How International Audio Conferencing Works

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Audio conferencing enables individuals from different locations to connect and speak with each other using the services of a secure telephone line. The process allows people who otherwise may not be able to physically meet each other to communicate and have meetings. This is a preferred mode of communication as it is more economical for businesses than to have their personnel travel across cities or countries to attend meetings. International voice conferencing allows people in different countries to communicate with each other at a pre-determined date and time.

This is more commonly known as teleconferencing or voice conferencing, any number of people can be connected at the same time. This form of communication is widely in use in commerce, education and business. It also saves time as traveling from one country to another can take time, and delays can always make such trips much longer. Traveling also causes disruption at work as the time it takes for an employee to travel means time away from the office.

An international audio con-call differs from an ordinary phone call in the sense that there are more than two people who make up a voice con-call. Callers are connected to what is known as a conference bridge which is a server that makes it possible for many people to communicate with one another.

There are different types of international voice conferencing services available today. The first type is the “dial in” which is simply dialing a number that has been pre-designated and given to all the participants of the conference to call. It is normally accompanied with a code or passkey that needs to be entered via a touch tone phone.

The second type is called the “reservation-less call” which is most commonly used for businesses that choose to allow participants in Canada and/or in the US to connect toll-free into the con-call. If the participant is outside the local dialing calling area, there is no long distance cost incurred as these are charges to the host of the con-call. This type of call also utilizes a passkey or pass-code.

The third type of voice conference call is “operator assisted.” Operator assisted con-calls uses services offered by a conference call company which normally includes the bringing of participants to the call (operator dial out), call moderator and live call monitoring, roll call, faxing or emailing of any documents to all the participants, services like translation, and many more services.

Such voice con-calls allow businesses to communicate with people in different locations or countries without incurring traveling, hotel costs, per dime costs, and any travel delays that can arise.

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Western Digital TV – HD Media Player Review

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These days, everyone wants to be able to watch all their media easily. And of course, why not, with media coming from so many places… digital cameras, video cameras, cell phones and naturally, the Internet. You also don’t want to have to physically swap your DVDs or Blu-Rays discs because that’d be, well, un-North American! 750-something doughnuts a year, we Canadians eat. It’s gotta take a toll somewhere.

But in all seriousness, playing all the different media you might have is never an easy task. Let’s look at the options some of us might have.

XBOX 360 – Somewhat capable, but suffers from codec incompatibility, no built-in WiFi, loudness and other issues. Amazingly, the 360 is reported to be able to read HFS+ (Mac) partitions which I like for a number of reasons, while the PS3, a non-Apple competitor company’s product, cannot read HFS+ or NTFS. Even more amazing still, the 360 can’t read NTFS. I’d love to know what happened behind the scenes… was there a disgruntled employee(s) who said,”let’s stick to the MS man baby! HFS but no NTFS!! HAHA! There!” The menu, sorry, Dashboard works pretty well for a console, but not so much in my opinion as a media center. Finally, the 360 just uses too much darn power.

Sony PlayStation 3 – Considered to be a good media player by many, it doesn’t meet with the same sort of fanfare in my house. It can’t handle MKVs, even though the files within that container are usually OK for the PS3, it can’t take files larger than 4GB, it can’t stream these sorts of videos from a PC (and even if it could, its 802.11g speeds would hold it back). Also can get loud/hot like the 360, and it takes a lot of power. Aside from that, the PS3 having a Blu-Ray player is its saving grace. That, its Blu-Ray boot up speed and the fact that it can decode the lossless formats internally make it a decent player. I even like the XMB to a point where I don’t mind using it for organizing pictures and music, but since it can’t handle my MKV video collection, it too, unfortunately, has to receive a thumbs down.

Wii – Hah. I’ll discuss the 1080p media center capabilities of my original Game Boy next.

Popcorn Hour – This was one of the first proper media center thingys that had all the requisite features on paper. Hard drive, included, along with WiFi, RSS Bit Torrenting skills and the ability to play back MKVs and high-bitrate 1080p video. Only problem is, it didn’t do it well. First hand reports abound of the player stuttering, freezing, and generally sucking at playing back 1080p video.

Various other networked media streamers – These all work decently well for pictures, music and even SD video, but then again, so do the 360 and PS3 with TVersity. Nay, the real test is full-bandwidth 1080p video, and I’m afraid both the players and their skimpy wireless connections are not up to the job.

