An introduction to A-Z VoIP termination

You won’t travel far in the world of VoIP before you come across the term A-Z termination. In essence, what this means is that the service provider offers call termination routes to all parts of the globe.

This has a number of advantages for business users, not least that you can get all of your voice communication needs met in one place, and also that there are significant savings to be made on call costs. No wonder that VoIP services are taking off in a big way –
.

Flexible solution

Not only does VoIP offer the opportunity to make savings, it has a number of other advantages too. It’s easy to use – for the end user really no different from a conventional phone service – and it offers much more flexibility.

Using a wholesale VoIP provider, for example,
means that you can easily adjust your service as the business expands and to cope with sudden increases in demand due to seasonal or other factors.
It also offers all of the features you’d expect from a phone service including caller line identification (CLI), conference call facilities and the ability to share the same service across a number of business locations.

Things to consider

If you are considering switching to a wholesale A-Z VoIP solution there are a number of key factors that you need to take into account. Cost is often the main factor in driving the decision, but you also need to think about quality. Opting for the cheapest solution may not always be the best. Voice  communication is important to your business and if call quality is poor it will reflect badly on you.

How your wholesale provider routes their calls is the factor that makes a difference here. The more partners they have the greater the choice of routes available and the better the chance of ensuring you get the best possible quality for your calls. It also means the ability to reroute should one connection fail.

Security needs to be taken into account too. Any service relying on the internet is potentially vulnerable so you need to take steps to protect your VoIP service. Call fraud is a risk, so you need to ensure your user accounts are properly secured. You can also use software to block certain types of call.

Six ways to ensure your racking is safe

The use of racking in warehouses is commonplace, but the potential for accidents remains high despite a great deal of research aimed at reducing these incidents.

Advice
The Health and Safety Executive
has produced a short guide to help those involved in warehousing and storage to reduce the number of injuries and occupational ill health, providing simple advice that should be applied in the industry.

You can follow these simple steps to ensure a safe workplace.
1. The starting place should always be ensuring that your racking supplier is a reliable source who can advise you on the best arrangements for the installation. Wherever you are looking to source your racking Ireland, the UK or in Europe you will find professional suppliers at sites such as rackzone.ie/pallet-racking/.

2. Once you have selected your supplier, you will be able to take advantage of their experience in installing the structure, ensuring that health and safety rules are followed. This expertise ensures that strength and load tolerance measures are met, and the construction has the correct fittings and bracing pattern.

3. Safety standards across industry will also impact your choice. Although Storage Equipment Manufacturers Association standards are accepted in the UK as a minimum, most companies should be looking to reach the new European Norm, which sets the safety bar higher.

4. Signage is vital in the workplace, and racking should have loading signs displayed with limitations identified and maximum load capacities clearly shown. Health and Safety rules make these a requirement.

5. Although looking for racking on the second-hand market may be an attractive option, investing in high-quality products meeting the latest industry standards remains the best option. Secure racking not only protects the workforce as outlined above; it also ensures your stock is secure and not susceptible to damage or loss.

6. To maintain standards, always carry out regular inspections and never make alterations to racking without first consulting the supplier. Although it may be tempting to carry out repairs in the workplace to ease delays, racking adjustments should never be performed without using an accredited installer. Short-term economic gain could lead to long-term problems that will affect the bottom line.

Relationship

All the safety issues outlined above can be tackled by engaging the services of an experienced supplier and making the effort to maintain a good relationship.

10 more tips for a stress free Christmas

Christmas should be a time for relaxing and enjoying quality time with those  you love, but for many by the time the big day arrives, they are too exhausted to enjoy it!

The key to a stress free Christmas is to be prepared, stick to a budget and make sure you take time out for yourself.

Spend it with your loved ones

Try not to get caught in the trap of spending the day with relations who you don’t get on with. Politely decline any invites and make sure you spend the day with those people who make you happiest.

Rest

Although it is the party season, too much partying and late nights will leave you too exhausted to enjoy the day itself, so be sensible.

