DIY Film and Video Transfers

Most of us have film or video that really ought to be transferred to DVD. The good news is that video transfers aren’t all that hard. And the more old film rolls or old tapes that you have, the more it’s going to be worth doing that conversion to DVD or digital video yourself. So in this article, I am going to give you some pointers for transferring your own film and video. First though, a little advice to get you started.

5 Tips Before Getting Started

1. Original is always best: If you have 8mm, regular or Super 8, or even 16mm film that has already been transferred to VHS video, make sure you work with the original film and not the VHS or VHS-C tapes. Why? Because VHS is a fairly low resolution video storage medium. The picture produced when playing an old VHS tape on your VCR is equivalent to around 250-300 lines of horizontal resolution on your TV. Standard definition TV (NTSC) is 480 lines; high def is 720. Going back to your original films and getting those reconverted will always be your best bet.

2. Be realistic: Old home movie cameras just weren’t that great, so the video you create from it won’t be any better. Take Super 8: The film size was tiny and was terrible in low light, camera focus was often a problem, Super 8 cameras didn’t have image stabilization or color balancing, there is mostly no audio (and if there is it’s compromised) and frames-per-second was low (super 8 recorded at 18 fps) compared to today’s 30 fps. Like I said, be realistic when you look at the results of conversion of your 8mm film.

3. Create a master video file: Huh? We started this article by agreeing that we wanted to transfer our old home movies to DVD. Actually, DVD is not the best digital video quality that you can achieve. DVD’s are created with the MPEG-2 format, which is has been a very efficient but highly compressed format for many years but is now a somewhat dated video codec.

Don’t get me wrong – DVDs are still a great way to watch videos transferred from home movies but your best bet is to first create a master file of uncompressed video (since you are already going to all the trouble of converting your footage). You can then use that master file to edit, create your DVD, or your online video, or your iPhone video, or your hard-drive-archive of family video, photos and documents, or whatever you have in mind (or that your kids may have in mind – in the future). With uncompressed video, you keep your options open.

4. Most improvements will come in editing: A good film transfer is important, and depending on the history of your film, a careful clean may net you some improvements. But the “OMG” moment will only come once the thing has passed through the editing suite. Why? Because your home footage – shot on daylight balanced film – will have been recorded under a range of “non daylight balanced” conditions: Some scenes will be too yellow (shot inside under electric lights), too blue (shot outside in shade, or on a cloudy day), too dark or too bright. And you may have some just plain junk shots to boot (it happens to all of us) that you would rather lose from the final.

To correct each of these issues will require a scene by scene inspection and a scene by scene approach. It’s pretty easy to do, and fairly quick once you get the hang of it: a basic color correction filter in a standard editing program like Final Cut Pro will do the job.

5. Decide if it’s worth the effort of DIY film transfer: If you have one or two old film reels, or one or two video cassettes, then it may be a lot easier to go to your local video transfer service provider and get them to do the job.

But if you do have a shoebox full of stuff, then it may make sense to do it yourself. And, as I said, it’s not that hard.

Video Conversions for Different Formats

Transferring 8mm or 16mm film: You are going to need that old projector to convert 8mm or 16mm film to video. (Sorry, the only magic machine with a door that takes an old film roll and reels out digital video is s professional video conversion company!) Whether you do it yourself or take it to the guy at the mall, the film is going to get played, then recorded.

The basic, DIY method, for converting old home movies on 8mm or 16mm film to video is this: Simply project the film onto a screen (of whatever size) and (digital) video record the result. You get a pretty good result doing that: provided you are careful with the focus of both the projector, have a nice flat screen, shut out stray light sources, properly adjust your video camera, and position it on a tripod as close to the projector as possible.

There are two important challenges to overcome with this method of film transfer. First, there is potential for distorted aspect ratio – “key stoning” caused by the difference in position between your video camera and the projector lens. The answer is to correct the distortion in editing (simple enough) or to project into a film transfer box with internal angled mirrors.

The second challenge is to reconcile frame rates between the original 8mm film and your video camera. Provided you can synch the frame rates, by adjusting the projector or the video camera or both, you can settle on a final output frame rate when you get the video into your computer.

Transferring VHS and VHS-C tapes: A lot of weddings found their way on to VHS tapes and are now trapped there. The video company may have filmed on a higher resolution medium but typically the product was delivered in VHS and the original recording is almost always lost.

Anyway, you have three basic options for getting those old VHS tapes digitized. First, buy a dual DVD-VHS player at your local Best Buy, slot in your tape, drop in a DVD and record! Simple, effective and fast. Downside, the result will not be the best quality. Keep in mind that VHS was never great to start with – so you may not be able to tell the difference in the result. And, if you want to create a digital video file, just rip the DVD you just made on your computer.

Retiree Employment – Why?

