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Friday, 29 July 2011

Lochte beats Phelps with world record in 200 IM









SHANGHAI (AP) — Michael Phelps knew it would take a world record to win the 200-meter individual medley at the world championships. He just thought it would come from him.
Instead, Phelps found himself on the losing end of a close finish Thursday, watching teammate Ryan Lochte celebrate the first world record set since high-tech bodysuits were banned 1½ years ago.
It was Phelps' second straight loss to his good friend, who had beaten the 14-time Olympic gold medalist in the 200 freestyle two nights earlier.
"They both sort of told me the same thing, I need to be in better shape," Phelps said. "If I want to be faster the work has to be there and it has to be there consistently."
Lochte sprinted to the wall in 1 minute, 54.00 seconds, then pumped his right arm before clasping hands with Phelps in the next lane. He lowered his old mark set two years ago in Rome by a tenth of a second.
"One word describes that race — jeah!" Lochte said, using his favorite made-up expression.
Phelps checked his time of 1:54.16, then slid over the lane rope in front of Lochte and made his way out of the pool. Hungary's Laszlo Cseh took the bronze in 1:57.69.
"We're usually on the other end of the close ones," said Bob Bowman, Phelps' coach.
The final was virtually a match race between Phelps and Lochte, with Phelps leading the opening butterfly leg by six-hundredths of a second. Lochte took over on the backstroke leg and held a narrow lead through the finish.
Phelps outsplit Lochte by 0.13 seconds on the closing freestyle leg.
"I thought I had it on the last stroke," said Phelps, who glided into the wall. "After thinking about it, I probably could have rushed another stroke in there and maybe gotten to the wall faster."
Before Lochte's 2009 world record, Phelps had set the previous eight world records in the event dating to June 2003.
"I knew a world record was going to win that race," Phelps said. "It says something that we're still able to do those times."
Lochte set two world records at short-course worlds in Dubai in December, the only other individual marks set during the last 19 months, a stretch in which he has been the dominant American swimmer.
"I wanted to do something that everyone thought was impossible," he said. "Since they banned those suits, everyone thought a world record would never get touched again. I just wanted to show everyone that can happen. That's why we have records — they're meant to get broken."
As Lochte was building his credentials, Phelps was blowing off training for such leisure pursuits as golf. He got serious about next year's London Olympics only eight months ago.
"I didn't win because I wasn't as prepared as I should have been," he said.
Phelps had repeatedly ignored Bowman's warnings that time was running out on regaining the form that carried him to a record eight gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
"This is something that will stick with him," Bowman said. "He's got the picture now."
Lochte and coach Gregg Troy deflected any notion that the torch has been passed from Phelps to the laid-back Floridian who once fueled his swimming with sugary Skittles and Sprite.
"I don't know if we're going to call a few hundredths of a second surpassing Michael Phelps," Troy said, "but it puts us in a good lead."

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Behold Muammar Gaddafi’s ‘Libyan Rocket’





Colonel Muammar Gaddafi has always been internationally recognised for his vibrant fashion sense, sleeping in Bedouin tents wherever he goes, wearing huge provocative buttons, being guarded by heavily armed women, just to name a few. An epitome of Gaddafi's eccentricity is the car he designed for himself, which Libya claims is the safest vehicle on earth. However, don't go into any details to back up the claim.
The Saroukh el-Jamahiriya, which means Libyan rocket, is a five-seater saloon with the nose and tail of a rocket and powered by a 230bhp V6. Launched at a conference called the Organization of African Unity and organized by Colonel Gaddafi in 2009, the Libyan Rocket comes with airbags, an electronic defense system and collapsible bumpers that supposedly help out in a crash.. Wonder what is an "electronic defense system"? Apparently, no one knows what it is or how it works.
Dukhali Al-Meghareff, chairman of the Libyan Arab Domestic Investment company which produced

Colonel Muammar Gaddafi has always been internationally recognised for his vibrant fashion sense, sleeping in Bedouin tents wherever he goes, wearing huge provocative buttons, being guarded by heavily armed women, just to name a few. An epitome of Gaddafi's eccentricity is the car he designed for himself, which Libya claims is the safest vehicle on earth. However, don't go into any details to back up the claim.
The Saroukh el-Jamahiriya, which means Libyan rocket, is a five-seater saloon with the nose and tail of a rocket and powered by a 230bhp V6. Launched at a conference called the Organization of African Unity and organized by Colonel Gaddafi in 2009, the Libyan Rocket comes with airbags, an electronic defense system and collapsible bumpers that supposedly help out in a crash.. Wonder what is an "electronic defense system"? Apparently, no one knows what it is or how it works.
Dukhali Al-Meghareff, chairman of the Libyan Arab Domestic Investment company which produced the prototype, touted it as revolutionary in automotive history. "The leader spent so many hours of his valuable time thinking of an effective solution. It is the safest car produced anywhere," said Mr Meghareff.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

DoT may not cancel licences for rollout failures

The department says its criteria for measuring rollout different from Trai’s.

In what could give a big relief to new mobile players, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is unlikely to cancel 53 licences — as recommended by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) — for non-fulfilment of rollout obligations.

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“As a statutory requirement, DoT has to refer back Trai’s recommendations once. Trai has given its recommendations again. We can either accept them or not accept them. It is unlikely that DoT will cancel all the 53 licences suggested by Trai,” a senior DoT official told Business Standard.
“The regulator’s methodology for assessing network rollout is different from DoT’s,” said the official.

This will mean a major respite for Uninor, Sistema, Loop, Videocon, Etislat-DB and Aircel. Most of these were given licences in 2008.

