Traffic lights in Letterkenny to increase volume of audible pedestrian signal

first_imgThe Letterkenny Municipal District has agreed to increase the volume of the audible pedestrian signal to aid the visually impaired in Letterkenny.This comes following a request by Cllr Jimmy Kavanagh, who made the request at September’s Municipal District meeting.Traffic lights in LetterkennyCllr Kavanagh had concerns that the current level of the signal was too low for the visually impaired pedestrians in town centre. Following the question, the Municipal District agreed: “The audible signal volume (will) be increased at the traffic lights in (Letterkenny) town to aid the visually impaired pedestrians.”Traffic lights in Letterkenny to increase volume of audible pedestrian signal was last modified: September 23rd, 2018 by Shaun KeenanShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:letterkennyLetterkenny Municipal Districtlast_img read more

Households with electricity up by 50%

first_img Source: SAnews.gov.za 15 November 2013 The number of South African households with electricity has increased by almost 50% over the last 10 years, according to Statistics South Africa’s latest survey on household energy. Releasing the survey in Pretoria on Thursday, Statistician-General Pali Lehohla said the number of South African households with legal electricity connections had increased by 49% between 2002 and 2012, from 8.3-million to 12.4-million households. Lehohla said the gap had been closed with the addition of 4.1-million connections over the 10-year period, despite 3.8-million new households being added over the same period, bringing the total number of households to 14.6-million in 2012. In all, 85.3% of households were connected to the electricity grid in 2012, up from 77.1% in 2002. Of the 15% still not connected by last year, four percent had no electricity access, while 11% were connected to electricity but not via the mains, with many of these being illegal connections. He said that since the introduction of free basic electricity in 2005, the number of households that qualified for the provision had steadily declined, from 45.8% to 27.5% last year, because of the sharpening of the criteria to qualify for the provision. Lehohla said it was concerning that 12.6% of South Africans, mainly in the country’s rural areas, still used wood for cooking. He recommended that the country provide more off-grid power solutions and renewable energy sources for poor households, particularly in rural areas where provision of electricity from the grid was not cost-effective. South Africa should also introduce effective and efficient technologies to reduce the hazards of using solid fuels for heating, cooking and lighting, Lehohla said. Statistics SA’s survey also revealed that among households with a per capita income of under R390 a month, just 79% had electricity connections, compared to 94% for those with monthly incomes of R4 000 or more. While 94% of formal homes and 91% of state-subsidised homes were connected to the grid, just 54% of households in informal areas and 63% in traditional areas had connections to the grid. Over three-quarters of South Africans use the pre-paid method to pay for their electricity, with just 21% opting to pay for their electricity by way of monthly bills – ranging from six percent in rural areas to 27% in urban areas. Nationally, only 4.6% of households do not pay for their electricity, according to the survey. In all, 3.4% of households reported that their electricity had been cut off in the 30 days prior to the survey because of non-payment. The survey also revealed that households consume 13% of South Africa’s electricity, with manufacturing industry the country’s biggest user, consuming 49%. Other findings from the survey include: Households spend on average R2 494 a month on electricity, gas and other fuels.In all, 18% of rural households and 8.4% of urban dwellers use candles and paraffin for lighting.57% of households said it was acceptable to protest about electricity prices, while 97% reported that it was never acceptable to steal electricity.last_img read more

Hollywood Writers Strike To Put Web Video On TV?

first_imgThe much hyped web drama “Quarterlife,” which is set to debut on MySpace on November 12, may be making the jump to television as a result of the Hollywood writers guild strike. According to a report from The Hollywood Reporter, the Marshall Herskovitz and Edward Zwick-backed web show is rumored to be in talks with NBC to be used as strike-contingency programming.Zwick and Herskovitz, the creative team behind the cult hit TV show “My So-Called Life” and the Oscar-nominated film “Blood Diamond,” make up one of the more high profile teams to try their hand at a web-only production. They would follow the successful run of Michael Eisner’s “Prom Queen” earlier this year.According to The Hollywood Reporter, “Quaterlife” could appear on NBC as early as February. The show, which was initially developed for ABC three years ago, will go on with its Monday MySpace debut as planned, a spokesperson for Zwick and Herskovitz told the paper. However, Herskovitz has gone on record as saying that their MySpace contract only covers the first four hours of the show and the team would like to explore other distribution channels.This would, of course, not be the first time NBC has looked to the web for talent for its television network. The network’s late-night staple Saturday Night Live famously hired Andy Samberg after viewing some of his popular web video shorts. Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Related Posts Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai…center_img josh catone 1 Tags:#news#web 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

