Know When Your Business Needs IT Consulting Services

Businesses must ensure that only the latest technologies and software are deployed at the workplace, in order to provide quality solutions to their clients, and to be ahead of the competition. With the ever-changing technological trends in the industry, businesses find it cumbersome to adopt these technologies. Instead they can hand the entire function over … Continue reading “Know When Your Business Needs IT Consulting Services”

Businesses must ensure that only the latest technologies and software are deployed at the workplace, in order to provide quality solutions to their clients, and to be ahead of the competition. With the ever-changing technological trends in the industry, businesses find it cumbersome to adopt these technologies. Instead they can hand the entire function over to a sound IT consulting services company – who in turn will tap into their global pool of highly skilled IT professionals, who have the advantage of working in various IT environments, and have extensive experience across sectors. By providing assistance to business, IT consulting services providers free up existing resources; ensure IT transitions are smooth and problem-free; optimise key business processes; identify areas that benefit with further cost saving; build competitive advantage through IT; reduce IT complexities; provide IT strategy consultancy services, IT project management services and provide specialised programme management solutions – all of which, help the organisation achieve significant business efficiencies and cost benefits.

Choosing to work with an IT firm definitely boosts a company’s overall efficiency, which in turn decreases costs. Firms tend to look for a flexible and bespoke solution to address the client’s IT needs, thereby delivering solutions that are in tandem with the client’s goals.

The advantages listed above necessitate hiring an IT company. But how will a business know that it needs IT consultancy services?

A business may function with its existing IT architecture without knowing the benefits of such services. In order to discern the need for IT consulting services, businesses must first understand the details of their services. According to Wikipedia, ‘IT consulting is a field that focuses on advising businesses on how best to use IT to meet their business objectives. In addition to providing advice, IT consultancies often estimate, manage, implement, deploy, and administer IT systems on businesses’ behalf, known as Outsourcing’. IT consulting services firms thereby help businesses strategise and evaluate their IT functions as a whole and take the necessary steps to implement and/or deploy and then administer effective and robust IT systems in place. Businesses can seek the services of an IT firm when:

  1. IT investments regularly overshoot the set budget. Fast-paced technologies and trends warrant proper planning. When making strategic use of the allocated budget seems difficult, seeking the advice of IT consultancy services providers is imperative.
  2. A business decides to relocate or reduce staff.
  3. Projects regularly miss deadlines. Lack of specialists, complex projects and shoestring budgets lead to inefficient project management. A sound IT consulting services company designs bespoke, safe and cost-effective solutions, either full time or part time.
  4. Challenges of globalization, technical and regulatory changes arise. Business and technology management when integrated help the business survive, and therefore IT strategy consultancy is important.
  5. Programmes and projects eat into the budget. A business needs specialised programme management solutions to achieve significant cost savings. A robust IT services company provides either the co-sourcing or the outsourcing model to help businesses remain ahead of the competition, by providing tailored solutions.
  6. There is a need to change networks or when the need to shift to a new IT architecture arises.
  7. The company is in need of a robust disaster recovery plan.
  8. There are no data storage systems in place.

Availing the services of the right IT consulting services company may be a challenge. A business must choose a provider before the problems stated above get worse – and must choose a provider who is able to set in place a sound IT system in place. Therefore, a business must choose a provider who provides flexible solutions. Businesses must also remember that though they think they are able to fix small issues, the reality is that these issues must be treated at the root, and they can be properly tackled only with strategic IT solutions – only provided by an effective IT consulting services company.

Why Is It Important To Pretest A Questionnaire

It is very important to have a pretest for a questionnaire. Pretesting can help you determine the strengths and weaknesses of your survey or questionnaire. By making your main concern for your pretest to have a reliable question format and also a good wording and order. By establishing a correct pretest, your questionnaire will yield better results.

There are two types of survey pretests: participating and undeclared.

Participating pretests show that you tell respondents that the pretest is a sample for determine how; rather than asking the respondents to simply fill out the questionnaire, participating pretests usually involve an interview setting somewhere in a setting where respondents are asked to explain reactions to question form, wording and order. This kind of pretest will help you determine if your questions are understandable for the respondent to answer truly to their best opinion.

When conducting an undeclared pretest, you do not tell respondents that it is a pretest. You have the respondents manipulated into a situation where they feel like this is a real questionnaire. This type of pretest allows you to check your choice of analysis and the standardization of your survey efficiently.

