Wednesday, September 30, 2015

15 innovative objects that changed daily life

Even before vinyl (was cool)
In the early 1900s, this disc record player was the pinnacle of on-demand music.

On time and smelling fine

The alarm clock was invented in 1718, and deodorant came about in 1888, relieving society of tardiness and stink—to a degree, at least.


You hang up first

The world got a little smaller with the invention of the telephone. Alexander Graham Bell won the first U.S. patent for it in 1876.

TV on the go. Not really.

TVs came out of the console with the invention of the portable television. "Portable" was a relative word.

Thinking differently
1984 saw the first Apple computer. Imagine walking into a Starbucks and seeing this guy everywhere.

Say cheese

It was fairly difficult to take a selfie with this camera from the 1900s.

Hanging around
The wire clothes hanger was invented in 1869. And yet, clothes still seem to have a special relationship with bedroom floors.

It's getting hot in here

This collection of thermostats runs from 1915 to 1939.

Have a seat
Along with indoor plumbing in the late 1800s, society also got acquainted with the concept of the toilet bowl, like this ornate one from around 1900.

Cord cutting

This Motorola DynaTAC phone from 1990 meant making untethered calls and having nothing to mindlessly wrap around your fingers while chatting.

Through the wringer

This Maytag washing machine cut down on the laundry woes of middle class domestic life.

There's no popcorn setting on this thing

This microwave oven dates back to 1974. It's unclear how college students survived before then.


Could I get some ice water?

Here's an ice tray and water bottle from the 1930s.

These kids and their radios

This Regency transistor radio from 1954 meant adults could gripe at teenagers and young adults (the transistor radio's target audience) for being glued to portable devices, and not for the last time in history.

You could say I'm a fan

The electric table fan made life a little more bearable before air conditioning. This fan is from 1920.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

10 ways to beat Murphy's Law


Murphy's Law ("If anything can go wrong, it will") originated in 1949 at Edwards Air Force Base in California. It has been a widely invoked mantra in IT circles ever since. The law was named after Captain Edward A. Murphy, an engineer working on an Air Force project that was designed to see how much sudden deceleration humans can stand in a crash. As legend has it, Captain Murphy came across a transducer that was incorrectly wired. He grumbled about the technician he held responsible, saying, "If there is any way to do it wrong, he'll find it."

Since Murphy's Law seems to crop up so often in technology, all IT'ers should have some Murphy coping mechanisms in their bag of tricks. Here are 10 modern manifestations of Murphy's Law of Failure in IT—along with suggestions for how you can manage your way through them.

1: Your PowerPoint presentation to the board fails
The most elite of companies have delivered PowerPoint presentations on their products and strategies, only to have the presentation technology fail. This is especially embarrassing if you are the CIO and you're giving a PowerPoint presentation on IT strategy (and budget needs) to your board of directors when such a failure occurs. For this particular Murphy manifestation, always keep a manual set of your presentation slides on hand. It keeps the presentation going and your audience (who have probably been on the victim side themselves) will be sympathetic.

2: A major project depends upon a single contributor... who gets the flu
This can be a difficult Murphy scenario, but you can make it less so by insisting on project documentation (which enables someone else to take over more easily) and by maintaining a cadre of reliable and highly skilled outside consultants you can call upon when you need them. Also be sure to include contingency planning in all your project plans so you can identify critical people (and what you will do without them if you have to) as well as critical task paths.

3: Someone loads the wrong software patch or release and the system fails
You think that your software management methodology is ironclad... but then Murphy loads the wrong software patch or release to bring down the system and prove you wrong. The best way to deal with this is to immediately get in touch with your users, alert them that there is a technical problem, back out the erroneous patch or release, and reload the correct one. A post mortem review to assess how the error happened and how you can further improve your process in the future should follow.

4: The data center floods
You're not in a floodplain and the area you live in gets only 10 inches of rain per year— but somehow Murphy decides to flood out your data center with an unexpected monsoon—or the water problem originates internally from a fault in a cooling or plumbing system. This is where a strong disaster recovery and failover plan comes in. If you can immediately fail over your operations to another data center location, or even to a cloud-based version of your data center, it is better than putting all your eggs in one central data center basket.

