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

HR Intel: Gig Economy Clashes with Traditional Labor

first_imgIs Uber’s recognition of the Independent Driver’s Guild (IDG) in New York a step in the right direction or an evil red herring? It depends, of course, on which lawyer you ask.One the one hand, lawyers for the IDG say the agreement with Uber will guarantee drivers monthly meetings to raise concerns, create an appeals process for driver termination decisions and provide legal services and benefits to drivers at discounted rates.Some view this agreement as a positive development – the forging of an unlikely and unsteady alliance. The agreement will provide some protection for drivers while also helping Uber stem the flow of litigation. Uber also gains an ally in its attempt to repeal a New York law taxing “black car” rides 9%, but which exempts traditional yellow taxi cabs.On the other side of the debate, we have Senator Elizabeth Warren, who says the “gig economy” is merely a symptom of the erosion of worker rights over time. Taking on-demand taxi gigs is a sort of last-ditch effort to create economic security and autonomy by workers who’ve been marginalized and squeezed by corporate America while all the wealth flowed to the top. She may have a point.To be fair to Uber, unionizing gig economy workers is really difficult. It starts with the mentality of such workers, having watched as their influence over wages at the corporate level dissipated steadily over the years and as traditional trade unions were pushed out. Union membership rates have been declining consistently for about 50 years. And during that time, wages for the vast majority of Americans remained stagnant while the C suite got paid. About that, Senator Warren is correct.Now, however, workers have the technology to fight back. They can use apps like Uber and Lyft to provide transportation, Miniluxe or Shortcut to provide onsite hairstyling and even source temporary staffing apps like Shiftgig and TaskRabbit to find short-term jobs. They can choose their own wages, essentially, by choosing how often they want to work. The catch, of course, is that workers who want both the flexibility and the money are hung out to dry when they have a medical or financial crisis because their “employer” doesn’t provide health insurance. Not to mention, the lack of a practical, portable retirement savings account (in the absence of employer-sponsored 401(k)s for contractors) means those workers may be left hanging in retirement as well.The other catch is that being a contractor (employee?) for one of these companies means your choices about work are going to be very personal. The amount of individual control workers have over these apps and their work schedules makes it very difficult to get them to agree on broad labor terms, let alone specifics like benefit plans or wages. That makes it extremely impractical and difficult to get them to band together and that is why the formation of the IDG and its recognition by Uber is a big development, albeit on a small scale.As usual, the solution is a compromise and perhaps a reimagining of some labor regulations to reflect modern working conditions. Uber drivers are not, after all, gathering at some shady parking lot in downtown San Francisco at 5 a.m. every day to wait for work. They’re scanning smartphones for gigs in their downtime between hipster beard trimming class and Yoga.Senator Warren says there should be three major objectives for policy makers, legislators and worker unions in trailblazing the gig economy’s path when it comes to labor regulations:         Improve the safety net by providing catastrophic insurance coverage,         Make healthcare benefits portable; and         Make retirement benefits portable.Those goals remain lofty and far off for now as the IDG won’t do much of that for Uber drivers in New York. But Uber’s recognition of the IDG is a small, tentative step in the right direction.Discrimination NationColleen Dominguez’s sex and age discrimination suit against Fox Sports 1 (FS1) will proceed to trial after the employer’s motion to dismiss the case on First Amendment grounds was denied. FS1 argued that it withheld assignments from Dominguez based on its right to craft its own programming message, but according to the court, that argument completely misses the point of the lawsuit. If crafting a corporate message results in the marginalization of individuals based on their sex or age, it’s still illegal.In this case, Dominguez claims she was asked to get an “Erin Andrews makeover” (complete with a facelift and hair extensions). This was in addition to numerous other comments and critiques about her physical appearance, issues which were not common with male or younger female colleagues. Now that the case can proceed, that will open up the “discovery” phase, during which time lawyers for Dominguez may get to see exactly what FS1 had to say about her when it chose not to let her cover big assignments like the 2015 Super Bowl, for example. Uh oh.Good news for employers that have faced frivolous or otherwise “unreasonable” EEOC lawsuits. In CRST Van Expedited v. EEOC, the Supreme Court held that the employer may recover up to $4 million in attorney’s fees from the EEOC after defending itself against a charge of systemic sexual harassment. During the investigation and resulting lawsuit, the EEOC (allegedly) failed to make witnesses available for depositions and otherwise allowed the statute of limitations on claims to expire in some cases.In these types of situations, attorney’s fees may be recoverable, but something tells me that pretty much every single employer that has ever been sued would view the lawsuit as “unreasonable.” Tread carefully when seeking attorney’s fees as it’s immensely difficult to prevail on those types of cases and you will accrue additional attorney’s fees in the process of trying to collect them. Gotta love lawyers!Compliance CarouselNew York State is suing Domino’s (corporate) together with several Domino’s franchisees, claiming that they collaborated to underpay workers by about $565,000 in 10 different stores. To bring corporate Domino’s into the case, the state will have to make the “joint employer” argument which means proving allegations that corporate Domino’s micromanaged employee relations issues at the franchisee level.The “ignorance of the law” defense rarely, if ever, works in court. In Craig v. Bridges Bros. Trucking, the 6th Circuit ruled that ignorance of FLSA regulations did not excuse an employer’s failure to pay proper overtime. The district court had ruled in the employer’s favor because the employee in question had failed to notify her employer about the missed overtime payments. The 6th Circuit found, however, that the employer likely knew about its overtime pay obligation to the employee because of some internal communications about capping her work hours.How is this song related to HR?In the last edition of HR Intel, we asked you how “Candidate” by Joy Division is related to HR. This song is very much about politics, but you don’t need much experience in the modern work setting to know that politics are hyper-relevant. Not only do people bring their political persuasions into the workplace, but office politics add a whole other layer of complexity.Candidate is about the struggles that go on between individuals or groups with different value systems and ultimately, a recognition that we’re all different and unique, yet we have similar objectives in that we need to work together. Sounds like something relatable to HR.We leave you with “Burn the Witch” by Radiohead from their new album: A Moon Shaped Pool.Tell us how you think this song is related to HR in the comments section below.Originally posted on the XpertHR blog.last_img read more

