Sunday, September 21, 2008

voice chat between the real world and Second Life.

Second Life Chat Crosses to Real Life
Linden Labs has announced SLim, a lightweight client that will enable instant messaging and voice chat between the real world and Second Life.
At this week's Virtual Worlds Expo, Linden Labs, the creators of the popular virtual world Second Life, announced a new instant messaging and voice client that will let Second Life residents communicate with the Second Life world without the significant overhead of the full-blown Second Life clients. Dubbed "SLim," the application will enable users to chat with their Second Life cohorts, breaking down some of the barriers between Second Life and, well, real life.
The SLim client will be developed by Vivox—the same folks who provide the technology for Second Life's in-world voice chat feature—and while essentially no details have been released, Linden Labs says the client will be able to run on "any" computer, will provide real-time "presence" updates of in-world friends and contacts, and will enable users to leave voice mail for offline friends.
"With Second Life becoming integrated into more aspects of our Residents' daily lives, we saw a need to expand the world beyond its borders, enabling constant connection regardless of location," said Linden Labs VP Joe Miller, in a statement. "In addition to all the enhanced communication benefits, SLim also helps solidify the value proposition of Second Life for enterprise use by providing a highly powerful VOIP and instant messaging client."
Although voice chat hasn't enjoyed uniform popularity among Second Life users, Linden Labs claims to have become one of the world's largest VoIP providers since launching voice chat a year ago, with residents logging more than 8.5 billion minutes of talk time.
Linden Labs hasn't offered any details on when SLim might be available, and there are no indications SLim will interoperate with major instant messaging services like MSN, Yahoo, or AIM.


Dads sacrifice work for his loving kids.

THEIR fathers could claim exemption from the middle-of-the-night feed because they were the main breadwinner and had to be fresh and on their game for work the next morning.
But, with women being as career-driven as men these days, families are looking for new ways to balance career and family life.

Taking turns with their partner to get up several times during the night to feed a newborn baby has taken its toll on productivity levels in corporate Australia, so an increasing number of companies have looked to flexible workplace solutions to ease pressures.
Companies, including investment bank Morgan Stanley and law firms such as Mallesons Stephen Jaques, have recognised the need to allow greater flexibility to attract and retain the best staff.
In a climate of threatened recession and rising unemployment, however, a leading workplace researcher has issued a warning to companies to resist the urge to wind back or suspend flexibility reforms.
Barbara Pocock, director of the Centre for Work and Life at the University of South Australia, said the prospect of recession could jeopardise gains made in recent years by companies adopting flexible work practices to allow for a better work-family balance.
"If there is a significant downturn in the market, and unemployment rises as a result, there will be less of a labour-market incentive to allow measures such as workplace-friendly policies that potentially reduce turnover,'' Professor Pocock said.
"A sudden decline could well have an effect on these provisions ... and it would be a very bad thing, as we need the contributions of working parents.''
As conditions have favoured employees for almost a decade, corporations have been adopting flexible working measures to attract and retain the best employees.
Now as the labour market looks likely to contract, measures that potentially detract from productivity may be threatened.
Henrik Moritz, a senior associate in mergers and acquisitions at Mallesons Stephen Jaques, said working part-time since the birth of his daughter had improved his productivity because he had become more content in his personal life and was thereforehappier and more focused at work.
"The flexibility has made a huge difference to how I feel about my input as a parent, but it has focused and motivated my career, as I have that meaningful balance in my life,'' Mr Moritz said.
"I'm more motivated and productive as a result.''
Mallesons Stephen Jaques prides itself on its arrangements with employees and claims a lower staff turnover as a result.
Mr Moritz, 34, works four days a week and has every Monday off to look after eight-month-old Rebekka. His wife Sarah, a lawyer at Minter Ellison, also work four days a week and has every Friday off.
"I'm enjoying work more because I'm happy with my family life; I've got more time and energy for them,'' Mr Moritz said. ``If I didn't, this would take away from the fun I have at work.''
Despite the benefits to both parties, Mr Moritz said his arrangement was still a "novelty'' in commercial law and he had not heard of any other male lawyers working part-time. Professor Pocock said many large firms had begun discussing flexible work practices but had not yet implemented such programs or convinced their staff that taking up flexible workplace options would not hurt their careers.
"Many industries and workplaces suffer `competitive presenteeism', with employees turning up and looking 100 per cent switched on to signal they are serious about promotion and career advancement,'' she said.
However, Juliet Bourke, an employment lawyer and partner at Aequus Partners, said developments in workplace flexibility had gone too far to be wound back or even suspended, even during a recession.
"Many firms struggle with the concept but the momentum is behind an expansion of flexibility,'' she said.
"If you think about law firms and the number of women coming through, things have to change.
"Our research demonstrates that managers are having to understand those requirements.''