According to Converse and Presser (1986), if researchers have the resources to do more than one pretest, it might be best to use a participatory pretest first, then an undeclared test. Both test prove to show reliable data in regards to just one test. A pretest is made to gain insight into potential mistakes and misinterpretation. It makes room for improvements by results from the pretest.

How surveys are sometimes misused

The main reason for failing surveys to get useful information from surveys is getting misleading information. The maker of the survey has to make sure the participant believes that one understands how to do surveys.

Another reason surveys are sometimes misused is confusing measurement with research and data. Opinion measurement and research are two different processes. In most cases a survey is a measurement tool, not a research tool, for one very important reason. It has little or no chance of discovering anything unexpected about the person’s thinking process over and above the topics it asks about.

Another way surveys are misused is asking useless questions to complicate the problem, participants typically realize they’re worthless and unlikely to have any real impact. Participants may be thinking about many other factors other than the standard items on the survey, but they get no chance to respond with what they really want to say. The purpose of the survey is to understand the participant, not a product or idea. Lastly, poor questionnaire design, Surveys can be tremendously valuable, but only if they measure something worth measuring. Also mistakes include putting too many questions on one survey. Most surveys should have around 20 questions.

Surveys that have a lot of questions create anxiety and a sense of quitting. which actually means trying to do two or more research projects at once, Surveys can be valuable, but only if they measure something worth measuring. Surveys that offer a prize of gift may attract participants that only want the prize of gift. These participants don’t value the questionnaires worth because of this.

Al Pacino’s Astrology-Numerology Combination – Taurus (7) – The Conceptual Conjurer

As Michael Corleone in the “Godfather” films, and with starring roles in “Serpico”, “Scarface”, and “Sent of a Woman”, Oscan winner Al Pacino has mastered playing the movie tough guy. This elite actor has a personality which shines through his roles like a beacon, but is he really anything like his famous characters? Read on and learn what Al Pacino’s Astrology Numerology combination tells us about the real man.

Astronumerology; Astrology combined with Numerology

If I’ve just met someone and want to know what they’re really like behind their professional mask, I calculate their Astrology Numerology combination. Astronumerology is the art of determining someone’s personality type using their Astrology sun sign and their Life path number from Numerology. If you know someone’s date of birth, this is an easy calculation, since their Astrology sun sign is just a date range lookup, and the Life Path calculation just involves summing all the digits of the full birth date and reducing the total with fadic addition. Since Al Pacino was born on April 25, 1940, his Astrology Numerology combination is Taurus with a Life Path value of (7).

Taurus (7) – The Conceptual Conjurer

People born with this combination are an eternal contradiction, and love being that way. They live to keep people guessing at their true motives. Taurus sevens have a very mysterious allure to them, they are earthy and yet ethereal in nature; very hard to define or describe. These souls have a sly wit and a droll and dry humor that is a major part of their personality. They also are perfectionist with a ferocious competitive drive, which they hide behind the ease and nonchalance of their public face. Taurus sevens are a wellspring of trivia, odd facts, and anecdotes which they use to screen their true thoughts and feelings. These people don’t want to let you see their true motives and feelings in a situation, they want to remain a mystery to those around them.

Taurus sevens all have a large kind heart that they want to conceal; they will have some kind of charity that they work with to make the world better. They also have a burning desire to achieve something special in the world, either in their chosen field, or for humanity as a whole. These souls would make perfect spies, projecting a hearty goodness while absorbing all the details around them with perfect recall. They also can formalize and put forth their ideas perfectly, and those ideas are almost always clever enough to be worth perusing.


Al Pacino’s Astrology / Life Path combination shows us that his competitive drive and perfectionist tendencies, along with his mastery at concealing his true self make him a consummate actor. I’d also say that the kind heart that Taurus sevens possess can be seen in his work, even through his concealing nature. And, the love of contradiction and confusion that are a major principal of this kind of personality lend to some very credible performances as a gangster, or an undercover detective. His personality really has supported the kinds of roles he is famous for.

What On Earth Is Happening To The Schumann Wave?

For the third time in four weeks, the Schumann wave has spiked to new highs. This time we hit an incredible 110hz. If you still think this has no impact on you think again! Put simply, the Schumann wave, also called “breath of the earth”, measures the resonance of the earth.

