Apple Will Invest $10.5B in New Manufacturing Technology

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Ask an Apple fans the reason for the company’s success, and you’ll most likely hear about Apple’s thoughtful approach to product design, obsession with user-experience, and tightly focused product line. You’re less likely to hear about the company’s supply chain… it’s simply not a glamorous topic, and it’s not something consumers experience directly in the same way that they can see and feel products in an Apple Store. Truth is, a large part of the Apple’s success following Steve Jobs’ return was the creation of a world-class supply chain. Tim Cook, the current Apple CEO, is in fact Apple’s former chief operating officer, which gives you some sense of how much Steve Jobs valued the company’s operational side.

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Chrome Update Solves Annoying Mystery Audio Problem

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We’ve all been there… you have multiple browser tabs open, and suddenly an audio clip starts playing and you have no idea which tab its coming from. Well, it turns out when the geniuses at Google are not focused on making search ever more accurate, they’re coming up with UX enhancements to make our browsing experiences a little better. Say goodbye to the days of mysterious audio tabs!

Have you ever shuffled through your tabs to figure out where that sound or music is coming from? We hear you! With today’s latest Chrome Beta release, you can now visually scan your tabs for a speaker icon to quickly find the offender. Chrome will also indicate which tabs are currently using your webcam or are being cast to your TV.

Of course, you’ll need to install the latest Chrome beta to get this working.

Microsoft Finally Kills Off Stack Ranking

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The big tech news story today is about Microsoft eliminating its controversial stack ranking system. For those unfamiliar with this ranking system, its a system for rank ordering employees by productivity so the worst performers can be fired. The practice was popularized by Jack Welch at GE and has been used throughout the corporate world in varying shapes and sizes, and with varying levels of success. Wikipedia offers a good explanation:

A vitality curve is a leadership construct whereby a workforce is graded in accordance with the individual productivity of its members. It is also known as forced ranking, forced distribution, rank and yank, and stack ranking.

Jack Welch’s vitality model has been described as a “20-70-10″ system. The “top 20″ percent of the workforce is most productive, and 70% (the “vital 70″) work adequately. The other 10% (“bottom 10″) are nonproducers and should be fired.

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