OVERVIEW ABOUT BLUE ANT SUPERTOOTH
A hands-free best head unit for sound quality for the spouse tested Charles Wright's finance defences. WE'RE PRETTY sure that the Prussian military theorist Carl von Clausewitz would have been aghast at our decision to install a Blue Ant Supertooth 3 hands-free speaker in the spouse's car. That single act exposed the vulnerability of our defences against Telstra MobileNet's unrelenting attacks on the Bleeding Edge bank account.
As readers may recall, we'd managed to penetrate the fortifications guarding the existence of Telstra's top-secret capped plans from most forms of assault, which stopped the monthly slaughter. Most customers are completely fooled by Telstra's marketing camouflage and are little more than cannon fodder. They fall for claims of "bonus options that could save you thousands of dollars a year", "monthly credits that help you reduce your bill each month" and "fantastic call rates to help keep your costs to a minimum".
At that point, they're bundled into captivity at rates that are many times higher than the capped plans. It took several months for Bleeding Edge intelligence officers to break the customer service representatives who are trained to reveal nothing but their name, rank, and standard mobile phone contracts, but once we got them talking we were able to cut several hundred dollars from our monthly bills.
THE FACT OF TELSTRA
For a while it looked like the 3g Cap 79 Business Mobile Plan, which promised to give the Bleeding Edge spouse $450 worth of mobile calls plus $100 worth of calls to Telstra mobiles, would cut her bill to $78.99 a month. We knew we'd have to be cautious because Telstra has laid a treacherous minefield that can decimate $550 much more efficiently than its mobile competitors. The fact that the armour-piercing bullets fired by the Telstra cap, which charges in 30-second increments rather than per-second increments, plus depleted uranium rounds of 35c flag fall and call rate of 30c a minute, blow a 70c hole in your flak jacket for the briefest conversation.
Talk for eight minutes and you'll lose $5.96 worth of blood. We should have remembered that before we installed the Supertooth 3. At about $130, the price is good and it looks innocent enough: a small device that clamps magnetically to a slim clip (you get two of them) on the sun visor. It has a remarkably efficient text-to-speech engine that looks up your phone book, which it downloads from your mobile phone when you pair it, when you have a call. It even tells you from which of their numbers your contact is calling.
If it doesn't find a match it tells you the caller's phone number. You can answer calls simply by muttering, clearly, "OK," "Accept" or "Answer." We're possibly not the typical mobile phone user, but in our opinion it would be good to have a feature that rejects the call immediately when you say "Buzz off!" If your phone supports voice calling, you can also instruct the Supertooth 3 to place calls for you. Speech quality is excellent and it works well with most modern phones, although with some models it may take a little coaxing to swallow your contact book whole. If your phone's address book doesn't have the ability to select all contacts, however, you're going to have to transfer them individually.
WHAT SHOULD WE DO?
We'd recommend checking your phone's compatibility with Blue Ant's customer service centre on (03) 9593 6700. The interface is simple; you can pair the phone with up to eight phones, and depending on how talkative you are, the battery could last from two to three weeks without recharging. Vibration-sensing technology drops the connection with the phone when you leave the car, avoiding those irritating situations where you're standing outside the car with an apparently dead phone, and the caller is communicating with the hands-free inside the car.
When you're in the car again, it shakes itself back to life. One weakness: having a device like that made it so much easier for the Bleeding Edge spouse to slip behind the wheel and start making calls with no risk of being booked by a friendly law-enforcement officer. Indeed, our significant other seems to have a rare condition in which proximity to a steering wheel sparks a compulsion to ring somebody - anybody - and start chatting. Before we knew it, our anti-Telstra defences were being peppered with holes. We've had to send out for reinforcements.
One of our new recruits is a service called Freshtel Mobile, from the Melbourne-based VoIP operator. It allows anyone with a Nokia E or N series phone to make much cheaper calls using wifi. We'll be looking at that in greater detail shortly. Unfortunately, it doesn't solve the in-car call problem. So we're working on Plan B. We plan to find out how to program in some instructions for the Bleeding Edge spouse. Every 30 seconds, we want the Supertooth 3 to give her a two-word command: "Hang up!". Read more click best 6.5 car speakers for the money.
