Updated: More than 2000 flights canceled as Hurricane Florence arrives

first_imgPhoto: NASA Hurricane Florence has already been a major contributor to more than 2000 flight cancellations across the US as it delivers pounding rain and strong winds to the mid-Atlantic states.The downgraded category 1 hurricane started pummeling the Carolinas Thursday (US time), leaving hundreds of thousands without power amid warnings of dangerous storm surges and flooding.It made landfall Friday morning near Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, and was moving slowly westward.Storm surges of 10ft above normal levels had been reported by 11pm Eastern Time Thursday and remained a worry in some areas Friday.The biggest concern, however, was flooding triggered by heavy rainfall of up to 40 inches (10cms) in some areas.Doppler radar indicated winds near 70mph (110kmh) Friday with higher gusts and the storm had been further downgraded to tropical storm.“Gradual weakening is expected tonight,” the US National Hurricane Center said in its 5pm Friday update. “Significant weakening is forecast over the weekend and into early next week while Florence moves farther inland.”US airlines began the arduous process of canceling flights before the hurricane, initially feared to reach the US as a monster category 4 storm, arrived.SEE More pictures of Florence from space.Initial expectations were that it could affect flights into Charleston International. Officials at the South Carolina airport closed Charleston to all air traffic Wednesday evening, September 12. Closures were also announced for Fayetteville, Jacksonville and Wilmington.Florence also triggered cancellations at a far busier North Carolina airport: Charlotte-Douglas International (CLT).According to CLT, the North Carolina airfield is the sixth busiest airport in the world offering more than 160 nonstop destinations around the globe.CLT oversees more than 700 departures and landings each day and is served by seven domestic carriers and three foreign flag carriers.The airport is also American Airlines’ second largest hub and the second largest airport on the East Coast. What happens at Charlotte has a ripple effect throughout AA’s system.American said on Thursday it had canceled 820  flights from September 12  to September 16.The US Federal Aviation Administration late Wednesday issued advice to travelers warning of cancelations and delays in the direct path of the storm as well as in its aftermath.“Once Hurricane Florence makes ground fall, airports may be listed as “open” but flooding on local roadways may limit access to airports for passengers, as well as the employees who work for the airlines or at the airport,” it said.“As a result, every aspect of your trip to the airport, including parking, checking in, getting through security and boarding may take longer than usual.“As always, check with airlines about the status of your flight before you leave for the airport.” Major carriers provide flight status updates on their website.”Just how long the disruption will be is up to the extent of the havoc Florence sews in her devasting journey along the United States’ Middle Atlantic coastline.Here are websites for major US airlines:Southwest AirlinesDelta AirlinesUnited AirlinesAmerican AirlinesJetBlueAlaskaSpiritFrontierAllegiantlast_img read more

What HR Can Learn from Bill Gates

first_imgSHRM CEO, Hank JacksonBill Gates once said, “Microsoft is always two years away from failure.” This statement is a reminder of the competitive reality that businesses face and a powerful motivator to innovate. Judging from the company’s perch at the top of industry lists—second most valuable brand in the world, according to Forbes, and No. 34 on the Fortune 500—it’s safe to say the tech company has done its share of innovating since it was founded 40 years ago.Today, as HR professionals, we are called on to create and embrace this culture of imagination, while fostering smart risk-taking and developing a staff that stays one step ahead of the next disruption. To do this, we must continually re-examine some of the old ways of doing business. We must improve what is working and take a critical look at what is not. In an environment where we must innovate or fail, adapt or die, we must rethink even some of the most basic people management practices.This month, you will see this theme of looking at old things in new ways throughout HR Magazine. Click here to read more.last_img read more

