Before You Begin Marriage Counseling, Ask This Question



There’s an important question that you need to ask the marriage counselor you and your spouse are considering using. The question itself may surprise you, as well as the answer your potential counselor gives.


It’s an often-overlooked question that hardly anyone ever talks about. Therapists don’t include it in articles they write about how to select a good counselor, so you’re unlikely to read about it. I’ve never heard of the topic being discussed on the popular daytime television shows that delve into so many varied subjects.


But the answer to this important question could save you time, money, and energy spent with the wrong therapist. It’s a good question to use as a deciding factor if you narrow your search for a marriage counselor down to two or three possibilities, and all look fairly equal in education, training, and experience.


What is the question I consider so important that it could be the “deciding vote” in selecting a therapist for marriage counseling? Here it is. Ask the potential marriage counselor(s): “Have you ever participated in extensive personal therapy yourself?”


Then watch the therapist’s reaction and listen carefully to what he or she says. Also pay attention to the emotional tone in the response. Consider the following responses to the suggested question. My remarks are in italics in the parenthesis:


  1. “No, I’ve never had to go to counseling.”


(Never “had” to go? Do you mean that you’re “above” having to go to counseling? That only people who aren’t as emotionally stable as you are “have” to go? How will you even know what it’s like to go to an unfamiliar office and tell a stranger the most intimate details about your life?)


  1. “Yes, I went once for several times when my father died.”


(That’s slightly better, but what about all that self-growth work counselors are always advocating other people do? Don’t you take your own advice?)


  1. “No.”


(That’s odd. Why the one-word answer? It’s a logical question to ask. Why would I entrust you with my vulnerability and something as important as my marriage if you’ve never been to counseling yourself? Why haven’t you been? Don’t you believe in what you’re offering?)


  1. “I took part in some counseling when I took my courses for my degree.”


(You mean you role played with other students in some of your counseling classes–that doesn’t count. You weren’t in a real counseling situation and were probably focused on what your classmates and professor thought of your role-playing. That’s totally different from participating in therapy to look closely at your own real issues.)


  1. “Yes, I have. I’ve had several years of intensive personal counseling, and I still see a counselor when things come up that I need to process. I know how much courage and commitment it takes to confront personal issues, avoid blaming others, and take responsibility for the quality of one’s life.”


(Yes, this is the one! He (or she) has gone through the counseling process himself. He won’t be just talking about something he has never experienced, and he doesn’t sound ashamed that he’s had counseling. Instead, he sounds proud of himself for making that choice. I like that he “practices what he preaches” about counseling. He must believe that it helps in some way or he wouldn’t have spent so much time and money getting counseling himself.)


Are you surprised to learn that many counselors have never participated in counseling as clients and have never faced their own individual or relationship issues? That they could get their advanced degree and become licensed without having participated in personal growth counseling? It is shocking to think that could happen, but it does–quite often.


Just think about it–would you want to go to a therapist who recommends counseling to others but has never taken her (or his) own advice? Who hasn’t dealt with her own personal past and present issues that could impact the recommendations she makes to you? Who doesn’t really know how vulnerable you feel as a client and how much courage it takes to make an appointment, sit in the waiting room, and then talk openly to someone you’ve never seen before?


I can unequivocally say that you should steer clear of counselors who haven’t done their own work in counseling–either in individual counseling, relationship or marriage counseling, or both. There’s a saying that you can’t take other people any further than you’ve been yourself.


That’s certainly true when it comes to counseling. The counselor needs to be very familiar with the terrain–not from only textbook knowledge but from personal experience, also. He (or she) also needs to be able to help you without getting your issues all tangled up in his own unresolved issues–something personal counseling helps a counselor to do more effectively.


So before you sign on with a marriage counselor, ask the important question–“Have you ever participated in extensive personal therapy yourself?”–and be sure that the counselor you select knows the advantages of personal counseling first-hand.


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How to Choose a Web Design Firm or Web Designer



Hiring a web design firm to redesign your business website is a big decision. You want to be sure that the company is a good fit for you and can accommodate your needs in a manner that best suits you.


Below are four things to consider when hiring a web designer or web design firm:


1. Budget: Many business owners might consider website expenses an area where they can skimp. I strongly urge against this. A website is a crucial part of your brand image. Without a website that accurately portrays your brand message, you’re providing clients with a perception of your brand that isn’t correct. This can have severe consequences for the success of your business.


When looking to hire a website designer, you want to be sure that you are getting the best website possible. This doesn’t mean that the most expensive web design firm web design firm is the way to go. That’s why you have to research all of your options.


Business owners who spring for the cheapest website design firm with the hopes that the firm will give them a satisfactory product is by no means the right mindset to have. A low-budget firm that provides generic template designs cannot possibly create a website that is in line with your brand image.