Until four years ago the Schumann resonance of the earth oscillated between 7hz and 12hz. The perfect Schumann wave resonance is 7.83hz. This frequency has been studied by scientists from the early 19th century and has shown us some amazing correlations to the health of life on earth.

Scientists from the Max Plank Institute in Germany discovered in the sixties that humans cannot function when the 7.83hz frequency is not present. This astounding discovery, not talked about in the main stream media, is further corroborated by the fact that a healthy brain and a healthy earth have been shown to resonate at exactly the same frequency. That frequency is 7.83hz. (I discuss these scientific experiments in detail in my HOLISTIC Feng Shui book.)

Here is the big problem humanity faces today: it affects your trading brain

The frequencies of the earth are clearly rising and our brains have a tough time keeping up with it. You probably have never considered what this is doing to your trading brain!

I have worked since 2001 as a trader and trading coach to professional, independent traders. A large part of my work consists of the study of earth energies and how they relate to the brain. My work has enabled me to develop strategies that help traders brains to harmonize for better trading..

Since the absolutely astounding mega spikes of the Schumann waves I have observed a clear relationship between freaky, dysfunctional behaviour and physical issues. I have had many emails from traders complaining that they cannot focus and are feeling anxious..

This is hardly surprising because our bodies cannot withstand prolonged frequency spikes above 60 hz of several hours and more will impact on our sense of well being.

Our brains are out of alignment with the earth’s frequencies because the steadily rising Schumann waves are now oscillating at approximately 16 hz most of the time.

Your inner compass is no longer aligned with the compass of the earth.

We need this alignment to lead orderly lives.

It appears that the phenomenon is part of a massive cycle the world is going through. Our entire milky way is moving to a different part in our galaxy. The magnetic poles of the earth are shifting.

The big joker in the pack though is manmade EMF,(elector magnetic frequencies) from computer equipment, wi-fi equipment, cell towers, dirty electricity and so on.

These energies are wreaking havoc with the natural frequencies of the earth and the earth’s ionosphere. Our bodies are able to withstand higher amounts of naturally occurring frequencies, yet when they are manmade our bodies are unable to cope.

Don’t kid yourself into thinking that a little bit of positive thinking will get things back to how they were. They won’t.

Are we helpless? No. We cannot change the large super cycle of transition the earth is going through. However we can change the energy in our environment and clean up our act.

Global Division Product

Global product divisions are part of a multinational’s organizational structure when the primary division of the firm’s activities is based on product (or service) categories. For example, an automobile manufacturing firm may be primarily divided into a truck division, a passenger car division, and an SUV division; or a large professional service firm may be divided into audit, business advising, information technology, and tax divisions. Then each of these “global product divisions” may be divided into several geographic (e.g., Americas, Africa-Middle East, Asia-Pacific, Europe) and/or market subdivisions (e.g., corporate, government, and private clients). The strategic logic underlying the global product division is the need to concentrate resources at the level of the product (or product group).

Thus, in the above automobile example, the firm may feel that these three markets are quite independent, and that appointing a separate management team for each division will allow each to focus on their markets and thus develop their businesses and compete more effectively. Further, C. K. Prahalad and Gary Hamel and other proponents of the resource-based view of the firm would insist that the firm should be structured around the key resources that give the firm sustainable competitive advantage. Thus, for example, a certain set of products could be based on certain technologies and competencies-and a global product division is a natural structure to house these products and resources. Traditionally a global product division had control over most of value chain relevant to its market.

For example, Procter & Gamble (P&G) has three global product divisions, namely Global Beauty, Global Household Care, and Global Health & Well-being (as well as a Global Operations division). Thus, the Global Beauty division would have its own manufacturing facilities, suppliers, brands, distribution network, and service department. However, contemporary managerial and organizational approaches have de-emphasized the advisability of this kind of control for two sets of reasons. First, as stated by Stephen Young and Ana Teresa Tavares, complete autonomy is not necessarily an optimal situation.

Along these lines, authors like Julian Birkinshaw have suggested that the overall global firm is better off with coordinating mechanisms across its global divisions that seek to find economies of scale, economies of scope, and other efficiencies and synergies. Thus the normative tendency would be to share information systems, production, facilities, and services across its product divisions; and P&G’s Global Operations division would have a mandate to facilitate many of these synergies.

