20 Jan
2020

KO title, return of players boost Portmore

first_imgPortmore United’s head coach Jeffrey Hewitt said they are elated to have won their first title of the season after beating Bodles FC 2-0 to win the St Catherine Happy Sutherland Knockout football competition. Hewitt dedicated the victory to the club’s long-serving chairman, Herman Ming, and his family and noted that now that their injured players have recovered, their form should improve in the Red Stripe Premier League. “It’s the first title for the season and we are very happy to have got it, and I want to say thanks to all who have been supporting us, especially the Ming family, and this victory is dedicated to them,” said Hewitt, whose team won Sunday’s title match at Spanish Town Prison Oval courtesy of Tremaine Stewart’s double in the 34th and 69th minutes of a largely one-sided contest. WELCOME WIN It was welcome relief for Portmore, which had lost three consecutive matches in the Red Stripe Premier League. Hewitt said injuries were partially to blame for those setbacks. “There have been some injuries, so we had about four players who have not played in over six games … . [Injuries] have been contributing to our performances over the last few matches. But we are Portmore United, and whoever we put on the pitch must be ready to play, but we are just glad that we got our [injured] players back and we are just getting ready for the next round [of games],” he said. In Sunday’s parish knockout decider, Portmore controlled the match but found it difficult to score, even though they created a number of openings. Hewitt insists they must improve if they are aiming to win more trophies this season. “I thought the Bodles team was really organised; they must have had some quality to reach the final. They knew us and it was evident that they did their homework. They did not allow us to play our free-flowing football, but we eventually broke through and got two goals. “But I thought we could have done much better in front of goal and separate ourselves with a bigger margin. We created numerous chances, but we were unable to convert most of those. We got two goals and we are thankful, but still we have a lot of work to do in front of goal, and if we can convert half of the chances we create in the Premier League and domestic competition, we will be a force to reckon with,” he said. Bodles’ coach Lenworth Gordon said they were outclassed, but gave up ‘soft’ goals. “We went up against a good,-quality Portmore team, but gave away two soft goals and that was very hard to come back from because they didn’t give us any room to play, and they have quicker players,” he commented.last_img read more

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19 Dec
2019

Psychotherapy Has a Shrink

first_img(Visited 19 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 For better or worse, the practice of psychotherapy is shrinking, reports say.Two Brown University psychologists still believe that psychotherapy has some supporting evidence of its value, but admit that the practice is lagging.  Science Daily reported that psychotherapy is struggling with challenges coming from within and without:Psychotherapy has issues. Evidence shows that some psychosocial treatments work well for common mental health problems such as anxiety and depression and that consumers often prefer them to medication. Yet the use of psychotherapy is on a clear decline in the United States. In a set of research review papers in the November issue of the journal Clinical Psychology Review, psychologists put psychotherapy on the proverbial couch to examine why it’s foundering.The trend for years now has been to medicate the mentally ill, not to talk to them (advertising by pharmaceutical companies is a big factor).  The authors believe that psychotherapists have not made the case that some of their techniques work.  Nevertheless, even some practitioners doubt the evidence in published guidelines, preferring to work according to their personal discretion.  The field is plagued by a “proliferation of non-supported psychotherapies out there.”Research shows that many therapists put personal experience and intuition ahead of the evidence base. Gaudiano and Miller cite a 2000 survey of psychologists that found only 47 percent ever used evidence-based treatment manuals in practice and only 6 percent used them “often.” A 2009 survey of social workers found that 76 percent had employed at least one “novel unsupported therapy” in the last year.Medications, by contrast, go through clinical trials to support their “evidence-based” efficacy.  Some psychotherapists, though, dislike published guidelines; “One of the biggest fears within psychology practice is that evidence-based treatment is going to make me change what I’m doing,” the authors said.Right BrainIncidentally, the myth of the right-brained or left-brained personality has been debunked.  Science Daily reported that, while it’s true that some cognitive functions are concentrated in one hemisphere, personality types overall are not determined by left or right, researchers at the University of Utah found in functional MRI experiments.Psychotherapy is bunk that should be debunked and bonked so that it goes boink out of the science department, never again bankrolled by taxpayer dough.  This baloney that was so trendy decades ago, to the point that celebrities bragged about their shrinks and complexes with pride, isn’t a science and never was a science (9/14/11).  The fraud bequeathed by Freud and Jung and their many Darwine-drinking descendants, all contradicting one another, is better described as a sophisticated shamanship made up by a Western secularist culture trying to usurp the role of spiritual counseling.  There’s no hope in psychotherapy.  Patients are labeled with various syndromes and complexes, told they have to learn to cope if given any direction at all.  Psychiatry doesn’t do much better (5/10/13).  Patients could often talk themselves out of their problems—even talking to a computer or friend—pointing out the illegitimacy of psychotherapeutic “science.”A vibrant movement called Biblical counseling rose up in the 1980s to challenge the legitimacy of psychotherapy and of the baptized secular concoction misnamed “Christian psychology.”  Instead of treating people as “mentally ill” (excluding those who truly have a biological basis for a problem and can be referred for surgery or medicine), the movement disclaims the idea that the mind can be ill, and instead teaches personal responsibility.  Biblical counselors have had much greater success than any secular shrink by leading people to the Lord Jesus Christ, the “wonderful counselor” who heals the heart with grace, mercy, and forgiveness, granting the wandering soul a goal and a purpose for life.  “All Scripture is God-breathed,” Paul wrote, “and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16).  Spirit-led pastors and teachers are “competent to counsel” one another (Romans 15:14).Make sure you have the right brain not to be left behind, falling for cultural myths like left- and right-brained personalities.  You need both hemispheres, and (barring radical brain surgery or defects), you use both hemispheres all the time.  Now that you know, use the occasion when someone brings this up for a friendly reality check.last_img read more