If a person is retired, why would they want employment? Well many factors need to be considered.Firstly a retiree may be facing a drastically reduced income, but expenditure may be on the increase. Retirees home based bills like heating and lighting may go up because they are at home all day. That combined with the rise in the cost of living and any possible reduction in investment income may force a retiree to consider going back to employment.For a retiree employment might be a good option if they want to keep their skills up to date, to keep up with technology. Simply because there are people at work that they have professional relationships with may mean for a retiree employment is important for social reasons.Retiree employment may provide new skills for a retiree which can help keep the mental agility of younger years. However, if your employer wants you to retire and cannot offer you any more hours, even part time, then you will face the idea of a new job. Jobs that are pretty hard to find these days.One option is to consider self employment as opposed to retiree employment. There are many benefits.You can still earn an income, and learn new skills. You can make friends on the many forums there are for workers at home. You can keep up to date with technology and work the hours you choose, and retire when you are ready and not a day before. There are so many benefits to being your own boss.So how are you actually going to get some work at home? While there are many products out there to help, there are also many scams. How do you know which is which?Some are good honest sites that give great information. Unfortunately also there are many scams out there too! So how do you avoid the scams that want to rip you off?In order to find out which are which, it is always a good idea to see what people are saying about any product you come across. If you put the name of the product into your search engine, and have a read about what people say about it. Forums are particularly good for this.

Basic Tips on Digital Photography

In digital photography, an expensive camera can not in any way guarantee that you will become a skillful photographer. It will help you to enhance your skill as a photographer, but on its own, it can not do any good. A digital camera that is handy and afordable should be able to help you take that journey through photography. Most of the digital camera out there should give a good enough features to help you capture the most memorable images that you may run in to.Some digital photography tips to help you capture stunning images that’s next to reality.While most of the digital photographers do the same thing over and over again, this is to help gain enough experience and hopefully develop the skills that they want to achieve. Should not be any different for the common people starting with digital photography. Once the digital camera comes in place, take time to figure out the specification, play with the functions, and shoot limit less number of photographs, do not care of the outcome in the beginning, but make sure to get familiarize with the digital camera.Most of the digital camera has a function to set the camera according to scenes. Fiddle around with this settings and get to know which one suits which situation. Go through the manual of the camera. Know the slightest details of the camera and its limitations.If the camera has can shoot up to 10 megapixels, shoot at its maximum setting. It is what you have paid for anyway. Normally the price of a camera increases as its pixel rating increases as well. So go ahead and capture to the camera’s maximum ability. But always remember to buy the memory card with large capacity, so that it would not limit your number of shoots.In the beginning you might take shots that is not perpendicular with the horizon. Making your images inclined. This is a result of hand movements and sometimes because of our in ability to focus straight. One way to overcome this is to again take a number of shots at one particular scene. Choose one that is you think straight enough and delete the rest.Talking about lighting, you need not go to a professional and teach you that a person behind the sun will give you an image that is more like a silhouette, some sort like a shadow. While a person facing the sun or light will give the unnatural image, and might make your subject narrowed his eyes because of the sun. The best is that if you can stand the subject perpendicular form the ray of the sun, this will give a great hair line.At times the eyes gives an undesirable shadows specially if your above the light. Make use of the flash at this situations. It is a good habit to make use of the flash in the flash mode function of your camera. Remember to get closer to your subject to give it the fill that it really needs.One of the camera setting is the Macro. It will give great dynamics to your image. Giving that exhilarating appeal. Macro mode normally gives you a shallow depth of field. Which means only the subject that you have focused will be sharpen, the rest will be soft. Explore this mode and enjoy that dynamics in your images.The self timer mode is one of the least use function of a digital camera. Use this to take an image or a scene with you being a part of that image. This function can also be use to eliminate any movements when you press that shoot button specially in longer shutter speeds.White balance is another aspect that you may want to experiment with. An auto white balance will give you a cooler images. It automatically sets the cooler color for the scene. Try shooting in manual mode, lets say in cloudy whenever it is sunny. Or night if its indoor. It will give a nice warm color image.Follow this simple steps and you might just be on the road to making every image looking like those taken by professionals. It may not be a short journey, but I can assure you that it will be worth the wait.

Shopping For Full Coverage Dental Insurance

Full coverage dental insurance plans would allow an insurance member to get full coverage on different dental procedures, they could be basic dental care or treatments which are specified by the insurance policy. Insurance companies would be the ones who handle dental coverage.Because they are handled by insurance companies, they work the same way as regular health or property insurance. You would have to pay premiums on regular basis, it could be monthly, quarterly, bi-annually or annually. You get the benefits, since it is the insurance company who would pay for the partial amount of your dental service or treatment.Aside from premiums, the dental insurance can also require you to pay deductibles. There could also be a waiting period or a holding time, before specific treatments could be performed and the insurance be used. Higher premiums would mean wider coverage, and they are usually stated in the policies.Contrary to what most people think, full coverage does not necessarily mean that all dental treatments are covered by the insurance company. Different insurance policies would have different extents of coverage. Two insurance companies may offer different coverage, even if the policy has the same amount.When shopping or looking for a dental insurance, there are things that you must look for.1. What is covered by the insurance policy. If you want a full coverage, then a comprehensive dental coverage is your option. However, they would cost more that the other policies.
2. Always know what you and your family would need, so you would not be overpaying.
3. Look for different quotes. The internet is a great way to get price quotes from different insurance providers.
4. Check for free services. Some insurance companies would sometimes throw in two regular teeth cleanings for free.
5. How long would be the waiting period. Of course, you want to take advantage of the benefits immediately.
6. Look for a representative and talk to them. You could ask the representative’s help in determining what plan would best suit your needs.Taking or applying for a dental insurance plan would be a major step in ensuring you and your family’s health. So make sure that you would be signing up with an insurance company that would be able to provide for your needs.

