveting in order to connect things together, are limited by the fact they are mechanical and thus they only enable force to be transferred at specific locations. This increases the risk of fracture and fatigue and thus negatively affects the robustness of the connection. In addition the fabric is weakened because of having holes drilled into it. By contrast, bonds created by adhesives like and other metal bonding adhesives are able to transfer stress more evenly across their entire surface.

In addition adhesive-based processes are far more flexible than traditional soldering and welding. Adhesives can deal with heat-sensitive challenges in joining materials such as plastic or aluminium. They can also be used to join extremely thin components securely without compromising the robustness of the material.

Cured adhesives are not conductive and they also provide insulation, so they help to prevent contact corrosion and are particularly useful when joining parts that have already been given their final finish – four example steelwork has been chrome-plated.

Adhesive Technology Now Used in Every Industrial Sector

We are now seeing robots applying adhesive coating in automated industrial production. However, sometimes it is necessary for the adhesive to be applied by skilled staff who can ensure that the production conditions are suitable for the adhesive that is being used.

The ability of structural bonding to facilitate production processes that produce lighter products more cheaply, means that they will be increasingly adopted not only by large manufacturers, but also by small, specialist engineering shops.

5 More Ways to Become a More Successful Shopper Online

Christopher Walker No Comments

Online shopping continues to grow in popularity, offering the ease and convenience of selecting goods while in the comfort of your home. Instead of the high street, customers now turn to the internet for choice, discounts and efficient browsing. However pitfalls and danger lurk in the cyberworld and there are things the savvy shopper should note to make their experience a seamless one.


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Bargain Hunting

Online purchases should conserve effort and cash, if you are aware of how to get it right. A good place to start is price comparison websites. This Ofcom site brings together accredited sites that compare prices on broadband, TV packages and new phones. There are many sites comparing prices on a range of goods and services. When using them, ensure you know what that is being assessed and read any fine print relating to conditions or extra charges.

Check the Details

When adding that item to the online checkout, make sure it is the model, size or colour that you want. Just glancing at the picture is not enough – read the description at the side and check the item fulfilling your specifications is ready to ship.

Safe Shopping

Choose websites that are trusted. Most websites belonging to well-known brands should not pose risks. As an additional measure, look at the URL and see if it features a padlock. This is a good sign, along with web addresses that begin HTTPS. The S stands for secure. Another mark of security is the ISIS (Internet Shopping is Safe) logo.

Credit Cards

For larger purchases a credit card can be useful as products worth more than £100 are covered by Section 75 in the Consumer Credit Act, so if there is an issue, shoppers can claim the money back. Of course it is always important not to get carried away and make purchases that cannot be paid for. If this happens, an Individual Voluntary Agreement may help. If the question is should I consider an IVA then consult experts.

Keep the Paperwork

Store all correspondence relating to your shopping in a safe place. This includes information relating to orders, dispatches and receipts. If something goes wrong, you will need these details to verify your purchase. If there is an issue, contact the seller immediately.

How Spiders’ Webs Are Helping to Develop Soundproof Materials

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There is no doubt that there is an increased interest in choosing tensile architecture as a credible alternative to traditional methods. And now there is an exciting new development in the exploration of sound-proof materials that will have a positive bearing on the evolution of tensile architecture.


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Inspiration from the Web

A combined team of researchers from Italy, France and the UK has been inspired by the intriguing web of the golden silk orb-weaver, or Nephila, spider. As a result, they have designed an acoustic meta-material – a material of repeating structures – that will have a positive impact on the design of tensile and other structures.

The researchers concluded that the natural architecture of the spider’s web had acoustic properties that allow low-frequency sound to be absorbed. In addition to the circumferential nature of the web and its low weight, the natural flexibility of spider’s silk can reduce and absorb the more destructive features of sound.

Researchers then designed a repeating pattern of squares containing an imitation of the spider’s web design. Unlike conventional acoustic materials, the new meta-material is determined by five parameters. This ensures a higher individual response to sound and therefore makes it more effective. These parameters can be independently tweaked to create an great number of designs, each with its different response to sound.

