Science & Technology
Are You Running Your Business on Obsolete Technology? PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by Richard Martin   
Tuesday, 08 January 2013 16:32
Midland Communications Advises Customers on the Dangers of Operating on a Manufacturer Discontinued Phone System

DAVENPORT, IA - January 8, 2013 - The world of unified communications is centered on the idea of leveraging powerful technologies and applications to boost productivity. When individual employees have superior tools they are able to do more with less and increase bottom-line profitability. However, many businesses are becoming increasingly familiar with the concept of planned obsolescence, which is a policy of planning or designing a product with a limited useful life, so it will become obsolete, unfashionable or no longer functional after a certain period of time. Phone systems and data networks are beginning to show signs of planned obsolescence and business owners are beginning to reexamine their communications infrastructure. Small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) need to take a close look at their phone systems to evaluate when obsolescence will strike and what steps they can take to avoid this.
Many of the existing phone systems that businesses are currently running have been discontinued and no longer supported by the manufacturer. This basically means that the technology has run its course, stopped being manufactured and is becoming exceedingly difficult to service. In other words, if a business is running its communications infrastructure on obsolete technology, when it breaks down there won't be anyone to help fix it. This is a giant risk that business owners are taking when their customer relationships are on the line. An outdated phone system will ultimately crash. Businesses cannot afford to go down and cut off all contact with their customers.
"Here at Midland Communications, we are educating companies on the risks associated with manufacturer discontinued phone systems as well as their options for new technology," stated Jason Smith, Vice President of Midland Communications. "This is an exciting time in our industry because with the advent of SIP (session initiation protocol) many companies can easily cost justify the adoption of today's technology. Plus, these businesses will benefit from applications and features designed to increase their profitability, enhance their employees' productivity, and give them a competitive advantage, something their outdated phone system cannot do."

ABOUT MIDLAND COMMUNICATIONS
Midland Communications began more than 60 years ago in 1946 as the Worldwide Marketing Arm of Victor-Animagraph Projectors. In 1977 a communications division was formed due to a partnership with NEC America. Today, As a distributor of NEC America, for 33 years, Midland Communications has a customer base of more than 3,000 satisfied customers that include general businesses, government agencies, Universities, colleges, hospitals, and hotels.
Midland provides a wide range of communication services including VOIP, PBX and key systems, Wide Area and Local Area networking, computers, Computer integration, voice mail, CCIS, and video conferencing and paging systems. Our philosophy is simple, provide quality products at a fair price, backed by an average emergency response time of twenty minutes, and the best service in the industry. For more information on Midland Communications, call (563) 326-1237 or visit www.midlandcom.com.


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Rock Island Library Programs Provide Tech Help After the Holidays PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by Lisa Lockheart   
Thursday, 27 December 2012 10:10

Did a new eReader, tablet or smartphone end up under your tree this year? If so, the Rock Island Public Library wants to help you learn how to use them to checkout free eBooks and audiobooks.

The library will kick off 2013 with a free “Getting Started with Downloading eBooks” program at 2:00 pm on Wednesday, January 2, at the Rock Island Main Library, 401 19th Street, Rock Island. The same program will be repeated at 5:30 pm on Tuesday, Jan. 15 at the Rock Island Southwest Branch Library, 9010 Ridgewood Road. Getting Started with Downloading eBooks will show participants how to use the OverDrive service to checkout free eBooks and eAudiobooks for a wide variety of devices, including eReaders, Kindle readers and tablets, Apple devices, and smartphones. Each session starts with a short demo, followed by time for one-on-one practice or help. No registration is required.

And if a new laptop or personal computer was on your gift list this year, the library will also offer a free “Getting Started with Computers” session at 1:30 pm on Tuesday, Jan. 29, at the Rock Island Main Library, 401 19th Street. The class offers free help for users who are either completely new to computers or for those who want to get more comfortable using one. Registration is required for this class only. To sign up, call 309-732-7341.

 

For more events at the Rock Island Public Library, pick up a winter program brochure or monthly events calendar at any Rock Island Library, check the library calendar or news sections at www.rockislandlibrary.org, or sign up for news by email. For questions, please call 309-732-7323 (READ.)

