A promising start

first_imgDespite a loss to Stevens Point, young and veteran talent looks poised to elevate Tigers softballBy Paul LeckerSports ReporterMARSHFIELD — The Marshfield softball team looks like it could be on the rise in the Wisconsin Valley Conference this year.After an impressive 3-0 showing at Mauston last Friday and Saturday, which included a WVC win over Wausau West and nonconference victories over sectional foes Eau Claire Memorial and Memonine, the Tigers ran into the buzz saw that is perennial state powerhouse Stevens Point on Tuesday, falling 17-5.The Stevens Point game aside, the Tigers have shown that with a mixture of a few veterans and a number of varsity newcomers, they are a team that should be much improved from last year’s squad that finished just 9-17 overall and 4-8 in the WVC.“The more time we can get on the field, the more reps we take, it’s only going to help us,” Marshfield coach Mike Voss said. “We’re working on the things we need to do because we are a young team but also building confidence by playing games. Every time we make a mistake, hopefully we learn from it and don’t make that mistake a second time.”Marshfield’s top returning player is Lexi Dupee, a second-team all-Wisconsin Valley Conference selection at catcher last season after she hit a team-high .514 with two home runs, nine RBIs, and nine runs scored in league play.Dupee has moved to shortstop this season to make room for one of four freshmen on the varsity roster as Emily Draeger has taken over the catching duties.Megan Donahue will serve as one of the Tigers’ pitchers, and fellow freshman Morgan Nordbeck has started at second base so far this season. Another freshman, Kaitlyn Konrardy, is also on the roster.Donahue will share pitching duties with senior Caitlyn Kozik, a Viterbo University recruit, who is in her fourth varsity season.Both Donahue and Kozik have been among the top hitters for Marshfield thus far this season as the Tigers were off to a 3-1 start and a 1-1 mark in the Wisconsin Valley Conference heading into Thursday’s game at Wisconsin Rapids.Senior Kayla Kluge returns at first base, and junior Mary Kloos and Donahue share time at third base. Sophomores Melissa Roberts and Alyssa Ede and junior Alyssa Wilhelm are all new starters in the outfield.With so many new faces, Voss said he knows the team is a work in progress but the great start last weekend will only help fuel the team as competition heats up over the next month or so.“We got off to a nice start at 3-0, but at the same time, as a coaching staff, we knew there are always things we need to work on,” Voss said. “SPASH is a good measuring stick. The bad thing is we played them the fourth game of the season, and we have a young team that is still adjusting to learning different positions and getting used to playing together. Now we know kind of where we fit.“We can only do so much in practice, and it has to show in games too. The more we play, which in the next four weeks is going to be a lot, hopefully it starts to show eventually.”Marshfield’s next home game is Tuesday against Merrill at the Marshfield Fairgrounds.Paul Lecker is publisher of MarshfieldAreaSports.com, a contributor to Hub City Times Sports. You can reach him by email at paul@marshfieldareasports.com.last_img read more

Toyota looks toward solar energy

first_img7 May 2008Toyota has become the latest company to answer power utility Eskom’s call for companies to reduce electricity consumption and to find alternative energy sources, by installing over 200 solar panels at its Prospecton plant in Durban.With the country’s growing at some 15% per year and putting strain on existing infrastructure, Eskom had asked businesses to cut power usage by 10% in order to reduce demand by 3 000 megawatts.“We would like to work together with Eskom’s new task team to aid in load reduction,” said Toyota South Africa spokesperson Ferdi de Vos in a statement this week.“This will ensure that our economy does not suffer loss from unnecessary load-shedding.”By the end of 2008, Toyota will have installed 270 solar panels into its Durban plant, which will enable them to operate at full capacity while also reducing demand on Eskom.Where the plant previously used electricity and gas to heat water, it will now use energy converted from the sun as a source of heat. Solar panels collect and convert energy from the sun into energy and heat that is then used by nearby buildings.Toyota’s renewable energy project began in 2006 with the installation of 44 panels, and the second phase was completed in June 2007 when 150 panels were installed. In the third phase of the project, Toyota will install a further 120 panels.While the project has cost Toyota R3.5-million, the company expects to save R95 000 per month on energy costs when the project is completed in the next few months.“Not only is this a significant financial saving, but it shows that Toyota is supportive of Eskom’s energy saving initiative,” said De Vos.The environmental impact of electricity use in South Africa is also a concern that big electricity users like Toyota needed to help address, and the manufacturer pointed out that the change would reduce its carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere by approximately 1 350 tons per year.“Our solar power initiative is done with the environment in mind,” said De Vos.According to the company, over 18% of global final energy came from renewables in 2006.SAinfo reporter Would you like to use this article in your publicationor on your website?See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

