What can you expect from a cheap courier service? More, for less!

If you’re sending documents or parcels within the EU then you might be tempted to think that any given International Courier will offer the same prices and services as most of its competitors. On the surface you’d probably be right, but if you look a little deeper you quickly find some key differences between each company. Understanding exactly where you can expect most courier services to be roughly the same should put the areas of difference in much starker contrast.

Most online couriers will work in partnership with at least one of the established global carriers – the likes of DHL and UPS. The more of these carriers that a courier works with, the more comprehensive their range of services will tend to be.

A full range of services should include:

  • Express Delivery – including next day delivery to the EU and the US.
  • Economy Delivery – taking between 2 to 4 days across the EU.
  • Timed Delivery – offering pre-9am, 10.30am and midday delivery to most locations.

Since the pool of established global carriers is limited to a select few, the reliability of the services offered by most couriers should be of a high quality and a comparable standard.

For the real differences we need to look elsewhere. The most obvious example of where a courier can really set itself apart from the crowd is in their approach to customer service. This will include how easy they are to contact (telephone, email and live web chat should be a standard feature), and how far they go to resolve problems on your behalf.

This second area can be crucial. Many couriers will expect you to track your delivery and tackle any delays should they arise. Some couriers though, take a more pro-active role, identifying issues and resolving them on your behalf.

In short; most couriers will provide broadly equivalent service in terms of reliability and cost, however where you can find the most difference, and the most advantage for you, will be in how they deal with problems if and when they arise.

Google buys Snapseed, a rival of Instagram

Google has announced that Nik Software becomes part of their organization. It is a company dedicated to photography that looks back on 17 years of activity, which has achieved special recognition for having developed the application Snapseed.

The Google vice president of engineering, Vic Gundotra, has been commissioned to confirm this. So far no details have been specified of the deal with Nik Software but the deal is fully closed.

Nik Software is a company with a long experience in the field of photography. Its most recent success is Snapseed, an application that has had great success in Apple devices – iPhone and iPad – and it lets you edit photos with filters a la Instagram, the app that Facebook acquired earlier this year by 1,000 million dollars.

Snapseed, who had nine million users of Apple devices in its first year , had already announced it is preparing a version for Android, the mobile operating system from Google. The purchase could allow better photo service with Google+, its social network, and also on Android.

Nik Software have always stressed that bet on their motto “first picture” and have built quality tools based on that premise. “We have always aspired to share our passion for photography with everyone and with the support of Google, we hope to be able to help many millions more to create stunning images,” explained from the recent acquisition of Google.

iPhone 5: Apple has received over 2 million pre-orders in 24 hours

The computer group Apple announced Monday that it has registered over 2 million pre-orders in 24 hours for the new iPhone 5, against only one million for the previous model during the same period.

The iPhone 5 will be available in stores in nine countries, including France and the United States, from September 21, but can be ordered online since Friday.

Some staggered deliveries in October

“Customer response to the new iPhone has been phenomenal,” said the chief of Apple marketing, Philip Schiller in the statement. “The demand has exceeded the initial offer, and if the majority of pre-orders will be delivered to customers on September 21, many will not be delivered until October,” says the group.

On Friday, Apple had extended delivery times advertised in online shops.

Some experts have predicted that the iPhone 5 would be the biggest technology product launch of the season, saying that 10 million copies could be sold in the early days of marketing.

After the first 9 countries (USA, Canada, France, United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore), the list will be expanded to 20 more countries next week, and around a hundred other by the end of the year. This is one of the rhythms of the fastest launch for Apple phone.

More than half of the Spanish feel ‘overqualified’

64% of the Spanish feel ” overqualified ” for his current job and believes that training and experience are above their job duties, a fact that puts Spain on top of the European ranking, second only to the perception of Greek professionals (69% of respondents).

This is reflected in the third wave of the Randstad year on the job prospects of workers, noted that Spain stands 24 percentage points above the EU average, which places them far from countries like Denmark (25%), Netherlands (32%) and Germany (43%), among others.

On the corporate side, 45% of companies suffer finding professionals overall, opinion ranging between 53% of Germans and 51% of French and 33% of Italians, who occupy the last place . In the case of Spain, 35% of professionals surveyed hold this view, which puts ten percentage points below the European average.

Forecast for the coming years

The study also claims that four out of ten Spanish (43%) within three years will be short of skilled workers in the company, which puts them in the middle of the ranking of European countries, leading Germany (52%) and Sweden ( 51%). On the opposite side are placed Netherlands (33%) and Denmark (34%).

