Posted by: admin in Technology on January 25th, 2012

Cited: MSNBC

Music piracy is still one of the most difficult digital crimes to detect and to stop. Industry analysts say that legitimate downloads of music are growing but not at a pace that many expect and also at a pace that probably signals that illegal music downloads are more than likely growing at a much higher rate. A report published earlier this week by one industry watchdog revealed that income from music downloads increased by 8% in 2011 to just over $5 billion. However, overall sales of  music are still on the decline in the wake of the digital takeover of the music business, much of it due to illegal music downloads.

Pirated music saps revenue from legal music businesses, who are already working in an extremely difficult market and under the most challenging conditions given everyone’s access to what many people think is “free” music. Today, there are over 500 legitimate music businesses where you can buy music online. They are said to offer their customers over 20 million tracks of different tunes from artists ranging from Belgian Monk chants to Thelonious Monk and the Monkeys. These businesses are making some headway and can hang their hats on some major accomplishments. For example, the music  service Spotifyis booming in Northern European countries while on the continent its number of subscribers has grown by more than 11%.

The music industry is counting on cooperation from various sources, official, and from biggest names in the tech industry, such as Google, who have agreed to a copyright alert system that sends warnings out to its users that are suspected of pirating-away music illegally. The music industry was a big proponent of the recently shot-down legislation in the U.S. to stop online piracy, known as SOPA. A spokesman for the music industry expressed deep disappointment with the shelving of the legislation and for the technology industry taking such an overemotional stance against it.

Legislative action or warnings from the ISP’s can’t bring back the music market overall, which has lost over 50% of the market in the last decade. At this point, those involved are just trying to hold onto what they can and to try to get everyone on an even playing field going forward. The problem however isn’t always about the tilt of the field as much as getting everyone on the field in the first place.

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My take:

It will be harder and harder to get a handle on this problem because the technology will always move faster than the rules and regulations trying to stay ahead of the problem. At some point the paradigm in the arts will have to change drastically so that those that provide us with so much enjoyment and education through their music and other art forms will be properly compensated so that they can afford to continue.

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Other Resources

Being Flexible with Business Arrangements

A lot of people seem to do the same thing all the time in their job and with their interactions with clients or business partners, but that isn’t necessarily something that has to be done on a regular basis the same exact way absolutely every time. By employing auditing software, an individual can figure out how best to arrange various projects so that they’re going to be handled as fast and efficiently as possible while also offering a way to be more flexible when the time comes for change. The best companies will always be malleable as far as standard processes are concerned.

Strange Noises with a Drive

Computers often make many different sounds from whirling noises to beeps and these are usually normal when they happen on a regular basis, but when a person starts to hear some strange scraping or whirling that has never come out of their machine before, it’s important to shut the computer down immediately and allow a Austin data recovery company to take a look at it because the drive could be broken and continued usage could result in permanent loss of data or damage to the overall machine in which the drive is installed or is connected to.

Reducing Wait Time

The faster someone gets to talk to a human being when calling customer service or a help line at a company, the more apt they are to be able to describe their problem without getting mad and for companies that might have to deal with high call volumes, an answering service can help because people will be offered suggestions ahead of time for basic problems while more advanced problems can be patched on through to the secondary level of customer support where bigger problems can be solved. The bottom line is, the best conversations are always had with short wait times.

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Posted by: admin in Services on January 25th, 2012
Cited: CNN

Every Super Bowl seems bigger and better than the last. From TV ratings to the must-see commercials during the game to the halftime show, everything always seems to be a little grander. This year is no exception and that includes the array of paraphernalia related to the New York Giants and New England Patriots that you can buy;  hats, t-shirts, official jerseys, footballs, socks, undergarments, you name it and you’ll find it, and it will have the logo of either team, or both, somewhere on the item. And that’s just what has the feds attention. This year, while everything at Super Bowl XLV will be bigger and better, so will the amount of counterfeited contraband being sold by merchants everywhere.

Any item with a team logo, or the NFL logo, that is not sanctioned by, and therefore paid royalties to the respective team and organization is illegal; and this year there will be a lot of illegal gear being sold at the game. Last year, federal agents seized more than $3.56 million worth of illegal Super Bowl related items, and this year, given the popularity of both teams, the haul should be much more.  Among last year’s haul were sweatshirts, cell phone covers, and over 15,000 team jerseys.

