A Q&A about Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)

August 19, 2011 Leave a comment

As a leading provider of computer equipment, peripherals, business technology, and consumer electronics, Canada’s Shark Systems regularly supplies individuals and businesses with all the components they need to use VoIP technology for their telecommunications needs.

Q: How does VoIP work?
A: VoIP systems convert sounds and voices into digital information, which can be sent over the Internet. This information can then be received by a computer or another VoIP phone at its destination or be converted back into a regular telephone signal if the recipient is using a traditional telephone. VoIP calls can be placed directly from a computer, but many users choose the convenience of a traditional telephone equipped with a phone adapter or a VoIP-enabled phone. Using a phone adapter creates a user experience nearly identical to that of a traditional phone system.

Q: What are a few advantages to VoIP calling?
A: VoIP can be less expensive than traditional telephone service, depending on what you use it for and how fast your existing Internet connection is. It can also allow individuals or businesses to conduct conference calls more easily through the use of VoIP conference phones.

Q: How much does VoIP cost?
A: Charges for VoIP vary by service provider. If you do not already have a sufficiently fast connection to the Internet, you may need to get a new contract or upgrade your existing service. Some VoIP providers offer their services for free when you call other members but charge to call outside numbers. If you already have a high-speed Internet connection, using a VoIP service may allow you to forego a traditional telephone line.

Q: What equipment is necessary?
A: To use VoIP for placing calls, a high-speed Internet connection is essential. This connection can be obtained through DSL, a cable modem, or another source. Users will also need a computer, phone adapter, or specialized phone to connect to the Internet. Some services require specific equipment, so be sure to check with your provider to see what it recommends.

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Listening to Internet Radio at Home presented by Shark Systems

August 19, 2011 Leave a comment

With the rapid expansion of wireless Internet coverage in recent years, Internet radio has become more accessible and mobile than ever. Traditional radio is limited by transmitter strength and the broadcast spectrum available in an area. Internet radio can be heard all over the world, with stations accessible wherever there is a sufficient Internet connection. The number of stations is essentially unlimited, and the barrier for entry is low. While traditional radio is highly regulated and not everyone can broadcast easily, getting set up in Internet radio is much simpler and less expensive. With thousands of online radio stations across hundreds of genres, consumers can choose from a full spectrum of options.

Internet radio is delivered primarily in two ways: through downloads or as streaming audio. Downloadable content must be saved to the listener’s device, whether a computer, an MP3 player, or another option. Streaming audio can be listened to without being stored. This makes it appropriate for freestanding Internet radios like popular models from Aluratek or Sling Media, data-enabled smartphones, or computers. Live broadcasts can even be received online from thousands of stations that stream audio as it is produced.

At Shark Systems, we sell a number of popular devices used to listen to Internet radio without needing to go through a computer. Known as network media players or digital media receivers, these devices connect to your existing home theater or audio system and allow you to pipe audio or video from the Internet straight to your speakers or television. Network media players can work for both television and radio consumption and allow people living outside the range of traditional broadcasting to enjoy a wide range of programming.

Shark Systems: Options for Creating a Home or Business Network

Shark Systems, a leading Canadian reseller of consumer electronics, provides everything you need to set up a home or business network. Networking computers allows selected users to access shared documents from their own workstation and creates a shared Internet connection. While many networks are wired via Ethernet, wireless networks have continuously improved over the past decade, allowing high-speed data transfer using wireless routers and other technologies. Most computers now come with wireless networking cards as standard equipment while continuing to support Ethernet connectivity as well. Shark Systems offers everything you need to set up your home or office network.

1. Ethernet Switches/Hubs: Wired networks often route through an Ethernet switch or hub, which connects to computers and other peripherals such as printers. The switches have multiple Ethernet ports, allowing a number of items to join the wired network. This enables sharing of data, printers, and Internet access. Larger networks can utilize hubs with more ports or additional switches. Shark Systems offers an array of switches in varying capacities from manufacturers like D-Link, IBM, and TRENDnet.

2. Wireless routers: Home routers allow you to connect multiple computers to peripherals, a single Internet connection, and shared data on other computers. Wireless routers allow for a great deal of convenience, connecting equipment throughout the home without any cords or long cables. A wireless network is inherently less secure than a wired one, but the network can be protected by specifying access restrictions. Shark Systems provides many types of routers from manufacturers such as Cisco and Linksys.

3. Network Cards: These devices can be internal or external, and provide computers and peripherals the ability to communicate via wired or wireless Ethernet. Shark Systems offers multiple types of network cards in varying speeds and configurations from companies like Intel and Allied. 4. Network Security: Security devices such as firewalls protect networks from incoming and outgoing security threats. Firewalls regulate network transmissions based on specified protocols or rules. Virtual private networks (VPNs) require authentication from users attempting to connect to them and utilize various levels of encryption to protect transmissions.


