Camel Crickets

Crickets are insects that belong to the order Orthoptera. Crickets are an important part of the ecosystem since they help in the breakdown of plant material. There are many species of crickets: house crickets, field crickets, ground crickets, cave crickets, mole crickets, camel crickets, snowy tree cricket and the northern mole crickets. Crickets live outdoors in wide open spaces like meadows, pastures and roads. In winter, they go under the rocks or logs to escape the cold. They are nocturnal and are very active during the nights. Crickets are omnivores and feed on almost anything- usually organic materials, plant decay, grass, fruits, seedling plants, fungi and even meat.

Camel crickets, also known as cave crickets or stone crickets, are generally found in caves and other cool damp places like house basements. They have very large hind legs, long slender antennae, head bent backward and drumstick-shaped femurs. They do not have wings. They are about one inch in length and brownish in color. They appear to be humpbacked because of their arched backs. They are also nocturnal but are not attracted to light unlike other crickets. They also do not chirp like house crickets.

Camel crickets usually reside in wells, hollow tress, under damp leaves/stones/logs/boards. They generally wander into houses by mistake and are basically harmless. Camel crickets can be controlled by cleaning out any damp and moist sites in and around the house. This includes dirty piles of stones, bricks or leaves. Sprinkle cricket baits available in the market; sticky traps can be used to trap crickets, which can then be flushed down the toilet or destroyed; call a good pest control company if the problem persists. Acephate (Orthene), carbaryl (Sevin), chlorpyrifos (Dursban), diazinon (Diazinon, Spectracide), Malathion, or propoxur (Baygon) are some commonly used insecticides for controlling camel crickets.

Camcorders

This new year, celebrate with your family and catch all the emotions with the latest digital camera available on the market. Some brands have come up with top-of-the-heap models, and some are doing well with slight modifications. Camcorder brands are looking ahead for high competition as consumers are gradually upgrading to digital performers.

Sony continues to dominate the market with DCR-DVD403, with its never–before seen video reception and excellent low-light performance. Along with this model, the market giant has launched high definition (HD) with the HDR-HC1, the only available HD cam under $2,000. In the pipeline, there other players, too, like Canon, JVC, and Panasonic. Canon has launched a new camcorder in its Optura range that has proved to be one of the best this year. The brand has also introduced DVD formats like DC10 and DC20 to the market.

JVC has also introduced its trend-breaker Everio series that runs without a tape or DVD. This newer model runs on a 40GB Microdrive and amazes users with its still-image quality. At this time, the Everio G-series is, of course, a high-class performer, and its continuing price fall will make it easily affordable.

Panasonic placed among the most affordable and its manually controlled range is also doing well. The Panasonic SDR-S100 is a super-slim camcorder that has the best Panasonic features one might dream of.

Buyers however, are leaning toward tapeless camcorders. Removable flash memory and an internal hard drive that make the model slimmer and more portable are now the greatest hits. If you are looking for impressive image quality and all the digital features, then the above brands are suitable. But while buying the favorite model, still-image quality and other digital facilities should also be considered.

Camcorder Batteries

Digital camcorders of today have come along with highly efficient batteries that last longer and give you the utmost satisfaction. Camcorder makers in the recent years have striven ahead in making the battery life longer and longer. Thus, the hassle of charging your battery every time you need to shoot is minimized.

Reputable camcorder manufacturers like Sony, JVC, Panasonic, and Canon are now competing to give you a better battery performer. Meanwhile, the sizes of these camcorders—whether a DVD format or not–are getting smaller and smaller each day. With miniaturization arises the problem: a small camcorder means a smaller battery that would need to remain charged for a longer time span.

Most of these models, however, run on lithium batteries that not only last longer but also give better results. Professional camcorders, from the Sony or Canon genre for example, do give up to a three-year warranty on their batteries. But the market has something else to offer as well: unbranded but great performers. Lithium batteries made by less-reputed brands also work well. Thus, professional shooters as well as amateurs are increasingly depending upon these versions after the original battery dies out, as the less well-known brands are cheaper and continue to give the same output.

But while purchasing these unbranded batteries from a retail outlet in your city or from an online store, take caution. You need to understand few criteria. You should compare prices and warranties, if available, on the battery. The credibility of the online store or the manufacturer and the longevity of the power provider can be of much help to you. It has occurred many a time that people have simply paid for a particular battery on the web and are still finding it difficult to have it delivered.

Calligraphy

Calligraphy is a unique form of art in Asian Cultures. It is among the four basic skills nee of the Chinese Literati.

It is regarded as an abstract and sublime form of art in the Chinese culture and is said to be very revealing of one’s personality. Its importance goes a long way to choosing executives in the Imperial Court. Different from other visual art techniques, all calligraphy strokes are the same and unbroken, thus demanding careful planning and confident execution—very similar to the skills needed for an executive. Even though calligraphy is confined to the structure of words or characters, there can be many creative ways for self-expression.

