Wednesday, 30 May 2018

The Five Android Messages features you should start using now

First, as we all know. The Google Android Messages app is one of the finest ways to send and receive text messages. It's even ready for the future with RCS standard support and ample features. You might not even realize all the neat things you can do with Android Messages, so here are the five best.

1.Add a message subject: One thing here is that, standard text message doesn't have a lot of features, but there are some little-known tweaks you can make in Messages. Instead of just tapping Send, long-press it. That brings up two things in the compose field: You can add a title to your message by tapping in the new field and entering text. This makes the message behave like an MMS, but it should load normally on the recipient's phone as there's no photo or other media attached.

2.Archive old threads: After a few months, your text message list will probably be something of a mess, littered with threads you haven't touched in ages. Android Messages lets you get rid of them without really getting rid of them. You can archive old threads to get them out of the way, but still restore them if necessary. Just long-press to select multiple conversations and tap the archive button at the top of the screen. You can also swipe left or right on a conversation in the main list to archive it. Go to Menu > Archived to see those conversations and restore them if needed.

3.Block numbers: A serious fact here is...not everyone you encounter in life will be pleasant. Android Messages makes it easy to block your frenemies and spam numbers. Long-press on a conversation to select it, then tap the block button (circle with a strikethrough) at the top. This prevents messages and calls from that contact from going through.

Note: Blocking a contact deletes the conversation, so don't block someone if you'll need to see the thread again later.
If you want to remove a block, go to Menu > Blocked contacts. Tap the X next to the contact you want to unblock to receive messages again.


4.Attach money, locations and more: I hope you probably know that Android Messages lets you add stickers and photos to a conversation, but there's more hiding in that menu. Tap the plus button in a conversation, and you get a list of stickers and other fun stuff. Scroll down, and you'll get to the good stuff. You can add your location, a voice note, and even send or request money via Google Pay. You need to grant location access to enjoy these features. Note, too, that Google Pay works in one-on-one conversations only after you've set up the Pay app.

5.Use the widgets: If it happens that SMS is still your primary way of communicating with your contacts, using an Android Messages widget can be a real timesaver. There are no settings in the app to clue you into into the widgets' existence, but you'll find it in your home screen widget list. There are actually two different widget options: one that shows the most recent message in all your conversations, and another that shows a single conversation of your choice. The single conversation version also has a pop-up composition box to send new messages.

This story, was originally published by PCWorld.

Saturday, 26 May 2018

You're Being Sued: A Major Guide to Handling a Business Lawsuit

Now.... it may sound that you hoped it would never happen, but in the back of your mind, you knew it could: Your small business is being sued. Now what can you do?
Now whether it has been filed by an employee, client, vendor or even another business, a lawsuit against your company will likely cost you a lot of money, whether you win or lose. It's normal to feel overwhelmed, upset and indignant, but if you want to keep your business and its reputation intact during this time, it's important to handle every step of the process carefully.
So on this note, you got all the words from some legal, human resources and insurance experts here. which you need to compile a step-by-step guide to help yourself pass through a lawsuit, along with critical mistakes to avoid along the way. Please note that this article does not replace professional legal counsel, and if your business is being sued, we urge you to consult an attorney before taking any action

Step 1: Review the case with an attorney: Here, the first thing you should do when you receive the suit papers is review them carefully with an experienced business lawyer. Attorney Braden Perry of Kennyhertz Perry advised checking the caption and service information on the lawsuit to ensure that it contains the proper entity or person associated with the issues. If this information is incorrect in any way, you may move to dismiss the action in its entirety, Perry said. If it is correct, you should proceed with reviewing the allegations and put a litigation hold, or preservation order, in place. This requires the company to preserve all data that may relate to the legal action.
"It is extremely important that you preserve all records that have any relationship to the case, no matter how tangential," said attorney Krishna Narine of Meredith & Narine law firm. "Such records include documents, electronic material, such as email and web pages, photos, videos and voice messages. If you have a document destruction policy, suspend it until you have consulted with your lawyer. In addition, if appropriate, take pictures and/or video and be sure to include identification of the time and date of those images."