Pressure

Don’t fall into the trap of having to create the perfect Christmas, as it will be hard to live up to expectations. Just have fun!
Weather

Don’t be tempted to stay inside just because it’s cold and dark outside. A brisk family walk will build up an appetite and leave you bursting with energy.
Be a good neighbour

Doing a good deed or two will make you feel good too, so make some time to visit an elderly neighbour, or collect some shopping for a friend. Companies such as same day courier Manchester all about freight
can get your gifts collected and delivered on the same day.
Wish List

If you’re after something in particular, make sure your loved ones know, and help them out with any specifics i.e. size, colour etc.

Talk

Life can be so busy that sitting down for a good chat can do you the world of good, so build time for talking into your day.

Simple Things

Watching Christmas movies and playing games can really bring families together; just a pen and paper and a game of charades can do the trick! The Italian Prime Minister
Minister is urging schoolsin Italy to hold back on the homework and let families enjoy quality time together.

Manners

Encourage children to be grateful for their gifts and give gifts themselves – even if it’s a homemade card.

Those We’ve Lost

Sometimes talking about those we’ve lost can be therapeutic, and happy memories can bring a smile, so don’t avoid the subject – celebrate the good times.

Is the tank the answer to our road traffic problems?

The short answer to this question is no it is not but there might be a time when we consider it. On the face of it a
Tank is probably one of the most efficient ways of getting around the country as they are pretty much designed to go
anywhere you want them to. You can get a good idea of what it’s like to drive one by going on a Tank Driving Experience and a good place to start is by looking at Armourgeddon Tank Driving Days. The Tank that most people get to drive is the British armies’ old workhorse the FV432. It doesn’t have a whacking great big gun turret on the top like a Challenger, Warrior or Abrams but that is a good thing because when you get on up to speed the gun tends to flap about a lot if you haven’t secured it properly and also it scares people.
Can you actually take one of these out on the roads? You might be surprised by the answer.

You’d be surprised because the answer is a categorical yes! If you look on the back of your driving licence although
you won’t see a tank on there you will see classifications of goods vehicles. You need to have a H licence for a heavy goods vehicle which means that most truckers could go out and legitimately drive a tank. Before you start looking through the military surplus catalogue and booking in your test there are a few things that you might want to
consider before you start thinking that you can go rolling down the road in an antique T-34 that you’ve got cheap of
a Russian man on E-bay. First of all the gun cannot work and neither can the grenade launchers. While there Police
are happy for you to go about your business in it in a law abiding way they will take a dim view if the tank still has its heavy weapons fully functioning. Just a quick note a modern tank is very expensive and arms manufactures usually like you to buy in bulk rather than just one.

To be honest the FV432 is probably you best bet. Its fast(ish) and is not a massive lump of metal. Well, it is a massive lump of metal but it is a bit more user friendly. As it doubles as troop carrier it is also has the ability to get all the family in it. Don’t expect to get anywhere quickly though the top speed is only thirty two miles per hour. At least you’ll never get done for speeding!

Putting the needle on the record.

When Thomas Edison developed the first phonograph, the first machine to be able to record and reply sound he probably did not foresee how it was going to be developed. One thing for example he certainly did not anticipate is the work of someone like Public Enemy’s Terminator X
scratching and mixing on the decks. The use of usic for business for example is one that is very relevant and owes much to the record player.

It is especially useful as a tool for creating the right kind of environment that you want your business to have and the image that you want to convey. A company like moodmedia.co.uk/in-store-music-for-business
for example can provide you with a bespoke approach that looks at your busy in great detail from your mission statement to your financial projections so that you get a playlist that will complement you perfectly. What about record players themselves and records too? How did they become the force they were and are starting to become again?

Edison’s invention was relatively simple. It used a drum system that rotated a foil innard. When you spoke into the
recording element it imprinted the recording onto the foil.When you played it back, or another recording that had been made a series of needles ran over the foil. The vibration of the needles produced the sound out of the speaker.
There was one major issue the whole thing was a deeply cumbersome thing that was not exactly portable.Enter then Emile Berliner.The phonogram had become smaller and more compact and the final piece of the portability and use of the phonogram was the invention if Berliners disc or record.This was a system that had one continuous groove throughout.

