Bloodborne Pathogens – Preventing Disease Transmission

Imagine receiving a call that an employee has been injured from a fall down a flight of steps at your facility. The caller tells you that 911 has been called and some of your fellow employees are tending to the victim. As a supervisor, you decide to respond to the scene.

You arrive just as firefighters and paramedics take over caring for the victim. These rescuers do their job well – the victim is stabilized, wrapped up for transport to the hospital and gently placed on the stretcher.

As you watch, you can’t help but notice that the firefighters and paramedics are wearing medical gloves and goggles. As EMS (emergency medical services) personnel leave the area, you approach the employees who helped to thank them for their efforts. Almost immediately you become aware of a very frightening sight – both of the rescuers have fairly large spots of blood on their clothing and, even more upsetting, both are using paper towels to wipe the blood off of their hands. It is obvious that these employees did nothing to protect themselves from disease transmission and both have been contaminated with the victim’s blood.

Wearing PPE (personal protective equipment) is an important part of professional rescuers’ equipment. They know that protecting themselves from bloodborne pathogens is, in some ways, just as important as caring for the victim. But what about your people – do they know the risks associated with not wearing protective equipment?

If your company provides first aid kits for employee use or if your employees are required to respond to a medical emergency, they should have access to protective equipment and receive training on bloodborne pathogens.

ASSESS YOUR OPERATION’S RISK FOR EXPOSURE – I was recently asked to evaluate exposure risks for an association of tow truck operators, body shop technicians and auto mechanics. These people lacked training on bloodborne pathogens.

Tow truck operators wear thick, leather work gloves and routinely pick up bloodstained windshields or wrap contaminated airbags around steering columns. Body shop technicians pull contaminated seats from wrecked vehicles and then sit on them during their breaks or at lunchtime. Mechanics have a tendency to cut their knuckles or foreheads while repairing vehicles. They also share tools with fellow employees – tools that are contaminated with blood from their last injury.

I know you’re not in the automobile repair business. The examples above are intended to get you thinking about your own operation’s risks of exposure to potentially dangerous body fluids. Do you have a first responder team or people assigned to respond to an emergency? Are first aid kits available to employees? Do employees share equipment or tools that could become contaminated? Who is responsible for cleaning up body fluids after an accident or injury?

Without proper communication policies and training in preventing disease transmission, your employees could find themselves exposed to the same dangers paramedics and firefighters face while coming to their aid.

So what can you do to reduce the risk of exposure? Let’s start with defining bloodborne pathogens and the impact that exposure to them can have on employees and employers.

CONTAMINATION PREVENTION GUIDELINES – Bloodborne pathogens are pathogenic microorganisms that are transmitted via human blood and cause disease in humans. They include – but are not limited to – hepatitis B and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

I know for many people (myself included) words like microorganisms, immunodeficiency and pathogens bring back thoughts of high school and health classes – the last places in the world most of us want to revisit. So before we go any further, let me put it in my terms: There’s a lot of junk out there that can make us very sick, or even kill us if we become contaminated.

We need to constantly be on guard and be very careful so that we don’t become contaminated. I’ve been teaching CPR and first aid training for over 25 years, and I’m often asked if I would do rescue breathing without a barrier on someone I do not know. I respond without hesitation: If I found someone unresponsive and not breathing, I would immediately call for help and begin chest compressions on the victim, but there is no way I would do mouth-to-mouth on the individual without a breathing barrier.

Emergency responders know the risks associated with coming in contact with bloodborne pathogens, and they know how to protect themselves. Unfortunately, far too many people in the workplace or good Samaritans on the street do little, if anything, to take the necessary precautions. Too often they realize they’ve been exposed to body fluids after the emergency, when it’s too late to do anything about it.

EMPLOYEES – Here are a few simple rules to follow when faced with the possibility of exposure to bloodborne pathogens, or any body fluids for that matter. This information is presented as guidelines for both employees and employers. The American Heart Association calls it “Making a PACT, Know How to Act.”

PROTECT – Protect yourself from blood or blood-containing materials. This includes wearing protective equipment such as gloves and goggles and using a breathing barrier if you are performing CPR. Consider your options if you find yourself with no protective equipment.

ACT – If you find you have come into contact with another person’s blood or other body fluids, act quickly and safely. Wash the area immediately with hot, soapy water for up to a minute before rinsing. If your eyes have been contaminated, flush them with clean water for up to five minutes. If a flushing agent is not available at the scene, have someone get water for you. Firefighters or paramedics can assist you if they are still at the scene.

CLEAN – After an emergency, especially in the shop area or office, clean any areas contaminated with blood or body fluids. Wear protective equipment. Clean the area with a solution of one part Clorox and eight parts water. Completely flush the area and let the solution stand for at least three minutes. Be careful when wiping up the area, especially if you are dealing with broken glass or wood or metal splinters. Put all soiled items, including soiled cleaning materials, in a plastic bag and take it to the dumpster as soon as you are finished. If there is an injection device (such as a needle) involved, try to give it to the medics or firefighters before they leave; otherwise, get it in the dumpster and use extreme caution while doing so.

TELL – Report the incident immediately to your supervisor or human resources department. Ask for a dated copy of the report (even if it is only handwritten).

EMPLOYERS’ RESPONSIBILITIES – Employers have a responsibility to protect their employees from exposure to bloodborne pathogens. Here are the specifics of this responsibility.

PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT – Any employee at risk of being exposed to bloodborne pathogens must be provided with the protective equipment necessary to keep them safe from exposure. This equipment includes gloves, goggles and, if required, breathing masks or barriers for CPR.

EDUCATION – Not all professions require bloodborne pathogen education and prevention training.

A call to OSHA (Occupational Safety & Health Administration) may or may not give you the answer you are looking for. It appears as though OSHA looks at a number of factors when determining whether an employer does or does not have to comply. For example, if you offer voluntary CPR/first aid training to your employees, they may not be required to take bloodborne pathogen training. If you have designated first aid responders within your organization, you probably fall under the training requirements.

Many of you know your employees’ occupational exposure risk. If you have personnel who are routinely or even occasionally exposed to blood or body fluids in the execution of their duties, you may want to consider offering protective equipment and training to these employees.