The band gap describes the frequency at which sound can be absorbed. Scientists confirmed that as with the concentric structure of a web, the meta-material could have wider band gaps, allowing for a more effective absorption of sound.

Architectural Implications

The repeated-pattern design of this material and unique qualities of the silk offer versatile potential to architects. In particular, companies such as tensile structure designer Fabric Architecture can benefit from the acoustic qualities.

The meta-material can be applied to the construction of suspension bridges or tensile structures to minimise earthquake damage. The ability to reduce the effect of vibrations should not be underestimated. The acoustic impact of being next to roads and railways can also be mitigated.

Researchers are committed to moving forward, however, in their studies. There may be anomalies within each spider’s web based upon acoustic impact alone.

The spider’s web is beautiful, designed to house and entrap, but it potentially offers an exciting future for architectural design.

How to Get a Job as a Software Tester

Christopher Walker No Comments

The job of a software tester plays a fundamental role in the software life cycle, from development to production. As a software tester you will be involved in the quality assurance stage of the process, ensuring that software meets specifications and is fit for purpose.


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Software testers are employed to either manually test a program or use automated processes to find and fix bugs. They are employed as an integral role within the development of technical products or software systems, and are highly sought after employees in this digital age, with almost all large organisations employing a team dedicated to software testing.

Positions are available as permanent members of staff, contractors employed on a fixed term project or as part of a team working for a website testing provider.


Because of the importance of this role, software testers are expected to be qualified to do the job, and you will be expected to hold as a minimum a Foundation Certificate in Software Testing.

It is recommended that you are degree qualified in Computer Science or Information Technology, however many testers come from a multitude of qualification backgrounds, such as mathematics or even engineering.

You may find it beneficial to become a member of the Association of Software Testing, who have a dedicated site for qualifications and discussions amongst testers. This would certainly increase your chances of employment.

Skills Required

Because you will be working with many different stakeholders, you will be expected to possess excellent written and verbal communication skills. You will need to be able to speak the language of software but also demonstrate your ability to use simpler vocabulary to those that are not software geeks like yourself!

One way of getting started in software testing is to join a crowdsourced software testing company like, where you can quickly get involved in a short project and be part of a team with the support of a reputable company. This is a good way of boosting your CV with the different projects you have worked on and experience you have gained.

Even if you have all the qualifications and skills expected of a software tester, you will certainly need passion and drive to succeed in this fast moving and exciting career. The money and rewards are good too!

5 Amazing Things You Didn’t Know about Uganda

Christopher Walker No Comments

Uganda is a landlocked country in East Africa. It showcases a range of different terrain and landscapes, mostly consisting of huge rainforests, mountains, lakes and wide stretches of savanna plateau. Winston Churchill once named Uganda the “pearl of Africa” and this has managed to stick as the perfect description of this beautiful country. It is home to hundreds of unique animal species, even housing and protecting some of the planet’s most endangered species. Here are another five incredible facts about Uganda:


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  1. Low Life Expectancy

According to the National Geographic, despite having a population of 26,907,000, the average lifespan of people here is only 44. However, other studies have risen this to approximately 58.65. The reason for this could have something to do with the fact that Uganda is actually one of the poorest countries in not only Africa, but the world.

  1. 1962 Brutality

Milton Obote and Idi Amin wreaked havoc in the country back in 1962, when over 800,000 Ugandans were brutally murdered. When Yoweri Museveni came into power in 1986, the country was improved in terms of grief and pointless aggression towards the natives.

  1. Home to Gorillas

Despite its troubled past, Uganda has changed dramatically since then and is perhaps best known nowadays for its gorilla population. Tourists come from all over the world to participate in Gorilla Trekking in Uganda, turning to organisations and companies such as, to help organise and plan their exciting adventure.

  1. Numerous National Parks

There are many different national parks in Uganda. Each one of them sports various types of landscape including savanna, rainforest, woodlands, lakes and gorgeous mountains. There is plenty of opportunity in these parks to get up close and personal with the various types of wildlife, enabling visitors to snap photos of animals they have never seen before, as well as being able to watch them in their natural habitats.

