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How 3D Printing Technology is Making Waves

how 3d technology is making waves

Imagine a world where we have the capability to generate solid, three dimensional objects from a specially designed printer connected to a computer. Although it might sound like this idea …Read More »

How to Get More from Your Business Credit Card

insight to how to get more from your business card

A business credit card is one of the easiest ways to lay the foundations for a positive credit history. It’s easier to get accepted for a business credit card than …Read More »

Decision-Making Techniques to Keep You On Top

decision making techniques

When you’re a business owner, decision making can be even more stressful than usual. If you want to be a superior leader, decision making is an essential skill. Knowing how …Read More »

New Exciting Technologies of 2018

new exciting technology of 2018

Technology is always changing, and one of the best things about new technology is that products are always getting better, offering a higher level of convenience and more intuitive. From …Read More »

2018 Mobile Marketing Trends

2018 mobile marketing trends

The consumer market is shifting in favor of mobile users at an unprecedented rate. Mobile devices are the most popular products for accessing websites, apps, and e-commerce sites. As we …Read More »

Security Features of the New iPhones

security features of the new iphone

The new iPhone XS and XR have finally dropped and with them, an abundance of security features. Thanks to the latest iOS update, iOS 12, your phone is safer than …Read More »

Why Team Building Exercises Work

Time and again you read about the many benefits of team building and why it matters in the modern workplace. These may seem like frivolous activities, but there is actual data to prove otherwise. In fact, when team building exercises are regularly incorporated into an office environment, especially ones that include problem-solving, communication, and decision making, you create truly engaged employees and teams who find purpose in their work.

These are the employees who contribute to your ultimate success and end up boosting employers’ bottom line. And this isn’t just because they’re more productive. From a recent Gallup poll, “Teams that work together well (teams in the top 25%) incur lower healthcare costs.” This is likely connected with other studies that show how sitting in a chair for more than 8 hours a day has a direct negative impact on health.

Instead, separating long working hours with team building exercises can give employees a chance to take the breaks they need and “refresh.” If you want to reap some of these amazing benefits for your team, here’s how to get started with team building exercises at work.

When (and How) to Start

When: We’ll start by saying that every employee has their own work schedule and personal priorities. It’s best if you, as a manager, try to work around their time and not cause unneeded interruptions in workflow. That being said, try to get a majority to agree to a time and day that works best for them, and try to schedule activities in advance so no productivity is lost. For example:


  • Every Wednesday during lunch
  • Every other Friday at 1 pm
  • Every Tuesday and Thursday at 10 am


How: To set up team building exercises, you can assign individuals to groups. Every time the group meets, you can choose to “switch it up” by dividing them a different way. For instance, splitting up groups by department or floor. Switching groups or partners frequently and randomly helps you avoid office “cliques” afterward.  

Finally, make the time enjoyable. Your office space may allow for couches and more comfortable seating than desk chairs. Bring food and beverages. Share a meal or even a small snack. The success of this project is entirely dependant on the participants, and if they’d rather be at their desks working, then everyone is missing the point.

Workplace Clubs and Sponsored Teams

This isn’t so much a team building “exercise” as it is a weekly gathering for discussion. Clubs and teams are a great way to promote team building, however, especially since they are voluntary and all participants want to be there. Employees can choose a club by interest (books, photography, Yoga, knitting, volunteering, etc.) or by sport.

If your company chooses to sponsor a league by paying their registration fee, your brand can be advertised on team t-shirts or sweaters. Popular sports include basketball, bowling, soccer, or running. Partner with local charities for marathons and half marathons to raise money or awareness for a cause they feel close to.

Egg Drop

This is a team competition and a fun icebreaker for groups just getting to know each other. First, you will need at least two teams of people. Each team is given one raw egg and random office supplies to work with.

Office supplies could be anything, including paper, tape, utensils from the break room, straws, pens, or rubber bands. Once the supplies are distributed, start a timer for 20 minutes. The teams have that much time to build a contraption or package that would help protect the egg from an 8-foot drop. When the timer goes off, take all of the packages and one by one, drop them 8 feet from the ground. Teams with unbroken eggs will be declared the winner!

Two Truths and a Lie

This game allows co-workers to know each other better on a more personal level. First, the entire group starts out by sitting in a circle. Each person will take turns telling two true facts about themselves and one lie, in any random order. However, they cannot reveal which is a lie.

After sharing, everyone else must “vote” on which statement they believe is a lie. If they are right, they can have one point. After every person in the circle has had a turn, the person(s) with the highest number of correct guesses, or points, wins.

There is also another version of the game Two Truths and a Lie in which the statements are written down on pieces of paper. Once they are all written down, everyone in the group must “mingle” for 20 minutes while to try to figure out who is lying. Or they can spend time convincing others of their own lie. When the conversations are over, then the voting can begin.

Scavenger Hunt

This can be an individual or team challenge. While it is possible to conduct a scavenger hunt in the office, it’s best to try this outdoors since there may be some running involved. Make a list of tasks for each person or team to complete within a limited time frame. They should remember to bring their smartphones because they must snap a photo of someone from their team completing the task. The tasks could be as silly as you want, such as “Give a stranger a high five!”

Once the list is checked off, everyone can meet back at the office to view the photos if they wish. Points are awarded for each list item, so the more difficult the task, the more likely they are to win.

Drawing Back to Back

This is an interesting game of interpretation. Have two people sitting back to back in their office chairs. One person will be given an image or picture, and the other person will have to draw it with a pencil and paper. They can’t look at the image, though – their teammate in the other chair must describe it for them. Set up a timer to keep the game moving fast. At the end of the round, it’s interesting to see how the picture has been interpreted.

Lunch Breaks are SO Important at Work

According to historians, the lunch break, as we know it in America today, originated in New York, which makes sense as the Big Apple has been at the forefront of large American manufacturing hubs for decades. The focus of people’s daily lives was work, and lunch was the meal that had to fit conveniently into their work schedules. As the first meal eaten outside the home, lunch led to some new developments in scheduling for it. It had to be fast, so workers could have time to eat before returning to work. It had to be affordable, so they didn’t spend too much of their earnings on it. These changes led to innovations such as the birth of drugstore lunch counters, soda fountains, spreadable peanut butter, and wrapped sliced bread.

