More information: Hiroyuki Itoi, et al. “Three-Dimensionally Arrayed and Mutually Connected 1.2-nm Nanopores for High-Performance Electric Double Layer Capacitor.” Journal of the American Chemical Society. DOI:10.1021/ja108315p Citation: High-performance capacitor could lead to better rechargeable batteries (2011, January 26) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2011-01-high-performance-capacitor-rechargeable-batteries.html High-performance energy storage The researchers, Hiroyuki Itoi, Hirotomo Nishihara, Taichi Kogure, and Takashi Kyotani, from Tohoku University in Sendai, Japan, have published their results on the high-performance electric double-layer capacitor in a recent issue of the Journal of the American Chemical Society.To store energy, the electric double-layer capacitor is charged by ions that migrate from a bulk solution to an electrode, where they are adsorbed. Before reaching the electrode’s surface, the ions have to travel through narrow nanopores as quickly and efficiently as possible. Basically, the quicker the ions can travel down these paths, the quicker the capacitor can be charged, resulting in a high rate performance. Also, the greater the adsorbed ion density in the electrode, the greater the charge that the capacitor can store, resulting in a high volumetric capacitance.Recently, scientists have been testing materials with pores of various sizes and structures to try to achieve both quick ion transport and high adsorption ion density. But the two requirements are somewhat contradictory, since ions can travel more quickly through larger nanopores, but large nanopores make the electrode density low and thus decrease the adsorbed ion density.“In this work, we have successfully demonstrated that it is possible to meet the two seemingly contradictory requirements, high power density and high volumetric capacitance, with zeolite-templated carbon,” Nishihara told PhysOrg.com.The zeolite-templated carbon consists of nanopores that are 1.2 nm in diameter (smaller than most electrode materials) and that have a very ordered structure (whereas other pores can be disordered and random). The nanopores’ small size makes the adsorbed ion density high, while the ordered structure – described as a diamond-like framework – allows the ions to quickly pass through the nanopores. In a previous study, the researchers showed that zeolite-templated carbon with nanopores smaller than 1.2 nm cannot enable fast ion transport, suggesting that this size may provide the optimal balance between high rate performance and high volumetric capacitance.In tests, the zeolite-templated carbon’s properties exceeded those of other materials, demonstrating its potential to be used as an electrode for high-performance electric double-layer capacitors.“We are now trying to further increase the energy density of the zeolite-templated carbon up to the same level of secondary batteries,” Nishihara said. “If such an electric double layer capacitor is developed and used for mobile devices, such as cellular phones, their charging time can be shortened to only a few minutes. Another important future application of electric double layer capacitors is a support of secondary batteries in electric vehicles to prolong the battery’s lifetime. Also for this purpose, achieving a higher energy density is one of the key issues.” (PhysOrg.com) — In order to develop next-generation electric vehicles, solar energy systems, and other clean energy technologies, researchers need an efficient way to store the energy. One of the key energy storage devices for these applications and others is a supercapacitor, also called an electric double-layer capacitor. In a recent study, scientists have investigated the possibility of using a material called zeolite-templated carbon for the electrode in this type of capacitor, and found that the material’s unique pore structure greatly improves the capacitor’s overall performance. The unique 3D array of nanopores in zeolite-templated carbon enables it to be used as an electrode for high-performance supercapacitors that have a high capacitance and quick charge time. Image credit: Hiroyuki Itoi, et al. ©2011 American Chemical Society. Copyright 2010 PhysOrg.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or part without the express written permission of PhysOrg.com. Explore further This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. © 2011 PhysOrg.com New rechargeable zinc-air batteries coming soon (PhysOrg.com) — Tall order in energy storage: Find the right technology that delivers the holy grail of the grid, a viable solution for energy storage (tough). A startup from Easton, Pennsylvania claims it’s on the fastest path. Eos Energy Storage has a formula for zinc-air batteries that it thinks can eventually be the dominant technology for use in the grid. Eos Energy is on a mission to develop a low-cost, high-energy rechargeable zinc-air battery for utility and transportation applications.Zinc air technology in general has been recognized as an environmentally safe approach with the benefit of high energy densities. What has held the technology back has been low efficiency and short life cycles. Though cheaper, though lighter, than lithium ion batteries, zinc air batteries have run down much more quickly, unsuitable for application on a grid level. The batteries have so far been largely limited to the small button cells used for hearing aids. Eos Energy says it resolved the shortcomings through its advances in electrolyte chemistry and cell design. Its proprietary technology involves the battery architecture, electrolyte composition and management and manufacturing process. Eos zinc air technology has been under development by Eos since 2004.CEO Michael Oster, has said that this is “not your typical zinc-air.” Steven Amendola, an inventor and founder of Eos, is also the founder of Renewable Silicon International (RSi), a silicon processing technology.The company says its batteries beat out lithium ion batteries in energy storage and cost. Their trials show over 2,700 cycles with no performance physical degradation in a one third kilowatt-scale battery. Their goal is to get over 10,000 cycles at full depth of discharge. Their final product is expected to last for 30 years in grid-scale applications.Analysts say that the company’s technology could show promise for grid storage and electric vehicles. With the right pricing and performance, zinc air batteries may compete not only against other energy storage systems but also grid technologies such as gas turbine plants. The company has an impressive list of product benefits, and investors have been responsive. Eos zinc-air battery is environmentally safe, in that it relies on materials that are nontoxic and nonflammable. Oster has said, “You could flush it down a drain; you could drink it.” In an SEC filing, Eos indicated its plans to raise up to $20 million in venture capital.Eos plans to start manufacturing this year and to work up megawatt-scale systems for grid storage in 2013. The Eos rechargeable zinc-air battery would be sold for $1000 per kilowatt for a six-hour battery, or $160 per kilowatt-hour. Zinc generally enjoys status as one of the world’s most plentiful and inexpensive metals, along with its other qualities as being stable, nontoxic and energy-dense. Image: EOS Citation: Eos says zinc battery recipe is energy game-changer (2012, January 4) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2012-01-eos-zinc-battery-recipe-energy.html More information: www.eosenergystorage.com/technologyvia Solarnovus Explore further
