Reply To: Musical Instruments

Kinnor is the Hebrew name for an ancient stringed instrument, the first mentioned in the Bible (Gen. iv. 21), where it is now always translated harp. The identification of the instrument has been much discussed, but, from the standpoint of the history of musical instruments, the weight of evidence is in favor of the view that the Semitic kinnor is the Greek cithara. This instrument was already in use before 2000 s.c. among the Semitic races and in a higher state of development than it ever attained in Greece during the best classic period. It is unlikely that an instrument (which also appears on Hebrew coins) so widely known and used in various parts of Asia Minor in remote times, and occurring among the Hittite sculptures, should pass unmentioned in the Bible, with the exception of the verses in Dan. iii.


There are different variations of the Kinnor, each having a different number of strings. The following sample tunings are based on the Eb Major / C Minor scale:

  • 12-string Kinnor: Eb,D,C,Bb,G#,G,F,Eb,D,C,Bb,G# (High to Low)
  • 10-string Kinnor: Eb,D,C,Bb,G#,G,F,Eb,D,C (High to Low)
7 Jan 2005 by RaftingCanadian 1.1K
Reply To: Archive
Good ideas are worth money. So why are hard headed operators giving them away for free? Join our experiment to find out says Graham Lawton

IF YOU'VE BEEN to a computer show in recent months you might have seen it: a shiny silver drinks can with a ring-pull logo and the words "opencola" on the side. Inside is a fizzy drink that tastes very much like Coca-Cola. Or is it Pepsi?

There's something else written on the can, though, which sets the drink apart. It says "check out the source at opencola.com". Go to that Web address and you'll see something that's not available on Coca-Cola's website, or Pepsi's--the recipe for cola. For the first time ever, you can make the real thing in your own home.

OpenCola is the world's first "open source" consumer product. By calling it open source, its manufacturer is saying that instructions for making it are freely available. Anybody can make the drink, and anyone can modify and improve on the recipe as long as they, too, release their recipe into the public domain. As a way of doing business it's rather unusual--the Coca-Cola Company doesn't make a habit of giving away precious commercial secrets. But that's the point.

OpenCola is the most prominent sign yet that a long-running battle between rival philosophies in software development has spilt over into the rest of the world. What started as a technical debate over the best way to debug computer programs is developing into a political battle over the ownership of knowledge and how it is used, between those who put their faith in the free circulation of ideas and those who prefer to designate them "intellectual property". No one knows what the outcome will be. But in a world of growing opposition to corporate power, restrictive intellectual property rights and globalisation, open source is emerging as a possible alternative, a potentially potent means of fighting back. And you're helping to test its value right now.

The open source movement originated in 1984 when computer scientist Richard Stallman quit his job at MIT and set up the Free Software Foundation. His aim was to create high-quality software that was freely available to everybody. Stallman's beef was with commercial companies that smother their software with patents and copyrights and keep the source code--the original program, written in a computer language such as C++--a closely guarded secret. Stallman saw this as damaging. It generated poor-quality, bug-ridden software. And worse, it choked off the free flow of ideas. Stallman fretted that if computer scientists could no longer learn from one another's code, the art of programming would stagnate (New Scientist, 12 December 1998, p 42).

Stallman's move resonated round the computer science community and now there are thousands of similar projects. The star of the movement is Linux, an operating system created by Finnish student Linus Torvalds in the early 1990s and installed on around 18 million computers worldwide.

What sets open source software apart from commercial software is the fact that it's free, in both the political and the economic sense. If you want to use a commercial product such as Windows XP or Mac OS X you have to pay a fee and agree to abide by a licence that stops you from modifying or sharing the software. But if you want to run Linux or another open source package, you can do so without paying a penny--although several companies will sell you the software bundled with support services. You can also modify the software in any way you choose, copy it and share it without restrictions. This freedom acts as an open invitation--some say challenge--to its users to make improvements. As a result, thousands of volunteers are constantly working on Linux, adding new features and winkling out bugs. Their contributions are reviewed by a panel and the best ones are added to Linux. For programmers, the kudos of a successful contribution is its own reward. The result is a stable, powerful system that adapts rapidly to technological change. Linux is so successful that even IBM installs it on the computers it sells.

To maintain this benign state of affairs, open source software is covered by a special legal instrument called the General Public License. Instead of restricting how the software can be used, as a standard software license does, the GPL--often known as a "copyleft"--grants as much freedom as possible. Software released under the GPL (or a similar copyleft licence) can be copied, modified and distributed by anyone, as long as they, too, release it under a copyleft. That restriction is crucial, because it prevents the material from being co-opted into later proprietary products. It also makes open source software different from programs that are merely distributed free of charge. In FSF's words, the GPL "makes it free and guarantees it remains free".

Open source has proved a very successful way of writing software. But it has also come to embody a political stand--one that values freedom of expression, mistrusts corporate power, and is uncomfortable with private ownership of knowledge. It's "a broadly libertarian view of the proper relationship between individuals and institutions", according to open source guru Eric Raymond.

But it's not just software companies that lock knowledge away and release it only to those prepared to pay. Every time you buy a CD, a book, a copy of New Scientist, even a can of Coca-Cola, you're forking out for access to someone else's intellectual property. Your money buys you the right to listen to, read or consume the contents, but not to rework them, or make copies and redistribute them. No surprise, then, that people within the open source movement have asked whether their methods would work on other products. As yet no one's sure--but plenty of people are trying it.

Take OpenCola. Although originally intended as a promotional tool to explain open source software, the drink has taken on a life of its own. The Toronto-based OpenCola company has become better known for the drink than the software it was supposed to promote. Laird Brown, the company's senior strategist, attributes its success to a widespread mistrust of big corporations and the "proprietary nature of almost everything". A website selling the stuff has shifted 150,000 cans. Politically minded students in the US have started mixing up the recipe for parties.

OpenCola is a happy accident and poses no real threat to Coke or Pepsi, but elsewhere people are deliberately using the open source model to challenge entrenched interests. One popular target is the music industry. At the forefront of the attack is the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a San Francisco group set up to defend civil liberties in the digital society. In April of last year, the EFF published a model copyleft called the Open Audio License (OAL). The idea is to let musicians take advantage of digital music's properties--ease of copying and distribution--rather than fighting against them. Musicians who release music under an OAL consent to their work being freely copied, performed, reworked and reissued, as long as these new products are released under the same licence. They can then rely on "viral distribution" to get heard. "If the people like the music, they will support the artist to ensure the artist can continue to make music," says Robin Gross of the EFF.

It's a little early to judge whether the OAL will capture imaginations in the same way as OpenCola. But it's already clear that some of the strengths of open source software simply don't apply to music. In computing, the open source method lets users improve software by eliminating errors and inefficient bits of code, but it's not obvious how that might happen with music.

It's also not clear why any mainstream artists would ever choose to release music under an OAL. Many bands objected to the way Napster members circulated their music behind their backs, so why would they now allow unrestricted distribution, or consent to strangers fiddling round with their music? Sure enough, you're unlikely to have heard of any of the 20 bands that have posted music on the registry. It's hard to avoid the conclusion that Open Audio amounts to little more than an opportunity for obscure artists to put themselves in the shop window.

The problems with open music, however, haven't put people off trying open source methods elsewhere. Encyclopedias, for example, look like fertile ground. Like software, they're collaborative and modular, need regular upgrading, and improve with peer review. But the first attempt, a free online reference called Nupedia, hasn't exactly taken off. Two years on, only 25 of its target 60,000 articles have been completed. "At the current rate it will never be a large encyclopedia," says editor-in-chief Larry Sanger. The main problem is that the experts Sanger wants to recruit to write articles have little incentive to participate. They don't score academic brownie points in the same way software engineers do for upgrading Linux, and Nupedia can't pay them.

It'sa problem that's inherent to most open source products: how do you get people to chip in? Sanger says he's exploring ways to make money out of Nupedia while preserving the freedom of its content. Banner adverts area possibility. But his best hope is that academics start citing Nupedia articles so authors can earn academic credit.

There's another possibility: trust the collective goodwill of the open source community. A year ago, frustrated by the treacle-like progress of Nupedia, Sanger started another encyclopedia named Wikipedia (the name is taken from open source Web software called WikiWiki that allows pages to be edited by anyone on the Web). It's a lot less formal than Nupedia: anyone can write or edit an article on any topic, which probably explains the entries on beer and Star Trek. But it also explains its success. Wikipedia already contains 19,000 articles and is acquiring several thousand more each month. "People like the idea that knowledge can and should be freely distributed and developed," says Sanger. Over time, he reckons, thousands of dabblers should gradually fix any errors and fill in any gaps in the articles until Wikipedia evolves into an authoritative encyclopedia with hundreds of thousands of entries.

Another experiment that's proved its worth is the OpenLaw project at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School. Berkman lawyers specialise in cyberlaw--hacking, copyright, encryption and so on--and the centre has strong ties with the EFF and the open source software community. In 1998 faculty member Lawrence Lessig, now at Stanford Law School, was asked by online publisher Eldritch Press to mount a legal challenge to US copyright law. Eldritch takes books whose copyright has expired and publishes them on the Web, but new legislation to extend copyright from 50 to 70 years after the author's death was cutting off its supply of new material. Lessig invited law students at Harvard and elsewhere to help craft legal arguments challenging the new law on an online forum, which evolved into OpenLaw.

Normal law firms write arguments the way commercial software companies write code. Lawyers discuss a case behind closed doors, and although their final product is released in court, the discussions or "source code" that produced it remain secret. In contrast, OpenLaw crafts its arguments in public and releases them under a copyleft. "We deliberately used free software as a model," says Wendy Selzer, who took over OpenLaw when Lessig moved to Stanford. Around 50 legal scholars now work on Eldritch's case, and OpenLaw has taken other cases, too.

"The gains are much the same as for software," Selzer says. "Hundreds of people scrutinise the 'code' for bugs, and make suggestions how to fix it. And people will take underdeveloped parts of the argument, work on them, then patch them in." Armed with arguments crafted in this way, OpenLaw has taken Eldritch's case--deemed unwinnable at the outset--right through the system and is now seeking a hearing in the Supreme Court.

There are drawbacks, though. The arguments are in the public domain right from the start, so OpenLaw can't spring a surprise in court. For the same reason, it can't take on cases where confidentiality is important. But where there's a strong public interest element, open sourcing has big advantages. Citizens' rights groups, for example, have taken parts of OpenLaw's legal arguments and used them elsewhere. "People use them on letters to Congress, or put them on flyers," Selzer says.

The open content movement is still at an early stage and it's hard to predict how far it will spread. "I'm not sure there are other areas where open source would work," says Sanger. "If there were, we might have started it ourselves." Eric Raymond has also expressed doubts. In his much-quoted 1997 essay, The Cathedral and the Bazaar, he warned against applying open source methods to other products. "Music and most books are not like software, because they don't generally need to be debugged or maintained," he wrote. Without that need, the products gain little from others' scrutiny and reworking, so there's little benefit in open sourcing. "I do not want to weaken the winning argument for open sourcing software by tying it to a potential loser," he wrote.

But Raymond's views have now shifted subtly. "I'm more willing to admit that I might talk about areas other than software someday," he told New Scientist. "But not now." The right time will be once open source software has won the battle of ideas, he says. He expects that to happen around 2005.

And so the experiment goes on. As a contribution to it, New Scientist has agreed to issue this article under a copyleft. That means you can copy it, redistribute it, reprint it in whole or in part, and generally play around with it as long as you, too, release your version under a copyleft and abide by the other terms and conditions in the licence.

One reason for doing so is that by releasing it under a copyleft, we can print the recipe for OpenCola without violating its copyleft. If nothing else, that demonstrates the power of the copyleft to spread itself. But there's another reason, too: to see what happens. To my knowledge this is the first magazine article published under a copyleft. Who knows what the outcome will be? Perhaps the article will disappear without a trace. Perhaps it will be photocopied, redistributed, re-edited, rewritten, cut and pasted onto websites, handbills and articles all over the world. I don't know--but that's the point. It's not up to me any more. The decision belongs to all of us.

7 Jan 2005 by RaftingCanadian 1.1K
Reply To: Health

At Home

It's convenient, comfortable and safe to work out at home. It allows your children to see you being active, which sets a good example for them. You can combine exercise with other activities, such as watching TV.  If you buy exercise equipment, it's a one-time expense and other family members can use it.  It's easy to have short bouts of activity several times a day.

  • Do housework yourself instead of hiring someone else to do it.    
  • Work in the garden or mow the grass.  Using a riding mower doesn't count!  Rake leaves, prune, dig and pick up trash.    
  • Go out for a short walk before breakfast, after dinner or both!  Start with 5-10 minutes and work up to 30 minutes.    
  • Walk or bike to the corner store instead of driving.    
  • When walking, pick up the pace from leisurely to brisk.  Choose a hilly route.  When watching TV, sit up instead of lying on the sofa.  Better yet, spend a few minutes pedaling on your stationary bicycle while watching TV.  Throw away your video remote control.  Instead of asking someone to bring you a drink, get up off the couch and get it yourself.    
  • Stand up while talking on the telephone.    
  • Walk the dog.
  • Park farther away at the shopping mall and walk the extra distance.  Wear your walking shoes and sneak in an extra lap or two around the mall
  • Stretch to reach items in high places and squat or bend to look at items at floor level.    
  • Keep exercise equipment repaired and use it!

At the Office

Most of us have sedentary jobs.  Work takes up a significant part of the day.  What can you do to increase your physical activity during the work day?

  • Brainstorm project ideas with a co-worker while taking a walk.    
  • Stand while talking on the telephone.    
  • Walk down the hall to speak with someone rather than using the telephone.    
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator.  Or get off a few floors early and take the stairs the rest of the way.    
  • Walk while waiting for the plane at the airport.    
  • Stay at hotels with fitness centers or swimming pools and use them while on business trips.    
  • Take along a jump rope in your suitcase when you travel.  Jump and do calisthenics in your hotel room.    
  • Participate in or start a recreation league at your company.    
  • Form a sports team to raise money for charity events.    
  • Join a fitness center or Y near your job.  Work out before or after work to avoid rush-hour traffic, or drop by for a noon workout.    
  • Schedule exercise time on your business calendar and treat it as any other important appointment.
  • Get off the bus a few blocks early and walk the rest of the way to work or home.    
  • Walk around your building for a break during the work day or during lunch.