These days, lunch has become a less honored tradition, with many employees not even leaving their desk for lunch, and only 29 percent of workers receiving a full hour’s lunch break. But if you are one of the many Americans who tend to skip lunch, read on, because you might be surprised to find out that your munch break is much more important than you realize.

Why your Lunch Breaks are a Crucial Part of your Work Day

If you think you are more productive by skipping lunch, think again. Your brain functions and your capacity to perform complex tasks depend upon the type of food you eat. For example, if you stop for a greasy burger on your lunch break, you will be struggling to concentrate for the rest of the day. The results will be even worse if you decide to skip lunch altogether because you’re weight-watching; those calories you’re depriving yourself of are necessary for proper functioning of your body!

Boost your Brain with Better Food

To power-up your mental energy for the rest of the day, your lunch should be packed with foods that nourish and support your body’s demands. Consider creating lunches that include such fare as oily fish, fruit, and veggies, and a bite or two of dark chocolate. These are the foods that stimulate brain activity, and they will also help you to stay productive until the end of your shift.

Take a Proper Lunch Break

Far too many people are spending their lunch breaks at their desk. That is not a break at all. A proper lunch break is one that takes you out of the environment where you normally work, where you have been sitting all morning and will return to for the afternoon. If you don’t take a proper break, you will come to the inevitable crash fatigue sooner or later. Twenty minutes to an hour away from your workspace will help you maintain energy levels through the afternoon. It will also help you focus on the rest of your tasks. The longer you try to work without taking a break, the longer it’s going to take you to get your work done.

Be Mindful of your Time

By now, most people are aware of the practice of mindfulness. Linked to yoga and meditation, it means giving your mind a break. It has many positive effects including:

  • Promoting general well-being
  • Improving your working memory
  • Lowering your blood pressure
  • Destressing your mind and body
  • Reducing your risk of depression
  • Helping you sleep better
  • Boosting your energy
  • Helping you concentrate
  • How Food Fuels Your Brain

Your brain needs a constant supply of energy to keep it working, so skipping lunch is going to lead to a serious slump in your productivity.

The best thing you can do for your brain is eat a lunch which provides a well-balanced combination of carbohydrates, protein, and fat.

Numerous studies have shown that carbs are the brain’s primary source of energy, and these same studies reveal that your memory function improves shortly after eating carbs, particularly slow-release carbohydrates like vegetables and whole grains. But don’t be tempted to skimp on the protein and fat, because they have important roles too. According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the optimal brain-boosting lunch must contain all three dietary staples: carbs, protein (preferably in the form of lean meat, soy protein, eggs, beans or nuts), and healthy fats like avocado or olive oil.

Increase Your Workplace Satisfaction

Okay, so you have packed a healthy lunch, but before you eat it “al desko” consider this: eating lunch with your co-workers can increase your workplace satisfaction. This means you will like your colleagues better and enjoy your job more. Socializing with workmates is something like exercising, in that you get the benefits of reduced stress levels and lower blood pressure and you tend to feel happier than before you started.

Power Naps are Your Friends

Power up your lunch break with a power nap. A ten-twenty minute nap in the middle of the day if you didn’t get a good night’s sleep the night before may be the perfect way to maximize your effectiveness through the latter half of the workday. The fact of the matter is, even if you did have a restful night’s sleep, a midday nap can still help because it will reset your body’s internal clock. It also helps to boost your concentration and improve your memory.

nap at work

Squeeze Some Exercise into Your Lunch Break

Your lunch break is also a good time to take on some exercise. Twenty minutes in your office gym or a brisk walk around town will leave you feeling more alert. It’s also a great way to reduce stress. To save time getting hung up in the locker room, find a way to wear some of your gym clothes, such as sneakers and leggings, to work. If you’re going to a gym, take your lunch hour before or after peak time. During your weekends off, spend some time planning your weekly workouts so you will be prepared in advance.

In spite of the fact that lunch breaks are important for your health and productivity, in the U.S. state laws vary on whether a lunch break is mandatory or not. More and more employers are demanding that workers eat lunch at their desks while continuing to work, which may seem to be a tall order, considering the benefits of taking proper breaks. If this is the case for you, this should not be considered an actual “lunch break,” and your employer should be paying you for this time.

Make Your Landline Smarter: Activate SMS on Your Landline

With changing times come changing requirements and changing technology. There was once a time when phone communication was the only means to contact another individual or business. Long-distance communication was expensive and beyond the reach of most people.


Small and medium businesses couldn’t afford to invest in long-distance communication either. Only big enterprises with a lot of money to spare had access to telephone systems for international calling. Otherwise, most other people stayed local or preferred to write mail.

Email and chat features affected the popularity of telephones to some extent, but virtual communication systems restored the telephone’s significance and made it accessible and functional for the modern business. With the help of virtual numbers, international calling became cheaper and more convenient. In fact, many businesses have switched to virtual phone systems because they cut down on phone bills.

Unlike normal phone systems, a virtual phone system is based on the internet and enables you to make calls from any computer or mobile device. They are also known as cloud systems and they provide mobility, flexibility, and a wide array of features that weren’t imaginable with traditional phones.

Despite this, however, there are several offices where traditional landline phones are still in use, but they don’t serve any purpose other than sending and receiving calls. Most landline phones aren’t even capable of international calling. With instant communication like text messages so popular these days, a landline does seem unsmart sometimes. So how do you make a landline smarter? By activating landline texting.

What is Landline Texting?

There are several technological marvels these days, and landline texting is one of them. Sending text messages to a landline number was quite unthinkable even up until a few years ago. Now, it is not only possible, but it is also widely in use by businesses and individuals.

Landline texting is offered by messaging service providers who specialize in business texting. Your landline can be equipped to send and receive text messages and multimedia messages by being text-enabled. Once this service is activated on your landline number, you can use it to send and receive text messages from mobile numbers. Besides that, you also get a range of other features that add to the intelligence of your landline. With landline texting, you can enable remote communication thanks to its web-based capability.

How Does it Work?

Are you wondering how you will be able to read messages on a landline? You can’t. Instead, the messages will be converted to voice messages before being sent to your phone. Similarly, when you need to send someone a text from your landline, you leave a message and it will be converted to a text.

Landline texting is a virtual service, and it is offered by several leading telecom operators. All you have to do is get the service activated on your number by registering with a telecom operator. There are different charges for different operators. You usually have to pay a one-time fee and then a rental fee every month. Most plans are flexible and you can cancel at any time.

