SoundJaw Makes Your iPad 2 Louder

SoundJaw is a small plastic clip that amplifies the iPad's speakers. SoundJaw is only compatible with iPad 2. The SoundJaw works by directing the sound from the back of the iPad to the front where you can hear it. The SoundJaw costs $12.99 at If you have trouble hearing your iPad and wish you could make it a little bit louder SoundJaw is perfect for you.

TSA Helpline for Travelers with Disabilities

TSA Helpline for Travelers with Disabilities
Post date: January 30, 2012

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced the launch of TSA Cares today, a new helpline number designed to assist travelers with disabilities and medical conditions, prior to getting to the airport. Travelers may call TSA Cares toll free at 1-855-787 2227 prior to traveling with questions about screening policies, procedures and what to expect at the security checkpoint.

“TSA Cares provides passengers with disabilities and medical needs another resource to use before they fly, so they know what to expect when going through the screening process,” said TSA Administrator John Pistole. “This additional level of personal communication helps ensure that even those who do not travel often are aware of our screening policies before they arrive at the airport.”

Since its inception, TSA has provided information to all travelers through its TSA Contact Center and Customer Service Managers in airports nationwide. TSA Cares will serve as an additional, dedicated resource for passengers with disabilities, medical conditions or other circumstances or their loved ones who want to prepare for the screening process prior to flying.

When a passenger with a disability or medical condition calls TSA Cares, a representative will provide assistance, either with information about screening that is relevant to the passenger’s specific disability or medical condition, or the passenger may be referred to disability experts at TSA. TSA recommends that passengers call approximately 72 hours ahead of travel so that TSA Cares has the opportunity to coordinate checkpoint support with a TSA Customer Service Manager located at the airport when necessary.
Every person and item must be screened before entering the secure area of an airport and the manner in which the screening is conducted will depend on the passenger’s abilities and any specific equipment brought to the security checkpoint.

TSA strives to provide the highest level of security while ensuring that all passengers are treated with dignity and respect. The agency works regularly with a broad coalition of disability and medical condition advocacy groups to help understand their needs and adapt screening procedures accordingly. TSA holds quarterly meetings with this coalition to inform them about current training and screening procedures used in airports. TSA recently hosted a teleconference with members of these groups to announce the long-standing plans to implement TSA Cares for travelers and inform them of the upcoming launch.

All travelers may ask to speak to a TSA supervisor if questions about screening procedures arise while at the security checkpoint. The hours of operation for the TSA Cares helpline are Monday through Friday 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. EST, excluding federal holidays. After hours, travelers can find information about traveling with disabilities and medical needs on TSA’s website.

All travelers can contact TSA using Talk To TSA, a web-based tool that allows passengers to reach out to an airport Customer Service Manager directly, and the TSA Contact Center, 1 866-289-9673 and, where travelers can ask questions, provide suggestions and file complaints. Travelers who are deaf or hard of hearing can use a relay service to contact TSA Cares or can e-mail

Trident Kraken AMS for iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S

Many people including children  use the iPhone as an assistive technology device.  The Kraken AMS cases is an ideal case to protect your iPhone. The Kraken AMS is great for both children and adults who need superior protection for their iPhone. The case will protect against most bumps and drops so there is less need to worry when using the iPhone.

The Trident Kraken AMS has three layers of protection: a silicon inner sleeve, hard plastic outer shell and a built in front screen protector. The inner layer is a thick silicon that can be used as a stand alone case in less rugged situations. The inner silicon has thick corners  for added protection. The outer layer is a hard plastic that snaps into place around the silicon. The built in screen protector does not effect the screens performance. 

 It has a nice mat finish that feels great in the hand and does not show finger prints. The back is slightly tapered to fit better in the hand. All buttons and ports are covered to block dust. The headphone port and 30-pin connector are under silicon tabs that can be removed to access the ports. The headphone port is smaller than most cases and may require the use of an included adapter to work with larger headphones.

 The home button and sleep/wake button are also covered but they are still easy to find and press. The ringer lock switch is very recessed and may be difficult to access for some users with larger fingers and shorter finger nails. The volume buttons are easy to press and provide great tactile feedback. The back of the case has a cut out for the camera and flash and the Apple logo. To protect the Apple logo from scratching, the case comes with a rear protective film. 

Also on the back is a removable kickstand which makes hands free FaceTime or Skype calls simple. It also allows you to read or watch videos at an angle, hands-free. The kickstand can be removed and replaced with other connections such as tripod connections and more. The case includes a belt clip that clips onto the front of the iPhone. The Kraken AMS comes in many different color combinations including green, blue, black, pink and red. The Kraken AMS is a tough case that will help to protect your iPhone from everyday life. The Kraken AMS costs $49.95 and is available from the Trident Store. Click here to learn more about cases made by Trident cases.

All of this protection adds bulk to the phone, and makes it heavier and less sleek, but if you are looking for protection, this is a great choice.

Trident says the following about their Kraken AMS cases,
"Kraken cases are for users with intense lifestyles who need a case that can take serious abuse. Police officers, firemen, campers, military personnel and construction workers are examples of users who have given the best reviews of Kraken cases. These are also perfect for young kids."
Click read more below to see more videos and pictures of the Kraken AMS for iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S.

Case provided complimentary to the reviewer

Chomedey’s Jewish Rehab is helping make malls friendlier for Physically Challanged

Chomedey’s Jewish Rehab is helping make malls friendlier

From the left, CRIR scientific director Dr. Eva Kehayia and Kimberley Singerman, coordinator of clinical education and research, are assisting in the development of new technologies designed to help the physically and cognitively challenged
Researchers affiliated with the Chomedey-based Jewish Rehabilitation Hospital are developing innovative new technologies with the potential to make shopping easier for the elderly and the handicapped, and which may one day be used on a global basis.
The JRH specializes in rehabilitation issues involving sensory, motor and cognitive skills. It is also one of the research components of the Centre de recherche interdisciplinaire en réadaption de Montréal (CRIR).

Working on projects
While the JRH exists primarily to provide treatment to patients with health problems, research conducted at the hospital has led to a number of projects which have the potential to improve patients’ lives.

The CRIR’s “living lab” project, in which the JRH is actively taking part, is using one of Montreal’s best-known interior shopping centres, Place Alexis Nihon, as the testing ground for a number of fledgling technologies which are being designed for the physically and cognitively challenged.