As for the interest that companies have regarding training , the report stresses that more than half of Spanish professionals, 55%, replied that their company is investing in a way, so scale percentage point above the European average (54%).

Leading the ranking placed Belgium (65%), Switzerland (60%) and Germany (59%), while on the opposite side are Greece (32%), Sweden (50%) and Norway (50 %), as the countries where companies invest less in training, according to its workers.

Motorola leaves Spain

Google has decided to close the subsidiary of Motorola in Spain later this year due to the deterioration of the Spanish economy and the unfavorable prospects for domestic consumption, which will affect the mobile device market.

The search company and Internet services, which Motorola acquired last May as part of its business diversification policy, European strategy will focus on three major markets in terms of turnover (Germany, UK and France), increasing share obviating the handset maker was making in the Spanish market, which currently exceeds 3%.

In operators like Orange, Motorola already had a 10% market share, and Vodafone and Movistar also presented new range devices ‘Razr’. In absolute levels, Spain is the European country in which Motorola sells more units .

The retreat from their positions in Europe also mean leaving the company of other markets in the euro periphery, such as Greece, Italy or Portugal, but also in countries such as Poland, Czech Republic and Scandinavia. Motorola’s workforce in Spain consists of about 50 employees.

According to published newspaper Friday ‘Expansion’, this story progresses, the decision means that as of December 31 phones that Motorola Mobility manufactures disappear from the shelves of Spanish distributors, while keeping all aftermarket services.

Google, which completed last August to buy Motorola Mobility for a total of 12,500 million dollars in cash (9,800 million euros), which shall then confirmed the closure or consolidation of the third of the 90 manufacturing that its subsidiary has spread around the world.

This restructuring plan will involve a workforce reduction and affect 4,000 employees, about 20% of the total workforce of Motorola.

Google said that “two thirds of the workforce reduction will take place outside the U.S.”, while pointing out that this decision is related to its plans to simplify telephony devices portfolio company to emphasize the production of those most innovative and profitable mobile.

Google acquired Motorola Mobility last May by 12,500 million dollars (10.245 million euros), after the company co-founder Larry Page is done with the reins of the popular search engine last year.

How can you be confident that your systems will perform?

With most modern businesses and establishments being built on a complicated software systems that are often specifically designed to each business need, it is essential for both providers and clients to ensure that their software systems perfectly without glitches and deliver the optimum output on a constant basis.

That though is easier said than done and it takes both plenty of effort in designing a system which is both consistent and competent. Yet, the biggest challenge comes for the programmers and the developers not during the development phase, but while the testing process takes off.

And proper performance testing is the key to gives both software firms and business clients the confidence that the product will deliver when it matters the most.

Nothing assures everyone involved with the development of an elaborate system more about its competence, than a comprehensive performance testing process that includes several detailed stages like Load Tests, Fail-Over Tests, Reliability Tests, Stress Tests and Network Sensitivity tests and Volume Tests, among many others.

Each software system and business client has its own set of requirements and its own output demands, which can be verified using the appropriate performance test. It offers a chance to test the developed system in real-time environment and allows the developers to monitor the output in work conditions. It also allows developers to fine tune defects, fix bugs and even compare two closely matched systems to figure out which one works best when put in a business environment.

Those involved in the project will obtain accurate stats on speed, sustainability, stability and durability of the developed system and can eliminate discrepancies before the final product is delivered. Performance Testing not only gives you a guaranteed assurance that your system will perform when it matters, but will also make sure that your company reputation is enhanced by making sure you deliver a final system that is as close to being perfect as possible.

McDonald’s launches veggie burger

Rod Mc, Mc Chicken, Mc Fish … The fast food giant McDonald’s expands its range for some time burgers to suit everyone. As part of this process, it plans to open two restaurants soon totally vegetarian in India, reports the “Financial Times “.

The famous “M” will be installed in two famous holy cities of country: Amrisar, sacred to the Sikhs and Katra, Hindu shrine dedicated to the worship of the god Vishnu. No beef or pork in the land of sacred cows in these two regions, the population is exclusively vegetarian.

