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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Still cloudy !

Tried playing COD lately on your PS3? Or perhaps streaming a movie via Netflix?

Ain't working, as the Play Station Network has been down for more than a week now.
Sony's network got hacked and it is seemingly taking forever for it to come back up. 
Read the story here

Best of luck to you, if you are running deep cloud services - with not an alternative thought of.
Last year, Drop.io that Google had partnered with to store podcast album cover images went kaput - and Google - and the rest of the world - lost lots of valuable information that were attached to those podcast images.

And you may still remember the story from October 2009, T-Mobile losing their customers contacts, calendar and other personal info.

Have a complex NAS solution for your data?  You will very easily get lots of free advise, about adopting the cloud model - and placing your "media assets"onto the Amazon cloud, or your pictures onto shutterfly, flickr etc.. You better give that a second thought? My take - you have to be really careful before going out and plunking all your historical pictures, videos onto the cloud - without a backup that you have stowed away. With this recent fiasco, Amazon has clearly demonstrated that it may have been first in the market,  but it is definitely not ready for prime time. Amazon's downtime has affected its customers - Reddit, Foursquare, Quora and Hootsuite. For Amazon, the consequences will be far reaching.

There is a definite trend for personal computing to be transformed into thin clients as well as cloud's relevance for the mobile platform - but this is still an evolving technology . The solution that is emerging for the enterprise though is being built upon robust standards, and well crafted - can't go wrong with that.

Lost treasures?

Do you have any unclaimed money on deposit with Santa Clara County?
Go take a look - never know what you might uncover
www.scgov.org - under HOT ITEMS, click on UNCLAIMED FUNDS

Monday, April 25, 2011

10 minute regime

A regimented fitness program is great, but that is really un-necessary if we take the first step of enforcing just a simple 5 to 10 minute fitness cycle at regular intervals of our sedentary lifestyle. Read on

Yes, exercise is good for you. This we know. Heaps of evidence point to the countless benefits of regular physical activity. Federal health officials recommend at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise, like brisk walking, every day.
Studies show that when you adhere to an exercise regimen, you can improve your cardiovascular health, lower blood pressure and improve metabolism and levels of cholesterol and triglycerides. You can reduce diabetes risk and the risk of certain cancers. And, finally, exercise can help you maintain a healthy weight, which can boost all of these benefits even more.
But now, researchers are beginning to suspect that even if you engage in regular exercise daily, it may not be enough to counteract the effects of too much sitting during the rest of the day.
Epidemiologist Steven Blair, a professor of public health at the University of South Carolina, has spent 40 years investigating physical activity and health.
"Let's say you do 30 minutes of walking five days a week (as recommended by federal health officials), and let's say you sleep for eight hours," Blair says. "Well, that still leaves 15.5 hours" in the day.

