Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Forget New Year's Day! The Four Career Resolutions You Can Make Right Now

After months of vacations, summer holidays and spontaneous outdoor activities, you're probably ready to buckle down and fall back into a routine at work. Regardless that many people like to make New Year's resolutions come January 1, autumn is a great time to turn over a new leaf and start fresh. "Unlike the long nights and holiday withdrawal of January, most of us have fond memories of the new school year starting in September," said Tim Bennett and John Nash, co-hosts of The Focus Group. "We come off a summer of work, relaxation and long days and start looking forward to the crisper air and change of seasons." Now, you don't need to wait until the new year to improve your career. On that note, here are four resolutions you can make right now.
1. Exercise more often: If it happens that you spent your summer sleeping in, vacationing and sampling exotic dishes, you aren't alone. But after some well-deserved relaxation, it's time to get moving again. This is especially important if you have a desk job, where you likely spend eight or more hours a day being stationary. "Pick up a new exercise hobby or change up an existing one," said Bennett and Nash. "Take a walk before work, during lunch or after dinner." They recommended challenging yourself to reach 10,000 steps a day, an approach that many swear by. Or, if you're looking for something different, sign up for a class at your local gym or create a workout plan that you'll be excited to follow. "Getting in some exercise is a great goal that is attainable if you shoot for four days a week as a start," they said. "Get out now and enjoy the cooler days ahead."
2. Organize your inbox and workspace: When your space – or brain – is cluttered, it's becomes difficult to concentrate. Don't pile on more stress. "Shoot for an empty inbox physically and digitally every Friday in the short term," said Bennett and Nash. "In the long term, purge paper no longer needed, reports with no purpose and clutter. [Doing so] can lighten your load and not make you feel overwhelmed." And more, while it may seem overwhelming to start, once you have everything organized, you'll have more freedom to prioritize, they added.
3. Update your social sites: One thing in this regard is that keeping your social accounts up-to-date is critical as a business professional. The corporate world is highly competitive, and sites like LinkedIn are the first place employers go to recruit new talent. If your profile is lacking, you will likely not be considered. Additionally, clean up your social media accounts so you aren't raising red flags for current or hiring managers. Party pictures and political rants should not be public – make sure all sites your employer can access are appropriate and maintained, said Bennett and Nash.
4. Network in your industry: If you're searching for a new job, you should not just do the bare minimum by just submitting your resume and cover letter and hoping for an interview. "Employers do not have time to comb through the sometimes hundreds of resumes and will often seek internal or external referrals," said Bennett and Nash. "The old 'it's who you know' scenario still has merit." To connect with others in your field, attend industry conferences and networking events, join associations that relate to your line of work, and ask for informational interviews to learn more about a potential career, they added. "Most importantly, let people know, whom you trust, that you are open to new opportunities or new challenges," they said. "You will be surprised at how often people want to help you succeed."
Thanks for reading and make sure you share this post with others

