Holiday Magic Fireworks1111111 Share This!Christmas crowds are here, the Festival of Holidays at California Adventure marches on, and the whole resort is full of holiday cheer! Read on to find out about this and more in this week’s Disneyland news.Special Events and NotesIt’s Christmas week at Disneyland, and that means you can expect really high crowd levels. For those of you that are planning to be at the parks on Christmas Day, several restaurants will be featuring special menus for the occasion. If you’re looking for a festive feast on Christmas, Disney’s PCH Grill, Storytellers Café, Goofy’s Kitchen, and Napa Rose will all have seasonal buffets and/or menus for the occasion. Reservations are recommended.In the parks, you will of course find seasonal decor, character costumes, and treats celebrating Christmas, in addition to Hanukkah, Diwali, Kwanzaa, and other winter holidays. Make sure you check out our photo tour of the resort, and Guy’s recent write up of the best seasonal treats to be found throughout!There are a couple of special holiday events at Disney’s California Adventure. Disney’s Festival of Holidays includes the Festive Foods Marketplace, a collection of kiosks serving small bites of all manner of seasonal food and drink. You can check out some edible highlights here. Additionally, Disney’s ¡Viva Navidad! is a cultural holiday celebration leading up to Three Kings’ Day that includes authentic music, dance, decor, and food. Passholders, make sure you stop by the AP Corner for special freebies and opportunities as well!Disney’s parades and evening shows also get a holiday overhaul, with A Christmas Fantasy Parade and Believe… in Holiday Magic Fireworks taking place regularly throughout the season. Several attractions also get a seasonal overlay for the holidays. This year, in addition to perennial favorites like Haunted Mansion Holiday and it’s a small world Holiday, a couple of Radiator Springs attractions get a transformation. You’ll find Mater’s Jingle Jamboree and Luigi’s Joy to the Whirl along with the wonderful holiday decor in Cars Land.Finally, the reboot of Mary Poppins, Mary Poppins Returns, is finally here, and you can see a special exhibition of the Art of Mary Poppins at Disneyland. It’s in the lobby of Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln.CrowdsEveryone is off of school for Christmas break, and that means we’re going to see mammoth crowds this week, especially after Christmas. Only Saturday has crowds that are predicted to be lower than level 8, and Thursday and Friday are both predicted to have level 10 crowds.Full details, including park-by-park crowd levels, are available on our Crowd Calendar.WeatherThe weather gurus are predicting a relatively chilly week in Anaheim for the holiday, and there’s even a decent chance of rain the latter part of the week. Lows will dip into the 40s on most days, so make sure you plan accordingly.As always, it’s wise to double check the weather as the day of your visit approaches. Check out the most up-to-date forecast here.ShowsDisney has a full slate of shows all week long. Detailed show schedules, including smaller diversions like The Disneyland Band can be found here. ShowSatSunMonTueWedThuFri Fantasmic!2222222 Admission and HoursPassholder blockouts are in full effect this week; basically, unless you have a Signature Plus Annual Passport, you’re blocked out all week. For those of you buying tickets as day guests, single-day tickets are Peak Price ($135/$127) all week.Regular park hours (excluding Extra Magic Hours/Magic Mornings) are as follows this week: PricePEAKPEAKPEAKPEAKPEAKPEAKPEAK Disneyland8-128-128-128-128-128-128-12 SatSunMonTuesWedThurFri California Adventure8-108-108-108-108-108-118-11 Christmas Fantasy Parade2222222 Early entry is being handled differently this week for the holiday. Early entry at 7 a.m. is available at both parks every day this week starting on Monday (normal rules apply to the weekend — Disneyland on Saturday, DCA on Sunday) for eligible guests. Resort guests can take advantage of these hours every day of their stay for Extra Magic Hours, while guests eligible for Magic Mornings can use that benefit one day at Disneyland Park only. Full park hours can be found by clicking on each date in the Crowd Calendar.RefurbishmentsMost everything is running at Disneyland! With the exception of World of Color at California Adventure, which remains offline until further notice with technical issues related to the redo, everything else that would normally be operating is operating. As always, be aware that refurbishments can pop up unexpectedly, so check out our refurbishments page to make sure your favorite ride is still running, and for details on exactly what will be down and for how long.That should do it for this week’s news. Check back next week and every week to find out what’s coming down the pike. Got questions? Aware of anything else that prospective guests should know about? Let us know in the comments.