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

What you need to know for dummy

What’s Hot, What’s Not?
Clothing is very important in our society today. It has a huge impact on almost everything we do. Whether you are going in for a job interview, going to school, or just going out shopping, you will be judged by the clothes you choose to wear. It’s true that clothes aren’t everything, but a lot of the time they can make a huge difference. It’s also true that you may not be able to afford the latest fashions, but if you search around you will find something that’s in style and in your price range.
Have you ever gone out for a job interview, not been picked for job and had no idea why? If this has happened and you know that you have all the required skills, it could be because of what you’re wearing. This may sound a little weird but it’s completely true. If you go for an interview to be a secretary and show up in ripped jeans, a dirty shirt and a baseball cap, the chances are you won’t be picked. The people that are giving you the interview will likely think you aren’t “put together” enough for the job, no matter how perfect you could have been for the job. Although if you showed up in a suit, or a nice shirt and skirt and you had all or just a few of the required skills for the job, there would be a much higher chance that you would get picked for the job. So instead of showing up in a messy outfit, find something that will make you look and feel great and you might get the job sooner than you think.
Clothing has a big impact on how people look at you. You could have a really good personality but people aren’t sure how to approach you because of the clothes you like wear. Like I said earlier, clothes aren’t everything and your personality should count more, but this isn’t always the case. Some people judge others by the clothes they wear and might not even think twice about getting to know them if they don’t wear “the right” clothes. I know this isn’t always true, but lots of the time people just don’t think about it. Next time you think to put on those old those old jeans and old ripped sweater think about it for minute and ask yourself, “Will people approach me more if I’m wearing a nice shirt or my old ripped sweater” (no matter how much more comfortable you think it is). You don’t have to change your style completely but it could help to just tone it down a little bit. Before you leave for school or for the mall tomorrow think about what I just said and you could have a better time.

Is your trouble that you can’t afford all the new fashions? I think I can help with that. There are many stores that you can go to that won’t break the bank. If you have decided now that you want to change your look for an interview, going out, or just doing whatever, without spending a lot of money here are some stores for you. The first store (my personal favorite) is Garage. This clothing store is targeted at teen’s girls. Clothes here can vary in price from $5-$80. The clothing is always up to date with the latest fashions. There’s everything from long sleeve shirts to t-shirts to tank tops, skirts and leggings to jeans to winter jackets, you can even find a new pair of mittens or socks. The second store you could check out is Old Navy. They always have nice clothes here too, but these clothes are for any age. The prices vary from $10-$80. They have a big variety in their clothing, everything from clothing for babies, clothing for kids and teens, and men and women’s clothing too. In the summer they have bathing suits and flip-flops, and in the winter they have jackets and boots (fashionable of course).
The last store you could look at is American Eagle. It is true this store is a bit more expensive, but when they have a sale it’s pretty good and their clothing is for both male and female teens.
Clothing will always be an important thing for everyone. I hope the next time you chose to go for a job interview, out shopping, or to school you’ll decide to wear something a little nicer. If you take a little more time and put in a little more effort you could find the perfect outfit for any occasion. Always remember it
takes a little time (sometimes ).