The best aspect of landline texting is that you don’t need any additional equipment or hardware to get started. You don’t need to download a software program or change your service provider or get any expensive hardware installation. Once you subscribe, you get a web-based user panel to manage, send, and received SMS and MMS messages.

Benefits of Landline Texting

By enabling texting on your landline phone, you get to enjoy benefits that otherwise aren’t possible with traditional phone systems. In fact, by text-enabling a landline, you can turn it into a complete business communication strategy.

Some of the main features of landline texting are:
  • Contact management: Usually on a landline phone, there is no way to group or manage your contacts. So you end up maintaining a physical phone book in order to keep your contacts in one place. When you enable landline texting, you can group and manage your contacts from the web-based dashboard. This also saves time when texting people.
  • Scheduled messaging: Quite often you need a message to be sent at a particular time, but for some reason, this is not available at the time. In such cases, scheduled messaging is a great option. You have to record the message and set the time when it is to be sent. The text will be sent at the scheduled time without you having to be available at that time. This saves time and makes messaging even more convenient.
  • Custom signature: With landline texting, you also get the option of setting a customer signature that appears after every message you send. This is an excellent way to promote your business and it can be used as part of a marketing strategy.
  • Group messaging: Not only can you manage and group your contacts, with landline texting you can also send a single message to more than one person. This is a feature that is typically available on mobile phones, but not on landlines. When you text-enable your landline, however, you will then get to enjoy this feature.
  • Reports: You get to keep track of all your sent and received messages with the help of the web-based dashboard. When you’re sending and receiving business messages or using texting as part of a marketing campaign, keeping track of text messages is critical. It lets you know how successful your campaigns are.

Landline texting is service-activated in as little as 24 hours upon subscription. When you text-enable your landline phone, you are able to use the line for much more than just calling. You will then get to use the landline to its full potential by enabling text messaging.

A plenitude of businesses around the world are making landlines smarter by enabling landline texting service. Simply get in touch with any landline texting service provider, subscribe to the service, and start using landline texting in just a few hours. It is an affordable, convenient, and feature-rich option for turning your landline into a viable business solution.

Elon Musk is Taking the Boring Co. Underground in LA

Few people have managed to avoid hearing the name Elon Musk. The South African-born innovator is renowned for his business acumen, and skills in engineering, investing and inventing. His many accomplishments include:

  • SpaceX: He is CEO and CTO of Space Exploration Technologies Corp., a California-based aerospace manufacturer, and space transport service. The company aims to facilitate space transportation at a reduced cost and to help enable the colonization of Mars.
  • Tesla Inc: He is a co-founder, investor, CEO, and product architect of this company which manufactures electric cars, solar panels, and energy storage.
  • OpenAI: He is co-chairman of this non-profit AI research and development company.
  • Neuralink: He is founder and CEO of this U.S. neurotechnology company, which aims to develop implantable brain-computer interfaces.
  • The Boring Company: He is the founder of this infrastructure and tunnel construction company.

The Boring Company Takes Shape

Musk was inspired to create the Boring Company in 2016 based on his experience of difficulty with traffic in Los Angeles. He has also criticized the existing 2-D transportation network model. His proposed solution to these problems is to replace the current model with a more dynamic 3-D model. What this means is either the production of flying cars or the addition of tunnels. While flying cars may be part of a not-too-distant future, tunnels have a number of advantages. The main ones being that they are out of sight, waterproof, and don’t have the same risk of falling on people’s heads as flying cars do.

Why Tunnels are the Solution to Traffic Problems

According to Musk, to eradicate today’s common traffic problems, transportation corridors need to expand into a third dimension. As going up (in the case of flying cars) is not a viable option at this point, it makes sense to go down and build tunnels. This solution provides several benefits:

  • Versatility: Because there is no practical limit to the number of layers of tunnels you can build, multiple levels of traffic can be built.
  • Safety: Tunnels are waterproof and can be built to rigid standards of safety and durability.
  • Environmentally friendly: The construction and operation of underground traffic tunnels are out of sight and cannot be heard by anyone on the surface.
  • Community friendly: Underground traffic tunnels do not intersect and divide communities with barriers and lanes.

Musk explains that this type of traffic system has not been developed before largely because of the expense involved. Some projects, he explains, could cost as must as $1 billion for every mile. In order to make tunneling costs feasible, Musk intends to reduce them by a factor greater than 10.

Cutting the Cost of Tunneling

On his Boring Co. website, Musk has outlined a number of possible ways to cut the cost of building underground traffic tunnels. They include:

  • Reducing the diameter of the tunnels from the standard 28 feet to fewer than 14 feet
  • Increasing the speed of the tunnel boring machine.
  • Figure a means to tunnel continuously
Taking the Boring Co. Under Los Angeles

One of Musk’s latest plans is to implement the Boring Company’s traffic tunnel plans in Los Angeles, to speed up commutes and make traveling less stressful and more pleasant. With this in mind, Musk has released a design for a Los Angeles Tunnel Alignment. The proposed project has two phases.

Phase One: The Boring Co. has already filed an excavation permit application for the initial proof-of-concept tunnel. The 6.5-mile tunnel would pass through Los Angeles and Culver City. Musk proposes that the tunnel is to be used to test systems and safety, verify construction logistics, operating procedure, and line-switching demos. During this phase, the tunnel will not yet be used beyond testing. Once safety standards are met, and the tunnel is considered safe by the Boring Co. as well as the City and County governments, plans for public transportation will then be considered.

Phase Two: Assuming Phase One is successful; Phase Two is designed to expand the initial tunnel. As of right now, however, Phase Two is only in the concept stage. It will be developed in cooperation with the county and city of Los Angeles and with input from members of the local community.

If and when the tunnels are ready for public transport, they will be fitted with hyperloops. This is a high-speed pod system that will transport vehicles or passengers at a speed of over 300 km per hour, to keep the system running seamlessly.

The Practicalities of Tunneling

One question that Musk gets asked a lot about his tunneling project is what happens with all the dirt that is removed in the process. He has obviously given this some thought. This aspect makes typical tunneling projects very costly because the excavated dirt is usually transported offsite to designated disposal locations. As well as being expensive, this process is noisy, time-consuming and can be hazardous to the environment. For some time now, Musk and his team have been investigating technologies which will recycle the excavated earth into bricks that can be used to construct new buildings or structures. These bricks could even be used to build some of the tunnel lining; a more viable and environmentally solution than concrete.