Trai had recommended cancellation of 74 licences in November last year. These included 31 licences for which Trai said legal opinion should be taken.

In response to Trai’s recommendations, DoT said according to it, only 12 licences should be cancelled, apart from another five that the regulator did not recommend.

If 53 licences were cancelled, about 210.4 Mhz spectrum, ranging from 4.4 Mhz to 20.1 Mhz, would be released, Trai told DoT. The 31 licences for which legal opinion is to be taken are in addition to the 53 mentioned by Trai.

Now, in addition, Trai has asked DoT to cancel four licences of Videocon in Assam, Jammu and Kashmir, Kolkata and the North East. These were not in the earlier recommendations as the company then had time to roll out services.

DoT, while referring the matter back to Trai, said the latter did not consider the delays in getting spectrum and clearances from the government.

For its second round of recommendations, Trai took the opinion of two retired judges of the Supreme Court.

Mobile companies have to cover 10 per cent district headquarters within the first year of the allotment of spectrum.

Forty three licences were recommended for cancellation because operators failed to comply with the rule regarding starting of services in 10 per cent district headquarters and towns of a circle within one year of getting spectrum. These licences belonged to Loop Telecom (14 circles), Sistema (10), Uninor (8) and Etisalat DB (2). The only older player was Aircel (4).

A total of 31 licences involved poor coverage and inadequate cell towers. Trai said their licences should be cancelled after taking legal opinion. Companies in this category included Etisalat DB (13), Videocon (10), Loop Telecom (6), Aircel (1) and Sistema (1).

Monday, 18 July 2011

How secure is your credit card?

Credit cards have become an integral part of our life, but concerns about its security and vulnerability is an ongoing issue. Credit card frauds are rising at an alarming rate. Card associations and banks on the other hand have been trying hard to enhance card security features to minimize frauds and misuses.

Here is a look at the security features introduced by card issuers and banks in the current scenario.

Verified by Visa/Mastercard SecureCode

A significant upgrade in credit card security features came with the introduction of 'Verified by Visa/MasterCard Secure Code programme' or second factor authentication. It addresses the credit and debit card transactions over internet.

Earlier, to do an online transaction, the only information needed was your credit card number, expiry date and the CVV number printed on the back of the card. It is easy to obtain this information as they are exposed when you handover your card at hotels, shops or petrol stations. Fraudsters can use this data for online transactions where physical presence of the card is not needed.

With the introduction of the Verified by Visa/MasterCard Secure Code programme, apart from card information, the customer needs to provide an additional password like that of a debit card, to make the transaction secure. This is to authenticate any online transaction.

EMV Chip

The EMV chip addresses security concerns while the card is physically swiped in a machine. When cards are being swiped on an electronic device, all the information stored on its magnetic strip gets extracted for verification. Fraudsters can extract this data from swiping machines and use them to make a duplicate card through a process called cloning. This duplicate card can be used for online transactions and your credit account gets billed.

The susceptibility of magnetic strip cards forced the card associations to come up with an innovative solution - the EMV (Europay, MasterCard and Visa) chip. It stores the data securely in a highly encrypted format which is difficult to skim off and thereby reduces the chances of extraction. It also relies on a digital signature scheme based on public key techniques to confirm the data's legitimacy. As the transaction is being processed, any tampering or unauthorised alteration of data is detected and the transaction will be declined.

India is slow in adding this security feature. In India, the card acceptance mechanism at many merchant outlets is still not equipped with the process. So, the Indian card manufacturers need to issue cards with both EMV platform and magnetic strips. The card makers ensure that the new cards will have a magnetic strip, but the card's confidential data will be stored on the chip. The magnetic strip facilitates the transaction where EMV processing is not available and at the same time data will not be skimmed.

Second Level Authentication for IVR Transaction

Even though second-level authentication has been introduced for online transactions, telephonic transactions with Interactive Voice Response (IVR) started using second-level authentication with a PIN or a password this year only. So, now a customer making an IVR transaction would need to provide an additional password, just like he does on the Internet, so that fraudsters would no longer use the information on your card for IVR transactions.

Credit Card Protection

If you happen to lose your wallet while traveling in India or abroad, earlier you need to call each card issuer separately to get the cards blocked. To ease this situation, a solution in the form of Credit Card Protection (CPP), exists. CPP India comes with a 24-hour toll-free helpline and a world wide cover. One free call to this number will block all your cards on request with additional features like emergency travel cash assistance, fraud protection, valuable document registration and lost card replacement assistance. This service can be availed by taking a membership with CPP which costs around Rs.1000/- to Rs.1500/- annually.

Stay Safe

Although many security features have been introduced, still you can be a victim of the most common trap —phishing. Beware of mails appearing like coming from your bank/ card company asking for your card details or personal information. They will contain an unsolicited link, which when clicked will be directed to a fraud website looking similar to that of your bank. The chances of clicking them unknowingly are fairly high and you will end up exposing your confidential information.

So, as far as credit card transactions go, be cautious. Here are a few pointers:

Type the URL yourself and don't rely much on search engines as there are chances for clicking similar duplicate sites.
Look for the prefix 'https' in the website addresses. The 's' in https stands for secured.
Keep in mind that no bank/card company would ever ask for confidential information through email/phone under any circumstance.

Blasts rock Mumbai

A cat sneaks in as an Indian policeman sits guard at Zaveri bazar, the site of an explosion in Mumbai, India, early Thursday, July 14, 2011. Three coordinated bombings tore through the heart of India's busy financial capital during rush hour Wednesday, killing dozens of people in the worst terror attack in the country since the 2008 Mumbai siege.

AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi
Indian police officers and investigators stand next to the debris, covered under blue plastic sheet, at Zaveri bazar, the site of an explosion in Mumbai, India, early Thursday, July 14, 2011. Three coordinated bombings tore through the heart of India's busy financial capital during rush hour Wednesday, killing dozens of people in the worst terror attack in the country since the 2008 Mumbai siege.

AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade
Indian police officers stand guard behind a barricade at the site of a blast near the Opera house in Mumbai, India, early Thursday, July 14, 2011. Near-simultaneous bomb blasts rocked three busy neighborhoods during evening rush hour in India's busy financial capital Wednesday, killing 17 people in another terrorist attack on the city besieged by militants nearly three years ago.

REUTERS/Vivek Prakash
A plain-clothed policeman surveys the aftermath at the site of an explosion near the Opera House in Mumbai July 13, 2011. Three bombs rocked crowded districts of Mumbai during rush hour on Wednesday, killing at least 20 people in the biggest militant attack on India's financial capital since 2008 assaults blamed on Pakistan-based militants.

AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade
Police officers inspect the site of an explosion at Dadar in Mumbai, India, Wednesday, July 13, 2011. Three explosions rocked India's busy financial capital at rush-hour Wednesday, killing at least eight people and injuring 70 in what officials described as another terror strike on the city hit by militants nearly three years ago.

AP
Policemen inspect the site of a bomb explosion at Zaveri bazar in Mumbai, India, Wednesday, July 13, 2011. Near-simultaneous bomb blasts rocked three busy neighborhoods during evening rush hour in India's busy financial capital Wednesday, killing at least 17 people in what the government called an apparent terrorist attack on the city beseiged by militants nearly three years ago.

AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade
A bomb squad member collects evidence at the site of an explosion at Dadar in Mumbai, India, Wednesday, July 13, 2011. Three explosions rocked India's busy financial capital at rush-hour Wednesday, killing at least eight people and injuring 70 in what officials described as another terror strike on the city hit by militants nearly three years ago.

AFP PHOTO/ Indranil MUKHERJEE
Indian police officers look for clues at the blast site in Dadar Kabutarkhana area, in Mumbai on July 13, 2011. Multiple blasts have rocked India's financial hub Mumbai, police said, in what the Home Ministry described as a "terror strike". At least two people were killed and 100 injured in three separate blasts in the Indian commercial capital Mumbai, the home ministry said.

AFP PHOTO/ Indranil MUKHERJEE
Indian police officers look for clues at the blast site in Dadar Kabutarkhana area, in Mumbai on July 13, 2011. At Multiple blasts have rocked India's financial hub Mumbai, police said, in what the Home Ministry described as a "terror strike". At least two people were killed and 100 injured in three separate blasts in the Indian commercial capital Mumbai, the home ministry said.

AFP PHOTO/ Indranil MUKHERJEE
Indian police cordon off the area of a bomb blast site in Dadar Kabutarkhana area, in Mumbai on July 13, 2011. Multiple blasts have rocked India's financial hub Mumbai, police said, in what the Home Ministry described as a "terror strike". At least two people were killed and 100 injured in three separate blasts in the Indian commercial capital Mumbai, the home ministry said.

AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi
Indian policemen sit guard behind barricades at Zaveri bazar, the site of an explosion in Mumbai, India, early Thursday, July 14, 2011. Three coordinated bombings tore through the heart of India's busy financial capital during rush hour Wednesday, killing dozens of people in the worst terror attack in the country since the 2008 Mumbai siege.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Typhoon threatens Japan as flows aid monsoon

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, JULY 14:
Japan is watching with bated breath as an intensifying typhoon ‘Ma-On' closes in from the south, barely four months after the island nation was ravaged by a massive quake-drive tsunami.

Currently tracking west over the vast open waters of the north Pacific and already elevated to typhoon (regional nomenclature for a cyclone) status, the rapidly intensifying storm is forecast to take a sharp re-curve towards southern Japan.

WEEKEND LANDFALL

Ma-On could go on to become a super typhoon, global models said. The landfall could take place by the weekend. The southern prefectures of Kagoshima, Nagasaki, Saga, Kumamoto and Miyazaki could be at risk of direct impact.

Far to the west, the evolution of Ma-On has been concurrently driving the monsoon flows over India. Central India and adjoining peninsular regions and west coast are witnessing a strong wet spell.

The ‘tele-connection' (being linked thousands of miles across) in weather becomes complete as the same western disturbance/westerly trough drifting towards north India extends to the far-east to scoop up Ma-On and hurl it over south Japan.

WEATHER WARNING

A weather warning said that isolated heavy to very heavy rainfall would occur over Uttarakhand, Haryana, West Uttar Pradesh, the North-eastern States, Konkan, Goa, coastal and north interior Karnataka, Kerala and Madhya Maharashtra during the next two days.

Isolated heavy rainfall would occur over the Jammu division of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Marathawada, west Madhya Pradesh and east Gujarat on Friday.

Meanwhile on Thursday, the ‘low' over west-central Bay of Bengal washed over land and lay over south Chhattisgarh as a weakened system. The offshore trough was traced running down from Karnataka coast to Kerala coast.

Scattered rain or thundershowers has been forecast over the remaining parts of the country outside west Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Rayalaseema.

Keywords: Japan watching, bated breath, intensifying typhoon, Ma-On

MCX gold futures seen hitting record high





India gold futures are likely to rise on Thursday morning, extending gains to their record, following a rally overseas, with a stronger rupee expected to cap the upside, analysts said.