Many of the RLabs team come fromdisadvantaged backgrounds. Through the Mom 2.0 and 3.0 courses, women in the community learn to use technology. (Images: RLabs on Flickr) MEDIA CONTACTS • Marlon or Rene ParkerRLabs+27 21 699 1453 RELATED ARTICLES • JamiiX: from the Cape Flats to the world• Low-cost phones for Africa • Skills via phones for rural women • Fight HIV with your phone • Mobile internet booms in South AfricaApril McAlisterJamiiX, an online counselling service operating on the Cape Flats, is a finalist in the inaugural Bees Awards. The ceremony, which takes place in San Francisco on 9 November 2010, recognises the most innovative use of social media in business and communication.In the category of best use of mobile social media, developer RLabs’ mobile drug counselling application was up against the brpr Group for its work with Smirnoff Ice, and Leo Burnett Frankfurt for its Fiat Punto Evo challenge. The Smirnoff application took top honours.“To be a finalist for this award is such a great honour and privilege,” wrote RLabs founder Marlon Parker on his blog, “as about 74% of the entries were from large brands coming from 21 countries.”Parker added that the non-profit RLabs is encouraged by the recognition from the international social media community, and will continue to innovate by using social media to bring about social change.Empowering communitiesRLabs operates with a mission to impact, empower and reconstruct global communities through innovation.Situated in Athlone in the Western Cape, Rlabs tackles the rampant drug use and trade as well as gangster-related violence that have resulted in severe economic and educational challenges for the Cape Flats community.Based at the Impact Centre in Athlone, RLabs also advises companies and other organisations on social media strategy.The project was born in 2007 when ten young residents of the area decided to change their lives and obtain an education at a time when use of methamphetamine (known in the area as tik) was rife.The men went to the Impact Centre, a community centre in Athlone which offered programmes such as feeding schemes, support and counselling and a seniors’ wellness program.There was no availability at the centre at the time for their rehabilitation, but the director was moved to start a programme called Reconstructed which offered them training and mentoring, as well as motivational talks and lessons in basic responsibility.The director then brought Parker, an IT lecturer at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, on board to teach them computer skills. When asked what they knew about computers one student stated: “I know how to steal one.”Their experiences were taken online in the form of the Reconstructed.com blog, which later became Reconstructed Living Lab, or RLabs. Through the use of the blog, Facebook and Twitter they gained a large following and used the social media platforms to encourage and empower other youngsters who were in similar situations and wanted to get out.In order to give more people access to much-needed counselling, and recognising that most people have a mobile phone even if they can’t afford much else, RLabs developed JamiiX, an aggregator that combines instant messaging with social media in one application. JamiiX can be used on a computer or mobile phone.RLabs’ Drug Advice Support (DAS) service, which was started to address the drug addiction problem in the Western Cape, is available on JamiiX. DAS is a place where those in need can get help on questions related to drugs, HIV, relationships, and abuse. It also offers a suicide help line, a place of safety and immediate assistance in a crisis.The system allows a counsellor to transfer a person’s entire history to a colleague, and still retain confidentiality. Over 100 000 South Africans currently use the system, as well as many international users.JamiiX has partnered with South African success story MXit to make its interface available through a special gateway on the popular instant messaging application.With an average of 20 000 messages exchanged every hour, 250-300 users assisted in that time, and 5% of online conversations receiving offline referrals. JamiiX is known as “the contact centre on the go”.“What really excites us is when we hear stories of people whose lives are being changed because of the members of the community who offer their time to help those in need,” said Parker. “Well done to all at RLabs for the amazing work you are doing and we celebrate with you and the rest of the online community through the Bees Awards finalist nomination dedicated to you.”Helping the communityBesides RLabs and JamiiX, the other main activity at the Impact Centre is Impact Direct, a community- based organisation. Formerly funded by the government, Impact Direct now relies on donations of all kinds, as well as income from wellness sessions, to maintain its operations.The organisation has adopted the local Kewtown primary school, which accommodates about 400 pupils and is at the heart of the gang wars. Programmes help children to learn basic manners, social skills, and hygiene. They receive a meal, help with homework, and support and counselling where needed. As many children as possible receive one new uniform.Counsellors also make house calls, as many children have no parents and battle with overcrowding in a limited amount of space. The children thank their teachers by holding an annual wellness day on which each teacher is pampered and given a little gift.The Moms 3.0 program and Social Media for Teens are a couple of the many programmes offered by the Impact Centre and Rlabs. Others include projects that assist newcomers to technology, such as the elderly, on an individual level.There is also a dedicated pampering day for the elderly of the