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American Confidence in Small Business

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So little in public life is really based on fact. We like facts, but the truth is that we, as a people and as a nation, tend to run on feelings-specifically confidence. Confidence controls the markets, influences political decisions, informs questions about faith and controls many of our purchase choices. It should, therefore, be no surprise that confidence is one of the major metrics in determining public opinion. How do you feel about the Congress? Do you trust the Military? What are your feelings about small business? How about your church? We have the answers. The results are in from the 2008 Gallup Annual Update on Confidence in Institutions and they are very interesting.

The Numbers Speak, No Matter What The Other Side Says

There has been a great deal of protest and complaint over the war, and no small amount of that has been directed at the officers and troops we have in Iraq. Moveon.org, for example, with its nefarious “General Betray-us” ad comes to mind at once. Yet, according to Gallop, the most trusted institution in the United States today is the U.S. Military with 45% of respondents saying they have a “great deal” of confidence and another 26% saying that they have “quite a lot” of confidence. Now, who do you think comes in second?

The President? Not even close. Bush is actually in the middle of the pack with 13% in each rating category. He ranks just below banks (11% and 21%) and right above television news (11% and 13%). How about the Congress? With a mere 6% in each rating category, our loudest branch of government sits dead last in the rankings, right behind health maintenance organizations, which squeak ahead of Ried and Pelosi’s Flying Circus with 6% and 7% respectively. There is always the Supreme Court, of course, the branch that’s supposed to keep the other two from running amok. While they do better than the other two at 13% and 19%, it is hardly a stellar performance. Still, it is better than the criminal justice system as a whole, which lurks down in Congress’ neighborhood with ratings of 8% and 12%. This is right below organized labor (10% and 10%) and right above big business (7% and 13%).

That is right, big business-the big box retailers, the major corporations, the multinational conglomerates-all rank lower when it comes to instilling confidence in the American people than organized labor and a criminal justice system that critics say is cumbersome, racist and rarely, if ever, truly just. The only ones lower on the list are HMOs and Congress!

Small Business On The List

The second rank in Gallop’s Annual Update on Confidence in Institutions is held by-you guessed it-small business. According to the pollsters:

Americans express the most confidence in the military, as they have each year since 1988 (with the exception of 1997, when small business edged it out). Small business ranks second in the current poll, just ahead of the police. These are the only three institutions that for whom a majority of Americans express a high degree of confidence.

What does that say to you, that the only institutions that instill a high degree of confidence are the military, small business and the police? To me, it is a signal that these three institutions are the only ones that provide any real security to Americans. They beat out religion (26% and 22%), the Public Schools (16% and 17%) and everything else. It is easy to understand the military and the police being at the top, but why small business?

Small business is there because it provides stability to neighborhoods and is the anchor of small towns everywhere. Small business is built on relationships between neighbors rather than the much more distant and certainly less satisfying customer-vendor relationship one has with a Best Buy or a Wal-Mart. Small Businesses are where you can get help when you need it, knowledgeable sales people and the attention of the business owner-frequently all wrapped up in the same person. More than that, it is small business that contributes to the community it serves through the jobs it creates, the community participation it offers and the taxes it pays.

Contrast that with the big box retailers and others that are putting so many small businesses out of business. They come into an area offering jobs-nothing wrong with that-but with such low wages and impossibly expensive health benefits that their employees often need public assistance just to make it. Do these companies pay taxes that would then go to support that public assistance? Not usually. In fact, it is more usual for them to get massive tax breaks and even subsidies to induce them to set-up shop. What’s worse is that once these entities are established, they undercut local small businesses and put them out of business while pulling money out of the local economy and sending it to other places in the country or even overseas.

The Bottom Line

At the beginning of the 18th century, that process of aggressively pulling wealth from one place or country for the benefit of another was called Mercantilism. This practice of nationalistic “beggar thy neighbor” was considered a form of economic warfare between nations. Now, with the big-box retailers shuttering so many small local businesses and turning once-thriving downtowns across the country into ghost towns, we are doing it to ourselves and have only ourselves to blame.

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Human Resource Information System – HRIS

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Human Resource Information Systems

The purpose of this paper is to identify other companies who have faced similar human resources issues in regards to information technology. Through benchmarking different companies we can learn how other companies have handled certain human resources issues related to information technology, information systems, new technology, and data security. An overall analysis has been completed using research on IBM Europe, Ameriprise Financial, Terasen Pipelines, Shaw’s Supermarkets, CS Stars LLC, IBM, WORKSource Inc., and Toshiba America Medical Systems, Inc. This paper also includes eight synopses of companies facing similar issue to those in the reading.

New Technology

With the changing world and constant new technology that is available, managers need to be aware of the technology that will increase effectiveness in their company. Human resource information systems (HRIS) have increasingly transformed since it was first introduced at General Electric in the 1950s. HRIS has gone from a basic process to convert manual information keeping systems into computerized systems, to the HRIS systems that are used today. Human resource professionals began to see the possibility of new applications for the computer. The idea was to integrate many of the different human resource functions. The result was the third generation of the computerized HRIS, a feature-rich, broad-based, self-contained HRIS. The third generation took systems far beyond being mere data repositories and created tools with which human resource professionals could do much more (Byars, 2004).

Many companies have seen a need to transform the way Human Resource operations are performed in order to keep up with new technology and increasing numbers of employees. Terasen Pipelines moved its headquarters from Vancouver to Calgary to be closer to the oil and realized a major growth in employees. In the past recording keeping was done on paper and with spreadsheets. Mangers at Terasen realized that there was a need to change to a more computerized system and looked into different HRIS vendors. By making the move to a HRIS system, Terasen is able to keep more accurate records as well as better prepare for future growth. Another company that saw the benefits of keeping up with new technology is WORKSource Inc. To meet the challenge of handling 100 new employees, WORKSource Inc. acquired Web-based technology programs from GHG Corp. like electronic pay stub, electronic timesheet software, time-off system, and human resource information system (“Tips,” 2006). By adapting these new programs, WORKSource was able to reduce waste and cost.

The Internet is an increasingly popular way to recruit applicants, research technologies and perform other essential functions in business. Delivering human resource services online (eHR) supports more efficient collection, storage, distribution, and exchange of data (Friesen, 2003). An intranet is a type of network used by companies to share information to people within the organization. An intranet connects people to people and people to information and knowledge within the organization; it serves as an “information hub” for the entire organization. Most organizations set up intranets primarily for employees, but they can extend to business partners and even customers with appropriate security clearance (Byars & Rue, 2004).

Applications of HRIS

The efficiency of HRIS, the systems are able to produce more effective and faster outcomes than can be done on paper. Some of the many applications of HRIS are: Clerical applications, applicant search expenditures, risk management, training management, training experiences, financial planning, turnover analysis, succession planning, flexible-benefits administration, compliance with government regulations, attendance reporting and analysis, human resource planning, accident reporting and prevention and strategic planning. With the many different applications of HRIS, it is difficult to understand how the programs benefit companies without looking at companies that have already benefited from such programs.

One such company is IBM. IBM has a paperless online enrollment plan for all of its employees. Not only has the online enrollment saved the company 1.2 million per year on printing and mailing costs, the employees enjoy working with the online plan. “Since we began offering online enrollment, we’ve learned that employees want web access,” Donnelly [Senior Communications Specialist] says, so they can log on at home rather than through the company intranet. So the company has been working to put in place a web-based enrollment system that employees and retirees can access from anywhere (Huering, 2003). By utilizing the flexible-benefits application HRIS has to offer, IBM was able to cut costs and give employees the freedom to discover their benefits on their own time and pace.