Shark Systems’ Brief Guide to High-Definition Television

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Before purchasing a new high-definition television, consumers must first understand the terminology. The following is information about what the various numbers and letters mean in terms of high-definition technology.

 

A number and a letter comprise resolution standards. High-definition televisions have either 720 or 1080 ratings. The numbers indicate the amount of horizontal lines that make up the image on the screen. Televisions with a 1080 rating have a crisper picture than those with a 720 rating. The letters “i” and “p” denote the type of scan that the television uses to produce an image. The letter “i” stands for interlaced, meaning that the television makes two passes to create an image, one that projects odd numbered lines and one that projects even numbered lines. The letter “p” stands for progressive, meaning that the television projects lines in order from 1 to 720 or 1080 depending on the resolution. For moving pictures, a progressive scan produces a smoother image than an interlaced scan, which may create a slightly jagged or jumpy sense of movement. Thus, 1080p televisions theoretically provide the smoothest and most crisp viewing experience. Many channels that broadcast in high definition, however, do not meet the 1080p standards. In these cases, the television reverts to either 1080i or 720p modes, depending on the broadcast signal.

 

Those shopping for a high-definition television must also consider the television’s aspect ratio. Traditional televisions have a 4:3 aspect ratio, but cinematic films have a 16:9 ratio. Many new television shows now utilize the 16:9 ratio, also known as widescreen. Consumers may also want to consider television connections, particularly High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) inputs. These inputs allow the television to connect with high-definition devices, such as DVD players and cable boxes. Individuals may purchase a switching box if the television has only one HDMI connector.

 

Consumers may want to consider the advantages of LCD television. Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) technology produces incredibly crisp images without a great deal of hardware, but they require viewers to sit perpendicular to the screen. Plasma televisions also produce superior image quality, but tend to be heavy and are susceptible to screen burn-in, or permanent images in the plasma.

 

About Shark Systems

 

For more than 10 years, Shark Systems has offered a variety of consumer electronics, computer components, and other products at competitive prices. To browse Shark Systems’ extensive inventory, visit www.sharksystems.com. The company also works closely with Oceana’s Scared for Sharks initiative, which encourages governments worldwide to adopt policies that would protect the oceans’ shark populations.

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Oceana & Shark Systems’ Scared For Sharks Initiative

As part of the company’s philanthropic efforts, Shark Systems co-sponsors Oceana’s Scared For Sharks campaign. This environmental initiative is also supported by Mad Men lead actress January Jones, who appears on behalf of Scared For Sharks in the promotional video included below.

According to Oceana’s website, of the more than 300 species listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), 50 shark species are considered endangered, critically endangered, or vulnerable. However, only three species—white, whale, and basking sharks—receive conservation protection under international law through the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). To address this startling and tragic gap, Oceana has instituted campaigns in several areas, including legal advocacy, scientific research, and international policy, all aimed at increasing protection for these threatened species as well as awareness of the growing problem.

Of the many dangers plaguing shark populations around the globe, heavy fishing, bycatching, and shark finning represent the three greatest threats. While the damage from excessive fishing may be self-evident, many people have not heard of bycatching or shark finning and thus do not know these activities’ harmful repercussions. Bycatching refers to damage or death caused to species that are caught by fishermen intending to catch a different kind of fish. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), very few fisheries do not catch sharks as bycatch, and some fishing operations actually catch a greater number of sharks than their intended species, such as tuna or salmon. Bycatching, therefore, stands as both a wasteful and damaging phenomenon for shark populations, which is why Oceana has campaigned against the use of the fishing equipment that causes the greatest damage through bycatching, such as long lines, trawls, and gillnets.

Shark finning refers to the act of cutting off a shark’s fin, which is then usually used in cooking. In shark finning, fishermen throw the shark back into the water after taking the fin, resulting in the shark slowly bleeding to death. This incredibly cruel practice also produces significant waste, since the majority of the shark is discarded.

If you would like to join Shark Systems and Oceana in their efforts to advocate on behalf of threatened sharks around the world, please visit na.oceana.org or the company website at www.sharksystems.com and click on the banner at the bottom of the page.

Sharksystems.com on WordPress!

We at Shark Systems are excited to post our first blog posting to our new WordPress.com account; feel free to visit www.sharksystems.com and use coupon code “wordpress” for $10 off ANY order! This offer is valid until June 1st.

Thank You for your business!

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Hello world!

April 21, 2011 Leave a comment

Hello everyone and welcome to our blog!