ENGINEERING CONTROLS – Engineering controls help to protect employees from bloodborne pathogen contamination and prevent the spread of pathogens in the workplace. Here’s an example of engineering controls: An employee using his leather work gloves realizes he has come in contact with body fluids and the gloves are contaminated. Two controls should be in place to protect the employee. First, knowing his exposure risk, the employer should have a spare set of gloves on hand so that the operator can complete his job. Second, the company should have a procedure for disposing of or cleaning the soiled gloves.

WORK PRACTICES – Setting standard practices for preventing disease transmission is a very important part of an employer’s responsibility in protecting employees.

In the case of the body shop previously mentioned, good work practices would include establishing a policy requiring workers to wrap plastic around seats pulled from a wrecked vehicle and prohibiting them from sitting on the seats, even with the plastic cover in place.

Providing employees with their own toolboxes is another good practice. If they share tools, have a policy in place for cleaning and decontaminating tools, especially after an accident or injury. Moreover, make sure employees know the importance of disposing of or cleaning contaminated personal protective equipment.

Finally, offer a course in bloodborne pathogen training. It is an excellent way to communicate the importance of preventing disease transmission and protecting your company from a huge liability/workers compensation claim.

HAVE A WRITTEN POLICY AND REPORTING PROCEDURES IN PLACE – As I previously mentioned, implement policies related to bloodborne pathogens at your operation. Start small, then expand on the policies as new issues surface. Communicate with your people. Make sure they know the reporting procedures and the importance of reporting any possible contamination.

OSHA has templates for creating your own company bloodborne pathogens policy and/or procedure. Simply download the forms, fill in the blanks with your company name, etc., print them out and you’re good to go. Additional information can be obtained by calling your regional OSHA office.

TRAINING, POLICIES ARE WORTHWHILE INVESTMENTS – I am a business of one, but if I did have employees, I can assure you – they would be trained on bloodborne pathogen risks and contamination prevention, and my company would have a policy in place. It’s the right thing to do for a business, its employees and the employer. And just imagine how good it would feel to know that your operation is in compliance should OSHA officials decide to visit.

Invest an hour for setting up your program, distribute the information to your employees and arrange for a 30-minute bloodborne pathogen education and prevention class. The investment is small, but the dividends to you and your employees will be huge.

Activity Diagrams – Advantages, Disadvantages and Applications of Use

Activity diagrams describe the actual work flow behavior of a system in Information Technology. These diagrams are very similar to state Diagrams because activities are the actual state of doing something. These diagrams describe the actual state of activities of a system by showing all the sequence of activities performed. Also, these diagrams can show activities that are conditional or parallel.

When to Use: Activity Diagrams

Activity diagrams should be used in alignment with other modeling techniques like interaction diagrams and State diagrams. The main reason behind using these diagrams is to model the work flow behind the system being designed. these Diagrams are also useful for analyzing a use case by describing what actions need to take place and when they should occur, describing a complicated sequential algorithm and modeling applications with parallel processes.

Activity diagrams’ advantages:

  • UML modeling language included that these diagrams are normally easily comprehensible for both analysts and stakeholders.
  • In UML for the IT Business Analyst, “The activity diagram is the one most useful to the IT BA for depicting work flow [because] it is simple to understand-both for BAs and end-users.”
  • Since they are among the most user-friendly diagrams available, they are generally regarded as an essential tool in an analyst’s repertoire.
  • Additionally, as stated above, activity diagrams allow an analyst to display multiple conditions and actors within a work flow through the use of swimlanes. Swimlanes, however, are optional as a single condition or actor is normally displayed without them.

Activity diagrams’ disadvantages:

UML modeling language include that these diagrams have the potential to become overly complex because their user-friendly nature may lend itself to an all-inclusive description. In other words, since it is so simple to display the information related to the project, why not include all of it? When an analyst has a large project, creating a single, overly complex diagram can be a temptation.

However, as one author notes, “if you are using activity diagrams to define the structure of a work flow, you should not attempt to explore several levels of activity graphs down to their most ‘atomic’ level”. Instead, an analyst should try to present a new diagram for each work flow, or if more applicable, to use swimlanes to present different actors within the same work flow.

Another aspect of these diagrams is that they may not be used in lieu of a state diagram or sequence diagram because “activity diagrams do not give detail about how objects behave or how objects collaborate.” This is not a disadvantage per se, but it is important for an analyst to keep in mind when applying diagrams to their work.

In conclusion, activity diagrams are fairly easy to get the hang of, and will be useful for most projects because they plainly and moderately clearly demonstrate how things work.” Unlike many diagramming techniques, these diagrams also enable the depiction of multiple choices and actors within a work flow, and they are easy for even non-technical users to follow

Applications of activity diagram:

This diagram has been extended to specify flows among steps that transmit physical matter (e.g., gasoline) or energy (e.g., torque, pressure).

  • Additional changes allow the diagram to better support continuous behaviors and continuous data flows.
  • The UML 2 specification significantly prolonged the features and scale of activity diagrams beyond their earlier classification as a special case of state diagrams.
  • Today, activity diagrams can be thought of as flow charts for the 21st century, and UML modelers use activity diagrams to describe it.
  • Also, these diagrams are useful in following methods:
  • Business Rules
  • Functions that occur in parallel
  • Complex chain of multiple use cases
  • Software flows and logic control configurations
  • Procedures with judgment points and alternate flows
  • Single use cases

Everything You Need to Know About Investing

To become successful with your money, you have to make your money work for you. You sell your labor which in return makes you money. By making each individual dollar work for you, this in return makes you wealthy over time. There are a plethora of investing opportunities out there. The key is to figure out which one is the right one for your financial situation.

Stocks
The most popular of all investing opportunities, are stocks. Stocks are probably the main thing you think of when you hear of investing. When you buy a stock, you buy partial ownership of a company. Stocks range anywhere from $2, to $12,000, which can appeal to a large variety of people. To be successful when trading stocks, you have to buy low and sell high. Of course this isn’t easy, considering the market is always fluctuating. You need to watch the history of the company, know the PE Ratio, the day range, the 52 week range, etc. Knowing this information can help you predict if the stock will go up or down. You can make a lot of money investing in stocks, which means you can also lose a lot of money. You want to keep in mind that most investments in stocks are long term investments. It is very risky investing, but if you do the proper research of the history of the company, you can get a very good return.