Another company that has taken advantage of HRIS applications is Shaw’s Supermarkets. In order for Shaw’s to better manage its workforce, the company decided it was time to centralize the HR operations. After looking at different options, Shaw’s decided to implement an Employee Self Service (ESS) system. The use of self-service applications creates a positive situation for HR. ESS gives HR more time to focus on strategic issues, such as workforce management, succession planning, and compensation management, while at the same time improving service to employees and managers, and ensuring that their data is accurate. With this solution, employees have online access to forms, training material, benefits information and other payroll related information (Koven, 2002). By giving employees access to their personal information and the ability to update or change their information as needed, HR was given more time to focus on other issues. Understanding the different applications HRIS has to offer will give companies the chance to increase employee efficiency and reduce costs.

Measuring the Effectiveness of HRIS

The evaluation should determine whether or not the HRIS has performed up to its expectations and if the HRIS is being used to its full advantage (Byars & Rue, 2004). One of the most significant challenges faced by public personnel executives today is measuring the performance of their human resources information system (HRIS) In order to justify the value-added contribution of the HRIS to accomplishing the organization’s mission (Hagood & Friedman, 2002). Implementing an HRIS program may seem a necessary stem for a company, but unless it will be an effective tool for HR operations, it will not help increase efficiency and may hinder it instead.

One company that implemented a HRIS system is Toshiba America Medical Systems, Inc. (TAMS). TAMS put all employee benefits information online and created an open enrollment option when TAMS changed healthcare providers. Almost immediately upon rolling out the UltiPro portal [new HRIS technology] to employees, TAMS began seeing improvements, with an estimated 70% increase in open enrollment efficiency (Wojcik, 2004). By determining the efficiency of the new program, TAMS was able to realize the benefits of the new HRIS system.

Security of HRIS

The privacy of employee information has become a major issue in recent years. With identity theft becoming a common problem, employees are becoming more sensitive about who sees their personal information, and the security it is kept in. By making sure employee information that is kept in the HRIS is relevant to the company and making sure there is limited access (password protection) to such information, companies can make its employees more secure with the safety of their information. Whether electronic or paper, employee files deserve to be treated with great care. Establishing security and end-user privileges calls for a balance of incorporating, HR policy, system knowledge and day-to-day operations (O’Connell, 1994).

One company that faced a major security issue was CS Stars, LLC. CS Stars lost track of one of its computers that contained personal information that included names, addresses and social security numbers of workers compensation benefits. The bigger problem was that CS Stars failed to notify the affected consumers and employees about the missing computer. Though the computer was retrieved and no information seemed to have been harmed, many employees lost their sense of security with the company. New York’s Information Security Breach and Notification Law, effective in December 2005, requires businesses that maintain computerized data which includes private information to notify the owner of the information of any breach of the security of the system immediately following discovery, if the private information was, or is reasonably believed to have been, acquired by a person without valid authorization (Cadrain, 2007).

Another company that experienced a breach in security is Ameriprise Financial. In late 2005, a computer that contained personal information on clients and employees was stolen. Because many of the employees at Ameriprise take their computers between work and home, the company determined there was a need to put more security into those computers. Ameriprise made sure all employees had the new security suite installed on their computers. By responding quickly to the need for more security, Ameriprise made sure all information is being kept secure. Making sure employees information is kept as secure as possible there will be more trust in the company and the HR employees working with that information.

Conclusion

IBM, Terasen Pipeline, CS Stars LCC, and Toshiba America Medical Systems, Inc. are good examples of companies facing issues similar to human resources information technology and human resources information systems. All of these companies know the importance of new technology, human resources information systems, and data security. The remainder of this paper provides synopses of more companies facing human resources issues, how the company responded to the issues, and the outcomes of the company’s responses.

Companies Benchmarked

IBM Europe

The Situation:

IBM is a global organization offering research, software, hardware, IT consulting, business and management consulting, ring and financing. It employs around 340,000 people, speaking 165 languages across 75 countries, and serving clients in 174 countries. In January 2007, IBM established a separate “new media” function within its corporate communication department. IBM main goal is to educate, support, and promote programs that utilize social media. IBM Europe decided to expand internal communication by blogging guidelines. The recognition was that blogging was already happening among IBMers, just in an unregulated way. In a similar way, institutionalizing a function to deal specifically with new media is not a corporate move, or establishing from scratch. It’s a response to the issues already emerging in the company. Now that those technologies are here, people are using them, they’re growing and there here to stay-we’re just going to put some structure around them so that we can try to optimize their use.” The users decide what technologies they want to use and how they want to use them. That main idea is that IBM understands that they must remember to respect the fact that social media are social. IBM had the need to connect its 340,000 global employees more effectively.

The Response:

IBM’s intent around social media has now been officially formalized. From January 22 2007, the company established a separate “new media” function within its corporate communication department. “Its remit: To act as expert consultants inside and outside IBM on issues relating to blogs, wikis, RSS and other social media applications. The main idea is to educate, support and promote programs that utilize these tools. IBM has a history of being a t the forefront of technology based corporate communication. From the multimedia brainstorming “WorldJam” that made news headlines back in 2001 in which 50,000 employees worldwide joined a real time, online idea-sharing session about the company’s direction. IMB has always prepared itself to use breakthrough technologies to establish a two-way dialogue with its employees. The need for social media was necessary and could no longer wait.

The Outcome:

In the last few years IBM has been recognized as being the vanguard of social-media use: IBM was on of the first Fortune 500 companies to get behind collaborative wikis, published internal blogging guidelines as far back as 2003, and is now moving fast beyond RSS and podcasts into videocasting and “virtual world” technologies like Second Life. The intranet search facility extends to all areas of the site, including new media aspects. When an employee logs onto their portal an executes a key word search, the results they get back not only come from the main intranet pages, but include results from IBM forums, wikis, blogs and podcast/videocasts tags. IMB has an understanding that employees are no longer staying in a company their entire lives. It’s just not like that any more. In Belgium for example over 50 percent of 2,300 employees have been there fewer than five years. The company has come to the conclusion that with an increasingly young and mobile workforce, the likelihood is that an employee population full of a younger generation, for whom these tools are part and parcel of life, is not that far away. In years to come IBM will have to deal with employee base for which blogging is just the natural way to interact over a web platform. IBM has created centralized platforms for most tools that fall under its remit, which includes wikis. For Philippe Borremans, new media lead Europe for IBM, has the potential business applications of a wiki cover two broad benefits: Collaborating and knowledge sharing. IBM has scored some notable successes on both fronts in the near 5000 wiki pages now up and running in the organization. The company has been a huge pick-up in interest in podcasting over the last 18 months writing can seem such a technical skill, whereas people feel they can talk more freely than they can write. One of the most consistently popular IBM podcasts, with over 20,000 downloads a week.

Ameriprise Financial

The Situation:

The Department of Justice survey estimates that 3.6 million U.S. households were victims of identity theft in 2004. Trafficking in personal date goes beyond U.S. borders: the New York Times reports that stolen financial information is often distributed among participants of online trading boards, and the buyers are frequently located in Russia, Ukraine, and the Middle East. One reason clients are concerned about data security is the widespread publicity generated by breaches at financial services firm. In late December 2205, an Ameriprise Financial employee’s laptop that contained unencrypted data on approximately 230,000 customers and advisors was stolen from a car. Other financial services firm, including Citigroup and Bank of America, also acknowledge large-scale customer data losses in 2005. President of NCS, Rita Dew, a compliance consulting firm in Delray Beach, Florida, says that the Securities and Exchange Commission requires investment advisors to have policies and procedures that address the administrative, technical, and physical safeguards related to client records and information.

