Heartburn Can Be Easily Cured

Do you suffer from heartburn, reflux or burping? Perhaps you rely on a medicine to help settle your tummy. I have written on digestive disorders on several occasions previously, but this time I would like to write specifically on a little bacterium called Helicobacter pylori. Helicobacter pylori bacterial infection is recognised as the most prevalent bacteria to infect the human population in the entire world. You may well identify the following problem, and if you do, don’t despair. It actually is possible to free from heartburn, reflux or a low grade queasiness, which affects so many people.

Helicobacter is a clever little bug

In 1982, when Australian Dr. Barry Marshall identified a new bacterium called Helicobacter pylori (HP) as an infectious agent responsible for peptic ulcer disease, it completely transformed medicine’s understanding of the microbiology and disease of the human stomach. Your stomach is protected from its own gastric juice by a thick layer of mucous that covers the stomach lining. HP takes advantage of this protection by actually living in the mucous lining. Once this clever little bug is safe in this mucous, it is able to fight the stomach acid that does reach it with an enzyme it possesses called urease. Urease converts urea, of which there is an abundant supply in the stomach (from saliva and gastric juices), into bicarbonate and ammonia, which are strong (alkaline) bases. This creates a cloud of acid-neutralizing chemicals around the H. pylori, protecting it from the acid in the stomach. This cloud is also part of the reflux and burping process that occurs, which many HP people complain of.

Contributing to the protection of HP is the fact that the body’s natural defenses cannot reach these bugs in this mucous lining of the stomach. The immune system will respond to an HP infection by sending “killer T-cells”, (white blood cells), and other infection-fighting agents. However, these potential H. pylori eradicators cannot reach the infection, because they cannot easily get through stomach lining. They do not go away – the immune response just grows and grows over time. White cells die and spill their destructive compounds onto cells lining the stomach lining. More nutrients are sent to reinforce the white cells, and the H. pylori can feed on this. Within a few days, gastritis and perhaps eventually a peptic ulcer results in the lining of your tummy. And of course, the person who suffers is often blissfully unaware, takes an antacid or an acid-blocking drug long-term, and continues to eat and drink foods which only aggravate the healing process long term. So they go back to the doctor, only to be told to stay on the medicine. After a few years, the person resigns themselves to the fact that they will always require this “medicine” to cure their condition. Yeah right, and Alice lived happily after in Wonderland.

To confirm that HP caused the gastritis and peptic ulceration, Marshall swallowed cultures of the bacteria and contracted gastritis (inflammation of the mucus membrane of the stomach). He then underwent endoscopy (internal examination of the stomach), and provided biopsies from which the suspected bug was re-isolated.

Changing medical belief and practice takes time. For nearly 100 years, scientists and doctors thought that ulcers were caused by lots of stress, spicy foods, and copious alcohol. Treatment involved bed rest and a bland and boring diet. Later, researchers added stomach acid to the list of causes and began treating ulcers with antacids when they became fashionable.Unfortunate for poor Barry, nobody believed him. In fact, he was actually treated with ridicule and disdain when he first proposed the idea that a bacteria actually lived the hostile environment of the stomach. Before 1982, the accepted medical paradigm was “no acid, no ulcer”, and that stomach ulcers only occurred when excess acid damaged the stomach wall and that all treatment should be aimed at reducing or neutralising all that bad acid. Surely you remember the advertisements on TV with the man drawing on his tummy with a felt tipped pen, telling you that the acid has to “stay down there”. These commercials generally came on after dinner, the time when your tummy is most likely to play up, I can’t help but thinking how many of those sufferers possibly have an undetected H.pylori infection. There is still a lot of drug promotion regarding this acid reflux problem. Unfortunately, many such patients today are still seen as having “too much stomach acid”, and treated with antacids or stomach-acid blockers as front-line therapy, when in my clinical experience actually the opposite applies, they don’t have enough or have an infection which needs sorting. Gastric juice is composed of digestive enzymes and concentrated hydrochloric acid, which can readily digest food or kill microorganisms. Low levels of stomach acid increase the chance an organism’s survival. It used to be thought that the stomach contained no bacteria and was actually sterile, and it took an Aussie GP to prove all the world’s experts wrong.

It seems pretty silly to treat the acid problem perpetually, without enquiring into actually why this burping, reflux and upper abdominal discomfort is occurring in the first place. Albert Szent Györgyi, (1937 Nobel Laureate in Physiology and Medicine) said that: “Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought.” Today it is an established fact that most cases of peptic ulcers and gastritis, diseases that affect millions of humans worldwide, result from this HP infection, and not “too much acid” in the stomach at all.

“Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought.” Albert Szent Györgyi

HP infection and prevalence

H. pylori is believed to be transmitted orally. Did you wash your hands? Many researchers believe that HP is transmitted orally by means of fecal matter through the ingestion of tainted food or water. In addition, it is possible that H. pylori could be transmitted from the stomach to the mouth through gastro-esophageal reflux or belching, all common symptoms of gastritis. The bacterium could then be transmitted through oral contact.

