Coal-fired power plant beyond a fence.

Enlarge / The Intermountain Power Project plant stands in Delta, Utah, U.S., on Wednesday, May 24, 2017. The largest coal-fired power plant in Utah plans to shutters its facility by 2025 as the company’s largest customer base, Southern California municipalities, move towards regulations limiting coal-fueled electricity. (credit: George Frey/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

This week, Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems (MHPS) announced that it planned to build the world’s first one-gigawatt (GW) energy storage network. The Mitsubishi and Hitachi joint-venture said the storage network would incorporate several different kinds of energy storage, including renewable hydrogen, Compressed Air Energy Storage, flow batteries, and solid oxide fuel cells.

MHPS has only said that it will be able to deliver 1 GW of power, but it did not specify how the project will be rated in terms of gigawatt-hours.

The project appears to center around an advanced natural gas turbine that will be able to burn renewable hydrogen as well. “MHPS has developed gas turbine technology that enables a mixture of renewable hydrogen and natural gas to produce power with even lower carbon emissions,” a press release from the joint venture states. That gas turbine technology will eventually be upgraded, “to use 100 percent renewable hydrogen as a fuel source, which will allow gas turbines to produce electricity with zero carbon emissions.”

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from Biz & IT – Ars Technica

Microsoft practically begs Windows users to fix wormable BlueKeep flaw

Enlarge (credit: Smabs Sputzer (1956-2017))

Microsoft security officials say they are confident an exploit exists for BlueKeep, the recently patched vulnerability that has the potential to trigger self-replicating attacks as destructive as the 2017 WannaCry attack that shut down computers all over the world.

In a Blog post published late Thursday night, members of the Microsoft Security Response Center cited findings published Tuesday by Errata Security CEO Rob Graham that almost 1 million Internet-connected computers remain vulnerable to the attacks. That indicates those machines have yet to install an update Microsoft issued two weeks ago patching against the so-called BlueKeep vulnerability, which is formally tracked as CVE-2019-0708. The exploits can reliably execute malicious code with no interaction on the part of an end user. The severity prompted Microsoft to take the unusual step of issuing patches for Windows 2003, XP, and Vista, which haven’t been supported in four, five, and two years, respectively.

Thursday’s post warned, once again, that the inaction could trigger another worm of the magnitude of WannaCry, which caused hospitals to turn away patients and paralyzed banks, shipping docks, and transportation hubs around the world. In Thursday’s post MSRC officials wrote:

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from Biz & IT – Ars Technica

Best Ways To Encourage Users To Review Your Mobile App

As per the recent statistics, both Google Play Store and Apple Play Store have more than two million applications each and with every day passing this number will keep on increasing. Having sites that will always outrank the position of your app on the Google search, is an ever-growing concern for companies and brands out […]

The post Best Ways to Encourage Users to Review Your Mobile App appeared first on ReadWrite.

from ReadWrite

We’ve all heard of them. And if you’re lucky, you’ve been a part of one: the standout team with effortless flow in the workplace. This team appears to have an extrasensory quality to their group dynamic that makes no task impossible.

Whether it’s a team of 4 or 400, group dynamics matters. Unless you’re a lone entrepreneur, you have a team at play in your business. And when your employees work well together, they are more likely to work harder and stick around.

Achieving great group dynamics depends on each member investing in the success of the team and contributing in a relevant and useful way. A 2019 study from New York University found people who are naturally attuned to others’ emotions are better able to judge how well small groups perform together.

Fully understanding group dynamics and hiring with them in mind ensures you build and maintain a happy, productive, power-house team. To build a better group dynamic in your organization, focus on these aspects during the hiring process:

Determine emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence is defined as the ability to identify and manage one’s own emotions, as well as the feelings of others. Employees with high emotional intelligence (EI) are worth their weight in gold.

The top EI skills to seek out during the hiring process are:

  • emotional awareness
  • the ability to harness emotions and apply them to tasks
  • the ability to manage emotions, both one’s own or, when necessary, to shift group emotions

Test the emotional intelligence of your applicants by asking situational questions during the interview. How did they handle an unethical situation at work? What happened when they had to deal with a conflict with a supervisor?

When top candidates describe these experiences, they should be able to elaborate and give you the full-picture view. Be sure to dive in with follow-up questions to get a thorough grasp of their perspective. Choose scenarios that candidates are likely to face if you hired them. For different roles, EI requirements will vary.