How to keep your weight perfect.

No matter what kind of diet you have tried in the past, if you are reading this you probably did not have much success. I went from diet to diet for years. I spent a whole lot of money to lose weight and gain it right back. The reason fad diets never work is because in one way or another, you are trying to cheat your way to losing weight. Cheaters never prosper and weight loss is no exception.

It would be wonderful to find a magic pill that that would allow you to skip exercising and eat whatever you want without the consequences of looking out of shape and being unhealthy. Unfortunately, that will never happen. Fad diets will come and go as long as people are willing to cheat, they will keep you on an emotional roller coaster regarding your weight.

Losing weight requires will power and the proper mindset. You cannot deny it. Even when you start a diet that promises you that you can eat all of the protein you want, you still have to give up something and it gets rough. The best way to lose weight for good is to change your lifestyle. Either way you will have to make sacrifices, so why not make them work to your advantage instead of the other way around?

I lost 70 pounds in 4 months and have kept it off for over 15 years, and I did it without spending extra money and time. It all came down to following 3 simple steps. If you have been struggling with your weight like I did, keep reading!

Weight Loss Step #1: Meal Replacement
What if there was a scientifically engineered food that existed that gave you all of the nutrition of a 2,000 calorie meal, but it only had 180 calories? Your body would get all the proper vitamins it needs to become healthy without eating a ton of food. Sounds just like those fad diets I mentioned earlier that tries to cheat your way to lose weight, right? Well, guess again. That meal exists and that is what I used.

Not only did I replace one meal a day with this product, but it only cost $1.60 every time I did it! I actually saved money because I wasn't buying a meal somewhere else. The best part about it is that it conditioned me to begin making it a routine that has served me well as a lifestyle change. I don't even think about losing or gaining weight anymore.

Weight Loss Step #2: Snack Substitution
Much of your overeating may be unintentional, as you can eat foods with hidden sugar and oils put there to stimulate your taste buds. You cannot completely avoid sugar and fat. Both of these are present in fruits and vegetables in small amounts, but you can substitute healthy fruits and vegetables for processed snack foods that have unnecessarily large amounts of added sugar and oil.

It all boils down to being sensible. You don't want to starve yourself all day long, thinking the less you eat the more weight you will lose. What happens next is you will binge on bad foods because you are starving yourself. When you snack all day on healthy foods, like apples, carrots and soy nuts, you keep your energy up and your stomach content. Healthy addictions like this allow people to live a lifestyle without worrying about fluctuating weight.

Weight Loss Step #3: Move Your Body
Think about the things you used to do as a kid that are now luxuries. Getting up from the sofa to change the tv channel, rolling down your car window manually, riding your bike to the post off to mail a letter. All of these things got you moving and burning calories without it ever feeling like work. Having a sedentary lifestyle is a major component of weight gain and obesity. If going to the gym feels too much like work to you, get back to the basics.

You can certainly lose weight without exercising, but in order to have the best chance at keeping a healthy lifestyle, you have to start moving more. If you live near the places where you usually do errands, walk or ride a bike to get them done instead of driving your car everywhere. And by all means get up from behind the computer. Do not let the luxuries of technology rob you of your health by making your life too easy.

If you begin to follow the three simple steps listed above, you will begin to reach your targeted weight and never have to worry about being overweight or unhealthy again. My meal replacement came with a personal weight loss coach, and because I understood the value of support, I now have the pleasure and privilege of helping others lose weight and become healthy. You too can reach your goals just as I did. All that is required is the want, need and desire for you to make small changes in your lifestyle.

Bill Winch is a Personal Wellness Coach whose mission is teaching and coaching others who are struggling with getting healthy, losing weight safely and keeping it off for good. He is also a Certified Business Growth Specialist, former High School and College Business Educator and Counselor, and mentors from his home office in Rochester, NY. If you are interested in receiving his Free Report "9 Weight Loss Myths Exposed" visit his website by clicking on FREE REPORT or by calling him directly at (585) 271-3767 for a free wellness consultation.