Monday, 25 September 2017

Waze app how-to: Some tips and tricks for ditching Google Maps

When talking about most Android users, Google Maps is the preferred navigation platform, but don’t discount the Waze app for traffic information, navigation routes, and a lot more. Waze is a perfectly reliable alternative, and a good replacement for Google Maps, especially if you like rich visuals. Assured, Google owns Waze, but Waze is still an individual product with its own development path. And it offers some features you won’t get with the default navigation app on your Android device. It even works with Android Auto! And with that, what do you think..... we are going to give you some Waze tips and tricks to get started.
Set a Waze reminder for when to leave: It’s very real that Google Now can send you reminders to leave for appointments, but I always find that the times it suggests for leaving the house aren’t all that mindful of actual traffic conditions. Waze seems a little more accurate, at least when it comes to determining how long it’ll take to get from point A to point B during rush hour. Now on this note, to set a Waze reminder to leave, enter your destination, tap the Later button, and then scroll through to set the time you need to arrive. On the right, you’ll see a graph of how bad traffic may be on your route during that time of the day. Once you’ve set your arrival time, tap Save, and Waze will remember to send a notification when it’s time to leave. You can also integrate your Google or Facebook calendars from the Waze settings menu to get automatic alerts for future events.
Use Waze's “Send ETA” when you’re running late: If it happens that you’re finding yourself running behind schedule, tap Send ETA to bring up the Android sharing dialog. From here, you can let your friend or family member know you’re on the way through email or a text message. Note that you’ll have to be registered for a Waze account for this to work—but you’ll want to be registered anyway if you intend to use all of the app’s features.
Use Waze for finding the cheapest, closest gas: Are you running late and you’re low on gas? Well, that’s unfortunate! But at least Waze lets you quickly search for a gas station along the way. Lets assume that you’ve already told your friend you’re on your way, tap on your destination and then tap Add a stop. In the next screen, tap on the gas station icon. From here, you’ll see a list of gas stations on your route. It’ll also show you how much they’re charging, and whether they’re majorly out of your way. If you’d like to customize your gas station search results, make sure you’re logged into Waze, and then head into the settings menu. Scroll toward the bottom, and tap Gas Stations & prices. Here you’ll be able to customize how Waze shows nearby gas stations, as well as your preferred fuel type and brand.
Use Waze's speedometer to avoid getting pulled over: Now, if you’re a speed demon, you should slow down—but if you just can’t rein yourself in without help, you can ask Waze to sound an alarm when you’re driving too fast. To do this, in the settings, under Speedometer, you can set when to have Waze alert you that you’re over the speed limit. By default, the speedometer will display the speed limit in the area you’re driving when you’re exceeding the limit by at least five miles per hour. Note that the Speedometer feature is available only in select areas.
Change your Waze guide’s voice: In one note I want you to know this-hanging the Waze navigation voice is a fun trick that my friends and I like to employ when we’re walking long distances in a group. One of us will flip into one of Waze’s silly navigation voices, and we’ll use that to guide our path and giggle uncontrollably along the way. There’s nothing funnier than having Mister T order you to turn right. You can do the same from the Waze settings panel. Now to get that done, tap Voice language and select which voice you’d like to hear. There’s a wide range of choices, including voices in different languages. Some voices can only be unlocked after you’ve used Waze for a while. Waze will often have special promotions on certain voices, too, to coincide with movie releases and the like.
Use Waze with Android Auto: Good news for you! If you’re using Android Auto in your car’s built-in head unit, you can now choose Waze as your navigation component. The app lets you do much of what you can already do on the regular Android app, like report traffic conditions and police presence. If you wish you could use Waze in the car, but you don’t have Android Auto baked in, you can employ the next best thing: voice commands. Head into the regular app’s settings menu on your smartphone, and tap Sound & voice. From here, tap Voice commands to enable them. At this point, you’ll need to pick a physical gesture—a motion to wake up Waze for voice commands. The Waze screen has to be on for the commands to work, but you can ask Waze much of what you’d ask Google.
Customize Waze to your liking: Here’s something you might desire to do before you even take your first drive with Waze. In the Settings menu, under Display on map, you can choose which elements of your trip to show on the map. Don’t care for the map chat? You can turn that off. Not too concerned with the other Wazers nearby? You can pretend they don’t exist. Don’t plan to speed? Well, then you don’t have to see where the police are watching for you either. All that data is entirely optional. Additionally, if you need to hop into different viewing modes because the screen is too bright for your drive, you can switch to the night mode view from this menu screen. There’s also a top-down two-dimensional view for people who don’t want to navigate the three-dimensional perspective.
Turn off Waze when you’re not using it: On this note, one thing to keep in mind if you’re going to give Waze a try: It tracks your location at all times. That’s how it remains useful, after all, for other Wazers who rely on the platform’s data. But the app will drain the heck out of your battery. If you’re concerned about what Waze is doing to your phone’s performance, know that there’s a power button for exiting Waze when you’re done navigating. Tap it in the upper right-hand corner of the main menu to exit the app—and keep it off when you’re not using it.
This story, was originally published by PCWorld.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Strategy, Supply and Demand, Marketing, Design: The HR's New Role

