Sunday, August 28, 2011

Best Smartphone for Business

Dell SmartphoneWhile most professionals know about the BlackBerry, the business phone that deserves more attention and runs on a familiar Microsoft platform is the Dell Venue Pro. This enterprise-focused smartphone, which is available for T-Mobile and AT&T subscribers, is an elegant-looking device with its 4.1-inch AMOLED display and slide-out keyboard. With sizable buttons and pronounced tactile feedback, the Dell Venue Pro is great for typing emails and taking extensive notes on the fly.

The phone’s Windows Phone 7 software may not be the most exciting mobile operating system, but it is arguably the most reliable. Further, if you or your business already run Windows products like Microsoft Office, the WP7 platform offers the most seamless integration. The Dell Venue Pro is currently the best device available on that platform, which also has its share of fun and games. When you're waiting for a flight at the airport or killing time between meetings, the Dell Venue Pro offers thousands of apps and even Xbox Live integration.

Of course, there is no denying that the BlackBerry is a top-dog for many business-focused smartphone users. With its robust operating system, advanced messaging capabilities, efficient keyboard and no-nonsense approach, manufacturer Research In Motion still has a strong grip on the corporate market. Another important benefit of BlackBerry smartphones is that they are available to customers of all major carriers including Sprint, AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon.

Increasingly, business users are also embracing iPhones and select Android devices. Just make sure to get the green light from your company’s technology managers before making the purchase.

Facebook's New Look to Combat Google

FacebookFacebook has today launched a significant privacy-led revamp of the social networking site in a move that's being interpreted as a direct response to the threat posed by Google+.

The site said the changes, designed to make it easier for users to control what personal details are revealed on the site and to whom, would be rolled out to users "in the coming days". Rectifying a major privacy flaw, Facebook users can now approve photos they are tagged in before they appear on their profile

Google+ is still in its early stages - 25 million members at last count compared to Facebook's 750 million - so Facebook isn't in immediate danger but many have remarked about how the Google social network, by grouping friends in "circles", makes it easier to control who you share with.

Tiphereth Gloria, social media strategist at George Patterson Y&R, said Facebook had finally taken onboard criticisms around the clunkiness of its privacy settings.

She said the changes were a way of rectifying some of the privacy issues that resulted from modifications to the Facebook platform including in 2009 which saw much private information become public by default.

"It puts the content sharing or 'publishing' rights back into the hands of the person who's the subject of the content, by removing the rigidity of the platform," she said.

"With Facebook's new share options, many of the privacy concerns reasons to leave Facebook for Google+ have been removed."

The main change revolves around bringing privacy controls out from the cover of the settings pages and placing them next to the posts, photos and tags they affect. Almost all content on your profile will have an icon and a drop-down menu next to it allowing you to manage who can see each specific piece of content.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Natural woman!

Kate WinsletEmbracing her curves is nothing new to Kate Winslet, but now the actress is taking an active stand against the pressure in Hollywood for women to undergo cosmetic surgery.

The 35-year-old actress told London's The Telegraph that she and fellow British Oscar-winners Emma Thompson and Rachel Weisz have formed what she describes as the "British Anti-Cosmetic Surgery League."

"I will never give in," she said. "It goes against my morals, the way that my parents brought me up and what I consider to be natural beauty."

While the women's resolve not to go under the knife is real, their league might be more of a way to speak out against ageism than an active organization.

"I am an actress, I don't want to freeze the expression of my face," Winslet said.

Thompson, 52, agreed. "I'm not fiddling about with myself," she exclaimed. "We're in this awful youth-driven thing now where everybody needs to look 30 at 60."

Newly-married Weisz, 41, said that people "who look too perfect don't look sexy or particularly beautiful."

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Sunday, August 14, 2011

Kingdom Tower in Saudi Arabia: The Tallest New Mega-Skyscraper

Kingdom Tower in Saudi ArabiaA new building soon to be under construction in Saudi Arabia will bump the world's current tallest structure from its sky-high first place status. The futuristic mega-skyscraper known as the Kingdom Tower will be built in Jeddah, a cosmopolitan, commercially-minded port city on the Red Sea. The challenger for the world's tallest building title intends to surpass its closest competition — Dubai's Burj Khalifa — by at least 568 feet.

The Burj Khalifa, completed in 2010, measures a soaring 2,717 feet, but the Kingdom Tower will stand at least 3,281 feet tall, according to Adrian Smith and Gordon Gill — the Chicago-based team that dreamed up the design. Earlier plans for the record-breaking structure put the tower at mile high, but were abandoned due to concerns that arose in soil testing for the site. The triangular structure will be the focal point of Kingdom City, a sprawling urban development that will cost a reported $20 billion.

Kingdom Tower will house a Four Seasons hotel, upscale office space, ultra-luxurious condos (of course), and the world's soon-to-be tallest observatory. Residents will be able to take a trip up on one of the building's 59 elevators, which travel at over 33 feet per second (22 miles per hour), and enjoy the private sky terrace on the 157th floor.

According to its creators, the monolithic skyscraper will serve as a dual symbol for the city of Jeddah— both cultural and religious. Jeddah is often considered the "gateway to Mecca" due to its proximity to the Islamic holy city, and the Kingdom Tower monument will represent both Jeddah's historic symbolism in Islam as well as Saudi Arabia's prominence in international business.

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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Diamond Contact Lenses Cost You $15,000

Diamond Contact LensesWe've heard of colored contact lenses, cat eye contacts, and even Lady Gaga's circle contacts that enlarge your irises, but what about diamond contacts? They may sound like a hoax, but the Today Show blog, Wired, and Gizmodo are reporting on gold-plated, diamond-encrusted lenses from Shekhar Eye Research Center in India. Forget bling on your finger, now you can have eyes that literally light up a room for a whopping $15,000.

Creator Dr. Chandrashekhar Chawan told Today he got the idea for diamond contact lenses after his wife had the precious stones implanted in her teeth. His new La Ser eye jewelry line features contacts with 18 diamonds adorning a yellow or white gold ring around the lenses. He uses Boston Scleral lenses, which are typically used to treat eye illnesses, to prevent the lenses from touching the cornea. Only 3,996 sets will be made, and Chawan hopes to sell them outside of India. Experts, however, are skeptical about their safety.

Sal Riggio, a licensed optician at Manhattan Grand Optical in New York City had never heard of the diamond contacts until we brought them to his attention, but he dismissed them when he learned they were not FDA approved.

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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

$8 Million Gold-Plated Rolls Redefines Excess

Rolls-RoyceWhat do you buy for the robber baron who has everything? As if a run-of-the-mill Rolls-Royce Phantom EWB ($450,000) weren't a flashy enough statement of personal wealth, consider the Rolls-Royce Phantom Solid Gold, a rolling monument to excess that would make even Jay Gatsby blush.

Evidently, at least one customer—identified only as a "businessman from the Middle East"—didn't get the memo that the world economy is in recession and commissioned the car seen here for the princely sum of $8.15 million.

For that price, you get 265 lbs worth of 18K gold to replace the regular Phantom's more plebeian chrome-plated grille, door handles, trunk-lid trim, as well as the hinges and hardware that surround the rear seat picnic tables. Even the "RR" logos in the wheels received the royal treatment.

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