5: Your champion user in a key business area leaves
It's always been an uphill battle to deal with your purchasing department when it came to IT services, but as long as Freddy was there as your user advocate, you could push through new IT initiatives. Now Freddy tells you that he has won the lottery and he's moving to Maui. You face an uphill road with a group that (except for Freddy) has been uncooperative and even hostile.

The best approach is to immediately get in touch with the department manager, preferably over lunch or some kind of venue that is more relaxed for a meeting. The two of you should face head-on the difficult issues that have plagued your relationship in the past and figure out a new working relationship you can both buy into.

6: You've tested every app in a software suite except for one that is rarely used—and the app blows up and brings down the system
Application suites should never be placed into production until every app and subroutine is thoroughly tested. But when hard deadlines arise, project managers have been known to make calls as to which apps they feel they can "let go" to meet the fixed cutover date. They make these decisions by weighing the risk of how much an app is likely to be used. If the answer is "seldom" or "likely never," they might opt to skip a thorough checkout of the app to meet the cutover date.

Murphy steps in when an end user defies the odds by using the app, the app fails, and it bring the entire system down. The best way to avoid this situation is to request a revision of the application delivery due date to allow for thorough testing. If your end users absolutely refuse to look at a revised date, or if there are business circumstances that are so immovable you're left with little choice, alert stakeholders and users to the situation so they will avoid using the app until you have the opportunity to complete testing. An even better practice, which will depend upon how your entire software delivery is architected, is to leave the app out of the initial deployment and add it later when it is ready for production.

7: Your vendor gets acquired by a former (and hostile) vendor
It is painful to change IT vendors. This is precisely why you try to avoid it unless a dramatic change occurs in pricing or technology—or a relationship with the vendor become so acrimonious that you no longer want to partner with them. When the latter occurs, you go to the market to look for a new vendor. Unfortunately, if Murphy steps in one or two years later, and the new vendor gets acquired by your former vendor, your company is stuck again.

The best way to protect yourself in this situation is to write a "Change of Management" clause into your contract with the new vendor. The clause will state that if there is a change of management at the vendor (such as the vendor being acquired), you have the right to terminate your contract.

8: Your key vendor account person leaves
This is a Murphysism that happens all of the time. A company gets sold on a new IT offering. Part of the appeal is the friendliness and knowledge level of the account rep from the vendor who is assigned to onboard the company onto the new solution. Unfortunately, as soon as implementation is complete, this stellar rep from the vendor is replaced with a new rep who isn't as knowledgeable or as helpful. Especially if you are embarking into a new IT area, it's vital that you have a strong relationship with a single contact at your vendor who is both knowledgeable and friendly-responsive. You can avoid being passed off to a lesser rep by stipulating in your contract with the vendor that you reserve the right to approve and accept any account rep appointments/changes.

9: The response to an online marketing campaign is greater than you had ever imagined
Your marketing manager is amazed at the rapid uptake of an item you're promoting in an online sale. In fact, the number of new order transactions hitting your order processing system is unparalleled. Unfortunately, you sized your processing, storage, and communications resources in this year's budget based upon historical usage data. Your customers are seeing this, too, as they are abandoning transactions because the system can't keep up. Alas, the marketing campaign is beginning to turn into a Murphy nightmare. How do you avoid a situation like this?

One way to be ready with extra resources for good news events is to provision additional compute, storage, and communications from cloud-based vendors. These resources can be purchased on demand and paid for with the increased revenues from the promotion, and then deallocated when the sales demand has passed.

10: Your cloud vendor fails
You consign a major system to a cloud-based vendor because the vendor has a reputation for being reliable and best in class—then the vendor has a failure that puts all your users offline and has a dire impact on the company's business. You can sidestep the Murphy fallout in this situation by developing relationships with more than one cloud vendor so you can effect a failover to another vendor if one goes down. Also, try to avoid entering into IT agreements with cloud-based vendors that don't own their own data centers. You have no leverage with the third-party data center provider your vendor is using.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Halliburton announces more layoffs

Getty Images
Houston-based oil and gas giant Halliburton announced additional layoffs on Wednesday. This time, the layoffs are going to affect management level positions.

