Friday, 22 December 2017

The SMB New Year's Technology Checklist

Now let say you've successfully closed out 2017. Resolutions have been made, and you might have raised a hopeful toast to a fresh start in the new year. Now that the holiday stress is over and the celebratory confetti has been swept away, it's time to handle a few technology-related tasks so you have a clear pathway to a successful 2018. Attending to technology issues now means you'll start the new year better prepared to achieve your goals, including those related to greater efficiency, productivity and reduced costs. Plus, the steps you take now can safeguard against unexpected technology expenditures. So while you take note of that, to reduce any baggage that could weigh your business down, we've created a basic checklist designed for managing the technology-related transition from 2017 to 2018.
1. Change your passwords: Do it right now. And don't ever use the same password twice. Changing your passwords is the single most important security step you can take for your business. Instruct your employees to change their passwords now, too. Better yet, use a password manager application to create and store strong passwords.
2. Clean your hardware: Nothing dampens the exhilaration of a fresh start more than working with dirty hardware. Clean your keyboard with compressed air and wipe down the screen and monitor with a static-free cloth. Replace the battery in your mouse and swap that old mousepad with a clean one. Consider replacing cords and cables that have begun to show wear, and tidy up everything behind the desk or table with zip ties or wraps. Now doesn't that feel better?
3. Give your printer some love: Remove, empty and clean paper trays to remove lint, bits of paper and dirt that might have accumulated. Go online and check for software updates issued by the printer manufacturer and download them. Carefully dust the exterior and interior components of the printer. If during your maintenance tasks you discover components in need of repair, now's the time to order and install replacement parts. Make sure you have printer cartridges and paper in stock, because your printer will be working harder than ever this year.
4. Update and upgrade your software applications: So many business owners postpone these tasks, and productivity often suffers as a result. Get this out of the way in January – you'll be more efficient and productive all year long. Run a security check manually now, and while you're at it, make sure your computers are set up to download security updates automatically. If your needs have increased since purchasing your current security and protection programs, upgrade to a more robust solution.
5. Out with the old, in with the new: Take time now to organize your digital files for 2018. Store those old digital files and documents in an archive file on your computer's hard drive, a portable backup and in the cloud.
6. Don't spend another year worrying about backups: When was the last time you reviewed your backup system? (Do you have backup system?) Correct any deficits now to protect your business and reduce worry in the event of a data breach, theft, natural disaster or other loss. The peace of mind that backup systems provide is priceless, and portable drives and cloud storage are cheap.
7. Update (or create) your company's technology inventory: An inventory will avoid unnecessary or duplicate purchases and can aid future budgeting and capital expenditure planning. In addition, you'll have an up-to-date list of all your technology assets in one place in the event of a loss. Log your company's owned and leased desktops and laptops, network hardware, printers, and mobile devices, including phones and tablets. You'll also want to identify serial numbers and models, who has possession of these assets, where the assets are located and lease refresh dates, if applicable.
8. Clear out the digital graveyard: Now is a great time to unload all of the old technology you no longer use. Get rid of old or broken hardware and peripherals by selling them to a tech recycler or simply haul them to the dump. (Remove and destroy hard drives first and follow local regulations for proper disposal.) If you have hardware or peripherals that still operate but haven't been used in years, donate them to a charity that could put them to good use.
9. Evaluate your current IT support: Whether your IT team resides in-house or is outsourced, take a look back over the past year together. Review what worked well and what didn't, and determine what your needs are in 2018. Address any deficits and make changes to outsource contracts or explore new outsourcing options as needed.
10. Create a new year's technology checklist for non-IT employees: Everyone has a stake in well-functioning tech tools. Clearly communicate what's expected of employees when it comes to prepping technology for the new year and maintaining the tech tools provided to them. Now is a good time to discuss the security of personal devices employees bring to work and use while on-site. Review your company's policies, especially if employees have company data stored on their smartphones or other personal devices.
11. Make an appointment with your business insurance agent: If you don't have business insurance, you really should reconsider. Speak with an agent about the policies you should have. If you have a home-based business, you should know that homeowners insurance usually won't cover business-owned equipment losses. If you have business insurance and you've purchased new computer gear or other tech devices in 2017, make sure these items are included in your policy. Also, review your current coverage to make sure you're adequately covered.
12. Meet with a tax professional in early January, if possible: Currently there is the potential for significant, wide-ranging changes to the tax code for the 2018 tax year. It's crucial that you get the straight scoop about new business tax implications from a knowledgeable professional as early as possible. While there's no way to know for certain what these changes are or what might be needed from a compliance standpoint, it's possible that new tax laws might influence the timing of planned technology investments.

