Wednesday, January 30, 2008

America's Top-Paying Industries

IT, Finance Lead the Way in 2008
Kristina Cowan

As Americans set goals for work in 2008, some are gearing up for a job hunt. With many expressing concern over finances, searching for gigs in top-paying industries is a smart move.

According to an analysis of Labor Department figures by Laurence Shatkin, a career information expert, the highest-paying industries are computers/information technology, science, finance, energy, and the federal government.

The IT Momentum

Specifically, jobs in software publishing (annual median salary: $72,350); computer and peripheral equipment manufacturing (annual median salary: $68,710); and computer systems design and related services (annual median salary: $66,130) top the list. These salaries far outpace the median annual salary for all occupations: about $30,400.

John Estes, vice president of Robert Half Technology, a California-based IT staffing firm, says the high salaries reflect a resurgence in the industry since the dot-com crash. Rapid innovation is helping drive the resurgence, he notes.

"The speed of innovation in products is one thing that keeps IT people in such demand, to the point where it's difficult to keep up with the pace of innovation and technology change," Estes says.

The Wonder of Wall Street

Financial-services jobs also offer sturdy paychecks. The top-paying jobs are in securities and commodity exchanges (annual median salary: $58,740); securities and commodity contracts intermediation and brokerage (annual median salary: $57,550); and other financial investment activities (annual median salary: $55,340).

One of the major factors driving large salaries for financial workers are the massive bonuses enjoyed by some on Wall Street (which aren't included in the salary numbers above), says Brian Drum, president and CEO of New York City-based Drum Associates, Inc., a global executive search firm. Drum says the figures from the Labor Dept. sound fair -- depending on where workers live.

"It would be very hard for anyone to live on those salaries in New York City," he says. In some parts of the Midwest the salaries would provide an OK -- not great -- living, according to Drum.

Getting Scientific

Scientific research and development services offer lucrative options (annual median salary: $62,640). "From carbon nanotubes to vaccines, workers in the scientific research and development services industry create today the technologies that will change the way people live and work in the future," according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In 2006, workers in scientific research and development services averaged 38.5 hours per week, compared with 33.9 for workers in all industries.

Powerful Possibilities in Energy

Energy-sector work can provide robust salaries, particularly in pipeline transportation of crude oil (annual median salary: $56,770) and electric power generation, transmission and distribution (annual median salary: $55,110).

Heeding the Call of Uncle Sam

The federal executive branch (annual median salary: $58,370) poses another possibility. "Why not consider working for Uncle Sam? There are over 2.7 million federal civilian employees, of whom half are now eligible for regular or early retirement," according to the 10th Edition of "The Book Of U.S. Government Jobs: Where They Are, What's Available & How To Get One," by Dennis V. Damp. "Over a million jobs must be filled as baby boomers say so long to their federal careers."

More Top-Paying Industries

* Aerospace Manufacturing (Annual median salary: $55,060)
* Wired Telecommunications (Annual median salary: $54,880)
* Internet Service Providers & Web Search Portals (Annual median salary: $54,820)
* Motor Vehicle Manufacturing (Annual median salary: $53,750)
* Internet Publishing & Broadcasting (Annual median salary: $53,070)

Kristina Cowan has over 10 years of journalism experience, specializing in education and workforce issues.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Relieved Novak living the dream

Sunday, 27 January, 2008
By Bren O'Brien

Men's Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic has spoken of his relief at breaking through for his maiden Grand Slam title after his four-set win over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga at Rod Laver Arena.

While he is only 20, Djokovic had desperately wanted to take his chance to open his Grand Slam account having made the semi-finals or better at the past three tournaments. Having realised one of the best moments of his career, Djokovic said he felt a weight had been lifted off his shoulders.

"It's an indescribable feeling, something that I always dreamed of, of course. I think every player dreams about winning a Grand Slam. It's something special. It's a special event. It's two weeks long, all the best players in the world playing. Then you come up in the end as a champion, you know, only one guy to win the tournament. I mean, I'm still not aware of the big achievement I have had in these two weeks," he said.

