Thursday, September 27, 2012

More of Louisiana state income tax refunds are steered to nonprofit ...

Taxpayers will have as many as 19 charities and nonprofit groups to donate some or all of their state income tax refunds to when the May 15 deadline rolls around, a record number of causes to choose from, state officials said this week. Lawmakers at the spring session added eight causes to the donation list, seven that will be added to the returns due in May and one for the tax returns due in 2014.

But Department of Revenue Chief of Staff Jason Decuir said when taxes are paid and refunds due, there is no guarantee that all of the 19 causes will survive.

Decuir said state law requires the department to drop checkoffs from returns that have not received at least $10,000 in donations for two consecutive years.

The status of the ones that might be dropped for next May will not be known for several weeks because the department has extended income tax-filing deadlines because of Hurricane Isaac, Decuir said.

Nine causes have been on the return for a few years, including the Military Family Assistance Fund, which helps needy families of active military personnel pay bills; the Coastal Protection and Restoration Fund, which helps finance coastal protection programs; the Louisiana Prostate Cancer Fund; the National Lung Cancer Partnership; and the Louisiana Animal Welfare Commission.

Three more were added to the returns due last May: the Louisiana Food Bank Association, the state Bicentennial Commission and Battle of New Orleans Bicentennial Commission, and the Make-a-Wish Foundation for the Texas Gulf Coast and Louisiana.

Between July 1, 2010, and June, 30, 2011, the last fiscal year for which totals are available, taxpayers donated $333,159, a record high, with donations to needy military families, coastal restoration and wildlife needs claiming about two-thirds of the take.

The Louisiana Housing Trust Fund came in dead last with just four taxpayers donating a total of $15 by June 30, 2011. The year before, 14 taxpayers donated $227 to the fund, making it a prime candidate for removal.

But department spokesman Byron Henderson said the trust fund was removed from the form after 2007 and the money that was reported the past few years comes from filing "post-2007 ... on amended returns or returns filed late."

Since the checkoff program was established by the Legislature in 1981, more than $2.6 million has been donated to charities and nonprofit groups, although seven years of data were not available, department officials said.

Greg Albrecht, the chief economist with the Legislative Fiscal Office, said the dollars given do not correspond with the "economic cycle" of taxpayers giving more in flush time and less in lean times.

"The last three years couldn't be called an up-cycle" in the state's economy, but the checkoffs generated in that period -- from $202,200 in 2009 to more than $333,000 in 2011 -- are some of the highest amounts donated in the 31-year history of the program, Albrecht said. The record low reported was in 1999, when just less than $26,300 was donated.

Albrecht said that needs of the military, coastal restoration and wildlife have widespread appeal while cancer programs are usually supported by individuals who survived a form of the disease or by their surviving relatives.

The additions for the coming tax cycle are the Louisiana Association of United Way's 211 hotline for social service needs; the Odyssey Foundation for the Arts, a Shreveport group that works to combat childhood obesity and operates a resource center for families of children with autism spectrum disorders; the Louisiana Alliance for the Advancement of End of Life Care; the Louisiana chapter of the American Red Cross; the New Opportunities Waiver Program for treatment of the handicapped; Friends of Palmetto Island State Park; and Dreams Come True Inc.

A fund to help finance detection of fraud and abuse in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program will be added to the 2014 return, Decuir said.

Sen. Neil Riser, R-Columbia, chairman of the Senate Committee on Revenue and Fiscal Affairs, and Rep. Joel Robideaux, R-Lafayette, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee -- the two legislative panels that have authority over the revenue department -- said they do not expect legislators to seek to reduce the number of causes eligible.

"I personally don't think there are too many of them," Riser said. "It is good that people are doing this."

Decuir said whatever format the Legislature wants to adopt for added checkoffs, the agency will accommodate. He said as the list of causes grows, the department might have to redesign the forms, possibly going to a special checkoff schedule separate from the return.

Ed Anderson can be reached at or 225.342.5810.


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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Insurance bill shock for safe home | Toowoomba News | Local News ...

EVEN high and dry Toowoomba home owners face huge increases to premiums on home and contents insurance as the payouts of the 2011 floods take their toll.

It?s contrary to what Suncorp told me would happen.

Do you shop around for your insurance?

EVEN high and dry Toowoomba home owners face huge increases to premiums on home and contents insurance as the billion-dollar payouts of the 2011 floods take their toll.

Insurers across the board have announced increased costs for flood-prone properties, but in many cases homes outside flood areas have also been slugged.

One Cohoe St resident has been hit with almost triple the premium she was paying 12 months ago.

She received a bill this week saying her Suncorp insurance premium had risen from $758 to $2091 within the space of a year.

"After a lot of haggling, the guy on the other end of the phone checked and agreed we weren't in a flood zone," the woman said.

"He eventually reduced the price to $1200, as long as we increased the excess for our home and contents to $1000.

"Then I rang RACQ and was offered a $950 premium with $1000 excess on home and only $300 on contents."

The woman decided to go with the latter option, but was concerned many residents would not shop around.

"If I were some frail old lady and got this bill, with no explanation in the letter, I wouldn't know what to do," she said.

Former council candidate Rosemary Morley has been in contact with the woman and forwarded her complaints to local and State Government representatives.

"She lives on the top of the Range and couldn't get flooded if she tried," Ms Morley said.

"Tripling the price is just scandalous.

"We've been loyal Suncorp customers forever, but now we're waiting in trepidation for our next bill to arrive."

A Suncorp spokesman said all insurance providers were reviewing their premiums and flood mitigation works by councils could help bring costs back down.

He said accounts were designed on a case-by-case basis using flood mapping and modelling as a guide.

Federal Member for Groom Ian Macfarlane has told residents he would follow up their complaints with insurance companies in the coming days if their homes had been wrongly declared high-risk.

"This is contrary to what Suncorp told me would happen," he said in an email.


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Address by Minister Baird to Canadian Council of Chief Executives

September 24, 2012 - Ottawa, Ontario

Check Against Delivery

I?m honoured to participate in this timely and important conference and to speak to you about the increasingly important role of the Asia-Pacific region in Canada?s foreign policy.

Our government is tremendously excited by the opportunities the region offers for our nation?s long-term prosperity.

Yes, the economic potential is immense, but we?re also excited about the evolving political transformation and the monumental demographic shifts taking place across the Asia-Pacific region. From Mumbai to Manila,? you can feel the pulse of a region undergoing profound change.

And Canada must be a part of it. It?s not a choice; it?s not an option; it?s a national imperative.

The Asia-Pacific region matters to our government because it is full of new opportunities to expand Canada?s economic prosperity.

It?s crystal clear to Prime Minister Harper and me that as Asia continues to prosper, the implications for Canada are immediate and they are profound.

But you already know that.

And, quite frankly, so too does our government.

So, rather than go on at length about why our government is making the Asia-Pacific region a foreign policy priority, I want to talk to you about what we?re actually doing in the region, about our full-scale engagement on four fronts.

The first is trade.

It?s no secret our government has been leading the most ambitious trade agenda in Canadian history.