First of all, traditionally... a company's human resources department has played a supportive role. It was considered a paper-pusher job, and often took a backseat to more numbers-oriented departments like marketing and business development. While HR still does plenty of paperwork, today's organizations have realized that this department can do much more to enhance and develop a business, thanks to developments in fields like psychology, data analytics and recruiting. "As soon as there's an HR person in a small company, that person should negotiate for a strategic role where they're not only doing recruiting and payroll but setting policies for how that gets done, and how management generally deals with people," said John Schwarz, CEO and founder of workforce analytics company Visier. "HR shouldn't be relegated to a role where they're only called in when there's a problem."
Strategy: Using data analytics, HR workers can ask and answer questions about an organization's future regarding issues like outsourcing, cost management and succession planning, Schwarz said. "Ultimately, HR has the ability to provide the CEO and other executives with data, analytics and advice so they can see where things are trending and can manage proactively," added Gabrielle Toledano, chief people officer at Tesla and board director at Visier. In conjunction with succession planning and data analytics, it is now the responsibility of HR to create better processes and training protocols. Juli Weber, organizational development manager at Business News Daily's parent company Purch, said that there are many strategic responsibilities for HR, including obtaining and recording information from well-seasoned employees, figuring out the best ways to utilize people within the organization and discovering effective management tactics.
Supply and demand: In this regard, for any business to succeed, it must attract and retain top talent in its field. However, that is becoming increasingly more difficult. This is where a qualified HR professional can step in. "The talent shortage is real, and it continues to affect employers globally," said Bram Lowsky, group executive vice president of the Americas at talent management and workforce solutions provider Right Management. Lowsky noted that HR has to understand and anticipate an organization's talent needs, know where to find that talent and how to balance the equation. HR reps also need to use consumer marketing principles to build an internal employer brand to attract and retain employees. "HR is evolving to start looking at the marketplace differently because of the skill shortage and talent gap," Lowsky said. "We're building the workforce differently than just the traditional 'full time and part time.' [With] full-time, part-time, contingent workers, volunteers, etc., … HR can build and mobilize a culture to attract the talent you want." Weber told Business News Daily that benefits might evolve or change in order to attract top talent. For example, many businesses are offering to make payments toward student loans rather than contribute to a 401(k), which appeals to many applicants, Weber said.
Design: It is becoming increasingly important for HR to improve internal processes, create succession ladders, develop professional development and training, and enhance a company culture. One way to do this is to use industrial and organizational psychology to evaluate and enhance an organization, Weber said. So far, the science of behavior is helping HR representatives create effective training, leadership and management as well as assisting other areas of the organization. Due to the science behind these movements, HR is under less pressure to prove every aspect of the ROI of such endeavors. "The ROI no longer has to be proven, it's just assumed," Weber said.
Marketing: Lastly, HR personnel have now become marketers, especially as the department designs new protocols and processes. "We're looking at the HR department as its own entity, kind of like a business inside of a business," Weber said. "Our employees are our customers, and HR has to market programs, processes and training to them." HR professionals also need to understand the financial impact of decisions in order to market new ideas and processes to the employer, Weber said. Thanks..

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Samsung Bixby Voice: How to install and use the Galaxy S8 assistant