Your brand is special and different from your competition, right? If you hire a design firm that provides you with a generic web design interface, you’re not expressing to your audience that you’re special. Rather, you’re showing prospects that you provide a generic and average service. You won’t stand apart from the competition, and you won’t see the business success you desire.


A successful website is customized, easy to navigate, and effective in driving prospects and customers to take action. A web design company that can provide you with a website that embodies all three of these characteristics is exactly what you want. But not every design company knows how to do this-which is why the successful ones tend to be on the higher price range. They have a skill that is difficult to find in other firms.


If you’re not ready to spend a large sum of money on your website just yet, then hold off a bit longer until you have the budget to get your website done right the very first time. I’ve seen many business owners go through several ineffective website designs before hiring the right firm to get the job completed exactly to their liking. These business owners have wasted thousands of dollars by choosing a design company that was low budget.


2. Location: Would you rather your web designer be located within driving distance, or does it matter to you where they’re located? That’s definitely a question you want to ask yourself. This tidbit of information will help you narrow your search. We’ve worked with several design firms in the past. Some were located across the country, others in our city. We don’t mind working with design firms across the country. If they’re the perfect fit for us or our clients, then we’ll use them. We won’t force a fit with a company in our city if we’re not crazy about them.


3. Previous Designs: Always view both the firm’s testimonials and portfolio. Just looking at a design company’s portfolio isn’t going to tell you what it’s like to work with them. They could produce an excellent product but cause their clients massive headaches and stress. You want a firm that is easy to work with and provides you with the best product possible.


Testimonials will tell you the experience past clients had with the company, and a portfolio will show you the types of websites and designs they produce.


If you don’t see testimonials or a portfolio on a designer’s site, this could be a red flag. You shouldn’t have to ask a firm to send you images of their past designs-these items should be easy to find on their website.


Some things to look for in a company’s previous designs include…


Ease of navigation through the site.

Effectiveness in encouraging site visitors to take action.

Visual aesthetics.

Static HTML pages that contain optimized web copy and images that can be crawled by search engines. When an entire site is flash-based, it cannot be crawled by search engine spiders and robots.

4. Your Gut Feeling: Always trust your gut feeling. If a company rubs you the wrong way-even if you can’t pinpoint what’s causing the bad feeling-don’t go with them. You want to feel completely comfortable with and confident in the firm you choose. If you’re uncertain about anything, address your concerns with the company. And if you’re still unsure about working with them, hold off and look for other firms that might suit your needs.


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Introduction to SCADA



SCADA is an acronym that stands for Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition. SCADA refers to a system that collects data from various sensors at a factory, plant or in other remote locations and then sends this data to a central computer which then manages and controls the data


SCADA systems are used not only in industrial processes: e.g. steel making, power generation (conventional and nuclear) and distribution, chemistry, but also in some experimental facilities such as nuclear fusion. The size of such plants range from a few 1000 to several 10 thousands input/output (I/O) channels. However, SCADA systems evolve rapidly and are now penetrating the market of plants with a number of I/O channels of several 100 K: we know of two cases of near to 1 M I/O channels currently under development.


There are many parts of a working SCADA system. A SCADA system usually includes signal hardware (input and output), controllers, networks, user interface (HMI), communications equipment and software. All together, the term SCADA refers to the entire central system. The central system usually monitors data from various sensors that are either in close proximity or off site (sometimes miles away).


An industrial measurement and control system consisting of a central host or master (usually called a master station, master terminal unit or MTU); one or more field data gathering and control units or remotes (usually called remote stations, remote terminal units, or RTU’s); and a collection of standard and/or custom software used to monitor and control remotely located field data elements. Contemporary SCADA systems exhibit predominantly open-loop control characteristics and utilise predominantly long distance communications, although some elements of closed-loop control and/or short distance communications may also be present.


Systems similar to SCADA systems are routinely seen in factories, treatment plants etc. These are often referred to as Distributed Control Systems (DCS). They have similar functions to SCADA systems, but the field data gathering or control units are usually located within a more confined area. Communications may be via a local area network (LAN), and will normally be reliable and high speed. A DCS system usually employs significant amounts of closed loop control.


SCADA systems on the other hand generally cover larger geographic areas, and rely on a variety of communications systems that are normally less reliable than a LAN. Closed loop control in this situation is less desirable.


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Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition



What is SCADA?




SCADA or Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition is a large scale control system for automated industrial processes like municipal water supplies, power generation, steel manufacturing, gas and oil pipelines etc. SCADA also has applications in large scale experimental facilities like those used in nuclear fusion. SCADA systems monitor and control these operations by gathering data from sensors at the facility or remote station and then sending it to a central computer system that manages the operations using this information.