Automotive CGI and 3D Modeling: Making Cars, Smarter

In our globally competitive marketplace every business, especially the automotive industry, is actively looking for ways to improve efficiency while reducing costs. Automotive CGI and 3D Modeling is designed to offer significant time and money saving solutions to all aspects of engineering and manufacturing. It facilitates faster product development in a more cost-effective manner by first creating virtual prototypes. Beginning with the conceptual design phase, all the way until the final production stage, every component can be created and tested digitally.Drive Down the Cost of ProductionMany automotive manufacturers have already switched to 3D product modeling to drive down the costs of producing traditional prototypes. 3D modeling is the mathematical wireframe (a template), used to create a 3D rendering. Before new vehicles are introduced to the general public, product developers can produce a 3D model to give them a working visual of how the idea will appear and function once it is finalized.Automotive manufacturers can then utilize these digital replicas for product research prior to manufacturing a full-scale prototype. Every new car that is produced starts with a sketch that will be later developed into colored conceptual drawing. If this sketch is created using 3D modeling, this drawing can then be broken down into various parts and tested using 3D product modeling.Experiment with Various ConceptsIf the vehicle design team uses 3D modeling in the initial stages, they will be able to experiment with various colors, trim styles, interior details, and other design components to determine which will create the desired end result. They can also test the virtual vehicle on a digital “test drive” to see how it will perform in various driving scenarios. Costly automotive prototype production only begins once it has been thoroughly tested in a virtual environment.This gives automotive manufacturers the ability to test out an assortment of features, parts, and materials to analysis the potential success of each piece without investing any time or money on actually producing it. For example, rather than build an entirely new engine to see if it will yield greater performance, they can create a virtual engine and then test and compare its performance.Test New Features for Potential Conflicts 3D product modeling also aids in the visualization of a vehicle at different stages in its development from various perspectives. Modern cars are expected to encompass all of the latest and greatest features, but each new addition to the standard model can lead to a greater chance of conflict. 3D modeling allows automotive manufacturers to implement new features and test their validity at a fraction of the traditional cost.3D Modeling Used for MarketingThis powerful 3D model can even be used by more than just the engineering and design department. The marketing department can use it for demos and presentations to generate interest in a new vehicle concept. A virtual 3D vehicle will have a much greater impact that a stagnant sketch.3D Modeling Used for ProductionEven more importantly, the digital information that resides within a 3D model can also be sent directly to production once it has been tested and approved. This will allow an automobile manufacturer to automate the machines on their assembly line to reproduce the product with the utter-most precision using the 3D product model as their template.There is no doubt that technological innovations in product design have created a more efficient standard for product development. The introduction of 3D modeling allows designers and engineers to communicate more efficiently with their manufacturers, clients, and associates using clear and detailed renderings instead of costly prototypes. The extraordinary insight that 3D product modeling offers automotive manufacturers creates an unparalleled competitive advantage.Can you think of any other ways Automotive CGI and 3D Modeling help manufacturers make cars, smarter? Let us know in the comments section below.