The system of using a needle to translate the vibrations into sound and put through the speaker was a great move
forward. The system was still very expensive but after the Second World War the use of plastics became more widespread and with the addition of plasticisers to Poly vinyl chloride or PVC as it is better well known.
This meant that records could be pressed quicker and cheaper. This played perfectly into the hands of the new record industry and the massive demand for the sales of new recording artists that were coming on to the market. With the fully portable record players that were available people record collections were about to grow to very large sizes and a whole new cultural phenomenon was born.

Some of the Best Diamond Films

Diamonds have inspired humans since the first one was uncovered from the ground. Therefore, it’s not surprising that diamonds have been the subject of many a Hollywood film.
Throw in some glittering gems and a touch of drama and you’ve got yourself a great movie. Here are some of the best-known diamond-themed movies:

1. Snatch

This was the second film directed by Guy Ritchie and told the tale of a gambling addict attempting to fence a stolen diamond of 84 carat weight. The film centres on the criminal underworld of stolen diamond dealers. In an hilarious twist, the diamond ends up being swallowed by a dog! The dog is fine as the story twists and turns through a web of confusing encounters.

2. To Catch a Thief

This classic thriller by Alfred Hitchcock stars Cary Grant as a retired jewel thief trying to proclaim his innocence after a number of diamond thefts occur near to where he lives in the French Riviera. He escapes the police and uncovers the real thief to clear his name.

3. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

There isn’t much about diamonds in this movie classic but the song that featured in the film made it an iconic diamond reference. ‘Diamonds are a girl’s best friend’ was performed by Marilyn Monroe as a showgirl looking to wed a rich man. As she sings and dances, smartly dressed men shower her in diamonds.

4. Diamonds Are Forever

It’s no surprise that the chic and sophisticated James Bond is drawn to the luxury and strength of the diamond. This was Sean Connery’s last 007 movie and saw him osing as a diamond smuggler. His old adversary Blofeld is intending to use the diamonds to build a laser that can destroy Washington DC. Make sure your diamonds are made to last forever with Coloured Stone Diamond Engagement Rings from

5. The Pink Panther

These classic comedies follow the mishaps of the clumsy Inspector Clouseau, as played by the legend Peter Sellers. In some of the series, Clouseau is trying to locate the expensive pink diamond known as the ‘Pink Panther’. As you can imagine, this leads to some very entertaining and interesting mishaps and confusion.

6. Titanic
The huge blue gem that features in this James Cameron classic was based on the real-life Hope Diamond. In the movie, the ‘Heart of the Ocean’ is presented to Rose by the fiancée she doesn’t want to marry. Rose is wearing the stunning stone when she strips for a nude drawing by the poor man she’s fallen for played by Leonardo di Caprio. The gem used in the filming was a prop supplied by Asprey and Garrard jewellers and consisted of a blue cubic zirconia set in white gold.

Giving something back to the animals in our country

As a nation of animal lovers, it is no wonder that there are thought to be around 9 million dogs and 8 million cats
living here in the UK and a staggering 51 million pets living in domestic homes across the United Kingdom. Animal art is also becoming more and more popular with people choosing to animal prints up on their walls and you can also
buy Cat Lap trays from places like
or perhaps grab one for a friend for Christmas.

Due to the large numbers of animals here in the UK it is a sad inevitability that some of these will end up as strays on the streets or being mistreated in their own homes. This is where the RSPCA and various rescue charities come into
play. Following on from their yearly analysis the RSPCA reported that around every 30 seconds someone dials their animal cruelty line and it was reported that they received over a million calls in 2017. A million calls is a vast number of animal cruelty and welfare issues for the organisation to deal especially as they only have around 500 active animal staff working for them in roles such as animal welfare officers, animal collection officers and inspectors.