Many of us, he points out, have sedentary jobs and engage in sedentary activities after work, like watching television or sitting around a dinner table talking. When you add it all up, Blair says, "it's a lot more sitting than moving."
Blair recently headed a study at the University of South Carolina that looked at adult men and their risk of dying from heart disease. He calculated how much time the men spent sitting — in their cars, at their desks, in front of the TV.
"Those who were sitting more were substantially more likely to die," Blair says.
Specifically, he found that men who reported more than 23 hours a week of sedentary activity had a 64 percent greater risk of dying from heart disease than those who reported less than 11 hours a week of sedentary activity. And many of these men routinely exercised. Blair says scientists are just beginning to learn about the risks of a mostly sedentary day.
"If you're sitting, your muscles are not contracting, perhaps except to type. But the big muscles, like in your legs and back, are sitting there pretty quietly," Blair says. And because the major muscles aren't moving, metabolism slows down.
"We're finding that people who sit more have less desirable levels" of cholesterol, blood sugar, triglycerides and even waist size, he says, which increases the risk of diabetes, heart disease and a number of health problems.
'Our Body Just Kind Of Goes Into Shutdown'
Dr. Toni Yancey, a professor in the health services department and co-director of the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Equity at the University of California, Los Angeles, has worked for years on developing programs to motivate people to get up and move.
"We just aren't really structured to be sitting for such long periods of time, and when we do that, our body just kind of goes into shutdown," Yancey says.
She recommends routine breaks during a full day of sitting. Her book, Instant Recess: Building a Fit Nation 10 Minutes at a Time, offers readers a guide to integrating such activity into the corporate boardroom, school classroom and even at sporting events.
But even if your work site doesn't engage in routine hourly breaks, there are things individuals can do at their desks to break up a day of inactivity and get moving, even if just for a few minutes. Yancey recommends a few minutes of movement every hour.
Adam Cole/NPR
And she suggests sitting on an exercise ball instead of a desk chair, adding that it helps strengthen the core while improving balance and flexibility. It also requires more energy, so a few calories will be burned.
It may not sound like much, but an Australian study found that these types of mini-breaks, just one minute long throughout the day, can actually make a difference. You can simply stand up, dance about, wiggle around, take a few steps back and forth, march in place. These simple movements can help lower blood sugar, triglycerides, cholesterol and waist size.
"If there's a fountain of youth, it is probably physical activity," says Yancey, noting that research has shown benefits to every organ system in the body.
"So the problem isn't whether it's a good idea," she says. "The problem is how to get people to do more of it."

Fighting That 'Chained To The Desk' Feeling

People who regularly break up their sedentary time with movement as small as taking one step had healthier waist circumference, body mass index (BMI), and triglycerides than people who didn't take breaks during long periods of sitting. That's what Australian researchers found in a 2008 study.
But how to make a habit out of taking breaks? Toni Yancey's Instant Recess book offers the following suggestions for people who feel chained to their office desks:
  • Take a 10-minute activity break at a scheduled time every day.
  • Park farther away from the places where you work, shop, play, study and worship
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • Put printers a short walking distance away from your work or study space instead of right next to it.
  • Replace desk chairs with stability balls — or use a standing desk to get rid of the chair entirely — to burn more calories while working.
  • Fidget, stand up and stretch at intervals during meetings.
    Eliza Barclay

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The one with the most (FB profiles) wins??

Mark Zuckerberg is vehemently against separating out personal and professional lives on Facebook and he has his own reasons for it.
But the argument goes both way.
Do you think twice before posting, wondering how your co-workers would view it?
Read on...

Social Studies: Facebook, how should we love thee: personally, professionally or both?

By Julia Allison
Tribune Media Services

Social media just seem to elicit more Q's than A's.
Today's Q: Should you separate your personal Facebook presence from one you'd only like to use for business?
A: The experts agree: No. Yes. And "... it depends.
Let's start with those who say no.
"I don't separate, and I don't suggest others separate," writes Shel Israel, author of "Twitterville" and, with Robert Scoble, co-author of "Naked Conversations: How Blogs are Changing the Way Businesses Talk With Customers."
"An essential concept of social media is that we humanize business," Israel explains. "Most people are happier talking with real people who are working for companies, people who screw up now and then, but are really trying. So professionals who talk a bit about their personal lives now and then are more like the people with whom we have business relationships in real life." Israel argues that acting like a "real person" gives him "a certain level of credibility" with his readers.
On the other side is health-and-fitness entrepreneur Brian Thayer, who explains that he segregates his profiles because "it's fun to have a place where I can go and be uncensored and post things that are edgy and funny and provocative and push people's buttons." Thayer says that even though he's being himself when networking, "there is a certain level of business professionalism that I maintain, and I feel like my personal profile crosses that line." He sees this as "going to a business meeting in ripped jeans and a tank top," and adds, "I don't want my personal profile to become a place where I have to stop and think about what I post before I post it because it might offend someone." The irony is that both arguments leave the subject vulnerable to those who are not as, shall we say, open-minded and forgiving.Need proof? Google (GOOG) "Teacher Fired for Facebook" and a seemingly endless string of depressing headlines emerges: "Teacher Fired After Candid Facebook Comments," "H.S. Teacher Loses Job Over Facebook Posting," "Teacher Suspended for Facebook Comments." A New Jersey first-grade teacher got suspended last week for posting -- on her private Facebook account accessible only to those whom she'd approved as friends -- that she felt like a "warden" to "future criminals." That teacher acted like a real person (anyone who has ever baby-sat probably has felt that way at one moment or another), but you don't see the school board or parents falling all over themselves to give her "credibility" for it.
Would she have been protected if she had locked down her personal page and maintained a separate professional one to connect with parents and students? Maybe.
But maybe not. There is a false security in feeling that segregating your professional and personal spheres protects you. No matter how much you lock it down, your Facebook page is not a castle surrounded by a moat of privacy.
Look at it this way: No matter what you do, prospective employers, potential spouses and your mother still could see embarrassing glimpses of your life that you'd wish could be deep-sixed. (It's too late for me to do much about it now, but that describes about 50 percent of what I've posted in the past decade.) But that's life online.
So what's my final answer? Not surprisingly, it comes from Arax-Rae Van Buren, a digital strategist at Colangelo Synergy Marketing. "I have the same Facebook account for work and social," says Van Buren. "I believe in transparency. I have one account, and I don't alter privacy settings. I'm the same person in and out of the office. If I wouldn't want my boss seeing me behaving in a certain way, then I just don't engage in that kind of activity -- period."
Readers, what has been your experience with separating or combining your Facebook pages? What worked best?

