Timesheets Verses Time Tracking – What You Need to Know!

Let's face it, if you can not measure it, then you've got absolutely no way to control it. This adage is true for most things, but none more so than for time, which is why there is such a huge timesheet industry. But what's involved when you collect time, and why should a business bother … Continue reading “Timesheets Verses Time Tracking – What You Need to Know!”

Let's face it, if you can not measure it, then you've got absolutely no way to control it. This adage is true for most things, but none more so than for time, which is why there is such a huge timesheet industry.

But what's involved when you collect time, and why should a business bother with this process. What are the pros and cons, and are there any pitfalls? Lots of questions which is why this paper will focus on the main types of data collection, and the possible choice you should make for your business.

So why bother collecting time in the first place. This is really the crux of the matter, and when you get down to it, there are many reasons.

1. So you can correctly bill your clients for the work you've done. For example, if you've spent 2 hours re-designing a web page, then you need to bill your client for those 2 hours of your time, else you will not get paid. You could of course have a fixed cost, which also works, but in general most business charge by the hour.

2. Process improvement is another key reason why you should be collecting time data, using a decent time tracking software, or at the very least a simple timesheet solution, like pen and paper. However, read on as there are ways to collect time, and then there is the way.

3. Theft of time is possible the most compelling reason for some organizations to collect time – so the effectiveness of their employees can be measured, and the lazy ones weeded out. Harsh, but a fact of life.

Let's take a look at three simple ways to measure time.

1. Online Timesheets: A variant to the Site Timesheet system (below), whereby a typical user may logon on to a centralized server, using their web browser, and enter their time usage into a live web page.

2. Site Timesheets: Timesheets are a favourite and go back years and years, quite possible even to the birth of the modern industrial era with Mr. Henry T Ford and rationalization. Modern timesheets are electronic these days, and the onus is on the user to complete the timesheet when prescribed.

3. Time Tracking Software: If you want to jump to what's hip and modern then today its time tracking solutions. Time tracking is a more modern approach to the problem of measuring time. Instead of completing timesheets, the process is automated in software, allowing the user to focus on the job at hand.

3 different ways to measure time, but are they all the same? Do they have the same pros and cons? /

Regrettably, the answer is no. For all types of timesheets, be that online timesheets or pen and paper, there are some inherent problems, especially when juxtaposition against time tracking solutions.

For example, relying on your staff to complete a timesheet is still very much a manual process be that paper or electronic. You still have to say what you've been doing, who the job was for and how long it took you. While very popular with service industries, this technique is very poor at capturing all the time used within a business setting, and can suffer as much as 30 to 40% loss in productivity.

The alternative, would be time tracking software solutions. This as a method of time attendance, has none of the drawbacks and inherent problems long associated with timesheet software, in general gathering more accurate data, giving a more meaningful insight into the business using the software.

In all, when you come to make a choice between electronic timesheets, or possibly even online timesheets, do be sure to checkout the latest in computing technology, and test drive the more modern time tracking solutions, you may find the experience more worth while than you would think.

Wastewater Color – How to Use Color to Test Wastewater

The color of wastewater is an important indicator of the type and the nature of the effluents in it. In this article I reveal how wastewater color can be employed to identify the effluent and determine the right treatment methods.

The color of the wastewater is an indication that it contains contaminants of different materials and in varying concentrations. Some of these materials are chemical in nature. These are mostly industrial effluents discharged from factories. In such cases, the metallic ions present in these effluents impart different colors and in different hues depending on their strength and polluting potential.

The other types of effluents in wastewater that impart color to it are organic in nature. These can be peat materials, different types of weeds, and humus. Plankton which can be present in large quantities can color the wastewater.

Another reason behind the coloration of wastewater is an increase in the value of the pH of the wastewater. Hence wastewater treatment chemistry makes use of the wastewater color to identify and then apply the right treatment method. For example, when comparing samples of wastewater with color charts, a colored sample that is used, is made by combining COCL2 and Potassium Chloroplatinate. The results are usually divided between True Color and Apparent Color.

True Color:

Wastewater color that is obtained after the suspended particles have been filtered is called as True Color. Technically it is the color of non turbid wastewater.

Apparent Color:

When the color of the original wastewater sample is considered, then it is called as the Apparent Color. This sample is taken from wastewater that has not been filtered or of the sample that has not been subjected to a centrifugal force to separate the suspended contaminants.

The effluents discharged from industries which are mostly in the form of colloidal solutions as well as suspended particles, is the principle reason the industrial wastewater is colored. Hence to treat this industrial effluent, both the Apparent Color and the True Color test results are considered.

Credit Restoration – Using Section 609 of the FCRA to Restore NOT Repair Credit

A simple, relatively unknown but proven legal strategy can be implemented to raise FICO scores 60 to 120 points. In 1999, H. Bruce McInnis Jr. in Maine looked at Section 609 of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and noticed something that, to his knowledge, nobody had ever noticed before; 609 (c) (2) (E): "A consumer reporting agency is not required to remove accurate derogatory information from a consumer's file, unless the information is outdated under section 605 or can not be verified."

If accurate derogatory information in the consumer's file can not be verified, the reporting agency is required to remove it. This law requires every company that reports credit events, not just the original creditor companies, to be able to produce verifiable proof of the negative event. It holds the credit reporting agencies accountable for the negative information they pass on. This is obviously related to the right of debtors to challenge the accuracy of negative events reported on them. The intent of the government was to protect debtors from having inaccurate information used against them.