  1. Blooming Tourism

Uganda has come a long way in terms of its tourism and attractions. It offers guests unique safari trips and adrenaline inducing activities such as bungee jumping, mountain biking and kayaking. You also have the choice to camp out and experience Uganda in every sense of the word. The weather is always quite stable with warm temperatures being common throughout the year. However, the country also gets its fair share of rain showers, so don’t forget your raincoats!

Sun Pharma drug factory warned over safety concerns by FDA

Christopher Walker No Comments

One of Sun Pharmaceutical’s former drug production facilities has been criticised by the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for knowingly distributing 27 batches of clonidine, a hypertension treatment, despite proof that the materials used to produce the drug had been contaminated.


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This was just one of the concerns that the FDA listed in a letter of warning issued to Frontida BioPharm Inc, the new US owner of the facility in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The letter, which was dated 15 August, was sent to the chief executive of Frontida.

Factory sale

Frontida BioPharm Inc took over as the owner of the drug factory site in June. Sun Pharma, which is India’s leading pharmaceutical company, said that selling the factory was part of consolidating its manufacturing concerns in the US.

Sun Pharma did not highlight at the time of sale that the FDA had been looking around the plant or that it had noted issues with the factory’s production standards.


In its letter, the FDA pointed out that a number of factors had led to doubts concerning how accurately Sun Pharma’s records of quality control were maintained. The FDA also said that by April 2015 Sun staff at the facility had become aware that benzophenone, a chemical, had contaminated felodipine, a hypertension drug produced as tablets. Varnish and ink from the label on the container were the source of the contamination.

FDA approval

How long does it take to get an FDA 510k approved? The FDA maintains strict quality standards and according to a report in the Guardian, obtaining approval for the ‘female Viagra’ pill Flibanserin took at least five years.

If you want to fast track a pharmaceutical or other product for review and approval, it would be a good idea to consult a specialist company such as to make your approval process more efficient.

For the FDA to approve a drug or product, it must approve the appropriate submission relating to the product. The FDA requires evidence that the product is effective and safe. For approval to place a product on the market via a 510(k), the organisation submitting the 510(k) must demonstrate that the product is equivalent substantially to a product already on the market legally for the same purpose.

Children’s A&E Services Suspended in Stafford Due to Staffing Shortages

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Childrens A&E Services Suspended in Stafford Due to Staffing Shortages

With the temporary suspension of treatments being carried out on walk-in patients, parents have been advised not to take children to Stafford County Hospital’s accident and emergency centre.

The adult side of the A&E department remains open and unaffected, operating between the hours of 8am and 10pm. However, bosses have made the decision that A&E services for the under-18s at Stafford hospital will be suspended with immediate effect due to issues surrounding staffing shortages.

Safe Treatment of Children a Priority

Speaking about the decision, Staffordshire County Council’s leader, Philip Atkins, said that even though families will be disappointed by the news, treating children safely had to be an absolute priority. He also went on to say that it was just over a year ago that the emergency centre opened its door and that they look forward to the time when it re-opens them, but this will only be done when it is safe.

Atkins also said that they will be urgently contacting the trust to see what plans are being put in motion to help make sure they’re re-opening the centre to children as quickly as possible.
With staffing shortages being commonplace in the health care system at present, many are looking at clinical staffing solutions like

Patients Being Referred to Primary Care Services

With there now being no access for children at the A&E department, hospital bosses are advising that any minor injuries or illnesses should be looked at by primary care services such as community pharmacists or GPs. Should families believe their child needs immediate medical attention that they’d normally get from A&E, they should call for an ambulance by dialing 999.

The County Hospital, which is operated by the University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust, has said it will continue to provide nurse-led care and all children’s outpatients clinic for those suffering from long-term or chronic conditions in Stafford.

As part of the Trust’s three-year integration, the Children’s Emergency Centre service was established in May 2015. However, following a draft report produced by the West Midlands Quality Review Service, there have been a number of safety concerns that have been highlighted, which has deemed the recommendations made by the Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust Special Administrator unviable.

These issues relate to the lack of staff who have specialisms in anaesthetic and paediatric training.

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