Should I Buy an iPad


iPad with on display keyboard

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Listen to this postI ordered my iPad from a Kuwaiti site called Kuwait- mall because the Appel store was declining my orders on the ground that the available supply of iPad’s was not enough for the US market. So, I waited until the 3G model was available and ordered the highest capacity available. The order was done on May 9, 2010. I received the iPad after 17 days. The US price was $849 (KD245) and I paid KD 289 ($950) which is a reasonable price if you consider the shipping and handling cost. The official price in UK is £699 ($950 or KD300).

iPad (64, WiFi + 3G) KD Kuwaiti $ Dollars £ Sterling
Price in US 246 845 587
Price in UK 293 1,010 699
Price in Kuwait 428 1,475 1,020

The iPad screen resolution is fantastic, I did not know that a screen this clear does exist in the world. Now, while I am looking at what I am typing, I feel like reading clear text from a printed paper, the graphics even better. The keyboard is excellent. I practiced for about half an hour to get used to the keyboard. Now I type at the same speed I would type on a normal keyboard. The auto spell checker and the auto correction make my typing even better because the spell checker would display the full word while I am still typing it, all I need to do is to hit the space bar and the full word Is there. The spellchecker is excellent and the definition function is more convenient. If you are a Mac user you would know what I am talking about.

Most of the available applications are simple but powerful. When you check the iToons store you will find many applications to chose from. Most of applications are reviewed and ranked by users like you who purchased the application and posted their thoughts for others to read. The count reached 180,000 application to choose from but most of those applications are made for the iPhone. The iPhone applications will work on your iPad but with smaller display. There is an option to enlarge the iPhone application by 100% of its size but it would not be as sharp and clear as the iPad applications. iWork applications are the perfect alternatives for the Microsoft softwares: Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Pages, Numbers and Notes are available for the iPad and they are powerful enough for a medium user who need the frequently used options to create documents, spread sheets and elegant presentations. iWork applications are stylish, powerful and simple enough to be learned and used by almost everybody. You can import Microsoft files to iWork applications effortlessly. You may see some minor error messages during the file conversions, but most of these error messages are due to the You will not retype or adjust a lot of the imported text and pictures. I imported some files and got the error report but could not figure out what was wrong because the document was fine. You may export your files in the original format or on Microsoft format (doc, ppt, xls) and pdf format that most of the users can import and read. I do not think that I will use Microsoft programs anymore as long as I can.

One of the best features is the iPad battery. I turned it on at 8:00 am and checked it’s power storage at 3:00 pm to find the power meter showing %47. We used the iPad for about 4 1/2 hours during that testing time. I say “we used it” because the kids were playing games on the iPad whenever they see it laying on the table and I am not around.

The iPad is cute, simple and light enough to hide in any bag or envelope. You would have to search for it between your printed materials in the bag! The question most of you are asking now is “Should I buy one?”.  My answer would be “it depends….”. If you are one of those heavy users who use specialized Programs and templets, then the iPad would not satisfy all of your needs. But if you need the iPad for regular use like: email, browsing, bloging, chatting on the Net, or writing stylish and professional documents (or presentations and spreadsheets) then the iPad would be a good choice for you especially of you need your laptop with you everywhere and most of the time.

You may be interested in reading “Are you new to the iPad” in this blog.

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How Long Should We Stay

Listen to this postI was asked how could I work for the same employer for a long time. I have worked with the same employer for about 30 years now. I joined the current employer in November 1980 when I had enough black hear on top of my head and a slim waist that I can only wish for now. I have gain a lot of weight which mostly not muscles.  Back then, I was eager and happy to work in an unforgiving environment like the refining industry. My start was with a team ten years older than me. They started bullying and pressuring me to quit. They asked me many times why would I work in such harsh conditions while I am still young and able to join less demanding and more prestige’s job. My answer would always be in the a derivative of the following question “…. and why are you still working in this environment if it is not good as you said!” usually they could not give a good answer. I knew then that I had a good job because they were trying to push me out of it.
The number one reason for me to stay with the same employer is the good salary and the frequent promotions I got. I was promoted relatively fast from one position to the other when I was a high school graduate and also when I got my engineering degree.  I should say that I got the degree by a generous  scholarship from the same employer.
The working team and the culture in the refinery is the second reason for me to stay with the same employer. The refinery is full of people who would help me when I ask them to, and they are always supportive when I needed support. They are more like a family to me than coworkers.  The daily challenges keep me busy and innovative constantly. These challenge are my third reason for staying with the same employer because routine or repetitive work is does not suit me. I would say that good salary, good benefits combined with daily challenges in a supportive environment would be a good combination for somebody like me to stay forever with a single employer.

