Race to top draft pick: 49ers on top, but don’t rule out Raiders

first_imgWhere do the teams competing for the grand booby prize of NFL football, the No. 1 pick in late April’s draft, stand after Week 12?49ers (2-9)Lost to Tampa Bay 27-9After loss to Bucs, only Denver remains as an opponent with a sub-.500 record. Staggering to the finish line and the last five games are brutal.Remaining schedule: at Seattle (6-5), Denver (5-6), Seattle (6-5), Chicago (8-3), at L.A. Rams (10-1). Arizona (2-9)Lost to Chargers 45-10Never got anything going against the …last_img

Pearltrees: A Design Interface for Remapping the Web

first_img Rather than looking at the web as a series of linear pages, this service lets us build tree graphs of connecting arguments, share them and then break them at any time. Using a browser bookmarking tool, we can add and connect related pearls or ideas, place them within other pearls or start a new pearl tree (or train of thought). Rather than displaying a list of items, your pearls connect to your profile. You are literally the center of the universe and your thoughts follow you wherever you go. Naturally, as a newly anointed God of information, other great thinkers will gravitate towards you. Shared pearls connect you to others and allow you to view their collections. From here you can choose your favorite content and omit the noise. From here you can email your pearls, embed them in your blog or broadcast them to Twitter and Facebook. The Future of Touch InterfacesGiven the unique user interface of Pearltrees, Lamothe expects that the company will roll out feature releases and enhancements on an ongoing basis. Says the CEO, “Once we’ve launched the web interface, the potential of a touch product will be very exciting.” At this point, I almost fell out of my chair thinking about the possibilities. Using Pearltrees in conjunction with a touch interface would be extremely practical. Rather than swiping down long lists of links to find articles, images or videos, users could tap on their desired pearl and follow the connectors to the information they wanted. Not only would this greatly improve the research experience, but it could also change device design. For some reason, many touch interfaces mimic the experience of the first personal computers. We are offered a series of boxes from which to start our applications with little room for reorganization or prioritization. The Pearltrees model may prove to be the most efficient way to navigate period. To try the product register at pearltrees.com or click on ReadWriteFrance’s pearl below. 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market dana oshiro It’s rare to look at a bookmarking tool and feel convinced that it’s going to win a design award. Pearltrees is such a product. The French site offers us a new way to explore and contextualize the web. In what looks like a mind map structure, users collect “pearls” (links to articles, videos and web pages) and drag and drop them to form a body of knowledge that folds and expands upon itself. In an interview with Pearltrees CEO Patrice Lamothe, ReadWriteWeb found that company already has a loyal user base including our friends at ReadWriteFrance.Said Lamothe, “We wanted a type of game play that was playful to use and map the web…and the fact that you can group and ungroup content easily means that you can re-catalogue it and keep it current.” Related Posts Tags:#start#startups A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hostinglast_img read more