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19 Dec
2019

Can Science Study Demonology?

first_imgOne cannot make predictions about what a mind will do. Secular scientists mock belief in angels and demons, but they have their own occult beliefs.Science cannot study what it doesn’t believe is real. Secular cosmologists believe dark matter and dark energy are real, but cannot see them. They believe angels and demons are unreal, but then have to account for things that defy natural explanations. Let’s see how they do.The Demon of School ShootingsNikolas Cruz, the suspect accused of killing 17 in the Parkland school shooting last year, says that a demon told him to “burn, kill, and destroy” before he went on his killing rampage. He said he heard voices in his head encouraging violence, and also accusing him that he was “nobody” that deserved to die. In a video interview just released, he repeatedly slaps himself and appears to be talking to the voice in his head. Time Magazine reports some of the conversation between Cruz and investigator John Curcio who tried to understand the ‘voice’ the suspect claims he was hearing. Cruz never changed his story.Curcio asked what the voice told him.“Burn. Kill. Destroy,” Cruz responded.“Burn, kill, destroy what?” the detective asked.“Anything,” Cruz responded.He told Curcio that he had to fight the voice from taking over, that it was always bad. Curcio questioned that, asking how it could always be bad if Cruz had held down a job at a discount store for two years.“The voice is in here,” he said, apparently pointing to his head. “And then it’s me. It’s just regular me trying to be a good person.” Curcio said everyone has a good and bad side.“Do they really?” Cruz said.He said the voice tried to get him to shoot people at a park a week earlier. Or maybe it was three. Cruz couldn’t remember exactly, but he didn’t want to do it. Curcio asked why he didn’t.“I … I don’t know,” he said.Videotapes of Cruz in his cell alone show him repeatedly slapping himself, and apparently arguing with the voice.  ABC News obtained release of the interview and reports what Cruz said about the voice.Cruz’s statements about the shooting are blacked out, but the transcript is otherwise wide-ranging, dealing with the death of Cruz’s parents, his penchant for killing animals, his former girlfriend, his brother, guns, suicide attempts and, especially, the voice. He told Curcio the voice appeared after his father died about 15 years ago but got worse after his mother died of pneumonia in November.Cruz described the voice as a male, about his age, and said the only person he ever told about it was his brother.The investigator told Cruz he didn’t believe the voice exists, “but Cruz insisted it was there and said he wanted to see a psychiatrist.”So what is “really” going on? Secularists, who deny the existence of demons from the outset, call it “mental illness” or give it a psychiatric label. But does that really ‘explain’ a case like this? Maybe the ‘voice’ is a phantom that Nikolas conjured up in his mind through years of fantasizing. Whatever it was, either his own mind or that of another, though, it was a mind bent on evil. It wanted to burn, kill, and destroy.The Science of DivinationChristian apologists have long warned against giving Satan an opening. Calling on spirits for knowledge or wisdom invites demonic forces to oppress or possess a person. They have long warned of using divination tools like the Ouija Board; divination of any kind is also strongly forbidden in the Bible. There have been many testimonies of users of the Ouija Board who felt very spooked when they asked the board a question, then the board spelled out messages that they felt were not under their control, even as their hands held the planchette (a tool with a lens that shows letters being displayed).What does ‘science’ say about this phenomenon? Denying spiritual activity from the outset, researchers look for other, less ‘occult’ explanations. Thomas Hoffman of Science Nordic, for instance, purports to explain ‘How Ouija Boards Really Work’ (see article in Medical Xpress). With one example, he defiantly declares that it’s a group mental phenomenon by the users who ask a deceased person, “How did you die?”One or more participants sit across from each other with their fingers on a glass. Around the glass are numbers and letters. A spirit is summoned, you ask questions, and the glass begins to move from one letter to the next to spell out the response:“K-N-I-F-E”Perhaps you were absolutely certain that it was not you who moved the glass, and everyone else had the same feeling. So who did? A ghost?Alright, so here comes the breaking news: No, it was not a spirit. It was you! Or rather, it was you and your friends that unconsciously collaborated to select the letters.All that Hoffman has done is transfer the mental causation from one mind to another. He cannot explain their minds, let alone his own, but he can see the users’ bodies. Something in their minds, he infers, explains the response of the board better than proposing disembodied spirits. Whatever his reasoning, it was non-physical: it was conscious or unconscious mental activity.And yet how can he be so certain? That’s the trouble with demons. As C.S. Lewis proposed in his classic, The Screwtape Letters, one of the demons’ most important jobs is to get people to disbelieve in them. Somebody else, or something else, causes the phenomenon under study. Secular science has bought into this with gusto. Skeptics societies carry on a vigorous practice debunking psychic phenomena: table turners, levitators, faith healers and the like. They usually succeed very well showing how the tricks are done. It would be a logical fallacy, however, to extrapolate from “these phenomena