The new undertaking will also store latent and rolled fingerprints and palm prints. The FBI has been pilot testing a facial recognition system where agents will seek to match up existing mugshots with faces in crowd photos; and in the reverse they will compare images of interest from security cameras with the repository of shots in their database. An algorithm would perform an automatic search and return a list of potential hits for an officer to sort through and use as possible leads for an investigation. Another advancement on the books is the ability to accept and search for photographs of scars, marks, and tattoos.According to the FBI’s Jerome Pender, in February 2012, the state of Michigan successfully completed an end-to-end Facial Recognition Pilot transaction and is submitting facial recognition searches to the CJIS (Criminal Justice Information Services Division). Pender said that MOUs (Memorandums of Understanding) have been executed with Hawaii and Maryland, and South Carolina, Ohio, and New Mexico are engaged in the MOU review process for Facial Recognition Pilot participation. Kansas, Arizona, Tennessee, Nebraska, and Missouri, he said, are also interested in Facial Recognition Pilot participation. Pender was making the statement before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology, and the Law, in Washington in July. Pender is presently executive assistant director of the FBI’s Information and Technology Branch.The facial recognition database is scheduled for rollout nationwide by 2014. A report about the FBI’s initiative in New Scientist notes that facial recognition technology is improving all the time. Tests in 2010 already showed that the best algorithms can choose someone in a pool of 1.6 million mugshots 92 per cent of the time. The report added that algorithms developed at Carnegie Mellon can analyze features of a front and side view set of mugshots, create a 3-D model of the face, rotate it as much as 70 degrees to match the angle of the face in the photo, and match the new 2-D image with a fairly high degree of accuracy.Also touting the powers of facial recognition technology, Alessandro Acquisti of Carnegie Mellon has noted that under certain conditions, machine face recognition performance can be comparable or even better than humans at recognizing face.Predictably, privacy advocates are worried about how far the FBI will go in deployment. They are concerned about legal implications of law enforcement use of facial recognition technology. The FBI has assured that the searchable photo database in the pilot studies only includes mugshots of known criminals and that each participating pilot state or agency must submit written statements detailing how they will use and protect the information from unauthorized disclosure.In reaction to the FBI’s Jerome Pender’s statements to the Senate in July that the searchable photo database used in the pilot studies only includes mugshots of known criminals, attorney Jennifer Lynch of the Electronic Frontier Foundation said it was unclear from the NGI’s privacy statement whether that will remain the case once the entire system is up and running or if civilian photos might be added. (Phys.org)—The good news is that the FBI is crawling out of the fingerprint age. They are moving up into a $1 billion project that will enable criminal searches and accurate identifications using updated technologies including a range of biometrics. The bad news, at least for privacy advocates, is one and the same. Privacy groups are asking, biometrics, at what price? How will they be used and who is to guarantee against their abuse? Nonetheless, the FBI is set to witness significant improvements to their existing fingerprint identification services, and there is an ambitious title behind their resolve, the $1 billion Next Generation Identification (NGI) program. Eventually this program is to encompass facial recognition, iris scans, DNA analysis and voice identification. Explore further © 2012 Phys.org This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Citation: FBI steps up to $1B next-gen ID program (2012, September 10) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2012-09-fbi-1b-next-gen-id.html US hearing warns FBI, Facebook on facial recognition
(Phys.org)—Astronomers have detected four faint, polarized flares at 154 MHz from the nearby variable star UV Ceti. The newly observed flares are much fainter than most flares found at these frequencies. The findings were presented February 10 in a paper published online on the arXiv pre-print server. Faraday dispersion function of UV Ceti at 154 MHz during the off and on period of the Dec. 11, 2015 flare. Credit: Lynch et al., 2017. Located just about 8.7 light years away, UV Ceti, or Luyten 726-8B, belongs to a nearby binary star system Luyten 726-8. It is a variable red dwarf of spectral type M, just like its companion star BL Ceti (Luyten 726-8A). Due to its proximity, this star system is a treasure trove for astronomers studying flaring events of magnetically active stellar systems.That is why a team of researchers led by Christene Lynch of the University of Sydney in Australia selected UV Ceti as a target of radio astronomy observations in December 2015. They used the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) in Australia to confirm previous bright flare detections in the system at 100 to 200 MHz. The array allowed the scientist to get a glimpse of low-level flares fainter than expected.”We have detected four flares from UV Ceti at 154 MHz using the Murchison Widefield Array,” the paper reads.The observation sessions, which used a 30.72 MHz bandwidth centered at 154 MHz with 40 kHz channels and 0.5-second integrations, allowed the team to observe flare emission in the polarized images. In each epoch, they detected a single right-handed circularly polarized flare, finding also a left-handed flare immediately following the right-handed one. Moreover, they detected linear polarization during the brightest flare, what indicates that the flares are elliptically polarized. The researchers noted that these results highlight the importance of polarization images in such studies.”These dim flares are only detected in polarized images, which have an order of magnitude better sensitivity than the total intensity images. This highlights the utility of using polarization images to detect low level emission in confusion limited images,” the team wrote in the paper.The study also revealed that the newly detected flares have flux densities between 10 to 65 mJy. This means that they are about 100 times fainter than most flares observed so far at similar frequencies. Notably, three of the four flares described in the paper have flux densities below 15 mJy, while the one observed on Dec. 11, 2015 reached nearly 65 mJy.The researchers emphasize that their study provides first flare rate measurements for low-intensity (below 100 mJy) flares at 100 to 200 MHz. However, they note that there is still much to accomplish in the field of flare emission research and recommend further observations. Future studies would improve our understanding of physical parameters of the stellar magnetospheric plasma.”To better characterize M dwarf flares at meter wavelengths requires more observational time on individual sources to constrain flare rates. More sensitive observations are also needed to investigate the fine time-frequency structure of the flares. Simultaneous multi-wavelength observations would also add to this analysis,” the team concluded. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. More information: 154 MHz detection of faint, polarized flares from UV Ceti, arXiv:1702.03030 [astro-ph.SR] arxiv.org/abs/1702.03030AbstractWe have detected four flares from UV Ceti at 154 MHz using the Murchison Widefield Array. The flares have flux densities between 10—65 mJy —- a factor of 100 fainter than most flares in the literature at these frequencies —- and are only detected in polarization. The circular polarized fractions are limited to >27% at 3σ confidence and two of the flares exhibit polarity reversal. We suggest that these flares occur periodically on a time scale consistent with the rotational period of UV Ceti. During the brightest observed flare, we also detect significant linear polarization with polarization fraction >18%. Averaging the data in 6-minute, 10 MHz frequency bins we find that the flux density of these flares does not vary over the 30 MHz bandwidth of the Murchison Widefield Array, however we cannot rule out finer time-frequency structure. Using the measured flux densities for the flares, we estimate brightness temperatures between (1013−1014)K, indicative of a coherent emission mechanism. The brightness temperature and polarization characteristics point to the electron cyclotron maser mechanism. We also calculate the flare rates given our four observed flares and compare them to flare rates for the set of M dwarf stars with known 100—200 MHz flares. Our measurement is the first for flares with intensities <100 mJy at 100-200 MHz. Explore further Rapid gas flares discovered in white dwarf star for the first time Citation: Faint, polarized flares detected from the variable star UV Ceti (2017, February 15) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2017-02-faint-polarized-flares-variable-star.html © 2017 Phys.org