Another popular contemporary approach is “outsourcing” (or off-shoring) of parts of the value chain-such as production of various components or a service call center-to an external service provider. For example, Stanley Holmes writes that Boeing is outsourcing more than 70 percent of the 787’s airframe, allowing Italian, Japanese, and Russian engineering concerns to design and build major parts of the fuselage and wings. The benefits of these programs include cutting costs and forging relationships with potential clients. For example, Kristien Coucke and Leo Sleuwaegen report on a recent study whereby off-shoring programs increase the likelihood that Belgian manufacturing firms will survive.

Nevertheless, there is a general acceptance and adoption of global product divisions by multinational firms. This is especially the case in corporations moving away from international division structures-over time, the domestic and international businesses are recombined and then split into either product, market, or geographic structures. However, along the same developmental process, these structures often continue to evolve into some form of matrix-whereby managerial authority descends to the business via two (or sometimes, three) dimensions. For example, one dimension may be like the global product structure responsible for various offerings and the other may be geographic.

A more advanced stage of development would be what Chris Bartlett and Sumantra Ghoshal call the “transnational” structure, whereby the firm develops dual capacity to deal with both local (national) as well as global contingencies.

Indiscipline Among the Students

The indiscipline among the students is on the increase. This is a fact borne out by daily happenings in schools and colleges. The newspapers are full of reports of unrest and indiscipline among students. It has become one of the serious problems being faced by the country. Students go on strikes, they resort to copying and cheating in the examination, insult their teachers and principals. They tear away pages from the library books or pictures from the magazines, write dirty things on walls etc. and indulge in many other kinds of mischief. They clash with the police, throw stones and brickbats at them and practice violence at any pretext.

This widespread unrest and indiscipline among the students reflect the prevailing indiscipline, lawlessness and frustration in the society. The students alone are not to be blamed. There is too much political interference in schools and educational institutions. The students are misled and misused by various political parties to serve their selfish ends. The postings, appointments, transfers etc. in schools, colleges and universities are made not on merits but other considerations. Corruption and favouritism are rampant in these temples of learning.

The teachers themselves are corrupt. They are greedy and run after illegal means of making quick money. They do not inspire confidence, hope and honesty among students. They indulge in dirty politics and can stoop to any depth to have money. Therefore, there is a crisis of character. Students have no role models to follow. Students find themselves groping in the dark. The cable and TV boom and influence of western ideas and culture have further worsened the situation. The rapid disintegration of families has also contributed to the increasing indiscipline among students. There is neither character, nor values, nor morals in the society. Students imitate their parents, teachers, leaders and elders and behave accordingly.

The education imparted in schools and colleges is totally irrelevant. It is not job-oriented. Students fail to get suitable and early employment after finishing their education and training. There is favouritism and nepotism in employment. One has to pay huge amount of money as bride to secure even a modest job. Students with resources and recommendations get all the good jobs. Reservation of jobs for certain categories of students has further worsened the situation. The merit has been marginalised.

Therefore, students feel cheated, frustrated and disillusioned. When without any hope or employment, they become quite restless and indulge in all sorts of indiscipline. There is no proper guidance, advice etc., in regard to the selection of courses of studies and careers. As a result of all this, much of their energy, time and resources to waste and they become victims of indecision. This leads to more and aimlessness.

The classes are over-crowded. There is no personal contact between teachers and students. There is too much pressure on students as they are always expected to score excellent grades. The system of examination is also very defective. It encourages copying, rot learning and reliance on cheap market notes. A month or so before the examination, the students engage themselves in studies. For the rest of the year they are idle. There are no extra-curricular activities worth their names. Their energies are not properly utilized, and therefore they find expression in violence, unrest and indiscipline. It has been rightly observed that an-empty mind is a devil’s workshop. An ideal hand is still worse.

The problem is grave but is not impossible to check it. It is the duty of the leaders, educationists and teachers to address the problem immediately. There should be no political interference in the running of schools etc. the entire education system should be over-hauled and made job-oriented. It should be linked with industry. The teachers should be given better salaries and allowances. They should be made accountable and responsible for the results and conduct of the students under them. There should be no school without proper facilities for games and sports. More emphasis should be laid on character-building, moral education and extra-curricular activities. Growing indiscipline and unrest among students is a great danger to our society and must be checked with the cooperation of all. The union elections in schools and colleges should not be allowed to be fought on political lines. They must function only as educational associations. The classes and their sections should not be crowded. Only the teachers with merits and good characters to be appointed in the schools. Privatisation of schools should also be encouraged. More money should be spent on education, particularly on primary education. There should be liberal and more scholarships for needy and meritorious students.

