West Ham to sign Alex Song from Barcelona on three-year deal

first_imgWest Ham co-owner David Sullivan says a deal has been agreed to sign Alex Song from Barcelona, if the midfielder can pass a medical.The 27-year-old Cameroon international spent last season on loan with the Hammers and impressed sufficiently to earn a permanent move and a three-year contract, as long as the former Arsenal midfielder can prove his fitness.Speaking to the KUMB (Knees Up Mother Brown) Podcast, Sullivan said: “We have a deal in place with Alex Song subject to a medical. If the medical is okay, we’ll take him.“He’s a player we all admire and we just hope that the medical shows he’s in a sufficient state for us to gamble.“He couldn’t physically pass a medical tomorrow, but if the medics say it’s just a technical thing and he’s only a couple of weeks away you’d take that gamble and hope they’re right.“He’s still got two years left on his Barcelona contract and you’re signing a player on a three-year contract, so it’s a huge commitment. He’s a big earner, Alex.“He’s injured at the moment, which is something you’ve got to weight up. But we’ve got until September 1st to make a decision.”Song starred for West Ham in the first part of last season but his form faded like the team’s.Sullivan added: “On his pre-Christmas form he was possibly the best player we’ve ever signed. But after Christmas he was just another player.“Maybe there’s reasons for that and maybe we’ll see the true Alex Song and maybe he’ll make a huge contribution this year.“We’d like another senior pro in that position.” Alex Song 1last_img read more


