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Robotics Club Assists Young Engineers With Their Skills, Dreams

3/16/2015 - 0 Comments
 
Here at Avcomm Solutions, we champion kids and support the youth in our community to help them reach their goals! In January, we hosted two youth robotics clubs, A’ROR’N Bots and TechKnow Difficulties, who were fortunate to meet and speak with entrepreneur Marcus Rosenthal, CEO and co-founder of Revolve Robotics, the maker of KUBI.

KUBI, a robotic tablet stand designed to use existing technology (your iPad or tablet), is far less expensive than a traditional video conferencing system. KUBI turns tablets into web controlled telepresence robots that pan and tilt, letting you look around and interact with people during video calls.

Teleporting to our offices in Aurora, NE, Rosenthal spoke with club members about his idea for KUBI, the production and creation process, and much more. The students were seated around the conference room table at Avcomm Solutions, and as they spoke, Rosenthal controlled the KUBI to turn toward each student speaking to him. The application of the KUBI became real for the students.

That afternoon, Rosenthal was working at the KUBI manufacturing site. During our conversation, he teleported to the KUBI offices in San Francisco, which we viewed from the Live KUBI Demo site here

Speaking with a successful entrepreneur in the robotics field was a great experience for the clubs, which have been in existence for two years. The A’ROR’N Bots club for ages 9-14 is part of the FIRST Lego League (FLL), which introduces kids to STEM learning: Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. Using LEGO MINDSTORMS technology, they research challenges facing today’s scientists. Together, they design, build and program a robot.

“I am so proud of this team – they have really come together to complete the tasks before them,” says Tami Brandl, coach of the A’ROR’N Bots.

At the recent state competition, the A’ROR’N Bots earned 3rd place overall and received an invitation to represent Nebraska at the Open FLL Razorback International Invitational, along with 64 other teams. Avcomm Solutions is proud to sponsor them at their competition, and wish them the best of luck!

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The Benefits of Adding Exercise to Your Daily Routine

3/4/2015 - 0 Comments
 
At the beginning of each year, resolutions are made, and then later broken – most commonly, those resolutions are exercise and diet plans. We make resolutions to exercise for the right reasons, but with the wrong goal in mind. Yes, exercise helps to control your weight, which is important. However, we are shortchanging ourselves if we think that’s the ONLY reason to incorporate exercise into our daily routines.

This blog post published by the Mayo Clinic lists multiple reasons why exercise is important. There are other incredible benefits to moving your body that we may discount, but that are equally important in order to have a healthy, well-balanced life. In addition to controlling weight, exercise also combats health conditions and diseases; gives you more energy; improves your mood; promotes better sleep, and more!

A general recommendation is to exercise 30 minutes each day (this amounts to only 2% of your day!). People with specific weight loss or fitness goals will most likely need to exercise more.

Some tips to turn exercise into a daily routine:
  1. Find the right activity or program. This is probably the most important tip! If you don’t like what you’re doing, you probably won’t do it again! Costs can vary from the cost of a pair of good pair of shoes for walking and running, to purchasing a home weight system, or signing up for a monthly membership at a fitness center. You may be fortunate enough to work at an organization that offers gym memberships, or has an on-site gym. Take advantage of these benefits.

  2. Consistency is key – however, if you miss a day (or a week, or even a month) – don’t use that as the excuse to stop exercising altogether. Start where you’re at and enjoy the journey. Just don’t give up! You will have sore muscles, and at first, you may be more tired than you were before you started exercising. Sticking with exercise will pay big rewards in overall health and happiness.

  3. Have fun! If you’re not enjoying what you’re doing, what’s the point? There are plenty of things in life that we are duty-bound to complete; make exercise the time that you look forward to because you know how much fun you will have! Need some time with friends? Make a date to walk, go to the gym, or take a Jazzercise class together. It could very well be the best part of your day!

  4. Every once in a while, mix things up! Once you find the right exercise program or activity, it’s still a good idea to change things up every once in a while. Keeping things fresh keeps your mind engaged and your overall satisfaction with exercise. Some ideas: Try out a yoga class; sign up for a local 5K; gather your friends and create a volleyball team to compete at the local rec center. There are plenty of opportunities to exercise, once you start looking for them!

Office workers are seated for 8 hours a day and at risk for heart disease, weight gain, diabetes, depression, and a whole slew of other health problems. Adding exercise to your daily routine can add life to your years, and years to your life!

Additional Source: http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/fitness/expert-answers/exercise/faq-20057916

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The New Konftel 220 Makes it Easy to Meet

2/3/2015 - 0 Comments
 
This new model in Konftel’s 300 series takes you back the basics. The Konftel 220 is an analog only, user-friendly conference phone featuring the same outstanding audio quality that the more advanced units offer. Built with OmniSound HD technology and omnidirectional mics, crystal-clear audio in all directions is possible. This analog conference phone is perfect for use as a desktop unit, or for smaller conference rooms (12 people or less).

Konftel reports that stable, analog phone lines are still the first choice for audio conferencing in many parts of the world. The analog market remains particularly strong in Asia and, to a certain extent, in North and South America and parts of southern Europe, thus creating a need for the addition of this analog conference phone to Konftel’s product suite.

    Features of the new Konftel 220:
  1. Easy to use single connection– perfect for offices with analog phone systems.
  2. Five speed dial buttons. Pre-program these for your most frequently used numbers.
  3. Great Scandinavian design, similar to the other Konftel 300 series models
  4. OmniSound HD technology
  5. Three-way calling
  6. Redial feature
  7. Kensington-style lock security port
  8. Two-year warranty




Three LED lights on the unit alert the user to the following functions: Flashing blue signals an Incoming call; Steady blue is a Call in progress; Flashing red is Hold, microphone and speaker turned off; and finally, Steady red signals Mute, microphone turned off.