HP infection remains a huge problem, is extremely common and infecting more than a billion people worldwide. It is estimated that half of the American population older than age 60 has been infected with H. pylori at some stage and the economic effect of ulcer disease in the US (as measured back in a study of 1989 data) showed that the illness cost then nearly $6 billion annually. ($2.66 billion for hospitalisation, not including doctor ‘s fees), outpatient care ($1.62 billion), and loss in work productivity ($1.37 billion).

One in five Aussies and Kiwis have HP, according to Dr. Barry Marshal, infection usually persists for many years, leading to ulcer disease in 10 % to 15% of those infected. H. pylori is found in more than 80% of patients with gastric and duodenal ulcers. You can imagine what this common complaint in NZ and Australia is costing, in terms of medication, doctor’s visits and lost productivity at work. Early research on HP characterised much of the work to come, the data that emerged from the study of all these samples was quite unexpected. It showed that HP is actually a common bacterial agent and that an amazing 30-50% of the world’s population are colonised with it.

How do you know if you have the HP bug?

The infection manifests differently in different individuals. In some people, it produces more acid in the stomach, and ulcers may result. In others, stomach acid suppression or complete lack (which we call achlorhydria) may result, and these people may be at a greater risk of gastric cancer. It is unclear why some people respond one way or the other.

Typical manifestations of a Helicobacter pylori infection:

· Nausea, or a low-grade feeling of being queasy. Could be vomiting.

· Avoidance of chilli, garlic or a specific food which “does not agree” with your tummy.

· Bloating worse after meals. Feeling worse after meals or certain foods.

· Recurring abdominal pain, intestinal cramps.

· Peptic or duodenal ulcers (over 90% of all cases have HP)

· Burping, this can be pretty bad. The person may have developed a reputation!

· Heartburn, and perhaps reliant on Quick-Eze or Gavascon, Losec, etc.

· Diarrhea or constipation after several years of infection.

· Disturbed sleep, perhaps waking up with a hollow feeling or heartburn. I have known some patients to prop up the head of the bed with a few bricks even.

· Symptoms worse at night, or worse lying down.

· Vitamin B12 deficiency. Have your practitioner test for this, you may well be deficient.

· Altered appetite, some times you may feel like eating, other times you don’t.

· After being infected for several years, you may have develop mineral deficiencies which can lead to a myriad of health problems.

· Helicobacter pylori is implicated in Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.

· Migraine headaches (40% of migraine sufferers are positive, and eradication subsides the headaches).

· Acne rosacea. Helicobacter pylori is suspected of causing rosacea (eradication of HP often results in a significant reduction in rosacea symptoms).

Is it any wonder how an ailing stomach is supposed to do its job, i.e., digesting and absorbing foods efficiently when a bacterial infection is causing such dysfunction? Your doctor may have initially prescribed a medicine such as Losec, Gavascon or Mylanta for your stomach, serving to block acid or dilute it. How is your tummy supposed to work at all now? Then you go back and complain that the symptoms are unchanged. What then? You can see what I mean, after many years of this infection you can feel quite unwell. I see one person or more each week like this, and have done so for many years. When I wrote an article to our local newspaper several years ago regarding HP, I received nearly ten calls. And almost al these patients had a HP infection, all were on either Losec, Quick-Eze, Gavascon or Mylanta.

Conventional HP Therapy

Please note that it is extremely important to obtain an accurate diagnosis before trying to find a cure of your heartburn or reflux. Many stomach or digestive diseases and conditions share common symptoms: if you treat yourself for the wrong illness or a specific symptom of a complex disease, you may delay legitimate treatment of a serious underlying problem, yes even stomach cancer. In other words, the greatest danger in self-treatment may actually be self-diagnosis. Always work with your health-care professional, preferably one who is experienced in gastrointestinal disorders. If you do not know what you really have, you simply can not treat it!

I have always had a great concern regarding the extensive use of antibiotic drugs required to treat HP infected individuals. The conventional medical clearing of HP from the stomach requires therapy from 10 to 14 days with multiple drugs. My concern is that prolonged or recurrent antibiotic treatment alters the normal microbial population of the entire gastrointestinal tract, eliminating many beneficial bacteria as well as HP, allowing the sufferer to develop a gut environment which may contain bugs like Candida albicans, proteus, or a whole host of other undesirables. You get rid of one problem, only to create yet another.

