Photo of the Week: Early Signs of Fall at Oakwoods Metropark

first_imgWith night temperatures in the forties the past few days, it’s no wonder we’re seeing the first signs of fall color change in southeastern Michigan woods. At Oakwoods Metropark in New Boston, Michigan, I saw early fall color change on sumac and understory plants in the oak-hickory forest. It was lovely to see the bright purples of the New England Asters as well as the beautiful yellow goldenrod.No signs of fall raspberries could be found. Birds seemed to be hiding except at the birdfeeders next to the nature center, where red-breasted nuthatches enjoyed a late afternoon meal. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Like this:Like Loading…Relatedlast_img read more

Banyana too strong for Namibia in Windhoek

first_img8 July 2014Banyana Banyana began their preparations for the forthcoming African Women’s Championship on a winning note, beating Namibia 2-1 in an international friendly at Sam Nujoma Stadium in Windhoek on the weekend.Goals by Leandra Smeda and Disebo Mametja were enough to seal victory for South Africa’s national women’s football team, while Thomalina Adams pulled one back for the home side.Coach Pauw’s comments“The ladies know what is expected of them now,” Banyana Banyana coach Vera Pauw commented after the game.“The hard work that we have been putting in is starting to show. It was a tough game, Namibia has improved a lot. They are physical, but we managed to contain them.”ChangesPauw made two changes to the team that had beaten Botswana 4-0 last month, with Noko Matlou returned to the starting eleven and playing alongside captain Janine Van Wyk in defence, while Disebo Mametja started her first match under Pauw on the right flank.The Namibians were the first to threaten in the contest and managed the first shot at goal in the seventh minute, but the ball passed narrowly wide of goalkeeper Tokozile Mndaweni’s goals.Opening goalIt took Banyana Banyana almost half-an-hour to find their feet. Smeda then found the back of the net in the 29th minute after the South Africans executed a well- coordinated set piece from outside the box.Refiloe Jane had an opportunity to extend the South African lead just before the halftime break. She made good contact with the ball inside the box, but her effort went wide, off the goal post.2-0 leadA quarter-of-an-hour into the second half, Mametja doubled Banyana Banyana’s with an easy tap-in.Namibia pulled one back with 15 minutes remaining after a defensive error from Banyana Banyana, but when the final whistle sounded the visitors had taken the honours 2-1.Namibia will host the African Women’s Championships from the 11 to 25 October this year.Zimbabwe friendlyBanyana Banyana next face Zimbabwe on Friday in another pre-African Women’s Championship friendly on Friday at the Rufaro Stadium in Harare.“We need to play more matches before the African Women’s Championships as this will give us an opportunity to keep practicing what we have learnt,” Banyana coach Pauw said in a statement on Monday.“The ladies know what is expected of them. From here on we have to master what we have learnt. We need to get the team physically ready for an intense high level of play.”The draw for the African Women’s Championships draw will be held on 19 July in Windhoek. The other nations that have qualified for the finals are Namibia, Algeria, Cameroon, the Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria and Zambia.SAinfo reporterlast_img read more

