The Downsides Of Teleworking

Posted by | Filed under Business | Oct 6, 2015 | Tags: , | No Comments

tdotwARE YOUR OFFICE-BOUND COWORKERS green with envy–or resentment–because you telework? Working at home may be your temporary reprieve from office politics, but it’s not always “business as usual” when you return to the main office. If your colleagues’ resentment festers, it can be the downfall of your telework program, but there are ways to help your office mates accept your work schedule.

The Bitter End

For Pam Waterman, a senior technical marketing writer for Bolt Beranek & Newman Inc., a computer software and hardware company located in Cambridge, Mass., she became aware of resentment over her teleworker status after the birth of her first child. Waterman and a fellow coworker–also a new mom and an engineer who worked in a different department–worked out an arrangement with their respective supervisors to work from home the same two days every week. On those days, they split childcare and work time. But soon after implementing the change, Waterman and her fellow teleworker felt the same chilly reception from their coworkers: Despite the 40- to 50-hour weeks each devoted to the company, they weren’t taken seriously. “We got the subtle sense that we were really only considered to be part-timers,” says Waterman. “We were made to feel like we were not pulling our weight.”

Bit by bit, Waterman felt squeezed out of the communications loop. First, conference meetings that she’d normally attend were scheduled on days she worked at home. “Then, a client would call or raise an issue, or a change would be made to the production schedule, and I’d find out accidentally after the fact,” says Waterman. After three months of slights, she threw in the towel and went back to the office full-time. (more…)

Why Sci-Fi Writers Fail

Posted by | Filed under Science Fiction | Sep 30, 2015 | Tags: , | 1 Comment

Each magazine or publishing house has its own character, so reading and studying their published magazines and books beforehand is essential to having a story or book accepted–or even read–by an editor.

hssFor example, a light-hearted whimsical romp won’t likely fit in Analog magazine, which publishes serious hardcore sci-fi stories with the proper science and engineering background fully exploited and realized. Fantasy & Science Fiction might not prefer such a story either, but wouldn’t necessarily balk at one featuring both robots and ghosts, or even the ghost of a robot. Asimov’s Science Fiction is known for its more literary approach, and Talebones for the dark spin on its stories. There are many other science fiction outlets, mostly low-paying, but all good places to start and to learn about marketing. Be sure you make a thorough study of the different categories.

Unfortunately, every science fiction editor can testify that neophytes eagerly submit stories in which the lone survivors of a spaceship crash are revealed to be Adam and Eve.

Such cliches

When The Stars Come Out…

Posted by | Filed under Characters | Sep 26, 2015 | Tags: , | No Comments

Tales of celestial descent are not restricted to ancient myth. Superman, who qualifies as a post-Classic Perseus, also dropped out of the sky when he survived a ballistic trajectory from his home planet, Krypton. As an infant, he was cradled in a projectile launched by his rocket-scientist father to ensure his escape from the catastrophe his world was about to suffer. He landed safely in a cornfield on Earth and grew up to become the Man of Steel–more powerful than a locomotive, faster than a speeding bullet, and able to transform the comic-book industry in a single bound.


Modern science fiction has also leveraged uncontrolled descent to Earth into a variety of perspectives on the meaning of contact from outer space. In “Kaleidoscope,” Ray Bradbury’s bittersweet tale of an accident in space, the spacesuited crew is scattered to separate trajectories of gravitational doom. One of them, routed toward Earth, realizes he will be immolated on reentry and wonders if anyone will notice the human meteor returning dust to the Earth.

Get Smart With Negotiation

Posted by | Filed under Business | Sep 24, 2015 | Tags: , | No Comments

gsnIN THE THREE YEARS THAT FARLA BINDER has run her home-based entertaining coaching and consulting business, she’s tapped into the professional negotiating skills she learned during the 25 years that she operated Creations By Farla, a Los Angeles-based corporate-party-planning company. Her philosophy? She believes in her product and her ability to deliver value; for those reasons, she stands by her fee. If clients ask her to lower her fee, Binder gets creative so she doesn’t look like she’s caving in to those demands. For example, Binder will offer less consulting time for less money, or she’ll offer a menu of services. That way clients can feel more in control of the fee.

“I don’t compromise on my prices,” says Binder. “However, by giving them a menu, I am giving them choices. But I don’t allow clients to negotiate on the menu’s fees.”

And in fact, according to small business idea generator, a site that helps new entrepreneurs with market research, pricing is a major factor in the failure, or success of a new business. (more…)

Arthur C. Clarke: Sci-Fi Stud

Posted by | Filed under Science Fiction, The Cosmos | Sep 22, 2015 | Tags: , | No Comments

At the close of the war, the scientists who had built and launched Nazi Germany’s V-2 ballistic missiles immigrated to the Soviet Union and the United States. Amid the gypsum desert of White Sands Proving Ground in New Mexico, they worked with their American counterparts to rebuild and relaunch these rockets. The British knew firsthand the destructive power of rockets in war as the V-2s bombarded London; rocket power, as demonstrated by the German V-2s, was becoming a major new force. In 1952 Clyde Tombaugh, the discoverer of Pluto, who worked at that time at White Sands, got Clarke access to the site and talked with him about rocketry’s potential.