Even a voluntary demotion can lead to a retaliation claim

first_img The lesson for employers is that giving an employee a Hobson’s Choice is indeed a great way to promote employee litigation. And for the love of Pete!  Twenty-eight disciplinary notices?!? Remember folks: hire slow, fire fast. Yeah, not so much, said the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals: A demotion to a different position that pays significantly less than the former position is certainly materially adverse…a demotion taken voluntarily is not an adverse employment action…[But], Hicks testified that he had no choice but to accept the demotion because he [reasonably] believed that he would be fired if he did not…Such a choice could be said to be no choice at all, and the jury agreed. Thus, Hicks presented sufficient evidence at trial for a reasonable jury to find that his demotion was involuntary. A maintenance mechanic in Illinois received twenty-eight disciplinary-action forms from his supervisor. Ultimately, he was offered two choices: (1) accept a demotion to a non-mechanic position and take a significant pay cut; or (2) keep the position, fight the discipline, but face potential termination. On the advice of his union representative, the mechanic took the demotion. He later sued for retaliation, claiming that the demotion, which he voluntarily accepted, was a direct response to a charge of discrimination he previously filed with the EEOC. Is this retaliation? A federal circuit court gave us the answer. The case is Hicks v. Forest Preserve District of Cook County, Illinois. At trial, a jury determined that the company had, in fact, retaliated against the plaintiff and awarded him $30,000. The company subsequently appealed, arguing that no rational jury could have found for the plaintiff because he did not present sufficient evidence of retaliation. To prevail on a retaliation claim, a plaintiff must demonstrate three elements: He opposed an unlawful employment practice; That he suffered an adverse employment action; and That the adverse employment action was caused by his opposition to the unlawful employment practice. The company argued on appeal that the mechanic did not present evidence that he had suffered an adverse employment action. Indeed, he voluntarily accepted a demotion on the advice of his union representative.last_img read more

SaaS: On-Demand Continuity Planning — Due Diligence Required

first_imgOne of the beauties and benefits of adopting SaaS is that it shifts operations to an outside vendor. And doing that can significantly free up internal IT support responsibilities. Generally that’s a good thing, but if you haven’t done your homework, it can lead to a false sense of security.What would happen in the event of a disaster hitting your SaaS provider? And how soon would they be able to get your application up and running again after a major event? For any large company, a continuity plan is vital for any type of mission-critical application. The same should be equally true for a SaaS vendor. When selecting a SaaS vendor, it is important to drill down and fully understand the infrastructure and skills your vendor has.Often, especially for smaller companies, vendor infrastructure, knowledge and experience can easily trump whatever IT resources the company itself could pull together on its own, and in these cases, if a disaster struck, the vendor would be better able to deal with the emergency. It is important to choose your SaaS vendor wisely.Consider the case two well known collo companies in the San Francisco Bay area. In November a truck driver hit a transformer that powered the Rackspace datacenter that was home to many well-known Web 2.0 web sites like GigaOm and 37 Signals. After the power came back on, the cooling system then failed to start up, delaying the center from going back online, causing them to be offline for more than 5 hours. A second example occurred earlier in the year when a power surge on an in-coming PG&E line to San Franciso’s 365 Main datacenter causing a shutdown that lasted a few hours, pulling offline sites like craigslist, technorati, and livejournal.A few hours offline may not seem like that long. But these two datacenters are considered to be best in class, and the incidents show how even when companies have disaster plans, problems in real life can cascade in directions not imagined during planning.last_img read more