Are Underground Traffic Tunnels Safe?

The Golden State is well-known for its propensity for earthquakes, so is it really a good idea to build underground tunnels there? Elon Musk says yes. In fact, when they are designed and built properly, tunnels are one of the safest places to be in an earthquake for several reasons. For example: in contrast to surface structures, they move uniformly with the ground, and the contents of the tunnel are protected from falling debris.

In addition to going underground in LA, Musk and his team are also working with officials on a DC-to-Baltimore tunnel that will eventually connect to New York. The Boring Co. is making a bid to build and operate a hyperloop to connect Chicago O’Hare Airport to downtown as well. The Boring Company and all of its projects are privately funded.


Scammers Buying Phone Numbers for Verifications

Scammers have a history of buying local and 800 phone numbers, using free Google numbers, and pirating phone numbers to conduct fraudulent verifications and other scams. The following article discusses the applicable Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulation, telephone verification, two different legal apps for spoofing telephone numbers, a process known as orange boxing, guidance on scams from the Better Business Bureau (BBB), and additional information on avoiding scams.

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Consumer Guide

Spoofing is the deliberate falsification of information transmitted on caller ID displays. However, blocking a number is not spoofing. The federal regulation governing spoofing is the Truth in Caller ID Act of 2009, which prohibits the transmission of misleading caller ID information in instances that will:

  • Defraud
  • Cause harm
  • Wrongly obtain anything of value

Illegal spoofing can result in penalties of up to $10,000 for each violation.

Under this regulation, telemarketers are required to transmit or display their telephone numbers or that of the entity on whose behalf they are making the call. Furthermore, if possible, the caller should display the name of the company for which it is selling products or services. They must also display the telephone number that people can call and request the cessation of calls.

FCC Citation for Scamming

In June 2017, the FCC issued a citation to a Miami individual and his associated companies for violating the Truth in Caller ID Act of 2009. The proposed fine is $120 million based on 80,000 calls, which the FCC can verify. The FCC alleges that the scammers made 96 million illegally spoofed calls. “Neighborhood Spoofing” was the technique used by the scammers whereby the caller ID displayed the area code and first three digits of the recipients’ telephone numbers. Consequently, the recipients think the calls come from a neighborhood caller.

Telephone Verification

Telephone verification is a process where a website calls a consumer on their phone to verify their identity. Other names for this process are Phone Verification, Automatic Call Back Service, and Verification Service. Here is how it works. When a person makes a request to a website, that site automatically initiates a call or a text to the person’s phone that contains a randomly generated PIN. Upon receiving the PIN, the person enters it on the website, verifying their identity. However, as shown in the next two sections, spammers can use this process to get information from unwary persons.

Account Verification Scam

If an account holder has a phone tied to their account in the event of a forgotten password, and the scammer knows the victim’s email address or credit account number and their phone number, the account verification scam works as follows.

  1. The scammer initiates a password reset on the victim’s account and requests the sending of a verification number to the victim’s phone.
  2. The scammer sends a text to the victim posing as the email or credit provider saying, “We have noticed unauthorized activity on your account. Please respond to this text with the verification number being sent to your phone.”
  3. If the victim responds with the verification number that they subsequently receive, the scammer will have access to their account.
Double-Digit Google Phone Scam

People that have posted classified ads with their phone number should be wary of this scam. Scammers use it to maintain their anonymity with Google Voice numbers. Since Google requires a valid phone number to be associated with new Google Voice numbers, the scammer picks a victim from published ads and sends them a text. The text may say, “I am interested in your ad.” Text back when you’re ready to talk.” When the scammer receives the response, he or she calls Google Voice and specifies the victim’s number as the link to the new number. Google Voice responds with a double-digit verification code. The scammer then texts the victim saying, “I am on a Google Voice line. When you receive a call, enter the double-digit code to connect.” If this happens to you, do not hit the code.


SpoofCard is a mobile phone app that changes the caller name and phone number that displays on outgoing calls. The SpoofCard website claims that it works on any cell phone. Your identity is anonymous using SpoofCard caller ID spoofing. Users can also get downloadable recordings of their spoofed calls. In addition, calls can go directly to voicemail making receivers think they missed your call. SpoofCard has a feature to change your voice to a man or woman, or it can add background noise to disguise your identity. SpoofCard also sends anonymous text messages. The following table shows rates for SpoofCard packages.


Rate $9.95 $19.95 $29.95 $49.95 $99.95
Minutes of Call Time 45 100 160 280 600
Rates for Pay-as-you-go SpoofCard Packages

SpoofTel is another company that provides spoofing services. Users of the service must first establish a SpoofTel account. Use the spoofing service either through the SpoofTel website, the SpoofTel app, or by calling 1-866-SPOOF-ID (1-866-776-6343). To place a call follow these steps.

  1. Log into your account.
  2. Enter your telephone number in the top field.
  3. Enter the receiving telephone number.
  4. Enter the desired display number on the receiver’s display.

The features provided with the SpoofTel account are as follows.

  • Short Message Service (SMS) Spoofing and SMS history
  • Spoof Fax and Fax History
  • Voice Alteration – use higher pitch for female voice or lower pitch for male voice
  • Answering Machine Feature – If an answering machine answers the call, SpoofTel can send an uploaded message automatically.
  • Auto Redial Option
  • Time Limit for Calls
  • Call Back URL

SpoofTel offers two different apps, a desktop app, and an iPhone app. The iPhone app requires a jailbroken phone or compatible device. Jailbroken refers to the practice of removing restrictions that Apple places on a device’s operating system.

The cost for caller ID spoofing is $0.10 per minute. SMS costs $0.50 per message. Voice changing costs $0.25 per call. Recording a call costs $0.50 per call. The use of soundboards is free.

Orange Boxing

Orange boxing is a term for call ID hacking. An orange box emulates a caller ID signal to spoof the caller ID display. The following three methods accomplish this emulation.

  • A tape recording of a real caller ID signal
  • A software program to generate a caller ID signal
  • A hardware device that generates the caller ID signal

Follow these steps to use the orange box. First, make the call and wait for an answer. Then, send the caller ID signal. The orange box can also send a caller name and falsified date and time. When using an orange box, the answering phone displays the actual caller ID before receiving the spoofing caller ID signal. This limits the usefulness of the orange box.