Major crossing points because of their temples, they attract a significant number of visitors. However, the country of the sacred cow, Hindus, which represent 80% of the country’s population, and Sikhs, 2% do not eat beef. Muslims (13%) do not consume pork. In order to please its customers, the chain had already taken the initiative to propose lamb burgers or a revamped version of “BicMac”, this time filled with chicken instead of the traditional hamburger. The latter renamed the “Maharaja Mac” is a huge success, totaling a quarter of sales in the country. Regarding vegetarians, three sandwiches were already used. A market to 12 billion coveted Compared to France, the second largest market for American brand, India is still seen as a beginner. McDonald’s India has only 271 outlets in the country, against 1200 in France. But this is only a matter of time, because the leaders are hoping to double the number of outlets in the next three years, relying in particular on the concept of vegetarian restaurant, very promising. “India is a key focus of our development, and we are preparing to capture the market,” says Rajesh Kumar Maini, one of the leaders of the brand in the columns of the Huffington Post . In India, the market fast food estimated at $ 12 billion is highly coveted. U.S. Subways chain, which has 280 outlets in India, yesterday opened its first restaurant entirely vegetarian in the State of Punjab on a private university campus owned by vegetarians. Domino’s Pizza for its part developed ultra spicy pizza recipes for restaurants in the subcontinent.

Muscle tension, a scourge for 8 out of 10 French

81% of French people suffer from muscle tension. In detail, the French claim to be especially affected by cramps, stiff neck, body aches or back muscle pain.

The survey revealed that all age groups are affected by these muscular tensions, even if seniors are more likely to suffer.

Three-quarters of 18-24 year olds claiming to be affected by these tensions, against 78% of 25-34 years, 79% aged 35-49 and 85% aged 65 and over.

Coping up with the pain, everyone reacts differently. 40% of respondents prefer to wait a day or two before treatment, while 30% choose to take a painkiller quickly. A fifth panel completely ignores the pain.

According to the study, fatigue (86%) and stress (57%) are the main causes of the occurrence of muscle tension.

This survey was conducted online between September 11 and October 13, 2011, among a sample of 1,027 people representative of the French population aged 18 and over.

SnoopLion for Obama

Americans “should give four more years to Obama,” sidelines SnoopLion at the International Festival of Film in Toronto, Canada last Friday, where he presented “Reincarnated”, a documentary on reggae. The rapper most fluid phrasing of an entire generation, ex-sidekick Dr. Dre, dropped his name from Snoop Dogg to embrace a new career in Jamaican music. 

Snoop Lion takes two terms

The quadra now, with 40 million records sold, look carefully into the campaign in the United States. Away from promoting his film, he took the opportunity voice out his opinions. Former Republican President George W. Bush “fucking mess for eight years, so we must give eight years to Obama,” he firmly told before adding: “Barack has cleaned half of this mess in four years. It is not as if you had given him a clean house”. They left him a house with a TV that did not work, clogged toilets, and nothing worked, he added with images of flowers. artist attended the national convention of the Democratic Party. “You heard what Bill Clinton said? Do you like it? “He asked the audience in reference to the much applauded speech of former Democratic president Wednesday. These are the stars behind Obama. Finally, the singer welcomed the elimination of Bin Laden. “Obama came and found, that George Bush could not catch who vanished 11 September 2001. Now if everyone can live in peace, and have a good time, it is because he has done it. ” Without any mystery, Snoop Lion joined battalions connected artists, young and glamorous that support Democrats like Eva Longoria, Scarlett Johansson, Beyonce, Angelina Jolie and many others.

With 114 million dollars in donations, Obama did better than Romney in August

U.S. President Barack Obama has collected in August, $ 114 million of contributions to finance the campaign for reelection, beating  the first time Republican rival Mitt Romney, said his campaign manager on Monday.

“More than one million one hundred thousand Americans – including 317,000 new contributors – paying on average $ 58 gave $ 14 million in total,” the largest amount of his 2012 presidential campaign, said Jim Messina. “The key to respond to the great interests who sign checks unlimited for Mitt Romney’s campaign is to expand our donor base, and this is what we actually did in August,” said M . Messina. These payments are significant because they occur after the appointment of Paul Ryan very conservative as a running mate for Romney.vAccording to the journal of the Congress, Hill, Mitt Romney has raised 111 million for his part in August ahead for the first time by Mr. Obama the collection of money, so he was largely heading in the previous months. The Republican candidate in July maintained a net financial benefit with a reserve of 186 million against only 124 million into the coffers of Barack Obama, according to the official accounts of the Federal Election Commission.

These figures did not include the payments in August or substantial advertising expenditures made in the same month by the two candidates. Advantage should continue to Mr. Romney, who has accumulated considerable sums of money waiting to be officially designated by the Republican convention in August before legally disposing. The money paid by Obama supporters will therefore only recover a little bar. In this chapter, the campaign team of the outgoing president said that in some states the television spots Romney and activism groups his supporters are twice as large in terms of expenditure than his Democratic rival. The outgoing president nevertheless on the rise, according to a Gallup daily poll, which gave him Sunday five points ahead of his challenger in the polls.