How Google Geeks Party: After-Hours Images from Google I/O

first_imgA Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Related Posts All photos by Fredric Paul, taken with a Samsung Galaxy Nexus smartphone. Entertainment was provided by Train and Paul Oakenfold, but besides the bars (complete with Android beer taps), there were plenty of other distractions and a host of noshables, including sloppy joes and tiny cupcakes. Other old-school amusements – including skee ball – were competing back-to-back with fancy flight simulators. But the longest lines seemed to be for this Android-themed mini-golf course: fredric paul The Google I/O Developers Conference is hardly a button-down affair. Even during the day, attendees sport more T-shirts than ties, more shorts than suits. And at night, after the “serious” business is done, the 6,000 attendees take tech to its funky party extreme. Check out these images of the scene.The Google I/O after-hours party was held in the same space as the keynotes earlier in the day. But the sober rows of chairs were replaced by high-tech spectacles, tech toys and gearhead games.center_img Diversions included giant metal alligators, mechanical bull riding contests, giant roller balls and golf simulators, plus flying robot battles. Perhaps the artiest touch was a huge metal sculpture of a face, with individual control stations for various parts, from eyes to lips. Tags:#Digital Lifestyle#Google#web Of course, it wasnt’t all fun and games. This machine gun was placed ominously near a bunch of more mainstream video games. Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

How to Own Your Startup’s Niche

first_imgscott gerber 3. Mind the Gap!When you describe your business to someone, they need to “get” it immediately. Beyond that, if your concept brings up a recent situation in which they could have used your service, you’ve really got something! In London, when you ride the tube, a recorded message comes on cautioning riders to “mind the gap.” This is because the gap is big enough to fall into! When you’re developing your offering, the solution needs to be in a space with a gap wide enough to fall into – and stay there. It’s almost impossible to base a business on doing exactly what the other established players are doing. Sure, a niche product isn’t going to be proven, but the opportunity to cause a splash is much greater. – Joe Cassara, You Need My Guy How to Make the Most of Your Software Developer… 4. Choose to Serve a Niche AudienceGiven the proliferation of companies and the easy cross-comparison on the Web, it’s very difficult to create an entirely new product or service. Therefore, I think it’s best to focus on making yourself the go-to person for a certain audience. That niche could be a profession like dentists, or a region like the Pacific Northwest, or a certain type of person, such as young professionals taking on greater responsibilities at home and at work. Whomever you decide to target, you want to become the No. 1 company in your market, and not lose focus by worrying too much about startups that target other audiences. – Elizabeth Saunders, Real Life E Related Posts Kickstarting a Stagnant Company There are a lot of consumer-facing Web startups out there—maybe too many. Now that it’s easier, faster and cheaper to launch a Web business than ever before, entrepreneurs are under increasing pressure to differentiate. Great design and even great service just aren’t enough anymore. The key is to establish a niche that’s narrow enough to own—but broad enough to support a successful business.To find out how startups today are leveraging their niches to stand out from the competition, we asked a panel of seven successful young entrepreneurs from the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) for their take: 1. Create a Blue Ocean StrategyThe best way to find the market and product offering that hasn’t been done to death is to analyze the existing products that are out there already. This means looking at the competition and cataloging what all of the existing Web startups have in common, so you can find ways to differentiate. The book Blue Ocean Strategy details how you can create a Strategy Canvas that allows you to map out the competition and find ways to differentiate in ways that make sense for your business. Don’t try to be different just for the sake of standing out. Really think through what you can eliminate, what you can add and how you can create a truly creative offer that helps more people. – Nathalie Lussier, Nathalie Lussier Media Tags:#start#startups 5. Rebrand Your Customer, Not Your ProductYour startup and business may start off as a niche. Over time, you can bet that competitors will enter, or may already be present. Therefore, startups should constantly analyze and frequently change their marketing campaign to maintain their niches. Bring about new ways to create the comparison. Some ideas include offering a free trial period, creating viral campaigns that allow users to engage with your product, and constantly building a niche market. The question is, “How do you maintain and build another niche market from your already existing one?” I don’t recommend changing your product. I suggest relabeling your customers; this may make users want to become more involved. Take airlines, for example; they created status levels to allow their users to compete and engage further. – George Mavromaras, Mavro Inc. | Praetor Global LLC What Nobody Teaches You About Getting Your Star… 2. Put Your Branding to WorkEstablishing a competitive niche is getting harder and harder every day, and consumers are paying less attention to comparisons between companies that do the same thing. They expect your product to work, and they expect your product to have all of the features and functions the next product does. What can help your startup stand out is spending time working on your branding. If you can connect with your audience on more levels than your competitors, you’ll ultimately be able to make it about consumers choosing your brand, not your niche. – Caitlin McCabe, Real Bullets Branding 6. The Power of InformationFinding a laser-focused niche is a main component to success online. To stand out from your competition, you need to become the authority in your market. There is no easier way to do that then to niche down to the most basic service or product offering. The easiest way to win over a client is for your site to show a level of expertise above and beyond that of the competition. However, if you offer too much your customer will seek other avenues of education (in the buying process). Offer just the right amount and they will commit to your offering. It is much easier to upsell a current customer then it is to gain a new one. – Roger Bryan, RCBryan & Associates 7. Let the Community SpeakA major way you can stand out from your competition is by allowing your customers to become a part of your organization. Give them a voice. Ask for their input. Engage with them as much as possible to make them feel special. If they’re comfortable with your brand, they’ll know who to keep coming back to in the future. – Logan Lenz, EndagonThe Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only nonprofit organization comprising the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. The YEC recently published #FixYoungAmerica: How to Rebuild Our Economy and Put Young Americans Back to Work (for Good), a book of 30+ proven solutions to help end youth unemployment. WordPress for Enterprise – How This Open-…last_img read more

