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GCP8-System Consultant Voice Platform
Question: 111
Which of the following components listed are considered optional in a GVP 8.1 Solution?
(Choose six)
A. Call Control Platform
B. IVR Server
C. Composer
D. Supplementary Services Gateway
E. Speech Server
F. Resource Manager
G. CTI Connector
H. Media Control Platform
Answer: A, B, C, D, E, G
Question: 112
GVP 8 supports HTTP and HTTPS
A. True
B. False
Answer: A
Question: 113
When configuring GVP 8, which of the following groups of functions can be performed
through Genesys Administrator?
A. Adding New applications, Adding Application templates and creating Roles
B. Adding New applications, Adding Applications templates and setting user permissions
C. Viewing Alarms, Monitoring Applications, creating application solutions and changing
user permissions
D. All of the above
E. None of the above
Answer: D
Question: 114
Under what circumstances it is appropriate to deploy an IP Call Manager?
A. Three or more VCS's
B. An IPCS and a VCS on the same computer
C. An IPCS deployed on the same computer as the EMPS
D. Two or more IPCS's
Answer: D
Question: 115
Role Based Access control in GVP 8.1.2 is available only through Genesys Administrator.
A. True
B. False
Answer: A
Question: 116
A Primary Voice Application URL is required when provisioning the IVR Profile. The
Primary Voice Application CANNOT include__________.
A. The fully qualified name of the web server that hosts the application
B. The numeric IP address of the web server that hosts the application
C. The name of the first page of the voice application
D. The path to the .XML file
Answer: D
Question: 117
Which process of EMPS communicates with the dispenser?
A. SPS A-Self-Service Provisioning Server
B. SPM A-Self-Service Provisioning Manager
C. SCI -
Solution Control Interface
D. SCA - Self-Service Configuration Agent
Answer: A
Question: 118
When the parameter localconfig is set equal to 1 (localconfig = 1) in GVP.ini, the WatchDog
service will_______.
A. Not read the local GVP.ini file, using the latest configuration contained in the LDAP
database for the VCS/IPCS parameter settings
B. Read the local GVP.ini file for the VCS/IPCS parameters, not using use the latest
configuration contained in the LDAP database.
C. Read the local watchdog.ini file for the VCS/IPCS parameters, not using use the latest
configuration contained in the LDAP database.
D. Read the local EMPS.ini file for the VCS/IPCS parameters, not using use the latest
configuration contained in the LDAP database.
Answer: B
Question: 119
Outbound Calling is a feature typically associated with________configuration.
A. An In-Front of the Switch
B. A Behind the Switch
C. A VoIP application
Answer: A
Question: 120
Is ISCC function used by IVR-TServer in network mode ? Choose the best statement.
A. Yes because the IVR is like a second site
B. No because the IVR is integrated in the real site
C. No because ISCC function doesn?t exist in IVR-TServer
Answer: A
Question: 121
When deploying multiple instances of IPCS, which IP address would need to be specified in
the configuration in order for the two or more IPCS to properly register their resources and
receive calls?
A. Local IP address
B. SQL Server
C. Primary Call Manager
D. Media Gateway IP address
Answer: C
Question: 122
When using the Sun One Directory Server as the LDAP database to store the configuration for
GVP, the user name that is required is__________.
A. cn=Manager
B. GVPOwner
C. cn=Directory Manager
D. admin
Answer: C
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Test System Engineering for Medical Devices: A Guide

Originally Published MDDI January 2002


Test System Engineering for Medical Devices: A Guide

Developing test systems for R&D through production requires a combination of preparedness and ongoing evaluation.

Tore Johnsen

A large number of medical device manufacturers use automated test and measurement systems during each stage of the product cycle, from R&D to production testing. These systems play an important role in improving the quality of products and helping speed them to market. Purchasing the test equipment is often less expensive than putting it into use; it can cost more to develop the software to run a system than to purchase the instrumentation. Many companies choose to outsource all or a portion of their test system development. Whether it's done internally or by an outside vendor, the critical factors for success remain the same: maintaining good communication between developer and client, following an efficient development process, selecting appropriate development tools, and recruiting people with the skills to do the job correctly.

This article provides a broad overview of test and measurement system development for the medical device industry. Included is a discussion of commonly used instrumentation and tools and an overview of the skills and practices necessary for successful test system development.


In the medical device manufacturing industry, test and measurement systems are used for a wide range of purposes. Some examples include those developed to:

  • Demonstrate proof-of-concept prototypes for new equipment used to cauterize heart tissue.
  • Research the shrinkage of new dental filling materials as they cure.
  • Verify that such implantable devices as pacemakers and neurostimulators function according to specifications.
  • Condition and test batteries for implantable devices.
  • Simulate the pressing of buttons, turning of knobs, collecting of patient data, and other functions while monitoring and recording a blood-treatment machine's operation.

In order to carry out these tasks, the required systems must be capable of performing such functions as automatically controlling switches and relays, setting and practicing temperatures, measuring or generating pulse widths and frequencies, setting and measuring voltages and currents, moving objects with motion control systems, using vision systems to detect misshaped or missing parts, and others. The medical device industry's need for test equipment and related sensors and technologies is as varied as the industry itself. No matter what the specific need, however, compliance with the quality system regulation is mandatory.


Some trends have emerged as the popularity of automating test systems has grown. For instance, integrating test systems with a corporate database is becoming more common. A number of test stations can be networked, and data can be stored in the corporate database. From that database, important statistical process data can be gathered and analyzed.

Additionally, manufacturers are growing more interested in using standard Web browsers to view data and in remotely controlling their test systems. Data are routinely passed between test applications and standard office applications such as Microsoft Excel and Word. Both the complexity and number of technologies being incorporated into the systems are growing, and, consequently, so are the demands on systems developers and project managers. Test system developers are using more-efficient software development and project management methodologies to meet these increased demands.

Standardizing specific test system development tools and instrumentation is another increasingly popular way to keep costs relatively low. Using the same development tools from R&D to production has obvious benefits: it reduces training costs, allows for technology reuse, and makes it easier to shift employees from one area to another, depending on demand. If executed with diligence, maintaining consistency also facilitates the creation of a library of reusable code. Standardizing makes compliance with quality systems requirements easier, too.


Figure 1. Test instrumentation is typically built around a PC or a chassis.
(click to enlarge)

A typical test system is created in one of two ways. It can be built around a PC using a plug-in data acquisition board (DAQ), serial port instruments, or general-purpose interface bus (GPIB). Alternatively, it may be built around a chassis with an embedded computer and various plug-in modules such as switches, multimeters, and oscilloscopes (see Figure 1).

The newest member of the latter family of instrumentation systems is the PXI chassis, which uses the standard PCI-bus to pass data between the plug-in modules and the embedded computer. This technology offers high data acquisition speeds at a relatively low cost. Originally invented by National Instruments (Austin, TX), it is now an open standard supported by a large number of instrument vendors. (For additonal information on this system, visit

Manufacturers should keep in mind the several variations that exist on these schemes. To select the optimal instrumentation for any given project, a company must consider both the cost and performance requirements of the project, and the need for compliance with internal and external standards.