DO NOT: Communicate directly with the plaintiff:
A large number of experts reminded business owners that anything they say regarding the lawsuit can be used against them. For this reason, you should not attempt to contact the plaintiff before you've thoroughly reviewed the suit. From there, all communications with the opposing side should be conducted through your law firm and the plaintiff's.

"Once a lawsuit has been filed, you should not communicate with the plaintiff at all," said John R. O'Brien, a Chicago-based attorney. "The time for talking things out and resolving issues amicably ended when they filed suit, so all communication should be through your company's attorney.

If the plaintiff is someone that you must communicate with – a current employee or another company that you have an ongoing business relationship [with] – you should make clear that you will not discuss the lawsuit with them."


Step 2: Inform your insurance provider of the complaint: A variety of business insurance policies are in place to cover companies in the event of a lawsuit. Ted Devine, CEO of online small business insurance agent Insureon, said third-party injury claims and accusations of defamatory remarks about a competitor are typically covered by general liability insurance. Client allegations that your work caused them a financial loss are often covered by a professional liability policy. Suits from employees may be covered by employment practices liability insurance or employer's liability insurance, which is included in some workers' compensation policies.
"Should the suit fall under the umbrella of what your policy covers, it's common for your benefits to pay for attorneys' fees, court costs and any settlement or judgment you're found liable for paying," Devine said.
If you believe one of your current policies covers the suit, get in touch with your insurance provider as soon as possible.
"Most insurance policies needs that suit papers be promptly forwarded to the insurer ... to preserve any insurance coverage," said David Turner, a partner at Schulten, Ward & Turner. "If the suit is covered, the insurer or counsel retained by the insurer will defend the lawsuit."
Turner noted that companies should keep their general counsel advised of any claims against them, even if an insurance company is involved in defending the case.

DO NOT: Assume your insurance will cover the suitCertain types of lawsuits may indeed be covered by a general liability policy, but do not operate under the assumption that this case is covered. Turner advised business owners to consult with their insurance provider to confirm whether or not the lawsuit is covered, as the specific circumstances of the suit may exclude it from the policy.

Step 3: Decide how to proceed and respond to the complaint:By the time you receive a lawsuit, you are issued a deadline to submit a written response to it, typically within 30 days, although this may vary from state to state. According to a blog post on the Foster Swift law firm website, your answer should include the following items:

Admittance or denial of each of the plaintiff's allegations.
Your defenses and counter/cross claims against the plaintiff or other defendants.
Whether you want a jury trial or an alternative resolution (e.g., an out-of-court settlement).
Before you respond, there are a few important things you need to consider.
"You need to understand the nature of the claims against you and the potential liability and exposure to your business so you can make a business decision on how to proceed with the case," said Jessica Gray Kelly, a partner at Sherin and Lodgen. "Litigation costs can rise quickly, so if the claim is only for short money, or there is a nonmonetary way to settle the dispute, that may be a better business option for the company."
Furthermore, Kelly recommended asking your lawyer to explain the litigation plan, potential exit strategies and estimated costs at different stages of the proceeding. You should also discuss whether it makes sense to propose alternative dispute resolution to the plaintiff.

"[Ask about] the pros and cons to proceeding with the lawsuit," added Merlyne Jean-Louis, a New York-based attorney. "Although you may not be at fault or have violated any laws, it is sometimes in the best interest of the business to settle."
Your level of insurance coverage may impact your options for resolution. If the claim is not covered, O'Brien advised finding out approximately how much it will cost you to both defend yourself and pay the ultimate judgment should you lose the case. He also said that counterclaims could work in your favor.