Triple Therapy

The use of only one medication to treatH. pylori was never recommended by Dr. Marshall. At this time, the most conventional treatment is a 2-week course of treatment called “triple therapy”. It involves taking two antibiotics to kill the bacteria and either an acid suppressor or stomach-lining shielding drug. Two-week triple therapy reduces ulcer symptoms, kills the bacteria, and prevents ulcer recurrence in many patients – but the recurrence can be as high as 75%. Complete eradication is difficult, I have had many patients who have come to me after having had triple therapy many years ago with average to poor results, and were placed on an acid blocker for many years after.I do recommend this for some resistant cases, and have been know to send some patients to a GP for triple therapy, then follow-up with natural treatment for 6 weeks. I have found that some patients may find triple therapy complicated because it involves taking 3 kinds of drugs, and as many as 20 pills a day. Also, the antibiotics and bismuth drugs used in triple therapy may cause side effects such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dark stools, metallic taste in the mouth, dizziness, headache, and yeast infections, particularly in women.

HP Testing

The diagnosis of H. pylori infection has traditionally involved endoscopy with biopsies of the stomach’s mucosa. There are three ways to test for HP currently in NZ. To be honest, I only occasionally authorise a HP test these days, and generally have a “gut feeling” a person has this bug once they come into my room and complain of the above mentioned symptoms. Common sense – the patient will soon tell you if they are or are not improving, and it only takes about three to four weeks to really know what is going on. Just because the test results come back negative, you could still have this bug. You know me by now, please don’t get paralysis from analysis! If you feel significantly better after a HP treatment whether it be pharmaceutical or natural – you probably have HP regardless of what the test results say. Remember – up to one in five New Zealanders have this infection, so the odds are reasonably high you have it.

· The Urea Breath Test method of diagnosis relies on the Urea reaction being present, as mentioned earlier. This is a sound test – 90 – 95% successful in picking up the HP bug.

· Blood tests measuring HP antibody levels have been developed. However, these tests have suboptimal sensitivity and specificity (85% and 79%).

· Stool tests for antibodies – again, many factors can affect the outcome of this test, stay with breath testing. Many experts say that the fecal antigen test is bullet proof, but in my experience I have seen many “false negatives” with testing. That is, the results come back all ok, but the patient responds dramatically after HP treatment.

Natural HP Eradication

No clear indications exist for specific treatment of each and every individual case of HP associated gastritis. I have found the following treatments to be effective, and employed many different therapies over the years. Here are some treatments which I have found to work in various HP cases. Remember, recurrence rates are quite high, so you may want to persist with treatment until you feel much better, then hang in there for a few more months (lower grade treatment) to be absolutely sure. I recommend treatment in blocks of 6 weeks, then wait 2 -3 weeks, then another 6 week period of treatment. A good clinical tip for you: always treat this infection by taking something with meals, and also something in-between, or away from foods. This is designed to really drive the “kill” treatment home, and lets the treatment have access to the HP bugs in the gut with as well as away to some extent from foods and gastric juice involvement. I have a saying in my clinic: persistence breaks resistance. Remember Winston Churchill? – never give in, never give in, never give in.

· Manuka honey, which has high levels of hydrogen peroxide and has been shown in studies to be active against H. pylori. Go for the Comvita high UMF factor Manuka honey.

· Propolis works really well for some, but is dismal for others.

· Vitamin B12 – get this checked in your blood! You may well be deficient here.

· After antibiotic treatment is finished, (triple therapy) it makes sense to rebuild the gut flora with lactobacillus species. They won’t cure the condition, however. (A 2002 trial demonstrated that a mixed acidophilus preparation failed to eradicate the H. pylori infection in the patients upon whom it was tried).

· DGL (deglycyrrhizinated licorice) – you can get this in capsules or liquid.

· Aloe Vera helps to heal the mucous lining of the gastrointestinal tract.

· Berberine is found in the herb Goldenseal, and it may be used as a natural herbal antibiotic.

· Eat grapefruit seeds, for some this is very effective long term. The extract is even better.

· Digestive enzymes may also be useful – especially with achlorhydria (low stomach acid)

· Gum mastic is a natural substance from the sap of the Mediterranean evergreen tree, Pistacia lemniscuses. Mastic gum has been shown to be effective in protecting the digestive system, healing peptic and duodenal ulcers, and eradicating H. pylori from the gut. I use this a lot, and give two capsules twice daily in between meals.

· Bismuth. It displays anti-inflammatory action (due to salicylic acid) and also acts as an antacid and mild antibiotic. Don’t freak out – It can also cause a black tongue and black stools in some people who take it, when it combines with trace amounts of sulfur in their saliva and gastrointestinal tract. This discoloration is temporary and absolutely harmless.

My favourite HP treatment regime? I would have to say gum mastica between meals, and with meals a preparation of Bismuth,deglycyrrhizinated licorice, grapefruit seed extract and goldenseal. I often recommend aloe vera and activated charcoal as well.

Do you get that annoying heartburn, and want to try and find a cause and ultimately a cure? Consult your naturopath or nutritional-friendly doctor who can check you out carefully and thoroughly and who will actually treat the cause, not the symptom. They should generally recommend a course of treatment and a specific diet designed for the individual, with promising results for many patients. And what a relief, to be free of heartburn, bloating and that “awful feeling in the tummy” again!