We?re aggressive in our pursuits to build long-term prosperity for Canadians, and we don?t apologize for that.

But we?ve also learned some tough lessons.

Continued economic uncertainty requires us to improve links with growing Asian economies and to diversify our trade ties.

We know that we have a lot of work to do on this front. While we have completed nine free trade agreements since 2006, we have yet to complete one with any country in Asia.

This sobering reality is a constant reminder that this region cannot be taken for granted. We have no room for complacency.

For this reason, we have made our relations with Asia a top foreign policy priority.

We have made 77 cabinet-level or Prime Ministerial visits to the Asia-Pacific in the past three years alone. Last year, our Governor General made first-ever visits to Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore.

Under the stewardship of my esteemed colleague, the Minister of International Trade, Ed Fast, Canada is pursuing agreements with India, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, and we may pursue agreements with Thailand.

We have joined the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations with 10 countries in the Asia-Pacific region.

This strategic partnership will open new markets and create new business opportunities to create jobs, growth and long-term prosperity for all Canadians.

It will enhance trade in the Asia-Pacific region while providing greater economic opportunity for Canadian businesses. I?m confident the TPP will set a high standard that the Doha Round has failed to achieve.

We?re also looking closely at options to deepen Canada?s ties with the Pacific Alliance, a new grouping of globally oriented western hemispheric partners that includes Chile, Mexico, Peru and Colombia.

Prime Minister Harper has placed special focus on these countries. They have open economies, free trade agreements with Canada, and are committed to further liberalizing trade with one another to use their collective market as a platform to extend political and economic relations in the Asia Pacific region.

Through the Prime Minister?s resolve, strong leadership and engagement with Chinese President Hu Jintao, we signed?earlier this month?a Foreign Investment protection Agreement with China?an agreement which will underpin our important economic partnership.

That same week, I visited my Indian counterparts, and we recognized the enormous economic potential of the Indian market and are committed to concluding trade negotiations. We are working toward concluding negotiations on a free trade agreement with South Korea and are redoubling our efforts to conclude a comprehensive economic partnership with Japan.

Just this weekend, I hosted my Korean counterpart, to push the conclusion of negotiations. Our government wants an ambitious deal with that economic powerhouse. We are working to conclude one that will create jobs, growth and prosperity in Canada and Korea.

While some have suggested that Canada should consider launching all sorts of new trade talks, our government is committed to concluding the agreements already under negotiation.

So that was the first topic I wanted to talk to you about?our commitment to establishing an ambitious trade agenda in the Asia-Pacific.

The second is regional security and governance.

Just as we know that the Asia-Pacific region is critical to creating expanded economic opportunity for Canadians, we also know that economic opportunity is enhanced by stable and secure markets in regions devoid of conflict. Security and prosperity go hand in hand.

And Canada has a role to play in helping our partners in the region chart a path toward better governance. We?re making important contributions to foster peace and security in the region.

We?re actively participating in APEC?s Counter-Terrorism Task Force. Canada also co-chaired an ASEAN regional forum on counterterrorism earlier this year.

We have established regular counterterrorism consultations with China and India, to deepen our cooperation. We?re helping states prevent and respond to terrorism by providing training and equipment, technical and legal assistance.

Last year, Prime Minister Harper, while in Bangkok, announced significant funding to fight human smuggling in Thailand and Southeast Asia.

This includes funding for communications and navigation equipment for the Royal Thai police, along with specialized training.

This builds capacity in Thailand and helps fight crime before it arrives on our shores.

Through the UN Office for Drugs and Crime, Canada is supporting the creation of intelligence units in Indonesia, Cambodia and Thailand that will respond to maritime smuggling activities across Southeast Asia.

Through the Canadian International Development Agency, we?re working to prevent shocks as diverse as financial crises, natural disasters and humanitarian catastrophes before they happen. This is far less costly than responding after the fact.

That?s why, in the Philippines, Canada is helping build a people-centred early-warning system as a means of enhancing local capacity for risk reduction and strengthening community resilience to the effects of natural disasters.

In Vietnam, we?re helping to bolster national disaster prevention, response and mitigation measures.

And we?re contributing to the Asian Development Bank?s efforts to shield developing countries from the worst of the global economic crisis.

Canada, of course, will continue to respond to calls to help as we did in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake in Japan, where we provided assistance to help respond to the nuclear emergency.

We remain concerned about a much more serious nuclear threat: nuclear terrorism. It presents a significant global security challenge. We have invested in nuclear radiological security projects in the region. And we have been working with the United States on a project in Vietnam to convert one reactor to run on non-weapons nuclear materials. We?re also helping to secure these materials.

We?re making unprecedented investments in the region. And Canada will engage our counterparts on a growing range of regional and global issues because we are there, on the ground.

Our diplomats are engaged.

I?m engaged.

We?re forging new ties to become key builders of the growing governance architecture of the region.

To be an effective player in a number of global institutions, we need even deeper relations with our Asia-Pacific partners. In order to deepen these relationships, we need a firm grasp of the issues affecting the region. We need to make the most of every opportunity to protect and promote our interests and our values.

We?re committed to the region for the long term and are signalling our intent in very real ways.

We cannot afford to be a spectator. We know we have a contribution to make in shaping the future of Asia and Canada?s role in it.

I?m also pleased to confirm that Canada has formally sought membership in the ASEAN Defence Ministers? Meeting Plus, to deepen our partnerships in the region on matters of peace and security. This group has the potential to be the foremost security forum in the region. Our entry is an opportunity to play an active role in securing stability and order.

This builds on our recent decision to elevate our participation at the Shangri-La Dialogue to the ministerial level, and on our regular participation in the Rim of the Pacific Exercise. Our government is deeply committed to enhancing cooperation between partner forces and to increasing military preparedness.

Again, stability and security are vital to the region?s prosperity and to Canada?s prosperity.

That?s the second topic I wanted to talk to you about: regional security and governance.

The third is about following through on our commitments.

While we have made tremendous progress in recent years to re-energize and deepen our relations with our partners in the Asia-Pacific, we now have an obligation to sustain our engagement? to make it meaningful?to make it real.

Our government understands that trade alone will not generate long-term prosperity for Canadians.

In fact, if trade is our only focus, we risk handicapping our ability to compete in the region.

We?re fully aware that in order to succeed in the Asia-Pacific, Canada needs to be seen as a bigger player? and actually step up to the plate.

I?m conscious that Canada was once seen as not being serious enough to establish long-term relationships with the region.

I can tell you; this is changing in a big way.

My first major bilateral visit as foreign minister was to the region. I have since returned five times and will return frequently. This is more than just symbolism. We understand that this type of high-level engagement is what?s required.

On that front, we have signed bilateral and strategic dialogues with Japan, the Philippines, Indonesia and South Korea, escalating these bilateral relationships to deputy minister or ministerial level, just as we have with India.

When I visited Minister Krishna in India earlier this month, we agreed in principle to meet at the ministerial level alternately in India and Canada every single year. This speaks to the important relationship we have with a country with which we share so much in common: parliamentary democracies, our Commonwealth relationship, and a deep enduring commitment to pluralism.