are fake” to “all spirits are fake.”The demons would love science to believe that, wouldn’t they?Another study of Ouija Board use showed that use of the ‘controversial’ device with autistic patients does not work (see Medical Xpress). Researchers concluded that this, and other methods of ‘facilitated communication’ produce answers directed subconsciously by the facilitator. Trying to recover ‘lost memories’ of sexual abuse with FC (facilitated communication) has led to false accusations that have landed innocent people in jail:“I understand how difficult it may be for some facilitators to change their belief system. There is a lot at stake: people’s careers, reputations, connections with their family member or client. Nonetheless, I urge practicing facilitators to take a long, hard look at their own behavior. Voice doubts. Pursue testing outside the FC [facilitated communication] community,” wrote Janyce in 2012, 20 years after the charges against Betsy’s family were dropped.She adds, “we cannot erase the damage we have caused by our actions, but we can take responsibility for our part in perpetuating the myth of FC. It is time to put a stop to this practice that adversely affects the very people we set out to protect.”Once again, however, the demons could be dancing gleefully over being exposed as unreal. They just got the facilitator to falsely accuse the family member, leading to the outcome they wanted all along: burn, kill, destroy. Science explains it all. Evil isn’t real; it isn’t spiritual. It’s just patterns of behavior that evolved by natural selection. It made the facilitator fool herself into believing a lie, and causing harm to an innocent victim. The scientist got the real demon’s prize: getting secular science to deny the existence of evil and spirit. Atoms move by undirected forces. Stuff happens, because there is no Master Architect of the universe.In the documentary Alien Intrusion, CMI shows that people who see UFOs are people who dabbled in the occult. By one way or another, victims of perverse cases of alleged visitations and abductions remembered giving permission for demons to enter their thinking at some point. The UFOs were never physically real; we know that, because they counter all we know about matter and energy. The visions of them, and the experiences with the aliens, however, were very real to those affected by visitations, many of whom were not even seeking any kind of experience like that. Some of the experiences these people suffered were extremely frightening and debilitating. When they came to Jesus Christ and asked for protection, the visitations stopped. You dare not play around with demonic spirits.Demonology and angelology are difficult subjects in the Bible that require careful study. God wants us to focus on Him, not on lesser spirits. What are Christ followers to make of the fact that some evil spirits caused blindness, deafness, epilepsy and other physical diseases that Christ cured by casting out the demons? It’s important to notice that not all cases of healing involved the demonic. It appears that demon-possessed disabilities constituted a small fraction of the ailments Christ healed. Conversely, some who were freed from demonic possession looked perfectly healthy beforehand. It would be a grave mistake to attribute all cases of epilepsy, for instance, to demonic possession or oppression. Some Christians have done great harm (witch burnings, etc.) by taking actions against alleged demonic forces by their own power. When physical causes for disease are known, physical cures are to be preferred. Demonic power should only be considered in the rare cases that have no physical explanation, as in the case of the Book of Job. Jesus, of course, had the omniscience to know the difference, and went to the true cause in each individual’s case. It’s mainly in the west where demons are ignored or treated skeptically. Missionaries to the far East and to pagan cultures often have firsthand experience with demon-possessed people that are quite alarming. For the intellectual west, demonic activity is most successful in false doctrines, such as in our modern godless scientific theories of origins (everything came about by a bang and warm little pond, with no intelligence involved). Religious cults that deny the lordship of Christ are other examples of Satan’s primary activity in today’s world. The cure for false teachings is God’s Word.If you want to understand demonology, look no further than Jesus Christ. He cast out demons, and gave that power to his disciples. The demons bowed before him, knowing who He was. They could not stand before the power of the Son of God, knowing that He was their judge. Even when it appeared they succeeded in having the crowds turn on Him and crucify Him, they could not keep Him in the tomb; when He arose, he triumphed over them finally and forever. In Christ, Satan is powerless to possess a Christ follower. That doesn’t mean that we should ever give him any opportunity, because Satanic forces can ‘oppress’ believers though not ‘possess’ anyone indwelt by God the Holy Spirit. Christ is the ‘word’ that triumphs over Satan, as Luther wrote in A Mighty Fortress Is Our God —And though this world, with devils filled,Should threaten to undo us,We will not fear, for God hath willedHis truth to triumph through us:The Prince of Darkness grim,We tremble not for him;His rage we can endure,For lo! his doom is sure,One little word shall fell him.That word above all earthly powers,No thanks to them, abideth;The Spirit and the gifts are oursThrough Him who with us sideth:Let goods and kindred go,This mortal life also;The body they may kill:God’s truth abideth still,His Kingdom is forever.(Visited 1,418 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