Stock Investing Tips

1.) Have the Right Expectations
When you are investing in stocks, you want to make sure you aren’t expecting to become Warren Buffet over night. It just wont happen. You want to make sure you do the proper amount of research, and make sure you know the history of the market as well as the company you are investing in. When investing in stocks, the return is around 10%-13%. You don’t want to make hasty decisions and buy and sell a lot just because you aren’t making the money you expected. Make sure you know how long you are keeping an investment, and then make a commitment. This will help you focus on the principles.

2.) Don’t Listen to the Media
Don’t get caught up in what everyone is talking about and what is being said around you. It will take your decision from being based on research and history, to just “hear-say”. This will hurt your investments immensely. Most of the hype and other things that are being said are just the daily fluctuation of the market.

3.) Stay Focused
You want to make sure you are putting all your effort and focus into your investments. Once you buy a stock, you own part of a company. Make sure you treat it the way it is and make sure you do the proper research of all aspects of what you’re investing in. Doing your research can change your investment of making a profit of $15,000, to losing $15,000. In the end, it’s always worth it to do the extra work.

Mutual Funds
When you invest in Mutual Funds, you are pooling your money with a number of other investors. You then pay someone to professionally manage and choose each individual security for you. There are a variety of different mutual funds you can choose to invest in, which range to fit your investment strategy.
3 Types of Mutual Funds
1.) Open-Ended
2.) Unit Investment Trust
3.) Close-Ended

Mutual Fund Investing Tips

1.) Look at the Fees
Always look at the fees involved when investing in Mutual Funds. When you pay more for something, this usually means that you are going to be getting a better product or service, right? Yes! Makes sure you find the best deal, but make sure you are investing the right amount of money in the right places. It can change the course of the whole investment in the long run.

2.) Research the History
One thing you can do to prepare an investment is to check out the history of the Mutual Fund. Just like anything, the history shows how well it has performed, and can be a good indicator. This can directly tell you if it will be a good investment whether it be long term or short term. Another thing you want to look at, is the asset of the fund. If it’s doing good, and there is a community of people investing in it, it can tell you if its a smart idea to invest yourself. Always check the history of any investment before you decide to purchase.

3.) Look at the Contract
You never know what is all involved until you take a detailed look at the prospectus provided by the fund. You want to make sure you don’t just know bits and pieces of what’s involved, but everything there is to know, and then some. Make sure you know all the fees involved with buying and selling funds, and if there are international fees required. Knowing this can help you determine if the company is a solid company where you can make money, or if you are getting into something you will regret in the future.

Bank Investments
Bank accounts are one of the simplest form of investment. Most banks give you a very small percentage for opening a bank account and giving them your money. This percentage barely beats the rise of inflation, so unless you are keeping hundreds of thousands of dollars in the bank, you won’t be creating any wealth from this form of investment. Another way to invest in your bank is a CD, or Certificate of Deposit. A CD if very similar to a bank account, but they are usually for a fixed amount of time. They can be monthly, every six months, a year, etc. the CD is then held until its maturity date, and paid back with interest. A Certificate of Deposit usually earns more money than an account at which you can withdrawal the money at any time, like a bank account.

Alternative Investments
Apart from the basic investments, there are other special securities. These investments include gold/silver, real estate, etc. These investments are speculative and can be very high profit, however; you need to have the knowledge.

1.) Gold & Silver
The first thing you want to do before you invest in gold or silver, is to look at the market and decide if now is the best time to invest in precious metals. You can also talk to a professional and decide when the best time to buy and sell would be. You want to make sure you are familiar with the variety of ways to invest in silver. You can invest in silver mining companies, silver ETF’s, silver futures, silver bullion, and also silver coins. You want to make sure the Exchange Traded Funds (ETF) are backed by physical gold and silver. Another thing to remember, is to not just own a paper owning, but the actual precious metal as well.

EDGE: A Stepping-stone Toward 3G Technologies in Pakistan

ABSTRACT

The business of wireless data is expected to grow in the region of 100-200 % per annum and the mobile communication industry agrees that wireless data services will form the foundation for future business. The enormous success of short messaging in many countries proves that people accept the benefits of non-voice services.

Enhanced Data Rate for Global Evolution (EDGE) is a technology that gives Global Systems for Mobile Communications (GSM) the capacity to handle services for the third generation of mobile telephony. It provides three times the data capacity of General packet Radio Service (GPRS). Using EDGE, operators can handle three times more subscribers than GPRS; triple their data rate per subscriber, or add extra capacity to their voice communications.

This article provides an overview of EDGE technology. In particular, starting from the introduction of this 2.5G technology I describe the core technical aspects and distinct features. I will provide a comparison with GPRS for data services and then a survey of the current state of this technology in Pakistan. I have also covered some benefits for operators and customers.

1. Introduction

The importance of wireless data and multimedia services both for business and end customers are increasing on an unparalleled scale. Enhanced Data Rates for GSM Evolution (EDGE) is a new radio interface solution and is based on an enhanced modulation. EDGE offers GSM network operators an evolution path to mobile data and multimedia services with a three fold increase of data throughput in the existing GSM spectrum. EDGE therefore provides an alternative for operators who do not have a Universal Mobile Telecommunication System (UMTS) license. Moreover it also represents a complement to UMTS for operators intending to first deploy UMTS only in densely populated areas, but who can also use EDGE to provide wide area coverage of future oriented 3G services. In the US market operators have chosen EDGE as the 3G solutions. [8].

We are presently experiencing the Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) as well as the higher   transmission  speeds of High Speed Circuit Switched Data (HSCSD), joined by the convenience of “always on-line” direct Internet connections with GPRS. [1]

EDGE, new radios interface technology with enhanced modulation, increases the HSCSD and GPRS data rates by up to three fold. EDGE modulation is going to increase the data throughput provided by the packet switched service even over 400 kbps per carrier. Similarly, the data rates of circuit switched data can be increased, or existing data rates can be achieved using fewer timeslots, saving capacity. Accordingly, these higher speed data services are referred to as EGPRS (Enhanced GPRS) and ECSD (Enhanced Circuit Switched Data).