Monday, September 8, 2008

In the U.K., Annabel Karmel is the go-to guru for health-minded children's meals

Trying to please picky palates
In the U.K., Annabel Karmel is the go-to guru for health-minded children's meals: Not only does she produce her own line of foods, but the mother of three is a columnist, author and TV pundit on the topic of feeding kids well.

Her latest work, "The Fussy Eaters' Recipe Book" (Atria), is focused on picky eaters (meaning most kids), but it doesn't spotlight bland food.

The flavors might be toned down a bit for tender palates, but Karmel's recipes - a tangy tomato dressing, a crisp, cold chicken salad - are colorful, texturally diverse and internationally inspired.

Just don't tell the kids.


Makes about 3/4 cup
If your balsamic vinegar is very sharp, then you might like to add an extra pinch of sugar - it's worth spending a little extra to get a mature balsamic vinegar with more rounded, sweeter flavor.

2 large ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
6 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons tomato paste
4 sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, chopped
1 tablespoon sugar (optional)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Put all of the ingredients into a blender and whiz for 2 minutes, until thoroughly puréed. Strain the dressing. Store in a jar in the fridge for up to two weeks, and shake well before serving.


Makes 2-3 servings

1/2 cup jasmine rice
2 tablespoons rice-wine vinegar
1 tablespoon superfine sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons canola oil
1/3 large cucumber, preferably English or hothouse
3 scallions, sliced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
3/4 cup diced cooked chicken
1/4 avocado, sliced (optional)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Put rice in large pan with 1 1/2 cups cold water and pinch of salt. Bring to boil and simmer for 12-15 minutes, stirring halfway through; transfer to a bowl.

To make the dressing, gently warm the rice-wine vinegar and sugar until the sugar has dissolved. Add the canola oil and stir into the rice. Leave until room temperature (refrigerate if using for a lunch box).

Cut the cucumber in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds with a teaspoon. Dice the flesh. Stir into the dressed rice with the scallions, bell pepper, chicken and avocado, if using, and season to taste.


Makes 4 servings

3/4 pound macaroni

For the cheese sauce:

3 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
3/4 cup grated Gruyère
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
3/4 cup mascarpone cheese
4 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
1/3 cup shredded sliced ham (optional)

For the topping
3/4 cup fresh bread crumbs
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan

Cook the pasta in plenty of lightly salted boiling water according to the package directions. Melt the butter, stir in the flour, and cook for 1 minute. Gradually add the milk, stirring over low heat for 5-6 minutes. Take off the heat, stir in the Gruyère and Parmesan until melted, then the mascarpone cheese. Drain the pasta, return to the pan, add the cheese sauce, and heat through gently. Stir in the chopped tomatoes and shredded ham, if using. Transfer to a greased, ovenproof dish (approximately 9 by 5 inches wide). Mix together the bread crumbs and Parmesan and sprinkle on top. Place under a preheated broiler until golden and bubbling.


EDY'S SLOW CHURNED VANILLA WITH NESTLE CRUNCH BAR Frozen treats don't always have to be off-limits for those trying feed their kids in a healthy way, according to "Eat This Not That for Kids." A few tricks, writes Zinczenko, are to look for fruit bars and any pop that ends with a "sicle," as it's generally a "safe indulgence." These Edy's bars also pretty low in calories and fat per bar.The best way to feed your kids is with cooked-from-scratch foods, of course, but then life happens: You work late or little Joe screams for brand names at the store. That's when to pull out "Eat This Not That for Kids" (Rodale), David Zinczenko's new photo-illustrated guide to supermarket aisles and fast-food menus. The editor-in-chief of Men's Health tells you what's not healthy and what is, like these four kid-friendly foods.