So how are you to know that something isn’t on the up and up? Super Bowl officials point out that usually you can tell by the shoddy workmanship, odd stitching, flimsy materials used, and the cost of the item. If you’re getting a NY Giants jersey for $25 when you know full well that the real McCoy runs at least $100, chances are that you are buying a knock-off. Also, if the person selling the goods is on wheels or behind the corner of a building, he or she might be hiding for a reason; that being that the feds are close behind looking to close up their shop.

And its not just jerseys and t-shirts that are being reproduced by the underground market surrounding the Big Game, with ticket prices in the hundreds and thousands of dollars, counterfeit tickets are all over the place so buyer beware. If you’re not getting your tickets from an officially sanctioned outlet like the team offices or StubHub, or TicketMaster, you are taking a big risk that come day you might be watching the game in the parking lot, and with a much lighter wallet.

The last four Super Bowls, which included the first match between the New York Giants and the New England Patriots, netted over $6 million in fake memorabilia and almost 70,000 items. This year’s haul is likely to add significantly to the totals.

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My take:

Where do they put all the stuff they seize? It’s no surprise to find that people will be trying to make some money off the game if they can. Its been happening forever and it will continue. Hell, my first concert t-shirt from the Allman Bros, in Jersey City in 1976 was a knock-off. Still have it!

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Other Resources

Understanding When to Upgrade a Lawn

For individuals who are looking to make their yard look great often need to do a small amount of studying to make sure that they are obtaining the right sort of Bergen County landscaping materials, but another item to consider is the fact that there are definitely some times that are better than others to perform various landscaping projects. While it might seem as though the spring would be the best time to do everything, sometimes different seasons are better for the installation, removal or modification of various elements of the yard that are slated to be upgraded.

Personality Tests and Hiring

There are a lot of people who like to take personality tests on a regular basis just to see what such a test might say about the inner workings of their mind, but some employers are apparently using things like the Myers-Briggs test to determine whether certain people might be a good candidate for hire. And apparently there are now thousands of personality tests that have flooded the internet which has likely watered down the effectiveness of such tests that aren’t otherwise crafted from professional research into the world of personality and how it impact’s a person’s ability to do their job.

Repairing Leaks Quickly

There are a lot of people who find that they have a leak somewhere in their plumbing and don’t get around to calling up a local Pasadena plumbing company until there has been some irreparable damage done to the pipes or the home and for this reason it is important to make sure that plumbing problems are taken care of as soon as possible. Nobody likes paying more than they have to for things that need repairing and failing to repair plumbing issues quickly is a swift way to make the repair more expensive in the long run.

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Posted by: admin in Retail on January 25th, 2012

Cited: MSNBC

It’s hard to believe that the Jelly Belly gourmet version of the jelly bean has been around since the mid-1970′s. It’s even harder to remember who invented the Jelly Belly brand in the first place, a reality that is even harder to take for David Klein, Mr. Jelly Belly himself.

Way back when, Klein was a nut salesman who had the notion that people would probably be willing to pay much more for the common jelly bean if they actually tasted better. So, with a modest stake and a good idea he teamed up with a local candy maker and the result was the Jelly Belly; little candy confections that instead of tasting like some sweet, nondescript gel surrounded by a hard sugar shell, the Jelly Belly made its mark by actually tasting like the flavors they were purported to be. From berries and peanut butter to peppers and popcorn, the Jelly Belly became the gourmet version of an old classic, and a hit with everyone, including President Ronald Reagan. Hell, they even traveled in outer space aboard a NASA mission.

But, where did the inventor of the Jelly Belly go?  The man who was once seen surrounded by or clustered with mass quantities of his product in advertisements everywhere for some reason faded into the vats while his product became one of the most recognizable candy treats on the shelves of every store in America.  The simple answer is that in 1980, Klein and his partner in the business sold their interest in Jelly Belly for $4.8 million and then he was gone from the picture.

Since that time family members and Klein himself says that it was a big mistake to sell the business and that in retrospect, he sold at a rock bottom price. His life since then has been painful, some of which is captured in a documentary made by his son called, “Candyman: The David Klein Story.” His son recalls that as a kid, things had gotten so bad at home he would stop telling everyone that his father was the inventor of the Jelly Belly.

