Thursday, December 26, 2013

New exemption order under Do Not Call Registry

This is so disappointing...
SINGAPORE: There are now exemptions to a law that allows consumers to bar unsolicited calls, text messages and faxes from telemarketers.
Organisations that have an "ongoing relationship" with customers will be allowed to send out marketing messages without having to check the Do Not Call (DNC) Registry.
Consumers have been able to sign up for the registry since December 2013.
Businesses have welcomed the move, but Consumers Association of Singapore called it a "back-pedalling of the law".
Under the DNC Registry, which kicks in on January 2, 2014, anyone who registers their phone number makes an explicit undertaking that they do not want unsolicited calls, messages or faxes from telemarketers.
Businesses will have to check the registry to ensure they do not disturb consumers on the list.
But there is now an exemption for businesses with "ongoing relationships" with their clients.
And virtually all situations are covered -- from an existing holder of a credit card to someone holding a life insurance policy, a recipient of a home loan or a member of a rewards programme.
Others include an existing subscriber to a magazine, an existing home fixed broadband subscriber, or someone who has an existing arrangement to regularly donate to a charity.
Under such circumstances, a company can send out text and fax messages on related products and services, even if their customers are on the DNC Registry.
The exemption, however, does not apply to voice calls.
Organisations are still required to check against the DNC Registry before making telemarketing calls to promote related products and services.
Businesses cheered the move, especially small firms which said direct marketing is a valuable tool to maintain customer relations.
Mah Mei Hui, managing director of The Skin Pharmacy, said: "It's really good news in the sense that we don't actually have to sieve through thousands of people on this registry and match them up on our own mailing list. So I guess in terms of manpower hours, it's quite a relief. Previously we were supposed to do this every month, now with this exemption, it definitely frees up a lot of our time to do other things.
“In our business, we rely a lot on word of mouth. We have a loyalty programme so people sign in and say okay, we want to receive your messages and SMSes and emails. So when they sign in we respect that, and also when they say they do not want to receive anything, we also respect that and it's important for us because it transmits messages very quickly, especially in this fast moving environment. I can send out a message, thousands of people receive it, and they know there's something on offer.
“By removing that facility from us, it definitely makes it a lot more difficult for us to disseminate information on special deals that the customers perhaps wanted to receive as well."
Responding to queries, a spokesperson from DBS Bank said: "We welcome the recent guidelines on the Do Not Call provisions, which provide greater clarity on how we can engage our customers. We respect our customers' confidentiality and privacy, and have in place systems and processes to ensure that they do not receive marketing related calls or SMSes if they choose not to be contacted for such purposes."
Head of marketing at Standard Chartered Singapore, Sharon Tan, told Channel NewsAsia: "We continue to focus on our clients; hence, we welcome the new DNC exemptions which give our customers a choice to keep themselves up to date with our latest offers, promotions and rewards at a touch point of their convenience."
Consumers Channel NewsAsia spoke with had mixed reactions.
Daryl Ang, a property agent, said: "Some people like myself, I prefer to receive some notifications that are important. In any case, when they want to send me promotions on certain items, I don't mind receiving."
Designer Lawrence Liu said: "They are still sending you information. After you register, you think that nothing will be sent to you but actually they are still sending something else to you. But on hindsight, perhaps they would be giving you information which would be of interest to you as well."
Gladys Sim, a housewife, said: "It actually defeats the purpose because if you want to bar all those parties who want to send unsolicited messages to us, then it should be better regulated."
The consumer watchdog has hit out against the Personal Data Protection Commission (PDPC).
Seah Seng Choon, executive director of Consumers Association of Singapore, said: "It's a sad day. The exemption means that PDPC has back-pedalled and diluted the intention of the DNC registry.
“They are now allowing the businesses to spam consumers, who are now on their database. They have other means of doing this. Email is one option, and now with smart phones, you can see your email anytime anywhere. So by providing this exemption, you are giving businesses another bite of the cherry, ignoring the consumer concern about receiving too many messages in their phone."
In just under a month, there are more than 350,000 registered unique numbers to the DNC Registry.
This is from people who said they have had enough of receiving unsolicited calls and messages from telemarketers.
Authorities said those who have registered before July 2 will still receive calls and message for up to 60 days upon registration. This is to allow time for companies to adjust.
An organisation that contravenes the DNC provisions in the PDPA will commit an offence and be liable on conviction for a fine of an amount not exceeding S$10,000 for each offence.