HTPC – This would be the only real solution for a long time. I even have posts detailing what they do and how to put them together. Why do these work? Because they’re just computers connected to TVs. Dual-core CPUs, lots of RAM and fancy videos ought to make short work of anything you can throw at them, at least in theory. Having owned HTPCs since I was able to connect an S-video cable to my Radeon 9700 Pro back in the day, I can tell you that the experience is not as smooth as it should be. Why? Because we’re using Windows! XP Media Center Edition was just XP, and Vista has Media Center built in, so that Media Center is just an application that runs on top. BSODs, freezes, slowdowns and other issues will still happen, especially if you use the box for other purposes, such as downloading in the background. That, and the incredibly complex setup procedure was seriously annoying. You have to of course install Vista, but then the codecs, and making sure that things are being upconverted and handled properly, sound is being output through the coax or toslink or HDMI the way it should, and then finally calibrating the video output was a chore and then some. Most of these problems go away when using Plex with a Mac as your HTPC. It’s one of the best media center frontends I’ve seen, and it’s incredibly efficient with its processing, playing video back smoothly that won’t in VLC or Quicktime with Perian. Still, it’s quite an investment (well, it’s actually a depreciating asset, but let’s not split hairs) to buy a whole PC, and that too a Mac. Your only aesthetically-acceptable option would be a Mac Mini, and their price-performance relationship is unheard of (in a bad way).

WD TV HD Media Player – Finally, that brings us to the object this review is about, the Western Digital TV HD Media Player. No one was expecting this thing, at all, at this price, and certainly not from WD. But none of that is important.

We’ve been led to believe that good things come in small packages, and it seems that this tiny device may be a proponent of that idea. It’s unbelievably small, at least to my eyes, which are used to seeing acceptable 1080p playback from big boxes that contain massive coolers atop multi-core CPUS breathing hot air, sucking electricity down and adding to the racket and sweltering heat produced by the other components inside that (usually) ugly box. This thing has no fans, is pretty green and gasp… actually does what its supposed to! Setup could not be easier, and I think no AV device in history has been easier to set up, physically. The power cable, the HDMI cable… and you’re done. Yes, this is also the case with many other HDMI devices, but this thing is tiny, and it only has a few jacks, so it’s very hard to mess it up. No physical buttons are on the unit, so it’s switched on by the remote. A more-white-than-blue LED lights up for power, and if you have a USB device plugged in, it’ll flash or light up, depending on whether it’s scanning the drive or is ready to go. I encountered a problem early on. After setting up the easy cabling and getting into the menu, I found that it would not recognize my external 1 TB hard drive. Alarmed, I immediately copied a 720p TV show to my Patriot Xporter flash drive and plugged it in. After a few seconds of inactivity, it started flashing and the videos came up. Still, if it wouldn’t read 1 TB hard drives, it’s not really an effective 1080p media center now, is it? I updated the firmware, and then it finally saw the drive. I noticed speed improvements as well! Hopefully this thing will get better and better with each firmware update.

This baby will play just about anything digital you can find. From old-school DivX encodings to the latest super-high bitrate 1080p MKVs, this will handle them all. More surprisingly, it seems to have no trouble playing them. They are no signs of a struggle! I put on a specially ripped version of the Godfather, barely compressed from the original, taking up about 20 GB. It started playing right away, faster than my gaming computer could start playing it(and that has a 4 GHz Yorkfield and 8GB of RAM). VLC and other players sometimes have a lot of visual imperfections playing back high-resolution high-bitrate video, but there was no such macroblocking, other than any present from compression. If you haven’t compressed your Blu-Ray rips much, or, you’ve just copied the stream file from a Blu-Ray disc (which it WILL play!), the video will look superb. Sound is as good as standard Dolby Digital or DTS gets (if you’re connected through composite, it won’t decode DTS though), but currently, it doesn’t do DTS-MA or TrueHD as far as I know.

The interface is a little like a simplified, vertical-scrolling Windows XP-coloured Sony PS3 XMB interface. Sounds a bit like Windows Media Center, right? It’s not unlike it actually. Though the menus are a little simplistic, they get the job done and I can’t complain much. The only issue I have with the interface is that each icon should have the corresponding text near it, not down in the bottom-right corner. A small niggle, really. The device has the ability to create libraries for you, but I disabled this feature as I have my own organizational structure on the drive, and also, it
seemingly takes forever to index a 1 TB drive. One more caveat here is that it can’t do this for HFS+ formatted drives, and I think it’s because it can read them, but not write to them.