Enhanced Remote PC Support for Small and Midsize Businesses

first_imgI’ve worked for a number of startups. Was “Marketing Director/Office Manager/HR” (lot of slashes in small business) for a software startup; a great experience but certainly fewer resources (compared to what I have now) to turn to for help. Still, doing so many different things, every day, was one of the best aspects of working for a small business. With Intel RPAT, a small business (using Intel vPro Technology-based PCs) having PC problems can enter a keystroke sequence on a failed computer and directly connect the failed PC to their Managed Service Provider (MSP) or IT Helpdesk, such as AT&T Tech Support 360 technicians, even when the PCs has had a hardware or OS failure, or has been corrupted by a virus or malware. That means support for a whole new class of tech problems, and I’m talking about the nasty ones that get down deep into the PC: BIOS issues, damaged internet connections, system password resets and the toughest viruses and malware to name a few. Best aspects of working at Intel? Near the top: Intel tech support. If my PC has a problem I can’t solve myself, I call somebody and it’s fixed. In minutes. Day or night, 365 days a year, from anywhere in the world. I hit speed dial and someone from somewhere is answering my questions or remotely controlling and repairing my PC. I’d give up my dental plan before I’d give up this little perk. I didn’t have that luxury during my startup days, but a new announcement from AT&T and Intel should bring that kind of support to more small businesses than ever before. Last fall, AT&T launched a service called AT&T Tech Support 360SM– remote 24/7 support including setup, configuration, troubleshooting and performance optimization for PCs, networks and more. They obviously addressed a need, as over 100,000 small and medium business customers have signed up.  Now they’ve announced support for Intel® vPro™ Technology (starting first half of 2010) including the Intel® Remote PC Assist Technology (Intel® RPAT) feature. center_img I’m excited to be part of a solution that enables my small business customers and friends to experience the kind of PC tech support I enjoy in my 80,000+ person company – hopefully it means you can remove one of the “slashes” from your daily tasks.  Check out the AT&T and Intel press release for more information, or comment here with any questions I can help answer. Product Discontinuation Notice:All,Due to market response, Intel Corporation (“Intel”) has decided to discontinue Intel® Remote PC Assist Technology (Intel® RPAT). As a consequence, Intel® Remote PC Assist Service and associated marketing activities will wind down and eventually cease in October, 2010.Intel remains committed to the needs of its customers; as we move forward, we will use this site to share with you alternate technologies that harness the out-of-band communication capability of Intel® vPro™ technology and extend the performance, value and capabilities of Intel® Architecture.Please submit RPAT related questions to RPAT_Support@intel.comYou can find this article posted here.Regards,Coreylast_img read more

Implementing Software Defined Infrastructure for Hyper-Scale

first_imgThe enablement of choice and flexibility, the optimization of the underlying Intel architecture based infrastructure, and the delivery of easy to deploy solutions to market will help secure broad adoption.So where are we with optimization of SDI stacks for underlying infrastructure? The good news is, we’ve made great progress with the industry on intelligent orchestration.  In my talk today, I shared a few examples of industry progress.I walked the audience through one example with Apache Mesos detailing how hyper-scale orchestration is achieved through a dual level scheduler, and how frameworks can be built to handle complex use cases like even storage orchestration.  I also demonstrated a new technology for Mesos Oversubscription that we’re calling Serenity that helps drive maximum infrastructure utilization.  This has been a partnership with MesoSphere and Intel engineers in the community to help lower the TCO of data centers; something I care a lot about…. Real business results with technology.I also shared how infrastructure telemetry and infrastructure analytics can deliver improved stack management. I shared an example of a power & thermal aware orchestration scheduler that has helped Baidu net a data center PUE of 1.21 with 24% of potential cooling energy savings.  Security is also a significant focus, and I walked through an approach of using Intel VT technology to improve container security isolation.  In fact, CoreOS announced today that its rkt 0.8 release has been optimized for Intel VT using the approach outlined in my talk, and we expect more work with the container industry towards delivery of like security capabilities present only in traditional hypervisor based environments.But what about data center application optimization for SDI?  For that focus, I ended my talk with the announcement of the first Cloud for All Challenge, a competition for infrastructure SW application developers to rewrite for cloud native environments.  I’m excited to see developer response to our challenge simply because the opportunity is ripe for introduction of cloud native applications to the enterprise using container orchestration, and Intel wants to help accelerate the software industry towards delivery of cloud native solutions.  If you’re an app developer, I encourage you to engage in this Challenge!  The winning team will receive $5,000 of cold, hard cash and bragging rights at being at the forefront of your field.  Simply contact cloudforall@intel.com for information, and please see the preliminary entry form. Earlier this summer, Intel announced our Cloud for All initiative signaling a deepening engagement with the cloud software industry on SDI delivery for mainstream data centers.  Today at IDF2015, I had my first opportunity post the announcement, to discuss why Cloud for All is such a critical focus for Intel, for the cloud industry, and for the enterprises and service providers that will benefit from enterprise feature rich cloud solutions. Delivering the agility and efficiency found today in the world’s largest data centers to broad enterprise and provider environments has the opportunity to transform the availability and economics of computing and reframe the role of technology in the way we do business and live our lives.Why this focus? Building a hyperscale data center from the ground up to power applications written specifically for cloud is a very different challenge than migrating workloads designed for traditional infrastructure to a cloud environment.  In order to move traditional enterprise workloads to the cloud, either an app must be rewritten for native cloud optimization or the SDI stack must be optimized to support enterprise workload requirements.  This means supporting things like live workload migration, rolling software upgrades, and failover. Intel’s vision for pervasive cloud embraces both approaches, and while we expect applications to be optimized as cloud native over time, near term cloud adoption in the enterprise is hinged upon SDI stack optimization for support of both traditional applications and cloud native applications.How does this influence our approach of industry engagement in Cloud for All?  It means that we need to enable a wide range of potential usage models while being pragmatic that a wide range of infrastructure solutions exists across the world today.  While many are still running traditional infrastructure without self-service, there is a growing trend towards enabling self-service on existing and new SDI infrastructure through solutions like OpenStack, providing the well-known “give me a server” or “give me storage” capabilities…  Cloud Type A – server focused.  Meanwhile SW developers over the last year have grown very fond of containers and are thinking not in terms of servers, but instead in terms of app containers and connections… a Cloud Type B – process focused.  If we look out into the future, we could assume that many new data centers will be built with this as the foundation, and will provide a portion of the capacity out to traditional apps.  Convergence of usage models while bringing the infrastructure solutions forward.last_img read more