Organisations that are in breach of any of the data protection provisions in the PDPA may be liable for a financial penalty of an amount not exceeding S$1 million. 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The surprising reason we have a 40-hour work week (and why we should re-think it)

By Mikael Cho, Monday, 16 Dec '13 , 11:04pm
This post originally appeared on the ooomf blog.

“As long as you get your eight hours in.”
I used to hear this phrase a lot.
The thinking is that as long as you put in a set amount of time working (usually at least eight hours or more) you will do well at your job and be successful.
We learned that eight hours of work a day is what we’re supposed to do almost as soon as we step foot into a classroom. School days are eight hours long and classes are usually structured by slots of time rather than what is accomplished in that time.
When you get a job, usually part or all of your pay is based on hours worked.
Since starting ooomf, I’ve made huge strides in how I approach my day to be more productive, but sometimes, I still catch myself looking at the clock, calculating how much time I should be working rather than focusing on what I’m getting done in that time.
On days where I put in less than eight or ten hours of work, I feel a bit guilty, like I’m not pushing hard enough. But, this is the wrong way to think.
At ooomf, we don’t work set hours.
Two of my co-founders prefer to work late into the night while I enjoy starting work early in the day.
Because we have different energy levels at different times, it would be counterproductive for my co-founders to work at 9AM (just like it would be inefficient for me to be working at 2AM).
Granted, there are times when scheduling a time to meet during the day to discuss important matters is needed (and there are many days when we all work through the night), but the importance is our work schedules are rarely managed by a set number of hours; rather, they are guided by our energy levels.
Most importantly, we’ve seen the results of working without a set schedule in the quality of our work, our productivity, and our health.
But, working set hours is typically the norm for full-time professionals, so I wondered where this 40-hour work schedule came from and if there’s any scientific backing as to why we’ve been working this way for almost a century.

How the 40-hour work week came to be

During the Industrial Revolution, factories needed to be running around the clock so employees during this era frequently worked between 10-16 hour days.
In the 1920s however, it was Henry Ford, founder of Ford Motor Company, that established the 5-day, 40-hour work week.
 The surprising reason we have a 40 hour work week (and why we should re think it)
Henry Ford next to a 1921 Model-T
Surprisingly, Ford didn’t do it for scientific reasons (or solely for the health of his employees). Rather, one of the main reasons he came up with the idea to reduce the working hours of his staff was so employees would have enough free time to go out and realize they needed to buy stuff.
In an interview published in World’s Work magazine in 1926, Ford explains why he switched his workers from a 6-day, 48-hour workweek to a 5-day, 40-hour workweek but still paid employees the same wages:
Leisure is an indispensable ingredient in a growing consumer market because working people need to have enough free time to find uses for consumer products, including automobiles. — Henry Ford
So the 8-hour work day, 5-day workweek wasn’t chosen as the way to work for scientific reasons; instead, it was partly driven by the goal of increasing consumption.

Night owls vs. early birds

Your body keeps track of time in a section in your brain called the suprachiasmatic nucleus (or SCN).
This part of the brain is located behind your eye, where the optic nerve fibers cross, which allows your brain to use cues from light in your environment to help you keep track of time:

0 Sd8yTGOVFqkKZHJP The surprising reason we have a 40 hour work week (and why we should re think it)

Light and genetics are the two main factors that help your body tell time, establishing a natural a cycle of energy levels (a circadian rhythm) throughout your day.
Here’s a few of the main events that happen in your body as part of a typical 24-hour biological clock:

0 zAuJMvJbLu7O3u8E 520x268 The surprising reason we have a 40 hour work week (and why we should re think it)

The length of your 24-hour cycle may be longer or shorter due to genetics.
If your cycle is a bit longer, you would be considered a night owl but if yours is a bit shorter, you’re most likely an early riser, says Katherine Sharkey, MD, PhD, associate director of the Sleep for Science Research Lab.
Researchers have even pinpointed that the length of a particular gene called Period 3 or “clock gene,” could be largely responsible for your sleep-wake cycle.