After using the device for a few hours, I can say that I’m very satisfied with it. It switches between videos easily, resumes videos where you left them off, and never falters during playback, no matter how demanding the video file is. At this point, I have just one niggle… the remote is too small for adult male hands, and the buttons require a lot of effort to push. Sounds like a small issue, which can easily be resolved by using other kinds of remotes (programmable, Harmony etc.). At $139 Canadian, this is a great deal since it can do what HTPCs can’t do as reliably or as quick, for hundreds less. It also trumps every other media solution on the market, including the consoles.

I give it a 9 out of 10.

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Global International Conference Calls

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So you are looking for the best international conference call solutions to easily host global conference calls for your business or individual use. So which solutions are the easiest and most affordable?

As a part of most businesses, international conference calls are necessary sometimes. Since people attending the call may be connecting from any part of the world, using a reliable and quality solution is the key to a successful conference call.

When looking for a great conference hosting service, there are two important factors to consider: reliability and saving money.

You certainly want your calls to have a great quality. The voice must be clear and fast, with no major delay. Considering the fact that it is an international conference call and because of the long distance, the call quality plays a big part.

Another factor is choosing an affordable, low cost solution. After all, why spend too much money on a conference service while you can save money and use a more affordable one with equal or even more features?

Some companies offer you toll free numbers to make your conference calls free for people from US and Canada. You will also receive a separate number to give to your international customers or business partners to use to connect to the call easily.

When you do a simple search online, you will be amazed to see how many different companies are offering conference hosting services for global use.

Each of them come with certain benefits, quality, and price. You can compare carefully your choices to choose the best solution for you.

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International Copyright Protection

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Copyright Intellectual Property can be protected at National and International. Copyright has international protection such as Berne convention, universal copyright convention, WIPO copyright Treaty, Rome convention, Brussels convention etc.

The International union for the protection of literary and artistic works was established in 1886 in Berne, Switzerland. It is popularly known as Berne Convention. It entered into force on 5th December, 1887 and it has been revised for five times. It is administered by world intellectual property organization (WIPO). The Berne convention has 38 articles and special provisions for the developing countries. The convention has established a minimum of protection of life plus 50 years or an alternative of fifty years from publication of anonymous work and pseudonymous work. India is a member of the Berne convention.

One of the International copyright protections is Universal Copyright Convention (UCC). The universal copyright convention was signed and entered into force on September 6, 1952. It was revised on 1971 at Paris. The protection given is for published as well as unpublished works. The member countries must grant a minimum copyright term of 25 years from publication, or life of the author plus 25 years. The foreign authors of other member countries must be granted exclusively rights for at least seven years.

The next International Copyright protection for the performers, producers of phonogram and broadcasting organizations is Rome convention. The Rome convention was completed on October 26, 1961 and entered into force on may 18, 1964 basically intend to protect the neighboring rights. Phonogram is a sound recording. The rights in respect of phonograms and performances and broadcasting are called neighboring rights.

The benefits of this convention are performers, producers of phonograms and broadcasters. The protection is granted for twenty years term will vary according to the nature of work. The eligibility to participate in this convention is that a state must be a member of either of the Berne convention or the universal copyright convention.

Another International Copyright protection is WIPO copyright Treaty. It was adopted by the diplomatic conference at Geneva on December 20, 1996 and entered into force on January 1, 1996. This convention is for the protection of rights of performers and produces of phonograms. The term of protection is fifty years.

Some treaties convention gives protection for the unauthorized duplication. On October 29, 1971, the convention for the producers of phonograms against unauthorized duplication of their phonograms is signed at Geneva. The main purpose of this Geneva Convention is to fight against the practice of piracy by third parties.

The convention relating to the distribution of programme- carrying signals transmitted by satellite and audio- visual works is Brussels convention signed on may 21 1974. The main purpose is to battle the misappropriation of satellite signals on an international level. The treaty on international registration of audio-visual works Geneva signed on April 20, 1989 at Geneva. It deals with the registration of audio- visual works at the international level.

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