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IT magazine for the contemporary woman
CAMPUS LIFE AT SECOND LIFE HOTS & LEARNING TECHNOLOGIES COURSES WITHOUT PRICE TAGS ONLINE DEGREES ACCREDITED? THE INTERNET COOKBOOK E-LEARNING GAMES TO TEACH KIDS
DIGITAL AGE LEARNING
Vol. 1 Issue 6
24 32 38 42 54 57 72
Learning in Digital Age Courses without Price Tags Play while You Learn Role of e-Learning in Imparting HOTS The Food Blog Online Degrees - Are they Accredited? What’s your e-Avatar?
e-Learning Make it your Business
60 61 62 63 64
Fill in PDF Forms Online with PDFescape Translate Text Online with Translators Store Just About Anything Online with Hordit Watch Regional Moviews Online for Free Change the Default Browser Quickly Using Browser Tray Switch
Active, Interactive and Reflective e-Learning
65 Listen to Music Online 66 Watermark Photos and Images Using
Windows Live Writer Create a Free Avatar with DoppelMe Joongel - Internet Search Portal for News and Media Open Internet Explorer in Full Screen Kiosk Mode Maximise your Home Theatre System
68 69 70
Double your Fun with Dual Monitors
85 86 88 89 90 92 93 96
Make Money through Blogs Data Security in Laptop Deleting Google Search Share your iTunes Library on the Web Get the Best out of Google Chrome Free Mouse Cursors Cleaning your Computer Change Default Program to Open File With
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Founder Vishwa Nath (1917-2002) Editor, Publisher & Printer Paresh Nath Editorial Office E-3, Jhandewalan Estate, Rani Jhansi Road, New Delhi-110055 Phones: 41398888, 23529557 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Advertisement Department E-3, Jhandewalan Estate, Rani Jhansi Road, New Delhi-110055 Phones: 41398888, 23529557 E-mail: email@example.com Classifieds Department M-12, Connaught Circus, New Delhi-110001, Phone: 23416313 Regional Offices Ahmedabad: 503, Narayan Chambers, Asharam Road, Ahmedabad - 380009, Phone: 26577845 Bangalore: G3, HVS Court, 21 Cunningham Road, Bangalore - 560052, Phone: 26577845 Bhopal: 12-B, Maharana Pratap Nagar, Zone No. 1, Bhopal - 462011, Phone: 2573057 Chennai: 14, First Floor, Cison’s Complex, Montieth Road, Chennai - 600008, Phone: 28554448 Jaipur: Geetanjali Tower, Shop No. 114, Opp. Vyas Hospital, Ajmer Road, Jaipur - 302006, Phone: 3296580 Kochi: G7- Pioneer Towers, 1 Marine Drive, Kochi - 682031, Phone: 2371537 Kolkata: Poddar Point, 3rd Floor, 113 Park Street, Kolkata - 700016, Phone: 22298981 Lucknow: B-G/3, Sapru Marg, Luck now - 226001, Phone: 2618856 Mumbai: A 4, Shriram Industrial Estate, Wadala - 400031, Phones: 65766302, 65766303 Patna: 111, Ashiana Towers, Exhibition Road, Patna - 800001, Phone: 2685286 Secunderabad: 122, Chenoy Trade Centre, 116, Park Lane, Secunderabad - 500003, Phone: 27841596
Printed and published at Delhi Press Samachar Patra Pte Ltd., A-36, Sahibabad, Ghaziabad and Delhi Press, E-3, Jhandewalan Estate, Rani Jhansi Road, New Delhi - 110055. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any manner without the written permission of the publishers. This copy is sold on the condition that jurisdiction for disputes from sale, subscription and the published matter will be handled at courts/forums/tribunals at Delhi. Title Live IT is registered with Government of India as trademark. 2008 © D elhi Press Patra Prakashan Pte Ltd., New Delhi - 110055, India.