EDGE, is a major improvement in GSM phase 2+. As a modification to existing GSM networks, EDGE does not require new network elements. [1]

In the US, for instance, EDGE is part of the IS-136 High Speed concept, which is one of the third generation Radio  Transmission  Technology (RTT) proposals from TR.45. EDGE is eventually going to be standardized which makes possible to achieve a global mobile radio system with many services characteristic to third generation systems.

2. Overview

The increased bit rates of EDGE put requirements on the GSM/GPRS network architecture. Figure. 1 illustrates the GSM/GPRS architecture, the shaded parts of which are discussed in this section. Other nodes and interfaces are not affected at all by EDGE introduction. An apparent bottleneck is the A-bis interface, which today supports up to 16 kb/s per traffic channel. With EDGE, the bit rate per traffic channel will approach 64 kb/s, which makes allocation of multiple A-bis slots to one traffic channel necessary. Alternative asynchronous transfer mode (ATM) or IP-based solutions to this problem can also be discusses.

One important fact is, however, that the 16 kb/s limit will be exceeded already by the introduction of two coding schemes (CS3 and CS4) in GPRS, which have a maximal bit rate per traffic channel of 22.8 kb/s. Consequently, the A-bis limitation problem is being solved outside the EDGE standardization, and it is therefore a GPRS related, not EDGE-related, modification. For GPRS-based packet data services, other nodes and interfaces are already capable of handling higher bit rates, and are thus not affected. For circuit-switched services, the A interface can handle 64 kb/s per user, which is not exceeded by EDGE circuit-switched bearers. [9]

2.1. Impact on GSM Network Planning

An important prerequisite, which to a large extent will determine the success of EDGE in GSM, is that a network operator be able to introduce EDGE gradually. For initial deployment, EDGE-capable transceivers will supplement standard GSM/GPRS transceivers in a subset of the existing cells where EDGE coverage is desired. Hence, an integrated mix of GSM, GPRS, and EDGE users will coexist in the same frequency band. To minimize effort and cost for the network operator, radio network planning (including cell planning, frequency setting of power and other cell parameters) must not require extensive modification.

2.1.1. Coverage Planning

One characteristic of non-transparent radio link protocols that include automatic repeat request (ARQ), is that low radio link quality only results in a lower bit rate for the user. Hence, low SIR for a user does not result in a dropped call, as for speech, but in a temporary decrease of user bit rate. For transparent bearers, which typically offer a constant bit rate, link quality control must be extended to incorporate resource allocation, in the sense that the number of dynamically allocated time slots fits the bit rate and bit error rate (BER) retirements. Transparent bearers, will thus be available in the entire GSM cell, but require fewer time slots in the center of the cell (where 8-PSK coding schemes can be used).

2.1.2. Frequency Planning

Most mature GSM networks of today have an average frequency reuse factor of around 9 (meaning that available frequencies are divided into nine frequency groups). However, there is also a trend toward tighter reuse factors. With the use of frequency hopping, multiple reuse patterns (MRP), and discontinuous  transmission  (DTX), reuse factors as low as 3 become feasible. EDGE supports a variety of reuse patterns. In fact, by its use of link quality control, EDGE can be introduced in an arbitrary frequency plan, and benefit from high SIR closer to the base stations. EDGE can be introduced in an existing GSM frequency plan, and that it also supports future high-capacity solutions based on tighter frequency reuse.

2.1.3. Radio Network Planning

An important prerequisite (and to a large extent, one that will determine the success of Edge) is that network operators should be able to introduce Edge gradually. The initial deployment of Edge-capable transceivers will supplement standard GSM transceivers in a subset of cells where Edge coverage is desired. An integrated mixture of circuit-switched, GPRS and Edge users will thus coexist in the same frequency band. To minimize operator efforts and costs, Edge-related implementation must not require extensive modification of the radio network plan (including cell planning, frequency planning, the setting of power levels and other cell parameters).

2.1.4. Channel Management

After Edge has been introduced, a cell will typically include two types of transceiver: standard GSM transceivers and Edge transceivers. Each physical channel (time slot) in the cell can be viewed as being one of at least four channel types:

1. GSM speech and GSM circuit-switched data (CSD);

2. GPRS packet data;

3. Circuit-switched data, enhanced circuits witched data (ECSD), and GSM speech;

4. Edge packet data (EGPRS), which allows a mix of GPRS and EGPRS users simultaneously.

While standard GSM transceivers only support channel types 1 and 2, Edge transceivers support all four channel types. Physical channels are dynamically defined according to terminal capabilities and needs in the cell. For example, if several speech users are active, the number of type-1 channels is increased, at the expense of GPRS and Edge channels. Obviously, channel management must be automated, to avoid the splitting of channels into static groups. Otherwise, trunking efficiency would diminish.

3. Interleaving

To increase the performance of the higher coding schemes in EGPRS (MCS7 to MCS9) even at low C/I, the interleaving procedure has been changed within the EGPRS standard. When frequency hopping is used, the radio environment is changing on a per-burst level. Because a radio block is interleaved and transmitted over four bursts for GPRS, each burst may experience a completely different interference environment. [7]

If just one of the four bursts is not properly received, the entire radio block will not be properly decoded and will have to be retransmitted. In the case of CS4 for GPRS, hardly any error protection is used at all. With EGPRS, the standard handles the higher coding scheme differently than GPRS to combat this problem. MCS7, MCS8 and MCS9 actually transmit two radio blocks over the four bursts, and the interleaving occurs over two bursts instead of four. This reduces the number of bursts that must be retransmitted should errors occur. The likelihood of receiving two consecutive error free bursts is higher than receiving four consecutive error free bursts. This means that the higher coding schemes

for EDGE have a better robustness with regard to frequency hopping.

4. EDGE & GPRS

EDGE, or the Enhanced Data Rate for Global Evolution, is the new mantra in the Global Internet Connectivity scene. EDGE is the new name for GSM 384. The technology was named GSM 384 because of the fact that it provided Data  Transmission  at a rate of 384 Kbps. It consists of the 8 pattern time slot, and the speed could be achieved when all the 8 time slots were used. The idea behind EDGE is to obtain even higher data rates on the current 200 KHz GSM carrier, by changing the type of the modulation used.