Spice’s watchlist scours the finest watches

first_imgIn the study of clocks, complication refers to any feature beyond the simple display of hours, minutes, and seconds. The more complications in a watch, the more difficult it is to design, create, assemble and repair. A connoisseur’s collection grows with his taste in complications. Some great creations… Bvlgari: OctomaseratiBvlgari,In the study of clocks, complication refers to any feature beyond the simple display of hours, minutes, and seconds. The more complications in a watch, the more difficult it is to design, create, assemble and repair. A connoisseur’s collection grows with his taste in complications. Some great creations…Bvlgari: OctomaseratiBvlgari and Maserati’s unique collaboration creates a focus on graphic layouts providing time measurement information including a jumping hour, and four retrograde displays. This creation merges the expertise inherent in each of the two firms based on a broad range of shared references: precision, performance expertise, style and elegance.Case: 45mm steel.Complication: Central chronograph seconds hand.Omega: De Ville ChronographThe De Ville line has long been known not only for its elegant styling but for its introduction to the brand’s most important watchmaking innovations. The 1999 De Ville saw Omega launch its calibre 2500 equipped with a co-axial escapement, and it was in the De Ville Hour Vision annual calendar that the Si14 silicon balance spring made its debut. This new model’s co-axial calibre 9301 has an 18-carat gold rotor and balance bridge, a central chronograph seconds hand as well as gold diamond-polished central hour and minute hands. Its applied roman indexes are also crafted from gold, facetted on the sides and ends and fully diamond-polished.Case: 42mm; 18-carat red gold.Complication: Time zone function.Richard Mille: RM 037Created from skeletonised grade five titanium, the new piece sports a new stem-crown mechanism, patented by Richard Mille. The machine tooling process requires two days of adjustment separately for the bezel, the caseband, and the case back. The empty case requires more than 255 tooling operations and more than five hours of glazing and polishing in the final stage.Case: 52.20mm tall by 34.40mm wide.Complication: 50-hour power reserve.advertisementRolex: Perpetual Sky DwellerWith 14 patents, five of which are new, the watch provides, in an unprecedented and highly original way, the information global travellers need to easily keep track of time: a dual time zone, with local time read via centre hands and a reference time display in 24-hour format read via a rotating off-centre disc visible on the dial. It also equipped with a new calibre, the 9001, an officially certified Swiss chronometer entirely developed by Rolex.Case: 42mm oyster case.Complication: Dual time zone and 24-hour display.Cartier: Rotonde Annual CalendarElegance is the art of balance and the sum of an equation that connoisseurs of fine objects define as the golden number. Cartier has chosen to incorporate an annual calendar mechanism directly into the plate of the 1904 MC calibre. This refined movement incorporates a semi-instantaneous mechanism for converting the large date into two independent numerals. It also carries within it a simple and intelligent mechanism which makes it possible to display, without any possibility of error, the months having 30 or 31 days, once the current month has been set.Case: 45mm 18-carat pink gold.Complication: Annual calendar.IWC: Big Pilot Perpetual CalendarThe piece unites the clear-cut instrument look of the 1940s and IWC’s tradition of manufacturing Pilot’s watches with the wish to benefit from the technological advances of the 21st century. The elaborately equipped watch comes with a host of advanced features, including a perpetual calendar with its four-digit year display, moon phase display and