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108 109 110 111
Casio EXILIM Zoom Washable Mouse Longines Watches PC Guardian Ezolution Combo Lock & Sony VRD-MC10 SmartOffice PL2546
6 Letter from the Editor 8 Tech News 12 Did You Know? 17 Letter to the Editor 79 Tech Cartoon 104 Interview - Eric Tong 106 Profile - Pankaj Patel 114 Shopper’s Guide 115 Q&A 116 Glossary
112 Transcend JetFlash V33 & 113 LG KU990 Camera Phone
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From Editor’s Desk
For more than a decade now, we have been hearing that e-learning revolution is around the corner, or that the next big advancement that could happen in the field of education, will in the form of e-learning. When it first started out in the early 90s, the IT industry in America and Europe was abuzz with the opportunities online learning could possibly bring along with it – how it would save cost, make learning more flexible and smash down the barriers to learning across borders, time zones, languages, as also revolutionize the field of education by bringing under its fold more people than was possible ever before. The corporate sector, more than anyone else, was heavily counting on e-learning as a panacea for the training needs of their employees, something that would save the heavy costs of classroom learning in terms of both time and money. However, to the utter disappointment of most e-learning companies (and their clients), online learning has failed to live up to the expectations the field generated when it initially took off. It dawned upon many companies that when it comes to developing the skills of its employees, e-learning lagged far behind as an effective medium when compared to traditional classroom coaching. Similarly, in case of distance learning programs offered by various educational institutes, it has often been found that online learning is less effective as a means of developing skills. The reasons for the ineffectiveness are quite straightforward. e-Learning relies too heavily on self-study wherein the student must be extremely disciplined and motivated to learn from the program. However, in actuality that’s not the case. Also, more often than not, online learning lacks the benefit of customized teaching, something that happens spontaneously in classroom coaching where the instructor moderates his program on the bases of verbal and visual cues from the students. This does not, however, mean the end of the road for e-learning. The clues to the development of e-learning lie in the two problems stated above. The advent of Web 2.0 has given genesis to e-learning 2.0. As against an ‘instructional-only’ system, e-learning can now evolve into a system of ‘collaborative learning.’ Virtual classroom built on the platforms supported by Web 2.0 can make learning over the Internet much more interactive and customized than ever before. A case in point is Second Life (read article on page 72) that allows for a more personal and interactive teaching process. Second Life has made its presence felt as an important platform for education by many institutes using the benefits of Web 2.0. With all the new developments in Web 2.0, e-learning is bound to be a better, useful and effective medium to teach and train people who are separated by distances in time. We explore the many facets of this evolving field in this issue of Live IT. There is one caveat attached however. Even with all the technological benefits of Web 2.0 (or any other technology that might come up in future), the most effective medium of learning will always be one that relies on direct interaction between a teacher and the student. E-learning’s success will lay in it being viewed as a support, rather than as an alternative to traditional classroom teaching. Anant Nath Managing Editor
GLE EARTH 5.0 NE W GOO
free software has ever of knowledge (and fun) any bably the biggest library is hardly necessary ogle Earth is pro costs 400 bucks, but that The new and updated Go a Google Earth Pro that n. Google Earth 5’s eed there is now y get from the free versio been able to offer. Yes, ind fun factor you can alread rs. You can now go of information and and the Red Planet: Ma considering the amount frontier, the 20th century, e the other final biggest new features includ tagged marine animals. pwrecks, and even track k in time, look at shi bac
ial networking sites, including Facebook, Googl e, etc., in an effort to impro ve safeguards against the bullying of teenagers online. According to the European Spokesperson Martin Selamyr, this step has been taken to protec t young users from abusive behaviour on the sites or web. The compan ies who have agreed to sign the pact would provid e an easy to use ‘report abu se’ button on their sites to notify of the inapp ropriate conducts of tho se under 18 and ensure that those under 13 years of age are able to registe r for profiles.