Monitoring and Measuring Interviewer Performance

first_imgLoss prevention associates are measured and evaluated against the organization’s expectations in a variety of areas. LP managers are ranked based on shrinkage numbers, cash handling in the store, internal and external apprehensions, plus asset recovery, to mention but a few.Many of these tasks are easily measured, while others are more difficult to benchmark.Evaluating interviewer performance is one area that can be difficult to measure against the department’s overall expectations, but can be a major return on investment for the interviewer and organization.- Sponsor – A number of factors will influence an interviewer’s overall success, making it difficult to compare performance between interviewers. Differing employee populations, frequency of cases, interviewer style, training, management support, availability of a mentor, and emphasis on performance are just some of the factors that make it difficult to compare one interviewer against another.Unfortunately, many interviewers have learned to interview by observing coworkers who may or may not have had the skills to excel in an interview or to train the observer. In other situations, interviewers have been rewarded with a confession even when they have applied improper or ineffective strategies. Receiving this positive result translates into the misguided belief in the strategy’s effectiveness. If novice interviewers had the ability to test strategies in a large number of confrontations, they would discover for themselves the ones that are ineffective, but that requires time and insight. Meanwhile, management is left with a group of interviewers who are each marching to their own drummer.Why Monitor Interviewer Performance?There are a number of benefits for monitoring interviewer performance. The primary ones are related to lawsuits, employee morale, shrinkage numbers, and department reputation.Spending the time to monitor and measure an interviewer’s performance requires an investment of time, effort, and money by the organization. Employee development could be reason enough to institute a program, but it may be easier to justify the effort once a needs analysis has been conducted. Looking at the numbers alone won’t give a clear indication of the skills of the organization’s interviewers. Anyone who has worked in a company for any length of time knows that what should be happening and what really goes on are not always the same.Focus GroupsPrior to making any changes, the pulse of the organization should be taken. What is being done well, and where are the opportunities for change? The most effective way to determine this is through the use of focus groups. When well planned and used effectively, a focus group offers a bright-light solution to quickly identify the opportunities to improve.It is often useful to bring in a neutral party to act as the moderator for the group discussions. This removes obstacles to communication in the group. Associates will be more candid in their comments and observations when speaking to a third party. Using a third party who understands the business may help give the group’s responses a context and insight that an unfamiliar moderator might not possess. Of course, this assumes the moderator listens and does not encourage a particular outcome toward which he is biased.Selecting the topics of inquiry is generally done with senior management based on their knowledge of the organization and perception of existing problems. Once these topics have been determined, the focus group moderator develops questions to explore them and establishes an outline for the focus group’s discussion.When selecting individuals for the focus groups, it is useful to separate senior management from lower-level associates so there is the freedom to speak candidly at all levels without fear of repercussions. Including various levels of competence in the group may also assist in developing additional insights that would not have come to light otherwise.The moderator is responsible for controlling the discussion and preventing the meeting from deteriorating into a gripe session or one which is controlled by a single individual. Looking for problems and possible solutions, the moderator explores the agenda and identifies information that may be useful to institute future change. It is here that the moderator explores the methods and techniques used to elicit admissions from dishonest associates during interviews.Once the moderator has identified the performance baseline for the organization, a plan can be instituted to develop solutions. The next step is to establish best practices against which performance will be measured.Best Practices for Measuring Interviewer PerformanceOne of the most disconcerting things to discover from focus groups is that the top performers are not necessarily using best practices to achieve their results. Confessions may be obtained through the use of ineffective strategies, threats or promises, or something not observable when looking at a statistical analysis alone.Because of their lack of experience, many interviewers fail to follow a plan, instead selecting bits and pieces of things they have observed in an attempt to build “their own style.” Unfortunately, these bits and pieces do not necessarily make for a compatible technique that gives the best return on the investment of their time and energy.Define