Thursday, 21 December 2017

Some key things you should know about the Samsung Galaxy S9

In one sense it might seem like the Galaxy S8 just arrived, but we’re already looking ahead to the S9. Samsung blew us away with the Infinity Display and all-glass design of the S8. Expectations are high for S9, as the highly anticipated smartphone sets the stage for the rest of 2018 flagships to follow. Here’s are some key things you should know about Samsung’s next Galaxy phone:
Galaxy S9 design: Samsung made a splash with the 18:9, slim-bezel design of the Galaxy S8 and S8+. Rumors suggest the S9 won’t stray too far from that formula. As serial tipster Evan Blass pointed out on Twitter, this is a “tock” year for the Galaxy S, meaning it will likely focus on performance enhancements rather than physical changes. Code-named Star 1 and Star 2, according to Blass, other reports have suggested that the top and bottom bezels could be trimmed, but otherwise the front of the device will likely look very similar to the S8's. The rear of the device will be quite a bit different, however. The placement of the fingerprint sensor was one of the biggest pain points with the S8, and according to /Leaks, Samsung is expected to move it below the camera with the S9. There may be a new color as well: Sammobile recently reported that the new phone will come in the usual black, gold, and blue variations, with a deep-violet option replacing orchid gray. Enthusiast site 91Mobiles published a set of factory CAD renders of the S9, and the images match up very well with the rumors we've seen so far. Bottom line: few visual changes, but still a beauty.
Galaxy S9 specs and OS: One thing to be noted for sure about the Galaxy S9 is that it will sport the Snapdragon 845 chip. Recently unveiled by Qualcomm, this is the follow-up to the Snapdragon 835 that debuted in the S8 and powered every Android flagship in 2017. Once again, the chip was co-designed with and will be manufactured by Samsung, so there’s a good chance the S9 will once again be the exclusive launch phone. Along with a speed and power efficiency boost, the 845 chip includes a dedicated AI chip, which could provide a boost to Samsung’s Bixby assistant. The chip also includes a Secure Processing Unit for biometric data and payment info, which will work in conjunction with Samsung Knox to make the S9 even more secure. Samsung has also announced that production has started on a 512GB storage chip, but it's unlikely that will end up in the S9. Samsung shipped the S8 with just 64GB of storage, so it's unlikely to jump all the way to 512GB. However, a 128GB model is a possibility. Elsewhere, leaked renders published by China-based site show the buttons and ports will likely stay the same (though we're hoping Samsung lets us change the dedicated Bixby button), including the 3.5mm headphone jack, thankfully. On the OS side, a beta version of Samsung Experience 9.0 based on Oreo is already making the rounds, bringing notification channels and autofill along with some Samsung-specific tweaks such as Edge lighting and new clock widgets. We can assume the S9 will ship with this new version.
Galaxy S9 features: To start with here, biometrics were a big deal on the S8 (the placement of the fingerprint sensor notwithstanding), and Samsung may be upping the ante with the S9. Smartphone supplier Synaptics has announced that it has begun mass production on its new Clear ID in-display fingerprint technology with a “top five OEM.” That could very well mean it's bound for the S9. There have been rumors for months that Samsung has been testing fingerprint scanning under the glass, a feature Apple reportedly scrapped from its iPhone X. While this seems to contradict reports that there will still be a fingerprint sensor on the rear of the device, it's possible that Samsung will offer both options in the S9, with the in-display scanner serving as more of a next-generation beta feature. The rumor mill has all but confirmed that the S9 won’t have a Face ID-style depth-sensing facial scanner, but it will have improved 2D facial scanning, reports Business Korea. Furthermore, the Korea Herald reports that Samsung will be upping the megapixels on its iris sensor from 2MP to 3MP, which will make it able to "better recognize users’ irises even when they wear eyeglasses, move their eyeballs or are in a too dark or too light environment." Additionally, the report says Samsung is tweaking its biometric software to be more accurate.
Galaxy S9 camera: When the Galaxy Note 8 landed with Samsung's first dual camera array, we naturally assumed it would be making its way into the S9 and S9+. That might not be the case. Rumors and schematic leaks suggest that the smaller S9 will be retaining the single camera, while the S9+ will be getting a dual camera, just like Apple differentiates its iPhone models. Furthermore, claim that the main camera on both phones will sport an f/1.5 aperture, wider than the Note 8's f/1.7 and the LG V30's f/1.6, which would help with low-light situations.
Galaxy S9 release: VentureBeat reported that Samsung would be giving out a sneak peak of the Galaxy S9 at CES this year, much earlier than usual. However, a spokesperson dampened those expectations a bit by saying "it is unlikely" that the new phone will make an appearance at the show. That's not a definitive no, though. It's more likely that Samsung will stick to its usual late-winter, early-spring timeframe for the release of the S9. Last year it skipped Mobile World Congress in favor of its own event on March 29, but Sammobile claims that Samsung will once again launch its flagship phones at the Barcelona event.
This story, was originally published by PCWorld.