The Response:

Ameriprise Financial had to fight back and had to implement “layers of protection.” It is important for employees who their primary business computer, and employees regularly transport the computer between home, office, and meeting sites. The vulnerability of this arrangement and the need for a safety software program is much needed.

The Outcome:

Employees who are transporting lab tops should install the Steganos Security Suite on their computer. This software allows employees to create an encrypted virtual drive on the laptop that serves as data storage safe. Employees stores all client related data and tax preparation software database on the encrypted drive, which employees has set up with one gigabyte of storage space. The best thing is that when an employee turns off the computer the information is stored “safe”, the software automatically encrypts the virtual drive’s data. The software also generates encrypted backup files, which employees store on CDs in a fireproof safe. This should keep the data secure if any employee’s laptop is stolen or if the drive is removed from the laptop. Other financial advisors are relying on encryption both in and out of the office. Other programs that are being used to protect client’s information are RAID Level 1 system to store data on the drives that are encrypted with WinMagic’s SecureDocs software. Encryption ensures that anyone who steals the computer will be absolutely unable to read the data, even by connecting it to another computer as a “slave drive. This has given many financial advisors the greatest peace of mind.

Terasen Pipelines

The Situation:

Terasen Pipelines is a subsidiary of Terasen Inc. located in Vancouver, Canada and is located in several provinces and U.S. states. In 2001 the company changed its headquarters to Calgary to be closer to the oil. With the big move, the company went through a growth spurt. With the company in many different locations and the growing numbers of employees, the HR department saw a need to find a new system to keep more accurate records.

The Response:

In the past Terasen had kept records on paper and with spreadsheets and with the growth of the company, this system does not work as well as in the past. In order to compensate for future growth, Terasen began to look into HRIS companies to help with the HR operations. After researching different companies, Hewitt’s application service provider model with eCyborg was found to be the right fit.

The Outcome:

Although there was difficulty adapting to a new way of recordkeeping, Terasen was able to find a system that will help support the current and future growth of the company. Fortunately, some of the HR staff had experience working with an HRIS and were able to help their colleagues imagine new processes, as aided by a system. One theme often voiced throughout this process was: “You guys don’t know how hard we’re working when we can make it so much easier with a system that could do a lot of this for us. You don’t always have to run to the cabinet for the employee file just to get basic information. It can all be at your fingertips.” (Vu, 2005). In order to help Terasen ease the HR burden of implementing a new HR system, the management of Terasen was convinced to look for a vendor to help implement and maintain a HRIS system. This system has helped Terasen better prepare for current and future growth.

Shaw’s Supermarkets

The Situation:

Shaw’s Supermarkets is the second largest supermarket chain in New England. With a workforce of 30,000 located at 180 stores throughout six states, Shaw’s HR staff is responsible for managing employees’ personal data. Their employee mix includes approximately 70 percent part-time employees, consisting of students, senior citizens, second-job part-timers, and career part-timers. One third of the workforce is made up of union associates, and Shaw’s staff oversees the company’s involvement with three unions and six separate contracts (Koven, 2002). In order to help manage the workforce, the HR staff became interested in centralizing its HR operations.

The Response:

In order to centralize HR operations Shaw’s decided to implement an ESS (employee self-service) solution. The use of self-service applications creates a positive situation for HR. ESS gives HR more time to focus on strategic issues, such as workforce management, succession planning, and compensation management, while at the same time improving service to employees and managers, and ensuring that their data is accurate. With this solution, employees have online access to forms, training material, benefits information and other payroll related information.

The Outcome:

Shaw’s has had positive feedback since implementing the ESS solution. “The reaction from our employees has been extremely positive,” Penney, VP of Compensation and Benefits, says. “We even had a significant increase in our medical coverage costs, and it was almost a non-issue because the online enrollment featured the plan choices, the employee cost, and the company subsidy. An employee self-service application makes it very easy for them to understand their contributions and coverage options. I received several e-mails from employees saying this was a great change and how easy ESS was, which the case is not often when employees are selecting their benefit options.” (Koven, 2002). By giving the employees more access to their information they are able to see the benefit choices available to them. Employees are also able to update their information online, which helps reduce the paperwork of the past. Shaw’s has also seen improvement in productivity because employees are updating information at home, not during work hours.

CS Stars, LLC

The Situation:

New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has announced that New York State has reached its first settlement with a company charged with failing to notify consumers and others that their personal data had gone missing. Cuomo’s office, which enforces the state’s 2005 Information Security Breach and Notification Law, charged CS STARS LLC, a Chicago-based claims management company, with failing to give notice that it had lost track of a computer containing data on 540,000 New Yorkers’ workers’ comp claims.

The Response:

The owner of the lost data, which had been in the custody of CS STARS, was the New York Special Funds Conservation Committee, an organization that assists in providing workers’ comp benefits under the state’s workers’ comp law. On May 9, 2006, a CS STARS employee noticed that a computer was missing that held personal information, including the names, addresses, and Social Security numbers of recipients of workers’ compensation benefits. But CS Stars waited until June 29, 2006, to notify Special Funds and the FBI of the security breach. Because the FBI declared that notice to consumers might impede its investigation, CS STARS waited until July 8, 2006, to send notices to the 540,000 New Yorkers affected by the breach. On July 25, 2006, the FBI determined an employee, of a cleaning contractor, had stolen the computer, and the missing computer was located and recovered. In addition, the FBI found that the data on the missing computer had not been improperly accessed.

The Outcome:

New York’s Information Security Breach and Notification Law, effective in December 2005, requires businesses that maintain computerized data which includes private information to notify the owner of the information of any breach of the security of the system immediately following discovery, if the private information was, or is reasonably believed to have been, acquired by a person without valid authorization. The law affects not only businesses in their dealings with their customers, but employers in their role as custodians of employees’ personal data. (Cadrain)

Without admitting to any violation of law, CS STARS agreed to comply with the law and ensure that proper notifications will be made in the event of any future breach. The company also agreed to implement more extensive practices relating to the security of private information. CS STARS will pay the Attorney General’s office $60,000 for costs related to this investigation. (Cadrain)

IBM

The Situation:

IBM’s paperless online enrollment system, introduced in 1999, has proved to be a winner for both the company’s 135,000 active U.S. employees and the company, according to Cathleen Donnelly, senior communications specialist at company headquarters in Armonk, N.Y. The company saves $1.2 million per year on printing and mailing costs alone, Donnelly says, and the employees’ can take advantage of a variety of technologies to learn about issues, research program information and access decision support tools from their desktop computers. (Heuring, 2002)

The Response:

One of those tools, a personal medical cost estimator, enables employees to calculate potential out-of-pocket health care expenses under each of the plan options available to them, Donnelly says. Employees log in personally and are greeted by name and with important information regarding their benefits enrollment, such as the deadlines and when changes take effect. They automatically get access to health plans that are available to them, and the calculator lets them compare estimated benefit amounts for each plan.