Windscreen Wiper Water May Cause Pneumonia and Here’s How to Prevent It

Legionnaires’ disease, a rare disease, is a severe bacterial infection affecting respiratory tract (pneumonia). The organism involved in this condition is Legionella pneumophila that usually founds in mist from hot tubs, air-conditioning units and showers. Transmission occurs by breathing in mist from water that contains these bacteria. General symptoms include fever, cough, chills, muscle pain and headaches.

Windscreen wiper may cause Legionnaires disease A recent study found that “Windscreen wiper water may be the cause of 20% of cases of Legionnaires’ disease and adding screen-wash to wiper fluids could save lives”. This finding is based on a case-control study which surveyed the driving habits and known risk factors of the Legionnaires’ disease. They study was conducted after an unusual high number of cases were reported in England and Wales and around this time it was well established that professional drivers were five times more likely to get Legionnaires’ than people from other lines of work. The study was aimed to further explore the possible reasons for the difference between the occupations.

The researchers contacted the 75 surviving cases who had acquired Legionnaires’ disease and also included 67 control people without the disease. The participants were provided with a questionnaire asking about their driving habits, other recognized risk factors and possible illness sources in the vehicles. They were asked what kind of vehicle they drove, its age, car service history, content of the wiper fluid tank and whether their driving was for societal or occupation reasons.

The results showed that two factors were associated with a high likelihood of being infected: driving all the way through industrial areas and driving or being a traveler in a motor vehicle that used windscreen wiper fluid with no screen-wash. The researchers calculated that about 22% of infections in people could be due to driving or being a traveler in a car that did not use screen-wash in the windscreen wiper fluid. The detected a firm link between people who do not use screen-wash and the danger of Legionnaires’ disease. Although because of case-control nature of study it cannot confirm causation, the investigators state there is a reasonable biological connection. They believe it is plausible that the bacteria grow in the sluggish water of the wiper’s fluid tank that can become an aerosol when it is sprayed onto the windshield.

Though not proved causal relation, until more conclusive results comes, it is advisable to add screen-wash to your car’s wiper fluid as it can limit the transmission of bacterial causing Legionnaires’ disease.

Investing – How To Choose The Best Option

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

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

The following are the most important criteria:

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

THE GOAL

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

Emergency fund

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

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

Capital protection

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

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

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

Capital growth

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

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

RISK

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

LIQUIDITY

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

TAXABILITY

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

PERIOD

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

COSTS

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

CONCLUSION

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

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

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

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

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

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

Investing Locally

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

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

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

Drawbacks to Local Investments

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

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

Investing Out-of-State

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

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

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

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

Challenges of Out-of-State Investments

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

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

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

Doing Out-of-State Right

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

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

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

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

Getting Started

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

Communication in Today’s Corrections (Part One)

Anyone that has ever worked as either a Police Officer or a Corrections Officer knows the following: It’s either brawn or brain that will get you through the day. They also know that you have to use both (on occasion) if you are going to be successful at your job.

Those of us in the Correctional Profession know that most of the time, and not all the time, the physical confrontations that we encounter are the result of our actions. Now, I understand that some people might disagree with this, but it’s a hard reality to face. Where do we go wrong that leads to this type of confrontation? Communication.

There are really just two ways in which we communicate with people: Verbal and Non-Verbal. Most of our communication (roughly 85-87%) is done through body language. We can all tell when someone is upset, happy, mad, angry, indifferent, you get the point. When our body language says one thing and our mouth says another we tend to run into problems. Inside of a correctional facility we do not have the luxury of firearms, Tasers, or any other type of intermediate weapons on a regular basis. If you do, trust me when I tell you that the rest of us are extremely jealous of you! What does that leave the rest of us? Our mouth/brain combination and our hands.

True, some people have lost that all important connection between their brains and their mouths (also known as verbal diarrhea) but for the most part, the rest of us still have it intact. As an instructor, I always ask my classes the same question: “What’s the difference between a Correctional Officer and an Offender?” As expected, the answers I get are varied: “We go home at the end of the day!” “We didn’t kill anyone!” “We didn’t rape anyone” and the list goes on. I then pause and ask question again.

By this point they are looking at me with confused looks on their faces. I reply back to them “Although you are correct that we didn’t rape or kill anyone, and we do go home at the end of the day, the only difference between them and us is that they got caught and we didn’t.” I then go on to ask “Who in this classroom has never, in their entire life, done anything that someone is not currently doing time in a local, county, state, or federal correctional facility?” No hands go up….

Now keep in mind that I said “never, in their entire life, done anything…” We all have. Whether it was steal something as a kid or adult (office supplies anyone?) it’s still larceny. Got home after going out with friends and saying “I shouldn’t have driven home!” (We’ve heard the slogan “Buzzed driving is drunk driving”) You get the point.

Now that we have established that they are just like us, let’s establish another all important fact: Not everyone that is incarcerated will spend the rest of their lives behind bars. They are going to get out and become our neighbors.