Update 9/18/17: Samsung will at last let users turn off the side button so it doesn't open Bixby Home when accidentally pressed. In one note, see our Bixby tips section for how to do it. It’s been a long time coming, but at last Bixby has found its voice. Samsung has begun pushing out the final piece of its AI package, Bixby Voice, to all Galaxy S8 phones in more than 200 countries and territories. Before long, millions of people will be saying, “Hi Bixby” to summon the new assistant—though Bixby still only supports English and Korean despite the worldwide rollout. Now, while we might not need another AI assistant on our phones, Bixby is actually a pretty good companion to Google Assistant. It’s a little slow on the trigger at times, but I was impressed with how well it was able to understand me. And Bixby isn’t a clone of Google Assistant or Sir either. Samsung’s AI is more servant than smartie pants, carrying out phone tasks that would normally require numerous steps. So without going too far, here's everything you need to know to get started:
Setting up Bixby Voice:
How do I know if I have it? Just the same as all of Samsung’s updates, Bixby Voice will be a staggered release that will vary depending on your carrier. Once it’s available, your phone should alert you to the change, but there are a couple of ways you can check to see of it’s been pushed to your handset. First, swipe left to get to the Bixby Home screen. If Bixby Voice is live, you’ll see a new “b” symbol next to the Bixby Vision eye and Bixby Reminders bell icons. If you don’t see it, tap the overflow menu in the top right and select Settings. Then tap the About Bixby option and it will tell you if there are any available updates.
You’ll need to update your other Galaxy apps. To do that, open the Galaxy Apps store, tap the overflow menu icon in the top right, then My Apps, and Update. If any apps need to be updated, they will appear on the next screen. If Bixby Voice is one of them, once it finishes updating you’ll be ready to go. In later versions of Bixby, the "b" icon has been replaced with a gear icon that lets you toggle the side button on and off. If you see it, you're on the latest version and Bixby Voice is active
How do I get started? For you to start using Bixby, swipe over to the Bixby Home screen and it should walk you through the setup process, which is pretty simple. In the screens that follow, you’ll practice saying, “Hi Bixby,” and try out a few commands. Additionally, there are a few general options in the Bixby Home Settings menu, including background color, feedback sounds, speaking style, and notifications.
What apps does Bixby work with?
At launch, Bixby is going to work only with a handful of Samsung’s own apps:
Bixby Vision
Calculator
Camera
Clock
Contacts
Gallery
Internet
Messages
Phone
Reminder
Settings
Weather
What about third-party apps? At launch, Bixby is only designed to work with the apps above, but Samsung is looking at how to bring Bixby Voice to more apps quickly, including some popular third-party apps. The Bixby Labs tab in the Home Settings shows you what apps are in development and lets you opt in to test them. Bixby Labs already includes some intriguing upcoming apps, including Instagram, YouTube, Play Music, Maps, Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp, and Twitter
Using Bixby Voice
How do I summon Bixby? There are two major ways to summon Bixby. You can say, “Hi Bixby” or you can press and hold the phone’s side button. A small blue circle will appear in the left corner of the screen ready to receive your request. Just know that the side button works like a walkie-talkie, so you’ll need to keep it pressed until you finish your command.
Can I use Bixby on the lock screen? Sort of. You can summon Bixby on the lock screen by either pressing the button or saying “Hi Bixby” like usual. However, you’ll need to unlock your phone before it can actually perform your request.
Can I type commands to Bixby? For sure! When you summon Bixby you’ll see a Full Screen button to the right. Tap it and Bixby will expand to fill the whole display. Then select the Search Commands field in the center and you’ll be able to type to Bixby instead of talk
How do I know what I can ask? So many of it is trial and error, but you can see a list of suggested questions for each app in Bixby Home. Tap the overflow menu, select Apps with voice, and choose the app you want. Inside each you’ll find a list of actionable requests.
Can I correct Bixby? On this note, Samsung wants to get Bixby up to speed as quickly as possible, so after each request is completed (or not), a question will appear on the screen asking, “How was my response?” Tap Great and you’ll get 5 XP points. Tap Let’s improve and and Bixby will take you to a screen where you can select words that were misunderstood or describe what went wrong
Wait, XP points? What’s that? Samsung has gamified Bixby Voice to encourage people to use it. As you level up, you’ll unlock features (these seem to just be background colors for now). You can track your level on the My Bixby page.
Bixby Voice features
While you’ll need to use Samsung’s apps to take advantage of Bixby at launch, there’s a lot you can do with them. Here are some examples:
General commands: Bixby enables you to launch any app just by saying “Open” and the app name. Or you can say, “Open Chrome as a pop-up” to enter that mode. You also can say, “Take a screenshot” to capture what’s on your screen, or “Close recent apps” to clear out your carousel. Basically, if your S8 can do it, there’s a good chance Bixby can assist.
Camera: Ask Bixby to take a selfie, and it will open the camera app and flip to the front camera, with a countdown timer that gives you three seconds to perfect your pout before the shutter snaps. You can also say things like, “Take a picture with the rear camera,” “Turn the flash off,” or “Turn off HDR,” and it will oblige. And when you’re in the camera app, you can say, “Hi Bixby, take a picture” and it will capture the moment.
Calculator: You can use Bixby Voice to calculate simple equations. If you say, “What’s 6 plus 3” or “What’s 12 percent of 900,” it will open Calculator, input the equation, and show you the solution. However, if you want to multiply the answer by 3, you’ll need to start a new equation. It doesn’t understand what to do when you say, “Times 3” or “Multiply that by 3.” It doesn’t get conversions either. If you ask how many pints are in a cup, it will take you to the conversion section of the Calculator, but after asking what you want to convert, it will say, “Turns out I’m not able to do that.” But it shouldn’t be too long before it can.
Bixby Vision: Bixby Vision has been live since the Galaxy S8 debuted, and Bixby Voice doesn’t add much to enhance it. It does, however, make it easier to use. You can say, “Open Bixby Vision,” or “Search Bixby Vision,” and the Vision-enabled camera will open. Or you can say, “Translate this text” or “Show nearby restaurants,” and it will launch the appropriate section of Bixby Vision. But you’ll still need to interact with the screen to find things. And you need to be specific. If you ask something general like, “What is this?” or “How much does this cost?” Bixby isn’t smart enough to trigger Vision to find the answer.
Settings: Bixby Voice really shines when it comes to the Settings app. You can toggle and tweak all sorts of settings on your Galaxy S8 using Bixby, from turning off W-Fi, to turning on the flashlight, to raising the brightness. You can also say things like, “Turn on power-saving mode,” “How much data have I used this month,” and “Change the wallpaper,” and Bixby will take you to the proper screen and perform the action. It’ll even display your IMEI number if you ask. I tried dozens of queries and couldn’t find a settings command that it didn’t understand. It’s 100 percent Bixby’s strongest suit.
Phone/Contacts: Bixby Voice works as you’d expect when it comes to making calls. Say something like, “Call mom on mobile” and it’ll start a phone call. For incoming calls, you can say, “Accept” or “Decline,” though it’s just as easy to tap the screen. You can also easily add a contact or see someone’s info just by asking. You can say, “Block the last number,” which is helpful for spam calls, or “Show missed calls” to see what you missed. You can also ask Bixby to block a specific number or person, open the dialer, or turn off the ringer
Bixby tips
Turn off the Bixby button: Galaxy S8 and Note 8 phones include a button just below the volume rocker that summons Bixby when pressed. It can be a real nuisance, and Samsung has finally responded with a way to turn it off. You'll need to be on version 2.0.03.3 or later of Bixby Home to see the option, so if you're not seeing it, head over to the Galaxy Apps store and update your apps. The update introduces a gear icon next to the overflow menu. Tap it, and you'll see Bixby key toggle appear. Tap it once to disable the side button's functionality. Even when it's off, however, you can still hold down the button for a second or so to bring up Bixby Voice
Check your history: If maybe you want to see the most recent things you’ve asked Bixby to do, you can find it on your personalized Bixby page. Go to Bixby Home, tap the overflow menu, and select My Bixby. That’s where you’ll see your activity, as well as a few settings shortcuts and tutorials. It appears to keep a running list of every interaction, so you can scroll through your whole conversation history to see how far it’s come.
Set up quick commands: When you first start using Bixby, it's going to prompt you to use pretty specific commands, like “Open phone and call Chris.” But as you use it, you’ll quickly discover that it can understand shortcuts like, “Call Chris,” or “Message Mom,” too. Additionally, you can add shortcuts to specific commands to cut down on what you need to say. After you ask it to do something, you’ll see an Add quick command option below your request. Tap it and you can give Bixby an alternative string for that command. For older queries, you’ll need to hit up your conversation history. Go to My Bixby, tap Conversations, and you’ll see a Suggest another phrase button below each prior request. Tap the one you want and you’ll be able to type out a new way to say it.
Enable dictation: Inside the Hello Bixby settings you’ll find a Dictation on keyboard toggle. Turn it on and Bixby will transcribe your words on command whenever you’re using the keyboard. In addition you can activate it by either holding down the Bixby key or pressing the microphone key on the keyboard. But you’ll need to use the Samsung Keyboard for now. To switch, press the keyboard icon at the right of the navigation bar.
This story, was originally published by PCWorld.

