8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market frederic lardinois A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Tags:#Google#news#web#Web Development Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Google today finally announced its pricing plans for its App Engine service. Google’s App Engine allows developers to run their web applications on Google’s infrastructure and, until today, was only available in a free, but restricted, version. The free version currently gives developers up to 500MB of persistent storage and CPU power and bandwidth for about 5 million page views a month. Starting today, however, developers will also be able to purchase additional resources, which will enable them to scale their apps beyond these free quotas.For the next 90 days, the free allotment will remain unchanged, but after that, Google will reduce the free quota resources. At the same time, however, it will also double the free storage quota to 1GB. Google argues that the other changes won’t impact the large majority of “well written” apps running on the service right now.According to Google, App Engine billing was one of the most requested features from App Engine developers. Thanks to this new pricing scheme, developers can now use App Engine to deploy larger and more popular applications on the service without hitting the ceiling of Google’s free quotas. Developers will be able to set daily budgets for their apps and allocate this budget across CPU, bandwidth, storage, and email. Some of the most popular apps that are currently using Google’s App Engine are BuddyPoke, Lingospot, Best Buy’s Giftag.com, and Mental Floss.PricingHere is the new pricing scheme according to Google’s blog post:$0.10 per CPU core hour. This covers the actual CPU time an application uses to process a given request, as well as that for any Datastore usage.$0.10 per GB bandwidth incoming, $0.12 per GB bandwidth outgoing. This covers traffic directly to/from users, traffic between the app and any external servers accessed using the URLFetch API, and data sent via the Email API.$0.15 per GB of data stored by the application per month.$0.0001 per email recipient for emails sent by the application Google first announced that it was planning to offer these pay-as-you-go resources to developers last May, and today’s prices are at the lower end of the ranges that Google announced back then.In general, Google’s prices seem to be slightly cheaper and less complicated than Amazon’s pricing schemes for using its EC2 and S3 service. It should be noted, however, that Amazon offers a far larger feature set than App Engine. App Engine only supports the Python programming language, while EC2 gives you access to a complete, remotely hosted, on-demand operating system.Coming Soon: XMPP, Scheduled Task, MailEarlier this month, Google also announced a number of new features that will appear in App Engine in the next six month, including the ability to receive and process mail, support for running scheduled tasks, and support for sending and receiving XMPP messages. Related Posts
It’s always refreshing to see a company that’s been in operation for nearly a century adapt new technologies and move away from old ways of doing business. There is somewhat of a danger in being in continuous business for that long—the danger of complacency; the danger of thinking “We’ve always done it that way;” or even the danger of simply bucking change for the sake of taking a safe, risk-free position.Pep Boys is a company that has seen substantial change in the ninety-one years it’s been in business. This American auto parts icon hardly needs an introduction. Originally founded in 1921 as a single retail location in Philadelphia, Pep Boys is now a $2 billion powerhouse that operates over 700 stores throughout the U.S. and Puerto Rico, as well as running over 7,000 service bays.It’s a multi-faceted business operation that caters to all aspects of the consumer automotive industry, from parts and service to shade-tree, do-it-yourself mechanics. Pep Boys thoroughly embraces the unique American love affair with the automobile, and carries thousands of aftermarket parts for customizing your ride; a pastime that is perhaps more important to Americans than any other culture in the world. If it belongs on a car or truck, there is a good chance Pep Boys can sell it to you, fix it for you, or upgrade it.