Report: Paid Video Download Is A ‘Dead End’

first_imgRelated Posts Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… A new study from Forrester Research predicts that online video download services will see sales peak this year, as consumers move other sources of online video. Read/WriteWeb reported yesterday that CBS is increasingly releasing content for free or via ad-supported mediums such as, Joost. Further, consumers are confronted with a growing number of video-on-demand options from their cable or satellite providers and Internet services.Though sales of television and film downloads via services like iTunes and Amazon Unbox will nearly triple this year, according to the report, it is unlikely that such services will see much growth in 2008 and beyond unless the market shifts dramatically.“The paid download market … is ultimately a dead end,” writes James L. McQuiveny, saying that media producers will need to create new ad-supported business models to survive. The good news for media executives, says the report, is that today’s video downloaders tend to be younger and have higher incomes than the general online population. They’re more tech-savvy and will pump more money into online video this year. However, attracting users outside of those early adopters will be hard without a change in business model and delivery method.Are paid download services like iTunes a dying breed?Tempted by better audience measurment and complete control over advertising content, Forrester predicts that media distributors will shift to ad-supported streams, or even downloads. The Adobe Media Player, for example, will allow content producers to offer downloadable Flash video with embedded ads that can be updated and measured accurately.According to the report only 24% of the general Internet population owns a DVR, while 50% of the current video downloaders own one. That mainstream audience, who are not used to time-shifted, sans-advertising television, will likely be less resistant to ad-supported online media. However, notes the report, mainstream viewers “won‚Äôt appreciate the value of a download until it can be viewed on the TV screen. Yet only 20% of households, none of them mainstream, are interested in buying a special device to do the trick, and only 4% want to spend more than $100 to do it.”That seems to spell good news for cable and satellite companies that can push video-on-demand services direct to a viewer’s television, without forcing them to buy extra equipment, and for set-top boxes like the Xbox 360 (which Microsoft says will have IPTV capability by year’s end), Tivo (which already integrates with Amazon’s Unbox service), and Apple TV (which Forrester predicts predicts will become a broadband service provider by its second iteration).It seems like common sense that free video would win out over pay-to-download in the end, as long as quality is kept high and advertising intrusions are kept to a minimum. But will users really opt for ad-supported streaming video over to save money on ad-free downloadable content? Are the iTunes video store, Amazon Unbox, et. al. part of a dying breed? Or will paid download video services continue to thrive?center_img Tags:#Analysis#web josh catone 1 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_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

Sachin Tendulkar was disappointed with Kapil Dev as coach

first_img(From left) Kapil Dev, Mohammed Azharuddin and Sachin Tendulkar celebrate after beating West Indies in the Cricket Association of Bengal’s Diamond Jubilee six nation tournament in Calcutta on November 27, 1993. Photo: ReutersOne of the finest Indian allrounders of all time, Kapil Dev was a “disappointment” when it came to coaching, reveals batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar in his just-released autobiography Playing It My Way, a PTI report stated.Tendulkar has claimed that he was left disappointed by Kapil during one of the Australia tours since the coach never involved himself in strategic discussions.In the chapter Tumultuous Times: India in Australia, November 1999-January 2000 Tendulkar has written that he had high expectations from Kapil.”During my second stint as captain, we had Kapil Dev as our coach. He is one of the finest cricketers to have played for India and one of the best allrounders of all time, and I had great expectations of him in Australia.”I have always maintained that the coach’s job is an important one, for he is in a position to play a key role in formulating team strategy. Who better than Kapil to come up with options for me during a tough tour of Australia?”However, his method of involvement and his thought process was limited to leaving the running of the team to the captain, and hence he did not involve himself in strategic discussions that would help us on the field,” Tendulkar writes.The Indian batting great also shared his frustration on how some of his moves as captain did not pay off but the same strategy clicked when other captains employed it.advertisementTendulkar talked about the 1997 Sharjah series where he promoted Robin Singh to bat at number three but the southpaw failed and he had to cop heavy criticism from the media.”The match against Pakistan on December 14 highlights how things were just not going my way. I was batting at number four in this competition, at the selectors’ request. Sourav and Navjot Sidhu had given us a good start against Pakistan, and when Sidhu got out at 143 for 2, I sent in Robin Singh, the all-rounder, to accelerate the innings. It was a strategy I had given considerable thought to. .”Manzoor Akhtar, the leg-spinner, was at one end bowling around the wicket to the right-handed batsmen. The theory was that Robin, a left-hander, would be able to negotiate his leg-spin better and also hit some big shots. However, Robin got out without scoring after just three balls from Azhar Mahmood, the medium-pacer, and the experiment proved a disaster. In the press I was criticised for sending in Robin ahead of me and the move was blamed for our defeat,” Tendulkar recalled.”A month later, however, in January 1998, Azhar, back as captain, repeated the very same move in the final of the Silver Jubilee Independence Cup in Dhaka against Pakistan.”Robin was sent in at three to keep up the momentum after Sourav and I had got off to a flier and this time Robin played a terrific hand, scoring 82 and setting up the run chase.”This was arguably a bigger gamble, because he was pitted against the off-spinner Saqlain Mushtaq and it is no secret that left-handers find it more difficult against off-spinners.”The same experiment was now hailed as a master stroke.Not without reason is it said that success has many fathers while defeat is an orphan,” he wrote.last_img read more