Superior Performance. The first decision that management must make is what constitutes superior performance in an LP interview. Using the established policy, the department examines and critiques the performance of investigators as they develop the complaint from inception to conclusion. Each case, with its resulting reports, is matched against the expectations of the department, and the investigator is given feedback on his efforts. It is here that many organizations fails to monitor and measure what occurred afterward in the interview room, simply accepting a successful conclusion has occurred because a confession was obtained.Determine Preferred Methods. The initial step in developing an interviewer is to determine what strategies will be the preferred pattern of the organization. Many methods and variations could be used to confront a dishonest associate. This alone would make it difficult to mentor a large number of interviewers if they were allowed to mix and match loss prevention interview techniques on a whim. The monitoring program should not be so stringent that it does not allow for a flexibility of options that might be necessary should special circumstances arise. However, there should be a clear preference for a method that gives a consistent, desirable result and against which the interviewer can be evaluated.Standardize Evaluation. Once the preferred method has been selected, the real work begins to set in place a program that allows the development of the organization’s interviewers against the established benchmarks. Besides the coaching of the interviewer, the organization will standardize the evaluation by creating a universal process against which all interviewers are measured. This process will identify training opportunities and correct inappropriate behavior while encouraging the implementation of techniques that consistently achieve desirable results.One by-product of this standardization is peace of mind for senior executives, who no longer have to guess what occurs during the interviews. In addition, the organization is focusing on the interviewer’s communication skills, which can have a positive application in so many other areas of the job.TrainingAn important component in the development of an interviewer is providing an intellectual understanding of the loss prevention interview process selected. Too often, interviewers are allowed to observe an interview, and, while they see and hear what is being said, they lack an understanding of why it is being done in that way.The training process supplies the interviewer a context and an overview of the components in which he will later be asked to become competent, plus modeling their proper ruse. Supplemental testing of the interviewers can enhance their retention of the material and confirm their understanding of the content. The training mirrors the benchmarks against which the interviewers will be expected to perform during the interview.The Role of Coaches. The second component of the program is to train coaches who will evaluate the interviewers’ performance against the established best practices. The coaches must understand the mechanics of each component and use the selected method as their yardstick for measuring interviewer performance.The coaches undergo specialized training to hone their skills at observing and assessing the interview process, while practicing evaluations of the concepts being developed. This turns out to be the key component in making a mentoring program work, since the failure to correctly critique an interviewer results in encouraging inappropriate techniques, plus failing to identify additional training opportunities.An important part of the coaching experience is learning to give accurate feedback in a positive way that encourages change in the interviewer. The mentor-coach uses modeling, roleplay, and feedback to test understanding and mold the desired change in the interviewer. Changing an interviewer’s existing habits requires consistent practice with feedback in the selected method to reach the desired benchmark of performance.Practice the Script. The third part of the equation for change is self-practice and critique by the interviewer himself. Having been presented with a model of expected performance, the interviewer, through practice and self-critique, can modify his own performance in anticipation of the required role plays with the mentor coach. The interviewer has received the training and been apprised of the coming expectations of performance so he can now practice to exactly model the material and structure of the interview.Like with any skill, an individual who wishes to become proficient at interviewing must practice. Expecting to be able to perform without putting in the time to make the skill one’s own will result in sub-par efforts. These efforts will likely be confused and may contain patterns of behavior from what the interviewer used to do. A reversal to old patterns happens because those actions feel comfortable and do not require thinking or effort by the interviewer. The old adage, “Practice like you want to play,” is just as true in interviewing as in sports.The interviewer can initially prepare by using a written “script” that closely matches the model of the best practice interview. Reading the script multiple times familiarizes the interviewer with the flow of the material and prepares him for following the correct