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18 Dec
2019

Zuma puts NDP, economic transformation centre-stage

first_img24 May 2014Economic transformation, guided by the National Development Plan, will take centre stage as South Africa enters “the second phase of our transition from apartheid to a national democratic society”, President Jacob Zuma announced on Saturday.Delivering his first address to the nation after being sworn in as President at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, Zuma said his second term in office would be marked by radical socio-economic transformation policies and programmes aimed at putting the economy on an inclusive growth path.“Today marks the beginning of the second phase of our transition from apartheid to a national democratic society,” Zuma told over 4 000 guests gathered in the Nelson Mandela Amphitheatre and more than 20 000 people gathered below on the Southern Lawns of the Union Buildings.“This second phase will involve the implementation of radical socio-economic transformation policies and programmes over the next five years,” Zuma said after taking the oath of office and receiving the National Salute, which included a mass flypast of South African Air Force aircraft.“We have already placed before the nation the National Development Plan (NDP), our roadmap which outlines the type of society we envisage by the year 2030. Through this programme, we will move South Africa forward to prosperity and success,” Zuma said.“At a social level, as outlined in the NDP, our vision is to develop communities where households will have access to housing, water, electricity, sanitation, safe and reliable public transport, health, education, security, recreational facilities, a clean environment and adequate nutrition.“As the National Development Plan outlines, the structure of the economy will be transformed through industrialisation, broad-based black economic empowerment and through strengthening and expanding the role of the state in the economy.”The President also reaffirmed government’s commitment to promoting local companies, entrepreneurs and cooperatives through local procurement by the state and its agencies.At the same time, the NDP prioritised the national infrastructure development programme. “We will continue to build schools, railways, ports, universities, clinics, colleges, power stations, broadband, roads and more infrastructures around the country. This programme will continue to be the flagship of government.”The end result of these programmes, Zuma said, would be a growing, inclusive economy which created jobs and provided opportunities for all, especially the youth.But for this vision to succeed, the state will need to improve. Key targets in this regard, Zuma said, would be to eradicate corruption and inefficiency in the public service.“We will promote productivity within the public service and ensure much tighter accountability, with firm consequences where there is a failure to deliver services to our people.“The road ahead is long and demanding,” the President said. “The challenges ahead may seem insurmountable, but we are determined to succeed, as we have always succeeded in our efforts to overcome challenges.”Source: SAnews.gov.zalast_img read more