 

Additional Rock Island Library Tech Classes for 2013:

Getting Started with Email

Thursday, February 21st, 2013, 2:30 pm Main Library

Whether you need an email account or just don’t use yours very often, this class will help you become more comfortable. Registration is required: Call 309-732-7341.

 

Getting Started with Computers

Thursday, March 14th, 2013, 11:30 am Main Library

Whether you’ve never touched a computer before or just want to learn some new things, this class will help you get more comfortable.  Registration is required: Call 309-732-7341

 

Getting Started with Email

Tuesday, March 26th, 2013, 10:30 am Main Library

Whether you need an email account or just don’t use yours very often, this class will help you become more comfortable. Registration is required: Call 309-732-7341.

 

Getting Started with Library Databases

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013, 3:00 pm Main Library

Learn how to use some of the Library’s online databases to learn a new language, research your family history, and find magazine articles or books online. Registration required: Call 309-732-7341.

 
Lt. Gov. Reynolds Leads Bipartisan Group of Lieutenant Governors in Support of Wind PTC PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by Office of the Governor of Iowa   
Monday, 17 December 2012 15:51

(DES MOINES) – Iowa Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds today released a letter sent by a bipartisan coalition of lieutenant governors from eight states to congressional leaders supporting the Wind Production Tax Credit (PTC). Reynolds brought together the lieutenant governors of Colorado, Minnesota, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Rhode Island and Washington in support of an extension to the wind PTC.

 

The full letter can be found here.

 

“The wind energy industry is not only a source of renewable energy, but it is also a vital component of the Iowa and American economy,” said Reynolds. “Over 6,000 Iowans are able to trace their employment to the wind industry. I am proud that my colleagues joined me to urge Congress to pass the Wind PTC extension allowing our states and the wind industry to continue harnessing American energy, creating jobs and expanding economic development in the process.”

 

Lt. Gov. Joseph Garcia (D-Colo.), Lt. Gov. Yvonne Prettner Solon (D-Minn.), Lt. Gov. Rick Sheehy ( R-Neb.),Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb (R-Okla.), Lt. Gov. Elizabeth Roberts (D-R.I.),  Lt. Gov. Matt Michels (R-S.D.) and Lt. Gov. Brad Owen (D-Wash.) joined Reynolds in signing on to the letter addressed to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Democrat Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

 

Without action from Congress, the Wind PTC will expire at the end of December.

 

In the letter the lieutenant governors state, “Without the PTC extensions, the U.S. economy will lose tens of thousands of jobs and the opportunity to leverage $10 billion of private investment.” The letter continues, “Businesses in our states need the certainty of a PTC extension to encourage new capital investments, maintain their competitive edge of wind energy technologies, and create high paying jobs.”

 

The letter concludes by pointing out the PTC enjoys bipartisan support from members of Congress, states and the private sector. Every member of the Iowa congressional delegation supports an extension of the wind PTC and Lt. Gov. Reynolds’ letter is the latest action Iowa leaders have taken to show support for an extension.

 

The full text of the letter is as follows:

 

 

December 14, 2012

 

 

The Honorable Harry Reid

Majority Leader

U.S. Senate

Washington, D.C. 20510

 

The Honorable John Boehner

Speaker of the House

U.S. House of Representatives

Washington, D.C. 20515

 

The Honorable Mitch McConnell

Minority Leader

U.S. Senate

Washington, D.C. 20510

 

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi

Minority Leader

U.S. House of Representatives

Washington, D.C. 20515

 


 

Dear Majority Leader Reid, Senator McConnell, Speaker Boehner, and Representative Pelosi:

 

We urge you to pass legislation that extends the wind energy production tax credit (PTC) scheduled to expire at the end of this month.

 

The United States enjoys some of the best wind resources in the world.  The PTC has helped enable a fledgling wind industry to develop technological advances that are creating jobs, building state manufacturing bases, lowering energy costs, and promoting American energy independence.  Today, nearly 500 wind manufacturing facilities are located in 43 states.  America’s wind energy industry has generated nearly $20 billion in private investment annually in each of the last five years.  The growth in the wind energy industry has been matched with significant gains in efficiency; however, more time is needed for the industry to mature.