Canada knows that the impact of our actions can be increased when we partner with key allies who share common values and interests.

That?s why we see tremendous value in partnering with the U.S. on some of our outreach to Asia. The U.S. remains our number one market. And we are America?s number one market. By working together, we can make a real difference in the region.

That?s why I?m excited to announce that just last week, our two governments agreed to establish a formal strategic dialogue on Asia at the senior officials? level. This is a no-brainer. By having a better understanding of our respective priorities in the Asia-Pacific, we?re in a better position to advance our own interests.

This type of engagement with our most important ally will complement and reinforce Prime Minister Harper?s discussions with the U.S. President and my own with Hillary Clinton, who has become a friend. In order to succeed in the region, we are intent on significantly strengthening cooperation with ASEAN as a group and with its individual members.

On Thursday, I met with ASEAN?s Secretary-General, Surin Pitsuwan. For the first time, our embassy in Jakarta is working with the ASEAN Secretariat to identify ASEAN-wide projects.

This builds on the $10?million ASEAN fund I announced in Cambodia earlier this summer?a fund which will respond to ASEAN?s top priority of advancing its connectivity agenda.

It is a concrete example of our commitment to making better links to Asia.

It has been suggested that our engagement in the Asia-Pacific region is threatened by our government?s efforts to cut the deficit.

In fact, we now have more diplomatic staff in Asia than anywhere else in the world.

Our government has more than doubled the number of offices Canada has in China and India. The proportion of resources we have dedicated to supporting our Asia-Pacific engagements is at all-time highs. In the months ahead, we will continue to review our priority relationships with the region and focus on the kinds of activities that will most effectively enhance Canadian interests there.

We will open trade offices and diplomatic missions where we need them now and in the future.

Our government is also determined to deepen our relationships with the business community and educational institutions. I?ve told my officials that I want to see deeper collaboration between Canadian and Asian universities.

And, I can tell you unequivocally that our renewed engagement does not represent a new chapter in Canada-Asia relations; it represents a new volume.

That was the third topic I wanted to talk to you about: following through on our commitments.

The fourth and final area of engagement is in the promotion of Canadian values, and the tangible benefits they bring.

As we look for new opportunities to create jobs, growth and long-term prosperity, we recognize that our pursuit of an activist foreign policy can be a delicate balancing act.

On one hand, in the uncertain global economy we find ourselves in, our actions need to be considered from an economic point of view.

On the other, my job is to promote Canadian values: freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law. And as you can imagine, this can be a challenge in many parts of the world.

It?s a balancing act. But when we get it right, the results are absolutely remarkable.

Take Burma as an example, where people are engaged in a struggle to claim their individual rights, to express their views, to voice their concerns and to have a say in how they are governed.

They want the chance to benefit from the rewards of this century?s open societies and their country?s immense natural wealth.

They want what we all want: hope, opportunity and the dignity to live in freedom. These are the building blocks of stability and prosperity in any society.

And Canada stands ready to help them.

I can?t believe it was only last year when I first met my Burmese counterpart and asked that his government demonstrate its stated commitment to reform through concrete actions.

When we met that July day, Canada still had the toughest sanctions of any country against the Burmese regime.

I was encouraged when, a few months later, Burmese authorities released a number of political prisoners. We saw it as promising sign but called on them to go even further.

Then the Burmese authorities allowed one of Burma?s great champions of change, Aung San Suu Kyi, to run in a by-election, releasing her from almost two decades of arrest.

This too, was a promising sign, and we remained cautiously optimistic. We were waiting to see if voting would be conducted without violence or intimidation.

In the lead up to the vote, I paid a visit to Burma and urged Burmese authorities to guarantee free and fair elections.

I also pledged Canada?s legal expertise in democratic reform and constitutional law and vowed to help build a better future for all the Burmese people.

When the elections were deemed largely free and fair, when Aung San Suu Kyi and her party won seats, and when she was sworn into parliament as an opposition leader, we were excited to formally recognize Burma?s steps down the path to democracy by suspending our sanctions.

We?re fully aware that these are just baby steps. Burma has a long road ahead. It?s a long road that we?re ready to help them navigate.

Earlier this year, I announced plans to open an embassy in Burma. Canada stands ready to assist the Burmese government in building on the democratic fundamentals, freedoms and rights of their people ? including the freedom of religion.

We?re also establishing a full-service Trade Commissioner as part of the embassy, in the full belief that Canadian companies will have an important role to play.

It?s not a free-for-all. People must go in with eyes wide open to the past. Canadian companies should be vigilant in ensuring they deal only with reputable people who have acted, and will continue to act, with integrity.

The Burma example demonstrates that Canadian values and Canadian interests are interconnected.

Canada?s principled approach helped encourage reform, which in turn helped open new economic opportunities for Canadian companies and civil society.

Our commitment to support Burma and its people in their democratic development has also served to signal to our partners in the Asia-Pacific that Canada brings a comprehensive and constructive approach to the region.

It has demonstrated that we will act quickly and decisively to deepen relations and to bring concrete resources to bear when warranted.

It has shown that we will partner closely with Canada?s private sector to expand our engagement and to make the deepening of relationships a win-win proposition.

It is in our national interest to help those people who are seeking to create a free society, to give a voice to the voiceless and to enable every individual to live in peace and security.

The bottom line is that economic opportunity, whether ours or that of those beyond our borders, rests on free, transparent and open societies.

Canada?s foreign policy will continue to support the development of these societies in the Asia-Pacific region and elsewhere. We have a shared interest in ensuring this development happens.

In the last year, I?ve learned that when it comes to effective diplomacy, personal relationships matter just as much as they do in business?perhaps more so in Asia than anywhere else.

Upon returning from my first visit to the Asia-Pacific, I spoke to John Manley and asked for advice. He said: ?Go back and go back often.?

Well, you know what?

I have.

I will.

And so will my cabinet colleagues.

This is not about collecting frequent-flyer points. It?s about recognizing that economic interests are linked to so many other factors that are deeper in many ways than a simple transactional relationship.

To be engaged for the long term, we need to be personally invested.

It?s why I personally worked with Foreign Minister Yang of China to finalize a Nuclear Cooperation Agreement.

It?s why last year, as changes were sweeping across Burma, I personally sought the advice of Indonesia?s Foreign Minister, Marty Natalegawa, a man who has an intimate understanding of that country and of the region.

It?s why I have been meeting at the leader?s level in China, Cambodia and the Philippines?there to signal that Canada is engaged for the long term.

We have planted the seeds of our future prosperity. And just as the Chinese bamboo requires years of nourishment before it sprouts from the ground, the seeds we have planted in the Asia-Pacific region will only sprout if we continue to nourish them.

Our economic prosperity depends on it.

Our national security demands it.

Our collective cause implores it.

Rest assured, our government will do its part on these fronts and more.

Thank you.


