Monday, November 24, 2008

Downfall of the free press

This interview of Sagarika Gosh of Ram Jethmalani shows how low the media can stoop to gain TRP's. Gone are the days when the media used to be the voice for righteous, now it is just a money-making machine for the media tycoons.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Did we ever need themes for Gmail? Nope

Gmail had launched themes yesterday. By now everyone might have noticed the themes tab under settings. For months , avid users devised firefox addons that would change the look of your inbox. I am particularly a fan of Better Gmail addon which works with the help of Greasemonkey in Firefox. This does not change the looks of Gmail but adds small but useful features.

I always thought why Gmail did not have themes like other web based mail clients like yahoo, msn,etc. But finally when they launched themes, I did not get excited. Why?

I used to use yahoo mail for everything. Then I recieved a mail from my friend inviting me to join Gmail. I aprehensive at first, as creating a new mail id means going through the drill of entering your details again. ButI decided to give it a try after all the Giant of Search was offering this product. Also they were offering 2gb+ space which was unheard of at that time.

I was surprised that the information required to create an email account was minimal. I logged in. My first thought after looking at the interface was that it didn't look much advanced as the design was just minimalistic. I created this Blogger as well as Orkut account using this Gmail account. Due to this I used to check my Gmail inbox everyday. I realised that even though the designs where minimalistic it had powerful features.

Later, I starting using Gmail instead of yahoo mail as I liked Gmail's clean design. With keyboard shortcuts and clean interface reading 100 mails a day (most of them newsletters) was a easy task. I used to get headache using classic Yahoo mail reading so much mail. Even the ads were not distracting. It hardly bothers you as it is text ads on the right side of the page. Even if you do notice it you usually will find it useful as it is contextual.

But the themes which gmail has launched makes it almost like other web based mail making it look cluttered. One thing I like about Google is that they have a policy of keeping their pages whether search or any other clean, clutter-free and user friendly. The themes might get casual users of Gmail excited but avid users like me will stick to the classic look.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The West laying off employees. India inc hiring !!!

Citigroup on Tuesday cut 53,000 more jobs, triggering fears of more layoffs across industries. However, there are several top companies in India are hiring as if there is no recession.

SBI to hire 25,000 new hands, according to bank chairman O P Bhat. Fresh recruitment will be done this fiscal—20,000 in the clerical cadre and 5,000 supervisory staff

Bank of India to hire 10,000 over the next few months. This, on top of over 30,000 fresh recruits in 2008-09. In next 2 years, the bank plans to take in 75,000

Accenture will hire 10,000 people in India by 2010, says COO Stephen J Rohleder

Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, top global mgmt consultants, looking to hire 3,500 in India in 3 years

MetLife, a new private insurance co., will recruit 30,000 agents and 2,000 managers by March 2009, says CEO Rajesh Relan

Aegis BPO Services will add 1,000 people per month this fiscal


IIM Bangalore and IIM Calcutta say all their students have got placements for next year INFOTECH
TCS to hire 30,000-35,000 people this year, says a spokesperson. TCS made 24,789 technical campus offers for 2009-10, a 13% jump over this year

Infosys is sticking to plans of hiring 25,000 people this fiscal, says CEO Kris Gopalakrishnan. Infosys has made around 20,000 offers for next year

Satyam plans to hire 8,000-10,000 people this fiscal, says HR head S V Krishnan

L&T will hire 10,000 people over the next 3 years, according to CMD A M Naik Maruti has decided to hire 1,000 fresh hands despite the sluggishness in the auto sector, says a company spokesman

What's more Citibank India said that its global job cuts would have only a limited impact in the country.The transaction is expected to be completed in the current quarter, the release said.
Citibank had been considering exiting the BPO business for sometime to concentrate on its core competence of financial services. Thus, with the sale, Citi would now be able to focus strongly on banking.
Citibank's India head, Sanjay Nayar, had then said that the bank was consolidating all its businesses and wanted to focus on its core operations. The freed-up capital following the sale of its BPO arm would be used for its core businesses.
With the sale of its BPO arm, not many job cuts might now take place in its banking operations

Source: The Times of India

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Reviews of web hosting services to reduce your dilemma

Blogspot, wordpress, etc are nice platforms if you are blogging for fun and you are not serious about blogging. They are free and easy to use and you don't have to bother about hosting,etc.
But the problem is that they do not create a brand image of your blog. It will always remain another blogspot or wordpress blog. You might get good traffic but not to the full potential of your blog.