Social media and job hunting - get on with the program

..... if you don't, you risk getting left behind !
Check out how employers and job seekers are connecting - getting a leg up to the competition.

Twitter's becoming an important tool for job seekers and employers

As the Internet's microblogging superhero Twitter continues to balloon with 40 million users worldwide and countless apps like Twhirl and TweetDeck, the Twittersphere has been overrun lately with refugees from the real world's recession:
Twousands and twousands of job seekers.
"Twitter's going to become more and more valuable as a job-hunting tool because you can build up a job-search network in an afternoon and effectively create a whole self-presentation in the Twittersphere," says Rodney Rumford, author of "Twitter as a Business Tool."
"And anywhere there's a place for lots of people to network and talk and share interests, the opportunities will follow."
Accessible by computer or cell phones, Twitter can be used to post a job, poke around for one, bone up on a potential boss, or simply keep your friends updated on your job hunt. It's free and it's fast. And while social networking sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn focus on connecting you with people you know, Twitter makes it easier to broadcast messages widely and to form groups of common interest. By "following" others and having them follow you, the conversations quickly multiply."Twitter's a fabulous tool to help people expand what I call their 'loose network,' " says Miriam Salpeter, a job-search coach who writes about the service on her Keppie Careers site. "These are the people you're not really close to, but it's actually the network responsible for most jobs found." It's difficult to know how many people are actually finding work this way. But it's obvious from interviews with job-seekers, employers, coaches and entrepreneurs that the Twitter phenomenon is fundamentally changing the way people search for jobs — and job candidates — in this brutal recession.
"A lot of companies aren't advertising jobs in traditional ways," says Jason Rivera, a graphic artist who teamed up with other San Francisco Twitterers "to lead the pink slip-party movement" for the networking masses. Rivera says Twitter allows companies to easily target recruitment ads and "follow" potential candidates online, while giving job hunters a backdoor peek at companies where they may be interested in applying.
"It's a great way to get up-to-the-minute information about a company and its latest products," Rivera says, "as well as give you a shot at actually talking to a hiring manager on Twitter, as opposed to having your e-mailed résumé end up the 500th in his in-box. At the same time, Twitter gives managers faster, more efficient ways to get through the clutter, and that saves them money."
Paul Mabray knows that firsthand. As chief strategy officer for Napa-based VinTank, a wine industry think tank, he used Twitter to spot and then practically stalk 23-year-old job candidate and gifted Twitterer Ashley Bellview.
"We got to learn about her persona, her work ethic and her thought process by the information she'd link to in her tweets and by how she communicated with other people on Twitter," Mabray says. "The gestalt of the whole thing was her ability to engage with the audience, and to create meaningful content within a short construct of 140 characters."
As one of Vintank's seven employees, says Mabray, Bellview now is "leveraging Twitter for our brand."
As employment rates across the country continue to scrape the ceiling, the diversity and sheer number of Twitter users and applications available to help navigate the blur of tweets is mind-boggling. Entrepreneurs behind applications such as twitterjobcast, created by laid-off Web designer David Pew, are tweaking Twitter to bust through the clutter.
Yet the "clutter" that so many Twitter app writers are claiming to be clearing up also happens to be one of Twitter's biggest weaknesses, say frustrated users.
Brett Ashton, a San Jose father of two who was laid off in January from Hewlett-Packard, has mixed feelings about Twitter. Yes, it was helpful in making him more intimately knowledgeable about companies he had staked out for jobs. But Ashton says those benefits were largely erased by Twitter's near-gridlock traffic.
"The information overload gets to be too much at times," he says. "I sort of just scan it now. I see Twitter as a huge asset as an informational tool. But I just haven't been able to use it yet to find a specific job."
Contact Patrick May at 408-920-5689.
DOs and DON"Ts when job-hunting on twitter