seven-day power reserve. The tiny aircraft silhouette on the seconds hand also creates an eye-catching signal-red highlight on the monochrome dial.Case: 48mm.Complication: Perpetual calendar with four-digit year, moon phase.Longines: 180th Anniversary ChronographBased in Saint-Imier since 1832, the watchmaker is celebrating its 180th anniversary by presenting a reminder of the first chronographs closely based on the first wrist chronograph. The new model uses calibre L788, a column-wheel chronograph movement developed exclusively for Longines which enables the wearer to activate the various chronograph functions by simply pressing on the push-piece integrated into the crown. The sleek lines and the distinctive lugs provide these new models with a subtle balance between classical and contemporary design.Case: 39mm.Complication: Chronograph central seconds sweep.Ulysse Nardin: El ToroThe striking aesthetic of El Toro combines sapphire crystals and ceramic with a timeless dial design that inspired its powerful name. This high tech perpetual calendar with a dual time function adjusts forward and backward in seconds over the quick corrector position of a single crown. The oversized date, the day, the month and the year change instantly forward or backward when the hour hand is moved to a new local time across the dateline with pushers. The manufactured self-winding movement strives to be the most consumer friendly perpetual calendar ever produced.Case: 43mm, 18-carat rose gold, blue ceramic bezel.Complication: Perpetual calendar with dual time function.advertisementRoger Dubuis: La MonegasqueHonouring the spirit of Monte Carlo, its legendary history and world of glamour, La Monegasque is a line that demonstrates the company’s creativity. Here the breathtaking race of time seems suspended in all the refinement and beauty of the complication that is most associated with fine watchmaking: the flying tourbillon. A window opens onto a silvered disc with a brushed sunray effect is enhanced by the power-reserve indicator and the pink gold flying tourbillon. a rhodium-plated intermediate dial carries the white transferred markers outlined in black. Lastly, a brushed anthracite circle surrounds it, given depth with silvered snailing, black transfers and pink gold edge.Case: 44mm 18-carat pink gold.Complication: Flying tourbillon.Zenith: El Primero Chronomaster open grande date moon and sunphaseThe timepiece inspired by the captain line created in 1952, makes a clear allusion to historic timepieces with dauphine hands, facetted with rhodium-plating and hand set long markers. The manufactured movements, decorated with cotes de geneve and circular graining are visible through a sapphire case back. The model reproduces the various stages of the lunar cycle what had only been previously available in Zenith’s pocket watches. It is displayed in an aperture at 6 o’clock and the date is displayed at half past one.Case: 45mm; 18-carat rose gold.Complication: Integrated chronograph, moon and sun phases.Seiko: AnantaA sanskrit word that means ‘the infinite’ this watch was made to embody the most technologically advanced craftsmanship in the world.Case: 46mm sapphire crystal.Complication: Spring drive chronograph.De Grisogono: Otturatore Imagined by Fawaz Gruosi, the centrepiece of this unprecedented creation is a high-performance mobile sequencer.Case: 45mm wide and 50mm tall.Complication: On demand moon phase and date.Blancpain: Villeret Squelette 8 JoursThis entirely openworked and decorated movement is fully visible through the two sapphire crystals on the front and back.Case: 38mm white gold.Complication: Flying tourbillon.Van Cleef: Midnight Poetic wishThe exotic watch enables collectors, wherever they are in the world, to look at the exact position of the stars in the sky of Paris.Case: 43mm; 18-carat white gold.Complication: Paris sky star map.last_img read more