As anyone with long-range vision might agree, the concept of making malls and other high-traffic public places more accessible has the significant potential to open up access to a niche of consumers that most retailers and service providers haven’t paid much attention to until now.

As the CRIR and the JRH are conducting some of the only active R & D in this area of interest, they could end up being the ones that others eventually seek out for knowledge and the technology that could result in patents. Over the next four years, Place Alexis Nihon (which is owned by Canmarc REIT, the same company that owns the Centre Laval mall) will be hosting the CRIR researchers.

Under development
Among the various articles, tools and devices they will be testing with the help of their clients are: transmitters and receivers that can tell visually impaired persons what stores and services are available and how they can get there; special cameras that can detect human traffic movements so that problem areas can be located; computer software to help the cognitively-impaired get around efficiently in a “virtual” grocery store; and “smart” wheelchairs programmed to transport a person from one store to another in a mall while avoiding obstacles.
“My guess is that eventually, once these changes become visible at Place Alexis Nihon, other malls in Montreal and around Canada will become more accepting,” Eva Kehayia, scientific director at the CRIR, told the Laval News during a special research presentation held at the JRH on Jan. 17. According to Kehayia, the act of placing technologies like these in just one mall at first “will probably instigate other similar initiatives.

“I have no doubt that a lot of technology and innovation will come out of this,” she added, noting one particular technology being developed by co-researcher Philippe Archambault will help guide wheelchairs with the help of GPS.

GPS’s limitations
One of the problems to be overcome at this stage is that existing GPS technology is dependent on satellite signals that can only be received if there is a line of sight. While that’s usually no problem for a GPS unit exposed to the sky through the windshield of a car, the researchers have to figure out a way to apply the technology in an enclosed mall.

So far, the CRIR has managed to attract the interest of at least one company that is interested in developing some of the researchers’ virtual reality ideas. The product – software that duplicates a grocery store and allows its users to navigate in a retail environment – will allow patients to train and become familiar with the actual store setting before they go there. It’s now being adapted to function in conjunction with the IGA supermarket at Place Alexis Nihon.

Kehayia said she has “no doubt that patents will be obtained” for this and other technologies being developed by the CRIR in conjunction with the JRH and the other Montreal-area rehabilitation institutions that are also involved. She said that at the moment they have 16 projects in development. According to Kehayia, the researchers are very optimistic about their prospects. Their work only started last September after several hundred thousand dollars in funding came through from the Quebec government last May.

A Pilot Study of Brain-Computer Interface (BCI)-Driven Orthosis for Rehabilitation

The Joint UNC-NCSU Rehabilitation Engineering Center Pilot Grant Program Makes First Two Awards

The Rehabilitation Engineering Center announces the awards of two pilot grants totaling $50K to facilitate collaboration between UNC and NCSU faculty for attaining larger grants, and to foster collaboration between undergraduate engineers at NCSU/UNC and Health Sciences students at UNC. These two grants will foster advancement of clinically relevant rehabilitation engineering research.

Co-Principal Investigators

Chang S., Nam Ph.D., Industrial and Systems Engineering, NCSU

Richard Goldberg Ph.D., Biomedical Engineering NCSU/UNC-Chapel Hill

Title: A Pilot Study of Brain-Computer Interface (BCI)-Driven Orthosis for Rehabilitation

This project aims at determining the ability of stroke patients to volitionally modulate their sensorimotor rhythms and operate a brain-actuated hand orthosis with additional somatosensory feedback through a newly established interdisciplinary collaboration between UNC-CH (Biomedical Engineering) and NCSU (Industrial and Systems Engineering) research teams. Subjects equipped with a BCI-orthosis system perform hand grasping, hand opening, wrist extension, and wrist bending by imagining movements of left hand, right hand, both hands, and both feet, respectively, while receiving visual and haptic feedback. We expect that haptic feedback in addition to visual feedback about the current state of brain activity improves performance of the BCI driven orthosis and that this motor imagery-based BCI training with sensory feedback can be utilized to support the process of cortical reorganization required for clinical improvement in impaired motor function. Results of the present study will help us better understand neural mechanisms of a BCI-orthosis operation. Findings from this study will also allow us to conduct long-term rehabilitation studies with stroke patients who have severe motor impairment using a BCI-driven prosthetic connected to a motor imagery-based Wolfpack BCI system we developed.

Notion in Motion: Wireless Sensors Monitor Brain Waves on the Fly

Notion in Motion: Wireless Sensors Monitor Brain Waves on the Fly

Electroencephalography used to require a person to sit still while a computer tracked the brain's electrical impulses. A newer technology untethers this research

eeg, brain, interface, game "TIP OF THE ICEBERG": NeuroSky, Inc.'s brain-computer interface shown here just scratches the surface of what is possible thanks to advances in mobile electroencephalographic brain-wave detection technology, says University of California, San Diego's Scott Makeig. Image: Courtesy of Neurosky, Inc.
A fighter pilot heads back to base after a long mission, feeling spent. A warning light flashes on the control panel. Has she noticed? If so, is she focused enough to fix the problem?

Thanks to current advances in electroencephalographic (EEG) brain-wave detection technology, military commanders may not have to guess the answers to these questions much longer. They could soon be monitoring her mental state via helmet sensors, looking for signs she is concentrating on her flying and reacting to the warning light.

This is possible because of two key advances made EEG technology wireless and mobile, says Scott Makeig, director of the University of California, San Diego's Swartz Center for Computational Neuroscience (SCCN) in La Jolla, Calif. EEG used to require users to sit motionless, weighted down by heavy wires. Movement interfered with the signals, so that even an eyebrow twitch could garble the brain impulses.

Modern technology lightened the load and wirelessly linked the sensors and the computers that collect the data. In addition, Makeig and others developed better algorithms—in particular, independent component analysis. By reading signals from several electrodes, they can infer where, within the skull, a particular impulse originated. This is akin to listening to a single speaker's voice in a crowded room. In so doing, they are also able to filter out movements—not just eyebrow twitches, but also the muscle flexing needed to walk, talk or fly a plane.

