Archive for December 2007




Thanksgiving

There was once a little Indian called Squanto who welcomed the new pilgrims who came to America. He probably knew how scary it was for them to live in a new place, so he made the first move and went over to welcome them to help them feel better.

Next, he started a friendly conversation and listened to all their stories. He listened because he cared about them. After he learned of their troubles, and the hard winter they had, he felt bad for them. He wanted to help them, so he acted on those feelings. He decided to help them. He did all kinds of helpful things. He taught them how to stay far away from the wild animals, so they wouldn’t get hurt. He taught them how to plant corn and other crops, so they could have lots of food for the next winter. He was generous and gave them some of his own seeds to plant. He wanted them to do better the next winter. He wanted them to have lots of crops to feed their families, so he he was kind to them. So, guess what happened: When it was time to harvest the crops, there was so many the pilgrims didn’t know what to do! They had more than enough!…thanks to God, and thanks to friends like Squanto. So the pilgrims decided they wanted to be kind also, so they shared their new crops with the indians. To show their appreciation, they gave a big party and invited Squanto and all of his friends. This big party was called the First Thanksgiving. They wanted to have a big celebration and give thanks to God because He had given them so many crops. And, they wanted to share all they had with their new indian friends too.

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Add a comment December 8, 2007

Christmas

Mary and Joseph were in Bethelem, in the town of David when it was time for their baby to be born. They went to find a place for Mary to have the baby. They asked the man at the inn if they could stay there because Mary was about to have her baby. But, the man told them there were no rooms left at the inn. They were all being used already. So they went over to the stable. (A stable is sort of a house for animalst.) So that is where Mary had her first baby. The baby was a boy. His name was Jesus! She wrapped him in pieces of cloth, which was how people dressed babies in Bible times. Then she placed him in a manger (A manger is a big box where the animals come to eat. Their food is put inside the box).

That same night, some shepherds were watching over their sheep in a field nearby. All of a sudden, they saw an angel of the Lord! The bright glory of the Lord was shining all around them. The shepherds were afraid. The angel said to them, “Don’t be scared. I have good news of great joy! In the town of David a Savior has been born to you! He is Christ the Lord. You will know all this is true when you find a baby wrapped in pieces of cloth and lying in a manger.” Then all of a sudden, a whole group of angels joined them. What a glorious sight! They were praising God, saying, “May glory be given to God in the highest heaven! And on earth, may peace be to those God is pleased with!” Then the angels went back up to heaven.

The shepherds were very excited about what they had just seen and heard. They said to each other, “Let’s go see what has happened, which the Lord has told us about! Let’s go to Bethelem, to the town of David.” So away they went. They found Mary and Joseph and baby Jesus. Just as the angel had said, the baby was lying in a manger! After the shepherds saw the baby, they told everyone all about the angels who had come to them; And, they told them what the angel had told them about baby Jesus. These special things were precious to Mary. They meant so much to her! She kept thinking about them over and over.

Then the shepherds went back to their fields, praising God. Everything they had seen and heard from the angels happened just like they said. That is how we know that this is a true story, not something that was made up. It really happened. A long time before it ever happend, it was also told by the prophets.

After Jesus had been born, some kings in the East saw the star in the sky. This was the star that showed where baby Jesus was born. When they saw the star, they were filled with joy! So they went to visit baby Jesus. The star went ahead of them and stopped right over the place where baby Jesus was. When they got there, they asked, “Where is the baby who has been born to be King of the Jews? When we were in the East, we saw the star. We have come to worship him.” When the Kings saw baby Jesus with Mary, they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened the special gifts they had for him. they gave him gold, incense and myrrh.

This time of year, we hear a lot about Santa Claus. Who is Santa anyway? At the shopping malls, once in a while we catch a glimpse of Santa. He always looks jolly. He wears a bright red suit and has a fluffy white beard. At one time or another, you’ve probably sat on Santa’s lap and told him what you want for Christmas. You’ve probably written letters to Santa and sent them to the North Pole. You’ve probably watched videos and movies about Santa and his famous reindeer named Rudolf the Red-nosed reindeer. We’ve all heard about how he rides a sleigh pulled by a team of reindeer with Rudolf in front leading the way with his big, bright red nose. We hear stories about how Santa slides down chimneys to bring presents to all the good little girls and boys, and fill their stockings full of goodies.

Well, it does make a nice story. But, let’s think about this for a minute. Do reindeer really fly? Is Santa really able to come down your chimney? What if you don’t have a chimney. Then what does Santa do? Is all this stuff we hear about Santa really true?

Well, let’s go back to how the story began. According to history, a long time ago, there really was a man named Nicholas, who we now know as Santa Claus. Nicholas was a religious man. Nicholas loved children and cared about them a lot. In the country where Nicholas came from, it was common that in order for a girl to be married, she had to have a dowry (a lot of money and possessions). And, if a poor family could not afford a dowry, their child would be taken away and made a slave. This really upset Nicholas because he didn’t want the children to become slaves. So, one day Nicholas started going door to door giving gifts to poor children on Christmas eve so that they would have a dowry and not have to become a slave.

So, that is how the whole idea of how the story of Santa Claus got started. Of course, over the years, the story changed a lot. His name changed from Nicholas to St. Nick, then to Santa Claus. Today people all over the world celebrate Christmas by giving gifts, not just to poor families, but to friends and family too. If we think about how the story began, it really was a wonderful thing for this man named Nicholas to give gifts to the poor families. He gave of his own time and money because he had love in his heart for the children.

