May 3, 2012
ZSZN

How to Build Wind Chimes

Wind chimes are a pleasing household decorative item. Learning how to build wind chimes is easy. They make soothing tunes with any gentle breeze. They can hang almost anywhere outside such as on a patio or screened in porch. As fun project, you can make your own wind chime tuned to your taste. Here is how you can build and tune a wind chime.

If you would like to build a wind chime, I highly recommend purchasing the Wind Chimes: Design and Construction, as from my experience as a hobbiest, the best guide out there. It will give you the exact measurements and specifications you need for building wind chimes out of different materials.

1. Select the Material:
Before you start working on building a wind chime, you need to plan ahead what materials you are going to use for the wind chime. Choose your material according to your surroundings for cosmetic appearance, and your ability to manipulate the material with tools.

2. Prepare the Materials:
Once you have selected and gathered all the materials for your wind chime, it is time to begin. Let’s say we have chosen to work with a wooden base plate and copper pipes. First we are going to shape the copper pipe. Copper pipes produce different sounds at different diameters and lengths. If you vary the lengths one at a time and experiment a little bit, you will get the tune you desire (see “Tuning Your Wind Chime” below). Next, we need to drill a hole at any one end of the pipe. We will use this hole to hang the copper pipe from the base plate.

Then, we have to shape our base plate according to our design. After that, we need to drill small holes around the base plates from which we will hang our pipes, and another single hole in the middle from which the base plate will hang from a support. If you want, you can also add a clapper, which will sound the pipes. You are free to choose the material for the clapper. The only conditions for the clapper are that, it has to be smaller than the base plate so that it does not touch the pipes when there is no wind, and it has to be able to produce sound from the pipe upon impact. Drill a hole at the center of the clapper to hang it from the base plate.

3. Assembling the Wind Chime:
Grab the pipes one at a time and hang them using string, twine, or another material from the base plate. Using the holes you drilled earlier, attach the pipes one by one to the base plate. Take a long piece of thread and tie the clapper with the string level with the copper pipes. At the nearest end, tie a flat vertical light disk, so that it catches the wind and moves the clapper when the wind blows. The other end of the string will go through the center of the base plate and connect with the hook.

Tuning Your Wind Chime
In order to get perfect desired sound out of your wind chime project you need to tune it properly. To tune your wind chime correctly, and for more in-depth building instructions download the

Wind Chimes: Design and Construction.

wooden wind chime

May 30, 2012
ZSZN

Acobot – The Free Live Chat Robot

The Importance of an FAQ Page

One of the more interesting tips Tim Ferris mentions in his four hour workweek book automation chapter, is the power of frequently asked questions for a product or a service and its importance in minimizing customer support phone calls and email replies, which in return will lower the time and money spent answering repetitive questions.

Interactive Frequently Asked Questions – iFAQ?

By creating a live chat robot that answers customer’s questions instantly, the company Acobot has introduced an innovative spin to the traditional FAQ page. When you first install the plug-in on your blog, the bot is at its core useful only in capturing your visitors questions as it is not that familiar with your site. It does try to direct the customer somewhat but the true power of the tool is in the data collection, or better yet, the FAQ collection.

Chat Live vs. Chat Bot

At any time you or your team can then access your Acobot account and provide “better” answers to your visitors questions so that future visitors will be better assisted. This might seem like tedious work but it is no more work than collecting similar emails and phone logs and compiling an FAQ page that may or may not be read by your customers. Today most eCommerce sites should include some type of instant support, and if a live chat person is not affordable then a well trained robot is the next best thing.

How does an A.I. Chat work?

If you have a regular site then you need to copy and paste the script they provide, but if you use a popular CMS like WordPress or Drupal then all you need is the Acobot plugin. First, to install the plug-in, just go to add new plugin in your WordPress page and search for Acobot. Install and activate the plugin. Afterwards head to Acobot’s website and create a free account (good for 30 free chats a month with Acobot branding). After you create your account click the install link on top and get your WordPress installation key. Copy and paste key into your plug-in’as settings page and you are done. Check your site and you should see a gray chat box at the bottom right corner.

To Ask or Not to Ask that is the Question

The first question I asked the chat bot was “What is ZSZN?” and I got the answer I expected “Sorry, I don’t have a definition for that. Try to ask something else.” (Ok maybe not exactly what I expected but I know the little bot didn’t know).

Frontend Acobot Chat Log

I then headed to the Acobot backend account page and clicked the pencil shaped edit button and entered the correct answer that I want to bot to reply with. There is even an option to enter a URL to redirect the user to automatically (Note: be careful with this option as you might want to just display the URL and not automatically redirect the user). And that’s it, it automatically saved the changes and I went back to my site and typed the same question again. As expected I got the right answer: Zero Stupidity Zero Nonsense.

Backend Acobot Chat Log

What is the Cost?

Like most of today’s tech startups, there is a Freemium plan, so if you have a small site or you just want to play around with the tool, you can create a free account that will limit you to 30 chats a month with the Acobot logo at the bottom. The second option is $29/mo which limits you to 200 chats a month and $49/mo which limits you to 400 chats a month.

Have fun training your robot!

Is a chat bot an overkill? Can you find other uses for it? Share you thoughts below and let us know what you think.

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