Night owls outlast early birds

A typical workday for most of us usually starts at 7AM and ends around 5PM. This lifestyle design really only works well for one type of person. The early riser.
If you prefer working nights (like 44% of women and 37% of men do), then you’re often stuck slugging away at a time when your energy levels are low and your work ultimately suffers.
Because night owls wake up later, they sometimes get a reputation for being lazy because they’re asleep while the rest of the world is hustling.
But, recent research from the University of Brussels suggests that night owls may beat out early birds in the length of time they can stay awake and alert without becoming mentally fatigued.
Researchers conducted a study with “extreme” early or late risers. Early risers awoke between 5AM-6AM while late risers awoke at noon.
The participants spent two nights in a sleep lab where the researchers measured their brain activity, looking at alertness and ability to concentrate.
After ten hours of being awake, the early risers showed reduced activity in areas of the brain associated with attention span and completed tasks more slowly than late risers.
“It’s the late risers who have the advantage, and can outperform the early birds,” said Philippe Peigneux, one of the publishers of the study.
Forcing someone to work early (or late) doesn’t necessarily lead to better results.
A night owl can be just as productive (if not more) than an early riser, they’re simply more productive at a different time.

The importance of taking a breather

Because our bodies were designed to work in rhythms, not for endless hours on end, breaks are often just as important as the work we do.
Research discussed in the landmark book Creativity and the Mind showed that regular breaks significantly enhance problem-solving skills, partly by making it easier for you to go through your memories to find clues.
Focusing only on your work for four or five hours straight limits your chances to make new, insightful neural connections, which won’t help you when you need to be creative.
A few companies have embraced this need to remove work to improve production and creativity.
In his TED talk, graphic designer Stefan Sagmeister explains the importance of time off and why he shuts down his design studio for a year. Sagmeister says this removal of work allows him and his colleagues to gain new perspectives and refresh, ultimately producing better work.
Quirky, a web company is working on an experiment to shut down operations for four weeks every year. Here’s an excerpt from an email Quirky CEO, Ben Kaufman sent to Quirky staff (full email here):
We are going to shut down the entire machine for 4 weeks next year. Instead of running for 52, it will run for 48.
This is a full, mandatory shutdown of all internal activities. Lights out. Deep breath…
Our thesis is centered around the fact that this will lead to better work, more beautiful products, and an emotionally balanced team.

Take a breather not just for creativity (but for your health)

Giving yourself a break not only can benefit your creative juices but also your health.
Dan Buettner, a writer for National Geographic recently assembled a team of researchers to look at three communities around the world that have the longest, healthiest lives on the planet.
In his TED talk, How to live to be 100+, Buettner showcases one of these communities, the Seventh-Day Adventists in California.
The members of the Seventh-Day Adventists must take one day off a week from work completely, no matter how busy they may be.
Buettner points out this opportunity to reconnect with people and the world around them relieves stress and is likely part of the equation for why the Seventh-Day Adventists have five times the number of people who live to be over a hundred than the rest of the country.