"Ask your attorney if there is a basis for a counterclaim against the plaintiff or a third party that might bear some or all of the liability," said O'Brien. "For example, if a customer is suing because a product was not delivered on time, or was defective, there may be a supplier whose delay in delivering materials or defective materials, caused the problem. Or the plaintiff may be filing as a defensive measure, knowing that they have some fault ... and may be simply trying to win the race to the courthouse."

Alternatively, you may wish to file a motion to seek an immediate dismissal of all or part of the complaint in lieu of an answer. A judge will then grant or deny the motion.
Finally on this note, regardless of what you decide, be sure to have an attorney check your response or motion before sending it to make sure you've addressed everything properly.

DO NOT: Ignore the suit: Here note that failure to respond to a lawsuit within the allotted time frame gives the plaintiff the right to file a Request for Default after another 30-day period. This means the plaintiff will win the case, and whatever judgment the court makes against you will be enforced.

Step 4: Find a defense attorney (if you don't have one) here now, if it happens that your company has a lawyer on retainer or your insurance carrier is providing an attorney, you won't need to take this extra step to find someone to defend your case. However, depending on the complexity of the case, you may want to seek out an attorney who specializes in the type of lawsuit you were served.

"You will want to retain counsel who is familiar with the type of claims alleged in the complaint, and if possible, who is familiar with the court in which the case has been filed," Narine said. "For example, defending a slip-and-fall case brought by a customer is substantially different from defending a defective-product case. This can be particularly important if a case is brought by an employee, as there are a wide variety of employer-employee disputes, some of which require very specific knowledge, such as employment discrimination cases."

Charles Krugel, a management-side labor and employment lawyer, advised doing thorough research and getting recommendations from trusted colleagues. From there, you can evaluate the quality of the attorney by asking questions such like:

Have you ever handled a case like this before?
How much can I expect to pay at the outset, and where will the money go – damages, back pay, front pay, legal fees?
Where is this case heading, or where can it go?
Do you have testimonials from former clients?

DO NOT: Stick with a poor communicator: As the same with any important business matter, clear, consistent communication is the key to ensuring litigation goes as smoothly as possible. Legal defense is expensive, so you want to make sure you're getting your money's worth in the form of a knowledgeable, forthright attorney. Krugel said to be wary of lawyers who won't give you a straight answer or attempt to withhold information from you.

"If a lawyer can't explain something to you in plain English, run away," he said.

Keith Dennen, an attorney with FarrisBobango, also noted that a good lawyer should provide you with frequent status reports as well as copies of all important pleadings and correspondence about the case.



During and after the case
The litigation process can be long and stressful, but here are a few pieces of advice to follow throughout the case and beyond.

Don't try to cover anything up. "Be completely honest with your lawyer about the facts, they will come out sooner or later, and it is better for your lawyer to be prepared for them than be caught by surprise." – Jessica Kelly

Be diligent and prompt. "Review the attorney's invoices promptly. Ask questions when you have questions. The more you delay in responding to the attorney's requests, the more it costs you." – Keith Dennen

Stay focused on your business. "Don't lose sight of the fact that you have a business to run and a bottom line to think about. Put aside any feelings of anger or pride. Oftentimes I hear clients say, 'We didn't do anything wrong, why should we pay this person?' The answer is that winning the case can cost a lot more than settling. You must make a calculation: Will the company be better off, financially, if it pays the plaintiff $20,000 than if it spends $30,000 to win the case? As the saying goes, 'A bad settlement is often better than a good trial.'" – John R. O'Brien

Protect yourself from copycat suits. "In light of any recent employment lawsuit, you should try as much as possible to take proactive steps to create an HR foundation that includes creating or updating your handbook; delivering anti-harassment and anti-discrimination training to all employees and management; creating a detailed complaint procedure that is published to all employees; and providing management training on dangerous areas, such as interviewing, discipline, and terminations. This will not only make an impression on the current case, but it could also stop later accusers in their tracks." – Joseph Campagna, owner of human resources consultancy My Virtual HR Director

Keep your head held high. "Do not allow a lawsuit rattle your entrepreneurial feathers. Remain calm and continue to work in your business's best interests."

