Wednesday, November 20, 2013

It's London in 3426. The most advanced technology has almost taken all over the country and has replaced London’s natural environment completely.

The inhabitants are mass produced with special abilities to serve the state’s certain needs. Feelings, illness, conflicts, war, and unemployment has been abolished. In case of feeling depressed, there is the ‘happy drug’. People’s ability to think has been taken away as well. The inhabitants are divided into five categories, which represent their beauty, intelligence, and social status. The state uses technological means to condition the society in order to adapt the values of the state. Now, people are happy and free from pain.

John, an inhabitant, belongs to the highest category, where everyone is smart, good-looking, and has a well-respected profession. However, he feels different from all the others. He is uglier and, indeed, has the ability to think and feel. Therefore, he is an outsider since people consider him unusual.

Soon he figures out that the state abuses science, drugs and technology to create the perfect society. He goes to the World Controller and questions him about the value of life, arguing that humanity is more important than anything else. The World Controller says, ‘It is the only opportunity to keep the society stable and under control. We have to make sacrifices. No feelings, no conflicts. People who try to destroy or interfere the state get banished.'
As John is seen as a danger to the system, he gets exiled to an island with all the other individuals who tried to intervene in the social system.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Once upon a time, there was a girl, Jana, who just graduated from high school and decided to take a year off in the United States. She chose to stay in a homeshare for the next year. When she arrived in the homeshare, the people were welcoming her. However, she was wondering why there were only five people in the house because she was told that there would be around 10 people living with her. Then a girl explained that the rest are on a trip to Vegas, and that they would be back late at night. Jana got introduced to her roommate Mary Jane. She thought that she was really nice and that they would get along really well. Then, Mary Jane showed her the room they would live in together.

Since Jana was jet lagged, she went to bed very early. However, she woke up in the middle of the night and heard some strange noises coming from the living room. She thought that those must have been the other people just returning from Vegas. Then, Jana noticed that her roommate was gone. 'She probably went to the restroom', she thought. So, Jana didn't think much of it and back to bed.

The next morning Jana expected to meet the rest of the homeshare but there were no unfamiliar faces. There were still only the five that Jana already met the other night. She thought it was kind of strange that they didn't return yet since they had school in the morning as well. Mary Jane told her that they stayed longer in the Vegas since they liked it so much. For some reasons, Jana didn’t believe it.
In the afternoon, Jana returned home. There was no one at home. She was all by herself. So, Jana decided to start unpacking her suitcase. Accidentally, she opened the wrong closet. She opened Mary Jane's closet and found a knife and clothes all covered in blood. At first, she freaked out but then she thought that this must have been her Halloween costume from last week or something and that the knife and the blood was only fake. As she was touching the knife, she cut herself. Obliviously, the knife and the blood were real. Jana panicked. Shit! What is she doing with a knife? Where does all this blood come from? Did she murder someone? What if she is a murder and killed the five that are supposed to be back from Vegas by now? All those questions were running through Jana's mind. Jana didn't know what to do. She was so scared that she almost started to cry. Her heart was beating so fast and she could barely breathe. She closed the closet immediately and walked back and forth in her room. Confused and scared at the same time, she was thinking of what she should do. Telling the other people in the homeshare? Calling the police? No, what if we all get killed?! Jana imagined the worst. Instead of telling someone, Jana kept it for herself and decided to figure out what Mary Jane was up to.

Jana assumed that there was something going on and that is has something to do with Mary Jane. So, Jana decided to check the Internet to find some closure. She found an article, which said that once there lived a couple in this house, but the man killed her girlfriend and than committed suicide. The woman was possessed and tried to kill her boyfriend. Before she could kill him, he killed her. Desperate due to killing her love, the guy committed suicide. Since then, there were rumors that the house was hunted and there was a demon that possessed people. The article also mentioned that the only way to get out is to kill yourself or to drown the demon. She immediately thought that it was Mary Jane who was responsible for the missing people.

At night Jana pretended to be asleep. Around midnight, she heard her roommate walking out of the room. Then, she heard those strange noises and screams again but this time coming out of the garden. Jana got up and discreetly walking through the dark living room into the kitchen. Observing from the kitchen's window into the garden, Jana saw some shadows. In the shadows, she saw someone holding a girl and threatening her with a knife. The shadows seemed to be Mary Jane and Jennie, another girl from the homeshare. Jennie was screaming and begging her not to kill her. Jennie's fear could be heard in her voice. Then, Jana saw the shadow of Mary Jane stabbing the girl. 
Jana freaked out. She wanted to scream but was scared to be seen. She pushed her hands against the mouth forcing herself not to make a sound. She was too afraid to be the next victim. She didn't know what to do. Should she return to her room and pretend that nothing happened at all? Hoping that everything was just a dream? Then suddenly the shadows disappeared. Jana was scared to death and her heart of beating so fast. The only thing she wanted to do was to get out of the house. As she turned around, her roommate was standing right in front of her asking what she was doing so late.
Jana's heart was beating like a ticking time bomb. She was so afraid. She saw Jennie's pajamas covered in blood and immediately knew that her assumptions were true.