The key in good calligraphy is to control the concentration of ink, the porosity and thickness of paper, and flexibility of the brush. There are an infinite variety of styles and forms that an artist may create. This is in contrast to western calligraphy, where diffusing ink blots and dry brushstrokes are signs of impromptu expression rather than a fault.

The font-like uniformity of western calligraphy and homogeneity of characters is only a craft. The artist may seek mental exercises through calligraphy that coordinate the mind and the body to select the style in his expression and content of the words he is writing. The exercise is very disciplined yet very relaxing for a person who is concerned with his physical and spiritual well being. One of the qualities of a calligraphy artist is his longevity. Many of the famous calligraphy artists led a long and fruitful life.

Other popular East Asian Calligraphy includes Japanese and Korean. Koreans and Japanese consider calligraphy as a national treasure and a heritage worth preserving. In Japan, kids compete over the best calligraphy when school begins.

Famous Painters Picasso and Matisse, influenced by Orientalism, are two artists who openly declare the influence by Chinese calligraphy on their works.

Call Center Solutions

Espresso vending machines, pool tables, round the clock Internet access, free phone calls… sounds like an internet cafe? No, it’s a call center. A call center is basically an office where a company’s inbound and outbound calls are handled. Call centers may be small or large.

Call centers provide a number of advantages, known as “solutions” to companies. For example let’s say a bank needs a call center’s help in running its mortgage finance business. The bank may entrust the work to the call center. The call center representatives may receive loan applications over phone; forward the account balance and the application to the bank for further follow up, and so on. As the call center takes up this work on behalf of the bank, the bank saves a lot of time. Another call center may assist an opinion survey company. Here the call center representatives may make phone calls to people to answer survey questions and forward responses to the survey firm.

Many call centers use a range of technologies to improve performance and customer experience. One area in which call centers have been proving to be of growing importance is Business Outsourcing, in which companies contract out some of their functions to other companies as we have seen in the above two examples. As it can be expensive to maintain call center equipment and staff, many companies choose to outsource their telephone functions to an external call center. It is very common to find one call center handling the work of several customer companies engaged in diverse areas of business. Many of them take advantage of time zones in different states and countries.

With the advent of the World Wide Web, voice recognition software applications, e-commerce and the demand for better customer service, call centers are booming throughout the US and the world.

Call Center Software Manufacturers

Many small- and medium-sized companies offer resale services from full telecommunication vendors who sell call center systems from many manufacturers or dealers who specialize in single manufacturer offerings.

These call center systems vendors typically carry integrated hardware and software packages since the call center software is reliant on the phone system hardware. Ordinarily, a person or company is pressurized to upgrade their phone systems to get access to the software features. Usually a phone upgrade is required for installing new call center software or the buyer can search for software that is compatible with the existing phone system.

However, some vendors will offer software that is independent of the existing phone systems, as is the case with hosted solutions. It is advisable to know about the vendors who are responsible for integrating separate systems.

Call centers are similar across industries, so the majority of call center software vendors do not focus on one particular type of call center. Looking for vendors with plenty of experience in dealing with customers who have the same requirements as the buyer can help in finding the appropriate call center software solution.

Integration of the system with the buyers existing hardware and software is crucial. The majority of call center software providers will swiftly assure a buyer that they can integrate with the buyer’s systems, and that is usually true, but the amount of effort can vary. Asking questions that are more detailed such as – have they done projects with databases that are comparable to the buyer’s. Other important features to be enquired about are the compatibility of the existing phone systems and other technical requirements.

Some of the manufacturers in this field are Microsoft, Cisco, Net-g, and Televantage. These companies are among the best service providers according to the customer ratings found on the Internet.

The buyer can only decide the appropriateness of software since there are many types of call centers, their functions differ according to its size, and the services provided.

Call Center Services

Big business houses like banks, insurance companies, multinational corporations, financial services, mutual funds, stocks and shares brokers, and others generally have a large customer base. These businesses need to answer huge volumes of calls or enquiries from their customers regarding their day to day concerns. To meet such needs they have come up with the innovative idea of setting up special branches in their offices to deal with these calls. These branches are called call centers.

The staff manning these call centers is equipped with the data that contains all the information about the customers. Since the amount of data is huge, it is stored in computers and programmed in such a way that the moment some customer raises an enquiry, it is answered with a click of the mouse. Telecommunication and computer technologies like Automatic Call Distribution (ACD), Interactive Voice Response (IVR) and Computer Telephony Integration (CTI) have been developed so that the phone calls and answering are synchronized with the computer interface. In this way the customer service specialist of the call center, on receiving the call, answers it in your company name treating the caller as if he has actually visited the company office. This synchronization of the phone calls with the computer interface facilitates an uninterrupted answering service and eliminates any delay in providing answers to the enquiries.

The call center staff is also equipped with centralized telecommunication equipment to monitor and route the enquiries of the customers to specialists dealing with their concerns. This is done by using call-routing software in conjunction with Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology. As soon as an enquiry is received, it is forwarded to the specialist who satisfies the customer by referring to the database in the computer.