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Safety Culture Prevents Accidents

Listen to this postFriend (2000) suggest setting up key performance indicators to check the safety culture and act on deviations from these performance indicators. Periodic review is suggested to confirm the validity of the key performance indicators and culture development. Reid (2008) highlights three steps to build up a safety culture. First, team’s errors, intentional or unintentional, are unacceptable and should be dealt with to either mitigate or end them. Second, acknowledge human factors in the care delivery. Third, set permanent quality improvement in the medical teams and leaders. Hard work is required to prove that such problem does exist at the work place. The problem might be intangible like potential for loss which can be prevented by an insurance policy. Management support and commitment is required to build safety culture. Management can support the culture by endorsing written safety documents like safety manual, safety policy, rules and regulation. Management should support a carrot and stick system to reward good safety behaviors and denounce unsafe behaviors.

Intangible items like shared values, beliefs and perceptions set safety culture in the work site. Management will focus on selected intangible elements of the culture according to the job nature. Deviations will not be accepted in these selected elements. Management should improve safety attitude and constantly assess the safety related issues to build a solid safety culture. Set up standard operating procedure and proactively manage assets. Assess each incident and share the learned lessons with employees. Encourage employees to document incidents regardless of their size or effect on the workplace. Analyze each incident and set a remedy to prevent its reoccurrence.

One of the important management responsibilities is to balance between safety and the incident cost reduction. Management should elevate safety awareness as part of their support to safety culture. Train employees, new and veteran, on safety related issues and encourage them to report incidents. Employ safety personal make them report to the highest management levels possible.

References:

Enhance safety culture in your manufacturing sites. (Oct 2007). Hydrocarbon Processing, p.NA. Retrieved October 19, 2008, from Gale PowerSearch database.

Friend, M. (2000). Establishing a safety culture: getting started. Professional Safety, 45(5), 30. Retrieved October 18, 2008, from the EBSCOhost database.

Reid, J. (2008). Building a safety culture. The Journal of Perioperative Practice, 18(4), 134.  Retrieved October 19, 2008, from ProQuest database.

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Loosely-Coupled Organization

Listen to this postCentralization was the best managerial method long time ago, but still some organizations are happy with this kind of set up. Recently, most organizations are transforming from centralized organization going through a multi-divisional set up to reach a loosely-coupled network form (Scott, 2003). Disagreement and conflict more likely to develop within the differentiated and loosely-coupled organization. the disagreement would take place when the part of the loosely-coupled organization act alone away form the organizations strategic objectives.  The good part of being a loosely coupled organization is the ease and the flexibility to be more effective and efficient because the organization can quickly matches the environment it works in (Scott, 2003).  The environment does not influence the decentralization level of information services but influence the structure of information services across the organization (Olson & Chervany, 1980). Tightly-coupled organizations should be centralized to keep up the link between the managers and the performers. The performers can pre-plan the captivity if the task was well understood prior to performing otherwise more knowledge will be needed that may change the resource allocation (Galbraith, 1974).

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References:

Galbraith, J. (1974, May). Organization design: an information processing view. Interfaces,4(3), 28-36. Retrieved April 26, 2009, from Business Source Complete database.

Olson, M., & Chervany, N. (1980). The relationship between organizational characteristics and the structure of the information services function. Mis Quarterly, 4(2), 57-68.