Things have been on the upswing for Klein of late and unlike some of his other forays into oddball candies since selling Jelly Belly, his most recent candy stories involve him working for another candy maker and his newest idea, Farts; he has a penchant for the quirky. In addition, Klein is also planning on bringing back another version of gourmet jelly beans called, Beyond Gourmet jelly beans, which Klein says will make people wonder what they ever saw in a Jelly Belly.

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My take:

I had no idea about the history of the Jelly Belly and David Klein. Makes you wonder about how much he might’ve made and how much happier he’d be if he didn’t sell out. I definitely want to see the documentary.

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Other Resources

Size of a Door

There are what seems to be a rather significant number of doors out there that come ready-made for entrances and doorways within the home and this means that if someone isn’t looking for custom iron doors that they can very well locate an iron door without a lot of problems because their home might of a standard size. Of course, this doesn’t mean that some measuring shouldn’t always be performed. Measuring the amount of room required for a door is additionally important because changes in the space might be made anyway which could impact door choice.

For People who Have Everything

Some individuals are rather lucky in how many things they own and are able to purchase due to an inheritance or a nice paycheck each month and for someone who is searching for a gift for this person, it could be rather difficult to figure out what gift might be best since that person probably already has access to a significant amount of stuff anyway. This is where personalizing something can be a good idea because even if someone has a bracelet with gems on it, getting hand stamped jewelry with those gems attached is a nice idea because it’s a gift that took effort to design.

Mixed Use for Tires

Sometimes a company will own a fleet of vehicles that’s involved in a rather singular type of usage and for anyone who is interested in how they might be able to utilize their vehicles for multiple applications, today’s replacement items for trucks are often rated for use in multiple areas with no modifications to those items required once they are placed on the vehicle. For example, Iowa commercial truck tires will often be designed to last a long time but will also be appropriate for a number of industrial uses as well so they can accomplish more than a single job.

Sun Protection is Important

Most people have been admonished enough in their life to be made aware that it’s important to always use sun protection options when going out for any length of time, but natural skin care doesn’t have to be thick and something that feels like a mask when going outside with one’s skin protected from dangerous UV rays. Today’s skincare creators have been much more aware of how important sun protection that isn’t otherwise invasive has become. Most of the time simply testing a variety of sun protection options is enough as a great option will be found without too much hassle.

Custom Made Jewelry

For brides who want to pull out all the stops when it comes to getting the best jewelry for their wedding, one of the best ideas is to have the bridal wedding jewelry entirely made by a custom designer. Although these options sometimes isn’t cheap, for a woman who is really looking to sparkle on her wedding, being entirely creative in every area of the wedding including the design of things that might otherwise have just been purchased from a store is a perfect way to offer up some intense creativity and personalization into the experience.

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Posted by: admin in Legal on January 25th, 2012

Cited: CNN

An investigation by the FBI of the East Haven, Ct., police department has led to the arrest of three police officers and one sergeant. The charges against them are based on their profiling, harsh treatment, and illegal arrest of Latinos in their community as well as obstruction of justice charges stemming from their efforts to block the investigation into these crimes. The charges against the officers include incidents where it is alleged that they threatened and assaulted Latinos after they were already under arrest, that they arrested others without cause, and that later they engaged in a cover-up of their actions when they learned of the Department of Justice investigation into these cases.

The indictment handed down by the grand jury in Bridgeport, Ct., alleges that Sgt. John Miller and officers David Cari, Dennis Spaulding, and Jason Zulio conspired to “injure, oppress, threaten, and intimidate various members of the East Haven community. The indictment goes further to say that the officers engaged in racial profiling in stopping a disproportionate number of Latinos at traffic stops, performed illegal searches during these stops, as well as having harassed Latino business owners and community members representing these business owners.

Two of the people arrested by the East Haven police have accused the officers of slamming their heads against concrete walls while in their custody, and that they were arrested under false pretenses in the first place. Another alleges that he was punched by one office while handcuffed while two other officers propped him up for the other officer to hit him.

Mayor of East Haven, Joseph Maturo, expressed his angst over the proceedings saying that it is a shame that this had to come down to arresting the officers and that all of them are innocent until proven guilty. When asked what he intended to do to address the Latino community in East Haven, Mayor Maturo mocked both the questioner and the Latino community in replying, “I don’t know. Maybe I’ll have tacos tonight.”

The Department of Justice has been looking into allegations of discrimination by the East Haven Police Department against the Latino community since 2009 and in a recently released report by the federal agency they found the police in East Haven to be engaging in discriminatory policing against Latinos.