“Employees can select the health care services they expect to use in a particular year, estimate expected frequency of use, and calculate potential costs under each plan option,” Donnelly says. “The feedback that we’ve received from employees tells us that this tool has really helped them to make a comparison between plans based on how they consume medical services.” The calculator shows both IBM’s costs and the employee’s. (Heuring, 2002)

The Outcome:

“Since we began offering online enrollment, we’ve learned that employees want web access,” Donnelly says, so they can log on at home rather than through the company intranet. So the company has been working to put in place a web-based enrollment system that employees and retirees can access from anywhere.

Employees can get summary information on the plans, drill down into very specific details and follow links to the health care providers for research. Donnelly says the system has received high marks for convenience because employees can “get in and out quickly.”

WORKSource Inc.

The Situation:

To meet the challenge of handling 100 new employees, WORKSource Inc. acquired Web-based technology programs from GHG Corp. like electronic paystub, electronic timesheet software, time-off system, and human resource information system (“Tips,” 2006). These tools enabled CEO Judith Hahn to handling payroll procedures efficiently and effectively.

The Response:

WORKSource has eight workforce centers, with approximately 108 employees, located throughout a six-county region. Previously, payroll, benefits, and human resources for those employees were processed and managed by a Professional Employer Organization. The company also has 52 administrative staff in its headquarters office. When the contract with the PEO terminated on June 30, 2006, those 108 employees were immediately moved to the payroll of WORKSource, which meant Hahn’s workload more than doubled effective July 2006 (“Tips,” 2006).

Hahn, in an interview with PMR, said she relied on LEAN to help get a handle on what needed to change for her to manage the increased workload. Two years earlier, Hahn’s CEO had introduced her to LEAN, a Japanese management concept of eliminating wasteful steps and motion when completing processes. “I began to read as much as possible about LEAN and joined an HR LEAN focus group” (“Tips,” 2006).

The Outcome:

Mastering the concepts of LEAN led Hahn to develop and apply her own acronym of “REASON” to her department’s payroll and HR processes. Review the process: map payroll tasks from start to finish. Eliminate waste: determine how to complete a payroll task most efficiently without unnecessary steps. Analyze alternatives: research and evaluate the applicability of new technology. Sell innovations to management: document the return on investment of each innovation. Open the lines of communication: communicate openly—and often—with all stakeholders, including employees and top management. Never allow negativity: make change simple and fun. Give employees plenty of encouragement and time to learn (“Tips,” 2006). Judith Hahn was able to implement the right human resource functions using information systems.

Toshiba America Medical Systems Inc.

The Situation:

Lynda Morvik, director of benefits and human resources information systems at Tustin, California-based Toshiba America Medical Systems Inc. (TAMS), thought it would make sense to add a benefits communication component to it. By having all the benefit information online, the TAMS employee handbook would also be a living document, enabling Morvik to make changes when necessary. Such was the case halfway through the project, when TAMS changed health care plans from Aetna Inc. to United Health Group Inc (Wojcik, 2004).

The Response:

TAMS, an independent group company of Toshiba Corporation and a global leading provider of diagnostic medical imaging systems and comprehensive medical solutions, such as CT, X-ray, ultrasound, nuclear medicine, MRI, and information systems, had been using a payroll service bureau and an in-house solution for HR that didn’t include easy-to-use consolidated reporting or an employee portal. After evaluating UltiPro alongside several enterprise resource vendors, TAMS selected Ultimate Software’s offering and went live in September 2002 after an on-time and on-budget implementation. Almost immediately upon rolling out the UltiPro portal to employees, TAMS began seeing improvements, with an estimated 70% increase in open enrollment efficiency (Wojcik, 2004).

The Outcome:

In an effort to expand the usage of the Web beyond the benefits enrollment process, TAMS has posted a library of documents and forms on its HR portal, including the benefits handbook, which garnered a 2004 Apex Award for publication excellence. That same year, Business Insurance magazine also gave TAMS the Electronic Benefit Communication (EBC) award for outstanding achievement in communicating employee benefits programs over the Web. To continue elevating its use of Ultimate Software’s HRMS/payroll solution, TAMS modified the UltiPro portal to meet the imaging company’s unique needs (Wojcik, 2004). It was completely integrated with several proprietary applications created to address compensation and performance management issues so that TAMS employees have a central location for comprehensive workforce and payroll information from a Web browser that they can access with a single sign-on (Wojcik, 2004).

References

Byars, Lloyd L. & Rue, Leslie W. (2004). Human Resource Management, 7e. The McGraw-Hill Companies.

Cadrain, Diane (2007). New York: Company Settles Data Breach Charges. Retrieved June 3, 2007 from [http://www.shrm.org/law/states/CMS_021505.asp#P-8_0]

Clarifying IBM’s Strategic mission for social media (2007). Strategic Communication

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Friesen, G. Bruce (2003). Is your client ready for eHR? Consulting to Management, 14(3), 27. Retrieved June 3, 2007 from ProQuest Database.

Hagood, Wesley O. & Friedman, Lee ( 2002). Using the balanced scorecard to measure the performance of your HR information system. Public Personnel Management, 31(4), 543-58. Retrieved June 3, 2007 from ProQuest Database.

Heuring, Linda (2003). IBM: Laying Outing Enrollment Options. Retrieved June 2, 2007 from [http://www.shrm.org/hrmagazine/articles/0803/0803heuring_paperless.asp]

Koven, Jeff (2002). Streamlining benefit process with employee self-service applications: A case study. Compensation & Benefits Management, 18(3), 18-23. Retrieved June 2, 2007 from ProQuest Database.

O’Connell, Sandra (1994). Security for HR records – human resources. HR Magazine. Retrieved June 3, 2007 from [http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m349] 5/is_n9_v39/ai_16309018

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Tips on Using Technology to Streamline Payroll Processes – and Cut Costs (2006). Payroll Managers Report, 6(10), 1-9. Retrieved June 2, 2007 from EBSCOhost Database.

Vu, Uyen (2005). Contracting out HRIS easy call at Terasen Pipelines. Canadian HR Reporter, 18(4), 5-9. Retrieved June 2, 2007 from ProQuest Database.

Wojcik, J. (2004). Toshiba Employee Handbook Goes Online. Business Insurance, 38(49), 18.

Retrieved June 2, 2007 from EBSCOhost Database.

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DU0-001 – Data Center University Associate Certification

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About DU0-001 Exam:

DU0-001 certification provides you high levels of expertise, knowledge, and a rich understanding of present technologies and trends. Associates possess essential general knowledge to participate on teams that upgrade or design the layer of the data center.

Industry value of DU0-001 Exam:

A recent industrial survey indicates that by 2015, a brilliant pool of efficient technical and management data center professionals will rise by 45 percent. The industry value for these exam certified professionals continues to grow high and this certification is the first step to enhance your career as a data center professional.

Job Benefits DU0-001:

DU0-001 certification can significantly increase productivity and proficiency because certified professionals have the knowledge to easily recover difficulties faced in data center design, build and operations. Key Job benefits of this exam are as follows:

– A robust marketing efficiency in a growing industry

– Professional efficiency and qualification experience

– Improved job performance leading by solid knowledge.

– Better employment facilities by achieving professional goal.

– An up to date career path tool for those intending to enhance their positions.

DU0-001 course:

There are many courses for taking part in this exam that are being conducted in offline or online. Study materials, E-books and self test making software are available in these courses. Some renowned online sites such as passIT.com, pass4surecram.com, and prepdumps.com are giving 100 percent passing guarantee to exam takers.