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Choosing Between Job Offers? Your Four Tips for Making a Decision

You're hunting for a job, and you have been interviewed for several positions you are qualified for. Soon enough, the offers start rolling in, but you're torn about which one to choose. Between salary, benefits, company culture and career advancement possibilities, there's a lot to consider. Now on that ground, having multiple offers is an enviable position to be in, but it's not so uncommon, said Margaret Freel, corporate recruiter at TechSmith, a business and academic software company. So if you're debating between two or more offers, here are a few tips to help you make your decision.
1. Determine your priorities: First, you need to consider your priorities – such as location, certain job duties or overall lifestyle – and how well each job would accommodate them. "It's best to start your job search with a list of what you want in the new job," said Jason Dukes, business coach and founder of Captain's Chair Coaching. "So once you begin to receive offers, you can compare the jobs to your list to see which one best fits your criteria, and then choose." Maritza De La Cruz, senior bilingual staff recruiter for Combined Insurance, stressed the importance of a holistic approach to examining a job offer. In other words, don't just consider the money. "Review each opportunity as a whole package in terms of location, salary, benefits, 401(k), medical insurance cost/coverage, bonus, equity," De La Cruz said. "I think it is extremely important that applicants look at company culture fit, financial stability and whether the company empowers you to grow professionally." Most importantly, said De La Cruz, assess how confident you are that you complement the existing team.
2. Consider the potential workplace: One big thing to know here is that, the company culture and type of people you work with will affect your day-to-day and long-term job satisfaction. How happy you'll be overall is the single most important factor to consider, said Joanie Spain, career advisor at Indiana University's Jacobs School of Music. Freel agreed that, you can learn a lot about how a company operates and treats its employees just from the interview and offer process. "Use your own intuition with things that give you pause for concern. That's an excellent internal barometer to consider in these situations," Freel said. "It's important to not jump to conclusions, though, as well. If there's something you're unsure about, ask questions and see how they answer."
3. Decide within a reasonable timeframe: Regardless that the phone call notifying you of a job offer may seem urgent and intimidating, don't feel pressured to say yes or no on the spot. De La Cruz recommends that candidates who have received a job offer decline or accept within two business days. "In my experience, if a candidate goes beyond that, the prospective employer starts sensing red flags in their mind," she said. Plus, if the prospective employer reacts impatiently to waiting two days for a decision, that is a reflection of the company's office culture, and you should take that into consideration while making your decision.
4. Be your own advocate: If it occurs that the company is putting pressure on you to accept an offer, explain that you would like more time and the reason why, said Freel. If the company truly values you for that position – as opposed to just wanting to fill the position with whomever it can find – it will allow a reasonable amount of time for you to make a decision. "If [they don't], then you may have your answer about how they treat quality candidates," Freel said. Thanks for reading.

