Hiring Roofing Contractors for Roofing Damages

roofing calgary aclark

No matter how robust and solid your home may be, even if you had it built with strength in mind, there may come a time where you need roofing contractors to fix the damages. Of course, since you had the roof of your home built with strength after all, it’s not like the damage will come from age or something related, but more like from natural calamities like hurricanes and tornadoes. Sometimes, the winds brought about by these calamities are so strong that even well-built homes cannot survive their onslaught.

If your roof gets damaged and needs some repairing, regardless of what has cause the damage, you will need to hire professional roofing contractors to fix it for you. This is because professional roofing contractors are better equipped in fixing up roofs than regular carpenters. In fact, professional roofing contractors like Roofing Calgary have a lot of experience, not just when it comes to installing roofs on new homes, but also on doing repairs caused by different eventualities. As long as there are roofs involved, then Calgary roofing contractors knows how to deal with them.

There are actually several reasons as to why roofing contractors are better than regular carpenters. Aside from roofing being their professional trade, roofing contractors knows how to properly assess damage and provide better estimate as to the cost of the overall repairs needed. This is why if you have any roofing issues that needs to be attended to, for that one time repair job and peace of mind, it is ideal to hire roofing contractors because they know what to do, how to do it better, and how to do it in less time.

The truth is that roofing contractors are very versatile. They don’t just know how to install roofs, but they also know how to fix them. Whether the damage has been caused by termites, natural calamities, a dead tree hitting the home’s roof, or any other type of roof-damaging causes, roofing contractors are able to do roofing repairs and installations better than any other construction contractors. This is the very reason why home builders often sub-contract roof work and roofing installations with roofing contractors because they know and understand that roofing contractors are able to do a better job and in far less time.…

Achievement Unlocked: Opera In Italy

I am a firm believer in the idea that if you are living somewhere, you should sample as much of the local culture as possible. When I lived in Australia, I was a big Aussie-rules football fan (and would still be, except it’s really hard to see footie outside of Aus). Now that we are in Italy, I was determined to try opera.

Let me start by saying that while I love classical music, I have never been a fan of opera. Unlike André, I don’t have a thing for beautiful voices, and not being able to understand what is going on when I am looking at something has always annoyed me. So pretty much the only operas I would willingly submit myself to were French ones (that is, Carmen and the French operettas) and even then, I wouldn’t say that I made much of an effort to go see one (but I have been to a couple, once in Australia even).

But we are in Italy, the Land of Opera, and I felt it behooved me to at least go once to an opera house. And while I would love to go to La Scala just for the experience, it would mean doing a weekend in Milano, which neither of us seems very interested in doing (and I am pretty sure it will turn out to be impossible to get tickets for La Scala). Another good choice would be to go to the opera in Verona, where it is held in the Roman Amphitheater. In fact, they were having a Verdi season this summer and we kept telling ourselves, let’s go! But we just never got ourselves organized and the first thing we knew, the season was over.

opera_1638679cThen André proposed that we attend the operas in the local theater. In fact, he wanted to do the whole season, which, it turned out, was just four operas. I would have preferred just one, but I supposed I could do four, especially since they were all of them classics and none of this post-modern atonic stuff. Also, for opera, the price was amazingly reasonable. So I agreed. I can definitely do one opera every few months.

Slight bonus: two of the operas are in Trento and two in Bolzano. For a small fee, we could get bussed to and fro Bolzano for the opera. So we paid the extra 20 euros for that.

The operas are Il Barbiere di Siviglia, L’Elisir d’Amore, La Bohème, and Il Flauto Magico.

Well, yesterday was the barber of Seville. I must take pictures of the Teatro Sociale because it is special. It is a tiny theater but with five stories of galleries in addition to the parterre. We had two seats on the second floor, in a side box. Not the most comfortable of places as it was hard to see our side of the scene without sticking our head out of the box. Also, I don’t know if it was because of the …

Things You Can Do To Improve Your Home

Home improvement is an aspect of improving and developing your home into something more aesthetically-pleasing, customized for convenience, developed for ease of use, built to have increased storage space, or reworked for maintenance purposes.  It does not matter whatever things you do as long as it encompasses any little or simple modification work, all of it is an aspect of home improvement.

A home improvement project does not always have to involve major rework, construction, or renovation and it does not always have to be costly for it to become an effective home improvement work.  As long as you do things you know will be good for your home and will improve certain aspects of it, then it is a home improvement work that is all worth your trouble.

Usually, if you think of home improvement, the first thing that comes to mind is making the home look more pleasant and attractive.  If you value aesthetics or have plans in selling your property in the near future, then it is alright to put emphasis in making your home more presentable.  However, if you do not care for such things and that you simply want convenience, then you should look into stuff on how to make things more convenient for you.

