All posts by Bessie Cooper

New Path Unlocked To China for Australian Wine Makers

New Path Unlocked To China for Australian Wine MakersEarlier this month Australia Post announced that it will be striking a significant partnership deal with China’s popular Alibaba e-commerce site. This proves as an important milestone for Australian wine growers, especially winery restaurants in yarra valley, who have in recent times been extremely limited in entering China’s lucrative wine market.

Australia Post has collaborated with the Alibaba Group’s business-to-business (B2B) online platform 1688.com and the Margaret River Wine Association to broaden export channels for Australia wines to the Chinese wine market. The newly launched ‘Australian Pavilion’ on 1688.com provides opportunities for Australian wine producers to sell their wines directly to Chinese importers in bulk at wholesale price.

China signed a Free Trade Agreement with Australia in May 2015 and agreed to gradually abolish tariffs on imports from Australia. According to Chinese customs figures, Australia accounted for 14% of China’s total wine import volume and 23% of the total value in the first nine months in 2015. Australia Post, the government-owned postal service company, believes that the new platform is a great way to tap into the growing demand for authentic Australian products in China. ‘1688.com offers the perfect solution for small and medium businesses to drive more sales in China,’ said Ahmed Fahour, Australia Post’s managing director and CEO.

The partnership will provide a ‘one-stop e-commerce, logistics and delivery solution’ for the Australian wine producers, covering various aspects such as labeling, packaging, pallet consolidation, sea and air transport, customs clearance, warehousing and distribution. The first wine region chosen to sell via the 1688.com Australian Pavilion is Margaret River in West Australia. Five wineries from the region – Flametree Wines, Laurance Wines, Happs Wines, Rosily Vineyard and EVOI Wines – have listed 10 wines on the website.

Nick Power, CEO of Margaret River Wine Association, said, ‘The 1688.com Australian Pavilion is the culmination of many years of work to solve a major obstacle for the Australian wine industry, offering a simple avenue to sell and ship to China in bulk.’ Australia Post plans to bring wines from other areas of the country including the world famous yarra valley wine region, over the coming months. It also teamed up with Tmall.com, Alibaba Group’s business-to-consumer (B2C) marketplace earlier this year.

Information About Australia’s Wine Industry

Harvard Business School Takes NFL in a Deflategate Case

Recently, this article appeared on the forbes.com site penned by Roberta Holland. It will be interesting to see which way this goes. Deflategate, the pro football controversy that spawned a media frenzy, Twitter war, even a presidential joke, has a new claim to fame as a Harvard Business School case study.

Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images
Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images

At the heart of Deflategate is the question of whether the New England Patriots cheated in their 2015 conference championship win over the Indianapolis Colts by tampering with the footballs. Accusers, which included the National Football League’s head office, said someone with the team underinflated the balls to make them easier for quarterback Tom Brady to throw.

The case study, written by HBS’s Marco Iansiti, the David Sarnoff Professor of Business Administration and head of the Technology and Operations Management unit, focuses on the data analysis used by the National Football League in its investigation and looks into the organizations involved. But Deflategate isn’t the only issue examined by the case. “What started essentially as an analytics exercise ended up as a much broader analysis of the data, the sport, the NFL, and how it’s organized and how it’s structured. So combining both the analytics angle and the organizational angle, you get a full understanding of the problem,” Iansiti says.

Iansiti and colleagues Michael Toffel, Ariel Stern, Joel Goh, Kris Ferreira, Shane Greenstein, and Willy Shih taught the case study, Deflategate and the National Football League, last month in their core course Technology and Operations Management. The case was rolled out to the entire first year of the MBA program comprising close to one thousand MBA students. “It was probably one of the most passionate case discussions that we’ve had,” Iansiti recalls. “We had lots of Jets fans, lots of Patriots fans, lots of Colts fans. Their initial hypotheses correlated quite a bit with where everybody was from and what teams they liked, but I have to say, at the end of the day, the truth prevailed.”