Commentary: Current Education Tramples the Mind

INTRODUCTION:Not a day goes by there is not an article in our local paper on our local Public School System. If it is not a cry for more money, it is complaints over poor attendance, or that many local teachers are not fully qualified. While some schools are being “demoted,” others are being “promoted.” First, one thing and then another. Obviously, there is something amiss in our current approach to educating our children.Other articles in the local newspaper carry reports of the increased interests and energies being expended by the “little” people to end the imminent threat of our own government by the increasing invasion of our private rights in the name of protecting the people from inside terrorism. People are grouping at the grass roots level to petition their respective government representative, the President and members of Congress, to end these daily threats to our lives. They are sick to the bone of living in daily fear of imminently undermining the guarantees of our Constitution. We need to adhere to Franklin D. Roosevelt’s, Four Freedoms: Speech, Worship, Want and Fear.With all of this bombarding our brains, consider “holistically” the relationship of education to the many efforts of a given society to prepare its young for adult responsibilities; responsibilities of learning to control our own individual natures as well as contributing to the future of human evolution. Apparently, nearly all the fuss over our imminent demise is being conducted by adults in whom we’ve given our trust to govern and lead us. Obviously, something is wrong with this world’s political and educational systems.DISCUSSION:Some minor research will tell us that the word, “education,” derives from the joining of the Latin, “e”, meaning “out,” with the Latin word, “‘duco,” meaning to “lead” or “take out from.” Simply, it means to draw out of the pupil the inherent wisdom that lies within him or her. This word, education, has many implications given a little thought. One such implication is that the newborn brings into this world from previous incarnations a past history of acquired experiences and knowledge of the true value of things. The trouble is most educators and parental caregivers are ignorant of this fact. The newborn is flooded by the events of its immediate environment from the very moment of birth and forwards; as it grows it forgets to remember what it already knows! More people the world over believe in reincarnation than those who do not; mostly those seeped in the Judeo-Christian ideals.When formal education begins, the pupil is bombarded with facts and figures that are supposed to be memorized. And all these things being taught to the pupil are things to be grasped by the senses and are restricted to an empirically material and concrete world of so-called knowledge, whereas it is the world of Meaning that needs stressing.The current methods of education markedly contrast with a true “educational process,” as these words were originally intended. The existent model is more of a “putting into” than one of self-discovery. The students are being inculcated (from inculcare= to stamp into, or tread upon) with a body of pre-determined and quite mundane information of questionable validity, especially for the bringing into existence of a new “world order,” which the new Aquarian Age promises us. Such a new world order needs to be one based upon the ideals of world peace and the consistent application of goodwill, altruism and true brotherhood by each individual to every other individual upon this earth.The educational process must begin with an honorable and purposeful goal. It must go beyond the mere imparting of facts to be remembered to one of searching inwardly for the true meaning and causes behind the facts, which eventually should lead one to look within the self for such meaning. One anonymous educator has expressed it thusly: “Education can be an adventurous quest for the meaning of life, involving an ability to think things through.” (Emphasis added).The goal of education should be to promote the full self-realization and potential of every student; to encourage the goal of the person’s ultimate relationship with the universe, as stressed by Abe Maslow; that noted psychologist who died before his time. Self-centeredness must be transcended so the person develops a realization of his position relative to the whole of existence. To properly teach is to draw out of every student the potential wisdom which he or she inherently possesses. Teachers, conditioned by their own inculcated experiences need to be helped (but by whom?) to realize and accept the fact that the child, every child, has a body of universal wisdom at the core of its being, as they themselves do, waiting to “inform” the student who can be helped to make contact with this accumulated body of eternal truths which will vary with each student.EAST AND WEST NEED UNITING:The need in today’s world is to combine the ancient wisdom and spiritual concepts of the East with the intellectual know-how of the West. These two in combination will eventually bring to humanity the needed spiritual love-wisdom for the solving of all human problems.THE NEED FOR PSYCHOLOGICAL REHABILILTATION:Psychological rehabilitation essentially means bringing the individual personality into line with the evolutionary pattern of the Soul; the “God Within.”Every nation as well as each individual has its own Soul or individual psyche which demonstrates as its character or culture. Historical facts and the past conditions of every individual and nation have determined its current relationships; there is a consistent nationalism or selfishness when what is needed is for education to teach the student the need to take self-responsibility, and to grasp the need for a selfless international participation. Every student needs to give serious consideration to his or her “place in the universe.” Every individual and every nation needs to solve its own personality problems, which are mostly self-generated. And behind all human endeavors are a psychological motive and goal. Anyone who can “think truth,” can help to shape public opinion. Educators should be in the vanguard of such “truth thinking.”In the historical East, education was limited to a few outstanding individuals who showed their potential for a deeper understanding of the purpose of all existence while the masses were ignored. This was also true in the West up until rather recently in our history when education was legally required for the masses. Since that time the goal has been to bring every student to a defined standard by which the educational process would supposedly be “fair to all.” Every individual is different, and wise teachers should be sensitive, understanding and attuned to the wide differences of each child under their tutelage. Remember, teachers and caregivers of every description cannot teach their “charges,” what they themselves do not know.In the future when the psychology of the western world catches up to the Esoteric Psychology of the historical East, the universal Law of Birth and Rebirth will be accepted. Such a needed psychology has been in the public domain for over seventy-five years. (See, Esoteric Psychology, Volumes I and II, Alice A. Bailey, Lucis