The company did not provide a certain number of job cuts but did state those affected would be notified within the next couple of weeks.

Insiders close to the situation state total worldwide layoffs could go as high as 20,000 employees.

Jeff Miller, Halliburton’s president and director, points out the cost cutting moves are aligned with current market levels.

“We must continue to manage through this extended industry down cycle by implementing additional cost reduction measures to protect the interests of all stakeholders,” Miller said in the memo.

Emily Mir, a spokesperson for the company reiterates these cuts are not related to the pending merger with Baker-Hughes. Keep in mind, if the company does not make the deal happen, Halliburton is liable for a $3.5 billion reverse termination fee.

Back in February, Halliburton had announced plans to start laying off about 6,400 employees. At the time, this was 8 percent of the company’s total workforce.

Amid cutbacks, the firm recently introduced a new technology that would create the next boom in the shale market.

Halliburton is dead set on continuing their dominance of the oilfield services market. First, came the $34 billion acquisition of Baker Hughes and now the revolution in refracking technology.

ACTIVATE Refracking Service, is Halliburton’s new extension to help bring consistency to refracking. According to Priyesh Ranjan, senior manager of business development, previous refracturing methods were not successful because they were unpredictable and not repeatable just like the odds of gambling in Las Vegas.

The technology comes at a time when drillers are finding it hard to maintain a well with oil prices at six-year lows. ACTIVATE leverages subsurface insight expertise and breakthrough diversion technology to help operators recover bypassed reserves from unconventional reservoirs repeatedly at one-third the cost of a new drill.

Halliburton brought the technology to market in July and stated it saw up to an 80 percent increase in estimated ultimate recovery (EUR) per well. Additionally, compared to new wells, ACTIVATE can reduce oil cost per barrel up to 66 percent and up to 25 percent increase in oil recovery of unconventional assets.

In the Eagle Ford and Haynesville plays the company is reporting 300 percent improvement in EUR in natural gas wells.

According to Rajan, ACTIVATE can create the next boom in the oil and gas industry.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Firefox Gets Built-In Instant Messaging

Firefox Tips

Step aside, Skype and Google Hangouts. Now you can instant message with your friends right from Firefox.

The latest version of the browser, Firefox 41, made its debut this week with a new built-in instant messaging feature, letting you send and receive IMs when you're in a Hello video call. At this point, the feature is only available on the desktop version for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

The feature comes after Mozilla in January officially launched the WebRTC-based Hello video-calling feature, developed in partnership with Spanish telecom giant Telefónica, in Firefox 35. Now, for the first time, Hello includes IM support as well.

The latest version of the browser also adds a number of other minor updates, including a new option to personalize your Firefox Account, from which you can access services like Firefox Sync to synchronize your passwords, bookmarks, history, and open tabs across your desktop and mobile devices. Now, you can add a profile photo on the desktop and Android versions, so you'll easily be able to see who you're chatting with via Hello.

The desktop and Android versions are also getting various security and bug fixes - one of which, as ExtremeTech noted, caused Adblock Plus to eat up a ton of memory.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

El dólar baja ante el euro y otras divisas (Mercado de Dinero USA)

La moneda estadounidense se depreció además ante la divisa japonesa

El dólar bajó hoy ante el euro y el resto de las divisas más importantes, en una primera reacción tras conocerse que, de momento, la Reserva Federal no tiene intención de elevar las tasas de interés de referencia.

Al final de la sesión de este jueves en los mercados financieros de Nueva York, un dólar se cambiaba a 0,8744 euros, frente a los 0,8856 euros de la jornada precedente, y por un euro se pagaban 1,1437 dólares.

La moneda estadounidense se depreció además ante la divisa japonesa, con un cambio de 120,02 yenes por dólar, y frente a la libra esterlina y el franco suizo, aunque ganó terreno ante el dólar canadiense y el peso mexicano.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Connect Your Business to the World : October 12-16

Constant Contact - Email Marketing

Presents FITCE

 2:00 - 2:30 PM 
 2:00 - 5:00 PM 
5:30 - 7:00 PM

Members: $25
Non-Members: $45

OCTOBER 13th, 2015

Explore Opportunities around the World with the Consulates and Bi-National Chambers!