The Weyl phononic crystal and topologically protected SAWs. a, An image of the experimental sample. b, Schematic top view of the trilayer-based sample. XZ1, YZ1, XZ2 and YZ2 label the four side surfaces. c, Geometry of the unit cell, with a = h = 3b = 29.4 mm. d–f, Front views of the three surfaces XZ1, YZ1, and XZ2, respectively. At each surface, the red star denotes the position of a point-like sound source for experimentally generating one-way chiral SAWs and the coloured segments in the insets indicate the fine structures of the surface termination. g, Bulk band dispersions simulated along high-symmetry directions. The coloured lines represent the lowest three bands. h, The first bulk Brillouin zone of the Weyl phononic crystal and associated projected surface Brillouin zones. The coloured spheres in g and h label Weyl points with different topological charges. i–k, Simulated SAW dispersions (green lines) at kz = 0.5π/h for the three side surfaces XZ1, YZ1 and XZ2, respectively, agree very well with our measurements (bright colours in the colour scale, which represents the Fourier transformation of the measured pressure field). l–n, The corresponding EFCs in the extended surface Brillouin zones, simulated and measured at the Weyl frequency of 5.75 kHz. The grey regions display the projected bulk bands, the blue spheres label the projected Weyl points K and K′, and the green arrows indicate the directions of the SAW group velocities. Credit: Nature (2018). DOI: 10.1038/s41586-018-0367-9 Journal information: Nature © 2018 Phys.org This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. A material that can switch between multiple phases that have distinct electronic, optical and magnetic properties Explore further Citation: An artificial material that has negative refraction and no reflection (2018, August 2) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-08-artificial-material-negative-refraction.html More information: Hailong He et al. Topological negative refraction of surface acoustic waves in a Weyl phononic crystal, Nature (2018). DOI: 10.1038/s41586-018-0367-9AbstractReflection and refraction of waves occur at the interface between two different media. These two fundamental interfacial wave phenomena form the basis of fabricating various wave components, such as optical lenses. Classical refraction—now referred to as positive refraction—causes the transmitted wave to appear on the opposite side of the interface normal compared to the incident wave. By contrast, negative refraction results in the transmitted wave emerging on the same side of the interface normal. It has been observed in artificial materials, following its theoretical prediction6, and has stimulated many applications including super-resolution imaging7. In general, reflection is inevitable during the refraction process, but this is often undesirable in designing wave functional devices. Here we report negative refraction of topological surface waves hosted by a Weyl phononic crystal—an acoustic analogue of the recently discovered Weyl semimetals. The interfaces at which this topological negative refraction occurs are one-dimensional edges separating different facets of the crystal. By tailoring the surface terminations of the Weyl phononic crystal, constant-frequency contours of surface acoustic waves can be designed to produce negative refraction at certain interfaces, while positive refraction is realized at different interfaces within the same sample. In contrast to the more familiar behaviour of waves at interfaces, unwanted reflection can be prevented in our crystal, owing to the open nature of the constant-frequency contours, which is a hallmark of the topologically protected surface states in Weyl crystals. As most kids learn in school, when light rays strike a body of water, some are bent by the water, while others are reflected. Baile notes that in such situations, the incident and refracted rays wind up on opposite sides of the surface of the water—which opticians describe as the norm. He also notes that this is what happens with virtually all materials in nature. But he also notes that theory suggests that it should be possible to create materials that violate the norm. In this new effort, the researchers have created just such a material.The researchers report that they made the new material by first studying the properties of a Weyl semimetal—a recently discovered quantum material that has interesting topological properties. To apply what they learned to a non-metal material, they created trilayer plates of phononic crystals using epoxy and other materials (shaped in a specific way). They then stacked the plates in twisted counterclockwise fashion by 2π/3 along the vertical axis. In so doing, they found that the resultant material not only exhibited negative refraction, but also absorbed all of the acoustic waves aimed at it, reflecting none.Baile suggests that the material could lay the groundwork for new developments in many areas—if a similar material can be created to behave the same way with optical waves, for example, that could lead to new types of optical systems. He notes that such a material could likely find many uses in acoustical systems as well, such as improved ultrasonic devices. He further notes that reflection-free materials could improve the efficiency of many current devices. A team of researchers with members from Wuhan University and the University of Texas has created an artificial material that offers both negative refraction and no reflection. In their paper published in the journal Nature, the group describes their material, how it was made, and possible uses for it. Baile Zhang with Nanyang Technological University offers a News & Views piece on the work done by the team in the same journal issue.
Kolkata: Three men, including a father-son duo, have been arrested by the DRI for allegedly diverting gold jewellery worth at least Rs 150 crore meant for foreign markets to use in India, according to an official statement issued today. The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) is investigating gold jewellery exporters declaring exports using the personal hand carry export procedure’ a government policy that allows exporters to carry gold jewellery in hand baggage instead of cargo to destinations in United Arab Emirates (UAE) but diverting the consignments into the domestic market by manipulating the procedure. Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flightsThe accused were arrested from the international airport here when they were trying to divert Rs 15 crore worth gold jewellery, it said.While the son was intercepted at the time of boarding a flight to Dubai, his father was de-boarded from a flight destined to Hyderabad, the statement said.Documents were filed by them at the Customs Air Cargo Complex, Kolkata, for export by hand carriage of gold bangles weighing 54 kg to be carried to Dubai by the son on board the flight bound for Dubai. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Merc, 2 B’deshi bystanders killedAfter the gold bangles were checked by the customs at the cargo, as per procedure, the items were sealed and escorted to the airport.”Before entering immigration and security check, the son took the goods meant for export to an entry gate of the airport where his father was waiting and handed them over for diversion. The father then booked the two metal boxes containing the gold bangles through domestic cargo for transfer to Hyderabad,” it said.DRI officials acted in the nick of time and intercepted the two as they were about to board/ had boarded their respective flights and also retrieved two metal boxes containing the gold booked for Hyderabad as domestic cargo. Surprisingly, the father was found to be travelling to Hyderabad from Kolkata on a ticket in the name of his son, the DRI said.In the latest case, the diverted gold bangles weighing 54 kg and valued at about Rs 16 crore meant for export have been seized by the DRI.”DRI investigations till now reveal that more than 500 kg of gold jewellery, valued at about Rs 150 crore, meant for export has been diverted using this modus operandi by this particular syndicate,” the statement said.The agency is investigating whether this modus operandi has been used by other gold jewellery exporters in the country, it said.Both accused admitted to have diverted gold bangles/chains in similar fashion in the past through Kolkata as well as Hyderabad airports after completion of the customs export procedure.Another associate of these two accused was examined by the DRI and he also admitted that he was involved and diverted gold jewellery meant for export through airports after completion of the export procedure.The mastermind confessed to have received remittances against such export consignments though no actual gold bangles were physically exported, the probe agency said.He used to send cash to his Dubai-based contacts through hawala channels and got the money back into his Indian bank accounts as export proceeds, it said.He admittedly sold primary gold purchased from nominated agencies in the domestic market instead of making gold jewellery for export.For fulfilment of their export obligation and to redeem the security amount paid by them to nominated agencies at the time of purchase of primary gold, they had resorted to diversion of gold bangles meant for export after completing all export formalities, the DRI said.In fact the same sets of gold bangles were repeatedly used to show export of different consignments, it said.Three people have been arrested in this case.