liveit.in 8 March ‘09
EU SIGNS PAC T WITH SOCIAL NE T WORKING SITES The European Union has signed a pact with 17 soc
INTEL TO INVEST $7 BILLION IN U.S. MANUFAC TURING P L A N TS
p giant Intel plans to Santa Clara computer chi next two years on stateinvest $7 billion over the turing in the United of-the-art chip manufac amp existing Intel States. The outlay will rev na and New Mexico so plants in Oregon, Arizo meter chips. Using that they can make 32-nano nsistors would be so technology, the chip's tra llion of them would fit small that more than 4 mi of this sentence. in the period at the end ter chips are the smallest Currently, 45-nanome rket. semiconductors on the ma
IBM is now planning to expand its business by pay ing more attention towards clo ud computing. This techn ology would store and run an app lication for the users ove r the Internet. It would, on the other hand, also allow the users
IBM UNVEILS CLOUD COMPUTING STRATEGY
NOKIA TO LAUNCH NEW FLIP PHONE
mshell a stylish flip phone or cla Nokia’s latest offering is is equipped fold. This GSM handset handset called the 3640 ors and it of 2 inches with 256K col with an internal display es 265k nch display that also featur also has an external 1.36-i er. The analog clock as a screensav colors. It features a large MB of megapixel camera and 30 3640 fold comes with a 1.3 imated e est croSD card support. Th internal memory with mi R 7910. price of the phone is IN
to switch some of the wo rk they are doing at the PC to IBM’s data centre. With this move, IBM has becom e the first technology compan y to offer a service that lets customers buy the equiva lent of overdraft protectio n for data centres.
S ITS FIFTH BIRTHDAY CELEBRATE
its , Facebook is giving out birthday. On this occasion ok is celebrating its fifth beer and from of networking site, Facebo m cuddly bears to a pint The predominant social presents usually range fro be used as a virtual gift. The gift shop’s er of the Facebook, would ry rberg, found 150 million users a myste ording to Mr. Mark Zucke clover. These gifts acc champagne to a four-leaf connected on Facebook. thanksgiving to the people
Sony Ericsson, one of the major brand names in the worldwide mobile handse industry, introduced its inn t ovative gaming handset ‘F305’ in India. There’s also news that Sony Ericsson joined hands with Zapak.com and Mi crosoft XBOX 360 to observe Feb ruary 12 as the ‘World Gaming Day.’ The gaming handset ‘F305’ is priced at Rs. 8,995 and is learnt to include the motion sensor technology. The handset has three pre-lo aded motion games along with 50 add itional games and is equipped wit h a twomegapixel camera.
SONY ERICSSON BRING S FO GAMING HANDSET F305 RTH NOVEL
AMAZON’S NEW, SLIMMER KINDLE TO BE LAUNCHED
FT WARE TO GOOGLE UNVEILS SOERGY WASTE CUT HOUSEHOLD EN hold
Hoping to reduce house ns energy waste, Google pla re to to unveil a free softwa realprovide consumers with y use. time data on electricit The software has been vide g to specially designed to pro consumption. Accordin about household energy l-time information ll, the homerea chael Terre ger with Google.org, Mi per an energy program mana r and would save 5 to 15 nges behaviou rgy-use information cha ene cent of electricity.
10 March ‘09
Amazom.com is ready to launch a slimmer version of its Kindle electronic reading device. The new version would cost the same as its previous one and rather than lowering the price, Amazon touted several upgrades to the e-book reader and a novel from Stephen King that will be available exclusively for the device. According to Amazon CEO and founder Jeff Bezos, “There was no way to lower the price given the upgraded components in the Kindle 2, which is a bit more than onethird of an inch thick — about half the thickness of the first Kindle. Its 6-inch screen can display 16 shades of gray, compared with the previous Kindle's four shades. It will be able to read text aloud from two small speakers on the back, and it can store 1,500 books, instead of 200.”
CALL STD ON MOBILE FOR 50 PAISE/MINUTE
Ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, BSNL plans to launch ‘India Golden 50' scheme in Chennai. This will take Indian mobile telephony into the sub-one rupee tariff structure. The scheme will let mobile phone users make STD or long distance call at 50 paise per minute. The scheme will be launched for pre-paid mobile services this month. The charges for India Golden 50' will be Rs. 375 plus applicable taxes with free talk value of Rs. 50. Besides, customers can make local and STD calls to selected BSNL numbers at a very low rate of 20 paise and 30 paise per minute, respectively. Each SMS will be charged at 50 paise.