4 steps to work-life bliss

I’ve experimented a lot with different techniques to improve the way I work. A couple weeks ago, I tried to not look at a clock for a day and instead, just rely on my energy levels to tell me what I should do (I found it nearly impossible and failed within the first couple hours).
Through trial and failure however, I’ve found a system that has worked wonders for me.
I will continue to try more things to constantly improve the way I work and report my findings, but here’s what I’ve figured out so far that has produced the best work of my career.
1. Write a realistic to-do list
Make a to-do list for the day that has 3-4 major tasks that you want to get done.
Because your days will naturally fill up with other things, David Heinemeier Hansson of 37signals, recommends,
“Plan for 4-5 hours of real work per day.”
Laying out your daily tasks knowing this, helps you create a to-do list that you can consistently complete, rather than one that has too many items and leaves you feeling bad, like you’re constantly falling behind.
2. Create cycles with your work
You probably have lots of different types of tasks to worry about.
To accomplish more of the important things while maintaing balance in your energy levels so you don’t burnout, try breaking your day up like this:
  • A creative task. Starting with your most creative or important task before that urgent email pops up will help you feel accomplished. For me, I usually wake up and work a 90-minute session on my most creative task before I feel my brain and concentration start to fatigue.
  • An un-timed break. Your break could be 20-minute run, a nap, lunch,or simply doing nothing for a few minutes. This gives you a chance to refresh and regain mental power before starting your next task. By keeping it un-timed, you’re using your energy levels as a guide to when you should start work again, rather than a rigid set amount of time.
  • A mundane task. By bulking your mundane tasks together and doing them all at once, you’ll save time. Check all your emails or try to schedule multiple phone calls in a row. This way, when you switch back to a creative task, you won’t have the cloud of a hundred emails hovering over your head.
  • Another un-timed break.
  • Repeat. Try going through this cycle three to four times in a day.
3. One day with no work
Steve Blank, the pioneer of the Lean Startup Movement uses a Date Night every week to remove from work completely. My fiance and I do this same thing.
One night a week, we have a planned time where we spend time not talking about any work (no checking of iThings allowed).
Try removing work completely for a day.
When you return to work the next day, you’ll probably feel inspired and driven, helping to keep distractions at bay.
4. Find a true metric to measure your tasks
It’s easy to count hours but not so easy to figure out another way to measure the work you do that encompasses the true goal of what you’re producing.
For example, it’s easy to measure how many hours you wrote today but what is the goal of your writing?
Is it to simply get your thoughts down? Then maybe you should be measuring how many days in a row you are writing.
Is it to grow your audience so people purchase what you’re selling? Then maybe you should track the sales that result from each blog post you write rather than the number of posts you write.
Track your progress using one of these metrics and your mindset may shift from “I worked x hours to do this thing” to “I did this thing and it produced x results.”

This system is hard to maintain because a lot of things in the world are designed to steal your attention and I’ve found myself falling into the busy trap once in a while.
But, if you give it a shot (even just for a day or a few hours), you may uncover one of the most productive ways you’ve ever worked, like I did.
If you work at a company that requires you to be there for a set number of hours I’m not saying you should quit or that it’s a bad gig.
The important thing to remember is it’s not about the amount of hours you work, but what you do in those hours that counts.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Emperor 200...

Luxury, Sophistication, and Ergonomics comfort without compromise

Hand built to your requirements, the Emperor 200 is the ultimate computer workstation with several exclusive features such as touch screen control center, air filtering system, light therapy, electric powered leather seat, up to 3 x 27" LED screens and a breathtaking sound! Be bold and unique!
MSRP: $49,150 US

Check it out here

Operating Voltage

Power Consumption
1700~2100 Watts
Regulations inspection is completed on each Emperor 200 before shipping

As requested, up to 3 x 27"
Up to 7680-by-1440 (3x 2560-by-1440)

As requested

Bose® Companion 5 audio system with Acoustimass® module

HEPA air filtering system
Climate package (seat)
goLITE BLU Energy light
Perimeter LED lights (RBG)

Armrest height
Seat height
Back seat
Leg rest
Monitor height
Monitor tilting
Tilting capability for the entire workstation up to 17° to reduce back pressure
Total reclining degrees 27° (including back seat section adjustment)

*Specifications may change without notice


Aluminum & PVC frame
Colors : as requested (High-end car paint quality)


Machined aluminum and stainless steel


Italian leather
3/8" tempered glass

RECARO Style Top line XL with Climate Package
Italian leather
Lumbar support
Fully upholstered headrest
Seat cushion extension
Maximum backrest height: 33.1" (84 cm)
Shoulder width: 19.4" (49 cm)
Seat cushion width: 21.1 cm (53 cm)
Maximum seat cushion depth: 21.3" (54 cm)

Actuator A (for backward tilting):
IP67 24V linear actuator
Actuator B (for upper section lifting and lowering):
IP67 24V linear actuator

10" touch screen interface
Android based operating system

Emperor 200 Dimensions
Length: 63" (160cm)
Width: 46 ¼" (117cm)
Height (down): 65" (159cm)
Height (up): 84" (193cm)
Net Weight: 375 lbs (170kg)
Emperor 200 Crate Dimensions
Length: 70" (180 cm)
Width: 55" (139 cm)
Height: 67" (170 cm)
Weight: 495 lbs (224 kg)

360o programmable rotating podium

User: 350 lbs max. (158 kg)

The most luxurious, stylish and advanced work environment available on earth.