An important system-selection criterion is the availability of standardized ready-made software modules (i.e., instrument drivers) that can communicate with the instruments. Because the major instrument vendors are currently involved in a significant instrument-driver standardization effort, it makes sense for companies to check the availability of compliant instrument drivers before purchasing an instrument. The Interchangeable Virtual Instruments Foundation ( works on defining software standards for instrument interchangeability. The foundation's goal is to facilitate swapping of instruments with similar capabilities without requiring software changes. Creating a custom instrument driver can take from days to weeks depending on the complexity of the instrument; if it's not done correctly, future maintenance and replacement of instruments might be more difficult than need be.


Development tools designed specifically for PC-based test system development have been in existence for more than a decade. Specialized graphical languages for drawing, rather than writing, programs are useful. One such product from a major instrumentation vendor is LabVIEW (National Instruments). Developing everything from scratch in C is probably not a good idea—unless there is plenty of time and money to spare.

As alternatives to specialized graphical languages, several add-on packages exist that can make a text-based programming language more productive for test system development. For example, one can buy add-ons for both Visual Basics and Microsoft Visual C++. If one's preference is C, for instance, but the benefits of a large library of ready-made code for instrumentation, analysis, and presentation are desired, LabWindows/CVI from National Instruments is a tool to consider.

Figure 2. Test-executive architecture.
(click to enlarge)

If what's needed is development of an advanced system to make automated logical decisions about what test to run next and to perform loops and iterations of tests—and store the results in a database—a test executive that can work with the test code is a wise option. Figure 2 shows an example of test-executive architecture. The test system developer writes the test modules and then uses the test executive's built-in functionality to sequence the tests, pass data in and out of databases, generate reports, and make sure all test code and related documentation is placed under revision control (i.e., configuration management).

Although this option still requires significant effort to develop the test modules and define the test sequences, using a standard test executive is, in many cases, far more cost-effective than making one from scratch. This is especially true for such large, ongoing projects as design verification testing and production testing, which require regular modifications of tests and test sequences.


A test system development project requires a multitude of skills to achieve success, including project management skills and good communication to keep the project on track and to ensure that all stakeholders' needs and expectations are addressed. Understanding and practicing good software development methodologies are also needed to ensure that the software that is built will actually meet the user's requirements. Test system development also requires that engineers have a thorough understanding of software design techniques to ensure that the software is both functional and maintainable, and an understanding of hardware and electronics to design the instrumentation and data acquisition portions of the system.

Before a test system can be put into production, it needs to be tested and validated. This means that the development team also needs the expertise to put together a test plan and to execute and document the results in a report. The engineers who built the system are not necessarily the best people to test it, so additional human resources are often needed for testing. Finally, because documents are created during the development process, documentation skills are also necessary.

When one considers that the typical project team for a midsize test system consists of two to four developers, one realizes there are more major skills required than there are team members; therefore, one of the challenges is to locate individuals with sufficiently broad skills and abilities to supply both technical and managerial leadership. To ease this burden, make the tasks less daunting, and increase the chances of project success, defining a development process is key. If the test system is used for regulated activities, such as production testing of medical devices, then the test system itself is subject to the quality system regulation and a defined development process is not only desirable, it's mandatory.


Outsourced projects are most successful when the developers and the clients collaborate. Keeping the client involved is the most efficient way of making sure that the system meets the client's needs. It also helps avert surprises—at either end—down the road. Collaboration requires honest and direct communication of issues, successes, and problems as they occur.

Miscommunication sometimes happens even with good collaboration. While it is important to keep the communication channels open so the developers and their clients can discuss issues without too much bureaucracy, it can be hard to keep track of who said what if too many parallel communication channels exist. And when engineers on both sides have ideas of features they would like to add to a particular system, controlling feature creep can become difficult.

Designating a single point of contact for discussing both a project's scope and its content is recommended, and making sure new solutions are reviewed before being accepted can also prevent problems. Instituting a change-control procedure is yet another important step to minimizing unnecessary changes.


The goal for any project is to add only as much process overhead as is absolutely necessary to satisfy the objectives. When a process must be added because regulations mandate it, the involved parties should keep in mind that the process isn't being instituted merely to satisfy FDA or other agencies; it's being done to build better and safer products. Structure and process improvements can have a significant positive impact on the quality of the finished test system.

The Software Engineering Institute has defined the following key process areas for level 2 ("Repeatable") of the capability maturity model: requirements management, project planning, project tracking and oversight, configuration management, quality assurance, and subcontractor management.1 The foundations for a project's success are good requirements development and good project planning; if the requirements aren't right, or if a company can't determine how to get the project done, then the project is essentially doomed. What follows is a description of the progression of a few types of test system development projects as well as a discussion of requirements development.

Figure 3. The traditional waterfall life-cycle model.
(click to enlarge)

Phases of Test System Development. Whether a formal documented development process is followed or not, there are a few major tasks (i.e., project phases) that must be addressed: requirements development, project planning, design, construction, testing, and release. Should this particular order of tasks always be followed? Probably not. During the 1980s the software industry saw a number of large projects go significantly over budget, become significantly delayed, or be cancelled because they were inherently flawed. One cause of these problems was companies' strict adherence to the waterfall life-cycle model (see Figure 3). In this type of life cycle, the project goes through each phase in sequence, and the phases are completed one at a time. The waterfall model presumes that the requirements development phase results in nearly perfect requirements, the design phase results in a nearly perfect design, and so forth.

Unfortunately, projects are normally less predictable and run less smoothly than the waterfall model assumes. For example, a company doesn't always know enough at the beginning of a project to write a complete software requirements document. The sequence of actions necessary for project success depends to a large extent on the nature of the project. Because every project is unique, those involved must analyze the project throughout its phases and adapt the process accordingly.

Keeping that in mind, software companies have done much to Improve software development methods since the 1980s. Today, one can find descriptions of a number of life-cycle models useful for different project characteristics. Choosing the appropriate life-cycle model depends on the nature of the project, how much is known at the start of the project, and whether the project will be developed and installed in stages or all at once. Of course, mixing and matching ideas from different life-cycle models can be an effective strategy as well. Even if a company has decided upon and made standard a particular life-cycle model, small modifications should be made to that model when a particular project necessitates it. The trick is to identify high-risk items and perform risk-reducing activities at the start of the project.

Test System Characteristics. The test systems used in the three device development stages—R&D, design verification, and production—each have their own characteristics.

R&D Systems. R&D test systems range in development time from a few days to many months. Scientists use the systems to explore new ideas; R&D test systems are also used to perform measurements and analyses not possible with off-the-shelf equipment and to build proof-of-concept medical equipment. Others are used by physicians for medical research. Vastly varied in both scope and technologies, most R&D test systems have one thing in common: the need for continuous modification and development. As the research progresses, the scientist learns more, generates more ideas, and might decide to incorporate a new functionality or new algorithms, or even try a different approach. Clearly the waterfall life-cycle model doesn't fit such developments. With R&D test systems, one doesn't know what the final product will look like at the start of the project. In fact, there might not be a final product at all, just a series of development cycles that terminate when that particular research project is over and the system is no longer needed.

Figure 4. The evolutionary-delivery life-cycle model.
(click to enlarge)

Assuming that a reasonable idea of the scope of the R&D project is known at the start, one possible life-cycle model to follow is the evolutionary-delivery model (see Figure 4). This model includes the following steps: defining the overall concept, performing a preliminary requirements analysis, designing the architecture and system core, and developing the system core. Then the project progresses through a series of iterations during which a preliminary version is developed and delivered, the client (i.e., the researcher) requests modifications, a new version is developed and delivered, et cetera, until revisions are no longer needed.

