Earrings as Art

We like to decorate our ears. Try to forget that you had your ears pierced in a mall just as soon as you could talk your mother into letting you do it. Try to forget that you have given away as gifts more earrings than there are margaritas in Cabo. Consider from the perspective of an alien visiting our planet for the first time:

"They decorate their auditory receptacles with small bits of shiny metal and colorful rocks."

In our fast-paced modern cultures our ears provide one of the easiest and most prominent body parts to adorn. We express ourselves, our moods, our attitudes through the jewelry we affix to our ears.

Earrings have been around forever. Well, ok, as near as we can tell, a really really long time. The oldest known earrings are the Lunate earrings. The Lunate earrings were excavated in Ur in Mesopotamia, what is now Iraq (of all places). These gold crescent hoops are approximately 4,500 years old. The earliest designs of earrings were hoops and pendants made of precious metals, most commonly gold, and sometimes bone.

The popularity of earrings rose and fell throughout the ages in direct relation to hairstyles. For example, the adornment of our ears fell out of favor during the Middle Ages. It was considered immoral for respectable married women to be seen in public with their heads uncovered. Then in the mid-1500's women began wearing their hair up, exposing their ears. Earrings resurged.

Today earrings thrive with as many different variations as there are people wearing them. We wear dangles of all sorts, hoops and posts and spirals and swirlies, made from all kinds of materials including silver and gold and sea shells, pearls and gems and glass beads. We wear earrings as art.

By Serene Chong, Eleworth

By Topher ZiCornell, Eleworth

Eleworth offers an increasingly wide selection of artistic, hand-made earrings.

When Serene isn't busy with coursework for her computer science master's degree, she's busy daydreaming about her next meal. As a Chinese-Malaysian in California, she loves to try new foods, and equally loves to try new jewelry. Serene is always looking for new ways to express cuteness, and jewelry is one of her favorite things to play with.

Integrated Services Digital Network - An Overview

Originally, analog telecommunication services, also known as a Plain Old Telephone System (POTS), were the only source of telecommunication worldwide, before the coming of age of ISDN. POTS was the originally acronym for Post Office Telephone System or Service, but changed when post offices stopped offering telephone services and it comprised mainly of copper wires which linked the subscriber's home to the central switch office. This type of telecommunication had its limitations. Long distance calls had to be routed through operators and switchboards, which made them highly unreliable and time consuming and there was also the issue of static inference known as line noise, which disturbed communication. ISDN stands for Integrated Services Digital Network and is a fully digital telephone line that can carry voice, image, video and digital network services. ISDN transceivers facilitate full fidelity and two-way communication between different locations. ISDN voice-overs are of excellent quality, extremely clear and free of background noise. As a user, you can feel assured knowing that your voice-overs will sound just as good as those recorded in your own studio. The benefits of using ISDN for internet connections is a lot greater compared to using the old telephone dial up service as an Internet Service Provider (ISP). The ISDN dial-up connection offers speeds equivalent to that of a broadband connection. There are a number of additional benefits of using ISDN connections, as follows: Multiple Devices In the past, you needed an individual phone line for each device, including service, fax, computers and video conferencing. All that has changed with the advent of ISDN, which comes with a host of functions, including: • Voice, data and video have no interference or noise, corrupting the quality of service, since data is sent via packets or groups • Simultaneous transfer of services is possible with the same ISDN line, such as making calls, receiving fax and connecting to the internet all at once • Each service has a signal which works with the ISDN network to ensure there is more history and fewer errors with multiple connection. Speed Having multiple digital channels means you can compress all channels and come up with bandwidths of up to 128 Kb/s. This is due to the 2 B-channels, each 64 Kb/s respectively. It allows you to accomplish a lot of things which were previously unavailable on normal modems, including: • Faster, direct connections, with no dialing issues and downtime • Video conferencing and streaming without disruptions • Video conferencing with multiple recipients • Uninterrupted gaming due to faster connections

What Is a PRI Line, What Are the Advantages and Limitations of PRI Circuits?