Because the specific needs of each role impact which emotional intelligence traits should be emphasized, the assessment of those factors is equally important to consider. Employing one-way video interviews instead of phone interviews early in the screening process allows you to pay special attention to your candidates’ reactions and body language. This is especially important when seeking out high emotional intelligence.

Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify and manage one’s own emotions, as well as the emotions of others.
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Consider social sensitivity

Social skills are critical to a healthy group dynamic. Social sensitivity is the proficiency of an individual to identify, perceive, and understand cues and contexts in social interactions. It’s also about being socially respectful to others. Having high levels of social sensitivity makes someone more likable and successful in all relationships.

Screen for social sensitivity during your hiring process by bringing in top candidates for job auditions. This new hiring trend is a nice option for vetting candidates for highly-collaborative roles. Bring in candidates for a day of work with their potential co-workers. Rather than tackling a big project during that time, have them sit in on a team brainstorming session.

Hone in on what candidates say and how they say it. Are they considerate of others’ ideas? Are they willing to speak up? Do they seem to seek the spotlight?

Ideas aren’t the goal of this audition. Assess how each individual candidate gels with the current team and observe communication and reactions. And don’t forget to let the current employees weigh in during the process.

Gauge the social sensitivity of candidates by teaming them up with current employees for a job audition.
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Incorporate potential team members in the interview process

When it comes to hiring for group dynamics, the real MVPs of the interview process are the employees who would be teamed up with the new hire. Make your interview process as collaborative as possible. Start by drafting interview questions as a team, as well as determining a list of skills and qualifications required to ensure the new hire would be invaluable to the current team dynamics.

This is also a great opportunity to explore video interviews. They are the perfect way to boost collaboration in the hiring process. If you can’t gather as a group to watch, team members can review recorded live interviews on their own time and take notes or make comments on each candidate.

Establishing a collaborative hiring process that focuses on seeking out emotional intelligence and social sensitivity is sure to create a powerful group dynamic within your organization.

Achieve your hiring goals by properly implementing video interviewing in your hiring process.

from Human Resources Blog – Spark Hire

Your customer service employees are your front line. They must help, inspire, connect, and act as a reflection of your company values. But you can only provide top notch customer service with the right individuals in place.

Excellent customer service starts with outstanding hires. Making good customer service hires isn’t just about attracting qualified, competent applicants — it also means establishing a hiring process to assess the necessary traits for customer service success.

We asked experts in various industries to share their customer service hiring knowledge with us. Here’s what to look for when hiring a first-time customer service employee and how to identify those traits during the hiring process:

Patient personalities always prevail

Jeremy OngTraits that I look for are patience, communication skills, high emotional intelligence, jovial personality, and creative problem-solving. In our business, customer service is not just about providing solutions to a customer’s problem. The main part of the job involves dealing with our customer’s emotions, making sure their problem is fixed and they are well taken care of. We want to instill excellence when it comes to customer happiness.

In terms of the hiring process, in the first stage, we usually conduct a Q&A to better gauge their personality — because a likable and patient personality plays a huge role when it comes to customer service. We provide mock customer service tests from our existing sample of customer interactions to evoke problem-solving scenarios to gauge their problem-solving skills under pressure, as well.

Jeremy Ong, founder of HUSTLR

Being likable and patient plays a huge role in #customerservice. Mock customer service tests can reveal these #traits.
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Self-awareness equates to coachability

Patrick PitmanThe most essential trait of a great customer service employee is self-awareness, not empathy. With evident self-awareness, an employee is more coachable. They are not going to get it right all the time. However, if they can listen to feedback, evaluate themselves in hindsight, and separate themselves from their performance in one customer interaction or another, there’s opportunity for growth into excellent customer service delivery.

Ask applicants to describe situations specifically in his or her past. Invite the telling of stories and notice where they place themselves in that story. Are they the hero? The victim? What do they emphasize as the lesson? Self awareness should manifest in their capacity to see their own role, their own contribution in all its good and bad parts. Do they recognize something in which they could improve, or is it a story of injustice or survival?

We pair this with a personality test, preferring those inspired by Jung. Then we invite the applicant to comment on what the personality test reveals, how much of it surprises them or seems off.  When combined with stories from the past, this yields a fruitful interview, whether in video interview or in-person interview format so the facial expressions are clear.