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18 Dec
2019

Final TPP signed, but still a long road ahead

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Trade ministers signed the final Trans-Pacific Partnership yesterday, but the deal is far from complete.The TPP includes 12 Pacific Rim and trade representatives gathered in Auckland, New Zealand in early February to sign the final text of the TPP. Now the member countries have to each approve the trade agreement, which will likely not happen until well after this fall’s presidential election for the United StatesMany agricultural groups celebrated the progress with TPP but recognized there is still a long way to go.“After five years of negotiations, we are pleased to see the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement take another step forward today. The National Corn Growers Association supports the Trans-Pacific Partnership because it would give America’s farmers and ranchers greater access to some of the world’s fastest-growing economies. This agreement is good for both corn farmers and our friends and partners in the livestock industry. We all want to see more American grains, meat and dairy on dinner tables around the world,” said Chip Bowling, NCGA president. “This agreement will strengthen America’s influence in the Asia-Pacific region and set the tone for future international trade agreements, such as with the European Union. By supporting TPP, Congress can send a powerful message: the United States will lead on trade. That’s why NCGA members will be going to Capitol Hill in the coming months, asking Congress to vote in favor of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement in 2016.”In addition to the NCGA, the American Farm Bureau, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, American Soybean Association, National Association of Wheat Growers, and the National Pork Producers Council, among others, firmly support the TPP and will be pushing for its completion. There will likely be a tough fight for TPP supporters ahead, though, as Congress considers the deal while presidential politics dominates the nation’s political landscape in the coming months.Even within agriculture there are significant concerns about the U.S. trade balance with the deal.“TPP is modeled after the failed deals of the past, and it is destined to fail,” said Roger Johnson, president of the National Farmers Union. “Those past deals worsened America’s trade deficit, did nothing to stop our foreign competitors from cheating the system, and failed to live up to a long list of promises.”Once signed by the Administration, TPP will eventually be delivered to Congress for a debate and an up-or-down vote without amendments. Johnson and NFU members in all 50 states are urging Congress to take its time during the examination process and to ultimately reject the deal.“The more people learn about TPP, the more they dislike it,” Johnson said.  “It’s soft on enforcement, it fails to reign in predatory trade practices abroad, and it does nothing to improve America’s trade balance.”last_img read more