1. DO follow potential employers to learn more about their products and service.
2. DON"T get sucked in; get the information you"re looking for, then get out.
3. DO use multiple Twitter profiles "” a personal one, for instance, as well as those created specifically to follow certain employers.
4. DON"T use a silly or cartoonish icon on your profile "” it could turn off a potential employer.
5. DO use directories like Twellow or Mr. Tweet to help you locate other professionals and trendsetters in your field.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Dance leads to success in sports?

Dancing and skills on the basketball court seemed to be intertwined.
Check out the correlation of Kemba's on court success and his early stint with break dance, jazz and hip-hop dance.
This might just spawn a movement, every aspiring kid, whether in basketball, or soccer, is going to be dancing away to get to that athletic agility and dexterity.
Read on....from the Journal

Why Kemba Walker Moves Like Nobody Else

The UConn Point Guard, Who Plays in Saturday's Final Four, Owes His Slick Footwork to a Childhood Spent Dancing

[SPORTS-MAIN1] Illustration by Dongyun Lee
[SPORTS-MAIN2] Illustration by Dongyun Lee
Kemba Walker wasn't any older than four when he started walking himself into the laundromat on University Avenue in the Bronx, the one that always spilled out reggae music in the summertime.
He'd go up to the first person he spied, tap their hip and then, as soon as their attention turned his way, he'd bust out dancing. Walker's mother Andrea laughingly remembers how people used to give him money.
Much has been written about how Walker, Connecticut's star point guard, forged his game on the courts of New York City. But what hasn't been discussed is how the city—and in particular the music of the Bronx—is embedded in the way he plays.
On the eve of UConn's NCAA semifinal game against Kentucky, we visit Kemba Walker's parents in the Bronx, watch his old breakdance videos and catch up with his high-school coach Maurice Hicks.
Walker's father, Kenya, says the skills his son has used to get to Saturday's NCAA tournament Final Four—the feet that can take him anywhere on the court in a flash, the body that nimbly contorts through a tangle of limbs, the devastating timing, even his megawatt smile, have a common origin. "That's where it all comes from," Kenya Walker says. "The dancing."
When Walker's Huskies meet Kentucky Saturday in Houston for a chance to play in the national title game, the 6-foot-1 junior will try to extend what has already been a defining season. He's won the Bob Cousy Award, given each year to the nation's best floor general, he's been named an AP All-American and he's a favorite to be named Naismith National Player of the Year. He's averaging an impressive 23.9 points, 4.5 assists and 5.3 rebounds per game.
But these achievements don't betray what's most exceptional about Kemba Walker: the way he moves on a basketball court.
When Marilyn Patterson watches Walker play, she remembers a braided eight-year old who showed up in her modern, jazz and hip-hop dance class already knowing how to do The Bogle, a Jamaican reggae dancehall move where the body mimics the rock of an ocean wave. "He was a dedicated dancer," says Patterson, who taught Walker until he went to high school, and who took his dance troupe, Future Flavors, to dozens of competitions. "Every time he had to go to practice, he'd come to me and say, 'Miss Marilyn, I have basketball.' And then he'd make up for it and come another day to dance."
The hints of this training in his basketball moves are subtle, but to those who know dance, they're unmistakable.
At the end of a close game against Villanova, an opposing player, Corey Stokes, reached in on Walker just as he was driving to the basket, sending him into a stumble. But Walker was somehow dexterous enough to right himself and float in the game-winner. In another tense game, with the clock ticking down, Walker had the balance and footwork to jab-step Pittsburgh's Gary McGhee, sending the big man to the floor, and then coolly step back and nail the game-winning jumper.