Add a comment December 8, 2007

Wireless phones

Std Features:  

  1. Plan minutes- (mthly air/talk time mts) to calls placed & received. often, calls on wknights & wkends donot count.
  2. Free incoming- sprint gives.
  3. Additional minutes- cost of each minute after u’ve run out of ur mthly mts. called overage charges/overages.
  4. Rollover unused minutes- Introduced by cingular wireless. They can be added to nxt mths allowance. i.e u dont pay for mts u dont use.
  5. Mobile to mobile calls- phones on same carrier’s network. they r free.
  6. Roaming charges- Depending on where u’re at the time u place a cell phone call, ur phone can “get a signal” in 2ways. The 1st & simplest is when ur phone connects to its carrier’s regular network–normally referred to as the carrier’s calling area. The 2nd is where the cell phone is located somewhere not covered by its carrier–but where it has to use the facilities of another provider for connectivity. This 2nd case is called roaming, & roaming charges r the charges u incur when placing this type of call. Reason for roaming charges is that u’re “borrowing” the services of another carrier with whom u’ve no contract. Most cell phones will signal to u when u’re in a roaming area, so that u always know when u’re placing a roaming call.
  7. Contract term- betn u & wireless carrier, mostly 2yrs. If you terminate the contract before the specified term, u’ve to pay early termination fees($175). This, however, does not prevent u from upgrading ur plan, as long as u stay with the same cell phone carrier.
  8. Activation fee- Each time u purchase a new cell phone line, u pay an activation fee. This applies equally whether u’re buying ur 1st cell phone plan or whether u add a phone to ur existing plan.
  9. Detailed billing- The more detailed ur bill, the more u can see how ur usage is & can modify ur plan accordingly.

Special features:

  1. Call forwarding- ability to forward to another no the calls u would normally receive on ur cell phone. Even though u’re not using ur cell phone when u receive a forwarded call, ur plan’s rules still apply as to airtime charges, minutes used, etc.
  2. Call waiting: ability to put 1caller on hold as u receive another call on ur cellphone.
  3. Caller ID- shows the identity of the no calling u.
  4. 3way calling- allows u to carry conversation betn 3diff callers. Regular aitime charges apply to 3way calls.
  5. Voice mail- stored in wireless carriers d.base & u’ll be allowed to access it.
  6. Nationwide long distance- can call all 50 US states without paying/incurring additional charges. They r cheaper than placing same calls on landline phone.
  7. Txt msging/SMS: ability to send or receive short typed msgs through ur cellphone. s’times u’ll have to pay $0.10 for each txt msg u send/receive. U can also subscribe to some SMS services that range from receiving sports rslts to getting ur daily horoscope on ur cell phone. If u use SMS more than occasionally, consider buying bulk txt msg if ur phone carrier offers this option. This is cheaper than paying the std rate for each msg.
  8. Multimedia downloads: For this, u need to upgrade or subscribe to a specific service level with a wireless carrier.
  9. Data plans: To fit needs of clients, features like internet e-mail, html browsing provided.
  10. Walkie-talkie plans: allows users to connect to a walkie-talkie network and to “push to talk” as he or she would do with a walkie-talkie. Naturally, the cell phone must have a push-to-talk feature in order to access this service.
  11. GPS services: Global positioning system is a satellite based technology that pinpoints the location of cell phone, so offers driving directions, location specific weather alerts. Although most cell phones manufactured today have a basic GPS feature that allows police to trace the location of a cellular 911 call.

Advanced features

  1. Built in Digital camera: Allows to take still pictures, view, send to friends & export them to pc. Some have built in flash, also ability to take self portraits by looking at urself on the external screen when the phone is closed. The current std for resolution is 1.3 Megapixel. Streaming multimedia support feature allows u to play video content on ur cell phone by “streaming,” i.e. without previously downloading it. In some cases, this same feature allows u to view real-time broadcasts on ur phone.
  2. MP3 player: Stands for MPEG layer 3. It is most common format for electronic audio content such as music, ringtones, etc. Different cell phones have different MP3 capabilities. More advanced models allow you to download & play music with ur cell phone, as u’d with a dedicated MP3-player. Other models only support MP3 ringtones.
  3. iTunes player. iTunes is a popular media player introduced by Apple Computers. It allow you to download, organize, play digital audio files such as music, spoken word, etc. through your phone–without the need for a dedicated unit (an iPod).
  4. FM radio: Ability to listen to FM radio stations through your handset. In some cases, the phone enables you to pre-program a number of stations as you would on your car radio. Some phones have stereo FM-radio capabilities, while others require that you use a headset so that the headset cord becomes the antenna that picks up the radio signals.
  5. FM transmitter. If you have a music phone with an FM transmitter, you can broadcast your tunes to nearby radios that pick up FM frequencies. For instance, you can broadcast your favorite playlist to your car radio.
  6. Attachment viewing (Word, Excel, PowerPoint). A cell phone with attachment viewing capabilities allows you to open and view the contents of email attachments in formats such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint.
  7. Bluetooth wireless technology. Bluetooth is a popular short-range wireless technology able to connect devices like cell phones, headsets, printers, laptops, etc., in order to transmit or synchronize data. Allows your cell phone to transmit a signal to a wireless headset (the common “Bluetooth” headset) or to a car-kit, enabling you to keep your cell phone in your pocket while communicating. More advanced Bluetooth capabilities allow you to send wireless signals from your cell phone to a Bluetooth-enabled printer or to communicate data to other cell phones enabled for the same technology. Bluetooth technology is slowly making obsolete other short-range wireless technologies, like infrared.
  8. Bluetooth stereo headset (A2DP). designed to send a wireless signal so a special Bluetooth stereo headset, providing you with a superior (and fully wireless) entertainment experience. The same headset can be used to communicate. Two-handed gaming experience. The majority of today’s cell phones provide a basic ability to play videogames. More advanced models, however, give users a fuller experience by allowing them to employ both hands to play, much like with a dedicated videogame unit such as a Game Boy. In most cases, this is accomplished through buttons or directional keys located on either side of the handset.
  9. Video capture/camcorder. allow user to record, store, play & send video-clips. On some cell phone models, the maximum length of video-clips allowable is pre-set (e.g. 30 seconds, 1 minute); on others, it is only limited by the phone’s internal memory capacity.
  10. QWERTY Keyboard. miniature version of a std typing keyboard on a PC to type (or “thumb”) text a lot more easily than on a standard cell phone keypad.
  11. Infrared port. uses a beam of invisible light to transmit wireless info to such devices as a PC. Cell-phone infrared technology is used for a variety of applications, including using the phone to link your PC to the Internet, or transmitting wireless information to other Infrared-equipped cell phones.
  12. Voice-driven menus. Voice-driven controls on a cell phone enable you to “speak” the commands rather than entering them manually through the keypad or other control buttons, thereby keeping your hands free for other activities such as driving, typing, etc. The most used among voice-driven control is voice-dialing–which enables you to dial your phone by voice command (e.g. “Call home/Call Jennifer/Call 911”). There are two levels of sophistication of voice-dialing. The most basic is requires that you “train” your cell phone to recognize the specific way you pronounce your entries. The more advanced requires no training and enables the phone to recognize the entries even if spoken by anyone.
  13. Weatherproof. Some cell phones are built to withstand a modicum amount of wetness or rain without getting damaged. These are particularly useful to hikers or people who work outdoors.
  14. Data capable / use this phone as a modem.Some cell phones can be used as a modem to connect a computer to the web.
  15. PC synchronization. This feature allows the user to link the cell phone to a PC and synchronize such info as calendar, to-do lists, phonebook entries, etc., especially through such applications as Outlook.