Scott, W. (2003). Organizations: rational, natural, and open systems (5th ed.). New York: Prentice-Hall.

Perfecting the Supply Chain

Listen to this postInventory management and the difference between good and bad performances are some of the principles that being lectured to Dell’s employees through multiple presentations (Stewart & O’Brien, 2005). Reword and punishment are some of the performance techniques used by most of Dell’s rivals, but Dell’s employees set the rewards and punishment for themselves to drive their performance. Dell Inc. has the “no excuse” culture since the management will not accept excuses for low performance or the failure to make money. Dell’s top management believe that if the expectation are set high enough then the performance will be high and the opposite is true. Dell’s General Managers have to find the reason for their poor performance and fix it, or the General Manager will be blamed for the failure (Stewart & O’Brien, 2005).

Dell Inc. became famous for its innovative supply chain model that allowed Dell to carry out successful mass customization. Dell is using Build-to-Order model to cut off the dealers’ fees and the inventory cost (Magretta, 1998). The computers are built according to the end user’s specifications which are placed in the company’s portal. Dell’s innovative supply chain insures the required parts availability when needed for the right assembly point at the exact time and place. Kumar and Craig (2007) state that Dell’s success is not only fueled by its supply chain but other processes made it more competitive than its rivals. The following are the main four processes that made Dell Inc. competitive:

  1. Postponement: Dell will postpone assembling the computer until the order is placed and customer credit is cleared. This postponement enables Dell to decrease its inventory and use the latest products from its suppliers. Dell’s rivals have to push their finished product inventory before marketing the new parts for their customers (Kumar & Craig, 2007).
  2. Modularity: means that each part of the computer is managed separately which allow the assembler to connect different parts together. This flexibility allowed Dell to excel in mass customization and overcome the last-minute changes (Kumar & Craig, 2007).
  3. Vendor Managed Inventory: Dell does not stock the required inventory in its stores. The suppliers manage the inventory in small warehouses, called revolvers, near Dell’s plants. This technique help Dell focus on the customers and the suppliers focus on innovation (Kumar & Craig, 2007).
  4. Supply chain partners: Dell sign contracts with the suppliers and service providers and share with them the available information to guarantee future order volumes.

Dell’s innovative supply chain and unique culture will keep it competitive as long as it can keep up the low production cost. Dell will lose its competitive edge once its rivals perfect their supply chain management and start to offer innovative computers at the same price.
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References:

Dell Inc. (2009). Dell Worldwide. Retrieved August 29, 2009, from http://www1.euro.dell.com/content/topics/global.aspx/about_dell/company/dell_worldwide/index?c=ae&l=en&s=corp

Kumar, S., & Craig, S. (2007). Dell, Inc.’s closed loop supply chain for computer assembly plants. Information Knowledge Systems Management, 6(3), 197-214.

Magretta, J. (1998). The power of virtual integration: an interview with Dell Computer’s Michael Dell. Harvard Business Review, 76(2), 73-84.

Stewart, A., & O’Brien, L. (2005). Execution without excuses. Harvard Business Review, 83(3), 102-111.

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Financial Disclosure: How Much is Enough?

Listen to this postI had a chance to research the “financial disclosure” subject and I found an important article which discusses the information overload related to financial disclosure. Radin (2007) argues against “excessively long financial statement disclosures.”  He cites reasons the accounting profession should be worried about financial statement disclosure overload. He then asserts that there is significant anecdotal evidence that the footnotes to a company’s financial statements are read only by the registrants’ drafters and accountants.  The article is fascinating and surfaces old questions like “How much information is enough?” and “Where should we stop?” the article provokes the need to analyze the usefulness and effectiveness of the current financial disclosures.  Information redundancy and repetition like “If our customers stop buying our product,  sales may decrease” (Radin, 2007, p. 9) should be eliminated and an effective reporting method maybe created to communicate the important disclosed information to the readers. Lately,  marketing expert are able to pass their massages to the public in 30 seconds and cartoonist are able to simplify a complicated issue into a funny drawing, however, accountants are still writing a longer and more complicated reports (Radin, 2007).
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References

Radin, A. (2007). Have we created financial statement disclosure overload? CPA Journal, November, 6-9.