At Play

Play and recreation are important for good health.  Look for opportunities to be active and have fun at the same time.

  • Plan family outings and vacations that include physical activity (hiking, backpacking, swimming, etc.)    
  • See the sights in new cities by walking, jogging or bicycling.    
  • Make a date with a friend to enjoy your favorite physical activities.  Do them regularly.    
  • Play your favorite music while exercising, something that motivates you.    
  • Dance with someone or by yourself.  Take dancing lessons.  Hit the dance floor on fast numbers instead of slow ones.
  • Join a recreational club that emphasizes physical activity.    
  • At the beach, sit and watch the waves instead of lying flat. Better yet, get up and walk, run or fly a kite.    
  • When golfing, walk instead of using a cart.    
  • Play singles tennis or racquetball instead of doubles.    
  • At a picnic, join in on badminton instead of croquet.    
  • At the lake, rent a rowboat instead of a canoe.
7 Jan 2005 by RaftingCanadian 1.1K
Reply To: Diet and Weight Loss


Making soft drinks is not for the faint of heart, nor the dirty of finger. It is a solemn enterprise not to be entered into lightly, as with marriage or buying used farm machinery.

With any food-prep, failure to observe basic hygienic principles, follow directions, and exercise common sense can have grave consequences. OpenCola assumes no liability for any problems that arise out of the use of this document. Proceed at your own risk. No one's putting a gun to your head, so don't bother if you can't boil water.

Improper use of cola might result in blunt trauma, puncture wounds, physical illness, mental illness, caffeine dependency, dental necrosis, acid reflux, death, devastation, and random tax audits. Or it might not.

A list of warnings has been provided below. We did not include them for our health â€" we included them for yours. Read them. Know them. Follow them. Tattoo them to your backside.

Just in case you have any doubt: following the directions below may be hazardous to your health and property. You assume any and all risk arising from the manufacture and consumption of cola.

An important note: this is not the recipe for "OpenCola" - that is, the canned beverage from OpenCola that you may have received at a trade show, or other venue or outlet. Making canned cola requires millions of dollars in abstruse gear and manufacturing gizmos. It's easier to make nerve gas than manufacture cola. This is a kitchen-sink recipe that you can make all on your own. It is our kitchen-sink recipe. We figured it out somewhere between coding the COLA SDK and debugging the Linux build of the clerver.

Anyway, we've tried to be nice about the disclaimer. If it's not good enough for you, here's what our lawyers have to say about the whole shootin' match.

By copying and/or distributing the Program, you hereby agree to the following:

Indemnity: You shall indemnify, defend, and hold harmless OpenCola, its affiliates, directors, officers, and employees from and against any third-party claim, demand, cause of action, debt, liability, cost or expense (including, but not limited to, reasonable attorneys' fees) arising out of your use of the Recipe, or any derivative thereof, including, but not limited to, any claims arising from your distribution of soft drink based on the Recipe or any derivatives thereof.

International: OpenCola makes no representation that the Recipe, or any soft drink based on the Recipe or any derivatives thereof, may be appropriate for use in locations outside of the United States or Canada, and accessing them from any location where their use is illegal is prohibited. If you choose to access this Recipe from any location outside of the United States or Canada, you do so at your own risk, and are responsible for compliance with all local laws.


OpenCola soda is distributed under the terms of the General Public License (GPL), a copy of which is appended to the bottom of this document. Please check out Richard Stallman's Free Software Foundation. He wrote the GPL and has plenty of interesting documentation on the site.
Version History:

Added sterner caffeine warnings, link to Material Safety Data Sheet â€" thanks to Tom Swulius. Added contributors section.

Fixed Amanda's email address

Even more disclaimer, this time to differentiate this recipe from the stuff in the cans.

Fixed typos. Made disclaimer scarier. Removed snotty references to Americans.



Contained hereunder is a HOW-TO for brewing up kitchen-sink OpenCola. Amazingly enough, every soft-drink vendor we spoke to acted like the preparation of cola was some kind of deep, dark trade-seekrutâ"¢. With much reverse-engineering and creative shopping, the research kitchens at OpenCola have coopered together the following makefile for brewing up The Black Waters of Corporate Imperialismâ"¢ in the privacy of your own home.

The basis for the whole thing is the 7X, Top-Seekrutâ"¢ formula. Our sources tell us that 7X is the internal Coca-Cola codename for their syrup. You'll note that the 7X formula contains eight ingredients: still more evidence of the deviousness of the Soda Gnomes.

As it turns out, mixing up a batch of cola's pretty easy. Finding the ingredients is damned hard. Most of this file is about finding and handling ingredients so as to produce a tasty bevvy without blowing up your kitchen, melting your flesh off your bones, or poisoning yourself. As with all undertakings of great moment, read and understand the instructions before attempting to commit cola on your own. Pay special attention to the "Warnings" section.

This recipe is licensed under the GNU General Public license. It is "Open Source" Cola, or, if you prefer, "Free" Cola. That means you're free to use this recipe to make your own cola, or to make derivative colas. If you distribute derivative colas, you're expected to send email to the recipe's author, Amanda Foubister (amanda@opencola.com) with your updates. In the future, we expect to have a CVS server up to handle additions, bug-reports, etc.

The Formula

7X (Top SeekrutTM) flavoring formula:

3.50 ml orange oil
1.00 ml lemon oil
1.00 ml nutmeg oil
1.25 ml cassia oil
0.25 ml coriander oil
0.25 ml neroli oil
2.75 ml lime oil
0.25 ml lavender oil
10.0 g gum arabic
3.00 ml water
OpenCola syrup:

2.00 tsp. 7X formula
3.50 tsp. 75% phosphoric acid or citric acid
2.28 l water
2.36 kg plain granulated white table sugar
0.50 tsp. caffeine (optional)
30.0 ml caramel color


7X Flavoring

Mix oils together in a cup. Add gum arabic, mix with a spoon. Add water and mix well. I used my trusty Braun mixer for this step, mixing for 4-5 minutes. You can also transfer to a blender for this step. Can be kept in a sealed glass jar in the fridge or at room temperature.

Please note that this mixture will separate. The Gum Arabic is essential to this part of the recipe, as you are mixing oil and water.

In a one gallon container (I used the Rubbermaid Servin' Saver Dry Food Keeper, 1.3 US Gal/4.92 l), take 5 mls of the 7X formula, add the 75% phosphoric or citric acid. Add the water, then the sugar. While mixing, add the caffeine, if desired. Make sure the caffeine is completely dissolved. Then add the caramel color. Mix thoroughly.

To finish drink, take one part syrup and add 5 parts carbonated water.
Scavenging and Handling Ingredients
7X flavor:

Measurement: I used a dropper purchased at a Shoppers Drug Mart (normally used to measure infant portions of medicine, I believe).

Oils: Oils can cause skin irritation. Wear latex food-prep or surgical gloves. If oils come in contact with skin, wash with soap and water.

I purchased all oils from health food stores and the herbalist store, Thuna's (see notes on gum arabic).

Everything could have come from the herbalist's. Try for 100 percent pure, undiluted oils. I used oils from the following companies:

    * CK Solutions, Ft. Wayne, IN 46825
    * Aura Cacia Oils, Weaverville, CA 96093
    * Aromaforce Essential Oils
    * Frontier Natural Flavors, www.frontiercoop.com
    * Karooch, Peterborough, ONT K9J 7Y8

When I purchased the oils, I specifically asked whether they were food grade or not. All persons said that they were, one person said she used them internally all the time.

Neroli is a very expensive item, be prepared (US$48.52 for 5.00 ml).

All others were a more reasonable price (US$2-9.30).

Gum Arabic: It is very important that you get only food-grade Gum Arabic. There is also an art-grade, which is readily available at art supply stores â€" never use art-grade Gum Arabic! Art-grade Gum Arabic is toxic. It will make you ill. You'll be sad. We'll be sad.

I found food-grade Gum Arabic at an herbalist store in Toronto called Thuna's (416) 461-8191. I purchased 112g for US$12.46, which will make more than 11 batches of flavoring formula.

Water: good old tap water will do, if you trust your tap. I used spring water.

75% Phosphoric Acid: Due to its acidity, this product is corrosive to the eyes and skin. Handle with gloved hands, and use extreme caution. If comes in contact with the eyes or skin, immediately flush with plenty of water for at least 15 minutes. Get medical attention. Rinse any spills on clothing or other surfaces thoroughly. Store in a secure area. Do not store more than 50.0 ml.

Try finding phosphoric acid at a compounding pharmacy in your area. There are pharmacies that still mix their own individual compounds and still stock phosphoric acid.

Citric acid: Very easy to find. I found mine at a Shoppers Drug Mart (Rougier Pharma Inc, Quebec, Canada J7J 1P3). Says right on the label, "For the preparation of acidulous drinks and effervescing draughts, and preservation of jams and jellies." According to the Coke history book, citric acid was used first in the formula, but they now use the phosphoric.

Sugar: Basic granulated white table sugar found everywhere. Buy from a bulk store to save some money.

Caffeine: It's best not to store caffeine in any amount. Caffeine can kill people in relatively small doses. The median lethal dose for an adult human is around 10 grams, or approximately one third of an ounce. You can find out more by reading the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for caffeine at http://www.jtbaker.com/msds/c0165.htm. Don't yeild to the temptation to create a "Super-Joltâ"¢," adding tons and tons of the white stuff to your cola, our you'll be in a world of hurt. If stored, store in a secure area away from children. Toxic by inhalation and ingestion: If inhaled, remove to fresh air, If ingested, call a physician. Possible teratogen and mutagen. If product comes in contact with the eyes, flush with plenty of water. There is some great information on caffeine and it's over-consumption at http://www.thecaffeinepage.com.

Caffeine is completely optional. I used part of a caffeine pill (MVP, www.mvpnutrition.com), ground up in a pestle with a mortar. According to information on the pill bottle and on the Web site, the pills are 100% caffeine. As an extra safety precaution, I strained all of the syrup through a 4-ply of cheesecloth, in case any of the caffeine wasn't dissolved.

Caramel color: I found mine at a bakery supply store (World of Cake Decorating, 1766 Weston Road, Toronto, Ontario, Canada 416-247-4935). I was originally told to use double strength caramel color, but couldn't find it anywhere (retail or wholesale). It really only adds color, so it makes it a bit paler than we are used to coming out of a can or bottle. No other difference that we could discern during our taste-testing.

Soda Water: I purchased a soda charger and CO2 cartridges at Nikolaou's (629 Queen Street West, Toronto, Ontario, Canada 416-504-6411) to deliver the soda charge needed to make the cola fizzy. At testing, no one was impressed. What worked best was adding canned sodium-free (very important!) soda water to the syrup.

If you would like to make soda water yourself as well, here is a recipe from a great Web site on beverages (http://www.upl.cs.wisc.edu/~craft/bar/section7.html):

Soda: Carbonated Water

    * 5 U.S. gallons of water
    * 1.5 cups sugar (or sugar syrup)
    * 1 teaspoon dry bread yeast (rehydrated)

I fill each bottle 2/3 full, screw on the top, and leave for one or two weeks. Each weekend I measure and add the syrup to a few bottles, top them off with water and stick them in the fridge.

This is a very quick operation. I had experimented with adding dry sugar, but this caused an excessive amount of foaming.

These are all associated with each of their ingredients, but they're repeated here just to make sure. We're not making this stuff up. Cola is a harsh mistress, and she is quick to anger. Heed the warnings below or proceed into certain peril.

Oils: Can cause skin irritation. If oils come in contact with skin, wash with soap and water.

Gum Arabic: It is very important that you get only food-grade Gum Arabic. There is also an art-grade, which is readily available at art supply stores â€" never use art-grade Gum Arabic! Art grade Gum Arabic is toxic. It will make you ill. You'll be sad. We'll be sad.

75% Phosphoric Acid: Due to its acidity, this product is corrosive to the eyes and skin. Handle with gloved hands, and use extreme caution. If comes in contact with the eyes or skin, immediately flush with plenty of water for at least 15 minutes. Get medical attention. Rinse any spills on clothing or other surfaces thoroughly. Store in a secure area. Do not store more than 50.0 ml.

Caffeine: It's best not to store caffeine in any amount. Caffeine can kill people in relatively small doses. The median lethal dose for an adult human is around 10 grams, or approximately one third of an ounce. You can find out more by reading the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for caffeine at http://www.jtbaker.com/msds/c0165.htm. Don't yield to the temptation to create a “Super-Joltâ"¢â€Â adding tons and tons of the white stuff to you cola, our you'll be in a world of hurt. If stored, store in a secure area away from children. Toxic by inhalation and ingestion: If inhaled, remove to fresh air. If ingested, call a physician. Possible teratogen and mutagen. If product comes in contact with the eyes, flush with plenty of water. There is some great information on caffeine and it's over-consumption at http://www.thecaffeinepage.com.
Thanks, Acknowledgements and Afterward:

The 7X that I experimented with comes from the great Coke history book, For God, Country, & Coca-Cola, by Mark Pendergrast, Basic Books, 1993, 2000, ISBN 0-465-05468-4. I know, I know. I list 8 oils, not 7. It notes in the book that many believe lavender to be part of the 7X formula, so I tried it. We liked it in testing.

Special thanks to Pharmacist David at the IDA (Queen West near Jameson, Toronto) for advice on phosphoric acid and chemistry.

Thanks to Barb Holland and Rose Murray from Foodland Ontario for advice on various ingredients and general soda making.

The following people have contributed refinements to the formula. Thanks to:
Cory Doctorow (cory@opencola.com)
Tom Swulius (swulius@ih2000.net)


Version 2, June 1991

Copyright (C) 1989, 1991 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
59 Temple Place - Suite 330, Boston, MA 02111-1307, USA

Everyone is permitted to copy and distribute verbatim copies of this license document, but changing it is not allowed.