sequence of the interview’s internal structure.Next, the interviewer reads the script out loud a number of times to hear himself actually say the words. By now the interviewer has practiced the exact model of the structure perhaps a dozen times without the stress of having to improvise the words or flow of the material. At this point, the interviewer reads the script into a tape recorder and reviews his work, listening to the pacing and emphasis of the words. Each listening will help the interviewer modify his delivery making the words sound more natural and spontaneous. This consistent practice allows the interviewer to know what is coming next in the presentation making the transitions between parts more fluid.Practice without the Script. By now, the material has been practiced enough that it is beginning to replace the former patterns of the interviewer. The next stage of practice is to attempt the presentation without the use of the script.Again using a recorder, the interviewer goes through the structure using only an outline instead of the entire script. Reviewing the material, the interviewer will identify areas that are missed or misstated. Repeated self-corrections soon lead to ownership of the material with an easy flow and delivery.Finally, delivering the material without any notes and self-critiquing one’s efforts leads to the final polish of the interviewer’s presentation. The self-critique incorporates many of the facets that the mentor-coach will be looking for during the role plays or actual interviews.FeedbackThe mentor-coach uses a sheet that lists the preferred structure of the interview and all its subcomponents with space for ranking the interviewer’s efforts. This worksheet can be used by the interviewer or coach to evaluate the performance of the interviewer in role plays or actual interviews. The worksheet includes the structure of the interview so the coach can follow the interviewer’s progress as he moves through the framework. Skipped topics or improper emphases in the structure are noted for feedback at the exercises conclusion. Each area is rated from one to five indicating an ineffective to effective performance.For example, if the coach was evaluating an interviewer’s handling of denials, these would be some of the areas that would be considered in evaluating effectiveness.Interviewer’s timing in recognizing a subject’s emphatic denial was about to occurWords or statements that triggered the emphatic denialTone of voice and speed of deliveryPhysical behavior used to stop the subject’s emphatic denialVerbal behavior used to stop the subject’s emphatic denialTimeliness in re-accusing the subject after a denialEffectiveness at handling denials overallEffectiveness at avoiding denials all togetherTransition back to rationalization after the denial was handledEach of these will have subcategories that will be taken into consideration to determine the overall effectiveness of the interviewer. For example, the interviewer’s words or statements that trigger a subject’s denials have many elements that could be evaluated.Was the denial triggered by an inappropriate rationalization or by personalizing a rationalization before the subject was ready? Either might cause a subject to deny and the interviewer would need to be coached to correct this even if he was handling denials in a satisfactory manner.The subject might deny because the interviewer had mistimed the component parts of the interview.Denials could also be encouraged because the interviewer had misstated evidence or ignored the strength of the individual’s denials.The complexity of the evaluation requires that the coaches have a clear understanding of the process and the underlying strategies of the chosen method. The mentor-coach is attempting to move the interviewer as close as possible to the best practices model selected by the organization.One difficulty of this approach is controlling the mentor-coach’s natural tendency to teach outside the system. This requires that the mentor-coaches be monitored to assure a consistent accurate message is being delivered to the interviewer. Remember, the goal is to provide a solid foundation for the interviewer so that he can use that foundation for future growth.Monitoring the MonitorsThe final piece of the program is the commitment by senior management to the success of the program. This will require supervision of the coaches to make sure that the evaluations are being completed with the interviewers and that the feedback is having the desired effect.This can be accomplished with a reporting system spreadsheet listing the interviewers and their progress.It is also useful to sample performance on a random basis during visits to the interviewer either with the coach or in his absence to compare the evaluations to actual performance. The larger the number of interviewers, the more difficult it can be to manage without commitment of senior managers.While this process requires a significant commitment of time and effort, the end result is a significant return on investment, including better performance and case resolution, a more qualified valuable employee, and peace of mind for management. This article was originally published in 2004 and was updated July 18, 2018.  Stay UpdatedGet critical information for loss prevention professionals, security and retail management delivered right to your inbox.  Sign up nowlast_img read more