In an ISDN system, there are two types of services: Basic Rate Interface (BRI) and Primary Rate Interface (PRI). While the first one is installed at home or small business organizations, the later one is for large organizations which have their own telephone exchange systems. There are number of B-channels and D-channels in the system which carries data, video, voice with several control and signaling information. But, what is Primary Rate Interface and how does it work?

What is PRI Line?

The Primary Rate Interface comprises of a 64 Kbps D-channels and 23 Kbps B-channels. Here, it uses T-1 line. It also consists of one D-channel and 30 Kbps B-channel, which use an E1 line. If a user accesses the Primary Rate Interface on a T-1 line, he can get internet speed up to 1.544 Mbps. On the other hand, an E1 line user can get services up to Mbps. PRI utilizes Q.931 protocol over D-channel.

There are some countries where this system is carried on a T-carrier system line while E-carrier line is available worldwide. The users of the system are directly connected with the telephone company's central office.

Advantages of PRI Circuits

1. The service provider gives almost 500 numbers for each line. Therefore, it becomes easier for the outsiders to call the extension straight without going through the PBX Auto-attendant.

2. Through a PRI line, it is possible to have voice and data access. There are also some service providers which offer free data transmission for certain period of time.

3. Call hunting is also easy with a Primary Rate system. But for the analog trunks, the service provider needs to extend the facility and also include additional cost.

4. What are the other benefits of this system? It can be utilized for voice connectivity, video conferencing, data connectivity, faxing, etc. And all these can be done simultaneously.

5. This circuit is anytime better than the analog trunks as it is an end-to-end digital system.

6. Due to the fiber optic materials, the wire is far more redundant than analog trunks. Also, you will face less troubleshooting here than other systems.

7. Tapping your digital phone lines and listening to your conversation is almost impossible now.

8. You don't have to wait long to start a call here.

9. As there are several service providers who comes with flexible plans, this system also become economical for small companies.

Limitations of PRI Circuits

1. If the minimum rental is less than the average value of calls in an analog system, then installing PRI circuit is not that much economical.

2. If you have to make international calls, this system is not cost-effective. You can choose SIP or ITSP services at lesser rate to make such calls.

3. You have to pay for Inter branch communication if you install this line. If you install VOIP systems, you can make inter branch communication over internet at much lower cost.

4. You can buy Primary Rate lines only if you buy those from your EPABX vendor.

Prepaid phone cards


So Houston made the top ten in some ranking of the nation's best-mannered cities. I'm more than a little suspicious of these things - I mean, how do you decide who has good manners?

People are pretty polite here, at least compared to Washington - but then, that's like saying someone is pretty smart, compared with a rock. Top ten? Who knows.

Why Call Tracking Matters

For many online business owners, gauging the success of their marketing campaigns and advertising efforts is usually done by studying analytical data associated with their website. The number of page views, organic visits, and goal conversions are significant figures that affect them as they try to measure their accomplishments.

While all these details are absolutely helpful, it doesn't entirely mean that other sources of information shouldn't be given attention anymore.

For example, it is still true that most online enterprises are also utilizing the phone in their day-to-day tasks. Despite the widespread use of internet technology, the phone still remains to be a major communication tool. Analyzing the details of the calls you receive can also be a powerful way to evaluate your progress and identify areas which may require improvement.

To obtain access to these helpful data, you can go for the option of working with a reputable call tracking firm or using a call tracking software.

Either way, inbound calls will be monitored effectively as you utilize the technology. You will be able to determine which marketing efforts are bringing a bigger percentage of clients.

Additionally, information about the calls and your clients will be compiled and presented as a report. The age, gender, and location of your callers will be specified. Along with that, the date, time, and length of each call your business has received will be indicated. This will allow you to understand trends and behavior among your customers. You will have a more defined market and so coming up with effective strategies to reach a wider audience will no longer be as difficult.

Used hand in hand with your website's analytics data, call tracking can revolutionize the way you plan and execute marketing. It is even possible to reduce your advertising expenses since recognizing effective tools will be easier on your end. You will not have to invest on less effective advertising mediums anymore.

This applies to both online and offline marketing which means you will get to see which landing pages are attracting more buyers and which of your keywords are really working.