That truth will remain undisclosed for the benefit of future students discussing the case, but one thing Iansiti does reveal is that their analysis pointed to “a complete lack of understanding” of the actual physics involved with football by those who make their living off the game. The lessons to be learned from that stretch beyond Deflategate. “I don’t think this is about football at all. I think this is about human nature and organizations and performance,” Iansiti says. “The case shows that in any kind of environment, you’ve got to know your stuff. So from this perspective you can’t go ahead and accuse somebody of deflating a football without having a deep understanding of what pressure in those footballs should be.”

As Iansiti watched the AFC title game in January 2015, and the ensuing uproar, he was hooked. As an author of expert reports from time to time, Iansiti also was interested in the Wells Report, an NFL-commissioned probe into the alleged cheating, which was led by New York attorney Theodore Wells (HBS MBA’76). “We were looking for great examples in which to try out some analytics and analysis capability building exercises, and I thought this would be an interesting one,” says Iansiti, who describes himself as more of a soccer person. “The more I got into it, the more I read about it, it became more and more interesting and more and more fascinating, so it kind of drew me in.”

Iansiti read the Wells Report, the rebuttal by the American Enterprise Institute, and scores of other expert opinions and articles. He condensed the information and wrote the case study with help from case researcher Christine Snively. There was plenty of fodder to choose from, with everyone from Bill Nye the Science Guy to curmudgeonly Patriots head coach Bill Belichick weighing in on the Ideal Gas Law and its effects on a football’s pounds per square inch (PSI) of air pressure.

Tradition Of Success

The class discussion evolved from whether the Patriots were guilty of doctoring footballs to the larger issue of how the team sustains such a high, “astounding” performance rate year after year. For the latter, Iansiti used data on the Patriots’ wins and playoff record over the last 15 years, as well as their very low fumble rate since a 2006 rule change. (After 2007, the Patriots became league leaders in not fumbling the football — a prime reason for their sustained success.)

Roberta Holland is a writer based in Norwood, Massachusetts. Original article can be found here.

 

Geophysicist Finds Way to Visualise Earth’s Tremors

The article below is found on the  October 2014 issue of Wired magazine. We thought its worth bringing up here as it is such a fascinating and worthwhile effort to study earthquakes around the world.

Geophysicist finds way to visualise Earth's tremors
Geophysicist Karin Sigloch, near Le Port, Reunion, where her research ship was anchored. Antoine Doyen

Geophysicist Karin Sigloch is using earthquake tremors to study some of the oldest geological structures on the planet. In 2012, her team deployed 57 broadband ocean-bottom seismometers in the Indian Ocean around the island of Réunion, to study how the 530,000-year-old volcano Piton de La Fournaise was formed. “The sensors capture everything,” says Sigloch, a researcher at the University of Oxford. “They hear whales and cyclones, but we need to filter them out to capture our primary interest: earthquakes.”

Sigloch, a former electrical engineer who studied at Bell Labs in Murray Hill, New Jersey, uses her knowledge of signal processing to bring a different perspective to geological problems. During her PhD, she developed algorithms that translated seismic data into 3D animations (visualizations)  for the first time. “I couldn’t understand why the visualisations of the interior of the Earth were so primitive,” says Sigloch. “When medical doctors scan brains, they see in very sophisticated 3D. We had none of that.”

In 2013, she translated seismic data into a 3D picture of the Earth’s interior, which resulted in a completely new theory of how North America was formed. “We saw a lot of new stuff in what was supposed to be the best explored region in the natural world,” says Sigloch. She suggests, for instance, that the mountain ranges in the western part of North America were created when the continent collided with island chains that existed in the Pacific Ocean 200 million years ago.

A 3D render made from water-depth soundings of the ocean floor around Mauritius. Antoine Doyen
A 3D render made from water-depth soundings of the ocean floor around Mauritius. Antoine Doyen

Next, Sigloch also wants to deploy more seismometers in the ocean floor. “It’s harder to do science looking inside our planet than looking at the skies,” she says. “Space is transparent and electromagnetic waves travel easily. To look into the interior of the Earth, we have to [harness] earthquake waves, but they are sparse. We need to look in the oceans.”