- Sponsor – A Multifaceted Loss Prevention LandscapeIt’s hard to encapsulate the loss prevention challenges endemic to Pep Boys without having a good feel for the landscape of this very diverse company. While Pep Boys has the usual retail challenges, it must also contend with some issues that are peculiar to the type of business it conducts, which is more or less unlike anything out there. The business model isn’t solely retail, it is also comprised of a service segment with lots of parts, tools, and other consumables to track, as well as a massive reverse logistics model to track core returns. On top of that, Pep Boys also has five distribution centers, where the chain’s gargantuan parts supplies are stored. Finally, there are over 19,000 associates who work in the stores as well as the distribution centers.In charge of the company’s loss prevention efforts and directly in charge of this formidable array of hydra-like problem areas is Bryan Hoppe, who was recently promoted to the position of vice president of store operations. Up until this promotion, Hoppe was the vice president of asset protection; a position he held for four years.Not only is Hoppe a career loss prevention and operations professional, he’s also a career auto parts expert. Hoppe got his start in the industry in 1995, when he began a stint with Western Auto Supply Company, where he was a store manager for two years. After that, he embarked on a ten-year career with auto parts giant Advance Auto Parts, where he started as a store manager. By the time he left Advance in 2008 to join Pep Boys, he was in charge of asset protection for the company.While career loss prevention executives aren’t particularly rare, it’s definitely rare to see an executive who has worked within the same industry segment for his whole career. Typically, loss prevention executives tend to cross-pollinate, moving from retail segment to retail segment, even though the actual product each company sells might be totally different. In this case Hoppe brings a remarkable amount of focused expertise from which Pep Boys can directly benefit.The Way Things WereWhen Hoppe came on board in 2008, he found Pep Boys to be pursuing an asset protection model that was, for the most part, outdated. “We were following an SOP-based model,” says Hoppe, “a model where we would conduct lots of investigations and audits.” As a matter of fact, Hoppe found that the LP staff in place included top-notch professionals who believed in what they were doing and gave asset protection their best efforts. Whereas a substandard AP model can oftentimes be blamed on substandard personnel, clearly, this wasn’t the case at Pep Boys. It was just a matter of the way they were looking at the problem.Hoppe has an interesting, but poignant anecdote to describe the problem: “When someone walks into a Home Depot and asks for a drill bit, what do they really want?” he muses. “They want a hole. That’s the problem. We were so focused on the drill bit that we lost sight of the hole.”Essentially, what the LP department of Pep Boys was trying to do was to kill the shrink problem with standard operating procedures, almost, in a sense, trying to legislate the shrink problem out of existence. Areas of shrink would be indentified, and then large, detailed, and expansive audits would be performed. The audits would in turn prompt the genesis of a new series of rules, procedures, and checklists that needed to be followed by the individual store—all the while completely missing what the root cause of the shrink problem was in the first place. “Our entire shrink plan was SOP based, with not a lot of root-cause analysis,” states Hoppe, “We were doing things that were industry best practices for years, but we wound up with hundreds of SOPs.”As with other companies, Pep Boys also had a strong investigative loss prevention model that focused heavily on investigations, both for internal and external theft. The investigations model is a vestige of early loss prevention efforts, a mindset of cops versus criminals, and curiously, it still pervades modern loss prevention even though it’s been proven multiple times in different market sectors that outright theft isn’t usually the major cause of shrink within an organization. “We were seeing shrink as a theft problem rather than a business problem,” says Hoppe.All of these audits and SOPs were eventually becoming burdensome to the stores and store managers, who simply couldn’t keep up with the rules and procedures being pushed down from above. “With all the stuff a store manager has to think about, you’re getting his attention for around 15 to 30 minutes per week,” states Hoppe, who soon realized he needed to remove burdens from stores, rather than add to them.Turning the RudderIt didn’t take Hoppe long to realize that the ship needed to change course. He took stock of his situation, and found himself surrounded by quality and seasoned loss prevention professionals, but ones who needed a new focus. According to Hoppe, “In my mind there are three different types of loss prevention organizations. The first is the police/audit type, where everything is a criminal investigation. The second is the consultant culture, where extensive rules are developed and an attempt is made to legislate shrink out of existence. The third is what I call ‘operationalizing the LP,’ and that’s what we went with.”Even though you might not find “operationalizing” in your dictionary, Hoppe’s concept of the idea definitely bears looking into. Essentially, Hoppe implemented a structure in which loss prevention professionals started