EEG's most public face may be two Star Wars–inspired toys, Mattel's Mindflex and Uncle Milton's Force Trainer. Introduced in 2009, they let wannabe Jedi knights practice telekinesis while wearing an EEG headset. But these toys are just the "tip of the iceberg," says Makeig, whose work includes mental concentration monitoring. "Did you push the red button and then say, 'Oops!' to yourself? It would be useful in many situations—including military—for the system to be aware of that."

That kind of "mental gas gauge" is just one of many projects Makeig is running at the SCCN, which is part of U.C. San Diego's Institute for Neural Computation (INC). He also combines mobile EEG with motion-capture technology, suiting volunteers in EEG caps and LED-speckled spandex suits so he can follow their movements with cameras in a converted basement classroom. For the first time, researchers like Makeig can examine the thoughts that lead to movement, in both healthy people and participants with conditions such as autism. Makeig calls the system Mobile Brain/Body Imaging, or MoBI. It allows him to study actions "at the speed of thought itself," he says.

EEG does not directly read thoughts. Instead, it picks up on the electrical fields generated by nerves, which communicate via electricity. The EEG sensors—from the one on the Star Wars games to the 256 in Makeig's MoBI—are like microphones listening to those microvolt-strength neural signals, says Tansy Brook, head of communications for NeuroSky Brain–Computer Interface Technology in San Jose, Calif., makers of the chip in the Star Wars toys and many other research, educational and entertainment products.

For one project, Makeig is collaborating with neuroscientists Marissa Westerfield and Jean Thompson, U.C. San Diego researchers studying movement behavior in teenagers with autism. They put the teens, wearing the EEG sensors and LEDs, in Makeig's special classroom. Then, they project a spaceship on the walls. The kids have to chase the spaceship as it darts from one point to another. Although the results are not yet in, Westerfield suspects that people with autism, compared with those who are non-autistic, will take longer to process where the spaceship has gone and readjust their movements toward it. "If we had a better idea of the underlying deficits…then we could possibly design better interventions," such as targeted physical therapy for the movement problems autistic people have, Westerfield says.

Neuroscientists and psychologists have been using EEG to eavesdrop on brain waves since 1926, and doctors employ it to study sleep patterns and observe epileptic seizures. During most of that time, subjects had to sit in an electrically shielded booth, "like a big refrigerator," says John Foxe, a neuroscientist at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City. He calls Makeig's MoBI "technical wizardry" that will enable scientists "to watch the brain and how it works in much more realistic settings."

Wireless EEG has already had an impact on gaming. San Francisco–based Emotiv has since 2009 sold its EPOC EEG headset, which uses electrical signals to determine a player's emotional state—excitement, frustration and boredom each create a different pattern. Gamers using Emotiv's technology can also create mental "spells" to lift or push virtual objects, says Geoff Mackellar, CEO of Emotiv’s research unit based in Sydney, Australia. The EPOC is also regularly used in research labs and may have medical applications in the future, Mackellar adds.

Wireless EEG technology provides signals as clear as the wired version, Makeig says, and at about 3.5 kilograms his machinery is "luggable." (Emotiv's and NeuroSky's headsets, which use fewer electrodes, are lighter.) "Of course, we're not starting with ballet dancers doing The Rite of Spring," he admits, but the team has succeeded with joggers on a treadmill. One challenge they would still like to overcome is to remove the sticky, conductive gel that goes under each electrode. It can certainly be done—Emotiv's electrodes use only saltwater and NeuroSky's are dry.

Tzyy-Ping Jung, associate director of the SCCN, predicts the group will make a dry, 64-electrode system within a couple of years. He and Makeig envision the headset will help paralyzed people interact with the world, warn migraine sufferers of an impending headache, and adjust computerized learning to match a student's personal pace, among other potential applications.

"It's certainly something that everyone can have at home," Emotiv's Mackellar says.

Minnesota State Senator Gary Kubly has ALS and spoke on their first day in session using his iPad

Minnesota State Senator Gary Kubly has ALS and spoke on their first day in session using his iPad

Human moments dominate Minnesota Senate's first day
By Doug Grow | Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2012
The Senate chamber, typically a place filled with the buzz of dozens of conversations, was totally quiet Tuesday afternoon.

Sen. Gary Kubly, DFL-Granite Falls, was speaking, and the other 66 senators were trying hard to understand the words he was saying. There were sounds filled with passion coming from Kubly's lips, but the words were unintelligible.

Kubly was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease) 18 months ago. The awful progress of the disease was painfully obvious for all to see and hear. Only a few months ago, Kubly was much easier to understand, and he could move around with the aid of a walker.
Now at the start of this new session — which will be Kubly's last — his colleagues strained to hear.
After he had uttered a few sentences, he pushed a button on an iPad. He had typed what he had spoken, and now the machine was doing the talking for him.

"I'd like to thank all the members and the staff for all they have done for me," the automated voice said.
He uttered/typed a few more phrases of appreciation, hit the button, and the automated voice flatly repeated them. There was a moment of silence — then, a long, sincere standing ovation.

It was one of those movingly human moments that brought everyone together.

Eyewriter, person with ALS, and a documentary

[REVIEW] Getting Up: The Tempt One Story [Slamdance 2012]


Street art. Gee-whiz tech. An indomitable human spirit. A commercial director’s eye for details. Getting Up, a documentary about how graffiti artist Tempt One gets back to making art after being stricken with a disease that leaves him virtually paralyzed, is an exceptional story crafted into an exceptional film.

Tony “Tempt One” Quan is one of the legends of the graffiti scene in Los Angeles. His lettering style is admired by fans and fellow artists, and his sense of community make him one of the lynchpins of the graffiti world. So when he was diagnosed in 2003 as having ALS, the debilitating condition also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease that leaves its victims paralyzed, it was a blow to the graffiti world.

Enter Mick Ebeling, entrepreneur, philanthropist and street art fan. When Ebeling hears about Quan’s condition, he decides to give some money to the Tempt One ALS Foundation and learn some more about the man. This begins a journey for the two men, with Mick working to recruit technologists and craftsmen for a project that with the goal of getting Tempt back to doing what he does: rock fresh and funky styles on walls.

Ebeling produced this documentary and his wife Caskey directed this picture. For a hair’s breath of seconds as Mick Ebeling enters the story, a fear crept over me that this was going to be some sort of Roman triumph of philanthropy. That fear was quickly put to rest by two factors. The first is Mick Ebeling. While he is critical as an agent of change in the story, the documentary is never about him. Mick may get screen time, but every beat of this story is Tempt’s.

