Alternatives to MP3

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Although MP3 is the most popular format for encoding music, it is by no means the only one. There are two basic methods for compressing audio – lossless and lossy, and for each of these methods there are many formats.

Lossless compression means that none of the audio data is removed during compression. Lossy compression means that audio data is permanently removed from the audio file. Lossy compression results in smaller files, but there is no way to rebuild the audio data to its original format. MP3 is an example of lossy compression.

Lossy Compression Formats

There are many alternatives to MP3 when it comes to encoding audio files. Microsoft reportedly developed the WMA format to avoid the licensing costs associated with MP3. WMA files can be played with the Windows Media Player that is included with the Windows operating system as well as many other audio players. It features similar encoding rates to MP3 and similar file sizes.

AAC (Advanced Audio Coding) is the format preferred by Apple and is used for its popular iTunes and iPod products. AAC files can be smaller than MP3 files because it uses more efficient encoding technology. A 96 kpbs AAC file is similar in sound quality to a 128 kbps MP3 file.

Ogg Vorbis is another type of lossy compression and uses .OGG as the file extension. It is an open-source product and unlike MP3, there are no patent restrictions on its use.

Lossless Compression

For the audio purist who insists on the best quality sound possible, lossless compression offers CD quality sound. The tradeoff is larger files sizes – while MP3 can compress audio in the range of 80% – 90%, lossless compression typically compresses the file by half.

Popular lossless formats include FLAC, Monkey’s Audio, and SHN (Shorten). These formats are supported by many audio players and are popular for archiving CD collections as well as for trading music.

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Source by Hans Dekker

What Do We Usually Do on the Internet?

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No doubt we all want to earn some money from the internet. This first article is more like an introduction. I’d like to share with you what do we usually do on the internet, so as to lay a foundation for our further discussion about each specific detail.

First, we are involved in the internet either full-time or part-time. Full-time means you’re either an internet entrepreneur or a full-time employee in an internet company. With regard to part-time, like me, we just explore all kinds of possibilities that will bring us some extra return in addition to our fixed wages and in the meantime won’t take us too much time.

Second, we can either do e-commerce or advertising. I bet e-commerce can’t sound more familiar to you, right? Rent a host and domain name, pile up stock of some goods, either real or virtual, buy or use open source e-commerce solution, and there you go.

Talking about advertising, we can either build our own website or using some third party platforms. If we build our own website, what do we usually provide? Without question, either content or service. Content could fall in any market niche you would like to work with. Service could come in any form such as search engine, position service, blogging service, bookmarking service and so on. For the third party platforms, I mean those blog service providers, among which WordPress and bloggers are the most famous, and all categories of ad revenue share sites, such as digitalpoint, sitepoint, docstoc and so on. Then, what types of ad we could provide? CPC, CPA, CPM and so on. Here I don’t want to give examples for each type of ads. If you want to get more, please search in Google with related keywords

OK I’ll stop here. What’s written above is just a rough introduction of the scope that my following articles will fall into.

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Source by Morris Zhang

My Tryst With Skin Pigmentation

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Well, this actually began about 8 months ago. I had slathered balm on my forehead during a severe headache and then completely forgot about it. The next day there was a small dark-grey blemish on the right corner of my forehead. Assuming it to be dry, dead skin I lightly massaged my usual face scrub on the entire face thinking that the exfoliation would shed the dry skin and the mark would heal.

But, this did not happen. On the contrary a few days later the small blotch transformed into a thick, dark grey patch running continuously from one end of my forehead to the other. I was absolutely zapped when I looked at myself in the mirror, in the morning and so was everyone else around me. Family and friends asked all sorts of questions about it and I didn’t have a reply.

At that time I didn’t realise that the mark was caused due to the balm that I had used. Instead, I thought it to be a reaction to the antibiotics I had consumed at that time for an aching wisdom tooth. But, a visit to a dermatologist explained that the mark was spread in that portion of the forehead where the balm had been applied and this skin disorder was called hyper-pigmentation. I had heard of it a lot of times from people around but now I, myself was going through skin pigmentation. It is a condition in which the skin produces too much of the pigment melanin (melanin is responsible for the colour of your skin) and this makes the skin darker than usual.

