5 tools for construction project management

There are more and more technological resources available to a Project Manager to carry out his tasks. There are so many different types of tools that we are close to the day when each tool covers a specific need. However, before resorting to technology, it is important to define the characteristics of each project. It is not a question of using the latest tool or the most prestigious tool on the market. The choice should be based on other criteria, such as the functionality of the tool. We could opt for the most sophisticated tool that offers the most resources, but if it is not compatible with the nature of the project, we will certainly have made a bad decision. We must remember that it should be the tool that adapts to the project and not the project to the tool.

In this post we would like to propose five tools that we consider useful in construction projects, beyond the standard or multi-sector tools such as Microsoft Project, which are also of great interest. Construction projects tend to be complex, high-investment, long-term and composed of simultaneous tasks. Few other sectors require such detailed supervision and monitoring. The tasks that make up these projects must be constantly monitored to measure their evolution and, if necessary, implement corrective actions. In addition, the multiplicity of resources required demands efficient and coordinated management.

Therefore, tools that aim to optimise these tasks must offer resources to integrate the different elements of a project. Depending on the degree of integration required, Project Management is responsible for choosing the best tool. Let’s take a look at some of the most commonly used tools.

1) Procore

This is a software specifically designed to operate in the cloud. Through it, the Project Manager accesses a single-page dashboard where he/she can manage project tasks and monitor their progress. In addition, it offers a drawing management tool that is very useful in those cases where it is necessary to visualise the works and their degree of progress.

2) BuildTools

Originally from Minneapolis, in the United States, this platform is designed for customised or authored projects. Its main advantage is that it allows project managers to make all the changes necessary to adapt the project. It also manages communication and scheduling, integrating elements such as tasks, budget, deadlines, documents, among others. It is available on the market for an affordable price.

3) Co-construct

This is one of the most generic tools in the sector. Based on a web and mobile model, it offers the user the tools for the basic management of a project, including a calendar of dates and task tracking. It also has a comments section where participants can share aspects related to the project in real time. It has been in use since 2005.

4) BuilderTrend

Considered to be one of the best software in the remodeling and construction industry. BuilderTrend offers its users scheduling lists, time sheets, messaging and numerous accounting applications to optimise the management of a project. However, its greatest contribution lies in the pre-sales process tools, such as customer and bid management and proposal generation. Its fixed price is $99, but it can be increased in case the Project Manager wants to add more projects to the initial tool.

5) WorkflowMax

This software is specifically designed for the management of invoices derived from the implementation of a project. In other words, it is an integrated programme that operates almost like an accounting tool. It provides resources for sales, project execution in all its phases and project invoicing. It is mainly used in projects that require multiple resources and a permanent control of them.


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Why do we love cinema so much?

Because it is one of our greatest mirrors. In the stories it tells us are portrayed our dreams, illusions, hopes, fears, fantasies, demons, longings, goodness, in other words, the whole spectrum of the human being. Besides the fact that cinema is like dreams, the screen is the eyelids on which our films are projected. The night, the camera obscura, the projection, and the animated movement incite our senses into action. All thanks to the powerful imagination, that secret weapon, the engine of human history. Things are first imagined, then realised. In cinema, one imagines first, and its marvellous challenge is to turn the imagined into reality. And there seem to be no limits. Patrick Harpur points out in El fuego secreto de los filósofos (Ed. Atalanta. 2nd ed. Spain 2006. P. 72): “In Renaissance Florence, and again among the English and German Romantics three centuries later, the imagination was exalted not only as the most important human faculty, but as the very foundation of reality”. Nothing more, nothing less, the most important human faculty. And quality cinema provides such possibilities for the imagination to soar. For Albert Einstein “Imagination is more important than knowledge” (http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Feyerabend ). A gift that needs to be nurtured, nourished and developed in each of us.

Cinema is the possibility to match our imaginative power with that of the great creators that exist in the world, the only condition is to approach intelligent, sensitive films that seek the best for human beings, that try to improve their living conditions.

Even if cinema is not exactly like reality, which is impossible, it is the genre that always starts from reality and returns to it, influencing it, reinterpreting it, enriching it, questioning it. Its great power consists in the fact that it is capable of entertaining, educating and feeding our imagination, and this, to some extent or a great extent, depending on the case, has a verifiable influence on our real world. Culture can be concretised in a very concrete praxis, a conscious and critical way of acting in life, in everyday life, in the family, in society. Cinema is a supreme space for fostering the imagination, nourishing it and projecting it throughout the cinemas and homes of the planet. And, as Mario Vargas Llosa says, “imagination is free and nourishes ideas. It promotes a critical attitude towards reality. Fiction is a subversive genre”.