The second factor is director Caskey Ebeling, whose skill as a storyteller has been honed through years of short film and commercial work. Ebeling uses the full palate of the modern documentary: found footage, interviews, and animated bridging sequences to create a narrative rhythm more engaging than most of what Hollywood can manage. It is not easy to live so close to a story– at one point the Graffiti Research Lab (GRL), a collective of artists and technologists, take over the Ebeling’s house– and retain the ability to tell the story in a way that engages someone who wasn’t there.

The sequence with the GRL marks the point where the story pivots from personal medical struggle into a kind of techno-art science thriller. Can a group of open source hackers build a device that helps a paralyzed man paint again? What happens when one of the world’s largest PC manufactures gets involved?
The fruit of the Ebeling/GRL collaboration is the EyeWriter, which was named as one of the top inventions of 2010 by Time magazine. The EyeWriter consists of a small camera attached to a pair of modified sunglasses. The camera track’s Tempt’s eye movements, and translates those into actions on a computer screen. Mick Ebeling introduced the device and the basics of Tempt’s story in a TED talk.

At it’s best technology and the principles of good design are extensions of the human will and spirit. Nothing speaks to the power of the human spirit quite like a man diagnosed with a disease that usually kills those stricken with it within two to three years not only holding on after seven years, but exerting such a passion for his craft that multiple communities come together to find a way to help him realize that passion.

When they do those results are shared with the world; the EyeWriter technology has already been adapted to help other paralysis victims overcome their limitations. Screening this film felt like a reaffirmation of what is best in humanity: the unwillingness to give up in the face of tragic circumstances, the ingenuity artists and engineers can deploy in the name of a good cause, and above all the importance of community.
Getting Up: The Tempt One Story. Directed by Caskey Ebeling, premiered as part of the 2012 Slamdance Film Festival. For more information about Tempt One, Mick Ebeling, and the Eyewriter check out the links above and Ebeling’s Not Impossible Foundation.

Activities of daily living in motor neuron disease: role of behavioural and motor changes

Activities of daily living in motor neuron disease: role of behavioural and motor changes

from the Journal of Clinical Neuroscience
  • E. Mioshia, b, ,
  • P. Lilloa,
  • M. Kiernana,
  • J. Hodgesa, b
  • a Neuroscience Research Australia, Barker St., PO Box 1165, Randwick, New South Wales 2031, Australia
  • b School of Medical Sciences, University of New South Wales, Kensington, New South Wales, Australia


Impairment in the activities of daily living (ADL) in motor neuron disease (MND) has been little investigated. The contributions of both behavioural and motor changes on functional performance have not been explored. A postal survey in New South Wales, Australia, included assessments of ADL, behavioural change (carer-based) and MND severity. Eighty-two patients were subdivided into groups according to onset presentation: bulbar (n = 23) and limb (n = 59). There were significant differences in ADL performance between limb and bulbar onset groups depending on ADL task. Disability was also dependent on disease severity as measured by the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Functional Rating Scale – Revised (ALSFRS – R) score. Importantly, variance in ADL scores was dependent on both motor and behavioural factors. This study confirms the progressive disabling nature of MND, which is dependent on disease severity and shows qualitative differences depending on onset presentation. A model combining motor and behavioural changes explained 57% of variance on ADL performance, with important implications for clinical intervention.

Ask Siri How to Spell Unfamiliar Words

Siri is a new feature available on the iPhone 4S. I find myself asking others how to spell unfamiliar often. When no one is around I have to find a different word to use. If you are like me Siri can be very helpful. Simply ask Siri "how do you spell..." and Siri will give you the correct spelling in seconds. Siri has many other useful functions such as defining words. To learn more about the iPhone 4S and its accessibility features click here.

Elago S4 Glide Review

Many people are using the iPhones and other iOS devices every day for their assistive technology needs. The iPhone is useful device that goes in and out of people pockets all day. Many children use devices to assistive them with everyday tasks. As a result of the daily use of  iPhones it is important to invest in a case that will protect your device from everyday life.

The Elago S4 Glide is a hard plastic slider for the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S. The case features a two piece design that slides over the iPhone to protect against scratches. The case comes with two bottom pieces to add variety to the case's color. The case comes in many colors and can be arranged into over 100 different color combinations. The cases allows for easy access to all ports and features. To dock the iPhone simply remove the bottom section and insert the iPhone into the dock. The back of the case shows finger prints easily and will need frequent cleaning. The case does not add much bulk to the iPhone but will not withstand drops.The case comes with a front and back screen protector as well as a cleaning cloth. The Elago S4 Glide is good for people who need scratch protection but not ideal for people who are hard on their phone or allow their young children to use their device. The Elago S4 Glide retails for $24.99 from Click read more below to view pictures and videos of the Elago S4 Glide.

Case was provided complimentary to the reviewer.

National Council on Disability Effective Communication Before, During, and After Emergencies

National Council on Disability Effective Communication Pre-Solicitation Notice

Effective Communication Before, During, and After Emergencies

The National Council on Disability is interested in evaluating effective communication for Americans with disabilities before, during, and after emergencies. Effective communication throughout all phases of emergency management (preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation) must be fully accessible to all people with disabilities.  NCD will document successful practices and identify facilitators and barriers to providing effective emergency-related communication.  A key piece of this research will include a thorough examination of the current state of affairs concerning the accessibility of emergency-related communication.  This analysis must address all phases of emergency management and be cross-disability and demonstrate sensitivity to diversity matters/issues that can impact outreach and response.  The research must include what is occurring in this area on both the national and state level. The estimated contract period is 10 months.

NCD will distribute its Effective Communication study Notice of Funding Opportunity to interested parties on February 8, 2012.  NCD will expect interested parties to submit their responses by March 7, 2012.  Copies of the Notice of Funding Opportunity will be available on and and may be requested by mail or picked up at NCD on or after the issue date of February 8, 2012.

For more information, contact Robyn Powell,, 1331 F Street, NW, Suite 850, Washington, D.C. 20004; 202 272-2004 or 202-272-2074 TTY.