OtherInbox: Organize Your Non-Critical Email For Free

first_imgRelated Posts 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Joshua Baer (@joshuabaer), founder of OtherInbox, was nice enough to sit down with us this weekend at SXSW Interactive and go over what’s new with his company’s product. OtherInbox was developed out of a need to intelligently manage the rest of your mail. That is to say, the mail that you might get from mailing lists, shopping sites, and other services but may not actually be from another human. We all get this mail, and to a greater or lesser extent have developed strategies to manage it, but OtherInbox provides a comprehensive and stylish solution. The big news is that the core service is now free of cost.The basic premise of OtherInbox (or OIB) is that it will identify and organize all the mail that you wouldn’t categorize as critical to read right away, such as receipts, subscription updates, mailing list emails, and so on. For those people who have a single Gmail account (currently OtherInbox only works with Gmail or IMAP accounts) this would represent a drop-in solution to moving all the clutter mail out of the immediate inbox, but keeping it available in case you want to peruse any of it later. phil glockner Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hostingcenter_img Once in your OIB mailbox, the story is different. Here, all the mail that you agreed that OIB could import is listed by category (or what OIB calls mailboxes), which you can quickly step through and perform mass actions on, such as marking as read or deleting. The mailboxes can be created manually (there is a new mailbox button at the bottom of the page) or automatically, simply by sending email directly to your custom OtherInbox email domain directly. For example, if your OIB account name was johndoe, you could fill out an online form for some free stuff with the email address freestuff@johndoe.otherinbox.com. This would create the new mailbox freestuff in your OIB inbox containing any mail that is sent to you from that site. If a spammer gets ahold of that address, simply click on the block mailbox button and you will never see any email in that mailbox again.We have been using OIB for a few days now, just trying to get a feel for the product as a whole. Some folks may only be interested in using the service primarily for its disposable email address ability, but we think that OIB is looking further and is trying to become the primary repository for all your other mail. You know — the stuff you don’t want but can’t quite get rid of. To that end, OIB is also planning to support other online mail services such as Yahoo! Mail.Finally we should mention that the free service, while offering everything that OtherInbox features without limitation, is restricted to only showing the last 30 days of email that has been introduced into your OIB account. If you stay on top of your OtherInbox mail, this should be no problem. However, if you do want to see everything, you can sign up for the premium service for $19.99 a year. OtherInbox attempts to have as light a touch as possible when it comes to your Gmail account. Mainly, all you will see after it has done its initial pass through your mail is a new otherinbox label that you can use to archive or delete that mail. If you happen to have more than one incoming email address pointing to Gmail, OtherInbox will also automatically create labels for them as well. Tags:#news#web A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai…last_img read more

The Danger of Forced Innovation in Retail

first_imgWhen planned, innovation is an essential part of the evolution of retail. But when innovation is forced on a retailer, it can be a toxic time burglar. In this article, I will review two types of forced innovation: “keeping up with the Joneses” and “can it be done?”Do Customers Really Want It?Have you ever been in a meeting where someone says, “Why don’t we have self-checkout or mobile POS (point of sale)?” Sometimes, the pressures of Amazon and other more technologically advanced retailers force innovation. This is an example of keeping up with the Joneses. The other question I often hear is, “Can we track our customers in-store, or can’t we use data to tackle our return problem? Others are doing it; I am sure we can too.” This is an example of “can it be done” forced innovation.One of the challenges with the “can it be done” question is that just about anything can be done. MIT has teleported grains of sand from one space to another. Rockets can be built and sent to the moon. Our cell phones have more computing power than the computer that ran Apollo 1. Virtually any retail demand could be accomplished with technology, provided you had unlimited money and resources. But no one has that. So the more important question than, “Can it be done?” is, “Why do we want to do it? Is it scalable? Will it enhance the customer experience? Will we earn more?”