Tips To Propel Your Career In The Future Digital Age

The role of marketing has actually changed immeasurably over the past 10 years. With this transformation comes the chance for online marketers to catapult their professions in new directions and amazing opportunities.

As always, skills and knowledge are the key points for a career trajectory in rapidly-changing times. For marketers, it’s all about the “underpinning” skills, or those that empower them to craft methods and strategies – skills to create and deploy campaigns, skills to develop marketing infrastructure and processes and skills to create material and examine the outcomes.

Of equal importance are the skills required to construct, lead and take part in groups, as well as to work cross-functionally throughout the company. As we see 2015 draw to a close and 2016 step nearer on the horizon, here are four skills and expertise that can help online marketers take their professions to the next level.

Understand Innovation

39 percent of marketing executives are looking for skill and talent in the areas of digital engagement and marketing operations and innovation. As future customers remain hidden longer, the talents of the technologist are driving engagement through predictive analytics, marketing automation, and SEO. The marketing technology landscape continues to rapidly expand. There are a growing number of layers in the martech stack, and more tools and devices are available.

Tips To Propel Your Career In The Future Digital Age To grow, marketers have to have a sound understanding of those critical components and how they fit together. Without this ability, digital marketers are limited in the degree that they can push project design and execution. Marketers must understand the latest technology standards and requirements. This is true given that the bulk of the lead-generation effort occurs through the web. They should likewise understand exactly what responsive design is and why it improves the UX. They need to comprehend appropriate security steps and the best ways to safeguard lead data.

Welcome Creativity

How and why a purchase is made is altering – and with it, the duty of marketing. Faced with a new set of challenges, leading online marketers must figure out the best ways to creatively resolve issues. For example, with so many channels to interact through (e.g., mobile, social, apps) and the expansion of intent data, marketers require the abilities to artistically analyze information to identify which channels to utilize to interact and when.

Marketers are constantly trying to find that edge of designing interactive methods of attracting new business. A smart example of this is the use of talented designers with backgrounds in fields including a diploma a diploma in animation. Expertise and skill in creativity go beyond the unwalked course. Creativity is required to tell the brand story that draws in and engages leads. As brand ambassadors, marketers need vision and ingenuity to safeguard the stability and vitality of the brand.

Sharpen Your Analytical Abilities

As consumers continue to take control of their purchasing decisions, they are leaving a trace of digital body language (data) that can then be harnessed to better reach, engage, convert and maintain them. This suggests digital marketers no longer have to rate exactly what’s working and ways to enhance their outcomes. Analytics is among the hottest trends in marketing: this is mining and assessing information to learn what’s working, what customers are doing and exactly what effect campaigns are having.

Analytical skills – making use of big data/data warehouses and tools like Tableau or Qlikview – are required to investigate and validate. Skills are required for transitioning from analysis to intelligence, driving and generating client stories through metadata and understanding consumers from numerous viewpoints. Many marketing professionals feel that they lack the polish they desire when it comes to these type of skills, and often enrol in online business courses to up-skill their knowledge base.

Just as crucial, analytic skills are required to produce models that validate the marketing company’s worth to the business and the impact of campaigns and projects on revenue and growth.

Hone Your Interaction Skills

Virtually every job opportunity out there has a demand for strong written and oral communication. This is because communication ties the pieces and individuals together and makes it possible for a company to define and execute a strategy, or create and follow a process.

Strong communication skills are crucial to marketing success. There has been a great amount of emphasis placed on these type of skills in the 21st century, with business professionals attempting to strengthen their brand by enrolling in online business schools around the world. Written and verbal communications clarify responsibilities, objectives, plans, success and due dates.