 

Uncertainty regarding the PTC’s continuance has already reduced wind turbine orders, halted projects, and resulted in thousands of wind industry layoffs across the country.  Without a PTC extension, the US economy will lose tens of thousands of jobs and the opportunity to leverage $10 billion of private investment.  The effects of instable Federal policy can already be seen.  In just two examples, Siemens laid off 407 workers at its blade manufacturing facility in Fort Madison, Iowa, and Oregon-based Iberdrola Renewables laid off 50 of its employees and canceled several US projects.  Businesses in our states need the certainty of a PTC extension to encourage new capital investments, maintain their competitive edge of wind energy technologies, and create high-paying jobs.  We are concerned about the impact of these layoffs and manufacturing reductions on the families affected and on our state economies.

 

The PTC has enjoyed bipartisan support from Members of Congress, states, and private businesses because it is a successful tax policy that reaps economic and energy rewards.  We encourage you to quickly pass a wind production tax credit extension to help fuel high-tech jobs and domestic energy production.

 

Sincerely,

Kim Reynolds                                                            Joseph A. Garcia

Lieutenant Governor, State of Iowa                           Lieutenant Governor, State of Colorado

 

Rick Sheehy                                                                  Matt Michels

Lieutenant Governor, State of Nebraska                       Lieutenant Governor, State of South Dakota

 

Elizabeth H. Roberts                                                            Brad Owen

Lieutenant Governor, State of Rhode Island                        Lieutenant Governor, State of Washington

 

Yvonne Prettner Solon                                                  Todd Lamb

Lieutenant Governor, State of Minnesota                      Lieutenant Governor, State of Oklahoma

 

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For more information, please visit www.ltgovernor.iowa.gov.

 
Team Led by Argonne National Lab Selected as DOE’s Advanced Battery and Energy Storage Hub PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by Leslie Wertheimer   
Friday, 30 November 2012 15:54

Energy Department Announces Team to Receive up to $120 Million Over 5 Years

CHICAGO – November 30, 2012. Governor Pat Quinn was joined today by U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to announce that a multi-partner team led by Argonne National Laboratory has been selected for an award of up to $120 million over five years to establish a new Batteries and Energy Storage Hub. The Hub, to be known as the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research (JCESR), will combine the R&D firepower of five DOE national laboratories, five universities, and four private firms in an effort aimed at achieving revolutionary advances in battery performance. Advancing next generation battery and energy storage technologies for electric and hybrid cars and the electricity grid are a critical part of President Obama’s all-of-the-above energy strategy to reduce America’s reliance on foreign oil and lower energy costs for U.S. consumers.

Governor Quinn is providing $5 million through his Illinois Jobs Now! capital construction plan to help build the state-of-the-art JCESR facility, which will be located on the Argonne National Laboratory campus in suburban Chicago. Additionally, the governor has committed to working with the General Assembly to provide an additional $30 million in future capital funding for the building, which will serve as a nationwide center for energy storage research and is a key part of the governor’s plan to create jobs and grow Illinois’ economy through cutting-edge innovation.

“Illinois is the birthplace of innovations that have changed the world, including the web browser, the cell phone and the ultrasound,” Governor Quinn said. “As I highlighted during my State of the State address, this innovative center will attract the best minds from across our state and country to turn cutting-edge scientific research into new companies that will create more American jobs and revolutionize our energy economy.”

“This is a partnership between world leading scientists and world leading companies, committed to ensuring that the advanced battery technologies the world needs will be invented and built right here in America,” said Secretary Chu.  “Based on the tremendous advances that have been made in the past few years, there are very good reasons to believe that advanced battery technologies can and will play an increasingly valuable role in strengthening America’s energy and economic security by reducing our oil dependence, upgrading our aging power grid, and allowing us to take greater advantage of intermittent energy sources like wind and solar.”