community, which focuses on keeping their minds active through arts and crafts. The Seniors Mobile Sessions teaches them to use mobile phones efficiently and send text messages and “please call me” requests, and covers the use of the internet to find all kinds of information, from recipes to growing plants.Last year technology corporation Dell Inc. sponsored 14 computers for use in the lab – youngsters and adults are able to log in to them via their desktop computers or mobile phones.RLabs’ Social Media Factory holds sessions in public places such as shopping centres. Each session lasts about ten minutes per person, helping them to set up email, use social media, find a car online and even start a business. This innovation prompted the World Bank to invite RLabs to be the official social media partner at its Innovation Fair held in Sea Point, Cape Town, in April.Overseas expansionRLabs operates in Portugal and Malaysia as well as South Africa, while JamiiX has been launched in South Africa, Finland and the UK.The organisation has initiated its first social franchise, which encompasses the business model, support, branding, and more, in Porto, Portugal. A local franchise in Khayalitsha, also on the Cape Flats, rolled out at the end of October.Future plans centre on the establishment of RLabs as a social franchise in other locations. Those already confirmed include RLabs Eastern Cape (end of 2010), RLabs Southeast Asia (end of 2010), RLabs Kenya (early 2011), RLabs Johannesburg (early 2011), RLabs Netherlands (early 2011), RLabs Brazil (end of 2011) and RLabs Namibia (late 2011).http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=RLabs
In part one of this series, we talked about organizing the harassment investigation based on the complaint, the individual who made the outcry, and company policy. We also addressed the order in which interviews should be conducted and the importance of a complete and thorough conversation with the complainant. This is a time for the complainant to do the majority of the talking, while the interviewer spends most of his time listening for facts, biases, and assumptions. Once the complete story has been related, it is only then that the interviewer uses probing questions to enhance the level of details of the story.In part two of the series, we addressed the confidentiality of the investigation, its timeliness, and the preservation of evidence. Then we went on to discuss the strategy and preparation to begin the interviews with the victim, witnesses, and alleged harasser.In this article, we will focus on the actual interview process and how it differs between the parties involved. The interviews themselves help the investigator establish the facts, potential witnesses, and evidence that may corroborate the different parties’ statements.- Sponsor – The ComplainantThe first interview to be conducted is a thorough conversation with the complainant. The complainant may or may not be the victim—it could also be another individual who heard the victim’s outcry. Victims, for any number of reasons, may be reluctant to make a complaint against another employee or a supervisor. However, once the complaint has been made, it must be investigated in a timely manner. If the individual who heard the victim’s outcry comes forward, he or she should be carefully debriefed in great detail not only focusing on the statements made by the victim but also examining the victim’s demeanor and relevant facts concerning the work environment. This interview generally begins with rapport building between the interviewer and subject before asking the open-ended question, “Tell me in as much detail as you can, what happened?”This interview should also ultimately provide a context for the investigation relating to the personalities and general environment of the workplace. Without a context for the event, the investigator in future interviews may not ask the right questions or may make erroneous assumptions about day-to-day events.If the complainant is the victim, the interviewer should start after establishing rapport with an open-ended question that directly addresses the individual’s complaint. This may be an emotional time for the victim as they struggle with anger, shame, uncertainty, or any other number of emotions. The interviewer needs to be supportive, and one of the best ways to do this is to be a good, nonjudgmental, empathetic listener. Open-ended questions let the victim relive the event in their own words without contamination by the questions, biases, or assumptions that the investigator may have made or had.The Cognitive InterviewOften the victims may have suffered a pattern of harassment, which will require the interviewer to break the interview into portions that can address each of the incidents in the pattern. One of the best ways to address this type of interview is to use a cognitive interview, which encourages the victim or witness to provide a detailed account of each event.The cognitive interview starts out with rapport building and then moves on to instructing the witness or victim on what is expected of them in the conversation. Generally, the interviewer will ask the individual to be as detailed as possible in their recollection of events reporting even the smallest details. They could also be told to step into their memory remembering things that they saw, heard, felt as they went through the experience. The interviewer will also let them know that they may be asked the same question more than one time. The witness or victim should understand that asking a question multiple times is not because the interviewer doesn’t believe them, but he simply wants to encourage them to go into more detail or clarify their previous statements.The interviewer then opens the interview with an open-ended