How Taking Time Off Can Help You Get Ahead [by Bob Sullivan]

As summer comes to a close, many Americans find themselves lamenting the vacations they didn’t take.

Whether it’s due to stress over the work that will pile up while they’re gone, or concerns that their employer will realize that the company can get by without them, the U.S. Travel Association said last week that 40 percent of Americans don’t use all of their vacation days.

But what if taking time off actually helped you get ahead at work?

Want a raise? Try taking a vacation - woman on beach

Image credit: Shutterstock

According to internal research by audit firm EY (formerly Ernst & Young), employees who use more vacation days end up with better performance reviews.

“In the U.S. and Canada … for each 10 vacation hours a person took, we found on average that performance reviews were 8 percent higher,” said Maryella Gockel, flexibility strategy leader at EY.

Read More: Is going on vacation becoming too much work?

Vacation also helped slow down employee turnover, with every 40 hours of free time extending employees’ stay at the company by eight months, Gockel said.

Anne Weisberg, senior vice president at the Families and Work Institute, a nonprofit that examines the “work-life fit,” said that while people know there is a correlation between taking time off and better work performance, there is little research into the connection.

Read More: Tips for vacationing on a budget

“We all know this intuitively, that we are not performing at our best when exhausted,” she said. “Taking a break can bring you back and increase your performance. People on some level understand that. The question is what is the tone being set by the team leader?”

Although it can be difficult to measure the correlation between taking time off and performance, Ken Matos, senior director of research at the Families and Work Institute, cited some findings that parallel the results discovered by EY.

From: http://www.entrepreneur.com/

Manage What Happens to Your Online Accounts After You Die

Originally posted on TIME:

Consider the size of your online presence—your Facebook account, which details your daily life and personal history; your email account, which contains a wealth of your personal and business communications; photos, music and documents you have stored in the cloud; online banking accounts and records; frequent flier miles and more.

What happens to all this stuff when you die?

Will heirs be able to access your accounts to manage your affairs or do you want to prevent them from snooping around in virtual territory you want kept private? Will your accounts simply evaporate over time or will your Facebook page still be up long after you’re gone?

While some people don’t care, others find the idea of their digital assets outliving them disconcerting. Creating a digital will helps you determine which accounts survive and which you take to your grave.

How to Create a Digital Will

The…

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Indian startup launches shoes that show you the way

Indian startup launches shoes that show you the way“Wizard of Oz” heroine Dorothy only had to click her ruby red slippers together and they would spirit her home to Kansas.

READ ALSO: Smart tech helps them see

Now, an Indian high-tech startup is promising to do the same in real life with a new, GPS-enabled smart sports shoe that vibrates to give the wearer directions.

The fiery red sneakers, which will also count the number of steps taken, distance travelled and calories burned, will go on sale in September under the name LeChal, which means “take me along” in Hindi.

The shoes come with a detachable Bluetooth transceiver that links to a smartphone app to direct the wearer using Google maps, sending a vibrating signal to indicate a left or right turn.

They are the brainchild of 30-year-old Krispian Lawrence and Anirudh Sharma, 28, two engineering graduates who founded their tech start-up Ducere in a small apartment in 2011 with backing from angel investors and now employ 50 people.

“We got this idea and realised that it would really help visually challenged people, it would work without any audio or physical distractions,” said Lawrence in an interview with AFP.

“But then we were trying it out on ourselves and suddenly we were like, ‘wait a minute, even I would want this,’ because it felt so liberating not having to look down at your phone or being tied to anything.”

“The footwear works instinctively. Imagine if someone taps your right shoulder, your body naturally reacts to turn right, and that’s how LeChal works.”

Growing sector

Smart shoes aimed at specific demographic markets — such as dementia sufferers and children whose parents want to keep track of their movements — are already commercially available.

But Lawrence and Sharma believe theirs will be the first to target mass-market consumers, and have focused on creating stylish rather than purely functional footwear.

As well as the red sneaker, they are marketing an insole to allow users to slip the technology into their own shoes.

“Earlier, wearable technology was always seen as machine-like, nerdy glasses or watches, but now that is changing,” said Lawrence.

They say they have 25,000 advance orders for the shoes, which will retail at between $100 and $150.

