• AN EFFECTIVE PERFORMANCE EVALUATION PROCESS IS CRITICAL to employee motivation, development and retention. But most businesses utilize archaic processes which can produce the exact opposite results, by: (1) Making the process an intimidating one-way criticism “on the past and who’s to blame… versus the future and what needs to happen”; (2) Claiming to be objective but relying on the view of one supervisory person, based on his/her yardsticks – typically that the“ path to success is based on their own strengths & weaknesses”; (3) “Inhibiting workers from speaking truth to power, for fear that truth will come back to haunt them in being labeled difficult”; (4) Pitting employees against one another which discourages teamwork; (5) Confusing performance bonus reward with year-end holiday gifting; and (6) Neglecting the unique needs & expectations of millennial workers. DCG has decades of experience in developing effective Evaluation programs; let us help.  [CHICAGO TRIBUNE – Feb 18, 15]
  • ‘CRAPWARE’ IS THE SOFTWARE PRE-LOADED BY COMPUTER MANUFACTURERS into their operating system which “clutters cheap PCs to bug you about paying for an upgrade or throw a pop-up ad onto your desktop.” Most systems subject users to just “mild annoyance” and some can be uninstalled with 3rd-party tools (like PC Decrapifier or CCleaner) but on mobile devices, crapware is “so deeply embedded it’s practically impossible to remove.” Lenovo computers include a “particularly pernicious form of adware (called Superfish) which tracks every move on line… creating a serious security flaw… by allowing hackers to launch a ‘man-in-the-middle attack which can intercept users’ encrypted communications when connected to vulnerable public Wi-Fi networks like coffee shops or hotels.” Beware. [THE WEEK – Mar 6, 15]
  • HUMAN vs. MACHINE UPDATE: According to Oxford University research, “44% of U.S. companies in part because of automation, and 47% of U.S. jobs are at high risk of becoming automated in the next twenty years… Increasingly there are jobs for Ph.D.s and hands-on laborers (like health care aides), but more and more of what’s in between can be automated – even software developers themselves might be replaced by the very programs they create” thanks to artificial intelligence. [TIME – Mar 16,15]
  • FOOD ‘MASHUPS’ ARE AN INCREASING TREND in local restaurants and for national chains seeking signature products. Not all of them work (Cinnabon’s Pizzabon – a sausage & cheese-topped cinnamon roll disappeared after a quick trial), and many are fringe level product line extensions (like Oreo Churros or Taco Bell’s Waffle Tacos).  Others are regional oddities (like Canada’s Hot Dog Eclaire – processed meat in a cream-filled chocolate-covered pastry) or Pizza Hut’s Doritos Crunchy Crust pizza served in Australia. But some are hits: KFC now has both a Double Down Dog (cheese filled hot dog in a fried chicken fillet) and Zinger Double Down (burger & bacon between two crispy fried chicken pieces); and Costco among others sells a Turducken around Thanksgiving each year (chicken stuffed inside a duck stuffed inside a turkey).  [CNN.COM – Nov 18, 14]
  • R.S. AUDITED SOME 57,000 BUSINESSES LAST YEAR – ONLY .57% OF AMERICAN CORPORATIONS and the lowest level in eight years– forced by continuously shrinking budgets and many agents reassigned to policing Obamacare, Political Action Committees, etc. Large companies (with over $10 million in assets) were the biggest winners; audits of “smaller corporations” stayed level, but S-Corp examinations were down by over 14% from 2013. [THE HILL – Mar 2, 15]
  • APPARENTLY WE’RE IN FOR A ‘MEGADROUGHT.’ 2014 temperatures were the hottest globally in some 160 years and a major contributor to California’s current drought. But we’re headed for much worse, according to researchers at NASA, Columbia & Cornell Universities: “85% chance of a megadrought in the southwest U.S. lasting 35 years or more, between 2050 and 2100.” Based on tree-rings (which grow narrower in dry years), it’s been a thousand years since the last megadrought conditions – which collapsed entire cultures. “The future of drought in western North America is likely to be worse than anybody has experienced in the history of the U.S… So far beyond our contemporary experience that conditions are almost impossible to think about.” In California, this will have “profound effects on water resources and agricultural productivity.”  [LIVE SCIENCE – Feb 15, 15]
  • THOUGHTS FOR THE WEEK: i-pad “magic” – how in the …???  http://ipadvideolessons.com/blog/150224-ipad-magic   

If you’re lucky enough to have a parent or two alive on this planet, call them. Don’t text or email, call them on the phone. Tell them you love them, thank them, and listen to them for as long as they want to talk to you.”- JK SIMMONS

       An interesting app – find the #1 song in America on any date (day born, married, etc): http://playback.fm/birthday-song