iGoogle Users iMad About Planned Closure

first_imgGoogle’s plan to shut down the Google home page service is meeting with active resistance from iGoogle users who don’t want the cloud-based service to go away. The fracas serves as a useful reminder that cloud-based services exist at the convenience of their owners, not their users.Just before the July 4 U.S. holiday, Google announced a new round of seasonal “spring cleanings,” closing Web-based services the search-engine giant no longer deems necessary to support. Among the list of products to be shuttered was the collaborative home page flagship project iGoogle, as well as the now-obsolete Google Video service.Google’s Spring CleaningGoogle’s Matt Eichner, general manager of global enterprise search, laid it out on Google’s official blog July 3, highlighting five projects for Google’s self-proclaimed spring cleaning dustbin. iGoogle, along with Google Video, are by far the highest profile Web services getting chopped in this latest round.The stated reason for iGoogle’s demise was the success of the app-like interfaces within Google’s Chrome browser and the ChromeOS and Android platforms. The AJAX-based iGoogle used app-like widgets for users to organize and customize information on their iGoogle pages, and Google saw this as redundant:“With modern apps that run on platforms like Chrome and Android, the need for iGoogle has eroded over time, so we’ll be winding it down,” Eichner wrote.The company will give iGoogle users plenty of time to get their content set up on a similar homepage platform. The service will remain open until November 1, 2013. That is, of course, if angry users let Google shut the service down quietly.iAnger and iSurpriseThis particular service cancellation is ticking off a lot of users. The overall tone of the more than 1,000-post thread on Google’s Product Forums is one of stunned surprise following the announcement.“I am flabbergasted by Google’s decision to drop iGoogle. I have used it daily as my homepage since it’s initial launch and have no clue what I might use as a similar alternative,” wrote Sol O’Malee in an impassioned response.A similar number of respondents have also signed an e-petition on Change.org asking Google to save iGoogle.Where these users will go, is anyone’s guess, of course. There are similar services offered by MSN and Yahoo, but it seems clear that Google would rather iGoogle users stick with setting up similar feeds and apps on their Chrome browsers. It could also be possible that a similar form of app functionality might be coming to Google+, another landing spot Google would love to see get more traffic.No One Will Miss Google VideoGoogle Video, the company’s first foray into online video hosting – before the company purchased YouTube in 2006 – won’t see such protests. And there’s already a planned landing spot for Google Video users: YouTube itself. Anyone who doesn’t want their video content on YouTube will have a few weeks to remedy that by removing or migrating the content themselves.“Later this summer we’ll be moving the remaining hosted content to YouTube. Google Video users have until August 20 to migrate, delete or download their content. We’ll then move all remaining Google Video content to YouTube as private videos that users can access in the YouTube video manager,” Eichner outlined.Google Video had pretty much ceased being an active video hosting site in 2009, when it stopped accepting uploads and started focusing on video search technologies.More VictimsAlso included in this week’s purge:Google Mini, the small business edition of the Google Search Appliance.Google Talk Chatback, a widget that let website developers enable Google Chat with their visitors.Symbian Search App, a search app geared specifically for that mobile platform. Symbian users are encouraged to use the Web version of Google search.Google’s spring cleanings are becoming a bit of a tradition with the company as it seeks to shed the experimental “labs” atmosphere of its early years to focus on fewer products and more revenue generation. (Check out the Google Graveyard on Pinterest – courtesy of Microsoft.)But as iGoogle users are now learning, the cloud label isn’t just a cool moniker – sometimes it can describe the ephemeral nature of Software as a Service (SaaS) apps. No matter how useful a tool may be for the user, the future of a cloud app remains in the hands of the cloud owner.So this week’s shutdowns should come as a reminder that even the best-used services are not inherently immune to closure. No one expects Google to shutter Gmail anytime soon, but it could if it wanted to. Related Posts How Intelligent Data Addresses the Chasm in Cloud Tags:#cloud#Google Cloud Hosting for WordPress: Why Everyone is Mo…center_img brian proffitt Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Serverless Backups: Viable Data Protection for …last_img read more

