Which Flexible Work Options Employers Offer vs. What Employees Actually Want


More than three-quarters (76%) of marketing executives say their company offers some form of alternative work arrangement, according to a recent report from The Creative Group.

The report was based on data from a survey of more than 400 advertising and marketing executives who work for firms in the United States, as well as 1,000 US workers age 18 and older who work in office environments.

Some 61% of respondents say their firm offers part-time work, and 33% say their firm offers flextime.

Also, 30% of respondents say their firms provide telecommuting options; 14% say a compressed workweek; and 12% say job-sharing.

Employees say the alternative work arrangements they most value are flextime (37% of respondents want it), telecommuting (26%), and a compressed workweek (26%).

About the research: The report was based on data from a survey of more than 400 advertising and marketing executives who work for firms in the United States, as well as 1,000 US workers age 18 and older who work in office environments.

Ayaz Nanji is an independent digital strategist and a co-founder of ICW Content, a marketing agency specializing in content creation for brands and businesses. He is also a research writer for MarketingProfs. He has worked for Google/YouTube, the Travel Channel, AOL, and the New York Times.

LinkedIn: Ayaz Nanji

Twitter: @ayaznanji

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Jennifer Aniston says modern-day ‘Friends’ would just be the gang on their phones


Jennifer Aniston says modern-day ‘Friends’ would just be the gang on their phones

Jennifer Aniston at the Season 3 premiere of HBO's 'The Leftovers.'
Jennifer Aniston at the Season 3 premiere of HBO’s ‘The Leftovers.’

Image: Matt Baron/BEI/Shutterstock

20 years ago, Friends was dominating NBC’s airwaves with the story of six pseudo-adults in New York City trying to find their way through life and love.

Though it continues to endure with a loyal fanbase, the world of Friends is undeniably analog; Its adorably archaic technology could and does fill lists. In an interview for Thrive Global Podcast With iHeartRadio, Jennifer Aniston told Ariana Huffington that if Friends happened today, everyone at Central Perk would just be staring at their phones.

“Now you have a computer, a television, and a phone. There’s no room,” Aniston said. “We were jokingly saying that if Friends was created today, you would have a coffee shop full of people that were just staring into iPhones. There would be no actual episodes or conversations.”

That seems contestable, since TV shows about adult friends struggling through life together are as ubiquitous as ever (New Girl, You’re The Worst, Netflix’s upcoming Friends From College). Or maybe Aniston was speaking to the actual characters on Friends, imagining they’d have low attention spans and be easily distracted (imagine Joey having constant access to mobile games).

Either way, don’t hold out for a modern Friends adaptation.


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No joke: Linux is coming to Microsoft’s app store (MSFT)


Satya Nadella Linux

Microsoft just announced that three different versions of the free Linux operating system — Ubuntu, Suse, and Fedora — are coming to the Windows Store, the app market in Windows 10. 

It sounds weird, but it makes perfect sense. In early 2016, Microsoft announced the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL), a way for developers to use full versions of Linux within Windows 10 itself.

Putting aside the historical ramifications here — Microsoft spent the 90s unsuccessfully trying to stamp out Linux, a free alternative to Windows — it was a move intended to bait programmers into using Windows 10.

Here’s the thinking: Developers like using Linux software, Windows 10 supports Linux software and Windows software, so maybe consider doing all your development with Windows 10. It was well-received by developers, and has apparently emboldened Microsoft to go further.

So adding Ubtuntu, Suse, and Fedora to the Windows Store is actually just a way to make it easier to get started with the WSL by letting you install the Linux version of your choice. Still, gosh, if you need a sign that Microsoft has changed, look no further.

SEE ALSO: Satya Nadella is playing a deeper game with Microsoft than anyone gave him credit for

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Hands-on with Microsoft’s newest laptop that’s taking on Google and Apple

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UberEats will solve your late night snack cravings in London


UberEats will solve your late night snack cravings in London

Late night London is now great if you're trying to leave that party so fast you didn't even eat.
Late night London is now great if you’re trying to leave that party so fast you didn’t even eat.

Image: eugene Hoshiko/AP/REX/Shutterstock

If you love eating at restaurants often but you’re also lazy and/or just prefer staying home, UberEats is a service you should get to know. 

UberEats, the ride-hailing company’s food-delivery service, now runs until 2 a.m. in London, a three-hour extension of its previous closing time, according to a company announcement. 

This update means Londoners can order UberEat almost around the clock, choosing from 150 participating restaurants to fill the space in their stomach long past the setting of the sun.

The service started doing breakfast in London at 7 a.m. back in January, which at the time moved the opening hour back four hours from 11 a.m. So now instead of running from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., just half the day, the service now covers 19 of every 24 hours. 

While the Uber only announced the extended hours for London, delivery times vary across each of UberEats’ cities.

Just make it through the cold darkness of 2-7 a.m. and you will never again have to cook or visit a restaurant. 