Patrick Pittman, president of E-Business Coach, Inc.

#Self-awareness is a more important trait than empathy in #customerservice roles because it reveals coachability.
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Creativity is essential for problem-solving

Dave MunsonCustomer service is our strongest suit. It’s what keeps our customers coming back for more. And that’s because we hire exactly the right people for the job. One Christmas season, we had just over one thousand applications to be a seasonal customer service representative. We hired 11 of them, not based on their experience, but based on their personality — each one was amazing.

We look for two things. First, we look for people who truly love people. Second, we look for creative problem-solvers. In the application process, we ask questions for creative problem solving such as what they would do with a pencil. If they say they can write with it or it’s good for holding paper down on a desk — that’s a no-go. If they say you can use a pencil to poke an attacker in the eye, stir coffee, kill bugs, clean out cracks in a bench, spread peanut butter, play pencil wars, start a fire, spear a fish or use as an axle for a toy car, then we know we have our person.

Dave Munson, founder and CEO of Saddleback Leather Co.

Look for people who truly love people and who are creative #problem-solvers.
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Passion for the product is essential

Tommy ChanWe found great success with our first customer service hires who are passionate about our space (blockchain/cryptocurrencies). They are people who really try to understand the space and thus have a deeper understanding about the industry.

To assess their passions, ask candidates about their interests or what they do in their free time. Our greatest customer service hires encompass some elements of the different verticals that our company is in. If they read a lot of related articles in the free time, it shows that they genuinely care about the space.

The best approach we’ve found for hiring is to reach out to the users in our platform. We

have a weekly email digest that we send, and we include a small section on the bottom when we are hiring for a role. The best candidates that we’ve seen have come from our users. So leverage your existing customer base for customer service roles!

Tommy Chan,  co-founder of AltCoin Fantasy

The best customer service hires are #passionate about the space.
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A can-do attitude is key

Deborah SweeneyFirst-time customer service employees should possess a can-do attitude and have a positive, enthusiastic disposition. Many customer service roles require interacting with customers, whether it’s over the phone or in person, and a good attitude is a must. Customer service employees must be willing to listen, understand, and see situations from the customer’s perspective. Whenever a customer is upset, it’s easy for them to get emotional and it’s important that reps stay patient with them.

For example, a candidate who formerly worked at a cafe might describe an instance where a customer arrived for a pick-up order that is still not ready. The customer might have been upset during this time, and the candidate may have simply apologized for the error and offered them a complimentary drink or dessert item while they waited. This seemingly simple solution gives us greater insight into how these applicants approach and handle difficult situations with grace.

Deborah Sweeney, CEO of

Customer service hires should always have a #can-do attitude.
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the go-to guide for perfect interview questions

from Human Resources Blog – Spark Hire

If you’re looking for a 4K HDR TV with smarts, there’s no shortage of options. But this is the best one you’ll find today: Best Buy is selling a 55-inch Sharp 4K TV with HDR and Roku TV built in for $300, good for $150 off its $450 list price.

This HDR-compatible LED smart TV features a 2160p resolution to view content in 4K and Ultra HD. Three HDMI ports and one USB port allow you to connect other devices, while 178-degree viewing angles mean that even people relegated to the dreaded end-of-couch viewing corner will have a clear view on the onscreen action. In addition, you can connect this TV to other devices to add voice control with Alexa or Google Assistant. For apps and services, it has Roku TV built in, so you won’t need to buy a separate streaming box. With broad compatibility with a huge lineup of streaming services, Roku brings all-in-one content access to your TV, with a user-friendly menu screen and a simple, handy remote making it easy to navigate through all your movies and shows.

To read this article in full, please click here

from Macworld

Driving can be a soothing and cathartic experience. If you have the right personality type, you may even be able to make a career out of it. People who are patient, detail-oriented, and responsive tend to make the best and safest drivers. There are various different options accessible to people who are currently exploring the idea of driving professionally.

Go to a Commercial Truck Driving School

Truck driving careers can be terrific for people who have calm temperaments. They can be terrific for people who appreciate extended travel as well. If you’re serious about going for a driving career, it can help to sign up for commercial truck driving school. You can learn all about certifications that can help you land the specific kind of driving job you want.