Study tip for DU0-001 Exam:

To take part successfully in the DU0-001 you have to take care of some study tips which are essentially needed such as keep you updated always with the data center professionals latest journals and magazines, to surf in the websites relating to exam; and last but not the least; study regularly with courage.

Recommendations for DU0-001 Exam:

Nowadays IT industry is a major destination for the young, dynamic and expert professionals where this certification will give any candidate extra mileage to go smoothly in his career path. Therefore, this exam certification is a immense help to achieve its professional career goals fast.

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How to Find the Perfect Marriage Counselor

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Hiring a marriage counselor in northern Illinois is a crucial decision because there are so many therapists and even hospital clinics from which to choose. Northern Illinois, Crystal Lake and Huntley is drowning in people looking for counseling so it is important to know what you should assess in order to make the right decision.

Because there are so many social service and religious organizations in these areas, choosing the right therapist can be confusing. Many professionals do marriage counseling, including psychologists, family counselors, social workers and professional counselors.

In Cary and Huntley there are loads of clergy and paraprofessionals, as well. Don’t be confused. Remember, marriage counselors are there to assist you in your communication and relationship problem- solving goals and they provide perspective and offer more constructive ways of viewing things.

They should be licensed to practice in Illinois and help you to stay motivated and to think more constructively about your partner and relationship. However, all this is only possible if the counselor is an expert professional who is familiar with the schools and hospitals in Cary and Huntley and is competent and knows what he is doing. If not, all your efforts will go to waste.

Here are some tips on what you should look for in a marriage therapist:

Check his credibility:

There are certifications for marital therapists. A therapist should be credentialed as a “psychologist,” “licensed social worker,” “professional counselor,” or” marriage and family therapist” specifically in Illinois.

You should also consider the counselor’s experience. However, keep in mind that experience is not infallible in telling you how well a therapist will work with you.

Check his personal profile:

Check out your therapist’s credentials and the organizations to which he belongs. What is his attitude and personality like?

Has he practiced at Northern Illinois Medical Center or Alexian Brothers in Hoffman Estates? Does he sound energetic and empathic? Does he pay attention and provide feedback?

It is crucial to consider these elements because your counselor is there to facilitate your communication. There will be times when you’ll need expert assistance in conversing about troublesome topics with your partner.

It would be helpful if your therapist was familiar with the social scene and mores in Huntley and Cary. If the counselor is unfamiliar with Cary or Huntley or is unable to provide you with help in discussing stressful or troublesome topics, he is not worth your time.

Study his credentials,his familiarity with local mores and his experience and style, so you can assess whether he is a skilled counselor or not. Discuss your goals with him:

Before you go to a therapist, know what your goals are. Secondly, read various self-help magazines and books that discuss similar stuff.

This way, you’ll have a handful of information to discuss and you may be able to evaluate his expertise by his feedback and suggestions. If he is talking exclusively about your parenting or childhood, using old school methods, then he is probably not right for you.

A good marriage counselor will be someone who is up to date with the current trends and developments in the behavioral and psychological sciences. Evaluate whether he action-oriented. Ask if he assigns homework?

If he is action-oriented and assigns homework, hire him! Believe it or not, you will not want to hire a therapist who is not relatively directive and action-oriented.

In some respects, there should be no escape from your being accountable for your improvement. There will be times when you will feel like throwing your hands up, but a good counselor will make sure that you don’t.

This is the reason why you are hiring him, remember? You wouldn’t be hiring him if you wanted to zone-out and not learn anything. It’s his job to make you practice constructive communication and problem-solving methods.

Just remember a golden principle – an action-oriented therapist that prescribes homework and practice is a good therapist. Some people ask if there is some preparation needed before counseling.

Its best to start your counseling by reading relevant self-help books and other publications. Using such educational materials before or while engaging in treatment will likely boost both the speed and quality of your success several times over!

You can find various self-help materials by looking on the internet. Search for “self-help” “self-improvement,” “anxiety, depression self-help,” “self-therapy kits,” “STKs, etc. and discuss any self-help material you select with your counselor.

This form of discussion can provide fertile ground for you and your partner to reach new heights in your relationship.

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The Rules of Society – To Follow or Not to Follow

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Who makes the rules? Do you ever get tired of “this is required” and “that is required” no matter what it is you are trying to accomplish? How can someone let out his or her creative streak if there are always invisible stop signs?

What am I talking about?

I’m talking about everything … college requires you to take classes that are irrelevant to your interests and major or minor. They say that it will make you more “well-rounded”. Come on now. How does attending a math class half baked from the night before and listening to a teacher read the book to you make you more well rounded? Not to mention, the tests. The tests are multiple choice and you have to buy your own damn Scan-trons. If you want to know the truth, the learning process is the budgeting of your money and getting all the details right. Which Scan-tron do I buy? Where can I get the best deal on my textbooks — eBay or Amazon? How much money will I have left for Ramen Noodles if I buy this package of pens? If it’s not A and it’s not B, it must be C. Let’s get real. I’m not completely dissing college. I understand that there are professions that need the degree — doctors, dentists, architects — you know, jobs in which the public’s health depend on them. (I said architect because we don’t want buildings to come crashing down on us.) But even they are subject to taking required courses that don’t matter. It’s about making extra money for the larger entity, not necessarily about making well-rounded students.

Rules. I even had them at massage school. Aren’t they forgetting that some of their students are adults, not teenagers that just graduated high school and haven’t an inkling about what it’s like to live in the real world? I’ve worked jobs that pay two times more than what the people teaching me get paid, and they were telling me what to do and when to do it. I don’t appear to have a problem with authority, and really I don’t (I swear), but whenever I hear a condescending note come out of someone’s mouth, I can’t help but roll my eyes and wonder why I subject myself to such things. It makes my stomach sour when I see a woman old enough to be my mother clam up because someone basically yelled at her or “put her in her place”. It’s not right. We are adults. We know how to do our work along with taking on a full-time school schedule. Give us a break please. Don’t mark down that I am five minutes late for my clinical when I am there ten minutes before my scheduled shift, don’t charge me $260 for NOT attending one day of an elective for being sick, and then not have that elective available to me until after I graduate, don’t have the “principal” come in and yell at my class for being too noisy or forgetting to turn off our cell phones … we have lives, we are human adults, and we make mistakes. These rules only make the school look less of what they are trying to be, which is holistic, caring and open-minded.

Rules. Who ever decided what the format of a book or novel should be? Oh, uh … it HAS to be 70,000 to 100,000 words, it HAS to be 12-point Times New Roman (I DESPISE 12-point Times New Roman!), you have to have some “things under your belt” or “some articles published” before even considering writing something of that magnitude. Why? What does it matter? Isn’t someone who takes the time … perhaps years … to write the perfect novel, more persistent than the person who writes piddly articles for a Health & Fit Magazine? I would think so. And doesn’t it take more balls to write something from the heart than about politics, sports or the newest way to lose weight? But guess what folks? It all boils down to one thing — you guessed it — money. People make money writing about arbitrary subjects, because for some reason that is what the majority of people want to read. I just have to hope that there will be some people out there who will want to read something absorbing, frightening, interesting and unusual. Will there be? Who knows. But I’m going to break the rules to find out.

