Wednesday, July 27, 2011

iPhone 5

In a big change from the previous three events, Apple's 2011 Worldwide Developers Conference didn't reveal new iPhone hardware. Sure, attendees got details of iOS 5 at the June 6 keynote address, but true iPhone fans also left the session without any hint of what a new handset might offer or when it would arrive.

With Apple devices in particular, the rumor mill tends to kick into high gear in the absence of any official announcement. And that's certainly been the case with the iPhone 5. The first gossip started to trickle in even as the iPhone 4 went on sale last year, but as summer has droned on that trickle has become a flood. Some of the rumors contradict each other--one camp suggests a minor update with an iPhone 4S, while another predicts a big update with an iPhone 5--but disagreement, after all, often is what the rumor mill is all about. And since conflicting information can be hard to track, we offer this handy timeline of iPhone 5 rumors so far in 2011. We'll add to it as we go along, and please let us know if we've left any juicy tidbits out.

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Apple and AT&T are both reportedly gearing up their employees for September, the month that the iPhone 5 is expected to launch, according to several reports.

Apple will be bumping up its staff in U.S. retail Apple stores early this fall, according to MacRumors. This follows prior reports of Apple looking to increase staffing in the U.K. from August through October as noted by SlashGear and other tech news sites.

Apple is also bringing back former employees to work part-time for holidays, product launches, and the back-to-school season, added MacRumors, citing a former employee who received an invite to work between August 15 and September 15.

Of course, boosting retail staff around the end of summer is likely a response to more traffic from students going back to school, noted MacRumors. But the timing does coincide with the weeks that Apple would need to prep the iPhone 5 for its retail shelves if the new phone is to launch this fall.

AT&T has also reportedly been revving up its employees to prepare for more foot traffic at its stores in September, a source told Boy Genius Report. The carrier has asked its managers and employees to finish any current training as soon as possible so that they can be available at that time.

The iPhone's other U.S. carrier is anticipating a fall rollout for the next model. Incoming Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam recently said he expects the next iPhone to debut in the fall, though even he isn't sure.

"You will have to ask Apple that, but we expect that probably sometime in the fall, and I think you will see a significant jump there when we get to that point," McAdam said last Friday during a conference call.

The next iPhone has been the subject of varied rumors over the past few months. Some reports say the next iPhone will be only a minor update to the iPhone 4, while other reports have pointed to a entirely new and improved model iPhone 5. Though a variety of launch dates have been bandied about, some of the latest sources have pointed to a fall release, specifically sometime in September.

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AT&T and Apple get to work
MacRumors reports that Apple is bringing back former employees to work part-time between August 15 and September 15. Though that time period also coincides with the back-to-school season, it also falls within the long-rumored early September release window. Also, according to Boy Genius Report, AT&T is preparing its employees for more foot traffic at its stores in September. A source told the blog that the carrier has asked its managers and employees to finish any current training as soon as possible.

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Friday, July 22, 2011

Are You Too Old to Get Hired?

It’s important to note that hiring decisions are often made quickly and subconsciously. The hiring manager may be 100% opposed to age discrimination, but when you start in with the, “I think that was in…” her brain whispers that you’re really old, and all those crabby old people that insist her baby is going to freeze to death because he’s not wearing a sweater, even though it’s 75 degrees out, start to infiltrate her thoughts.

So, those are what not to say, but what to say?

* Keep it positive. You don’t want to project that you’re expecting to be discriminated against. Nobody wants to hire anyone that claims discrimination the first time something doesn’t go their way.
* Share recent examples. In a job interview, when you’re asked, “Can you tell me about a time when…” make sure your answer is from the past two-three years.
* Show your willingness to learn new things. Every job requires you to learn new things. Make sure your interviewer knows you are interested in learning and growing.
* Expect pay to match the job, not your experience. Granted, if you’ve been doing something for 20 years, you’re probably more valuable than someone who has been doing it for 5 years. However, the pay rate is going to be based on what it costs to get any qualified person into the job. Make sure your expectations are realistic.
* Don’t try to pretend you are younger than you are. Just as a “Back when I was…” phrase indicates you’re old, trying to speak like a 20 something when you are 50 something sounds grating and faked.
* Remember the positives that come with age. Employers expect you’ll be more reliable, trustworthy, less likely to offend a customer with your piercings and tattoos, won’t accidentally include text speak in your emails, and know how to get along with people.

If this job interview doesn’t result in a job, Leslie Ayers at Work Goes Strong, compiled a list of websites that are focused on helping the over 50ish crowd find a job. Finding a job is always difficult, but the older you get the more difficult it becomes. But, it’s not hopeless, so don’t start thinking that it is.

more @

4 Reasons You Don't Deserve a Raise

CEO compensation increases continue to be gaudy, but if you think they are overpaid take a look at the paycheck of Joe the machinist.