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Lindsay Lohan Hospitalized With Lung Infection

Actress was 'treated and released,' her rep tells People.
By Katie Atkinson

Lindsay Lohan
Photo: Jason Kempin/ Getty Images


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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Strengthen The Company With Corporate Team Building Events

Posted By: onetimearticles

In the competitive pace of modern business world, the corporate sector constantly hunts for ideas for its growth. The companies operating on this platform have a number of areas to pursue their fierce development and such areas are corporate relations both inside as well as outside the organisation. In the current state of affairs, every company believes in the mutual benefit growth system. This creates a huge demand for the PR & Media firms and corporate event organisers who can serve the companies with brilliant corporate terms building solutions and at the same time can strengthen the internal structure of the company.

The corporate team building events are the kind of occasion are mainly organized in-house. The main purpose of consolidating such activities is to increase the gelling amongst the teams. These events are planned and organized by the corporate event organizers who expertise in the field of developing fair public relations among the staff of the company. These events are generally loaded with the fun activities such as game, music and enjoyment, where people can get away with their work pressure and enjoy some leisure moments with their colleagues.

Companies generally consult the corporate team building events for the purpose of creating such event which can reflect the team building and strengthening of the entire workforce. Apart from these internal events, these Media and PR specialist agencies are also suitable for organising the meets and conferences between the companies. There are called the corporate events where the corporate minds can come together to discuss and share the new dimension of business and figure out the growth motives by meeting the requirements of mutual benefit section. Hence the trend of corporate meets and events on both internal and wider level is widely accepted and has a bright future ahead.

About the Author: For more information on corporate event organisers, check out the info available online; these will help you learn to find the corporate team building events

Article Source:


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Steps To Make Favicons Coming From Clipart. - PDF

Steps To Make Favicons Coming From Clipart. - PDF

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Monday, September 24, 2012

How To Root Amazon Kindle Fire HD 7 / 8.9 On Android 4.0.4 ICS


Among the first things hardcore Android enthusiasts do after unboxing their shiny new smartphone or tablet is to look for ways of gaining root access to it. ?Rooting? is the Android equivalent of ?jailbreaking? (an iOS term) which lets users run apps that can make changes to or access system level data and resources.

Now, Amazon?s Kindle Fire HD is one of the most recent new Android-based devices. It has received mostly positive feedback from critics and consumers, who praise its unbeatable price and strong digital library of music, movies, books, and TV shows. Those of you who bought it recently and like their device to run more than just usual apps will be glad to know it was rooted a few days ago. We?ve got a friendly guide ready for this after the jump.

Kindle Fire HD - 8.9, Angle

This guide assumes that you already have ADB installed and set up on your computer. If not, please do so by grabbing the Android SDK from the official website.

DISCLAIMER: Redmond Pie will not be held responsible if you damage your device in following this guide. Proceed at your own risk.

Step 1: Enable ADB from Settings > Security.

Step 2: Download from the source link at the end of this post. Extract the contents of the file and launch the executable file within it.

Step 3: Download from the source link at the end of this post. Extract its contents to reveal a system folder. Within that, you will find Superuser.apk and an su file.

Step 4: Copy and paste both Superuser.apk and su to the platform-tools folder under the directory where you have installed Android SDK.

Step 5: Connect your Kindle Fire HD to your computer.

Step 6: Launch a terminal program like Command Prompt (Windows) or Terminal (Linux). Navigate to platform-tools folder under the directory where you?ve installed the Android SDK.

Step 7: Enter the following commands one by one:

adb shell
rm -r /data/local/tmp
ln -s /data/ /data/local/tmp

adb reboot

adb shell
echo ?ro.kernel.qemu=1? > /data/local.prop

adb reboot

adb shell mount -o remount,rw /system
adb push su /system/xbin/su
adb shell
chown 0.0 /system/xbin/su
chmod 06755 /system/xbin/su
rm /data/local.prop

adb reboot

adb install Superuser.apk

If you followed the steps correctly, your Kindle Fire HD will now be rooted. To confirm, look for a SuperUser app in your apps list.

For any queries or issues you are facing, please visit the official thread on RootzWiki.

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Former Pittsburgh Pirates Owner Comes Out Of The Closet: ?I Kept My Sexuality A Secret Due To Homophobic Slurs In Baseball?

kevin mcclatchy

Another day, another sexuality reveal. Today it?s former Pirates owner, Kevin McClatchy?


Kevin McClatchy, the owner and CEO of the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1996 to 2007, has acknowledged he is gay to The New York Times, saying frequent homophobic slurs he heard in baseball circles had convinced him to keep his sexual orientation a secret.

McClatchy, an heir to a newspaper chain who sold his shares of the Pirates in 2009 only after ensuring that the club remained in Pittsburgh, said the time had finally come to speak openly about his sexuality.

?You?re not going to solve any problem until you start a dialogue,? McClatchy told The Times for an op-ed story published in Sunday?s editions. ?And there?s no dialogue right now.? McClatchy will also be the subject of Wednesday?s ?Outside The Lines? (3 p.m. ET on ESPN).

?I?ve got a birthday coming up where I?m turning old,? McClatchy, who will turn 50 in January, told The Times. ?I?ve spent 30 years ? or whatever the number is specifically ? not talking about my personal life, lying about my personal life.?

McClatchy, 49, is not the first major-league executive or former executive to come out as gay. Rick Welts, the president and chief executive officer of the Phoenix Suns, revealed his sexuality last year.

?This has been challenging to me,? McClatchy told The Times of his decision to reveal his sexual orientation. ?I probably didn?t sleep as well as I could have last night.?

McClatchy boasted of baseball?s ending of racial segregation in sports while saying he didn?t think players considered it similar to one of their own coming out as gay.

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Exposing cancer's lethal couriers

ScienceDaily (Sep. 24, 2012) ? Malignant cells that leave a primary tumor, travel the bloodstream and grow out of control in new locations cause the vast majority of cancer deaths. New nanotechnology developed at Case Western Reserve University detects these metastases in mouse models of breast cancer far earlier than current methods, a step toward earlier, life-saving diagnosis and treatment.

A team of scientists, engineers and students across five disciplines built nanochains that home in on metastases before they've grown into new tissues, and, through magnetic resonance imaging, detect their locations.

Images of the precise location and extent of metastases could be used to guide surgery or ablation, or the same technology used to find the cancer could be used to deliver cancer-killing drugs directly to the cells before a tumor forms, the researchers suggest.

The work is described in this week's online issue of the American Chemical Society journal ACS Nano.

"Micrometastases can't be seen with the naked eye, but you have to catch them at this stage -- see the exact spots they're located and see them all," said Efstathios Karathanasis, assistant professor of biomedical engineering and radiology, and senior author. "Even if you miss only one, you prolong survival, but one metastasis can still kill."

Karathanasis worked with research associate Pubudu M. Peiris, graduate student Randall Toy; undergraduate students Elizabeth Doolittle, Jenna Pansky, Aaron Abramowski, Morgan Tam, Peter Vicente, Emily Tran, Elliott Hayden and Andrew Camann; medical student Zachary Berman, senior research associate Bernadette O. Erokwu, biomedical engineering professor David Wilson, chemical engineering associate professor Harihara Baskaran; and, from the Case Western Reserve School of Medicine, radiology assistant professor Chris A. Flask and pharmacology associate professor and department vice chair Ruth A. Keri.