Now, this is the most striking feature. EDGE, as being once a GSM technology, works on the existing GSM or the TDMA carriers, and enables them to many of the 3G services. Although EDGE will have a little technical impact, since its fully based on GSM or the TDMA carriers, but it might just get an EDGE over the up coming technologies, and of course, the GPRS. With EDGE, the operators and service providers can offer more wireless data application, including wireless multimedia, e-mail (Web Based), Web Infotainment, and above all, the technology of Video Conferencing.

Now all these technologies that were named earlier, were the clauses of the IMT-UMTS 3G Package. But, with EDGE, we can get all these 3G services on our existing GSM phones, which might just prove to be a boon to the user.

The current scenario clearly states that EDGE will definitely score higher than GPRS. The former allows its users to increase the data speed and throughput capacity, to around 3-4 times higher than GPRS.

Secondly, it allows the existing GSM or the TDMA carriers to give the sophisticated 3G services. And with 1600 Million subscribers of GSM in over 170 countries, offer the full Global Roaming, anywhere between India to Japan and to San Francisco. Based on an 8 PSK modulation, it allows higher bit rate across the air Interface. There is one symbol for every 3 bits. Thus, EDGE Rate is equal to 3x GPRS Rate.

5. Future Evolution Towards WCDMA

The next evolutionary step for the GSM/EDGE cellular system includes enhancements of service provisioning for the packet-switched domain with the service provisioning in UMTS/UTRAN (UMTS terrestrial radio access network). GERAN will provide improved support for all quality of service (QoS) classes defined for UMTS: interactive, background, streaming and conversational. By doing so, a new range of applications, including IP multimedia applications, will be adequately supported. This part of the GSM/EDGE evolution focuses on support for the conversational and streaming service classes, because adequate support for interactive and background services already exists. Additionally, parallel simultaneous bearers will support multimedia applications with different QoS characteristics towards the same MS, such as multiple media streams handled through IMS domain. A driver for such evolution on the packet-switched side is the paradigm shift within the telecommunications world from circuit to packet-switched communications.

Both the core network defined for GPRS and the current GSM/EDGE radio access network require modifications to support enhanced packet services. The GPRS/EGPRS networks can quickly and cost effectively evolve with market needs, and align with services provided by WCDMA networks. The current evolution of GSM/EDGE, which covers all of the above aspects, is being standardized in 3GPP TSG GERAN. [4]

6. EDGE in Pakistan

Pakistan has the sixth largest population in the world – approximately 150 million. There are currently four mobile operators in the country. Mobile penetration at the end of 2003 was just 2.3% with a subscriber base of 3.4 million, while fixed line penetration was approximately 2.4%. Many geographic areas in Pakistan are without telephone coverage. To accompany recent positive economic development in Pakistan and the inherently low mobile penetration, high growth within the mobile segment is expected. At the moment the people in Pakistan are more concern with the text-enabled facility like SMS. Although the introduction of GPRS gave a new concept and new boost in Cellular network but still, people are not that much concern using Internet by their terminal. Few think that it still more costly and few believe that GPRS didn’t develop the interest for using Internet if we compared it by computer.

In April 2004 Norwegian mobile telecom operator, Telenor, bid for and ultimately won a license to operate a cellular network in Pakistan. The license covers the operation of Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM), General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) and Enhanced Data Rates for Global Evolution (EDGE) technology for the network. [14]

Telenor Pakistan has signed two deals with mobile infrastructure contractors for different areas of the network:

Nokia have signed a three-year deal to build and operate a GSM / GPRS / EDGE network to cover the central and Northern Punjab region (phase one), centered around Lahore.

Siemens have signed a deal to build a GSM / GPRS / EDGE network to cover the southern areas of Pakistan, centered around Islamabad.

Further enhancements in data capability over the core GPRS / GSM network will be provided in both networks with the installation of Enhanced Data for Global (GSM) Evolution technology. This component of the two systems will be installed after the initial roll-outs and will allow the subscribers to have the use of advanced mobile services such as downloading video and music clips, full multimedia messaging, high-speed color Internet access and email on the move.

Nortel Networks will upgrade Ufone’s existing wireless systems and supply new GSM/GPRS core network and radio access equipment, including Mobile Switching Center, Home Location Register (HLR) and advanced Base Transceiver Stations (BTS).

A key component of the Ufone expansion will be Nortel Networks BTS 12000, designed to deliver additional capacity within a GSM/GPRS network while positioning operators to drive lower costs and to offer advanced wireless services based on third generation (3G) EDGE (Enhanced Data for GSM Evolution) technology. The expansion will also include Nortel Networks Passport Packet Voice Gateway (PVG) for migration of TDM voice trunking to a packet-based infrastructure.

7. Benefits

As highlighted previously the need to reduce business risk and make the best use of existing resources is of paramount importance within today’s business environment.

7.1. Financial

GSM based networks have become the standard within the cellular landscape. As EDGE is a GSM based technology and provides an enhancement for GPRS at a little additional cost it is considered the best way in which to capitalize on existing resources. [1]

7.1.1. Radio Access Network

In most cases GPRS enabled base stations and BSC’s can be simply upgraded to EDGE by way of relatively low-cost software and hardware upgrades, which will pro-long the life cycle of the deployed RAN elements.

7.1.2. Core Network

For GPRS enhancement, there is very little modification to be completed within a GPRS enabled core network, thus enhancing the sunk core network investment.

7.1.3. Antenna Sites

There is no requirement for additional antenna sites when deploying EDGE. Assuming high quality linear amplifiers with high RF output power are used within the BTS, the coverage pattern will be the same as the existing GPRS deployment, so protecting existing site investment.

7.1.4. Spectrum Utilization

EDGE triples the GPRS data capacity whilst using the existing GSM spectrum and offers up to three times the GPRS data rate to the end user. EDGE is spectrally the most efficient radio technology for data applications requiring up to 100Kb/s throughput (compared to CDMA and WCDMA), and only WCDMA is spectrally better for higher throughputs.

7.1.5. Applications

GPRS enabled applications and services will generally not require any additional investment to become EDGE compatible. This is also valid for known WCDMA applications.

