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Tattooed jobseeker told to “put bag over face” September 30, 2010

Posted by Ian in Recruitment.
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I am not sure what job was she applying for but this is definitely NOT the way to treat people.

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UK – A British female jobseeker with 30 tattoos and 20 piercings was told to “put a bag over her head” if she wants to be hired.

Hayley O’Neil, 23, went to recruitment firm Jobcentre Plus in Blackburn Lancashire in search of a job, only to be put down by her consultant, reported UK Telegraph. Her interviewer had told her, “On first impressions, do you think anyone would hire you?”

According to O’Neil, he even added, “Look at it this way, if you were to stand behind a wall – or put a paper bag over your face, do you think you would have a better chance?’

O’Neil eventually left the job centre in tears without securing any interviews after he said, “Who would hire you looking like that?'”

O’Neil, who received her first tattoo from her mother as an 18th birthday present, said, “I just felt so humiliated. I couldn’t believe what this guy was saying.”

Even though she offered to remove her piercings, O’Neil claimed that the man went on to make degrading comments about her appearance. According to O’Neil’s statement, the recruitment agent later attempted to apologise which she did not accept.

However, a spokesman for the Department of Work and Pensions has denied any derogatory remarks made during the job interview. But he added that Jobcentre Plus usually provides job search tips for candidates such as “dressing appropriately when going for an interview or visiting a potential employer”.

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Things You’d Love To Say At Work But Can’t September 30, 2010

Posted by Ian in Fun.
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1. I can see your point, but I still think you’re FOS !!
 
2. I don’t know what your problem is, but I’ll bet it’s hard to pronounce
 
3. How about never ? Is never good for you ??
 
4. I see you’ve set aside this special time to humiliate yourself in public. This is good !!!
 
5. I’m really easy to get along with once you people learn to see it my way
 
6. I’ll try being nicer if you’ll try being smarter
 
7. I’m out of my mind, but feel free to leave a message
 
8. I don’t work here. I’m a consultant
 
9. It sounds like English, but I can’t understand a word you’re saying
 
10. Ahhhhhhh………I see the screw-up fairy has visited us again……
 
11. I like you. You remind me of when I was young and stupid….
 
12. You are validating my inherent mistrust of strangers
 
13. I have plenty of talent and vision. I just don’t give a damn
 
14. I will always cherish the initial misconceptions I had about you
 
15. Thank you. We’re all refreshed and challenged by your unique point of view
 
16. The fact that no one understands you, doesn’t mean you’re an artist
 
17. Any connection between your reality and mine is purely coincidental
 
18. What am I ???? Fly paper for freaks !!!!
 
19. I’m not being rude….you’re just insignificant
 
20. It’s a thankless job, but I’ve got a lot of Karma to burn off
 
21. Yes ! I am an agent of Satan, but my duties are largely ceremonial
 
22. And your crybaby whiny-butt opinion would be…….????? BINGO !!!!!!!
 
23. Do I look like a people person ???
 
24. This isn’t an office.Its’ HELL with flourescent lighting !
 
25. I started out nothing and still have most of it left
 
26. Sarcasm is just one more service we offer
 
27. If I throw a stick, will you leave ?
 
28. Errors have been made….others will be blamed
 
29. Whatever kind of look you were going for, you missed
 
30. I am trying to imagine you with a personality
 
31. A cubicle is just a padded cell without a door
 
32, Can I trade this job for what’s behind door #1 ??
 
33. Too many freaks, not enough circuses
 
34. Nice perfume……must you marinade in it ???
 
35. Chaos, panic and disorder – my work here is done !
 
36 How do I set a laser printer to stun ????

Which words does Google Instant blacklist? September 29, 2010

Posted by Ian in Internet, Social Media, Tech.
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(Mashable) — Some folks at the Hacker publication 2600 decided to compile a list of words that are restricted by Google Instant.