SOME QUESTIONS NEED TO ANSWER
What name is given to the sorting of casualties according to the urgency of treatment required? The communication-related abbreviation STD stands for...? Name the Australian star of the zombies movie Land of the Dead, and the TV series The Guardian. The best way to make money online with fba fullfilment by amazon.
What is the common name for acetylsalicylic acid? Which of Shakespeare's characters says, "Parting is such sweet sorrow/ That I shall say goodnight till it be morrow?" What part of a wine bottle is called the punt? Susanna Hoffs and sisters Debbi and Vicki Peterson perform in which band? What do speleologists study? Won't Get Fooled Again, performed by the Who (pictured), is the theme song of which US television series?
What cake confection was named after the 1895-1901 governor of Queensland? -- Compiled by Kevin Schluter Answers, page 62 Your time starts now Rachel Berger Comedian My earliest memory is ... of the hideous bobbing mobile over my pram and the succession of charmless adults making fish faces at me like the cast of a nightmarish vaudeville show.
I ... had an imaginary friend who stayed out late, didn't wear knickers and kissed all the boys. Now I have real friends like this. My first relationship ... was with food. I'm a food slut: I eat around. I don't like talking about ... federal politics. It makes me feel like I've been on a really crap date.
My drink of choice is ... anything that comes in a spill-proof drink cup. My mother always told me ... when eating with your fingers, don't touch other people. I wish I had ... Wonder Woman's invisible plane and bulletproof bracelets. I wish I hadn't ... said, "These mushrooms are perfectly safe."
My most humiliating moment ... was talking to my brother on his mobile phone and telling him that I thought I had hemorrhoids, only to find out that he was in his car with the phone on best 6.5 car component speakers for sale driving four workmates to a meeting. My happiest moment ... is seeing the "Sold out" sign across the box-office window.
At home I cook ... anything that says "Heat and serve" on the side of the packet. My favourite gadget is ... a toy cat that lies in the car's rear window; its eyes light up when you brake. The book that changed my life is ... the manual for my alarm clock radio. I'm loving ... not being woken by the alarm at 3am.
Friends say I am ... obsessive. What do they mean? What do they mean? If only I could ... tell my oral hygienist he's got hideous bad breath. The last big belly laugh I had ... was when a drunk woman in the audience started answering rhetorical questions I posed on stage.
I'm always being asked ... if Rachel Berger is my real name. My favourite game is ... telling people that my real name is Feodora Weisswurst. At the moment I'm reading ... Brown's Signalling: How to Learn the International Code of Signals. So I can use a flag instead of my finger.
If I were a car I'd be ... an E-type Jaguar; they're over 40 years old and always in perfect condition. I often wonder ... if I could suck the venom out of snakebite. I'm told the bitter taste can be masked if you fill your mouth with apple schnapps before applying your lips to the fang marks. get it? A launching pad for many early rockers Use the sequence of pictures to guess the answer. Solution, page 62 -- Compiled by Bob Pickering.
THE ANNUALS MAKET
Today, some binder's board ends up in specialty items like engine gaskets, car stereo best component speakers for you mounts and cigar box lids, but more than 95 percent is used in high-grade books.
Binder's board helps get at least five years of hard wear out of school books, and it is valued for library binding. It encloses yearbooks (the "annuals" market is a big one for Davey) and collectors' editions. The material is almost de rigueur for expensive medical texts and legal volumes.
Mr. Brooks, breaking into a smile, said: "When they change the laws, they have to print new books. Nothing is so good for us as a change in the tax laws." Monsters Within Binders.
Book publishers, with an eye increasingly on the bottom line, generally opt for less expensive chip board in their best sellers. But there are exceptions. The Stephen King novels released by Viking enfold their terrors within covers stiffened by the Davey Company's Red Label binder's board.
Not all Davey's descendants have opted for a career in binder's board. But those who have joined the family company have been sent to labor and learn on the factory floor amid paper, water and pulp.
OUTSIDERS ARE WELCOMED
"There's no favoritism," Mr. Dodd said. "You work the same hours and do the same dirty jobs. That's the way we found was right to do it. And I think it's a good decision. It gets you involved in all aspects of the business."