Better Business Bureau (BBB) Advice for Dealing with Scammers
  1. Do not send money to persons you have never met face-to-face.
  2. Beware of unsolicited emails, and do not open links or attachments in them.
  3. Question everything that you see.
  4. Purchase online using only secure transactions.
  5. Be cautious of people that you meet online.
  6. Refrain from sharing personal ID information such as banking and credit card information, your birthdate, and your social security number.
  7. Avoid acting under pressure.
  8. Make all payments using secure, traceable transactions.
  9. Whenever possible, work with local businesses that have proper identification, licensing, and insurance.
  10. Be cautious when sharing personal information on social media.

Are 877 Numbers Toll Free?

Toll Free Number Prefixes

If you’ve seen television commercials, billboards, or newspaper and magazine advertisements at any time, you have seen toll free numbers at work in the real world. These are often used as a marketing tool for companies who want to give potential customers an easy way of contacting them for products or services. Other common reasons for calling a toll free number include:

  • Ordering or reordering a product
  • Contact customer service
  • Asking for store opening or closing hours
  • Asking for more information about a product or service

Toll free prefixes include 800, 888, 877, 866, 855, 844, and 833, which was added just this year in 2017. Just like the name states, toll free numbers are absolutely free… for callers. Of course, having a toll free service is not free for the company. Your business pays for incoming and outgoing calls made.

So which of these toll free formats are best for your growing enterprise? It is first important to understand the differences between them. You may be interested to learn that these numbers aren’t chosen randomly. 800 is the most recognized toll free number, with 888 being a close second. However since the other numbers are newer, like 877, many people may not realize it is toll free for them to call. So if you decide to use 877 as your company’s prefix, you will be happy to know it is toll free. And don’t forget to relay that information to your customers as well!

Toll Free Vanity Numbers With 877

Letting callers know that your number is toll free is an excellent way to increase the number of calls you receive, thus improving your overall Return On Investment (ROI). Another way to do this is with a vanity number, which makes your business easier to remember when a client has the need for your service in the future.

For example, if you choose the toll free number 877-NEW-CLAIM, it could be just one possibility for your attorney’s office. When advertising this number, you can simply state, “Call us toll free today at 877-NEW-CLAIM. We’re waiting for your call!” Depending on which medium you use, you can have them written out or said out loud. Even if callers don’t realize it’s free, it’s good to remind them so that your ROI is not impacted in any way.

There is a slight risk in getting one of these “nontraditional” toll free prefixes. Callers may misremember the prefix and accidentally dial 800 or 888. If this is the case, and someone else is using the 800 version of your number, you may inadvertently be sending more traffic to a competitor. So before getting your toll free 877 number, you should check out who is using the other versions of the same number, just in case.

How to Get an 877 Vanity Phone Number

If you’ve decided you want an 877 vanity number, getting one is easy. First, you must research a few industry terms that you may want to use. For example, if you are a landscaper, some possibilities might be NEW-YARD, NEW-LAWN, or NEW-TURF, depending on which are available in the 877 format.

What’s great about using vanity numbers is that you are not necessarily “stuck” with the XXX-XXXX format. This is one of the reasons why 1-800-FLOWERS is so popular. If you are a local plumber that wants more national recognition, 1-877-PLUMBER is a great way to start! As long as the terms are short and sweet, and easy to remember,  you are well on your way to achieving a new marketing campaign that works. Remember to pick out a few variations of the terms just in case the number that you want is not available.

Once you choose your key terms and phone number, a third party provider will help you check availability and give you options. After purchase, you will be able to easily connect it to your current phone lines.

Why Choose Toll Free 877 Numbers?

The short answer is that toll free numbers are simply more effective than their counterparts. Local area codes may be useful for local businesses that can only service certain areas, but 877 numbers extend into a national audience. So if you know your company is seeking growth in the near future, 877 is the way to go. Even new business owners who work from home can make themselves seem like a much larger corporation with a national line.

As stated previously, toll free numbers place the cost of the call with businesses, and not customers. This automatically makes your business the affordable option over your competition. More than that, you have ownership over your 877 number, which means that you can transfer it as needed. So even if you don’t stay with the same provider, you can still keep your memorable vanity line.

877 numbers do not work any differently than other toll free numbers. They cost exactly the same as 800 numbers and others as well. You also get the same benefits that an 800 provides. If your number is enabled for texting, your company can offer the option of receiving text messages on that line, too!

Toll Free Numbers and the FCC

Luckily, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) sets up certain rules that prevent companies from “hoarding” or even broking toll free numbers. So if you purchase an 877 phone number, you must have the intention to use it. Otherwise, your enterprise may be hit with fines and penalties. But don’t forget that numbers are sold on a “first come, first served” basis, so if you don’t get yours right away, those opportunities may be lost.

Global Call Forwarding

The team members at Global Call Forwarding want you to take advantage of the opportunities toll free 877 numbers provide. Yes, they are toll free. And yes, they are very much worth your time. For more information, you can get started by contacting us at our own toll free number. Call 1(888) 908-6171 today.

How to Get an Australian Phone Number

Both a country and a continent, Australia is surrounded by the Indian and Pacific oceans. The Australian continent is comprised of the Australian mainland, the island of Tasmania and a number of smaller islands. Australia is the largest country in the region of Oceania and the world’s sixth largest country. The capital is Canberra. Other major cities include Sydney, Brisbane, Perth, Melbourne, and Adelaide.

Australia is a self-governing British Commonwealth country. The government is a federal parliamentary constitutional monarchy. It is divided into the executive branch, the legislative branch, and the judicial branch. The Prime Minister since 2015 has been Malcolm Turnbull.

How to Get an Australian Phone Number

To enhance your business prospects in Australia, we cannot stress the importance and the benefits of getting Australian phone numbers. The are affordable and highly convenient. Here are the steps:

  1. Go to
  2. Select Australia as the country you need a number for
  3. Select the type of number (choose from toll free, national, mobile, or geographic)
  4. Click “View Rates and Select Plan”
  5. View the results and choose from the options

Advantages of an Australian Phone Number

You may be surprised to learn how many ways international virtual phone numbers can benefit your business. Here are several examples:

Develop a winning local presence: Don’t struggle to attract customers from beyond your immediate vicinity. Often, customers outside your area may think that you are too far away to deliver a reliable service. But if you have a local virtual number, they will have no idea that you don’t have a local physical presence and they will dial your number rather than your competitor’s.