If you want to create an elegant feel or atmosphere in your home, then you should look into some of these home improvement basics:

Drapes – although most households will not change their drapes on a regular basis, mix-matching draperies may actually yield out great results for you.  To create a modern feel, you can use drapes that have high contrast colors.  These will certainly put highlight in your living area.  Or, you can use drapes with pastel shades to create a calm and ambient type of atmosphere.

Carpets – if your living area and your dining area does not have any carpeting on the floor, try buying some appropriately-sized carpets from your local home depot and place the carpeting underneath the couch and center table, while you place the other carpet underneath the dining table.

Lampshades – buy at least two tall floor standing shades and place both strategically within your living room area.  The lampshades are not only movable to any area within the room that you would like to be lit, but the aesthetic beauty of these lampshades emits a certain elegant and sophisticated charm.…

Speaking The Lingo

At our latest Italian class, the teacher told the whole class how we had done some great progress in understanding. But then she turned towards me and André and basically said that we needed to practice talking.

She is right, of course. André’s Italian doesn’t seem to have changed much since the first day we started, with him just mixing English and a bit of Italian and calling it a day. As to me, I am too embarrassed by my lack of vocabulary to speak much.

Yesterday, we went to a “birthdays” party – it just so happens that several members of the HCI research group are born in April and May – and, fueled with a bit of wine, I made some rather pathetic attempts at speaking. It must be frustrating to the Italians to listen to me speak, as this is the process I use. First I think of what I want to say in French, since the sentence structure in French and in Italian is almost the same (which cannot be said for English and Italian). Then I painstakingly take each word, figure out what its italian equivalent is and try it out loud (with the Italians helpfully correcting me as I go). Eventually, I hit a word that I don’t know and just say it in English. After a couple of sentences like this, I finally collapse in a corner from sheer exhaustion.

And when the Italians speak to me in their native tongue, I mostly go, “ripitare più lentamento per favore”.

You have no idea how frustrating it can be to try to learn a new language and see how easy it seems to be for everyone else. Sigh.…

Has It Been A Year Already?

One year ago, we were arriving in Rome to eventually make our way to Trento and a new chapter in our lives. So how have things shaped up in that time?

The Job

I love my new job. It is wonderful to work with a team that is big enough to resolve programming issues without me having to try my hand at crappy coding. I love my colleagues and sincerely enjoy their company. The project itself is very interesting, as we build apps that are meant to be useful to the local communities.

Beyond the project itself, I love being in a university setting again. I had forgotten how much I enjoy the intellectual stimulation that comes from frequenting smart young people. Plus, the University of Trento has an excellent reputation and so attracts lots of good students.

My only regret is that this is only a two-year contract and we’re already at the halfway mark. How did that happen?

The City

If you enjoy living in smaller cities, as I do, then you will understand why I love Trento. It is small enough to be easily visited in a day (unless you include all the suburbs) and while it does not offer the same level of tourist-y sites that a city like Verona does, that just means that we have much fewer tourists invading our city. Except at Christmas time, when people come here for the Christmas Market, and then it’s hardly walkable in the historical city center. Sigh. How do the other cities in Italy manage?

In spite of its small size, though, Trento has plenty of interesting activities going on all year long, whether cultural, social, or just plain marketwise. This summer, for example, there were free rock concerts every Tuesday. This autumn, we will be attending four different operas (two of which will be held in Bolzano). I particularly love the little markets that they set up every once in a while. There, you will find stalls for all sorts of local products, such as foods from all over Italy.

In addition, Trento is situated in the pre-Alps, which means that we are surrounded by mountains and our vistas are of even bigger mountains. For someone who grew up in the flat plain of Montreal, the local scenery is exotic and gorgeous. I just cannot get enough of looking at mountains.

Trento is situated in the North-Eastern part of Italy, so day trips up to now have all been around this area. While it is not as well situated for these kinds of trips as Verona – which is a major train station, housing trains going east-west and north-south – it is still fairly easy to get to some interesting towns and cities in the region. Up to now, we have visited the following places:

  • Firenze (Florence)
  • Venezia (Venice)
  • Verona
  • Bolzano (aka Bozen in German, as it is in the German-speaking area of Italy)
  • Rovereto
  • Malé
  • Riva del Garda
  • Malcesine
  • Monte Bondone
  • Monte Terlago

Of course, …

The Many Advantages Of Custom Homes

If you want to have a home built that is designed to meet some of your needs and requirements, it is actually a custom home that is built by custom home builders that you seek.  Custom homes are designed accordingly, based on the needs of the client or the design landscape as to where the home will be constructed.  There are actually many advantages to having a custom home built when compared to buying homes that are already built.

banner_pic1One important benefit of a custom home is that you can request your builder what the structural layout of the home will look like.   Getting the number of bedrooms you like is all part of the benefit of a custom home construction.  Getting to choose the location as to where your home will be constructed can also be considered as another benefit, especially if you are able to have your home constructed on a very desirable space in your town or locality.