APPLE ANNOUNCES PUBLIC BETA OF SAFARI 4
WIPRO UNVEILS AFFORDABLE LAPTOPS
Wipro Infotech unveiled the ‘e.go’, a premium range of laptops at an unbelievable price starting below Rs. 20,000 in Bengaluru. The range was launched in the third week of February last month. Anand Sankaran, chief executive officer of Wipro Infotech, said on the occasion, “The company is hopeful that its new range of affordable laptops would make good business especially in times of global financial crisis. We wanted to break the rupees 20,000 price barrier. So, this laptop is launched at sub- (rupees) 20,000 and it basically is for the consumers. It’s for home use. So, we wanted to ensure that we get it at a price point which is affordable to the consumers in times like this.” The e.go range comes in three models – 7F3800, EM471X series and BM2700 series. It also comes with 12 inch and 14 inch screens. With battery backup capacity for three hours, the laptops are fully loaded. I (News compiled by Rishali Yadav.)
Apple announced the launch of the public beta version of Safari 4 web browser for Macs and PCs last month. Apple has come out with this innovative and novel initiative to bring speed and open standards back to the web browser. The new Safari 4 includes HTML support for offline technologies so that it can work without an Internet connection. It is also the first browser to support advanced CSS effects.
Did You Know
f you reply to the same piece of spam e-mail more than 100 times, it would on one hand overwhelm the sender’s system and on the other hand, it would also interfere with their ability to send any more spam as well.
oogle per day receives about 200 million search queries. And more than half of it comes from the United States. More than 2000 queries are answered every second even during the heaviest traffic. o you know that the founders of Google did not know HTML? They just wanted the quick interface and that’s the main reason for so many home pages to be so bare.
? ow kn id U d
or the television to reach its 50 million users, it took approximately 13 years but, on the contrary, Internet took even less than 4 years. credit card details to process a request. You follow the link to a website that looks strikingly real with the logo et al. and you give all your information that goes directly to the phisher’s account. He can now commit fraud, make purchases on your name, and launder money with your stolen identity.
n Advance Fee Fraud Scam, you get an e-mail from someone overseas who supposedly has a lot of money and needs your help to transfer it. If you help him in this transaction by sending a small fee or give him your bank account information, he promises to send you all the money for routing and you get to keep a small but good chunk of it. However, once you send him the fee or give him your bank account information, you will never get to hear from him. You will also be ripped off your money and your personal finance information.
n phishing scam, hackers send you an e-mail posing as someone important (credit card agency, a bank agent) and tell you that they need some confidential information such as your bank account number, user ID, pin number or your
f you are a seller, beware of Money Order Scam. Here the buyer pays you through a money order for the goods you have already sold. The money order is usually more than the value of goods sold. By the time the bank notifies you that the money order is fake, the cheat is nowhere to be found. y the end of year 2002, the total number of spam which an Internet user receives rose from an average of 3.7 to 6.2 spams per day. And in the year 2007, it reached 830 messages per day.
o you know that the Internet’s complex organism Yahoo! is as complex as its name? Yahoo! is short for ‘Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle’. And this complicated name was coined by PhD candidates at Stanford University: David Filo and Jerry Yang.
mall, low-cost micro computers which individuals and small businessman could afford were eventually developed by the microprocessor. But, unexpectedly, by the 1990s the micro computer or Personal Computer became a common household appliance and became more widespread with the advent of the Internet.
he credit of inventing the Internet actually goes to Al Gore because he did most of any elected official to promote the Internet. In 1969, when the APRANET was formed, he was not even the member of Congress. Not even then when the Internet came into use. Gore was first elected in 1976. hen you see error 403 and 404 using the Internet, there is some meaning to it. The error 403 means site access is forbidden or password protected. On the other hand, the error 404 means site not found in HTTP. I
earning in the digital age has undergone a tremendous change. It has turned more flexible, thereby allowing us to enroll in more courses than one besides giving us the privilege of taking the courses from home or work via the Internet. In online courses, contents are broken down into bite-sized chunks allowing us to learn at our own pace, and at times most suited to us. So, is online learning for you? Take this simple quiz to find out.