Correctional Departments throughout the country have moved their old way of doing business into the modern era: Rehabilitation and Re-Integration. If we look their Mission Statements, we will likely see a common theme: Public Safety, Pro-social behavior, Re-integration and rehabilitation.

In order to effectively re-integrate and rehabilitate, we must do one thing: Communicate. Communication in a correctional facility can be broken down into 4 main categories:

1. No communication

2. Operational Communication

3. Human-Respectful Communication

4. Cognitive Reflective Communication

No Communication

Easy enough: we don’t talk, they don’t talk, we point, they do as told and we go on our merry way. Officers are separated from the offenders and there is almost no interaction.

Operational Communication

We say the bare minimum in order to get the job done and maintain control (“Come here!” “Go there!” “Chow time” “Do this!” “Don’t do that!” etc, etc, etc). Although there is still a separation between Officers and Offenders, there is more interaction than there is with no communication.

Human-Respectful Communication

This involves talking to offenders like a person, just like you would to anybody else you meet in public. Pro-social communication is effectively done at this stage. Although the use of “please” and “thank you” towards an offender would insult many Correctional Officers, it is part of being respectful and communicating effectively within a correctional facility. (More on this in Communication in Today’s Corrections Part Two).

Cognitive Reflective Communication

This is THE hardest form of communication to achieve. It involves a person to be willing to think about, and change, their behavior, thought process, and accept the consequences of their actions. And what’s the thing most of us hate the most? Change! And that is the reason why it’s the hardest form of communication/thought process that we have.

Once we learn how to communicate effectively, we can reduce the amount of problems that we face on the job every day and increase our “safety factor” exponentially. The proof is in the pudding…

Danger of Blood Borne Pathogens Contaminations!

Blood borne pathogens are microorganisms such as viruses or bacterias that are carried in blood or body fluid and can cause disease in people, including, Hepatitis B (HBV), AIDS and the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), Blood borne pathogens can be transmitted through contact with infected human blood and other potentially infectious body fluids.

Occupation Exposure can occur through :

1. Accidental puncture from contaminated needles, broken glass, or other sharps.

2. Contact between broken or damaged skin and infected skin and infected body fluids.

3. Contact between mucous membranes and infected body fluid.

In an emergency situation involving blood or potentially infectious materials, always use Universal Precautions and try to to minimize your exposure by wearing gloves, splash goggles, pocket mouth to mouth resuscitation masks, and other barrier devices.

If you are exposed:

1. Wash the exposed area thoroughly with soap and running water. Use non-abrasive, anti-bacterial soap if possible. If the blood is splashed in the eye or mucous membrane, flush the affected area with running water for at least 15 minutes.

2. Take a blood test and Hepatitis B vaccination.

3. Tell your doctor the source individual. Try to get the individual blood tested as soon as possible for HIV or HBV after consent is obtained.

Anytime there is blood-to-blood contact with infected blood or body fluids, there is slight potential for transmission.

Unbroken skin forms an impervious barrier against blood borne pathogens. However, infected blood can enter your system through:

Open sores, cuts, abrasions, acne, and any sort of damaged skin such as sun burns or blisters, damaged or open wounds.

Always take precaution and treat all human body fluids and items soiled with human body fluids as contaminated. With contaminated, always first thing to do is to disinfect all spills of body fluid and pre-soak all contaminated clothing.

Auto Mechanics Curriculum – Preparing for the Job of the Future

While taking driver’s education class in high school, for part of the curriculum, a man insisted his daughter take a basic auto mechanics class. They fought for weeks about this class. It was unnecessary. It was ridiculous. After all, she was a girl. After much verbal sparring, she took the class and enjoyed it, using her knowledge many times.

Years later, it became clear why the man wanted his daughter to take this class. Someday, her car would break down. The auto club would not always be able to come to her aid. Roadside assistance is not always available. Especially when the breakdown occurs in the middle of the desert. A person could wait hours for help. That could be dangerous. It was important to know how to fix the basics on her own.

When she became a parent, and her teenage daughter was ready to learn to drive, it was their turn to fight about taking the class. The mother insisted and her daughter relented. As it turns out, after much arguing, the student really enjoyed it. Since she did not have a “head” for business, or fashion, or mathematics, or English, or any other subject for that matter, it seems the one thing she excelled at was fixing cars.

After taking all of the basic classes the school had to offer, the student’s instructor suggested a transfer to the local high school that offered full vocational technical programs. The transfer took place, and for the next two years she took a number of classes like basic tune-ups and trouble-shooting, tire rotation and balancing, transmission repair, engine repair, fluid transfers for oil changes and transmission fluid, and air conditioning, among others. Upon graduation from high school, the student became a licensed auto mechanic.

For this young lady, that was not enough. She wanted to specialize in foreign cars. That required a whole new set of classes. Thus began her enrollment in the local college vo-tech. Another two years and she earned her A.S. Degree in Auto Mechanics. She was able to fix anything on wheels. However, as with any industry, evolution takes place. The new hybrid vehicles are already on the market, and the electric car is just around the corner. She continues with her education to maintain the high level of expertise necessary for the cars of the future.