And having the college degree to succeed — that is the final “rule” of America that I will discuss today. I have met so many people that have college degrees that have no more good to say than someone that just graduated junior high. I have also met many people who do and don’t have degrees that are so wise beyond their years that my heart opens up to them and lets them in immediately. But for some reason, the ones with degrees (even advanced degrees) that are shallow, annoying and ignorant, tend to piss me off the most. I’m sure it has something to do with the fact that I wanted school to be a part of my life at the time right after high school, and I didn’t go. I know that is part of the reason. The other part is that some people just assume that having the eduction makes them better, smarter and more important than people who don’t. They can’t even give you a good reason why. It’s just what they think. When I meet people like this, I want to scream in their faces, “SO WHAT!” So they went to school for 4-6 years full-time and did homework, went to parties and listened to interesting teachers for hours a day. SO WHAT. The majority did not work full time while doing this. Some didn’t work at all. THAT was their job — to go to school. How is that accomplishment compared to someone working and living in the real world instead of going though school? How? Yes, I know some people complete degrees as adults WHILE working full time … and those people I do commend very much. It’s the after high school crowd that annoys me. And I’ll say it many times before I die, I’m sure. It’s just a bone of contention, but I can honestly say it’s not because I want the experience now, I don’t, it’s because the ones that are having the experience don’t appreciate it, and they do not understand what the real world is until they are at least 25 or 26 years old. I confirmed yesterday that I no longer want to pursue an English degree when I met the strangest individual that talked for an hour about her hamster friend and how he speaks three dialects and sleeps on her pillow at night. She has a Master’s degree in English. Yikes. I’ll stick with where I’m at, thank you.

These are “A” Rules. Paying taxes. Not drinking and driving. Stopping at a stop sign. Don’t kill anybody. Don’t drink bleach. These rules make sense.

These are “B” Rules. Don’t walk across the street until the blinking light says so. Pay the city money for a sidewalk they decided to replace. Pay money to school when you change your mind about a class. Take yoga classes at school because it’s required. Don’t cuss in front of children. Don’t change careers or jobs too often. Don’t write a book, that’s stupid. Eat slowly. Don’t open a massage practice until you graduate. Go to the dentist twice a year. Get your eyes checked once a year. Go to the gyno once a year. Get all the tests and labs done that your doctor tells you even though you don’t understand why. Get your dog licensed in your city. Declaw your cat. Don’t eat eggs after the expiration date. Pour milk down the drain on the day it expires. Don’t move in with someone too soon. Get married before you live together. Getting married is the best day of your life. Kids change EVERYTHING. You have to buy gifts for people you don’t know because, well, it’s “expected” of you. Drive the speed limit in residential areas. Don’t let it be known that you spoil yourself sometimes … or god forbid, that you love yourself! Don’t write fragment sentences. Don’t question authority, even if it’s 86 years old.

“A” Rules are meant to be followed. “B” Rules are meant to be broken.

Have a very “B” day.

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Love Gaming? Learn Why You Need Gaming News

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The video gaming industry is really a huge sector in the overall economy, with tens of billions of dollars per year. Due to the fact it is such a crucial and also expanding industry, there’s a large amount of news produced regarding it. There are tons of competitors involved, from individuals earning money simply by providing capital or even managing licensing, to the people that design and produce the games, to people included in development of hardware, to the people helping with distribution, and lastly for the customers. You possibly can take a wander down the section of just about any retail store which carries magazines, and you will probably come across no less than 2-3 magazines about the industry.

The gaming news coverage is usually a person’s way to obtain know-how that could allow you to improve your equipment along with how you play. This is one way you’ll be able to take advantage of the consistent news, despite your current gaming skill. One of many ways to begin getting gaming news is usually to take a visit to the nearby game store. Game Stop as well as Game Crazy certainly is a few the most popular retailers which have the industry’s magazines. Most of these publications can provide you with a bunch of info on the newest releases of new titles, and also you may review the price ranges of both games as well as gaming devices.

Numerous magazines could possibly be centered on one particular company’s items. The Game Informer, on the other hand, covers reviews as well as news regarding every one of the many titles and systems. In that magazine you will find details for PC, PlayStation 3, Nintendo DS, PSP (PlayStation Portable), along with much more.

The magazines really are a way to obtain industry news, to be able to tell you what is hot and also what exactly is certainly not. You will find there’s a large amount of connections involving advertising and mainstream media focus. Immediately after getting brought up in the five o’clock news, sales of a video game can easily experience a sharp surge with sales.

Gaming news sources can certainly notify everyone regarding fresh and competitive gaming companies before you decide to purchase items. Often activities in diverse areas of the world may affect the market industry, since there are lots of organizations which sponsor awards pertaining to video games as well as gaming items. You can also look deep to determine what is influencing the market industry that you are part of.

Whenever you go to one of the nearby game stores, make sure you ask questions. The folks which work inside most of these stores could let you know about awesome things going on or perhaps upcoming game releases available with special prices. As well they might be able to inform you of gaming activities that you could go to and even attend. Look around at the posters, signs, and also other types of printed ads inside stores, as well.

Media companies for instance all those connecting people to satellite, cable, as well as additional news or Online resources can certainly have an effect on the game industry with their actions. Leaks of details or even videos will often give valuable information regarding upcoming games or events. These along with other types of intriguing news are available in the game magazines. Apart from Game Informer, some other magazines you might want to consider will be Computer Games Magazine, GamePro, as well as GameSlice. You will find homes for most of these magazines on the net as well. By simply keeping up along with game industry news, you’ll be able to greatly enhance your fun of your gaming interest.

As far as online sites and blogs there are a number of online gaming news sites and blogs. These web sites can inform you of new game releases; games reviews, and give gaming gear and games away for free. Now who does not like a free game or a free Xbox 360 console? Now days the best place is to look online for most of your gaming news, as is all readily available at the tip of your fingertips.

For more gaming news and gaming information, including game reviews visit http://raging-nerd.com/

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Best Herbs for Internal Detoxification – 5 Channels of Elimination

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The case for ridding the body of accumulated waste is a strong one. Powerful natural healers over the years have pointed to internal cleansing time and again as a cornerstone of optimum health. Natural health giants including Dr. Bernard Jensen, Dr. Norman Walker, Ph.D., Dr. Jon Matsen, author of Eating Alive, one of the best natural health primers ever written, Dr. Paul Bragg, Dr. Herbert Shelton, Dr. Paavo Airola have all emphasized the need to cleanse our internal bodies. The list of advocates goes on and on. The question no longer is whether to detoxify, but how.

At the end of the nineteenth century, Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, of Kellogg’s cereal fame and subject of the film The Road to Wellville, offered his guests a variety of cleansing programs at the Battle Creek Sanitarium. Later, Dr. Jensen helped thousands of patients relieve a wide assortment of ailments through internal cleansing at his ranch retreat in Escondido, California. But these days it isn’t practical for most of us to drop everything for days, weeks, or even months at a time to “clean house”. We may no longer have the time, but our need to detoxify is greater than ever.

Today, toxins from every direction bombard our bodies. Poisons pollute the air we breathe. They seep into the water we drink and infiltrate the food we eat. There’s just no avoiding them. In 1993 over 271 million pounds of toxic chemicals (phosphoric acid, ammonia, sulfuric acid, methanol etc.) were dumped into our water supply. Agribusiness uses 33 times more pesticides today than 50 years ago. The simple truth is your filtering and eliminative organs were not designed to process such a heavy load. Eventually they become overworked, sluggish and toxins begin to accumulate throughout the entire body.

