Universal Orlando Resort Preview – Week of July 29

first_imgTwo words: Universal Express. There are times you can get by without it, and times it can be the shining star of your visit. Learn all about how to make it work for you here!Weekly Weather ReportOoooh baby, it’s summer! And it’s not letting up anytime soon. Ponchos are considered fashionable, right? Weekly Park Hours and Admission Saturday is the only day this week to see Universal’s Superstar Parade at 7pm, and Universal’s Cinematic Spectacular – 100 Years of Movie Memories at 9:45pm.CityWalk is still open until 2am daily, and self parking is free after 6pm. We are still at peak summer pricing, so as a reminder:One-day base tickets to Universal Studios or Islands of Adventure will run you $124 per adult, and $119 per child (plus tax). 2-Park 1-Day tickets are $179 per adult and $174 per child (plus tax). A one-day ticket for Volcano Bay will be $67 per adult and $62 per child (plus tax).Notable Highlights Big news out of Hogsmeade at Islands of Adventure – Dragon Challenge will have its last run on September 4, and a brand new coaster will be taking its place. The new attraction is said to be a “highly-themed coaster experience” – can’t wait to see what it will be all about! Fans will want to get their last ride on Dragon Challenge before it goes away!There are no planned closures or refurbishments scheduled for this week.See you next week! Share This!The Universal Orlando Preview is brought to you by Storybook Destinations. Storybook Destinations specializes in Disney and Universal travel, is consistently highly rated by our readers, and is owned by our own blogger extraordinaire, Tammy Whiting. Storybook also offers free subscriptions to TouringPlans to clients with qualified bookings.Before you wonder if you are having a case of deja vu…you aren’t, I promise! Yes, not much is different in the land of Universal Orlando, but let’s look at the details of this week so you can make the most of your visit!Weekly Crowd Levellast_img read more

Fee cuts pull call centre investors

first_img7 September 2007The offer of discounted telecommunications prices has lured three foreign call centre companies to commit to investments worth around R400-million that will create up to 10 000 new jobs in South Africa, Business Day reported this week.Department of Trade and Industry director-general Lionel October told Business Day that one of the three unnamed firms – two European and one US-based – would be setting up an operation running to a few thousand seats, while the other two would set up 500- to 600-seat centres.According to Business Day, the government had finally, after months of negotiations, reached agreement with state telecoms company Telkom on a “developmental pricing model” for the country’s business process outsourcing (BPO) sector – although Telkom had not released details of the agreement.Trade and Industry Minister Mandisi Mpahlwa said in March that South Africa was looking to its BPO sector to help drive economic growth, and would be offering investors incentives in the form of start-up and expansion grants and reduced telecommunication fees.BPO involves relocating certain business processes that are usually performed in-house by a company to a third party service provider, such as customer care or call centres, to carry out the services on behalf of the concerned company.Traditionally, countries such as India and the Philippines have led the way in servicing markets for the United States and Britain, among other countries. South Africa is quickly catching up, however, thanks to a range of factors working in its favour.South Africa is mainly targeting clients from the UK, Europe and the US due to closer cultural ties, use of the English language and, in the case of Europe, being in a similar time zone.BPO is considered a key sector under the Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative for South Africa (Asgi-SA), which seeks to achieve an annual economic growth rate of 6% between 2010 and 2014, in order to halve poverty and unemployment by 2014.Mpahlwa said in March that the sector had the potential to create up to 25 000 direct and 75 000 indirect jobs, and contribute about R7.95-billion to the country’s economy, by 2009.“In the first six months of 2006, South Africa created 3 000 jobs in this sector. Based on this evidence, we are of the view that we should achieve our targets of 100 000 new jobs by 2010,” he said.SouthAfrica.info reporter Want to use this article in your publication or on your website?See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