It is important to keep in mind that if you’re buying a prebuilt home, you are not sure of the standards of materials used in the construction of the prebuilt structure.  If you were to buy such a home, you will be left wondering on just how long the structure will last before it shows any signs of deterioration or necessitate maintenance and rework.  This is avoided when you have your home built by custom home builders.  While it may be relatively more costly than cookie-cutter homes found in suburbs, the confidence it gives you on the overall structural soundness of the structure may be all worth it.

Through the process of building the structure from the ground up, your custom home builder is able to identify any potential issues that may appear later in the build process.  Since you can never really tell how good the foundation of the structure is unless you see it for yourself while the home is being built, if you were to buy a prebuilt home, you will never know just what is underneath the main floor of the home structure.  It may be sand, gravel, earth, or sediments that had been laid there to accommodate the concreting of the home’s floor.

The dreaded part of not knowing what material is underneath the flooring of your property is the buildup of cavity or hollow areas that can result in the caving in of the concrete floor.  Of course, what’s worse is if the material is not compact enough that it may result in liquefaction once certain conditions are met.  To have a better and worry free home, make it a point to have your home build from the ground up by custom home builders.…

What Is The Purpose Of Basement Renovation?

There is a growing fad within the neighborhoods of Canada and that of the United States on homes that have been constructed with a basement space that is used mainly as a utility room where many of the homes utility equipment and utility hookups are installed.  The fad is to actually reclaim most of the basement space and develop it into a more desirable space that members of the household will have great use for.  The renovation process necessitates the removal, relocation, and reinstallation of all the homes utility stuff that are found in the basement area.

More often than not, the basement area is a space inside the home that is not being fully utilized.  Although the basement may be considered as functional due to the piping in and out of the home’s utility stuff, still it is a space that is not household friendly.  However, through procedures like basement renovations, the household will be able to have full use of the basement area and benefit from the increased living space of the home.  This is actually the main purpose of basement renovation and why many are catching on the fad as the work can be considered as truly beneficial for the household.

Zbranek-exteriorWhen you develop your basement area, aside from just being able to increase the living space of your home, having a developed basement space that is actually a very desirable one also helps in greatly increasing the value of the property.  With a developed basement space, you can easily convert the area into something you more of fancy, say a home theater room, a home office, a man cave, a gaming room, additional bedrooms, and many more potential possibility for development.  What you want and what you develop the basement space into is all a matter of imagination.

Basement renovation is not a simple undertaking as it requires the professional services of renovation contractors to help you accomplish the renovation job.  Basement renovation work is actually a sensitive one that it even requires a special permit from the city engineering department to be able to continue with any type of renovation work on the basement area. The thing is that when it comes to basement renovation work, you can safely say that not everyone will be as good as others.   For this reason, it is crucial that you choose and handpick your contractor carefully.…

Farmville And Diabetes

Quite recently, André was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. This has had a major impact on our lives. André spends his time reading food labels in search of information on total carbohydrates and he is much more careful about what he eats and drinks (I’ve never seen him eat so much salad). Meanwhile, I spend my time quizzing him on what he’s eating, what he’s allowed to eat, what his glucose level is, as well as reminding him to take his pills.

I was thinking about my role as supporter and cheerleader and started comparing it to the Facebook game Farmville. If you’ve never played Farmville, this little video might help you understand what it is. Or maybe not. Basically, you have a farm where you can plant crops which come to maturity after a variable number of hours, or raise animals and collect various items from said animals. As well, and of interest here, you can have neighbours (your FB friends) and go help them on their farms by chasing away animals, picking up leaves, or even fertilize their crops.

I am still not sure that I want to build games for the sick, but I would like to build apps to help people manage their illnesses. And when we do build these kinds of apps, we should take into account the rest of the family, who also have their roles to play.…


don’t know about you, but I love animated gifs. But since this blog is supposed to be my professional blog, I’ve started a parallel Tumblr one which is just for fun: Being a stranger in Italy.

Also, it gives me an excuse to try out Tumblr.

The plan is just to put up silly images, so don’t expect anything profound.…

Expanding Our User Base

Yesterday, we distributed 100 smartphones to Antonella di Angeli’s HCI class. And we were still short of approximately 5 phones. As you can imagine, it was a bit of a hectic scene, although we did split the class in two to make distribution easier.

This morning, I arrived to over 200 new messages in my inbox. That’s just our system automatically generating two different messages to all of the new users. Still it was a bit of a shock this morning to see my inbox overflowing like that.

One of the tasks these students will have is to select one friend from outside of the Computer Science department and nominate them for a smartphone so that they can work together on design problems. So that will be another 100 students to add to the trial.…