There are no Latino police officers in the East Haven police department, a reality that Mayor Maturo also dismissed at immaterial. The East Haven community is predominately white (88.5%) with blacks/African American representing approximately 3% of East Haven residents and Latinos 10.3%. Recent statistics from the East Haven police department show that nearly 40.5% of one officer’s traffic stops were of Latino drivers while overall the department’s number of traffic stops of Latino drivers was nearly 20%.

In addition, the officers are accused of conducting unauthorized immigration investigations into many of the people arrested and within the community as a means to harass and intimidate rather than as part of normal police work in the community.

To head off future problems, Mayor Maturo, has met with community members, and other concerned law enforcement officials to retrain the East Haven police department and to redraft the police handbook, which had not been updated since 1972.

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My take:

Bullies with badges. I hope that if found guilty of the charges they receive the maximum penalty and that they lose all benefits and pension. The only thing worse than crime and the price paid by the victims of crime, is crime committed by those entrusted to uphold the law; those who take an oath to serve and protect the citizens of their community…not prey upon the ones they don’t like too much.

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Other Resources

Complexities of Trial

When a person has to go to trial that will involve a case in criminal court, there are several different things that happen as a part of the regular schedule for a court case and a San Mateo County criminal attorney would be able to explain to the defendant all of the different yet important items that would go into a standard court case. For example, everyone doesn’t simply just show up for the trial to have it commence. There are many meetings between the defendant and the judge in a trial setting including pretrial motions and sentencing along with the trial itself.

Opening the Probate Estate

There are actually around eight steps that would need to be completed in order to officially open a probate case with the local state court entity, but it’s possible a Denver Colorado estate lawyer would be able to reduce the time required in this process if a Last Will and Testament was not otherwise filed. If a will was indeed filed, at the first reading of the will it would be a good idea to make general notes about the text within the will so as to iron the details out swiftly.  The reading of a will usually isn’t quite as dramatic as it is in the movies.

Personal Injury Depositions

A personal injury case is different from the type of criminal court case that a person might be familiar with from seeing television and movies about lawyers in that it takes place in civil court and will involve Colorado personal injury lawyers instead of a team of criminal lawyers. One aspect of a civil trial that involves personal injury is the idea that a deposition will be part of the trial and that a person will be asked questions in an official setting which will include an interview from opposing counsel that will be recorded for posterity by a court reporter.

Offering Rewards for Information

There has been an increase in recent years of private companies starting to engage in the same sort of behavior as the police with certain legal entities starting to offer rewards for information that brings a criminal to justice. In the case of a person who has been hit by a car where there was a significant injury and the vehicle driver fled the scene forcing a person to obtain a Greenwood Village personal injury attorney, it has become more common to see that a reward would have been offered from multiple groups to ensure the driver was caught.

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Posted by: admin in Healthcare on January 25th, 2012

Cited: CNN

The number of cases of people diagnosed with autism, and the percentage of children born with autistic disorders seems to increase every year and now reaching alarming high numbers.  However, defining autism, and who has autism, or displays symptoms of this disorder is not as clear as some might believe. Recognizing the need to re-define autism, the American Psychiatric Association, is updating what it defines as autistic disorders in it’s handbook called the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM, the bible of the psychiatric field.

The changes are being prompted by greater understanding of autism gained in the recent past given the increasing number of children seemingly born with autism as well as practical considerations having more to do with the business of psychiatric care than the treatment of this disorder. The DSM is the handbook when it comes to deciding what is and what is not a psychiatric disorder and further, who qualifies for insurance coverage for the treatment of these illnesses. Therefore, having a working definition for an illness that has become so pervasive is of the utmost importance.

Autism is a complicated illness, and one for which the medical community still is hard pressed to say what the causes of the disease are. Especially vexing about autism is that people suffering from this brain disorder display various levels of mental prowess and capacity for complicated thought and computation. The stories about autistic people that have incredible recall ability for things such as historical dates, exact recall, and complex math problems are commonplace. On the other hand, the more common experience for families that have loved one suffering from autism is their detachment from their surroundings and their obsession with repetitive actions and body movements, and their shunning of physical contact.