In what is sure to be a heavily debated think piece out of management consultancy Booz & Co., the case is made that employers should be reevaluating what they pay to people who have held their jobs for a length of time, in light of the readjusting employment market. And in some cases, that pay should be lowered or the employee retrained or terminated.

They lead with the example of Joe, a machinist at the same company for 25 years.

“Although Joe is a significant asset to his firm, his wages have gone up steadily while his responsibilities have remained largely unchanged. The result is that Joe is significantly overpaid as a machinist compared with co-workers who have been doing the same job for just two years,” write Booz consultants Harry Hawkes, Albert Kent and Vikas Bhalla.

They could fire Joe and hire a younger, lower-salaried machinist to take his place. But Joe is a valued contributor with a wealth of institutional knowledge. The question: Can an economy-challenged company that needs to cut costs to remain competitive continue to pay such high salaries to Joe and his colleagues?

At fault are the companies themselves, according to the authors, because they continue to give these workers annual increases, inflation adjustments and above-inflation bonuses even though their responsibilities remain unchanged. “Repeated enough times, these compensation increases can morph into an exorbitant trend.”

Here’s the solution from B&Co.. First, employers need to put in place an ongoing program that analyzes responsibilities, wages paid, and market realities to determine what salaries have grown out of whack.

And then hard choices must be made for employees who fall north of the norm.

1. Appropriate job categorization and responsibility adjustments. Employees can be retained and put into new positions that reflect their pay.
2. Voluntary separation. Buyout packages might motivate long-time employees to leave of their own volition.
3. Involuntary separation and performance management. Fire poor performers and employ a ranking system where subpar workers are let go routinely .
4. Wage reduction. Just what it says.

With proper execution, net labor savings of 15 to 20 percent are possible, the consultants claim.

Early readers of the piece have fired back at the authors, bemoaning a hard-heartedness and lack of loyalty to valued employees. Why not concentrate on reducing CEO pay instead?, they ask. “Attacking the shop floor workers wages is appalling; is this what the USA is coming to?,” asks one reader. Another comments: “Without reciprocal loyalty from employers, and a narrowing of the employee-executive wage gap, this advice is hypocritical and the benefits short term.”

But a counter argument is offered by reader Marc Effron, who says the contract between employer and employee has no room for “loyalty points,” and that if the company continues on its present course it will collapse, leaving Joe out of work. “We infantilize workers like Joe by insulating them from the harsh economic realities by paying above market wages … and that failure can be corrected by treating Joe as an adult and having him face the market realities.”

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Sunday, July 17, 2011

9 Of The Weirdest Alien Landscapes On Earth

9 Of The Weirdest Alien Landscapes On Earth

Antelope Canyon, Arizona
Antelope Canyon is located on the Navajo Reservation near Page, Arizona. The unique erosion of the Navajo Sandstone is formed mostly from flash floods, giving the canyon its stunning appearance.

At Giant’s Causeway in Ireland, you can witness the unusual pattern of around 40,000 hexagonal basalt columns, formed from ancient volcanic activity. The natural wonder is Northern Ireland’s number one attraction.

Reaching 9,000 feet in elevation, southwestern Utah’s Bryce Canyon National Park is a spectacular marvel to witness. Abundant in this area are curious geological formations known as “hoodoos”, totem-like spires of red sedimentary rock, some exceeding the height of a 10-story building.

Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia is the world’s largest salt flat at over 4,000 square miles. It is a major breeding ground for pink flamingos, and has multiple hotels built of salt bricks.

The Wave is located in the Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness of Arizona, near the Utah border. Like Antelope Canyon, the hypnotizing formation is made of Navajo Sandstone. Because of the delicacy of the environment, the Bureau of Land Management limits access to only twenty permits per day.

Socotra is a small group of islands in the Indian Ocean. Visiting the main island really is like a journey to another planet, as 1/3 of its plant life isn’t found anywhere else on Earth. The Dragon’s Blood tree pictured here is just one of the many extraordinary species inhabiting Socotra, valued for its red medicinal sap.

The Black Rock Desert is a dry lakebed in northwestern Nevada. The flat and barren location has been ideal for attempting records in land speed and rocketry. It is also the annual home of the Burning Man Festival. Among its strange looking features is Fly Geyser. Although on private land, the geyser can be viewed from the nearby road.

North of Farafara, Egypt, the White Desert is littered with strange chalk formations, carved over long expanses of time from sandstorms and high winds.

Racetrack Playa is a seasonally dry lake in Death Valley National Park, California. The hot and arid landscape is home to a truly otherworldly phenomenon: the sailing stones. Ranging from small rocks to large boulders, these stones mysteriously move across the landscape, leaving straight, curved, and even zigzagged trails in their wake. Though many reasonable hypotheses have been offered, the action has never been witnessed in person, and there is still no absolute and verified explanation for these odd traveling stones.