question that encourages the subject to give a narrative answer: “Tell me in as much detail as possible, what happened from beginning to end?” The interviewer should just listen to this untainted narrative from beginning to end without interruption. Once the interviewer has the subject’s untainted story, he can divide the story into sections to develop details, facts, and evidence that may support or disprove the account.The interviewer now selects a portion of the story to begin further development, which is best done in a chronological order since this does not disrupt the memory but enhances recall. The interviewer asks the subject, for example, “Tell me in as much detail as possible what you saw, heard, and felt between meeting him in the hall and walking to the elevator?” The interviewer now carefully listens for additional information, facts, biases, or assumptions as the individual adds more detail to the story. As the interviewer listens to the retelling of this section, he may ask more open-ended questions to continually expand the person’s narrative. An open-ended question relating to some detail might sound like this: “Now you said he ‘seemed excited.’ Tell me more about that?” Notice that the interviewer did not add any information to the question but used a quote from the individual’s statement to ask for clarification and expansion.The interviewer continues to explore each subsequent section or incident of the victim’s story in the same way saving any closed-ended questions until the very end to avoid contaminating the person’s story. A closed-end question is asking for a specific piece of information: “When your boss said, ‘I’m going to ruin your career,’ was Janet in the room?” The closed-ended questions supplies a specific answer, not the important narrative the open-ended question achieves.Once the victim and witnesses have been interviewed, the investigator should examine each of the individual’s narratives against the evidence, context of the event, and statements for consistency. Research has shown that the Cognitive Interview helps the interviewer judge an individual’s truthfulness. The truthful individual’s story generally has a wealth of detail mixed with emotions. The story makes sense in its structure and has a logical portrayal of events. The deceptive story is much more likely to be bare-bones lacking in detail, illogical in nature, or told in a way that leads the interviewer away from pertinent events. At the end of the day, it will be the investigation that supports a particular individual or conclusion. There may be verifiable facts, supporting witnesses, or even in some situations recordings of the incident.The HarasserUsually the harasser will be the final person interviewed in the investigation. The interviewer has now had an opportunity to evaluate the victim’s and witnesses’ accounts and investigate and establish certain facts, and believes the investigation warrants an in-depth conversation with the alleged harasser.There obviously may be some variations based on whether the harasser is aware of the complaint or specific company policy or political issues to taking certain courses of action, but regardless the conversation with the alleged harasser should be a detailed inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the events.The Cognitive Interview is often an appropriate way to introduce the topics under investigation and obtain the alleged harasser’s explanations or view of the situation. Once the interviewer has a complete explanation of the situation from the alleged harasser, he can begin to use evidence or statements made from other parties that contradict the individual’s story. The interviewer obtains and carefully examines each of the subject’s responses to these contradictions locking down in detail each of his statements. The individual’s responses to the contradiction should be noted and placed within quotation marks in the interviewer’s notes and final report.Depending on company policy and the general investigative practices of the organization the deceptive subject may be confronted to obtain an admission to the allegation. The transition to an introductory statement, which discusses who the interviewer is and what he does, the types of cases investigated, and how investigations are conducted, makes a smooth transition to offering a showing of understanding of how people make errors in judgment. Using third-person stories, the interviewer offers the subject an opportunity to save face and admit his indiscretion without being subjected to ridicule. This conversational approach allows the interviewer an opportunity to understand the subject’s decision-making and feelings relating to the event. The interviewer, after obtaining the admissions to the incident, may take a witnessed written or recorded statement to document the individual’s statements.Unlike a traditional theft investigation where there may be video or solid documentation of the fraud, a harassment interview requires more detailed attention to victim and witness interviews to bring the case to a successful conclusion. Stay UpdatedGet critical information for loss prevention professionals, security and retail management delivered right to your inbox. Sign up now