Direct Link:

Posted by the:
National Council on Disability
1331 F Street, NW, Suite 850
Washington, DC 20004
202-272-20004 Voice
202-272-2074 TTY
202-272-2022 Fax

Get regular updates via NCD’s Facebook page:
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Users First Blog

UsersFirst and United Spinal thank have written a blog article that captures the events of 2011. UsersFirst will offer a blog regularly, regarding activities, issues, resources, and hopefully some inspiration.  You can subscribe at:  feed://

Here is the blog link:

Best Regards,

Ann Eubank, LMSW, OTR/L, ATP
VP Community Initiatives
Users First, a program of United Spinal Association

Office: 718-803-3782 ext. 7271
E-mail:<>  Web:<>

Shark Teeth Fossils

Sharks have been around for more than 400 million years but the only thing that they leave behind are their teeth. Their skeletons are made up of cartilage and easily erode over time, but their teeth are made up of a substance akin to our own bones, making them more durable to the decay of time.

Unlike any other animal, sharks "shed" their teeth continuously to make sure they stay nice and sharp and do not succumb to wear and tear. Some species of shark will shed as many as 35,000 teeth within their life time. With this natural process, sharks' teeth are relatively easy to find, you just have to know where to look for them. You can find them just walking along the current beaches but you can also find them inland considering the land masses that exist today are very different then what they would have looked like 400 million years ago. Considering that you can find them further inland if you dig down deep enough, or happen to find a prehistoric rock bed that has been exposed due to erosion, construction or quarrying. You can even find them in places you would not even consider, such as Missouri as it used to be an inland sea billions of years ago and well into the time when sharks came into the picture.

Contrary to popular belief, these teeth are not actually petrified, they are exactly the same chemically as when the shark dropped them millions of year ago. They are preserved through various processes that cause fossilization of bone material through time. When you find a sharks tooth, it may appear worn depending on how much it has been moved via waves or natural water flow such as a river flowing downstream. Sometimes you can find teeth that are perfectly preserved but they are typically fragile, unfortunately. One of the most notorious places to find sharks teeth is known as the Bone Valley in Polk County, Florida. Commercialized vessels and fisherman used to dredge the bottom of this phosphate mine and bring up megalodon teeth, until it was banned.

Fossilized sharks teeth is a fascinating hobby that is sure to thrill both yourself, your friends and your family. There are even Shark Teeth Festivals where you can display your finds and mingle with other fossilized shark teeth enthusiasts. Who would not cherish a relic of time?

To learn more useless facts about collecting Sharks Teeth and Fossils please visit our blog at Here you can get more information about collecting sharks teeth and also see current listings from people selling their finds.

Best DNA Testing - Get the Results You Need

In recent years, DNA testing has become increasingly popular in the fields such as family law, criminology, biotechnology and biomedicine. One of the main reasons for this is because it's possible to ascertain biological lineage as well as genealogical links from the test to help settle any disputes which arise amongst family members regarding estate matters. By using the best DNA Testing Lab, this can also help to solve crimes since criminals will be identified from the evidences discovered at the crime scene.

The things required for this test will be a single hair strand or some semen, blood, saliva or any other biological substance. In most cases, people will request this test in order to establish with a higher level of conviction whether or not they are the true biological father or even mother of a child. However there are many reasons why someone would need to make use of this testing method, so in order to determine the best DNA testing to use this will depend on several different factors.

It is important to note that this kind of testing is possibly the most accurate methods around that could be utilized for identification purposes due to the nature by which results will be extracted. In the end it will boil down to the actual biological scientific fact which cannot be disputed due to the higher level of accuracy.

What makes DNA Lab Testing Accurate?

This kind of genetic lab testing will be extremely accurate since it involves the DNA. Generally speaking, the human DNA strand will be our distinctive identification number. For this reason, you will not find two people with the exact genetic make-up. Of course, there are genetic commonalities between children and their biological parents, but the children will still have their unique genetic features. This will be the ideal solution to identify persons in certain situations since there is such an advanced level of conviction involved once the DNA is tested.

Are there are different types of testing tools?

In order to figure out what would be the best DNA test, first one has to understand the different types available as well as how they are different from one another.

Home Collection Kits

These home testing kits could be used for identifying biological connections to parents, but they may not give accurate results. There are basically too many variables and room for mistakes during the testing process.

Testing Centers

All of these facilities will have the required professionals and equipment to carry out different DNA tests and give accurate and definitive results. These testing centers can be used for many testing purposes, but they are often used during child custody disputes and various other court proceedings.

In terms of which one will be the most accurate, of course the testing centers will be clear winners since they have the equipment, expertise and technology available to carry out tests with the maximum level of accuracy.

When it comes to getting the best results and figuring out what is the most effective DNA test, the genetic samples have to stay in a state that is totally uncontaminated. This can give the most accurate final results which could be used to give a solid conclusion in accordance with the evidence. If the evidence is corrupted, then it will not be good and could give results with error.

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Phthalic Anhydride

Phthalic anhydride is the catalyst for oxidation and dehydrogenation.

It's colourless, aromatic chemical solid, which forms needle shaped crystals. The chemical starts to solve at a temperature of 131°degrees and changes over to gas state at 256° degrees. The majority of phthalic anhydride is used for the production and plasticizers, especially PVC. As an important synthetic resign resource the chemical bond is utilized for the surface coating of wood, for the manufacture of copper phthalocyanine in the beta crystalline form and synthetic resin. The chemical bond of phthalic anhydride is also only an important chemical component for producing colorants. Colour pigments produced with phthalic anhydride are remanufactured in dispersions, artistic colour or in finish.

PVC flooring and colorants are manufactured with these.

What makes these chemical so special? Some of the clever chemical ranges where colour production to the synthetic fusion in PVC. The organic compound is essential for subsequent processing of industrials goods. The comfortable catalyst plays an important role when producing synthetic materials such as industrial plastics like PVC. PVC is a very flexible material when creating further material for flooring and the coating of records, for example. The large-scale production of plasticizers is ` still growing industry, who annually keeps on growing. The chemical bond is often used in industry because organic chemistry has shown that the versatile immediate is bifunctional and cheaply available. The Certain dyer are produced with the help of the chemical bond such as synthetic dyer and solvent dyer. Phthalic anhydride is not also cheap in production, it was long known as a secret ingredient to famous artists when manufacturing exclusive and expensive and expensive colours.