Sunday, 17 September 2017

How You Can Get a Job in AI or Machine Learning

As the case may be, computer scientist Arthur Samuel is rumored to have said that machine learning is an aspect of his field that gives "computers the ability to learn without being explicitly programmed." That's why machine learning is also considered as an element of artificial intelligence, or AI, which deals more generally with how computers can figure things out for themselves. Essentially, the idea is that, given a good set of starting rules and opportunities to interact with data and situations, computers can program themselves, or improve upon basic programs provided for them. In the mid-1980s, computer scientists hoped to reshape computing and the ability of computers to understand and interact with the world. There was a huge infusion of interest, enthusiasm and cash at that time, but AI did not change the world as we knew it then. Over time, AI was found to be suitable for a relatively narrow set of computing tasks, such as creating viable configurations for complex computes. But AI neither set the world on fire nor redefined its boundaries and shape. More than 30 years later, AI in general and machine learning are enjoying a spectacular renaissance. These technologies are being successfully applied to deal with all kinds of interesting problems in computing, and are enjoying a broad range of success. Notable accomplishments for machine learning include email filtering, intrusion detection, optical character recognition and computer vision. Machine learning and AI have proven quite effective in applying computation statistics to use data analytics to make predictions and spot trends.
Machine learning is hot, hot, hot: In regard that some companies build or use technologies that employ machine learning and AI, there has been considerable demand for skilled and knowledgeable researchers and developers. But if anything explains a sudden, sharp spike in demand for such people, it's the increasingly pervasive use of predictive analytics across many fields of business. Most of the Fortune 500, and a great many other companies and organizations outside that fold, are now using predictive analytics to seek a competitive edge, or to improve their overall ability to deliver goods and services to customers, clients or citizens. Individuals trained in machine learning are now in considerable demand across the entire employment spectrum. That explains the six-figure salaries that are increasingly the norm for those who land such jobs. Of course, for many who already work in IT or who are heading in that direction, this raises the question of "how can I get a job in AI or machine learning?" The answers are straightforward, if somewhat labor-intensive and time-consuming.
The traditional approach: Get a degree: The field is intriguing for many who may also have a bachelor's degree in computer science, engineering or some similar discipline under their belts. In fact, it's hard to find a reputable graduate computer science program that doesn't include machine learning amidst its targeted subject matters. If you want to aim for the stars in taking the back-to-school route toward machine learning proficiency, I will recommend consulting either Quora's thread on the best graduate schools for machine learning or U.S. News & World Report's list of the best artificial intelligence programs as good places to start looking for candidate schools.
Make the most of MOOC offerings: For those who can't break away from life and work to pursue a full-time degree on campus, massively open online courses, aka MOOCs, offer a variety of alternatives. MOOCs can encompass actual degree programs at reputable universities, certificate programs that provide ample training but don't confer a full-fledged degree, or mapped-out curricula in machine learning or AI that cover the ground in as much depth as one might wish to learn the subject matter. A quick search on machine learning at the MOOC Search Engine produces millions of hits that include the following:
Udacity offers hundreds of courses of varying length, complexity and depth in this area.
edX's machine learning offerings include a certificate program from Microsoft, as well as numerous graduate-level courses and curricula from well-known colleges and universities.
MIT offers a plethora of online courses in this area, for paid-for college credit or free online audit.
Stanford also offers a collection of machine learning courses for credit or audit.
Hands-on is where learning gets real: There's no substitute for rolling up your sleeves and digging into development work if you want to really understand the principles of AI and machine learning. You should expect to devote yourself to your mouse and keyboard, as you start small with toy data sets and basic applications, then work your way up to more serious, real-world problem-solving and solutions. The capstone project for the Microsoft Professional Program in Data Science (not a degree) runs for four weeks, for example, and challenges you to develop a solution to a data set using machine learning to test your skills. Anyone who digs into this subject matter should anticipate spending upward of 15 hours a week on programming tasks, in addition to attending lectures, completing reading assignments, writing papers and all the other tasks that modern learning demands of students nowadays.
When you're ready to rock, let the world know: Once you've finished that degree, obtained your certificate or knocked off a significant chunk of curricula, you can start positioning yourself to current or prospective employers as someone with skills and knowledge in machine learning and AI. Unless you also have picked up some hands-on, real-world experience in reaching this professional milestone, remain humble about your skills and abilities in this arena. Warnings aside, the prospects for those who can see themselves through the time, effort and expense of mastering machine learning and AI should be bright. Thanks

Sunday, 10 September 2017

LEARN HOW TO SET UP A CHROMECAST AND TURN ANY TV INTO THE ULTIMATE STREAMING MACHINE

As the case may be so far, Google has made its Chromecast so easy to use that virtually anyone with a smartphone, tablet, or laptop can learn how to stream their favorite shows or movies on their TV in a matter of seconds. In the real sense, it’s also pretty simple to set up a Chromecast on your home network but there are a lot of steps to the process, so we’ve created this simple guide to get you up and running. Before you get started, though, you are to make sure that you have a decent internet connection (at least 5 Mbps) and access to an online app store like Apple’s App Store or Google play if you want to get the most out of your Chromecast.
Step 1: Unbox your Chromecast, and make sure the Chromecast, the micro-USB to USB power cable, and wall adapter are inside.
Step 2: Connect the micro-USB cable to your Chromecast, and then plug the broad end of your Chromecast into an open HDMI port on your TV.
Step 3: You’ll need to plug in the USB cable in order to power to the Chromecast. If your TV has a USB power port, plug in there. If the port works, you should see a little LED on your Chromecast light up. If it doesn’t light up, remove the USB from the port, plug it into the USB wall charger, and plug the charger into the nearest wall outlet. If needed, you can purchase a HDMI extender cable to extend the reach of your Chromecast to your nearest outlet.
Step 4: Turn on your TV, and switch to the corresponding HDMI source. You’ll know you’re on the right input once you see the “Set me up” screen. Step 5: You can set up your Chromecast with your laptop by visiting chromecast.com/setup, or you can set it up with your tablet or smartphone by downloading the Google Home app.
Step 6: Once you’ve downloaded the app and accepted the terms of service in the Google Home app, tap “Devices” on the top right corner of the screen.
Step 7: After you’ve allowed the app to access your location, Google Home will find the Chromecast nearest to you. After you choose your Chromecast, tap “Set Up” and then “Continue”.
Step 8: After the app establishes a connection to the Chromecast, tap “Continue”.
Step 9: A code should then pop up on your phone and your TV. If they match, tap “I See the Code”.
Step 10: Choose a name for your Chromecast (hopefully something fun and clever), and then tap “Continue”.
Step 11: Once you’ve named it set up your Chromecast to connect to your wifi.
Once your Chromecast connects to the wifi, you’re all set up. If the device couldn’t connect, then the next thing you are to do is to assure your computer or mobile devices are compatible with your Chromecast. If you’re still running into trouble, then visit the Chromecast Help Forum. Some phones and computers might need special instructions, depending on how old or new your software is. To personalize your Chromecast, you should consider signing in to your Google account on the device, but make sure you turn off email notifications, unless you’re looking to get frequent news and updates on how to best use your device.