The Government is considering reducing margins on fuel oil and petrol stations

The government “will consider measures” that allow lower profit margins earned by operators in the price of fuel , and this could apply to “tax measures” being passed on businesses and not consumers, announced the vice Government, Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, after the Council of Ministers.

Alongside this, the government is “studying contracts flagging service stations with distributors” in order to proceed to liberalize and thereby “allow easier changes” and “remove barriers to entry,” he said.

Saenz de Santamaria said that the prices of petrol and diesel have reached “a peak in recent weeks” and that in the fuel sector of the energy price increases on international markets move quickly to the supplier, which does not happen with the decreases, so that prices “go up like a rocket and fall like a feather.”

The measures “not yet decided” and go to “speak to the sector,” said the Deputy Prime Minister, after explaining that the decision to study them has been adopted after the Council of Ministers on Friday a report analyze Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism on the matter.

In this report, he said, shows that the margins earned by operators in both petrol and diesel exceeds the European average and raise the price of fuel, although in Spain the tax burden is lower than the rest of the continent .

In fact, of the three elements of the fuel prices, which are the product cost, taxes and margin, the first is similar to the European average, while the tax burden is lower and the benefit to the operator is higher, he said.

“Spain is the eurozone countries that less gravel road and fuel tax, however, is one of the states where the margin, the gain is greater,” said Saenz de Santamaria.

Petrol and diesel.

To illustrate this fact, pointed are the Super 95 unleaded, in which the taxes in Spain are of 69.3 euro cents per liter, up from 66.9 cents in energy costs and 15 cents range.

As the area euro, taxes are higher for the same product, from 92.6 cents, while the cost is similar and the margin is less, from 13.3 cents. In France, the margin is even lower, at 9.8 cents.

In the case of diesel, the tax amounts to 58.5 cents per liter, compared to the area average euro to 71 cents, while the profit margin amounted to 15.1 cents, compared to 13.3 in the countries of environment.

Central Banks Won’t “Stack Up More Austerity” in Europe

Countries applying a program of buying bonds of the European Central Bank will not necessarily be at the request of making more cuts, as some governments have already taken solid steps in that direction, said Saturday Coeuré Benoit, a member of the governing council ECB.

In remarks that could allay some fears in Spain on ECB support request to reduce the performance of its sovereign bonds, Coeuré said the idea of the central bank’s program “is not stacking up more austerity”.

“The ECB’s intervention can only work if countries are on the way back to growth that will enable them to reduce their debt,” said Coeuré to France Inter in a radio.

“That does not necessarily mean more austerity. Certain countries, as we have already taken many steps in the right direction and therefore would not be necessarily more demands,” he added.

The ECB agreed Thursday to possibly launch an unlimited bond purchases to lower financing costs for members of the area euro in trouble, despite the resistance of the German Bundesbank , an announcement that triggered actions in European financial markets.

The ECB President Mario Draghi said the plan to buy short-term sovereign debt in the secondary market was subject to “strict and effective conditions” as that countries aspiring first request an aid program of rescue funds zone euro EFSF and ESM, which could involve further reform commitments.

This aggravated the debts over whether the government of President Mariano Rajoy, who is fighting a deep recession and unemployment of around 25 percent, would seek help. Rajoy has insisted that Spain has already taken the necessary and painful steps that were needed to restore public finances.

“This is a conversation that must take place not between Spain and the ECB, but between Spain and other eurozone members (…) It is a political decision,” said Coeuré.

The Spanish Deputy Prime Minister, Soraya Saenz de Santamaria, said that Spain will address the conditions that lead the ECB program with its partners in the area euro at a meeting of finance ministers of the EU to be held in Cyprus next week .

Coeuré said the ECB’s bond purchases will not solve the crisis of the block and that growth will remain weak in 2012 and 2013.

Reducing debt levels is a condition to return to growth, he said, but we also need policies to implement economies of the euro area, as the stimulus program of 120,000 million euros this year agreed by leaders of the region.

“Today we are in a situation in which the single market is no longer working, especially in the capital market,” said Coeuré, pointing also to fragmentation in the services and labor markets.

He also indicated that a pan-European plan Dole allow workers to move more freely through the region.

“There is a wide range of policies to restore economic dynamism in Europe that have not been explored enough,” he said. “It is urgent because this social crisis has lasted many months and the more you drag Europe into it, the worse the social and economic consequences,” he added.