Press, Publishing House of World Good Will Organization, N.Y., London and Geneva, 1937 and 1941.) In these volumes the human Soul and the chakras and the “etheric envelope” through which we distribute our individual energies are discussed in detail; none of which western psychology or education has yet discovered, although there is a dire an desperate need to do so. How can psychology or education teach a human entity when it does not understand the true nature of the “Constitution of Man.” (See, A Textbook of Theosophy, Ch. V, International Theosophical Publishing House, Madras,(now Chennai), Adyar, India, 1927.)In the East reincarnation, which along with karma, the Law of Retribution, or the Law of Cause and Effect, has been readily accepted and applied to each individual student. “What so ever ye sow, so shall you reap,” Saint Paul tells us. We are each on our own previously earned position on the evolutionary arc (back to the House of the Father), and we each have a Soul Age, which must be discovered and accepted by the wise educator. Our soul age determines our readiness for exposure to the world of meaning; the world of Causes behind the world of Effects. Not only should “advanced” students be given special consideration and culturing, the masses should also be exposed to the spiritual idea that our materialistic world is one of Effects; a mere reflection of a higher world of Truth, Beauty and Reality. Religion is not an issue to be considered here. (See, Education In Light of Theosophy, by Annie Besant, Ibid, 1912.)EVOLUTION IS A CONTINUOUS EXPANSION OF CONSCIOUSNESS:The only difference between an earlier world savage and a Savior, like our Christ, is one of an expansion of consciousness. Like the f-stop on a camera the more open the slit the more light comes in. From the Instinct of the savage, we are now at the more advanced human stage of the Intellect. The next expansion of consciousness leads us to Intuition, or Pure Reasoning and Direct Knowledge, which should be the goal of all modern education. All symbolic, indirect knowledge is merely the interpretations of so-called authority figures, and that based upon their own prior educations. (See, From Intellect To Intuition, Alice A. Bailey, Lucis Publishing Company, World Goodwill, N.Y. 1932.)Intuition develops when our consciousness is not hindered or limited by facts of questionable importance, or restricted by a world of sensory empiricism. Truth can never be discovered by a mind imprisoned in a world of Materialism. The pupil must be left free to expand his or her consciousness without interference from anything or anyone outside the inner self of the pupil. There is in truth a Real world behind this limited world we refer to as the materialistic and physical world. It is the goal of every human entity to discover that inner world for him or herself since Truth cannot be communicated; only Self-discovered. The true purpose of education should be to support that effort.CHILDREN GROW FROM WITHIN OUTWARD:Let us take an example from the vegetable kingdom. A plant grows from a seed; it grows from within outwardly when exposed to the proper environment. Every child grows and develops internally, from within outwardly just as a plant does. That is, if given the proper environmental “nutrients.” Education is one of the major “nutrients” for that growth, or at least should be. Correct understanding of the child, a loving attitude and an encouraging environment by the parents are yet other major “nutrients” for the proper blooming of the inner child seed. What incarnates from one life to another is an “Egoic Seed” which needs encouragement and a nutritional environment to flourish and bloom.It goes without saying that correct education proceeds by way of the human mind; an expansion of consciousness. But it is not the relative contents of the educational materials as absorbed by the mind, no matter how stimulating, which should concern educators. It is rather the very process of thinking itself that requires their rapt attention. (See, The Use and Power of Thought, by C.W. Leadbeater, TS, Ibid, 1911.)It needs to be remembered that to inculcate is to trample on the minds of the young with information of relative value, thus keeping buried the very essential truths of life so needed for the living of a peaceful and harmonious existence with one’s fellow beings. There is a real issue here which educators should consider: from whence comes the most reliable and trustworthy knowledge needed to guide humanity toward its ultimate realization? Remember, teachers cannot teach something they do not know themselves. It should also be remembered that it was the East and not the West which has given to humanity all of its outstanding Avatars for Humanity: the Buddha, Zoroaster, Sri Krishna, the Christ, and others. These earlier Eastern founders of our world religions, the Teachers of our human race and their spiritual concepts, reincarnation and karma among others, have remained with humanity for thousands of years whereas the teachings of the West are forever changing and are restricting, limiting, unstable and temporary. Real Truth is immutable, permanent and everlasting. Western concepts limited to a materialistic world are ephemeral, transitory, mutable and restricted to a world conceived of by our empirical senses. Modern western society generally speaking has no idea of the Truth of Life, or the spiritual meaning behind human existence. How many have honestly tried to turn inward and discover their true Being; their spiritual origins? The inner discovery of eternal Truths, Spiritual Truths, should be the ideal of all educators; not only for themselves but for every pupil. The first step to discovering Truth begins with these questions: Who am I, and what is the meaning of Life?The most appealing answer discovered comes from the injunction of theDelphi Oracle: Man, Know Thyself! (Greek=Gnothe Seauton). This implies, of course, an inwardly directed search for a guiding wisdom; one arising from a source deep within the creative wellspring of the individual seeker.CONCLUSION:In conclusion, altruism, universal Brotherhood, peace and goodwill toward others, are internal spiritual ideas stemming from the inherent wisdom amassed through the countless trials and tribulations undergone by the whole of humanity throughout the eons of time. Each individual, searching deep within the self, striving diligently and persistently to truly know thyself will come to discover the same unerring truth. We are all parts of a larger spiritual Whole. There is only one humanity, one Life, one Universal Mind consciousness. We are inseparable and the ideal of separateness held by the western world is perhaps the greatest illusion humanity has imposed upon itself. This one idea has led to more “Inhumanity to man,” continual warfare, and more human misery than any of the many other false ideals humanity as a whole entertains.To behave cruelly toward any portion of the whole is to injure oneself. Our choice regarding peace is quite simple. We survive as one humanity or we destroy the whole. Now, the question is, Why does it take most would-be authority figures so long to discover this fact? Could it perhaps have something to do with the way they were educated- by INCULCATION?The End