The licenses for most software are designed to take away your freedom to share and change it. By contrast, the GNU General Public License is intended to guarantee your freedom to share and change free softwareâ€"to make sure the software is free for all its users. This General Public License applies to most of the Free Software Foundation's software and to any other program whose authors commit to using it. (Some other Free Software Foundation software is covered by the GNU Library General Public License instead.) You can apply it to your programs, too.

When we speak of free software, we are referring to freedom, not price. Our General Public Licenses are designed to make sure that you have the freedom to distribute copies of free software (and charge for this service if you wish), that you receive source code or can get it if you want it, that you can change the software or use pieces of it in new free programs; and that you know you can do these things.

To protect your rights, we need to make restrictions that forbid anyone to deny you these rights or to ask you to surrender the rights. These restrictions translate to certain responsibilities for you if you distribute copies of the software, or if you modify it.

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0. This License applies to any program or other work which contains a notice placed by the copyright holder saying it may be distributed under the terms of this General Public License. The "Program", below, refers to any such program or work, and a "work based on the Program" means either the Program or any derivative work under copyright law: that is to say, a work containing the Program or a portion of it, either verbatim or with modifications and/or translated into another language. (Hereinafter, translation is included without limitation in the term "modification".) Each licensee is addressed as "you".

Activities other than copying, distribution and modification are not covered by this License; they are outside its scope. The act of running the Program is not restricted, and the output from the Program is covered only if its contents constitute a work based on the Program (independent of having been made by running the Program). Whether that is true depends on what the Program does.

1. You may copy and distribute verbatim copies of the Program's source code as you receive it, in any medium, provided that you conspicuously and appropriately publish on each copy an appropriate copyright notice and disclaimer of warranty; keep intact all the notices that refer to this License and to the absence of any warranty; and give any other recipients of the Program a copy of this License along with the Program.

You may charge a fee for the physical act of transferring a copy, and you may at your option offer warranty protection in exchange for a fee.

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a) You must cause the modified files to carry prominent notices stating that you changed the files and the date of any change.

b) You must cause any work that you distribute or publish, that in whole or in part contains or is derived from the Program or any part thereof, to be licensed as a whole at no charge to all third parties under the terms of this License.

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These requirements apply to the modified work as a whole. If identifiable sections of that work are not derived from the Program, and can be reasonably considered independent and separate works in themselves, then this License, and its terms, do not apply to those sections when you distribute them as separate works. But when you distribute the same sections as part of a whole which is a work based on the Program, the distribution of the whole must be on the terms of this License, whose permissions for other licensees extend to the entire whole, and thus to each and every part regardless of who wrote it.

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In addition, mere aggregation of another work not based on the Program with the Program (or with a work based on the Program) on a volume of a storage or distribution medium does not bring the other work under the scope of this License.

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4. You may not copy, modify, sublicense, or distribute the Program except as expressly provided under this License. Any attempt otherwise to copy, modify, sublicense or distribute the Program is void, and will automatically terminate your rights under this License. However, parties who have received copies, or rights, from you under this License will not have their licenses terminated so long as such parties remain in full compliance.

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6. Each time you redistribute the Program (or any work based on the Program), the recipient automatically receives a license from the original licensor to copy, distribute or modify the Program subject to these terms and conditions. You may not impose any further restrictions on the recipients' exercise of the rights granted herein. You are not responsible for enforcing compliance by third parties to this License.

7. If, as a consequence of a court judgment or allegation of patent infringement or for any other reason (not limited to patent issues), conditions are imposed on you (whether by court order, agreement or otherwise) that contradict the conditions of this License, they do not excuse you from the conditions of this License. If you cannot distribute so as to satisfy simultaneously your obligations under this License and any other pertinent obligations, then as a consequence you may not distribute the Program at all. For example, if a patent license would not permit royalty-free redistribution of the Program by all those who receive copies directly or indirectly through you, then the only way you could satisfy both it and this License would be to refrain entirely from distribution of the Program.

If any portion of this section is held invalid or unenforceable under any particular circumstance, the balance of the section is intended to apply and the section as a whole is intended to apply in other circumstances.

It is not the purpose of this section to induce you to infringe any patents or other property right claims or to contest validity of any such claims; this section has the sole purpose of protecting the integrity of the free software distribution system, which is implemented by public license practices. Many people have made generous contributions to the wide range of software distributed through that system in reliance on consistent application of that system; it is up to the author/donor to decide if he or she is willing to distribute software through any other system and a licensee cannot impose that choice.

This section is intended to make thoroughly clear what is believed to be a consequence of the rest of this License.

8. If the distribution and/or use of the Program is restricted in certain countries either by patents or by copyrighted interfaces, the original copyright holder who places the Program under this License may add an explicit geographical distribution limitation excluding those countries, so that distribution is permitted only in or among countries not thus excluded. In such case, this License incorporates the limitation as if written in the body of this License.

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Each version is given a distinguishing version number. If the Program specifies a version number of this License which applies to it and "any later version", you have the option of following the terms and conditions either of that version or of any later version published by the Free Software Foundation. If the Program does not specify a version number of this License, you may choose any version ever published by the Free Software Foundation.

10. If you wish to incorporate parts of the Program into other free programs whose distribution conditions are different, write to the author to ask for permission. For software which is copyrighted by the Free Software Foundation, write to the Free Software Foundation; we sometimes make exceptions for this. Our decision will be guided by the two goals of preserving the free status of all derivatives of our free software and of promoting the sharing and reuse of software generally.


7 Jan 2005 by RaftingCanadian 1.1K
Reply To: Archive

It is common for people to worry about their privacy. The companies around us like to compile as much data on us as they can and this is too much for some people. What advertising company really needs to know that you have just spent 1 hour on-line looking at digital cameras?

This is where anonymous surfing comes in. It allows you to browse websites privately and anonymously. There are 2 different types of privacy:

  • Appearing anonymous to a website you are browsing

  • Appearing anonymous to people who can watch your internet connection

Why surf anonymously?

People do not surf anonymously just to stop advertising companies from finding out information about them. They can also use anonymity as a way to keep their private life away from their employers, the government or annoying family members.

An interesting case from anonymity is when there is a chance of political persecution. In Iran, anonymous surfing is used to avoid being executed in street executions.

How anonymous surfing works

Anonymous surfing works by utilising a proxy server between the website and the user. This means the web browser communicates through the proxy server to the website.

The website only knows the details about the proxy server and does not know any details about your connection with the proxy server. As the proxy server knows about your connection, it is wise to select a proxy server you willing to trust.

There are 3 ways that a proxy server can be used to surf anonymously:

    Anonymously surfing with a website service
    Website services providing anonymity allow you to enter any URL of a page you wish to surf and it retrieves the web page for you.
    Client applications providing anonymity
    Some software can be downloaded that will manage the details of your anonymous surfing.
    Anonymous proxy services
    You can point your browser at these services and they will provide anonymity for all your web surfing.

Anonymous proxy requirements and features

The first thing a good proxy server will do is create a SSL or TLS connection to you. With this, it is harder for a third party to observe what you are doing on the internet and monitor your usage.

While browsing the net you can use a few protocols such as HTTP, HTTPS and FTP. Make sure that your proxy supports all the required protocols that you use.

As you are using an anonymous proxy to protect your anonymity, you do not want anyone to be recording where you are going. Make sure that the proxy you are using does not keep logs and does not record any of your details.

7 Jan 2005 by RaftingCanadian 1.1K
Reply To: Music


The Compact Disk (CD) over the last 10 years has become one of the most convenient, and most used ways to store music, and also many other types of information. It has been a major development in newer technologies like the DVD and has changed the way we deal with information.

In this report I will cover the History of the Compact Disk, the way a compact disk is made, the parts of a compact disk player and the way a CD works with the CD player.



1877 - Thomas A. Edison invented the phonograph, one of the first machines to reproduce sound. The phonograph played tinfoil cylinders rather than discs, but it would give others in the future, ideas to create similar devices.

1884 - Emil Berliner, a German developer working in Washington, D.C. developed the first usable disk recording technology that could "press" records. This was a big step forward as previously sound that was recorded could not be copied.

1917 Albert Einstein created theories about the process that makes lasers possible called "Stimulated Emission" (a very complex process where One photon interacting with an excited atom results in two photons being emitted.)

1947 - Magnetic tape recorders entered the US Market

1958 - The laser was invented, based on theory by Albert Einstein

1969 - The idea of creating a CD was conceived by Klass Compaan, a physicist that worked at Phillips Research. The main part of the idea, a lot like the record, was being able to use a master template as a mould to create disks for photographic or video images. This could be done in less time than it took to create other types of media and the resulting disk could hold much more information.

1970 - Klass Compaan became partners with another Phillips researcher, Pete Kramer. They spent the next two years investigating how practical such a system was.

1972 - Two years after starting to investigate how practical the system was, they completed a glass disk prototype and determined that a laser will be needed to read the information.

Later that year and in the following years, Phillips developers took this idea and expanded on it with the idea that an audio disk done by similar means. Phillips soon developed the first audio compact disk prototype.

1978 - Phillips soon ran into problems with the development of the compact disk and decided to collaborate on the idea with Sony. There were soon suggestions that world wide standards should be made for similar compact disk like prototypes.

Latter that year, more decisions about the Compact Disk were made, with PolyGram (a division of Phillips) deciding that polycarbonate would be the best material for Compact Disks, that the data should start on the inside of the disk and spiral out, and that the Diameter should be 115 mm. The type of laser to be used was also selected.

1979 - Prototype Compact Disk systems were soon demonstrated in Europe and Japan and with the Phillips and Sony collaboration going ahead, more standards were made. Phillips and Sony decide to set the standard sampling rate of the CD to 44.1 kHz, to have 16 bit audio, and the maximum playing time to be just over 74 minutes.

As the current disk diameter did not allow enough room for these specifications, the disk diameter was changed to 120 mm.

1981 - With the announcement of Phillips and Sony's CD standard, they decided to end their collaboration so they can work on their individual products. Also during 1981, Sharp started to mass produce semiconductor lasers.

1982 - Sony and Phillips with in one year had a product ready to go, and soon released the CD to the public

In the years after 1982, the Compact Disk continued to climb in popularity. Soon there were many devices that used the CD. CD-ROMs were used to store computer files, Cars were fitted with CD players, and portable CD players were sold.

In the last ten years, the idea of the Compact Disk has been taken further with recordable CDs. Even the new "DVDs" use technology that was originally developed for CDs.


The Compact Disk

 The largest part of Compact Disk is the clear polycarbonate base of the plastic disk. When a typical Compact Disk is being made, a polycarbonate plastic is injected into a pre made mould. This mould is used to create very small bumps over the top surface of the CD. As the CD is read with a laser from the bottom, the bumps appear to the CD player as pits.

When the plastic base is set, a thin aluminium layer is spread to cover the top of the CD. This aluminium layer is used to reflect the light when the light hits a pit or flat region (where there is no pit).

The next layer that is applied to the top of the Compact Disk is a thin acrylic layer to protect the disk, followed by a label.

The advantage that the method of creating Compact Disks has over previous methods of creating audio storage is that the injection (or stamping) of the plastic also puts the data onto the disk. Previous, tape based devices had to be recorded onto once the tape was made.

The series of pits that were placed on the CD when it was created, spiral from the inside to the outside in once continuous track. The spiralling track is about 1.6 microns away from itself.

A typical pit that is on this data track is about 0.83 to 3.56 microns long, about 125 microns deep and 0.5 microns wide.  

To give an indication on how small these bumps are, there are one million microns in a meter and a human hair is about 75 microns wide. Because they are so small, they refract the light and give the CD a rainbow effect.


The CD player

The drive motor is the actual motor that spins the disk. This motor must be precise and be able to spin the CD between 500 and 200 RPMs. The reason that it needs to be able to vary the CDs spin speed is that the track must pass over the laser at a constant speed. When laser moves towards the edge, the length of track that it takes to go around the CD increases, meaning a lower speed is needed. A laser track mechanism is used to move the laser from the inside of the disk to the outside. It is precise enough to move the laser over the track and make micron sized adjustments.

A laser and lens are used to focus light onto the CD. When the laser is focused onto the pits, the beam goes through the polycarbonate layer and reflects off the aluminium layer.

The pits reflect the light in such a way the electronics equipment can pick up the difference between a pit and an area on the disk without a pit. This series of pits and non-pits can be interpreted by light sensitive equipment and translated in a series of ones and zero called binary.


Sampling analogue data

The problem with putting analogue data onto a digital storage medium like a CD is that when the data is read from the CD, the information is in binary. Unlike a normal analogue sound signals that at any one time can be a multitude of values, binary is a one or a zero. It is because of this that it would not be possible to transfer all the analogue information on a CD this way. Instead, at a steady rate, the value of the analogue signal has been stored to the CD. This rate is called the sampling rate and in the case of the CD, it is 44.1 kHz.

When this sampled value that has been stored on the CD is read, it still only has a sampled value. With the use of a Digital to analogue converter, the sampled rate is converted back in an analogue signal. As not all the information was sampled, the resulting line becomes less curved. As the sampling rate is increased, the rate of error or lost information is reduced.


The Floppy Disk

Basically, a floppy disk drive reads and writes data to a small, circular piece of metal-coated plastic

Although floppy disks have been used for over 20 years, a normal floppy disk is about 1.44MB in size. This is 450 times smaller than a CD, and it is because of this that the floppy disk is nearly unused now.

Also because of their design, dust can stop the disk operating and it is because of this that CDs are more reliable than floppy disks.


The CD-R

CD recordable or CD-R is similar to the CD, but can be written to once by a CD-R drive. This means that more people can write CDs and larger files can be swapped between computers.



The CD-RW is similar to the CD-R, but as well as being able to write to the disk multiple times, the CD can also be wiped. This means that files can be corrected and changed on the disk.

The amount of times that a CD-RW can be wiped, depends on the quality and can vary greatly.


7 Jan 2005 by RaftingCanadian 1.1K
Reply To: Musical Instruments

Today, the Industrial Revolution transforms musical machines. The University of Houston's College of Engineering presents this series about the machines that make our civilization run, and the people whose ingenuity created them.

The word French horn is a slang term for a long hunting horn that's been bent into a coil. The proper word, in any language, is simply horn. And it traces straight back to the first animal-horns that played only one pitch.