Except in extreme and special cases, Google is known for anything but censorship, but as we’ve said before, there are some terms the web giant’s new instant search feature won’t work with.

We understand Google’s intentions; the team over there is trying to make sure that no one sees pornographic or violent results they might fight disturbing unless they really mean to search for them. When asked about this feature a few weeks ago, Google’s Johanna Wright said the restrictions are in place to protect children.

But Google has opened itself up to a potential PR problem, because some of these omissions will be at best bewildering and at worst offensive to particularly sensitive (or progressive) users who don’t understand how Google Instant actually works.

For example, “bisexual” and “lesbian” are among the restricted words. Type them in to Google and the instant search will immediately stop delivering new results. You have to hit enter to confirm, yes, you really do want to know about something in some way related to bisexuals or lesbians.

Why did Google block these words?

You can still search for these terms. The issue is that when you type them, Google Instant stops reporting results on the fly, and you must hit “enter” to see results.

That happens because Google Instant doesn’t just use what you’ve typed to display results. It reads data collected over the years about previous users’ searches to predict what you’re going to type.

It’s the same algorithm that handles auto-complete, or the Google Suggest pop-ups in the old, not-so-instant Google search. Google searches only display for the exact text that you’ve typed after you’ve hit enter.

When results fail to appear after you’ve typed “lesbian” or “butt,” it’s not because the results are being censored. Google is struggling to prevent the text of offensive searches users have made in the past (there have been other controversies on this subject before) from jumping up in front of you when you’re looking for something innocuous.

Since countless users may have followed the word lesbian with “porn,” generating results inappropriate for children, Google’s algorithm has decided not to immediately throw 20 links to lesbian porn sites in your face when you type “lesbian,” even if that’s the most common search based on the algorithmic data.

When we contacted Google for comment, we received this statement from a spokesperson:

“There are a number of reasons you may not be seeing search queries for a particular topic. Among other things, we apply a narrow set of removal policies for pornography, violence, and hate speech. It’s important to note that removing queries from Autocomplete is a hard problem, and not as simple as blacklisting particular terms and phrases.

In search, we get more than one billion searches each day. Because of this, we take an algorithmic approach to removals, and just like our search algorithms, these are imperfect. We will continue to work to improve our approach to removals in Autocomplete, and are listening carefully to feedback from our users.

Our algorithms look not only at specific words, but compound queries based on those words, and across all languages.

So, for example, if there’s a bad word in Russian, we may remove a compound word including the transliteration of the Russian word into English. We also look at the search results themselves for given queries.

So, for example, if the results for a particular query seem pornographic, our algorithms may remove that query from Autocomplete, even if the query itself wouldn’t otherwise violate our policies.

This system is neither perfect nor instantaneous, and we will continue to work to make it better.”

Google’s highly effective SafeSearch algorithm still applies to instant search results. SafeSearch can filter out potentially offensive search results quite effectively after a user has hit “enter” — the first page of results for “lesbian” with moderate safe search enabled is completely innocuous — and it works for searches in progress too.

Google’s current implementation is far from perfect — the company rep admitted that. If nothing else, we’d like to see Google manually re-enter safe suggestions for some common terms that have been restricted because they’re sometimes connected with sexual, violent or hateful results.

The rep told us that Google is working on improving the system, but wouldn’t give us any specifics about future changes. In the meantime, check out the complete list at 2600 if you’re curious.

Continental debuts food-for-purchase menus – Are they becoming budget airline now? September 29, 2010

Posted by Ian in Transportation.
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(CNN) — Continental Airlines will no longer provide complimentary meals and snacks to economy passengers on domestic flights shorter than 6½ hours and some international flights.

On Monday, the airline announced a menu and pricing for its new food-for-purchase offerings, which will debut October 12.

“Customers were asking for more variety,” said Mary Clark, spokeswoman for Continental.

Grilled chicken spinach salad, Asian-style noodle salad and Angus cheeseburgers are among the menu offerings. Prices will range from $1.50 for chips to $8.25 for the grilled chicken salad.