to perceive themselves as business partners with operations. They began to take ownership of loss prevention problems rather than blaming it on another department or even some unseen thief. “Cradle to the grave, we now own the shrink problem,” states Hoppe. “We all share the responsibility to manage shrink.”An excellent example of this was Pep Boy’s move to have high-shrink products spider-wrapped at the distribution centers as well as reaching out to vendors to have them rethink their packaging rather than letting the stores deal with the problem. It was a classic loss prevention problem—certain products were packaged from a sales standpoint rather than from a security standpoint. In the old way of doing things, “We would build an extensive audit and then update the SOP,” says Hoppe. In the new way of doing things, “We had the distribution centers wrap the merchandise. They’re set up to do that, while the stores aren’t.” The solution not only solved that particular shrink problem, it shifted the burden of dealing with that problem away from the stores and onto the distribution center, which was better equipped to deal with it. “We needed to take the job of merchandise protection out of the stores,” states Hoppe.Ownership of shrink is also a big theme in Hoppe’s master plan. He describes former practices at Pep Boys like this: “In the past, we’d send an auditor to a store. Twenty-one days later, an investigator might come by. Seven days after that, perhaps an AP manager would pay the store a visit. Then there would be a question; who owns what?” This example illustrates the overlap in duties, as well as the complete lack of ownership of the actual responsibility for the problem.Like many loss prevention executives who have seen the light on outdated LP models, Hoppe started out in part by eliminating certain roles within the LP department. The investigator role and the auditor role were axed, with those personnel shifted over to the larger, more overarching asset protection role. Hoppe then modeled the organizational structure of these personnel after the operations division. For each operations position, a corresponding asset protection position was created, and thus the area and divisional levels of operations and LP became perfectly aligned. Currently, each AP manager is responsible for everything shrink and claims related within the stores under his control.New Ideas and New TechnologyHoppe’s new ideas came in the form of an “eye-level” shrink program, comprised of three separate components. First off was the requisite corporate culture change needed in order to convince non-asset protection employees that AP was important and reducing shrink was everyone’s responsibility. This was followed by innovation, which comprised of SOP refinements and the building of a better AP process. Finally, some investment was inevitably needed to equip Pep Boys with a much needed shot in the arm technology wise.Part of Pep Boys’ technology purchase was devoted to the widespread roll out of CCTV systems and DVRs, which the company had previously not devoted much attention to. This also helped the company curb in-store theft as well as the inevitable shrink and accidents that are associated with Pep’s service-bay operation.One of Pep Boys’ biggest process refinement and technology rollouts revolved around the reverse logistics model that necessarily pervades their operations. It’s a problem that’s peculiar to auto parts and similar stores, and it revolves around the concept of a core charge. The way it works is that the customer orders an auto part, and besides the cost of the part itself, the customer is charged what is known in the industry as a “core charge.” The customer then installs the part he or she purchased, and brings the old part back into Pep Boys, and is subsequently refunded the core charge fee. From there, Pep Boys sends the old part to be refurbished and then the refurbished part is sold again, starting the process over again.With this model, the customer had an overwhelming incentive to return the old part, because they inevitably wanted a refund of their core charge. Pep Boys associates, however, had no such incentive, and subsequently, many core return parts were thrown away, forgotten, or lost, resulting in a huge expense. Realize that without the rebuildable core, Pep Boys can’t resell that part, and the part therefore becomes a loss to the company. “Ninety-five percent of our reverse logistics never made it onto the pallet,” says Hoppe, speaking of the way it used to be. “It was process shrink, not theft.”Hoppe decided to curb this by giving each core part a bar-coded “license plate.” Now, when a core part is returned, it’s scanned into the system and tied to a manifest. Hoppe and his team can now tell whether that part made it onto the pallet, and subsequently made it to the distribution center. “Before, there was a lack of buy in at the store level. It resulted in a big, black hole at the end of the year,” says