* The most-traded gold for August delivery on the Multi Commodity Exchange (MCX) closed 0.98% higher at Rs 22,920 per 10 grams, after hitting an intra-day high of Rs 22,981, very close to the previous April record of Rs 23,148.

* The Indian rupee, which has a bearing on the landed cost both copper and gold, rose tracking gains in the euro and Asian currencies, but slight weakness in local shares limited the rise.

* Overseas gold hit a record high above USD 1,589, buoyed by a sharp drop in the dollar after Moody's warned the US may lose its top credit rating, the possibility of more Federal Reserve stimulus and Europe's deepening debt crisis.

COPPER

Copper futures are likely to open steady following foreign markets, analysts said.

* The most-traded copper for August delivery on the MCX last closed 0.3% lower at Rs 433 per kg.

* London copper steadied, supported by a retreating dollar and the possibility of more Federal Reserve stimulus, but Moody's warning on US credit rating checked gains.

Monday, 11 July 2011

May industrial growth slows down to 5.6% YoY




Industrial growth has slowed down in May. Index of Industrial Production (IIP) has come in at 5.6% on a year-on-year basis. However, according to CNBC-TV18 poll May IIP was expected to be at 8.6%.
The sluggishness in May IIP is mainly due to the poor performance of the manufacturing and mining sectors.
According to data released here, industrial growth in April-May this year averaged 5.7%, compared to 10.8% in the same period last year.
The manufacturing sector, which accounts for over 75% of the total weight of the index, grew by just 5.6% in May, 2011, as against 8.9% in the same month of 2010.
Similarly, the mining sector grew by a meagre 1.4% in May, 2011, as against 7.9% in the same month last year.
Another area of concern was poor offtake of capital goods, which grew by just 5.9% during the month under review as compared to 15.8% in the corresponding period of the previous year.
Growth in output of intermediate goods also registered a sharp decline to 0.9% in May from 11.7% in the corresponding year-ago period.
Overall, consumer goods saw lower growth of 5.4% in May, 2011, as against 7.4% in May, 2010.
The IIP performance is even worse as per the old series of index, with a base year of 1993-94, which recorded industrial growth at 3.6% in May, 2011, as against 12.2% in the same month last year.
The new series with a 2004-05 base was introduced in April.

Google switches on to prime time TV

The move is a part of the online giant’s efforts to improve Chrome’s market share in India.

Competitor Yahoo did it last year with its famous ‘YOU’ campaign on television, to showcase its revamped features and email service. Last month, Google joined the game on prime time TV with its “The Web is What You Make of it” campaign.

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Google’s reason is simple: your product may have the best of features, but if you have to succeed in India, you have to showcase the emotional and personal connections that people have with the web today.
There may be other reasons as well for the new promotion strategy. According to Stat Counter, a web analytics firm, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer leads the market in India with 40 per cent market share, followed by Mozilla Firefox at 32 per cent with Google’s Chrome trailing at third place with a market share of about 23 per cent.

Nikhil Rungta, country marketing head, Google India, says the campaign is to highlight what the chrome browser delivers to internet users. “It’s intuitive and seamlessly connects to Google’s products like YouTube, blogs, emails, pictures etc. We intend to highlight the ease of use with Chrome browser to Indian users who may have not switched or seen our browser.” The company will also run promotional videos online to popularise its browser and related online products.

Rungta says the TV campaign is the culmination of a marketing exercise that began last year. The company invited Google users to share their stories on how internet made a difference to their lives. At the same time, Google also took to promoting Chrome through billboards and newspaper advertisements. Google Creative Lab, an in-house creative agency, worked with ad agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty (BBH) on the campaign, the brief being to show how Chrome is fast and simple and designed to help you make the most of the modern web.

In the next few months, Indian TV viewers will see several real-life stories on how the web has changed the lives of the 100 million internet users in India. “We have stories from celebrities to everyday consumers to small businessmen, all telling us what the web means to them. We will run these stories in our ads too,” says Rungta.

Through a series of short videos, Google wants to share how the web has changed the lives of millions of people and helped them achieve their dreams. It includes a variety of stories from celebrities to everyday consumers to small businessmen.

The first video, “Letters from Dad”, was inspired by a collection of true stories about parents taking advantage of technology and web services to capture and document the lives of their children.

The second video, “Archana’s Kitchen”, which aired last week, tells the story of Archana who grew up in a small town in Tamil Nadu, Coimbatore and took forward her childhood passion of cooking to the web through Blooking (Blog Cooking). She developed a faithful set of followers online, which culminated into a catering service along with a book deal. Archana also runs an active Facebook page with over 4,000 likes so far.

Rungta says the campaign, at its core, is about people. “It opens people’s eyes to how they can connect, inspire and impact the world via the power of the web. It’s also an open invitation to get people online and using the web to its full potential”, he adds.

Brand experts say Google’s strategy to emphasise on what users can do with Chrome, might just work since average users would not care much about the technical benefits of Chrome like rendering speed or apps and extensions.

“Google ads tell a clever story, as they have clearly understood that there is not much value in touting how things work or how sophisticated the technology is. What matters is that it's personal, it's easy, it’s shareable, and that it works,” says Rajiv Dingra, founder of WatConsult, a digital agency.


How Facebook is empowering individual entrepreneurs







When Mrigakshi Jaiswal, dance instructor, and one of the founding members launched Split Sole Dance Academy, in Mumbai, she thought it best to promote her institute on social networking sites. Two years on, Split Sole has a dedicated Facebook page with almost 1,700 members. She regularly updates videos and pictures of her classes and posts notifications for members about upcoming workshops and batch timings.