Although the financial benefits of EDGE can be apportioned to individual network elements as outlined above, one of the main business drivers is that EDGE forms an essential part of the overall GSM evolution towards a seamless multi-radio GSM/ GPRS/EDGE/WCDMA network. As mentioned previously GSM is the main standard for cellular communications worldwide and the business benefits of deploying an industry standard technology can be seen in nearly every aspect of a network deployment, from end-user devices, to applications to hardware.

7.2. For Operator

Operators can also experiences the advantages of EDGE in following ways.

7.2.1. Migration to wireless multimedia services

The operator can increase data revenues by offering attractive new types applications to end-users.

7.2.2. Improved customer satisfaction

Increased data capacity and higher data throughput will decrease response times for all data services, thus keeping end users satisfied and connected.

7.2.3. Early deployment of 3G type applications

EDGE networks are expected to emerge in year 2001, when mature markets are likely to start demanding multimedia applications.

7.2.4. Quick network implementation

EDGE will not require new network elements and EDGE capability can be introduced gradually to the network.

7.3. For User

7.3.1. Improved quality of service

Increased data capacity and higher data throughput will eventually satisfy the customers’ need for QoS.

7.3.2. Personal multimedia services

Attractive new types of applications and terminals will become available.

7.3.3. Potentially lower price per bit

Lower cost of data capacity for high-speed data applications gives the operator flexibility in pricing.

8. Conclusion

While the tug of war between access technologies – CDMA vs. UMTS vs. GSM — continues to be debated globally, EDGE provides an ideal solution for GSM carriers to add data capacity using limited spectrum. Keeping in view the fact that GSM supports more subscribers today than any other access technology (roughly 65 to 70% of the global subscriber market), and that GSM/GPRS operators are scrambling to add capacity to support user growth and launch next generation data services, the increased capacity and throughput offered by EDGE becomes very compelling. And, in a market where wireless carriers must squeeze the most out of capital outlays–past and future, it is no real surprise that we are going to see a renewed wave of interest in EDGE from our GSM customers.

Today the position of EDGE as a technology evolution of GSM is clear. Initially promoted as an alternative to WCDMA and generally a niche technology, EDGE is now regarded as a key enabler for GSM/EDGE and WCDMA operators alike. Being able to drive business value from existing GSM infrastructure and spectrum is one of the main advantages, and along-with the ability of EDGE to reduce CAPEX, time-to-market and time-to-revenue, with regards the delivery of global high-speed data services, EDGE is a must technology.

The cellular companies working in Pakistan did not have the license for the EDGE. Now as the introduction of some new companies like Telenor and WARID, it is possible that in near future Pakistan will also be able to use this facility. Then GPRS can become a real important factor in cellular network, as the people in Pakistan will use the Internet not only for downloading ring tones but also can enjoy the streaming videos by their cell phone and so many other facilities.

Ring Worm

Ringworm, also termed tinea corporis, is an infectious skin disease caused by mold-like fungi called Dermatophytes. This disease usually transmits through direct contact with ringworm-infected animals or with humans by sharing combs, clothing or by touching infected areas. Despite its name, there are no worms involved at any phase of the ringworm process. It used to be believed that a worm caused or was a symptom of ringworm, but now people know better. However, the name stuck.

The common symptoms for ringworms are itching, burning, dryness, or circular flaky rashes on the skin. Though, in the case of animals, the primary symptom is temporary hair loss in affected areas, itching or scratchiness in a specific body part.

A primary cause of ringworm is direct contact with infected animals or humans.

Ringworm is common among pets especially dogs and cats, who carry this disease from contaminated soil, kennels or from rodent burrows.

Ringworm thrives in moist conditions and commonly affects the scalp, toes, feet, thighs and genital area. Prevention requires that these areas be kept dry and clean to avoid infection, and pets should have regular veterinary checkups.

Ringworm is easily curable and there are several treatments available. At the first sign, see your doctor who can prescribe mediation to treat and cure ringworm within 2-3 weeks. Ringworm may not show up right away upon the time of contraction. In other words, it can exist as a contagious disease for a time before it can be detected. So do not blame others if their ringworm shows up before yours; you may have been the carrier in the first place!

Is Out-Of-State Real Estate Investing Right for You?

Have you made up your mind to start investing in real estate, but you’re torn in deciding where to invest?

Are you thinking about making a local investment, but wondering if an out-of-state investment might be better?

This is one of the first of many choices you’ll have to make when you decide to invest in real estate: the simple question of where you should invest your hard-earned dollars. While there are definite benefits to investing in your area, there are also some potentially profit-limiting downsides.

That’s not to say investing in outside areas doesn’t have its own pros and cons. Let’s take a look at both and see why out-of-state real estate investing might be a profitable option you have not yet explored.

Investing Locally

This is the most obvious choice for many real estate investors, but is it really right for you?

If you choose to buy a property local to you, you’ll rest easier about your investment since you know the market. First, you know your competition. You might know the names of professionals you can trust and you’ll have an intimate understanding of what the cost of living is for that area and how to make things more affordable.

Second, if you like to be hands-on, it will be much easier for you since you’re right there. If you want to see the property, it’s just a short drive away. If you want to talk to the property manager face-to-face, you just put it on your calendar for the end of the day.

Drawbacks to Local Investments

On the other hand, investing solely local can narrow your options. Not every market has the inventory of good investment opportunities that you can avail yourself of if you invest out-of-state. The local inventory of available properties may or may not be big enough or well-suited for investment opportunities.

You also run into the problem of whether your local market is the one you want. The recession made a huge impact on housing markets throughout the country and some areas have recovered at different paces than others. You might find yourself out-priced in your current market, but even if you aren’t, you might not be able to see a favorable future where you’re at.

Investing Out-of-State

If you decide to invest out-of-state, you can greatly increase your options. You can literally choose any location, any market and invest in properties there. Whether you want to invest in Florida vacation homes and coastal villas or homes in the suburbs of Detroit, the sky’s the limit. You can make your investment fit your price point and interests.

By investing out-of-state, you can put your money to work in markets with high ROI. You pick and choose which markets you’re interested in, and which ones are rising stars in the real estate investment scene, ignoring your own market’s changes.