Of course, it's wise to try to pinpoint potential changes at the beginning of the test system development project so that the software architecture can be designed to handle the changes that might come later on.

Design Verification Test Systems. There often is a blurry line between R&D and design verification test (DVT) systems. In the final stage of DVT system usage, the output is verification and a report stating that the medical device performs according to its specifications. Before that stage is reached, however, it is not uncommon to encounter several DVT cycles, each delivering valuable performance data back to the device's designers, and each resulting in modifications either to the device's design or to its manufacturing process.

Figure 5. The staged-delivery life-cycle model.
(click to enlarge)

It may be desirable to use the DVT system to test parts of the device or portions of its functionality as soon as preliminary prototypes are available, but it may not always be possible to have the complete test system ready for such applications. In these cases, the staged-delivery life-cycle model (see Figure 5) may be the best choice. According to this model, test system development progresses through requirements analysis and architectural design, and then is followed by several stages. These subsequent stages include detailed design, construction, debugging, testing, and release. The test system can be delivered in stages, with critical tests made available early.

Production Test Systems. A production test system needs to be validated according to an established protocol.2 Such a test system is therefore developed and validated using a well-defined process, and the system can normally be well-defined in a requirements specification early on. There is still, however, a long list of possible risk factors that, if realized, can have a serious negative impact on the project if a strict waterfall development life cycle is followed. Research has shown that it costs much more to correct a faulty or missing requirement after the system is complete than it does to correct a problem during the requirements development stage.

A risk-reduced waterfall life cycle might be an appropriate model to follow when developing a production test system. In this life-cycle model, main system development is preceded by an analysis of risks and a performance of risk-reducing activities, such as prototyping user interfaces, verifying that unfamiliar test instruments perform correctly, prototyping a tricky software architecture, and so forth. Iterations are then performed on these activities until risk is reduced to an acceptable level. Thereafter, the standard waterfall life cycle is followed for the rest of the project—unless it is discovered that some new risks need attention.

Requirements Development. As the aforementioned life-cycle models show, requirements development directly influences all subsequent activities. It's important to remember that the requirements document also directly influences the testing effort. Writing and executing a good test plan are only possible when a requirements document exists that clearly explains what the system is supposed to do.

Developing a software or system requirements document is important, but there is no one perfect way to do it. Depending on the nature of the project, the life-cycle model selected, and how well the project is defined at its early stages, the requirements document might use a standardized template and be fairly complete, it might be a preliminary requirements document, or it might simply take the form of an e-mail sent to the client for review. No matter how it's done, putting the requirements in writing improves the probability that both parties have the same understanding of the project.

Test system developers also are well advised to create a user-interface prototype and prototypes of tangible outputs (e.g., printed reports, files, Web pages) from the system. These might take the form of simple sketches on paper or real software prototypes. The purpose of the user-interface prototype is to make sure the software maintains the correct functionality. Often, the first time clients see a user interface, they remember features they forgot to tell the developer were needed, and they realize that the system would be far more valuable if greater functionality were added. Creating a user-interface prototype is perhaps the most efficient method for discovering flawed or missing functional requirements. Both parties will want this discovery made during the requirements development phase, not upon demonstration of the final product.

To the greatest extent possible, developers should identify any items that are potential showstoppers, such as requirements that push technology limits or the limits of the team's abilities. Identifying such problems might require some preliminary hardware design to ensure the system actually can be built as specified. High-risk items should be prototyped and developers should try to identify ways to eliminate the need for requirements that push the limits. Waiting until the final testing stage to find out that some requirements cannot be met is not a good idea. Even waiting until after the requirements are signed off to find that some cannot be met is unpleasant—especially if all it would have taken to prevent the problem was a few hours' research.

For outsourced development projects it is essential that the test system developer get feedback from the client and iterate as needed until an agreement is reached and, in some cases, the requirements are signed off. While performing the activities described above, the developer also should review any solutions suggested or mandated by the client. For instance, if the client says it already has the hardware and only wants the test developer to provide the software, the first thing the developer should do is request a complete circuit diagram of that client's hardware solution and carefully explain why it's necessary to fully understand the client's hardware in order to build a good software system. Flaws in the test instrumentation design are very costly to fix after the test system is built, yet it costs comparably very little to review the design ahead of time. Of course, an in-house test system developer also should evaluate the hardware design carefully before starting the software design.

Project Review Timing. It's likely that outside developers who get this far have dealt solely with the client's project team. If the project is large, however, it is not uncommon for the client to bring more people into the picture and conduct a project review after the system is complete. Some of the newcomers will have insights and desires that would result in changes—sometimes expensive ones.

If possible, this type of situation should be avoided. The system developer should insist on a project review by all affected parties before the requirements stage is concluded. It is not enough to just send around the software requirements specifications; people are often too busy with other projects to really go through them as meticulously as they should. A better strategy is to bring everybody together and show them the user-interface prototypes, the report prototypes, and any other important components of the project. Representatives of the end-users should be present as well. Although they should have been consulted during the requirements development process, the end-users are still likely to contribute valuable insights during the review.

By now it should be evident that there is more to requirements gathering than just writing a requirements document and getting it signed off. If the system doesn't work to the client's satisfaction at delivery, then it doesn't matter who is to blame. The project will be remembered by both parties as a painful experience with no winners.


Every project needs a plan. The first step in project planning is to define the deliverables, then to create a work breakdown structure (WBS) hierarchy of all the project's required tasks. The WBS is then used to develop a timeline, assign resources, and develop a task list with milestones. A good project plan will also clearly define roles, responsibilities, communication channels, and progress-report mechanisms. It certainly helps to have some background or training in project management in order to plan and control the execution of the project. Some basic project management training is recommended for anyone in charge of a test system development effort. Seminars and classes in project management based on the Project Management Institute's standards are offered worldwide.


Successful test system development requires attention to both process and technology. Both clients and developers need to understand and appreciate good software engineering practices. Collaboration and communication are critical for success. Clearly defining roles and responsibilities, using efficient development processes and tools, and handling project risks early on permits problems to be handled at a stage when their effect on cost and schedule will be minimal.


1. Capability Maturity Model for Software, Version 1.1, Technical Report CMU/SEI-93-TR-024-ESC-TR-93-177 (Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburg, PA: The Software Engineering Institute/February 1993).

2. Medical Device Quality Systems Manual: A Small Entity Compliance Guide, (Rockville, MD: FDA, 1997).


A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge. Newton Square, PA: Project Management Institute Standards Committee, 2000.

McConnell, Steve. Rapid Development. Redmond, WA: Microsoft Press, 1996.

McConnell, Steve. Software Project Survival Guide. Redmond, WA: Microsoft Press, 1998.

Wiegers, Karl E. Software Requirements. Redmond, WA: Microsoft Press, 1999.

Tore Johnsen is technical director and en-gineering manager at Computer Solutions Integrators & Products in Woodbury, MN.

Figures 3 and 4 adapted from Rapid Development, with permission of the author, Steven C. McConnell.
Figure 5 adapted from Rapid Development, with permission of the author.

Copyright ©2002 Medical Device & Diagnostic Industry

Tue, 23 May 2023 12:00:00 -0500 en text/html
Chasing Test Escapes In IC Manufacturing

The number of bad chips that slip through testing and end up in the field can be significantly reduced before those devices ever leave the fab, but the cost of developing the necessary tests and analyzing the data has sharply limited adoption.