“The Facebook page has become the landing page for most of our students, where they ask us about dance classes and timings, among others. Plus, it’s easy to maintain and update,” says Jaiswal.


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Dancer, choreographer and theatre artist, Pritha Chakrabarti echoes similar views. Hyderabad-based Chakrabarti created a page called Echo on the site to promote art. “I create an event page 15 days in advance, giving users details of my function or any upcoming performance. The event tool on Facebook allows people to indicate if they would attend the function.” She says Facebook is an inexpensive tool to reach out to the target audience.
With 30 million Facebook users in India, it makes perfect sense for neighbourhood businesses to use the medium to endorse their work. Estimates from Nielsen Company and Absolute Data suggest that close to 45,000 Indians are likely to join social networking sites every day over the next six months.


Sensing the opportunity, Ashwin Menda, a Mumbai-based caterer spends 6-8 hours every day on his Facebook page to connect with prospective clients. “Word-of-mouth publicity works very well on Facebook, especially when it comes from clients. Better still, when they post pictures of food items cooked and served by us and praise about the quality to their friends, it makes our work easier.” On an average, Facebook enquiries generate close to half of Menda’s business. “In fact, my repeat customer base comprises mostly of clients who came to me via Facebook.”


The young breed of netizens like Jaipur-based Kunal Choudhary, a trained chef, says a Facebook recommendation about his culinary offerings gets him good business. “My friends’ reviews about my food got me my first client last year. The client saw the food pictures and the list of friends who approved of my cooking and contacted me to prepare a private meal for a family event.” Since then, the 26-year old has dished out meals for over 20 clients. “I now request my clients to leave me a recommendation on Facebook after every event, as that seems to be working for me.”


Bhadra Shah, an Iyengar yoga teacher in Mumbai, opted for voluntary retirement from a leading insurance company to pursue his passion. “With people turning health conscious in metros like Mumbai, my own belief was that a qualified yoga teacher would be in demand. So, I let my friends on Facebook know about what Yoga could do for them.” Promptly, Shah got requests for private classes and small-group yoga sessions from friends on the social networking site.


After 15 months, Shah now runs seven private yoga sessions for high-flying executives and has regular yoga training camps. He says: “Facebook was an outstanding tool for me to generate an interest for yoga among friends. I made sure that customers were engaged for both repeat business and also drive word-of-mouth.”


There are entrepreneurs like Neil Dantas, who designs t-shirts and bags, and have been using Facebook to promote their products. “I couldn’t afford a website of my own, so I decided to put my work on blogs.” But blog visitors did not translate into buyers for Dantas. While he did not have faith on the social networking sites he gave Facebook a shot. “My designs show my love for Mumbai and I generated numerous queries on the site, some complimenting my work and some asking purchase details. Even arts students got in touch with me to learn to make art pieces.” Two years ago, Dantas introduced a project on Facebook called ‘Kuch Bhi,’ which has close to 1,000 followers. Despite a website, his own line of products is promoted solely through the social networking site.


Dantas swears by Facebook’s reach that made his work popular among the youngsters. "People see my work on Facebook and recommend it to their friends. Even the leading retail stores to whom I supply my collections now, got to know of my work through Facebook.”


While there are more online social networking sites than just Facebook; experts agree that it clearly dominates the Indian consumer with an active user base of close to 30 million subscribers. “We have early-twenties upwards users spending good amount of their time on Facebook sharing life events, photographs, maintaining contact with family members of all age ranges, friends and for reconnecting with lost contacts,” explains Rajiv Dingra of WatConsult.


Many small businesses, more so the neighbourhood services, still aren't online. “While they know they need to be online, but they may not have resources to invest in a website. It is for them to understand that Facebook pages give the business a social context by enabling word-of-mouth publicity – and all this for free,” adds Dingra.

How Facebook is empowering individual entrepreneurs







When Mrigakshi Jaiswal, dance instructor, and one of the founding members launched Split Sole Dance Academy, in Mumbai, she thought it best to promote her institute on social networking sites. Two years on, Split Sole has a dedicated Facebook page with almost 1,700 members. She regularly updates videos and pictures of her classes and posts notifications for members about upcoming workshops and batch timings.


“The Facebook page has become the landing page for most of our students, where they ask us about dance classes and timings, among others. Plus, it’s easy to maintain and update,” says Jaiswal.


 Click here to visit SME Buzz 




 
Also Read
 
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- Facebook set to surprise on July 6
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- Cannes, Berlin... and Facebook
- Google stops invitations to new social network
- Anti-social behaviour
Dancer, choreographer and theatre artist, Pritha Chakrabarti echoes similar views. Hyderabad-based Chakrabarti created a page called Echo on the site to promote art. “I create an event page 15 days in advance, giving users details of my function or any upcoming performance. The event tool on Facebook allows people to indicate if they would attend the function.” She says Facebook is an inexpensive tool to reach out to the target audience.
With 30 million Facebook users in India, it makes perfect sense for neighbourhood businesses to use the medium to endorse their work. Estimates from Nielsen Company and Absolute Data suggest that close to 45,000 Indians are likely to join social networking sites every day over the next six months.


Sensing the opportunity, Ashwin Menda, a Mumbai-based caterer spends 6-8 hours every day on his Facebook page to connect with prospective clients. “Word-of-mouth publicity works very well on Facebook, especially when it comes from clients. Better still, when they post pictures of food items cooked and served by us and praise about the quality to their friends, it makes our work easier.” On an average, Facebook enquiries generate close to half of Menda’s business. “In fact, my repeat customer base comprises mostly of clients who came to me via Facebook.”