Msging features

  1. Mobile web browsing. Some cell phones contain or accept software that will turn your handset into a mini wireless Internet browser. Depending on the model, the ability to browse the Internet with your cell phone varies. The most basic version of mobile web browsing only allows access to text-only pages specifically designed to be viewed through cell phones, while more advanced models enable the user to surf and see full websites.
  2. Multimedia messaging. Also known as MMS, multimedia messaging is a capability that allows you to send and receive messages that contain not only text, but also other “media” such as pictures, video-clips, graphics, audio-clips, etc.
  3. HTML Web Browsing. HTML is the standard code used to build Internet pages. Some cell phones are enabled to view full web sites that contain HTML codes.
  4. Text messaging (SMS). SMS stands for short messaging service, or the capability for a phone to send and/or receive short text messages. These text messages can be sent either to another cell phone–through the phone number–or to an email address.
  5. Email client. Some cell phones have the ability to send and receive emails, using such servers as POP, IMAP and STMP.
  6. Instant messenger built-in. As the name suggests, instant messaging (IM) provides extremely rapid chat between two or more users. IM differs from other kinds of messaging such as SMS in the sense that it uses the Internet as the communication platform. Some of the popular IM applications are Yahoo! and AOL instant messengers. Traditionally, IM “chat” occurs between personal computers. However, cell phones with built-in IM capabilities are enabled to send and receive instant messages–from and to PCs and other IM-enabled cell phones. Also, IM allows the user to set up a “buddy list,” and to see whether any particular user on this list is online (available) or not before the message is sent.

Personalization & Fun Features

  1. Polyphonic ringtones. Cell phone polyphonic ringtones are ringtones that can produce more than one note at the same time. In music, groups of two or more notes played at the same time are called “chords.” The more chords a polyphonic ringtone produces, the more exciting its texture.
  2. Custom ringtones. Some cell phones give you the capability of changing the built-in ringtones with others of your choice. Some cell phones have a built-in function that allows you to “compose” a custom ringtone, while with others you have to download ringtones composed on a PC or another phone.
  3. Preloaded ringtones. Most of today’s cell phones come with a number of preloaded ringtones from which the user can choose; each produces a different sound or melody, which can be used to set up custom caller IDs.
  4. Ringer profiles. The ringer profiles features allows a cell phone user to set up different ringer settings so that each “profile” can be activated for different situations. For instance, when you are at work you may want your ringer settings to be businesslike and quiet, while when you are on vacation you may allow yourself something more colorful. Ringer profiles are not confined to ringtones, but also include vibrate, flashing lights, etc.
  5. MP3 ringtones. Some cell phones allow the user to download short MP3 music files and use them as ringtones instead of the standard preloaded tones.
  6. Picture caller ID. Picture caller ID is allows you to associate a picture or image to any of the contacts in your phone book. This way, when you receive a call from one of these contacts, you see their picture as well as their phone number.
  7. Multiple languages. Many cell phones give you the capability of displaying prompts in different languages, the most common in the US being English, Spanish or French.
  8. In some cases, multiple-language capabilities extend to predictive text entries. In other words, if you tap “Lun” and your phone is set to English, the predictive text will suggest “lunch”; if your phone is set to French, it will suggest “Lundi” (French for Monday).
  9. Languages supported. This is the list of languages supported by a cell phone with multiple language capabilities.
  10. Games. Many cell phones give the user the ability to play games. Games may come preloaded in the cell phone, available for download and/or available on the wireless Internet to enjoy on a pay-per-use basis.
  11. Customizable faceplates. A faceplate is the cover that fits around the phone’s keypad; faceplates are customizable when they can be replaced with different ones available as accessories.
  12. Customizable graphics. This is a feature that allows the user to customize the image(s) displayed on the phone’s display as screensaver, wallpaper, caller-ID graphics, etc.
  13. Many phones come with a bank of graphics from which a user can select. In other cases, images can be downloaded or even received via multimedia messaging. More sophisticated phones even have built-in image editors.
  14. Customizable themes. A theme is a set of matching visual elements that appear on the phone’s screen, such as background image, menu, icons, etc. Also called “skin,” a theme can be something like the outdoors, sports, high tech, etc. A phone with customizable themes allows the user to select a theme from a bank or to import it to the cell phone via a download.