How To Safely Share Passwords With Others Who Need Them

first_imgTop Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Tags:#1Password#Dashlane#Dave Dash#encrypted email#encryption#Freedom of the Press Foundation#KeePass#KeePassX#LastPass#OneLogin#password manager#passwords#Per Thorseim#RedPhone#Runa Sandvik#Signal#SnapPass#SplashID#Strip#two factor authentication It’s easy to poke fun at companies that treat sensitive information recklessly, sending or receiving plaintext passwords via unencrypted email or chat, or storing customer information in ways that are far from secure. But it can be a logistical nightmare to let multiple remote employees log into a shared account in a secure fashion.Luckily, there are a few options to make this a little easier. Here’s a quick run-through of some of the best options.LastPassLike most password managers, LastPass lets users to log in with just one master password; the tool stores all of their other passwords. Among other things, this makes it easy to create long and complex passwords and to use different passwords for each login account.In addition, LastPass’ enterprise accounts will let you share login data between individuals and across teams, with customizable permissions. That means that you can choose who has access to which folders, and make changes that are synced automatically. Enterprise accounts cost anywhere from $18 to $24 a year per user, depending on the number of users.It’s also possible for a Premium account holder to share password information in a single file with up to five other LastPass users, which could be useful for tiny startups, partnerships, or people needing to share passwords with friends or family members. Premium accounts cost $12 a year, and only the main account holder needs to have one.Because LastPass is cloud-based, it makes things easier for people logging into multiple computers, but has some drawbacks as well. For instance, you’ll be uploading your passwords—though not your master password—to the cloud, though in encrypted form.In addition, “[a] third party service [like LastPass] will be able to see which sites you have an account on … not the password itself, but when you’re accessing each password,” says privacy and security researcher Runa Sandvik, technical advisor for Freedom of the Press Foundation.KeePass and KeePassX“Keepass and Keepass X may not be as pretty as all the other tools, but it is open source, it is free, and it works,” Sandvik says. This password manager is one you have on your computer, so no third party knows when you access different sites. However, you do need to make sure you’re backing up the database frequently. (Let’s just say that losing your database of passwords would be … bad.)To share passwords with others, you need to create a database, enter the password, send the database to another person, and somehow securely send them the password to open the database. We’ll discuss that a little later.OneLoginOneLogin is another cloud-based option. OneLogin allows users to log into multiple cloud services using a single sign-on account. It can integrate with a company’s “active directory” of user accounts and permissions.Another benefit is that OneLogin can integrate with a large variety of enterprise applications. Plans range from $2 to $8 a month; there’s a free version as well.1Password 1Password is a personal privacy manager tool that allows users to create several password vaults, and share a single password vault with a group of people who also have 1Password installed. However, you do need to use Dropbox to synchronize the data.“That is a sharing solution is suitable for a family and a small team, but it’s not an enterprise solution or one for a big company,” says security adviser Per Thorseim, founder of the Passwords hacker conference. Licenses cost $49+.SplashID Safe for TeamsSplashID is an enterprise product that allows large teams or companies to share passwords and other information with larger groups of people, such as entire departments or large companies. The IT team can create users and groups and permissions, so only people who need access to passwords can see them, or to review logs of records and usage.DashlaneDashlane for Teams is yet another privacy tool that works on the company level. It syncs passwords within a team, which is helpful any time someone needs to change a password, as the change will get pushed out to all team members and their devices.Dashlane also sends security alerts to users’ devices when an account may have been compromised. A security dashboard provides tips for making an account even more secure. Licenses cost $39.99 a year for each user. There’s also a freemium version with very limited features.StripStrip is another enterprise solution that has team password sharing. It allows synchronization over Dropbox, Google Drive, and local Wi-Fi, and creates local backups of data.Don’t Forget Two-Factor AuthenticationLastPass, 1Password, and Onelogin support two-factor authentication, which adds an extra step to checking a user’s identity when they log into a website. For instance, logging into the service require not just a password, but an authorization code that’s texted to a user’s phone.Two-factor authentication is challenging to use with tools like Twitter if you have a distributed team, since a single phone number must be used, but there are often other options. Google, for example, allows users to generate backup codes, which can be shared with remote users who don’t have access to the mobile device to which the SMS code.How To Safely Share Just One PasswordSuppose you need to send someone just one password, and would rather not deal with the hassle of setting up shared-passworld tools. Or, similarly, say you sent someone a KeePass database, but then also need to send them a password so they can open it. “The challenge is that even if you were to store a shared password, you’d still need a password to get into the database in the first place,” Sandvik explains. So what’s the easiest way to safely share that single password?Options might include sending encrypted emails, which require a bit of technical know-how, or using encrypted phone or messaging apps. Open Whisper Systems’ RedPhone (Android) and Signal (iOS) apps are particularly user-friendly.SnapPass is open-source software used at Pinterest that allows people to send a URL to someone that links to a password. It may require a bit of tinkering to set it up; it stores passwords in a Redis database on the user’s own computer system.  “The URL leads to the password,” says web operations consultant Dave Dash, a former internal tools engineer at Pinterest who built SnapPass. He continued:You can only click on it once and it expires after a few days. If I need to set up an account on any system for someone, I could send them the URL, and then they’d have the password and could then change it for added security.Dash recommends that anyone setting this up make sure that the application and database aren’t publicly accessible. It’s also wise to limit the number of people who have access to the running application and its associated database.Of course, there are non-technical solutions as well. You could, for instance, send a password through a different channel than the one used for login information—you could send one through email and another via chat, for instance.This is the same concept that banks use when they send a debit card in one envelope and a temporary code in a separate one, and mail them out on different days, although of course it’s not foolproof. “That’s an option, but it assumes that NSA isn’t the entity you’re worried about,” Sandvik points out. If nothing else, just promise us you won’t store all of your passwords in plaintext in a directory called “passwords.” Photo by Tit Bonač A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai…center_img yael grauer Related Posts 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more