The young breed of netizens like Jaipur-based Kunal Choudhary, a trained chef, says a Facebook recommendation about his culinary offerings gets him good business. “My friends’ reviews about my food got me my first client last year. The client saw the food pictures and the list of friends who approved of my cooking and contacted me to prepare a private meal for a family event.” Since then, the 26-year old has dished out meals for over 20 clients. “I now request my clients to leave me a recommendation on Facebook after every event, as that seems to be working for me.”


Bhadra Shah, an Iyengar yoga teacher in Mumbai, opted for voluntary retirement from a leading insurance company to pursue his passion. “With people turning health conscious in metros like Mumbai, my own belief was that a qualified yoga teacher would be in demand. So, I let my friends on Facebook know about what Yoga could do for them.” Promptly, Shah got requests for private classes and small-group yoga sessions from friends on the social networking site.


After 15 months, Shah now runs seven private yoga sessions for high-flying executives and has regular yoga training camps. He says: “Facebook was an outstanding tool for me to generate an interest for yoga among friends. I made sure that customers were engaged for both repeat business and also drive word-of-mouth.”


There are entrepreneurs like Neil Dantas, who designs t-shirts and bags, and have been using Facebook to promote their products. “I couldn’t afford a website of my own, so I decided to put my work on blogs.” But blog visitors did not translate into buyers for Dantas. While he did not have faith on the social networking sites he gave Facebook a shot. “My designs show my love for Mumbai and I generated numerous queries on the site, some complimenting my work and some asking purchase details. Even arts students got in touch with me to learn to make art pieces.” Two years ago, Dantas introduced a project on Facebook called ‘Kuch Bhi,’ which has close to 1,000 followers. Despite a website, his own line of products is promoted solely through the social networking site.


Dantas swears by Facebook’s reach that made his work popular among the youngsters. "People see my work on Facebook and recommend it to their friends. Even the leading retail stores to whom I supply my collections now, got to know of my work through Facebook.”


While there are more online social networking sites than just Facebook; experts agree that it clearly dominates the Indian consumer with an active user base of close to 30 million subscribers. “We have early-twenties upwards users spending good amount of their time on Facebook sharing life events, photographs, maintaining contact with family members of all age ranges, friends and for reconnecting with lost contacts,” explains Rajiv Dingra of WatConsult.


Many small businesses, more so the neighbourhood services, still aren't online. “While they know they need to be online, but they may not have resources to invest in a website. It is for them to understand that Facebook pages give the business a social context by enabling word-of-mouth publicity – and all this for free,” adds Dingra.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

No Copa cheer for Argentina







Host nation Argentina remain without a win at this year's Copa America after escaping from their Group A clash with Colombia with a 0-0 draw.


Although Sergio Batista's men did the majority of the running, Los Cafetoros had the better of the chances, with Dayro Moreno guilty of a shocking miss midway through the first half.


The point leaves Colombia in a healthy position at the head of the group on four points, with Argentina second with two. However, a win for either Bolivia or Costa Rica in the next game in the group will leave La Albiceleste needing a win from their final game to qualify.


Moreno scraped a free-kick wide in the early stages, before his cross found Gustavo Ramos almost under the crossbar, but the striker somehow spooned the ball over.


If his miss was bad, then Moreno's in the 26th minute was even worse.


Gabriel Milito's backpass was woefully short and allowed Ramos in. He managed to skip round keeper Sergio Romero and, although he was then bundled over by Nicolas Burdisso, the ball fell to Moreno eight yards out and with an open goal in front of him.


However, he somehow contrived to sidefoot wide, spurning his side's best chance of the match in the process.


After that Argentina came into the game, with Ezequiel Lavezzi being denied by Luis Martinez after Lionel Messi's precise throughball.


Manchester City's wantaway striker Carlos Tevez saw a shot drag wide after the break, while Pablo Armero flashed a drive across the Argentina goal.


Porto's Falcoa then tested Romero after breaking through, but there would be no goal, leaving Colombia as the happier of the two sides.

The best from Mahendra Singh Dhoni
















As India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni turns 30 on July 7, rediff.com takes a look at some of his best innings.




Like Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar, Dhoni was also out for a duck in his first one-day international, against Bangladesh in December 2004.


- Dhoni turns 30, wish him


Since then, he has piled on the runs.




148 vs Pakistan in Vizag




It was just his fifth One Day International.




Playing against Pakistan in Visakhapatnam in April 2005, Dhoni came to the crease at the fall of the first wicket (Tendulkar's) and scored 148 -- the highest score ever by an Indian wicketkeeper (which he improved upon subsequently).




He was involved in two crucial partnerships en route -- a stand of 96 for the second wicket with Virender Sehwag (74) and a mammoth 149-run stand for the fourth wicket with Rahul Dravid (52).




Dhoni's 123-ball knock was inclusive of 15 hits to the fence and four over it. His his effort helped India post a huge total (356-9). Indian won the match comfortably by 58 runs.


Six months later, Dhoni was in action again -- against Sri Lanka at the Sawai Mansingh stadium.




A spectacular, unbeaten 138 by Kumar Sangakkara helped the visitors score 298-4. Tendulkar was dismissed cheaply.


- At 30, Dhoni has delivered! Wish him




And in came Dhoni to join Virender Sehwag (39). The duo put on 97 runs for the second wicket. Dhoni put on another 86 runs for the third wicket with Rahul Dravid (28) and a further 65 for the fourth with Yuvraj Singh (18).




His 145-ball spectacle consisted of 15 boundaries and a whopping 10 maximums. And it ensured India romped home by six wickets, with about four overs to spare.




The knock remains the highest score ever by an Indian wicketkeeper and Dhoni's highest in ODIs.