- Sponsor – A former retail colleague of mine shared with me his company’s desire to implement self-checkout in an upscale environment. There were several obstacles before we even got to the technology challenges. First, the store physically was not built to accommodate more equipment, such as automatic removers for security EAS tags. Second, because it was an upscale specialty store, all of the locations were different. The wrap stands and fixtures were custom-built, making changes problematic. Third, the store staff was limited to three to four high-performing sales professionals who already had multiple systems to deal with.The introduction of a new technology would require a lot of training and support. Fourth, their IT department was outsourced, and their call center was too. They had several projects going on.Now, let’s get into the technical obstacles. The first one had to do with network wiring and power: it just wasn’t available, even if they could find an out-of-the-box solution for self-checkout, which was unlikely. The physical restrictions of the store design, power, and cabling were limiting. The next technical challenge was how associates would remove a sensor tag, provide the customer a bag, or assist the customer in a short time if a problem or question arose. I asked my former colleague, “So what did you do?” His answer was simple, “My CEO and my EVP told me to figure it out, so I did the best I could.” When I asked how it went, he described a plethora of obstacles and problems. And in the end, the company changed direction and decided self-checkout wasn’t a good idea for them.Should it be a surprise that in an upscale environment that sells $5,000 handbags, the customers didn’t want to use self-checkout? This real-life example shows just some of the challenges of forced innovation. Slightly less obvious are these additional risks: an exposure to higher shrink, lower morale, and a strain on IT resources. If your IT, LP, and sales teams are focused on the innovation forced on them, what are they missing? Servicing the customer could take a back seat.But Amazon Is Doing ItIf your CEO or senior leaders ask you to do something, you may not have an option but to do it in the end. In the past, I’ve been asked to do many things that I suspected wouldn’t work or that would have enormous obstacles. I learned that it was okay to question the necessity of the project. Why are we trying this? Further, I would lay out a strategic plan with a timeline and a clear list of the risk to other projects. I also found that by putting a strategic plan together, looking at the true ROI, and documenting the risk, sometimes it would become very apparent that the request was either not scalable or too risky.“But we have to do it—Amazon is doing it!” Some of the most common demands I hear are related to omni-channel: buy online, pick up in store, same-day delivery, and creating a fulfillment center in the back room. Isn’t this a prime example of keeping up with the Joneses?Imagine you’re in a meeting and very excited to be there because you’re sitting at a table with the top executives in your organization. Your company is a couple of years into its dot-com business, and it’s growing at a faster rate than any of the other verticals. You are a retailer with an off-price presence, full-line stores, seasonal pop-ups, and other brands under a large corporation. In the meeting, a high-level executive says, “I think we need to start doing same-day delivery.” Another high-level executive says, “I think we need to start doing buy online, pick up in store.” Several other recommendations are brought up, all related to chasing Amazon or another competitor. All, at face value, sound simple but are very complex both technically and from a process standpoint.In that meeting, if you were asked your opinion, what would it be? What are some concerns you could raise? For buy online, pick up in store, a few things come to mind. What are some of my direct competitors doing? Do they have exclusions on product categories or limits on quantities ordered? How will they handle returns? What are the chargebacks going to look like? These are just a few of the loss prevention risks.In today’s evolving world of retail, innovation is necessary for survival. Sometimes keeping up with the Joneses or forced innovation can be taking something someone did and making it better; other times, it could be simply about not falling behind. Forced innovation could also be taking something that was originally planned on a roadmap for the next year and just adjusting the timeline with a higher degree of urgency. Whichever of these situations you encounter, make sure you have a plan, assess risk, and look at the ROI. Ask the why question, and make sure the proposed project enhances the customer experience. Stay UpdatedGet critical information for loss prevention professionals, security and retail management delivered right to your inbox.  Sign up nowlast_img read more