Network with Employed Truck Drivers

Networking can help you get your feet wet. If you’re a certified driver who wants to find out about potential job openings, it can help you to mingle with people who already have positions. Network with truck drivers who may be able to notify you about new jobs that have opened up through their companies. You can ask them about owner operator truck driver training opportunities as well.

Check out Job Sites

The Internet is practically brimming with career websites that can aid people who are searching for new jobs. Signing up for an account with a career site can be helpful to people who want to spread the word about availability. Post a resume that details your owner operator truck driving opportunities and certification, experience, and objective. Make sure that your resume is accessible in a site category that’s easy for truck driving companies to pinpoint and view.

Contact Companies Directly

Being proactive can help get aspiring professional drivers far in this world. If you’re keen on landing a job, it may be wise to call companies directly to ask them if they need any drivers on their staffs. You may just discover an exciting new opening that’s accessible through a company that’s not far from your home. Try to call any and all companies that pique your interest.

If you have a temperament that’s focused and patient, then working as a driver may be in the cards for you. There are all sorts of openings on hand for people who are serious about working as drivers. Your aim should be to make sure that employers can easily find out that you’re available and enthusiastic about getting to work.

from Everyone’s Blog Posts – RecruitingBlogs

To make the smartphone charging experience more convenient and powerful, charging pads have emerged in the last few years. One of the latest to hit the market is the iOttie iON wireless mini fast charging pad. Here are my thoughts after using one of these charging pads for a few weeks. How it Works Thanks […]

The post iOttie iON Wireless Mini Portable Charging Pad: Fast and Convenient appeared first on ReadWrite.

from ReadWrite

How to disable TV notifications

There’s a lot of great content in the Apple TV app, and Apple wants to help you discover it by offering notifications for new content. If you find this less than helpful, iOS lets you modify (or disable) these notifications.

A lot of TV notifications you receive aren’t even for content you’ll be able to watch. Often, the TV app will remind you a new season of a popular show is starting, and when you tap on it, it offers to help you sign up for a subscription to watch the show! How thoughtful! Often these notifications are more annoying than anything, so it’s probably a good idea to just turn them off.

Fortunately, it’s straightforward to turn off notifications for the TV app on your iPhone or iPad. First, jump into the Settings app.

Tap "Settings"

Tap Notifications > TV.

Tap Notifications Tap TV

To disable all notifications, toggle the top switch to off, and you’re all set.

Turn off Notifications Toggle

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from How-To Geek

Yesterday, Microsoft announced a bombshell: Developers would soon be allowed to add full native win32 games to the Microsoft Store. Since the release of Windows 8, Microsoft has pushed Universal Windows Platform apps as the future, but with this latest shift in strategy, it’s hard to see any future for UWP.

For those of you keeping track, this is only the latest in a string of blows to UWP. When Microsoft decided to move Edge to Chromium, that decision meant converting its browser from UWP to a native win32 app. Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore told The Verge at the time that UWP lacked the maturity of win32 and thus missed out on essential features like multi-monitor support.

Before that, Microsoft stopped developing the UWP version of its Office apps for a relatively straight forward reason. It wasn’t necessary; you won’t find a Windows device that can’t run win32 apps anymore. After all, Surface RT is long dead, and Windows Phone is fresh in the grave as well.

Ultimately, UWP comes with a significant issue: it only runs on Windows 10. And while Windows 10 is growing, that leaves out a large market of users who haven’t (or won’t) make the upgrade, and limits cross-platform capability as well. One of the benefits of deciding to move Edge to Chromium is the browser will be available on Windows 7, 8, 10, and MacOS. Until now Edge has been Windows 10 only.

Microsoft maintains that UWP is alive and well, and so long as it continues to support the platform that’s technically true. But as we saw with Windows Phone, support from the company isn’t enough. Developers have to do something with it too. [The Verge]

In Other News:

  • Target put out a recall for its store brand “Hey Dey” 3-foot lighting cables: Target needs you to bring back your “Hey Dey” lighting cables. Apparently, they suffer from minor issues like electric shock and fires. The company says it sold 90,000 units, so if you buy Target brand lightning cables, you should check if you’re affected. [MacRumors]
  • Nreal wants to sell you a pair of $499 AR glasses: Nreal’s new AR glasses look almost like cheap plastic sunglasses, yet somehow worse. In some ways that’s an improvement over large headsets other AR glasses require. The company drove down the price by using your phone for the glasses’ brain, rather than include a computer unit like Magic Leap or Hololens. Here’s hoping the AR looks better than the hardware. [Variety]
  • Microsoft wants everyone to know—update or get wormed: We previously reported on a critical vulnerability in the remote desktop protocol. The problem was so bad, Microsoft took the unusual step of releasing a patch for Windows XP, in addition to 7, 8, and 10. Now the company is reminding everyone to take the update, as it sees evidence an exploit for the problem exists. [ZDNet]
  • Gigabyte matches Corsair with an incredibly fast SSD: Not to be outshone by Corsair, Gigabyte announced a new AORUS NVMe Gen4 SSD. The drive can hit up to 5,000MB/s read speeds and 4,400 MB/s write performance, which is significantly faster than Samsung’s fastest NVMe SSD. The downside is you’ll need a new AMD motherboard capable of support PCI-E 4.0. Intel is still playing catch up and only supports the 3.0 standard. [Engadget]
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 10 may drop the headphone jack and physical buttons: Citing unnamed sources, Android Police says it has high confidence the next Samsung Note won’t have a headphone jack. Or physical buttons. Instead of a volume rocker or power button, the phone would have capacitive and pressure sensitive areas. The only source that can verify this is Samsung of course, and they’re not saying what’s what just yet. [Android Police]
  • Facebook is working on voice-controlled products: Portal was just the beginning. Mark Zuckerberg announced that the company is working on several voice-controlled products, though he didn’t provide any details past that. Additionally, the social network wants to bypass Google and Alexa and release a new voice assistant. Digital Trends points out that with Facebook already installed on so many devices, its voice assistant could be a real contender. We’ll let Cortana cry in a corner about that line of thought. [Digital Trends]
  • Lego is releasing an Apollo 11 Lunar Landing set: It’s the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, and there’s no better way to immortalize the event than to enshrine it in Lego blocks. The building block company set June 1st as release date and $100 price tag. The set contains 1087 pieces including astronauts and the lander. But that doesn’t appear to include any moon rocks for you to inevitably step on, causing you to regret all your life decisions. [GeekWire]
  • Apple increases over-the-air app downloads to 200MB: To keep you from going over your cellular data limit, Apple limits over-air-downloads to a specific size. Until recently that limit was 150MB, but now the company raised that cap to 200MB. That’s a boon for app developers, who try to keep their apps under the size limit for fear that going over would prevent spontaneous purchases. It’s also pretty helpful to anyone with an unlimited data plan, as they don’t care how big the app is. [9to5Mac]

Our brains do magnificent things that we readily take for granted. One example is tuning out multiple voices in favor of a preferred speaker. If you go to a noisy restaurant, so long as the background noise isn’t overwhelming, you can ignore what nearby people are saying and readily listen to your spouse, children, and so on.

Hearing aids, however, can’t do this. The devices can cut out generalized predictable background noise, like traffic, but focusing on one voice over another remains elusive. If you’ve ever tried to use a voice assistant like Alexa while somebody else is also talking, you’ve seen this limitation in action. Likely the voice assistant failed to understand you, and that’s because it couldn’t tell which words were important and which to discard.

Currently, the closest option we have is directional microphones that cut out sound behind your head in favor of audio ahead of you. I can say from personal experience, that helps but also leads to an issue of needing to turn your head towards the person you want to hear. In a restaurant where you may have people sitting next to you and across from you, that leads to a good deal of head swiveling.

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from How-To Geek

Repositioning Your Brand Against Cybercrimes Through VPNs

Cybercrimes are not abating any time soon. Hackers who have become tech-savvier are always on the prowl launching attacks with renewed vigor. They are not leaving out anybody, individuals, governments, charity organizations, as well as big and small businesses, are all targeted. You will want to reposition your brand against cybercrimes through VPNs. Six suggestions […]

The post Repositioning Your Brand Against Cybercrimes Through VPNs appeared first on ReadWrite.

from ReadWrite

Children are emotional. Protecting them matters. When it comes to technology, do you want developers you don’t know over whom you have no control watching what your children do on their devices?

Apple doesn’t

Apple recently cut developers off from using MDM software to drive third-party parental control solutions.

Developers were upset, and seventeen smaller developers you’ve probably never heard of got together just days before Apple’s WWDC 2019 conference with a well-organized PR campaign and a professional website to demand access to new API’s that let them develop parental control software for iOS.

To read this article in full, please click here

from Computerworld