Virgin video about how thunderstorms impact travel

first_imgVirgin Australia has released a video explaining how storms can affect flying operations, as the summer storm season hits Australia.Virgin Australia Meteorologist Manfred Greitschus said that “thunderstorms are a very significant issue for airlines and can be very dangerous weather events.“Depending on the severity of the storm, it has the potential to influence the way we plan flights to avoid flying through any dangerous storm cells.“When thunderstorms are producing lightning within eight kilometers of an airport, we need to shut down operations on the ramp and this can cause delayed or canceled flights,” Mr. Greitschus said.General Manager, Network Operations Andrew Lillyman added that major weather events like thunderstorms can have a big impact on airline’s flying schedules.“When there is a severe thunderstorm at an airport, we will receive information about the reduced amount of flights we’ve been approved to operate in and out of the airport.”“The team then work hard on reallocating passengers on this reduced schedule to get guests to their destinations as quickly as we can.“We understand that cancellations and delays are very frustrating but we want guests to know that their safety is most important to us. We’re hoping these videos will also provide the public with some information about what happens behind the scenes and why we make the decisions we do,” Mr Lillyman said.last_img read more

How to Create a Bully-Proof Workplace

first_img— Designate points of contact so employees know where to turn for help. We may not get bullies to admit that they are wrong, but their harmful behavior can be discouraged by individuals standing up for themselves in a workplace culture designed to support a bully-free work zone. A bully-free workplace is a place where all workers are fully engaged and committed to the organization’s mission, while maintaining positive relations with all stakeholders in the company; where workers communicate honestly—and respectfully—with colleagues, peers and bosses; where leaders engage with employees and listen carefully to gauge the pulse of the organization; and where relationships are reciprocal and responsibility is shared. It’s a place where bullies’ misbehavior is dealt with seriously so everyone can get on with their work. — Do not stay silent if you experience bullying or see it. Remember, when someone exhibits bullying behavior and gets away with it, it reinforces the behavior. — Take a stand for yourself. Stay calm, but refuse and rebuke the bad behavior in a forthright way. Peter J. Dean, PhD., is the founder and president of Leaders By Design, a company that provides  leadership development for executives.center_img More than 1 in 4 Americans deal with an on-the-job bully. While there are no general civility or anti-bullying laws in place at the federal or state levels, companies that want to vanquish bullying in the workplace can adopt their own guidelines or codes of conduct. That begins by enforcing a policy statement asserting that all people, regardless of race, gender, background, belief system or position in the company, will be treated with respect, dignity and civility. In addition, the policy should state that any type of bullying that demeans, diminishes, defames or belittles a person through rumors, lies, devious and selfish acts, unilaterally boastful comments about self and derogatory comments about others, antisocial or aggressive behavior, or any acts that create a hostile work environment will not be tolerated. — Discuss bullying behavior and its consequences openly with your team. Review the most appropriate ways of addressing it and eradicating it. Here are some strategies for managing bullies out of your business that I and my co-author, Molly D. Shepard, recommend in our book The Bully-Proof Workplace: Essential Strategies, Tips and Scripts for Dealing with the Office Sociopath (McGraw-Hill, 2017): — Examine your own behavior to ensure that you are setting a good example. Remember, as a leader in your organization, you are a role model who can influence others, like it or not.last_img read more