Heating With Wood Safely and Efficiently

first_imgI’ve been heating primarily with wood since I bought our house 31 years ago, though there were a few years following our installation of an oil boiler when wood consumption dropped considerably.Wood heat has a mixed record, though. It’s a renewable fuel and, assuming that new trees grow up to replace those cut for firewood, it is carbon-neutral, meaning that it doesn’t have a net contribution to global warming. But burning firewood produces a lot of air pollution; in fact, it’s usually our dirtiest fuel.Fortunately, there’s a lot we can do to reduce the pollution generated by wood burning — and boost the efficiency.Our discussion here focuses on wood stoves. Pellet stoves and larger central-heating wood boilers are quite different.And I don’t even think of fireplaces as heating systems. They are aesthetic features that can add wonderful ambiance on special occasions — we use ours two or three times a year. Fireplaces burn very inefficiently, and they result in so much airflow up through the chimney that they can actually cause a net loss of energy. RELATED ARTICLES All About Wood StovesShould Green Homes Burn Wood?Wood Stoves: Safety First Are Masonry Heaters a Good Match for Superinsulated Houses?How to Provide Makeup Air for a Wood StoveHeating a Tight, Well-Insulated HouseHeating With Wood Pellets Alex is founder of BuildingGreen, Inc. and executive editor of Environmental Building News. He also recently created the Resilient Design Institute. To keep up with Alex’s latest articles and musings, you can sign up for his Twitter feed. Choosing a wood stoveSince July 1, 1990, all new wood stoves sold in the U.S. have been required to carry U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certification. (The 1988 law banned the manufacturing of non-EPA-compliant wood stoves after July 1, 1988 and the sale of such stoves two years later.) The EPA standard for non-catalytic wood stoves is 7.5 grams per hour of emissions and for catalytic wood stoves 4.1 grams per hour. By comparison, older, non-certified wood stoves typically produce 40 to 60 grams per hour.Instituting stringent air pollution standards for wood stoves was a bold and controversial move by the federal government. It put over 80% of wood stove manufacturers out of business because it was too expensive for smaller companies to change their designs. (The federal government was able to push this through, I suspect, because wood stove manufactures were tiny with little political clout.) But it also dramatically reduced pollution from wood stoves and boosted combustion efficiency — reducing air pollution by as much as 85%.Manufacturers achieved these improvements by significantly redesigning wood stoves — for example, by insulating the firebox, adding baffles that lengthened the smoke path through the stove resulting in more complete combustion, and providing air-inlet holes above the combustion chamber to preheat combustion air. A few new-generation, non-catalytic wood stoves have EPA emissions ratings of less than 1 gram per hour, but all new wood stoves are far cleaner than their ancestors from two decades ago. Properly seasoning firewoodThe quality of the wood is tremendously important for clean, efficient wood burning. Wood should be seasoned at least six months off the ground and under cover after it is cut and split. If the moisture content of wood is high, that water evaporates as the wood is burned, keeping the combustion temperature low. Even the most advanced wood stove will generate a lot of pollution and burn inefficiently if green (unseasoned) wood is burned. Properly seasoned wood makes a hollow sound when two pieces are knocked together.The six months’ drying of firewood should be considered a minimum. Ideally, several years’ worth of firewood should be kept on hand, with the oldest burned first. One way of organizing this is by stacking green wood outdoors, and then after a season or two moving a heating-season’s worth of wood into a fully covered shed, from which a supply is brought into the house as needed. Green wood should not be stored indoors, because of the significant amount of moisture that it will introduce to the house.In splitting firewood, it’s a good idea to keep the diameter of the split logs relatively small, especially for smaller wood stoves, so that there will be a lot of surface area during combustion. Smaller logs will also dry out more quickly.  Operating wood stoves efficientlyTo achieve optimal performance of a wood stove, it should be operated hot. Start the wood stove with crumpled newspaper and kindling. As the fire burns down, rake the coals toward the front or side of the stove, creating a mound (rather than spreading them out), and add several logs at the same time. In milder weather, build smaller fires, but still operate the stove hot, rather than keeping a large fire going and damping it down (restricting the air inlet). Regularly remove ashes so that air flow in the firebox is not impeded and there is plenty of room for wood.The amount of smoke coming out of a chimney is a pretty good indicator of how cleanly (and efficiently) it is operating. If it generates lots of smoke, the combustion isn’t very complete and a lot of particulates (and other pollutants) are being generated.This may occur if the wood isn’t property seasoned, as noted above, or it may indicate that the wood stove is being damped down too much (not providing adequate combustion air). Poor combustion may also occur if the chimney is clogged with creosote — a dangerous condition that can lead to chimney fires.If a homeowner is unsure how to operate a wood stove for optimal performance, suggest that he or she ask at the store where it was bought. And tell homeowners to make sure that their chimney or flue pipe cleaned regularly — at least once a year.To minimize pollution, household trash should not be burned in a wood stove. Nor should manufactured or painted wood (including plywood and particleboard) or pressure-treated wood — burning any of these materials is illegal in Vermont and some other states, and it should be illegal everywhere. Moldy or rotten wood should also be avoided, as should driftwood, since the salt may corrode the stove and stovepipe or result in toxic emissions.For safety, installing smoke and carbon monoxide detectors is critically important; make sure that this is done. And suggest that batteries on battery-powered detectors be replaced at least annually, or whenever the low-battery alert sounds. Burning wood with minimum air pollution and maximum efficiency depends on three primary factors: the choice of wood stove; how the wood is stored and managed; and operation of the stove.last_img read more