Monday, 4 September 2017

Starting Strong: The Tips for Properly Onboarding Your New Employee

Starting a job is all the time stressful for a new hire, but sometimes it can be more stressful being the one responsible for introducing a new employee to the workplace, making sure the employee feels welcome and engaged, and providing thorough and helpful training. Being in charge of this process can put you under a lot of pressure. Based on advice from HR experts and business leaders, here are some things you need to know about creating a successful employee onboarding program.
What to do before and during the first day: In this case, the first days can be overwhelming for new employees, so one thing you can do to ease the pre-start jitters is to send the new hire as much information beforehand as possible, according to Kathryn Minshew, founder and CEO of career advice resource The Muse. "Sending them benefits information and your employee handbook ahead of their first day gives them a chance to get acquainted with the culture before they step in the door," Minshew said. According to Erika Kauffman, founder of E-PR Publicity, before a new employee's first day on the job, all relevant staff members – HR, the person's direct manager, direct teammates, etc. – should be prepared for that person's arrival. You'll want to have all the requisite HR paperwork and tech equipment set up and ready to go prior to an employee's first day. "You worked so diligently to recruit this new employee, but the process is not yet over," Kauffman said. "A [good] first impression on day one of the job is the most essential step in proper onboarding." David Almeda, chief people officer of Kronos, said that many managers greet employees when they start and then send them to their desk to pore over materials like handbooks and manuals. However, you should be facilitating integration into the company's culture and community. When your new employee arrives, block off time to go through everything together and help them process information, he said. "Make it personal," added Almeda. "Have the [new] employee's co-workers decorate his or her cube and leave personal welcome notes. Invite the new hire to a yoga class or play basketball at lunch. Folding new employees into your culture will increase their engagement and productivity and lower your turnover."
Some mistakes to avoid: A fact here is that, developing a strong, consistent onboarding process takes time, and there are crucial mistakes employers should be aware of and avoid to make in order to make a new employee's initiation period successful.
Don't give new employees too much too soon. The first few weeks at a new job can be an overwhelming adjustment for an employee. You should not overload them with too much work before they're ready, said Deb LaMere, vice president of HR strategy and employee engagement at Ceridian.
Don't assume new hires understand everything. You should not expect an employee to pick up on all the nuances, buzzwords and procedures involved with their new job after one quick run-through. Jack Hill, director of talent acquisition solutions at PeopleFluent, reminded employers that even new hires with industry experience should be given the chance to digest all the information they're given.
Don't forget to measure the onboarding process. Just the same with any business process, measuring the results of your onboarding efforts is the key to improving it. For example, Minshew said that The Muse sends out a new hire survey after a month of employment to assess the effectiveness of their onboarding.
Continue the momentum: One major way to make sure your onboarding process doesn't end on the first day is to assign your new hire a mentor (other than their direct manager) to check in with them as they get settled. The mentor can use a company stipend to take the new employee out of the office for coffee or lunch, as well as check in with them throughout their first few weeks, Minshew said. "It means a lot for new hires to have a friendly face they feel comfortable talking to, and we've seen a lot of long-standing office friendships start this way," Minshew added. LaMere advised scheduling detailed training sessions in an employee's first week of work, as well as emphasizing and demonstrating the importance of open communication. "During the first few days of the new hire's onboarding process, [frequently] check in with them via email or, better yet, in person," LaMere said. "It could simply be a 'how's it going?' or even sending them company information or industry news until they are added to the distribution lists. The more you can communicate and share with the new hire in the first few days, the better the experience is for him or her." Onboarding is an ongoing process that should ensure engagement and involvement long after day one. "Today's employees are looking for immersive and interactive communication channels, content libraries, and more that continue the experience post-hire," Hill said. "Onboarding [goes] beyond just learning tools and paperwork, [and is] really seen as a part of career development." Thanks....