The pure colours of phthalo blue or green are manufactured with the help of these chemical. When producing the anthracite copper phthalocyanin, the complex combination of copper and phthalic anhydride leads to a special chemical reaction. This partial chemical process of colour production has been known for 1000 years around Europe and Asia, when distilling the extracts for exclusive colours used for expensive paintings.

Nowadays, the still growing industry of producing phthalic anhydride is a very successfully business. According to recent statistics, the success story of the chemical bonds continues: In 2002, approximately 4.6 billion kilograms of phthalic anhydride were produced.

For security reasons: The product can cause allergic reactions and should treat with caution. It provokes eyes, skins and the mucous membrane. So always be careful! - your partner for chemical trade

Potassium Nitrate and Its Hazards

Potassium nitrate is one of the useful chemicals in modern-day implements such as fertilizers, soaps, toothpastes, explosives, pyrotechnics and even the emerging biofuels that is currently gaining ground as an answer to the world's environmental problems. However, despite its numerous benefits, this chemical substance can be hazardous and can wreak havoc on human health if handled improperly. As with other dangerous chemicals, handling this compound should incorporate utmost knowledge and safety to minimize the health risks it may bring. Here are some of the possible health hazards and some tips on how to avoid them.

Potassium nitrate could be dangerous if its vapors are inhaled. Such vapors can be present when the chemical compound is exposed to combustion, such as in the case of pyrotechnics, fireworks or even lighting matches. Inhalation of the vapors may cause coughing fits, difficulty and shortness of breathing, nasal irritation, sore throat and inflammation of the respiratory tract.

It is best to avoid exposure to the vapors completely to be free from such respiratory ailments. However, in cases where exposure cannot be avoided, the next best thing is to have appropriate safety gear such as face masks that inhibit entry of vapors to the user's nasal area. It could be in the form of gas masks which is more apt for heavier, industrial-grade exposure, but an inexpensive mask that can be bought in pharmacies can be adequate enough to filter out the chemical's emissions.

Working with this compound can also make the eyes and skin prone to contact. Contact with potassium nitrate with the skin and eyes will likewise cause pain and irritation, swelling and redness. Be sure to wear gloves and appropriate safety clothes when the job calls for exposure to this chemical. Should eye and skin contact occur, immediately wash the affected area with clean water. Flush the eyes immediately with cool, clean water and contact a physician immediately. You can also apply first-aid solutions such as medicinal eye drops upon advice by a health professional while waiting for medical assistance to arrive in order to mitigate the pain and irritation.

Potassium nitrate is also very dangerous if ingested. It could upset the gastrointestinal tract and will cause vomiting, nausea and diarrhea. Again, it is best to contact a poison expert or professional medical help to save the patient. The doctor may advise to induce vomiting to let the toxins out of the system, depending on the gravity of the case.

The most dangerous exposure to potassium nitrate is prolonged, continuous exposure. This causes long-term medical ailments affecting the stomach, as well as will cause irregular heartbeat, breathing difficulties, convulsions, comatose, and even death. With such dangers of being exposed to this chemical, the importance of safety gear especially when working with it on an industrial level cannot be overemphasized. The right safety gear, together with the proper training and knowledge will be the only way to reap the benefits of potassium nitrate and negating its health hazards.

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Reproduction in Fungi

If you are interested in Botany then you will like to know the fascinating characteristics of fungi. Their simple structure and complex style of reproduction make them one of the most varied eukaryotic organisms. Fungi can be found in any sort of habitat, and to be exact, they are ever-present in their distribution. As a student of biology, you must know the characteristics and facts about fungi. The branch of biology which refers to the study of fungi is known as mycology.

Some recent studies have concluded that these organisms have more similarities to animals, than plants. However, some people still argue that fungi are plants. Let us look at the facts that make them more like animals than plants. Studies have shown that these organisms lack chlorophyll (the photosynthetic pigment) and they depend on other organisms for food. Their main function is that they decompose the dead organisms, and thus, clean the environment to make it a suitable place for other living entities to survive.

The fungi have quite a flexible mode of reproduction, and this is also much responsible for its vast occurrence everywhere. Let's for example consider the process where fungi reproduction takes place through the formation of spores. These spores are actually quite light in weight, and they diffuse easily from one place to another through various mediums like water, air, or other agents. When they get favorable conditions for reproduction, the spores germinate and build up to form a new fungus.

You will be surprised to know that there are over 100,000 species of fungi present and scientifically identified. Mushroom is an exclusive example of fungi, and it has both edible as well as poisonous species. Some of the other known types of fungi are rusts, yeast, mold, etc. The reproduction process in the organism takes place asexually as well as sexually. They are distinguished with respect to the spore variety and sexual reproduction strategy.

Their asexual reproduction is more commonly observed than sexual ones. Almost all types of fungi are capable of reproducing asexually. This is responsible for the extensive distribution of this organism. At one time, nearly millions of spores are released, and when they find a suitable environment, they reproduce to form new fungi. Different types of asexual reproduction take place in fungi, and they are known as spore formation, budding, fragmentation, and fission. If you are interested to learn more about them but are unable to get you answers in a classroom, you can consider hiring a private biology tutor.

Properties and Uses of Silicon Dioxide

If you are a chemistry student then you must be familiar with the element known as Silicon Dioxide, but are you aware of its various uses. You will be fascinated to know that this chemical element has several uses in everyday life include heavy duty industrials. In this article, we will give you a briefing on the different characteristics and uses of this element.

It is interesting to note that the element Silicon (Si) is not found in its original form. It is always dependent on a second element for its existence. Hence, you will always find an oxidized form of Silicon Dioxide, known as silicon dioxide or SiO2. If you wish to see it, you can visit any sandy place as there you will find silicon dioxide in abundance. It is also found in quartz form as well as diatoms. All these are the naturally occurring forms. In our day to day life, we find various forms of silicon dioxide, or silica that are generally known as silica gel or silicic acid.

Interesting facts about Silicon Dioxide:

When exposed to high temperatures, without any external factors, silica turns into glass form. This amazing property of the element to turn itself into glass is used to create a variety of glass objects.

There are several benefits of using silicon dioxide in food. The very presence of this element in food helps to strengthen our bones and joints. Those who regularly consume silicon dioxide rich diet, maintain good strength and density of the bones, reducing any risk of arthritis or osteoarthritis.