Core Features

  • Color main display. A cell phone can have one or two displays. Phones with two displays have a main one–generally the one to the inside–and an auxiliary one on the outside. With the greatest majority of phones available today, the main display is in color. A standard color main display shows around 65,000 colors, while displays of more advanced models can show as many of 264,000 colors.
  • External display. Clamshell phones–also called flip-phones–normally have an auxiliary display to the outside. This is usually smaller than the main display, and may be either in color or black and white (monochrome). The purpose of a cell phone’s external display is to show the user information like time, caller ID, battery life, etc. without opening the handset.
  • Color. A growing number of cell phones are becoming available in colors other than gray or black, so as to better fit the taste and the lifestyle of the users.
  • Style. Applied to cell phones, the word “style” refers to whether or not (and how) the unit opens. Today’s cell phone fall into 4 main style categories. Candy-bar phones r more or less rectangular in shape & do not open. Flip(clampshell)phones  open & close like a clamshell, through a hinge located above the keypad. Slider phones open by sliding the cover & exposing the keypad. Swivel phones open by swiveling the cover away from the keypad.
  • Touch screen. Some larger cell phones allow the user to operate the unit by touching the screen–either with a finger or with a special stylus. Touch-screen operations can range from navigating the phone’s various menus to writing as one would do on a palm pilot.
  • Speakerphone. Built-in microphone & loudspeaker that allow the user to carry out a conversation or to listen to messages without bringing the unit up to the ear.
  • Push to talk. This is a communication feature that works like a walkie-talkie.
  • Voice dialing. Voice-dialing enables you to dial your phone by voice command (e.g. Call home/Call Jennifer/Call 911). It requires that u “train” ur cell phone to recognize the specific way you pronounce ur entries. This usually requires you to speak the command a no of times so as to “lock” the entry into the cell phone recognition. The more advanced requires no training and enables the phone to recognize or understand the entries even if spoken by someone other than you.
  • To do list. This is a reminder function that allows the user to enter and manage a list of things to do. Different cell phone models offer different options for this feature; in some cases, the user can sort the items by priority and assign deadlines.
  • Voice memo. Some cell phones have a built-in recorder feature that lets you capture notes to yourself or to record parts of a phone conversation.
  • Standard 2.5mm headset jack. This is a cylinder-shaped jack that fits the small pin-shaped plug of many cell phones. This is a rather standard jack for headsets and car-kits.
  • Alarm. Cell phone alarms can work in diff ways, depending on the model. The most basic version of this feature allows you to preset a single alarm to sound at a given time–but the unit has to be on. The more sophisticated version allows for multiple alarms and to coordinate them with the phone’s calendar or to-do list–and the alarms will sound even when the cell phone is turned off.
  • Calculator. Most cell phone calculators are rather basic, and perform only additions, subtractions, divisions and multiplications. In some models, the calculator also includes a currency converter and a tip calculator.
  • Calendar. Called “datebook” in some cell phone models, the calendar lets you see and manage your schedule for the month, week or day. Depending on the sophistication of the feature, this may be linked to a reminder or an alarm function.
  • Mini USB port. USB is a standard way to connect various electronic devices (including cell phones) to a laptop or a computer hard-drive. A cell phone with a mini USB port can therefore be linked to a computer via this standard connection, thereby enabling downloads, synchronization with calendar entries, etc.
  • Vibrate. Most cell phones give the user the capability of switching off the audible ringer and put the phone on “vibrate.” When on vibrate, the phone alerts you of calls, messages, etc., by vibrating rather than ringing. This function is useful in environments where a cell phone ringing would not be appropriate–such as a library or a business meeting. Vibrate is sometimes called “quiet mode.”
  • Phonebook capacity. A cell phone’s phonebook capacity refers to the maximum number of contacts the user is allowed to enter.
  • Multiple numbers per name. More advanced cell phones give the user the option of entering more than one number per phonebook entry. This way, each contact can include home number, work number, cell number, fax number, etc. This feature allows the phonebook capacity to be maximized–so that each name does not require multiple entries for different numbers.

Battery Life Data about battery life refer to a cell phone’s ability to hold a single charge for any duration of time. The two most commonly used ways to assess a phone’s battery life are talk time and standby time. Many factors can contribute to a phone’s battery life, including battery type, feature(s) being used, etc.

  • Battery type. Most of today’s cell phones use lithium-ion (LiIon) or lithium-polymer (LiPolymer) batteries. These are, of course, all rechargeable and are extremely small-sized compared to the batteries that powered cell phones in the past. Some consider the LiPolymer battery to be superior than the LiIon in terms of efficiency.
  • Talk time. The expression talk time refers to how much talk-time a cell phone is capable of on a single battery charge. Most manufacturers give list a talk time that is based on average conditions, so your actual experience may vary depending on how you use your phone and where you are.
  • Standby time. Standby time is the amount of time a cell phone can remain switched on on a single battery charge–without being used to talk, send or receive messages, play games, surf the web, etc., activities that require more energy from a battery.

Technical Specifications

A cell phone technical specifications are the main technologies that the phone employs to perform such functions as receiving a signal, accessing and downloading data or accepting different software applications. The expression also applies to basic information such as cell phone dimensions, weight, etc.