Tumor detection technologies fail to uncover cancer cells that have taken hold in new locations because young metastases don't behave the same as established tumors.

After a breast cancer cell enters the bloodstream, it most often stops in the liver, spleen or lungs and begins overexpressing surface molecules called integrins. Integrins act as a glue between the cancer cell and the lining of a blood vessel that feeds the organ.

"We target integrins," Karathanasis said. "Normal blood vessel walls don't present integrins towards the blood site unless cancer cells attach there."

To home in on the cancer marker, the researchers first needed to build a nano device that would drift out of the central flow of the blood stream and to the blood vessel walls. The most common shape of nanoparticles is a sphere, but a sphere tends to go with the flow.

Karathanasis' team tailored nanoparticles to connect one to another much like a stack of Legos. Due to its size and shape, the oblong chain tumbles out of the main current and skirts along vessel walls.

The exterior of the chain has multiple sites designed to bind with integrins. Once one site latches on, others grab hold. Compared to nanospheres, the chains' attachment rate in flow tests was nearly 10-fold higher.

To enable a doctor to see where a relative few cancer cells sit in a sea of healthy cells, the scientists incorporated fluorescent markers and, to make the nanochains more visible in magnetic resonance imaging, four links made of iron oxide.

Next, the team tested the chains in a mouse model of an aggressive form of breast cancer that metastasizes to sites and organs much the same way it does in humans.

From established research, they knew metastases would be present five weeks into the modeling. They injected nanochains into the bloodstream and, within an hour, two imaging techniques -- fluorescence molecular tomography and MRI's -- showed where traveling cancer cells had established footholds, primarily in the liver, lungs and spleen.

The metastases located using the nanochains ranged from .2 to 2 millimeters across.

Later imaging at high magnification showed that these metastatic cancer cells were found mostly in the blood vessel walls, before they'd had time to grow into organ tissue.

"Once metastatic cells move into the tissue, develop their own microenvironment, and grow into a 1-centimeter lesion, it typically indicates a late stage of metastatic disease which has an unfavorable outcome," Karathanasis said.

According to the American Cancer Society, the 5-year survival rate of breast cancer patients sharply decreases from 98 percent in cases that catch the disease when it has produced only a localized primary lesion to 23 percent in cases in which distant large metastases have grown.

Now that they've proved the concept works, the team is bringing clinical radiologists on board led by Vikas Gulani, assistant professor of radiology. Their job is to help with a new study, calculating how much new cancer the technology finds and misses.

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Story Source:

The above story is reprinted from materials provided by Case Western Reserve University, via EurekAlert!, a service of AAAS.

Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. For further information, please contact the source cited above.

Journal Reference:

  1. Pubudu M. Peiris, Randall Toy, Elizabeth Doolittle, Jenna Pansky, Aaron Abramowski, Morgan Tam, Peter Vicente, Emily Tran, Elliott Hayden, Andrew Camann, Aaron Mayer, Bernadette O. Erokwu, Zachary Berman, David Wilson, Harihara Baskaran, Chris A. Flask, Ruth A. Keri, Efstathios Karathanasis. Imaging Metastasis Using an Integrin-Targeting Chain-Shaped Nanoparticle. ACS Nano, 2012; : 120924135147007 DOI: 10.1021/nn303833p

Note: If no author is given, the source is cited instead.

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of ScienceDaily or its staff.


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Sunday, September 23, 2012

Student Loan, Ballooning Debt

My original loan balance for my Bachelors of Science program in Computer Information Systems was approximately $42,000.00.

As a result of outsourcing I was laid off as a Software Development Project Manager making a six-figure income.? I spent the next three years or so seeking employment in the field I passionately pursued to no avail.? Ironically the CEO of the corporation I worked for received a nice 7 digit bonus while Americans were displaced from the work force.

As I fell further and further behind in repayment of the student loans to Sallie Mae, Sallie Mae called incessantly in the morning, afternoon, and evening and then proceeded to call my references to further embarrass me.? They then offered forbearance after forbearance after forbearance.? Never explaining that interest would continue to accrue on the account.

For some reason I am not eligible to take advantage of current extremely low Federal interest rates of approximately 4.0% but I am forced to adhere to 8.0% rate.

As I stated earlier, the original loan in it?s entirety was approximately $42,000.00.? The capitalized interest amount is approximately $78,000.00 for a totally repayment of approximately $120,000.00.? By the time the loan is totally paid off I will have paid in excess of $250,000.00 to borrow $42,000.00.

I would also like to address the fact that while Sallie Mae Corporation continues to pillage the American people with their deceptive practices, each and every time I call Customer Service for the organization I am forced to deal with a representative from the ?Asian Pacific? who will never clearly identify where they are in the world nor can they be understood.? Seems like and interesting formula to me.? Fix? the interest rate of the Student Loans to a hard 8% and outsource the Customer Service department to a place in the world that is not identified, therefore taking jobs away from Americans and increasing the bottom line for CEO?s to enjoy seven digit income and bonus packages.

I am fearful that this debt will go into default.



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Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer after Saturdays 2915 win over UAB Our explosiveness is obviously nonexistent...

SbB LIVE FROM LA (Sep 22, 2012 @ 9:16pm ET)

8:00 PM: Washington Nationals pitcher Gio Gonzalez after winning his 20th game of the season: " This is like a dream, and I feel like I'm still sleeping in it."

7:45 PM: After defeating Missouri 31-10 on Saturday, South Carolina QB Connor Shaw said that those who picked the Tigers to win were "disrespectful": "We wanted to prove what the SEC was all about."

7:30 PM: Miami began Saturday with a 19-0 run against Georgia Tech, then the Yellow Jackets went on a 36-0, but the Hurricanes finished with a 23-0 run to win 42-36 over GT in OT.

7:15 PM: The full transcript of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse trial was released Friday, revealing that Sandusky did not testify after his son Matt told prosecutors that he had abused him. Sandusky's defense attorneys had also asked for a mistrial & to be withdrawn from the case.

7:00 PM: ESPN baseball reporter Buster Olney tweets: "Saw Jackie Robinson movie trailer, and they have JR doing Dante Bichette bat-flip after a HR. Please, for the love of history, take it out."

6:45 PM: Matt Jones of NWA Media notes that in tonight's game against Rutgers, it will be the first time Arkansas has worn white helmets since 1951.

6:30 PM: A five-year-old Florida boy who fell off the side of a 10-foot high diving board at Lake Brantley High School has died from his injuries.

6:15 PM: The parents of former NHL player Derek Boogaard have reportedly filed a $9.8 million lawsuit against the NHLPA over the death of their son.

6:00 PM: The Baltimore Orioles won their 16th straight extra-innings game by defeating the Boston Red Sox 9-6 in 12 innings Saturday.