Multinational Organizations Role in Human Rights

Listen to this postI witnessed a heated discussion over the human rights and one of the discussion points was around the question “Should multinational organizations work in countries that are accused of human rights violations?”

Multinational organizations may work in countries that are accused of human rights violation. The organization should not intentionally violate human rights or encourage it. However, the organization should help the local community by paying them a fair wage to the amount of work done by the labor. Lam (2009) surveyed Chinese executives working for American multinational organizations in China and the executives felt that “Corporate Social Program” are human resources department job. The Chinese executives did not see their ethical responsibility or feel the obligation toward the society because their functional strategies did not incorporate social responsibilities (Lam, 2009). Multinational organizations, similar to domestic  organizations, are influenced by three conflicting needs, the organization, the industry and the society (Labbai, 2007). The ethical conflict between personal ethics and the organization would have strong effect on the organization operations in the international market (Labbai, 2007). The executives’ and the line managers’ ethical responsibilities would be the deciding factor for the multinational organization to behave ethically in countries that violate human rights.
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References:

Labbai, M. (2007). Social Responsibility and Ethics in Marketing. Paper presented at the International Marketing Conference on Marketing & Society, 8-10 April, 2007, IIMK.

Lam, M. (2009). Beyond Credibility of Doing Business in China: Strategies for Improving Corporate Citizenship of Foreign Multinational Enterprises in China. [Article]. Journal of Business Ethics, 87, 137-146. doi: 10.1007/s10551-008-9803-3

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Mediating the Negotiation … Ouch!

Listen to this postThe negotiating parties might not have a conflict of interest but the emotional involvement and the negotiators’ ego may cause the conflict (Noll, 2009). The mediator will face a challenge to control the personal differences during the negotiation because some of the reasons for the conflict is the readiness to meet and discuss. The mediator’s job is to listen to both sided of the discussion. Noll (2009) state that “many disputes end up in litigation because someone feels that he or she has not been heard.” (p. 45). The mediator should use his authority as a mediator to stop the repeated interruption and give equal and fair chance for both sides to state their views. The mediator might offer encouragements or threaten to take away benefits to help steer the negotiation in the right direction (Favretto, 2009).

The mediator has to be neutral with good negotiation leadership to be able to end the discussion. Mediation as stated by Fridl (2009) is a form of intervention to resolve  a conflict by negotiating an acceptable settlement. The definition of “acceptable” would vary from one person to another. The mediator should lead the negotiation by his or her communication skills to reach a compromising solution (Fridl, 2009) that both parties could not reach by themselves. Fridl (2009) state that the negotiation would not reach an acceptable solution for three main reasons. First reason would be the readiness of the negotiating parties to accept a compromise. Sometimes the parties would not compromise their demands because they feel that what they have asked for is their right to have and the other party should compromise.  The second reason would be the mediator’s failure to lead the negotiation toward a compromising solution. The third reason would be the benefactors readiness to seek out a constructive alternatives. The benefactors could be the shareholders or board of directors of the negotiating parties.
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References:

Favretto, K. (2009). Should peacemakers take sides? Major power mediation, coercion, and bias. [Article]. American Political Science Review, 103(2), 248-263.

Fridl, D. D. (2009). Kosovo negotiations: Re-visiting the role of mediation. [Article]. International Negotiation, 14(1), 71-93. doi: 10.1163/157180609×406526

Noll, D. E. (2009). The myth of the mediator as settlement broker. [Article]. Dispute Resolution Journal, 64(2), 42-48.

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When Do We Blow the Whistle?

Listen to this postWhen we notice something that we think is unlawful or unethical at work we have to investigate its integrity. We should also investigate why the employer would do unlawful or unethical act. Whistle-blowers sometimes blow their whistles too early and get themselves in trouble. Whistle blowing is ” the disclosure by organization members (former or current) of  illegal, immoral, or illegitimate practices under the control of their employers, to persons or organizations that may be able to effect action” (Peeples, Stokes, & Wingfield, 2009, p. 468).