Monday, 11 December 2017

The 14 Great Examples of Socially Responsible Businesses

Most of today's consumers care about more than just the quality of your products. They are paying attention to what your company supports, how you create your products and the impact you have on the environment. While you take note of that, it's important to consumers that companies demonstrate corporate social responsibility. In fact, a 2015 Neilsen survey found that nearly two-thirds of global consumers are willing to pay more for sustainably made products. Customers want to know that their money is going toward something good. Many businesses will advertise charitable initiatives, such as annual fundraisers for a cause or a volunteer project their staff worked on. But consumers love companies that weave social responsibility into their entire business model. Still on that ground, here are the 14 examples of organizations that put social good at the heart of their business.
1.Accessibility Partners: Many people take their computers, smartphones and tablets for granted, but for those with disabilities, using these technologies can present significant challenges. Accessibility Partners works with private and public information technology manufacturing companies, federal agencies and other organizations to test and review products that make IT accessible to individuals with disabilities. More than 70 percent of the company's employees have disabilities themselves, so the company promotes disability advocacy in all of its operations.
2.Bravelets: When Stephanie Hanson learned her mother had breast cancer, she tried to put on a brave face. She wanted to create something for her family to remind them to be courageous in the wake of this cancer diagnosis. That's when she created Bravelets. Its mission is to help people be strong during tough times. They achieve this by selling jewelry with the words "Be brave" etched on it. The company donates 10 percent of each sale to a cause you select at checkout. Some causes Bravelets supports include the Cure Alzheimer's Fund, the National Alliance on Mental Illnesses, the Lung Cancer Alliance, the American Cancer Society, Anxiety Awareness, the National Autism Association and much more. To date, Bravelets has donated about $3 million to different charities.
3.Children Inspire Design: Artist and mother Rebecca Peragine began selling her whimsical wall art, cards and posters to promote environmental education for children. In addition to using recycled materials, eco-friendly inks and biodegradable packaging for Peragine's original designs, Children Inspire Design sells handcrafted paper ornaments made by a women's cooperative in Mexico as well as a special poster whose full proceeds go to support the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrtition.
4.The Elephant Pants: As seen on "Shark Tank," The Elephant Pants sells pants, accessories, cardigans and dresses made in Chiang Mai, Thailand, by a team paid twice the minimum wage. Most products are made with bright fabrics with elephants printed on each item. The company donates one dollar for every product sold, and has donated more than $145,000 to organizations dedicated to saving elephants since it was founded in 2014.
6.The Giving Keys: As a "pay it forward company," The Giving Keys employs people who are transitioning out of homelessness and provides full-time jobs at a living wage. With each job, the company offers benefits as well as paid time off for housing, education and case-management appointments. The company sells jewelry with an inspirational word engraved on the item, such as "Dream," "Create," or "Inspire." The Giving Keys encourages people to embrace their word and then pay it forward by giving the product to someone who needs the message. 7.Headbands of Hope: After a life-changing internship at the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Jessica Ekstrom wanted to continue helping children with life-threatening illnesses by starting her own business. Her company, Headbands of Hope, sells made-in-the-U.S. headbands. For every headband sold, it donates 10 percent to childhood cancer charities and gives a headband to a child with cancer. HOH has donated headbands to every children's hospital in the United States.