Djokovic revealed that he felt under enormous pressure coming into the final as favourite, having defeated Roger Federer in the semi-finals.

"It was kind of strange feeling to get into the match as the favourite. As I was saying in the pre-conference, it's always dangerous to play against the underdog, the player who doesn't have really anything to lose," he said.

"You get to the final, you know, final match, you just want to make another step and win it. I was nervous and there was pressure, and I think it's understandable. But I'm very happy the way I deal with that pressure," he said.

Djokovic hasn't had time to consider whether his success ushers in a new era in men's tennis after breaking the duopoly of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

"I mean, it's not possible that only one tournament is changing the history. Of course, I mean, I played amazing tennis here, so I think I absolutely deserved to win, even against him (Federer) in the semifinals," he said.

"I'm gonna take it easy, you know. I'm not gonna try to think about reaching even higher goals right away. I'm not in a rush. I want to enjoy in my success and just celebrate with the people I care about. From then, I'll see what it goes."

The past three years have been dominated by the Swiss and the Spaniard, with no other player able to claim a Grand Slam title since Marat Safin at Australian Open 2005. Djokovic, the poster child of the new generation, believes the Swiss master and the determined Spaniard will fight as hard as ever.

"Everybody who wins a Grand Slam, you have to give them a lot of appreciation and respect. I just felt it now, what it feels like. Hopefully, you know, in the future I'm gonna feel it more," he said.

"He's (Federer) gonna come back in a big style, of course. He's still planning to be the best player in the world, so we all know how good he is. We're gonna see a lot of him this year."

Djokovic becomes the first player from his proud sporting nation to claim a Grand Slam title, inspiring the local Serbian community into fanatical support for the 20-year-old from Belgrade. There are 30,000 people of Serbian origin in Melbourne, and each and every one of them was behind their man as he overcame injury and a first set slip-up to secure victory. The thought of those fans, plus all the people back in Serbia, puts a smile on the proud young man's face.

"I think everybody was really surprised with the amount of the players we produced from such a small country with no tennis tradition. So I think it's still unexplainable, because there was no system whatsoever in our country for tennis and we didn't get so much support needed in that stage, mostly needed," he said.

"We've always had I can say strong support from our closest family, from our parents. And I think this hunger for success and the times and things we went through made us stronger."

With plenty of strength both in the women's and men's game at the moment, Djokovic believes that Serbian tennis could well be set for a golden era.

"Until now, we still didn't have a Grand Slam champion. Now I don't even realise how big deal this is. I really am overjoyed with the victory and very happy that the people in Serbia appreciate what we have done. Not just myself, but everybody," he said.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Offline or Invisible?

When a user seems offline, in fact he/she may be online but with Invisible status (avoiding you?), but Yahoo! Messenger will show him/her as offline (the gray face icon).

Then, how do you know whether he/she is offline or online? Just follow these simple steps carefully. It's really simple.

There are 3 methods:

Method 1: Doodle IMvironment
  1. See the main window of Yahoo! Messenger. An "offline" or "invisible" user will show a gray icon on the left of her name. In this example, we want to see if the user darling is online or not. Double-click on the username.
Yahoo Messenger main window
  1. A message window will open. Send an arbitrary message to the user, or just send a BUZZ!!!. After sending, quickly proceed to step 3.
Conversation window in which you begin the test conversation
  1. Click IMVironment button, select See all IMVironments, select Yahoo! Tools or Interactive Fun, and click on Doodle.
The imvironment menu, choose doodle as the imv.
  1. The last step and the most important step. After loading the Doodle IMVironment, there will be two possibilities.
  • If the user is offline, the Doodle area will show "waiting for your friend to load Doodle" continuously, like this:
    Waiting for your friend to load Doodle. Means that the user is offline.
  • But if the user is online (in invisible mode), after few seconds (it can take up to one minute, depending on connection speed), you will get a blank page. So the user is online!!!!
    Blank canvas. Means that the user is invisible.
Method 2: Voice Chat