Friday, 25 May 2018

Nvidia's Shield TV holds an overhaul with Android 8.0 Oreo

As at last year August, Google released a promising upgrade to its Android TV software, with a new interface that emphasized content over apps. Unfortunately, the only device that could run the software was the three-year-old Nexus Player, and the upgrade clearly wasn't ready for mass consumption.

That software is finally getting a chance to shine on the Nvidia Shield TV. Starting today, the speedy 4K HDR box will receive an upgrade to Android 8.0 Oreo, which introduces some drastic changes to how navigation works. (The update is rolling out gradually to both the first- and second-generation Shield, so owners may not receive it right away.)

With the Shield's previous software, a row of content recommendations appeared on top of the home screen, followed by a list of apps and another list for games. Android 8.0 Oreo removes the unified recommendations row, and instead allows each app to have its own space (or "Channel") for recommendations, enabling you to jump directly into content from the home screen. Those appear below a favorite apps list and a "Play Next" row that lets you resume watching videos or keep playing recent games. When I checked in on Android 8.0 Oreo last year, few app makers were supporting these content rows properly. Nvidia later told me it was holding off on deploying the software for this reason, as it tried to get more app makers on board. As at now, the company says that Channels are supported by Nvidia Games,YouTube, Netflix, Google Play Movies & TV, Vudu, Plex, Hulu, HBO Now, Showtime, Starz, Google Play Music, Twitch, Spotify, NBC, CBS All Access, Live Channels, Sling TV, and PlayStation Vue, among others. You can remove or reorder these Channels by scrolling to the left of the app icon and pressing the arrow button.

Nvidia also points out some other helpful remote control shortcuts such as:

Hold the home button to see all apps, or double-press it to see recent apps
Hold the back button for the Settings menu
Hold the select button on an app to move or delete it
Hold the select button on a video or game to add it to the Play Next row. (This row will still populate with new items automatically if you don't add anything on your own)

What matters here: One of the most interesting things about streaming TV devices this time around, is that none of them agree on what the ideal interface should be. Roku, for instance, puts almost all its emphasis on launching individual apps, while Apple TV swings in the opposite direction by aggregating content into a unified "TV" app. Android 8.0 Oreo tries to find a middle ground, with quick access to favorite apps on top and rows of content recommendations underneath. It's always been promising in theory, and now that it's rolling out to modern hardware, we're looking forward to seeing how it works in practice. Thanks for reading...

Are You an Astronomer? Prove Yourself Right or Wrong, Study These Images And Comment On Them to Prove Whom You Are

Are you an astronomer? prove yourself right or wrong, study these images and comment on them to prove whom you are

If you are an astronomer here is a challenge for you displaced by a person in the same field with you. Although it may be a minor thing for astronomers like you to show the real person they are but it's a test of knowledge so never let it down, so comment so you can be known and well proven but if you feel that it's more than what you know kindly meet with the challenger(Nida Malik) to put you through by sending her friend request on Facebook or you can call her.
Facebook name: Nida Malik
Mobile Number: +923134122558

Saturday, 12 May 2018

The Three Surprising Google Tools to Get Small Businesses Online Painlessly

As for the case of small businesses, an online presence is as important as having a sign over the door – customers won't be able to find you unless you make yourself known. And with 77 percent of Americans using a smartphone, the days of spontaneously wandering in and out of stores on Main Street are ending. Consumers operate with assassin-like precision now, analyzing and considering product reviews, customer comments and proximity before they even leave the house, let alone make a buying decision.