It was a day of much activity on the India-Pakistan border. On Wednesday, a suspected Pakistani terrorist was caught alive after militants attacked a Border Security Force (BSF) convoy on Jammu-Srinagar national highway in Udhampur killing two men of the border guarding force and injuring 11 personnel. The other terrorists involved in the strike were shot dead in the retaliatory fire. The terrorist identified as Usman Khan, and then later identified him as Mohammad Naved, had escaped from the encounter site and taken three persons hostage in a school building in a nearby hamlet. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’However, with the aid of local villagers, the Indian security forces soon arrested Naved. Interrogation by the Jammu and Kashmir police later in the day had reportedly revealed that Naved is a resident of Faisalabad in Pakistan. Obvious comparisons are being drawn with Ajmal Kasab, the only Pakistani terrorist captured alive after the 26/11 terror attack on Mumbai. Giving further credence to such an assessment, Naved has reportedly told interrogators that he is a member of the Lashkar-e-Taiba, the same terror group involved in the Mumbai attacks. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixThe attack comes at a time of much churning on the geopolitical front between India and Pakistan. Both sides are slated to hold National Security Advisor (NSA)-level talks later this month, with terrorism on top of the agenda. For a long time, both sides have accused one another of harbouring and facilitating terror attacks on their side of the border. The Indian side believes that certain sections of the military and intelligence establishment in Pakistan have harboured, financed and facilitated the flow of terrorism on the Indian side of the border, especially in Jammu and Kashmir. In recent times, the 26/11 Mumbai attacks and events in Gurdaspur, have been used as examples of the Pakistan’s reported culpability. Meanwhile, the Pakistani establishment has long blamed India for facilitating terror activities in the country, especially in the civil strife-torn region of Baluchistan. With terrorism on the agenda for the NSA-level talks, these accusations are bound to come to the fore. However, before both sides get mired in cross-border accusations instead of fruitful talks, they should listen to the wise words of Tariq Khosa, the former head of Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), who supervised the investigation behind the 26/11 Mumbai attacks. In his column for a leading Pakistani daily, Khosa said that investigators had uncovered a mountain of evidence linking the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) to the carnage that was “planned and launched” from Pakistani soil.
Kolkata: In a major breakthrough, Bidhannagar Police arrested have two persons on charges of cheating job aspirants by creating fake government websites.Police said 34-year-old Md Rejaul Mirja and SK Ramiz (27) were arrested in this connection. Both of them are graduates and Mirja is the Website Designer, who played a key role in creating the websites.Mirja is a resident of GEM Apartment at Panchanantala near Thakurpukur in South Kolkata and was arrested from Thakurpukur itself. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeThe other arrested person, Ramiz, is a resident of Sreecol near Shyampur in Howrah. He was arrested from Badamtala at Bally in Howrah.It may be recalled that complaints were lodged with Cyber Crime Police Station of Bidhannagar Police alleging that fake websites of government organisations have been created to cheat job aspirants.It was on October 26 in 2017, Secretary of the West Bengal Central School Service Commission had lodged a complaint after noticing the fake websites. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedQuite similar complaint was lodged by the Secretary of the Group D Recruitment Board that houses its office at the Utility Building at Action Area-11C in New Town stating that the original website of the board is www.wbgdrb.in but fake websites including www.wbgdrb.in.net, www.westebengalgdrb.in and www.westbgnalgdrb.com are also existing.Police took immediate steps and initiated a probe in this connection and came to know after preliminary investigation that the fake websites were created with an intention to cheat youths after assuring them help to get government jobs.The investigating officers initiated a case under various sections of the Indian Penal Code for cheating the youths by creating fake websites.The duo was found involved in both the cases.Police suspect that the duo have collected around Rs 1 crore from the job aspirants.Police have seized Rs 32,300 from them. A senior police said they have accounts in several banks and there could be Rs around 10 lakh in their bank account,which could be frozen.
The fifth edition of India Habitat Centre’s Indian Languages Festival “ILF Samanvay 2015” got off to a phenomenal start. This year’s theme of ILF Samanvay is ‘Insider/Outsider, Writing India’s Dreams and Realities’. This year, the festival broadened its mandate by developing in a range of verticals such as a curated art space, daily workshops by eminent experts in a range of topics from translation to food appreciation, book releases, social outreach in schools with the festival resource persons, and curated food stalls focusing on the food traditions of Kashmir, Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’In addition to the features mentioned above, the festival is bringing together authors, writers, translators and publishers onto the same platform, to discuss and debate various facets of how a creative person remain at once an ‘Insider and an Outsider’ to understand the pulse of our times and work towards social change.Before delivering his keynote address, well-known Marxist literary theorist and political commentator, Aijaz Ahmad officially inaugurated fifth edition of “ILF Samanvay” Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixIn his address, Aijaz Ahmad shared his views on the languages in general and Indian Languages in particular and how it has shaped the citizenry of India. “In India, political unity does not automatically give us, or requires of us, a literary or linguistic unity. Hence, the study of Indian literature should be historically grounded and organised primarily in terms of particular linguistic traditions and regional clusters, and discussed on the model of what I would call ‘regional Indian cosmopolitanism’. The points of intersection of different linguistic-literary traditions, along with causes and consequences of those overlaps, should be established through careful investigation. The hierarchical relations of power that exist among languages and traditions must be examined, and a system of education that profoundly addresses the question of multilinguality, developed. Such a system must also give room to understand the widespread connection between the linguistic-literary and the performative.” This component articulates and interprets language as a flow beyond the literary in our unsettling times. The art works of Riyas Komu, co-founder of the Cochin-Muziris Biennale, artist-weaver Priya Ravish Mehra, and performance photography exhibition curated by Kanika Anand are among the highlights. Besides, curated running slide shows of painter V.Ramesh, cartoonist EP Unny, Christel Davedawson and dance film streaming by Gati Dance forum etc. Post the keynote address, Tribute and Conversation: Common People, Uncommon Minds, a profound tribute was underway in the memory of the great Indian political cartoonist RK Laxman by leading cartoonist EP Unny, Krishna Prasad, Christel Devadawson with the moderator Hartosh Singh Bal keeping the tribute profound, as RK Laxman would have loved it to be. The eminent panel also discussed the state of cartoon art in India and EP Unny opined that the cartoon is developing into unchartered terrain where the ‘image, text and voice meet and debate’. The evening was brought alive by a sublime Tibetan music performance by Loten Namling, Sonam Dolma and Jamyang Tashi, Tibetan artists in exile living in India. The Creative Director of ILF Samanvay Ms. Rizio Yohannan Raj also expressed her joy on the occasion. “As its name suggests, ILF Samanvay privileges the vital principles of co-ordination that allows us to live, work and remember together—co-existence, co-operation, commemoration. This would mean that ILF Samanvay is not merely an annual carnival of the literati in India, but a ceaseless enterprise to institutionalize the values fundamental to the co-existence of languages, and hence the diverse cultures they live in, represent and reflect on, too.