As we know silica exists in sand form, it is used in the ceramics industry. It is one of the chief constituents of ceramic glaze. Without it, other ingredients may not be able to fasten themselves. This is so because silica has the unique property of turning to glass when heated. It helps in keeping the other substances together.

This element is also used in the telecommunication sector. In this field, silica is used in the form of optical fibers, which are prepared from this element.

The unique properties of silica make it highly useful in the manufacturing of cement. Hence, it is largely helpful in construction industry.

The purest form of silica is used in manufacturing electronics, particularly micro-electronics. The chips are organized and implanted in electronics to check and adjust the level of electrical activities within the electronic item.

If you are interested to know more about silica and other chemical elements, based what is taught in the classroom, consider hiring a private tutor who can give answers to all your questions.

Discover The Practicality Of Agronomy Science

Agronomy impacts the lives of every single person on the planet, every single day. From the first cup of coffee you drink to the salad you eat at lunch to the gas you funnel into your car to the clothes you wear to the medicines you consume, all are products of agronomy science. Suffice to say, the varied and abundant sources of agronomy products indicate there are good career opportunities for agronomist scientists.

Agronomy is concerned with the evolution and ongoing development of agriculture processes, as aided by scientific applications. Using the expertise of other agricultural science disciplines such as crop science, soil science, and environmental science, scientific research is conducted for the purpose of enhancing agricultural productivity. Research is shared among agronomists and other professionals in related fields for use at the local, regional, national, and international levels.

These scientists are plant and soil scientists who work to improve crops and agricultural productivity, as well as control pests and weeds in the process. Agronomists achieve their objective through the application of soil and plant sciences to crop production and the incorporation of natural resources and preservation practices to generate food, fuel, fiber, and pharmaceutical crops. All of this is done while maintaining and improving the environment.

Agronomists work mainly in the field, consulting with farmers or conducting research on the land. When not in the field, they work in research laboratories. Agronomists may specialize in a particular area of concentration. For example, one might fare better at developing methods of growing wheat, while someone else may specialize in preventing soil erosion, and another might be skilled at combating crop diseases or pest infestations.

Agronomists have many career paths to choose from. A great many of those with doctoral degrees work in research and/or teach in the college and university environment. The government utilizes this field within the U.S. Department of Agricultural (USDA), offering management positions to those with advanced degrees for the USDA Agricultural Research Station. Some also work in a consultant capacity, providing services to agribusiness companies.

Science majors interested in pursuing the field of agronomy must obtain a Bachelor's degree in the field or in a related field of study such as soil conservation, agriculture education, or general agriculture. Graduate and Doctoral degrees are typically necessary for some advanced positions. Generally, at least one college in each state offers a degree program related to agriculture.

The median salary for an agronomist is currently little over $51,000 per year; however, scientists in this field who work in government positions can earn an average of over $73,000 per year. Job opportunities for these experts are expected to grow through the year 2014. This demand will arise out of the need to replace workers leaving the field; therefore, those holding advanced degrees will have more success securing positions.

Agronomy is a part of daily life. A career in this field keeps you in the center of efforts to increase the production of fuel, food, and fiber for a growing world. If this sounds like your area of interest, research the various colleges and universities, both campus-based and online, that offer a degree program in this fascinating field. If you are one who prefers to earn an online college degree, rest assured knowing that it is possible to obtain a Bachelors online.

Unicellular Organisms

In Biology, the unicellular organisms actually refer to the living entities that have just a single cell, and all the functions are based on them. Some of the unicellular organisms are paramecium, amoeba, bacteria, and cyanobacteria. As a student of biology, you will be taught about these organisms in the class. However, sometimes, it might not be easy to get the topics cleared in a classroom setting. The reason is the large number of students and just one teacher to answer their queries. If you are interested to gain in-depth knowledge in these topics or you wish to take up a career in this field then it is recommended that you opt for the private home tutoring services. A professional home tutor will be able to answer all your queries and help you gain proper knowledge of the subject. In this article, we will discuss regarding the functions of the unicellular organisms.

In terms of the cellular structures, the assortment of organisms is so wide that it becomes tough to understand them all. Some of the organisms are known to execute all the functions within one cell, while there are others that are made up of millions of cells. It is interesting to note that a human body is actually composed of nearly 50 to 75 trillion cells. This fact is astonishing when compared to organisms that have just a single cell.

In biology, unicellular organisms are defined as single celled organisms, where one single cell performs all the functions such as locomotion, feeding, expelling wastes, reproduction, and many more. In most cases, these organisms are microscopic and cannot be viewed with naked eye. Depending on the complexity of the cell structure, the unicellular organisms can be classified into two different types, known as prokaryote and eukaryote. The former one is quite a simple cellular structure, as compared to the latter. The prokaryotic unicellular organism is free of any cell nucleus, while the eukaryotic unicellular one has a nucleus in the cell.

Most of the microbes are unicellular in association. As per the theory of evolution, these organisms were the first to grow on Earth. Their history dates back to nearly 3.8 billion years ago. Each of the organisms has definite characteristics that help them in adapting to the wide variety of environmental conditions.

If you find this part of Biology fascinating, and wish to learn in details about the various organisms then you can take up this subject as your major. You can also consider hiring a private Biology tutor to help you understand their functions with real examples.

Exothermic Reactions

If you are having problems understating the exothermic reactions then you have come to the right place. You will find that every little change that occurs in nature is actually due to the energy change. Energy is that quantity which takes different forms, and the kind of change is actually triggered by a flow of energy. As a student of chemistry, you will learn about the different kinds of chemical reactions. The chemists have actually found that the exchange of heat is always accompanied by a chemical reaction which can be classified as per the kind of energy or heat change.

The motive force that comes into play in every change that takes place in the universe can be credited to some kind of energy alteration. When you carefully observe the world revolving around you, you will realize that all types of environmental and biological changes that take place can be accredited to the chemical reactions that are powered by the subtle inputs as well as outputs of energy.

Though you may not be clear about the concept of exothermic reaction, you must certainly felt its effect in your day to day life. In simple words, an exothermic reaction is the one that is accompanied with a release of energy. The term 'exo' refers to outside; and 'thermic' means heat. When split in this way, it becomes easier to understand its meaning. The crackling fireplace provides heat, because explosion is an exothermic reaction releasing energy in the type of heat and light.

