If you're country hopping as I am, you may wish to invest the $100 and change to get a dual SIM cell phone. This allows you to have a valid number at your ID residence along with local dialing via a Movistar or similar secondary SIM anywhere in the world.
Keeping up with plans and payment dates can be a chore. An AT&T GoPhone SIM allows me to pay $20 when I return to the states each 6 months to a year. (Some may be required to keep $20 in the account yet ask for a 1 year extension)
Movistar SIM's are a no brainer.
I'll get back to blogging within 48 hours, thanks and have a great weekend.
*I went with a BLU, great phones, big screen, inexpensive and durable.
A recent survey by the Pew Internet and American Life project found that 72% of Americans experience some form of dropped calls, and 32% experience dropped calls at least a few times per week or more. Like it or not, dropped calls are still a major problem for a large number of people, and while the carriers are continuing to add towers and expand coverage areas, this is not a problem that's going to go away soon. So what is there to do?
After years of research into this problem, the FCC formally approved the use of cell phone signal boosters to extend the range of cell networks into areas that receive poor service, including homes, offices, commercial buildings and more. We'll take a closer look at what cell phone signal boosters are and give some guidance on how to choose the right system to permanently solve your reception problems.
Causes of Poor Cell Phone Signal
When it comes to poor cell phone signal, there are two main contributing factors: distance from the closest cell tower and obstructions causing interference.
Distance from the Closest Cell Tower
Carriers provide cell coverage through a network of strategically placed cellular towers. Ideally, whenever you're within this network, your mobile device will automatically connect with the closest tower, and as you move, will continue hopping to the next closest tower. Unfortunately, as you get towards the edge of your carrier's coverage area, there won't be new towers to hop to, and your mobile device will start to experience degraded signal the further it is from the nearest tower. You'll reach a point where your mobile device is too far from the tower to maintain a consistent connection, and you'll experience dropped calls.
Obstructions Causing Interference
While cell signal passes through the air with minimal trouble, every object it meets between the tower and your mobile device causes some degree of interference. Geographical elements, such as hills, mountains, and trees can cause major signal issues, as well as building materials, like metal siding, concrete, and wire mesh. Additionally, the increased use of energy efficient products, such as radiant barriers and window tinting, have contributed to the degree of cell phone reception problems in new homes.
While either one of these factors are enough to cause dropped calls and poor reception, the combination of the two all but guarantees problems. Next we'll look at how a cell phone signal booster is designed to deal with both of these factors.
What is a Cell Phone Signal Booster?
Cell phone signal boosters (also known as cell phone repeaters) were developed to address the two factors that cause poor cell phone reception. They're designed to amplify a weak outside signal and bypass any obstructions to provide a strong inside signal to an area that was originally lacking.
The system works by mounting an outside antenna in a location that currently has signal, which is typically on the roof. The signal is passed from the outside antenna, by a cable to a signal amplifier inside the building. Once the signal is amplified, it is then sent to an inside antenna, where it is broadcast out to the area which needs better reception. The system also works in reverse, with the signal from your phone being amplified and broadcast back to the tower, ensuring strong, two-way communication.
How to Choose a Signal Booster
In order to select the correct cell phone signal booster for your situation, you need to know the following three pieces of information: The carriers & networks that you need to support, the existing outside signal strength of those carriers, and the size of the area that needs to be covered in boosted signal. Let's review those in more depth:
Carriers & Networks to Support
Cell phone signal boosters only amplify specific frequencies of radio waves, which pertain to specific carriers (AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, etc.) and networks on those carriers (2G, 3G, or 4G LTE). The first thing you need to know is which carrier(s) you need to support, as well as which networks on those carriers, as that determines which signal amplifiers you'll be able to use and which type of outside antenna you'll need.