KEEBLER LOW FAT CINNAMON GRAHAMS Cookies and milk are the classic childhood snack, but for treats with fewer calories and less saturated fats, look to Nabisco SnackWell's Creme Sandwich Cookies, a roll of Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie dough, Nabisco Sugar Snaps or the winner in the cookie category, graham crackers. Spread them with peanut butter, says Zinczenko, and kids will really feel full.

KRAFT TANGY ITALIAN SPAGHETTI CLASSICS :When stocking the cupboard with after-school snacks for older kids, macaroni and cheese, ramen and SpaghettiOs with meatballs are easy choices. But those are usually studded with fat and sodium. Instead, writes Zinczenko, pick options like SpaghettiOs shapes, Thai Kitchen's curry-flavor instant noodles and this Kraft spaghetti kit.

LIPTON SOUP SECRETS NOODLE SOUP Canned, boxed or bagged, soups are a lightning-fast way to feed a hungry child in mere minutes, but they can be high in sodium and fats. Avoid Campbell's classic Chicken Noodle, says Zinczenko, as it packs a whopping 890 milligrams of sodium per serving. Instead, he says, go for Campbell's Healthy Request version or easily portable packets like Lipton's Soup Secrets.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Chinese designer Ji Wenbo made his debut in Japan

Models display creations designed by Chinese designer Ji Wenbo who has made his debut at Japan Fashion Week in Tokyo, unveiling sharp yet casual menswear with references to his homeland's ancient past.

Chinese designer Ji Wenbo makes Japan debut.

Chinese designer Ji Wenbo made his debut Wednesday in Japan , Asia's biggest fashion market, unveiling sharp yet casual menswear with references to his homeland's ancient past.
Ji, primarily known for his men's brand LiLang, was the first Chinese designer ever to take part in Tokyo Fashion Week, which takes place twice a year in the Japanese capital.
Male models strutted down the catwalk in jackets and sweaters with geometric patterns that included images of the Terracotta Army, the statues of soldiers buried underground in the ancient Chinese city of Xian.
"I reproduced the details and ancient designs from the Terracotta Army and turned it into modern fashion," Ji said of his mainly black and white 2009 spring/summer collection, which received enthusiastic applause.
Ji, who won a top prize for Chinese designers in 2004, last year became the first Chinese national to show his work in Milan

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

How safe is your bank?

The Treasury took dramatic steps to boost investor confidence this week, as official figures revealed that savings have plunged to their lowest level for nearly half a century.
Chancellor Alistair Darling proposed raising the statutory compensation scheme to protect bank and building society investors to fully cover the first £50,000 lost per person, in the unlikely event of an authorised institution going bust.
More about borrowing
Full coverage on savings
Earlier, National Statistics quietly disclosed that the percentage of household income being saved during the first quarter of this year fell to 1.1 per cent. That is the lowest the household savings ratio has fallen to since 1959 and about a 10th of its level when Gordon Brown became Chancellor in 1997.
Depositors queuing outside Northern Rock in September 2007
Savers' confidence remains badly dented by the run on Northern Rock last September. When it became known that the Bank of England, in its role as lender of last resort, had granted the former building society emergency financial support, depositors responded by queuing outside Northern Rock branches to demand their money back.
There was another adverse reaction when Chancellor Alistair Darling announced proposals to strengthen the safety net for savers on Tuesday this week. The FTSE 100 index fell 146 points on the day – or by 2.6 per cent – with bank shares leading the way down.
But it has been more than a century since any major bank went bust. Overend, Gurney & Company failed in 1866.
More recently, the secondary bank London & County failed in 1973 and Barings Bank had to be rescued in 1995, when it was bought for £1 by the Dutch giant ING. Grays Building Society was the most recent collapse in that sector, back in 1978.
Adrian Coles, director-general of the Building Societies Association, said: "Grays was the subject of a big fraud by its chief executive but the other societies rallied around and the only people who lost any money were the other directors."
Mr Darling said: "No system of regulation can or should prevent the failure of each and every institution, but we must do everything possible to prevent problems which could pose a wider threat to stability.
"The challenge is to ensure that the authorities can act quickly and decisively where necessary to support financial institutions. These proposals will give the authorities the full range of powers they need."
In addition to lifting the maximum compensation payment from its current level of 100 per cent of the first £35,000 per person lost to £50,000 per person, the Treasury proposes to discount any debts individuals may have to failed institutions when calculating compensation. At present, mortgages and other loans outstanding can be taken into account to offset compensation paid for deposits lost. So if you owe the bank more than you have in savings with it, you are not entitled to any compensation.
No changes to the statutory safety net are likely to take effect before the Treasury's consultation period ends on September 15. Here are some tips for savers to consider now.
Deposits with all banks and building societies authorised to trade in the UK by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) are covered by a statutory safety net called the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). This can pay compensation up to 100 per cent of the first £35,000 of losses per person.
Since the FSCS was set up in 2001, no bank has gone bust.
You can find out whether any firm or individual is authorised by the FSA by telephoning 0845 606 1234 or going to and searching by reference number or name.