Alarmingly, 45 percent of small businesses still don't have an online presence, according to a CNBC/SurveyMonkey survey. These businesses, which include restaurants and retail stores, prefer to put all their energy behind day-to-day operations because they're afraid of technology. That's where Google comes in.
While you note all that, Mary Ellen Coe is the head of Google's small business marketing solutions organization, and it's a personal passion of hers to get local SMBs online and in the minds of consumers. Business News Daily sat down with her to talk about how to get past the fear and ultimately put more businesses on the web.
"It's a pretty inspiring mission for me to help small businesses get online and grow," she said. "If they're not online, their consumers can't find them."
There is a wide selection of Google products, like free in-person digital marketing seminars and a simple site builder that can get a basic business presence up and running in less than 10 minutes. Of course, Google isn't the only company ready to help small businesses get online, but its free educational resources are impressive

Basic online presence tools
Here "Google My Business" is the first and arguably easiest step for any small business without an online presence. By signing up and adding your business information, you can take advantage of a free Google listing. This means that your business will appear on Google Maps and Google's search engine even if you don't have a website. "Google My Business is just about being found; it's not an advertising product," Coe said. It has "the sole purpose of making sure that we can help these businesses get online and find their customers."

From here, Google provides tools to round out a business's online presence while keeping things simple. Its web builder is a fast way to get an actual webpage up and running. It includes important business contact information, like a phone number and address, and features photos of the business. Google offered this example of a San Antonio-based restaurant in a recent blog post.

For small business owners who aren't tech savvy or don't have time to fiddle with a content management system such as WordPress, this is a quick way to get a site with base-level functionality for users. Posts and photos are looped through your Google listing, and customers can even book appointments through your listing. The web builder and Google My Business are free, and the resulting webpage acts almost as an extension of your listing, not as a robust website.

Note: If you're a small business owner looking for more control and functionality from your website, you may want to consider other website builders. This basic presence may not offer enough bells and whistles for you, such as e-commerce features, video embeds or newsletter signups. But an upgrade to a full website may be step two in your business's online plan.


Online marketing and advertising tools
Google in addition provides a simpler version of AdWords for small businesses called AdWords Express, which incorporates automated features. This allows business owners to advertise online without getting lost in marketing language and concepts.

Business owners "are not doing marketing for a living," Coe said. "Their primary role is to run their business. So, it uses automated features to auto-create creative text, to be able to manage bids, to recommend a budget. [It's] all designed so you can get a campaign up and running in 15 minutes."

Google also offers YouTube Director Onsite, where the internet giant sends out content creators to shoot, edit and produce an ad for your business for as little as $350. That makes creating Local Services Ads quick and easy, which can provide service-based businesses with a pay-per-call ad program.

"Every business has a unique challenge," Coe said. "What they have in common is to really understand how can they get a better return on their dollar and how do they do that using a broader array of digital tools."


Educational tools
In addition to the SMB-focused services, Google has an extensive education and outreach program. It provides online education resources on the Google Small Business YouTube channel, but it also provides free in-person seminars and workshops with local businesses. These sessions, which are part of Google's larger business initiative Grow with Google, provide small business owners hands-on learning with Google tools as well as higher-level concepts like digital marketing.

"We'll do a broad awareness education and then digital skills training," Coe said. "It's a combination of making sure they know what's available to them and then a skills piece."

Other major tech companies, like Microsoft and Amazon, offer similar education programs. Microsoft provides small business owners with online learning resources as well as various workshops at Microsoft stores through the country. Amazon offers online training and resources for its AWS platform, as well as networking events for business owners. Amazon's events are geared more toward developers, while Microsoft's workshops mirror Google's.

And now, if you're ready to take those website-building skills to the next level, there are tons of other resources that can help you, both free and paid. For instance, Codeacademy offers both free and paid courses on programming and web design, and there are classes for all skill levels. Udemy features a library of curated tech and business courses taught by professional developers.

However, Google is one of the only major internet companies with a large, dedicated initiative for getting small businesses online. As part of the Grow with Google program, Google and Coe hope to connect with small businesses throughout the country, get feedback on its tools and talk with local business owners about the importance of being online.

