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October 17 2014
AbbVie urges shareholders to reject Shire deal due to tax rule change
October 14 2014
How Apple Gets You To Buy New iPhones Over And Over Again
October 10 2014
6 must-reads from Palin family brawl, according to police report
October 06 2014
Hewlett-Packard to split into two companies
September 29 2014
How to Get More From Every Ad Dollar You Spend on Facebook
September 25 2014
Backyard pools losing appeal in some parts of Bay Area
September 23 2014
Indiegogo Will Allow Extended Campaigns
September 19 2014
Error in ninth gives Yankees walk-off 3-2 victory; Derek Jeter hits home run
September 17 2014
Investing in new technologies? Do it widely...
September 15 2014
French bank warns: Stay away from these 20 stocks ahead of Scotland vote
September 11 2014
Intel launches 15-core Xeon E7 v2 family for big data and mission-critical computing
September 09 2014
'iWatch' to headline Apple event, analysts predict
CUPERTINO -- While Tuesday's Apple event is cloaked in the company's customary blanket of secrecy, there have been enough leaks and rumors for analysts to make pretty good guesses about what will be announced.
The consensus is that CEO Tim Cook and crew will unveil the first new product of his tenure, a smartwatch already dubbed the "iWatch" by the media -- but what Apple will call it is still unclear. According to some reports, the watch will come in two sizes and will be shielded with a sapphire screen.Analysts predict that the device will be pitched as a tool for monitoring health and fitness. In addition, the watch reportedly will be equipped with near-field communication technology so users can make payments in retail stores without reaching for their wallets. Although analysts anticipate that the watch will be introduced Tuesday, most do not expect it to hit stores until 2015.
"The wearable will be the first product that comes to market that has Cook's personal imprint on it," said Tim Bajarin, president of Creative Strategies.What's still unclear, aside from the name, is how much the smartwatch will cost, although one report pegs it at $400.In keeping with tradition, Apple is also likely to debut a new iPhone or two.The company reportedly will release two new phones with screens of 4.7 and 5.5 inches, addressing growing demand in the market for larger devices. Lest the devices start feeling bulky, Apple will roll out software to help users type and navigate apps with one hand, according to some reports. The devices will also reportedly be equipped with NFC technology to facilitate mobile payments.
Although Apple has long resisted the move toward larger screens, the design plays to the company's strengths, said Ramon Llamas, a research manager at IDC.
"One of the things Apple does really well is content," which can be showcased better on a bigger screen, Llamas said.
But the size will come at a cost. Analysts expect the phones to be more expensive, with the 5.5 inch device cast as the higher-end model. It's still unclear whether Apple will continue to produce the iPhone 5S and 5C, both released last year, once new models are out, said Matt Margolis, an analyst at PTT Research.
Although Apple is ramping up production of sapphire at a Mesa, Arizona, facility, some question whether the company will have enough of the material on hand to make more durable screens for the iPhone. But Margolis thinks Apple will be able to pull it off.
"I think it'll be a big surprise when they do announce it," he said.
Apple is also expected to showcase two new cloud-based platforms, HealthKit and HomeKit. The programs, announced earlier this year, give developers tools to create new applications for monitoring health and building so-called "smart homes."
And of course, there's always the chance of "One more thing ..."
September 08 2014
How to fight fair in relationships
Early on in the Veltkamps' marriage, most discussions about money led Liana and Jeremy into a full-blown yelling match. The young San Ramon couple -- who each work two jobs to support their family -- would talk over each other, often having the same frustrating argument.
Worst of all, nothing ever got resolved.
That all changed when the Veltkamps learned how to fight fair using practical, speaker-listener exercises. They took turns and, when necessary, timeouts.
"We learned to put our pride aside and just listen to each other," Liana says.
Turns out, fighting can be great for relationships -- if you fight clean. A 2011 study in Psychological Science revealed that the happiest couples argue in tandem with their partner, using words like "we" to spark compromise. (Meanwhile, another study by researchers at the University of Utah found that 93 percent of couples who fight dirty will be divorced within 10 years.)