Arguably his best Test innings ever, Dhoni's unbeaten 76 was crucial in the context of the series.




India, chasing 380 to win in the fourth innings in the first Test at Lord's, were in trouble at 145-5. It was at this stage that Dhoni arrived at the crease and helped VVS Laxman (39) put on 86 runs for the sixth wicket.




Laxman was dismissed and so were three other batsmen. But Dhoni hung on.


- At 30, Dhoni has delivered! Wish him




With a little help from the inclement weather and a surprisingly resolute Sreesanth, Dhoni ensured England was denied the last wicket and India eked out a draw.




The visitors managed to win the second Test in Trent Bridge (Nottingham) and went on to pocket their first series win in England in 21 years.


Another memorable Test innings by Dhoni. It came against Sri Lanka at the Brabourne Stadium in December 2009.




Dhoni had, by then, consolidated his position as Test captain.




After the visitors were dismissed for 393, a whirlwind 293 by Virender Sehwag ensured the home team a solid platform.


- At 30, Dhoni has delivered! Wish him




Dhoni came in to bat at No.7 and his quickfire hundred, inclusive of three boundaries and six mammoth sixes, helped India declare at 726-9, their highest Test score ever.




Sri Lanka was dismissed for 309 in their second essay, thereby ensuring India a comfortable innings and 24 runs win in the match and a 2-0 result in the series.




By winning the same, India achieved the No. 1 rank in Test cricket for the first time in history.






It might not be huge in terms of numbers.




But it was a spectacular knock, nonetheless! And what makes it memorable is the fact that it came in the final of the World Cup -- helping India end a 28-year drought and win its second world title.




Before the final, Dhoni had had an ordinary tournament -- managing to score just 150 runs in seven innings, without a single half century.


- At 30, Dhoni has delivered! Wish him




With India in trouble at 114-3, chasing a formidable 275, Dhoni decided to promote himself up the order.  




It proved a masterstroke from the captaincy point of view. And for the batsman it worked wonders as well.




Dhoni put on 109 runs for the fourth wicket with Gautam Gambhir (97) before taking India to victory with an unbroken 54-run stand for the fifth wicket with Yuvraj Singh (21 not out), finishing the match with a six.




His effort, when it mattered the most, helped Dhoni win the man of the match honours. Besides, he had already created history.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

10 Most Influential Fashion Designers























Fashion influences the masses in ways we cannot totally comprehend. From the haute couture styles of the runway to the trendy looks of street wear, fashion encompasses art, personal expression and individuality in a world of monotony. Those designers who are deemed influential, have made clothing lines that were avant-garde, original and set trends that have withstood the test of time, while paving the way for future designers. In no particular order, here are the 10 most influential fashion designers:


Ralph Lauren
(October 14, 1939 – )
Whether it’s the signature Polo horse or the embroidered RL, Ralph Lauren is arguably the most widely recognizable label in American fashion. The preppy casual look of Ralph Lauren’s Polo shirts, denim and Hampton-esque pieces were Lauren’s recreation of English aristocracy and the sporty elite. Much of his original collection included classic tweed suits for men and feminine tailoring for women that exemplified classic American clothing and timelessness. Since his debut in the late 1960s, Lauren has expanded his label to include fragrances, jeans and children’s lines, as well as a home accessories collection of towels, linens, furniture and paint to make him a true household name around the world.




Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana
(September 13, 1958 -, November 14, 1962 – )
Dolce and Gabbana are arguably the most powerful and renowned designers within the industry. This dynamic Italian duo is revered for their classic, glamorous collections using traditional elements, such as corsets, gangster pinstripes and black pantsuits. Dolce and Gabbana are committed to making sharp, flattering and trendy pieces that celebrate curvaceous female forms and thrill their celebrity and average clients alike. It’s their innovative ability to transform simple garments into shockingly sexy and luxurious pieces for men and women.




Vivienne Westwood
(April 8, 1941 – )
British designer, Vivienne Westwood, is the woman responsible for bringing you punk fashion. During the 1970s, Westwood began designing outlandish garments using lots of leather and skin-tight materials, safety pins, chains, spiked dog collars and other nontraditional fashion elements that imitated the clothing of bikers, prostitutes and fetishists. Her rebellious, grunge collections became popular among punk rock musicians and youth and has retained its popularity ever since. Westwood truly broke the mold when she introduced modern punk into everyday street wear, and continues to do so today with shocking, cutting edge designs for women and men.




Gianni Versace
(December 2, 1946 – July 15, 1997)
Gianni Versace was an Italian fashion designer and international icon, whose brand remains undeniably powerful and influential even after his tragic death. As the founder of Versace, Gianni began creating glamorous, ready-to-wear styles for women, as well as his trademark siren dresses that were seen on celebrities and royalty alike. He was also known for his innovative approach to combining art and fashion, by using unconventional materials like aluminum mesh and fused leather and rubber. Throughout the years, Versace had expanded his line to include menswear, couture jeans, accessories, home collections and much more. After his death, sister Donatella Versace stepped in as creative director, while his brother Santo Versace became CEO and Donatella’s daughter Allegra Versace took ownership of 50 percent of the company, as wished by Gianni.




Gabrielle Bonheur ‘Coco’ Chanel
(August 19, 1883 – January 10, 1971)
Coco Chanel was a pioneer of luxurious, sophisticated women’s clothing. From little black dresses to her famous suits, Chanel created timeless pieces that continue to influence women’s fashion today. Her clothing broke the mold just as much as her independent spirit, by incorporating elements of menswear with materials that were both feminine and comfortable. After Chanel passed away, designer Karl Lagerfeld took over the company to carry on the trendsetter’s vision and keep it fresh for years to come.