How to Get More Followers on Instagram

first_imgjohn paul titlow 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting What makes an Instagram user worthy of thousands of followers? Already being famous in real life doesn’t hurt, but for the rest of us, mobile photography stardom requires a mix of quality, skill and social prowess.One year ago, we outlined six effective ways to get new followers on Instagram.  Since that time, the company has launched an Android app, been acquired by Facebook and grown its user base dramatically. We thought it was as good of a time as any for a refresher. Quality Over Quantity  Tags:#Photo Sharing Services#web On the Web and certain social services, it’s possible to optimize one’s way to a bigger audience. Instagram is different: There are no bots to trick or algorithms to game. As a distinctly visual medium, it demands that the content published there actually looks good. That could mean a smartly composed photograph of the utmost artistic integrity or a young woman who happens to be attractive. Or perhaps a puppy. Instagram isn’t about creating a frame-by-frame documentary of one’s life. Instead,the service is best used by carefully selecting the most visually interesting, funny or otherwise sharable moments and then gradually sending them out into the streams of one’s followers. The temptation to post a rapid-fire series of photos at a sporting event or concert, for example, should be ignored. Not only does this dilute the quality of one’s photo stream, but it has a tendency to annoy followers. As a square image, an Instagram photo takes up much more screen real estate than a tweet or Facebook status update. Dominating people’s screens with repetitive, uninteresting images forces them to plough through the visual noise in a way that feels more laborious than it does on other social networks. It may also serve to discourage potential new followers. When other users look at your profile, keep in mind that they’re going to see a block of the most recent photos posted to your account. You’ll do a better job of convincing them to tap the “follow” button if what they see is diverse and of high quality, rather than a flood of shaky concert photos snapped from a distance. Pay Attention to What Works (and Mimic It) For a better idea of what kind of imagery works best on Instagram, there’s no better place to look than the “Explore” tab (now designated by a compass icon). There are lessons to be learned here, but a few caveats are worth mentioning. First, there’s definitely a correlation between the number of one’s existing followers and the amount of “likes” their photos tend to garner. Thus, many of the “popular” photos win that designation in part because they came from popular accounts, not necessarily based solely on the merits of the image itself. Instagram is a lot like the Web itself in that people using it love sexy ladies and cats. The Explore tab offers irrefutable evidence of both facts, should there be any doubt. So yes, posting pictures of attractive women (and in many cases, men) and cats will always do well on Instagram. But those aren’t the only things. If you can get beyond the ooh-yeah-sexy-ladies and just-because-they’re-popular factors, the Explore tab does offer a few clues about what kinds of legitimate, less shallow qualities can get people’s attention on Instagram. Many of the service’s most popular photos share one of a handful of qualities: Bright colors, unique angles, effective use of contrast and subtle humor all seem to do well.  center_img A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… As with any other form of publishing, it helps to look at analytics to see what does well. Instagram doesn’t offer this feature natively, but third-party services like Statigram let users take a closer look at how their photos perform. In a series of color charts and graphs, Statigram breaks down a ton of metrics in thorough detail. This includes things like most liked and most commented photos, as well as habitual details like favorite filters, tag usage and which days of the week one is most likely to post photos. You can even see when users unfollow you. Statigram has an “optimize” tab that suggests optimal posting times and shows you correlations between photo filters and number of likes. On my account, photos given the “Rise” filter were most popular among my followers, for instance. Who knew?  Using Statigram, you can not only get a clear picture of what’s popular, but you can also dig into the depths of your Instagram account’s history to see which photos were least popular, which may offer a clue or two about what doesn’t work. Take Advantage of Tags Like other popular social networking tools, Instagram uses hashtags to tie together posts with common subjects or attributes. Strategically tagging photos, especially using the most popular hashtags on Instagram, can lead to a flood of new likes and followers. Geotagging is another powerful but underrated feature on Instagram. Tagging a photo with its location adds that image to a little psuedo-archive of photos taken in that particular place. In many cases, this has a way of building up a sort of crowd-sourced visual representation of that location, be it a historical landmark or local hangout. Contributing something visually worthwhile creates a new opportunity to attract new followers. This is true of places you may be visiting temporarily, but its effectiveness is especially potent where you live and at venues you frequent on a regular basis. Geotagging a photo taken at the neighborhood bar is bound to grab the attention of other locals who use Instagram, many of whom will naturally want to follow their fellow natives.Actively Interact with OthersOne of the most effective ways to get noticed on Instagram is to engage with other users. It is, after all, a social network. As on Twitter, following others can result in return follows, presuming they like what they see on your account. Another easy way to grab the attention of like-minded Instagrammers is to generously “like” the photos that catch your eye. If you have a compliment or comment to make, don’t be shy about it.  Just don’t get spammy. Related Posts Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic…last_img read more