The key to fighting fair is learning how to diffuse anger and, more important, increase empathy, says Les Parrott, clinical psychologist and author with his wife, Leslie, a marriage and family therapist, of the new book, "The Good Fight: How Conflict Can Bring You Closer" (Worthy; 190 pages). According to Les Parrott, the majority of marital spats would be resolved if all the couple did was accurately see the issue from the other's perspective.
The Parrotts, founders of the Center for Relationship Development at Seattle Pacific University, are on a national tour to teach couples the principles of a fair fight, or what they call C.O.R.E.: Cooperation, Ownership, Respect and Empathy. Their "Fight Night" stops Sept. 12 at Cornerstone Fellowship in Livermore. Tickets are available at www.lesandleslie.com. The website also features more than 1,000 free videos that help answer relationship questions.
After more than 25 years researching relationships, Les Parrott says two of the biggest mistakes couples make in how they handle conflict is putting all of their energy into blaming and trying to get their points across. "Seek first," he urges. "Before you try to talk and prove your point, just listen."
That type of empathy was critical for Livermore's Donny and Tehani Hodge, who have been married for almost 13 years. Like many couples, the Hodges' hot-button issue was their relatives, and their fights "would get nasty, with name-calling," Tehani recalls, whenever she would turn to Donny for support following a disagreement she had with a family member.
Read more: How to fight fair in relationships
September 05 2014
Sexism, Lies, and Video Games: The Culture War Nobody Is Winning
September 03 2014
6 Reasons Samsung Should Fear the iPhone 6
September 01 2014
A Barbecue-Cleaning Franchise Gets Fired Up
August 28 2014
U.S. Stocks: Futures Fall Ahead Of GDP Data
August 20 2014
How to Stay Protected When Renting, Swapping Your Home
The sharing economy makes it easier for you to rent out or swap a home to raise or save some cash, but it can also lead to a host of nightmares if you don’t take the necessary precautions.
“The whole sharing economy is pretty new territory,” says Mazyar Hedayat, president of M. Hedayat & Associates. “If you do it smart and do it right, it’s going to increase the amount of revenue you make and keep your properties filled.”
But renting out your space isn’t as easy as posting an ad and connecting with an interested party.
Before you decide to rent or swap your home or apartment, experts suggest reviewing your insurance coverage. After all, you don't want to rent out your space to vacationers for a week to come back and find it trashed and that your home insurance doesn’t cover the damages.
According to Richard Hutchinson, general manager of Progressive Home Advantage, most homeowners polices exclude rentals because renters are considered a higher risk than a homeowner. To overcome this coverage lapse, Hutchison recommends taking out a separate Landlord’s Protector Policy. “These policies protect you from liabilities created by having renters, including business or loss-of-use protection which gives revenue to the owner if the home is temporarily out of commission,” he says.
Homeowners using a home sharing or rental service like FlipKey or HomeAway should read the terms and agreement section very carefully. According to Hedayat, the end user license agreement (EULA) will spell out the property owner’s requirements, including how to represent a property to would-be renters.
While these services provide access to people looking for properties, it largely falls on you to conduct due diligence in terms of who you rent to or swap with. Experts recommend having multiple phone conversations and a video conference with interested parties.
“It's amazing how much information you can glean about a person from a short phone conversation. By asking the right questions, you'll be able to learn a lot about your guest,” says Carl Shepherd, cofounder and chief strategy officer for HomeAway.
August 13 2014
5 Exercises for Bonding a Far-Flung Team
Personal relationships are vital in our professional lives. As employees, we are more productive in our jobs and happier as people when we truly connect with our colleagues. High-performance, “people-first” companies recognize this and invest in fostering these connections. Nonetheless, the increasingly mobile nature of work and the distribution of teams across geographies and time zones make this a challenge.
My company, LiquidSpace, is typical of many people-first organizations. In recruiting our team of 35 we have prioritized people over place. We now span five time zones. Team building is even more important, and more challenging, when your employees aren’t physically in the same office. Yet ours is the most productive team I’ve ever worked with. We are building a repeatable playbook of team building activities and everyday practices.