Auto mechanic classes can help a student with their future. To become a mechanic, one must learn problem-solving skills. Mechanics is a process. So is life. One cannot put gas in a car that has no engine. Such is the same with life. One step at a time.

For students that struggle in school, vo-tech classes and auto mechanic classes have historically been extremely challenging. Their opportunities for success were once unlike the mother and daughter that both took auto mechanics classes and flourished.

Sex Education: Its Importance and Need in the Society

Sex Education, as the term clearly indicates, refers to education which is based on human sexual behavior. Parents, schools or caretakers offer it in some parts of the world to educate the children, who are stepping into their adolescence. If formally received, sex education is either taught as a full course at high school or junior high school level or in biology, health, home economics classes. Teaching sex education is rather a controversial issue; debates have been going on for several decades discussing if it should be taught formally in schools or not. Sex education in schools should exist without any doubts and apprehensions as it offers many benefits.

Adolescence is called the “age of storm and stress”. The young teenagers, during this phase of life are under deep psychological pressure. Mainly, this psychological pressure is the result of one’s growing sexual needs and the biological changes and hormonal effects on the individuals. During this time, most of the children are observed to become easily irritable. They find it difficult in most situations to deal with the family members. They might not want to talk to them about the natural changes taking place in their body and mind. In such circumstances, one highly suitable option is that of the teachers who are able to teach them to control their urges until a proper age. In schools, trained teachers would help the students to know how to deal with their sexual impulses. This role can not be replaced by parents or other entities. A classroom discussion and lesson would make them feel it is natural, and they would also feel that they are being understood by someone. However, taking them individually to psychologists or other trained educators would not help. In such a situation they might consider themselves to be different and misunderstood by family and people around them. Therefore, it becomes crystal clear that the best way to offer sex education is always in school.

It is a psychological phenomenon that children at young age are under an immense peer pressure. Something that they learn in the class with their peer group is what makes a better impression on their minds than otherwise. They are more focused in the lessons that teachers offer and are more eager asking question to clear their ambiguities. They might feel embarrassed and uneasy questioning their parents about it, but it always differs in case of the teacher in the class. This is because everyone in the class is going through the same stage. A class discussion becomes healthy source of learning as it helps in enhancing the knowledge on the subject.

Many people advocate that sex education should only be restricted to families, that is, that parents should personally educate their children. This view is totally illogical and holds complications and questions. The first point is that not all the parents would be willing to do it or would be able to do it. Secondly, this education needs a proper channel through which it should reach its required learners. There could be many possible problems in the families so they might not be able to take the role of a teacher in educating their children regarding sex. The demand of annulment of sex education from the schools is highly conservative.

Most importantly, there are many single parents, how would they take up this challenge of educating their children on their own? Parents can not properly educate their children about sex also because they lack details that qualified sex educators convey in schools. Thus, the stance of abolishing sex education in school is not a favorable thought. In many observed cases where parents or children are embarrassed about talking over sexual matters with each other, it is most likely to be uneasy situation at both the ends. This keeps the children from learning the answers to the questions they might have in their minds. This can be a great flaw of shifting the duty of sexual education from teachers to the parents. It will leave the children only half or less educated about the issue and as they say “Little knowledge is a dangerous thing”, this might end up in grave situations.

According to research, most of the parents also feel uneasy because they know that they are not equipped to provide the apt sexual information to their children. They also fail to comprehend what details and information should be concealed and what should be revealed, keeping in mind their children’s age. On the other hand, there might also be parents who would feel comfortable talking to their children about sexual matters, but only when the children bring the matter up.

Most parents, around the world, may also lack role models to look up to as they would not have talked over sexual issues with their own parents in their adolescent. This makes them inefficient to trigger their roles of educating their children in an effective way as the assigned teachers are able to do in schools.

Sex education is not limited to only a single branch of knowledge. This education focuses on a number of significant sexual matters that are offered with especially designed courses and programs. Sex education covers the education of relationships, sexual abstinence at a certain level and teaching to practice safe sex to the level of children who are thought to be sexually active. Therefore, its claim for being appropriate and guiding holds strong base.

At a certain age of adolescence, growing children have problems facing relationships and controlling their personal emotions. Conflicts related to such matters persuade many youngsters to commit suicides or take part in other immoral activities. Proper sex education in schools also concentrates in making the youngsters emotionally stronger and in educating ways to cope with relationship problems. This argument strongly shows the immense benefit of sex education in schools.

Sex education is an important health strategy and this cannot be denied. AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases can only be controlled if people are aware of precautions and have a vast knowledge in this case. This knowledge is conveyed through sex education, and if sex education is banned in schools and if parents have to educate their children, then it would not be as beneficial to the individuals and the society on the whole as teaching in school could be.