The burden of proof is not entirely on the original creditors. All parties reporting this data are responsible for its accuracy. The companies that report credit events, besides the original creditors, are the credit bureaus; principally Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. Did they maintain verifiable records of people's debts? Mr. McInnis started challenging the credit bureaus to verify the negative credit events in the credit reports of his clients by producing a copy of the Original Creditor's Documentation. He did not challenge the accuracy of these events, just used a legal strategy to challenge the credit bureaus ability to verify their accuracy. In effect, he used Section 609 of the law to demand the credit bureaus justify their reporting. If they could not verify the data, they had no right to continue to maintain it on their credit reports. The credit bureaus began to comply. They removed the negative events from the credit records.

The credit reporting agencies do not maintain original document records of credit applications and events. They do not have a signature on a Visa card application. They do not have a signature on a car loan application. They do not have a signature on a bankruptcy filing. All they have are electronic blips in their databases. They simply accept what the creditors have reported to them about debtors. Even though the debtor knows it's accurate, the credit bureaus do not. They can not verify the accuracy of a single piece of data in their database.

The credit bureaus are regulated by the government due to the nature of their business, but it's important to understand they are private companies. They are not legally or morally obligated to report anything on anyone. For example, most people know that most negative events remain on a credit report for seven years (ten years for Chapter 7 bankruptcies). This is not a legal requirement. In fact, they could take all bankruptcies off all records tomorrow, if they chose to. They are simply not allowed by law to report these events for more than seven years (or ten). They're not forced to report them at all.

Of course, it's their business. That's why they do it. But they have a choice and when forced to verify the data they report they will choose to take negative events off. Essentially, credit restoration does not eliminate negative credit events. It does make them in effect "invisible" to anyone looking at a credit report and this of course is reflected in the credit score.

Celebrity Life Is not What It Seems and Not Always A Party

It is a common assumption among the public that celebrities are born with a silver spoon, and they have lavish lifestyles, popularity, love, peace, joy, fun, riches, and high celebrity net worth. For ordinary people, the grass is always greener on the other side, but the truth is, however, completely opposite of what a common person sees. There are both advantages and disadvantages of being a celebrity and people are only able to see one side of a coin. The other side is full of thorns, and it is a fact.

Disadvantages

  1. The freedoms of celebrities are restricted. Imagine Beyonce, Justine Beiber or Robert Pattison going out for a stroll, supermarket or a park. What will happen? They never know in which corner their anxious, eager admirers, followers, and photographers are waiting to rush and swamp them. They can also be literally ambushed by their fans if they step out of their home or hotel without sufficient security. In order to avoid such scenarios, they will have to confine themselves inside their home or hotel, and live on their own. They can not hope to lead a normal life as a common man and enjoy the pleasure of visiting a park, mall or super market, taking a walk, visiting neighbors, lying down on a beach, going out to a theater, neighborhood restaurant or a night club. They confine themselves in their own secluded world, amidst the closest ones.
  2. The celebrities always face the risk of molestation , stalking, groping, deceit, and harassment in their everyday life, because it is a matter of time when the fans may overstep the thin line, and commit these nuisances. The heightened passions among the admirers may even lead to dire consequences and physical harms. They also have to be on-guard every minute of the day from being duped by the unscrupulous people, agents, producers, and friends.
  3. Staying aloof in own secluded world leads to loneliness and emptiness. Celebrities feel hurt and depressed, and frequent feelings of nothingness. They describe their life as a void and abyss, without any charm or pleasure. Their emptiness is hunger for neighbors, genuine friends, natural living, and life as a common man where they can laugh, play, and enjoy like others. On occasions, the loneliness is so overwhelming they feel there is something missing in their life. The loneliness can also lead to craving for drugs, boozes, and other depressants that can be hazardous to their health, and overdose can even kill them.
  4. Celebrities are always under the scanner of their fans, magazines, newspapers, tabloids, blogs and electronic media. The false scandalous news, lies, defamation and slanders are common in the life of a celebrity. Such false propaganda can bring down their popularity among their fans and producers, and damage their reputation and profession.
  5. Celebrities lack privacy. Internet and tabloids are full of videos and photos displaying private and outdoor life of the celebrities. Their everyday life is always under the scanner of 'celebrity' or 'people' journalism, and their every action or activity is splashed over the tabloid pages. People also crave for news on the personal life of celebrities, and to satisfy the needs of the people and fans, many national tabloid newspaper, gossip magazines, and gossip columnists have sprung up for publishing hot news. These tabloids are always on a look out for the scandals and private lives of celebrities. The advent of cell phones with cameras, hidden cameras, and voice recorders have further jeopardized the privacy of the celebrities because the tabloid reporters use these electronic devices to prying into the personal and private life of famous people.

However, becoming a celebrity is always a dream for many, irrespective of minus points. The success of a celebrity and their celebrity status can truly be compared with the Rose bush because the rose bushes also have thorns, and a simple rose grows among thorns. In the same way, few shortcomings can not deter people from wishing to be a celebrity, and enjoying fan following, fame and fortune, lavish lifestyle and affluence.