5:45 PM: Philadelphia Eagles receiver DeSean Jackson & Baltimore Ravens cornerback Cary Williams were each fined $10,000 for their on-field scuffle during last Sunday's game. Three other players from the game were each fined $7,875 for late hits.

5:30 PM: After a long feud with Al Davis, former Oakland Raiders RB Marcus Allen will light the ceremonial torch in honor of the former team over before Sunday's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

5:15 PM: During Saturday's game against Miami, Georgia Tech kick returner Orwin Smith committed a safety by reaching out to the 1-yard line but kneeling in the end zone.

5:00 PM: Florida defeated Kentucky 38-0 Saturday for the Gators' 26th straight win over the Wildcats. It was also Florida's first shutout of an SEC foe since defeating Mississippi State 52-0 in 2001.

4:45 PM: Old Dominion QB Taylor Heinicke threw for 730 yards & 5 TDs in the Monarchs' 64-61 win over New Hampshire Saturday. Heinicke finished six yards short of the NCAA all-time single-game passing record set by Sam Durley of Eureka College earlier this month.

4:30 PM: The Washington Nationals' Gio Gonzalez became the first MLB pitcher to win 20 games this season in Saturday's 10-4 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers.


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World T20: India, England in battle for supremacy

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Saturday, September 22, 2012

Accounting services | sunspot cycle

E-accounting cut the time it takes to move the order to the exchange between the client and the accounting firm. The perfect people moved richer resources and faster. CPA clients procurement documents, and has a dynamic, any information can be accessed at any time from the client. E-billing and online charging works on the Internet, when you want to work accounting services, you might have more customers, or you're for other people or organizations. The online billing system also allows the CPA client database access any site. The Far missing location in the Internet a few clicks. Time-sensitive financial data is easily obtained by accounting firm.The speed and cost of other services, the online billing achieve better customer service and additional reliability and confidence. The accounting firm has recently been exposed to collude in any of a very large customer commitment to serious financial crhyme. In this case, the newly created clearer. Online accounting, but also to more appropriate communication between the company and its customers. Since the client has more immediate access to information and to time sensitive documents, online accounting practice, problems and defects can more easily find and solve. This will translate into increased profits, and better customer.Customers to get the perfect service, they get the money they spent more valuable. It is usually quite cheap business hiring and supervision of its internal bookkeeping and accounting outsourcing. Investment business owner can be as high as 30% for any client. Online accounting service is great. Accounting firms now charge a fee (fixed on a monthly basis) almost five times the average monthly fee (based on the charge by the hour), they charge. Under normal circumstances, the various online accounting processes for their users, they can choose their favorite functions menu is modified. Online accounting, accounting and bookkeeping, is an outstanding tool to help accounting firms as well as customers.Do you want the solution to all your financial, accounting and bookkeeping problems? If so Outsourcing bookkeeping services. Your goal is a full range of financial, accounting and bookkeeping services outsourcing services. Bookkeeping financial accounting is the easiest process, any company can be contacted at any other time.- Become part of bookkeeping service outsourcing benefits, you will get a chance to save your money, you can also save your valuable time, you can be for your business development. The output of the accounting software for each bookkeeping very easy to deal with.Outsourcing bookkeeping service provider business opportunities all companies. Whenever they small, large, large, very large, national or international company of any area of the service provider. Because the site of any type of container companies need accounting and financial services, or any supplier resources. Professional bookkeeping services provides accounting and financial services provided to you for your business development and the development of the tourism business. Outsourcing bookkeeping service company can understand your accounting and financial condition, check the status of the company, it is able to solve and management accounting activities.


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Stretches All Desk Workers Should Do Today | Greatist


Stretch on the Job

Illustration by Shannon Orcutt

We know sitting at a desk all day is bad for us. But not everyone has a company gym membership or a workweek that allows for morning and afternoon fitness classes. So here are six stretches that loosen the muscles made most stiff by sitting. No gym equipment or extended lunch hours required!

1. Neck and Shoulders. Hunching over keyboards strains the cervical spine and stiffens our shoulders. On the next bathroom break, reach your arms behind you, and interlock your fingers so that your palms face. Lift your arms so you feel a stretch in your chest and front shoulders. Draw your chin down to avoid crunching the neck. (Of course, feel free to do this at your desk. Tell anyone who gawks to follow suite.)

2. Hip Flexors & Iliopsoas. These muscle groups are at an especially high risk of tightening after long days at a desk. Here?s a morning and after-work stretch to keep ?em lengthy. Kneel on the floor (top of the shins and feet as your base, torso straight). Pick up your left leg and place the left foot on the floor, keeping the knee directly above ankle. Keep both hips horizontally aligned as you move your torso toward the wall in front of you, gliding the knee forward. You may feel a stretch in your calf and Achilles. Place the hands on the top of the left thigh for support. Hold for 30 second. Switch sides. Repeat.

3. Abdominals. Reach your arms above you and lean slightly back so your chest and throat point towards the sky. If you have difficulty balancing, keep your gaze forward or down to the floor. Repeat on the other side.

4. Obliques. From the original hip flexor stretch (low lunge, left foot forward, right knee and shin on the floor) reach your left arm to your side and touch the fingers to the floor or stack of books for support. Curve your right arm over your head reaching the right fingertips over the left side of your body. Hold for 20 seconds. Breathe. See if you can stretch a bit further, then return to a straight spine. Switch legs and repeat on the other side.

5. Lower Back & Lats. Sitting for too long rounds out our spine in all the wrong places. The muscles surrounding the lumbar spine get particularly weak while the hamstrings can go slack. Lie on your stomach on the floor or on a mat. Hard version: Lift your legs off the floor. Easy version: Keep the legs on the floor. Bend your elbows and interlock your fingertips behind your neck (thumbs on either side of your neck, pointing towards your upper back). Lift your chin, look ahead. Inhale while lifting your torso as far off the floor as you can, albeit gently, by tightening the muscles along your spine. Lower down on an exhale. Repeat 10 to 15 times.

Now bend your knees and sit back on your heels (tops of the feet still touching the floor). Rest your torso on your thighs and your forehead on the floor or a pillow. Reach your arms out in front of you, walk the fingertips forward and retract the shoulder blades down the back. Keep your butt on your heels as you pick up your forehead and walk your hands over to the left, then to the right to throw in a lat stretch.

6. Whole Back/Spine & Hamstrings. De-stress your spine after it?s been chair-bound all day. Lie on your back, feet on the floor, knees bent. Draw both knees into the chest and gently rock. Then extend the left leg straight on the floor as you keep the right knee hugged towards the chest. Take a few breaths here and enjoy the hamstring stretch. Then, keep your right shoulder on the floor and guide the right knee across the midline of your body, towards the floor, with your left hand. It?s okay if your knee doesn?t touch the floor. Stop if you feel any pain at all. After 30 seconds, draw that knee back to center. Switch legs and repeat on the other side.

This article was approved by Greatist Experts?Jeanmarie Paolillo and Linda LaRue.

Do you ever stretch in the office? What are some of your favorite stretches? Let us know in the comments below!