Miceli and Near (2002) stated that the wrongdoing would be terminated when it is less serious or deeply rooted. Whistle blowing can be more effective if the whistle –blower have power and can communicate to the right people (Miceli & Near, 2002). A single incident like overhearing a supervisor or noticing a violation by the organization might not be worth reporting, although we are obligated ethically to report it. Understanding the reason for the unlawful or wrongdoing would help the whistle-blower to find alternative solutions or means to do the same job without violations.

Good reasons for whistle-blowing would be increasing safety, stopping wrongdoing, receiving monetary rewards, and eliminating perceived injustice (Peeples, et al., 2009). The whistle-blowing is an act of loyalty to the employer because it will benefit the employer in correcting the wrongdoing or improve the workplace safety and general condition. But, the whistle-blower should do that after exhausting all means to correct the wrongdoing by using internal means. The whistle-blower should balance his decision by weighing the severity of the act, the motive of the wrongdoer and the degrees of control assigned to the wrongdoer (Peeples, et al., 2009). The US Department of Labor estimated that only15% of the whistle-blowing cases have value,  and 85% of the whistle-blowers incurred high costs for their decision to blow the whistle (Peeples, et al., 2009).
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References:

Miceli, M. P., & Near, J. P. (2002). What makes whistle-blowers effective? Three field studies. [Article]. Human Relations, 55(4), 455.

Peeples, D. K., Stokes, P., & Wingfield, S. S. (2009). When the whistle is blown: Legal defenses and practical guidelines for managing reports of organizational misconduct. [Article]. Business & Society, 48(4), 467-488.

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Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

Listen to this postCorporation’s responsibility to stakeholders representing the concerns of the people, the planet and the profit (Angus-Leppan, Metcalf, & Benn, 2010). Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) depend on a moral framework that has four moral theories. The first theory is egoism which is the morally correct action that display the corporate social responsibility. The action is done to maximize the shareholder profits but not because of the obligations toward social responsibilities (Frederiksen, 2010). The organization stop the harmful acts and maximize the socially acceptable acts because such acts are in the organizations self-interest. The second theory is libertarianism. This theory state that libertarian believe in avoiding disturbing the negative rights but not doing the positive duties. The libertarian would avoid harming the society or deny the community its basic rights like freedom of speech or freedom of religion (Frederiksen, 2010). The libertarian is not obligated, according to the theory, to help anybody positively.

Utilitarianism theory state that utilitarian organization would always seek the best possible outcome from its actions. The best outcome can be helping a society in another country and not helping the close by society (Frederiksen, 2010). Utilitarian would target maximizing happiness regardless of the place. Common-sense morality theory is somehow in between the egoism and the libertarianism because the common-sense morality theory state that the organization should not violate the societies tights and should he same time act positively towards certain groups of the society (Frederiksen, 2010). Those groups can be the organization’s employees, members of the society or people closely related to the organization.

Lee (2010) state that businessmen are more honest than the preachers because the customer would test the products sold or recommended by the business person. Nobody would be able to come alive again and tell the community about the preachers claims validity. Similarly, the organizations cannot mislead the society in claiming that their products are not as advertised, they would be easily spotted while violating their claims.

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References:

Angus-Leppan, T., Metcalf, L., & Benn, S. (2010). Leadership styles and CSR practice: an examination of sensemaking, institutional drivers and CSR leadership. [Article]. Journal of Business Ethics, 93(2), 189-213. doi: 10.1007/s10551-009-0221-y

Frederiksen, C. (2010). The relation between policies concerning corporate social responsibility (CSR) and philosophical moral theories – an empirical investigation. [Article]. Journal of Business Ethics, 93(3), 357-371. doi: 10.1007/s10551-009-0226-6

Lee, D. R. (2010). Why businessmen are more honest than preachers, politicians, and professors. Independent Review, 14(3), 435-444. doi: http://www.independent.org/publications/tir/

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