8.Juntos: This ethically conscious fashion startup designed a shoe inspired by traditional Ecuadorean canvas shoes. For each pair sold, Juntos donates a supply-filled backpack to an at-risk Ecuadorean child to help him or her participate more fully and effectively in school.
9.Krochet Kids: Years ago, three high school friends with a shared love of snow sports learned to crochet their own headwear. Though they sold custom creations to classmates, Krochet Kids fizzled out when the guys went to college – until they realized teaching their skill in developing countries could help break the cycle of poverty. The company earned its nonprofit status in 2008, and today, Krochet Kids is helping more than 150 Ugandans and Peruvians earn a fair wage through the sale of crocheted goods.
9.Love Your Melon: Love Your Melon's mission is to give a hat to every child in America who is battling cancer and to support nonprofit organizations researching a cure for pediatric cancer. The company sells hats and scarfs, and donates 50 percent of their profits to cancer research initiatives. The company has donated more than $2.8 million and 120,000 hats since it was founded in 2012.
10.Out of Africa: Customers of cosmetics company Out of Africa do more than just purchase high-quality shea butter skin care products; they also help improve the quality of life for West African women and children. A portion of Out of Africa's proceeds is donated to organizations that provide education and medical care to children, and the company regularly donates to women's cooperatives that create jobs in West Africa.
11.Prime Five Homes: Homes built by Prime Five Homes aren't your typical houses. Each of these modern, sustainable homes is equipped to use less energy, gas and water, so buyers know they're moving into a property that's better for the environment. A portion of all sales goes to the company's nonprofit arm, the Dream Builders Project, which provides services and monetary donations to select charities.
12.Rainbow Light: Founded in 1981, Rainbow Light started out selling spirulina nutritional supplements to health-conscious consumers. In addition to expanding its line of natural supplements, the company has been committed to improving the health of its customers, trade partners, global community and the planet. As part of its Circle of Care initiative, Rainbow Light helps fight global malnutrition with its supplements through Vitamin Angels, a nonprofit that delivers vitamins to at-risk mothers and babies. It uses 100 percent recycled and recyclable BPA-free packaging. Rainbow Light has donated more than 40 million prenatal tablets since its inception.
13Sand Cloud: Sand Cloud is a beach lifestyle company that sells beach towels, blankets and other accessories. Founded in 2014, Sand Cloud donates 10 percent of profits back to marine life preservation. It has partnered with nonprofits such as the Marine Conservation Institute, the Surfrider Foundation, the Pacific Marine Mammal Center, San Diego Coastkeepers and the Hawaii Wildlife Fund.
14.Wanderer Bracelets: Wanderer Bracelets sells products that are hand carved in a hut in Bali by local artists. Since the company was founded in 2014, Wanderer Bracelets has created jobs for more than 150 people living in Bali who are paid three times the local standard wage. Each bracelet is created with all-natural, repurposed water buffalo bone.