Animal horns had mutated into a huge array of wind instruments by 1600, but most were still straight tubes, flared toward one end. A lot of hunting and military horn-playing was done on horseback, so horns stayed short and high-pitched. Then horn-makers started bending instruments to make them more compact.

In no time, longer horns with richer tones appeared fully coiled. Horns were suddenly being bent about in remarkably complex ways. A French horn is really just a Swiss Alpenhorn. Of course, a 15-foot Alpenhorn will no more fit into an orchestra pit than it will on a horse. So the orchestra brasses took on a wild profusion of forms. Some became real plumbers' nightmares.

Horn players have always used their lips to vary pitches. Players then and now set up different standing waves by changing the set of their mouths. But that alone gives a limited range of pitches. Music, like machinery, underwent a great change during the Industrial Revolution. That Revolution also produced Beethoven and the demand for orchestras with a far greater range of sound. In the decade before Beethoven's death, French horns took on sophisticated valving just as the new steam engines had. Valves let players splice small lengths of tubing into the coils so horns would play naturally in more convenient keys.

By the 20th century you could buy a double horn -- a pair of horns, in different keys, coiled together with a single mouthpiece anda single bell. With one of these, a player is secure in the upper registers while he keeps the nice tone quality of the lower notes.

French horns now come in a thousand variations: single, double, and even triple horns are made in four keys or combinations of keys. Three kinds of valving, many coil arrangements, extra valves, and different bore sizes! Choosing a horn poses a startling combinatorial problem.

Mechanical sophistication was the outcome of the Industrial Revolution, and it touched the whole orchestra. The modern piano emerged, with enormously complex mechanisms and a structure that reflected the new iron bridges.

Today, musical instruments are wed to 20th-century electronics, yet the ideal is the same. The technology of every age has been used to enhance the beauty of natural sounds -- blown animal horns and reeds, resonant cavities, and vibrating strings.

I'm John Lienhard, at the University of Houston, where we're interested in the way inventive minds work.

7 Jan 2005 by RaftingCanadian 1.1K
Reply To: Archive
Digital cameras have completely change the photography market. For years, you typical old film cameras were expensive, and hard for some people not used to camera. Digital camera in contrast are cheaper and easier to use.

There are many bonuses to having a digital camera:

  • As they are smaller, it is easier to take them places and always be handy
    On most models there is a point and shoot option that make taking a photo quick
    There are no developing costs

Main Features

When it comes to buying a digital camera, there are some features to consider that help you take better photos.

  • Size
    The smaller the camera, the better. A smaller camera means that it is easier to take it places and get once in a life time photographs. The trade off with size is that a smaller camera generally has less features. A typical digital camera now-days can fit into the palm of your hand.
  • Mega pixels / Resolution
    Generally this is the amount of data stored about the photo taken. The higher the number Mega pixels, the sharper and larger the resulting photo is. 4 Mega pixels and above is generally good and can produce a 8x10 inches.
  • Types of Storage / Memory Cards
    The memory card on a digital camera is the equivalent of 'film' as it stores the photos. There are different types of memory cards and the type required depends on the type of camera.
    • Compact Flash Cards
      This is the most common type and most supported format of memory card use for digital camera storage.
    • Smart Media Cards
      These are similar to Compact Flash Cards, but are not as wide supported and are a little bit thinner. The maximum size is currently 128MB.
    • XD Flash Memory Card
      The most recent and most advanced memory cards today, XD Flash Memory Card are really tiny and are storing the photos into the memory really fast. Most new models of Olympus and Fuji digital cameras are using XD Flash Memory Card.
    • Memory Stick
      Memory Sticks are Sony's solution to storage, the biggest advantage of Memory Sticks are that they can be used on all of Sony's products as they all use them.
  • Size or capacity of Storage / Memory Cards
    Although memory cards can be used over and over again, the number of photo that can fit onto the card depends on the cards capacity and the size of the photo. A Memory Cards capacity is measured in Megabytes (MB). The table below shows the number of photos that can be stored in relation to the photos resolution and the cards capacity.
    16 MB Card
    64 MB Card
    128 MB Card
    1 Mega pixel
    2 Mega pixels
    3 Mega pixels
    4 Mega pixels
  • Zoom
    There is 2 types of zoom, Optical and digital. Digital zoom is zooming in on the photo after the photo has been taken, and is not very important. Optical zoom affects the size of the photos subject in the photo. This is important for photos that are taken from a distance. An optical zoom of 6x or higher is great for most photographers and can take a good close up from 25 feet away.
  • Power
    How long will the battery last and how long does it take to charge?

Extra Features

  • Larger liquid-crystal display (LCD) viewfinders
    Allows you a larger area to view the photo you have taken, right after taking it.
  • Computer Interface
    Most cameras connect to your computer with USB, but some do not.
  • Self Timer
    Delay the photo so you can put the camera down and photograph yourself
  • Flash
    A better camera will have a built-in flash.
  • Battery Consumption
    How long will the batteries last.
  • Speed
    How long does it take fore the camera to take a photo after you press the button.
7 Jan 2005 by RaftingCanadian 1.1K
Reply To: Dating and Relationships

Certain body language may be exhibited for reasons other than sexual attraction. For example, a certain posture or attitude may be struck out of habit, for the sake of comfort or because of nervousness. real body reversers will learn how to interpretate correctly the various signals. In other words: don't start getting too hot if a girl gives you the "shoulder look", may be you'r just a pain in her neck.

  • Women toss their hair, whether short or long, briskly from side to side, over a shoulder, or away from the face to indicate preening. Hair is removed from face to leave it exposed for male admiration.
  • Sometimes with partially closed eyelids, the woman holds the man's gaze just long enough for him to notice, then she quickly looks away. This has the tantalizing feeling of peeping or being peeped at, and can light the fires of most normal men.
  • Women also use the sideways glance to show interest. This glance involves looking at the man through partially closed eyelids, but dropping the gaze a moment after it has been noticed.
  • Licking the lips, slightly pouting the mouth, or applying cosmetics to moisten or redden the lips all are indicators ofa courtship invitation. Unconsciously imitating the appearance of sexually stimulated and receptive female genitals.
  • Slight exposure of the shoulder from a partially fallen blouse is again an example of "flirting." Rae Dawn Cong said it best: "You can seduce a man without taking anything off...without even touching him." This revealed shoulder is one example. Also the "shoulder look": Looking at the man behind over a raised shoulder is typical self-mimicry: the shoulder resembles the breast and so is sexually inviting.
  • When women massage their necks or head with one hand, it has the effect of raising the breast on one side of the body intensifying cleavage. It also exposes the armpit, which, even when shaved, has an erotic significance.
  • A female interested in making a subtle courtship gesture might gradually expose the smooth, soft skin of her wrists. The wrist area has long been considered one of the highly erotic areas of the body. In this position, the palms of a woman are also made visible to the male. This is an unconscious invitation to caress.
  • Playing with any cylindrical object such as a pencil, pen, stem if wineglass or finger is a reflection of subconscious desires.
  • Sometimes women will even accentuate the roll in their hips when walking in front of a male they want to attract.
  • When a woman sits with one leg tucked under the other and points the folded leg toward the person whom she wants to attract, the message communicated is, "I feel very comfortable with you. I'd like to get to know you better."
  • Women tend to stand with their legs apart with weight on one foot, when displaying a sign of openness or availability. This draws attention to genital area. (Of course this may also be a feeling of superiority, aggressive or impatience as well, duh)
  • Slowly crossing or uncrossing the legs while being watched by an interested male is a strong attraction signal, especially when the female is slightly stroking her thigh.
  • Women entwine their legs to draw attention. Most men agree that the leg twine, (one leg is pressed firmly against the other to give the appearance of high muscle tone which the body displays when it is ready for sexual intercourse) is the most appealing sitting position a woman can take. (Of course also: nervousness, shyness, defensiveness, duh)
  • Once the legs are crossed, sometimes a woman begins to slightly kick her top leg back and forth. this kicking or thrusting, again, displays a courtship signal.
  • Dangling one shoe while seated in a relaxed position, with one leg crossed over the other knee, is one of the most intense courtship signals woman use to indicate interest in a male. Phallic mimicry, as the foot makes tiny thrusting movements with the dangling shoe.
  • Even when a woman keeps time to music with her head and hands, leans forward towards a male, or even brushes the male's body with her hand or breast, she is still conveying effective courtship gestures.


The palms of the hands face each other and the fingertips touch, forming a shape rather like a church steeple. This is a characteristic gesture that people make, usually while seated, when feeling especially confident during a conversation. There are several variants:

1. The high steeple

Both elbows rest on a table or desk and the forearms are raised,so that the steepling fingers point upwards (Academics, Doctors, Lawyers while delivering an 'expert' opinion).

2. The low steeple

Both elbows rest on the arms of a chair or the tops of the steepler's thighs, with the forearm pointing forwards and the fingertips steepling between the thighs or knees. Most women steeple this way: in their laps if seated, at waist level if standing.

3. The concentrated (poker player's) steeple

The hands steeple while hidden under a table, for instance. This tends to occur when an individual wants to hide his or her confident feelings. Poker players may betray that they have a good hand like this.

4. The semi-steeple

When sitting, the steepler places the arms in the low steepling position and the hands in the lap. The fingers of one hand clasp the back of the other, which is CLOSED, and forming a fist, its knuckles opressed into the upper hand's palm. This is a far ùmore subtle indication of confidence than the full steepling gestures.

Defensive hand and arm gestures

Crossing the arms in front of the body is an almost instinctive attempt to protect the heart and lungs against threat (Remember "the contrary position" as well: the 'hands behind the back' walkabout by teachers or police on foot patrol, holding the head high and both hands clasped behind the back has a precise meaning: this leaves the body vulnerable front area unprotected and signals a combination of superiority and self-assurance).

Basic crossed arms

Both arms are folded across the chest with one forearm crossing the other, so that one hand rests on an upper arm and the other arm is tucked between elbow and chest. We tend to do this whenever we feel slightly anxious, for instance standing in a crowded lift or in a queue.

7 Jan 2005 by RaftingCanadian 1.1K
Reply To: Archive

In-Camera Editing
Shooting to Edit
Just How Difficult is Editing?
Editing is Really Just Copying...
Manual Editing
Edit Controllers
Edit Control
Real-Time Counter
Time code
Generation Loss
Making Additional Tapes
Videotape Formats
Maximizing Quality
Color Correction, Video Processing, and Enhancement
Effects and More
Digital Video


Video production, once the province of the privileged few, is now in the hands of everyone. In the U.S. alone, there were more than 25 million camcorders at the end of 1995 and over 3 million more are sold yearly. There were approximately 67 million camcorders worldwide (EIA estimates).

With all those camcorders, one might expect to see a lot of fine home video productions. Yet, most camcorder tapes stay on the shelf, unwatched because their quality and pace are not what their owners would like.

But things are changing. With the advent of new, easy to use video editing, processing, and titling equipment, it's possible to transform home videos into polished productions that rival professional productions.

This application note describes the basics of video editing, with or without a special edit controller.

The Basics (What is Editing?)

The term "editing" is often used in two slightly different ways. Sometimes it refers to the process of selecting and re-recording just the good footage, eliminating the bad. Sometimes the term is used for the whole post-production process, including titling, effects, etc.

In-Camera Editing

It is possible to shoot a production so that what ends up on the original tape is your finished production. This is called "in-camera" editing. While this sounds like a straightforward way to achieve quality results, in practice it is extremely difficult because you must shoot in the production order and each time something goes wrong, you need to carefully position the tape at the end of the previous scene. In-camera editing interferes with the spontaneity of the events you are taping. Changes after the fact are out of the question and unless you are very, very careful, the final result will probably contain several goofs.

Shooting to Edit

A more effective way to shoot events is to "shoot to edit" by filming as events unfold. When you shoot to edit, you never back the tape up -- you simply reshoot the scene, until you are happy with it. You leave bad scenes and mistakes on the tape, to be removed later, in the editing step.

When you shoot to edit, follow these hints from the pros, to make editing easier later:

  • It's a good idea to take notes. When you edit, your notes will tell you which scenes are good, who the players are, etc.
  • Think of yourself as a story teller. The best videos have a beginning, middle, and end. Make sure you shoot the scenes you will need to tell the story. For instance, if you're traveling, shoot some road signs or wide shots to set the stage, so viewers know where you are.
  • Leave some room around each scene. Start recording before the action starts and continue recording for a few seconds after the scene is complete. When you edit, this extra room will make it a lot easier to get just the good footage without accidentally picking up footage from neighboring scenes.
  • Avoid the use of camera fades (fade to white or fade to black). If you will be editing the footage later, it's best to add fades as you edit instead of using camera fades, which cannot be removed or changed later.
  • Some camcorders permit you to add titles as you shoot. While this is handy, it is often better to skip the titles when shooting and add them while editing instead. Titles recorded while you shoot are there forever and can't be changed. Separate titlers usually deliver more fonts and sizes and titles of much higher quality than those built into camcorders.
  • It is also a good idea to turn off the automatic time and date feature since, like camera titles, they are on the scene forever.


Once all the raw footage is "in the can," you can convert the scenes into a polished, professional production. This step is called "editing," or "post-production," or simply, "post." While the shoot is the visible part of the job, professionals typically spend twice as long (or more) editing as they did shooting! On a professional set, you will often hear the phrase, "We'll fix it in post."

Just How Difficult is Editing?

Before the advent of modern electronic editing devices, editing was a job best left to professionals or highly motivated amateurs. But today, simple editing can be done by just about everyone and with a little patience, even beginners can learn to make fairly elaborate productions, complete with titles, graphics, fades, wipes, and special effects. The best editing equipment will work with anyone's camcorder and VCR, minimizing the amount of new equipment you'll need.

Editing is Really Just Copying...

Unlike film, it is impractical to edit videotape by cutting and splicing. Videotapes are edited by copying selected scenes from the original tape to a new, blank tape. Titles, graphics, and special effects can be added as the scenes are copied.

Editing can be done manually, which has the advantage of requiring no additional equipment beyond the camcorder and a VCR, or automatically, which offers better results and greater speed, precision, and convenience.