Another place i wouldnt mind migrating to is Lauterbrunnen valley in Switzerland. The areas are surrounding the settlements/villages of Lauterbrunnen, Murren, Grutschalp, and Gimmelwald (not to be confused with Grindelwald).

Friday, July 15, 2011

Tips for finding a cheap flight

Tips for finding a cheap flight
I personally like to go to Yahoo travel and input my destinations and dates, they usually come back with the lowest fares and airlines, then I go directly to that airline and its usually $50.00-$100.00 cheaper than the other travel site ( Expedia,Travelzoo, etc) below are some more tips.

Here are five tips on shopping for fares.

1. The sweet spot: Buy early in the week.

According to Rick Seaney of, airlines are doing more short-lived sales, with three-day sales becoming the norm. These deals are typically put in the system on Monday nights, so you need to shop from Tuesday through Thursday to get the cheapest prices, he said.

2. Do the comparisons.

You'd love a weekend at the beach and decide you want to go to Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., on April 9 and return on April 11, in time for work the next day.

On Wednesday, AirTran Airways and Delta Air Lines were offering sale fares on their Web sites for as little as $44 one-way from Atlanta. But that low fare was good for only one destination — Charlotte, N.C., not exactly a tropical location.

Both airlines offered a $74 one-way sale fare to Ft. Lauderdale. But your weekend jaunt wouldn't qualify because Friday and Sunday travel is excluded for the best fares.

For the April 9-11 trip, AirTran was cheaper on Tuesday — $309 was its lowest price, while Delta's was $408.

So, travelers should read the fine print and be aware that terms and fares can change from one day to the next. Example: In Delta's sale, the lowest fare to select U.S. cities was $59 on Tuesday. It was lowered to $44 on Wednesday for the route to Charlotte to match AirTran. Also, the terms of Delta's sale as of Tuesday stated the fares were for travel starting April 12. That was moved up to April 6 on Wednesday for Florida travel, again matching AirTran.

And here's another reason to buy on Tuesdays. On Wednesday, the cheapest AirTran roundtrip ticket for the Ft. Lauderdale itinerary had spiked to $428. Delta's cheapest ticket on Wednesday was still $408. If you could wait a week, you could fly Delta for $209 roundtrip, if you bought the ticket Wednesday. But you wouldn't get brunch because you'd have to leave for home at 5:40 a.m. on Sunday, April 18, to get that rate. Had you bought that Delta ticket on Tuesday, it would have only cost $149.

3. Be mindful of your location.

Airlines may more frequently hawk fare sales from their hub cities. For instance, Chicago is a hub for United Airlines, while Miami is a hub for American Airlines. More flights into and out of those cities means more seats to fill. This can lead to more chances for discounts, depending on season and other factors.

Veteran Minneapolis travel industry expert Terry Trippler advises people in a non-hub city to be ready to buy just about anytime a sale is offered.

A good example: On Wednesday, Continental Airlines was offering fares as low as $218 roundtrip between Tampa, Fla., and Las Vegas. That was a good deal considering the distance, the popularity of travel to Vegas and the fact that neither city is a hub for Continental.

Those in hub cities can be more patient.
"If I were in a hub city I might wait awhile — especially a hub where a low-fare airline has a decent percentage of the business," Trippler said.

Atlanta is a good example. It is a hub for discount carrier AirTran. Baltimore, where both Southwest and AirTran have a significant presence, is another example.

4. Pay your fees up front.

Some of the good feeling generated from scoring a great deal can dissipate if you get hit with more than $50 in bag fees. So, pack light and use all that space in your carry-on bags.

When you do check bags, be aware that some airlines charge more if you pay the fee at the airport. You can pay up front on your airline's Web site and save some money.

US Airways, for instance, charges $23 to check your first bag online, but $25 at the airport. For a second checked bag, US Airways gets $32 online or $35 at the airport.

5. Wait, but not too long.

You don't have to book months in advance to get the best deals. Many airlines are recycling similar sales over and over again as they seek to fill planes amid a turnaround in demand for air travel.

But, FareCompare's Seaney warns that procrastinators may not find the same deals they did just six months ago. That's because since the end of the third quarter of 2009 seats have become more scarce and prices more firm so airlines have no incentive to release cheap seats to those who procrastinate, Seaney said.

Also, book your ticket sooner for the busier summer season than you would if you plan to fly in the fall or winter.

While some airlines offer last-minute deals to certain points on certain days, in general for leisure travel it is a good idea to give yourself a cushion of at least a month from the time you buy your ticket to the time you plan to travel.