The RSPCA was first established in 1824 when it was originally named the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals before the Royal patronage was established in 1840 by Queen Victoria. The organisation deals with a vast
number of cases each year as well as help sick and injured animals belonging to owners who can not afford for their veterinary care and they also rehome numerous animals each year. The figures are astounding:

In 2017 some of the figures included:
. Over 114,000 animals rescued from their current environments
. Over 44,000 animals were found new homes
. Investigation of over 140,000 cruelty complaints
. Just under 1,500 convictions against those individuals who broke the law in   relation to the protection and welfare of animals
. Over 200,000 animals were taken to the RSPCA
veterinary practices to be microchipped, neutered and to be treated for a variety of illnesses and injuries.

The number of convictions compared to the number of investigations that take place each year is incredibly low, andthis can be due to the difficulties in taking these kinds of cases to court and providing sufficient evidence to prosecute an individual.

Which are the best Christmas events to visit this year?

With Christmas ads on the airwaves and Christmas songs in the shops, it’s that time of year again. Why not get out and about and enjoy some of the great Christmas events in Gloucestershire. Whether you meet Santa himself or cheer and boo at the panto there’s so much to enjoy!

Enjoy mulled wine at a Christmas market

There’s no shortage of Christmas markets spreading cheer and goodwill throughout Gloucester this Christmas. Cheltenham delivers a delightful outdoor shopping experience with over 40 stalls, while the Dean Heritage Centre brings a Victorian flavour to the festivities. Meanwhile, the iconic Gloucester Cathedral promises carols on the hour at their Christmas market which takes place in the beautiful cloisters.

Meet Santa

Father Christmas is everywhere in Gloucester this year, putting in appearances at the Regent Arcade in Cheltenham and the Cotswolds Clubhouse. At the Slimbridge Wetlands Centre
you can enjoy breakfast or tea with the elves and post a letter direct to the North Pole. The whole family will also love the opportunity to see the majestic wild swans and geese being given their evening feed on the enchanting floodlit lake.

Take in a Christmas show

People of Gloucester boiler service time is here again! Oh no it isn’t! Oh yes it is! If you’ve already arranged your annual service with a local company
then it’s time to relax with a festive trip to the theatre.

Cheltenham’s Everyman Theatre has a packed programme of shows for all the family this Christmas, from the children’s classic The Velveteen Rabbit to Dickens’ Old Curiosity Shop. Star of the show is the annual panto – this year it’s Aladdin, directed by Blue Peter’s Peter Duncan and it’ll have you cheering, booing and laughing out loud! There’s also Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in Stroud, and a spectacular Dick Whittington at the Roses Theatre in Tewkesbury.

An alternative Christmas

Want to try something different this year? Stagecoach West is offering a Friends and Family Explorer ticket so you don’t need to miss a single Christmas light switch on and you can leave the car at home. Use your ticket to head for Hip Hopmas Eve at Cafe Rene in Gloucester to groove to some old school hip hop classics or head for the Regent Arcade and sign up for Elf School!

Best Investment Ideas and Best Safe Investments for 2012

Here we list some of the best investment ideas and tackle the challenge of finding the best safe investments for 2012. What might appear to be one of the best investment ideas to the uninformed could turn out to be one of the worst.

Looking at the big picture for investment ideas in 2012, moderation in asset allocation and a balanced investment portfolio will be the most basic key to success. There are 4 asset classes, and average investors need to spread their money across at least the first three to keep their overall portfolio risk moderate. The 4 categories in asset allocation are: safe investments, bonds, stocks and alternative investments like gold and real estate (optional). Asset allocation can be simplified, because there are mutual funds available to average investors that represent each of the 4 asset classes. Now let’s get more specific about the best investment ideas for 2012 starting with safe investments.

Safe investments earn interest and do not fluctuate in price. You will need to look outside of mutual funds in 2012 to find the best safe investments because record low interest rates have taken yields on money market securities (and hence money market funds) down to just about zero. One of the best investment ideas if you have an account with a discount broker or major mutual fund company is to shop for one-year CDs paying higher rates if you can’t get competitive rates from your local bank. Do not tie your money up for longer periods just to earn a little more interest. One of these days interest rates will go back up and you will be locked in at a lower rate and face penalty charges if you cash in early.