This method no longer works in Yahoo! Messenger 7. Please use the Doodle method which still works.
  1. See the main window of Yahoo! Messenger. An "offline" or "invisible" user will show a gray icon on the left of the username. Double-click on the username to open this window.
  1. Click on "Voice" icon on the toolbar, or select "Contact" menu and select "Enable Voice Chat" .
Right click and select Invite to conference on the username
  1. The deciding part... there are 2 possible result:
  • If the user is offline, you will get this message:
    Yahoo Messenger Error window. None of the users in the invite list are available to join the conference. Please try at a later time.
  • But if the user is invisible (actually online), you will see the Voice Toolbar (marked red in the picture) like this:

Method 3: Conference Invitation

This method no longer works in Yahoo! Messenger 7. Please use the Doodle method which still works.
  1. See the main window of Yahoo! Messenger. An "offline" or "invisible" user will show a gray icon on the left of her name. In this example, we want to see if the user darling is online or not. Right-click on the username.
Yahoo Messenger main window
  1. When the menu appears, select Invite to Conference.
Right click and select Invite to conference on the username
  1. A window will appear. See at the right pane, the username darling will be there. Now, click Invite.
Invite Friends to Conference window. Select only one username.
  1. The deciding part... there are 2 possible result:
  • If the user is offline, you will get this message:
    Yahoo Messenger Error window. None of the users in the invite list are available to join the conference. Please try at a later time.
  • But if the user is invisible, you will get a window similar to this:
    Voice conference window, waiting for the user to accept, it means the user is invisible.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Do you know "Little Becky" before?

The term ‘Little Becky’ has been one of the top search terms that has brought visitors to this blog in recent times. For the last three months people searching for ‘Little Becky’ prank call clips have been out numbered only by those who, for reasons that I don’t really understand, are finding their way here when they search for ‘Christina Aguilera naked.’ The fact that in such a list a little girl from Ireland would be second only to a de-clothed pop star from America is perhaps telling of her popularity. As the Irish Times recently put it, Little Becky is in demand.

Otherwise known as nine year old Rebecca Barry from Dublin, ‘Little Becky’ has been entertaining listeners to Dublins’s 98FM breakfast show for some time. She was discovered by the shows hosts Dermot Whelan and Dave Moore when she was just 5 years old and singing at her Dad’s office Christmas party next door to the radio station. The pair invited Becky to sing on their Christmas show ever since.

But it’s the prank calls that have proved to be the biggest hit with listeners not just in Dublin, Ireland, but as far away as Australia and Canada. Of the 200 or so calls she has made the few that have found their way to the internet have been downloaded from countries right across the globe, shared by email, instant messaging, and bluetooth enabled mobile phones.

Every week Becky accompanied by her mother goes to the 98FM studios to record the calls that will be played the following week. “I sit in a room with my mam and talk to people on the phone. I have earphones on, and Dermot and Dave tell me what to say in my ear if I get stuck.” Says Becky to Irish Times journalist Roísín Ingle.

“There was one man I rang who made wedding videos, and I asked whether he could help me organise the wedding of my dog and my cat. He was fine on the phone, but then when Dermot and Dave rang him afterwards, to get his permission to use the piece, he got annoyed and wouldn’t let them use it.”

But perhaps because the calls are being made in Ireland, where it could be argued folk are a little more laid back, very few of the people Becky calls refuse to let the station air the call.

By far the most searched for call to date is the school demolition one. Becky calls a local demolition company and requests that they demolish her school, with the teachers in it! “How much would it be to knock it to the ground” she asks in her cute little Dublin accent. In good spirit the ‘top boss’ of the company plays along and asks her if she wants it “blown up.” He even sportingly offers to give her a quote for the demolition with a breakdown including the price for each individual teacher.

We might yet hear more from ‘Little Becky’ in the future too. She’s been to showbiz classes and can be seen playing on stage playing Prince Charming’s inventive party organiser in the pantomime ‘Cinders’ which begins at Dublin’s Olympia Theatre the day after Christmas.