Staying inside won’t work either. The EPA reports that levels of pollutants inside buildings can be as much as 100 times greater than outdoor pollution levels. Time magazine, December 21,1998, in an article titled This Place makes Me Sick, reported on the escalating problem known as sick-building syndrome, a disease of modern architecture in which sealed, energy conserving buildings have become breeding grounds for some particularly insidious stuff. These include out-gassing of paint, vinyl flooring, insulation and furniture; chemical contaminants oozing from copy machines, fax machines and laser printers; molds, fungi, bacteria and dusts belching from dirty air ducts and inadequately maintained air conditioners. It’s enough to make you sick…and it does.

But if this toxic monster seems unbeatable, don’t despair. Therapeutic, internal cleansing can take the load off your eliminative organs and free them up to do their work. Remember that these poisons are hiding all over your body, in all the soft tissues, organs and systems. Avoid the mistake of concentrating solely on the colon. A colon cleanse will do you some good, but improvement will be marginal. The large intestine is only one of your body’s five channels of elimination, albeit the most obvious one. The lungs, lymph system, kidneys and skin each have crucial roles to play in the cleansing process, and you’ll need to address them all to get maximum results. The liver, the primary filter for the blood stream, will almost certainly need detoxifying. However, unless it is especially weak or toxic, cleansing the liver should wait until you’ve lowered the toxic load on the rest of your body.

Fortunately, modern herbalists have formulated some excellent cleansing products you can use to great effect, without putting your life on hold. Keep in mind, different herbs target different organs and systems. A cleansing product’s design should be comprehensive enough to do a thorough job. The best cleanses activate all five channels of elimination and promote the release of toxins from every nook and cranny. Here’s what to look for.

Channel #1 – The Colon

Unless you are having 2-3 good bowel movements every day you are constipated and invariably toxic.

Therapeutic Herbs

Chickweed to strengthen the bowel.

Fennel seed to relieve gas by improving digestion.

Ginger Root which acts as a cleansing agent.

Marshmallow removes hardened mucous from the intestines.

Peppermint cleans and strengthens the bowel.

Plantain is one of the best herbs for neutralizing poison and breaking up intestinal mucous.

Slippery Elm heals and soothes the bowel (and the lungs).

Fenugreek lubricates the intestines and dissolves hardened mucous.

Health Food for the Colon

Flax Seeds– a gentle bulking agent.

Miller’s Bran– a fiber to help restore peristaltic action.

Whey– to acidify the colon.

Brewer’s Yeast– supplies B-complex vitamins, amino acids and minerals to support nerve supply to the colon.

Yogurt– supplies friendly bacteria.

Super-Green Foods– chlorella, spirulina, and blue-green algae help detoxify and build the entire body.

A colon friendly diet is largely vegetarian with lots of high fiber vegetables, fruits, whole grains, cereals and salads.

Channel #2 – The Lungs

Every time you exhale you are eliminating waste.

Therapeutic Herbs

Black Cohosh helps to loosen and expel mucous from the bronchial tubes.

Fenugreek helps expel phlegm, toxic waste, and protects against infection.

Ginger Root is a cleansing agent for the lungs.

Licorice Root reduces excess fluid in the lungs.

Mullein loosens mucous.

Marshmallow removes mucous.

Slippery Elm is soothing and healing to the lungs.

Lobelia relieves bronchial spasms and congestion.

Health Food for the Lungs

A diet for lung health should be high in vegetable proteins, whole grains, and low in refined carbohydrates and starches. Pitted fruits like apricots, peaches and plums are good for the lungs, as are cultured foods like yogurt, kefir and miso.

Channel #3 – The Lymph System

This circulatory system removes cellular debris from all over the body and is home to a large part of your immune system.

Therapeutic Herbs

Black Cohosh stimulates secretions of the lymphatic system.

Echinacea improves lymphatic drainage.

Fenugreek promotes the expulsion of toxic waste from the lymph.

And because liver exhaustion and stress weakens lymphatic function, support your liver with:

Dandelion Root is a powerful liver detoxificant.

Milk Thistle is very protective and cleansing to the liver.

Health Food for the Lymph System

Too many saturated fats, refined carbohydrates, and insufficient water intake makes lymphatic flow sluggish. A colon friendly diet is also good for the lymph. You’ll also want to add some potassium rich foods like broccoli, bananas and black olives. Fresh vegetable juice made from carrots, celery, spinach and parsley is great for the lymph system and the liver. Buy it freshly made at the health food store or, if you are feeling particularly motivated, get a juice extractor and make it yourself using 3 carrots, 3 stalks of celery, ½ a bunch of spinach and ½ a bunch of parsley.

Channel #4 – The Kidneys

Regulation of water and electrolytes, maintaining normal acid-base equilibrium, retention of vital substances and the elimination of metabolic waste is the kidneys’ responsibility.

Therapeutic Herbs

Burdock Root helps detoxify the kidneys.

Ginger Root detoxifies the kidneys.

Horsetail tones the kidneys and bladder.

Health Food for the Kidneys

Emphasize garlic, onions, papayas, bananas, sprouts, leafy greens, cucumbers, and watermelon- all are healing to the kidneys. Try to avoid heavy starches, red meat, dairy products (except cultured), refined, salty and fatty (fast) foods- they all inhibit the kidneys’ filtering ability. In general, a healthy diet that includes plenty of water will support healthy kidneys.

Channel #5 – The Skin

The body’s largest organ also happens to be the largest organ of elimination, removing over 20% of your body’s waste. If you want to detoxify you’re going to have to sweat.

Therapeutic Herbs

Herbs that cleanse the blood have a beneficial impact on the skin.

Black Cohosh neutralizes poisons in the blood.

Yellow Dock a great blood builder.

Burdock Root one of the best blood purifiers.

Dandelion Root detoxifies the liver and the blood.

Yarrow opens the pores to permit free perspiration.

Health Food for the Skin

Foods for healthy skin include: mineral rich foods like leafy greens, bell peppers, broccoli, sunflower and sesame seeds, fish and sea vegetables. Cultured foods like yogurt and kefir supply friendly bacteria. Eat lots of high water content foods; fruits and vegetables, and drink plenty of water, 6-8 glasses of bottled or filtered water every day.

Turbo-charging the cleansing process with herbs and lifestyle modification has helped thousands of my clients relieve digestive problems, lose weight, improve poor skin, eliminate allergies, constipation, fatigue, headaches, brain fog, menstrual problems…the list goes on and on. Chances are, it can help you too.

Sam Rose, CN MS is a licensed and certified nutritionist and owner of Rose Nutrition Center in West Los Angeles. He can be reached at sam@rosenutrition.com or 310-473-8835.

TheBestDetox.com

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Several Items to Think About When Building a Home

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What type of Personality do I want my home to have?

When you consider building a new home, the first thing you should think about is your own personality and interests. There are many questions you should ask yourself. For instance, how often do I entertain? Do I like large gatherings, or just of few close friends? Am I the type of person who likes lots of daylight and therefore plenty of windows? Do I want to climb stairs every day, and will I still want to in ten years or so if I still own this home? Am I a craftsman-type who wants extra garage space for tools and equipment? Will I need space for an RV, quads, yard equipment, etc? Next I would want to consider the yard. For instance, if you have kids you may want a flat lot with a large grassy area for them to play.If not, a terraced garden or even a pool with lots of concrete around would be more your style. It would also be advisable to pick up one of the software programs readily available to the consumer today. There are also various   magazines  available to peruse for ideas. Another good idea is to drive around and take several pictures of homes that you like.