Medical Transcription – Tips to Improve Accuracy While Transcribing

Fast and error-free medical transcription service is the need of the hour. Physicians want transcripts in quick turnaround time (TAT). Many specify TAT which could be as be as short as 10 hours for electronic radiology reports. Typing fast to ensure the specified turnaround could result in errors and transcriptionists end up wasting time correcting these errors. Of course, some professionals would argue that correcting errors is easily accomplished with a spellchecker or backspacing on the computer. But think of the time you can save on these non-transcription activities if you can produce error-free transcripts the first time. In fact, accuracy is the key to success and higher productivity in transcription. Here are some important tips to help:

Listen to Whole Sentence before Transcribing it

Even if you have efficient transcribing software or machines, it is not a good practice to listen to a few words, pause the recording and transcribe just these words. Practices like this can result in more errors as you would not know in which context the word or words are used until the sentence is complete. For example, the abbreviation 'AF' is used for Atrial fibrillation, Atrial flutter and Amniotic fluid. It is not possible to understand for which condition this abbreviation is used unless you hear the complete sentence. If you assume a word, you are likely to make a mistake and would have to delete and retype it – a sheer waste of time. Basically while transcribing a Cardiology transcription note you do not want to transcribe a medical term used more commonly for Pediatric transcription.

So proceed (key) slowly and make sure there are no errors so that you do not have to make any changes. What is the best way to do this? Listen to what the doctor is saying, understand the exact context, pause the playback and type the sentence. This will allow you to catch the right meaning and type correctly. Listening does not mean merely hearing what is said, but understanding each word in the dictation. If you have the ability to understand different accents, this would definitely be a plus point.

Slow Down Typing Speed to Avoid Errors

Keying speed definitely increases the turnaround time of medical transcription. But typos or errors that occur due to fast typing will slow you down as you would have to spend time correcting them later. So you need slow down the typing speed and focus on what you are typing while listening to the dictation. This will help you to avoid errors and omissions. The time saved on correction can be used for more compensable work. However, this does not mean typing words too slowly. Type fast, but make sure that the speed is comfortable for you to recognize mistakes.

Set Auto-Backspace Short

It is true that auto-backspace in the dictation recorders available today is a great help. However, there is a problem with automatic-backspace on playback: it rewinds the tape or dictation whenever you stop and this can be a real waste of time as you would have to listen to a portion of dictation that you already transcribed once again. The solution is to set automatic backspace so that you only hear a single word after you stop.

A professional medical transcription company has trained and experienced medical transcriptionists with excellent language and listening skills who have the knowledge and skill to ensure accurate and timely transcripts. Physicians can certainly expect their productivity to go up when they partner with the right service provider.

Contribution of Different Disciplines to Leisure and Tourism Studies

Leisure and tourism studies are characterized by a diversity of approaches which come from different disciplines and use a variety of methods. As a result, studies often use an inter-disciplinary or multi-disciplinary approach, drawing on different frames of reference and different methodological approaches for conducting studies. To this end, researchers involved in doing research projects should take into consideration the research questions they want to answer based on the purpose of the research, such as whether to do a research study to build on the academic store of knowledge or to do a study for a professional client or business organization that is interested in research for marketing purposes. A researcher might regard these different approaches like a tool-kit which he or she can draw on, as appropriate, for doing a study on a particular topic for a particular purpose.

The different disciplines which have different approaches include these:

– The sociological approach, which has provided much of the foundation for leisure research, though much less for tourism studies. The sociological approach involves three major thrusts. One is doing social surveys, some of which is done for pragmatic reasons, and this is considered social research rather than truly academically-oriented sociological research. Such surveys involve a quantitative approach, based on using statistics and mathematical models of human behavior to make predictions about human behavior. This is sometimes called the "surveys and modeling approach." A second sociological approach seeks to explain why people behave as they do in choosing the leisure activities they engage in; it is designed to look at the meaning of leisure participation or non-participation to different groups of people. One such approach to discovering meaning is the existential and symbolic interaction approach, which considers the way people negotiate their leisure participation in light of their relationships of different types – from personal and social relationships to their relationships with their community and networks at work. Finally, a third sociological approach is the critical approach which has taken various forms. One is the neo-Marxist approach which has looked at the way in which individuals can act freely and the degree to which they are constrained and influenced by the structure of their society. A key aspect of this approach has been criticizing the capitalist system for exploiting or manipulating people within the system who have little power. Numerous streams of critical theory have influenced this perspective over the last few decades, including the feminist perspective that has looked at the way women have responded to leisure in light of their lesser power in society. Some other critical approaches have included postmodernism, which has explored the role of electronic communications and the cultural artifacts produced by it. It has been especially interested in the content of these expressions of culture rather than in the behavior of the people creating those cultural artifacts.

– The geographic approach, which have been especially interested in the way spaces and landscapes affect people's behavior and their perception of those spaces and landscapes, especially in making choices about their travel behavior. Geographers also look at the way people use different kinds of leisure facilities, such as national parks, gardens, playgrounds, and sports facilities.

– The economic approach, which looks at the economic valuation of different kinds of recreational and leisure facilities, such as outdoor recreation areas and arts facilities. One way researchers using the economic approach have measured results is by doing a cost-benefits analysis to examine the costs and benefits of particular facilities and programs to the public. Then, too, these researchers have examined the way pricing different leisure activities has affected demand, and the researchers have done demand forecasting studies in tourism to examine how much consumers are likely to spend on leisure activities in a particular location.