Putting PE on national property map

first_imgProperty for sale along the city’s main beachfront, like in these gracious old mansion blocks, is quickly snapped up. Port Elizabeth’s beautiful beaches are the city’s top attraction. (Images: Fiona McRae) MEDIA CONTACTS • Jaco RademeyerJaco Rademeyer Estates+27 83 320 6223 RELATED ARTICLES • British tourists turn to SA • New port to kick-start economy • Housing projects to curb SA slums • Finding sound real estate investmentFiona McRaeThere is nothing that comes close to property when you’re looking for a good investment – but in tough economic times, you may need to sit on it for a while.So says Port Elizabeth estate agent Jaco Rademeyer, owner and principal of Jaco Rademeyer Estates in the city.At just 28 years of age and with only five years’ experience in the real estate industry, Rademeyer was recently named the Nedbank Property Association’s Property Professional of the Year for 2009/10, beating 15 other finalists from among the country’s more than 40 000 registered estate agents.He was the only Eastern Cape candidate for the award, and the only independent estate agent among the finalists, all the others being from the country’s large property groups.For the year under review for the awards, ending February 2010, Rademeyer sold more than 100 properties in Port Elizabeth and the immediate surrounds, with a turnover of about R100-million (US$14.33-million).The judges considered aspects such as sales and turnover, service ethics, client satisfaction, professionalism, community involvement, marketing and innovation, and commitment to education and leadership, he says.Winning the title was made all the sweeter for Rademeyer by the fact that he had twice previously been a finalist for the award, in 2007 and again last year.He believes he owes his professional success to his “intuitive style and passion for all aspects of the property  business” which have enabled him to “adapt to the changing market dictates of an industry facing tough challenges in the difficult economic climate of recent years”.Indeed, at a time when many agencies were cutting back on advertising to reduce costs, Rademeyer bravely launched an aggressive and highly visible marketing campaign, stamping the Jaco Rademeyer brand on the local property scene.Investment areaSituated on the country’s south-eastern coast, the city forms part of the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropole, along with the inland towns of Uitenhage and Despatch. Lapped by the clear, warm waters of the Indian Ocean and known for its friendly, laid-back lifestyle, it is South Africa’s second-largest city in terms of area and fifth largest in terms of population.Rademeyer is not the only one helping to put Port Elizabeth firmly on the national property map.Local estate agent Debbie Epstein, who specialises in sales in the city’s main beachfront area, recently achieved second position for number of sales and fourth position for value of sales for the year up to March 2010 in the Harcourts property group’s national awards. Epstein competed with more than 600 sales consultants from 120 Harcourts offices around the country, including the larger cities of Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town.She has been with the company for the past decade and claims to have consistently sold property worth more than R40-million ($5.73-million) a year – a remarkable achievement given the small area on which she focuses. Although, she explains, the more limited purchase options often mean that any available stock is snapped up faster than in the bigger coastal cities of Cape Town and Durban, where buyers have more choices.In a case of swings and roundabouts, the tough economic climate is forcing some owners to part with holiday properties along Port Elizabeth’s stunning beachfront, providing keen buyers – some of them with millions of rands for a cash purchase – with more options.New buyers in the area include medical and other professionals moving to Port Elizabeth to take up positions in the city, parents seeking accommodation in close proximity to Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University for their student children, and canny investors looking to acquire properties to take advantage of the student rentals market, Epstein says.She agrees with Rademeyer that while interest from would-be buyers – including out-of-towners using  the internet for their property search – has definitely picked up again after the global slump, many potential purchases are still being scuppered by the banks’ high deposit requirements and strict lending criteria, and buyers’ understandable fear of a long-term financial commitment in these still uncertain economic times.But she has great confidence in the city as an investment area for buyers, both local and from further afield.