As part of the Florida International Trade and Cultural Expo, Commissioner Dale V.C. Holness and Broward County Office of Economic and Small Business Development invite you to meet the Consul Generals, Trade Commissioners and Bi-National Chambers of South Florida and learn about top international trade opportunities with these countries. Your ticket includes a Special Bi-National Chamber VIP Reception as well and Conference Full-Access Pass to the workshops/seminars/panels (except food events). Network and meet International Bi-National Chambers members.

To learn more about the FITCE Conference, please visit 
For Exhibitors and Sponsorship Packages, call 954-357-7894


1950 Eisenhower Blvd, 
Fort Lauderdale, FL

(Spaces Limited)


100 N Biscayne Blvd., suite 1105 - Miami, FL 33132 - (305) 374 5000

Monday, September 21, 2015

The Benchmark Podcast: Will You Get a Raise This Year? (BusinessWeek)

Wages, Fed calls and a Magic 8 Ball

Every week, hosts Tori Stilwell, Dan Moss and Aki Ito bring you a jargon-free dive into the stories that drive the global economy.
In this show, they're talking paychecks. Why have Americans' wages been stagnant for more than six years, when will that change and which industries' workers are in the best position for a raise? The hosts use Labor Department data and a Magic 8 Ball to get to the bottom of things. 
Subscribe to the Bloomberg Benchmark Podcast (iTunes)
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Listen on SoundCloud 
Read more on Benchmark, where you can find charts and stories on the world's most interesting data right now

Friday, September 18, 2015

Would You Buy This House Sight Unseen? (BusinessWeek)

Well, one guy did, as bold buyers snap up real estate without setting foot on it.
Kevin Kwong, a Seattle-area engineer, bought this home in Orlando without visiting it.
Kevin Kwong, a Seattle-area engineer, bought this home in Orlando without visiting it.

There are lots of tools now to help investors buy real estate without getting anywhere near it. There are virtual tours of office buildings and homebuying algorithms for Wall Street landlords. More recently, developers of luxury condos have offered digital walkthroughs to foreign buyers.

What, you're not a foreign millionaire or billion-dollar private equity fund? New research by the Seattle brokerage Redfin has something to tell you anyway.

One in five Americans who bought a home in the past two years said they had made an offer on a home they had never visited, based on a poll of 2,100 recent buyers conducted for Redfin by SurveyMonkey. People who paid more than $750,000 for their homes were particularly likely to make a blind bid, with 53 percent of them submitting an offer sight unseen. So were millennials, 30 percent of whom made such an offer.

There's no simple way to compare those numbers with historical norms. People relocating for work have been the obvious candidates for this scary maneuver. It's not surprising that younger buyers are more comfortable using online tools that facilitate the virtual homebuying process. It isn't clear why wealthier buyers are likelier to bid on homes sight (or site) unseen, but it makes sense that newer homes would attract more blind offers than fixer-uppers.

Another takeaway from the survey is that some buyers are moving away from traditional real estate services and toward—wait for it— companies such as Redfin, which isn’t shy about touting its tech startup roots or a commission structure that is generally cheaper than traditional brokerages. For the last year, the company has offered virtual walkthroughs that offer an "interactive view from every angle inside a home."

But buying a home sight unseen doesn't have to be so high-tech. Kevin Kwong, 31, who works as an industrial engineer in the Seattle area, was shopping for a retirement home for his mother- and father-in-law in Orlando. He used the Street View feature on Google Maps to get a feel for the neighborhood and asked his real estate agent to take some iPhone videos of the houses he was interested in. Kwong says he was emboldened to do his shopping online because he was buying a home in a planned community, easier to research from afar than an older house in a residential neighborhood.

Plus, he had already bought a house the old-fashioned way, actually entering it first. 

"If I wasn’t already comfortable with the house-buying process," he says, "I probably wouldn’t have done this.”