Complimentary food service will still be available in first class and BusinessFirst on all routes worldwide, and free non-alcoholic drinks will continue to be offered to all passengers.

As for economy, complimentary food will be available only on flights longer than 6½ hours, some international flights and all intercontinental flights, Clark said. This includes Houston, Texas, to Anchorage, Alaska, and Newark, New Jersey, to Hawaii, for example, as well as some Latin routes, depending on length and destination.

“There is a cost-savings benefit to it,” she said. “It’s not a revenue-generating idea, but it will give customers what they’re looking for as well as reduce the cost.”

Though Clark said she was unsure whether Continental was the last major U.S. airline to offer complimentary meals to all passengers, she doesn’t see the transition as negative.

“It’s something that we know our customers value when they travel,” Clark said. “We definitely see it as a customer benefit.”

Simon Cowell Sued for Being Mean (via Reflective Thoughts) September 28, 2010

Posted by Ian in Uncategorized.
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Not quite sure why this is news.

 Simon Cowell Sued for Being Mean (iVillage) – Simon Cowell was nasty to an aspiring singer during an audition for a reality show? Get out of here! Obviously, we're not really shocked that the man known for his brutal honesty has offended yet another contestant. Britain's Got Talent hopeful Emma Czikai wasn't too pleased with the judge's harsh words after she allegedly butchered a version of Josh Groban's "You Raise Me Up." But she isn't taking the harsh critique lying down. Inst … Read More

via Reflective Thoughts

A Week without Social Media (via Chimaera) September 28, 2010

Posted by Ian in Uncategorized.
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I grew up without any internet right up to my work life. It was then I remembered using that 56.6kbps modem as the window to the world. How times have changed, and I am online almost everyday now. Can I live without the internet for a week? Only if I have to.

A Week without Social Media I'm behind on everything because I've been moving, but I can't possibly let Harrisburg University's week-long social media blackout pass without a comment. I don't know about you, but regardless of what justifications are put forth, this has "curmudgeon" written all over it.  Not necessarily old curmudgeon–the originator in his forties–but a curmudgeon nonetheless: "I made do without Facebook when I was your age and so can you!" It's an experim … Read More

via Chimaera

Fake earthquake disaster drill tests on Facebook & Twitter September 28, 2010

Posted by Ian in Environment, Internet, Social Media.
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(CNN) — If your Facebook page or Twitter feed lights up with news of a tsunami off the California coast, don’t get too worried.

At noon ET Friday, a drill was launched by natural disaster experts at San Diego State University to test how social media would be used to respond to a crisis.

Exercise 24 (X24) is being run by the university’s Immersive Visualization Center.

Participants from 15 countries, including the United States, organizations such as the United Nations and Red Cross, and other business, nonprofits and individuals will be involved.

The idea is to test the speed and widen the scope of responses to a major disaster, focusing on how social media sites like Facebook and Twitter can be used.

“Ultimately, the goal is to get there faster, respond more effectively to save lives, communities, businesses, etc.,” read a written release on the drill.

Organizers said that all messages about the fictional disaster would be marked clearly as fake on the Web.

Shortly after 12:30 p.m. ET, organizers began sending fictional messages from an account on Twitter reporting the disaster.

“#X24 IS A TEST, NOT REAL [link] CNN.com Earthquake strikes coast of Southern and Baja California http://bit.ly/Exer24 1 …,” was the first mention.

Instead of a CNN story, the link went to a Web page explaining the drill and how users can participate.

As time went on, details included reports of snapped bridges, severe flooding and a tsunami on the way.

“#X24 IS A TEST, NOT REAL TV said large wave headed toward coastline! Everyone get out! http://bit.ly/Exer24 3-9 …,” read a later post.

Social media has become an increasingly important tool in disaster response in recent months, particularly during the Haiti earthquake and Gulf oil disaster.