– The psychology / social psychology approach, which looks at the satisfactions people obtain from their leisure, their motivations leading them to participate in a particular form of leisure, how their relationships with others influences their participation, and how their perceptions affect their involvement in leisure activities. In particular, these researchers do research in four main areas: motivation and needs, satisfactions, the leisure state of mind, and the way personal characteristics, such as gender, age, culture, and personality affect leisure participation. They typically use self-completion questionnaires to survey subjects, such as tourists and students.

– The historical approach, which looks at historical trends in leisure and tourism, particularly in the US, Canada, and Europe.

– The anthropological approach, which has primarily looked at the effect of tourism on indigenous cultures.

– The political science approach, which involves examining the politics of making decisions about leisure activities in a particular locale. This approach has also considered the way tourism affects political behavior.

Pros and Cons of RFID Technology

I. RFID Advantages

Radio Frequency Identification provides a valuable service that is capable of revolutionizing the way companies track products. There are many benefactors of this technology: the military, retailers, suppliers, consulting firms, producers of the technology, and consumers. RFID provides companies with a better alternative to bar-coding because no line-of-sight is needed to read a pallet, a carton, or a product with a RFID tag. RFID tags also contain information on the product that is easily readable and accessible for the reader. RFID will also begin to automate company's supply chain, reducing labor costs, human error and time spent checking in products.

In 2005, manufacturers and suppliers requesting new bids from the military must be RFID compliant on four different levels: packaged operational rations, clothing, tools, and weapon system repair parts and components. The military requires that all cartons and pallets are shipped with a Military Shipping Label which displays shipping data. The Department of Defense has created the RFID Military Compliance Solution as a way to help suppliers and manufacturers meet the military's new standards for RFID. The program is run by Avery Dennison Retail Information Services, and they were commissioned by the RFID Military Compliance Solution. Avery Dennison Retail Information Services sells the RFID tags to companies which must be affixed close to the Military Shipping Labels to comply with Department of Defense regulations.

The US military is saving an enormous amount of money by using active and passive RFID systems. By using RFID for communication and transportation systems in Iraq and Afghanistan, the military is able to diagnose and fix problems much faster than before. The implementation of RFID in just this area will save the military close to half a million dollars this year. The US government has IBM contracted to do research on the current RFID being used currently in the military and the potential future applications for RFID in the military. The military has been successful in creating better visibility throughout their supply chain increasing their productivity and stability.

Retailers and other companies that have a demanding supply chain can gain an advantage on the field by using RFID in the supply chain. By demanding that all levels of their supply chain be RFID capable is a sizable investment. The productivity increase that follows the initial investment and implementation for companies will pay for their investment. Wal-Mart was the first retailer to use RFID in their distribution centers and warehouses, prompting many companies to follow in their footsteps once Wal-Mart's success was realized.

RFID is very successful with retail companies because it improves productivity, saves on human labor costs, and gives companies real-time visibility with all their products. RFID tags use an Electronic Product Code (EPC) which is an upgrade and a replacement for the Universal Product Code (UPC) system. "EPC has a 96-bit code that has digits to identify the manufacturer, product category and the individual item. Manufacturers obtain registration numbers & assign them to products. Each number is unique to a given item."

The cost of a tag is anywhere between twenty-five to fifty cents. In the next five to ten years it could be reduced to five cents per tag. At some point in the near future tags could fall to one cent tempting companies to use RFID tags on every product in a store. Wal-Mart says that since their stores now have RFID, it makes it easier to keep store shelves stocked allowing employees to interact with customers.

Target was able to save on their investment for implementing RFID, following in Wal-Mart's footsteps as Wal-Mart had already paved the way and suffered the pitfalls of implementing a new technology. In addition to the lower implementation costs, many of Target's suppliers had already begun preparing for the switch over to RFID assuming Target would follow Wal-Mart. Target as a large retailer knows how important it is to be able to provide real-time data on pallets, cartons and shipments up and down-stream through their supply chain.

A break-through in RFID technology was made by Intermec, Inc. in May of 2006, with new rugged and reusable RFID tags. These tags can be written thousands of times; it can handle hazardous chemical exposure, and withstands temperatures from -50 degrees Fahrenheit to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. In October of 2006, Intermec released a new version of the rugged, reusable RFID tag, including wide-band antenna that can be used on any surface in any part of the world.

RFID makes the business world seem like a smaller place, even companies like Wal-Mart who are very big and have a large integrated supply chain. RFID enables companies to be more efficient with their time and space. Companies that combine some newer supply chain technologies with RFID could see great results. Combining auto-picking with RFID would reduce man-power needed, time needed to move pallets and cartons around a warehouse, and time needed to send pallets to their proper destination. The goal of a company's supply chain should be to reduce time needed to be productive, by automating as much of the supply chain as possible. It reduces human error, and machines are capable of running twenty-four hours a day and cost less than human labor. The
application of RFID for a large company like Wal-Mart or Target, as well as smaller retail stores can ensure a better shopping experience with more in-stock items and a more knowledgeable store.