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15 Dec
2019

The Customer Care Bar Has Never Been Higher, so Brands Must Automate to Keep Up

first_imgRelated Posts Fang ChengCEO and Co-founder of Linc Global With This One Question, You’ll Never Need an Ic… Product and price have been the foundational differentiators in retail for decades. However, in a world plagued with ever-evolving consumer expectations and innovative new competitors, relying on these differentiators is no longer giving brands the competitive advantage they need to thrive among the fierce competition. It’s easier than ever for consumers to perform price comparisons of similar items, and the rise of e-commerce giants such as Amazon is making an ever-increasing number of lookalike products accessible in two days or less.Advances in manufacturing technology and the sophistication of global supply chains have only stoked the fires of competition, making product quality less of a differentiating factor. As brands fight harder for customer loyalty, exceptional customer experiences and value-added services have emerged as the new game changers when executed well.In fact, a 2018 Salesforce survey of consumer preferences around the globe found that 79 percent of consumers feel like the experience is equal in importance to the products and services offered by a company. Fortunately for brands, there are many different ways to deliver a winning experience.From rewards programs and free shipping to how-to guides, appointment services, and extensive warranties, brands have a wide array of tools at their disposal to drive loyalty and create customers for life. For these tools to effectively serve customers at scale, however, brands need to focus on implementing automated customer care in order to better serve and engage their customers and create net-positive returns from these value-added services.The Evolving Scope of Customer CareAlmost all consumers have experienced the frustrations of traditional customer service. They dial a phone number when an issue arises and listen to long menus of options, aggravating hold music, and repeated assurances that — in spite of the available evidence — their call is “very important.” Most customer service agendas reside in defense mode, cleaning up problems with a tight deadline. Customer care, however, relies on being proactive by providing value-added, meaningful assistance for consumers at every stage of their purchasing journey.For example, cosmetics brand Glossier proactively looks for ways to bring its customers’ voices into its product development. As a result, new and updated products better reflect consumers’ needs and emphasize the importance of their preferences. To carry this through, Glossier’s team fosters customer care by interacting with consumers using candid responses and emojis, similar to how one would communicate with a friend. Taking this connection to new heights, Glossier’s team helped an anxious bride-to-be when she wrote that the brand’s Haloscope highlighter was out of stock. Instead of sending a generic reply, the brand’s team reacted similarly to how a best friend would — messaging all employees to see whether someone had the highlighter and ultimately sending the product before the big day.The most pervasive modern brands are seeking every opportunity to parlay their expertise into value-added services and experiences that engage and excite their customers, and the Freeman “Global Brand Experience Study” has interesting findings on the results. Nearly 60 percent of CMOs surveyed felt like the brand experience created lasting relationships with critical audiences, and 90 percent of respondents lauded the brand experience as a source of compelling engagement.Another impressive, proactive customer care-centered brand is Best Buy. After Amazon took the spotlight by offering fast delivery for electronics and the potential use of drones in the future, Best Buy knew it needed to find a new way to differentiate itself. To do so, it looked at its entire customer journey and realized that its audience often needed help before committing to an electronics purchase. Tapping into its customer care mindset, Best Buy now offers an advisor program, which provides free in-home consultations to help interested consumers learn about new products and what is needed for installation.With so many brands excelling at modern customer care in new ways, the bar is being raised higher every day. That’s great news for consumers, but it’s an intimidating prospect for companies operating on decreasing margins. However, through the use of automation, the expanding landscape of customer care can take on a new life, and brands can be more than able to meet consumers’ expectations.5 Benefits of Automated Customer CareAutomated customer care software is an efficient, scalable solution that delivers the following benefits to brands across verticals:1. Elimination of hefty costsUse automation tools such as chatbots to process a vast number of customer queries and take a significant weight off the shoulders of your service agents. Thanks to developments in AI and machine learning, your chatbot will only get better at interacting.Automated assistants can help customers with a unique blend of service, merchandising, and sales solutions, as well as additional engagement opportunities. Text-based chatbots currently see the most widespread use, and with recent advances in natural language processing technology, they are enabling customers to interact with intelligent bots across a wide range of needs. Additionally, these bots are available via other channels such as voice and web chat.Chatbots are commonly used in customer service scenarios, and they’re particularly valuable because they are capable of bearing the brunt of requests, answering most online queries, and only transferring customers to live agents when necessary. As a result, fewer agents are needed to deliver a higher-quality customer experience.2. Differentiation in the marketOne of the most pressing issues when it comes to customer care is delivering personalized experiences to consumers that don’t take a toll on a brand’s budget. According to a report from Business Insider, the No. 1 barrier to personalization is a lack of resources. Fortunately, with the right tools, a brand can offer engaging services without an astronomical increase in budget, all while reducing costs and creating new revenue. The key to this is automation.Implementing a customer care automation strategy means you can deliver value-added services to more customers across diverse channels, all without increasing your customer service cost. In turn, automated assistants operate around the clock, offer real-time engagement and service to your customers, and improve the reach and results of service-based differentiation initiatives.3. Better engagement in the channels customers preferAs consumers become well-versed in multichannel settings — often communicating with short-form, quick questions — it’s hard for brands to communicate on the channels consumers use the most. Even with a presence in some channels, agents often lack the ability to access the consumer’s current context and history with the brand and are not empowered to provide an immediate resolution.However, customer care automation enables customers to engage with your brand across new channels that you might currently be missing out on while providing immediate service on others. For example, you can use a messaging platform to send customers notifications about product recommendations, answer questions about rewards status and points, and set reminders for events happening nearby. According to Sumo, customers and businesses exchange more than 8 billion messages each month on Facebook Messenger alone. In fact, customers crave this engagement, and 53 percent say they’re more likely to buy from a business that supports chat.4. Unlocked data sourcesDelivering customer care through automated interactions gives brands a wealth of new data that can be used to improve customer experiences, trigger campaigns, and help live agents handle inquiries.Customer care automation software is built to not only provide automated services to a customer, but also share data in real time with other systems. As a result, a unified customer profile provides the AI with what it needs and offers other existing systems access to this data. Bringing together customer profile data, interaction history, and derived insights, such as size preference, frequency of purchase, and sentiment, gives a brand more opportunities to use enriched data in order to offer great customer experiences and drive more engagement and revenue.5. Improved marketing effectiveness and ROIWhile digital paid campaigns can come with a hefty price tag, they are a mainstay for acquisition and retention campaigns alike. Incorporating automated customer care allows ROI to grow organically and affords brands the ability to cut down on ad spend costs by improving audience target, creating additional touchpoints, and driving more engagement through convenience and an improved customer experience.In fact, interacting with customers on such a personal level is powerful, and research from The Boston Consulting Group suggests that retailers that implement personalization strategies see an increase in sales of up to 10 percent. By delivering meaningful services that are based on your unique expertise in your product category, you create relevancy with consumers, along with loyalty and revenue. As a result, your automated customer care can become a tool to convert new customers, retain current ones, and supercharge existing marketing initiatives. Fang Cheng is the CEO and co-founder of Linc Global, a customer care automation platform that helps brands differentiate with automated, value-added services and experiences across the channels shoppers prefer. At first glance, customer care might seem synonymous with customer service, but in reality, brands that are taking a more holistic approach to customer care and incorporating automation to make value-added services more accessible on channels that customers prefer are setting themselves far ahead of the competition. If loyalty, engagement, and the customer experience are top priorities for your brand, understanding and implementing automated customer care now can position you to see gains in the short term and provide you with a strategic advantage for the future.center_img AI is Not the Holy Grail of Sales, at Least Not… How Self-Service Technology Can Boost Startup G… Tags:#automation#customer service Man or Machine? For Better Customer Service, Us…last_img read more