The SCADA System


The sheer size and of the operations we saw earlier demands that the control system be equally elaborate to handle the requirements. This is where SCADA scores. The SCADA system is equipped to manage anything from a few thousands to a million input/output channels. The technology is still evolving and we can expect an expansion of the market for SCADA. A full fledged SCADA system is made up of signal hardware for input/ output, networks, control equipment, user interface (sometimes called the Human-Machine Interface or HMI), communication equipment and the software to go with it all. And here we are talking about the central command system of SCADA. The central system is often miles away from where the operations take place. Thus the system also needs on-site sensors to collect and monitor data.


How SCADA Works


The measurement and control system of SCADA has one master terminal unit (MTU) which could be called the brain of the system and one or more remote terminal units (RTU). The RTUs gather the data locally and send them to the MTU which then issues suitable commands to be executed on site. A system of either standard or customized software is used to collate, interpret and manage the data. SCADA as of now uses predominantly open-loop control systems, though some closed-loop characteristics are often built in. As this is an open-loop system, it means that SCADA system cannot use feedback to check what results its inputs have produced. In other words, there is no machine-learning.


SCADA and Other Control Systems


There are several other systems that are used for similar purposes as SCADA. These are generally called Distributed Control Systems (DCS). The functions are the same; the difference is in the range. Distributed Control Systems are typically effective within a confined area like a factory complex. Thus the communication is carried out through a local area network (LAN). These networks are highly dependable and fast, and can manage closed-loop (feedback based) control. DCS networks have their limitations. They cannot cover large territories. This is where SCADA comes in handy. However the communication systems are not as reliable as a LAN, and therefore it is not viable to implement closed-loop control. Right now, the size and scope is what mark SCADA.


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How to Set Up a Web Based SCADA System



Checking the status of an automation system over a web page is convenient and often necessary in this fast paced, always changing, always evolving world. Turning a light or valve on or off from a computer at your home or office can save you time and money in comparison to traveling out to sites for status and maintenance. You can save a trip and spend more time with your family.


If you have an existing application that involves things like PLC’s and I/O modules you can bring your system to a local PC Based SCADA Control and Monitoring system. You can configure the SCADA system to pull the data from the controller and data acquisition modules. You can configure controls that can monitor things like temperature, conveyor status, and valves. You can use a Web Server like Web Publishing for KingView to make the SCADA system web accessible. In SCADA software, drivers are provided which enable you to communicate with different PLC’s, Data Acquisition modules and devices. Installation of a web server allows you to serve the SCADA system out so web clients on remote machines can access the data over a web page.


If you have a simple project that consists of a Modbus RTU based device, you can bring this to the Internet for data collection with a Modbus RTU to Modbus TCP gateway like tGW-718 which has 1 RS-232/422/485 port. Then you can create a custom web server on your computer to show the data in an organized fashion. You can use your preferred web programming language like java, C#, or PHP. You can create user logins to access the page from any location and can limit access to related personnel.


If you have a complex project you can use a sophisticated customizable controller with a web server like WP-5141-XW107. You can create a program to run in the controller with any of the.NET languages like C#, VB.NET, or C++. You can also use the web server inside to allow for a web based SCADA system so you can check the status remotely or turn a device like a light on or off.


Web Based SCADA systems offer flexibility and convenience. You can configure SCADA systems to schedule alarms to be sent when undesirable conditions occur like when a pump stops working, a tank is leaking, a flood occurs, a refrigerator door is left opened or when the temperature is out of range. Then you can go log onto a PC and check the status of the system over a web page. You can click a button or make changes to best protect the overall system. This can result in great overall savings and prevent future damage. Web based SCADA systems can allow you to collect data from all over the world and have it displayed in a clear, organized, and straight forward way. You can use Web based SCADA systems to monitor and control simple or complex systems.


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SCADA Software – The Ultimate Monitoring And Data Gathering Tool On The Market Today!




SCADA software is a term usually in reference to various control systems. SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) describes various computerized systems which function is: monitoring and controlling infrastructure and industrial and facility processes.SCADA software as: Industrial will pertain to refining, fabrication, production and manufacturing. Infrastructure describes private and public systems such as the treatment of water, wastewater treatment and collection, gas and oil lines, electrical power delivery, military defense sirens, and larger boarder communication systems (cable and phone are examples). Facility process pertains to buildings, ships and airports.


SCADA software has key elements. The machine-human technology is the means in which the information and data can be monitored and manipulated by a human technician. A computer system aimed at supervising and acquiring data and to send control commands. Remote units connecting various sensors and sending data. And infrastructure concerned with the communication between the supervising system and the remote units.A system which uses SCADA software coordinates in real time, but does not control in real time. In simpler terms it will manage and manipulate data in current and dynamic real time, but it won’t control the process the data is used for in real time.