Determining an acceptable test escape metric for an IC is essential to improving the yield-to-quality ratio in chip manufacturing, but what exactly is considered acceptable can vary greatly by market segment — and even within the same market depending upon a specific use case or time frame. The goal has been to reduce the number of failures in the field as chips have become more complex and as they become an essential part for safety-critical and mission-critical applications, but the emphasis on quality has been creeping into other markets, as well.

In the 1990s, quality engineers set the limit for desktop and laptops at 500 defects per million (DPM). With volumes of 1 million units per week, a computer system company can easily detect escapes. Today, automotive OEMs are demanding 10 ppm for much more complicated devices, even though car makers may find it challenging to measure escapes at this DPM level. Finding those escapes involves a deeper look into data, which in turn requires investments in data management, data analysis tools, and the engineering effort needed to make this all work.

With every test-time reduction decision, test content deliberation, and responses to test escapes, engineering teams determining test content process must grapple with the constructive tension found in the yield/quality/cost triangle, which is required to determine the test content process. And fundamental to all of this is having enough good data.

“We have an interesting problem within the semiconductor industry in that generally production yields are extremely high, which means there just isn’t that much fail data,” said Keith Schaub, vice president of technology and strategy at Advantest America. “So how do you develop a model to detect failures when it almost never fails? That’s a difficult problem. You must come up with some creative data-blind techniques, where you try to get the model to look for something different than the norm or out of the ordinary.”

The primary driver of these predictive models to detect test escapes has been feedback from customers. The reason is that “out of the ordinary” failed parts may be perfectly good in a customer system. If test escapes go down and the yield impact to failing good parts is minimal, then the new test metric is good enough.

How much data do you need?
In responding to customer returns, product, quality, and yield engineers revisit the yield/quality/cost triangle tradeoffs. Quality issues need to be addressed, and if this means that some good parts get thrown out, the quality engineer generally deems this needs to be an acceptable loss to make the customer happy.

This may sound odd, yet it makes sense to quality and yield engineers. To begin with, yield is assessed in terms of percentage, while quality is measured in ppm.

Moreover, to effectively chase test escapes, engineers need enough production volume to have the feedback from the end customer’s system. The more escapes, the less production volume engineers need to determine whether an issue exists. From there, assessing whether a new test adequately screens for test escapes requires just enough volume. Those numbers do not have to be the same.

No test is perfect. All of them are likely to fail a few good dies or units. Those false negatives commonly are referred to as overkill. If the fallout from a new test is in the range of 100 ppm, a yield engineer won’t blink an eye. A 1,000 ppm could be the battle line upon which a yield engineer and quality engineer have arguments. Yet in response to a customer failure, the quality engineer normally will win. If the yield loss is too excessive, then the product engineer needs to investigate other possible tests to distinguish bad from good parts.

Ratio of bad to good parts failed
How many good parts get thrown out when you apply a test? You can only measure this if you bother to look.

A system test, or an engineering characterization level of a parameter, remains the final arbitrator of labeling a true failure. Consider two different real-world scenarios involving false negatives. The first revolves around a measurement of I/O timings. In comparing an ATE determination of pass/fail parts for timing measurements with the characterization of a bad part, it was found that a ratio of 1 true fail to 2 true good existed. The second involved implementing an outlier detection technique to detect escapes. The escapes measured on order of 100 ppm. The outlier detection technique caught the escapes and failed approximately two times good as measured by a system-level test. By coincidence, both examples found a 1 fail to 2 good part ratio. For the second example, to detect 100 ppm customer fails results in an approximate 300 ppm total fails, with 200 ppm as yield loss.

So how much data do you need to determine a test limit or predictive model that distinguishes between good and bad parts?

“The short and simple answer is, ‘How accurate do you want to be?’” said Jeff Roehr, IEEE senior member and 40-year veteran of test. “You can start implementing lot-based adaptive test limits after about 30 parts, if you can accept 10% error. The accuracy improves significantly (about 1% error) when the demo reaches 300 parts.”

These numbers assume a Gaussian distribution for the parameter of interest. Such errors would change if the distribution is bimodal, for example.

If engineers have previous product history to base their test methods on — i.e., always do static part average testing on this product — they can be comfortable with 30,000 units, which has an approximate error of 0.01%.

It’s not always necessary to have a large data set to verify the effectiveness of a new test screen. Engineers can have confidence even with smaller data sets if they have feedback from a customer system. What is required, though, are unique IDs.

Ken Butler, strategic business creation manager at Advantest America, highlighted the differences between large SoCs and analog products. “With large SoCs, there is almost always an electrical chip ID (ECID) available, so you can track it all the way through manufacturing. For analog devices, ECIDs are less common because the die sizes are extremely small, and you just can’t afford the die area to do it,” said Butler. “So for outlier analyses, you often have to run open loop, meaning that you don’t have specific failing chips you can use as targets to develop your outlier screens. In such situations, you will want to use as many wafers as possible to determine your screening parameters. But not every IC product line has a large amount of material available, so you use whatever you have. The concern is that if you create a screen based on multiple wafer lots, the likelihood that you’re going to see enough process variation in the demo is low. Then you’re likely to miss some defect mechanisms that you might otherwise catch with more data.”

The challenge, then, is that failures happen at such a low incidence that you need enough volume to discern they exist. Once you know they exist, you can study them and figure out what makes them different from good units. In the case of test escapes that impact the customer, the failures may seem random, which makes it seem impossible to determine a test screen.

Determining a test to detect escapes
For 100 ppm, a customer needs only a volume at min of 30,000 units, although 300,000 units provides engineers more confidence in the magnitude of the problem. This provides enough information to go into the detailed data analysis needed to determine “one of these things is not like the other.”

The number of publicly documented cases for how to manage test escapes is extremely limited. This is understandable, because such stories expose both the IC vendor and the end customer. But the value cannot be overstated. These cases provide the evidence that outlier detection testing works, even when engineers cannot find the physical evidence.

“In 2005 we were having a field return problem with a product that represented an escape of 100 ppm. Our analysis indicated that these field returns just simply didn’t work in the customer system, yet it passed all of our tests applied on ATEs,” said Roehr. “System-level test (SLT) was not part of our production flow and we couldn’t afford to add SLT. We did isolate the nature of the field return to know that an extensive engineering characterization could distinguish the field returns from parts that passed both SLT and ATE-based tests. We couldn’t afford the test time to run that engineering characterization type test on our ATE.”

So now the question is whether some other test parameter can be used to distinguish the field returns from good parts that passed system-level test?

“We started digging into the data,” Roehr said. “This is one of the first cases where we found that when you look at the parts on a wafer — lot-by-wafer-lot basis, or wafer-by-wafer basis — we can start to see something. If you looked at the part across the spec range, you don’t see a problem. But when you looked at the individual parts within a lot, there were a few parts in a lot that don’t look quite like their sisters even though these parts were well within spec.”

He noted that failure analysis on selected parts never determined a definitive defect mechanism, and he surmised that the change in behavior was due to a timing-related failure — a signal path with a bit more delay. In addition, a small demo of parts that failed the new test was run through the system test. Not all parts failed the system test, but enough of them failed to provide confidence there now existed a sufficient screen to detect all the field returns.