Most North American carriers (except for T-Mobile and Nextel) use the same frequencies for 2G and 3G networks (which handle voice calls and 3G data), so the same signal amplifier can be used to amplify all of those carriers at the same time. The 4G LTE networks (which currently only handle fast data, no voice) on each carrier use different frequencies, so if you want to boost 4G LTE, then you'll need an amplifier that is specifically designed for that carrier's 4G LTE network.
In addition, if you need to support multiple carriers, then you'll want to use anomnidirectional (omni) outside antenna, which can send and receive from all directions at once. If you only need to support one carrier, then you can use a stronger yagi directional antenna, which you can aim at the closest cell tower and receive more boosting power than you would receive from an omni antenna.
Outside Signal Strength
The outside signal strength of the carriers you need to support determines how strong of an amplifier you need to provide adequate coverage for the area you need covered. The weaker the outside signal is, the stronger the cell phone signal booster needs to be in order to boost the signal and provide adequate coverage.
Area that Needs Coverage
The last piece of information that will determine which type of signal booster you need is the size of the area that needs to be covered in boosted signal, as well as the layout of the area. The combination of outside signal strength and the size of the area to be covered will determine how strong of an amplifier you'll need.
In addition, the layout of the area to be covered will determine which type of inside antenna you'll need. If the entire coverage area is located on one floor, then a dome antenna will be the best choice for distributing the boosted signal, but if the coverage area is over multiple floors, then you'll want to go with a panel antenna, which is more directional and can be used to ensure signal is distributed across the required area.
Signal Boosters for Vehicles and Individual Use
Until this point, we've been discussing cell phone signal boosters for buildings, but there are also vehicle signal boosters for cars, trucks, RVs and even boats. While the principles are the same, the outside signal strength and coverage area come less into play, as those are constantly changing as the vehicle moves. Rather, the choice really depends on which carriers and networks you need to support.
Finally, there is a style of signal booster called a cradle, which is meant for one device at a time, and the device must be sitting the cradle the entire time it's in use. It's the most mobile of the signal booster options, as the system consists of only the cradle and a magnetic mount outside antenna, and is also the most affordable, but is less convenient when talking on the phone, as you need to use a Bluetooth headset or speakerphone while in use.
After years of working with both cell phone signal booster manufacturers and cellular carriers in the United States, the FCC announced in February the formal approval for the use of cell phone signal boosters by consumers in the U.S. In addition to this approval, the FCC also instituted checks to ensure that signal boosting equipment will not interfere with carrier networks, which include the registration of a cell phone signal booster with the carrier that it will be used with, as well as the certification of new signal boosters against a stringent set of standards, to ensure that only safe equipment is being sold to the public. These checks are anticipated to go into effect in the fall of 2013. Overall, both manufacturers and carriers regard this as a great step forward to helping consumers receive better service in their homes, offices, and vehicles.
Understanding the basics of how a cell phone signal booster works and what you need to think about when purchasing one is a huge first step in determining the right system for you. Every situation is different, from the local geography to the construction of the house or building, so if you have the opportunity, consult with a signal booster expert as to what system is best for you.
You’re 10, 20, 30 or more pounds overweight and you’ve dieted, on and off, for years. You’ve lost weight and then put it back on and more.
Why? Diets don’t work. Today we know diets don’t work. Even Weight Watchers says so. Restricting calories again and again alters your metabolism. That’s why so many people put back the weight they lost while dieting, plus more.
Yet, desperate to lose weight, Americans keep going on diets. While there’s no magic bullet for weight loss, there are steps you can take to lose weight, safely and for good, while increasing your health.
The common sense advice to “eat less, move more,” isn’t entirely correct. It matterswhat you eat.
And here’s a dirty little secret: Consuming refined carbohydrates — simple sugars and starches — is one of the biggest reasons Americans are now battling obesity. Carbohydrates you don’t burn get stored in your body as fat.
Since food manufacturers began lining supermarket shelves with “no-fat” and “low-fat” foods — most of which have added sugars — we have become fatter than ever.