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Some Resume Tips to Help You Land a Job in 2018

Simple ways to stand out: Your resume is often the first and sometimes the only thing a prospective employer looks at when deciding whether or not to interview you face-to-face. Smart job seekers understand how important it is for resumes to make good impressions, since most hiring managers spend mere seconds assessing this document. That's why it's important to find the right balance of information: You want to put enough to prove that you're qualified, but you don't want to bore the hiring manager with pages of useless bullet points and details. If you want to spruce up your existing resume to compete in the job market, we have rounded up some of the best expert resume tips to help you land an interview.
Check for errors: On this note, make sure you triple-check your own work, and then have someone else look over your resume to ensure it's 100 percent clean. There's no room for sloppiness on your resume, said Obeid – a hiring manager might automatically dismiss your application if they spot a typo or grammatical error. "Make sure it's error-free and easy to read. HR reps equate typos and errors with laziness," Obeid said. "Use good English – the written word has a huge impact on the employer." However, typos aren't the only type of mistakes to watch out for. "Candidates often submit applications addressed to the wrong employer or even outline irrelevant experience to the role," explained Yao. "Most employers are realistic about that fact that you've likely applied to other jobs, but they are looking for evidence that you are seriously interested in the role and care enough to put something cohesive together. Receiving a resume that's crafted and addressed to someone else (or worse, a competitor) can be a huge turnoff and will set a negative tone even if they do choose to continue reading your applications."
List your social media profiles: Most of the hiring managers today search for potential candidates on social networks. Save them a step by providing your profile links on your resume. Seasoned applicants with an existing professional social presence would do well to include URLs for their LinkedIn profile, Twitter account and blog, if applicable. "If, and only if, your social media accounts are filled with professional posts pertaining to your industry, listing them on your resume can be advantageous," said Richie Frieman, author of "Reply All … and Other Ways to Tank Your Career" (St. Martin's Griffin, 2013). "They can show you have a strong network and are up to speed with modern-day marketing and communications practices. The hiring manager will see that you like to keep up with what's happening, and that you care about learning more."
Use the right language stand out: Trite, lackluster descriptions of your job duties and accomplishments won't do you any favors when you're writing a resume. In this sense, make sure you're using strong, action-oriented words like "achieved," "created," "improved" and "managed" to describe your roles and projects, said Sade. This, he said, will make you sound confident while still imparting vital information. "Words such as 'professional,' 'results-driven' and 'detail-oriented' provide very little helpful information," Sade said. "It's better to use actual job titles than these words." Diya Obeid, founder and CEO of applicant tracking software JobDiva, agreed, noting that you should remove buzzwords like "best of breed," "go-getter," "team player" and "go-to person" from your resume.
Think beyond your job duties: One thing you should know here is that, hiring managers don't want to read a list of your daily routine. They want concrete examples of the accomplishments you've made in previous positions. Rangel noted that listing specific merits, rather than just your experiences, is more engaging to read. For example, "I have reduced operating expenses by 23 percent in six months" is far more interesting to an employer than "I have 30 years of sales experience," as Rangel said. Similarly, Cheryl Hyatt, CEO of Hyatt-Fennell Executive Search, advised including any promotions or recognitions you've received since your last resume update. "Integrate recent achievements and awards into the existing format," Hyatt said. "Conversely, it may be time to trim off items you listed previously that are no longer relevant to your focus." You shouldn't ignore your skills section either. Sade reminded job seekers to list any industry-relevant apps or programs they're familiar with, as well as find ways to incorporate examples of their soft skills (e.g., work ethic, multitasking, reliability) into their job descriptions.
Optimize your text: Now, if it happens that a company is using an applicant tracking system (ATS) to collect and scan resumes, a human hiring manager may not ever even glance at your application if it doesn't fit the job criteria they've entered. Trish O'Brien, vice president of human resources at Caliper, emphasized adapting your resume to the position to increase your likelihood of passing the first level. "Make sure you've carefully reviewed the posting and ... [used] the appropriate keywords in your resume to get past the screener," O'Brien said. "Be truthful, but understand that the first pass on your resume is likely via an ATS." "Customize your resume for every single job application," added Dana Locke, certified professional resume writer (CPRW) and manager of the resume and research departments at Impact Group.
Craft a career snapshot: very recently, career experts have urged job seekers to do away with the old "objective" statement and instead include a brief summary, called a "career snapshot," at the top of their resume. "With the career snapshot, you present a branding statement that briefly explains your unique value as well as your skills and qualifications. This would then be followed by a few bullet points that highlight your experience and your accomplishments," said Tomer Sade, CEO of Wise Data Media. "Whatever you list here should be relevant to the position you're applying to." "The top third of your resume is prime resume real estate," added Lisa Rangel, an executive resume writer and official LinkedIn moderator at Chameleon Resumes. "Create a robust summary to capture the hiring manager's eye.
Create a striking visual: Anytime you are creating your resume, avoid dull and tacky formatting. Go with a design that's pleasing to the eyes but also functional. In an interview with Business News Daily, Veronica Yao, a former recruiter and current marketing manager at HigherMe, stressed your resume should be readable and logically structured. "Think about the way a hiring manager would read your resume – starting at the top and ending at the bottom," she said. "However, if they don't finish reading the whole thing – and they often don't – you still want to ensure your strongest points come across.