I was told that if I didn’t take appropriate medication and instant action, the mark could reach the lowest layer of skin and even the bone below the skin. And once it reached the bone, no topical remedy or any other treatment could ever erase it all my life (God forbid!). The last few words really caught my attention and freaked me out. My skin was sensitive and the balm used, as the doctor said could have been a duplicate/ fake one which caused this strange reaction.

I was given names of medicines (vitamin and calcium tablets) to be consumed for 1 ½ month and a kojic cream to be applied daily on the pigmented skin. Application of sunscreen twice a day was a must even when indoors as my skin had become photosynthetic (bulb rays too could cause further harm and delay the healing process). Complete sun protection (from both, UVB and UVA rays) had become crucial since ‘over-exposure to sun rays makes the skin produce more melanin causing the complexion to darken further’. A mild face wash was recommended as part of the ongoing treatment.

As a last resort I was given the options of either Yellow Peel treatment or Laser Therapy (which was quite an expensive affair). Yellow Peel is a facial skin depigmentation treatment which would peel away the damaged upper layer of my skin by application of a mixture of depigmenting agents. Then, the lower layer of skin would be revealed and I would look fine again. This would take a few weeks or months, depending on the case (I was told 4 weeks in my case). Both these treatments, the doctor assured would cure my skin condition a 100 percent.

I was called every 4 weeks by the doctor because as she had explained, “The skin has two layers; the upper layer (the epidermis) and the lower layer (the dermis). The cells of the upper layer are gradually shed and the lower layer emerges above, replacing the epidermis. This cycle takes around 28 days”. Therefore, the visit every 4 weeks was crucial in order to monitor the exact stage of recovery. I kept delaying the Yellow Peel treatment every time I met her as I was afraid that it could have side effects. So, instead the creams were changed and I was prescribed another fairness cream to be used along with the kojic cream the next month. I followed her instructions to the T.

I’d noticed while walking on the road that people would give me weird, pitying glances. I guess they must be thinking, “Poor girl, she’s so young and is suffering from a severe skin disease”. I wish I could explain what had really happened to me. Some friends and well wishers advised applying stuff like raw milk and Aloe Vera gel on the pigmented area which I promptly did with very little progress.

Then, I thought of surfing the net in my free time and looking for natural remedies on pigmentation that could be followed whilst following the doctors’ treatment too. I fed, ‘Natural remedies for skin pigmentation’ and search engines piled up a list of sites mentioning information on why pigmentation occurs and also how the damage could be solved in a natural way using fruits, veggies and herbs.

I got remedies like cucumber juice, lime juice, papaya pulp, tomato juice, gram flour and water paste, coriander paste, mint paste, neem paste, fullers’ earth paste, sandalwood paste, fresh curd, the list was endless. All of these had to be left on the pigmented patch for about 10 -15 minutes before washing off with water. I followed them, mostly trying out any one remedy day after day. I even soaked orange peels in water and splashed it daily.

Since none of the home remedies would cause side effects I would comfortably slather the fruit juices etc. all over my face and not restrict it to the pigmented patch only. Slowly it was turning out to be fun because while trying out all of these one by one I had realised that the quality of my skin had really improved. Disregarding the dark, pigmented patch, my skin had now become soft, supple, glowing and fairer. My cheeks had become a blushing pink in colour. It wasn’t heavy on my pockets too since such fruits and vegetables are always present in our kitchen. For e.g., I would always keep away a small piece of papaya or a slice of tomato to be mashed and applied on my skin once I’d be done with the household chores. In fact, once a friend asked if the reason for the glow on my face was because I was basking in love and that felt really nice.

The last cream that I was prescribed was Triglow and the skin doctor said that it was the most effective cream in the world to cure pigmentation. It was helpful indeed. I noticed a drastic lightening in the pigmentation after using it for a few days itself. But the whole point was that I wanted it to heal completely so that I looked my normal self again which would take some more time. The repeated trips to the doctor were getting on my nerves now and I decided to stop visiting her and continue with her last prescription and the natural remedies till the pigmentation is healed.