How Tech Can Help Your Business Do More With Less

first_imgBrad AndersonEditor In Chief at ReadWrite Brad is the editor overseeing contributed content at ReadWrite.com. He previously worked as an editor at PayPal and Crunchbase. You can reach him at brad at readwrite.com. Follow the Puck What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … Trends Driving the Loyalty Marketing Industry Related Posts Tags:#automation#business efficiency#business operations#Chatbots#Gig Economy#streamlining processes#technology Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Once upon a time, companies kept physical databases to store customer information, and these records had to be meticulously kept up-to-date by hand. Today, there’s a whole host of automated CRM tools designed with various industries in mind. Businesses of all sizes used to have to bill clients with paper invoices and wait weeks or longer for payment. Now, there are apps such as Wave that allow anyone to accept instant electronic payments via bank account or credit card. Tech is changing the way we do business, and it can help enable your company to accomplish more using less time and money.Armed with the right knowledge and tools, you can expand your business capabilities and meet more customer needs in less time. For example, chatbots are revolutionizing customer service because they allow AI to answer the majority of customer queries. If your service reps are trained to work in conjunction with chatbots, they can jump on the most difficult questions that software isn’t able to answer, using the context the customer has already provided.To get the best business results, you’ll need to prepare your company to take advantage of emerging tech. After all, change can be hard — especially for employees who don’t necessarily see it coming. To take advantage of what tech has to offer, embrace the following three principles.1. Tech is enabling a stronger gig economy, which you should be utilizing.When it comes to the gig economy, Uber is just the beginning. In the near future, Raad Ahmed, founder and CEO of AI hiring platform LawTrades, envisions that a “new age of marketplaces will emerge, tackling regulated industries by productizing complex services and creating income equivalent to a full-time position for independent service professionals.” In other words, a wider range of industries will be represented among gig workers. This is good news for business leaders. Instead of hiring a full-timer and paying a salary with benefits for work you might not need, join the 42 percent of large and mid-sized companies that are capitalizing on the freelance economy to meet seasonal demand. In fact, 43 percent of companies using gig workers report that they’re already achieving more with less, saving at least 20 percent in labor costs alone.2. Automation is freeing up your team for more complex tasks.Automation is often lauded for its ability to improve efficiency, but there are other profound benefits as well. In addition to performing work more rapidly, automated processes are far more accurate than humans. In fields such as finance, where a small change in error rate makes a big difference, automation is becoming the new standard. And by boosting efficiency and reducing errors through the automation of rote tasks, you’ll enable your team to focus on more strategic, big-picture ones.The benefits may be clear, but implementation isn’t exactly a cake walk. According to a study from KPMG, a third of business leaders are concerned about how automation will impact their workers. The study goes on to relate how one insurance company launched a project to automate certain administrative tasks with the hope of freeing up employee time to work on more complex customer issues. First, the company made a list of core businesses processes it wanted to automate and prioritized the list based on the anticipated benefits. Then, after picking a tech service provider, the company’s management team began working its way down the list. Mimic this methodical process if you’re wondering how to implement automation or feeling unsure about what to automate — and how it could impact your team.3. Tech can push your business forward if you push your team forward first.Technology can provide big benefits, but to reap the rewards, you’ll need a flexible workforce that can adapt to evolving job descriptions. Differentiate your business and make the most of tech by helping your employees undergo upskilling. By guiding workers through changes in their job descriptions, you’ll help ease them through transitions as smoothly as possible. The pace of technological innovation necessitates rapid adaptation. In the past, the most specialized workforce performed the best. In the future, it will be the most flexible one.In addition to coaching your employees in their current roles, keep an eye on what the future might hold. AT&T, for example, has shifted its HR focus in recent years to ensuring that its teams have the know-how to keep up with new tech. As Scott Smith, AT&T’s senior vice president of human resources operations, explains, “You can go out to the street and hire for the skills, but we all know that the supply of technical talent is limited, and everybody is going after it. Or you can do your best to step up and reskill your existing workforce to fill the gap.”Technology offers more benefits than ever before, and new innovations continue to shake up entire industries. By utilizing technology properly, you can improve efficiency, reduce costs, and increase profits — a powerful trifecta that can catapult your business to the top.last_img read more