The five ways the Snapdragon 845 chip will impact 2018 Android flagship phones

If you are thinking that this year's Android flagship phones were fast, wait until next year. Qualcomm has unveiled its next-generation chip, the Snapdragon 845, and it's more than just the next number in the evolution: It's a ground-up redesign of the platform's architecture. And it's sure to have a profound affect on next year's crop of premium Android handsets. Now, while the 835 was mostly focused on performance and speed, the 845 brings a slew of enhancements to how phones will use the processor for AI, photos, and, of course, battery life. We'll probably have to wait until the Galaxy S9 to see it in action—Samsung is once again the manufacturing partner—but once the new chip arrives, it will mean great things for mobile power users. Finally on this note, here are the five ways the new chip will impact future Android flagship phones:
1.Your data will fly: The architecture of the Snapdragon 845 is the same 10nm oct-core processor as the 835, so it's unlikely that the Galaxy S9 or LG V40 will bring much of a performance boost over the S8 and V30. Qualcomm says the 845 chip will bring 30 percent faster graphics than the 835, an impressive technical increase over an already powerful chip, but one that's not likely to be all that noticeable in real-world use. The real speed boost will come from the modem. The 845 uses the second-generation X20 Gigabit LTE modem, which supports for 1.2Gbps Gigabit LTE Category 18 as well as multigigabit 802.11ad Wi-Fi for even faster downloads. Of course, your mileage will vary depending on the network, but Qualcomm says the new modem will enable users to download a 3GB movie in less than three minutes over LTE.
2.They'll last longer: On this note, the 835 brought serious gains in battery life, with many phones using the chip easily making it through a full day of regular use. Qualcomm says the 845 will be 30 percent more power-efficient than the 835, which could push phones into a second day without needing to be charged. Qualcomm has focused on optimizing the chip's cores with the 845, so the processor will be able to delineate tasks intelligently based on power needs. As a result, video recording will utilize 30 percent less power. Thanks to the new Adreno Foveation system, which uses eye-tracking to determine which areas of the screen to fully render, graphics-intensive games and apps won't harpoon your battery life, either.
3.They'll be smarter: Last month, Huawei released the Mate 10 with a dedicated Neural Processing Unit, and the Snapdragon 845 isn't about to be outsmarted. The third generation of the neural processing engine will fully unleash Android phones' machine learning and AI capabilities. Qualcomm says the Snapdragon 845 will support AI frameworks such as Google's TensorFlowLite and FaceBook's Caffe2, as well as being optimized for newer networks. Using a new Hexagon Digital Signal Processor, the chip will be three times faster with AI performance, meaning phones will be more efficient and use less power for common and repetitive tasks. It'll also use a low-power audio subsystem for digital assistants, so talking to your phone all day won't kill your battery.
4.Your pictures and video will be even better: The cameras on our smartphones only do part of the work when it comes to taking pictures. If you don't know, much of the heavy lifting is handled by image signal processors. Qualcomm's Spectra 280 ISP has been greatly improved in the Snapdragon 845. Instead of enhancing the resolution, which has pretty much been maxed out on smartphones, the new chip focuses on color volume, meaning photos will be richer, deeper, and more accurate than before. The new chip will be able to take better photos in low light, thanks to multi-frame noise reduction, faster auto-focus, and accelerated image stabilization. The ISP will also enable better portraits with depth-based face recognition. On the video side, the chip will enable ultra HD premium video capture for 4K 60-fps video, as well as 720p 480-fps slow-motion video capture.
5.Security will be locked down: Like Apple's Secure Enclave, Qualcomm is is bringing to you a Secure Processing Unit on the Snapdragon 845 that will keep your data from falling into the wrong hands. With its own dedicated processor, the SPU will set up a "secure island" to protect fingerprint, iris, and face biometric scans. The secure chip will also store payment information and SIM card data for ultimate peace of mind.
This story, was originally published by PCWorld.