ROI for data collection and analytic platforms
Looking at all test data for a differentiator can provide engineers with a magnet to find needles in a haystack, which are the test escapes. Yet without adequate investment this may not be possible. With test escape stories similar to Roehr’s, other product engineers said it may take 9 to 12 months before they learn of a test escape issue. Then they need to delve into the test data archives. To do so with ease requires an investment in data collection, storage and analytics. In addition, due to data alignment issues and business barriers to data sharing, this is an easier task for product engineers at IDMs than at fabless companies.

“Segmented supply chains and the lack of data sharing are still general data management gaps to be overcome in the classic data flow: Customer design to foundry to OSAT to customer. To help address this today, we are seeing more “turnkey” manufacturing options for fabless customers,” said Mike McIntyre, director of software product management at Onto Innovation. “These build options help with data consolidation, but unfortunately these options are limited both in breadth of supported technologies, application, and number of participants.”

Semiconductor data analytic companies sell their yield management platforms to fabless companies, foundries, IDMs, and OSATs, because these customers want to understand their respective role in the IC performance and quality. Rarely can anyone upfront predict the new outlier detection techniques that will be needed for a product.

The question engineering managers ask their teammates wanting to invest in outlier detection upfront is, “What’s the return on investment?” It’s a challenge to know this up front with no prior engineering experience showing the value. The cost side of the yield/quality/cost test triangle comes up. Managers want to know what money will they save if their team spends the engineering effort to find outliers up front? Another question engineers will ask is how they will know these outliers are true failures, when it’s nine to twelve months for feedback from system application.

Industry sectors with products that have safety concerns may warrant an upfront identification of potential outlier tests. For these products, the risk mitigation has a return on investment. For large SoCs going into computing systems and ASIC devices with lower part volumes, it is harder to justify because the ROI is not as clear.

“We can Improve DPM by getting rid of outliers. Well, how much does it really Improve quality?” stated Phil Nigh, R&D test engineer at Broadcom. “So, let’s look at testing a typical digital SoC/ASIC. How much additional DPM so you detect by avoiding outliers? My experience has been maybe as much as 10%. And 10% is not a lot. I would state a lot of customers would not be able to measure that 10% DPM change—for relatively low-volume products.”

Test escapes from customer returns will continue to occur, and product, yield and quality engineers will need to respond. With today’s yield and test data analytic platforms assessing test data for possible outliers that may impact a customer system is now possible. Identifying them ahead of time seems pointless to most product engineers because they already are applying all known tests.

Test data analytic platforms can identify test parameter combinations that show distinct population differences. However, most engineers remain skeptical without proof that it fails in a customer system, and ultimately DPM only can be measured at the end customer system. Not all outliers will be indicative of a part that will fail a system.

Related stories
Adaptive Test Gains Ground
Demand for improved quality at a reasonable cost is driving big changes in test processes.

Part Average Tests For Auto ICs Not Good Enough
Advanced node chips and packages require additional inspection, analysis and time, all of which adds cost.

Too Much Fab And Test Data, Low Utilization
For now, growth of data collected has outstripped engineers’ ability to analyze it all.

Data Issues Mount In Chip Manufacturing
Master data practices enable product engineers and factory IT engineers to deal with variety of data types and quality.

Wed, 10 May 2023 12:00:00 -0500 en-US text/html
How We Test Home Security Systems and Services

Home security is one thing you want to be sure works before you buy it. After all, if an emergency ever does happen, you want to be confident your home security system will be up to the task of catching would-be burglars, scaring them off and promptly notifying you and the authorities.

Buying into one of these systems can cost a lot -- both up front and after factoring in monthly fees -- and paying that price requires a lot of trust. To assist your buying experience and certain you're getting the right product for your needs, CNET experts have tested every major DIY home security system, and professionally installed and monitored home security service in a home setting to offer our recommendations on the best ones to buy.

Here's how we use hands-on testing in real-world scenarios to determine which home security system is the best of the best for you.

Step 1: Checking the security basics

Most home security systems, DIY or professional, essentially do what they're supposed to do. If you trip an armed entry sensor, an alarm will go off and you'll get notified via phone. Ditto motion sensors, glass break sensors, leak detectors and all the other simple devices that comprise any given home security setup.

Testing the reliability of the security product

The first part of home security testing is simply confirming that each of these devices responds properly to its stimulus -- and the vast majority of the time, they all do. (It's a big red flag if they don't, considering reliability is a core selling point of any safety-related technology.) We usually do this initial set of tests when we set up the system for the first time.

Testing promised features

The second phase of testing introduces a little more complication. We check to make sure all the more complex devices (such as security cameras, video doorbells, keypads and base stations) work properly. This means laying out the list of included features (such as smart alerts and motion detection zones), then testing each of them one by one.

Cameras are a little harder to evaluate than simple entry sensors or leak detectors.

Chris Monroe/CNET

Again, we do these tests as we set up each device, and the outcomes are usually a little less clear-cut than with the simple device tests: A leak sensor either detects or fails to detect water, after all. A video doorbell may sense motion reliably and identify deliveries semi-effectively, but be less consistent in labeling animals (assuming that's a feature).

Next, we make note of all the features included on these more complex devices, as well as how they perform in an initial battery of tests. Then we'll move on to the next phase.

Step 2: Real-world testing

CNET experts always test home security systems in a home setting, installing and using them for at least a full week. This ensures that we don't just get "lab results" that are abstracted from the real-world use case of a security system. In short, we want to see them in action, getting practical use, over the course of a week.

As we do this, the testing becomes less formal and more experiential. Do the beeps from the hub every time a door opens get annoying? If so, how simple are they to deactivate? Is the base station easy to use, or do you default to the app in most cases? Do you experience false alarms or connectivity issues? If an alarm gets set off, how quick are the notifications -- and what kind of alerts occur with professional monitoring? Can you check back through the camera feed to figure out which neighborhood critter got into your garden? If you pull up the livestream of the back door camera, can you clearly hear what's happening in the yard or does the wind interfere with the sound quality?

We test every home security system in real homes to make sure they're genuinely useful.

Josh Goldman/CNET

There are innumerable questions here, and we at CNET try to put ourselves in the shoes of as many potential users as possible. How do kids or pets change the equation? How would the system work in an apartment? Which types of chimes are the video doorbells compatible with -- and can they be used wirelessly?

This section of the review is often the biggest for two reasons. First, it's the most representative of how you'll actually experience the home security system. Unexpected elements that you'd only discover if you lived with the system for a few days often emerge. It's during this phase that we've found some cameras don't have adequate dampening of environmental noise, and their sound is essentially useless on a windy back porch. Or we've found that a video doorbell with plenty of great features takes a few seconds too long to pull up its feed via app, making it impractical for intervening during a package theft.

The second reason why the section is often large is that there are so many elements to home security systems. Unlike stand-alone devices, these systems depend on integration -- their ability to work as a team. You can only get a feel for how well that coordination actually works if you test them over time in the environment they're meant to be used in.

Step 3: Measuring the value

At the same time that we test all the individual devices and make note of their extra features, we also record their prices. This gets a little tricky, because home security systems are notorious for offering huge discounts all the time. That means the MSRP might not reflect what you'll pay for the hardware, but it provides a useful starting point.