Check out the neighborhood:

One suggestion I would have is to take a drive around the area you are planning to build in several different times of day on different days of the week. This way you would get a good feel of what the neighborhood is really like. It would also be wise to check out the local school that your children would be attending. Notice the type of houses that are already there. Will your style and size fit in nicely to the existing surroundings? This may be your dream house, but you need to always think of eventual resale.

How are you going to get your new home built?

Just as there are several different ways to design your home there are also several different ways of getting it built:

1. Do it yourself. This method would likely cost less, but would definitely be more time consuming. This is not a good choice for someone with no construction knowledge or skills.

2. Act as your own general contractor. This is a great choice for those people who can do some of the work themselves. You can pick and choose what you want to do, and hire sub-contractors for those jobs that require more skill, such as electrical work. Get several bids, and remember that the cheapest is not always the best when it comes to contractors. Check all references for anyone you consider hiring!!!

3. Hire a semi custom builder. This is a builder that usually builds several houses per year, and has a set of plans that you can choose from.This would be a fairly quick method of raising the house as they are accustomed to building the same plans and they already have all their sub contractors lined up and ready to work. They often will allow some alterations to the existing plans.

4. Hire a custom builder:These folks normally build a small number of homes a year. Custom builders would work off of a set of plans presumably supplied by you. They would be much more willing and able to deviate from the original plan if you wanted changes made. They would also be likely to take pride in their work and stand behind their workmanship.

Several alternatives:

There are other options to building a home. You could choose to purchase a home that had the basic floor plan that you desired, and do a quick remodel on the inside. Or, purchase a total fixer upper and “go to town” on it, changing whatever you desired inside and out. If you already own a piece of land, you could choose a modular home, or prefab. These homes have come a long way from the “trailers” of the past. Many of them look just like a traditionally built house.

I hope this has given you plenty of “food for thought” before beginning your journey.

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Internet Business Profile – DOBA

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One of the basic formulas for making money on the internet is drop shipping. This means you are advertising items for sale on your site, newsletter, ezine, etc that are actually located at another company with which you have a relationship. When someone buys one of the items from you, an order is placed to your drop shipper, which mails the item directly to the purchaser. You keep the difference between the price you charge your customer and the price the drop shipper charges for the item as your profit.

This seems simple enough, and it pretty much is. The catch is finding drop shipping companies out there. Also, you’ll need to create a website that can feature items you want to sell, get the website hosted, advertise and promote your site on the search engines, and hope your efforts build enough traffic to your site to start generating sales.

As you may have guessed, the above tasks can be difficult. Just finding decent and reputable drop shipping companies on the internet can be hard. It is almost if they don’t want to be found – perhaps this is their way of keeping away the inexperienced, or those who aren’t able to generate enough sales for them. Fortunately, several enterprising companies have created tools that help you streamline this whole process.

The following is a brief description of DOBA, one of the dropshipping companies I have tried. I advise you to do your own research and due diligence before you act on this or any other business opportunity.

I found DOBA via an ad in an entrepreneur magazine. Their ad promoted a free 14 day trial of their drop shipping service. They seem to have a very large catalog of items available for drop shipping. Each item in DOBA’s database is listed with the base price that you need to pay to purchase the item, as well as the suggested mark up price that you will want to charge your potential buyers. You have freedom to adjust the price you charge other people for the items you’re selling from DOBA. Keep in mind that changing your asking price will affect your profit, as the price you need to pay DOBA does not change. DOBA’s interface allows you to link your Paypal account so you can easily purchase items from DOBA to be drop shipped without using your credit card.

DOBA also has a nice and easy interface to eBay. If you have an active eBay account, you can fairly quickly select a product in DOBA you wish to sell and create an auction or buy it now sale in eBay for that item. I was able to sell a mini NFL football helmet from DOBA via eBay. Once the auction ended and my winning bidder paid me via Paypal, I went to DOBA and placed an order for the helmet to be shipped to the winning bidder’s mailing address. DOBA even gave me a tracking number on the shipment so I and the winning bidder could track the delivery.

Another feature of DOBA is the research tools it makes available. You are able to look up trends of purchased items to see what is popular via DOBA’s website. Their support staff also seemed willing to help out with questions.

Drop shipping is an interesting business model. Given the right company, a popular niche and smart pricing, you should be able to generate decent income from this method.

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Some Amazing Facts About Apple

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With the release of every new iPhone begins the huge waiting lines to grab one. Quite obvious! Because of the range of smart features and apps iPhones offer, they are worth investing. While you might know a lot about the iPhone you are using, we are sure there are certain surprising and interesting facts about Apple you are unaware of.

We’ve compiled a few facts about iPhones and the top iOS app development company, Apple.

1. iPhone Before Apple’s iPhone – You might feel amazed to know that before Apple ever released the iPhone, the name was already patented by the Cisco Systems. In fact, they litigated Apple for naming its smartphone as ‘iPhone’. The first iPhone by Cisco was a VoIP phone, which allowed users to make Skype calls without using a computer. Ultimately, both the companies reached an agreement, and have kept their rights to the name.

2. iPhone was conceptualized in late 1980s – Back in 1983, the developer of Apple computer, Hartmut Esslinger idealized a landline phone that had features somewhat similar to today’s iPhone and iPad with a stylus-controlled interface. Though, the design was never developed into a real iPhone, it’s surprising that Apple had iPhone ideas years ago. Just imagine, how the iPhone landscape and custom iPhone app development would look if that old prototype in 1983 had been released.

3. Bono exist in every iPhone – If you look closely to your iPhone, you’ll find that the artist’s icon in your Music app is originally a silhouette of Bono Vertigo – the U2 singer.

4. The App Store was the first place to download an iOS app legally – One of the most astonishing facts about Apple was the App Store, which was the only place to download free or paid iOS apps legally.

5. Samsung Manufactures iPhone’s Processors – Now this might surprise you greatly. While it is true that Samsung and Apple are arch rivals in the smartphone field, they both are partnered with each other. Apple has given Samsung the contract to make its computer chips.

6. 700 iPhones sold by far – Last year in March, Apple CEO Tim Cook revealed that Apple has sold nearly 700 million iPhones. Reports on Apple’s earnings suggest that growing iPhone sales may soon touch 800 million.

7. Texting became the trend with iPhones – Over 22% of people believe that sending a SMS is far better than calling. It started when Apple presented SMS.

8. iPhone was the Invention of the Year – Seeing the popularity of Apple iPhone, the Time Magazine named it as the “Invention of the Year” in 2007. It was indeed a revolutionary development.

9. The iPhone was named Purple – In the early days when the iPhone was being engineered, the nickname for the new phone was named as “Purple”. Even the iPhone section at the Apple headquarters was called “Purple Dorm” by the developers.

10. 2 Million iPhone apps – According to the reports, there are over 2 million iOS apps available in the Apple app store (as of June 2016). With this, the Apple app store becomes the second largest app store after Android, which has over 2. 2 million apps. This also makes Apple as the top iOS app development company.

11. iPhone 4 names Antennagate – The new metal design of iPhone 4 caused extensive problems among the users when it was found that calls were getting disconnected on holding the phone in a certain way. Because of its severity, it earned the name of Antennagate.

12. Steve Jobs pranked with Starbucks – It was in 2007 when Apple was introduced for the first time by CEO Steve Jobs. He made a prank call to Starbucks and ordered over 4,000 lattes and cancelled it immediately. This was certainly a good thing for the barista who took that call.

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