Coe went so far to say that Google will partner with local chambers of commerce to work with businesses in a specific region. "If you can get people to try things, it's that trial, then they see the value in it. Connecting consumers with restaurants or coffee shops – any small business you can imagine – and bringing that to life … [business owners] tend to respond much more to how does it work for their own businesses specifically.

Bottom line
Google is always working with small businesses to provide tools that make it easier for customers to find the products and services they want. By helping more businesses get online, Google is laying a foundation for small business owners looking to grow their business locally.

While many business owners may not see the advantage of being online, Coe and Google hope to change that. In fact, 91 percent of customers have visited a store because of an online presence, and businesses that are online do 25 percent of their business over the internet. So, if you're lost and not sure how to go about getting your business online, Google may be the place to start.

"If they're operating in an offline world, they're not seeing the value of online," Coe said. "So many people use Google to find things themselves … [Some businesses are starting to] understand that value, and it's really been about how do you make the tools easier."

Friday, 11 May 2018

Google Assistant: 5 awesome features you should be using

Without doubt...Google has had voice search features in Android for years, but when Google Assistant rolled out on the Pixel in October 2016, everything finally came together. You can now get Assistant on all modern Android devices, and Google is constantly improving the platform with new features.
So on this note, it can be easy to miss the improvements if you don’t obsessively keep an eye on the news, so here they are in one place: the 5 coolest new features in Google Assistant.
1.Sync connected smart home devices: Google Assistant supports numerous smart home devices, but you might notice that devices you’ve just added to your account don’t always work right away. That’s because Assistant isn’t constantly scanning for new connections. You can give it a kickstart.

After adding a new smart home device like a camera or thermostat, open up Assistant and say, “Sync my devices.” Assistant tells you it’s syncing with your connected accounts, and a few seconds later any newly added devices will appear in your list. Make sure to add them to rooms in Assistant for full functionality.

2.Send daily info:In this regard, Assistant is great for calling up little tidbits like the weather, stock quotes, or even jokes. You don’t even have to ask every time, though. You can have Assistant proactively send you certain bits of information as a daily update.

To configure a daily update, start by asking your question normally—ask it for the weather, a dad joke, whatever. After Assistant pulls up the content, you can follow up with “Send this to me daily.” Assistant asks what time you want the update, and you’re all set. To change or cancel a daily update, just say, “See my subscriptions.”

3.Have Assistant remember things for you: Here you should note that, your squishy human brain is fallible, but Google Assistant can remember things without fail. All you have to do is ask it. You can tell Assistant to remember things just by saying “Remember that [some piece of information].” You could tell Google to remember where you parked, what you did with the spare house key, your high score in Tetris, or anything else. As a handy bonus, Assistant also saves maps when you tell it where you parked.

Later, you can ask Google to recall the information in various ways. You can be direct, like asking Assistant “Where did I park?” You can recall factoids you’ve saved with “What did I say about [x]?” or “Remind me about [x].”

4.Search your Google Photos uploads: Google Photos is a fantastic backup solution for all your snapshots. Google offers unlimited storage of images and videos, provided you’re okay with a little compression, and Pixel owners get free full-quality backups. Now if you want to look for specific photos you’ve taken, you can do it right from Google Assistant. All you have to do is ask.
Assistant plugs into the amazing search capabilities of Google Photos, so you can ask to see almost anything. You can ask Assistant to pull up pictures of specific people, locations, and even objects. Tap the image results to scroll through them immediately, or open Google Photos via the shortcut under your pics. Just make sure you preface your request with something like “my photos” to ensure you get images from your Google Photos library rather than images from a Google search.

5.Take and share screenshots: Here...you can capture screenshots on Android phones by holding the power and volume buttons, but Assistant can do it, too. In fact, it might be faster if you intend to share the screenshot right away. Open Assistant and say, “take a screenshot” or “share a screenshot.”