Then, while performing real-world tests in the background, we spend a day or two thoroughly comparing each device to the equivalent one in each other system on the market. How do the prices match up? What about the extras? Ultimately, we are trying to figure out how the value compares.

For simple devices, this process is often straightforward. A system that charges half the price for entry sensors -- as long as they perform well -- offers better value than its competitors. For complex devices, this can quickly become its own miniature review. Stand-alone security cameras and video doorbells can range from $20 to $300, and their features vary as widely. The same goes for cameras that integrate with home security systems.

Some home security devices, such as video doorbells, have become much more affordable in latest years. Both Amazon Blink and Wyze offer wireless video doorbells for under $100.

Chris Monroe/CNET

It's not just the hardware prices that factor into the overall value assessment, though. Most home security systems require -- or at least work best -- with monthly service fees. These fees often scale to include everything from rolling cloud video storage to full-fledged 24/7 professional monitoring.

Many of these services rely on the same underlying approach, but slight differences in price and feature offerings can make a big difference over time. Generally, CNET looks for systems that offer a lot of possible configurations. Your home security needs are particular, so your home security coverage should be customizable for your household.

We also look at the industry norms. App support and self-monitoring are almost always free; cloud storage is almost always available for a small monthly fee; professional monitoring is almost always available for $25, give or take. If a system significantly departs from such norms, we certainly make note of it. Sometimes, such as when Wyze Home Monitoring originally launched $5 per month professional monitoring, that departure might be a standout feature. Other times, like when companies like Cove charge monthly fees for any app access, it can be a big criticism.

A few more considerations

While CNET prioritizes value and performance when it comes to home security systems, a few other aspects of a service are worth considering.

Reviewing the home security installation process

Professionally installed systems come with, as you may have guessed, installation. While we often write about the installation process, this typically doesn't impact the overall evaluation much since installation can vary, depending on the region and particular installer.

Reviewing the home security provider's customer service

Likewise, we always use the provider's customer service channels rather than troubleshooting with media representatives. That way our testers get a basic sense of the customer service. We will often make note of significant differences in these offerings but again, because of such a low demo size, we avoid generalizing our experiences when it comes to scoring or the final evaluation.

Some publications look to consumer surveys or online reviews to weigh customer service. While CNET tests it and we will often touch on it in reviews, we avoid relying on third-party reports of customer service for our reviews. Ideally, a system shouldn't need customer support except in unusual circumstances, anyway. If it does, that likely indicates another problem altogether.

Putting together the score and recommendation

Different people need different home security systems. That's why we at CNET don't simply make one recommendation and call it a day. Instead, we aim to offer the best systems for everyone's needs -- whether you own or rent, whether you're looking to spend hundreds or thousands, whether you're hoping for a professionally installed and monitored system or something more DIY and self-monitored.

Regardless of what you're looking for, we always aim to find the best home security systems with reliable hardware, flexible services and unbeatable value.

A quick recap of CNET's testing policy

Here's everything we do when we review home security systems and services:

  • Review setup
  • Review reliability 
  • Review promised features
  • Review user experience over the course of a week
  • Review the overall value
  • Review installation and customer service

Each of these features come together to help us score any given product and list each product appropriately in a variety of lists, whether it's the best for everyone or for some customers in select circumstances.

To see CNET's testing in action, check out our recommendations for the best home security systems, the best home security systems for renters, the best security cameras and the best video doorbells on the market. You can also watch us administer some of these tests in our video reviews.

More home security best picks:

Fri, 08 Jul 2022 12:11:00 -0500 en text/html
How To Detox From THC: Methods To Detox Quickly

Marijuana use has steadily risen with the changes in its legal status. If you’ve recently smoked or ingested any weed products, there’s a good chance a urine drug test will pick up traces of the psychoactive cannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). However, many employers still require a drug test before hiring a candidate. 

Traces of THC can be found in urine, blood, and even hair follicles. Detoxification is the only way to prepare your body for a quick and painless experience with any upcoming drug test. 

Drug testing will not be going away anytime soon, but not to worry, we are here to assist you in figuring out the best THC detox methods to get marijuana out of your system. 

A thriving industry is dedicated to helping you in the marijuana detox process to ensure a clean urine test or a hair follicle drug test

We’ve compiled a list of what we consider to be some of the very best THC detox methods to help you flush your system.

Top methods and products available for detoxing from THC

  1.  Pass Your Test 

Pass Your Test has made a name for itself in the detoxification industry. They offer everything you possibly need, from a drug test kit to a mega clean detox drink. If you are looking for help to pass a drug test, this site should be one of your very first stops. 

They do not provide medical advice; however, they can walk you through everything you need to do to make drug tests work for you and your timeline. 

Pass Your Test is perfect for heavy marijuana users and everyone else in between! Their products cater to all THC levels, and some of them can be effective in less than an hour. They have complete package kits and detox pills. Pass Your Test also offers first-time users 20% off their purchases from the site.

We’ve listed a few of our favorite options from their site for your perusal.

5 Day Extreme Detoxification Program – Best for Fast Turn Around

Pass Your Test offers the 5 Day Extreme Detoxification Program for those looking for a complete and total detox. While we caution users to consult a healthcare professional before engaging in a complete body plan, this is an excellent option.

The 5 Day Extreme Detoxification Program includes:

  • 4 Pre-Cleanse Formula Capsules (1 Day Supply)
  • 30 Morning Time Formula Capsules (5 Day Supply)
  • 30 Evening Time Formula Capsules (5 Day Supply)
  • 8 Post-Cleanse Formula Capsules (1 Day Supply)

In addition to the components listed above, users will also have access to:

  • Complete Cleansing Guide and Meal Plan (13 pages Digital PDF).
  • Phone and Chat Support for any questions while detoxing.
  • Optional Daily Email or Text Reminders to keep you on track.
  • 2 Home Testing Kits – 99% accuracy to verify you are clean after completion.
  • 100% Money-Back Guarantee.

This THC detox kit will ensure you don’t test positive, and the active supplemental components can help curb any marijuana cravings.

Fail Safe Kit – Best for Daily Users

If you don’t have time to wonder if detox drinks work, look no further than the Fail-Safe Kit. This detox method is designed with daily users in mind. The test kit is perfect for individuals with extreme levels of toxins and who want a fast way to detox on a deadline safely.  Products take effect in 60 minutes and last over 5 hours.

The Fail Safe Kit includes:

  • 4 Pre-Cleanse Formula Capsules
  • 2.5 oz Fast Acting Body Cleanser
  • 12 Clean Capsules
  • Fail Safe Detox Guide (8 pages Digital PDF).
  • Phone and Chat Support for any questions while detoxing.
  • 100% Money-Back Guarantee.
  1. Test Clear

Test Clear is well known for its comprehensive site and featured detox programs by Toxin Rid. These systems work hard to ensure a proper drug detox. This site is the place to go if you are a heavy marijuana user and are looking for products that focus on long-term toxin rid.

They offer several detox methods to help cleanse you after being exposed to any level of harmful toxins. The human body can house many dangerous substances, and THC trace amounts can lead you to test positive on a drug screening.

Test Clear focuses on medical detox to help certain users pass urine tests. Their products cater to all user levels.

 Depending on how much marijuana a user ingests, you can clear your system in as little as a single day with Test Clear! Their detoxification packages are exceptional since they are also effective on other drugs such as methamphetamine, opiate, cocaine, oxycodone, ecstasy, nicotine, benzodiazepine, etc. 