Establish a market overseas: You may want to expand your business overseas, but you may not have the resources to set up an operation there. A virtual international number allows you to run your business overseas while you are working from your base office or even from home. If your employees have skills in other languages, you can certainly take advantage of their abilities and let them plunge into international relations, without having to make investments abroad.

Boost your image: In the world of business, your image is paramount. With virtual phone numbers, you can give the impression of owning a global empire rather than a small business. This can be particularly beneficial if you are not located in a major city, as it boosts confidence with your partners, suppliers and your customers.

How Australian Phone Numbers Work

Virtual Australian phone numbers work by providing your company with a range of local, Australian toll-free numbers and a forwarding service that reroutes your calls to the number of your choice. The number could be your office, your company call center or even your mobile phone. You can change the number at any time. Each time your Australian clients make a call, they have the ease and confidence in knowing that they are calling a local number and talking to a local company. They never need to know your physical location. They will also be happy not to have to pay long distance charges or to have the hassle of overseas dialing codes.

Global Call Forwarding offers a cutting-edge service which provides Australian phone numbers as well as virtual numbers in more than 140 other countries. Once you have signed up for an Australian phone number, you can establish business connections and take calls from your customers anywhere in the world. For example, if your company is based in Canada, but you’d like to expand your business to Australia, virtual Australian phone numbers provide a point of contact for you in that part of the world.

The ringtones on your Australian phone number can also be customized to match the local ringtone. To make sure you never miss a single call, you can have your calls routed to more than one number at the same time. You can also schedule calls to be redirected to different numbers based on the time of day they are received.

Australia’s Economy

The Australian economy is highly developed and is one of the world’s largest mixed market economies. In terms of wealth per adult, Australia is the world’s second wealthiest nation. The nation’s economy is dominated by the service sector, which comprises 61 percent of the GDP. Some of the country’s largest companies include Woolworths, Caltex Australia, Wesfarmers, Rio Tinto Group, and Telstra. The currency of Australia is the Australian dollar.

Doing Business In Australia

Whether you are starting out with a new business, or looking to expand your current venture, Australia has great business opportunities. The nation’s current economic state makes it very affordable and attractive to foreign investors. When it comes to business, Australia is considered to be the gateway between Asia and the Western world.

Furthermore, Australia has very strong trade relationships with China.

Australia’s Six Largest Industries are:

Financial industry: Australia has several valuable assets in the financial world. Its main four banks – ANZ, Westpac, Commonwealth Bank, and National Australia Bank – are all ranked in the world’s 50 safest banks. The financial sector is one of Australia’s largest industries.

Metal and mining industries: The mining sector is Australia’s second largest industry due to the country’s massive array of natural resources. The country is home to many categories of the mining industry including black and brown coal mining, iron ore mining, gas and oil mining, gold ore mining, copper ore mining, and bauxite mining.

Business consulting firms: Many of the world’s major business consulting firms are now based in Australia. Consulting firms fall into four categories: information technology consulting, strategy and general business consulting, sustainability consulting, and human resource consulting.

Energy and utilities: Australia has huge energy assets along with outstanding natural resources such as coal, oil, natural gas, and uranium. The nation also boasts renewable energy resources.

Industrial and material industry: Because this industrial sector garnered some big projects over the past decade, it was able to survive the financial crisis. Growth has been maintained in part by the New South Wales $50 billion transport plan.

Healthcare and the pharmaceutical industry: This sector includes biotechnology and medical practice. Australia is currently undergoing a shortage of doctors and nurses, particularly in regional areas.

Using Australian phone numbers for your business allows you and your employees to work from anywhere and reach anywhere in Australia. With virtual call forwarding, the business world is your oyster.

How Well do you Communicate with Others?

We started with grunts, moved onto crude paintings, took the leap into spoken language, then written language was born, and now we speak roughly 6,900 languages. Most of us like to think we are at the pinnacle of sophistication in our ability to communicate with other people. Then Elon Musk proposes the concept of direct brain-to-brain transmission… what can’t this guy do? The purpose of communicating is to share ideas, feelings, emotions, thoughts, etc. Aside from creating differing avenues through which we can communicate (phone calls, texting, emailing), the way we communicate hasn’t changed much since speech first came to be.

And if we think about it, we aren’t always that great at it. Try having an argument with your significant other, or reason with your boss about why their new plan is awful. We aren’t always in touch with exactly how we feel or think, and then when we try to communicate these vague or confusing concepts, we choose which words (sometimes correctly, sometimes not) to convey the message to somebody else. Then, the other person hears those words from their point of view, with their own feelings and thoughts influencing the meaning of these words. And we go back and forth in what we call a conversation.

Musk wants to eliminate the guesswork and bias that goes into communication to allow us to literally wire our thoughts and feelings to another person. Obviously, we aren’t there yet, so it’s worth talking about how we can improve our current methods and modes of communication to eliminate professional mistakes and personal flounders.

Effective Communication is Key to your Success and Happiness

As a highly social species, we rely on relationships for our happiness and survival. Everything from the clothes we wear to the words that come out of our mouth communicates who we are to other people. It’s crucial to our success in business to be able to communicate effectively, and it’s definitely necessary to foster strong relationships.

An excellent communicator is self-aware and can easily identify and label their emotions and motivations. Having the insight required to self-reflect leads to an increased ability to convey how you are feeling, and why you are feeling a certain way. When you can do this, it becomes possible to enlist someone’s help in finding a solution. This is beneficial in both professional and personal settings. When you let emotions exist inside of you without seeking to identify their source or define their purpose, they can have control over you.

For example, it is difficult to act rationally when you are angry. Having the capacity to feel your anger, sit with it for a moment, and then tell your partner why it makes you angry that they constantly leave dishes in the sink will come across much more effectively than yelling at them for the 7th time this week to “PUT YOUR DISHES AWAY!”

Word choice, tone, volume, and body language all serve to help or hinder us in our ability to communicate effectively with another person. Try it now. Think of a sentence, maybe something you’ve been wanting to say but haven’t had the courage to.

First, say it softly and without confidence, then say the same sentence with hand movements and a loud voice. Try it again with an angry tone, then say it with a smile on your face. You’ll be able to see, even without an audience, the different effect the words can have on the meaning and effectiveness of your message. But remember, the first step in communicating well is developing a strong sense of self-awareness and a willingness to be introspective to better understand yourself before you toss words out into the universe.