Manual Editing

It is possible to edit videotapes manually, without the benefit of any editing equipment. To do this, you would connect a playback VCR to a recording VCR, view the tape, write down the location of each scene of interest, and then copy each scene to a blank tape, one by one.

Commonly called "crash" editing, this method works reasonably well for simple productions and doesn't require the purchase of additional equipment. However, placing scenes accurately every time is difficult and requires great skill. If you miss, you may have to redo many scenes. Sometimes the transitions between scenes jump and contain "snow." Crash editing also lacks special effects, titles, and graphics unless you purchase additional gear.

To do crash editing, simply connect the output of the camcorder to the input of the VCR using the separate AUDIO and VIDEO jacks and matching cables. Connect VIDEO and AUDIO OUT on the camcorder to the VIDEO and AUDIO IN jacks on the VCR. You will need to set the VCR input switch so that the VCR is recording the signal presented on the IN jacks, rather than recording a TV channel. The VCR's manual may describe how to do that, probably in a section that discusses copying tapes.

Edit Controllers

Professionals also edit by copying select scenes from a player to a recorder, but with an additional wrinkle: They use an edit controller between the two machines. It controls the recording process so the scenes are neatly and crisply recorded on the final tape, in the correct order, without jumps or snow between scenes. It also facilitates revisions so that a simple change doesn't require that the entire production be re-made.

Edit controllers are now available to the home market and they are surprisingly inexpensive and amazingly sophisticated. They range in price from $200 to $1000, typically. Watch out for units that are called "editors" but really just fade the video while you control the decks -- a true editor controls the player, the recorder, or both.

To use an edit controller, you use it to play the original tape, moving the tape to find all the good scenes. You "mark" each scene by pressing a button at the scene's start point and another button at the scene's end. When you have marked all the good scenes, you put a blank tape in the recorder, start recording and pause the recorder. You press a button on the edit controller and it takes over. It finds and plays each scene on the original tape. When the scene arrives, it triggers the recorder to leave pause and begin recording. When the scene ends, it pauses the recorder and causes the player to find the next scene. This process continues until all the good scenes have been copied and the bad scenes have been left behind.

An edit controller will adapt to your equipment, making the necessary adjustments depending on the editing features you have. For instance, if you have a basic camcorder, you will be able to edit just one scene at a time. Advanced editing features, such as edit control and timecode (described below) make editing more automatic and faster, if the edit controller supports them.

Edit Control

Some camcorders have a feature called "edit control." This is a very useful feature for automatic editing. It allows the edit controller to control the camcorder (or play-VCR) and to determine the position of the tape (the tape counter number). That information flows between the controller and he camcorder via a wired connection. Two edit control methods are most common in consumer gear: Control-L, or LANC, is common in 8-mm and Hi8 camcorders and VCRs, especially those from Sony and Canon. Panasonic 5-pin edit control, also called Control-M, is used in a few high-end Panasonic VCRs and camcorders.

Control-S, provided on a few units, is a simpler control method and is not adequate for video editing.

Real-Time Counter

VCRs and camcorders display tape position using either hours:minutes:seconds (e.g. 1:13:45) or an arbitrary number (such as 3997). A display that shows the actual time is called a "real-time counter" display. Edit controllers that use an edit control connection often require that the play VCR or camcorder also have a real-time counter.


A few VCRs and camcorders are equipped with limited built-in editing capabilities based on "synchro-edit," a simple control wire used directly from the player to the recorder. Desired scenes are marked using the player. The player finds and plays those scenes, triggering the recorder to record them.

Synchro-edit is found on certain models and is generally not compatible between manufacturers -- the player and recorder must be designed to work together. Most synchro-edit systems are limited in the number of scenes they can hold and accuracy can be limited. The advantage of synchro-edit is that it is simple and, if your camcorder and VCR are equipped with the feature, requires no additional equipment.


Professional equipment is "frame-accurate," meaning that edits are accurate to the exact video frame (there are 30 frames per second). Pros can even cut single frames together. True frame accuracy and single frame editing are not practical on ANY home, or even semi-pro, system, regardless of what you may be told, because the cheapest VCR that can record a single frame or achieve absolute frame accuracy costs several thousand dollars.

But you can come pretty close to frame accuracy at home. The precision of a home system depends on the camcorder and VCR, as well as on the edit controller. With some equipment, consistent accuracy within 2-3 frames is quite achievable. Most equipment can easily be accurate to within a second or two and with care, you can likely see accuracy to within a few tenths of a second.

In general, you should design your productions with a somewhat more relaxed pace than you see on some of the lightning-quick music videos or commercials. Even if your equipment can do precision edits, keep in mind that they take a lot more care and a lot more time.

Time code

Broadcasters know that whatever they shoot will be edited. With this advance knowledge, they use recorders that write a special, invisible "time code" on the tape. It digitally numbers every video frame. Although you can't see timecode, the editing equipment in the studio can and the editing staff uses it to accurately pinpoint the start and end of each scene, and to specify the order the scenes will have in the final production.

Until recently, manufacturers of amateur video equipment felt there was no need to put this capability in their equipment. Top-end camcorders are now beginning to feature timecode and the better edit controllers can use it to make productions extremely accurate. Most popular are Sony's RC timecode and SMPTE-VITC. Timecode is much more common in European and Japanese models, apparently because the manufacturers feel foreign video consumers are more sophisticated.

Generation Loss

The post-production step involves re-recording the original tape. Sometimes, you may want to further modify the resulting tape, recording it once more. A "second-generation" tape is a copy of the original. "Third-generation" is a copy of a second-generation tape.

Each time you copy a tape, some quality is lost. Enhancers can, in some cases, reduce the loss slightly, but it is best to keep copying to a minimum. Second-generation tapes using good home equipment is quite acceptable but third-generation is marginal. The best editing equipment produces second-generation results.

Making Additional Tapes

Once you have made the perfect final production, you may want to make another for someone else. The obvious way to do this is to copy the final production but the resulting copy will be of poorer quality than the original because it will be at best a copy of a copy.

Automatic edit controllers offer an advantage: After the final production is complete, the automatic assembly process can be immediately repeated, with just the press of a button. The second tape is exactly the same as the first, meaning that the tape you send to Grandma is just as good as the one you keep for yourself.

Special hint for pros: Always give your customer two copies of the final production. Tell the customer that they can keep the second one for a nominal fee (say half or a third of what the first one cost) and if they decide not to, they can simply return it to you. The customer will invariably decide to give the second copy to someone or find another use for it, and you have increased your sale. This is an age-old technique from professional photographers, who routinely would have an extra "test print" they would offer to the customer.

If you need to make more than a few copies, have the tapes mass copied by a professional duplication house. Their equipment is considerably better than anything you can buy at home and will deliver better copies. If quality is of paramount importance to you, professional duplication is worth considering even if you need only one or a few copies.

Videotape Formats

All tape formats can be edited and it is possible to edit between formats. You can even mix formats. For example, you could combine scenes from a VHS-C tape with scenes from a Hi8 tape, all edited to a new VHS tape.

Maximizing Quality

Here are some hints for getting the best possible video quality.

  • Minimize the number of generations, as described previously.
  • Use higher speeds anytime you record (SP in VHS, S-VHS, 8-mm, and Hi8 VCRs and camcorders). This is as important when you record the original as it is when you make the edited copy.
  • Use high-resolution recording formats (Hi8 and Super VHS, as opposed to 8-mm and VHS) whenever possible.
  • Take tremendous care while shooting. Most important is lots of light. Camcorders are widely promoted based on their low-light capabilities but recognize that video quality suffers markedly as the light level falls. Camera settings, such as white balance and exposure controls, are also very important. Although a video processor or color corrector can solve some problems during editing, high quality original tapes are always the fastest and most reliable way to achieve excellent results.
  • Use the best possible camcorder. More money really does buy a better image. The best consumer camcorders ($1000-2000) are very good and are considerably better than average home units. Professional, industrial, and semi-professional units are much better still, as you might expect from their price tags ($5000 and up -- way up). The new digital video cassette camcorders (DVC) are a quantum leap in quality.
  • Use a good quality recorder. The most important feature on the recorder is "flying-erase heads." Flying-erase heads allow clean transitions between scenes, free of snow, picture jitters, and other distracting image disruptions.

Color Correction, Video Processing, and Enhancement

It is possible to electronically alter the video signal as you record it on the new tape using color correctors and video processors. These tools can rescue marginal tapes or they can be used to add wild and crazy effects to the video.

A color corrector alters the overall color of the video. It can boost the color in washed-our video, reduce overly bright colors, and repair incorrect white balance. It can also change the the mood of a scene and can create special effects. The best color correctors have separate controls for each of the three primary television colors (red, green, and blue). They should also offer full range controls for dramatic effects. For example, you could remove all the color from the picture and add a sepia (brownish) tint to make the scene look like an old fashioned photo; or shift everything to blue and darken to simulate night time.

A video processor can brighten or darken the video and change its contrast.

A good enhancer will do two things: increase sharpness or reduce the grainy look created by video noise. Enhancers will generally do little to improve video that's already very good and they can't do much for really poor quality video. But they can improve video that's somewhere in the middle, such as copies of videotapes.

Effects and More

You can add a stunning array of video effects as you edit, ranging from simple colorization, to selective colorizing, posterization, mosaic, and more. Video mixers ($1200 and up) can combine the video from two sources (two VCRs, for instance) so you can dissolve or wipe from one picture to another, inset one picture in another, etc. High-end effects units can do much of what you see on television.

Digital Video

Look for digital video technology in the better units. These units translate the video signal into digital numbers. Computer-type circuits make the magic happen and the result is translated back into video so that it can be recorded. Digital units can offer better quality and more features for the price, combined with greater reliability. They also don't change performance over temperature and time.


Manufacturers of editing equipment include Videonics, Sony, JVC, Panasonic, Future Video, Sima, Ambico, Canon, and Radio Shack.

Video editing is regularly covered in magazines such as Camcorder, Videomaker, and Video.

7 Jan 2005 by RaftingCanadian 1.1K
Reply To: Archive

Before a job interview, do you peruse magazines or review prepared notes? When the meeting begins, do you wait to be told where to sit or choose your own chair? And do you give passionately expressive or carefully controlled responses?

In each of these instances, your body language speaks volumes about how you'd perform at a company. In fact, some experts say nonverbal cues are more important than verbal ones. According to these studies, body language comprises 55% of the force of any response, whereas the verbal content only provides 7%, and "paralanguage," or the intonation, pauses and sighs given when answering, represents 38% of the emphasis.

Jo-Ann Vega, president of JV Career and Human Resources Consulting Services in Nyack, N.Y., says body language is so important that it frequently torpedoes what we say.

"Our nonverbal messages often contradict what we say in words," says Ms. Vega. "When we send mixed messages or our verbal messages don't jibe with our body statements, our credibility can crumble because most smart interviewers believe the nonverbal."

Laid-off managers are a case in point. They're often so traumatized by their terminations that they appear downcast, even when discussing their strengths, says Ms. Vega. Difficult questions can throw them off balance, and their anxiety may cause them to fidget or become overly rigid, she says.

Since nonverbal communication is more eloquent, honest and accurate than verbal communication, such actions reveal your inner confidence. While words can deceive -- many people don't mean what they say or say what they mean -- body language is subconscious. Since it's more spontaneous and less controlled, it shows our true feelings and attitudes.

Still, most people discount the importance of nonverbal communication because their education and training placed more emphasis on spoken words. To become more adept at interpreting and using body language, heighten your awareness of nonverbal signals and learn to trust your "gut" instinct. Then, when interviewing, use the following tips to accentuate body language that stresses professionalism and performance.

The First Moments

Realize that you're being judged as soon as you arrive at the company. Set the right tone by being early, then use the extra time to compose yourself. When waiting for interviewers, don't open your briefcase to review notes you've prepared. Instead, glance through available magazines or literature in the waiting area.

This creates the impression that you're relaxed before stressful events, and helps you project confidence during the critical early moments of the interview.

If a receptionist or secretary indicates that the interviewer is ready to see you, enter his or her office as though you belonged. Knocking on the door, or opening it and peeking in, shows hesitation, which may be interpreted as a lack of confidence.

Greet your interviewer with a firm, sincere handshake. More than a few candidates have betrayed their nervousness by extending limp, clammy palms, and shaking hands weakly.

Don't start talking immediately, fumble with your briefcase or dive into a chair. If you aren't invited to sit, choose a chair across from or aside the interviewer's desk. Avoid soft lounge chairs or couches, which can prevent you from rising easily. And don't ask if and where you should sit.

If your interviewer receives a phone call during the meeting, select and review material from your briefcase to give him or her a sense of privacy. Don't show annoyance about the interruption or offer to leave the office. Many interviewers purposely take calls to determine if you'll react adversely to office disruptions.

How Close Can You Get?

Like anyone else, interviewers become uncomfortable if their personal space, or preferred distance from others, is invaded. Extraverted interviewers prefer a "social zone" of between 18 and 48 inches from their bodies, while introverts need more space.

Try to gauge interviewers' preferred distance by their seating arrangements. Move closer only if they seem skeptical about what you're saying. Other attempts to seem "friendly" by moving closer are likely to be threatening. For instance, some interviewers deliberately "interrogate" applicants by sitting or standing closer than they prefer.

When emphasizing key points, project sincerity and confidence by leaning forward, maintaining eye contact and using expressive gestures. Leaning back and looking down may be interpreted as a lack of confidence.

How Do You Speak?

How you say something often is more meaningful than what you say. Use a natural tone and don't deviate from your normal speaking rate, volume, rhythm, pitch, breathiness or resonance. Secure applicants have relaxed, warm and well-modulated voices that match their feelings, allowing them to appropriately express excitement, enthusiasm and interest during conversations.

Conversely, insecure candidates can't control their voice pitch and volume. They have weak, soft, hesitant or tremulous voices, and clear their throats, use "uhs" and "ums" or other nervous mannerisms excessively. Others mask their insecurity by speaking in complex, involved sentences.

Maintain Eye Contact

Candidates with secure self-esteem alter their facial expressions to match their message, rather than perpetually wearing the same one. They smile when saying something friendly, and maintain good eye contact, which signifies openness and honesty.

Less-assured candidates don't maintain eye contact, act shy or ashamed or smile at inappropriate times. They may appear downcast or pleading, or drop their eyes and heads, giving them an untrustworthy appearance.

