Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Drop off a new, unwrapped toy, book or educational toy at any GCF Branch between November 22nd - December 10th for Toys for Tots. Toys for Tots also welcomes checks, made payable to "Toys for Tots," to purchase toys..
Our Current Rates:
For a listing of our current deposit and loan rates,click here.
Shifting Into Neutral
The on-again off-again topic of net neutrality is back in play. While you might not know what this means, it can loom large in the way you surf the Internet forever.
In many ways, the Internet is still a bit like the wild west. Laws are written as need develops.
Currently, there is no law requiring a service provider to give equal access to its customers. They are wide open to restricting levels of services, protocols or which sites you may visit based on the service package you choose.
This could create an entirely new market similar to cable television or satellite providers. Package A gives you local channels, Package B you get certain premium channels as well. Package C entitles you to everything available through that provider.
Without regulation, Internet service providers would be permitted to do the same thing. Perhaps with a dial-up plan you could visit only the most popular web sites or restricted to using your service only certain hours of the day.
Other web sites would be available to those with dsl connections at a particular speed, those who choose the highest priced plan may roam freely. Or perhaps create a second Internet altogether - one for public traffic and the second a high-speed version for those paying the extra fee like a toll road.
Opponents argue that there's no reason for this law. This tiered-style plan is not being offered by anyone, so therefore, not in need of restriction.
Proponents want to make sure the Internet remains open to all and eliminate all chances of this scenario ever developing. They want the Internet to remain free and open.
Comcast, AT&T, Verizon and Time Warner Cable are among those opposing the legislation. They want to tax content providers to guarantee speedy delivery of their data. If the owner of a web site does not pay their fee, their site would load slowly. Or not at all. Preference would be given to the telecommunication company's search engines, Internet voice services and streaming video.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has been hearing arguments on the issue, and proceeding slowly to ensure whatever they decide cannot be overturned in court. Stay tuned.
Choosing the Right Smartphone
In one popular television commercial, Sprint CEO Dan Hesse makes the bold statement that not many people use a cell phone strictly for making calls anymore. While his motive is to make you want the latest and greatest his company has to offer, there is truth to his words. With all the features smartphones have to offer, a phone that merely places a call is considered obsolete.
It's not only traditional cell phones that will fall to the wayside with the popularity of smartphones. Personal digital assistants, or PDAs, were popular in the 1990s and already vanished from the marketplace.
MP3 player sales have shrunk since smartphones made the scene. Your phone plays whatever you would like to hear. As phone camera quality continues to improve, they may replace digital cameras one day soon.
Why buy a handheld video game when your phone already has it installed? Or wear a watch when you're already carrying one in your pocket that you never have to set?
Smartphones are becoming the device of choice to access the Internet. You can't carry your PC around with you.
Television manufacturers Mitsubishi, Samsung and Sonos offer apps that function as a remote control.
Avoid the risk of a thief burglarizing your home after stealing your car. They can learn your address from the GPS, and know you'll be away for quite some time filing a police report. Navigation apps on smartphones are superb.
All of these features and more, right in the palm of your hand. Who can resist?
Yet all those features can create a bigger problem in choosing the right phone for you. A quick web search returns more results than you could research in a week, with every site offering more information than is humanly possible to absorb. Where do you start?
The market is divided into two segments. BlackBerry is better suited for business purposes where the iPhone and others in its class cater to the consumer market.
Both offer services provided by the other to gain market share, but with distinct differences.
BlackBerry has a stable operating system, a full day plus of battery life, wi-fi access with quick browser response. You don't find that in an iPhone.
With the BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES), you can synchronize everything over the air without ever using a cable. Contacts, eMail messages and appointments are at your fingertips. Change devices and your browser history, ring tone and number of vibrations even remain configured.
BlackBerry features a full QWERTY keyboard which can be easier to access than the iPhone's virtual keypad. Its security features are so strong that network administrators use it as their device of choice in remotely managing their systems.
Yet a lot of folks in the technology sector favor the iPhone. You only need to carry one device to serve multiple functions.
You can access both voice and data simultaneously. No need to hang up your call to search for information!
The operating system is easy to update. A few clicks and a few seconds later you're done.
The iPhone cannot be beat when it comes to the availability and ease of downloading apps. Whatever your needs or interests, they have an app for that.
With their voice activated Google search to Skype, Netflix or Pageonce personal finance manager or Kayak trip planner, there's something for everyone. Dropbox allows you to automatically backup your files and synchronize them between all of your mobile devices and your laptop or PC. Share files or folders with friends and family easily.
Did you leave for your son's hockey practice before turning down the heat? No problem! Control your home heating system or any other Internet connected system from wherever you're traveling.
Google's Android is paving a road of its own in the smartphone market. Android is the operating system found in quite a number of smartphones available today.
The type of phone available to you differs by cell phone provider. If you're happy with your current carrier, visit their web site to learn which phones are used on their network.
But if you're looking for a new cell phone provider, you have your work cut out for you. It's a wide open field. Ask your neighbors about their service and learn which offers the best plans and connectivity in your area. Once you find the right carrier, you can easily choose a phone to match your needs.
We find mixed news again this week. Existing home sales dropped 2.2 percent in October to 4.43 million units sold. The drop was generally across the regions for both single-family homes and condos. Supply continues to be high at 10.5 months. Also, the median price fell for a fourth straight month, down six tenths to $170,500.
The warning from the National Association of Realtors, which compiles the report, was that qualified buyers are being rejected because of overly tough credit standards.
On the other hand, third quarter GDP growth was revised up to 2.5 percent annualized growth from the advance estimate of 2.0 percent. The revision was higher than the expected 2.4 percent. The upward revision was primarily due to higher estimates for personal consumption, producers' durable equipment & software, exports, and federal government spending. Partial offsets were seen in a lower estimate for residential investment, nonresidential structures, inventories, and a higher figure for imports.
Corporate profits in the third quarter were reported at an annualized $1.427 trillion from $1.383 trillion in the prior quarter. Profits in the third quarter were up an annualized 13.5 percent, following a 3.8 percent gain the previous period. Profits are after tax but without inventory valuation and capital consumption adjustments. On a year-on-year basis, corporate profits are up 28.2 percent compared to up 38.7 percent in the second quarter. None-the-less, profits are up for the year!
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