Christopher Bailey
(1971 – )
Christopher Bailey is the chief creative director of Burberry and the mastermind behind the company’s advertising, corporate art direction and designing of Burberry collections and lines since 2001. Burberry is most widely recognized by its distinctive checkered pattern that garners much of the collection, which also happens to be one of the most copied trademarks in fashion history. Bailey has helped expand Burberry’s classic, tailored look by adding more contemporary elements and simplifying the line, while maintaining the orderly tradition and British style that is Burberry.




John Galliano
(November 28, 1960 – )
A leader in haute couture, John Galliano has taken runway fashion to another level of fine artisanship and rich storytelling. This London native is the current chief designer of France’s couture flagship, Christian Dior, and the former chief designer of Givenchy. Galliano is revered for his romantic, theatrical designs that use exotic colors, dramatic lines and feminine bias cuts. He has changed the face of modern dress through thematic storytelling and characterization, in addition to making ready-to-wear pieces that offer beautiful, feminine silhouettes.




Marc Jacobs
(April 9, 1963 – )
Marc Jacobs has influenced fashion in more ways than one. In addition to the success of his own line, Marc Jacobs, and his diffusion line, Marc by Marc Jacobs, the American designer is also the creative director of the French design house Louis Vuitton. Jacobs has helped further the success of Louis Vuitton by designing its first ready-to-wear line, and collaborating with other designers to create new, youthful accessories for this timeless brand. Jacob’s designs are simplistic and understated, by using muted colors and classic cuts that cross multiple genres and styles. The international success of Marc Jacobs continues to grow, with his expanding line and chic collections that keep customers coming back for more.




Vera Wang
(June 27, 1949 – )
Vera Wang is one of the most well-known names in the wedding industry for her high end bridal gown collection that incorporates luxurious fabrics, fine detailing and a modern twist on classic designs. In addition to her highly praised bridal collection, Wang also designs to ready-to-wear womenswear that exudes sophistication, sensibility and couture-like quality. The award-winning and cutting edge designs of Wang have stood the test of time and have made her a household name, as she adds new label collections, fragrances, beauty products, as well as home fashion items like crystal and China collections, mattresses and silverware to her name.




Giorgio Armani
(July 11, 1934 – )
Giorgio Armani is one of the most successful Italian designers of all time, specifically for revolutionizing menswear. With more than 10 lines under his name, Armani has developed everything from haute couture, jeans, winter sportswear and diffusion lines that are excusive to the United States. Armani is also revered for his use of men’s wear elements, such as unstructured jackets, tailored lines and suits in his womenswear collections. It’s the effortless elegance and sophistication of his tailored garments that make him an international trendsetter and leader in the fashion industry.

Live: India, in real time








India is a country on the go; at any given moment in time, there is much happening in the fields of politics and governance, of finance, of development; there is constant churning in society, considerable activity in sports and in the arts... It's almost too much to keep track of. And hence, this effort: a real-time, constantly updated look at the events that matter. Refresh this page for real-time updates.


Students at Osmania University protest during a two-day strike demanding the creation of Telangana.


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CALLING READERS: On this live blog, we curate in real time the goings on in the world around us. Come be a part of the project: If you see an interesting story, send us the link to indiaeditors@yahoo.in and we'll publish it in this space. Got an interesting photo to share? Same email link applies. Got suggestions on how we can improve this further? Ditto.
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9:00 am: Roti, charpai, padyatra: Rahul fights Maya


Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi would leave for Tappal in west Uttar Pradesh on Wednesday morning as he takes on UP Chief Minister Mayawati on her home turf. Rahul Gandhi started the padyatra on Tuesday from Bhatta-Parsaul village.


With this padyatra, the Congress has kicked off its campaign for 2012 UP polls.


The Congress General Secretary made impromptu stops on Tuesday, interacting with villagers. The padyatra will culminate at the Congress' Kisan Mahapanchayat at Aligarh on Saturday.


On his first night on the padyatra, Rahul Gandhi had a simple meal of four rotis and slept on a charpai at a farmer's house in Rampur. IBN has the story 


8:45 am: Dharavi in Mumbai is no longer Asia's largest slum


Dharavi, spread over 557 acres and housing nearly three lakh people, is no longer Asia's largest slum. Mumbai has at least four larger contenders for the dubious distinction, some of them three times the size of Dharavi. Though, the island city is now largely free of slums.


The erstwhile smaller slums in the suburbs have metamorphosed into contiguous, larger slums. The Kurla-Ghatkopar belt, the Mankhurd-Govandi belt, the Yogi and Yeoor hill slopes stretching from Bhandup to Mulund flanking the Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) on the east and Dindoshi on the western flank of the National Park have all eclipsed Dharavi.


While the profile of the suburban slum sprawls is still to be established, the Mankhurd-Govandi slums that have sprung up at the base of the Deonar dumping ground are known as a "dumping ground" for the city's poor. It has the lowest human development index in the city and is constantly in the news for malnutrition deaths. Moreover, following earlier trends, the slums have come up on hill slopes and mud flats. Full story on ToI 


8:30 am: Chennai teen shooting case: Cops get crucial leads


A Lieutenant Colonel is among three army men being questioned, according to police sources, in connection with the shooting of 13-year-old Dilshan in Chennai on Sunday. The teenager had entered the grounds of an Army residential complex to collect almonds.


Police sources have told NDTV that the cell phone tower locations of the suspects confirmed their presence at the scene of crime. The army has reportedly given three names to the investigators, and asked the personnel to cooperate with the probe. NDTV has the story