As you know there are various forms of energy, the emission of energy may make itself evident in the form of heat, light and sound. There are several kinds of chemical reactions in the nature, which are of exothermic character. Each of them is accompanied with a rise in temperature as heat is emitted to the surrounding area.

Since the heat energy is emitted through the chemical reaction, there is a boost to the entropy of the whole system, down with a decline in enthalpy that is associated with it. Nature actually prefers low energy states, and thus the energy release is quite essential in some chemical reactions to achieve stability. Some of the real life examples include combustion of gasoline in the car engines, corrosive reactions such as metal oxidation, burning of any matter in air, rusting of iron and so on. If you are looking for more details then consider hiring a private home tutor.

New iTunes U App: Perfect for Students and Educators

Today, Apple announce a new iTunes U App for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. To download the free app click here. The app allows students view classes, slide shows, documents and more from their classes. iTunes U also allows teachers to post assignments, video or audio of classes, slide shows, documents and more for uses by their students. iTunes U allows users to participate in classes from top university and organizations regardless of if the users attends the school. iTunes U can now be used by K-12 schools as well as universities. All classes are free to the public on iTunes U. iTunes U allows students to view and check off assignments, take notes and review missed classes. Apple describes the app as,

"Whether you’re taking a European history course in your spare time, learning Spanish in high school, or majoring in molecular biology at a university, you now have a powerful tool to help you get the most out of your classes. The new iTunes U app expands the classroom experience by putting all the materials for a course — audio and video, new iBooks Textbooks for iPad and other books, a syllabus and class assignments, posts from the instructor, PDFs, presentations, and more — just a tap away on your iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch."
Apple also says how iTunes you keeps you current, 
"When you take an iTunes U course, you’ll always have the most current information at your fingertips. With a tap, you can listen again to the most recent lecture or review the latest presentation to make sure you got all the details. Stay on top of your assignments and check them off as you complete them. And when an instructor sends a message or creates a new assignment, you’ll receive a push notification with the new information."
Click read more below to view additional pictures of the new iTunes U app.

Apple Announces iBooks 2 with Textbook Support

Today, Apple announced iBooks 2 with textbook support. The textbooks will be interactive and can include videos, Keynote presentations, 3D diagrams and more. Apple says that digital textbook on the iPad have many advantages of paper textbooks including ease of carrying to and from class, ability to update books and improve note taking. To download iBooks 2 click here. Textbooks will cost no more than $14.99. The textbooks will only be compatible with the iPad and will not work on iPhone or iPod Touch. The text books will be compatible with accessiblity features built into iOS 5. Click here to learn more about iOS 5 Accessiblity. Apple says,

"A Multi-Touch textbook on iPad is a gorgeous, full-screen experience full of interactive diagrams, photos, and videos. No longer limited to static pictures to illustrate the text, now students can dive into an image with interactive captions, rotate a 3D object, or have the answer spring to life in a chapter review. They can flip through a book by simply sliding a finger along the bottom of the screen. Highlighting text, taking notes, searching for content, and finding definitions in the glossary are just as easy. And with all their books on a single iPad, students will have no problem carrying them wherever they go."
The new textbooks will be easy to annotate. Students can easily highlight passages and add notes. A cool feature called study cards will make flash cards from your notes and highlights for easy studying. Apple says the following about study cards,
"All your notes and highlights automatically appear on study cards. Flip them over and find the definition of a glossary term or the note attached to the highlighted passage. Choose which highlight colors to review, and include chapter vocabulary from the glossary — automatically. To make sure you really know your stuff, you can shuffle your cards to study."
Apple will be partnering with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, McGraw Hill and Pearson at the beginning. Apple also announced iBook Author which allows individuals to create textbooks for the iPad. Click read more below to view more images of iBooks 2 Textbooks.

"Use a finger as a highlighter when reading any textbook in iBooks. Just swipe over text and it’s highlighted. Tap a highlighted section and a palette appears. Change colors, switch to underlining, or add a note instantly. Then switch to the Notes view to see all your notes and highlights organized in one place, making it a cinch to search or go back to the highlighted sections of the book." -

iConvert Scanner: Physical Scanner for iPad

The iConvert Scanner is a hardware scanner for the iPad. To use the scanner you must download the iCovert Scanner app which is free. The iConver Scanner can scan documents from 2.5 inches to 8.5 inches in width. The documents are saved as JPEG images in your iPad's photo library. The scanner does not save documents as PDFs.
"Our iConvert® Scanner for iPad and iPad 2 Tablets scans hard copies to JPEG files directly to your tablet, giving you instant e-copies of your most important documents. The JPEG files are automatically stored in the picture folder. Great for use at home (old photos, genealogy records, special greeting cards, recipes and children’s artwork), at the office (meeting notes, resumes, renderings, signed contracts) and on the go (receipts, expense reports, business cards and more). The entire scanner is sized to take with you in your messenger bag or backpack. 
Better than basic alternatives, the iConvert® Scanner for iPad and iPad 2 Tablets scans in high-resolution 300dpi for clear, crisp JPEG images. And the front feeder adjusts from 2 inches to 8½ inches wide to fit many size photos and important documents. Easy to use and it works with the free downloadable app at the iTunes® App StoreSM. Simply place the tablet on the scanner and the scanner gives step-by-step prompts from 'scan' (with real-time preview) to “save” or 'delete.'"
The iConvert Scanner retails for $149.99 from Brookstones. To visit Brookstones website click here. Click read more below to view pictures of the iConvert Scanner.

Prizmo Giveaway

Below is a promo code for Prizmo. To learn more about Prizmo click here. To win the app enter the code into iTunes. The first person to enter the code will win the Prizmo. Once one person enters the code it will no longer work. This is the last Prizmo giveaway. Good Luck!


Prizmo Giveaway

Below is a promo code for Prizmo. To learn more about Prizmo click here. To win the app enter the code into iTunes. The first person to enter the code will win the Prizmo. Once one person enters the code it will no longer work. If you do not win check back later for another code. Check back often to improve you chances of winning. The next promo code will be posted within the next day. Good Luck!


Prizmo Giveaway

Below is a promo code for Prizmo. To learn more about Prizmo click here. To win the app enter the code into iTunes. The first person to enter the code will win the Prizmo. Once one person enters the code it will no longer work. If you do not win check back later for another code. Check back often to improve you chances of winning. The next promo code will be posted within the next day. Good Luck!