  • Application platform. An application platform is a feature that allows a cell phone to accept various software applications. The most common application platform used in cell phones are Java and BREW.
  • High speed data. High speed data refers to a cell phone’s capability to access and download Internet data at high speeds (compared to older applications). Speed in downloads is measured in Kilobytes per second (Kbps). The most used high speed data packages today are GPRS and EDGE, which allow cell phones to download data at 115 Kbps, 236 Kbps.
  • Network compatibility. Network compatibility refers to two things: The network technology on which the phone operates. The current two standard network technologies are GSM and CDMA. The bands on which the phone operates. Bands are radio frequencies measured in Mega Hertz (MHz); in the US, the frequency bands on which a cell phone can operate are 800/850 MHz and 1900 MHz, although other bands are used in different parts of the world. A dual-band phone will support two frequency bands. A tri- or quad-band phone can support three or four bands–such as the two in the US (800/850 and 1900 MHz) plus others used in other countries. So, if for instance a phone’s network compatibility is rated as “GSM 850, 900, 1800 1900,” it means that the phone operates on the GSM network technology and on four bands–850 and 1900 MHz (used in the US) plus 900 and 1800 MHz, which are used in Europe, Asia and a host of other countries, making the phone particularly attractive to International travelers.
  • Ringtone types supported. A cell phone can support different ringtone formats. The most used are MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) and MP3.
  • Predictive text entry. Some technologies have been introduced to make typing text on a cell phone easier and quicker. Predictive text technology (such as T9) works this way: you begin typing the first few letters of a word and the cell phone “predicts” what that word may be and ends it for you. For instance, if you begin typing “tod,” the predictive text technology will suggest the whole word “today.” This technology is especially useful on cell phones that do not have a QWERTY keyboard.
  • Built-in memory. Each cell phones comes with a certain amount of internal memory used to store files such as voice memos, photographs, video-clips, music, etc. Memory is measured in Megabytes (MB). Depending on the cell phone model, the amount of built-in memory can vary. Currently, 15 MB of internal memory is considered to be adequate for normal use, while 100 MB of memory is considered very ample. Expandable memory capacity. Some cell phones allow for extra memory capacity–that is, the option to increase the amount of memory beyond what’s built in. This is generally done through the insertion of a memory card.
  • Dimensions. Dimensions of a cell phone refers to its measurement in inches. By today’s standards, a cell phone measuring 3.5 inches in height and x 2 inches in width is considered small, while a cell phone measuring 0.5 inches in thickness is considered thin.
  • Weight. Weight of a cell phone is measured in ounces (oz). By today’s standards, a phone is considered very light if it weighs around 3.5 oz or less.
  • TTY compatible. Short for Tele Typewriter, TTY is a telecommunication device for the hearing- or speech-impaired. It works by allowing the users to type the text rather than communicating it via speech. A TTY device is necessary on both ends of the conversation for communication to take place.
  • M3 hearing aid compatible. When used in conjunction with hearing aids, some cell phones can create static or other types of interference. The telecommunications industry has introduced a rating system that may be used to assess the ability of a cell phone to be used in conjunction with a hearing aid. The M system is one of such rating systems. M3 rating means that the phone meets FCC standards for hearing aid compatibility.

Add a comment December 5, 2007

Rama navami

Ravana, king of Lanka was very powerful, troubled humans & devatas alike with his atrocities. Gods when approached Lord Vishnu for help, he assured them that he would take a human birth on bhuloka & put an end to Ravana’s atrocities.

King Dasaradha of Ayodhya had 3queens. He had 4sons-Rama(Vishnu), Lakshmana(Adisesha, the snake), Bharata, Shatrugna(shanka & chakra-weapons of the lord). Rama though has to become the king, was sent to forest for 14yrs as one of the queen kaikeyi wants her son Bharata to become the king. His wife sita & brother Lakshmana also accompany him. In forest he confronts a demon named surpanakha who demands that Rama marries her. When he refuses, she tries to kill sita & so Lakshmana cuts her nose. She runs & reports to his brother Ravana, who orders demon Maricha to disguise as golden deer. When sita demands for deer & Rama goes to get it, Ravana kidnaps her. With the help of vanara army, Rama kills ravana & is later throned king.

One of famous Ramas temple is in bhadrachalam. During rule of Golconda kings, Gopanna was the tehsildaar(tax collector) of Bhadrachalam. He is a great devotee of Lord Rama. With all the taxes he collected from people, he got a temple constructed & also got ornaments made for the Lord. When he failed to pay up the taxes to the king, he was sent to jail. Ram & Lakshman incarnated as young boys, pay up all the taxes to the king & leave a receipt with Gopanna. The king & Gopanna realized that it was Lord himself who came to the rescue. King sets Gopanna free who was names Ramadasu. From then on, Tanashah would send pearls as talambralu on the occassion of Sri rama navami for sita-rama kalyanam. This tradition is kept alive even to this day with the state Govt sending the pearls to Bhadrachalam.   

Add a comment December 3, 2007

Ugadi/Gudi padawa

Acc to Lunar calendar, it is on this day that a new year begins. It was originally “Yuga aadi”. It falls in march/april. It is celebrated on Chaitra sukla Padyami as a mark of the beginning of the New Year in Southern part of India. However not all Indians celebrate this festival as a new year. Different people in different places celebrate New Year at different months. In some places, the New Year is celebrated in Vaisakha month, while in others, it is celebrated in Margasira month while others celebrate it in the Phalguna month.

The festival marks the New Year day for people who follow the South Indian Lunar Calendar when the moons orbit change is observed. Hence, the festival is of utmost important for the people of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharastra (as Gudi Padava).

Once a demon named Somakasura stole the vedas & Lord vishnu restored them by killing him. On this day Lord Brahma began creating the world. This day also marks the arrival of Spring. In Maharashtra it is Gudi padva, Assam-Bihu, Kerala-kolla varsham, punjab-baisakhi, but they follow Solar calendar.