Be cognizant of interviewers' expressions as well. If they don't maintain eye contact, it may mean they're anxious, irritated, disinterested or that they want the conversation to end. An interviewer who looks up may be uncomfortable, trying to remember something or doesn't believe your answer.

Don't overdo eye contact with interviewers, however. A gaze that lasts longer than seven to 10 seconds can cause discomfort or anxiety. Also, don't stare at interviewers during long silences, since it only increases the tension.

Posture and Gestures

Even if you're motionless, your posture communicates a message. Managers who put their feet up on desks and their hands behind their heads are saying that they feel confident, dominant or superior, a soldier standing at attention is showing deference to authority and a subordinate who stands rigidly with hands on hips signals defiance or dislike.

Confident applicants have relaxed, balanced postures. They hold their bodies upright, walk freely with their arms swinging and take determined strides. Less-assured candidates, on the other hand, have rigid or stooped postures, drag or shuffle their feet when walking and take short, choppy strides.

Strive for posture that's as free and natural as your speaking style, but don't be too controlled or rehearsed, says Ms. Vega, who advises applicants to "let some of the passion out." When your movements are in sync with your words, you'll seem confident, expressive and controlled.

Reading Interviewers

Hiring managers also use gestures to convey specific messages. Nodding signifies approval and encourages applicants to continue talking, while leaning forward shows they're interested. Folded arms, crossed legs, picking imaginary lint from clothing or running their fingers along their noses are signs that an interviewer disagrees with you. Thumb twiddling, finger drumming and other fidgeting mannerisms mean the interviewer isn't paying attention.

Guard against using similar gestures or betraying your nervousness by clenching or wringing your hands. Other actions that convey stress include holding your legs or arms tensely, perching on the edge of a chair or playing with a watch or ring.

One caveat: Don't imagine a hidden meaning in every gesture. For example, if an interviewer rubs her nose while you're speaking, she may just have an itchy nose. Try to gauge the situation when seeking the meaning to a mannerism. Most experts look for clues in groups of gestures, not random ones.

Nevertheless, communicating the right nonverbal signals can help you convey an enthusiastic, positive and confident attitude during job interviews. And learning to read interviewers' cues can improve your prospects as well.

7 Jan 2005 by RaftingCanadian 1.1K
Reply To: Archive

Murphy's Law.If anything can go wrong, it will. There are hundreds of corollaries to this law, all pointing out that too often we do not "expect the unexpected." Murphy's law is a sobering reminder for us to control our assumptions about how every part of our plan, solution, or idea will work out. Named (possibly but uncertainly) after Ed Murphy, 1949. Corollaries of note include nothing is ever as simple as it seems, and everything takes longer than you expect.

The Hawthorne Effect. The attention paid to people when a problem solver offers them a solution or benefit can have a greater positive effect than the solution itself. The psychological happiness produced by the fact that the solver "cares about" the person with a problem can produce increased motivation, production, health, and so on. Therefore, the solution itself may not be the cause (or the entire cause) of the positive results. (Compare the Placebo Effect.)

The Placebo Effect. A placebo is a harmless pill (usually made of sugar or starch). During the testing of new medicines, one group of people is given the medicine under test, while the other group is given a placebo, so that no one knows who is getting the real medicine and who is getting essentially nothing. The first amazing fact in the placebo effect is that sixty percent of those taking the placebos report feeling better. The second amazing fact is that this holds true even when the people are told they are taking a dummy pill.

Occam's Razor. Entities ought not to be multiplied except from necessity. The explanation requiring the fewest assumptions or presenting the lowest level of complexity is most likely to be the correct one. In other words, when two or more explanations satisfy all the requirements for a satisfactory explanation of the same set of phenomena, the simpler explanation is the right one. This "law" was proposed by William of Occam (also spelled Ockham), a fourteenth-century English philosopher. It isn't always correct, but it's a useful idea.

The Peter Principle. In every hierarchy, whether it be government or business, each employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence; every post tends to be filled by an employee incompetent to execute his duties. The idea is that when people perform a job well, they will be promoted out of that job and up to a more complex or difficult one. Eventually, they rise to a job of such complexity or demand that they can no longer do a great, or even competent, job, so they are no longer promoted. They stay at the level where they are no longer competent. This "law" was partly intended to be tongue-in-cheek, but there is a distressing amount of truth to it. (A corollary is that work is accomplished by those who have not yet reached their level of incompetence.

Parkinson's Law. Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion. If a project is given six months for completion, it will require six months to finish. If the same project is given two years for completion, it will require two years to finish. Two factors are responsible for this phenomenon. First, when a deadline appears to be far off, people work more slowly and put tasks for that project farther down their priority lists. Second, when a large amount of time is available, people will do more inessential things on a project than when less time is available. Most projects are so defined that many non-required tasks could be performed or not performed, depending on the available time.

In any project, activity increases exponentially as the deadline nears, because human beings have a tendency to procrastinate and do most of the work near the deadline. The solution to this problem is to set multiple deadlines for segments or parts of a given project, to assure that the project advances in a sane and timely way. Deadlines are very valuable for producing results. Any project assigned without a deadline is likely never to be completed.

Parkinson's Second Law is that expenditure rises to meet income, and Parkinson's New Law is that the printed word expands to fill the space available for it. The same might be said for television news, management levels, and a whole host of other entities. Named after professor C. Northcote Parkinson of the University of Malaya, 1955.

The Pareto Principle. This is also known as the 20/80 rule or the rule of the vital few and trivial many. The principle is that the vital few are responsible for the majority of effect or importance: 20% of the company's salesmen are responsible for 80% of sales; 20% of a company's customers provide 80% of the product volume; only 20% of the problems on a long problem list are responsible for 80% of the difficulty; and so on. The percentages are not intended to be real--ina given case, 13% of the employees may make 87% of the phone calls, etc. The idea is to realize that a small core--of people, problems, ideas, products, events--are responsible for the majority of effect or importance. If you know, for example, that 20% of a grocery store's product items provide 80% of the store's sales or profits, you might want to set up a mini-market that carries just that 20% inventory.

Remember that the Pareto Principle works in reverse, too. If 20% of what you do accounts for 80% of the impact your work will have on civilization, then 80% of what you do accounts for only 20% of the impact. This principle was named after its enunciator, Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto (1848-1923).

The Rule of Redundant Systems. Every critical system should have a redundant backup system. When failure of a system would cause serious harm, there should be available some substitute means of performing that system's functions. In airliners, for example, there are sometimes triple redundancy control systems: three separate systems operate the control surfaces of the aircraft. A new high-speed train will have three braking systems: one electric, one hydraulic, and one compressed air. In business, a redundant accounting system might be employed, such as computer and paper, disk mirroring (where data is written to two different storage devices) and so on. In a family situation, redundant communications channels may exist: regular family talks, refrigerator notes, special retreat time, after dinner problem solving. Another area where redundant communication channels is desirable is in business. If the company newsletter fails, there is a staff meeting also. If the memo is forgotten, there is a phone call as well. The Rule of Redundant Systems is not intended to excuse sloppy or defective systems by using the excuse that there is always a backup; rather, the redundant system is there in case the primary excellent system should fail.

The Zeigarnik Effect. This is the desire to complete one task before beginning another. There is a pronounced psychological need in most of us for completion: we do not like to drop one project in midstream and begin another. This effect explains why some people especially resist interruptions, why some people work after hours to finish a task before going home, and why some people have difficulty simultaneously handling multiple, protracted projects. This completion need can be handled by structuring tasks around natural interruptions like breaks, lunch, quitting time, and so forth, and by training yourself to view interruptions or task-switching as acceptable and normal.

The Contrast Principle. In the perception of two items or events, one right after the other, if the second item or event is quite different from the first, we will tend to see the second as much different than it really is. If we talk to a nice person after talking to a nasty person, the nice person will seem even nicer. Similarly, researchers discovered that after looking at photographs of beautiful people, test subjects rated their spouses as less attractive than before looking at the photos. After reviewing a failure or bad suggestion, a success or good suggestion will appear to be much better than it really is.

The Contrast Principle can have a profound effect in problem solving and decision making because the idea or decision that arrives right after a bad idea or decision will tend to be overrated.

Cognitive Dissonance. This is an uncomfortable psychological state or feeling occurring when someone experiences two incompatible beliefs or thoughts. In such a case, there is a powerful tendency to resolve the conflict by rationalizing or altering one's view of one or both of the beliefs. A striking example would be the shock you would feel upon learning that someone you love dearly has just murdered someone. The dissonance set up by such a situation would have a tendency to be resolved: The murdered person must have deserved it; or I'm sure it was an accident; or I never really loved my beloved anyway. Note that the tendency is to change things so that the beliefs are compatible.

Hearing about crime often causes people dissonance--between their belief in justice and morality and the events that occur. When a woman is raped, dissonance is set up because such things should not happen. Therefore, the woman must have done something to "deserve" it: she should not have dressed that way; what was she doing in that part of town at that time of night?; why did she have her window open, anyway? and so on.

Note this kind of thinking: my idea was rejected; but it was a good idea; good ideas are not rejected by honest people; therefore the boss is crooked, paid off, or playing favorites, etc.

The Principle of Perceptual Consistency. We tend to pigeon-hole people, things, and circumstances into simple, generalized entities. Once we have done that, we tend to perceive new information about those things as supporting our generalizations. We also tend to generalize from our impressions about one trait or circumstance of a person or situation. For example, good looking people are usually judged by others to be more intelligent and capable than they really are while unattractive people are judged to be less intelligent and capable than they really are, simply because of this generalized transference. And once a person has been tagged as intelligent or unintelligent, subsequent events surrounding that person will tend to be perceived as reinforcing that generalization. If, for example, Person A has been judged to be an excellent problem solver, idea X will be judged excellent if he enunciates it. But if Person B, who has been judged a poor problem solver, enunciates idea X, the idea will be judged as poor.

If several people are watching a game on television and one person says, "Look what a klutz Williams is," everyone will begin to interpret many of Williams' actions as klutzy. If, on the other hand, the person had said, "Look how efficiently Williams moves," everyone watching will begin to interpret many of Williams' moves in a positive way.

The net effect of this principle is that much time and evidence will be required for us to change our view of a person or situation. Before the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, much evidence was discovered that a surprise attack was imminent but top military leaders refused to credit it because they already "knew" that no such attack was coming.

This perceptual consistency principle explains why people wearing ties appear to be more important and intelligent than those without them. Similarly, women wearing glasses are viewed as being more intelligent than those wearing (invisible) contact lenses.

The Turnpike Effect. The availability and unforeseen utility of a resource leads to greater use than was predicted. In the past, builders of highways projected use of the new roads based on historical flow over existing roads. But every highway that was built was very soon used much more than predicted. When people discovered the existence of the highway and the ease of travel that was now possible, they used it much more than they did the old roads to the same places. Similarly, when any new resource is made available, whether computer terminals in the library, free meals on skid row, a new airport, piles of scratch paper near a phone, a company ombudsman or other resource person, a telephone answering machine, all of these resources will most likely be used more than would be predicted by researchers doing surveys about the need or desirability for such a resource.

Thus, the statement, "We don't get many calls for such an item [or service]," doesn't necessarily mean that the item or service wouldn't be used if it were available. We see something and we want it or use it. You may want to take the turnpike effect into account when you plan for the usage of some service or resource you are developing. One rule of thumb is to add at least 15% to your predicted demand.

The turnpike effect explains why there is such an aggressive struggle to get consumer goods on store shelves. Manufacturers are willing to pay individual stores thousands of dollars for shelf space to get their products in front of the consumers' noses. Similarly, the books that are in the stores get read more than the ones that have to be special ordered. Perhaps a brief way to express the turnpike effect is to say that availability shapes demand.

The Reason Why Factor

Or "I'll do almost anything if there's a reason..."

A study done at Harvard University demonstrated that when we ask someone to do a favor for us, we'll do much better when we have a reason. This is self-evident.

However, what the study proved was that the actual reason itself wasn't important.

Here's the experiment. The researcher went to the front of a line at a Xerox machine and said, "Excuse me, I have five pages. May I cut in front?" 60% of the people were gracious enough to allow it.

The message was then modified to, "Excuse me, I have five pages. May I cut in front because I'm in a rush?" Now 94% of the people studied allowed it. A huge lift but there was a good reason, right?

The experiment could have ended there, but they took it one step further. Now the researcher said "Excuse me, I have five pages. May I cut in front because I have to make some copies?"

93% still allowed it -- even though no real reason was given.

The study concluded that the trigger feature was the word "because" and that once people heard it, the vast majority simply nodded their heads and allowed the person to cut in without even thinking about the words that followed.

So what are some of the trigger features in direct marketing?

To start with, there are trigger words. As you might image, free" and "new" are two of the most important ones. But remember that people tend to look at things before they read them (actually, that's when they decide if they'll read them.) So the words shouldn't be buried in copy, but rather jump off the page.

The word "because" may be a trigger in direct mail as well. Too many direct mail packages drone on about features and benefits, without ever proving them. However, if you can cite a feature and a benefit and then support it -- chances are, it will be much more believable. And that may improve your response.

There are also visual trigger features, such as star-bursts, underlined words and other techniques that draw the eye. The presence of a coupon is also one, when it comes to advertising. Research has determined that advertising with coupons get 13% higher readership than advertising without coupons -- regardless of what the coupon says.

I think it's because the coupon alerts the reader that "there's something here for me" or even "it's not just an ad -- they're offering to send me something!" that is responsible for this lift. So if your advertising does not include a prominent coupon, maybe it would be wise to put one in.

The Perceptual Contrast Principle

Or, "Why Bait and Switch usually doesn't work."

There's an old joke where a man approaches another one on the street and invites him to buy an elephant for $500.

"Are you crazy? What would I do with an elephant?" the second man protests. "Where would I keep it? I live in a small flat..."

"All right, all right..." says the first man, "How about two elephants for $500?"

The second man says, "Now you're talking..."

You may smile because everyone wants a bargain, or everyone wants to feel special, but there is another important principle at work here, and that's Perceptual Contrast.

What that means is that we perceive things differently when they are presented one after another.