Status.net Could Point to the Future of Business Intelligence

first_imgFew companies have captured the world’s attention online in recent years as much as Twitter has. Rapid, structured, public communication between groups of people is not only a personal paradigm changer for many who have seriously explored the service – it’s also an incredible opportunity to analyze a rich and dynamic set of data about interpersonal conversation. First the Web, then email, then instant messaging and SMS all helped speed up the world we live in. Twitter made that rapid communication public and easier than ever for machines to mine for connections. Just as Facebook will never be Twitter because of the lack of clear access it offers outsiders to social data, so too does Twitter have its own limitations. A service called Status.net will launch in May that could overcome some of Twitter’s limitations and make a significant impact on the world we work in.Laconica, the Canadian company offering the most popular Open Source alternative to Twitter, announced plans today to begin selling subscriptions to hosted microblogging installations for businesses. The default address of these new sites will be yourname.status.net. We suspect that this could be a very big deal. (We found out about it from coverage on Microblink on Techmeme.)Step One, People Will Want It Laconica already allows anyone to install its software on their own servers, for free (see Leo Laporte’s Twit Army for example), but the easy paid offering from Status.net could catch on much faster. The service provider will be responsible for maintenance, upgrades will come automatically, the URL is clear and dignified and the fact that the software is open source could enable a plug-in and extension community to grow around the architecture as soon as it gets large enough for that to be viable.Companies will pay to have either public or private microblogging installations hosted and branded for them. They will do so because if they do not – their employees will have no group of allied professionals to securely cry out to for help with work problems. Their departments will remain out of touch and unfamiliar with the people and work being done around their own company. Companies without a microblogging system will seem as silly and disadvantaged in the future as companies do today that say “we don’t need Instant Messaging, we have email,” or “we don’t need email, we have a fax machine.”Step Two, People Will Build on ItSome companies will use the hosted Status.net platform, others will decide to put Laconica on their own servers and others still will decide to use some other provider’s business oriented but developer friendly microblogging service.Once that fundamentally structured layer of social conversation has spread throughout a substantial portion of the business world, hopefully as interoperable Open Source software, here’s what will happen.We discussed one of the most potent applications analyzing Twitter social connection data in a recent post titled The Inner Circles of 10 Geek Heroes on Twitter.These are the kinds of birds eye views through data parsing that an Open Source microblogging platform for businesses will enable. All of the following is based on nothing more than cross referencing user profiles, friend connections and public replies between users. Any parts of this vision that aren’t simple will be simpler for someone to build once there’s adoption and Open Source code.In private networks, a company will be able to receive automatic notification when one of its employees has begun conversing with another particular employee more than they had before. Perhaps they’ll consider putting them in the same work group. If one sales person doesn’t converse with the technical team as often as other sales people do, a company might wonder whether that salesperson is less comfortable explaining technical matters to customers. It will be trivial to determine which technical staff are friendliest and most appropriate to introduce a sales person to, because those kinds of connections will be fully graphable.In public business networks, community managers will be able to identify the customers most engaged in conversation with diverse groups of other customers with the snap of the fingers. Those are the kinds of community members that companies hire. Companies will be able to see if groups of people with similar traits in their profiles are asking for customer service more often than other groups, and when they seek to engage with those communities in order to improve product usability for them – the contours of that community will be easier than ever to understand.People say that the phrase Social Graph is too vague, but when it comes to structured, open microblogging – social connections through conversation and content are literally graphable. Here are the users, here are their friends, here are their public messages and here are their replies to one another – just drawn a line from one column to one row and a narrative will be formed by the data. Repeat that process and you’ll be able to build stories around trends.Is this creepy? It doesn’t have to be. There’s a whole lot of exciting potential here and if an increasingly open technology world can help the business world understand the value of open over control (as it is) then this kind of analysis could be democratized and used for good. Let’s look at this from the perspective of Twitter right now. When I’m away from my computer and think of a question I need answered, I can send that question out to my Twitter network by SMS. Three people might post a public reply answering my question. When I get back to Twitter, I see those three replies and I publicly thank one of those people in particular for providing such a good answer.Now repeat. Again and again, throughout an organization, across multiple organizations. Knowledge sharing paths get worn in the virtual grass of the public field of microblogging. Smart companies want their people creating those paths and only a fool would neglect an opportunity to illuminate these connections in the eyes of management.It won’t happen on Twitter alone, though. It’s too public, the company is too bound by its own limitations on how much data it really wants anyone else to pull out of the river of Tweets and relatively small groups are a very important part of the future of microblogging.We expect that hosted or free company-specific microblogging installations will become huge sources of Business Intelligence data and we hope that happens through interoperable, Open Source software. We’re excited to see what Laconica can do with Status.net. Tags:#Analysis#NYT#web Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… marshall kirkpatrickcenter_img Related Posts 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hostinglast_img read more