Hoppe. Associates were also polled, asking their opinions on the AP process in general. During this process, it was noted that the conventional LP awareness program using posters that were posted in each retail location were universally disliked and seldom if ever read. Hoppe and his team replaced these with a fun course and more personalized instruction at the behest of employees, which has thus far turned into a success. In addition, the program includes an online training technology that encourages associate participation and reinforces the messaging (see sidebar page 46).The Road Ahead Kevin CookWith current shrink numbers literally a shadow of what they used to be, one would think Hoppe would have every reason to sit on his laurels and simply keep going in the same direction, but he’s not. This may be part of the reason he was promoted to the coveted role of VP of store operations. While AP still falls under Hoppe’s jurisdiction, he could have easily filled his old spot with one of his protégés. However, he decided to take a different course of action, hiring LP industry veteran Kevin Cook to lead the charge.Cook is also a veteran of Advance Auto Parts and is extremely results driven. When asked why he would recruit someone outside the company rather than promote from within, Hoppe stated, “I knew he would come in and question everything I did. Kevin’s mandate is to improve on what we have right now, not what we had four years ago.”It’s an interesting philosophy to be sure, and it’s a bold one as well, since all of Hoppe’s decisions will be scrutinized for efficacy at his own behest. Putting a fresh set of eyes on what Pep Boys has been doing for the last four years under Hoppe’s watch is also incredibly humble, to say the least. That’s mainly because Hoppe is trying to build a leaner, meaner Pep Boys rather than trying to validate his accomplishments. “He’s going to revisit everything I’ve done,” states Hoppe. Stay UpdatedGet critical information for loss prevention professionals, security and retail management delivered right to your inbox. Sign up now
Watch Serie A live in the UK on Premier Sports for just £11.99 per month including live LaLiga, Eredivisie, Scottish Cup Football and more. Visit: https://subscribe.premiersports.tv/ Gaetano Micciche has surprisingly decided to step down from his role as President of Lega Serie A. The resignation comes after Genoa owner Enrico Preziosi alleged there were irregularities with how Micciche was elected President in March 2018. That prompted FIGC prosecutors to open an investigation into the manner in which the banker was voted in. “I wish to announce, with this declaration, my immediate resignation as President of Lega Serie A,” he said in a Press release. “The rumours in today’s newspapers, relating to the closure of the investigation into my appointment 20 months ago and its possible outcome, are unacceptable and required me to make this decision. “I’ve worked in recent months on the transformation of Italian football, adding to competitive and sporting values those of corporate, economic and prospective credibility. “This is essential and preparatory for the arrival of new and serious investors, new and big companies as sponsors, plus new credibility in financial markets. “It’s a transformation that also has the crucial objective of bringing families and fans closer to the world of football and sport in general. “I thank all those who have worked with me, as well as the journalists who have followed my reign with professionalism.” Lega Serie A, which runs the Italian top flight, went without a President for a year before the 69-year-old filled the position.
Share – / 12After the first package exploded on an Austin doorstep, police assured the public that there was no wider threat, no signs of terrorism. The idea of a serial bomber striking random strangers never came up.The March 2 blast killed Anthony Stephan House, a 39-year-old man with a background in finance and an 8-year-old daughter. Investigators didn’t rule out that House may have mishandled homemade explosives.Hours later, in an interrogation room, detectives told one of House’s neighbors their main theory: The deadly package was retaliation, maybe from a drug cartel, for a raid days earlier that seized more than $300,000 and 30 pounds of pot. The cartel just got the address wrong.APD, local, state and federal partners provide update on Austin package bomb murder investigation. https://t.co/5w8F6lmijS— Austin Police Dept (@Austin_Police) March 21, 2018“They’re saying, ‘Who’s trying to blow you up?’ They’re trying to do the whole thing, ‘Help us help you, because they’re not going to miss again,’” said Mark McCrimmon, an Austin attorney who represents the neighbor.It wouldn’t be the last wrong lead in the three-week search that eventually led to Mark Anthony Conditt, an unemployed community college dropout who blew himself up Wednesday as officers closed in.The manhunt intensified after more explosions in the weeks that followed House’s death. By the time the suspect too was dead, his bombs had killed two people, badly wound four others and unnerved the Texas capital.On Thursday, authorities gave no indication they were any closer to understanding why Conditt did it. Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said the bomber left behind a 25-minute cellphone recording that amounted to a confession but revealed no clear motive.It’s one last mystery in a case that police struggled to crack. More than 500 federal agents swarmed Austin in what Rep. Michael McCaul, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, called the nation’s largest bombing manhunt since the 2013 Boston Marathon attacks.The trail to Conditt included many dead ends among more than 500 phoned-in tips. There were theories that didn’t pan out and surveillance cameras that failed to record a glimpse of the suspect.“They got a lot of calls,” McCaul said of investigators, “but not a lot of credible leads.”Early miscalculations stoked frustration in the neighborhoods where the second and third bombings went off on March 12.Because police initially believed House’s death was an isolated attack, they did not warn Austin residents about suspicious deliveries before another package killed 17-year-old Draylen Mason and wounded his mother. Mason and House were both black and related to prominent Austin families, which led police to consider whether they were dealing with a hate crime.“They didn’t consider all the alternatives, and it came back to bite us,” said Nelson Linder, president of the Austin chapter of the NAACP.When the third bomb wounded a 75-year-old Hispanic woman, investigators wondered whether it was actually intended for a neighbor, Erica Mason, who has the same last name as the slain teenager.Erica Mason, who is white, said she told police she had no connection to Draylen Mason’s family. Police now think the shared name was just a coincidence.Even after three bombings, investigators were still unsure whether they were dealing with a single attacker. “We’re not calling it a serial bomber,” Manley told reporters on March 12.A week later, they were.By then, police had urged residents to report any strange packages. The warning flooded 911 operators with more than 1,000 calls. Six days after Mason’s death, authorities increased the pot of reward money to $115,000 and tried a new tactic to draw the bomber out: a news conference that included a direct appeal for him to get in touch. Hours later, another explosion seemed to be his answer.The fourth blast, triggered by a tripwire attached to a “children at play” sign that Conditt purchased at Home Depot, was the first on the city’s more affluent west side. The new location dampened earlier theories about who the bomber was targeting.After a fifth explosion Monday at a FedEx processing center outside San Antonio, authorities finally got their big break.Conditt had been careful to avoid cameras before entering a FedEx store in southwest Austin disguised in a blond wig and gloves, said McCaul, who called it the bomber’s “fatal mistake.”Surveillance at the store also captured a license plate linked to Conditt, which in turn gave authorities a cellphone number they could track.Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said police were able to monitor Conditt and his movements for about 24 hours before his death. The cellphone number tied Conditt to bombing sites around Austin, but McCaul said Conditt had eluded authorities by powering off the phone for long stretches.By Tuesday night, police began closing in on Conditt’s home in suburban Pflugerville. They finally found him early Wednesday at a hotel north of Austin, and officers prepared to move in for an arrest. When the suspect’s sport utility vehicle began to drive away, they followed.Conditt drove into a ditch on the side of the road, and SWAT officers approached, banging on his window. That’s when he ended his life by setting off one of his own devices inside the vehicle.Police found him because he turned his phone back on, McCaul said.“He turned it on. It pinged, and then the chased ensued,” he said.APD is asking the public to remain vigilant and report anything suspicious. If you come across ANYTHING that looks suspicious, DO NOT touch, handle or disturb it. Keep a safe distance and call 9-1-1 immediately. pic.twitter.com/bl9cTAGAoI— Austin Police Dept (@Austin_Police) March 22, 2018