“Port Elizabeth has it all,” she says. “It offers great opportunities, whether your need be for residential, holiday or industrial property.”Poised for major growthEqually confident of the city’s attraction and value for buyers is Kobie Potgieter, owner broker of RE/MAX Independent Properties in Port Elizabeth, part of the RE/MAX International property group.Herself a former winner of the Nedbank Property Professional of the Year title for 2008/09, and previously RE/MAX International’s top-earning agent in the world (excluding the US and Canada) in terms of commission paid, Potgieter believes Port Elizabeth offers more potential for capital growth in the property market than any other city in South Africa, with larger centres like Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban and Cape Town “having already reached their ceiling”.Port Elizabeth has not yet reached its full potential, she says, and further investment and development will be driven by the deep-water harbour at the port of Ngqura and the opportunities offered by the adjacent Coega industrial development zone.“The city is poised for major growth in the residential, industrial and commercial areas,” she says. “The investment by major organisations in Port Elizabeth is proof of their confidence in the city.”Potgieter recently sold a lifestyle property in the coastal area of Lovemore Park, on the outskirts of the city, for an area record price of R10-million ($1.43-million). She believes this tranquil and verdant area will be another growth point for the city, as it offers large pieces of land suitable for the development of up-market residential and lifestyle estates similar to the Zimbali residential and resort estate on the KwaZulu-Natal north coast.Looking to the immediate future for a property market that is only now beginning to recover after having been hard-hit by South Africa’s first economic recession in 17 years, Rademeyer says that although there has been quite a turnaround from even just six months ago, he expects the market to remain stagnant for some time to come.Opportunities for astute buyersWhile the Eastern Cape is becoming more enthusiastic and people “are at least signing again”, many prospective buyers are unable to meet banks’ stringent requirements for lending. “The market may be alive again, but there are no fireworks yet,” says Rademeyer.His words of advice for anyone wanting to invest in the property market at the moment? “Commercial property remains a sound investment.”According to Ian Olivier of Ian Olivier Properties and regional chairman of the Institute of Estate Agents of South Africa, property investments in the Eastern Cape are often driven by the many and diverse opportunities the province offers. Topping the list are some of the country’s most beautiful beach property and the accompanying relaxed, outdoor lifestyle, with Port Elizabeth being positioned as the country’s water sports capital.But the Eastern Cape’s charms also include magnificent inland scenery, from the mountains and forests of the Amatole region to the vast, arid plains of the Karoo. Historic and attractive towns such as Graaff-Reinet, dubbed the Gem of the Karoo, stunning natural splendour, malaria-free Big Five game reserves, and friendly locals with hearts as big as the expansive Karoo sky all add to the province’s melting pot of attractions.Olivier warns that the recovery in the property market will not be immediate or quick, but says there are many opportunities for astute purchasers who are in a position to capitalise on the current conditions that favour buyers.www.ianolivierproperties.co.za/last_img read more


