Seventh partipation update

As promised the time between participant updates is shortened, and we try to incorporate as much as relevant information as we can. Currently we are editing the MACRO and MESO researches, and starting Monday we are also editing the in-depth research. This will form a large, but beautiful preliminary report. We are also working hard to obtain more and more company visits: Microsoft, nVidia, several MIT labs, CyberGloveSystems, Neurosky and more!

 

Sunday: July 18th: Deadline in-depth research paper

Reminder.We won't start editing before 9a.m., so you are free to use all time up to that point. Of course we hope you will not need it and can finish this assignment at a decent hour.

 

Credit cards

In the USA, and especially during your extension, it will come in handy to have your own credit card. If you do not have your own credit card you can consider applying for one. If you have your own card, or will apply for one you should consider if the withdraw limit is sufficient. If not, many credit card companies / banks allow you to temporarily raise your limit. For example, the study tour Pixel credit card has a 10.000 EUR withdraw limit and we are thinking of raising it.

A summary of the general information can be found below, but for detailed information you should contact your own bank.

With ABN AMRO, if you have the studentpackage-bank account a credit card costs 20 Euros per year. The standard limit is 1000,- euro’s per month. If you want to raise this limit you have to call with 0900-8016.

At Rabobank you can extend your 'studentenpakket'-bank account with a credit card. This will cost you 3,45 per quarter (total of 13,80 per year). At Rabobank your credit card limit will be 1500,- per month, but you can also create a positive balance (deposit extra money on your credit card account), thus allowing a higher withdraw. You can create a positive balance by calling with 088 722 6777.

Rabobank has told us that every student registered at the University of Twente is applicable for a credit card if his "StuFi" is also deposited at Rabobank.

ING offers a credit card together with a student bank account for 12,50 per year. Your withdraw limit is 1.000,- euro per month and this can be raised (temporarily) to 2.000,- per month. It is also possible to create a positive balance (just like with Rabobank) by transferring money to ING Bank, bank account 5095 197. You should add a comment mentioning your credit card number, followed by the text ‘extra aflossing creditcard’.

To apply for a credit card you should visit your local bank office. You can also apply via Internet, but takes longer.

 

Phone home

From the US there are several ways to call home using a normal telephone.

1. Collect call

You can place a collect call by dialing 1-800-COLLECT. The person who you are calling has to accept your call and will be charged with the expenses.

2. Prepaid card

You can also bring or buy a prepaid telephone card. You can buy these at the ANWB or in the United States. This is usually the cheapest way to call to The Netherlands. Check, before purchase, if the card can be used to call to the Netherlands. You can use the prepaid cards at phone booths, and sometimes at the hotel. Often using the card at the hotel is more expensive.

3. Credit card

You can use your credit card to pay for phone booth services. Usually this is slightly more expensive than using a prepaid card.

4. Direct call

In most hotels you can call from the hotel. However this costs a lot of money and it is not recommended.

5. Phone over IP (via Internet)

Often you can find an Internet café or WiFi to reach the home front. Internet Cafés charge about $5,- per hour.

 

Mobile phones in the US

You can also use a mobile phone to call from the US. There is a chance that your own mobile phone does not support the US network that operates on a different frequency (1900mHz) than the Netherlands (900/1800mHz). 3G (umts) bands can be found on several frequencies: 850/1700/1900/2100 MHz. Check if your mobile phone supports the frequency by checking with the vendors specifications. If your phone supports triband or quadband you should be fine.

Costs

In the US they do not differentiate between fixed and mobile phone numbers. The costs for sending a text message are usually equal to one minute of speech time.

Costs regarding mobile phone calls differ per operator. It is advised to check the rates before using the operators network. Usually you can find them on their website.

If you use your own Dutch operator in the US you can find the rates on your own vendors website.

Buying your local SIM-card and/or mobile phone

A relatively cheap alternative to stay within reach in the USA is buying a mobile phone. You buy prepaid packages at electra shops and warehouses, just like in The Netherlands.

Ask the salesman for the cheapest rates. Probably you will not use it very often so you want a cheap phone with a lot of calling minutes. Also inform in what regions you will be charged the local rate because we travel a lot. Usually this is only the area were you bought the phone. If you want to call Dutch phone numbers with your local SIM-card, ask the salesman if this is possible!

When we arrive in the US we will make time to purchase a phone or SIMcard, but if you want to visit several stores to find the cheapest solution you will probably not have enough time. You could do this during one of the free days.

Coverage

In the cities mobile phone coverage is good. But when you leave the cities, assume you do not have coverage. If you want to be reachable at all times you can consider renting a satellite phone. This will cost you at least $8 a day, and thus $250 per month.

 

Team building activity

Monday evening, the 30th of August / the first day of the new year, we will organize the first team building activity of the new year. This will be a diner with some drinks afterwards. Currently we are thinking about organizing a barbecue, but if it looks like bad weather is on the way we'll organize something indoors.

With kind regards and we hope everybody has cool vacation plans for after the in-depth research,

 

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