Friday, December 6, 2013

10 reasons your enterprise should adopt Red Hat 6.5

Check out the 10 features that are most notable in the latest version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux. 

The latest iteration of the Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) operating system has arrived and it is not only ready for the enterprise, it's ready to re-define and reset the bar for enterprise expectations. With a full host of improvements (and new features), RHEL could easily become the de facto standard for enterprise platforms.
If you're not sure of this claim, or simply cannot believe the claim, I offer up to you ten reasons why your enterprise should adopt Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

1. Precision Time Protocol

If your company requires time to be measured in microseconds, you need a platform that works with the Precision Time Protocol (PTP). PTP enables sub-microsecond clock accuracy over a local area network. If you depend upon high-speed, low-latency applications (such as those used in the trading industry), PTP is a must-have.

2. Easy application image deployment

There's a new tool in town (or at least a renamed tool), called Docker. With Docker you can easily deploy application images within containers. Each of these containers run the application as if it were on a virtual machine. This means you no longer have to suffer the overhead of deploying a full-blown virtual operating system just to run a simple application. This will not only make your virtual environment much more efficient, it'll also be far more cost effective.

3. Open hybrid cloud

RHEL 6.5 supports both OpenStack and OpenShift technologies. OpenStack is an open source cloud computing platform and OpenShift automates the provisioning, management, and scaling of cloud computing platforms. Together these two pieces work to create a Platform as a Service (PaaS). This, in conjunction with Docker creates an incredibly flexible cloud environment that can serve the enterprise needs in many ways.

4. Enhanced security

RHEL 6.5 enjoys numerous security upgrades. Key to the enhancements is a centralized certificate trust store which provides standardized certificate access for all security services. There are also tools that support the OpenSCP implementation of the Security Content Automation Protocol (SCAP). This protocol was developed by US National Institute of Standards and Technology and is central for auditing and verifying security configurations. With this included standards-based technology, it is possible to ensure a RHEL server configuration meets very stringent standards.

5. Network activity views

If you're an administrator that likes to know specifically what is going on with your network, RHEL 6.5 has what you're looking for. The latest version of Red Hat offers a comprehensive view of all network activity. With these new capabilities, administrators will be able to inspect Internet Group Management Protocol (IGMP) data in order to list multicast router ports, multicast groups with active subscribers (and their associated interfaces). 

6. Improved virtualization tools

There are plenty of improvements to the virtualization tools included with RHEL 6.5. High on this list is the ability to dynamically enable or disable virtual processors in active guests. With this new addition, RHEL can now better interact with cloud-based elastic workloads. Virtual guest memory has also been improved, with configurations that support up to 4TB of memory on the Linux built-in, kernel-based virtual machine hypervisor.

7. Subscription management

RHEL 6.5 now boasts a revised Subscription Management. With this new tool you have the choice of having your server connect to the Red Hat Customer Portal or to an on-premise subscription management service set up using the Subscription Asset Manager. With the server and the service connected, your company will enjoy centralized control of all subscription assets. Another benefit of this service is that you gain enhanced reporting for multiple systems.

8. Faster dump files

If you've ever had to deal with large kernel dump files, you know they can cause problems. That is no more with RHEL 6.5 The new system is now capable of handling incredibly large dump files faster. Thanks to a new compression algorithm (LZO), dump files are created far faster than previous iterations. Enhancements to the dump tools tracing and testing commands provides additional even monitoring capabilities.

9. Improved storage

Anyone working with RHEL 6.5 will see a marked improvement of storage. One reason for this is the improved control and recover when working in iSCSI or Fiber Channel Storage Area Networks. The latest release also includes a solid state driver (SSD) controller interface as well as support for NVM Express-based SSDs. It is also now possible to configure over 255 (Logical Unit Number) LUNs connected to a single iSCSI target.

10. Improved overall performance

Above everything, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.5 enjoys an over all performance increase that is noticeable  – which, in turn, translates to more reliable environments, cost savings, and happier end users/CTOs. This improved performance means your critical applications can be run more effectively – which translates to a better bottom line.
Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.5 could very easily herald a new king of the mountain in the enterprise. With the newest release, your company will enjoy more reliability, more security, and an improved ROI. 

About Jack Wallen

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for Techrepublic and As an avid promoter/user of the Linux OS, Jack tries to convert as many users to open source as possible. His current favorite flavor of Linux is Bodhi Linux (a melding of Ubuntu ...