It takes a moment to capture the screenshot, but you’ll get a preview as soon as it’s done. Assistant then immediately brings up the sharing interface so you can send the screen to a message or upload it someplace. The screenshots taken via Assistant aren’t saved locally, so you won’t end up with clutter from repeated screenshot captures.

Friday, 4 May 2018

The four Google Translate tips you need to start using

Decades ago, Star Trek brought in the idea of a “universal translator,” a small baton that let crew members converse with aliens in their native languages simply by flipping a switch. And now we’re almost there thanks to Google Translate.
As the case may be, this app isn’t part of the pre-installed loadout on most phones, but it’s indispensable when you travel. It’s so overflowing with features, in fact, you might not even realize everything it can do. So here are the four most awesome and useful things you can do with Google Translate on your smartphone.
1.Download offline languages: To this regard, you won’t always have the best mobile data connection while traveling the world, so it’s a good idea to have an offline backup in Translate. The app can do basic translation without any internet access, as long as you remember to download the necessary files. To cache languages offline, open the navigation menu and tap Offline translation. The several dozen languages supported in offline mode include the biggies like Spanish, German, and French, along with Romanian, Icelandic, Greek, and more. In offline mode, you cannot do conversational voice input, but typing and camera scanning both work normally. You can even have translations read with text-to-speech.
2.Translate highlighted text: Starting in Android Marshmallow, the operating system gained support for custom text selection actions. Google Translate plugs into that feature via Chrome, so it’s a snap to translate any block of text you happen to come across. All you need to do is, just highlight it, tap the menu button in the popup, and select Translate. The translation of your selected text appears in a floating box at the top of the screen. The source language should be detected automatically and translated into your default language. There’s also a New translation button if you want to translate more text without leaving the popup.
3.onversation mode: The main Translate UI has all the tools you need to translate a quick word or phrase, but there’s a separate mode if you need to actually carry on a conversation. You can enter conversation mode by tapping the microphone icon at the bottom of the main text box. A long this line,there’s a handy popup with instructions accessible via the hand icon at the top of the conversation screen. It explains the situation to the other person in their language. Conversation mode goes back and forth between the two languages: You speak, the app translates, the other person speaks, and the app translates for you. By default, Translate listens for one language at a time, but there’s a button in the middle that sets the app to listen for both languages. That offers a more natural experience, provided you can avoid talking over each other.
4.Live visual translations: Several years ago Google acquired a firm called Quest Visual to get its hands on the company’s augmented reality text translator called Word Lens. That technology is integrated in Translate, allowing you to point your phone at a sign written in another language and get a live overlay in your own language. To open the camera translator, just tap the camera icon at the bottom of your translation text field. The language settings used here carry over from your main translation interface, so make sure to pick the right language before pressing the button. If you have the original language saved offline, then you can get instant translations—the translation is just overlaid on the live image with a matching background color. If not, you have to take a picture of the text and let the app translate it.

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

How to Create a Successful (and Legal) Internship Program

Businesses hire interns to share their field experience with newcomers, get entry-level and administrative tasks done, and help students get the real-world experience they need to be successful. Regardless that these student employees often work in exchange for stipends or academic credit, employers need to be careful: Interns do not equal free labor, and if you're thinking of welcoming interns into your office, there are a few key points to consider before you make your first hire.
So on this ground here are some things legal and HR experts said about providing a beneficial, legally compliant experience for your interns in a for-profit setting.


The pay question: What duties are being performed? Pop culture (based on many real-life stories) makes it seem like interns' lives revolve around making copies, standing in long lines to get everyone coffee, and answering their boss's phone calls in the middle of the night, all without a single penny in return. However, there are tasks that an intern could be doing that would categorize them as an employee – which would mean legal entitlement to compensation.

The decision of whether to pay an intern is largely based on what the intern is doing. Adam Kemper, a labor and employment attorney for the Greenspoon Marder law firm, said there needs to be a distinction between interns' duties and a typical employee's duties if you don't intend to pay them.