With such a wide chasm of behaviors displayed by those with severe autism versus those that seem to be able to function, and some at very high levels, the psychiatric community is in the process of making sure that everyone agrees on the definition of this extremely perplexing mental disorder. However, when it comes to mental disorders, coming up with an exact definition is not as easy as it might appear on the surface.  Medical professionals will tell you that at its very core the problem with defining any mental illness is in finding where to draw the line between normal behavior and the fringe of mental illness.  Specifically as to how this relates to autism, the spectrum of symptoms ranges from the child that seems to be somewhat introverted, an outsider from his peers to those with severe symptoms that are obvious to everyone. Where does the medical professional draw the line to say that the “offbeat” child is simply and offbeat, or that he or she has symptoms of autism?

The problem in defining autism becomes even more complex when you consider that far more people have mild forms of autism than severe, so being careful to diagnose their behaviors correctly is critical in their care, treatment, and of course medical coverage for these services.

One of the main things that the new definitions in the DSM hopes to do is to change the criteria; those mild cases at one end of the autism spectrum will no longer be declared autistic. Many in the medical community feel that the increasing number of children being diagnosed with mild forms of the disease probably are not autistic and that by making the criteria for the diagnosis stricter, the trend that has been seen in recent years of every more cases arising will be reversed. Advocates of this re-definition point to examples of people who, years ago, were considered odd, or eccentric, many of whom now might be diagnosed with a mild form of autism.

Of course there are others who feel that changing the definition will cut services off to many that truly have mild forms of autism and who benefit from the treatments that they receive. Cutting them off from these services by re-defining autism threatens to turn back the clock to some extent in trying to get to the bottom of this disease and providing care for everyone that has even the most mild form of it.

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My take:

It sounds like a very complicated problem and with good reason. There are so many more children being diagnosed with autism these days that either something is going wrong with the gene pool, our environment, or some other mitigating factor, or as the psychiatric community believes, too many children with even the most mild cognitive issues are being diagnosed as autistic. As long as the changes are motivated by science and not the insurance companies looking out for their bottom line I think it is a good thing.

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Other Resources

Men Considering Plastic Surgery

Just as plastic surgery procedures for women have become less taboo and many women who have such procedures are quite open about what they’ve had done, it would appear that more men in recent years are looking to visit a Panama City Florida plastic surgeon and obtain information on potential procedures as it’s becoming quite important for men to look their best in today’s extremely competitive job market where they have a lot of competition from much younger looking men. There are some men who have suggested that having plastic surgery is definitely a way to obtain an edge in the workplace.

Regulations Might Come for E-Cigarettes

The arrival of the electronic cigarette was hailed by many as a significant option for quitting real smoking and even though it was once labeled a fad that would soon die out just as other smoking alternatives have in the past, the e cigarette has only grown in popularity, which has placed the device on the radar of many state governments. There are now efforts in many municipalities to place some restrictions or regulation on the electronic cigarette industry as it continues to grow in popularity and become part of the mainstream smoking industry and community.

Locating Assets Quickly

One of the challenges that has existed regarding the ability of individuals to create an easy way to obtain often needed materials is the idea that healthcare supply chain management has always had problems obtaining rather specific items with ease. And this has led modern systems designers to implement certain methods for prioritizing various issues that have a tendency to come up more often than other issues that are rarer. But these systems and methods have had to also be prioritized on the idea that some issues are direr than others and as such, deserve higher priority even if they are rare.

Advanced Activities of Daily Life

There are some basic functions that a person must be able to handle in order to take care of their own person each day, but there are also some additionally advanced activities that might require a Coconut Creek Florida home care assistant to ensure that an elderly or infirm person is able to stay in their own home instead of being placed within a long term care facility. Such advanced types of daily living will include things such as taking medications on time, doing necessary housework, making meals and obtaining groceries and clothes when needed.

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Posted by: admin in Finance on January 24th, 2012

Cited: MSNBC

In some circles, any conversation about the U.S. economy is likely to include a tirade about how the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank is overstepping its boundaries and exceeding the scope of its power in trying to revive the fiscal and monetary health of the U.S. economy. This group is decidedly of the mind that the FRB should focus entirely on keeping inflation under wraps while taking care of monetary policy alone. Their  argument is not without merit. On the other hand, FRB Chairman Ben Bernanke and a lot of his colleagues at the Fed are knee-deep into their actions to assist with job creation and economic growth, and he might get even less resistance about his easy money policy and hand in fiscal policy from within the FRB shortly.