Communication Made Simple

There is a saying that goes, “I’m sorry for the long email, I didn’t have time to write a short one.” It’s time-consuming and frankly, an art, to convey meaning in fewer words. In our very digital age, the rules of communication are more complex. Much of what we say is sent through text or email, and the spoken word still requires attention to tone and volume. Here are some communication “musts” that will take you far in your business interactions.


Even though texting has become the go-to for a quick message, the casual tone you use to find out which bar your friends are at does not convey professionalism. Make sure you stick with proper capitalization and punctuation.


Email communication is a large part of business communication, especially if you work remotely. The key here is to put in the extra effort to send a short concise message that gets your message across in as few words as possible. The longer it is, and the more you try to dress it up with big words, the more you risk muddling your message. Try sticking to the Five W’s: Who, What, When, Where, Why. This can also be applied to texts and spoken communication.

Danger of Assumptions

Never assume. Don’t assume your reader knows how you feel or where you are coming from. Be direct, clear, and polite about your position. Don’t over-explain, but make sure whoever is reading your email will not be forced to fill in any blanks. It could create an uncomfortable or even expensive situation in the future. If you are unclear, the reader is given the freedom to infer. They may infer incorrectly.

Saying Too Much

Since we’re talking about communication here, for the most part that involves speaking or writing. But sometimes, a well-placed pause is far more powerful than the impact of any statement. Additionally, let the others do all the talking; too much talking can confuse the message. If you can sit in on a meeting and stay out of the gossip and emotional excitement of a passionate debate, so that when you do finally speak, it will carry more weight and value. You will be known as somebody who contributes value instead of just noise.

Puerto Rico in the Wake of Hurricane Irma

It seems every month there is a new natural disaster uprooting families, lives, and homes. This year alone, Mexico was taken by surprise with a 7.1 magnitude earthquake, Bangladesh faced devastation following massive monsoons and floods, California is experiencing vast and terrifying wildfires, Colombia fell victim to deadly mudslides, and hurricanes ripped through the Caribbean, Texas, and the southern United States. Hurricane Maria is the tenth most intense hurricane the Atlantic Ocean has ever seen. As a well-formed category five storm, it was powerful and devastating.

Puerto Rico is an island in the Caribbean; a hotspot for tourism, especially for cruise ship travelers. They have a rich culture with people who share a deep sense of pride in their Puerto Rican heritage. However, in September 2017, Hurricane Maria struck and with winds up to 175 miles per hour, it devastated the island and surrounding Caribbean islands. Maria wiped out Puerto Rico’s electrical grid and caused what some are calling a catastrophic humanitarian crisis. Puerto Rico is a country in need of help to restore their strong manufacturing industry. If you can use resources you have at your disposal to help this country, you will be met with gratitude and open arms.


Hurricanes Explained

National Geographic looked at hurricane trends over the last ten years to see if they could figure out why we’ve been relatively lucky in dodging the full wrath of these wild storms. They noted that despite a higher-than-average number of storms reaching hurricane force winds, they seemed to always turn at the last moment, or weaken just before hitting shorelines. That was at least the case until 2017. The US and Caribbean saw three major, deadly hurricanes in the same season. So why the sudden spike?

The National Hurricane Center called this 2017 season “extremely active.” And while experts are quick to warn us about the very real threat of climate change, they report that climate change did not directly cause this season’s hurricane activity. This was instead a mild, but clear warning for what the future could look like if we don’t make appropriate changes to ward off climate change.

Hurricanes are caused by warm ocean temperatures, and this season saw unusually warm Atlantic temperatures. El Niño was also a contributing factor, as the system was lacking this season. A more active El Niño system typically cools the Atlantic waters, serving as a line of defense against some hurricanes.

Another alarming factor is the speed at which these storms generated power. Typically their growth is slower because they have to overpower temperatures and pressure patterns. But the conditions this year allowed the storms to develop with little to no resistance. A hurricane needs low pressure and warm temperatures; the exact recipe that propelled this year’s hurricane season.

While this hurricane season was not as bad as the one we saw in 2005, it takes a close second. In 2005, The National Hurricane Center retired five names from ever being used again, this year they anticipate retiring three names – Harvey, Maria, and Irma.

Why Puerto Rico Needs Our Help

As of right now, the major manufacturing industry that used to contribute to Puerto Rico’s wealth is no longer functioning at its full capacity. The hurricane damaged a large portion of their infrastructure and efforts are being sent to help rebuild.

Elon Musk, founder and CEO of Tesla, SpaceX, The Boring Company, Solar City, and Neuralink (to name a few of his companies), single-handedly restored power to a local children’s hospital which was unable to function before the donation of renewable energy resources. If you are motivated to help, but also want a long-term benefit as a result of helping, follow Musk’s example.

His donation helped thousands of people and saved countless lives. It’s this kind of innovation and generosity that the world needs now. Crises are not isolated to remote, undeveloped parts of the world – we are all vulnerable and we should all be able to rely on our neighbors to help get back on our feet.

Puerto Rico still doesn’t have access to electricity or safe drinking water. A reported 80% of their crops have been destroyed. Work and school have still not resumed and some are viewing this experience as a trip back in time. People are playing board games, telling stories, gathering to cook and eat together on shared gas stoves and bonfires made from downed logs. They still only have cell service in certain parts of the island, and it is spotty at best.

If you have a Puerto Rico virtual number, this will make it that much easier for your friends and family in Puerto Rico to contact you when they are able to. Donations of food and water items are highly appreciated. Additionally, help is greatly needed to rebuild buildings and clear the roads.

According to the New York Times, before the disaster took place, most Americans didn’t know that Puerto Rico was considered part of the United States as a territory, and if they did know, they weren’t sure in what capacity.

Once the minimum requirements are met for safe and basic survival needs (food, water, healthcare, travel), Puerto Rico will need help restoring previous industries to ensure the country can continue to move forward. Crime is at an all-time high as the streets are dark without electricity at night, and officials are called to attend to the greater volumes of medical and safety needs of their citizens. Once these factors are taken care of and under control, the manufacturing, tourism, and insurance industries will need to be rebuilt.

