World’s best website awards… Grandparental leave… Beware the web’s ‘black holes’

The Webby Awards

The red carpet was rolled out for the world’s best websites earlier this week in New York. Surfing these sites should give you lots of good ideas for your own site.

There were winners in categories from activism (Winner: Green my Apple) to best copywriting (HowStuffWorks). SmartCompany has picked out those that we think you will be most interested in:

Best Business blog
Webby Award Winner: DealBook
People’s Voice Winner: Bannerblog

Best Community
Webby Award Winner and People’s Voice Winner: Flickr

Best Financial services
Webby Award Winner: The Wall Street Journal Online
People’s Voice Winner:

Best navigation/structure
Webby Award Winner and People’s Voice Winner: IKEA, Dream Kitchen

And the winner in the lifestyle category is BP’s site that enables consumers to measure their carbon footprint.

See our news briefing for how Webby winner is franchising.


Grandparents get flexibility

As grandparenting becomes a baby boomer pursuit, the rules are changing again. St George Bank has become the first employer to introduce 12 months unpaid grandparental leave to help care for young children. The bank has done it to keep its experienced staff.

“There have been cases where people resigned because they wanted to mind the grandkids, so they could help out their kids if the husband and wife needed to return to work,” St George Bank’s group human resources executive Brett Wright told The Australian Financial Review.

Employees as young as 45 have expressed interest in the scheme that allows grandparents to work part time, work two months on and two months off, or take two six-month blocks of leave.

Meanwhile The Age reports that the skills shortage is likely to last another two years, so big employers are getting more creative in how they retain staff. The ANZ Banking Group has flexible hours, childcare and additional training. Metcash Trading, which has been losing large numbers of trainees to the mining industry, has offered relocation costs for new staff.


Is your site in one of the internet’s black holes?

Portions of the internet periodically fall into “black holes” that make them unreachable by other web users, according to new research reported by Wired.

Apparently, more than 10% of the internet flickers out of reach everyday, the researchers found. They used a network of deep cyberspace probes scattered around the internet – dubbed Hubble – to hit a sample of 1500 internet prefixes every 15 minutes. The probes revealed 10% of those prefixes couldn’t be reached from certain corners of the internet.

Sometimes certain blocks of the internet weren’t reachable at all, the researchers found, while other times only traffic from particular parts of the net fell into what’s called a routing black hole.

When that happens, Wired explains, packets sent from one computer to another – perhaps a request for a web page or an email – are somehow diverted to the wrong location and lost forever.

About 75% of the problems are fixed within an hour, but some last days, according to the research.


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