Finding the best safe investments will be truly challenging in 2012, but here are some more investment ideas. If you are in a retirement plan like a 401k that has a fixed or stable account option do not overlook it. You can often get a much higher interest rate there (maybe 4% to 5%) than anywhere else outside of your retirement plan. If you own an older retirement annuity or universal life insurance policy, it might have a fixed account you can add money to that is guaranteed to never pay less than 3% or 4%. Remember, truly safe investments like U.S. Treasury bills and bank money market and savings accounts are paying WAY LESS than 1%!

Over the past 30 years bonds and bond funds have become a favorite with investors because they have been consistent performers and returned on average about 10% per year… basically about equal to what stocks have returned, but with considerably less risk. Many investors have fallen in love with their bonds funds and consider them to be among the world’s best safe investments. Bond funds are NOT safe investments. They have performed well since 1981 (when interest rates and inflation were at record highs) for one primary reason. Both inflation and interest rates have been falling for 30 years, which has sent bond prices higher. Loading up on bond funds now is NOT one of the best investment ideas for 2012. In fact, it is one of the worst investment ideas.

When interest rates and/or inflation turn around and head upward bond funds, especially those that hold long-term bond issues, will be losers. That’s how bonds work. One of the very best investment ideas for 2012 is to sell your long-term bond funds if you own any, and switch to funds holding bonds with average maturities of about five years. These are called intermediate-term bond funds; and average investors should have some money invested here as part of their asset allocation strategy to add balance to their investment portfolio. These are not truly safe investments, but they are much safer than long-term funds.

My best investment ideas in the stock department focus on stock funds. Do not go heavily into the more aggressive funds that invest primarily in growth and/or small company stocks. These pay little if anything in dividend income and tend to be more risky and volatile than the average stock fund. Go with funds that invest in high quality large-company stocks with excellent dividend paying histories. Look for funds that are paying 2% or more in dividends. One of the best investment ideas for 2012 and beyond: invest in no-load funds with low yearly expenses. No-load means no sales charges, and low expenses mean higher net returns to the investor.

Alternative investments include the likes of real estate, gold and other precious metals, natural resources, commodities, foreign investments and so on. One of the best investment ideas for managing a truly balanced investment portfolio is to include this fourth asset class as well. The simplest way for the average investor to add these alternatives to their portfolio is with mutual funds that specialize in these areas or sectors. My best investment ideas here: don’t go heavily into any one area, and don’t chase after a sector (like gold) just because it’s hot. Real estate and natural resources funds would be my picks as two of the best investment ideas in the alternative investments asset class.

Moderation and diversification across the asset classes will be the key to asset allocation in 2012. I have also listed some specific best investment ideas for keeping the average investor in the game and out of serious trouble should the investment scene turn ugly. Above all else memorize this: long-term bond funds are not among the best safe investments for 2012. They are not safe investments, period.

Investing – How To Choose The Best Option

Investors are increasingly forced to choose from a proliferation of investment options. They also have to deal with contradictory advice on how to achieve their financial goals and how to invest the savings they have accumulated during their lifetime. If you consider that there are more than 7000 mutual funds available in the United States alone, and thousands of insurance products worldwide, making the choice that will satisfy them ever after is daunting, to say the least.

No wonder people so often ask the rather general question: Which investment is best? The first part of the answer is easy: No single investment is ‘the best’ under all circumstances for all investors. Personal circumstances, goals and different people’s needs differ, as do the characteristics of different investments. Secondly, one asset class’s strength in certain circumstances could be another’s weakness. It is therefore important to compare investments according to relevant criteria. The art is to find the appropriate investment for each objective and need.

The following are the most important criteria:

  • the goal of the investment
  • the risk the investor can handle
  • liquidity required
  • taxability of the investment
  • the period until the financial goal is reached
  • last but not least, the cost of the investment.