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

NFL teams have a new secret weapon to improve performance: Virtual reality

Athletic teams are turning to virtual reality to improve how they practice and prepare for games. TechRepublic talks to EON Sports about how it's helping teams do it.

As the 2015 football season kicks off another year, a handful of teams will be walking onto the field with a more tech-powered approach to practice.

Over the summer, buzz surfaced that teams like the Dallas Cowboys, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and the New England Patriots have turned to virtual reality as a method of training of their players.

Similarly, universities like Vanderbilt, Dartmouth, Clemson, Arkansas, Auburn, and Stanford are seeing what VR immersion can do for their game day performances.

The Dallas Cowboys, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and the New England Patriots all confirmed to TechRepublic that they're using virtual reality to train. But, presumably because they're using this as a competitive advantage, none of them wanted to elaborate on the ways they are using it.

One of the companies making its way into the NFL, as well as teams on the high school and college levels, is EON Sports.

Back in 2005, EON Sports CEO and co-founder Brendan Reilly was a student assistant to Bill Self, the coach of the University of Kansas men's basketball team.

"Which is a fancy way of saying I got really good at pouring water," he said.

Up close, he saw that there was something of a void after practice ends. Really, the only way to review and stay fresh was watching game tape, or reviewing plays. He felt like there was the opportunity for a better type of training.

Reilly was thinking about how to address the limitations of physical training. It's crucial but does present certain obstacles: access to facilities, physical wear and tear, the need for rest, and time restraints.

By 2009, Reilly moved on to Illinois State where he was an administrative assistant for men's basketball coach Tim Jankovich. He brought up the idea of finding some type of simulation to integrate into training.

Jankovich told him that if he could find something, they'd buy it and use it. The problem was, there wasn't much out there to buy.

That got Reilly interested in creating something.

He wasn't going to be able to write his own software, so he teamed up with people who specialized in training. That led him to a company called EON Reality, which had a 17-year history in training development and human performance, using VR, but in the aerospace, energy, and defense sectors.

EON Reality thought his idea of VR sports training had legs. EON Sports officially incorporated in late 2013, and delivered its first product in February 2014.

Currently, EON Sports offers two main types of virtual reality.

First, they can do live action 360 by capturing live footage and then use that to immerse athletes in training, for example, using large screens in a 6-wall set-up.

Then there's the SIDEKIQ Engine, which is a computer-generated engine that allows the user to pull up any play or scenario to run through. He said

"It may not be realistic to go out in the field with 22 guys, running the patterns and routes, but with SIDEKIQ, you can draw it up and within a matter of minutes, you have an entirely recreated situation that you want your guys to train with," Reilly said.

And what's more, EON Sports can translate the simulations to multiple platforms from Google Cardboard to a more immersive environment with trackers and sensors in a first-person perspective. That wasn't an easy thing to pull off, translating complex virtual environments onto something like an iPhone 4 slipped into Google Cardboard.

"We're robust in our ability to provide something a 7th grade quarterback can use, all the way up to something really sophisticated that NFL teams want to use," he said.

EON Sports wants to mitigate all those aforementioned challenges of time, place, and presence.

One area Reilly said the training has been helpful has been in moving through the repetitions of plays, and getting younger players up to speed faster. They're able to cycle through the plays again and again, and quickly.

Progress can be tracked through a dashboard of sorts so coaches can see how beneficial the training is in their players' understanding of what they're seeing and experiencing.

Experience is key. EON Sports is also starting to work with Major League Baseball teams. The only time a team might go up against a specific pitcher is game day. That means they can't get that repetition until the next game in which they face that pitcher again.

"Right now, before they go up to bat, they go to the dugout and watch video of the pitcher throwing, but that doesn't give you much," Reilly said, "so being able to step into the game and experience in real time, that's what's so powerful."

Instead of watching video, they could go up against a pitcher in VR modeled on real life.

Going forward, Reilly said he thinks virtual reality is the first step of many in the evolution of how tech can help athletes train. Used mixed reality and augmented reality, Reilly imagines being able to put a player into any scenario, build in biomechanical responses, and track performance—potentially in the next five years. The hardware has to catch up first, though.