Mr. Dodd also credits family harmony as a factor in the Davey Company's longevity. "We've all agreed more or less on decisions that were made," he said. "We've been a real close family over the years."
As close-knit as the Daveys and the Dodds have been, they are not clannish. Outsiders have risen to executive positions, including president, during the company's history. Mr. Brooks, who has been with the company for 20 years, originally joined Davey as a sales representative.
The seventh generation is represented by William Dodd's nephew, Stephen Dodd, a company vice president with a master's degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who has received a patent for a device to measure the density of paper stocks. "There will be other Dodds coming along, I'm sure," William Dodd said.
The company has factories in Aurora, Ill., and Downington, Pa., as well as Jersey City, which is home to company headquarters and a 200,000-square-foot plant with 15 buildings, the oldest dating to the 1890's. (William B. Davey's original Bloomfield mill was torn down in 1939.) "There are only four mills in America that make binder's board," Mr. Brooks said. "And we own three of them."
REMOVING RUBBER BANDS
Employing about 100 people each, the plants are run on three eight-hour shifts, manufacturing binder's board 24 hours a day. The factories use about 200 million pounds of waste paper each year.
The company dominates its specialty niche and its factories are working at capacity, but there is a worrisome and growing problem that barely existed 150 years ago: junk lurking in the bales of recycled paper.
"We buy primarily office waste," Mr. Brooks said. "One of the major sources comes out of Rockefeller Center. It happens to be an excellent blend of paper fibers. It's relatively inexpensive but it's fairly dirty. We have to remove glass, rubber bands, staples, paper clips, plastic cups."
The Davey Company uses 90 percent of the material brought to its loading dock doors, but the more production cycles needed to remove impurities from the pulp, the more expensive the process becomes, along with the high costs and stiff fees for having the unusable residue hauled to a dump.
And there is always the question whether a final replacement for binder's board is bubbling up right now in some research laboratory.
"It's still something you wonder about, how long it will continue," Mr. Dodd said. "There are substitutes for everything these days, but if you make a good product, you'll stay in business."
FOR CASES OF WINTER DOLDROMS
Postholiday blues and cabin fever, the county's Department of Parks, Recreation and Conservation has an antidote. The Winter Fun Festival Jan. 27, from 1 to 4 P.M. at the Saxon Woods Golf Course on Mamaroneck Road in Scarsdale is designed ''to get families out of the house for fun activities that won't cost a fortune,'' according to Kathleen O'Connor, supervisor of the leisure, sports and fitness division of the Parks Department.
''We want to show the public the number of things that are available only during the winter, such as skiing, dog sledding, ice sculpture and winter photography,'' she said. ''There will be a lot doing at one time at the festival and we hope that people will be coming and going all afternoon.''
The only event that will involve a fee is the horse and buggy ride at $1 a ride. ''We're charging for rides to limit the number of people; it'll be an old-fashioned hayride with real hay,'' Mrs. O'Connor said.
There will be a petting farm of animals from the Muscoot Farm Park in Somers. On loan from the Trailside Museum of the Ward Pound Ridge Reservation will be a tepee. ''In the past, we have had a hard time getting the children to leave the tepee because they love it in there,'' Mrs. O'Connor said.
The tepee, which seats about 20 children, will be used for storytelling. Snowman sculptures, conditions permitting, and nature games, including some played in the past by Indians, are also planned for small children.
Dogs provided by the Saw Mill River Dog Club will be used in a demonstration of dog sledding. ''Unfortunately, we can't have everyone participating in the actual dog-sledding,'' Mrs. O'Connor said, ''but a discussion of dog-sledding led by a member of the dog club and a video cassette, 'Sled Dogs Born to Race,' will be shown.''
Other educational features include body conditioning for skiing, learning to walk in snow shoes and taking picture of winter landscapes.
Nature walks will be led by a county naturalist. ''There's a whole new aspect of natural life in the winter,'' said Barry C. Samuel, deputy commissioner of the parks department and a nature specialist.
THE COSPONSOR OF THE FESTIVAL
''The naturalist will guide visitors in looking for various plants, trees and vines visible this time of year, as well as animal tracks and food sources for animals. The whole story of an animal's life can be learned from his tracks, especially if there is snown the ground.''