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12 Dec
2019

Hands-On Gear Review: The Versatile DJI Ronin-S Gimbal

first_imgThis gimbal is one of the most intuitive stabilizers on the market, and it could definitely benefit your production. Read on for our full review.Our friends at DJI occasionally send us some amazing toys to try out, like the Hasselblad X-1D or the Inspire 2, but we’ve been looking forward to this one for a long time. The Ronin-S comes from a long line of quality DJI stabilizers popular among industry professionals. DJI’s gimbals have, for the most part, been large-format, double-handled bar-gimbals, like the original Ronin, but the Ronin-S is a one-handed pole gimbal for mirrorless cameras and DSLRs. Here’s what we learned shooting with it for the past few weeks. Payload capacity tested to 8 lbs.Manfrotto Quick Release Plate.12 Hours of battery life with a 2 1/2-hour quick charge time.Net weight of 4.1 lbs.Compatibility with most mirrorless cameras and DSLRs.360-degree rotation capability.Sport Mode for quick tracking.Joystick for precision panning and tilting.Finger trigger for quick changes to settings.Ronin App functionality via Bluetooth.Price: $699Let’s break down some of these features.The finger trigger is probably my favorite feature on the Ronin-S. Instead of switching to different modes to keep your camera at your desired angle, holding the trigger will lock your camera in a fixed position, and you can move the gimbal around however you like. Once you release the trigger, the camera will reset to the gimbal’s gyroscopic center. It’s an incredibly simple and useful addition that gives you a lot more maneuverability when tracking a subject.The sport mode is a setting on the gimbal that makes the Ronin pan and tilt at wildly impressive speeds, so you can track a fast-moving subject or do a quick whip pan.The Bluetooth-compatible DJI app is also a great tool. It lets you access the gimbal remotely, and it allows you to program specific movements or make slower timelapse-friendly movements.The 12-hour battery life is a bit shorter than the Zhiyun Crane 2, but its quick charge capability, via a USB-C port on the battery grip, lets you charge the Ronin-S with a simple cable — instead of taking the gimbal apart to charge the batteries.So, Why Do You Need This?Of course, there are a ton of stabilization options out there. What makes the Ronin-S so special? Well, to me, the price tag is unreal for the features. Any other stabilizer with the same features will cost hundreds of dollars more. The only gimbal that rivals this price is the Zhiyun Crane, but it’s only $100 cheaper with fewer features. Don’t get me wrong — the Crane 2 is an incredible gimbal, but after handling the Ronin-S (after using the Zhiyun for the past year), the difference between the two is pretty clear. So if you can spend an extra $100 for $500 worth of extra features, then I suggest going with the Ronin-S.You can also handle this gimbal upside-down, which lets you get some awesome shots close to the ground. This might not be a feature you use all the time, but, hey, it can come in handy one day if your video calls for a moving macro shot of a field of daffodils.I’ve also noticed that the stabilization algorithm that DJI uses is far superior to other gimbals on the market. With other gimbals, if you take a hard step, you’ll get some shake in your footage. The Ronin-S’s powerful motor limits the shake caused by running or jumping. This means you can do some crazy camera maneuvers with the camera in your hands, a la parkour. Think of the crazy shots you can get).All in all, if you’re looking for a long-lasting gimbal that’s going to work with any of your small to mid-sized cameras, the Ronin-S is the one. From indie filmmakers to professional cinematographers — anyone can get the job done with the Ronin-S.You can find out more at DJI.com.Looking for more on video gear? Check out these articles.A Guide to In-Camera Multiple-Exposure Photography with the Canon 5D Mark IVThe Blackmagic eGPU: The Graphics Upgrade Your Mac NeedsA Look At The Unmatched Versatility of the Canon C700FFThis DIY Roger Deakins Style Ring Light Costs Less Than $150Tips for Shooting Super High-Speed Footage with the Phantom Flex 4K The First LookRight out of the box, you notice the Ronin-S’s amazing build quality. It feels solid and well designed, and it has ergonomic grips on the handle for easy one-handed use. Its sleek metal design is gorgeous.The button layout is simple and straightforward, and the joystick is extremely responsive — it’s easy to manipulate, even with just one hand. It is a bit on the heavy side, but the extra length on the bottom of the detachable battery leaves ample room for double-handed handling.One of my favorite aspects of this gimbal is that the head is at an angle to the base to prevent blockage of the camera’s LCD screen (which has been a problem with our Zhiyun Crane).The Specslast_img read more