And do not undervalue the importance of writing. Copy-writing is among the most vital skills that an online marketer can have. Writing, the base of practically every marketing campaign, is a standard skill that can have a huge effect on career development. No matter the skills they sharpen, marketers who cultivate a favorable working ambiance will far surpass those who do not. Learn how to be supportive.

 

Professional Network Designed For Software Testers

uTest, the global community for software testers, today announced the launch of its professional network geared exclusively for individuals in the QA and QE space. This new hub creates a place for novice and veteran testers alike to receive free training, create and consume tailored content, find paid testing projects, and connect with peers. The uTest community is already the world’s largest, with more than 200,000 testers from 200+ countries and territories around the world, and aims to include millions of testers worldwide.

software testinguTest first launched in 2008, with the parent company changing its name to Applause in mid-2014. At that point in time, the uTest brand was re-focused to best serve the large community of testers the company had built up since launch, and whose professional needs were going largely unmet. Today’s re-launch of uTest takes that mission much further, creating the world’s first professional network for anyone in the broader software quality space — including automation engineers, security specialists, usability experts and QA professionals. With the launch, uTest community members will continue to be eligible to be invited to paid testing cycles for Applause, with top testers earning tens of thousands of dollars each year.

“For too long, individuals in testing & QA departments have been woefully underserved — always the last in line, and often underappreciated,” said Matt Johnston, Chief Strategy Officer for Applause and uTest. “With today’s announcement, we’re raising the bar for those companies that claim they care about testers and the QA profession. uTest is the hub for testers to get what they need to ace their current job, prepare for and find their next job and build their professional network.”

Features of the new uTest include:

  • Paid Projects: A listing of paid opportunities from Applause, to which uTest community members can apply. Projects include testing for amazing brands like Google, Netflix, Amazon, BMW and RunKeeper.
  • Professional reputation: Community members earn “uPoints” and badges through paid work and by creating or consuming content like articles, courses and reviews of testing tools.
  • Courses: uTest University provides free educational and coaching resources for testers, with courses about modern topics like testing Android apps, responsive web design, IoT, and test automation.
  • Discussion forums: Real-time discussions with peers on topics including career advice, “how-to” advice, tech trends, as well as lighter subjects, such as contests, polls and giveaways.
  • Tool reviews: Ratings and reviews of software testing tools to help individuals select the right QA- or QE-related products. This is also a great way for test tool vendors to connect directly with their audience.
  • Industry events: A great way for tools and events companies to promote their events, meetups and webinars. Community members can submit their own, find events of interest, and even keep track of upcoming events by adding them to their calendar.

The revamped uTest site is another example of the company’s continued investment in the broader QA and QE profession. It also represents an evolution in the professional networking space. Adds Johnston, “Increasingly, people want to engage in more tailored, meaningful ways with others who do the same type of work. This new professional network enables testers to expand and share their knowledge with peers in a way that is both good for their career and good for the testing craft.”

About uTest

uTest provides testing and QA professionals with the opportunities, resources and connections they need to accelerate their career. Our mission is to enable software testers and QA professionals to excel at their current job — and to find their next professional adventure. Over 200,000 testers have joined the uTest community to get free training, network with peers around the globe, and learn about the latest tech industry news and upcoming events. Community members also have the opportunity to find short term — and long term — paid testing projects with amazing brands like Google, Netflix, Amazon, BMW and Runkeeper.

What is Software Testing Exactly?

 

A Way to Track Exposures That May Contribute to Autism Spectrum Disorder

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Researchers in autism spectrum disorders have discovered a promising new way to detect prenatal exposures that could increase risk for autism even years after the exposures occurred.

The researchers in their study showed that a chemical signature of prenatal exposure to cigarette smoke can be detected in the blood of pre-schoolers. Weather smoking during pregnancy contributes to autism is not a known fact yet. But, since the mother can say whether or not she smoked during her pregnancy, a clear chemical signature of prenatal exposure persisted into childhood could still be seen.