Hyderabad Metro Rail project execution received a major thrust on Friday with reaching of an agreement on a special package between traders, owners and hawkers operating in Sultan Bazar and officials.The “breakthrough” was achieved at a meeting held at Metro Rail Bhavan, between HMR officials led by Managing Director, NVS Reddy and Traders’ Joint Action Committee.At the meeting, Reddy informed the gathering that Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao had directed HMR officials to arrive at a mutually agreeable special package to Badi Chowdi-Sultan Bazaar-Koti area, given its special place in history and culture of Hyderabad, an HMR release stated. On the directive of the Chief Minister, the old charm of Sultan Bazaar shall be revived by HMR to regain its past glory, Reddy said. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeOwners of the shops and establishments at Sultan Bazar had held protests demanding that the government protect the historic area, mainly comprising garment and textile shops, by realigning the Metro Rail Corridor-II.They had observed a shutdown in November against the state government’s decision to allow the elevated Hyderabad Metro Rail to pass through the area as per the original plan.“In view of the narrow roads and pedestrian nature of Sultan Bazaar stretch of corridor-II, road widening will be minimal as a special case and no religious or other sensitive structures shall be touched by the widening,” the release quoted Reddy as saying.
New Delhi: Born in a red-light area in abject poverty, she was married to an abusive man when she was 16 and fought a four-year battle to get custody of her son. The odds were stacked impossibly high, but Uma Das fought back and is today a much sought after dance teacher. Just 25, she also manages a unit to make sanitary napkins in Munshiganj, the red-light area in West Bengal’s capital Kolkata. Walking firmly on the path towards independence and empowerment, Uma Didi, as she is known, is a beacon of hope for other young women in Munshiganj who, like, her, refuse to be sucked into the vortex of flesh trade. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal life My mother was sold to a brothel. I was born in a red-light area. All my life, I have seen fear in the eyes of young girls. My mother fought tooth and nail to protect me from the flesh trade, Uma told PTI in a telephonic interview from Kolkata. When she was 19, Uma witnessed a sex worker being burnt alive by a customer over a paltry sum of money and decided she would not allow young lives go up in flames. The activist saw hope in dance and used it as a potent tool to hit back at patriarchy and poverty. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killed She joined Apne Aap Women Worldwide, a charitable trust. Apne Aap was founded by 22 women from Mumbai’s red light district, with a vision of a world where no woman could be bought or sold. Undeterred by threats from pimps, brothel owners and others, Uma uses dance therapy to help girls of the red-light area choose a life of dignity. She teaches Rabindra Sangeet Nritya, a classical based dance form invented and devised by Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore, to girls in the area. Uma learnt the dance form at Kolkata Sanved, an NGO which uses Dance Movement Therapy (DMT) as an alternative approach to counselling, psycho social rehabilitation, self-expression and empowerment. The unique therapy model is designed to heal and empower individuals from marginalised communities, including survivors of gender-based violence and at-risk children and youth. “I always wanted to dance. It is my salvation. Today, as a part of Apne Aap, I teach dance to girls of my area. We also run a sanitary pad making unit. Girls are also taught to make jute bags. These girls are often scoffed at for the work they do, but what they need is an avenue to earn their livelihood with dignity, Uma asserted. Uma is also an international celebrity of sorts. Held out as an example for others, she has met former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and American actor Ashley Judd. I met Hillary Clinton in 2012 when she visited Kolkata. I tied a band with the line Cool Men Don’t Buy Sex’ on her wrist. We met Ashley Judd last year when she visited my house as part of an initiative by Apne Aap, she said. Uma, who helped show many young women the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel, has waged a long, often lone battle against power. When I started out, I was a nobody. I got threats from pimps, brothel owners and middlemen. I have led many raids in brothels and rescued young girls. Small kids are lured with the promise of chocolates and sweets. They are then sold off. We worked hard to create an effective circle of discreet informers who tip us off about any immoral activity, she said. She continues to live in Munshiganj and strives to empower the girls of the area. Discussing personal life, she said her mother has been a pillar of strength for her. I survived an abusive marriage. I married a boy from our neighbourhood when I was 16 against my mother’s wishes. I want to forget that phase of my life as it was a big mistake. “I fought a long custody battle for my eight-year-old son. I have now filed for divorce. My strength in all these phases was my mother. She never lost confidence in me. An Apne Aap worker praised Uma’s determination and courage to fight the odds. Uma today is in charge of Apne Aap’s sanitary pad making unit in Munshiganj. She gets a stipend from Apne Aap. Five girls from the red-light area work under her. They make around 250 to 300 sanitary pads daily. The girls are usually paid Re 1 per sanitary pad. The unit was started in 2015. It requires a lot of courage to stand up to power when you are a nobody. Uma strived to change her destiny and today she is a force to reckon with, she said. Moving away from an unhappy past to a brighter future, Uma dreams big. I want to raise my son by giving him a good education. I still remember that horrible day when a sex worker was burnt alive, I hope no life goes up in flames. I will continue to protect young girls from the flesh trade, just the way my mother protected me.
Following the Hollywood fashion trend of wearing shoes without socks may cause fungal infections such as athlete’s foot, warn scientists. Some of Hollywood’s biggest stars have experimented with the style, including Bradley Cooper, Ryan Gosling, Orlando Bloom and Jude Law. However, people are failing to realise the serious repercussions of the trend, researchers said.Feet typically produce half a pint of sweat a day. Any moisture not soaked up by socks is maintained in synthetic and non-breathable material – leaving people vulnerable to fungal infections, they said.’Depending on the level of sweatiness of the foot, there may be issues with too much moisture in the feet, which can leave you vulnerable to fungal infections such as athlete’s foot,’ said Emma Stevenson, podiatrist at the College of Podiatry in the UK.Many shoes available today may have leather uppers but are lined in synthetic material, which is not breathable.However, if the lining is not breathable then moisture, heat and bacteria will all be trapped inside the shoe, The Telegraph reported.Researchers also noted that ill-fitting footwear and a lack of socks could lead to issues like blisters and the formation of painful corns, calluses and ingrown toenails.