Preventative & Safety Measures

Preparation is always crucial, and it can make the aftermath of a storm bearable and survivable. Having enough water and nonperishable food will alleviate some of the stress associated with potential power loss and the lack of access to drinking water. Generators are also hugely beneficial, along with spare gas. However, sometimes preparation isn’t enough to get people ready for the potential destruction that follows a storm.

If it is possible to evacuate a dangerous situation, that is most advisable. However, we know it is not always possible and preparation and finding safe ground are the only alternatives.

For those of us on the outside of these limiting and dangerous conditions, we can help. Either by donating or in a more hands-on way wherever possible. The damage suffered in Puerto Rico is incomprehensible, however, we know that in time, and with the right guidance, the country will be rebuilt and ready to return to its previous glory.

The Undersea Cables that Power the Internet

Undersea cables transmit 99% of all international data. There are currently more than 300 undersea cables, which have a combined length of 550,000 miles, which is long enough to circle the globe 22 times. The longest cable runs from Germany to Korea, has 39 landing points, and is 24,000 miles long. Some undersea cables are positioned as much as 25,000 feet below the surface of the ocean. The process of laying them may take several months to complete and can cost hundreds of millions of dollars.


The first commercial cable across the English Channel went into service in 1851. Beginning in 1853, additional commercial cable projects connected Great Britain with Ireland, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Denmark.

The first transatlantic telegraph cable was laid on the ocean floor between Valentia Island in western Ireland to eastern Newfoundland. The project to lay the cable took four years, from 1854 to 1858. Using that cable, transmission of transatlantic messages took only 17 hours as opposed to ten days by ship.

In 1863, a cable to Bombay (now Mumbai) provided a link to Saudi Arabia. By 1870, there was a link from Bombay to London; by 1872, a link to Australia from Bombay via Singapore and China; and by 1876, from the British Empire to New Zealand. From 1850 to 1911, Britain dominated the cable industry in the North Atlantic Ocean, and by 1923, British companies owned and operated two-thirds of the world’s undersea cables.

Listed below are historic dates for undersea cables across the Pacific.

  • In 1902, cables established links from the US mainland to Hawaii, and additional links to Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji.
  • In 1903, Guam and the Philippines linked to the US Mainland.
  • Japan joined the network in 1906.
  • A Hawaii–Japan connection occurred in 1964.
  • In 1991, the first regenerative (repeated) system directly linked the US Mainland to Japan.
  • Undersea Optical Cable Construction

Undersea optical cable construction varies according to the application, water temperature and depth, and cable manufacturer. The schematic shown below is from a Hexatronic Submarine Catalog. The model number is TOL 404 1051 GJMLTV, 15-ton DAL. This particular cable weighs 15 tons per mile, is used in depths less than or equal to 3,000 meters, and has a capacity of 12 to 96 optical fibers.

Schematic of a Modern Undersea Communications Cable

The schematic shows a double-armored, unitube cable for applications needing high protection due to ocean conditions. The optical fibers are free to move within the hermetically sealed, stainless steel sheath. A thixotropic water-blocking compound surrounds the fibers. The polyethylene sheath protects the stainless steel tube from water incursion. Two layers of galvanized steel wire protect against chafing and corrosion. The inner wire sheathing is made of small wires and the outer sheathing uses heavier wires. Mylar tape or a similar material covers these wire bundles. Finally, a polyethylene yarn wrap, impregnated with an organic material to prevent deterioration, completes the cable.

Cable weights vary from 2.5 to 60 tons per mile. The heavier cables are those that approach the shore because they need more armoring. Such installations use two wraps of galvanized steel wire as shown in the schematic.

Laying Undersea Cables

Before laying an undersea cable, it is important to perform a Desktop Study that encompasses many separate steps as follows.

  • Obtain a route description
  • Get information on landing sites
  • Learn about geopolitical and cultural issues
  • List security concerns
  • Determine geology, meteorology, oceanography, fisheries, and hazards
  • Understand permit requirements

The typical cost of an undersea cable installation is between $100 and $500 million, and the process requires a variety of steps:

  1. Coiling the cable into the installation ship takes three to four weeks.
  2. The end of the cable runs from the first landing station to several miles into the sea.
  3. The ship then begins the laying process.
  4. The cable feeds into a plow, which trenches the ocean floor and lays the cable.

After laying sufficient cable onto the ocean floor, the cable feeds into an open trench from the low water mark to the landing station. The cable enters the landing station through the floor and attaches to its circuitry. Dirt or other material covers the trench so the cable is not exposed.

Operational Considerations

Pairs of optical fibers work together with each fiber transmitting in only one direction, and most modern cable systems use a transmission speed of 2.5 Gbps (gigabits per second) for each fiber pair. However, it is possible to send signals through fibers at four to eight different wavelengths. This results in capacity of 10 to 20 Gbps per fiber pair. Multiplexing is the process of transmitting signals in this manner.


When the optical signals travel over distances greater than 400 km, they become dispersed or attenuated. Repeaters amplify and reshape the degraded signals before transmission to the landing station.

Repeaters use solid-state amplifiers to process the signals. The repeaters require a direct current of 20 watts to operate. Repeaters are series connected and spaced at intervals along the cable run. Copper sheeting in the cables conducts power for the repeaters. Repeaters cost between $500,000 and $1 million each.

Cable Repairs

When a break occurs, each landing station tests the cable to determine the location of the break. A repair ship then travels to the spot of break and drops a mooring with a buoy attached to mark the location. Next, the ship moves a convenient distance from the break and drags the seafloor with a grapnel to locate the cable. When the grapnel hooks the cable, the ship stops moving forward. Then, picking machinery lifts the cable, secures it to a mooring anchor, and workers cut the cable. They stow the short end of the cable on the ship. Workers test other end of the cable to determine its condition. If it is good, electricians splice it to a length of spare cable aboard the ship. They protect the splice with heavily tarred jute yarn. Next, the ship moves back to the location of the break, paying out cable as it goes. When it reaches the break location, it will then lift and test the other end of the cable. If that end is in proper condition, workers splice the two cable ends together. This splice is also protected with heavily tarred jute yarn, and the cable is laid as close to its original position as possible.

Submarine Cable Map

TeleGeography’s website,, has a link to its free Submarine Cable Map. The map shows active and planned submarine cable systems and landing stations. The map is interactive, and one can select a cable from the list and get the cable’s profile, which has the following information.

  • Cable name
  • Ready-for-service date
  • Length
  • Owners
  • Website
  • Landing Points