Sex education does not exist in all parts of the world. Asians are commonly regarded conservative when compared to westerners. It is not a part of their course in schools; this does not in any way mean that their teenage pregnancy rate is any lower if they are not exposed to sexual matters openly. In fact, this is one way how peers can mislead most of the youngsters and persuade them to bask in young age sexual relationships without any attempts for safety. This has resulted in serious problems such as the spread of fatal diseases like AIDS and has also increased rate of illegitimate births.

Researches have shown that the cause for ramification of STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) in the eras of 80s and 90s in the US and the UK is the lack of knowledge and information provided about sex in schools or home. Home and family has never and will never play an integral part in conveying sex education to teenagers, therefore to rely on the option of home, is to deceive your own self from the expected exigency in the future.

Some conservative groups assert that to discuss sexual issues openly is to devalue religion. No religion in the world abstain its followers from spreading the information that is so essential for human lives. Sexual behavior is natural and takes place through biological changes and this cannot be questioned as this is a part of human life. Thus people who take refuge under the religious shelter, to make their arguments strong, are misinterpreting religious ideas and laws.

Modern time is the time of internet and powerful media. Teenagers are exposed to Hollywood, TV and internet. These sources offer demonstration of sex which is highly thoughtless and casual; in this situation it is almost illogical to leave the teenagers on their sexual choices. They are young and fully excited; therefore they can not make a favorable choice. Sex education in school offers the information and knowledge they need to understand to know the responsibility that is accompanied by sexual relationships. The teacher in school helps the students to know the difference between a thoughtless and thoughtful sex. Having an urge for sex is not a problem; it is a natural process showing that the young people are developing to become adults; however the problem is having unsafe sex and hurting people through sexual choices.

People who claim that sex education in schools have more cons than pros, often come up with the statements suggesting that sex education in classroom should be avoided because the most effective tool for offering sex education, according to them is TV, films, magazines and media. Such people fail to understand that trained sex educators under especially designed programs teach sex education to children in schools. They are thus able to handle children’s problems and clear their ambiguities in the best possible way, whereas magazines, films, TV and other channels and mediums of providing sex education are be reliable. They are most of the times urging the young people by encouraging their sexual promiscuity rather than effectively teaching and educating them. This wrong approach damages the society and the individuals in disguise of ameliorating them.

People contradicting the notion insist that sex education always makes the learners have sex and experience it personally, once they learn about it in school. The reality is that sexual urge for any human being is a natural occurrence. When children reach to a certain age, whether they find people to educated them about sex or not, they do have natural instincts about it, and therefore if provided a chance they would surely want to satisfy their urge. This natural reaction can not in any way be related to the outcome of sex education in schools. In fact, the best time for letting sex education play its role is when the sexual urge increases and the teenagers want to find a source for its satisfaction. It offers individuals with the required knowledge so that they are careful. It is only then that they understand the consequences of sex leading to child birth as well as sexually transmitted diseases. Thus sex education is basically a warning and a caution for such children who are stepping into the phase of life where they would need to know all this.

Some people who go against the topic also argue that even though sex education exists, it has still not decreased the rate of teenage pregnancies. I would rather not go deep in to the moral issue of the topic, but it is important here to discuss and point out the shortcomings of our society. Social values that insist that being single, pregnant and teenagers is fine, is what has to be changed. Through educating the children and making them aware that it is just not ‘cool’ to be pregnant when single or teenager, and just because ‘others are also doing it’ does not in any way justify their actions, this change can be achieved. There are many sexual education programs that teach the learners about the grave consequences that can result in having early sex. This type of sex education in schools is helpful and makes the learners responsible and mature enough to understand the difference between morality and immorality.

People, who are against the notion, repeatedly state the question that why sex education is given so much importance when there are also many other issues connected with juvenile delinquencies such as drugs, drinking and aggressive bullying. No doubt, there are also many other issues to consider important enough to be taught in school for awareness but psychological researches show that behind most of the juvenile behavioral problems, one main reason is always the active sexual urge which drives the young people to indulge themselves in harmful activities like drug abuse and alcoholism. It is also commonly observed that young teenagers who indulge into such activities are unaware of proper sex education. Once they are given a true picture of sex and its consequences their mental status relaxes and they are easily able to cope with other social taboos.

Parents, who believe that sex education pollutes the minds of their children, have in large number taken their children out of schools promoting sex education. In this process of instilling in their minds their religious and family values, they forget that the media, their children are largely exposed to can also lead them astray. Sex education in schools does not in any way offers them an invitation to have open sex by making them aware of the risks; it just educates them about the matter in the best way.

Apart from educating the students about safe sex, sex education in schools is also helpful as it helps students to learn proper terminology for reproductive system, STDs and birth contraceptives rather than the street lingo that is commonly used by laymen. Sex education classes are gender based and that is why the young learners are not embarrassed and are only taught what is related to their gender. Early inclusion of classes also helps the teenagers to either become abstinent for some time or to become responsible if they are already active. Therefore, many sexual problems that occur in adulthood can be controlled if effective and apt sex education is given at the right time.