Tattoo enthusiasts around the world have inked various parts of their body. And it might sound strange, but getting your eye inked is gaining popularity worldwide among extreme body-modders, or body modification enthusiasts. “Today, tattoos have become very fashionable. Every fourth person is getting it done despite knowing the harmful effects and consequences. There can be many factors which may lead to such behaviours,” says Dr Manish Jain, Consultant, Psychiatry, BLK Super Speciality Hospital. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfPeople interested in radical cosmetic procedures have shown interest in this procedure all over the world. Body modification enthusiasts who often get tattoos all over their body or their tongue surgically split find scleral tattooing as the next logical step.Dr Prashaant Chaudhry, Senior Consultant, Cornea and Refractive Surgery, Cataract, Glaucoma and Medical retina at Aakash Healthcare, says, “Eyeball tattooing is a procedure done to change the colour of the white portion of the eye. The procedure requires putting some numbing drops in the eye followed by injection of a dye of the chosen colour between the two layers of the white part of the eye. Most commonly, the white of the eye is dyed black in the process. However, eyeball tattooing is not without attendant risks. If it is performed without a thorough knowledge of the anatomy of the eye or the right technique, it can be vision threatening. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveThere are numerous reported instances where eyeball tattooing has led to the loss of vision of the eye, especially when done by untrained persons and not specialist doctors. The complications most commonly arise due to the needle entering into the eye and leading to cataract, detachment of the retina, bleeding or infection in the eye. The experience can quickly turn into a nightmare with a persistently painful and watering eye, not to mention the dreaded vision loss if things really go wrong. The risks increase dramatically if a person wears prescription contact lenses or has a pre-existing eye disease. The inks used also vary in nature, and UV reactive inks and red inks can cause more problems. A spot testing before the full ink application is, therefore, definitely recommended. So why does anyone want to go through all that? Dr Manish Jain explains, “Firstly, tattoos are used to modify self-esteem as well as bodies. Sometimes people feel something missing or inadequate in their bodies and envision themselves imperfect. Therefore they get these tattoos done on their bodies.Secondly, some people do it to seek attention, especially those who had been neglected by others around them. So, by this way, they express their unheard emotions, feelings and situations. Thirdly, to stand out and to blend into a group, adolescents follow the trend. Several studies have shown that people who are rebellious and aggressive express their passive aggression through this. Lastly, in the form of self-punishment or just to undo their acts; people express their pain and guilt to themselves through such painful procedures. And in this particular case, any of the above reasons could be behind such a risky behaviour.”
Delhi Crafts Council Delhi Crafts Council has been involved in reviving the dying art form of Sanjhi for more than three decades. In its exhibition at India Art Fair, it will take this initiative further by bringing Sanjhi into the same space as contemporary Indian art. Sanjhi, the art of hand cutting stencils from paper, is believed to have originated about 400 years ago, but over time, this religious art declined. In 1990, DCC organised an exhibition called ‘Kagaz’, showcasing Sanjhi in a new dimension. Soon many designers brought in new designs and different applications, bringing about a major transformation of the craft. Delhi Crafts Council has been consistently making an effort to revive the vanishing art form of Sanjhi. Exhibiting this wonderful craft at India Art Fair is yet another initiative by DCC to support the Sanjhi artisans and opening up this craft to a new audience. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfSeema KohliSeema Kohli has created her own niche in the world of contemporary art. Her creative repertoire is eclectic, encompassing a wide range of mediums ranging from painting, murals, to installations, sculptures. She will be showcasing her collection titled ‘Trees of Life’, that consist of ‘acrylics and inks on canvas with 24ct gold and silver leaf’. ‘Tree of Life’ is inspired by verse 1, Chapter 15, Bhagwatgita in which Krishna explains to Arjuna that life is like a Banyan tree. We create the continuation of our existence by our own actions. These actions are like the roots of the banyan tree, which keep expanding over centuries. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveAvijit Dutta Avijit Dutta’s metaphorical, minimal and almost meditative watercolours that poignantly combine the abstract memories of our glorious past with a contemporary iconography, will surely please you at IAF. Titled ‘Ensoul’, the solo show of around ten large works is being presented by Gallerie Ganesha at Booth No. F-3, IAF. Dutta is an award-winning watercolourist whose technique is reminiscent of early renaissance frescos. Rendered with utmost gentleness and finesse, these works exemplify the artist’s experience of reliving moments, embracing them and celebrating them as a part of a bigger process, as a fragment of the continuously evolving existence.
We’ve all heard the expression “So bad, it’s good.” Well, the Cherry Sisters, sibling vaudeville performers from Marion, Iowa, managed to turn sheer awfulness into an art form. In an interview with NPR, David Soren, curator of the American Vaudeville Museum Collection at the University of Arizona, got right to the point: “The Cherry Sisters were generally regarded as the worst ever.”The sisters lost their parents at an early age. In 1893, Ella (the eldest, who would leave the group early on), Lizzie, Addie, Effie, and Jessie formed a variety act to pay for a trip to the World’s Fair in Chicago.Three of the Cherry Sisters.The show — called Something Good, Something Sad — was a mortifying mish-mash of original music, drum pounding, poetry, mouth harp playing, inspirational recitations, and fake hypnosis.The sisters were also pretty big on patriotism and devout Christians — though a sketch featuring a faux crucifixion was in questionable taste.When the Cherry Sisters first performed at their hometown opera house, audiences — comprised mostly of friends and neighbors — were kind. Misreading their reaction and encouraged by the polite applause, the sisters figured they were ready for the big time.Three of the Cherry Sisters siblings strike a theatrical pose.They traveled to Chicago and scored an audition with an agent. Getting a gander of the girls in their homespun clothes, he “must have sensed the potential of novelty,” according to Vaudeville, Old and New by Frank Cullen, and sent them on a tour of around the Midwest.Let’s just say, it did not go well. Audiences were not amused, nor were they entertained. In fact, they were downright enraged — heaving tomatoes (or any other fruit, vegetable, or projectile they could get their mitts on), heckling, and in the words of one observer, “behaving badly.” And it would only get worse.Oscar Hammerstein I brought the Cherry Sisters to New York in 1896.More and more towns were anxious to see firsthand just how godawful the gals were. The Chicago Daily Tribune reported that when the Cherry Sisters appeared at the Dubuque Grand Opera House, they “were pelted with everything from an onion to a tin boiler and were afterward badly treated on their way to their hotel.”One audience member sprayed a fire extinguisher into one of the ladies’ faces, forcing the sisters to perform behind a protective wire mesh.The critics in the press weren’t much kinder. The editor of the Chronicle, in Odebolt, Iowa, described the Cherry Sisters as “creatures surpassing the witches in Macbeth in general hideousness… Their long skinny arms equipped with talons at the extremities, swung mechanically, and soon were waved frantically at the suffering audience. Their mouths opened like caverns, and sounds like the wailing of damned souls issued therefrom,” a review that would be reprinted in the Des Moines Leader. That cinched it. The Cherry Sisters sued both papers for defamation, claiming the over-the-top attack on their appearance constituted libel.The Paradise Roof Garden above the Victoria Theatre, New York, c. 1902. Card from a postcard book. The theatre was demolished in 1915.When the Polk County Court ruled in favor of the newspapers, the sisters appealed to a higher authority. No, not Him — the Iowa Supreme Court, which upheld the verdict, stating, “If one makes himself ridiculous in his public performances, he may be ridiculed.”But bad news travels fast and in the mid-1890s, Willie Hammerstein, one of New York’s most successful producers, hired the Cherry Sisters for a well-paying engagement at his Olympia Music Hall, which was on the verge of bankruptcy.Advertisement from The New York Times, July 18, 1909“I’ve been putting on the best talent and it hasn’t gone over,” said Hammerstein, candidly. “I’m going to try the worst.” Smart move. Just two weeks after the opening of Something Good, Something Sad, the theater was flush with money, and the show ran for six weeks, people flocking like rubberneckers at a pileup.Pulling no punches, The New York Times headlined their review “Four Freaks from Iowa,” then attempted to find some deeper explanation for the atrocity they had just witnessed.It would read, in part: “The effects of poverty, ignorance, and isolation are much the same all over the world, and the Cherry Sisters exhibited every one of them with a pathetic frankness that left no question as to their status or their character.”The plucky Cherry Sisters continued to tour for a few more years, until Jessie, the youngest, succumbed to typhoid fever in 1903, at age 31. Rather than soldier on without her, the sisters packed it in. Effie, not quite over the spotlight, ran unsuccessfully for mayor of Cedar Rapids, twice — ever the glutton for punishment. None of the sisters would marry.Masochists or masterminds who were just messin’ with people’s minds? According to Vaudeville, Old and New, people were divided. Some think the Cherry Sisters didn’t have a clue as to how bad they were; others believe they knew exactly what they were doing.Read another story from us: Artist Transforms Victorian Portraits into SuperheroesPerhaps it was a little of both: five girls from Iowa who learned how good — not to mention lucrative — being bad can be. After all, what are a few tomatoes, really, when you’ve got your own Wikipedia page?