Because of the maximum limits on compensation payments by the FSCS, cautious savers whose deposits exceed these sums should consider spreading their money between two or more institutions.


Depositors with a foreign bank that failed could have to make their first claim against a foreign compensation scheme.
A spokesman for the FSCS said: "In the event of a failure of one of these banks, the home state scheme would have lead responsibility for claims and would pay the first part of any compensation. This might cause some delays in resolving claims as FSCS may have to depend on information from the home state scheme before paying any top-up compensation."
Size is not a guarantee of security but smaller institutions are likely to be more dependent on one sector of the market – such as advancing mortgages to buy-to-let landlords – and have smaller reserves against unexpected setbacks than larger banks or building societies.
Here are the biggest five banks and building societies with group assets, according to the British Bankers' Association (BBA) and the Building Societies' Association (BSA):
Royal Bank of Scotland £1,900bn
Barclays £1,200bn
HBOS £667bn
HSBC Bank £622bn
LloydsTSB £353bn
Building societies
Nationwide £179bn
Britannia £37bn
Yorkshire £20bn
Coventry £15bn
Chelsea £13bn

Credit-rating agencies are paid by banks to issue assessments of them – and he who pays the piper may call the tune.
Similarly, credit-rating agencies were paid by bond issuers to assess many of the bonds – such as collateralised debt obligations (CDOs) – which contributed to the credit crisis after so many banks bought them.

Independent statisticians at point out that savers with deposits in more than one subsidiary of a group of companies are only covered by one maximum allocation of compensation per person from the FSCS.
Moneyfacts' Rachel Thrussell said: "For example, HBOS Group includes Birmingham Midshires and Intelligent Finance, as well as Halifax and Bank of Scotland. Also, RBS Group includes Direct Line and Ulster Bank as well as NatWest and Royal Bank of Scotland."
Brian Capon of the BBA added: "Savers with deposits in more than one subsidiary of a group of companies are only covered by one maximum allocation of compensation per person.
"While this is accurate if the institution is authorised by the FSA at group level, if the subsidiary businesses are authorised separately in their own right, then the compensation limit will apply to each of them separately.

The BBA operates a code of practice setting out minimum standards for treating customers – including handling complaints – but not all banks or building societies authorised to trade in the UK subscribe to the BBA code. You can check who is covered and who is not by going to

A bank which is willing to advance mortgages equal to six times borrowers' income and loans up to 125 per cent of property value may not be as safe as one with more cautious lending criteria.

For more than a year now, worries have been expressed here and elsewhere about increasingly generous lending terms and rising dependence on complex derivatives – such as CDOs.
Similarly, the share prices page gives an indication of what the stock market thinks of each bank.
For example, to take two examples current this week, a bank whose shares are yielding 33 per cent may not be as financially robust as one which is yielding 3 per cent .