When, Why and How to Ask for Prepayments and Extra Payments As an Expert Witness

Should you ask for a retainer? Yes, you should. If a case appears simple, a modest retainer fee equivalent to two or three hours of your consulting rate may be fair. You can reduce your initial retainer fee under special circumstances or for limited scope of work. In the same fashion, you can raise your retainer at other times when the initial work will be dramatically greater. After assessing how many hours of initial work you will need to undertake, let that guide you to the size of your retainer.

Be particular about the initial expectations so that you can quantify the initial retainer. Ask, and agree, on the materials you must read, the research or investigations you must complete, and consider what tests you must run. Confirm your understanding with an email, a fax or a letter, depending on the urgency of the work. Then, wait until you’ve received the retainer check or payment before starting the work. If the attorney tells you that the job is urgent, send him wire transfer information so that he can wire your retainer directly to your bank account. This can easily happen in a 24-hour period.

Always ask for an initial payment before you begin work on a case or you might end up working for nothing. If, by the end of the case, the hours you spent did not consume the retainer, you should refund the Difference.

Occasionally an attorney will ask you to do work for free. A free first telephone conversation represents goodwill and can be an encouragement to engage you when the case seems right. Doing analysis or research for attorneys and charging them nothing is unprofessional. On the other hand, you can certainly consider pro-bono work from time to time, just as attorneys occasionally do.

One novel element remains to consider. As your reputation grows, attorneys will sometimes retain you just to be sure that the other side cannot employ you. As a result, you should value the use of your name as an expert witness, and consider imposing a minimum fee whenever an attorney wants to retain you. You can apply this minimum charge against services, so it will have no impact on the total cost to the client unless the attorney never uses your services.

In my retainer contract, my terms require both an advance retainer and a replenishment of all or part of the retainer from time to time. The amount of replenishment depends on what additional work the attorney requires of me. Some experts require that the attorney or client maintain a minimum retainer. To do so, you should bill to restore that minimum whenever the balance in the pre-paid account for the client falls below a specific level. Ask for new advance payments whenever it becomes apparent that additional work will deplete the existing balance in the client’s account.

Generally, your client will not have to replenish the retainer if the additional work only requires one to several hours. But you should request advance payment in the following instances:

1. If a sudden surge occurs in discovery materials for your review.

2. If your attorney requests that you travel for conferences and meetings.

3. If any investigations require you to travel to job sites or company offices for observations, meetings, and any other explorations.

4. If your deposition has been scheduled. You will have to reserve a variable number of days in your schedule for the deposition, for a pre-deposition conference, and possibly for the travel time as well.

5. If a trial has been scheduled; you will have the same factors of blocking out time for possible travel, meetings, and testimony.

You should also estimate airfare, hotel, car, and food expenses as well. You can contain those in requested advance payments. If you ask for advance payments, ask for them well in advance. Larger companies often have processing delays for invoices or payment requests. You do not want those delays to stand in the way of your work. Do not wait until the last minute to ask for advance payment. Your business needs to be organized enough to estimate the size of advance payments. You can base those payments on discussions with the attorney about the progress of the case and what work you anticipate will be required of you.

The most important advance payment is the one that precedes a trial. Be firm in asking for advance payment for your anticipated billings before traveling to testify at a trial. Clients have now spent a large sum of money by the time a trial begins. If the client loses in the trial, he either may not be able, or choose not, to pay you. But because he needs your testimony at the trial, put the pressure on him to pay beforehand and not on you to collect afterward.

Receiving advance payment for your trial testimony time permits you to respond “No” to the potential cross examining question of whether the client owes you any money.

If the client has now paid you, you can honestly point out that the verdict in the case will have no affect on your testimony.

The Four Layers of Diversity in a Workplace

The increase in the diverse populations amongst workplaces should result into the increase of comfort amongst employees, customers and suppliers from various cultures and ethnic groups. This atmosphere of comfort can be created only if the organization can successfully manage the many issues of diversity. Certain aspects and factors should be considered by organization to achieve a successful diverse workplace environment.