The legendary British actor Bob Hoskins passed away in 2014 but left behind an impressive body of work. He was also known for his straight-talking, leading to some entertaining and honest anecdotes from behind the scenes. One of these concerned a movie he ultimately never appeared in – The Untouchables, directed by Brian De Palma in 1987. The period picture was based on the memoir of famed detective Eliot Ness, co-written with Oscar Fraley. David Mamet had written the script.Bob Hoskins on the set of Ruby Blue. Photo by James Laurence Stewart CC BY 2.0A pre-superstardom Kevin Costner played Ness. But who was in the frame to play his real-life enemy and gangland boss Al Capone?De Palma had cast Costner and others, including Sean Connery. Yet while the names he’d hired were more than capable, the director felt there wasn’t enough pizazz in the mix.American film director Brian De Palma at the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival. Photo by gdcgraphics CC BY SA 2.0Speaking to Entertainment Weekly in 2006, he confided “No one had heard of Kevin Costner yet. And Sean Connery — he hadn’t had a hit since 007. Now the cast looks great, but at the time, it wasn’t quite as hot.”So it made sense to try and catch a big fish to play Capone. De Palma thought Robert De Niro would be a perfect choice. There was just one slight hurdle — convincing him to do it.Al Capone“I told the head of the studio, ‘We have a cast for an episode of Masterpiece Theatre. We need a big star as Capone.’ So we went to De Niro. I spent weeks trying to convince him because he would have to put on weight and he had a couple of other pictures he was doing.”De Niro was famous for his intense preparation. He actually drove a cab for Taxi Driver (1976), and to portray boxer Jake LaMotta in Raging Bull (1980) he consumed large quantities of pasta to bulk up for the role.Robert De Niro performs a scene in Taxi Driver directed by Martin Scorsese in 1976 in New York, New York. Photo by Michael Ochs Archive/Getty ImagesAs for Al Capone, he thought his face was the wrong shape and wanted to change his diet to mold his physical appearance. Yet it wasn’t a done deal and anyway De Palma had reportedly thought of another actor first… Bob Hoskins. Not that it appeared that way to Hoskins himself.Related Video: Hilarious 192s gangster slang:Talking on Absolute Radio in 2009, Hoskins said, “Brian De Palma sent me a script for The Untouchables and said ‘look at Al Capone.’ I went to meet him at his hotel and he said ‘really I want Robert De Niro to play him’ and I thought ‘well great what am I doing here?’. He then said ‘but if he doesn’t do it, would you sort of step in?’ and I said ‘yeah, of course, I will.’”Mug shot of Al Capone at the now closed AlcatrazIt would have been a great job for Hoskins but the actor knew De Niro would probably take the role. When he found out the Italian American star was signed up he carried on with his successful career. In his words, “I’d sort of forgotten all about it.”However there was a surprise waiting for him on the doormat when the postman arrived months later. “Linda – my Mrs – was opening the post one morning and said ‘what’s that?’ and it was a check for £200,000.”The payment was from De Palma, to say thanks for his interest. And Hoskins’ response was priceless.Bob Hoskins in 1991. Photo by Getty Images“I phoned him up and I said ‘Brian, if you’ve ever got any films you don’t want me in son, you just give me a call!’”With powerful performances as gangland bosses in the likes of 1979’s The Long Good Friday, a Hoskins take on Capone would have been worth the ticket price alone. He never got the chance to play Capone but did notably portray real life figures J. Edgar Hoover in Oliver Stone’s Nixon (1995) and Nikita Khrushchev in 2001’s Enemy at the Gates.Read another story from us: Legendary Gangster Al Capone was one of the First Recipients of Penicillin in HistoryIt’s not like Hoskins’ ego was bruised by the affair. He never appeared to have any vanity about his work. Instead, he demonstrated his sense of humor and indeed class over the whole situation.
In today’s Cool Down, Colin ambushes the production team in the control room to make sure no one’s slacking. Boss is here, look alive people!Have a look behind the scenes where the show is made and meet some members of The Herd team that make it happen!
Advertisement Prior to the AFC Championship game, Tom Brady injured his thumb on a practice hand off and social media went wild with speculation on the nature and severity of the injury. The mystery deepened in the run up to the game because the Patriots were typically hush on the details and Brady showed up to several press conferences wearing gloves.The latest episode of Tom vs. Time was filmed during this year’s playoffs and gives a behind the scenes look at Brady’s injured hand, confirming it was as bad, or worse, than the worst of the internet speculation.In a scene with training guru Alex Guerrero, the camera clearly shows a significant number of stitches at the base of his right thumb. Brady discussed his reaction when it happened, and said the feared his season might be over. As we know, Brady played despite the Frankenstein thumb and beat the Jaguars. The win definitely gets another bump after seeing this monstrosity.Move ahead to 3:28 to see just how bad Brady’s thumb actually was. Oh yeah, Colin makes a cameo.