Eastern Mountain Sports of Ardsley, a retail sporting chain, will be supplying manpower and equipment for instruction in cross-country skiing and winter camping. A fiberglass mat for a ski surface is being borrowed from the Pedigree Ski Shop in White Plains.
At 3 P.M. there will be a drawing for two complete cross-country ski- equipment packages including skis, boots and poles. '' Everyone who comes to the festival will get a free raffle ticket; the winners must be present at the drawing,'' said Mrs. O'Connor. County Executive Andrew P. O'Rourke will perform the drawing.
Mrs. O'Connor explained that all of the events will take place around an oval. ''We're planning a huge bonfire in the middle of the oval, and we'll be toasting marshmellows there,'' she said.
Although a winter festival under the direction of the Parks Department was held two years ago, it was not held last year because of an ''overbooking of activities,'' according to Mrs. O'Connor, who would like to see the festival become a yearly event. In case of rain, the festival will be called off, and there is no alternative date.
''But if it's snowing, that's O.K.,'' Mrs. O'Connor said. ''We'll hold our festival in the snow.''
GET FAMILIER WITH DORIS
The remainder of the show is unapologetically archetypal - Doris battles for her independence and her mother stands in her way. In one remarkable scene, Mama Winter tries to cover up the noise her daughter is making about freedom by roaring a ragged Precious Lord, Take My Hand.
Doris responds by belting His Eye Is On The Sparrow. A soul-stirring cacophony ensues when Sister Carrie, who supports Doris's dreams, arrives and tries to calm both sides by singing Know When To Leave the Party, the message of which is that you can have your cake and eat it too, if you're smart enough to know that home is where the heart is.
Doris and Mama Winter both get the message: Doris promises she'll never forget what she's learned at home, and her mom reluctantly sends her on the road. Before long she's gliding across the stage in floor-length red sequins to the strains of Just One Look, and she's winning awards like mad, but that's not where Mama I Want To Sing ends.
I WANT TO SING
Doris goes back home, back to her church, to thank everybody for giving her her art. The audience doesn't have to be asked to join the finale, a communal sing-in of This Little Light of Mine. The cast stops the singing long enough to thank everybody for coming; you can hear Vy Higginsen hollering, "Y'all come back now," all the way to Central Park.
In the middle of the first act, one of the most powerful and moving moments in the history of musical theatre takes place. The Rev. Winter dies and an all-too-real powder blue casket is wheeled on stage. Doris, until now a sweet young thing with an innocuous presence and an incongruously big sound, looks at her mother. "Mama," she says quietly, "I want to sing."
And she does, in a voice that approximates the best of Aretha Franklin and Jennifer Holiday, a voice that provides a shattering vehicle for Doris's grief. "Sing it," a man in the audience yells, "sing it for your father]" and as the gifted Desiree Coleman reaches each new note, the exhortations from an auditorium in unashamed tears continue. The song is I Don't Worry About Tomorrow, and at the end of it, as the last notes die, Doris scrapes her nails across her daddy's coffin.
A WEEK IN CALIFORNIA
In addition to being expected to work, Cuban women also must ''volunteer'' to help the illiterate learn to read. And they are being trained in the use of firearms.
''They expect an imminent invasion from the U.S.,'' Mrs. Wyngaarden said.
Are women better off in Cuba or the United States?
''It's totally different,'' Mrs. Wyngaarden said. ''You can be a doctor, a lawyer, anything you want - education is free in Cuba.
''But you have to deal with your job, the kids, the chores, volunteer work, the block association - and the Committee to Defend the Revolution. It seems that women are working harder there.''
The Week That Was: California, which has a lot of blond teen-agers, was the site of two major occurrences last week. First off, Malibu discovered Mozart and gave Amadeus 11 Oscar nominations, though none surprisingly for best song. (And with all those arias to choose from])
The second upheaval, registering about nine on the Richter scale, was Liz Taylor's throwing her ring back at former fiance Dennis Stein. That woman has had more engagement rings (none of them from Woolworth's, either) than Dante had circles of hell. Stein is from Brooklyn and New Yorkers are - well, they're just furious.