During the recent wildfires in California, responders used sites such as Facebook and Twitter to track the fires and see what people were saying about them.

Friday’s fictional scenario starts with a major earthquake off the coast of Huntington Beach, California, generating a tidal wave and an oil spill. A social media aggregator program will be used to try to bring together all the information about it on social media sites.

On Friday, about 50 members of government and relief groups huddled in the drill’s dimly lit, makeshift command center at San Diego State University.

Chris Mayfield, a civilian systems engineer with the U.S. Navy, tapped on his keyboard.

“We have to be ready in case something like this gets to the presidential [federal] disaster level,” said Mayfield, who is with the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command.

SPAWAR helps deploy critical federal response teams and equipment during disasters.

“For example, somebody needs fresh water,” Mayfield said. “So we need to find out, how do we get it? Are there troops available who can bring that to them? What’s the time line?”

At the center, U.S. and Mexican flags hung on the wall, symbols of the need for both countries to cooperate on logistics if such a massive earthquake hit the area.

While government and relief organizations are the official participants, the public is being asked to help, too.

People were asked to visit the InRelief.org website starting at noon ET to see if the site can handle a huge amount of traffic. They are also being asked to find and follow specifically branded sites on Facebook and Twitter, to help see how easy it will be for people to get information that way.

“Essentially we’re challenging the public to teach response groups what they need and want re: social media engagement in a very real sense and then to put it all to work,” said a written release. “We’ll develop and share the results in a report with everyone afterwards.”

As of about 5 p.m. ET on Friday, the InRelief site was performing well, said Google spokesman Dan Martin. The site is built using Google Apps.

Martin said that, at that time, the site had seen 10,000 unique users from 60 different countries.

The drill will last through Saturday.

Is a BlackBerry tablet coming next week? September 27, 2010

Posted by Ian in Mobile, Tech.
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(CNET) — The much-discussed BlackBerry tablet may finally come to fruition as soon as next week.

It’s been talked about for months, but Research In Motion has yet to acknowledge that such a device exists. But today The Wall Street Journal reported that the Canadian smartphone maker may reveal its own iPad-like tablet at its developer conference in San Francisco, which starts Monday.

The Journal’s unnamed sources say the device is not ready for shipping to customers, but will by sometime during the fourth quarter of this year.

The BlackBerry tablet–sometimes referred to as the “BlackPad” since RIM bought the domain blackpad.com–is said to have a 7-inch touchscreen and at least one camera, maybe two, according to the Journal. Previous reports have said the BlackPad would have a screen closer to the size of the 9.7-inch iPad.

In line with previous reports, the tablet will not have its own cellular service but will be a companion device to a BlackBerry smartphone, the newspaper reported. That means the tablet will have Wi-Fi access but will need to be tethered to a BlackBerry for a 3G connection.

Perhaps most interesting is what RIM apparently has planned on the software front. It’s been reported before, but the Journal’s story reiterates that the tablet won’t use RIM’s new BlackBerry 6 mobile OS. Instead it will use a new OS from QNX Software, a company RIM purchased earlier this year.

The report says the QNX software could eventually replace the software on all RIM smartphones.

How much the device will cost is still unknown. Since it’s not being sold with wireless service, it seems unlikely it would be sold through a carrier the way BlackBerrys are, and that would mean no carrier subsidy like newer tablets from Dell and Samsung have.

Facebook’s Rival? (via APLINK – itsReal) September 20, 2010

Posted by Ian in Uncategorized.
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Facebook's Rival? WASHINGTON (AFP) – – Four US students who launched a new social networking site called "Diaspora" are stressing its ease of use and stricter privacy policy, in a bid to make waves in a field dominated by Facebook. The version available to software developers since Wednesday is giving outsiders an opportunity to work on applications within its framework, ahead of a public launch due at a yet undisclosed later date. "This is now a community project … Read More

via APLINK – itsReal

^io September 7, 2010

Posted by Ian in Uncategorized.
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^io