People wake up early, wash their hair(belief that Lakshmi resides in oil & Ganga in h20), don new clothes, eat ugadi pachadi of neem flowers to give you a taste of sweet, sour & bitter incidents that the year ahead might contain, listen to panchangam(based on astrological calculations) to know what the new year has in store for them. Spring is one of favorite months of poets. 

It is believed that the creator of the Hindu pantheon Lord Brahma started creation on this day. Spring is considered the first season of the year and hence is a symbol of heralding a new year and a new beginning. The vibrancy of life and verdant fields, meadows full of colorful blossoms signifies growth, prosperity and well-being.

On Ugadi day, people wake up before the break of dawn and take a head bath after which they decorate the entrance of their houses with fresh mango leaves. The significance of tying mango leaves relates to a legend. It is said that Kartika and Ganesh, the two sons of Lord Siva and Parvathi were very fond of mangoes. As the legend goes Kartika exhorted people to tie green mango leaves to the doorway signifying a good crop and general well-being. It is noteworthy that we use mango leaves and coconuts (as in a Kalasa, to initiate any pooja) only on auspicious occasions to propitiate gods. People also splash fresh cow dung water on the ground in front of their house and draw colorful floral designs. This is a common sight in every household.

People perform the ritualistic worship to God invoking his blessings before they start off with the New Year. They pray for their health, wealth, prosperity, and success in business too. Ugadi is also the most auspicious time to start new ventures.

The Telugu and Kannada people celebrate the festival with great fanfare, gatherings of the extended family and sumptuous feast de rigueur. The day, however begins with ritual showers followed by prayers and then the eating of Ugadi Pacchadi. The Ugadi Pacchadi is made of Neem buds or flowers, jaggery, raw mango and tamarind juice.

Later, people traditionally gather to listen to the recitation of the religious Panchagam of the coming year, and to the general forecast of the year to come. This is the Panchanga Sravanam, an informal social function where an elderly and respected person opens the new Panchagam pertaining to the coming year and makes a general benediction to all present. Ugadi celebrations are marked by literary discussions, poetry recitations and recognition of authors of literary works through awards and cultural programmes. Recitals of classical carnatic music and dance are held in the evenings.

Kavi Sammelanam is a typical feature of every Telugu Ugadi day. Many poets come up with new poems written on subjects spanning from the traditional Ugadi to politics; from modern trends of life to lifestyles. The Kavi Sammelanam is often taken as a launch pad for new and budding poets. Kavis (poets) of many hues – political, comic, satirical reformist, literary and melancholic – make an appearance on the Ugadi stage. The literary feast is often telecasted live on Television and followed by “Panchanga Sravanam” when eminent scholars give their annual predictions.

Add a comment December 3, 2007

Sankranti

It mostly falls on Jan 14/15. Harvest festival, to mark the reaping of a new crop. Also Sun tilts towards N hemisphere & enters zodiac ‘capricorn’, makara rasi during this time, so called Makara sankranti. From this day onwards Ravi begins to move from S towards the N with respect to the Earth signaling the oncoming of summer & hence this part of the season is also called as Uttarayana. During this period the power of Ravi will be more than what is. It affects the entire human beings & the rays that Ravi emanates will have adverse effects on human beings. Severe cold will be in Dhanurmasa & from Makarmasa gradually decreases. Summer shows its intensity starting from the Radha Saptami day.

Makar Sankramanam will come in Pushyamasa i.e., Full moon in Pushami Star. This is the reason why this month is called Pusha masa. Pusha masa is ruled by Saturn. The power of Saturn will be more. The star Pushami belongs to Satrun. Guru is Adidevata for the Star and Yama is Adidevata for Saturn. As a rslt the -ve effects will be more.

When Ravi enters in Makar Rasi, Sani owns the house, Kuja is in exalted position, Guru in deliberate position. As Kuja is responsible for fire & Guru for education line, during this period it is advised not to undertake any auspicious functions otherwise we call it as sunya masa. Natives belong to Makar rasi or persons with stars of Uttarashada, Sravan & Dhanista are advised to take more caution on health front.

Makar Sankranti is the day when the glorious Sun God of Hindus begins its ascendancy & entry into the N Hemisphere. Ravi (Sun) for Hindis stands for Pratyaksha Daivam. Ravi is the one who transcends time & also the one who rotates the proverbial Wheel of Time. The very famous Gayantri Mantra, which is chanted everyday by every faithful Hindu, is directed to Sun God to bless them with intelligence & wisdom. 

Sankranti is celebrated in most parts of India under diff names.. Sankranti(A.P,Karnataka),Pongal(Tamil Nadu),Makar Sankranti (Maharastra, Gujarat), Lohri(Punjab, Haryana). It is celebrated over 4days, the 1st day(13th Jan) is ‘Bhogi’, 2nd day(14th) is ‘Sankranti’, 3rd day(15th) is ‘Kanuma’, 4th day(16th), ‘mukkanuma’. During this entire festive season women decorate their vaakili(entrance to house or front porch) with muggu/kolam/rangoli using r.flour or chalk powder & decorated with colors & flowers. On Bhogi, early in the morning(4am), old items in the house such as clothes, broken furniture, old brooms are set on bonfire in their yards which is believed to ward off ill luck. In the evening of same day, there is held a huge display of all kinds of toys & articrafts in the house called bommalakoluvu. Also small children(below 4-5yrs) are showered with mixture of regipandlu(berries), senagalu soaked, flower petals, slices of sugarcane, small coins during bhogipalla perantam to trickle down the blessings of elders,family and friends and remove ‘dhristi ‘(protect from any evil eye). All the guests and relatives who are invited for the Perentamu are given a gift pack of assorted items (tambulam) which includes clothes, lentils, betel leaves, betel nuts, bananas, traditional sweets,flowers, turmeric and kumkuma.