"It's not like you can go to Best Buy and buy the HoloLens yet," he said.

Monday, September 14, 2015

El Reino Unido concibe un buque de guerra que hará 'jubilarse' a las flotas modernas (RT)

Reino Unido concibe un buque de guerra que hará 'jubilarse' a flotas modernas

La Marina de guerra británica presenta un elegante concepto de buque de guerra del futuro pensado para dejar obsoletos a todos los buques actuales de gran desplazamiento.

Bautizado 'Dreadnought 2050' en alusión al primer superacorazado que marcó en 1906 la aparición de unos buques de una clase completamente nueva y que 'jubiló' a los acorazados anteriores, el avanzado buque contará con todos las armas navales más avanzadas existentes: drones impresos localmente en impresoras tridimensionales, tablero de control holográfico, torpedos de supercavitación que evaporan el agua a su alrededor, armas láser y un cañón de riel electromagnético, según el equipo de jóvenes ingenieros británicos citado por la revista 'The Diplomat'.

Diseñado como parte de un desafío informal del Ministerio de Defensa de Reino Unido y la Armada británica, el concepto del buque cuyo nombre remite al tremendo avance que representó en 1906 el Dreadnought, según un comunicado, es un trimarán hecho de acrílico muy resistente y de materiales compuestos propulsado por un reactor de fusión o de turbinas de alta eficiencia, características que harían que el barco fuera extremadamente silencioso.

Reino Unido concibe un buque de guerra que hará 'jubilarse' a flotas modernas

El Dreadnought 2050 sería sumergible "para presentar un perfil más bajo que haría el barco más sigiloso y aún más difícil de detectar", de acuerdo a Startpoint, organización de la Marina encargada de la gestión del proyecto.

La tripulación del buque estaría compuesta por alrededor de 50-100 marineros, en lugar de los aproximadamente 200 tripulantes de los grandes buques de superficie modernos, y en su sala de operaciones trabajarían tan solo cinco personas en lugar de 25.

"Habría un cañón de riel electromagnético en la proa capaz de disparar proyectiles a la misma distancia que los misiles de crucero de largo alcance de la actualidad; y en la popa estaría instalada una 'piscina de luna' o zona de muelle inundable, para desplegar infantes de Marina y otras tropas en misiones anfibias, o vehículos submarinos no tripulados para detectar minas", según el comunicado.

El proyecto del Dreadnought en 2050 también contempla "tubos lanzadores de misiles hipersónicos (es decir, con velocidades Mach 5 y más), armas de energía dirigida [láseres] para detener embarcaciones pequeñas enemigas cargadas de explosivos; y lanzaderas para disparar torpedos de supercavitación capaces de alcanzar la velocidad de 300 nudos".

Friday, September 4, 2015

These Retailers Make Bank CEO Pay Look Modest (BusinessWeek)

CEOs Make How Much? Pay Ratios Target Income Inequality
New SEC rule compares compensation with that of median worker
Goldman's Blankfein could look better than TJX's Meyrowitz

Retail executives with hefty pay packages and plenty of low-wage employees could end up looking worse than bank leaders when the rule requiring companies to report the gap between their chief executive officer and their median worker goes into effect.

TJX Cos. CEO Carol Meyrowitz and CVS Health Corp.’s Larry Merlo each received reported compensation of more than $28 million last year, topping the CEOs of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Morgan Stanley, according to company filings. Those pay packages, among the highest in the retail industry, could look more lopsided when juxtaposed with the paychecks of their workers, which are a fraction of what most bankers earn.

The pay-ratio rule, adopted by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission last month, has been championed by supporters as a way of highlighting the growing wage gap between executives and rank-and-file employees. It could increase scrutiny of executives at companies with large U.S.-based workforces earning near the minimum wage, shifting attention away from managers at investment banks and hedge funds.

“Any kind of company with a large seasonal or temporary workforce or college kids with lower pay, like retailers, might be concerned with the ratio,” said Deborah Lifshey, a managing director at Pearl Meyer & Partners, a New York-based executive-compensation consulting firm.