Sunday, 3 September 2017

The Seven Smart Budgeting Tips for Small Business Owners

Running a small business always means having small budget, too. With startup costs, loans and other expenses, it can be difficult to get your feet planted. According to Annie Scranton, owner of Pace Public Relations, businesses of all sizes experience financial fluctuation, so it's important to create and stick to a stable budget plan. "If you don't budget and save accordingly, you'll be in a bad way [if or when] your company takes a downturn or even has an off month," she said. "You have to account for slow payments, and budgeting can help alleviate the financial burden you may feel while waiting for a check to arrive." Before embarking on your journey in the business world, create a sustainable yet realistic budget for your company. So on this ground, experts offered their advice for small business owners looking to keep their finances in order
1. Define and understand your risks: All business venture has a certain degree of risk involved, and each risk could financially impact your company. Paul Cho, managing director of Headway Capital, said that small business owners need to consider their long- and short-term risks to accurately plan for their financial future. "How will changes in minimum wage or health care requirements impact your workforce?" Cho said. "Do you operate in a geography at high risk of a natural disaster? Do you rely heavily on seasonal workers? Understanding the potential risks facing you on a short- and long-term basis is important for all small businesses. Once you've mapped out the threats to productivity, a clearer picture can be built around emergency planning, insurance needs, etc." Scranton suggests listing your guaranteed income and expenses per month to understand your risks. "This is a great baseline to figure out how liquid your company really is," she said. "If you're making money, then you're able to at least set aside a portion for savings, or to go towards enhancing the company through new hires, expansion, etc."
2. Overestimate expenses: If your business operates on a project-to-project basis, you know that every client is different and no two projects will turn out exactly the same. Often, you can't predict when something will go over budget. "Every project seems to have [an extra] cost that was never anticipated," said James Ontra, CEO of presentation management company Shufflrr. For this reason, Ontra advised budgeting slightly above your anticipated line-item costs, no matter what, so that if you do go over, you'll be prepared.
3. Pay attention to your sales cycle: A large number of businesses go through busy and slow periods over the course of the year. If your company has an "off season," you'll need to account for your expenses during that time. Cho also suggested using your slower periods to plan for your next sales boom. "There is much to be learned from your sales cycles," he said. "Use your downtime to ramp up your marketing efforts while preventing profit generation from screeching to a halt. To keep your company thriving and the revenue coming in, you will have to identify how to market to your customers in new and creative ways." Scranton said if you know your business has slower times, you should have extra money in the bank during those months. "It's best to try to keep costs down even more in the off seasons and to have extra money saved in case the money coming in isn't as much as you had hoped," she said.
4. Plan for large purchases carefully and early: Some business expenses occur when you least expect them: a piece of equipment breaks and needs to be replaced or your delivery van needs a costly repair, for instance. However, planned expenses like store renovations or a new software system should be carefully timed and budgeted to avoid a financial burden on your business. "Substantial business changes need to be timed carefully, balancing the risk with the reward and done with a full understanding of the financial landscape you're operating within," Cho told Business News Daily. "An up-to-date budget and data-driven financial projections are important components that help guide when to make large investments in your business."
5. Save a set percentage of each check you cash: At some point, it might be tempting to splurge after a successful month or two, but always remember to save a portion of every check you cash. "Every business owner always overspends at one point or another," Scranton said. "You never want to be in a situation where you're spending more money than you have coming in." To avoid this, she advised saving at least 30 percent per check to account for taxes and to accrue additional savings.
6. Remember that time is money, too: One of the biggest mistakes small businesses make is forgetting to incorporate their time into a budget plan. Ontra reminded business owners that time is money, especially when working with people who are paid for their time. "Timing underestimation directly increases costs," Ontra said. "Not only do you start to lose time to the delivery schedule, your team also loses momentum as their collective thought shifts focus to another project." Ontra recommended treating your time like your money, and set external deadlines later than when you think the project will actually be done. "If you believe the project will finish on Friday, promise delivery on Monday," he said. "So, if you finish on Friday, deliver the work early and become a star. If for some reason time runs over, deliver on Monday, and you are still a success."
7. Constantly revisit your budget: Your budget will never be static or consistent — it will change and come up with your business, and you'll need to adjust it based on your growth and profit patterns. Cho suggested revising your monthly and annual budgets regularly to get a clearer, updated picture of your business finances. "Regularly revisiting your budget will help you better control financial decisions, because you will know exactly what you can afford to spend versus how much you are projecting to make," Cho said. In addition, you should consider past market trends to help prepare yourself for the year ahead. From there, you can factor in emergency funds and unexpected costs, Cho added.