I something online, When I am learning material. to follow the course A. Find it difficult d. h time to understan B. Don’t take muc more on it. C. Try to research
To understand som
ething better, I us
in a topic: When I need help asking for help A. I feel comfortable r from the instructo rough the th B. Simply browse information. Internet to gather cial network to C. I log into my so th my friends. discuss the same wi
le of times A. Learn it a coup h B. Think it throug C. Try it out myself
My critical thinking
rning. I do well while lea l is not something Analyzing materia A. Poor. opinions. es analyze and form Fair. I can sometim B. what I’ve learned. rmulate opinions on can analyze and fo C. Good. I
se because king an online cour I’m considering ta sses. us about online cla
A. I’m just curio nt to my friends and wa B. I’ve heard from e. enjoy the experienc for a job tional graduation C. I need an addi lar schedule. my regu and I can’t fit it into
When it comes to
efer to subject, I would pr know about a new If I am to get it in
rmation. notes or verbal info A. Simple written and charts. tation with graphs picturesque presen B. A urse plan. C. An interactive co
and s around technology A. I get very nervou it. would rather not try gies, but I ound new technolo B. I get nervous ar like to learn. w things rtunities to learn ne C. I welcome oppo ologies. tive techn and master innova
Check out the next page to see how well you scored!
March ‘09 13 liveit.in
You finished the quiz! Now, calculate your score. A carries 1, B carries 2, and C carries 3 points. Did you check mostly A, B, or C?
If your score is
u! You are selfn 21 and 30: ilor-made for yo just ta Betwee teractive here learning is most of the in anytime anyw us to make the The at you always d adventuro chno-savvy an the program th nroll for driven, te . offerings. So, e e virtual space e educational onlin fullest out of th and get the wanted to learn
Between 11 a nd 20: You are comfo rtable with on line activities b intervals to do ut need a bit o the right thing f push at . You can unde rstand the con need tutoring cept but to get them co ncretized for p application. Yo ractical u could look fo r a blended co an online prog urse where ram is supplem ented with a p classroom sup hysical port.
is line education Less than 10: g tools and on in eld while e with self-learn d to be hand-h You are a novic what ot yet! You nee cup of tea. N rning course is mply not your er-student lea si ach conventional te learning and a ad for. you should he
It’s a cold, it’s pneumonia, it’s Cyberchondria!
Payal Shah Karwa
to prevent stomach cancer. She could make someone suffering vetlana was working at her desk as usual, when suddenly from common cold feel like he or she will die of pneumonia. In she felt heady. She almost drooped on her desk and her fact, people did not know that she was a hypochondriac – a colleagues were frantic. They tried to revive her in vain. person who self-diagnoses a simple symptom and imagines it to be One of them got her some water with glucose, some a major illness. And after joining this organization, her usage of sprinkled water over her face. Someone even called for a doctor. the Internet was invested in looking up information on healthAfter a few minutes when she came about, she couldn’t feel normal. She still felt quite giddy, and was unable to sit up. Worried related matters for minimum an hour to two per day. She suffered from what is commonly known as about her health condition, she was laid in This is a state in Cyberchondria or Internet Printout Fever. an empty cabin where she was made to rest. She was inundated with various which a person looks This is a state in which a person looks up the Internet for health-related matters and questions right from acidity symptoms to up the Internet for healthbased on the symptoms, assumes the illness pregnancy, but no one could figure out the in a magnified condition. exact reason why she had fainted. related matters and based To give an example, Antara downloaded Meanwhile, one of her colleagues, Antara, on the symptoms, assumes pages of information based on Svetlana’s looked up the Internet to see if she could symptoms of fainting and giddiness. “It suggest any medication while the doctor the illness in a could be a tumour!” she deduced. “See, arrived. She was a health freak, always magnified condition. this website has information on how brain doctoring others from low-fat diets to how