This list of healthy eating habits is by no means complete. But here are 12 of the many recommendations in my new book to help you lose weight and gain the benefits — more energy and a fitter, healthier you.
1. Eat a healthy breakfast every morning. Eating breakfast revs up your metabolism. If you skip breakfast you’re likely to eat more calories by binging later in the day. In a study of people who lost weight and kept it off for more than five years, one major thing they all did was eat breakfast. But Pop-tarts, donuts and Hot Pockets don’t cut it. Cooked oatmeal, whole grain cereals, whole grain breads, eggs and tofu with a salad are all healthy choices.
2. Stop counting calories and eat foods that nourish your body. A meal of fat-free, sugar-free, refined processed foods is also nutrient-free. Plus, it won’t satisfy you for long compared to a meal of nutrient-dense whole foods like vegetables, lean meats, whole grains, and healthy fat. As you begin eating more nutritious foods and get a little more physical activity (if you aren’t physically active now), your body will come to its natural healthy weight.
3. Always have some veggies and fruit washed and cut in your fridge. This way they’re easy to grab when you’re hungry (instead of reaching for that giant-size bag of potato chips) and you can throw them in your bag when you’re on the go.
4. Replace diet soda with unsweetened beverages. Diet drinks keep your sweet tooth craving sweets. Plus, they make you feel virtuous. Many people who drink diet drinks actually reward themselves with extra calories through the day. Instead, drink iced teas or plain or carbonated water with a slice of lemon or lime.
5. Use the “Plate Method” to make a healthy meal. Fill half your plate with low or non-starchy veggies like broccoli, asparagus, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, string beans, mushrooms, peppers, or leafy greens and some fruit. Fill one quarter, with a whole grain like brown rice, barley, bulgur, or quinoa, or a starchy vegetable like corn or potatoes, or beans. Fill the last quarter with protein like broiled, sauteed, roasted, or baked (not fried) fish, chicken or turkey without the skin, lean cuts of meat, tofu or eggs.
6. Cut down on carbs. Refined carbohydrates (cake, candy, cookies, muffins, scones, cupcakes, soda, fruit juice, syrups, chips, and most supermarket breads) you don’t burn turn into fat. Even foods like fruit yogurt and many breakfast cereals have lots of added sugar. Replace fruity yogurts with Greek plain yogurt, choose high-fiber, lower carb cereal and add small amounts of healthy fat to your meals with avocado slices, unsalted nuts, seeds and olive oil.
7. Shrink your lunch and dinner plates. If you and your family eat off a plate larger than ten inches, replace them with plates that are nine or ten inches in diameter. We tend to eat what’s in front of us. Using smaller plates there’s less food in front of you to eat.
8. Enjoy less healthy foods now and then, in small portions, unless there’s a medical reason not to do so. Not letting yourself eat something you love may make you feel deprived and frustrated and subvert your efforts to eat well.
9. When eating out ask your server to double the green veggies in place of the potato or rice. I always do this and benefit from more nutrition and less carbs. Also, share food at the table. My husband and I always share an appetizer and when with a group, if someone orders dessert, it comes with a spoon for everyone.
10. Keep tempting foods out of the house. Stock your fridge and pantry with healthy foods and you’re creating an environment that will help make you successful. Enjoy treats occasionally when you’re out.
11. Enlist family members and friends to eat healthier with you. It’s easier when it’s a team effort, and, your family will also reap the health benefits along with you.
12. Talk positively to yourself and quiet your inner critic. Notice during the day your positive efforts and compliment yourself. “I chose a healthy vegetable plate instead of a slice of pizza. Great job!” The more you pat yourself on the back for what you’re doing well, the more energy you’ll have to keep doing it. If you notice you’re telling yourself you’ll never succeed, or beating yourself up for having two bowls of ice cream, stop! To quiet your inner critic head out for a brief walk, turn on some music and sway, and above all, tell yourself tomorrow is a new day and a new start.