Apple Q3 Earnings: Even Underwhelming Numbers Are Strong

first_imgWhy Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… jon mitchell Tags:#Apple#web A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Apple announced its fiscal 2012 third-quarter earnings Tuesday. There were no surprises; Apple continued to sell well across all its product lines. Even the iPod, which is down 10% over last year, sold 6.8 million units. Apple also announced that the new version of its operating system, Mountain Lion, will be released Wednesday.The quarterly revenue was $35 billion, amounting to $8.8 billion in profit, or $9.32 per diluted share. Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer announced a dividend of $2.65 per share, noting that he expects the earnings per share to be significantly lower next quarter as Apple is “continuing to invest in the growth of our business.”In our preview of this quarter’s earnings we pointed to five numbers that matter. Apple scored on four out of five counts, and there were no blow-outs.Apple sold 26 million iPhones this quarter. It’s lower than some optimistic expectations, but that’s still plenty of phones.It sold 17 million iPads, also just on the safe side of expectations. That’s an 84% increase in iPad sales year-over-year.Apple announced that it will release Mountain Lion Wednesday, right on schedule near the end of the July timeframe it announced at WWDC in June.Apple came in just shy of the gross margin we expected, at 42.8%. Last quarter’s monster numbers – 47.4% – were driven by the iPhone, its most profitable product. Those sales are beginning to slow as consumers expect a major update to the model line in a few months.International sales represented 62% of the quarter’s revenue.The earnings call begins at 2:00 Pacific and is streaming live on Apple’s website.center_img 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Related Posts last_img read more

Activator packaging

first_imgToday I’ve posted a couple of documents that outline tools we have developed to deploy the activator tool in several Enterprise enviroments. gives an overview of the tool and the requirements is an example of a script and packaging tool used to deliver the Activator Utility and the syntax to initially provision systems and to keep the host name sychronized.last_img