Konftel lists MSRP at $449. While the Konftel 220 isn’t immediately available for shipment, we are currently taking pre-orders and expect product availability and delivery yet this month.

Additional accessories available for purchase for the Konftel 220 include a wall mounting bracket; soft demo/travel case; and Phone Line/Power Extension Cable.

For more information about the Konftel 220, contact us.

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Jabra Evolve 40 a USB and 3.5mm Headset Solution

12/31/2014 - 0 Comments
 
Today’s work space has evolved from offices and cubicles to an open work environment. Doors, walls and thus sound barriers have been removed to create a “bullpen” atmosphere that theoretically facilitates open communication and easy sharing of ideas. According to this New Yorker piece, approximately 70 percent of work places have moved to an open office design. The open office design does have benefits; however, open office environments can take a toll on workers. Jabra has found that 69 percent of knowledge workers say that a noisy open office environment negatively impacts their productivity.

Jabra’s solution is the new Evolve series of headsets, which create a concentration zone, thus minimizing distractions while improving productivity. In addition, headsets with multiple connectivity options give you maximum flexibility and make sense for a variety of users, most especially those who use several devices during a typical day.

The Jabra Evolve 40 is a plug and play headset that connects to your PC, tablet, and mobile phone. User comfort is fundamental: the adjustable headband and large leatherette ear cushions rest lightly on your head and ears, and the cushions rotate up and down to conform to your ears. The high quality headset has an MSRP at $95.00 for the mono version, $109.00 for the duo-eared headset, and is available in UC and Microsoft Lync optimized versions.

Use this headset for phone calls, video conferencing and listening to music while at your desk. The USB adapter allows you to answer and end calls, mute the microphone and adjust the speaker volume when using the headset with your computer. By pressing the inner circle of the controller, the busy light turns on (and off) and when lit, alerts co-workers of your busy status. Busy light indicators are located on both the headset (the speaker with the mic boom attached) and the center circle of the controller. The bottom of the controller has a foam grip and stays put on your desk. When you’re ready to leave for the day, simply unplug the 3.5mm jack stick from the in-line call controller and choose to take your headset with you for mobile calls or music.

The look of the headset, with its red cord connecting to the premium inline controller, and red detailing on the front and back of the black headband, contribute to the Evolve 40’s “cool factor.” This is the headset you’ll use at work and then on the subway as you listen to music on your ride home. In addition to its good looks, the audio quality of the entire Evolve series is incredible. The boom arm is magnetized so that it integrates into the magnetized groove in the headband when not in use. Although we’ve found that the boom arm pops up and does not stay in place as well as we’d like, it is out of the way when you are listening to music.

A noise-cancelling microphone blocks out background noise so that your caller hears you, and not your colleagues. The microphone boom arm is bendable for perfect mic placement and the sturdy plastic retains the mic position for ease of use. For easy portability, the ear cushions rotate and lay flat for placement in the soft neoprene carrying pouch, which is included with the headset.


The Evolve 40 stays up-to-date with firmware updates that are pushed through Jabra Direct, a free download from Jabra. With all of these features and a two-year warranty, the Evolve 40 is a great choice for those in open office environments that need a personal concentration zone.

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Which Holiday Movie are You?

12/17/2014 - 0 Comments
 
"Ho, ho, but no matter. Christmas was on its way. Lovely, glorious, beautiful Christmas, upon which the entire kid year revolved." - Ralphie “A Christmas Story”

The best holiday traditions connect us to our past, and allow us to relive good times, as well as creating new memories. Christmas baking, Christmas music, visiting family, holiday parties and decorating are just some of the many traditional activities in December. One of our staff’s favorite traditions is watching holiday movies.

Movies such as “A Christmas Story,” “Elf,” “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” and “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” (both the classic cartoon version and the Jim Carrey version), as well as classic holiday TV programs such as “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer,” “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” “The Year Without a Santa Claus” and “Frosty the Snowman” entertain us during the month of December.

Movies can put us in a “holiday mood” and into the “Christmas Spirit” by transporting us into the holiday scenes that unfold before us. Some movies are a “must see” year after year … and it’s always fun to find out what others’ favorite movies are, to add a new movie to our queue.

Are you known as the Clark Griswold of your neighborhood? Perhaps you’re The Scrooge in your family, or the George Bailey around your town. These easily recognizable movie characters provide a cultural touchstone that brings us together during this season of goodwill.

Who can forget this famous movie line: “You’ll shoot your eye out,” referring to what the adults told Ralphie after learning of his Christmas wish for a Red Rider BB gun in “A Christmas Story?" Holiday movies are packed full of now-classic quotes that are repeated all year. Other memorable lines: “The best way to spread Christmas Cheer is singing loud for all to hear” and “Every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings.” Tell us who said these quotes in our Comments and enter to win an Avcomm Solutions prize pack of goodies!

Have you ever wondered which holiday movie you most resemble? An online quiz: “Which Holiday Movie Are You?” made the rounds at our office. Take the quiz to find the movie that best describes you! We have laughed at the accuracy of the results (we may even have a few Grinches in our midst!).

We wish you a very Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year, and plenty of time to watch your favorite holiday movies! And finally, take two minutes and watch this recap of “The Greatest Christmas Films of All Time."

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