In cinema we have a very powerful tool, and nowadays, with the development of communication technologies, we have the possibility of making our own films. They will be homemade, yes, but with study, dedication, culture and talent, we can create interesting works that are the beginning of more developed works. There are countless scriptwriters and film directors in the world who have started in this way. Today’s technologies give us the possibility to be creators, not just consumers, and that is a very important step for our social environment. Moreover, it is where the most interesting possibility lies to make quality cinema far away from the commercial cards that reproduce the vested interests that are already boring and repetitive enough, always with barbies and kens who don’t know how to act, cinema controlled by mafias who are the children of the children of the children of the children of the sacred cows, and who offer the public flabby works, without spark or talent. They are the negation of cinematographic possibilities that, in a negative way, comply with the postulate put forward in this text: cinema is a reflection of what we are, for better or for worse, at the level of production or at the level of mass consumption. Hence the permanent need to exercise criticism and evaluate what we are producing, what cinema we are watching, why, with what results, both individual and social. We cannot watch cinema as if it were nothing, as if it were a vacuous, anodyne entertainment. Everything we consume on an intellectual and emotional level has repercussions on our persons and our actions.

Cinema is not a neutral tool. We must always ask ourselves who produces, from what social position and with what intentions. Cinema has been an artistic tool, a tool for human development, but it has also been used to alienate, indoctrinate and manipulate the masses. Examples can be found in all social systems, both capitalist and communist.

But cinema can also be, depending on its quality and objectives, a source of union and understanding between human beings. It can help us to understand others, the other, the different. Documentary film is a great example of this. And, to the extent that empathy is developed, different societies and different cultures can understand each other better, help each other, pacify each other, cooperate. This helps to eliminate and diminish supremacist proposals of any kind.

Cinema cannot solve the world’s problems, but it can cooperate in the development of awareness and solidarity among the different peoples of the world. Seeing ourselves reflected on the cinema screen and seeing others there helps us to understand many issues, cultures and places that we would never see without film.

And while it is true that cinema is an alteration of reality because cameras do not operate by themselves and always obey a point of view, an ideology or an assumed or unconscious political position, it is also true that depending on what and for whom it is interpreting reality, so will be the quality of the product consumed and its influence. The reception of a message depends on many factors, it is a complex phenomenon that depends not only on the sender, but also on the dialectic relationship between sender and receiver and the interaction of their respective contexts.

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There’s no stopping the Twitter and follower fever. After many years of having a Twitter profile, I have come to the conclusion that there are two totally different kinds of users within this microblogging social network: those who want to get more followers in an honest and hard-working way and those who are willing to get followers at “any price”.

To gain a foothold in the Twitter community, you don’t need to be a celebrity or know any fancy tricks. You can increase your number of followers by making yourself worth following, increasing your visibility and using some proven strategies that will make followers come and stay. I’m going to show you, step by step, what I think is critical if you want to build a Twitter profile worth following and legions of loyal followers behind you.

The aim is for you to apply these techniques yourself and increase your number of followers to be more attractive to other followers and, why not, to brands interested in profiles with certain activity and characteristics. Therefore, I am going to explain what method I use to gain more followers on Twitter and how I make them loyal, because there is no point in making an effort to increase your followers and then not encouraging them to stay.

Take care of your Twitter profile and optimise it as much as possible.
#1 Optimise all the details of your Twitter profile
Step one! Before you can start gaining legions of followers on Twitter, you need to have a good foundation (remember, the house doesn’t start from the roof). So it’s a good time to start optimising your Twitter profile. How do I do that, you may ask? Don’t worry! It’s very easy and all you need to do is fill in a few details of your account. Some of the most important ones are the photo you choose for your profile, the description and the URL. Make sure you complete your profile with:

A well-made photo that shows your face: It is important that people know who you are and what you look like. The best photo to choose for your Twitter profile is one that shows your face facing the camera. Avoid odd angles and extra objects in the photo. Crop your photo to a square, 400×400 px (you want people who click on the photo to be able to see it in a high quality, non-pixelated version). This is perfectly acceptable if you have a company and want to use your brand logo instead of a photo. However, if you use meaningless images or graphics you may give the impression that you have a fake or spam account, so this is not recommended (unless the image or graphic represents you in some way).