Note: Another good site I use for places like Vegas or Jamaica is Usair ways travel site(, I use that for Air and Hotel packages and they seem to be the cheapest from my past researches. For those thinking of NYC for the first time might want to check that out there package deals.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Improve Your Credit Score

Improve Your Credit Score

1. Pay all of your bills on time every month.

If your credit score is under 700, chances are you’ve missed a payment in the past. Missing monthly payments is one of the worst things you can do to your credit score. That’s because payment history, or how reliably you’ve paid your bills on time in the past, makes up roughly a third of your credit score – more than any other factor. If you work on only one thing to improve your credit, this would be it.

2. Use a small percentage of your available credit.

The second largest piece of your credit score is “credit utilization,” or the percentage of credit you use (balances) compared to the amount of credit that’s available to you (limits). If your credit utilization rises above 50 percent, your credit score will suffer, according to Ed Deshields, President of CE Analytics – the company that created the CE Credit Score. So keep balances low and avoid accumulating charges on credit cards with low credit limits.

3. Dispute inaccuracies on your credit report.

Nearly 80 percent of credit reports contain an error, according to a survey by the U.S. Public Interest Research Groups – and errors can take a toll on your credit score. That’s why it’s important to check your credit report regularly and dispute any inaccurate information that you may find. You can get a free copy of your credit report and score, plus the ability to dispute errors online, at

4. Avoid applying for numerous new credit lines in a short period of time.

Another part of your credit score is new credit, which includes the amount of new credit inquiries on your credit report, which occur any time you apply for credit. While there are built-in protections to limit the number of inquiries to your credit report when shopping for a home loan or auto loan, that’s not true of credit cards. Each time you apply for a new credit card, your credit score will take a hit – about three to five points. Avoid chipping away at your credit score by limiting how many credit cards you apply for in a short period of time.

5. Don’t close credit card accounts you don’t use.

When you close a credit card account, you’re decreasing the amount of credit that’s available to you (credit limits), which impacts your credit utilization. Remember – credit utilization is how much credit you use compared to how much credit is available to you. If you continue to use roughly the same amount of credit, but have lessened the amount of credit available to you, your credit utilization will go up and your credit score will go down. Instead of closing credit cards, put them to good use and charge small purchases on them to keep them active.

Note: If your credit card carries a fee, you may want to weigh the hit to your credit score by closing the account against the cost of keeping it open. The short-term impact on your credit score may not be worth the price tag that the card carries.

When it comes to improving your credit score, there are no fast fixes. Real credit improvement takes time, patience and consistent smart use of credit. So stick with it, pay your bills on time and be responsible. With time, your credit score will rise and you’ll begin to enjoy the benefits of good credit.

Friday, July 1, 2011


Smartphones Dominate U.S. Mobile Purchases

If your last cellphone purchase wasn’t a smartphone and you’re living stateside, consider yourself in the minority.

So says the most recent data from Nielsen, which claims 55 percent of U.S. mobile phone purchases over the last three months were smartphones. That’s up 34 percent from last year.

“With more compelling features and lower prices, Apple’s iPhone set the trend,” said Gartner mobile analyst Ken Dulaney in an interview.

Even outside of the national market, smartphones have risen drastically since the iPhone’s debut, four years ago Wednesday. The company sold a record 18.6 million iPhones in the first three months of 2011 alone. The proliferation of new smartphone models running on the Android platform has also driven this growth: A recent tweet from Android head honcho Andy Rubin claims 500,000 daily Android device activations.

As the rise of the smartphone gradually edges out the traditional feature phone, the mobile landscape as a whole is changing dramatically. Carrying an ‘always on,’ web-connected device is slowly becoming the norm; 38 percent of U.S. mobile phone users now own smartphones. Mobile carriers saw this coming a mile away, preemptively ending unlimited data plans as smartphone data consumption rose. Like it or not, the future is mobile, web-connected and data-hungry.

“The vast majority of mobile consumers — 55 percent — are now choosing smartphones over feature phones when they purchase a new device,” a Nielsen spokesperson told “And they are choosing app and media-friendly devices like iPhones and Android phones.”

Interestingly enough, Android is losing some of the momentum it once had in the smartphone market. While it rose in marketshare by 20 percent over a one-year period from February 2010-11, that growth seems to have stagnated, settling around 27 percent of recent smartphone purchases over the past four months. It is, however, still the leader in terms of smartphone platform share.

Android’s growth has most likely been stymied by a surge of iPhone purchases, according to Nielsen’s data. Over the same four-month period, recent iPhone purchases jumped from 10 to 17 percent. This was probably driven by the release of the iPhone 4 on Verizon’s 3G network on Feb. 10, which allowed a flood of new customers who weren’t thrilled about AT&T’s service to buy Apple’s phone. Previous to the release, AT&T carried Apple’s phones exclusively.

Those of you who love Apple’s hardware but not the high prices may be in luck — circulating rumors suggest Apple may come out with two new phone models this fall, including a “feature phone” version of the iPhone 4, nee the iPhone 4S. However, we’re skeptical about that claim.