tumour attacks initially. If you have had Cyberchondrics are this assumed or imagined sickness, he or she could suffer a downward spiral of breakfast or if you are not expecting, this susceptible to elongated depression tendency for a has to be something more serious,” she told Svetlana, much to the shock of the extreme reactions and can minimum of six months. Not just that but a study conducted by the NHS also reveals people present around at that time. get into a state of that more than 15 lakh surfers are women However, when Svetlana was taken to the who are looking for health information for doctor, he inspected her, got some X-rays depression. their families. done and by evening the reports clearly Apparently, Cyberchondria has been considered as a said that she was a patient of cervical spondylitis. The continuous psychological disorder. These surfers have no qualms of sitting in the same position had caused this problem, and she was revealing personal confidential facts as well to get the required given a week’s dose of medication and some exercises. Within a information – that is the level of desperation and insecurity they couple of weeks, she was fit and fine as earlier. possess. So, more than anyone else, it’s your doctor who’s the However, since Svetlana was not hyperchondriac, this most worried of all. It’s the patient who is at most risk as he or assumption of a tumour did not affect her much, but patients of she might delve into some wrong medication based on a wrong Hyperchondria converted to Cyberchondrics – like Antara – are diagnosis. Due to the availability of various OTC medicines, susceptible to extreme reactions and can get into a state of there is a huge risk of unwanted results lying in wait to occur. depression. These people are over anxious about their health The only way to deal with such a situation is to spread the and assume the worst of illnesses based on certain symptoms, message to surfers, through the Internet itself that they should without consulting an expert doctor. It has been found that not reach a conclusion without seeing their doctor and that the about 3 to 4 % of Internet users look for health information in information provided on that particular site is only for reference. this plethora of cyberspace. Also, a study revealed by Microsoft It should be made mandatory, like a clause in any financial researchers says that individuals, when rely on the Internet for policy is made mandatory, that any content hosted in cyberspace diagnosing a health problem about themselves, causes them to should include this point. This will help the reader, who is a believe in the worst of results. It could be a temporary potential Cyberchondriac, to use the information more phenomenon or even an acute case of hypochondria. These people start believing in the information made available through responsibly without damaging one’s own health condition and not providing others with wrong information either. these search engines as though they were doctors and experts. Though in India, due to low usage of the Internet amongst This state of easy availability of information seamlessly and common people unlike in the USA, this phenomenon of without any censorship can be quite a dangerous situation Cyberchondria has not manifested itself much. It is a potential though. Especially for those who are already suffering from problem, which should be dealt with right away. I Hypochondria. Apparently, when the person gets anxious over
Letters to the Editor
IT magazine for the contemporary woman
THE YOUTH WEB CONCEPTION TO PARENTING ON NET KNOW THE DIGITAL STORYTELLER YMEX: JOIN, CONVERSE, ENJOY FEAST ON WEB FEEDS
Hello! ‘Live IT’ has been really helpful to me to acquire basic as well as professional working knowledge of the computer. The features presented are well laid and quite impressive by way of content and designing. Hope to get a similar input every time I buy the issue. G. Sreenivasarao, Hyderabad
Dear Editor, You team is doing a great job, and I would like to congratulate you for taking all the efforts to make sure good information gets printed on the pages. This is for the very first time that I saw an IT magazine just for the women. It is amazingly designed and very well written. The team effort is really praiseworthy. Manpreet Kaur, Patiala
EXPLORE THE INTERACTIVE INTERFACE
Please mail your comments/opinion to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or write to us at: E-3, Jhandewalan Estate, Rani Jhansi Road, New Delhi - 110055
Live IT or Leave IT
A cool, alternative way to light up your own little space. The Sun Jar is a highly efficient lighting concept, which lights up your room with the help of a solar cell. Just place the jar under sunlight for a few hours to charge its battery. When it gets dark or lights are turned off, this energy powers the three natural-coloured LED lamps inside the jar. The frosted glass of the jar then diffuses the light, giving the appearance of trapped sunlight.
Bellysonic Speaker Pouch
The Bellysonic Speaker Pouch is perfect for expectant mothers as it delivers relaxation and enjoyment to both mom and womb. Utilizing the sound splitter provided in the pouch, both parties can listen to the recorded music on a MP3 player or CD player. The pouch is worn loosely around the belly allowing for easy movement. Another nice touch is the material that the pouch is made of. It is organic, which holds the included digital speakers in place.