Demand has so far mostly been through word of mouth and through the lechal.com website. But the company is in talks with retailers to stock the shoes ahead of the holiday season in India and the United States.

It forecasts it will sell more than 100,000 pairs of the shoes, which are manufactured in China, by next April.

Wearable technology is a growing global sector. Market tracker IDC forecast in April that sales would triple this year to 19 million units worldwide, growing to 111.9 million by 2018.

The industry’s rapid growth has given rise to fears about privacy, although Ducere says it will record no data on users and maintains robust security.

The company still hopes its product will be useful for visually impaired people, and experts at the L.V. Prasad Eye Institute in the southern city of Hyderabad are testing its suitability.

“It’s a perfect intuitive wearable item. You may forget to wear a belt or a helmet, but shoes you can never leave the house without,” said Anthony Vipin Das, a doctor at the institute.

“LeChal solves orientation and direction problems, it’s a good assistant to the cane.”

Possible problems include battery failure or loss of Bluetooth connectivity, which Das says could be fixed by providing a live feed of a user’s position to a friend or relative, with their consent.

The company says it could use a portion of any future profits to subsidise the shoes for disabled users.

For all the shoes’ high-tech features, Lawrence’s favourite thing is that he no longer loses his phone — if the wearer moves too far from his or her phone, the shoes buzz to warn them.

“I’m a very forgetful person and the best part is that the shoes don’t let you forget your phone,” he said.

From: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/

.भारत Domain Name Launched

The government today launched a new domain .भारत (dot Bharat) in Devanagari script. Initially, the domain will cover eight languages – Hindi, Bodo, Dogri, Konkani, Maithili, Marathi, Nepali and Sindhi. All these languages are from the list of 22 languages registered in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution.The main purpose of .भारत domain is to connect people with social media and provide content in Indian languages. It will help provide information to the general public in their own regional languages.

The domain was launched by Union Communication and Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.

The domain was developed by the joint efforts of National Internet Exchange of India and the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing.

The new domain would replace the commonly used domains like .com, .in, .net and others. This would also soon be followed by similar launches in regional languages like Tamil, Gujarati, Punjabi, Urdu, Telugu and Bangala.

From: http://www.businessinsider.in/

IITs to offer ‘deferred placements’ to students who choose entrepreneurship as career

ImageMUMBAI: Giving in to popular demand from graduating students smitten with entrepreneurship, a clutch of IITs across the country has decided to offer ‘deferred placements’ to students who would rather float a new business than sit for a job interview now.

As many as 13 students from the Class of 2015 at IIT-Bombay have applied fordeferred placements this year to pursue entrepreneurial ventures. Of these, eight are planning for-profit ventures and five are going for social ventures. The institute is likely to choose 10 from among the 13. It had toyed with deferred placements last year when only one student applied, but the idea has found takers only this year.

IIT-Madras, also encouraged by student demand, is rolling out deferred placements for the first time this year. IIT-Kanpur has also been considering the same. IIT Guwahati General Secretary (placement cell) Manish Arora expects at least 7-8 students to opt for deferred placements this year compared with 2-4 last year.

Deferred placements, as the name suggests, enables students to defer placements by a year or two to start their own ventures. They can come back and seek campus placement if their ventures fail.

They are quite popular at top IIMs, but are gaining traction in IITs only this year. Such initiatives help spur the appetite for entrepreneurship and risk-taking among young graduates at the country’s premier engineering institutes.

Students are excited about entrepreneurship even though the job market is picking up once again. This year, companies such as Goldman Sachs, Amazon and eBay are offering salaries that are 20% to 40% higher than last year.

“The number of students interested in pursuing entrepreneurial activities post graduation has gone up tremendously,” says Mohak Mehta, placement manager at IIT-Bombay. “By opting for deferred placement, a student is assured of a Plan B which acts as a safety net in case he fails to succeed in his venture.”

MalegaoClutch of IITs to offer ‘deferred placements’ to students who choose entrepreneurship over a careern boy Abhijit Patil needed the deferred placement option to convince his parents to let him give entrepreneurship a shot. IITBombay’s Patil and his two friends run a 3D printing and scanning business.

Patil and his partners have been conducting workshops and providing 3D printing services to IIT-B professors and students for the past few months, and have already broken even on their initial investment of about Rs 4 lakh.