The RFID market is booming and many technological companies have gotten in the game producing RFID parts and systems. In many cases being a producer of RFID components and systems also allows you to become a consulting firm for the technology. Hewlett Packard (HP) is one of the largest companies developing RFID systems. HP's goal is to make it as easy and affordable as possible for a company adopting RFID technology. HP has experience in the RFID field, as they were one of the early adopters of the technology and have been very successful integrating it into their business. HP began with two larger clients, Hasbro (produces children's toys) and Conros (a large Wal-Mart supplier). Hewlett Packard has created two RFID Centers for Excellence, one in California and one in Taiwan, to demonstrate new potential uses for the technology, as well as how it can be implemented into a business. More centers are slated to be opened throughout the world, including Great Britain, Singapore, and Tokyo RFID Centers for Excellence.

The RFID market sits at roughly one billion dollars in 2006 and has varying estimates as to the growth potential of the market. Estimates of RFID market size in 2008 vary anywhere from $ 1.3 billion by IDC, to $ 4.2 Billion by the Yankee Group. As shown in Figure 1 in the appendix, most of the industry is made up of sales of hardware, tags, readers and other physical products of RFID. Roughly 20-25% of the market is made up of consulting work for the technology and the last 5% is made up of software for RFID. The two biggest areas firms are concentrating on are the production and consulting sides of RFID.

The biggest challenges for producers and consultants alike are the reliability and durability of RFID systems and products. It is hard to simulate the wear and tear a product will experience over time. HP has made testing RFID products one of their benchmarks, providing intense field-testing of RFID to ensure its durability and quality. A competitor of HP is IBM, who according to AMR Research is the market leader in RFID. IBM has over eleven years experience working with RFID, and like HP, they were an early adopter of RFID technology. The advantage that IBM has over HP is there world-renowned consulting services, coupled with their immense networking capabilities. IBM's services promise more results than HP's RFID systems mainly because of IBM's consulting expertise. IBM works with companies to locate the best avenues to implement RFID, attempting to maximize Return on Investment (ROI) by reducing one person per shift from manually tracking products allowing them to focus on value-added manufacturing activities. IBM also focuses on other ways to improve ROI including, offering a one-time savings of $ 230,000 in operating costs, continuous fabrication line operations, better customer service providing real-time information on products, and less errors and delays cause by human error.

RFID began to take off once companies like Wal-Mart and Target, and the US military demanded that their top 100 suppliers must adopt RFID technology. Many suppliers were not ready for a move like this, a move that would completely retrofit their current operations at a high cost to the supplier. There were some suppliers that welcomed the change in technology and already began implementing RFID in anticipation of Wal-Mart and the US military's demand that their suppliers adopt the new technology. Wal-Mart demanded that their top one hundred suppliers would need to be RFID ready by January 2005, and to Wal-Mart's surprise, twenty three extra suppliers have volunteered to make the change to RFID. There is a new generation of tags that hit the market in 2005, called the Gen 2 Standard, which make RFID more appealing to suppliers who have no RFID systems in place. The Gen 2 RFID improves on the first generation of RFID by increasing read times, increasing read ranges, and read tags more accurately.

Suppliers and manufacturers will notice the benefits of implementing RFID into their organizations streamlining parts of their operations. Return on Investment is the most important factor for a business implementing RFID. Suppliers will see their ROI increase as human labor hours are decreased, human errors are decreased and interoperability is increased. RFID increases the visibility of the suppliers so they can do their job in real time, assuring that the correct package is sent to the correct location. It also saves money in the long-term for manufacturers and suppliers because RFID will save time spent inventorying and tracking products. An advantage for suppliers and manufacturers using RFID is customization of products in a shorter period of time. Smaller suppliers and manufacturers will have a harder time implementing RFID, as costs range from $ 100,000 to $ 5 million to implement the technology, but as costs go down more companies will adopt RFID.

RFID does have another potential benefit for suppliers that could give them invaluable information. For Wal-Mart suppliers, readers are set up at the back door so suppliers know when their shipments have arrived increasing visibility for both entities. A second reader is placed at the entrance to the sales floor so the supplier can see what is on-hand on the sales floor and in the stock room. This will allow the supplier to see which products sell better than others so that they can be replaced, and it also allows the supplier to develop more accurate sales forecasts. A secondary benefit of RFID is that the promotions that merchandisers spend a lot of money to set up are often left in the stock room for too long or are improperly placed. Now merchandisers and vendors can make sure their promotions are being handled correctly. Suppliers and manufacturers have the potential to save money on production costs, while making money on customized products.

Consumers should be the ultimate winner with RFID being implemented throughout a company's supply chain. In the long-run, stores will save money throughout their supply chain, thus bringing down costs to consumers. Consumers should also expect to find more helpful and more informative customers service with companies that have RFID. These companies now have real-time data to share with the customer. A consumer complaint about retail stores has always been that there are too many out-of-stock items; however, with RFID in place many of these stores should see a significant decrease in out-of-stock items. Having RFID tags on certain products can also make people's lives much easier, such as a microwave that is a reader and recognizes the tag of the food you put in and will automatically cook it according to the directions on the tag. It also helps environmentally because companies will use resources more efficiently, benefiting everyone. Once RFID tags are able to be used on food products it will make a recall on a certain item much easier and it could potentially save lives.