A proper sex education which is holistic, nonjudgmental and comprehensive never misleads or misguides the teenagers. Such a curriculum should be imposed in all schools around the nation; it is an answer to many social problems and conflicts. Would any parent leave their kindergarten kids to walk alone on the streets without letting them know how to walk safely? No parent would actually do that, in the same way, letting your teenager children socialize with their peers and fellows without any proper sexual education is nothing contrary to the analogy mentioned above. It is hazardous and risky for their lives. Thus, proper sex education in schools should be encouraged so that they learn all the significant facts through trained teachers, who help and supports them in these matters of highly crucial value. Sex education should be taken as a positive aspect which promises healthier and better life for the youngsters. It therefore should be taken as a subject taught in schools to enhance knowledge on the subject matter; something merely as human anatomy or biology class. Sex education should be given in all schools to educate the children for their betterment, avoiding it will only result in emotional, social and health problems.

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

ABSTRACT

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

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

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

1. Introduction

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

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

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

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

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

2. Overview

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

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

2.1. Impact on GSM Network Planning

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

2.1.1. Coverage Planning

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

2.1.2. Frequency Planning

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

2.1.3. Radio Network Planning

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

2.1.4. Channel Management

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

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

2. GPRS packet data;

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

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

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

3. Interleaving

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

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

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

4. EDGE & GPRS

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

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

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

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

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

5. Future Evolution Towards WCDMA

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

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

6. EDGE in Pakistan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

7. Benefits

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

7.1. Financial

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

7.1.1. Radio Access Network

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

7.1.2. Core Network

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

7.1.3. Antenna Sites

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

7.1.4. Spectrum Utilization

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

7.1.5. Applications

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

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

7.2. For Operator

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

7.2.1. Migration to wireless multimedia services

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

7.2.2. Improved customer satisfaction

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

7.2.3. Early deployment of 3G type applications

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

7.2.4. Quick network implementation

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

7.3. For User

7.3.1. Improved quality of service

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

7.3.2. Personal multimedia services

Attractive new types of applications and terminals will become available.

7.3.3. Potentially lower price per bit

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

8. Conclusion

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

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

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

Biker Lifestyle – Building the Perfect Custom Harley Chopper

If you ride to live, then you know what it means to own a custom Harley chopper, and I am not talking about some add-on chrome bike either; Anyone with some cash can drop by your local Harley Davidson dealer and ride away on a new Road King, or other of their other factory models.

A real custom Harley chopper is a one of kind custom built masterpiece that is created from the ground up, a 100% all original work of American beauty that reflects the personality and lifestyle of the proud owner. Hard core bikers know what I am talking about; the painstakingly hard work of creating and shaping a one of a kind statement of riding to live, and living to ride, wrapped around the perfect custom Harley chopper.

Building the perfect Harley doesn’t happen over night either, everything must be the perfect balance of frame, forks, the right rake and extension, rolling on tires and wheels that support the whole design. Every thing matters when building the perfect custom Harley, and if you are truly hardcore, then to complete the full extension of machine to man could mean 100% custom parts, engine, tank, and chrome. Nothing but the best will do.

So what does it take to build the perfect custom Harley motorcycle? First off it takes a boatload of cash, then you gonna need to find the right craftsman to hand all that cash to, and then brother you need some patients; you gonna have to sit down and talk with your craftsman, and help him understand how you are, what is important to you, so he can put pen to paper to form up some rough ideas. These ideas will be shaped and tweaked and considered until your Harley craftsman has the design that is truly you, and no one else.

Every nut, bolt, piece of molding, the right handlebars, and grips, absolutely everything will be well thought out, and nothing will be left to chance, or just thrown in. The perfect ride height that flows with a saddle that is made to fit your backsides contour, and all of the remaining pieces that are build around the heart of your custom chopper, the engine and   transmission .

With you custom Harley almost complete, there will hours and hours of assembling and disassembling, fine tuning, tweaking, and testing until the final phase will be applying the richest paint job and graphics that turn thousands of dollars of hard earned cash and countless hours of laborious love, sweat, busted knuckles, and blood into the work of beauty that is your custom Harley chopper.

OK so where do you find this custom chopper craftsman? Well I am sure you already know the answer, and this isn’t an overnight decision either, we have read every biker rag, went to all of the top bike shows, studied every custom bike we come across, and after we have researched all of our options, we pick up the phone or ride out to our craftsman and after a serious conversation or two we close the deal by shaking hands, signing some paperwork, and dropping that that big fat wad of cash we have been saving for who knows how long.

Those of you who have lived that dream of building and owning the perfect custom chopper know what I am talking about. Those of you still working on the dream will very soon know as well. The love of our lifestyle is but a reflection of how we live, carry ourselves and the bike we ride, the rest of this love is in our hearts!