“This new Hub brings together, under a single organizational roof, the world’s leading scientists, engineers and manufacturers in energy storage and provides them with the tools, resources and market reach necessary to produce major breakthroughs,” said U.S. Senator Dick Durbin.  “The large-scale, innovative research and transformational new battery systems that will result from this venture will mean more effective, lower cost and longer life energy storage technologies with real world applications for anything that can use a rechargeable battery.  The project promises to have a significant economic impact across Illinois with the help of towns and businesses who have already agreed to partner on the commercialization of promising technology developed at the Hub.”

“The research at the Energy Storage Hub has the potential to revolutionize the energy industry," said U.S. Senator Mark Kirk. "From transportation to the electric grid, the Hub will bring the private sector, national labs and universities together to deliver new technologies and scientific approaches needed to transform the battery and energy storage industry and spur commercial innovation.  The Hub at Argonne will help boost our local economy and create new jobs. Today's announcement further establishes Illinois and Argonne as a leader in this growing industry."

"Argonne has a long tradition of exceptional leadership on energy research, and the DOE's selection of Argonne for this exciting project will cement its role as the nation's leading facility for advanced battery technology,” said Representative Judy Biggert (IL-13). “Most importantly, this project will give scientists and researchers the best environment in which to develop the next generation of energy storage to power our homes, cars, and industries in the decades to come. I applaud the team at Argonne on winning the project, and I thank my colleagues from across the Midwest who worked with us to make it happen."

"This award sets up Argonne National Laboratory to be the world leader in an emerging field that will promote American energy independence, make green energy more available and affordable, and grow manufacturing in the region,” said Representative Dan Lipinski (IL-03). “I believe this new facility will bring a significant return on the investment for our nation and especially for the communities around Argonne.”

“Since taking office, I have been focused on making Chicago the electric vehicle and batteries capital of the nation,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “This includes creating incentives to encourage the adoption of electric vehicles, attracting companies to manufacture electric vehicles, and now, working with Argonne to make sure that Chicago is at the epicenter of research on this subject. All of these pieces fit together into a comprehensive strategy that will allow Chicago to lead in this industry, from conception to construction to implementation. I will continue to work to attract more companies, create more jobs and foster more economic development in this crucial space.”

The new Hub will integrate efforts at several successful independent research programs into a larger, coordinated effort designed to push the limits on battery advances.  Advancements in batteries and energy storage technology are essential for continued efforts to develop a fundamentally new energy economy with decisively reduced dependence on imported oil.  Improved storage will be vital to fully integrating intermittent renewable energy sources such as wind and solar into the electrical grid.  It will also be critical to transitioning the transportation sector to more flexible grid power.

JCESR (pronounced “J-Caesar”) will be directed by George W. Crabtree, Argonne Senior Scientist, Distinguished Fellow and Associate Division Director; Distinguished Professor of Physics, Electrical and Mechanical Engineering, University of Illinois at Chicago; and an internationally recognized leader in energy research.

“The JCESR batteries and energy storage hub gives us a new collaborative, inter-institutional R&D paradigm in which to develop the energy storage technologies that transform both the electricity grid and transportation and so reduce our dependence on foreign oil,’ said Eric Isaacs, Director of Argonne National Laboratory.

The Hub will bring together some of the most advanced energy storage research programs in the U.S. today.  Other national labs partnering with Argonne include Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories, and SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory.  University partners include Northwestern University, University of Chicago, University of Illinois-Chicago, University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign, and University of Michigan. Four industrial partners have also joined to help clear a path to the marketplace for the advances developed at JCESR, including Dow Chemical Company; Applied Materials, Inc.; Johnson Controls, Inc.; and Clean Energy Trust.

“This ambitious initiative, which builds on Argonne National Laboratory’s innovative work in advanced battery technology, will create new opportunities for technological research and economic development in the city of Chicago and the region,” said Robert J. Zimmer, University of Chicago President. “It will rely on a public-private partnership to speed the development of environmentally sound energy storage capabilities, with potentially profound economic benefits. We are grateful to all of the public officials who helped make this possible, especially Senator Richard Durbin, Governor Pat Quinn, and Mayor Rahm Emanuel, whose support and commitment to economic development through innovation have been vital.”