The added detox makes the health benefits of these detoxification programs so much more valuable.

What to Expect with Toxin Rid Kits:

According to the site, the Toxin Rid Detox is a three-part system. It can safely detoxify your body even if you’ve been exposed to extreme levels of toxins. The package includes pre-rid tablets to establish a base to help prime the system for release, dietary fiber to support that end further, and a liquid detox component. All systems are protected under a 100% money-back certain allowing you to detox with confidence. 

It’s recommended that before engaging in one of these systems, you purchase and take a drug test to determine your condition before the detox program. Then, for the duration of the kit, you select follow the program as instructed for best results. 

Test Clear provides detailed instructions on how the Toxin Rid packages work. The site recommends taking a second drug test after the use of Toxin Rid to ensure you have a clean urine demo at the time of your testing. Do not take any additional drugs for at least 10 days leading up to and beyond the test for best results.

  1. Pass A Drug Test: Best value site

Pass A Drug Test is the last but not the least on our list. This site makes our list for several reasons, not least of which is the value found therein. They have many helpful products for quick and easy results.  When looking for help to pass a drug test, this site has all the answers you could want. They have plenty of marijuana detox-specific products to choose from to aid in the detoxification process.

Nexxus Aloe Rid + Zydot Ultra Klean

Pass A Drug Test is your one-stop shop for drug tests ranging from urine tests to saliva tests to more than a few other creative alternative options. Some of our favorite options include the aloe rid detox clarifying shampoo to help with hair follicle tests. 

This testing method can be particularly tricky. The shampoo is just the ticket to getting any and all residual oils and toxins left on the scalp after exposure to marijuana. Use as your everyday shampoo, in addition, to clean the oils from your scalp, where toxins are found; use the product in the days leading up to your test. Deep cleaning formula delicately removes residual buildup, environmental pollutants, chemicals, chlorine, hard water minerals, and hair dulling impurities.

Supreme Klean Saliva Mouthwash: Detox Mouthwash

Pass A Drug Test features a detox mouthwash which is a lifesaver to those in a tight situation where they might have been exposed to toxins within hours of an upcoming drug test. The mouthwash claims to effectively cleanse toxins from your mouth after a simple swish and spit.

If you are subject to a traditional oral saliva drug testing with a swab, this product will speed up your acting. You will need to place it in your mouth and swish for 2-3 minutes. A solution forms that coats your mouth. The saliva will be clean of toxins for 30-40 minutes. This detox also offers extended effectiveness for up to 30 minutes. Works every time! 

Supreme Klean Saliva Mouthwash will save you in a pinch!! 200% 2-Times Money Back Guarantee.

Ultra Klean™ 1 Hour Liquid Formula

We also recommend the Ultra Klean™ 1 Hour Liquid Formula, the fastest option to clear out all toxins from the body. This product claims to detoxify the users’ system in under five hours, and this product, incredibly, has a 500% money-back guarantee.

Pass A Drug Test is also one of the more discreet shipping options available to help ensure your privacy is protected. The site also has several promotions, including a buy two get the third item free route, making this site one of our absolute favorites.

How Long Does THC Stay In Your Body?

First, it is crucial to understand the risk of exposure and lingering toxins following marijuana consumption. While there is no specific or exact timeframe for how long these toxins will stay, several individual factors determine how long THC remains in your body.

These factors include:

  • Body mass
  • Metabolic rate
  • Consumption
  • The concentration of THC consumed
  • Specific chemical balance

Other common factors to consider include age, gender, and frequency of use, which also profoundly affect the duration for which THC may remain in your system.

THC is highly lipid-soluble, which means that it tends to get deposited in the fat cells within your body. It is relatively easier for a person with lower body fat to flush out the toxins on their own. 

Frequent consumption coupled with higher body fat can prolong THC retention; thus, a THC detox is highly recommended.

What is a THC Detox?

Before taking any THC Detox, it’s highly recommendable to understand what it does. Essentially, a detox system is designed to help pass traces of marijuana, usually using a combination of natural ingredients.

There are several detox options, including teas, detox drinks, pills, shampoos, and complete detox kits. Detox teas and other detox liquids are a convenient option for those with an upcoming urine test. 

Detox pills, on the other hand, take a more comprehensive approach and are usually part of a more extensive detox program to help target trace amounts throughout your body. Detox shampoos are designed to help clean your hair in preparation for a hair follicle drug test, also referred to as a hair drug test.

These detoxes act as a catalyst for the primary cleansing process between ingesting weed and other tests. The work in tandem with the body’s natural release systems, also known as the detoxification process, helps hurry THC metabolites from your system to help you pass any marijuana-specific drug tests.

We’ve compiled a list of what we consider to be some of the most reliable sites and a few choice products to help you with many of the types of drug tests you’re likely to encounter in your job search.

Tips and strategies for reducing the amount of THC in the body and passing drug tests

One of the best tips for reducing the amount of THC in the body is to increase your water intake. THC is fat-soluble, which means that it is stored in fat cells and released into the bloodstream over time. By drinking plenty of water, you can help flush THC and its metabolites out of your system. Additionally, exercising can help burn fat and release THC into the bloodstream, so incorporating regular exercise into your routine can also be beneficial.

There are also a number of products available that claim to detox THC from the body. These products can be found in health food stores and online, and they typically come in the form of pills, drinks, or kits. While some of these products may be effective, it is important to be cautious when using them and to carefully read the instructions and warnings on the label. It is also a good idea to consult with a healthcare provider before using any of these products, as they may have potential risks or side effects.

What THC is and how it is metabolized by the body

THC is the psychoactive compound in marijuana that is responsible for the drug’s effects on the body and mind. When THC enters the bloodstream, it binds to cannabinoid receptors in the brain, causing a range of physical and psychological effects. These effects can include increased heart rate, dry mouth, bloodshot eyes, and changes in mood, perception, and cognition.

The potential effects of THC on the body and mind can vary depending on a number of factors, such as the amount of THC consumed, the method of consumption, the person’s tolerance, and the person’s overall health. In some cases, THC can cause feelings of relaxation and euphoria, as well as increased appetite and sensory perception. However, in high doses or in certain individuals, THC can also cause anxiety, paranoia, and psychosis.

The long-term effects of THC on the body and mind are not fully understood, but research suggests that heavy, long-term marijuana use can lead to addiction and other negative consequences. These can include memory and attention problems, decreased motivation and productivity, and increased risk of mental health disorders. Additionally, marijuana smoke contains many of the same toxic chemicals as tobacco smoke, so long-term marijuana use can also damage the lungs and increase the risk of respiratory problems.

What are the potential risks and drawbacks of detoxing from THC?

One of the potential risks of detoxing from THC is that it can cause withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms can range from mild to severe, and can include irritability, anxiety, insomnia, and loss of appetite. In some cases, these symptoms can be severe enough to interfere with daily activities and cause significant distress. It is important to be aware of these potential risks and to seek medical advice if necessary.

Another potential drawback of detoxing from THC is that it can be difficult to do successfully. THC is stored in fat cells and is released into the bloodstream over time, so it can take several weeks or even months to detox from it completely. Additionally, there are a number of factors that can affect the rate at which THC is metabolized and eliminated from the body, such as age, weight, and metabolism. This can make it challenging to predict how long it will take to detox from THC and to know if you will be able to pass a drug test.