InFocus M330 review: Lost in the crowd

first_imgUS-based InFocus is very ambitious. You’ve got to give it that. The Indian smartphone market, particularly the budget segment could be very taxing, especially for a new-comer. But InFocus seems all focussed at succeeding.Its first phone, launched recently, wasn’t bad at all. The phone called M2 had potential. But the mind-boggling influx of some really good quality affordable handsets in the Indian market lately means it’s a rough ride ahead for the M2. That said the M2 could still get away with it since InFocus has priced it very aggressively. At Rs 4,999 the M2 is a decent buy for the set of specifications it brings to the table.The same cannot be said about the M330, the company’s latest phone in India. InFocus’s second device in the Indian market has been priced higher at Rs 9,999: a segment that is full of some good phones from the likes of Xiaomi, Micromax’s Yu and Lenovo.Unlike the M2, the M3330 fails to excite: one due to its price point, and two due to lack of any compelling feature. We take a closer look…Design and build The InFocus M330 is a fairly decent looking handset at its price point. It’s no design marvel, but it’s certainly better looking than the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4G even though it falls slightly short of the Micromax Yu Yureka in this department.It’s nice to see InFocus trying to maintain its individuality with this one to some extent. While the front would remind you of the Redmi Note to some extent, the back is a different story.advertisementIt’s still a candy bar design that you get, but the back panel is certainly a breath of fresh air in this price bracket. The back panel consists of removable plastic that has a slight matte finish to it — less than the Yu Yureka, but certainly way better than the Redmi Note’s glossy plastic – making it easy to hold and grip handset.The edges curve gently to improve your grip and end in a strip of brushed metal that extends all through the device. The metal finish gives the M330 a bit of premium feel over counterparts in this price range.The square camera on the rear with an LED flash, both enclosed within a black rectangular space, give the M330 some hint of sophistication. The speaker vent is located on the lower end of the back, which is not the best of placements but we can live with that.The back houses a removable battery, two regular SIM card slots and a micro-SD card slot.The front panel houses three backlit capacitive touchscreen buttons on the lower end that offer decent tactile feedback. Meanwhile, the left edge has the volume rocker and the right edge contains the power buttons, both of which seem firmly etched but are easy to press.On the downside, the M330 is huge and chunky. At 153.4mmx78.1mmx9.3mm and 170g, it is way heavier than counterparts in this price bracket. We don’t expect a 5.5-inch handset to be paper thin, but we’ve seen Lenovo achieving a 140g with the A7000. Single handed operability will be a problem for many with this one, especially for those having smaller hands.Display The InFocus M330 features a 5.5-inch HD IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen display with a 1280×720 pixels resolution. These are pretty standard specifications in this price range. All the ‘good’ devices in this price range (Yureka, Redmi Note, Honor 4X, A7000) have the exact specs.Keeping numbers aside, we were pretty impressed with the display output of the M330. The display was bright with really crisp viewing angles, at this price point. Colours looked sharp and neutral on most counts, and icons and animations did their job of popping out pretty well.But again, there’s not much difference from what you can already get in the Yureka or Xiaomi’s offering, although the display seemed better than the one on the Honor 4X. We see the Lenovo A7000 having an upper hand in this one.On the plus side, the display is not much of a fingerprint/smudge magnet unless you have very greasy fingers. Outdoor visibility is therefore pretty nice on this one.Software The InFocus M330 runs Android 4.4.2 KitKat out-of-the-box with the company’s InLife UI on top, the exact OS that runs the company’s ultra-affordable M2.As explained in our review of the M2, the InLife UI follows the same pattern that many Chinese UIs that have mushroomed up lately, use. The skinning is on the heavier side, with majority of apps and icons having a distinct look and functioning. The stock camera app would give you the KitKat feel to some extent, but overall the UI seems like any other Chinese UI.advertisementIt still looks like a work in progress though, and is miles away from being a certain MIUI, but it gets the job done. Folks back at InFocus haven’t touched the UI much, and have simply resized the apps and icons to fit the larger phablet form factor. Again, the InLife UI is not as polished as Xiaomi’s MIUI. It is also devoid of the many customization options we get on the Yureka, courtesy CyanogenMod.The one plus side is that the InLife UI is low on the eye-popping icons and glossy animations, so if you like it plain and simple, then the M330 could work well for you.Performance The InFocus M330 is powered by a 1.7GHz octa-core MediaTek MT6592 CPU with Mali-450 GPU and 2GB RAM (1,968MB available).We have always maintained that the Yureka is the most sought after handset in terms of performance in the under Rs 10,000 price bracket. And the arrival of the M330 doesn’t change much of that.The M330 is certainly an upgrade over the M2 spec wise, but it’s still not much of an upgrade when you look at counterparts in this price range.Still, the processor on-board the M330 is a fairly capable one for its price, unless you’re pushing it. It can handle your everyday basic tasks well, and