My new book, Diabetes Dos & How-Tos, contains 65 “Dos” for people to manage their diabetes. But the 20 “Food Dos” in the book will benefit anyone.
If you don’t have diabetes they will show you how to lose or maintain your weight and eat more nutritiously. If you are at risk for diabetes, or have pre-diabetes, (Stage 1 Type 2 diabetes), the book’s “Food Do’s” can help you prevent full-blown (Stage 2) Type 2 diabetes.
The 7 top herbs for energy can give you that extra boost you need to get through your day. More than just a pick-me-up when your energy lags, these herbal energy fixes help improve your health and balance your system.
You can energize yourself without the worry of dangerous stimulants. Here are several of the best herbs to give you an extra boost when you need it.
Siberian ginseng is popular among athletes, but you don't have to be an athlete to enjoy the benefits of this herb. According to WebMD, it works by increasing stamina, reducing fatigue and minimizing the effects of stress.
You can enjoy Siberian ginseng as a tea, in capsules or in pills. Be sure the supplements you purchase contain real Siberian ginseng, Eleutherococcus senticosus. Do not take this herb if you have lupus, rheumatoid arthritis or uncontrolled high blood pressure.
Ginkgo improves energy flow at a cellular level by increasing the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) in your body. ATP aids the brain in metabolizing glucose for energy, which improves mental function. When you feel mentally drained, ginkgo is the herb for you.
Green tea contains caffeine, and as such, works as a mild stimulant. Instead of reaching for a cola mid-day, try brewing a cup of green tea. It gives an extra shot of energy to finish your day and also provides health benefits. Green tea is known for being an antioxidant, anti-carcinogenic, and antibiotic thanks to high levels of polyphenols.
Ashwagandha is commonly used in Ayurvedic medicine and is known for easing fatigue and nervous exhaustion. According to The Chopra Center, it can also build your resistance to stress, which may improve your energy level. Avoid ashwagandha if you take medications for anxiety, seizures or insomnia.
Astragalus increases the metabolism and is an excellent remedy for fatigue. You can purchase it in the form of a tincture, tea or capsules. It is extremely safe, but you should not take it if you have an infection or high fever because it may strengthen the virus instead of you. You should also avoid it if you take blood thinning medications or beta-blockers. It is commonly used with other herbs, likeginseng, and has been shown to reduce fatigue in athletes.
Stinging nettle as a tea (infusion) can give you more energy than a cup of coffee, without the negative stimulant effects. It's no wonder; nettles are jam-packed withvitamins and minerals. Create an infusion using a quart of boiled water and an ounce of dried nettles and allow it to brew overnight. Strain out the herbs and refrigerate. Drink it within a few days and enjoy it often for the full benefits.
Reishi is a rare mushroom that is called "the elixir of life" in China. According toNatural News, it is used for increasing energy, boosting the immune system and reducing stress. You can ingest it as a tea, tablet, syrup or tincture. It works so well to increase energy levels that many people drink Reishi tea in place of coffee.
Dangers of Stimulants
Often, people will turn to stimulants when they feel that afternoon slump. Most experts agree, the over use of stimulants can actually do more harm than good. They can increase your blood pressure as well as your heart rate which can lead to a stroke or heart attack. Stimulants can also cause irritability, nervousness, sleep problems, headaches and stomach problems.
Several herbs can act as stimulants. Think about ephedra or guarana, which have been criticized for being unsafe. Ephedra was even banned by the FDA in 2004, though most herbalists agree that the problem was with the abuse of this powerful herb, not the herb itself.
Use Only Occasionally
Using these 7 top herbs for energy occasionally is not harmful, but if you seem to be constantly fatigued, you should speak to your medical practitioner. Your fatigue may be caused by an underlying illness. Consider, too, that your diet can be zapping your energy. Eliminate caffeine, sugar and additives from your diet, and you will be surprised at how your energy levels improve.