A small, hazy patch yet remains on my forehead but is lessening at a rather slow pace. One thing I realised while going through this entire distress is that there’s nothing better than our age old, natural remedies for our problems. Of course, major illnesses do require immediate and long term medication, under the doctors’ guidance. That’s how I too started out. But if we take a deeper interest in such natural and herbal cures we can live a better, healthier and a more fruitful life. The only issue is time; we are all short on time and we do not have the patience to wait for our problems to solve in this manner, at a slow pace.

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Source by Arwa Manasawala

What Are Lagoons?

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In this article we discuss the geographical phenomenon of the lagoon, and then go on to examine a couple of examples to facilitate a full understanding of just what a lagoon is. The term derives from the Latin word ‘lacuna’ which means empty space.

Basically a lagoon is a shallow pool of water that is next to the sea, but it is separated from the sea by a barrier. This barrier can take various forms, for example, it could be a coral reef or a sand bank. The salt water that flows into the area behind the water is defined as a lagoon.

Most lagoons are coastal, and are next to the sea, but sometimes there are formed by water flowing in from freshwater streams. These freshwater lagoons are termed estuaries.

So moving on to some concrete examples let us consider the island of Formentera. Formentera is one of the four Balearic islands (Mallora, Menorca, Ibiza, Formentera), and is just south of Ibiza. It only takes thirty minutes to get to Formentera by ferry from Ibiza, and you arrive at the port of La Savina. Once at La Savina you only need to walk ten minutes to see its two saltwater lagoons: Estany Pudent and Estany des Peix.

Estany Pudent is also known as stinky pond because its sulphur reserves bubbles up in the summer and create quite a stink. Estany des Peix is a smaller lagoon which is very shallow, and it is used by people with small boats.

These are just two of the Mediterranean’s lagoons, and you should certainly explore other areas to learn more about these beautiful geological features.

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Source by Linda Lee-Grace

8 Tips to Hire Telemarketer to Supercharge Your Insurance Sales

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Hiring a telemarketer is a business strategy an insurance agent can explore where the telemarketer is to secure appointments and the insurance agent focuses his or her time solely on appointments and writing applications.

Telemarketing can be an extremely efficient and inexpensive way of acquiring business if used correctly. It should be a carefully planned activity to ensure your strategies and tactics are spot-on.

In addition to scheduling appointments, a telemarketer can help qualified prospects interested in hearing from the insurance agent. The insurance agent can then focus on sales without the emotional baggage caused by making tonnes of cold calls.

The following are a number of tips that can help telemarketing service work best for you:

(a) Master the Art First

Go through the telemarketing process and be really good at it, only then you have the experience and competence to hire and effectively train a telemarketer. This is important if you want to get the best results from the telemarketing service.

(b) Use a Proven and Tested Script

A telemarketer has only a few seconds to make a good impression. Once you are sure you have the right script that you can use to produce desired results, you can train the telemarketer how to use the script tactfully especially when handling rejections.

(c) Selection Criteria

You may consider hiring telemarketers with sales background. They are able to take on the job more quickly and smoothly. Telemarketing is not for the faint-hearted, you may go through some basic call scenarios in order to judge their ability to manage stress.

(d) Adherence to Regulation

Study the laws regulating telemarketing activities in the area you operate your business. Find out if “Do not call list” is applicable. Make sure your phone list is scrubbed against “Do not call list”.

(e) Prospect Lists

If you decide to purchase prospect list, you may like to purchase from a reputable source that offers you the target market that you like to focus your energies on. Buying “freebie” lists can frustrate yourself and your telemarketers.

(f) Pay Rate and Incentive Scheme

Telemarketers are paid hourly plus bonus. A competitive wage and reward can ensure you get to hire experienced and dedicated telemarketers who in turn will do their best to set quality appointments for you.

(g) CRM System

Choose a CRM System that can bypass answering machine and connect prospects to the telemarketers as soon as the prospects pick up the phone. It is annoying for the prospects to listen to robotic sounding auto-diallers.

(h) Outsourcing

You may consider outsourcing. You can approach a telemarketing service provider that specializes in your service or product. For offshore services, assess the English-speaking and comprehension abilities of the telemarketers.

Telemarketing service can give your business a competitive edge by letting you concentrate on your core business activities. A strategic integration of telemarketing service into your business operation can help you significantly increase sales and profits.

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Source by Xoseph Chu