Meyrowitz, Merlo

Under the new rule, the ratio must be calculated in fiscal years beginning on or after Jan. 1, 2017, and will start appearing in proxy filings in 2018.
Meyrowitz’s compensation would be measured against the median of TJX’s 198,000 employees working in more than 3,300 discount department stores including T.J. Maxx and Marshalls. Her reported pay for the fiscal year ended Jan. 31 was $28.7 million, including salary, cash bonus, equity and a change in the value of her pension, a proxy filing shows. The median wage for U.S. department-store workers was $20,530 as of May 2014, according to estimates by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

TJX Cos. CEO, Carol Meyrowitz. Photograph: Suzanne Kreiter/The Boston Globe via Getty Images
TJX Cos. CEO, Carol Meyrowitz. 

Merlo at CVS received salary, cash bonus and equity worth $32.4 million in 2014, a filing shows. The Woonsocket, Rhode Island-based company had more than 217,000 employees last year in 7,800 retail pharmacies and 900 walk-in medical clinics, according to its annual report. Workers in health and personal-care stores, a category that includes CVS pharmacies, earned a median annual wage of $27,060 as of May 2014, according to BLS data.

“Consistent with our pay-for-performance philosophy, annual compensation for our CEO and other executives is in line with industry standards and closely reflects our company’s financial success,” Carolyn Castel, a CVS spokeswoman, wrote in an e-mail. Colleen Beauregard, a TJX spokeswoman, didn’t respond to calls and e-mails seeking comment.

Compensation Practices

The ratio could move the spotlight away from executive-pay packages at publicly traded investment banks, private-equity firms and hedge funds, whose compensation practices have been singled out by some as a reason for the housing crash that triggered the Great Recession.

“Why don’t we disclose what the top baseball player makes versus the guy who sells hot dogs in the stadium?

“Since the financial crisis, their CEO pay has come down, and their median employee pay is generally high,” Alan Johnson, managing director of compensation-consulting firm Johnson Associates, said about financial-services companies. “They don’t have a lot of seasonal workers -- they have a lot of full-time versus part-time workers. Their ratios will not be as high as people expect.”

Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein received compensation last year with a reported value of $22.2 million, less than half of what he was granted in 2007, according to proxy filings. Morgan Stanley’s James Gorman, who has led the bank since 2010, received $23.3 million last year, a filing shows. The median pay for workers in firms that provide investment-banking and brokerage services was $77,640 as of 2014, according to BLS estimates, about three times the median wage at health and personal-care retailers and department stores.

Retail Banks

Banks that provide both consumer and investment-banking services, including Bank of America Corp. and Citigroup Inc., could fall somewhere in the middle. The median worker at retail banks earned $38,290, about half the amount for employees in investment banking and securities brokerage, BLS data show. Bank of America operates about 4,800 financial centers in the U.S., while Citigroup has about 800, according to filings.

Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan’s reported compensation last year was $15.3 million, while Citigroup’s Michael Corbat received $14.5 million, proxy filings show.

Spokesmen for all four banks declined to comment.

Companies in industries that require highly skilled labor, such as technology and biotechnology, might also have pay ratios that look relatively good, said Paul Platten, a managing director at human resources consulting firm Towers Watson & Co.

‘Purely Populist’

Wage estimates from the BLS are based on a semiannual sampling of 1.2 million U.S. companies over a three-year period. Company-specific figures may deviate from industry median.

The pay ratio, a part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act, requires public U.S. companies to disclose their CEO’s total reported compensation -- including salary, bonus and equity awards -- as a multiple of their median worker’s pay, meaning that half of their employees make as much as or more, while the other half is paid the same amount or less. Backers say it will help underscore growing income inequality, while critics have said it aims only to publicly shame CEOs.

“This is just a purely populist, political move and it’s not of benefit to shareholders,” CIT Group Inc. CEO John Thain, whose 2014 reported pay was $8.84 million, said Aug. 6 in a Bloomberg Television interview. “Why don’t we disclose what the top baseball player makes versus the guy who sells hot dogs in the stadium?”