On Sankranti, people wear new clothes & visit temples to celebrate the harvest. People in large numbers take dip in holy rivers such as the Ganga, Prayag & pray to Sun God. Haridasu goes from house to house singing praises of Lord Vishnu & collects alms. Girls make “Gobbemmalu”, place in center of Rangoli decorated with marigold & pumpkin flowers. They sing & dance around it. Bullocks called gangireddulu are attractively decorated & paraded from house to house & are made to perform variety of fetes(nodding in acceptance, kneeling & bowing down, even dancing) by their masters who play nadaswaram(flute) to the accompaniment of the dol(drum). Old clothes, raw rice and money are given away to the gangireddula vadu (bull’s master) in charity on the occasion of Sankranti. Street performers known as Budabukkala vallu also go from house to house asking for alms. Families celebrate with their kith & kiln & feast on ariselu, bobbatlu, jantikalu, paalakayalu, semiya payasam, paramannam, pulihora, masala vada etc. In telangana region its called festival of kites & competitions in flying kites are held. In some places, rangoli competitions for girls & women are held. People who don “ayyappa swami Mala” for 40days also reach sabari malai in kerala & see the divine Makara jyoti on this very day.

3rd is kanuma, when cattle are beautifully decorated & competitions for bullock cart racing are held. In villages, competitions are held for cock fighting. As a symbol to mark the end of Dhanur maasam, a big rangoli of a chariot is put outside every house.

Add a comment December 3, 2007

Maha Shivaratri

Maha Shivaratri

It is celebrated every yr on the 14th day of krishna paksha of phalguna masa. The most significant practices of this day are offering of Bilva leaves to the Lord Shiva and perform abhishekams, fasting and all through night long vigil chanting Shiva Panchakshari mantra. People repeat the Panchakshara Mantra Om Namashivaiah as it is said he who utters the Names of Shiva during Shivaratri, with perfect devotion and concentration is freed from all sins. He reaches the abode of Shiva and lives there happily. He is liberated from the wheel of births and deaths. Many pilgrims flock to the places where there are Shiva temples.

Shiva’s abode is called Kailash. He is always found meditating. Mtn King Himavanta’s kingdom was near Kailash. King was married to the heavenly nymph Menaka. Their daughter, Goddess Parvati desired to marry Lord Shiva from her childhood. She gains consent of Siva & began serving him with poojas to appease him. During that time, a demon Tarakasura had the boon that he was to die in hands of Lord Siva’s son. So his marriage became more imp to rid the world of the demon. Lord Brahma ordered Manmatha to shoot love arrow at Shiva. But when Manmatha does that, Shiva gets disturbed & angered, opened his 3rd eye & burned him. He resumed his meditation. Parvati now confirmed that Lord could be only won by way of worship. She performed hard penance. One day a sage talked to her, found out the reason of her penance & tried to explain that Shiva was a cheat. But she didnot believe. Shiva appeared & agreed to marry her. They get married & Shiva also restored life into Manmatha. Their son, Kumara swami is called shanmukha as has 6faces. He killed Tarakasura.

In AP, famous Siva temples are in Srisailam, Daaksharamam, Srikalahasti, Vemulawada. 

According to a legend, during the Samudra Mathanam by the Gods and Demons, a poision came out of the ocean. It was so toxic, that its effect would have wiped out of the entire creation. At this juncture, on the advice of Lord Vishnu, the Gods approached Mahadev and prayed him to protect their lives by consuming the poision. The Lord pleased by the prayers out of compassion for living beings, Lord Shiva drank this poision and held it in this throat by binding it with a snake. The throat became blue due to the position. That is why Lord Shiva is otherwise called Neelakanta and Lord Shiva remained unharmed. The Ashwini Kumaras advised the Gods to keep Lord Shiva awake during the night as part of the therapy. To amuse Lord Shiva and to keep him awake, the gods took turn performing various dances and playing music. A vigil was thus kept by the gods in contemplation of Lord Shiva. As the day broke out, Lord Shiva pleased with their devotion and blessed them all. Since then, on this day and night, devotees fast, keep vigil, sing glories of Lord and meditate.

After creation was complete, Parvati asked Lord Shiva of which rituals pleased him the most. The Lord replied that the 14th night of the new moon, during the month of Phalguna, is my most favorite day. It is known as Shivaratri. Parvati repeated these words to her friends, from whom the word spread over all creation.

Once upon a time, a hunter worshipped Lord Shiva unknowingly on Shivaratri. He did this by dropping bilva leaves on a Shiva linga at the base of a bilva (bael) tree from its branches where he was hiding and fasting all night. For this he was forgiven of all his sins. This forms the basis behind the offerings of bilva to the Lord on Shivaratri.

In the Shanti Parva of the Mahabharata, Bhishma, whilst resting on the bed of arrows and discoursing on dharma, refers to the observance of Maha Shivaratri by King Chitrabhanu. The story goes as follows –

Once upon a time King Chitrabhanu of the Ikshvaku dynasty, who ruled over the whole of Jambudvipa, was observing a fast with his wife, it being the day of Maha Shivaratri. The sage Ashtavkra came on a visit to the court of the king. The sage asked the king the purpose of his observing the past. King Chitrabhanu explained that he had the gift of remembering the incidents of his previous birth.