Within the greater framework of the Federal Reserve Bank and the governors of the various fed districts represented on the Fed’s policy making committee, are a rotating group of ten voting FRB governors who decide on policy changes and approaches taken by the U.S. central bank. When the FRB meets for the first time this year, the voting members on the open-market will change and analysts expect that the new governors will be more likely to side with Chairman Bernanke than some of their colleagues who voted against many of his proposals last year. In fact, during the last round of action taken by the Fed to buy longer term securities on the open market in an effort to lower long term interest rates, a policy called quantitative easing, three of the ten voters dissented, the first time this has occurred in over twenty years of policy at the FRB.

There is a worry among many Fed governors as well as public and private industry analysts, lawmakers, and academics, that all of the stimulus packages being thrown at the economy in an effort to revive growth and put more people back to work will have the unintended consequence of sparking inflation in the not-too-distant future. And they fear that once that genie is out of the bottle, there’s no getting it back in.

The Fed governors that voted against Bernanke’s quantitative easy plan are now being rotated out of open policy committee and their replacements are said to be much more in line with the view that the Fed, while primarily charged with the monetary health of the economy, must continue to provide liquidity to the financial system while keeping interest rates under wraps for the foreseeable future.

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My take:

At some point the Fed is pushing way to far, pushing on a string as it were. Perhaps the emphasis should be on putting some pressure on the financial community to take some of the capital that they are being given at or near zero percent interest rates from the FED and put it to work in the economy. They are using the funds to line their pockets, which is not the intention behind the Fed’s easy money policy. Right now inflation isn’t much of a problem with productivity worldwide increasing but part of that is because of the complete gutting of the middle class and their ability to demand a living wage.

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Other Resources

Reducing Taxes Owed

There are likely a lot of people who get to the end of the tax year and realize that they are going to need to pay a lot more taxes than they anticipated and when this happens, it’s usually a good idea to speak with a tax attorney to see if there’s anything that might have been changed on the original tax form so as to reduce the taxes owed. One interesting thing that people should remember is the fact that just because taxes have already been filed doesn’t mean that a person can’t otherwise figure out how to reduce the amounts owed.

Getting a Great Rate

When negotiating the price of a particular item that is to be purchased for a business, it’s often the case that suggesting a purchase might be made in cash or not revealing that collateral equipment leasing might be used for the purchase would be the best method employed for getting a great price on an item. One of the interesting things about getting a good rate on a purchase is that a seller will be locked into a price if a cash quote is obtained first and financing obtained later on as a seller can’t increase the price simply due to financing.

Changing a Business Structure

At a certain point in a company’s growth cycle, it might become necessary to change the overall structure of the business to accommodate growth and expansion and this often requires an infusion of business cash to accomplish, especially if the company is only a few years old and doesn’t have significant cash reserves to put toward making such significant changes within the company’s structure. Common changes regarding business structure might involve the switch from a sole proprietorship to a partnership or a partnership to a corporation. There is also the idea of modifying a partnership to a limited liability company as well.

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Posted by: admin in Education on January 24th, 2012

Cited: Google News

In one inner city Chicago high school nearly one thousand students wait, and wait, and wait, for their turn on one of the 24 computers shared by all of them. In many of the communities where these children live a computer in the home is not even close to the top of the priorities for the limited money keeping the family afloat so when they go to school and still do not have reasonable access to the most basic technology, a PC, it is very frustrating for them, and their teachers. The basic computer skills of these students in many cases can be minimal at best since they have no way to learn even the most simple functions like saving documents or setting up a report on a Word document. 

Educators across the country, especially those in low-income areas, are starting to call the gap between the technology available to some schools versus the utter lack of the same in theirs as the digital divide. The number of classrooms with access to the Internet, much less a high-speed Internet connection, presents an even bigger gap and puts these students even  further behind their peers as they are unable to use newer software that requires more Internet bandwidth.  The amount of money spend on technology in the classroom varies widely across the country since many more affluent areas are able to supplement their education budget dollars with donations and grants from private companies, their parents, and civic organizations. Inner city schools are often left to upgrade their technology with whatever is left in their dwindling schools budgets, all of which have been severely pared-back given the fiscal crisis most state and local communities are facing.

There is hope however, as Chicago has been selected by the Consortium for School Networking as one of a number of school districts in the U.S. for an initiative to expand digital media in education. Programs like these, which get technology working in the classroom, can have a life-changing effect on the student and the school overall with group projects such as building video games and Web sites helping the students to look at the technological changes taking place every day as opportunities for them and their futures. They become better students, more eager to face challenging material, and more interested in a wider scope of subjects than ever before.