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18 Nov
2019

J.R. Smith Suspended For Groin Punch

first_imgNEW YORK — New York Knicks guard J.R. Smith’s suspension for hitting a player in the groin was an easy decision for the league, even without his history of trouble.Smith missed the Knicks’ game at Detroit on Nov. 5, a night after he struck Washington’s Glen Rice Jr. in a game at Madison Square Garden.Smith was dribbling with his right hand when he punched Rice, who was tightly guarding him on the perimeter, with his left with 5:45 remaining in the Knicks’ 98-83 loss on Nov. 4.NBA officials conducted a review of the play and felt it was comparable to other incidents that earned similar suspensions.“When putting everything together, we felt that it was an unnecessary hit to the groin and therefore a suspension was in order,” NBA President of Basketball Operations Rod Thorn said.Smith, the former Sixth Man of the Year, was in trouble with the NBA multiple times last season. He began the season serving a five-game suspension for violating terms of the league’s anti-drug program.Later he was hit with a $25,000 fine for using hostile and inappropriate language toward the Pistons’ Brandon Jennings on his Twitter account and a $50,000 penalty for untying a player’s sneakers during a game.He had been warned to stop untying opponents’ laces after he was caught on camera doing it, but then did it again anyway — with Thorn in attendance — to earn that suspension.But Thorn said Smith’s reputation wasn’t considered before the penalty. “If you are a recidivist sometimes that may come into consideration, but in this case, no,” Thorn said.Instead, he compared the suspension to ones handed down for similar acts to Dwyane Wade two seasons ago and last Nov. 7 to Atlanta’s Dennis Schroder, who was just days into his rookie season.“And he certainly had no reputation for anything,” Thorn said. Smith will lose about $54,385 of his nearly $6 million salary.(BRIAN MAHONEY, AP Basketball Writer)TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

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5 Sep
2019

High Inflation Economic Slowdown Hits Indian PC Market Sales Decline by 59

first_imgThe overall sale of desktops and laptops in India has gone down in the third quarter of this year as compared to last year, recent data showed.According to market research firm Gartner Inc, India’s mobile PC market, which totalled nearly 2.9 million units in the third quarter of 2012, recorded a fall of 5.9 percent during the corresponding period last year.”Consumers accounted for 47 percent of total PC sales in the third quarter of 2012 compared to 55 percent in the third quarter of 2011,” said Vishal Tripathi, principal research analyst at Gartner.”This emphasises the fact that despite the festive season and availability of various end user schemes on PCs, the market was impacted by high inflation, global economic uncertainty and limited share of wallet as consumers preferred to spend on other consumer durables,” he added.In the third quarter this year, parallel imports and white boxes which accounted up to 47 percent of the whole desktop market showed a decline of 35 percent as compared to the same period of the previous year. Mobile PCs helped drive overall market growth with a similar 23 percent growth on a year-on-year basis. Lenovo retained the top position in the third quarter of 2012 with help of factors like the execution of the Tamil Nadu government order, and a strong increase in the consumer space. While HP’s PC shipment grew around 10 percent, Dell declined 22 percent compared to the third quarter of 2011. For local vendor’s like HCL PC market share declined to 3.4 percent in the third quarter with a 43 percent year-on-year decline from the third quarter in 2011. Acer, Dell, HP and Lenovo represented around 60.6 percent of the market.last_img read more

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