OVERVIEW WHOLE STORY
It isn't easy being the grandson of a global icon, but Rajmohan Gandhi has been able to come through just fine. In his long and varied career as a journalist, politician, activist, and scholar, Rajmohan hasn't let his family legacy weigh him down.
"On balance, it's been wonderfully positive," Rajmohan tells me during a genial conversation at his apartment in Urbana, where he's been teaching at the University of Illinois since 2002. Tall, with a full head of hair and a clean-shaven face, Rajmohan at first glance bears only a passing resemblance to the almost-mythic proponent of nonviolence.
"We grandchildren have had the benefits without much of the burden," he says. "It must have been much worse for his sons--my father and his siblings."
Mr. Stronach concedes the threat of renewed action by the UAW is a matter of continuing concern. "It's always a concern if someone would interfere with your environment, with your philosophies, with your basic framework," he said.
THE MEETING IN TORONTO
In the meantime, however, he is more interested in extolling the virtues of the latest embodiment of those philosophies - the "corporate constitution" that he unveiled for shareholders at the company's annual meeting in Toronto last month.
The constitution publicly commits Magna to a number of measures. Among them: Drawing the majority of its board members from outside management ranks.
Allocating 10 per cent of pre-tax profit to the employee profit-sharing plan; 6 per cent to corporate management; 7 per cent to R and D; and 2 per cent to charitable, cultural, educational and political institutions "to support the basic fabric of society." Distributing, on average, 20 per cent of annual profit to shareholders.
Seeking shareholder approval if more than 20 per cent of Magna's equity is to be committed to a new unrelated business.
The creation of such a document is a bold move. "I think it is a quite remarkable initiative that demonstrates great leadership," said Toronto securities lawyer Edward Waitzer. "Even if you disagree with such things as management participation in profits, at least the policy is disclosed. Most companies don't do that." Typically, however, Mr. Stronach goes a little overboard.
WITH PARENTAL HYPERBOLE
He calls his creation "perhaps the most important chapter in western industrial society in many years . . . that I believe will have an enormous bearing in the future structure of corporations (and) law making . . . .
This is not to say he is oblivious to some of the apparent anomalies in the constitution.
For instance, if rewarding the company's 5,000-plus employees with 10 per cent of pre-tax profit seems generous, carving up an additional 6 per cent among a corporate management group that is made up of only 19 executives seems a trifle excessive.
Mr. Stronach counters the criticism by arguing that "good management doesn't come cheap - I don't come cheap" - and that free enterprise, as he practices it, does not guarantee equality, but merely "an equal opportunity to make a living, a chance to grow capital."
And noting that senior executives such as Magna president Manfred Gingl and "many others" started on the bottom rung, he concluded the thought with a flourish by saying: "Every guy here on the (shop) floor has a chance to become part of that top management . . ." and each of the company's plant managers "has the blueprint to create another Magna." The thought is awesome.
WHAT ABOUT MAGNA
By some outsiders' estimates, this means Magna's hourly wage burden is about half that of its unionized competitors - a formidable competitive advantage in an increasingly cost- conscious market.
Mr. Stronach's attitudes to organized labor appear to have been shaped partly in response to the strong views held by his father, whom he describes as having been a Communist and labor radical. "I argued many times with him."
His basic objection to unions is that too many of them believe "a socialist economy would serve the working classes better." Although socialism is anathema to Mr. Stronach, it is business that he blames for having "failed to provide employees, the working class, with an alternative" - such as giving them a chance to accumulate capital through profit-sharing.
TO MEET MR. STRONACH
And without acknowledging Magna's non-union status, he also professes to believe that "unions can be part of the free enterprise (because) society needs checks and balances." Whether this apparent tolerance is fact or diplomatic fiction, Mr. Stronach has won the grudging respect of even his adversaries in the United Auto Workers union.
"I didn't agree with his ideology or his philosophy, but I thought he was at least a well-motivated, decent human being," said Buzz Hargrove, administrative assistant to Canadian UAW leader Robert White, who got to know Mr. Stronach when they both sat on a federal commission on the auto industry in the late 1970s.
At the time, the UAW had won its first and only victory against Magna. But the victory was Pyrrhic.
Having been granted automatic certification at one of Magna's Toronto plants because of management interference in the organizing drive - some union cards were burned, according to Mr. Hargrove - the UAW failed to negotiate a contract and was voted out by the employees.