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Yes, Your Child is Difficult

How do you know when your child is truly a difficult child, and how do you know when you?re just complaining about the ordinary burdens of parenting?

My wife recently penned a reflection on Dr. James Dobson?s?The Strong-Willed Child?and Dobson?s recent filming, which she attended in San Diego, of an updated series of videos on good Christian parenting. ?It was gratifying that Dobson himself read the piece and reached out in appreciation.

But it reminded me of our first year as parents, a tremendously difficult year and the hardest year we?ve ever experienced on our marriage. ?One thing that made the experience worse was interacting with friends ? dear friends, good people, but people who either did not yet have children or whose own children were relatively easy ? who couldn?t understand why we were having such a tough time.

My wife ? since mothers seem to have a particular fondness for judging one another ? took the brunt of it. ?Some of our friends wondered openly: Why was she so depressed and anxious? ?Couldn?t she handle motherhood? ?If it was so easy for?them, why did it seem to be so hard for her? ?Our daughter did not have grave health problems. ?She did not have special needs. ?How hard could she be?

The answer is: my wife is an excellent mother, but our daughter was extremely, extremely hard.

Don?t let the sweet smile fool you. Our daughter at three: beautiful, joyful?and a world-class fighter.

Some of our friends had babies who, a couple weeks after birth, slept from 7pm to 7am every night. ?If they had to wake their kids to eat, the kids ate contentedly and went right back to sleep. ?Apart from the times they were awoken to feed, some of these babies never ? not once?? awoke in the middle of the night. ? Their kids rarely cried, never got sick, and pretty much went along with whatever their parents wanted them to do. ?They could bring their baby to a restaurant, sit him in a high chair, and he would sit happily and quietly for an hour or more while the parents visited with friends over lunch. ?They could drive long distances and their children would play quietly in the carseat. ?They took their children to baseball games and the perfect little tykes just slept on their bellies in the Baby Bjorns for the whole game.

This was an entirely different experience from our own.

Don?t get me wrong. ?I am incredibly proud of our first daughter. ?She?s brilliant and beautiful, articulate and athletic, caring and courageous. ?Since I?m about to tell you about her more difficult qualities, permit me to boast a little first, with just two examples: she started walking at seven months old, and was speaking in paragraphs when other kids her age were not yet speaking at all. ?She?s a stud, and I can?t wait to see what she becomes. ?The same iron will that makes her a difficult child can, properly directed, make her an enormously interesting and accomplished adult.

Our first daughter had colic, a milk allergy, and reflux. ?She screamed for hours every day and every night. ?If you took her for an hour-long drive, she would scream for the entire hour. ?Since she ate too little during the day, and could not eat too much in one sitting without experiencing burning pain in her esophagus, she awoke multiple times to feed every night. ?We did everything just as the doctors told us to do, but when you?re holding your daughter for the third time that night, and she?s been screaming yet again for thirty minutes after eating the bottle, you?re exhausted, your nerves are frayed, and you fear that something is desperately wrong with your child. ?The quickest way to get her to stop crying was to shut yourself inside a pitch-black bathroom, turn the hair dryer to the loudest possible setting, bring about five binkies with you (because she would use one for a while, toss it aside, and scream until you gave it back), and rock her in your arms with the hair dryer blaring for thirty minutes. ?Then, of course, when you laid her back in the crib, she?d wake up, stand up and start screaming all over again. ?You?d get her to sleep again, but then she?d awake again, sometimes three, four, or five times. ?Due to her reflux, we had to hold her upright for half an hour after every bottle, which meant that she never learned to fall asleep by herself.

Since eating was painful, she gnashed viciously at the breast, and once we learned of the milk allergy and the reflux we decided to move her to formula and weigh it down with oatmeal flakes. ?Since my wife and I both worked, we took her to a friend of ours from church who watched a couple kids. ?The first day we took her there, she cried all day long. ?She stood by the couch, literally, all day long and cried. ?Our friend Grace smiled and said, ?They all cry at first. ?I?m not worried.? ?By the end of the week, she had a bedraggled, soldering-on expression and said ?She just needs to get adjusted.? ?By the end of the second week, with our daughter still crying all friggin? day long, Grace was trying to hold on. ?By the end of the third week, and then especially by the end of the fourth week, with our daughter still crying all day long, we all suspected this just wasn?t going to work. ?Thankfully, the next week, our daughter finally stopped fighting and started playing with the other kids.

However, no longer breast feeding, being around other kids, walking so early, and determined to put her mouth around everything she could find (from toys and furniture to grass and rocks, sand and sticks and bark, handrails and park benches), just as her reflux started to get more bearable she launched into a series of illnesses, back-to-back-to-back-to-back ad infinitum. ?On the rare occasions when she was not sick, she was teething ? and, whether sick or teething, sleeping again was a nightmare.

My favorite fighter.

Everything just seemed extreme with her. ?She blasted out her diapers ? any diapers ? with great regularity. ?She refused to eat a bottle the normal way, drenching her clothes in milk almost every time. ?If we took a plane flight in the evening, thinking she would sleep, she screamed the whole time and made us the object of every passenger?s wrath. ?If we dared take her to a restaurant, she could not sit in her chair for more than a couple minutes before you had ? you really had no choice ? to take her out and walk her around the restaurant or up and down the street, to keep her entertained. ?If she played on the playground, she was determined to do all the dangerous things she saw the older kids doing, in spite of the fact that she was only nine months old. ?If she knew you wanted her to do something, she absolutely 100% refused. ?If she pooped in the bathtub, she did it with conviction, and then did it again the next night for good measure.

All along the way, we had friends who wondered why we weren?t calling them to hang out. ?They wondered why Joyce seemed so tired and distressed. ?They wondered why I had to stop playing baseball, because my wife was sinking under. ?They wondered why we didn?t just get a babysitter, when the truth was that few babysitters were capable or willing to handle our girl. ?When she was playing, she was luminous and full of joy. ?When she was sweet, she was tender and fierce and loving. ?But most of the time, she was just extremely difficult. ?And top of everything there?s the anxiety and guilt and self-doubt. ?Is something wrong with her? ?Is something wrong with us?

One affirming moment came shortly after we had gone to live with our dear friends, Jeff and Tara Barneson. ?We were talking with friends, and I said something about how difficult our daughter was. ?For the thousandth time, we heard the trite: ?Yeah, parenting is tough.? ?Tara, who had lived with us for a couple weeks by that point, broke in and said: ?No, seriously. ?Their daughter is DIFFICULT.? ?She was not criticizing our daughter; she was supporting us.

Compared to our first daughter, our second is a total walk in the park. ?The contrast is absolutely ridonkulous. ?And now our first daughter has turned four ? and she?s exquisite and vivacious, passionate and fearless, strikingly bright and so articulate you can forget you?re talking to a child. ?But she will still fight you on?everything. ?She?ll fight you because she doesn?t want to wear socks, then because she wants to wear the shoes she?s not allowed to wear to school, then because she wants to wear shorts on a fifty-degree day, then because she wants to change her shirt for the fourth time that day, then because she wants to have ice cream for breakfast, then because she doesn?t want you to put her hair up, then because you?re taking too long to put her hair up, then because she doesn?t want to take her allergy medicine ? then because you?re being mean and she wants to ?be the boss??and that?s all before 7am.