Jana fear was written in her face. Now she knew that Mary Jane was possessed and she is going to be the next victim. Bravely looking at Mary Jane, Jana saw her turning into a scary beast. Mary Jane's innocent face turned into a monster face. Her beautiful blue eyes became bright white. Mary Jane came closer and closer. Jana screamed so loud and managed to run away. She ran down the street hoping that she will be heard. She was desperately screaming for help but no one heard her. Mary Jana was following her. Her voice was so creepy, saying, "Come here. You can't escape. I will get you anyway.". Jana was so frightened that she started to cry. She run further down the street screaming for help but no one heard her. Jana didn't know what to do. She was in panic and had the fear of dying. Mary Jane with her creepy voice was still following her. "Stop screaming. No one will hear you!", the creepy voice said. Jana didn't know what to do or how to get rid of her. But then, she remembered how to kill a demon - you have to drown her! So, Jana was running to the closest lake around. She ran into the cold water, screaming and crying. Mary Jane followed her into the water. Her face was so scary and Jana was so afraid. Then, Jana attacked her and tried to drown her. She kept Mary Jane's head under water but she was too strong. Jana tried to keep her under water with all her strength but it didn't work. Mary Jane was too strong. So, she got up and hold Jana’s head under water until she stopped moving.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

11/07/13 Outsourcing

Most companies start as a small business and do most of the work themselves by taking on the responsibility for marketing, sales, technology, and other components of the business. When the business grows, it becomes more difficult for them to handle all of these tasks. At this point, companies likely decide to hire someone from another company to do some of their tasks for them in order to focus on the core business. This process is called outsourcing: It's the practice of transferring any task, operation, job or process that could be performed by employees within the company to a third party.

Outsourcing has become a major trend over the past decade. There are many reasons why companies decide to outsource. For instance, globalization results in many companies competing in marketplaces making it difficult for them to retain a successful competitor. Therefore, many companies decide to outsource parts of their company in order to maintain competitive. Additionally, it is an easy method for corporations to maximize their profit due to lower labor costs. Since labor remains one of the biggest costs of the company, they have to pay an average wage and provide some health benefits. However, outsourcing a part of the business can reduce labor costs significantly since it gives companies the flexibility to employ workers when it is required. Apart from the financial benefits, more and more companies, small and large, turn to outsourcing as a way to grow since they can expand and gain access to resources that are not available integrally. New market areas can also play a role in the decision of outsourcing, for example, by taking the point of production or service delivery closer to their end users.
In contrast, there are several reasons why companies should not outsource parts of their business. Firstly, outsourcing means dependence on other companies. The financial well-being of the company is tied to the outsourcing company which can have a negative effect on the company. In case the outsourcing company goes bankrupt, they would leave the company with a huge problem. Additionally, outsourcing has many hidden costs, which can lead to spending more money instead of saving it if terms and conditions are not clearly defined. Furthermore, outsourcing leads to unemployment in their home country since they can find lower paid workers who do the work for them. Moreover, outsourcing provider may work with other customers as well and consequently might not give full time and attention to a single company. This may result in delays and imprecisions in the work output. Besides that, not understanding the culture of the outsourcing company and the location where the company outsources can cause communication problems and lower productivity.

A recent development among top global companies in Europe and America is to outsource costumer support like call center services to developing countries in Asia, especially to India. The reason why companies settle down call center in India is due to the fact that India has a wide variety of advantages that other countries do not offer. As the largest English speaking population outside of US, India offers an excellent education system providing more than a million high quality English speaking graduates every year. Additionally, the Indian government has actively supported the call center services industry by allowing duty free imports of capital goods and tax exemptions. Moreover, it has invested billions of dollars for infrastructure development in transport, communication systems, and broadband computing which shows that Indian call center companies are highly adaptive to global trends. Apart from that, the costs of employing, providing offices, training the worker, and paying taxes can be quite high in their home country, whereas an outsourced call center in a country like India can save up to 60 %. Furthermore, outsourcing call centers help companies not only to improve the profit but also to concentrate on core businesses and to become more productive.

Another of the most frequently outsourced business tasks is manufacturing. For many similar reasons as the Indian call center services, European and American manufacturing companies move their production out of their country to China to save a significant amount of money. China is more beneficial when it comes to manufacturing over other Asian countries. One reason is the experience and education the country has in delivering products that reach the standards that are required by both western legislation and consumers. Additionally, Chinese labor is cheaper even though they provide the same quality. Moreover, there are fewer regulations regarding labor conditions, use and disposal of materials, which encourage companies to settle down their productions factories in China.

In conclusion, outsourcing is an arrangement in which work is done by people from outside a company, usually by a company that is specialized in that type of work. It can have a positive but also a negative impact on companies and society.
One the one side, outsourcing can have beneficial impact on the company regarding money- and time saving. It can be really effective to hire experts in some areas of the company and work close with them; especially small businesses can benefit from this since it gives them access to more knowledge and the opportunity to grow. Moreover, settling down companies in foreign countries helps to build up other countries' economies, such as China's and India's, and make the global economy more stable, balanced and powerful. It offers job opportunities and a higher living standard in developing countries. Apart from that, our society can also profit from outsourcing. It gives us the access to a wide range of high quality products at low prices.
However, there is another side to the issue of outsourcing that needs to be considered. Not all people benefit from outsourcing. Outsourcing can have negative impact on society such as unemployment in western countries caused by the availability of cheaper labor in Asia. Local workers are forced to find new jobs, which can lead to the fact that they need to move to another community to find one. The reason why our society gets so many high quality products at low prices is caused by the abuses of foreign employers by not providing humane working conditions. Outsourced work may be performed in sweatshop by children, or in bad working conditions. Additionally, time zones and languages between the companies can be different, which makes it difficult to work effectively since messages can be misleading. Moreover, outsourcing has many hidden costs, which can end up in spending more money instead of saving it.