Guide to Performing Bulk Email Verification jon mitchell The Dos and Don’ts of Brand Awareness Videos Do you use StumbleUpon for browsing? For driving traffic to your content? Let us know in the comments. Related Posts Tags:#news#Social Web#web Facebook is Becoming Less Personal and More Pro… According to StatCounter‘s measurements, StumbleUpon has just surpassed Facebook and now delivers more than half of all social media referral traffic in the U.S. StumbleUpon founder and CEO Garrett Camp tweeted the news this afternoon.Facebook achieved this goal in April of 2010, but StumbleUpon was already well on its way. At that time, StumbleUpon already gave twice as many referrals as Twitter. StumbleUpon’s user experience is fanciful and fun, but its traffic power for publishers is quite serious. While the other social networks make the headlines, StumbleUpon has been a quiet success story. In light of today’s news, it won’t be so quiet for long.Source: StatCounter Global Stats – Social Media Market ShareIt has been a good week for StumbleUpon. Earlier this week, it rolled out the Explore Box, which enables users to focus their stumbling by typing in topics, narrowing the scope of their discoveries without taking away the fun randomness. A Comprehensive Guide to a Content Audit
A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… dave copeland Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Tags:#web#Web Development Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting I have less than 30 seconds to capture your attention with this post, so here goes: if you read some, most or all of the next 750 words or so, you will know how to write Web copy that is more useful to readers of your blog or Web site.As we reported yesterday visual content is continuing its steady rise in dominance over written content. But that doesn’t mean we should give up on good writing: if anything, it means we need to think harder about how we write for online readers.Online Readers Are DifferentSeems pretty obvious, right? But the fact is, many of us still write the same way online as we do for books, magazine articles and other long-form and traditional print mediums. Research hightighted in books like Reading In The Brain shows that online readers use vastly different sections of the brain than offline readers. In short, the brain is conditioned to skip around when online reading, as clicking on a link, for example, will reward the brain with new images and content.With offline readers, we can take our time and develop points with long blocks of text and narrative, and with fewer visual elements. Offline reading rewards the brain that slips into a state of deeper concentration.In Plain English, PleaseYour writing – offline or online – is effective when readers take away your message. Writing effectively online doesn’t mean that every reader reads every single word that you write (and even if they done, Dale’s Cone of Experience argues they’ll ownly remember 10% of what they read). It means they can quickly and efficiently get the information that is most important to them and move on.People who read our blog posts come from all over, and from a wide range of backgrounds. The reason they choose to read a particular post will vary from reader to reader. Your job as the writer is to make sure they can find the information that is most important to them and move on to using that information.Best PracticesI’ve spent a good portion of the past two years researching reading habits of online readers and have been sharing that research with writers, bloggers and journalists, as I did during my presentation at BlogWorld East last May and as I continue to do with my students at the college where I teach.I can talk for hours on the subject, but if asked for the most effective ways to get online readers to read what you write, I would offer these strategies as the most important, which are backed up by eye-track studies as being an effective way to get your message across to online readers:Write compelling but clear headlines: Don’t get cute. Online and in print, the headline is almost always the first thing readers look at. Make sure it is clear and gives a good idea of what the post is about, while still leaving the reader wanting more.Write in the active voice: Effective online writing is all about getting to the point, and on a line-by-line basis, the most effective way to do that is to use the active voice, which naturally lends a sense of urgency to your writing. The easiest way to do that is to start each sentence with the subject, immediately follow that with a strong, active verb, and then follow that with the direct object. Avoid adverbs: they’re a telling sign that you chose the wrong verb.Online writing is visual: Long, dense paragraphs turn off online readers. Create white space in your copy by keeping paragraphs short and using bulleted lists when appropriate. Use bold text to accent key information and use block or pull quotes to draw readers into the copy.One main idea per sentence: Keep sentences on point. Avoid multiple clauses and phrases, and lots of information stops and commas. Make sure each sentence has one idea, and not much more than that.No sentence without a fact: Every line you write needs to move the story forward. If a sentence doesn’t have a fact, cut it.How long should it be?I hate this question and always offer a smart-aleck answer: as long as it needs to be. If every sentence has a main idea and no sentence is without a fact, keep going. I do, however, recommend the 3-2-1 formula. For every 1,000 or so words that you write in an online article or blog post, be sure to include:Three subheads: Subheads are bold, one-line headlines that break up long chunks of text and organize information. Keep the same headline-writing rules in mind when you write subheads.Two links: Links offer additional information for readers who want to go deeper, and they also give your post authenticity and transparency about where you information came from without getting into long, narrative attributions.One graphical element: A photo, a chart or anything else visual helps readers. Whatever you use, make sure it advances the story: don’t just put a photo in the post for the sake of posting a photo. 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Related Posts