Wall Street to Main Street: News, Views and Commentary: May 22, 2006

It’s Monday May 22, 2006, and it looks like the NYSE Group (NYSE: NYX) has taken the first steps to becoming a truly global market place as they have submitted a $10 billion offer to merge with Euronext. Such a merger would create the first trans-Atlantic stock market, valued at $21 billion. While the Nasdaq (NASDAQ: NDAQ) has increased their stake in the London Stock Exchange to over 25% which may put them in a position to force a merger with the LSE. The world is getting smaller and the financial markets are right in the middle of it.The NAMC Newswire’s “Wall Street to Main Street” segment in its entirety is only available to subscribers. Don’t miss out and Keep in mind that all subscriptions are free and will remain that way. All that you need to do is go to and add your email address to receive the full segments. We value your privacy and all email addresses are only used for NAMC related items and not shared with any third parties.We want to give our listeners/readers a voice, so we are going to try something new on “Wall Street to Main Street”. We want to hear from you but not only to ask questions but also to make comments about various companies. We are going to give our listeners/readers a voice on “Wall Street to Main Street” by including their brief outlook on the companies that they may own or follow. This is only extended to those that are subscribers to “Wall Street to Main Street”, so you need to register in order to participate, it’s FREE. All that you need to do is either shoot us out an email using our contact form on our website at or give us a call toll free at 888-463-9237 between the hours of 6:30pm and 12am EST weekdays. Your question or comment could be a part of the Wall Street to Main Street radio show that is syndicated daily.Remember that you can always listen to the NAMC Radio on, the leader in financial podcast. and is also available on iTunes.Political FrontVietnam is making headway as they are seeking to become part of the World Trade Organization. Their first step is the preparation to sign a trade agreement with the United States in June, this would be a first step in them reaching their goal of joining the World Trade Organization.Even though Germany and China both agree that a diplomatic resolution must be attained in the Iran uranium enrichment situation, Iran is not open to suggestions. They have adamantly stated that they are not only going to continue the enrichment but they intend to increase it on an industrial level. This just makes a tense situation worse.The U.S. Attorney General Gonzales has commented that he believes that any journalist that publishes classified information could be prosecuted. What ever happened the First Amendment, if the government begins to dictate what can or cannot be reported on then how can journalist actually be credible?, that’s a question that the people should bring to capital hill.President Bush is pushing for congress to pass the immigration bill, but many think that the plan may do little or nothing to prevent illegal immigrants from crossing the Mexican border. I guess if there is a will there is a way but it should reduce the attempts.Movers and ShakersSome major movers in Fridays trading session included Titanium Metals (NYSE: TIE) which traded up $4.06 to close at $35.05, Western Digital (NYSE: WDC) which traded up $2.43 to close at $21.70, Advanced Micro Devices (NYSE: AMD) a stock that we have featured on “Wall Street to Main Street” as a stock on the move, it traded up $3.60 to close at $34.95 after a Dell (NASDAQ: DELL) deal was struck, Foot Locker (NYSE: FL) traded up $2.44 to close at $24.58, British Airways (NYSE: BAB) flew upward as it traded up $5.61 to close at $66.16, First Avenue Networks (NASDAQ: FRNS) traded up $2.93 to close at $15.44, Marvell Technology (NASDAQ: MRVL) another stock that we featured on “Wall Street to Main Street” traded up $6.51 to close at $56.22, Focus Media (NASDAQ: FMCN) which we mentioned may be looking to have a presence in the Untied States and one suitor may be Impart Media Group (OTCBB: IMMG) the stock traded up $7.46 to close at $69.18, Supertex (NASDAQ: SUPX) traded up $3.30 to close at $39.91 and Darwin (AMEX: DR) traded up $2.76 to close at $18.76.Analyst Upgrades/DowngradesRecent Analyst upgrades include Microchip Technology (NASDAQ: MCHP) which was upgraded to a Buy from a Neutral by UBS, Mattel (NYSE: MAT) was upgraded to an Outperform from a Market Perform by Ryan Beck & Co, United Parcel Service (NYSE: UPS) was upgraded to a Buy from a Hold by Stifel Nicolaus, Cypress Semiconductor (NYSE: CY) was upgraded to a Buy from a Neutral by UBS and Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: ERTS) was upgraded to an Outperform by Piper Jaffray.Recent Analyst downgrades include Ann Taylor (NYSE: ANN) which was downgraded to an Equal Weight from an Overweight by Lehman Brothers, St Jude Medical (NYSE: STJ) was downgraded to a Hold from a Buy by Deutsche Bank Securities, American tower (NYSE: AIV) was downgraded to an Outperform from a Buy to a Neutral by Merrill Lynch and Midwest Express (AMEX: MEH) was downgraded to a Market Perform from an Outperform by Raymond James.Analyst Coverage Initiations include Allegheny Energy (NYSE:AYE) which was initiated with a Hold rating by AG Edwards, Alexandria Real Estate (NYSE: ARE) was initiated with an Under Perform rating by RBC Capital, Embarq (NYSE: EQ) was initiated with a Hold rating by AG Edwards and an Equal Weight rating by Merrill Lynch and Formfactor (NASDAQ: FORM) was initiated with a Buy rating and a $47 price target by Citigroup Investment Research.Tid BitsWal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) is exiting stage left from the competitive South Korean market as they have agreed to sell its 16 stores to South Korea’s largest discount store chain Shinsegae Co. for 825 billion won, or $882 million. Wal-Mart said the decision to withdraw was part of its global growth strategy.Barron’s ran a feature on Yahoo (NASDAQ: YHOO) over the weekend and stated that Yahoo has a massive audience online at a time when advertisers are shifting to online marketing or increasing their online marketing efforts. They also made mention of the fact that Yahoo has been overshadowed by Googles (NASDAQ: GOOG) success and this has led Yahoo to its 52 week low. There is no doubt that Yahoo is cheap at this point, it is definitely a $45 stock disguised as a $29 or $30 stock, but that may not be realized until they show their current efforts adding to their bottom line.Last Week Home Depot (NYSE: HD) announced that they were looking to acquire a small bank called EnerBank USA from CMS Energy Corp. (NYSE: CMS). This acquisition would allow Home Depot to issue uncollateralized loans to contractors to keep the revenues flowing. This is something similar to what Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) is trying to do but on a different scale, you can expect Lowe’s (NYSE: LOW) to follow suit in the near future.And the beat goes on…., more companies are being investigated in the ever growing stock options probe that we continue to hear about. The latest to join the party is KLA-Tencor Corp (NASDAQ: KLAC), they are citing that back in 2001, that’s right they are going back in time on all of these companies, but back in 2001 the cite that KLA-Tencor issued stock options to their top executives twice during the year both at the stocks low point for the first and second half of the year. They also add that the Chairman of KLA, Ken Levy received 10 stock optin grants from 1994-2001 and all preceded recent rises in the stock price. So I think that Levy has a slight problem now. Another added to the list was Boston Communications Group (NASDAQ: BCGI), as they join the likes of Comverse Tech (NASDAQ: CMVT), UnitedHealth (NYSE: UNH) and others.Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) is tying in with Lenovo Group to offer pay as you go computer service to those people living in developing countries. They are beta testing “FlexGo”, which is a pay per hour computer use service. They plan on launching this service in Brazil shortly and in the coming months expanding into Mexico, China, Russia and India. This is an effort on Microsoft’s part to get a strong footing in the up and coming nations that would eventually be users of their products. They are nurturing a market that they will try to dominate in the years to come.Since satellite radio was introduced, with Sirius Satellite Radio (NASDAQ: SIRI) and XM Satellite Radio (NASDAQ: XMSR) leading the pack, you needed to be plugged in to your home or car stereo system to use it. But XM has changed all that recently as they introduced the world’s first portable XM Radio/MP3 Player portable device, it’s called “XM2go”, no computer is required You will now be able to take your XM radio with you to the gym, on your jog or on the bus or train ride to work. Pioneer is the technology company behind the unit, and the unit is set to work with Napster (NASDAQ: NAPS) and not the Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) iPod. So companies that should be looked at are flash memory makers, as this is what drives the unit and not a hard drive. I wonder if Advanced Micro Devices (NYSE: AMD) will be supplying the chips.FURIOUS FIVEThis is the Firstof our “Furious Five” companies that we see excelling in their industry in 2006. The company to kick off this weeks “Furious Five” is Gymboree Corp (NASDAQ: GYMB) it trades on the Nasdaq under the symbol GYMB.For our outlook, and other vital information on the companies that we feature as the “FURIOUS FIVE” on Wall Street to Main Street just subscribe for FREE at http://www.namcnewswire.comWe cannot stress enough that investors need to do their due diligence, call the companies, get the information, consult with your investment advisor and if you do not have one consider getting one. Put the same time into investigating these companies as you do when you go to purchase a new television, it’s only for your protection. When it comes to thinly traded securities stagger your orders or put a limit order in to avoid a run up.NAMC Newswire NoteGo to the NAMC Newswire for updates at and you can listen to the NAMC Radio for the audio version of “Wall Street to Main Street” at register to receive the Wall Street to Main Street Free Daily Newsletter Click Here or go to our site and click on the Newsletter section.
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Review of FreeStockCharts a Streaming Online Stock Charting Software (formerly is, in my opinion, the best free stock charting software. Actually, I believe is head and shoulders above most stock charts by online brokers on their websites and other expensive stock charting software. If you’re still using Yahoo! Finance for charts and checking the price of a stock, you’re living in a cave (no offense to the Geico Caveman)’s parent company, Worden, took their flagship charting software package TeleChart 2007 (a.k.a. TCnet) and opened it to the public free to use. For many professional investors and traders, TeleChart 2007 is the top choice for charting software. has a database of over 7000 stocks.*Note: Latest 15-minutes of real-time data is provided by the BATS exchange that currently accounts for 12% of market volume.The top 3 features that set apart:1. Real-Time charts and data for over 7000 U.S. stocks, some foreign markets, all major forex pairs, and market internals data (such as the NYSE advance/decline statistics Mark Haines announces every morning on CNBC’s Squawk on the Street). Make big watchlists of stocks you’re interested in and see all of the price changes in real-time.2. Browser-based desktop-quality stock chart software right in your browser. No more worries about downloading, installing, and updating software. We are entering the age of cloud computing where all the expensive equipment and software are stored on some far away server. All you need is to turn on your browser, on any computer from anywhere, and access all your data online. Google is doing it to email with Gmail, tradeMONSTER has done it with the first browser-based broker & platform, and Worden is doing it to stock charting software with Access your personal watchlist and chart configurations all online. You have to register for the free account so they know who is customizing the settings, but once you do, all your latest updates will be saved. If you add certain indicators or draw trendlines on a specific chart, Apple (AAPL) for example, those lines and indicator settings will stay. You can access that chart from any computer from anywhere, not just on your computer anymore. Same with your watchlists. Make a list for the top stocks you want to trade, make another for market data. All of these settings will be accessible whether you’re traveling or at a friend’s house just borrowing their computer.ChartsThe charts are clean and easy to see. Several options are available to customize the look of the chart by editing the “price history” properties. Choose from the standard plot styles: Line Chart, OHLC (Open High Low Close) Bar Chart, HLC (High Low Close) Bar Chart, CandleStick Charts, Bar Charts, and Area Charts.To cover users of all preferences, FreeStockCharts went overboard and provides a ton of ways you can view the stock’s chart and data. I haven’t seen many charting software that allows you to see these some of these lesser-used timeframes like the 3-day chart or 7-day chart. The time frame simply refers to the amount of time each bar or candle covers. For example, a bar on a 3-day chart shows the price range of that stock for 3 days.Intraday Time Frames: 1-minute chart (yes! for hyperactive day traders/scalpers!), 2-minute, 5-minute, 10-minute, 15-minute, 30-minute, and 1-hour. Daily Time Frames: Daily, 2-day, 3-day, 4-day, Weekly, 6-day, 7-day, 8-day, 9-day, Monthly, Quarterly, and Yearly charts (for those investors who live forever). When you move beyond looking at just 1 stock on 1 timeframe, FreeStockCharts allow a lot of freedom to customize your workspace.Tools & comes equipped with a full collection of 25 charting tools and 68 of the most common indicators. The main thing that lacks compared to top charting softwares is the ability to code your own indicators or install proprietary indicators such as John Person’s PPS indicator. If you want to code your own indicators, alerts, and autotrade, you will have to trade up to the likes of TradeStation, E-Signal, TD Ameritrade’s thinkorswim, NinjaTrader, or RealTick.The basic tools allow you to navigate the chart and mark the chart for your own reference: cross (see the price and indicator statistics), plain, pan, erase, text, ellipse, rectangles, and arrows. Technical analysis tools include: trend, fibonacci arc, fibonacci fan, fibonacci retracement, fibonacci time, Andrew’s pitchfork, error channels, Gann fans, horizontal lines, Quadrant lines, Raff regression channels, regression channels, regression lines, speed line, tirone levels, and vertical lines.You can customize the indicator according to each indicator’s specifics, but also the color, period, and positioning of the indicators. Particularly cool is the ability to apply certain indicators ON TOP of other indicators. For example, you can apply moving averages to just about any indicator. Advanced traders may find that useful if they use moving averages to filter and manipulate the original indicator one level further to find the patterns they find useful. It is amazing FreeStockCharts lets you export any and all data displayed on the chart.Watchlists and NewsFor veteran users of TeleChart 2007, you’ll know Worden’s extensive data isn’t limited to stock prices but also company financial data. FreeStockCharts, like TeleChart 2007, can build customizable watchlists based the the stock’s price, the price change, but also countless corporate financial data such as earnings, return on assets (ROA), sales growth, etc. Before you make your own watchlist, check out the countless standard watchlists that come with FreeStockCharts – they organize stocks in just about every way you can think of. The news panel shows you constant updates of headlines related to the stock you’re currently focused on in the chart. Like a lite version of SkyGrid, this panel brings the news to you instead of you having to go to several news sites.