The next step is to look for markers for less-obvious toxic exposures, which are suspected to increase the risk of autism spectrum. Among these include exposure to air pollution, pesticides, plasticizers and maternal inflammation during a woman’s pregnancy.

A study which was led by Daniele Fallin and Christine Ladd-Acosta, appeared in the journal Environmental Research a couple of weeks ago.

She is the director of the Bloomberg School’s Wendy Klag Center for Autism & Developmental Disabilities at Johns Hopkins University.

More to the point, Fallin’s team is looking at so-called epigenetic markers. These are chemical tags which sit on top a gene’s DNA. These help control where and when the gene is active.

This epigenetic control of gene activity is especially crucial for guiding early brain development. Chemical exposures, infection and other types of stresses can change epigenetics. This in turn can alter gene activity in important and permanent ways.

Across the whole study, the researchers performed whole genome epigenetic analysis on the blood of children, ages 3 to 5.  It total there were 531 from six sites across America. The children’s mothers were asked about smoking during pregnancy.

The next step was to analyze epigenetic patterns (methylation) at 26 locations across the children’s genomes. They were able to identify which mothers smoked during pregnancy with 81 percent accuracy based on all of the available data.

There have been other researchers that had previously identified these epigenetic signatures. They found them in infant cord blood from prenatal pregnancies. This new study however, is the first to show that the tell-tale chemical evidence persists to at least the age of about 5.

It is Fallins hope this area of research has a much broader reach. When a prenatal mother smokes, she says it is quite easy to determine whether someone was exposed prenatally. All you have to do is ask the mother or ask someone whether the mother smoked while she was pregnant. However, when there is exposures to other toxins, it is more difficult to tease out. The biggest problem is that the mother may not know whether she was exposed or not.

What is Autism Spectrum Disorder

The First Three Sculptures to be Installed on Hove Plinth

The first three sculptures to be installed on Hove Plinth have been unveiled in small scale form.

Hove Civic Society launched a competition earlier this year to find artists who could bring contemporary sculpture to Hove seafront.

plinths
The winning sculptures are Escape by Matthew James Davies, Flight of the Langoustines by Pierre Diamantopoulo and Constellation by Jonathan Wright.

A first major commission for Oxford-based Davies, his sculpture cast in blue resin aims to mirror the movements of nature, such as the sea breeze, gliding birds and rolling waves.

Brighton sculptor Diamantopoulo who has exhibited in the UK and internationally took inspiration from a discarded lobster pot for his piece about human exodus and release.

Wright, who is based in Folkestone and has also exhibited at home and abroad, will involve local residents to help choose which iconic Hove images will be part of his sculpture.

Each sculpture will be in place on the plinth for 12-18 months and then found a permanent position in Hove or Brighton, which could include corporate headquarters, new developments or public spaces.

The Society has begun fundraising in earnest to ensure the plinth can be built and sculptures commissioned at the earliest opportunity.display plinths
A range of founder packages and corporate sponsorship opportunities are available but anyone can make a donation of any size to help make Hove Plinth a reality.

Hove Civic Society has planning permission to install a stone plinth on the King’s Esplanade at the foot of Grand Avenue. The plinth will be used for changing displays of sculpture, inspired by the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square. It will have technological capabilities to make viewing the sculptures an interactive, educational experience.
Hove Civic Society are aiming to have the plinth and its first installation in place in spring 2017.

Original Article Found Here http://www.juicebrighton.com/news/local-news/hove-plinth-unveiled/

Blitz That Job Interview

Asking questions in a business job interview  is a great way to show that you’re interested in the position but you need to make sure you are asking the right ones.

There are some topics and questions that are best avoided because asking them in the interview could put a black mark against your name.

Find out the 4 questions NOT to ask in a job interview.

Don’t forget:

  • Salary and benefit negotiations are best left out of the interview process
  • Rephrase ‘why’ questions to sound less confrontational
  • Don’t ask questions that make you look unprepared.
  • Avoid anything to do with work-life balance
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