If employees that have a similar nature work together, there will be at more ease and therefore prove to be more productive. Employees who differ from others according to some prominent characteristic-race, sexual category, way of life, age, or religion, etc may be victims of the dominant group. This characteristically damages the former kind of employee’s self-confidence, efficiency, customer relations, income resource, etc.

Diversity application is necessary in organizations for attracting and retaining diverse customers. Diversity applications major role is in enhancing decision-making powers and increasing stakeholder goodwill. Therefore, its importance should not be neglected. In order to understand the nature of diversity one must initially understand skills required for managing diversity.

Diversity is majorly categorized into four layers:

1. Internal Personality Dimension.

2. Unchanging External Dimension.

3. Evolving External Dimension.

4. Organizational Dimension.

1. Internal Personality Dimensions:

One category of employees is taken according to their psychological profile. This is simply regarded as the internal personality. The most admired personality assessment tool is the Myers Briggs type indicator (MBTI).

MBTI tool is based on four dimensions, each with a pair of ranges:

· Introvert versus Extrovert

· Sensing versus Intuition,

· Thinking versus Feeling

· Perceiving versus Judging

Each MBTI profile has different pros and cons in terms of management style, mutual cooperation, and clash resolution.

2. Unchanging External Dimensions:

Employee categorization can be done according to outer characteristics. Such characteristics are those that remain unchanged throughout life such as; Caucasian, African-American, female, sexuality of the employee, etc.

3.Evolving External Dimensions:

Employees can be categorized according to evolving external characteristics as well as unchanging ones. External characteristics that evolve over time include age, height, weight, religion, education, physical ability, marital status, income level, and geographic location.

Evolving Outer and unchanging characteristics can be a cause of employee categorization. These evolving characteristics over time include time, tallness, heaviness, creed, schooling, physical ability, marriage, earnings level, and geographic location.

A young person is categorized in an organization and treated accordingly whereas the same person in old age is categorized into a different category and treated accordingly.

4. Organizational Dimensions:

Another cause of categorization is due to difference in organizational status. These particular characteristics can either be unchanging or evolving. It may include the hierarchical status, work substance, organizational sector, and precedence on the basis of experience. Some employees are categorized as the non-management and others as management.

One practical observation was seen at the ”in group”. Enron consisted of Gas Bank Division recruits having degrees in economics or finances. Affiliates of other diverse populations were anticipated to be subservient to them.

Three Reasons To Think Twice Before Investing In The Stock Market Now

Reason #1. Global equities (stock) prices primarily reflect sustained economic growth trends over the long-term, and there are few signs of sustained growth happening any time soon.

The long-term stability and growth of the global economy cannot be sustained, so long as global debt is three times global gross domestic product (GDP), as it stands now. This is the result of decades of fiscal mismanagement, profligacy and just plain overspending on a global scale; it is also a problem that defies an easy or quick fix. In fact, notwithstanding the best intentions of the global economic order to grow out of and de-leverage to reduce that outlandish debt/GDP ratio over the past eight years, the only discernable effect of global quantitative easing and low (even negative) interest rates has been to reduce private debt by making it public, i.e. government/sovereign, debt. That makes global governments today more vulnerable than ever to bankruptcy and many observers believe that the next financial crisis will be ignited by a sovereign debt crisis. High government debt levels and already historic low-interest rates also means that if and when such a crisis should emerge, the same governments that bailed us out in 2008 will be hard pressed to repeat that effort.

In the meantime, all that debt is deflationary and weighs heavily against economic growth, and together with unfavorable demographics, continued globalization and disruptive technological change, it is likely that the USA and all the major economies of the world, including Europe, Japan and China, will face significant economic headwinds.

This predicament is so insidious and so entrenched it is unlikely that anything short of the emergence of a transformational technology, in the way that the widespread use of the internet was in the 1990s, will positively change that outlook for many years to come.

Reason #2. There has been so much deception in and manipulation of economies and the financial markets, it would appear no one really knows where reality begins and fantasy ends.

Stock prices are driven by earnings and price/earnings (P/E) multiples. Global central banks low-interest rate policies have pushed P/E multiples to their upper limits causing markets to rally since 2009, but clearly interest rates can only rise from these levels, so markets will need earnings growth in order to rise to new highs.