Google News Redesigns UK & India Editions

first_imgTop Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Tags:#Google#news#web Last weekend, Google News introduced the tag as a way for publishers to highlight their best content for Google News to aggregate. Now is a good time for British and Indian publishers to optimize their content for Google News. If you’re looking for tips on how to do that, check out our post, How To Rank Highly on Google News.What news aggregators do you use? Let us know in the comments A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Google News just announced a redesign of its U.K. and India sites in order to unify the experience across editions. The improvements are designed to be more browsable and present trending and popular stories more clearly, as well as to offer more customization and sharing options.The U.S. edition was redesigned in May, introducing a one-column format, highlighted top stories and more multimedia links. These same improvements will now roll out for the U.K. and India editions. jon mitchell Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Related Posts last_img read more

Slack Is Releasing Botkit To Make Bots Easier To Build

first_imgWhy Your Company’s Tech Transformation Starts W… How AI is Learning to Play with Words owen thomas These Mistakes Can Derail a Legacy Software Con… Related Posts center_img Tags:#api#April Underwood#Atlassian#Ben Brown#Dylan Field#Figma#Hipchat#HipChat Connect#Howdy#Howdy.ai#messaging apps#Slack#Slack Platform#Slack Technologies#Stewart Butterfield#Team Collaboration Slack, the increasingly popular team-messaging software, wants more developers to build apps that hook into its work-chat software.So it’s announcing new software, Botkit, to simplify the building of such apps; a directory to make it easier to find them; and an investment fund to back developers, particularly ones building apps solely for Slack. (Slack executives are expected to make the announcements at an event in San Francisco Tuesday evening.) See also: For Slack’s App Builders, The Message Is The PlatformSlack is also planning to reveal that it now has 2 million daily active users. While not all of those pay for the service, that represents a healthy audience for app developers, particularly ones that must identify groups of people working together as teams.In other words, Slack is putting together all the pieces needed for a successful platform: distribution, exposure, and tools.The Botkit And Kaboodle Slack “worked closely” on Botkit with Howdy, a startup focused on building chat-based Slack apps, according to April Underwood, Slack’s head of platform. Slack and Howdy are releasing Botkit under an open-source license.“I want every [business-to-business] and enterprise developer to have a bot, and I want that bot to be in Slack,” said Underwood in an interview Tuesday morning.Bots aren’t the only way Slack works with other apps, but they’re perhaps the most intriguing new interface Slack presents. Messaging apps in Asia have shown that users are willing to get updates and even chat with business accounts run by software. With Slack, the notion is that a user who’s chatting with colleagues can easily switch to chatting with a bot without the mental overhead of context switching.Building a bot may sound easy—we’ve been building chat bots since the 1960s, if you remember Eliza, as I do, from the days when you would type in Basic programs from printed computer books.Howdy CEO Ben Brown says it’s harder than it sounds. Coding a bot to send a user a direct message in Slack, for example, requires accessing three different APIs. And simply listening to users requires a bot to constantly monitor Slack channels and parse messages for relevance. Botkit lets developers skip that work and get down to more interesting features—what Brown calls the “functionality and personality” of bots.Brown is also hoping to set standards or “design patterns” for bots. Think of Botkit as baking in some basic etiquette for bots built on top of it. Among other idea, Brown thinks all bots should be able to exchange pleasantries like saying hello, and identify who created them and where their software is running.Underwood says that developers are already building bot-based apps for functions like expense reporting and employee feedback collection.A Platform Which Needs A Few More PlanksThis is pretty much what Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield hinted at two months ago when he said the company’s goal was to make other business apps better, not compete with them.Obviously Slack’s just getting started here. But there are a few more things Slack could be doing to jump-start development on its platform.IdentityOne example of a developer who’s gone all-in with Slack is Figma, a collaborative design app. Figma CEO Dylan Field chose Slack as Figma’s primary sign-in option. It’s easy to see why: Slack accounts usefully define the scope of a specific business team in a way that email-based options like Google Apps or Microsoft’s Azure Active Directory don’t.Underwood said that she primarily expected “Slack-first” developers to use Slack’s login service. For those developers, whose apps live as bots within Slack, it doesn’t make sense to have separate logins. But it will be interesting to see if more developers follow Figma’s example and use Slack login, not because it’s their only option, but because they see it as their best one.PaymentsSlack doesn’t make money directly from developers or apps today. But it does benefit from them. Slack strictly limits the number of “integrations,” or add-on apps, that its free users can use. So there’s a pretty direct link between how Slack makes money from paid subscribers and how many developers are building on top of Slack.Slack has a credit card on file for most if not all of its paid users. Just as with Apple’s App Store and Google Play, it’s intriguing to think what might happen if Slack started letting users buy apps instead of just install them.Slack As A ServiceWhile Botkit simplifies the building of chat bots, it doesn’t actually run the bot for developers. They still have to find a home for it, like Amazon Web Services or Heroku. Slack, whose infrastructure is finely tuned for messaging services, could offer up a version of its own infrastructure for developers. In particular, Slack might share its technologies for signaling, presence detection, and notification delivery.Chatting Up The CompetitionSlack isn’t the only player in the chat wars. Atlassian, which recently went public and is now trading at $5.5 billion, has a team-messaging service named HipChat, which is integrated into its other tools like Jira, a bug-tracking service, and its (mostly awful) wiki software, Confluence. In November, Atlassian released HipChat Connect, an API which allows developers to build more visual apps with distinctive interfaces within HipChat. As Fast Company recently pointed out, Slack and HipChat often end up courting the same developers. But overall, I suspect Slack has the better approach here, by emphasizing the primacy of the message as the universal software interface. (Indeed, Slack might be well-served by deemphasizing its geeky “slash” commands, a legacy of older chat tools that inspired Slack, in favor of chat.)It’s going to be an interesting battle for the hearts, minds, and code of developers. I imagine we’ll have a lot to chat about for a long time to come. Leveraging Big Data that Data Websites Should T…last_img read more

UN: Nearly 71 million now displaced by war, violence at home

first_img(AP) – The United Nations refugee agency says a record 71 million people have now been displaced worldwide from war, persecution and other violence.That’s an increase of more than 2 million from last year and an overall total that would amount to the world’s 20th largest country by population.The annual “Global Trends” report from the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees was released Wednesday and counts the number of the world’s refugees, asylum-seekers and internally displaced people at the end of 2018.The agency said Wednesday that 70.8 million people were forcibly displaced at the end of last year, up from about 68.5 million in 2017.That’s a nearly 65% increase from a decade ago. Among them, more than 41 million people have been displaced within their home countries.last_img read more