Getting hold of all the data provided by call tracking services will be extremely beneficial for you and your team. Sitting down and assessing the actual performance of the business will not be a complicated task anymore. Besides, call tracking information are highly detailed yet simple to understand in most cases.

You may check out CallDynamics for phone call tracking information

Choosing the Right Business Telephone Systems For Your Company

The rise of social media and the continued popularity of electronic mail have added new tools for businesses to utilize in order to achieve swift and effective communication. Still, the telephone remains a force to be reckoned with in the realm of business communications.

Which business telephone systems provide the most bang-for-your-buck and act as the greatest revenue generators for your company? Let's take a look at the two main kinds of setups.

Landline Business Telephone Systems

A public switched telephone network (PSTN), or landline system, is an analog-based phone system that remains a mainstay for a number of small businesses. Instead of relying on an Internet connection, landline systems simply utilize existing, "old-school" copper wiring that was long ago set in place by telephone companies.

The benefit of landline (PSTN) systems? Time-tested reliability. These systems have been around forever, and there is plenty of infrastructure everywhere to support companies of all sizes. Familiarity is the landline system's best friend, even in the face of more advanced systems. Since companies are well-versed in the simple, albeit limited, functionality of landline systems, many opt to continue using this copper wire-based solution. Use of PSTN systems requires no new training, which is seen as an attractive short-term cost-saving and timesaving solution for some businesses.

However, there are a number of drawbacks to using a landline system. Over time, it can be expensive to maintain private branch exchange equipment that's required to swap between all the separate phone lines within a business. On-site appointments occasionally must be made in order to troubleshoot problems with the private branch exchange system.

Additionally, PSTN systems don't offer some of the advanced functionality of VoIP (Voice-over Internet Protocol).

Voice-over Internet Protocol (VoIP) Business Telephone Systems

An increasingly common alternative to landline (PSTN)-based business telephone systems are Voice-over Internet Protocol (VoIP) systems, which provide advanced features that standard landline systems cannot, or at least not without the expensive inclusion of private branch exchange equipment.

VoIP systems level the playing field and create the opportunity for small businesses to easily attain advanced telephone functions that were previously reserved only for larger entities. This is achieved through VoIP's use of standard, high-speed Internet connections that nearly all businesses everywhere already utilize to browse the Internet.

There are a number of differences between the features of landline and VoIP phone systems that trend in VoIP's favor. Aside from the features offered by a landline, VoIP boasts the built-in ability to offer call queues, conference calling, instant messaging, video messaging, unified messaging, Interactive Voice Response (IVR), send-to-email-inbox voicemail solutions, and even the ability to turn computers into virtual phones. It's important to reiterate that all these features don't require any additional investment from businesses. They come standard.

There are a couple of notable drawbacks to a VoIP setup. VoIP requires that a company utilize a high-speed, broadband Internet connection. However, such a requirement realistically is no longer an unusual stipulation in today's business and consumer technology world. Additionally though, VoIP's are also prone to going down because of their reliance on the Internet. If your business's Internet goes down, so does your phone system, unless you pay extra for a Call Continuity feature that routes your call to another number automatically upon experiencing a service outage.

Regardless of the risk for service outage, the benefits of VoIP over a traditional system are admittedly varied and extensive.

When researching business telephone systems, NJ companies can go to http://www.abcnj.com/VoiceOverIP.

History of the Telephone Number: Early Years

On March 10, 1876, when Alexander Graham Bell made his famous first telephone call, uttering, "Mr. Watson, come here. I want to see you," to his assistant, there was no need for telephone numbers or exchanges; only two telephones existed in the world that time.

But Bell's invention quickly took off. Initially, telephones were rented to users, who hired someone else to connect them. Then, Bell and WU Company instituted a subscription service with calls being placed through an operator at a central office or switchboard. At that time, subscribers' names were used when making a call.

The first phone numbers were instituted in Lowell, Massachusetts, in late 1879 and early 1880. During a measles epidemic, the local physician, Dr. Moses Greeley Parker, an early supporter of the telephone, became concerned that the disease would befall the town's four operators, shutting down the phone service. He determined that new operators could be trained faster if they learned numbers rather than names.