The king said to the sage that in his previous he was a hunter in Varanasi and his name was Suswara. His only livelihood was to kill and sell birds and animals. One day while roaming through forests in search of animals he was overtaken by the darkness of night. Unable to return home, he climbed a tree for shelter. It happened to be a Bilva tree. He had shot a deer that day but had no time to take it home. So he bundled it up and tied it to a branch on the tree. As hunger and thirst tormented him, he was kept awake throughout the night. He shed profuse tears when he thought of his poor wife and children who were starving and anxiously waiting for his return. To pass away the time that night he engaged himself in plucking the Bilva leaves and dropping them down onto the ground. The next day he returned home and sold the deer and then bought some food for himself and his family. The moment he was about to break his fast a stranger came to him, begging for food. He served the food first to stranger and then had his own.

At the time of his death, he saw two messengers of Lord Shiva. They were sent down to conduct his soul to the abode of Lord Shiva. He learnt then for the first time of the great merit he had earned by the unconscious worship of Lord Shiva during the night of Shivaratri. The messengers told him that there was a Lingam at the bottom of the tree. The leaves he dropped fell on the Lingam. His tears, which had shed out of pure sorrow for his family, fell onto the Lingam and washed it and he had fasted all day and all night. Thus, he unconsciously worshiped the Lord. As the conclusion of the tale the King said that he lived in the abode of the Lord and enjoyed divine bliss for long ages and now he has reborn as Chitrabhanu.

Add a comment December 3, 2007

Dasara

Mahishasura, a demon did penance & was granted a boon that he could be killed only by a woman. Backed by the power of the boon, he created havoc on Earth & Heaven. When Gods run to Lord Shiva & Vishnu, they advised that they shd pool all their powers & create a Goddess to kill him. Thus Goddess Durga was created who was given trishul of shiva, sudershana chakra of vishnu & remaining Gods followed suit. Tiger was her vehicle. Fuming with anger & red in rage, she sets out to battle field. Mahishasura had army of very powerful demons each possessing special powers. Even if a drop of blood drops on the ground of Rakta beeja, then out it would born his replica. Angered with the formation of many replicas, Goddess incarnated herself as Goddess Kali killed him by stucking her tongue out to prevent any blood drops from falling to the ground. When all the army gets killed, king himself set out to battle field. Battle betn the two went on for 10,000yrs, but finally she kills the demon, whose death is celebrated as vijaya dasami b’cos Sami pooja is perfomed on that day. On that day, Pandavas retrieved the weapons they hid in a Sami tree to rescue King virat from Kauravas.

Dasara is a 9day festival & 9days are called Navratris. Artists dance in tiger make up. On each day, Puja for one incarnation of the Goddess is performed. Day 1-Bala Tripura Sundari, 2-Gayatri devi, 3-Annapoorna devi, 4-Lalita tripura sundari, 5-maha lakshmi. Last 3days most imp. 6-Saraswati, 7-Durga as demon killed that day, 8-Mahishasura mardhini, 9-Raja Rajeswari, Vijayadasami day.

Add a comment December 3, 2007

Raksha bandhan

It celebrates the bond betn a sister & a brother. Raksha means protection, bandhan means bond of love. Lord Vishnu to keep his promise to Prahlada his devotee that he would protect him, left vaikuntam & became his guard in his palace. Later Prahlada’s grand son, Bali becomes king. Lord Vishnu’s wife, Goddess Lakshmi Devi decided to bring him back. She went to his palace like a brahmin woman & requested him to let her stay till her husband returns to take her. Kind at heart, Bali agreed. One full moon day of Shravanamasam, she tied colored thread called Rakhi on Bali’s wrist as a sign of her affection & for his protection. Bali felt happy & asked her for a gift. She revealed e’thing, Bali realeased Lord, but requested them to visit his palace every year on the same day to have meal with him. Thus Rakhi festival began to be celebrated.

On that day, every one worships deities. The sister performs brother’s arti, put tilka & chawal on his forehead, ties rakhi on his wrist, gives him sweets & gifts. Brother accepts her offerings & vows to take care of her. As a token, he gives the sister a return gift & sweets. Family reunion, tasty dishes, sweets, gifts, song & dance.

Add a comment December 3, 2007

Deepavali

After Brahma lifts Bhoomi from ocean in his Varaha avatar, a son Narakasura was born to her but he turned out to be a vicious demon. Bhoodevi did penance & got boon from Brahma that he shd be dead only by her to protect his son. Knowing this, as he grows Naraka created hovac in Earth & heaven thinking no mother would be cruel enough to kill her son. Naraka attacked heaven, snatched away the precious earrings of Goddess Aditi, mother of Lord Indra.  Indra runs to Krishna. Krishna knowing the boon, takes his wife satyabhama to war on Garuda vahana & fights ferociously. But at one stage, Narakasuras vadha when hits his head, Krishna falls unconscious. Satyabhama gets angry, shoots arrows which kill the demon. As a mark of the end of the dark days, people lighted diyas & burnt crackers. Thus started the traditional celebrations of Deepavali. 

On that day everyone wear new clothes, decorate house with diyas, do lakshmi puja, distribute sweets, wish each other & burn crackers.

Diwali is followed by Naraka Chaturdasi. This day has a special role in the in performing this festival. The holy day marks the vanquishing of Naraka by Lord Krishna and Satyabhama. Termed as the Festival of Lights, Diwali earmarks the celebrations on the news of return of Lord Rama back to Ayodhya after years of stay at forest. There are so many legends that dealt with the importance of this festival.

 Precautions:

  1. Wear cotton clothes
  2. Keep 1bucket of water ready
  3. Dont fire crackers alone, make sure someone is there.
  4. Dont keep matchboxes close to crackers.
  5. For lighting chichubudlu, use kakarapovvottulu. As you can do this from little bit far, prevents accidents to eyes.
  6. If skin gets burnt, imm wash to wash off chemicals, apply anti septic cream, go to doctor.

Add a comment December 3, 2007

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