"With exceptional talent and research strengths, Illinois is paving the way for next generation energy solutions, and this USDOE award will advance and accelerate the state's transformative efforts around energy storage and grid enhancements," said Mark Harris, President and CEO of the Illinois Science and Technology Coalition, which worked with Argonne to develop the proposal. "This award represents tremendous collaboration between research and academic institutions, industry and government, and we look forward to advancing technology commercialization and economic development opportunities across the state and region."

Selected through an open national competition with a rigorous merit review process that relied on outside expert reviewers, JCESR is the fourth Energy Innovation Hub established by the Energy Department since 2010.  Other Hubs are devoted to modeling and simulation of nuclear reactors, achieving major improvements in the energy efficiency of buildings, and developing fuels from sunlight. A fifth Hub focused on critical materials research was announced earlier this year and is still in the application process.

Energy Innovation Hubs are major integrated research centers with researchers from many different institutions and technical backgrounds that combine basic and applied research with engineering to accelerate scientific discovery in critical energy areas. They are modeled after the strong scientific management characteristics of the Manhattan Project, Lincoln Lab at MIT that developed radar, AT&T Bell Laboratories that developed the transistor and, more recently, the highly successful Bioenergy Research Centers established during the Bush Administration to pioneer advanced techniques in biotechnology, including biofuels.

Over the decades, DOE national laboratories and DOE-funded university research programs have been responsible for some of the most important advances in battery technology. For example, key battery improvements developed at Argonne helped make the Chevy Volt battery possible.

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Midland Communications Helps SMBs Use IRC Section 179 to Benefit From Significant Tax Deduction on New Technology PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by Janet Dufour   
Friday, 30 November 2012 15:29
DAVENPORT, IA - November 29, 2012 - Midland Communications, a leading provider in unified communications, announced today that the company is helping customers take advantage of a large tax-break for small to mid-sized businesses with Internal Revenue Code (IRC) Section 179. Section 179 of the IRS tax code allows businesses to deduct the full purchase price of qualifying equipment and/or software purchased or financed during the tax year. That means that if a business owner buys (or leases) a piece of qualifying equipment, he can deduct the full purchase price from his gross income. Essentially, it's an incentive created by the U.S. government to encourage businesses to buy new equipment and invest in their companies.
The recession has taken a toll on many businesses and this program provides a means for business owners to access much needed savings on major purchases of technology equipment, software or business phone systems. If business owners act by December 31st, 2012 they can write-off the entire purchase price of qualifying phone systems in the first year up to $139,000. While every transaction is different and tax professionals should be consulted on specific situations, the potential rewards of this program have nudged many business owners to invest in the technolgy they need to gain a competitive advantage for 2013. This year, Section 179 also extends to cover off-the-shelf software purchases in addition to traditional equipment. Many business owners have installed new business phone systems as a result of this addition to the tax code, because recent breakthroughs in unified communications are enabling businesses to collaborate better, faster and more efficiently with one another.
"We were stunned to find out that so many of our customers had not yet heard of Section 179," commented Jason Smith, Vice President of Midland Communications. "We may specialize in delivering technology solutions to our customers, but we treat our customers like partners. When we find something as powerful as this program we have always considered it to be our duty to share this information to our customers. Our goal is to introduce our customers to technology that not only enhances their productivity, but more importantly increases their bottom-line. That approach has contributed largely to our success over the years and we plan on continuing to serve our customers in a proactive manner for years to come."


ABOUT MIDLAND COMMUNICATIONS

Midland Communications began more than 60 years ago in 1946 as the Worldwide Marketing Arm of Victor-Animagraph Projectors. In 1977 a communications division was formed due to a partnership with NEC America. Today, As a distributor of NEC America, for 33 years, Midland Communications has a customer base of more than 3,000 satisfied customers that include general businesses, government agencies, Universities, colleges, hospitals, and hotels.
Midland provides a wide range of communication services including VOIP, PBX and key systems, Wide Area and Local Area networking, computers, Computer integration, voice mail, CCIS, and video conferencing and paging systems. Our philosophy is simple, provide quality products at a fair price, backed by an average emergency response time of twenty minutes, and the best service in the industry. For more information on Midland Communications, call (563) 326-1237 or visit www.midlandcom.com.


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