The negotiations foundered on a single issue - the now mandatory Rand formula, by which all employees in a given bargaining unit must pay union dues regardless of whether they choose to become union members.
THE WAY MR. HARGROVE RECALLS
However, the particular issue was irrelevant. Instead, Magna simply chose to dig in its heels. "Frank Stronach and I had lunch together one day (during the Government commission hearings) and he told me that their strategy was essentially (to) find an issue they knew we would not agree to that would force us to strike the plant in order to try to get an agreement.
And they would just let the thing sit," he said. "They wouldn't try to run the plant, or hire scabs, but to all intents and purposes the plant would remain closed as long as there was a picket line. "Whether it took a year, or two, or three, or forever, it didn't matter.
They were not going to have the union in their shop." But the union has not given up the idea of breaking in. "We have no alternative but to continue . . . and probably even step up . . . our efforts to organize Magna," Mr. Hargrove said.
"We can't have a major segment of the automotive parts industry in this country unorganized." It is conceivable that if and when the UAW again goes after Magna, it may be aided by the company's ongoing move to cluster its five groups of plants in industrial campuses.
HIGHER PRICES FOR FILLER PAPER
Higher prices for theme books, trade-up in the school stationery area, a greater merchandising of fashion--licensed characters, colors and designs--in a number of classifications and continued growth in the office supplies section are the major trends to watch for in stationery this year.
Price increases for basic school paper products, along with the move to traded-up itmes are first coming on-stream this year; the fashion focus was evident last year and impacted a number of areas tracked on the Stationery Product Movement Audit for 1983.
Price hikes likely to be put through by manufacturers of filler paper and theme books this year will result in costs going up 15% to 20%. Two factors are behind the increases: the marginal profitability of major paper manufacturers last year resulted in producers raising prices in an effort to make more money; additionally, manufacturer costs have gone up due to higher prices for all wood products triggered by the boom in home construction and the increased demand for lumber.
THE KEY ITEMS
Despite the anticipated higher prices, filler paper and theme books are again expected to be the key items featured in back-to-school promotions this year.
Filler paper was the leading item in total dollar movement of any product in the PMA due to the traditionally extensive se of this merchandise in BTS promotions. This reflects both the basic nature of filler paper and the footballing of this merchandise made possible by the drastic decline in filler paper prices last year which were probably 15% below 1982 levels. (Filler paper prices, in fact, had declined for about five years in a row.)
The outlook for higher filler paper prices this year will see discounters and other retailers step up their use of theme books as an alternative major BTS promotional item. Footballing of theme books isn't as sharp as for filler paper, and the price hikes for theme books still leave discounters more leeway for margins than do the increases for filler paper.
The increased merchandising of theme books was evident in last year's PMA. A 70-count spiral theme book was the top item in unit movement, and theme books of various types accounted for for of the top 10 spots, including the Nos. 3 and 4.
A reduced focus on filler paper as a BTS promotion last year saw a number of discounters becoming very sharp on the price of the basic 70-count notebook as an alternative promo. A five-subject theme was another hot promotion at under $1.
SOME CHANGES IN STATIONERY
Discounters' focus on theme books ties in well with consumers' interests. Customers view theme books as a better value than filler paper as a five-subject theme is less expensive in overall value than a pack of filler paper.
The difficulty in obtaining profits from promoted BTS products has resulted in manufacturers this year launching trade-up efforts for this merchandise. Better quality paper; more drable metal spirals, book binders and covers, and heavier-weight platic are cited as the benefits of the traded-up items.
Manufacturers and retailers will both obtain higher margins from the traded-up items introduced during the past two months.
If the PMA is any indication, traded-up items shouldn't face any consume resistance. In the school paper and notebook category, where the trade-up move is under way, items that carried $4.99 price points scored high in the rankings.
In stationery, fashion shows up as characters, colors and designs on notebook covers, envelopes and stickers; this year will see more licensed characters appearing on stationery products as manufacturers key in on fashion as an important way to distinguish their merchandise from other producers.
Besides school stationery, fashion's greatest impact is on two other classifications: miscellaneous school supplies and stationery and notes.