Business Benefits of Online Faxing

first_imgTop Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… In the age of Instagram, e-signatures, and video calls, the fax machine — whose direct roots date back to 1843 — seems a tad obsolete. The very idea conjures images of cowboys on horseback racing against sleek autonomous vehicles across the freeway.But against all odds, facsimile technology persists. In fact, a surprising number of businesses, fields, and even entire countries can’t seem to function well without it that fax services continue to evolve alongside wearables, AI, and mobile apps.Depending on your generation, you might laugh at the sight of this quaint office equipment or relish the nostalgia behind it, but author and technology historian Jonathan Coopersmith believes fax machines will remain useful in one form or another well into the future. In his book, Faxed: The Rise and Fall of the Fax Machine, Coopersmith traces the science behind facsimile technology, the multibillion dollar market it spawned, and its impact on modern culture.Top reasons people in the 21st century still fax documentsWhile they may not be as ubiquitous as they once were, fax machines continue to be indispensable in the health, financial, legal, manufacturing, and government sectors. There are still millions of fax machines in frantic operation around the world, with IDC recently reporting that in contrast to the common notion that faxing will die a natural death pretty soon, fax usage in the corporate world will actually grow in the years ahead.Wait … What?In its 2017 report, Fax Market Pulse: Trends, Growth and Opportunities, the decades-old business intelligence firm even went as far as concluding that fax will remain a “vital communication tool” relied upon by businesses of all sizes and in all industries, and will play an “important role within organizations as they embrace digital transformation.”Among IDC’s key findings are:Fax communication remains an alternative, widely used, preferred, or mandatory method for transmitting documents such as trade confirmations, loan applications, patient health information, claim forms, contract bids, expenditure forms, purchase orders, shipping notices, and invoices.Fax usage will shift from traditional to cloud-based variants (i.e., online fax).Fax usage is expected to grow by an average of 25% over the next two years.Organizations continue to use fax because their customers and suppliers require them to do so.Simplifying fax processes and accessibility drives usage growth.Fax is a trusted method of secure communication/document exchange.Organizations continue to invest in their fax infrastructure to serve customers better or expand to new markets.Nearly 40% of surveyed organizations have consolidated their faxing processes to a single solution.Nine in ten of fax users reveal they already have integrated their fax systems with other applications (ERP, CRM, document management, etc) or technologies such as email to make fax easier to use.Online Faxing as Next-Gen Evolution of Facsimile TechnologySo, yes — based on emerging business realities and against popular opinion, fax communication will be around for the long haul. And by integrating current technologies such as cloud computing and email in its functional design, online fax will fit right inside any digital workplace, modern home, or business space.Fax communication has already evolved for today’s computing environment, with many providers now offering fax servers, email fax, and other cloud-based fax services. New fax-based solutions have enhanced accessibility and offer excellent user experiences. Some are bundled in comprehensive packages that include VOIP phone services which can dramatically reduce phone bills and centralize all your communication processes in one place.Fax has become a crucial element in the business workflows of customers and suppliers. Any company that ignores fax will be unable to fully cater to these customers and suppliers. Having an online fax system enables any modern business to continue servicing these segments. Moreover, online fax speeds up the transmission of important documents and helps reduce or prevent errors.Given those benefits and business cases, you may opt to use and integrate online fax into your digital workflow. To do that, you can either use a traditional fax machine plus a fax bridge or just a printer/scanner connected to a computer. Either way, you can easily send and receive fax documents via email and a simple application on your computer. Online fax offers additional benefits:You can easily digitize and archive fax messages instead of maintaining hard copies of every fax document you send or receive.Most services adopt top-notch encryption and security protocols.You can send faxes from any authorized device, including your tablet and smartphone.Most services allow for international fax transmissions without extra costs.Some services come bundled with expense-busting VOIP phones services.How do you use online fax?Using online fax is as simple as picking up a phone or writing an email. When you sign up for an online fax service, you’ll be provided with a dedicated phone number for fax as well as an online fax app linked to authorized emails to manage the entire process. There might be slight step variations depending on the online fax service you use, but the general process will be similar across services.For example, to send a fax online —Scan or locate the document you want to transmit. To locate, just browse for it on the cloud or on your device storage.Run the online fax service app.Enter the number and recipient [attention] name.Enter any optional information you want on the designated field. This often serves like a fax cover sheet for traditional fax transmissions.Upload the document. Most online fax services allow for different file formats but PDF is generally the default.Click SEND. (You’ll immediately receive confirmation on whether a fax was sent or received.)To receive online fax —You’ll receive an email message with an attached document.You can preview the document, store it in the cloud, or get it printed immediately. No need to wait endlessly for a traditional fax machine to slowly print out the document line by agonizing line.How much does online fax cost?Nextiva’s pricing matrix will give you a general idea of the monthly cost of online fax. Nextiva’s online fax service has been ranked by Business.com as its Best Pick in the industry for affordability, service level range, and available features.Single User ($4.95/month) | Up to 500 fax pages per month.Small Business ($12.95/month) | Up to 1,000 fax pages per month.Business Pro ($29.95/month) | Up to 3,000 fax pages per month.Basic features, capabilities, and support for all plans include —Online portalFax by emailFax by mobile deviceAccess fax anywhereAlways on, never busyFax machine supportNumber transferNo PC requiredCancel anytimeConclusionOnline fax bridges traditional business practices and the new digital, cloud-enabled workplace. It eliminates incompatibilities with high-tech systems and the need for clunky hardware.By combining the familiarity of the phone and the convenience of email, online fax empowers businesses with higher levels of accessibility, efficiency, and productivity. They can still exchange documents with customers, suppliers, and other contacts that use traditional equipment — but they also gain greater confidence in addressing any communication challenge that lies ahead.There are many options to choose from and you can start by reviewing what’s available on the market. Whichever service becomes your final choice, signing up for online fax future-proofs your business and helps it transition more seamlessly into a fast-paced digital environment. richard macmanus A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai…center_img Tags:#enterprise#NYT#Product Reviews#web Related Posts 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more