American Center in collaboration with Cinedarbaar aims to celebrate creative works of women through leading actresses and directors that have contributed to the American Cinema successfully and have charmed the audience world over with their exceptional talents. The 3 day festival from 27 – 29 March will showcase 5 movies at the American Center Auditorium (basement level) 24 Kasturba Gandhi Marg.‘Women’s History Month Film Festival’ will open with A Woman under the Influence byJohn Cassavetes. Each day the film showcase will be followed by an interactive session and an interesting quiz with exciting prizes. Do not miss out for an interesting session on the first day, about the relationship between the husband and wife duo of Gena Rowlands and John Cassavetes and their collaboration over 10 films. As a takeaway, the visitors will get informative handouts acknowledging the exceptional works of the women directors and actresses. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’The festival will focus on auteur and actresses by showcasing their films which have been critically acclaimed & won several awards. The powerful performance by Gena Rowlands in A Woman under the Influence is often acclaimed as the finest performance by any actress ever committed to the big screen. Similarly Faye Dunaway in 1977 won the award for Best Actress in a Leading Role in the movie Network. She turned this incredibly difficult character into gold. Other contemporary actresses like Scarlett Johansson have worked with some of the finest directors and their performances have been critically acclaimed like in the Ghost World. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixHollywood has seen some of the big box office hits by the women directors whose movies will be a part of the film festival. Martha Coolidge has proved to be one of Hollywood’s most successful commercial director. With Real Genius an incredibly humorous and wonderful film, she has proved her talent yet again. Kathryn Bigelow became the first woman in Oscar history to win the Best Director award in 2010. However, her earlier work features some stunning films that showcase a brilliant visionary style, and no other movie reflects that better than Strange Days. It was nominated for several Saturn Awards including Best Science Fiction Film with Bigelow winning for Best Director.The entry to the festival is free and is on first come first serve basis. Entry is open for general public but by invitation only. E-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or collect passes from the American Center. And yes, carry a valid photo ID to enter and an e-invite (poster’s print copy).WHEN: 27 to 29 MarchWHERE: American Center Auditorium (basement level)
The Elephant parade comes to India. Thank God they decided to have artists and fashion designers and a few corporate houses like Good Earth because the choice of India’s artists shows that they have no idea of what do to when it comes to painting a pachyderm. Going by the success of the Elephant Parade in London it is the fashion designers who will set the bells ringing when it is finally auctioned in Mumbai. On the occasion of World Elephant Day 2017, Elephant Parade will take place in India from November 2017 to March 2018. As part of the 2017 UK India Year of Culture, Elephant Parade India aims to generate vital funds to secure 101 elephant corridors across India, for the endangered Asian elephants who face the risk of displacement through fragmentation of habitat and human disturbances. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfFollowing 21 successful Elephant Parades worldwide, Elephant Parade India has engaged leading Indian artists, fashion designers, design institutes, tribal painters, and celebrities to turn 101 elephant sculptures into unique masterpieces, creating a striking spectacle of color to celebrate one of India’s most beloved and endangered animals. The painted elephants will be displayed in herds at prominent cities in India to be photographed, hugged and kissed by admiring audiences as part of what has become recognized as the world’s biggest public art event. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveAfter the public displays across the cities, the elephants will then be sold at two high profile auctions in Mumbai and London to raise funds for their endangered wild cousins and their forest homes.A closer look shows that it is Anita Dongre, Tarun Tahiliani, Manish Arora , Seema Kohli, Bajju Shyam Prabhakar Pachpute Rupali Patil and the Good Earth team, that have indeed created elephants that have the richness of intent and the aesthetics of design in being a testimony to the power of bringing life to a venture that will create design statements in colours and tones and graphic splendor. I use the term graphic splendor because sadly speaking, a number of artists chosen did not do justice to the act of painting. A lot of them painted the poor creature like a kitsch ridden inanimate object, not even worthy to be crooned over. The design dictates failed to emulate any grade of interest or intrigue. Perhaps, the best in the juxtaposition of the wildlife intent with an insignia of the culture of caring for the animal that is on an endangered list in Africa after 100,000 perishing for ivory tusks, is the design by Anita Dongre called Dappu Juju. While Good Earth’s Van Vaibhav is a masterpiece of deep interest in Bajju Shyam’s tribal notations and textures as well as the brilliant tree of life web of networks and characters of Seema Kohli’s vedic compositional patterns.