In direct marketing, one of the ways it is used effectively is by up selling. One of my clients produces a catalogue of office forms, business cards and other paper products. When someone calls in an order, the telemarketer is instructed to tell them the difference between their order and the next size up.

For example, you call in to order 1000 business cards. The telemarketer says, "Okay, that will be $79. By the way, did you know you can get another 1000 cards for only $29? Would you like to increase your order?"

They are successful in up selling more than half of all customers -- who would balk at the new total price ($108) but bite at the small increment of $29 over the larger first price of $79.

Another way it might work is in fund-raising. By asking for a larger donation first, you might be more successful in getting people to make a smaller donation. And good news -- the smaller donation could be the one you would have asked for in the first place.

The Perceptual contrast principle flies in the face of the typical sales "Bait and Switch" technique. This involves getting people into a store or car dealership by featuring an incredibly low price, and then selling them something more expensive.

Tests in the States have proven that the opposite works much better. By first showing someone a very expensive item (say a $500 sweater) it becomes much easier to sell them a more reasonably priced one.

The Obligation Factor

Or "We have to send them a gift...they sent us one"

What do you think is the strongest motivation for sending out Christmas and holiday cards?

Yes, it's out of the goodness of your heart. And, of course, you want to share your warm wishes with your family and friends. I would never suggest any other reason.

But what about those people you never see anymore? Or even those who you don't really think of as friends or colleagues? And how about those people who -- you have to admit -- you don't even know why their names are on your list?

Psychologists did a study a few years ago where a researcher sent out cards to absolute strangers, picked at random from the telephone book. The response was amazing -- dozens of people sent back cards, even though they had never heard of the person.

When someone does something for you -- you are almost compelled to do something for them.

This, of course, is a noble trait, and much of civilization has been built on this principle. But, as direct marketers, how can we use this to our advantage?

Fund-raising companies already know the power of this principle. That's why, in the States, they will often include a small gift in their solicitation package. It could be name and address labels, it could be a small selection of greeting cards -- anything to make you feel obligated to return the favor.

Other companies send out samples of their product, such as a pen imprinted with your name on it, or a small address book. This works for two reasons: First, it is a gift and it does make you feel obligated in some small way. Second, it is very, very hard to reject something with your name on it.

The obligation principle is also effective when it is used to provide a free trial of a product. Once you've used something, and benefited from it, you are much more likely to buy it.

So, if you can do someone a favor -- even a small one -- they will be much more likely to respond to your direct mail package.

The Consistency Factor

Or "What kind of person do you think I am?"

Dean Rieck cited a California study in the March issue of Direct Marketing magazine. They asked people to put a large billboard-type sign on their front lawn that said, "Drive Carefully." Only 17% agreed to it -- which shouldn't surprise you.

They then went to a second group of similar homeowners and made the same request -- and a whopping 76% agreed to it.

What made the difference?

The second group had already been approached two weeks earlier by other researchers, who had asked them to place a tiny 3-inch sign saying "Be a Safe driver" in their windows. Almost everyone agreed to this reasonable request.

But when they did, something changed inside them. The second group now saw themselves as "concerned citizens" and "people who care enough about driver safety to take a stand." Also, they believed that's how other people saw them.

So, when they were approached again, over three-quarters of them agreed to something unreasonable just to be and appear consistent.

How this might work in direct marketing is by using an assumptive close. In other words, you might not ask people to respond, you might say something like this.

"You've proven to be an excellent judge of collectible art in the past. Your purchase of our last item has already shown to be a wise investment. That is why I know that you will want to reserve this new..."

This principle can be used even more powerfully in telemarketing.

Many companies have discovered that they can increase response when they start off the call by asking "How are you feeling this evening?" or "How are you doing today?"

They usually get a polite, friendly answer -- and dramatically improve their response.

The theory behind this tactic is that people who have just said that they are doing fine will consequently find it awkward -- and inconsistent -- to be rude (and hang up on the caller) or stingy (and refuse to help).

But then, they went further. They conducted a study where the telemarketer didn't start with a question, but rather a warm and friendly comment. So instead of asking, "How are you this evening?" the telemarketer said, "I hope you are feeling well this evening."

It was less than half as successful.

By the way, I think it was not only the consistency factor, but also the principle of involving the person.

The Authority Figure

Or "I'm not sure, but they must know what they're talking about..."

You may remember this famous TV commercial.

It opened on a well-known personality, who confided, "I'm not a doctor, but I play one on TV." He then went on to extol the virtues of an over-the-counter headache pill.

The campaign was extremely successful. After all, who wouldn't want a headache pill recommended by...um, an actor?

We're all looking for authority figures who can tell us what to do. In particular, we want authority figures who are on our side, who can take us "into the tent" and share some insider secrets with us.

The way we can use this principle in direct marketing is by providing those authority figures for our prospects. These can be testimonials, client lists, awards or certifications, or even case-histories.

There's also another way. My colleague, Nancy Harhut, who is an extremely talented creative director for the Mullin agency, once said, "General advertising always uses celebrity presenters. Why can't direct marketers have somebody famous sign the letter?"

Wouldn't you like to get a letter from Tiger Woods?

The Scarcity Principle

Or, "The last one? I don't care what it is... I've got to have it!"

The Collectibles companies have known about this principle for years. They intentionally limit the number of plates or statues they sell, because they know it will increase response.

But the principle can apply to just about any product or service. I tested a package for a new client several years ago, where we tried to get people to attend a high-level seminar. Our goal was to get as many people as possible (the goal of most seminars). We averaged about 12 people, and the client was satisfied.

But I wasn't.

I created a very similar package with one change. We limited the number of participants to 18 -- "to ensure personal attention" and we encouraged people to reserve their place as soon as possible. Our new average number of attendees was 18, and we even had a waiting list.

The Special Consideration

"Make me feel special, and I'll follow you anywhere."

One of my clients is Brink's Home Security. They wanted to sell a deluxe system to people who lived in more expensive house.

The outer envelope I designed for them said, "This mailing will go to only 1 out of every 5,000 homes. Here's why yours is one of them..."

If you can make your prospects feel special; if you can make them believe that they're getting some extra consideration; they will respond at much higher rates.

And if you can make your customers feel special, you will never have to worry about prospects.

So do you have to be a psychiatrist to create effective direct mail? Maybe not, but a good understanding of what motivates people and how to use it to your advantage, will certainly increase response.

Besides, our time is up.

Parts reprinted with permission from http://www.virtualsalt.com/crebok3a.htm and http://www.alanrosenspan.com

7 Jan 2005 by RaftingCanadian 1.1K
Reply To: Archive

Being able to read "nonverbal communication"-body language-is essential in business dealings. Problem is, we usually interpret a smile or lack of eye contact through an emotional screen, not a scientific one. Sometimes a smile is a sign of happiness-and sometimes it's a flash of contempt. Here is what modern communications science has to say about the myths of body language.

Most people call it "body language"-the clues to the meaning and intent of communication from others that we get from gesture, facial expression, posture-everything that isn't spoken. The experts call it "nonverbal communication," but it amounts to the same thing: a second source of human communication that is often more reliable or essential to understanding what is really going on than the words themselves.

Or is it? Accurate knowledge of body language is essential for success in interpersonal relations, whether in the business world or in personal life. However, much of our understanding is instinctive-and a good deal of it is wrong, according to modern communications research. What follows are some of the hardier myths, and the reality behind them.

1. A liar can't look you straight in the eye. There is a persistent belief that people with shifty eyes are probably lying. As Paul Ekman says in his classic work, Telling Lies: Clues to Deceit in the Marketplace, Politics, and Marriage, "When we asked people how they would tell if someone were lying, squirming and shifty eyes were the winners. [But] clues that everyone knows about, that involve behavior that can be readily inhibited, won't be very reliable if the stakes are high and the liar does not want to be caught."

Ekman goes on to argue against attributing too much meaning to such behavior for two reasons. First of all, although this kind of nonverbal communication most reliably signals the presence of some kind of emotion, that emotion may or may not mean that someone is lying. Nervousness can, for example, manifest itself as shifty eyes. But there are many reasons for nervousness. To understand what the behavior means, you still have to interpret the emotion.

Second, Ekman has found that one group in particular excels at making eye contact that appears very sincere: pathological liars. Hence, it is not safe to rely on eye contact as a measure of sincerity or truthfulness.

2. When meeting someone, the more eye contact, the better. This long-held belief is the inverse of the idea that shifty-eyed people are liars. The result is an unfortunate tendency for people making initial contact-as in a job interview, for example-to stare fixedly at the other human. This behavior is just as likely to make the interviewer uncomfortable as not. Most of us are comfortable with eye contact lasting a few seconds, but any eye contact that persists longer than that can make us nervous. We assume that there is something else going on-an attempt to initiate flirtatious behavior, perhaps. Indeed, studies on flirting show that prolonged eye contact is an early step in the process.

3. Putting your hands behind your back is a power gesture. For years presentation coaches have taught people to put their hands behind their backs in what is sometimes called the "Prince Charles" stance, in the mistaken belief that the heir to the British throne is a good model for strong body language. Since he's a prince, the thinking goes, and he stands that way a lot, it must be powerful.

Actually, the research shows that most people find the gesture untrustworthy-if we can't see what your hands are doing, we're suspicious. So if your goal is to increase trust in any given situation, don't put your hands behind your back.

4. "Steepling" your fingers shows that you're intellectual. Again, this technique is one that has been taught by many speech coaches. A good deal of research over the years correlates hand gestures toward the lower part of the face with thinking-stroking the chin, propping the chin in the hand, putting a finger on the cheek. If thinking is a sign of intellectualism, we should presumably be demonstrating this trait by indulging in a lot of hand-to-face contact.

The experts distinguish between "emblems," which are gestures with specific meanings in certain cultures, and gestures, which are intended to assist meaning but lack specific content. An example of an emblem is the hand sign that indicates "OK" in the United States. The same emblem has an obscene meaning in some Mediterranean countries.

An example of a gesture is the waving of hands we all indulge in when searching for a word. Steepling falls somewhere in between; it is a gesture without any specific meaning, but it is more deliberate than a mere waving of the hands. The best that can be said about it is that it may signal intellectual pretensions on the part of the communicator!

5. High-status people demonstrate their dominance of others by touching them. Another widely accepted belief is that powerful people in society-often men-show their dominance over others by touching them in a variety of ways. In fact, the research shows that in almost all cases, lower-status people initiate touch. And women initiate touch more often than men do.

In his book The Right Touch: Understanding and Using the Language of Physical Contact, Stanley E. Jones describes a study of a public health organization: "The group studied was a detoxification clinic, a place where alcoholism is treated. This was an ideal setting in which to study status, sex roles, and touching.… [The] findings showed two clear trends. First, women on the average initiated more touches to men than vice versa. Second, touching tended to flow upwards, not downwards, in the hierarchy."

6. People smile when they're happy. People smile for all sorts of reasons, only one of which is to signal happiness. Ekman describes many kinds of smiles, from the "felt" or true smile to the fear smile, the contempt smile, the dampened smile, the miserable smile, and a number of others. Daniel McNeill, author of The Face: A Natural History, says, "Smiling is innate and appears in infants almost from birth....The first smiles appear two to twelve hours after birth and seem void of content. Infants simply issue them, and they help parents bond. We respond; they don't know what they're doing. The second phase of smiling begins sometime between the fifth week and fourth month. It is the "social smile," in which the infant smiles while fixing its gaze on a person's face."

Whatever their origin or motivation, smiles have a powerful effect on us humans. As McNeill points out, "Though courtroom judges are equally likely to find smilers and nonsmilers guilty, they give smilers lighter penalties, a phenomenon called the 'smile-leniency effect.'"

7. Voices rise when speakers are angry. Again, nonverbal communication reliably signals the presence of emotion, but not the specific emotion. A rising voice is associated with a variety of emotions, including anger, but also nervousness, fear, excitement, hysteria, and others. You must always consider the communicator and the context carefully. Experts like Ekman warn that unless you have a good understanding of someone's basic communication patterns, you will have little hope in accurately deciphering the person's less routine signals.

"The best-documented vocal sign of emotion is pitch," says Ekman. And yet he also says, "While most of us believe that the sound of the voice tells us what emotion a person feels, scientists studying the voice are still not certain."

8. You can't trust a fast-talking salesman. The belief that speed and deception go together is a widespread and enduring one. From the rapid patter of Professor Hill in The Music Man to the absurdly fast speech of the FedEx guy in the TV commercial from a few years back, we react strongly-and suspiciously-to fast talk. People talk at an average rate of 125 to 225 words per minute; at the upper end of that range listeners typically find themselves beginning to resist the speaker. However, as Ekman says, the opposite is greater cause for suspicion. Speech that is slow, because it is laced with pauses, is a more reliable indicator of deception than the opposite.

"The most common vocal deception clues are pauses," says Ekman. "The pauses may be too long or too frequent. Hesitating at the start of a speaking turn, particularly if the hesitation occurs when someone is responding to a question, may arouse suspicion. So may shorter pauses during the course of speaking if they occur often enough. Speech errors may also be a deception clue. These include nonwords, such as 'ah,' 'aaa,' and 'uhh'; repetitions, such as 'I, I, I mean I really...'; and partial words, such as ‘I rea-really liked it.'

"These vocal clues to deceit-speech errors and pauses-can occur for two related reasons. The liar may not have worked out her line ahead of time. If she did not expect to lie, or if she was prepared to lie but didn't anticipate a particular question, she may hesitate or make speech errors. But these can also occur when the line is well prepared. High detection apprehension may cause the prepared liar to stumble or forget her line."

Most of the research into nonverbal communications shows that people are not very good at masking their feelings. Emotions do leak out regularly, in many ways. And yet, the research also shows that most of us are not as good at decoding those emotions as we would like to think. Young people are significantly worse at both signaling emotions and reading them. Although we do learn as we grow older, we should remain wary; in the end, body language conveys important but unreliable clues about the intent of the communicator. The more information you can get about the clues you are trying to decode, the more likely you will be to decode them correctly.

7 Jan 2005 by RaftingCanadian 1.1K
Reply To: Archive

We do not fully understand why we sleep, but think that it restores the bodies energy supplies that have been depleted during the day. It is the time when the body does most of its repair work and when the body releases growth hormones in children. The required amount of sleep varies from person to person, but most need around about 8 hours.