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Forget the NES Classic Edition — this tiny $40 game console plays every old Nintendo game


The adorably tiny, $60 NES Classic Edition is officially a collector’s item at this point: Nintendo halted production as of April, and has no plans to make more in the future. 

NES Classic Edition

Other than going to places like eBay, where you’ll pay a premium for the system, there’s another strong option for buying something similar to the NES Classic Edition without actually getting it: It’s called the RetroN 1 HD.

Try to ignore the dumb name for a second while you take a gander at this attractive little box:

RetroN 1 HD

Not bad, right? Here’s the kicker: It costs just $39.99, and it can play every single NES game. Here’s the deal.

SEE ALSO: 7 reasons Nintendo is discontinuing its ridiculously popular $60 game console, the NES Classic

Unlike the NES Classic Edition, the RetroN HD 1 is built to play every NES game ever made. You slap an NES cartridge into the opening on top, and you’re off to the races.

The console works with Nintendo Entertainment System cartridges from North America (NTSC), as well as those from Europe (PAL). It’s unclear if the console will play Japanese cartridges from the Famicom game console, but it seemingly cannot; we’ve asked Hyperkin and haven’t heard back yet.

That said, compared with the 30 games included on the NES Classic Edition, the RetroN 1 HD is a major step up. Granted, you’ll need the cartridges, but you should have no problem finding your favorite NES cartridges for ridiculously low prices ($2-$3 apiece for most). 

BONUS PRO TIP: If you have NES cartridges that don’t boot up, try cleaning the exposed part of the cartridge (the bottom part) with alcohol on a cotton swab. If the cartridge doesn’t boot up after doing that, it’s almost certainly broken. Do not blow on your cartridges — that does nothing (other than make them dirtier).

What do you get in the box for $40? Here’s everything we know:

Hyperkin says you get three main things in the box:

-One premium classic-style controller

-One 3 ft. HD cable

-One 6 ft. micro-USB charge cable

That means that there are no games included — part of the reason that the system costs $20 less than the NES Classic Edition — so you’ll need to snag some of those as well. But you probably already have a bunch of old NES cartridges sitting around collecting dust, right? Right.

Other than just playing your old NES games, the RetroN 1 HD — living up to the "HD" in its name" — actually upscales them to high-definition.

You might be wondering what "upscaling" means when we’re talking about 8-bit games from 30 years ago. In the case of the RetroN 1 HD, it means you can play those games on your HD television in the correct aspect ratio (16:9) instead of having massive black bars on either side of the screen.

Because these games are so old, they are presented in a 4:3 aspect ratio — which is to say, "they weren’t presented in a widescreen format." As a result, NES games can look unfortunately scrawny on a modern television. The RetroN 1 HD fixes that issue.

BONUS: There is a switch on the bottom of the RetroN 1 HD that enables you to switch between the classic aspect ratio (4:3) and the modern one (16:9), if you’re into that kinda thing.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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Google’s neural network-generated custom face stickers are like Bitmoji that aren’t horrible


So let me just say really quick that I really dislike Bitmoji. Pretty much everything about it/them. The one thing that’s good about Bitmoji is that the user really can easily customize a representative avatar, which is good for inclusion, even if the results are universally terrible in every way. Fortunately Google has just blown Bitmoji out of the water with a genuinely excellent alternative. Unfortunately, it’s only for Allo.

The system, which has no name, uses a selfie to figure out your basic look: hair, eye color, skin tone, face shape, headgear, etc. It then builds a face out of pieces drawn by “resident artist” Lamar Abrams — and honestly I like the exaggerated yet human style, which is very much unlike that found in Bitmoji or emoji.

It’s a matter of taste, but I think they’re great. Certainly better than stupid Bitmoji.

He created enough features to create “more than 563 quadrillion combinations.” So it’s unlikely you’ll accidentally dupe someone else’s. You can use props and backgrounds to further multiply your options — it’s not just a face.

How did Google go about creating this cool system? Apparently researchers tripped over it while wading through their existing machine learning systems:

“We discovered that a few neurons among the millions in these networks were good at focusing on things they weren’t explicitly trained to look at that seemed useful for creating personalized stickers,” reads the blog post announcing the system.

Chalk one up for the robots. They know us better than we know ourselves. Or at least better than Bitmoji.

But really, it’s the fundamental idea of inclusivity that drives this. The fact is that no matter how many shades they add to emoji, there’s only so much customization you can do in those tiny, unicode-defined characters. Got green hair? Too bad. Wear glasses and a hat? No dice.

Google is explicit about the intention to allow people to represent themselves, rather than choose from the nearest representation provided by someone else.

…Illustration by its very nature can be subjective. Aesthetics are defined by race, culture, and class which can lead to creating zones of exclusion without consciously trying. As such, we strove to create a space for a range of race, age, masculinity, femininity, and/or androgyny. Our teams continue to evaluate the research results to help prevent against incorporating biases while training the system.