Investing out-of-state also allows you to scale based on your needs. For many would-be investors, their local market is priced too extravagantly to make real estate investment prudent. The cost of living in a different state, just a few borders east or west, might be considerably lower. That means you can snatch up excellent properties at a much lower cost than you might in your own market.

Even better, you can snag those investment deals on excellent properties that would go for three to four times as much, if not more, in your own local market. Your purchasing power becomes much stronger in other markets, because everything’s relative.

Challenges of Out-of-State Investments

There are still some challenges to these remote investments. First of all, you have to learn who you can trust and maintain the peace of mind that comes from having easy local access to your investment. You also have to be able to trust that the property you’re investing in is what it’s advertised as.

The property is also more difficult to visit if you like to be hands on. You might have to fly out to visit the property, which some people enjoy but others are seriously bothered by. If you are the type of investor who prefers the more passive turn-key approach, this is an excellent opportunity.

Finally, the market won’t be what you’re used to. Nothing will be quite the same as being there and immersing yourself in the market, but you can learn and study. You just have to rely on someone else to have knowledge of the nuances of the market.

Doing Out-of-State Right

There is a solution to all of the challenges of real estate investing outside your state. When you find a reputable, proven company to handle your turn-key real estate transaction, you have someone you can count on to know the market you’re investing in. Here are the main reasons you should find a partner to work with you on your out-of-state investments.

  • They can keep a more educated eye on the market, since they know all of the nuances of that area.
  • They’ll serve as your presence near your investment, keeping everything on track, so you don’t have to make numerous trips to the property.
  • If the turn-key real estate investment firm is reputable, they want you to succeed. This means they’ll do anything they can to make sure you do succeed.

The question becomes, whom can you trust? You want to make sure you engage in a partnership with a firm who is reputable, knowledgeable and engaged in your market. Referrals from other investors are key, so be on the lookout for like-minded people who have been there and done that.

You should also investigate what the turn-key operation offers you, and what their fee or cut of your profit is. Ideally, you’ll want a partner who can help you throughout your investment lifecycle, from acquiring the property to managing it.

Getting Started

We’ve gone over the benefits and drawbacks of out-of-state investing, so now the decision is yours to make. Do you still want to invest locally or have you realized that the time is ripe to diversify your portfolio and invest in out-of-state properties? The benefits of out-of-state real estate investment are huge and the drawbacks can easily be mitigated by partnering with someone in the area in which you’re investing.

Ham Radio – The Advantage of DStar and DMR Modes

Ham Radio is a fascinating hobby, but what is the advantage of D-star and DMR modes.

There are many different interests within the umbrella name of Ham Radio. People communicate with other like-minded people around the World using the Internal Short Wave bands. Ham Radio Operators equipment include H.F., (High Frequency), transceivers covering several of the Ham Band allocations, and many use Yagi aerials with three, four and sometimes six elements, to not only transmit their power out to the receiving station, but also to receive weak signals form lesser equipped ham radio Operators using simple aerial systems such as dipoles or vertical radiators. These aerial elements can be thirty three feet long when covering the twenty metre Ham Band, if the elements are widely spaced between each other at say point two of a wavelength, the distance between the elements is four point two metres, a very large aerial indeed.

Many Radio Hams who I have spoken to around the World have sixty feet high towers with multi element aerial as described above. You need a lot of space for such an aerial, and planning permission to go along with it.

D-Star and DMR are Ham Radio modes which are gaining in popularity, because the problems associated with having a large aerial do not exist, signals on D-star and DMR do not rely of the ionosphere to propagate signal around the World, they use laser light and data packets used to facilitate the International World wide web.

Many elderly radio Hams who have moved from their long term family homes, into small apartments, where outside aerials are not allowed, are finding that their interest in communication can still continue, using D-star or DMR modes of communication. The digital mode also has a great advantage over traditional propagation. You need propagation to be working in your favour when using High Frequency bands. If there is no propagation on a particular Ham Band, you simply do not hear any signals. D-star and DMR modes rely on the efficiency of the Internet, offering Radio Hams Worldwide communication without the need for natural reflection and refraction of the transmitted signal via the Earth’s Ionosphere.

Handheld transceivers capable of Digital transmission are now freely available from many of the Ham Radio retailers. Their transmissions are converted from standard analogue voice signals via voice encoders built into the hand set, these transmissions are picked up via local repeaters that are connected with each other to form a Worldwide network, if you do not live beside a D-star or DMR repeater you easily can turn your home based computer into a repeater with inexpensive add-on technology, they do the same job as a nearby repeater does.

Protect Yourself From Sexually Transmitted Diseases: Promote Safe Sex

Sexually active persons are often victims of sexually transmitted diseases. While most people consider sex as a need, it is also a must that you should know all that you could about certain consequences of engaging in sexual activities especially when you change partners often. That is why be careful when choosing your sexual partner and make sure to maintain a clean personal hygiene. Sexually transmitted diseases are often caused by bacterial infection. While most kinds of these diseases are curable, HIV in particular is deadly. So if you want to enjoy a longer life span while enjoying the good things life has to offer keep yourself in check at all times by doing STD tests.

Sexually transmitted disease tests are often conducted in clinics with the help of a medical expert. However, for most people who find it inconvenient by setting an appointment for a test, a STD test can be conducted at home with STD test kits. These test kits can be purchased online and delivered straight to your doorsteps. This is truly a convenient method of keeping yourself in check since these cases are highly sensitive.

Even if you choose to get tested at a clinic, your results are still kept confidential. STD test kits have easily understandable instructions with it that can be easily followed to determine the result. Once you see a positive result, do not panic. Bear in mind that it is better to have found it an earlier stage to determine the best and fast way to cure your infection.

There are different kinds of sexually transmitted diseases. There are those which can only be spread through pure sexual contact either by oral, anal, or vaginal sex. There are also kinds which can be transmitted without sexual contact. The best way to prevent yourself from getting infected is of course by abstinence, avoiding sex. While most people cannot do this method, the use of condom is the second best method.

Although this is not full proof, with proper use, you can still enjoy the benefits of sex and peace of mind that you are safe from getting infected at least. Knowing more about STDs and promoting safe sex can help reduce the case of sexually transmitted diseases especially on young people who are sexually active.