“I come from a small town and both my parents are teachers, so entrepreneurship after engineering college isn’t the most common route,” he says. “Knowing that I had the option to come back for placements gave me — and my parents — the courage.” At least 15-20 students at IIT-Madras are interested in startups, says Vishranth Suresh, academic affairs secretary.

“We have had 7-8 students whose ventures didn’t take off as expected. They had approached us to sit for placements later. We didn’t have apolicy in place then, which is why we want one now,” he says. At IIT-Bombay, Mahesh Rathore and Greeshma Unnikrishnan, both second-year MTech students, plan to produce novel biomedical devices. Dual-degree student Vaibhav Antil and six friends are working on a modern approach to the traditional Jukebox.

IBM Watson supercomputer gets ready for a new career, to aid researchers

imageWASHINGTON: International Business Machines (IBM) has launched a computer system that can quickly identify patterns in massive amounts of data, an ability that IBM said should hasten breakthroughs in science and medical research.

The computer system, Watson Discovery Advisor, understands chemical compound interaction and human language and can visually map out connections in data, the company said in a statement.

IBM will make the service available through the cloud. Some researchers and scientists have already been using Watson Discovery Advisor to sift through the sludge of scientific papers published daily.

Johnson & Johnson is teaching the system to read and understand trial outcomes published in journals to speed up studies of effectiveness of drugs.

Sanofi, a French pharmaceutical company is working with Watson to identify alternate uses for existing drugs.

“On average, a scientist might read between one and five research papers on a good day,” said Dr Olivier Lichtarge, investigator and professor of molecular and human genetics, biochemistry and molecular biology at Baylor College of Medicine.

He used Watson to automatically analyze 70,000 articles on a particular protein, a process which could have taken him nearly 38 years.

“Watson has demonstrated the potential to accelerate the rate and the quality of breakthrough discoveries,” he said.

From: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com

Google reveals Project Wing

SAN FRANCISCO: Google is developing airborne drones capable of flying on their own and delivering anything from candy to medicine, the internet company said.The effort, which Google calls Project Wing, marks the company’s latest expansion beyond its web-based origins and could help Google break into lucrative markets such as commerce and package delivery, ratcheting up the competition with Amazon.com.

Google, the world’s largest internet search engine, said it will take years of development to create a service with multiple vehicles flying multiple deliveries per day.

An early version of the drone, which Google showcased in a video on its website, has a 1.5 metre-(yard-) wide wingspan and is capable of flying pre-programmed routes.
“These planes have much more in common with the Google self-driving car than the remote-controlled airplanes people fly in parks on weekends,” Google said on its website, referring to the company’s test fleet of automobiles that use sensors and radars to navigate city streets and freeways on their own.

The drone Google showed in the video Thursday was equipped with rotors to allow for vertical takeoff and landing, as well as a fixed wing for plane-like flying. The drone flew about 40 metres above the treeline, Google said, and dropped a package of chocolate bars to a farmer in Queensland, Australia.

Google spokesman Ray Gobberg said it was too soon to discuss specific business plans for the delivery drones, but the company said on its website that self-flying vehicles could offer a cheaper, faster and less wasteful way to move goods.

Google rival Amazon.com announced plans last year to use aerial delivery drones for a service called “Prime Air.”
“Local delivery of products is the next battlefront,” said Sameet Sinha, an analyst with B. Riley & Co. “Google has had its eyes on e-commerce, basically trying to get around Amazon.”

Google has partnered with local retailers in San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York for its Shopping Express service, which allows consumers to order goods online and have them delivered to their doorstep on the same day.

While Google has been quietly developing its aerial drone project since late 2011, the company will now focus on teaching the vehicles to safely navigate around each other, to reduce the noise of the vehicles and to refine the delivery capability such that a package can be delivered to a spot the size of a doorstep.

Google’s Gobberg said the company has briefed the Federal Aviation Administration on the project and has been updating the agency. Gobberg said Google has done some “small scale research flights” in the United States but hoped to talk more with the agency to determine specific locations for testing.

In 2012, Congress required the FAA to establish a road map for the broader use of drones. The FAA has allowed limited use of drones in the US for surveillance, law enforcement, atmospheric research and other applications.

From: techgig.com