The work in the call center goes on round the clock, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, including holidays. The office timings and operations are so devised that callers from multiple time zones are attended to according to the time zones of their countries, For example, if it is daytime in America and night in India, the call center operates during the night in India to answer the calls of the American customers when it is day there. The bottom line is that whenever the customer dials up with his enquires, he is duly attended to.

Call Center Recording Software

The call center is a liaison between a company and its customers. However, no matter how good the liaison may be, the customers won’t be happy and loyal unless the company is determined to understand and swiftly act upon the information supplied by the customer. A call center recording software solution gives managers vital information about the root causes of operational issues, product opportunities and competitive situations. The recordings can be leveraged as a very effective market research resource.

Call center recording software ` allows a company to inspect the interactions between their agents and their customers. A call is recorded from the time it is received by a call center agent to the time it is disposed off. As per the changing business needs, call centers are recognizing the advantage of recording all the calls and then mining the appropriate contacts using speech analytics technology for review.

Call center recording software provides a continuous recording service for the call center. This service offers the advantages of conserving capital, freeing technical staff, and maintaining flexibility. They are designed to record hundreds of simultaneous calls. They can be configured to record all calls or just a sample of calls and can record the entire call or just a portion. Call centers use these recordings to improve their own performance by establishing metrics and using call content in training.

There are many types recording software to record business transactions, customer interactions and agent evaluation. Driven by legal or client obligations, many organizations are required to record business transactions. Such organizations include: telesales, debt collection, finance and banking. Business recording software serves this purpose. Quality assurance recording software helps in recording transactions with customers and clients, and provides valuable information and insights into sales and services operations.

Full-time recording helps evaluate agents based on a much more representative sample of calls from any time on any day. This not only increases agent motivation and performance, but also results in more loyal agents. It may also help management to decide what form of training is required and for which agents. It also facilitates decision-making on retention, rewards and replacement of agents based on performance.

Recording software coupled with speech analytics technologies provide a robust degree of supervision and improvisation for today’s customer-centric businesses to flourish.

Call Center CRM Solutions

Call centers are offices that make use of phone facilities to assist client companies engaged in fields as diverse as healthcare, education, law and market research. As the call centers function round the clock, and its employees communicate with customers in a completely virtual environment, the risk of getting stressed out is great. Like any employer, call centers too are expected to keep their employees happy. Only if they are happy can they make the customer at the other end of the phone line happy. Moreover, the sustenance and reputation of a call center depends basically on its relationship with customer companies. Hence call centers view Customer Relationship Management [CRM] as a top priority area and offer a wide range of in-house CRM consulting services. This is seen to increase productivity, efficiency and effectiveness.

An effective CRM program trains the call center employees on a consistent basis to build a good and everlasting relationship with the customer [companies]. Before developing CRM programs, call centers make use of the knowledge and understanding of their employees about customer requirements. Based on this, they develop modules and train them to use a wide variety of information and communication technology tools to accomplish a strong relationship with their customer companies.

An effective in-house CRM will ensure that the call center’s business functions make both the employees and customers happy and comfortable as members of a cohesive team.

One of the most important objectives of using CRM is to make the call center more profitable, reputable and sustainable in today’s highly competitive global market.

California State Contractor License Board

In a bid to protect property owners from inept or unscrupulous contractors, California’s licensing laws are framed to make certain that contractors are appropriately licensed with California’s Contractors State License Board. California Business and Professions Code §7031 offers a compelling motivation. The law proscribes a contractor from bringing a lawsuit for payment or other damages for services offered if the contractor is not suitably licensed, in spite of the merits of the contractor’s contention.

The California Contractors License Board was founded in 1929 at the request of the building industry. At present the Board persists in ensuring the protection of consumers before and after they engage building contractors.

A fifteen-member board selects the CSLB’s executive officer, or Registrar, and gives necessary commands as part of the administrative policy for the 450 Board staff members who operate from their headquarters in Sacramento and also field offices all over the state.

The board comprises nine public members, five contractors, and one labor representative.

The CSLB monitors the activities of contractors in 42 license classifications. It also probes into complaints against contractors. With the assistance of SWIFT (Statewide Investigative Fraud Team), the Board works to eradicate unlicensed contractors engaged in California.

It makes available free publications related to employing the services of contractors, and the construction procedure. The Board also runs an informational web site and offers a toll-free computerized telephone reply system that gives the public relevant information on contractor licensing.

The Contractors State License Board safeguards the interests of consumers by keeping a close vigil on the construction industry through strategies that improve the health, protection and general well-being of the public in matters connecting to construction. The Contractors State License Board tries to ensure that construction is accomplished in a secure, efficient and skilled way. The main priorities of The Board are licensing contractors and implementing licensing laws, making certain that any person practicing or intending to practice construction be licensed, and implementing the laws, rules and principles governing construction contracting in a just and consistent manner.