If you happen to change partners often, keep your body in check at all times. If you happen to experience slight changes be sensitive enough to care and conduct STD tests at the convenience of your own home. Most of these sexually transmitted diseases do not show symptoms at the early stage and when left untreated can cause complications which can never be cured even on a long term basis. As long as it is not HIV, there is a sure way to rid yourself of bacteria that cause such infections. Always maintain proper and good hygiene especially on sensitive body parts.

Why School Identification Cards Are Important

Most schools around the nation have started using school identification cards. This is for schools all the way from elementary schools to Universities. There are several reasons why they started using these identification cards. In this article we will tell you why school identifications cards are so important.

The main reason is for safety reasons. We have heard many stories how someone has went into a school and started shooting. We have heard stories of how children were kidnapped from schools. They had to come up with a system that would work to keep people out of the schools that did not belong there. This is where school identification cards came in. This has helped in a couple ways. One, if each student has an identification card then they can prove right away that they belong in that school. A lot of schools have even incorporated someone at the doors to check ID’s as they enter.

Also if someone visits a school they have to check in at the desk and receive a temporary identification card. A lot of times they will even take a person’s picture. This allows the school to know who is in the school and make sure they are there for a legitimate reason.

School identification cards for students are also useful to them because if provides them with options. They can use the cards to check out library books. They can use the cards for the lunch room. When a student pays for their lunch for the week or for the month it will be added to their card and they just slide their card each day to eat. It saves from a student having to carry money on them each day or a lunch worker having to keep track of who they have money for and who they do not.

The school id cards also can be used for the reward or the revoking of privileges. All of this can be kept on the card. Back to the library, a lot of schools give rewards to children for having read so many books. This information can be kept on the ID cards. They can scan the library card and know exactly how many books and what kind a child checked out.

These identification cards differ from school to school. Some just use a single edge card. Some are double edge and have an encoder incorporated in them. These are becoming more and more popular because they can be used for a lot more reasons.

As you can see the school IDs are very important to our schools today. They not only go a long way in keeping our children safe they also make it a more efficient way to run the schools. These school identification cards have been around for a while. They have just become more sophisticated with the advent of technology. They have come up with more and more ways that identification cards can be used to the school and the student’s advantage.

The Avian Plight

In 1997, the world’s attention was caught by an alarming passage of Avian influenza from birds to humans in Hongkong. All chickens and ducks were killed upon the order of the Hongkong government to contain the spread of the deadly H5N1 virus.

Avian influenza or more commonly called as bird flu is an infection caused by avian (bird) influenza (flu) viruses. All birds naturally have these influenza viruses in their bodies. Wild birds have these viruses in their intestines but their bodies do not get infected or damaged by them. When passed on domesticated birds, avian influenza can cause sickness and death. Chickens, ducks, and turkeys are mostly hit by the   transmission  of avian flu among birds. Infected domesticated birds can pass on the virus to humans when they are eaten or consumed. *Migratory birds* infected with avian flu also become agents of viruses’ transfer from one place to another.

H5N1 carrier birds pass on the virus to other birds through their saliva, nasal excretions, and feces. Birds get infected when they come in contact with these contaminated excretions even by just staying on a surface or ground where virus carriers have stayed. Cages, dirts, water, feeds, infected waterfowl or other poultries that have been exposed to the virus are the common sources of infection among domesticated birds.

Two forms of bird flu exist among domesticated poultries infected with avian influenza viruses. The low pathogenic form is almost invisible and undetected for it causes only very mild symptoms that can be mistaken as non-avian flu effects. Manifestations of low pathogenic avian flu infection include low egg production or ruffled feathers. The second form of avian flu is the high pathogenic avian flu disease. This form leads to multiple organ failures and damages among infected birds. About 90 to 100 percent of birds infected with this form die within two days upon contamination. The spread of this form of avian flu is more rapid among birds in flocks.

Albeit basically a matter among birds, humans are also susceptible to bird flu or avian flu infection. The first known cases of humans getting infected with bird flu happened in Hongkong in 1997. 18 people were recorded to have acquired respiratory illnesses after having contacted infected surfaces from poultry farms, the infection claimed six lives.

The virus’ passage to humans that happened in Hongkong caused a global alarm. Health institutions worldwide raised concerns that the avian flu might be as damaging as the pandemic of flu that claimed about 20 million lives back in 1918. Reasonable enough, the fear and alarm are worth noting. What is essentially fearful is the idea that humans can be infected and actually die from a virus that is basically existing among birds only. The premise the Hongkong incident set is that the virus is mutating into something deadly for humans.

As of 2005, worldwide coordinated statistics recorded a number of 130 people having been infected of avian flu of which 67 have already died. In recent years, cases of human infection have been high in Asian countries. The World Health Organization believes that Asia is at higher risks since people live in close distance with domesticated birds like chicken and ducks. Animal domestication and poultry raising are common among many Asian countries who are agricultural by nature. What worries many is the common fact that humans have little or even a lack of immunity to the virus known to be infecting only (until the 1997 Hongkong incident) the birds.

An even higher cause of alarm has been found in recent studies on the H5N1 virus. Recent researches have shown that H5N1 strains have become more deadly among chickens and mice. This mutation is also found to be making cats or feline susceptible to the infection. H5N1 is also found to be resistant to some of the drugs used to treat flu (such as amantadine). New strains of the virus are also said to be possibly emerging especially in Asian countries.

What is now being focused on by scientists and health experts around the world is the prevention of human-to-human  transmission  which is believed to be the possible case that happened in Thailand in 2004. If it becomes widespread, human-to-human  transmission  is believed to be harder to contain that bird-to-human  transmission . Experts say that the virus’ continual change will make it hard for the human body to naturally develop immunity against the infection. The H5N1 virus is found to be changing over time through the changes happening in their structure called antigenic drift and antigenic shift. This continual change of the virus disables the immune system to respond accordingly whenever the flu virus enters the body. The only possible solution seen by experts is for infection-prone people to have a yearly immunization with up-to-date anti avian virus strains. But the big problem is, until now there is no medical treatment available to combat the H5N1 virus, making the yearly immunization update a far-fetched option.