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

The Nine Part-Time Jobs with Benefits

Employee benefits are all the time a major reason why workers choose a given company. A high salary and good culture don't always cut it – employees want basic coverages like health insurance and 401(k) plans, as well as other useful perks. At some companies, only full-timers who work at least 40 hours a week are eligible for benefits. However, some employers extend this option to their part-time staff. So on that note, here are nine companies that offer great benefits to part-time workers.
1. REI: At REI, all full- and part-time employees are eligible for an annual incentive plans. Those who work over 20 hours a week also qualify for the REI Flex Plan, where they choose from various medical plans for themselves and their dependents. The company covers most of the medical plan cost and all the basic life and disability plans. There are additional options like like vision care, orthodontia and long-term care coverage as well. For those who work less than 20 hours a week, REI helps them to navigate the health insurance marketplace. They also offer employees discount programs (50 percent off REI gear and apparel, 30 percent off vendor merchandise and 10 percent off sale items), Yay Days (one day off every six months for outdoor activities), challenge grants (to put toward goals like climbing Mt. Everest), and tuition reimbursement toward higher education for those who plan on staying with the company.
2. Caribou Coffee: Caribou Coffee employees working at least 20 hours a week are eligible for medical, dental and vision insurance for themselves and their dependents. Those working at least 32 hours a week are also eligible for life insurance. In addition to these, any worker over 21 years old can participate in a 401(k) after 90 days of service. All members are given discounts on company products as well.
3. Costco: Although hourly part-timers at Costco must wait a little longer than full-time employees for benefit eligibility (180 days instead of 90), the national wholesale retailer offers a competitive package that includes health, dental and vision care, a 401(k) plan with employer contribution, discounts on prescription medication, child care assistance and life insurance. Employee premium portions or costs are withheld pretax.
4. Lowe's: Lowe's Home Improvement offers eligible part-time workers numerous benefits options that are available after 89 days of continuous employment. This includes preventive care medical, dental and vision insurance, and life insurance. The company also offers other benefits such as corporate wellness programs and learning and development programs.
5. Staples: Staples' plan for part-time workers includes limited vision and dental benefits, life and dependent life, accidental death, short-term disability, and a 401(k) plan.
6. Starbucks: All Starbucks employees, or "partners," working 20 or more hours per week are entitled to a specially tailored benefits package to fit their personal needs. Once a partner has worked at least 240 hours over a three-month period, he or she is eligible for comprehensive health care coverage, discounted stock purchase options, 401(k) with match, educational savings and a time-off program. In a precedent-setting move for the fast-food industry, Starbucks also has a partnership with Arizona State University that allows all eligible U.S. employees to earn a bachelor's degree through ASU's online program, with full or partial tuition coverage. Regardless of the benefits chosen, all partners receive an in-store discount and one free pound of coffee, K-cup pack or tea tin per week.
7. UPS: On the UPS website, the company boasts offering "full-time benefits for part-time employees," from health care plans to tuition assistance. Additionally, a variety of insurance programs, flexible spending accounts and work-life balance programs are available to all UPS workers. Part-time employees can also take advantage of the UPS Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) or Earn and Learn, which provides up to $5,250 in assistance per calendar year with a lifetime maximum of $25,000.
8. Wegmans: Although Wegmans currently only operates in the northeastern U.S., it has consistently been named one of Fortune magazine's 100 best companies to work for since its founding in 1998. Based on its benefits program, the company has certainly earned its spot on that list: Health and dental coverage, spending accounts, adoption assistance, wellness programs and retirement plans are all offered to eligible part-time employees.
9. Whole Foods: Paid time off, health and life insurance, and stock option-retirement plans are just a few of the benefits offered to Whole Foods Market employees who work at least 20 hours a week and have completed a probationary employment period. In addition to a competitive compensation package, all employees receive a store discount of 20 percent or more.