How To Read Stock Symbols

Over the last ten years, an entire industry has developed covering, researching, and analyzing the stock market. Once considered a niche market, represented only by The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg News, the financial media has experiences explosive growth. From cable news networks, like CNBC and financial aggregate sites like MSN Money, Google Finance, and Yahoo Finance, to popular broker and investment blogs, financial news is no longer niche. It is mainstream, accessible, and important for every investor.Today, many investors are utilizing online platforms and discount investment firms in order to keep more of their money in their pockets. Brokers charge hefty commissions and fees, which can drain an investor’s account. With some basic information and research, the average investor can make a profit without the help and assistance of a broker.Basically, your stock represents your share in the ownership of the company and it is your claim on any future earnings and dividends. Buying stock in a company shows that you are interested in its long-term success. Profits are eventually paid out in dividends, and the more stock you own, the more dividends you receive. Choosing a successful stock means that an investor should have a basic understanding of basic business principles and models.The most efficient way to research stocks is to use their stock symbol. The stock or trading symbol is an abbreviation traders and investors use to identify a company. These symbols incorporate letters, numbers, or both. While most symbols are three letters, some are four, and occasionally, company’s use only one letter as their stock symbol. These symbols were originally used on the ticker tape when stocks were traded on paper.Some of the more popular symbols include AAPL (Apple), GOOG (Google), (KO) Co ca-Co la, and TGT (Target). Some companies inject some humor or some homage into their symbols. Southwest Airline pays homage to its home field, Dallas Love Field (LUV) with their stock symbol. Legendary piano manufacturer Steinway remembers the great Ludwig Von Beethoven with its symbol, LVB. Harley Davidson uses HOG and the auction house Sotheby’s uses BID.These symbols can change to reflect mergers and acquisitions as well. When Hewlett-Packard merged with Compaq the new company assumed the stock symbol HPQ. Wireless and internet giant ATT is represented simply by the letter T, reflective of the company’s original business model.Sometimes, the symbol is followed by a “period”. This “behind the dot” notation and special codes are represented of the type of stock being offered. Class “A” stock is represented by the letter A, X indicates a mutual fund, and K notes common, or nonvoting stock. Pink sheet stocks and over the counter stocks (.PK), NASDQ small cap stocks (SC) and NASDQ National Market (NM) all have behind the dot notations.Investors can find the stock symbols by executing a simple internet search, and use the stock symbols to keep track of the stock’s activity and movement. Stock quotes are important when looking for real time stock quotes.