2 min read Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global One advantage your cordless home phone has over your office phone is that you can walk and talk without losing your connection. Uniden’s new home- or branch-office phone system delivers cordless convenience, office phone features and low-cost internet calling through Packet8.Available for $159 at electronics retailers, Uniden’s UIP1868P system includes a traditional desk set and cell phone-like cordless handset. It can accommodate up to 10 cordless handsets starting at $70 each, depending on the model.The system sports common business niceties like call transfers, conferencing and intercom between handsets, and it has an excellent speaker-phone. Instead of hard-to-remember key codes, you access features via labeled function keys like the “Do Not Disturb” button, which forwards calls directly to voice mail.Meanwhile, a Packet8 Freedom Unlimited calling plan adds virtual PBX services like caller ID, find me/follow me call forwarding and even voice-mail attachments to e-mail. There’s unlimited free internet-only calling and 1,500 minutes of local and long-distance calling over the traditional phone network in North America for $20 a month. Toll-free or out-of-area numbers and true E911 emergency support are small additional charges.Like you, I always try to set up equipment without reading the instructions. No problem with the UIP1868P. Plug its AC adapter into a wall socket, its Ethernet cable into your broadband connection, and visit the Packet8 website to activate service. Simple menus on each handset’s LCD walk you through setup of voice mail and other preferences.The UIP1868P avoids conflicts with your 2.4GHz Wi-Fi network or microwave by communicating over the 5.8GHz band. The system’s only flaw is the lack of separate extensions and voice-mail boxes for each handset oruser. But after all, this is a ridiculous amount of functionality for a ridiculously low price.Systems like this used to cost thousands, and they required a phone technician to set up or change. Instead, you can equip a home office or branch office in minutes, or pick up the UIP1868P and move it to any internet connection, any time.Don’t travel to your next trade show or off-site conference without one. Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box. October 1, 2005 This story appears in the October 2005 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe » Register Now »
December 10, 2008 Brought to you by PCWorld 7 min read Last week I told you about laptops from Acer, Dell and Hewlett-Packard available for $500 to $600, depending upon configuration. But what if none of those notebooks floats your boat?You can still trim the cost of any laptop you’re considering. This week I’ve got some tips on how to save money on productivity suites such as Microsoft Office, which can add up to $350 to your laptop’s price tag.Next week, I’ll have more tips for shaving dollars off your laptop purchase. If you’ve got a money-saving laptop tip, please share it with me.Weighing the Office AlternativesRecently, when configuring an HP Pavilion dv5t (beginning price: $600), I was given several choices for office productivity suites:Microsoft Works, included at no additional costCorel WordPerfect Office, for an additional $59Four different versions of Office, at $99-$349If your productivity software needs are relatively modest, Microsoft Works or Corel WordPerfect may be all you need.While it lacks some of the features and applications of Office, such as a presentation program, Microsoft Works includes a word processor that opens Word files and produces compatible files, a spreadsheet program that creates files that are interchangeable with Microsoft Excel, a calendar program, and more.Similarly, Corel WordPerfect Office X4 offers a word processor, spreadsheet, presentation program (all files are compatible with Microsoft Office applications), visual data analysis tool, e-mail program, and more. WordPerfect Office even provides better PDF support than Office 2007.Free Productivity AppsBut you might not need to buy any software. Another alternative is to sign up for Google Docs or Zoho. Both offer free online tools for word processing, spreadsheets, and presentations. All you need is a Web browser and an Internet connection to use them. Your documents live in “the cloud” (the Internet), so you can access and edit them from any computer with a browser.You can even work with some Google and Zoho files offline. For example, last year Zoho announced you can work with its word processing docs offline. Zoho recently added offline capabilities to its e-mail service, too. I’ve tested Google Docs and recommend it, though it doesn’t have the full range of tools you’d get with Office. See “Working Offline With Google Docs” Part 1 and Part 2.There’s yet another option: OpenOffice.org, a free, open-source productivity suite available for both Windows PCs, Macs, Linux-based systems, among others. OpenOffice.org includes a spreadsheet, word processor and presentation program. It can open some older versions of Word files that not even Office 2007 can handle. New features for OpenOffice.org 3.0 include the ability to import PDF documents.By the way, you might want to read Scott Spanbauer’s “Life Without Desktop Software,” in which he went without desktop applications for a week and reported on his experiences.Office Buying TipsStill convinced you want Microsoft Office on your new laptop? Fine. But there are a few things you should consider.In essence, there are two versions of Office: OEM (original equipment manufacturer) and retail. If you bought Office preinstalled on a laptop or desktop, you have an OEM version. Conversely, a retail version of Office is sold independently; you’d buy it through outlets such as Amazon.com or any software store.An OEM version of Office is licensed only for use on the computer on which it was installed. Licensing issues aside, the average user can’t successfully install an OEM version of Office on any machine other than the one on which it came. Your copy of Office was engineered to prevent that, because of software piracy concerns.However, you can legally install a retail version of Office on your primary machine–a desktop, for example–and a secondary computer as well, say your laptop. The end-user licensing agreement for a retail version of Office 2007 states “you may install another copy” of the retail version of Office “on a portable device for use by the single primary user of the licensed device.” In other words, as long as you’re installing Office on your laptop and not someone else’s, and you’re going to be the only user of Office, you’re good to go.Given the licensing restrictions on an OEM version, it may make sense to buy a retail version of Office and install it yourself. This is a good idea if you need to use the software on a desktop and a laptop, or you might want to install it on a second laptop later. If you shop carefully, you can pay about the same for the retail version as you would adding an OEM version to your new laptop. For instance, the retail version of Microsoft Office 2007 Small Business Edition was recently available for $260 to $420 online. Comparatively, adding Small Business Edition to the laptop I configured on HP’s site cost an additional $249.You can usually find good deals on Office 2007 on eBay and from Amazon.com sellers. However, make sure you’re buying a full version, not an upgrade. If possible, confirm that the seller hasn’t registered the software on another computer. When you install Office, Microsoft uses an online registration system to ensure, among other things, that the copy you’re attempting to install hasn’t exceeded the allowable number of installations. Also, buy only from a seller with a high rating–ideally, 95 percent or better.Keep in mind that if you didn’t have Office preinstalled on your laptop and you run into problems later, your laptop maker’s tech support may not help you. They may tell you they can’t troubleshoot the problem because you didn’t buy Office from them. If this is a serious concern for you, having Office preinstalled on your new laptop may be the way to go. If your computer maker sells the retail Office versions, you might get around the tech-support limitations by buying it from them. However, a spot check of retail versions of Office Small Business Edition on Dell.com and HP.com found prices of $420 and $405, respectively–significantly higher than many other online store.The Wrap-UpIf you’re trying to cut your laptop costs, I’d recommend at least experimenting with Google Docs, Zoho, OpenOffice.org, or any other free productivity suite. You’ve got nothing to lose, and you’ll be able to open in Office any files you create using one of its alternatives. You might save as much as $350–and discover that you don’t miss Office so much, after all.Stop Cell Phone Spam: Are you receiving unwanted text messages, e-mail, and voice calls on your mobile phone? “Put an End to Cell Phone Spam” offers tips for stopping the junk sent to your phone. For example, many spam text messages are sent to your phone via e-mail. AT&T cell phone subscribers can block such messages by signing in to mymessages.wireless.att.com, then clicking check boxes to block MMS (multimedia message service) and text messages sent through e-mail.Securing Your iPhone: If the data stored on your Apple iPhone falls into nefarious hands, you could be in for a world of woe. Better be safe than sorry by protecting the data. Fortunately, that’s not difficult. For example, the iPhone includes a feature that erases all its data after ten failed passcode attempts. For this to work, you must enter a four-character passcode each time you turn on your iPhone. Read “Six Essential Apple iPhone Security Tips” for more advice.Nokia’s Sleek, Useful 3G Phone: The E71, Nokia’s first 3G phone, features a slick design and many useful features. The candy-bar phone has a full QWERTY keyboard, is remarkably slim, fits easily in your hand, and is extremely light. at only 4.4 ounces.Contributing Editor James A. Martin offers tools, tips, and product recommendations to help you make the most of computing on the go. Martin is also author of the Traveler 2.0 blog. Sign up to have the Mobile Computing Newsletter e-mailed to you each week.