That’s a very human sentiment to come from a company that’s 95 percent algorithms. But we shouldn’t be surprised: Google has actually been pretty candid about the possibility for bias in machine learning systems, and how to counter it or build inclusivity in from the start.

So, great idea, great implementation, great justification. What’s the catch? Well, it only works in Allo. And only on Android at that, for now at least!

I don’t know how many people are using Allo, but it can’t be enough that this worthy sticker making system will displace the incumbents. Here’s hoping Google breaks this out of its prison and provides it as a free service for those of us who aren’t on board with the company’s incomprehensible messaging strategy.

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Apple’s Watch can detect an abnormal heart rhythm with 97% accuracy, UCSF study says


According to a study conducted through heartbeat measurement app Cardiogram and the University of California San Francisco, the Apple Watch is 97 percent accurate in detecting the most common abnormal heart rhythm, when paired with an AI-based algorithm.

The study involved 6,158 participants recruited through the Cardiogram app on Apple Watch. Most of the participants in the UCSF Health eHeart study had normal EKG readings. However, 200 of them had been diagnosed with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (an abnormal heartbeat). Engineers then trained a deep neural network to identify these abnormal heart rhythms from Apple Watch heart rate data.

Cardiogram began the study with UCSF in 2016 to discover whether the Apple Watch could detect an oncoming stroke. About a quarter of strokes are caused by an abnormal heart rhythm, according to Cardiogram co-founder and data scientist for UCSF’s eHeart study Brandon Ballinger.

Cardiogram tested the deep neural network it had built against 51 in-hospital cardioversions (a procedure that restores the heart’s normal rhythm) and says it achieved a 97 percent accuracy in the neural network’s ability to find irregular heart activity.

So far this is just a study built on a preliminary algorithm but it holds promise in trying to identify and prevent stroke in the future. Atrial fibrillation, the most common abnormal heart rhythm, causes 1 in 4 strokes. Ballinger says two-thirds of those types of strokes are preventable with relatively inexpensive drugs.

And more people, including older populations most prone to stroke risk, are starting to use wearable technology such as Fitbit or the Apple Watch, which can double as heart monitors. Including algorithms trained to identify heart problems could help save lives in some of these more at-risk populations.

It should be noted mobile EKG readers have also made great strides in the past few years. The Mayo Clinic teamed up on a study involving AI and AliveCor’s version of an EKG reader, which sticks onto the back of a smartphone and uses the Kardia app to determine abnormal heart rhythm, and determined it was as good as other EKG devices used in the doctor’s office. The Mayo Clinic felt so strongly about this study it invested in AliveCor’s latest $30 million round.

In the meantime, Cardiogram and UCSF will continue its eHealth study and plan to further validate its deep neural network “against multiple gold standards, incorporating the results into the Cardiogram app itself, and investigating the ability to detect health conditions beyond atrial fibrillation,” according to Cardiogram.

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How to Select an Influencer Marketing Marketplace [Infographic]


So you’ve decided to work with influencers to help your message reach the right audience. Now what?

It could benefit you to work with an influencer marketplace, and this infographic, produced by influencer marketplace Izea, explains how to select the right one.

For example, you’ll want to consider not just the influencers the marketplace has access to but also the interface of the marketplace and how the reporting and analytics work.

The right marketplace for your needs can help create smoother workflows and encourage collaboration, the infographic explains.

To see more factors to consider when selecting an influencer marketplace, see the infographic, or click or tap it to view a larger version.

Laura Forer is the manager of MarketingProfs: Made to Order, Original Content Services, which helps clients generate leads, drive site traffic, and build their brands through useful, well-designed content.

LinkedIn: Laura Forer

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Psy’s new hot single reminds you that he still has the top YouTube video of all time


Oh, Psy knows you were waiting for this. The K-pop megastar and reigning top spot holder on YouTube has just dropped two fresh music videos, to go with his new album, 4X2=8.

His 2012 song, “”Gangnam Style, still has the most views on YouTube of all time, now at 2.8 billion.

Psy slickly alludes to this in his new song, “I Luv It,” which shows his views skyrocketing on YouTube.

And for a little more viral love, Psy features a cameo from last year’s biggest viral sensation, Piko Taro, of “Pen-Pineapple-Apple-Pen (PPAP)” fame.

Piko Taro <3s Psy right back.

Piko Taro

Image: officialpsy/youtube

The video also features South Korean star Lee Byung-hun, who may be more recognisable to Western audiences for his work in the G.I. Joe franchise, and Terminator Genisys.

Image: officialpsy/youtube

While you’re at it, don’t forget to watch the other video that Psy dropped on Thursday, “New Face.”

Arguably even catchier than “I Luv It,” the video features Psy running around a hotel in various staff roles trying to win the affection of Naeun, who’s from current chart-topping girl group Apink.

Good luck getting the chorus out of your head.

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