Monday, December 2, 2013

10 things rich people do which poor people don't

They're on a...
They're on a boat.
ARE rich people just good with money or is there something a little deeper underpinning their success?
Most people would agree that certain lifestyle choices and daily habits are as valuable in the quest for wealth as a sound understanding of finances.
On the flipside, there's a bunch of stuff you should never, ever do if financial security is one of your main goals.
Two American wealth gurus have combined these two ideas into an excellent list this week.
What happened was, wealth guru Tom Corley wrote a list of 10 rich habits that will make you rich, followed by 18 poverty habits that are keeping you poor. You can read it here.
Then along came another wealth guru, Dave Ramsey, who helpfully condensed Corley's ideas into a 20-point list of his own. You can read that list here.
For your sake, we've boiled this thing down even further. Here are 10 things which rich people do and poor people don't. And as we've already said, these things have nothing to do with money.
Corley undertook his own research on the habits of rich people and poor people - by interviewing real people - and he found that 70 per cent of wealthy people eat less than 300 junk food calories each day. By contrast, 97 per cent of poor people eat more than 300 junk food calories per day.
Only fools disclose what's really on t...
Only fools disclose what’s really on their mind.
Are you the sort of person who blurts out every thought on their mind? Stop it. It's not making you seem bold or cool or visionary or anything, but is in fact labelling you as dangerous, potentially treasonous and definitely not the sort of person who will ear promotions. Corley found that 11.6 per cent of wealthy people say what's on their mind, compared to a whopping 69 per cent of poor people.
Eighty per cent of wealthy people are focused on accomplishing some single goal, compared to just 12 per cent of poor people. And wealthy people are four times as likely to write down their goals as poor people. Corley has some great stuff on his blog about the difference between a wish and a goal.
Well, you know what they say about healthy body, healthy mind. According to our American friends, 76 per cent of wealthy people exercise aerobically at least four days a week. Only 23 per cent of poor people do this.
It's almost too simple to be true, but 81 per cent of wealthy people keep a to-do list. Just 19 per cent of poor people do this. Want a good tip? Try an old-fashioned bit of paper. Crossing stuff off with a pen just feels good.
Interestingly, the authors also found that wealthy people tend to read to their kids way more than people do.
Interestingly, the authors also found that wealthy people tend to read to their kids way more than people do.
A massive 88 per cent of wealthy people read material which relates to their education or career for at least 30 minutes each day, while just 2 per cent of poor people do likewise. Want to swim in an Olympic Pool of $100 bills? Then stop playing Angry Birds and pick up a book.
Corley found that 80 of rich people make Happy Birthday calls compared to just 11 per cent of poor people. And while we're not suggesting that ringing Grandma will MAKE you rich, this stat does speak to the old adage: "if you want something done, give it to a busy person".
We all know that watching reality TV will turn your brain to eggplant or possibly mashed zucchini. Either way, you are indulging in the number one activity which keeps nobodies from becoming somebodies. Corley found that 67 per cent of wealthy people watch an hour or less of TV each day - and that just 6 per cent watch reality TV. Yes, just 6 per cent, compared to 78 per cent of poor people.
Only 23 per cent of wealthy people gamble, compared to 52 per cent of poor people. Bear in mind these stats pertain to Americans, so the number of gamblers is likely significantly higher here in Australia.
It might not hurt to run to the side of the road a little, both literally and figuratively.
It might not hurt to run to the side of the road a little, both literally and figuratively.
The advice to run your own race isn't contained anywhere in the material published by the American wealth guys this week. But the irony of lists like these is that you'll never get anywhere in life if you follow everything word for word. Take the bits that apply to you, but remember to be a little flexible and do things your way.
The author of this piece is firmly of the belief that a lot of poor people are simply too busy or disadvantaged one way or another to change their situation. Not everyone has the luxury of being able to pick themselves up.
That said, there's a great comment on Dave Ramsey's blog which offers hope to all. Writes "Poornomore":
"I was born poor, raised in poverty and watched my parents die that way. I worked hard, eliminated my bad habits, started doing what the wealthy did. Mostly I stopped blaming others for my lack of wealth. Now I am wealthy, and help others who want to be helped."