THE GOAL

Goals determine the characteristics sought in an investment. You will be in a position to choose the most appropriate investment only when you have decided on your short-, medium- and long-term goals. The following generic goals are normally involved:

Emergency fund

Emergency fund money should be readily available when needed, and the value of the fund should be equal to about six months’ income. Money market funds are excellent for this purpose. While these funds do not perform much higher than inflation, their benefit is that capital is saved and is easily accessible.

If you already have a ready emergency fund covering more than six months’ income, you could consider a more aggressive mutual fund

Capital protection

If your primary aim is capital protection, you will have to be satisfied with a lower growth rate on the investment. Those above 50 are normally advised to be conservative in their investment approach. While this may for the most part be sound advice, you should also keep an eye on the risk of inflation, so that the purchasing power of your money does not depreciate. It is not the nominal value of the capital that should be protected, but the inflation-adjusted one. At an annual inflation rate of 6%, $1 million today will buy the same as $174 110 in 30 years’ time. A 50 year-old with $1 million would therefore have to lower his living standard substantially if he only retains the $1 million until he was 80.

Conservative investments like those listed above should form the normal basis for providing an income. Because of inflation risk, investments should be structured so that they can at least keep up with inflation. This means that at least a percentage of the investment source providing the income should be made up of other asset classes like property and equity mutual funds. The percentage would differ according to individual and economic circumstances.

Investors fortunate enough to have their basic budget provided for by a conservative fund could consider increasing their income with commercial property funds and tax-free income from dividends paid out by listed shares.

Capital growth

If an investor’s primary goal is to achieve capital growth, the real rate of return should be higher than inflation. This implies greater risk to capital in the short term. Investors aiming at capital growth should not be apprehensive, as they will reap the rewards in the long term.

The history of equity prices over the past 100 years proves equity investments to be the best performer, followed by property. This does not mean you should buy either of these investments blindfolded. Wait until the quality shares in which you are interested are trading at inexpensive price levels.

RISK

The investment with a history of the highest growth is not necessarily the one to choose. The Standard Bank’s Gold Fund increased by 178% during the period 13 August 2001 – 24 May 2002 (284 days). Judging only on the growth of the fund during this period, it performed exceptionally well. But would it be the right investment for a retiree? During the 805 days following this, the same fund experienced a negative growth rate of 44%! The problem with an investment that decreases by this percentage is that it will not reach its previous peak by increasing again by 44%. This is because the growth this time will take place from a lower base, so in fact the investment would have to increase by approximately 80%.

LIQUIDITY

Hard assets like Persian carpets, works of art and antique furniture may be good investments in the long term, but unfortunately they are not very liquid. The same is true of certain shares in smaller companies. Money market funds, on the other hand, are very liquid, but the returns may not always be as good as those from other investments. The need to liquidise the investment quickly is therefore also a criterion to consider when evaluating investments.

TAXABILITY

The taxability of an investment has a considerable impact on its value to the investor. When comparing the returns on different investments, the return after tax has been deducted should be used. The investor should always ask what will be left in his pocket after tax deduction.

PERIOD

Conservative investments with no potential for high returns are suitable for shorter periods, while investment-objectives with longer time horizons aspire to achieving higher returns. Money market funds are suitable for periods of one or two years. Income and conservative asset allocation funds for three or four years and flexible asset allocation funds, commercial property funds and value equity funds may be chosen for longer periods, dependent on the economic and interest cycle and the propensity of the investor to accept risk.

COSTS

The costs involved in an investment are normally things like administrative cost and commission. The percentage of the costs to the investment amount directly affects the value of the investment. Many of the currently available investment products are structured in such a way that investors can negotiate commission.

CONCLUSION

No investment strategy blueprint is going to be perfect for everyone’s circumstances. Investment opportunities should therefore be examined critically before any decision is made. It should also be kept in mind that there are different companies managing specific funds under the investment categories referred to above. Some are more effectively managed than others. Investors should therefore research investments as well as the managers thoroughly before investing. Otherwise, they could appoint professional asset managers to do so on their behalf. Time spent determining the type of investment you really need is time invested in your future financial well-being.