Amazon Brings Social Reading to Kindle – But Will You Use It?

first_imgWill You Use Kindle Profiles?One issue I had when playing with my Kindle Profile was that much of my data was out-of-date. Goodreads is my social reading service of choice and there is significantly more of my reading data in Goodreads than on my Amazon profile. There appears to be no way to sync the two. Since I don’t feel inclined to keep two separate social reading services up-to-date, it’s likely that I’ll stick with Goodreads – since I enjoy that community and I have over three years worth of reading data there.Overall, it’s great to see Amazon making Kindle profiles social. Granted, it’s far from perfect. The interface is a bit confusing, especially the different private and public profiles. There is also a lot more social connectivity that Amazon could enable, for example allowing you to send highlights automatically from your Kindle to Twitter, Facebook or even Google Plus. However, the interface and additional social features will evolve over time. This is a good start by Amazon. Now the big question is: will you use it? As noted above, I’m inclined to stick with Goodreads for now. You? Secondly, you can connect your Kindle Profile to your Twitter and Facebook accounts. As noted above, this causes the system to auto-follow users in your social networks who have a Kindle Profile, too. You can also manually follow users – here is my public profile if you’re interested.There is an option to auto-share your reading activity to Twitter or Facebook. Again the default is private, but Amazon puts the public option front and center. This only applies to the status of a public book, so it doesn’t apply to books marked private or to Kindle highlights and notes. Your private Kindle Profile comes in a handy ‘homepage’ like package, offering features such as a “Daily Review” (selected highlights from your reading), recent activity, popular highlights, stats and “highly followed people” (featuring the usual social media suspects, e.g. Kevin Rose and Seth Godin). Tags:#Amazon#E-Books#NYT#web Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting How Your Kindle Profile Differs From Your Amazon ProfileAt a high level, your Kindle Profile is focused on reading and your Amazon profile is focused on buying. Specifically, there are two main differences between your Kindle Profile and your Amazon Profile.Firstly, Kindle Profile makes available your Kindle highlights and notes. Highlights are passages in a book that you literally highlight for later viewing. Notes are your own custom notations inside a book, much like scribbling in the margins of a paper book. Both highlights and notes are private by default, but you can make them public on a book-by-book basis. richard macmanuscenter_img Kindle Profiles is a social service that was quietly launched by Amazon in March of this year. Its existence was little known, probably because it wasn’t very useful as a social tool until Amazon recently added connections to Twitter and Facebook. I myself only discovered the service after VC Fred Wilson blogged about it the over the weekend. Kindle Profiles appears to be gaining some early traction now, thanks largely to Kindle Profile users auto-following people in their Twitter and Facebook networks. As Wired pointed out, this is a somewhat dodgy tactic, because the user cannot turn off this auto-follow behavior.Regardless, what’s of most interest to me is how Amazon is actively trialing a social reading service connected to the Kindle brand. While Amazon owns the social reading service Shelfari, which it acquired three years ago, it hasn’t integrated Shelfari in a deep way into Kindle. In this post, we review the features of Kindle Profiles and ask whether you’d want to use this over competing services like Goodreads or Library Thing.Private & Public ProfilesKindle Profiles comes in both private and public flavors. The private one, as you’d expect, has much more in it. But as Facebook has done over the past couple of years with its initially private service, over time Amazon will likely prompt and tease you to make your private content public.Kindle Profiles isn’t even the official name for this service. In its inimitably clumsy branding way, Amazon calls it “Kindle.amazon.com.” The service aims to augment the reading experience by “bringing readers together and by helping them to learn more from the books that they read.” In other words: it’s social. You can follow people “to see their Public Notes and reading activities, and review your books, highlights, and notes.”The private profile lists out your Kindle booklist, which it gets from your Amazon profile (both purchased books and ones on your Wish List). Each book has a reading status and rating, which is populated from your Amazon profile if available. Related Posts Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more


President-Elect Trump Says ACA Repeal and Replacement will be Simultaneous

first_imgCCH Tax Day ReportPresident-elect Donald Trump said on January 11 that repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) (P.L. 111-148) will be simultaneous. The president-elect spoke briefly about the ACA and a border tax at a news conference in New York.“We are going to be submitting, as soon as our (Health and Human Services (HHS)) secretary is approved, a plan,” Trump said. “It will be repeal and replace. It will be essentially simultaneous.”At this time, the Senate is debating a budget resolution, which would set in motion repeal of the ACA (TAXDAY, 2017/01/05, C.1). On January 10, House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., said that ACA replacement and repeal would be concurrent (TAXDAY, 2017/01/11, C.1). Democrats have questioned if Republicans have a replacement plan (TAXDAY, 2017/01/11, C.1).Turning to trade, Trump said that “there will be a major border tax on companies that are leaving.” The president-elect did not describe the make-up of a border tax.In other ACA news, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen has reported to Congress on the ACA’s individual shared responsibility requirement (known as the “individual mandate”) and the Code Sec. 36B premium assistance tax credit. The ACA generally requires individuals to have minimum essential health coverage or make a shared responsibility payment, unless exempt. Individuals report if they had coverage on their returns.Koskinen told lawmakers that about 80 percent of taxpayers checked the box on their 2015 returns to indicate they had qualifying coverage all year. Nearly 13 million taxpayers claimed one or more health care coverage exemptions, he reported.Koskinen also told Congress that approximately 5.3 million taxpayers claimed the Code Sec. 36B credit in 2015. The average credit amount was $3,620. Advance payment of the premium tax credit (APTC) to insurers paid during the year resulted in a net premium credit for 2.4 million filers. The average additional amount received was $670, Koskinen reported.By George L. Yaksick, Jr., Wolters Kluwer News StaffKoskinen ACA Report to Congresslast_img read more