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My take:

If we don’t knock down the walls between the haves and the have not’s when it comes to educating our children, the future for our country is in serious jeopardy. With the multiple millions of dollars spent on everything but investments in education, and more important than just money, the brainpower and collective, productive energy devoted to everything but education, it is no wonder that we find ourselves in this dilemma. As many have said when looking at the U.S schools system, “I fear for the future of the Republic.”

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Other Resources

Transitioning to Outdoor Volleyball

A lot of people will start out their fledgling volleyball career or hobby by playing the sport inside and it’s quite common for kids in elementary and junior high to play with a volleyball set that’s inside at the school gym whenever they are taught volleyball. But sometimes it’s a good idea for people who are looking to play volleyball as a team sport perhaps in high school or even beyond to look into playing the sport outside as well as inside due to the increase in different skills utilized when someone plays on sand instead of a court.

Getting Prepared to do Pilates

There are many people who absolutely adore the various types of Yoga and Pilates that have become popular in the past several years and for the most part, using a Pilates DVD or other instructional video at home is just as effective as long as someone prepares properly and does the exercises as expected by the creators of the lessons. And doing basic things for the setup is important as well such as wearing some comfortable clothes that are made for Pilates movement and getting a nice mat on which to do the exercises so they are comfortable.

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Posted by: admin in Business on January 24th, 2012

Cited: CNN

When ex-pats from China go back home for a visit, a lot of them say they are bombarded with questions about investment opportunities and businesses opportunities in the United States.  Not too long ago, Chinese nationals returning home for a visit were treated to the usual family dinner and time spent catching up with friends and acquaintances. The conviviality would soon turn to business with local Chinese businessmen clamoring for ideas to get American dollars invested in China. From medical equipment, cooking utensils, golf courses and the latest energy drinks on the market, Chinese businessmen were presenting every opportunity they could think of to American investors.  But now the conversation has changed, at least to some extent. With China experiencing an economic boom, and their coffers filled with U.S. dollars, Chinese investors are looking for good business opportunities in the U.S. for their money.

One of the most visible signs of China’s growing appetite to put capital to work in overseas markets is in the higher level of their outward direct investment (ODI)in other countries. While the developed economies of the West have been decline for much of the last five years, China’s investment in these countries has increased to $68 billion, fifth highest ODI in the world. For the first time China has leaped over the ODI of Japan and the UK, traditionally high overseas investors. Chinese officials expect that China’s ODI will continue to grow substantially and within three years they predict that China’s ODI will exceed investments coming into China from other countries. In addition to a glut of their Western currency looking for a productive home, the impetus behind China’s capital outflow can also be traced to revisions in their ODI laws five years ago, at which time officials eased restrictions and thereby opened up the overseas investment market to many large and  medium sized private Chinese businesses.

The shift to more private Chinese investors pouring money overseas has an interesting component and one that is far different than the state-sponsored investment flows that have dominated China ODI projects in the past. While more official Chinese dollars have been directed at projects associated with the long-term growth and development issues China will face in the future, such as the need for more and more raw materials and advanced technology, private investors seem to have more of an appetite for smaller, private businesses such as in setting up local distributors for their products and setting up satellite centers to re-export their goods. Another reason for privately held Chinese investment capital making its way out of the country, and in particular, to the U.S., is the very strict and immature local investment markets in China, most of which are dominated by huge government run state enterprises. The markets in the U.S. offer the private Chinese investor a host of positive elements not found at home or in a lot of other markets, such as, well-developed capital markets, an independent legal system, advanced technology, and a highly skilled, highly educated workforce.

Investment overseas sounds like a reasonable way for China and Chinese investors to diversify their economy and to weather the financial storm in most areas of the world, but its not that easy. Regulatory authorities in both the U.S. and China are taking a hard look at every deal with one side wanting to keep a lid on money flows to the U.S. while for its part the U.S. wants to guard against breaches to national security that could follow from China buying into or buying up a company involved in high-tech projects usually associated with security.

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M y take:

Business always seems to have a habit of making for strange bedfellows and in the case of China and the U.S., these bunk mates are no strangers. Its probably a good thing for relations with China going forward if our economic well-being is more closely tied to one and other. Its also a good thing if we are also linked in other ways like culturally and socially so that misconceptions and false propaganda about both fade into time.

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