Consumers use RFID everyday and many do not realize the benefits they are receiving from the technology. Contactless payment is a developing technology, the card being used contains a tag and the payment area contains a reader. Mobil and Exxon use a "Speedpass" as their contactless form of payment allowing customers to wave the card in front of a reader to pay for gas or anything in the convenient store. Visa and Mastercard are the two biggest developers of this technology, claiming that it will benefit everyone from consumers to businesses. It allows people to have preset money on a card (either debit or credit) which decreases waiting time at check-out stands and increases loyalty to companies that offer this feature. Another use of smart cards is keyless entries, which is becoming a popular trend in America, using just a card and swipe it over the sensor to allow entry. RFID is a beneficial technology for consumers saving time and offering conveniences traditional bar codes, credit cards and keys can not offer.

RFID contains many advantages over traditional ways of coding pallets, boxes and products. It allows for non-line of sight reading of the tag which stores all the product information. RFID reduces human labor costs and human errors through the supply chain saving companies money, as well as reducing theft in the store and warehouses. RFID can save lives as well if there is a recall and the recalled food item or product is tagged, then it would be easier to collect all the units.

II. Disadvantages

Radio Frequency Identification has been around for over fifty years, but it has been the rapid development and deployment of the technology over the last five years that has raised people's awareness and understanding of the technology. While there are many potential benefits for RFID, there are many pitfalls as well. Every level that could benefit from RFID can also reap negative rewards from the technology.

The US military was one of the early adopters of the technology using it for over ten years in a limited area of ‚Äč‚Äčtheir operations. In 2003 they upgraded their usage of the technology by demanding that all suppliers must affix a RFID tag to every pallet, carton and big-ticket item being shipped to the military. The biggest problem the military faces is an issue of security. With complete product information on a tag it is easy for an enemy of the United States to pull information off a tag. This could result in loss of life of US soldiers or even US civilians if the wrong product ended up in the wrong hands. The tags could inform enemies of potential weaknesses and strengths of our military and give them a view on how to attack us at our weakest points.

Large companies like Wal-Mart and Target who use RFID face many potential problems with the technology. RFID has no proven infrastructure making it difficult for suppliers to keep up with these company's demands to become RFID-ready. If the suppliers can not effectively implement RFID into their business, then retailers can not fully view their supply chain. If retailers can not get all their information in real time across their entire supply chain, then the issues they are trying to solve will remain problems. Out-of-stock items, first-in-first-out products and last-in-last out products will still cause problems for these large retailers.

EPCGlobal is a start to an international standards body for RFID. It has yet to be approved by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and there is still not a global frequency standard. While 900 MHz appears to be the best frequency due to its long read-range capability, 13.56 MHz is still used delaying the standardization of global frequency for RFID. High costs of RFID implementation is the reason many mid-size and smaller retailers have not adopted the technology. The short-term outlook for companies who use RFID is not impressive, although long-term benefits will be realized.

Privacy issues are the number one pitfall for RFID and retailers. As long as the tags are only affixed to pallets and cartons then the retailers would not have any specific information on the consumer. However, when RFID tag prices fall, companies like Wal-Mart and Target plan on using RFID tags on individual products which they can trace consumer's buying habits and other information consumer's wish to keep private. It was privacy issues that force Benetton to cease their pilot RFID system. They wanted to embed a tag in articles of clothing to stop theft, determine consumer buying habits and keep their inventory at an acceptable level. Privacy advocate groups such as the Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion (CASPIAN) fight companies using RFID to track consumer behavior. A study showed that up to 78% of America was against RFID based solely on privacy issues. It will be difficult for companies in the future to tag individual items without a public outcry without some form of protection for the public's privacy rights.

Consumers have the largest disadvantage of any other entities involved with RFID technology. There are five privacy issues that consumers must try to protect themselves from: Hidden placement of tags, unique identifiers for objects worldwide, massive data aggregation, hidden readers, and individual tracking and profiling. Hidden placement of tags by companies is an easy way to get information from consumers. The consumer will feel safe buying a product with no knowledge of an RFID tag embedded in their clothing. These tags theoretically could track a person around the world if there were readers in specific locations throughout the world. Personal information may also be embedded in these tags giving information as detailed as your medical history. Prada and Swatch use embedded tags in their clothing, and Benetton did as well, but a boycott of Benetton was successful and they removed their tags. There is no law against companies embedding tags, and only California and Utah have made official requests to change the situation.

Companies who use RFID can compile massive amounts of data on consumers, including product likes or dislikes, buying power or even prescription history. RFID makes it easy to amass this data and to designate correlations. If a corporation owns many stores they can combine data between companies and create new data on buying habits.

Hidden readers violate people's privacy much the same way hidden tags do. Gillette and Accenture are introducing "silent commerce" which embeds tags on people's products and readers in strategic locations without the consumer's knowledge. These companies have experimented with different reader locations ranging from secret carpet locations to shelve locations and even hidden in floor tiles. Readers could even be installed in doorways on street lights, anywhere that people have to pass through, and instantly all information embedded in the tag is broadcast to the reader. If this were to happen privacy would be impossible because you would never know if the products you have contain tags, and you never know when you are within proximity to a reader.

The disadvantages of RFID hinge mainly on privacy concerns, technological imperfections, cost of the technology and no proven way to set up an RFID system for a company. The government and corporations are the two groups that offer the most concern for privacy issues. Hidden tags and readers threaten to take away human mystery, offering a world where people see, feel and hear only what the government and large corporation want people to.