A background image that helps to understand your profile: Upload a background image to your profile, respecting the measures 1.500×500 px, that helps to understand who you are and what you like. Do you have doubts? Imagine you are a blogger and you love cycling in the mountains. The image you have to upload is a picture of a route you like. Do you want the god level? Very easy! Continuing with the example above (or if you have a business), instead of using one of your hobbies, use your brand colour, logo and contact details to attract the attention of users (you can also add a photo of yourself if necessary). In short, say something.

A strong and defining biography: It is important that people know something about you and your interests. Many people will read the bio on your Twitter profile before deciding if they should follow you. A well-written bio can help you get many more followers than a poorly written bio. So make sure you use hashtags for the words that define your business (see how I do it).

The URL of your website, blog or online shop: This part, although it may seem obvious, there are many tweeters who do not complete it. Even if the link is nofollow (remember that these links do not transmit SEO strength and google, supposedly, does not follow them) it is important to have in your link profile this type of links from domains with a very high DA. Don’t have a website? No problem! Create a profile on About.me and add the link.

Date of birth: Twitter allows you to display your date of birth on your profile. What does this mean? It means that users will now be able to know your birthday and, in addition, Twitter will show balloons on your profile when it’s your birthday. Plus, you’ll be able to create engagement with other users who congratulate you on that day.

Note: A perfect way to start generating thousands of followers is to have an optimised Twitter profile. So follow my advice and give your future followers a good reason to follow you.

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How to know if an online casino is safe

The popularity of online bookmakers and online casinos has grown among the Spanish population. Since they were launched in 2012, the turnover of these companies has been growing steadily. They are attracting more and more people every year and seem to be far from reaching their peak, especially when compared to the UK, where they have a long tradition and are part of the cultural landscape of the islands.

As long as it is played responsibly and within the limits of the individual player, gambling is a valid entertainment option. With this caveat in mind, the aim should always be to play safely. By applying the instructions as explained here, you can improve the safety of your gaming.

What elements are used to confirm that an online casino is safe?
The General Directorate for the Regulation of Gambling
This body, which depends on the Ministry of Finance, regulates online casinos in Spain. For this reason, when starting out in the world of online gambling or opening a new account in a betting portal or casino, it is necessary to make sure that it has a licence granted by the DGOJ. Authorised casinos are obliged to display the Safe Gambling seal on their website. Clicking on it takes you to the official website of the DGOJ, where it is possible to consult all the legal information concerning online casinos.

Another guarantee of the security of licensed casinos is provided by the eCOGRA seal, an external agency that ensures that they comply with the minimum security requirements. If you see the logo of this licence, it means that the casino is monitored and that all your data is safe.

Unsecured networks
This applies to online gambling as well as to almost any sensitive internet activity. Using public networks that are not secure, such as wifi in a bus station or train station, is one of the worst ideas we can have. If you are going to use an open public network, never log on to services or portals that require registration and certainly never give out your personal details, as you never know who might be lurking around.

If you don’t have a secure network at hand – although you can always create your own with your mobile using the hotspot function – you can opt for a VPN, a virtual private network that encrypts all the data packets you send from your device, regardless of whether it’s a mobile phone, tablet or computer.

Depositing and withdrawing money
Casinos, looking for the best way to serve and make things easy for their customers, usually offer several ways of cashing out and payment. It is the users themselves who choose which one to use to make deposits, withdraw winnings and maintain their balance.

The most efficient and recommended is PayPal, the most widely used e-wallet service among consumers. To protect your card or bank account details, you can transfer the amount you are depositing into the casino to your PayPal account and from there transfer the money to your account. In addition, PayPal uses a confirmation procedure that increases security and avoids problems with stolen cards.

Web design
Although this is not a conclusive point when it comes to spotting unsafe casinos, it can be an indicator that something is not working as it should. A poorly designed and inappropriately laid out casino website suggests that if you have not been able to invest in a good navigation interface, it is more than likely that you have not been able to invest in security either.

Information and transparency
A safe and reliable casino does not skimp on providing information to its users. Having information such as odds, bonuses and their conditions, games, etc. clearly accessible is usually indicative of a serious site. If you still have any doubts, it is also worth checking whether you can contact the customer service by email, chat or telephone.

Customer service
In relation to the above, it is possible that at some point you may have a problem or you may have a specific doubt. It is best to opt for an online casino that has a good customer support service.

It is essential that customer service is provided in your native language and that you have as many options for access as possible. It is usual to be able to contact the staff by telephone, but it is rare to find an online casino that does not have a chat to resolve your queries as quickly as possible. If you are not in a hurry, you can also opt to send an email, although this is the slowest way and the one that generates the least feedback due to its lack of immediacy.


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