Earnings appear to be growing again although it is difficult to assess real earnings growth from that created by the wonders of financial engineering. The low-interest rate environment has allowed (even encouraged) corporations to borrow capital to buy back their own stock, which has managed to shrink their shares outstanding making shares scarce while simultaneously increasing earnings per share. Additionally, many corporations have opted to report earnings according to non-Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (non-GAAP) thereby allowing them flexibility to easily manipulate and inflate those earnings. Non-GAAP earnings have proven to be significantly higher than GAAP earnings.

Those initiatives combined with the willingness of governments and sovereign wealth funds to buy and hold equities seemingly into perpetuity has created an apparent scarcity in supply available in the open market, i.e., no sellers at any price, thereby distorting and raising prices. The widespread growth in Exchanged Traded Funds (ETFs) and other forms of passive investing is further distorting the fair market prices of individual equities.

The health of our economy is also being reported through a filter of false optimism, as government redefines macroeconomic metrics to portray more favorable results in economic growth, employment, inflation, and many other factors. By traditional measures, for example, economic growth has been negative (that is, recessionary) for the past eight years (not the 1-2% as reported)!

Just as the legacies of baseball star Barry Bonds, bicycle racing champ Lance Armstrong and others were tainted by the realization that their performances were “juiced” by the wonders of drugs, so too has the stock market’s performance in recent years been juiced by the wonders of free capital and financial engineering. But unlike their individual performances, whether legitimate or otherwise in the eyes of the public, no one can deny that Barry Bonds broke home run records or that Lance Armstrong won all those bicycle races. Only time will tell whether or not the superior market results produced by all that free money and engineering will be sustained once all that stimulation is gone.

Most disappointing is that market pundits and commentators rarely acknowledge these economic and market differences by making historical comparisons which are irrelevant if not disingenuous. In fact, with few exceptions, they comment on market movements as if they are moving freely and completely unencumbered by extreme global government intervention and manipulation.

Reason #3. The markets appear to be in the very late innings of a secular market rally in prices. By most traditional metrics markets are inflated if not approaching all time highs in many cases. (Using traditional metrics, they are at all-time highs!)

Historical analysis indicates that when market valuations are so stretched, very low returns can be expected in the following decade. That fact, combined with the fact that the US market has not sustained at least a 5% price pullback for nearly 9 months, the longest period since 1996, and longer than all but four periods occurring since the Great Depression, increases the odds that a price correction is coming. Consequently, one must assume that the downside risk from this point forward is potentially much more significant than is the upside potential.

Any one of these reasons should make investors pause, but all three taken together make a compelling case for investors to exercise extreme caution when considering making new investments in the equities market. In summary, the economic backdrop for investing is treacherous and likely to remain so for many years, market values are inflated by any measure, and with all the manipulation and misinformation it is difficult to assess exactly where investments stand at this juncture. This is not to suggest that investors sell all their holdings, as no one can know how long this charade can continue, and history has shown that markets can remain irrational longer than one might expect. However, prudent investors should consider harvesting some investment gains and trimming their current equity holdings, especially in areas that have sustained significant gains in recent years.

Duties of Rebar Detailer and Rebar Detailing Placement Drawings

In the rapidly growing of steel construction industry, it is essential for any building contractor or structural engineer to know basic function of rebar placing drawings, duties of a rebar detailers, method of producing placing drawings and responsibility of the steel fabricator.

The ASCE (American Society of Civil Engineers) Manual on the steel construction guidelines has clearly explained the difference between the two types of Rebar detail drawings – Placing drawings for concrete reinforcing steel & Shop drawings for structural members. Although many engineers/fabricators still think that structural steel shop drawings and reinforcing steel drawings are the identical in nature, purpose and scope, which is not true in many practical ways!

A rebar detailer is generally a subcontractor of the steel fabricator. The detailer explores design data shown on the design drawings and project specifications to detail or record all the reinforcing steel members required for a specific section of the structure. These particular rebar pieces are then registered or shown by plan on a detail placing drawings.

Typically for Rebars, the ACI (American Concrete Institute) Building Code requires the design drawings to show location and size of all structural components and reinforcement, location and type of welded splices, anchorage length and mechanical connections of reinforcement.

Usually, Design information will be specific with regard to the structural dimensions, quantity of reinforcing bars and bar sizes. This typical data is not specific enough to be able to cut to length, fabricate, ship and install reinforcing bars directly from the design drawings. Hence, the requirement that detail/placing drawings should be supplied. The detailer must have good mathematical and visual skills with additional knowledge of CAD design or drafting systems to furnish accurate drawings for cost-effective fabrication.