Clarke saw the promise of space travel, but he also understood that governments would be loath to embrace it unless a practical use could be found. In October 1945 Wireless World published his article “Extraterrestrial Relays,” which laid down the principle of geostationary satellites. Three communications satellites, positioned 120[degrees] apart in a geostationary orbit, or “Clarke orbit,” as some now

Office Furniture Hunting

Posted by | Filed under Business | Sep 15, 2015 | Tags: , | No Comments

ofhWORKING AT HOME IS THE PERFECT situation for Chris Williamson. Once a vice president of human resources for a $400 million company, she decided she needed to be at home with her three children more than she needed to be at the office. So, she started her own business, Creative Human Resource Solutions Ltd., which she runs from her 4-bedroom colonial home in Perrysburg, Ohio.

She set up her office next to the master bedroom, in what used to be the catch-all room over the garage. Its large window gives her a magnificent view over the trees toward the historical site of Fort Meigs, a War of 1812 battleground next to the Maumee River. But the one battle Chris confronted was one she didn’t expect: She couldn’t find suitable home office furnishings.

“I looked for months for office furniture,” says Williamson. “I could find armoires, but there was no drawer space. Or I could find metal filing cabinets to put a top on to make a desk, but it just …

L’Sprague De Camp: Iconoclast!

Posted by | Filed under Characters, Science Fiction | Sep 12, 2015 | Tags: , | No Comments

De Camp, a native of New York City, was one of the leading early figures in science fiction, getting his start in the 1930s and 1940s at the same time as colleagues such as Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, Lester del Rey, and Frederik Pohl. John W. Campbell, the influential editor of Astounding Science Fiction magazine, pointed to de Camp’s stories as an example of the kind of science fiction he was looking for.

They were based on imaginative but careful and reasonable extrapolation from contemporary science. De Camp was known for his erudition (especially about history), scientific accuracy; polished writing, and “swashbuckling” style.

decmAlthough best known as a fiction writer, de Camp was a meticulous researcher who brought his interests in science, history, and archaeology and his background as an engineer (B.S. in aeronautical engineering from California Institute of Technology in 1930; masters from Stevens Institute of Technology in 1933) to his nonfiction works. During World War II, de Camp, Heinlein, and Asimov independently worked on research projects at

The Web Has Made Assistive Technology Amazing

Posted by | Filed under Disabilities | Sep 8, 2015 | Tags: , , | No Comments

twhmaPeople with visual, hearing, or other physical impairments are usually familiar with the assistive technology that helps them live, learn, and communicate with others. But not every home-based entrepreneur is aware that these technologies can help them communicate with the largest possible audience.

There are more than 30 million people with disabilities who can be affected by the design of computer software, according to Mike Paciello, founder and CTO of WebABLE, a Nashua, N.H.-based consulting firm that focuses on assistive technologies. In 1998, the President’s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities reported that consumers with physical disabilities control more than $175 billion in discretionary income. “For SOHOs, that seems to be incentive enough to use these technologies,” says Paciello.

At the most fundamental level, your Web site can be specially coded to accommodate people with disabilities. Directions for doing this have been collected by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). The organization’s Web Accessibility Initiative can be found at “The guidelines cover everything from how to create …

How To Live Better With Rheumatoid Arthritis

Posted by | Filed under Disabilities | Sep 6, 2015 | 3 Comments

bwraRheumatoid arthritis can affect the quality of life in many aspects. If you have this disease diagnosed, than you know the best what does it mean to live with RA. Pain that you may feel is probably stopping you from many activities, but it can also cause you anxiety. That’s why you definitely want help with rheumatoid arthritis. If you prefer natural remedies then you can find few ideas here about natural methods of easing the pain at rheumatoid arthritis. First thing is to protect joints from heavy lifting. Even if you don’t feel pain in joints, you should protect them. For example, do not lift heavy pots. If you read a book, hold it with your palms instead with fingers. These small steps may be of great help later. On the other hand, you should not stop being active. Exercise is still possible and preferable. It can give you energy and keep you in good mood. You don’t have to chose heavy workouts, but simple walking or swimming will …

Avoiding Scams Is Less Tricky Than You Think

Posted by | Filed under Business | Sep 2, 2015 | Tags: , | No Comments

asiltA HOME-BASED BUSINESS OWNER, YOU HAVE A RISK-taking attitude that can culminate in great profits. Alas, this pioneering spirit can also tempt unwary home officers into the jaws of a wide variety of scams, schemes, and nefarious business deals spawned by modern-day Fagans. But if you’re forewarned, and exercise some caution and common sense, most of them can be avoided.

“The work-at-home, make-big-money, buy-large-cars, I-will-tell-you-how-to-make-it-rich-overnight multi-level-marketing offers are largely schemes, if not scams,” says Lindsey Krause, who worked in the corporate marketing department of a multilevel marketing company (MLM) for more than a year before she discovered its unsavory business tactics and quit. (Krause asked us not to reveal her real name for fear of reprisals.) She says hundreds of people left the company each month, disillusioned and broke, while a core group collected outrageous sums of money.

The bait comes in many forms–savings on office supplies, incredible sales, membership in exclusive trade organizations. And despite the dire warnings of attorneys general and consumer groups, people still fall prey to …

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