This is where DCS software comes into play. DCS (distributed control systems), again, in simple terms can be explained as this: This software is about gathering the data deals with process (as related to that data). DCS is usually deals with operations at one location and SCADA is used for purposes and applications covering a larger geographic area. Again, SCADA software deals with a central system watch over and handles all sites or difficult systems over vast areas. Remote units usually control all actions. As an example, the Remote Unit may control water flow through a treatment plant, but SCADA software will allow technicians to set check points for that flow. Think of it as Remote Units do the action and this software monitors the action. Various apparatus are used for the machine-human relationship. Again, this is an interface in which a human being can see and control a process which SCADA software is monitoring.


As an example, if there is a drainage system emptying water, the operator or technician can see how much water is draining, what water temperature it is at and so on. If the operator notices anything wrong, the drainage can be stopped or altered.A very important element of SCADA software deals with alarms. Since SCADA software is a monitoring system, it will see if alarm requirements are being met, and if there is potential for them not to be met. The alarm can be set by the system itself if certain elements occur or are simply not met, or by the technician or operator.


SCADA software also has a SCADA hardware element and usage. The remote units described before are able to perform tasks and their capability to do so is improving. This allows engineers to implement and design programs to be used on these remote units. Telemetry software is an element of SCADA as it allows remote gathering and reporting of data. SCADA software is now in its third phase and that is like any operating system, it is now networked. This vast and open-ended functionality makes it easier to monitor and distribute data across larger geographical areas.


This will also mean that SCADA software is accessible on the internet and able to be worked with through a variety of virtual networks. This software is a monitoring and data gathering tool used in incredibly large and complex industrial systems and infrastructure. It is a vast and complicated tool responsible for key elements of our everyday life — from sanitized water coming out of our taps to airports transporting thousands and thousands of people daily.



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How Do I Choose the Right SCADA Software



It is amazing how the Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition landscape has changed in recent years. There was a time in the not-too-distant past when bright, entrepreneurial software developers could put a SCADA product on the market and find themselves on basically equal footing with developers of similar products, and there weren’t a tremendous number of options if you wanted to buy a SCADA product. Of course – like with anything else that sells – things change.


Now, there are numerous SCADA programs on the market – all with different features, different licensing options, and different price tags. Choosing the right solution for the right project has become more difficult, and it’s not getting any easier.


The Big Fish Eat the Little Ones


One of the major forces contributing to the redefinition of the global SCADA market is the increase in mergers and acquisitions over the last 20 years. As is common with any commercial product that achieves a certain level of success, larger companies with complementary or competitive products will acquire the rights to the smaller company’s product. This is not entirely bad for the consumer, as the larger company will have more resources to dedicate to development and testing, and the acquired software package can potentially be improved by the investment. The downside is that the increased investment will typically lead to a higher price tag, and may have done nothing to make the product a better fit for your needs.


The process of one company acquiring another is certainly nothing new – not in SCADA or any other industry – and it’s not likely to change any time soon. In fact they are only becoming more frequent as time goes by.


Within the last few years, some major acquisitions have permanently altered the landscape, and unless you’ve been diligently researching each and every SCADA product that’s come on the market in the last decade, there is a good chance you don’t know which product is right for you.


Which SCADA Software is Best?


That’s the million dollar question (actually, more like 6.6 billion dollars in 2012). How do you know which software is the best? In truth, the question is misguided. It’s not a matter of which SCADA software is best; it’s a matter of which SCADA software is best for you and your project.


There are a number of factors to consider:


What kind of data do you need to monitor?

What kind of equipment are you using to capture the data?

What kind of HMI (Human Machine Interface) do you need to view your data?

From where do you need to access your data – on local machines or over the internet?

How much time and manpower can you invest in setting up and deploying a SCADA solution?

How important is service and support?

How much will it cost?

These are all important questions, and there is no single solution that is clearly better than the others. Choosing a SCADA solution is a decision that will affect your entire organization and one that should not be made lightly.


The important thing to keep in mind is that spending more money or buying a more popular product is not going to ensure that you got the right product for your needs. While it’s hard to argue with the adage that “you get what you pay for”, when it comes to SCADA you don’t always need what you pay for, and paying more is no assurance that you will get what you need.


Choose Wisely, and Your Choice Will Save You Time and Money


Many HMI and SCADA systems in place today were implemented many years ago. Once a system is in place, people are very hesitant to implement something new. Even the easiest and least expensive solutions will require a significant time investment, and it is not at all desirable to make that investment again anytime soon.


Spending the time to research and compare your options before you choose a product can save a tremendous amount of time and money later. It’s an important choice; make it wisely.


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