Friday, May 18, 2007

Google unifies search results

Google Inc. said on Wednesday it is combining its different Web search services into one "Universal Search" service that will present Web sites, news, video and other results on one page. The move, a significant overhaul of Google's most-used function, will take effect on Wednesday and be improved over time, executives told reporters at the company's "Googleplex" headquarters.

"I think of it as a pretty natural evolution, with the one interesting thing being the video side of it," said Martin Pyykkonen, an analyst with Global Crown Capital. "The thing everyone is wondering right now is what will an advertiser be willing to pay for a video link," Pyykkonen said. "From the advertiser standpoint, I think they will be interested in how to hook their customer better." Universal Search means that standard Google searches will draw results from separate properties covering books, local information, images, news, and video, said Marissa Mayer, vice president of search and user experience. "It's breaking down the silos of information that have been built up. It's a broad, long-term vision that will unfold over the next few years," Mayer said. "We are really excited about what Universal Search could evolve to in the future."

The combined search includes any site indexed by Google's services. On the video side, for example, it will include YouTube, Google Video and independent sites like Mayer did not directly discuss advertising plans, but she indicated the new service could open the door to more relevant ads on search result pages, which accounted for roughly half of the $10.6 billion in revenue Google did last year.

"For us, ads are (search) answers as well. I would hope that we can bring some of these same advances, in terms of richness of media, to ads," Mayer said. In addition, the company is introducing new navigation features at the top of every Google page that let users to quickly hop between its different properties.

For example, users of Google's e-mail service, Gmail, can jump instantly to search, calendar, documents, and other services, according to a demonstration at the briefing. The company also is preparing a translation service that converts queries into other languages, allowing a user to comb a broader swath of the Web, Google's Vice President of Engineering, Udi Manber, said at the event.

The technique will translate queries in any of a dozen languages into English, find additional search results, then automatically translate those back into the language of the original query. This will give users in any supported language a broader view of information on the Web.

"That by itself will open the whole Web to different languages," Manber said.

Tags: Google Search Engines Web

Thursday, May 17, 2007

How to Handle a Tyrant Boss by Bob Weinstein

Is your boss a tyrant of Machiavellian proportions? If it makes you feel better, you’re not alone. According to a recent study by the Employment Law Alliance, almost half of all employees have been targeted by a bully boss.

The study also revealed the following:
  • 81 percent of bullies are managers
  • 50 percent of bullies are women and 50 percent are men
  • 84 percent of targets are women
  • 82 percent of targets ultimately lost their jobs
  • 95 percent of bullying is witnessed

Most disturbing is that only 7 percent of workplace bullies end up censured, transferred or fired.

How do you handle a bully boss? You don’t have to be miserable and take his abuse, says Robert Mueller, a San Francisco-based labor attorney who has represented more than 2,000 employees, many of whom were targets of despotic bosses.

And you don’t have to quit your job. Read why employees leave organisations? If you’re going to deal with the problem, you have to accept the sad reality that workplace bullying is prevalent because companies allow it. “It’s institutionalized abuse,” says Mueller. “There ought to be rules and a code of conduct that prohibits bullying behavior.”

So whether you’re a rank-and-file employee, IT developer or a senior project manager, you have no choice but to deal with the problem on your own. Mueller contends that any victim of workplace bullying can employ self-defense strategies that can restore power and dignity to the bullied employee.

The more you know about your despotic boss, the better you’ll be able to handle him. Here are a few general insights from Mueller:
  • Personal confrontations with tyrant bosses are seldom productive.
  • Management team members interpret any confrontation an employee might have with a boss as also being a confrontation with them, and without well-documented proof of a pattern of behavior, they will likely view the employee as the problem.
  • If bullies notice that you’re avoiding them, they will interpret it as cowering behavior.
  • Don’t be afraid to make eye contact with your bully boss.
  • Don’t mistakenly think you can diffuse a bully by getting personal and showing your human side. Bullies not only don’t appreciate the personal side of others, they don’t tolerate it. Details of your personal, spiritual or emotional life are weapons in your antagonist’s hands.
  • Don’t try and enlist the help of your HR department. HR can be the chilliest place any employee can visit, and also one of the most dangerous. HR’s allegiance is to the employer, especially protecting him from lawsuits. Approach HR cautiously, and only when fully prepared.