The Takeaway

There are many sites out there that can help you through most drug tests without having to resort to at-home remedies like cranberry juice, apple cider vinegar, or lemon juice. The best sites will give you options to ensure you pass. While many of these sites will do the job, we only trust the three mentioned here as they are guaranteed and tried and true. Visit these sites for a quick and easy way to remove THC traces from your body.

Thu, 11 May 2023 05:56:00 -0500 en-US text/html
Aehr Test Systems

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Thu, 01 Jun 2023 12:00:00 -0500 en text/html
Emergency Alert System test wakes up people across the state Emergency Alert states, "TEST – This is a TEST of the Emergency Alert System. No action is required.” © Provided by Gainesville WCJB-TV Emergency Alert states, "TEST – This is a TEST of the Emergency Alert System. No action is required.”

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - Rise and shine! Many Floridians were woken up early on Thursday morning to the sound of an alert from their phones.

The Emergency Alert System issued a test alert to phones at 4:45 a.m. The alert stated, “TEST – This is a TEST of the Emergency Alert System. No action is required.”

The Florida Division of Emergency Management has issued an apology for the early morning alert. Officials say the test was supposed to be aired on television stations. Instead, it went to phones.

The agency is taking action to make sure the alerts are not sent out by mistake again.

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Thu, 20 Apr 2023 02:37:00 -0500 en-US text/html
IRS will launch test run of free online tax-filing system

The IRS announced Tuesday it will launch a test run of a direct, free online tax-filing system for the 2024 tax season, citing high levels of taxpayer interest in such a system and relatively low cost. 

In a highly anticipated Tuesday report, the IRS announced it forged ahead and built a prototype of a system that it will deploy in a pilot program.

The program will involve a select number of taxpayers and have a limited scope and functionality to allow the Treasury Department to gauge how taxpayers would interact with it, IRS and Treasury officials said Tuesday.

“Dozens of other countries have provided free tax-filing options to their citizens, and American taxpayers who want to file their taxes for free online should have an acceptable option,” said Laurel Blatchford, who heads the Treasury Department’s office for implementing the Inflation Reduction Act.

The Inflation Reduction Act boosted IRS funding by $80 billion and ordered the agency to issue a report on the feasibility of a direct tax-filing system.

Such a program could allow taxpayers to prepare and file their taxes without the use of popular tax preparation companies, which have spent millions of dollars to defeat previous proposals.

Why the IRS may shake up tax filing

The report found significant interest among taxpayers for a free tax-filing service from the IRS, which IRS officials now refer to as “Direct File.”

“Seventy percent of the public is interested in a free option deployed by the IRS, so we think there will be excitement there,” Blatchford said. “When the Treasury Department was evaluating whether to go forward with this pilot, it was very clear from the initial taxpayer data that there is real interest.” 

A survey conducted by the IRS as part of the report found 72 percent of taxpayers would be “very interested” or “somewhat interested” in using the direct file service.

The survey also found 68 percent of people who prepare their returns would be “very likely” or “somewhat likely” to switch to a free online tool from the IRS.

Big impact, small expected price tag

The report put the cost of the direct file system at just a fraction of the $80 billion budget boost the IRS received as part of the Inflation Reduction Act, most of which is going to additional enforcement capabilities. 

“Annual costs of Direct File may range from $64 million (assuming 5 million users and a narrow scope of covered tax situations) to $249 million (assuming 25 million users and a broad scope of covered tax situations),” the report found.

That money will come from the IRS’s technology and products budget, as well as its customer support budget. IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel said that systems modernization funds allotted in the Inflation Reduction Act could also be used to bolster the system.

How Direct File works

The fact the IRS already receives taxpayers’ personal information is one of the main reasons taxpayers would feel confident using the IRS system, the report finds.

Despite all the information on taxpayers the IRS already has on file, Werfel said Tuesday the direct file prototype likely would not use pre-populated forms to further automate taxpayer interaction with government software.

“Given that it will be limited in scope, we do not expect pre-population or predetermining tax obligations to be part of it,” Werfel said.

That likely means the format of the prototype software will be question-and-answer-based, similar to numerous pieces of commercial software, as the IRS’s latest strategic operating plan for its expanded budget indicates.

Who can use Direct File?

Tuesday’s report provides several scenarios the Direct File system could be asked to handle, ranging from basic wage income that’s taxed with the standard deduction up to more complex situations involving state returns, but Werfel said the exact cases of different taxpayers who could use the system will be further worked out in the pilot program.

While U.S. tax laws number in the millions of words and span tens of thousands of pages, nearly 90 percent of all filers use the standard deduction. Wages and salaries are taxed at 99 percent compliance while business income, rents, royalties and capital gains are misreported at significantly higher rates, suggesting the Direct File system might handle the vast majority of common tax situations.

This has led the Government Accountability Office, the National Taxpayer Advocate and many academics in the tax world to recommend a direct file option for taxpayers going back years. 

The IRS’s Free File program, which was an agreement between the IRS and a consortium of private tax prep companies, has provided free commercial software to lower-income people since the early 2000s.

But only a tiny fraction of eligible taxpayers have used it, leading to allegations of deceit and a $141 million settlement paid by TurboTax maker Intuit to taxpayers across nine states.

Lawmakers divided over IRS e-filing

“The IRS established the free e-filing program in 2003, but it did so in partnership with major tax preparation software companies that frequently mislead taxpayers into paying for their services,” Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) said in a letter to Werfel in a letter this week, encouraging the adoption of an e-filing program.

Werfel said earlier this month his agency has the legal authority to proceed with the conclusions of the report despite pushback from Republicans in the Senate Finance Committee.

“If the solution that we’re proposing is intended to help a taxpayer meet their obligation —[whether that’s] something on our website, something on an app platform, something in our phone center — I’m going to operate on the assumption that we have the authority to do it,” Werfel told reporters at the American Bar Association tax section meeting earlier this month.

“Now, if a question is raised about that authority, as I said to the Senate, I’m always open to other legal interpretations, and we need to come together and figure out whether our general assumption about our legal authority is incorrect.”

In April, Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), the top Republican on the Finance Committee, asked Werfel to acknowledge that Congress had the power to proceed with the conclusions of the direct e-file report.

“Can we agree that the decision is one that Congress can make, and not the IRS independently?” Crapo said. “I encourage you to recognize that Congress has the authority to make this determination.”

Republican and Democratic administrations have gotten behind the idea of having more direct ways to file taxes in the past.

“Since at least the 1980s, we’ve seen a lot of bipartisan interest in a free tax preparation and filing program, including a proposal in 1985 from President Ronald Reagan for a voluntary return-free system, where 50 percent of taxpayers wouldn’t even have to file a return,” said Kitty Richards, a former director of State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, during an event on Monday.

“In 2002, the Bush administration was interested in establishing ‘an easy, no-cost option’ for taxpayers to file their tax return online,” she said. “Unfortunately, by this point, the tax preparation industry had caught on to the danger that a free government tax preparation and filing process would pose to their profits.”

Tue, 16 May 2023 07:22:00 -0500 en-US text/html
UK emergency-alert system: What is it and when is the test? No result found, try new keyword!The government says the new system is a "vital tool to keep the public safe in life-threatening emergencies". The test alert will say: "This is a test of Emergency Alerts, a new UK government service ... Tue, 18 Apr 2023 21:09:00 -0500 text/html

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