"On a day-to-day basis, what is the intern doing?" Kemper said. "Shadowing? Running errands? Is he or she (working) independently or supervised?"

"Ensure that (an unpaid) intern is not performing work or taking on responsibilities that would typically be performed by a full-time employee," added Samantha Lambert, director of human resources at Blue Fountain Media.

If there's any doubt whatsoever about whether the worker should be classified as an intern or employee, Kemper advised sticking with "employee" and adding him or her to the payroll.

"What's problematic for companies is that they're having interns run errands, get coffee, buy things for (employees) – nothing educational," Kemper said. "If you want to have someone do that, treat them as an employee and pay minimum wage."

What tasks can an intern perform?If you have decided to pay your intern, that might change the way you structure your program. Paid interns who receive at least minimum wage and overtime pay for working beyond 40 hours per week can technically perform the work of your regular workforce. However, the Department of Labor has a very specific set of guidelines regarding what unpaid interns can and can't do.
If receiving academic credit is not a possibility or the intern is already out of school, Lambert noted, your company must comply with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). This means your internship program must be designed so your company does not benefit at all from the interns' work, and the experience should be for educational purposes only. The employer should aim to provide the intern with skills that can be used in his or her future career, rather than skills particular to its own operations.

A good way to make the experience educational is to talk to the intern about the differences between school and career and tie their education into their internship.

"Students can have an idealistic view of how their college course has totally prepared them for the full-time position," said Tim Elmore, president of Growing Leaders. "While I can remain very positive about the need for higher education, I always communicate how different an eight-hour workday on the job is compared to a school day on the campus. I talk about the practical value of soft skills … versus the classroom, which measures memorization and test scores."

Kemper advised thinking about the tasks you'd want an intern to do long before you begin searching for candidates. This way, you can clearly articulate the duties and learning experience an intern can expect from your company.

How long should an internship be?On this ground, there are no real rules about the minimum or maximum time frame of internship, but the Department of Labor states that internships "should be of a fixed duration, established prior to the outset of the internship." This means that you can't have someone working for you indefinitely as an intern.
Now....if an intern performs very well and you want to offer him or her a full-time position at the end of the internship period, you may do so, but it is illegal to offer employment from the outset. Any opportunity for the intern to become a regular staff member should only be discussed at the conclusion of the internship, Lambert said.

On a more practical level, Elmore said, an ideal internship should be four to six months long.

"Certainly we can make an impression on a young adult in less time, but real change (i.e., habits and attitudes) requires a longer period of time," Elmore said. "If habits require at least 21 days to form, professional lifestyles may require a few weeks to observe, then a few months to embrace.


Best practices for your internship program


Starting here, before you implement any kind of internship program, it's a good idea to have an employment attorney review your policies to make sure they're FLSA-compliant, Kemper said. From there, follow these key steps to make sure everyone gets the most out of the intern's time at your company

Spell out the policies and procedures for the internship and have the intern sign off on them. You should not let interns begin working for you until they review and sign a document clearly stating everything they need to know about the internship, Kemper said. At minimum, this document should state whether the internship is paid or not, how long it is, that there is no guarantee of employment after the internship, and, if unpaid, that the intern is not entitled to wages.

Structure the timeline of the internship. "This preparedness can help ensure that everything runs smoothly and on track as the program progresses," Lambert said. "Set up frequent check-in points and test-like evaluations to identify what's being learned and retained, and what areas need to be revisited and focused on."

Help interns understand their role and make them feel like part of the company. Now at the end of the internship, you should offer interns the opportunity to evaluate and share what they learned.

"Hold your team and company accountable to providing a good experience and close the feedback loop," said Sarah Nahm, CEO of applicant tracking system Lever. "Have an open-ended conversation to hear from the interns about what they enjoyed and suggestions for improvements."
Elmore added, "Give them time in your meetings … to share how they've made progress in their experience and what they've learned during their internship. This is key to helping them process what actually happened."