Mueller has identified six types of bully bosses. Any of the following strike a responsive chord?

  • Subtle bullies. These bullies torment their targets quietly by undermining their abilities and never letting up.
  • Abusive bullies. They mercilessly hound their targets.
  • Crude bullies. Aggressively use their power, and are vocally and often physically abusive.
  • Raging bullies. Enjoy intimidating everyone in reach with out-of-control, explosive anger.
  • Ghost bullies. Guide, mentor and supervise lower-level bosses in harassing techniques and tactics.
  • Satellite bullies. Undermine their targets by assisting other bullies.
Ready to do battle with your tyrant boss? Mueller offers the following 10 strategies that can help you deal with your despot boss:

  1. Approach your bullying problem like you would a project. Be methodical in how you behave, perform, document and strategize. Take notes after an incident. Try to stay unemotional. Even though he is trying to make you think that you are the cause of the problem, it is the bully who has a serious personal and professional problem.
  2. Be a workplace warrior as you look for other work. Even as you put feelers out for other jobs, dedicate yourself wholeheartedly to vanquishing your abuser, not being a victim. Be prepared for an attack every second you’re at work.
  3. Sweat the small stuff. Document even the smallest incidents, which often become the most important, illustrating a pattern of bullying that might not otherwise be apparent. Teasing counts. Sarcasm counts. Ignoring or criticism counts. A very public glare or silent treatment counts.
  4. Don’t let yourself become isolated. Every day, pick out someone you haven’t talked to for a while. Have a brief but focused conversation. Bullies work hard to alienate targets from their co-workers. Don’t let that happen to you.
  5. Display self-esteem and broadcast a positive attitude. Pay attention to how your appearance--such as hair and clothes--is perceived by others. Have a comfy chair in your office for co-workers. Put fresh flowers on your desk. Decorate with tasteful art that will be pleasing to others. Make your personal space an oasis of calm and taste.
  6. Try to stay in safe spots. Your abuser is less likely to attack when you are around other supervisors, known allies, particularly upright employees and customers or other outsiders of importance to the employer. Make a list of those people and places.
  7. During a bullying situation, excuse yourself. Don’t beat a hasty retreat, and don’t leave the building. Tell your abuser that you’re late for an appointment with HR, for example. Or casually excuse yourself to the restroom. Never enter the restroom if you are being pursued by a bully.
  8. During an attack, try distracting your abuser. Pick up something physical--as long at it’s not a threatening item--such as a critical file that needs the bully’s attention or a note with an important phone number that needs to be called. Sometimes a simple distraction is enough to get him or her to stop.
  9. Protect your personal information. Tell bullies as little as possible about your life, family, friends, hobbies, interests, religion and so on. Information about you gives them power.
  10. Hold your cards close to the vest. As you’re building a case against a bully boss, the less you talk about your story to others at work, the better. Controlling what you say, when you say it and to whom needs to be part of your overall, well-organized strategy.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Body Mass Index (BMI) formulas

Body Mass Index is a calculation that takes into consideration both a person's body weight and height to determine whether they are underweight, overweight, or at a healthy weight. It can be calculated in inches and pounds (in the United States), or meters and kilograms (in countries that use the metric system).

In inches, the formula looks like this:

weight in pounds
(height in inches) x (height in inches)
x 703

A person who weighs 180 pounds and is 5 feet 8 inches tall has a BMI of 27.4.
180 lbs
(68 inches) x (68 inches)
x 703 = 27.4

In meters, the formula looks like this:
weight in kilograms
(height in meters) x (height in meters)

A person who weighs 99.79 kilograms and is 1.905 meters (190.50 centimeters) tall has a BMI of 27.5.
99.79 Kg
(1.905 m) x (1.905 m)
= 27.5

BMI Categories:

  • Underweight = <18.5
  • Normal weight = 18.5-24.9
  • Overweight = 25-29.9
  • Obesity = BMI of 30 or greater
Tags: Health BMI Body Mass Index

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