Getty Images
Kemba Walker drives to the basket against the San Diego State Aztecs in March.
It shows up in the way Walker contorts his body on reverses, shimmies through traffic and tap-steps around picks. It's partly the net result of thousands of hours of practice, but it's also a byproduct of his lithe feet and the flexibility that allows him to do the splits—something Walker always hated practicing in Patterson's dance class. "I've been in basketball over 50 years and that poor Gary McGhee... That was one of the best moves I've ever seen," said one East Coast NBA scout, who, per league rules, isn't allowed to discuss non-seniors. "He has tremendous balance, his body is always totally under control and it starts with his feet."
Walker's footwork was always exquisite, Patterson said, both while standing and while doing downrock moves, when he was on the floor and using his hands to support his weight. At 10, Walker had a repertoire of hip-hop's acrobatic power moves and was adept at popping; a trick where a dancer rapidly contracts and relaxes his muscles to make his body jerk (Patterson said she's seen Walker do this on the court to shake an opposing player who's standing too close to him).
If Walker was a great dancer, the NBA scout says, "I can see it, I can picture it, I can connect those dots. He's like a dancer when he's out there."
Off the court, Walker was quiet and retreating. He had a teacher at Harlem's Rice High School who didn't even know he played basketball until he saw Walker's picture in a newspaper sports section. And yet, when it's time to perform, Walker never hesitated. Twice his dance troupe performed at Amateur Night at Harlem's Apollo Theatre. Among the legions of basketball trophies and plaques in the living room of the Walkers' two-bedroom apartment are a neat row of dance trophies.
Thursday morning, Patterson dug out an old VHS tape of the now 20-year old when he was 10. Just before the performance on the tape, his dancemates anxiously bit their lips. But Walker was mugging for the camera. "He's always known how to perform on the big stage," his old Rice High School coach, Maurice Hicks, says. "He was always acting the fool," his mother says.
The Walkers are from the Caribbean. Kenya, who two years ago legally changed his name from Paul, is from Antigua. Andrea is from St. Croix. Both wear long braids. Kenya has the lilting accent of the islands. And it was the father who swears he told his wife that this third child of theirs "is going to be the next Michael Jordan."
"From the day he was born, I told her, trust me," he says, nodding at his wife.
Kenya was a point guard himself in Antigua. The elder Walker doesn't take much credit for his son's basketball ability. But the dancing, he proudly says, "that's from me." It was Kenya who had Walker doing backflips, handstands and the dances of the islands and who encouraged his double-jointedness. Now, he says, "when I see the way he makes some lay-ups, they're things even I haven't seen."
Walker doesn't dance in pre-game introductions and he hasn't celebrated one of his game-winners with so much as a slide. Dwight Hardy of St. John's, a fellow Bronx-bred guard, said he didn't know Walker was a dancer. But he says he should have figured it out while watching Walker play in the season-opening Maui Invitational.
"There was one play where he went to the hole, got hit on one side of the basket and then just reversed to the other side, extended his arm, went up-and-under and got the 'and one,'" Hardy said. "The move—it was just crazy."
Write to Aditi Kinkhabwala at aditi.kinkhabwala@wsj.com
Copyright 2011 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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