1. Host a pop-up HQ. We have an established tradition of holding a pop-up headquarters once every quarter. We choose a new city and literally plant the company flag for a week of side-by-side work and play. It’s the classic company offsite meeting but on steroids. Every employee participates and we are embedded in our product experience, booking workspace for the week from our own network.
The core of this idea is easy to replicate. Whether you hop across town or journey far afield, gathering your team in a fresh and inspiring environment can spur creativity and surface new ways of thinking about old challenges.
2. Gather around the family table. “An army marches on its stomach,” said Napoleon Bonaparte. During our pop-up HQ week, one of our simplest but most popular team activities is a home cooking night. We share in the work of cooking a meal together and cleaning up afterwards. “Doing the dishes” includes documenting the event and the ideas that surface, as well as cleaning the pots.
It’s an intimate experience to prepare a meal with your colleagues. A shared task like this requires teamwork and delivers more than just a delicious meal. The memory of collaboration and camaraderie is lasting.
3. Serve an adrenaline cocktail. It’s important to pay attention to ‘team energy’. Working as hard as we do, the fuel tanks can sometimes run empty, so pop-up week has become when we serve up an energizing team experience, injecting fun and sometimes a healthy dose of adrenaline.
Our most recent pop-up was held in Sun Valley, Idaho. Our adrenaline cocktail was a very spirited day of whitewater kayaking and rafting. The inevitable social chatter created about what we did as a team, and the thrill of accomplishment, does wonders for the individual soul and for work relationships. The residual team energy following an activity like this lasts much longer than the activity itself.
4. Hack the business. Everyone on our team wants to see the company succeed and share the benefits of building a great company. I often get growth ideas passed on to me from individual employees, and these are great, but I generally observe that most of the team is heads-down in their roles with little extra time to deeply reflect on and offer creative suggestions for growth. A few times per year, we clear our calendars for a full day, book a large conference room with plenty of whiteboards, and hold a growth hackathon. We establish a theme and challenge the team to come up with innovative ideas on how to grow the business. It’s a day where there are no bad ideas, no interruptions and no limit to what our employees can propose. These sessions are fun, have generated some of our company’s best new ideas, and demonstrate to our employees how valuable input is from every team member.
Read more: 5 Exercises for Bonding a Far-Flung Team
August 11 2014
4 (Mostly Simple) Ways to Keep Safe From Spammers' Snares
One billion -- that's the number of stolen usernames and passwords that a Russian cyber-crime gang has apparently accumulated. It's a huge number and a hacking milestone.
On a practical level, though, the figure reported in the New York Times likely won't translate into anything big. Here are two reasons why:
First, the hackers have primarily used the information to target people with spam e-mail and social-media messages on Twitter and similar services, according to Hold Security, the Milwaukee-based consultancy that discovered the database of stolen account information. But here's the thing: Spammers are highly inefficient. While the one billion figure is eye-grabbing, the real number to focus on is 99.6 percent. That's how often spam filters block those messages, according to The Spamhaus Project, an anti-spam nonprofit based in London and Geneva.
In other words, the vast majority of people whose online credentials were stolen likely won't experience any direct harm. Of the people who do see the messages, fewer still will open them. And even then, users will have to be fooled into clicking on links designed to infect their machines or sell them fake pharmaceuticals.
Alex Holden, founder of Hold Security, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Here's the second reason: Even if you're unlucky enough to be in the 0.4 percent group that does see the spam messages, there are four steps you can take to protect yourself:
- Don't open spam. You know this. Why do you make us repeat ourselves?
- Don't be lazy: Use a variety of passwords. Online thieves are hoping you use the same credentials for all the sites you access, including ones that store financial information.
- Update your software with the recommended security patches. Many users still ignore these.
- And if you're worried your computer might already be infected, take the extreme step of re-installing the operating system to start over. Changing passwords on a breached computer won't do any good. The cyber crooks will have those, too.
Online security is much like exercise and eating leafy greens. You know you're supposed to do it. So why aren’t you?
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