Of course, my parents can tell all the same stories. ?I was the same way. ?She?s a daddy?s girl because we have so much in common, and I feel like I understand her even when no one else does.

She?s just a ferocious fighter. ?That?s the way God made her. ?And I?m so proud of that and so excited by it. ?She has physical and mental talents, and the spiritual qualities, to be extremely successful ? whatever ?success? will mean for her. ?So even when I hate it, I love it. ?I?m trapped sometimes between wanting to change her behavior but not wanting to change her basic character.

But don?t tell me she?s not difficult. ?And for all of you out there who feel pangs of guilt when other parents look at you with some mixture of incomprehension and disappointment when you say your child is very trying, know this. ?You are not alone. ?Some children are more difficult than others. ?And take comfort in knowing that sometimes the most difficult and trying children make for the most dynamic and talented adults. ?Train her up in the way she should go, and wait to see what God hath wrought.


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Friday, September 21, 2012

Looxcie HD brings 1080p and WiFi streaming to a helmet near you

Looxcie HD brings 1080p and WiFi video to an earlobe near you

Looxcie isn't just a luxurious sounding word (and terrible pun), it's also a maker of life-sharing head-mounted cameras. Up until now, it would only let you capture your life in a rather pedestrian 480p, but the new Looxcie HD does away with that, letting you grab that bike ride in full glorious high-definition. Other additions include WiFi (previous iterations relied on Bluetooth) to hook up to your Android or iOS device with, a larger 1,200 mAh battery and improved low light performance. Owners of previous models might spot that with new features comes a new, larger form. The price of evolution it seems. The price for the device, on the other hand, is $279, or $329 if you opt for the "Explore" bundle, which incidentally you can pre-order now. Peep at the source for more.

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Looxcie HD brings 1080p and WiFi streaming to a helmet near you originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 21 Sep 2012 12:21:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Review: iPhone evolves into jewel-like '5'

A customer tries on her new iPhone 5 at the Apple store in Hong Kong Friday, Sept. 21, 2012. Apple's Asian fans jammed the tech juggernaut's shops in Australia, Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore to pick up the latest version of its iPhone. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

A customer tries on her new iPhone 5 at the Apple store in Hong Kong Friday, Sept. 21, 2012. Apple's Asian fans jammed the tech juggernaut's shops in Australia, Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore to pick up the latest version of its iPhone. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

Noah Meloccaro, right, compares his older iPhone 4s to the new iPhone 5 held by Both Gatwech, outside the Apple Store in Omaha, Neb., Friday, Sept. 21, 2012 on the first day the iPhone 5 was offered for sale. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

(AP) ? If you run your finger over one of the joints where plastic and metal meet on the rim of the iPhone 5, you feel just the slightest hint of the seam. The materials have been machined to blend into one another with astonishing, jewel-like precision.

This is the essence of Apple: creating a product that looks and feels so good, you just know it has to be good.

The iPhone 5 lives up to its looks in the sense that it's the best iPhone yet. It's also the biggest overhaul to the line since the release of the 3G, four years ago. Compared to other high-end smartphones, however, it's more of a catch-up move.

The iPhone has a winning recipe already, and Apple's upgrades are careful and thoughtful. Beyond the beauty and thinness of it, there are no new hardware features you can't get with other phones.

For instance, the screen is bigger, but not big. It's the first time Apple is increasing the screen size of the phone, from a diagonal of 3.5 inches to one of 4 inches. The width has stayed the same, so the entire increase has come from making the screen taller.

Other smartphone makers have increased their screen sizes in the last few years, after realizing that a big screen is something customers like ?and something Apple had refused to provide. Samsung's flagship Galaxy S III has a 4.8-inch screen, for instance.

The taller screen means that third-party apps will be hemmed in by black bars until the developers get around to updating them for the new dimensions.

The other major upgrade in the iPhone 5 is that it now comes with the ability to connect to "LTE" networks in the U.S., Canada, and a few other countries. These are the latest, fastest data networks, and they'll make a huge difference, at least for Sprint and Verizon customers, who have been stuck on the relatively slow, older networks of those carriers (though Sprint customers will be hard pressed to find any LTE towers ? the company has just started building out the network.) For AT&T customers, the difference will be noticeable but not as big.

When it comes to LTE, Apple is trailing the pack. The company skipped the first generation of LTE-capable chips, which went into competing phones as far back as a year and a half ago, because they were too power-hungry. Now that the chips have improved and LTE is a near-standard feature in smartphones, Apple is coming on board.

Apple is pushing the envelope on screen technology by adopting a display that eliminates one glass layer. Ahead of Apple's announcement, company watchers were betting it would use the space freed up by the new technology to increase the battery size for the benefit of LTE users, keeping the size of the phone the same.

But Apple has actually made the phone considerably thinner, while keeping the stated battery life at an impressive eight hours of LTE usage (I did not have enough time with the phone to test this claim).

This, along with obsessive attention to fit and finish, makes for an exquisitely tight, light phone that seems perfect for the hand. The iPhone 4S suddenly looks chunky in a Stalinist way, and the Galaxy S III looks cheap and plasticky.

The phone is really too pretty to cover with a case ? I'd get a good insurance plan for it instead. The glass on most of the back has been replaced with matte aluminum, which will probably scratch and wear considerably, but it should be less fragile than the notoriously breakage-prone backs on the 4 and 4s.

One victim of the slimmed-down body is the old connection port. It was just too big to survive. Apple has replaced it with a much smaller port it calls "Lightning." This means the iPhone 5 won't fit into your iPod dock. Old charging cables won't work, either. You'll have to buy an exquisitely overpriced $29 adapter from Apple or wait for knock-offs.

It would have been nice, and uncharacteristic, of Apple to go with the flow and use the micro-USB port every other phone uses these days. That way, you could charge iPhones with other chargers, and vice versa. The Lightning port is better than micro-USB because it provides a deeper, more secure fit and it's reversible, you don't have to worry about whether you're trying to fit in the cable upside-down. But as the number of gadgets in the home keeps rising, standardizing on one port would have been welcome help with managing the chargers.

There's something else that now has a deeper, more secure fit: the new earbuds. These "EarPods" are completely redesigned. Instead of broad, round speakers, they have small, oval outlets that beam sound into the ear canal. The sound quality is outstanding. They can be bought separately for $29, and this time, that price tag looks modest.

The hardware updates mean that I'm still comfortable recommending the iPhone as the best phone out there. They don't break much new ground, but they support the things that really set the iPhone apart: the slick, reliable operating system and the multitude of high-quality, third-party applications. There's a reason Apple can sell two-year-old phones (like the "4'') while other manufacturers retire theirs after a year or less. The iPhone phenomenon is about so much more than the phone.


Peter Svensson can be reached at

Associated Press


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