III. Future of RFID

The future of RFID is uncertain, however, the technology is here to stay. Companies have many obstacles to overcome to make the technology a feasible option to be implemented. Privacy issues and will persist, although cost for RFID systems will decrease. In order for RFID to be successful, companies must work with privacy advocate groups to develop a fair way to implement RFID without alienating their customers.

Technology will continue to develop for RFID and many new applications will be realized. Automation will be a side-effect of RFID development, in the supply chain and in everyday activities. Contactless payment methods are already available, as well as automatic keycards to open doors. RFID tags installed in cars with readers on the roads and freeways will alert the authority if you are breaking the law. Supermarkets will eventually be able to realize their shopping cart checkout system once prices fall to a more affordable price. Fresh foods, metals and liquids will all be RFID compatible in the near future. If privacy issues are not watched closely, people will become tagged and there will always be someone watching and analyzing every person's decisions.

Scientific Uses Of Gold

Gold remains the best investment at present because there are new uses that are being discovered every day for this precious material. People who decide to purchase gold coins or bullion will soon realize that they have taken one of their best decisions. The price of gold is very small nowadays as a result of the economic recession, so you should take advantage and acquire several bars of gold.

Scientists are about to transform the precious metal into a vital element of our lives and not just a decorative material. We are all familiar with the fact that gold is used to create many beautiful adornments, but there are numerous other domains that make use of this fabric to improve technology.

It is the medical field that has been primarily revolutionized by the precious metal. Doctors have discovered that gold may be used as an efficient weapon against severe diseases, such as, cancer and arthritis. In the future, it is possible that gold nanoparticles may be used to transport anti-cancer substances directly to the tumor and thus, avoid damaging healthy cells as it usually happens with chemotherapy. Dental affections may also be treated with gold as this material is highly resistant and it enables dentists to create long lasting fillings.

It comes as no surprise to see that gold is used nowadays to improve many electronic devices. Its conductivity and high resistance against corrosion has determined scientists to replace copper with gold wires, connectors and films. As a consequence, the majority of the objects we use on a daily basis, such as phones, computers, cars, etc. contain pieces made out of gold or platinum.

The beneficial effects of gold have reached cosmetologists' ears and now many producers of beauty treatments have included gold flakes and nanoparticles in their products. When applied on the face or the body, this precious metal has the capacity of increasing the blood circulation which, in turn, helps the skin regenerate and get rid of wrinkles.

Our lives will become much better thanks to this extraordinary metal. As the gold demand increases, prices are expected to grow, too, in the near future. As a consequence, business consultants advise people to purchase gold bullion right away.

How to Find a Good Wireless Doorbell

If you do not have a doorbell, is not it frustrating when you do not hear people at the front door knocking? You've probably missed deliveries, and your friends and family might have stood outside in the cold because you just did not hear them. Also, you might have a working doorbell, but it is getting old and kind of hard to hear. You do not feel like getting a new one, because you have no idea how to run wires. What should you do?

Why not get your hands on a wireless doorbell? These doorbells are usually quite inexpensive, but there are a few things that you will want to keep in mind before you buy.

Tips

Rule # 1: You should find a doorbell that is not too cheap, but not too expensive either. Usually if you look for a "middle of the road" price range, you will get a solid unit, but one that works every time you need it. Price is not always a determining factor but chances are, if you find a wireless doorbell that's significantly less expensive than comparable products, it is probably because the quality just is not up to par. Think about it. It you are the manufacturer and have a quality doorbell, you are going to market it around the same price range as your competitors. Manufacturer's are not going to leave money "on the table."

Rule # 2: Always shop at a place with a good return policy. You've got to be able to test this unit out in your home, and if it is not loud enough, you should return it and opt of a better one. Most on-line stores and your retail box stores will have a guarantee of some sort, some very liberal, some very strict. This is different than a manufacturer's warranty which warrants the product against faulty electronics or workmanship. Most manufacturer's will have a warranty that extends past any store guarantee but you need to understand this prior to making a purchase.

Rule # 3: You should be able to hear your doorbell from every room in the house or have the ability to expand your electronic door chime throughout your home. If it does not, then you know what to do– return it and get one that does.

Rule # 4: You should be able to hear the doorbell from the outside as well. If you can not hear it from the outside, the person ringing it may have no idea that it's actually working, driving those inside the house crazy. This does not sound very intuitive at first but if you think about it, it makes sense. How many times have you stood outside a home and rang a door chime, never knowing if it is actually going off inside the home. If the home has a working wireless doorbell but you can not hear it outside, someone at the front door could be ringing and ringing it, driving your crazy never really knowing it is working. Make sure the receiver has a nice sized speaker to give the best sound output. As a rule of thumb, 2 1/2 '' speaker is a nice sized speaker for a wireless doorbell receiver.

Tip # 5: Make sure the range is sufficient. When range is mentioned regarding wireless doorbell units, it is referring to the distance from the wireless doorbell button (the transmitter) to the wireless door chime receiver (the speaker.) The published range you see on the packaging will be in ideal environments, but we all know ideal environments rarely exist. Most mid-range wireless doorbells will have a range of approximately 150 feet.

Tip # 6: One advantage offered by most models of wireless doorbells is they tend to be expandable. Meaning you can add additional transmitters (push buttons) and / or additional receivers. This will allow you to add push buttons at your back door, for example, and also add a receiver in an upstairs bedroom.