Initially, phone numbers might be only one, two, or three digits, but that quickly became untenable as phone usage spread among users. Because that time it was believed that phone numbers longer than four or five digits would be too difficult to remember, phone exchanges combined letters and digits. Beginning in the 1920s, major U.S. cities, such as New York, Boston, Philadelphia, and Chicago, initially used three letters and four numbers, which eventually shifted to the 2L-5N (two letters, five numbers) system. The letters were associated with a name, such as HEmlock 5-6789 or TUlip 9-3539.

In those pre-digital days, an exchange was wired at a physical location, so exchanges were associated with a specific location within a town or city. The letters were grouped on the telephone dial, with the exception of 1 and 0 (0 being reserved to call the operator); therefore, the first two digits could never contain a 1 or a 0. Certain combinations, such as 57 and 97, were problematic, as they contained no vowels to use to make a word. In 1955, AT&T released a list of suggested exchange names based on studies showing they were the most likely to be understood when spoken.

One of the most famous telephone exchanges, PEnnsylvania 6-5000, belongs to the Hotel Pennsylvania in New York City. Now written as (212) 736-5000, it is the oldest continuously assigned phone number in New York City, and possibly the world.

About the series: "History of the Telephone" is for those businesses and individuals who are interested in a vanity number and the benefits one may provide. A vanity number, such as the ones found at PhoneNumberGuy.com, makes it easy for potential and current clients to remember you. You can find the perfect vanity number for you in nearly every U.S. area code at PhoneNumberGuy.com.

History of the Telephone Number: All-Number Calling

As discussed in the first part ("History of the Telephone Number: Early Years") of this series, telephone numbers through the first half of the twentieth century used the 2L-5N system (two letters and five numbers). The two letters of the telephone numbers corresponded to a memorable word, such as BUtterfield or ANdrew. As demand grew following World War II, however, limitations in this system quickly became apparent. The numeral 1 was reserved for long-distance dialing, and 0 was reserved for the operator. Several combinations, such as 57 and 97, were unusable because it was impossible to make a corresponding word.

The Bell System split some area codes to allow reuse of numbers, which worked for a time - only two new area codes were added between 1962 and 1981. Nonetheless, in 1958, AT&T began the slow transition to all-number calling (ANC), gradually replacing the letters with numbers. All-number calling was first implemented in smaller communities; Wichita Falls, Texas, was the first to complete the conversion in 1958.

AT&T used a three-stage process to ease the transition. At first, telephone directories printed the full word associated with the exchange; e.g., BUtterfield 5-6861. In phase one, the letter exchange was printed without the associated word: BU 5-6861. In phase two, those still using five or fewer digits were brought up to seven. In the third, printed directories showed only the seven-digit number: 285-6861.

By 1965, all new phone numbers conformed to all-number calling, but the nationwide transition lasted well into the early 80s. Opposition was strong in some larger cities; groups, such as San Francisco's Anti Digit Dialing League, organized against the new system. Some people considered their ROckwell or WHitney letter exchange as part of their identity, or at the least useful in identifying where a caller was located. Newspaper editorials were written protesting the change, and at least one protest song was recorded, in 1966. New York City did not convert fully to ANC until 1978, and one Philadelphia directory still listed alphanumeric prefixes as late as 1983.

Interestingly, the use of the 555 prefix in movies and television began in this area, originally as KLondike 5. The 555 prefix was reserved for the telephone company, and generally used only for directory assistance (555-1212). Movie and television writers began using it as a way to avoid generating any unwanted calls to an existing number (as famously happened with the 1982 song, "867-5309/Jenny").

About the series: "History of the Telephone" is for those businesses and individuals who are interested in a vanity number and the benefits one may provide. A vanity number, such as the ones found at PhoneNumberGuy.com, makes it easy for potential and current clients to remember you. You can find the perfect vanity number for you in nearly every U.S. area code at PhoneNumberGuy.com.


When your establishment is looking into investing in a reliable and capable phone service, it comes down to two basic options; SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) and PRI (Primary Rate Interface). Both are meant to allow your business to make multiple calls over a line. The differences between the two solutions can be found in the way in which both operate and relay data.