the 2GB RAM ensures multi-tasking is not much of a problem on this one.The processor upgrade means the M330 is significantly better than the M2 in terms of performance. Unlike in the M2, closing and opening of apps is not much of a problem in the M330. There was minor lag observed when we had too many apps opened (to the tune of 15) but that’s like way too many intended for the purpose of testing. We are sure most users won’t have that many apps opened at the same time and if you do, you now know the outcome.The device can run graphics-intensive games like Asphalt 8: Airborne and Modern Combat 5: Blackout lag-free at lower graphics settings but the lag is a problem when you select higher graphics settings.Basic games like Candy Crush Saga and Temple Run, however, run lag-free on this one.The InFocus M330 comes with 16GB of internal storage of which about 12.6GB is available for use which is pretty standard. The device supports expandable storage of up to 64GB via micro-SD card.The speaker vent on the M330 is located on the back lower end. Output wise, we were pretty pleased with the M330’s speaker. It was pretty loud and clear, although the bass could have been better, but it is still a decent speaker device at it price.There is an Audio Effect feature that lets you play around with your bass and treble settings, although the effect of these is only minute on sound quality and is barely noticeable.advertisementAlso, sound quality may suffer depending upon the kind of surface you place the phone.Phone calls made with the InFocus M330 are of acceptable quality and we did not see any major call drops with our review device. The device supports 3G on both SIMs, however, at this price range we are getting 4G handsets, so the M330 is not doing anything out of the ordinary, to say the least.Camera The cameras on-board the M2 really surprised us, therefore, that was the first thing we started testing when we received the M330 for review. After all, we were sure InFocus wouldn’t screw up, at least in this department. And boy, were we wrong!While InFocus has managed to (up)grade almost every department in the M330, the camera seems to have had a (down)grade. We feel it’s an opportunity lost for InFocus since this could be one parameter that could have helped propel the company to newer heights.We are not saying the M330 is a bad camera phone, it’s just that the M2 was so good at it price on this front that we expected heck of a lot more from the M330.The M330 sports a 13-megapixel rear camera with autofocus and LED flash along with an 8MP front-facing snapper.Images clicked in outdoor ambient lighting conditions have decent amount of detail on most counts; however, we found metering issues with many of these images. Most of the images clicked in such situations were under-exposed so even though there was detail, the images looked paler than they actually were.Although the images were true to their colours on most counts, they did not seem all that bright and punchy.The level of detail in case of indoor well-lit conditions was fairly decent depending upon our accuracy and hand stillness. Surprisingly, we liked the images clicked in such situations better than the output in outdoor environment. There’s a very capable HDR mode on-board.The level of noise increases as the intensity of light decreased, which is fairly common for a camera phone in this price range.Overall,  we feel the phone has a decent camera but it has some metering issues in well-lit conditions. While it’s still not as good as the M2, we still feel that InFocus as a company is the one to look out for in future as far as decent budget camera phones are concerned.The front camera chalks out a decent selfie experience (with little noise even in well lit conditions), with standard properties like photo enhancer and smile auto selfie. Still there’s nothing we haven’t already seen before.Both cameras can shoot full-HD videos at 30fps.Check the following image samples to get an idea of InFocus M330 Camera performance: Sample 1 , Sample 2 , Sample 3 , Sample 4 , Sample 5 , Sample 6 , Sample 7 , Sample 8 , Sample 9 , Sample 10 . Battery The InFocus M330 uses a removable battery with a capacity of 3,100mAh, which is rated to deliver up to 550 minutes of 3G talk time and 30 hours on stand-by.We subjected the device to some real extremes and the result was not very encouraging even though the M330 has a sizeable battery (same as the Redmi Note).In our battery benchmark, we subjected the device to almost an hour of gaming (graphics intensive), three hours of 1080p video playback, web browsing (desktop mode), music on speakers (max volume) and phone calls every now and then (to the tune of an hour) and we got close to five and a half hours with the device.Toning down a bit will ensure you reach 12-13 hours. The power saver mode does help in churning out an hour or so out of the device.There’s another downside to the M330: it heats up very quickly. Mere 15-20 minutes of graphics intensive gaming heated up the device significantly, which is not a good sign.Should you buy it? While the M2 held its head high in the crowded budget smartphone market, sadly the M330 somehow doesn’t fit it.It’s still a very decent smartphone, with a big and bright display; decent cameras and lag-free multi-tasking experience. The problem is competition and in the current scenario, there’s abundance of it. The M330 seems to be a little out of place in such a situation.Companies like Xiaomi, Lenovo, Micromax and Huawei have really stepped up their game in the recent times, and companies like InFocus have to do the same. While the M2 may still get away with its aggressive pricing, unfortunately the M330 gets lost in the crowd.Also Read: Our full review of the InFocus M2last_img read more