So, you have decided to buy your own domain and host it. It will be daunting task to choose the hosting company as there several companies and all are out to confuse you. Buying domain is easy but choosing the hosting service is not.

Enter Web Hosting Geeks , a website which reviews the hosting service providers. The web hosting reviews on their site is impartial and complete.The need for such website is that as there are dozens of companies offering the “same” packages for different prices,you wouldn't know which offers of the hosting service provider would suit you the best. The reviews on this website is based on every aspect ie. tech support , software,customer support, traffic, space, price, quality, etc.

They also have great articles regarding web hosting. Check out their web hosting guide.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Booth capturing

I thought booth capturing was a international phenomenon in almost all democracies but was shocked to read the wikipedia article that says it is mainly prevalent in India.
Booth capturing is a type of election fraud ,found primarily in India, in which party loyalists "capture" a polling booth and vote in place of legitimate voters to ensure that their candidate wins. Though it is a kind of Voter suppression, unlike other forms of voting fraud, booth-capturing is a malpractice witnessed mainly in India and the least subtle of all.

The modus operandi of such booth capturing operations was facilitated by poor communication, long distances, and inadequate policing. By the 90s it had become a common and unsightly occurrence wherever elections were held. Sometimes two rival party thugs would descend on the same polling station, resulting in violent clashes with injuries and even deaths on both sides.

In 1989 the Representation of the People Act, 1951 was modified to include booth capturing as an offence punishable by law and countermanding or adjourning any poll that was booth captured. The development of the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) was also intended to make it harder for booth captures to stuff the ballot boxes with their votes by enabling a 5 minute delay between each vote entered as against hundreds of votes in the same time using ballot papers (stamped by a group of 3-4). The EVMs also possess a "close" button which can be used by the polling officer to deactivate the machines. Despite this, booth capturing continues to happen, albeit at a much reduced rate and many candidates who lose elections in India regularly complain that their opponents indulged in booth capturing to win.

Other types of election malpractices are:
  • Gerrymandering
  • Intimidation by-
  1. Violence or threat of violence
  2. Attacks on Polling station
  3. Legal Threats
  4. Economic Threats
  • Vote Buying
  • Misinformation
  • Physical Tampering
  • Social Engineering

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Quantum of Solace cocktails

Cocktails in the name of BOND that is being served in the Mumbai bars to celebrate the release of Quantum of Solace

INGREDIENTS: 50 ml Smirnoff Black vodka, 5 ml dry vermouth, lemon twist as garnish.
METHOD: Pour the vermouth into a martini glass and fill with crushed ice and water, shake the vodka with the ice in a separate cocktail shaker. Pour out the contents of the martini glass, leaving on a vermouth rinse and strain in vodka. Garnish with a lemon twist.

INGREDIENTS: 40 ml Smirnoff Black vodka, 20 ml Campari, 60 ml blood orange juice, orange twist as garnish.
METHOD: Pour all ingredients into an ice-filled shaker and shake well. Strain into a pre-chilled Martini glass, garnish with an orange twist.

INGREDIENTS: 50 ml Smirnoff Black Vodka, 50 ml champagne, 5 ml sugar syrup, 6 mint leaves
METHOD: Shake the vodka, mint and sugar syrup well with crushed ice. Double strain into a champagne flute. Top with champagne while stirring continuously. Garnish with a mint leaf.

Fun facts about James Bond's drink:
• The phrase "Shaken… not stirred" first appears in the novel Diamonds Are Forever (1956), though Bond does not actually say the line until Dr. No(1958). Bond first orders a drink to be shaken in the novel Casino Royale(1953).

• Exposed to vodka during his time as a correspondent in the Soviet Union, Ian Fleming loved martinis. Andrew Lycett, a biographer, believed that Fleming liked his martinis shaken, not stirred because he thought that stirring a drink diminished its flavour.

• James Bond has almost single-handedly popularised vodka in the West, and vodka martinis everywhere else.There have been careful product placements of a variety of alcohol brands in recent Bond movies.