(SIP) Session Initiating Protocol

SIP essentially works on a virtual level and runs on the network that a company already has in place and uses that network to control and relay multimedia communications. Because SIP only truly requires an internet connection, it typically costs less than PRI. Most popular usage of Session Initiation Protocol is SIP Trunking which allows a business to make simultaneous VoIP calls, instant messaging over IP networks, and video conferencing. The speed of your SIP trunk all depends on the strength and the capacity of the network service provider as well as the amount of bandwidth available at the time the communications session took place. It's also important to keep in mind that when a SIP path is not in use, the bandwidth that it would have used to relay data is freed up.

Another thing to keep in mind is that SIP connections are sold per path and can be done in any increments. Installation and implementation can also be accomplished in a matter of hours to a few days, therefore, barely causing any sort of hindrance to the operations of your business.

SIP utilizes DID (Direct Inward Dialing) phone numbers that can be local or out of area phone numbers which is definite plus because it helps cut long distance costs. This also comes in handy when a business has multiple locations and would prefer to have all their numbers stay the same regardless of the location of the office.

(PRI) Primary Rate Interface

PRI, on the other hand, is not run on a virtual level like SIP. It works with a single, physical phone line connecting to a business's telephony system, and because PRI is a physical phone line it requires a more rigorous and expensive installation. With PRI, you can typically purchase a line that allows a total of 23 simultaneous call paths. This restrictive number of call paths can cause some issues because it requires businesses to plan ahead of time. If, in the future, your business needs more call paths, a new PRI connection is needed with a whole new set of 23 call paths.

PRI can also utilizes DID phone numbers like SIP. However, these DID phone numbers are only local to the area the service.

..And the winner is..

PRI is the traditional option. It used to be the go to solution for businesses. And even to this day plenty of businesses still use PRI. However, SIP offers more wiggle room, more customization, more opportunities to communicate, is relatively cheaper, and overall offers better quality communication. It is also growing in popularity now because of all the benefits it offers over PRI.

SIP is the winner!

Features of a Good Headset

Millions of people all over the world communicate with one another everyday either through phone calls, chats, mails or any other means. Communication or phone calls is best enjoyed when both the sender and the receiver can hear themselves clearly, without missing out on any important information. These days, with the increase in call rates from network providers, there is need to look for a cheaper alternative that will save cost while you have the chance to talk more as well.

Wireless bluetooth headset
The voice over internet protocol also known as VOIP is gaining popularity as a cheaper alternative to communicate through voice calls. Depending on your service provider, you can make calls using your computer and mobile devices, hooked on broadband or 3G services. It is very easy and convenient to explore the VOIP options to make calls, but to make it easier and more interesting and clearer, you would need a headset. You probably would not enjoy repeating yourself when the other person you are talking to does not hear you clearly that is why you need the headset to break those barriers.

It is true that for making use of the VOIP, you can employ other peripheral devices you get from the market. But the good thing about the VOIP headsets is that it makes communication clearer. You can use VoIP codecs to change the analog signals to digital with the VOIP headset and it does not matter the type of device you use, whether a computer or telephone set. It is a wise choice to use the headset on your device when communicating through the VOIP. The digital headset breaks the signal into packets and send them in the same manner across the VOIP just like what your telephone set would do.

Things to consider before buying a headset

Comfort and duration of use

The amount of time you would be using the headset matters a great deal. For people working as customer service agents, of course you know that would be the first thing they would look out for. How comfortable it is in terms of the sound, grip on the ear and how well it fits the ears. You know for sure that you may likely feel some itching and discomfort when you use a headset that is not comfortable or that does not fit well on the ear.

Ear buds or Earpieces

The choice is yours. Everyone knows what works best for them. Some people may be more comfortable in using the ear bud while others the earpieces. It all depends on what you want and what works best for you.

Length and style of the mic

The length of the mic is also a feature that you should take note of. Is it strong enough, do you speak into it easily and is it well positioned? All these features are what you look at for before purchasing your headset.

In all ensure you test the device and make sure it is in good shape. Also watch out for the sound clarity. If it is clear enough for you, those are the things you should consider before getting a headset. Visit Headsetzone or check http://www.headsetzone.com.

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