What does sleep do?

  • Gives the body time to repair
  • Is the time when people grow
  • Restores used energy supplies
  • Allows us to to be more athletic

Symptoms of lack of sleep

  • Lack of sleep affects our thinking
  • Less coordination
  • Feel more tired
  • Difficult to make decisions
  • May start to feel depressed

Tips for a good nights sleep

  • Keep to a regular pattern of going to bed and getting up at the same time every day
  • Make sure that your bed and bedroom are comfortable - not too hot, not too cold, not too noisy
  • Get some exercise
  • Stop drinking tea or coffee in the evening
  • Don't drink a lot of alcohol
  • Don't eat or drink a lot late at night
  • If you've had a bad night, resist the temptation to sleep the next day
  • Write things your are thinking about and then tell yourself to deal with it tomorrow
  • If you can't sleep, read a book
7 Jan 2005 by RaftingCanadian 1.1K
Reply To: Archive

It is all in the name; PHProxy is a proxy that is programmed in PHP. PHProxy is a web-based circumventor that can be easily installed on any PHP-enabled webserver in order to allow users to browse through the webserver itself as a proxy. PHProxy retrieves websites requested by the users and modifies their code so that all links in the requested websites point back through the PHProxy. In this way, users can browse through the PHProxy in order to bypass Internet censorship.

PHProxy is highly configurable:

  • Multiple methods of URL obfuscation to bypass keyword filtering
  • Control over media mode (including text only) to save bandwidth
  • Script and cookie removal for enhanced anonymity
  • Access Control (whitelist & blocklist)
  • Alter Image sizes to combat HTTPS finger printing

The PHProxy script is provided free at Sourceforge (http://sourceforge.net/projects/poxy/), but if you just want to use it, there are many sites that let you.

Finding a site that allows you access to this script, is quite simple. We can use Google to look for sites with pages contain the name of this script:

  • Search for PHProxy on Google

You might have to try a few sites before you find one that is working.

7 Jan 2005 by RaftingCanadian 1.1K
Reply To: Archive

Don't settle for topical solutions to increasing your self-worth. True self-confidence isn't an overnight acquisition. It takes dedication to realize you are a good human being that is worthy of respect and love.


  1. Try to think more positively about yourself and say more positive things. People will appreciate you more if you're always being positive, and it will make you seem like a fun and interesting person, which you are!
  2. Remember to look at yourself in the mirror and recognize your good points. It's a fact that most people underestimate the quality of their looks by about 25%!
  3. Give yourself credit for your success in life. No one else is responsible for your achievements. Did anyone put a gun to your head and force you to go to work/school/practice today? Your parents brought you into this world, but that is all. You chose to do everything from the point of your first conscious adult thought.
  4. Feel free to say whatever you please. It will be hard to talk out in class or at work for the first time, but once you've started, it gets much easier.
  5. Don't let people drag you down. If they say something mean, they are obviously trying to bring you down. Don't let them, just walk away.
  6. Be yourself! If you're shy, talk a little! If you feel uncool around people, remember that everyone was created equal and everyone is only human, even celebrities! You are just as good as they are!
  7. Remember that nobody is perfect. Every once in a while the seemingly most beautiful and popular people get deceived or have hidden insecurities. At one point in each of our lives, we always feel that we lack something. That is the reality of life.
  8. Join a club and make new friends.
  9. Wear clothes you love. Being comfortable and feeling attractive in your clothes can up your confidence by several notches.
  10. Find friends who will make you feel good about yourself. Make a point of being around people you can look up to and emulate.
  11. Express yourself. Art, music, writing. Find something you enjoy. Everyone is born the same way- talent is nothing! If you practice really hard, anything can be done by you! Remember- you are just as good as everybody else! As an extra plus, you'll be more able to recognize your worth to the world along the way.
  12. Respect and commit to your partner as according to your words, and do not do the opposite.
  13. If you still cannot build self-confidence, fake it. Pretend to be confident. You can do this by pretending, or even convincing yourself that you are superior to everyone else, but remember that in the end, you are not better, only different.
  14. Stick to your principles. Don't compromise just to maintain a relationship. It might be tough, but if you don't have something you can believe in, you don't have anything.
  15. Everyone should be able to name a few things they do well (not necessarily an expert, just above average ability) or enjoy doing regardless of talent, without putting too much thought into making the list. If you find it difficult to name two or three things you have some ability in or just plain love to do, think about things others do that you would like to do too (within reason of course!) and take some lessons or join an enthusiasts club. Keep going until you can say something like "I love to go for walks with friends, host dinner parties and garden. My neighbors often comment about my lovely garden and my cooking gets better with each party I host!" Adding a variety of interests to your life will not only make you more confident, but it will increase your chances of meeting compatible friends!


  • Exercise makes a person feel better.
  • Keep a positive attitude. Name 10 positive things that you want to do.
  • Your intelligence is always more important than your weight.
  • Always smile brightly and be happy.
  • Don't get wrapped up in your mistakes and dwell on bad points; they can contrast your good points or even give you something to improve. There's no feeling like being good at something you were really bad at.
  • Find hobbies and interests that can increase your knowledge and skills, or that just make you really happy. Examples: blogging, writing, designing websites, playing football.
  • Do things that will cause other people to respect you and help you to respect yourself.
  • If you've got it, flaunt it! Look at your best feature (even if it's your feet!) and find ways to enhance it.
  • Look in the mirror and think of all the good things about you! Not the bad.
  • Everybody was created equal! You're just as good as everyone else, don't let them make you think different.
  • Know the difference between jealousy and envy; whilst jealousy is wishing you had something that someone else does, envy is wishing that you had it and they didn't. Learn to turn jealousy into a motive to achieve.
  • Don't be afraid to push yourself a bit - a little bit of pressure can actually show just how good you are!
  • Listen to music. If there is one song that makes you feel really alive and like you can do anything listen to it before you go out. It is guarenteed to put you in a good mood.


  • There is such a thing as trying too hard, talking too much, etc. Pay attention to people's body language, and how they respond. You'll notice if you're talking too much, because they will be the one listening most of the time, and you will start to notice their silence.
  • Don't confuse what you have with who you are. People degrade their self worth when comparing possessions.
  • Don't talk just for the sake of talking.You could just end up saying a load off rubbish that makes you look really stupid. But also don't think too much before you speak either because you will miss out on the conversation.
7 Jan 2005 by RaftingCanadian 1.1K
Reply To: Archive

PHP (now a recursive acronym for "PHP Hypertext Preprocessor", but originally "Personal Home Page Tools",) is a widely used open-source programming language used primarily for server-side applications, to develop dynamic web content. It can be seen as an open source alternative to Microsoft's Active Server Pages (ASP) system and to CGI/Perl system.

Its ease of use and similarity with the most common structured programming languages, most notably C and Perl, allows most experienced programmers to start developing complex applications with a minimal learning curve. It also enables experienced developers to get involved with dynamic web content applications without having to learn a whole new set of functions and practices.

One of the more attractive parts of PHP is that it is more than just a scripting language. Thanks to its modular design, PHP can also be used to develop GUI applications, and it can be used from the command line just as Perl or Python can be.

PHP allows, among other things, easy interaction with a large number of relational database systems (Oracle, DB2, MySQL, PostgreSQL, etc.), while maintaining a simple and straightforward syntax. PHP runs on every major operating system, including Unix, Linux, Windows, and Mac OS X and can interact with all major web servers. The official PHP website contains extensive online documentation. The Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP (LAMP) architecture has become very popular in the industry as a way of cheaply deploying reliable, scalable, and secure web applications.



PHP was originally designed as a wrapper around Perl by Rasmus Lerdorf in 1994 to display his resume information and collect some data, such as how many hits it was generating. Others first used "Personal Home Page Tools" in 1995, which Lerdorf had combined with his own Form Interpreter to create PHP/FI. Zeev Suraski and Andi Gutmans, two Israeli developers of the Technion - Israel Institute of Technology rewrote the parser in 1997, forming the basis of PHP 3. They also changed the name to its current recursive form. After months in beta, the development team officially released PHP/FI 2 in November 1997. Public testing of PHP 3 began immediately and the official launch came in June 1998. Suraski and Gutmans started a new rewrite of PHP's core, producing the Zend engine in 1999. In May 2000, PHP 4 powered by the Zend Engine was released. Development continues toward PHP 5 with Zend Engine 2.78.


Popularity of PHP

PHP is one of the most popular server-side scripting systems on the Web. It's been widely adopted since the release of version 4, which was the first version powered by the powerful Zend Engine from Zend Technologies.

According to Netcraft's April 2002 survey, PHP is now the most-deployed server-side scripting language, running on around 9 million of the 37 million domains in their survey. This is confirmed by PHP.net's own figures, which show PHP usage measured on a per-domain basis growing at around 5% per month. In May 2003, almost 13 million domains were using PHP, based on the same source. [1]

However, PHP is not the most commonly used tool if measurements are made on a per-page basis. Another estimate in March 2002, based on searching for Web pages by their suffix, places PHP in second place at 30% of measured pages, behind 48% using Microsoft's ASP, but also shows PHP growing rapidly in market share. However, this method is notoriously inaccurate for measuring PHP popularity as some PHP systems dispense with the file names, using only directories, while other sites tend to dispense with the .php extension.

Due to PHP's popularity, a new breed of programmers has emerged who are only familiar with PHP, which in turn forced open the door towards a command line interface for PHP, along with support for GUI functions, such as Gtk or ncurses support. This is a major step for PHP, because it represents its adoption as a genuine programming language (i.e. running autonomously on a stand-alone machine, as opposed to its original purpose of serving web pages to client machines from a server).

Parts or all of this document has been reprinted from http://www.wikipedia.org.

7 Jan 2005 by RaftingCanadian 1.1K
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Pricing is one of the four major components of marketing. Psychological pricing forms one of the key elements of demand pricing wherein the consumer demand is the main focus. The price and quality relationship that governs the central theme of the consumer market relationship is surrounded by uncertainty and gives the consumer the perception that higher the price, better the quality. 

The science of pricing is an art in itself. Rounding off the figures may be good for basic maths but never in business. The art of setting prices for articles has been an ever challenging task in business. Keeping in mind the changing economy, heavy competition in the market and consumer affordability, the trick of pricing an article has been more on a psychological evaluation of the consumer. Pricing is usually done by keeping with industry standards. But in order to sell their products after a baseline or whole sale price has been fixed, individual business organizations have most often dealt with pricing in terms of smaller denominations such as cents and pennies. 

While quoting the universal example of $9.95 or 9.99 being more attractive to consumers as compared to $10, this psychology seems to hold in business world wide. The main reason for this is that people tend to see the first figure in dollars as compared to the cents. $9 is cheaper than $10, and the cents don't figure in the perception. While shopping, consumers tend to overlook small differences in cents but go by the dollar value. And funnily, the highest single odd digit is the most psychologically favoured and 9 is that most fortunate figure of acceptance. However one cannot rule out the fact that the cents are totally ignored by the customer but the ignorance is at the subconscious level and is partial. Also the use of odd figures has a background in that it was used to curb theft by employees by way of forcing them to give change and enter the amount in the cash register a practice that was originally put forth way back in 1875 by the publisher of Chicago daily news, Melville E. Stone. 

Another most popular way of attracting consumers has been introductory offers. Suppose a new toothpaste is released in market, it often sells better when its accompanied by a free sample, a toothbrush or even 25% extra toothpaste. And more so when the actual price is quoted and struck off, with a new pricing quoted in a different colour alongside to attract the consumer. Often in these cases the consumer has this inherent feeling that he is getting more for a lesser price. Sometimes he also compares another similar priced similar product with the one available on discount to satisfy himself that he is certainly getting more for the price quoted. 

When an article comes to shelf with a certain price, consumers most often never question how and why it was priced. If a group of articles is priced at say in the range of $20s, the price is taken for granted and the evaluation and comparison of prices is limited to that range only even if the product may be of lower or higher value of that price. However, when the price of the same set is increased after a certain period, the consumers do not appreciate it. The tactic of increasing the price by 20% and giving a 10% discount on the same article is perceived better than just an increase in price. "Buy one take one free" is another pricing tactic to attract buyers although the offer maybe for a limited period of time. Definitely such articles sell fastest. 

By increasing the price of a product by a few cents, a company can earn profit as there seems to be no complaints from the consumer as the price hovers around a key threshold point and minor increase is accepted. Consumer sensitivity in pricing can be found when the consumers have no other product to compare with or when the product is exclusive and unique. Even in such cases, when the product is bundled with a few other accessories, the aspect of consumer emotion is very much aroused and they sell better.

Above all, when a customer is satisfied, both the company and the customer are profited. But then the response to the concept of psychology pricing has always been mixed. As long as the customer is not cheated, the concept is of advantage to sellers.

7 Jan 2005 by RaftingCanadian 1.1K
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CGI Proxy is a free script that is on many web pages and is a HTTP or FTP proxy. What this means is that through CGI Proxy, you can access any website that the server running it can. For example, some organizations may block the URL "http://www.hotornot.com" with their firewall, but by using CGI Proxy you can get around this blockage.

As well as providing a method to access blocked web pages, CGI Proxy can also provide some degree of anonymity. Although it is not fail proof, it can stop the website you are viewing from knowing more about you.

When an HTML resource is retrieved, it's modified so that all links in it point back through the same proxy, including images, form submissions, and everything else. Once you're using the proxy, you can browse normally and (almost) forget it's there.

The CGI Proxy script is provided free at jmarshall.com/tools/cgiproxy/, but if you just want to use it, there are many sites that let you.

Finding a site that allows you access to this script, is quite simple. As the filename of the script is normally nph-proxy.pl or nph-proxy.cgi, we can use Google to look for sites with pages matching this filename:

Another way of finding sites that allows you access to this script, is to search for the phrase "start using cgiproxy"

You will find that the first page might be no long active, blocked or require a subscription. Just go to the next page of results and you will soon find a page offering use of CGI Proxy or that links to another page offering access to CGI Proxy.

7 Jan 2005 by RaftingCanadian 1.1K