Tip # 7: You should make sure that you have fresh batteries in both the indoor and the outdoor units. Remember that if it gets cold in the winter, the outdoor doorbell battery will die faster due to the temperatures. Wireless door chimes typically have an outdoor wireless door chime button powered by batteries. The power consumption of these wireless buttons is very minimal but do require a good power supply. Because these wireless doorbell buttons are outside, the cold weather will diminish battery life. Periodically test your electronic door chime setup to ensure everything is working correctly.

Tip # 8: You should make sure that the outdoor unit is made of strong plastics. This is the only part of the unit that might be outside in freezing temperatures. Wireless doorbell buttons need to made of plastic to ensure the wireless signal they transmit are not interfered with by metal. With that said, there are varying degrees of quality when it comes to the plastic housings that house the wireless button. Just check it over and make sure it is not cheaply made and the first cold snap will not crack it.

Tip # 9: Install the outdoor unit to the side of the door then check to see if it actually works prior to throwing packaging and the receipts away. Often times, if your door is metal, it will not be able to transmit the signal or the metal will interfere with the transmission range. Since most residential homes do not have metal doors, this should not be a problem. If your home does have a metal door or metal door frame, a small wood shim mounted underneath the door chime button will dramatically improve the signal degradation that occurs because of the metal.

Tip # 10: Once everything seems to be working properly, you are now free to enjoy your new doorbell. Most of your batteries should last about a year but check it often just to make sure. If your receiving unit plugs into a standard wall outlet, it could be subject to electrical surges so check it too. If you are going out of town, go ahead and unplug them so a lighting storm will not hit them while you are away.

Wireless doorbell units are usually inexpensive and will range from $ 20- $ 100 dollars. A good mid-range doorbell is probably going to cost about $ 35. It may not be a good idea to go much lower than that, unless you live in a small house or apartment and the outdoor part of the wireless doorbell is protected. Using these is going to be easy, installing them is quick; and batteries are cheap.

The Influence Of The Internet On People's Social And Psychological Realities

The influence of the Internet has caused a change in the way we communicate, learn and shop.

The Internet is probably most famous for the ability to spread information, fact or fiction. We were once limited to news editors of a local paper, then to national cable news. Now anyone can search the globe, visit local papers in foreign countries, and see the views of all sides. This ease of information has also brought with it a large amount of hoaxes, money schemes, and fallacies.

There is no question that easy access to the Internet, like the introduction of mail service and the invention of the telephone, has changed the nature of people's connection to others in their social world. Mail made possible connections among people without physical proximity, and the telephone facilitated communication among distant people, making rapid connections possible across long distances.

But has this communication revolution changed the pure nature of interpersonal and group processes?

On the one hand, since the primary use of the Internet is communication, some people might speculate that the Internet will have positive social consequences in people's everyday lives because it increases the frequency and quality of interpersonal communications among people. People with easy access to others would feel better connected and more strongly supported by others, leading to happiness and engagement in families, organizations, communities, and society more generally.

But, on the other hand, the ease of electronic communication may lead to weaker social ties, because people have less reason to leave their homes and actually interact face to face with other people. The Internet allows people to more easily work from their home, to form and sustain friendships and even romantic attachments from their home, to bank from their home, to vote and engage in political and social issue based discussions with others (from home).

In this variety of ways, Internet communications can potentially displace face-to-face communications. I think this point is important because psychologists in many researches have described and proved such face to face and telephone connections as being of higher quality, when viewed in terms of their contribution to satisfaction and well-being.
Reading a series of longitudinal and experimental studies (ex McKenna, Green, and Gleason), who test a theory of relationship formation on the Internet, these researchers directly address the argument that the psychological quality of Internet social interaction is lower than is the psychological quality of traditional face-to-face interaction.

Consider my own use. I've received several e-mail messages in the past hour. My boyfriend confirms the dinner for tonight. Even though it is weekend, my colleagues send me questions about the pending exam expects a quick answer. So does some graduate student from Europe, that I recently met on "MySpace" with an urgent request for a letter of recommendation. My friend Ksenija sends me an IM to tell me the latest news about her new love. And so on and so on …

I assume that I am also living a virtual life, and what's the most interesting of all, all of my friends online, are also my friends in real life. And if they were not that in the past, I somehow managed to bring my cyber friends into my real life, so I could here in my real life enable real communication, real face-to-face "talks", real exchange of emotions , feelings of happiness, satisfaction and well-being. I'd say for me, the Internet is a great new way for doing old things.

So, what else conclusion can I bring except the one that Internet life can not stand on itself without real-life communication. It is simple: If we understand the qualities of face-to-face communication that influence the impact of such communication on people and their social interaction, we would be able to predict the probable influence of any new communication technology. However, researchers show that people sooner or later convert their cyber contacts into more traditional face-to-face, the same as I do. People use the Internet, in other words to help them achieve their real-life goals. And rather than technology's changing people's social and psychological reality, in other words, people change their use of technology to facilitate their creation of a desired social reality.
Internet users should closely examine their behavior, to ensure that excessive time online will not negatively impact their personal well-being. We should not throw our computers out the window, but neither should we charge on blindly into complete dependence on the Internet. As with many things in life, it seems that moderation and balance are key to maximizing the Internet's positive effect.