Colour Phasing Shower Light
Taking bath in colour phasing shower light sounds something amazing and unrealistic at the same time. And that’s not all, it also tells whether the water is cold or hot with different spotlight colours. Its colour changes from green to red as the temperature rises. It works without any battery as it is incompatible for piped-in-showers.
liveit.in 18 March ‘09
This one’s been specially designed for the safe transport and storage of bananas, letting you enjoy perfect bananas anytime, anywhere. It has multiple small perforations to facilitate ventilation that in turn would prevent the bananas from ripping. The Banana Guard is also dishwasher safe for easy cleaning.
Minoru 3D Webcam
Bring home the world’s first 3D webcam. The Minoru 3D webcam is capable of creating a mind-blowing stereoscopic effect – noses, ears, fingers and anything else you care to thrust forth are given genuine depth and incredible reachout-and-touch realism. You can even use it to take 3D photos and shoot 3D videos, which you can upload to You Tube later.
These Glow Graffiti cans are filled with glow-in-the-dark paint and there’s a bright LED light placed near the nozzle, which discharges the paint. They come powered with UV light. Now you can write, stencil and draw amazing pictures to create your very own glowing light show.
Live IT or Leave IT
Surprise your family and friends at parties, birthdays, weddings, etc. with these sky lanterns. They can be used at parties as an addition or alternative to fire works or lights, especially at night. The sky lanterns come fuelled with wax paper wick and are fully bio-degradable. Lighting this sky lantern would truly lend a magical effect to your gatherings.
Flip Digital Video Camera
Trying to catch those beautiful moments without the fuss and bother of a heavy-duty model? Then bring home the Flip Digital Video Cameras. They’re a pair of simple digital video cameras that are taking the masses by storm. Both the flagship Flip Ultra camera and its tiny brother, the Flip Mino, are so simple to use that anyone can become a miniature director.
This cute little Elvis is not only a rubber duck but this adorable duck can float right by your side in the pool. The best thing is that it also throws out a sequence of relaxing ambient coloured lights, designed especially to entertain you. It doesn’t revolve quickly and repeatedly around one’s own axis but would definitely shake you up.
Bubble Wrap Keychain
The Bubble Wrap Keychain features eight rubbery ‘bubble’ buttons that activate a realistic popping sound when pressed. And guess what? Every 100th pop is not a pop but a random sound: a boing, a bark, a rude noise, a yell, whatever. The keychain definitely makes one addictive and one obviously remains hooked on to it for the next daft sound it produces.
Here is a nifty device that brings your music to life with a mesmerizing, out-of-the-world light show that dances across walls and ceilings. This ingenious gizmo actually syncs with the tunes it ‘hears’ and pulses and reacts to the beat. Simply plug in your MP3 player, your PC, your electric guitar or virtually any other music source and prepare to be visually assaulted by a kaleidoscope of dancing light.
Rado Ceramica Chronograph Range
Rado has now combined brilliance, fluidity and refinement in its new Chronograph range of luxury ceramic watches. Available in four versions, it’s the best money can buy. The Ceramica Chrono XL Jubilee version has its dial studded with black diamonds to form a wave of ebony light. The watches in this range are exceptionally light, absorb the body’s heat and are not allergic to the skin.
Digital WiFi Detector
This is a pocket-sized device that sniffs out the presence of Wi-Fi wherever you may roam. And that’s not all. It can also help detect a signal and indicate its strength in a matter of seconds, Besides, this ingenious box of tricks also displays essential network info, including network ID (SSID), encryption status (WEP and WPA) and channel.
Desktop Coffee Maker
Bring home this fabulously compact, fuss-free Desktop Coffee Maker, which lets you make your own delicious filter coffee from the comfort of your own desk. All you need to do is plug the little gadget in and make a cup of invigorating filter coffee without leaving the comfort of your chair.
e to say on e-l t the girls hav Here’s wha
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Yadav, Corresp ing! to Rishali earn ondent
Account Assistant, DMRC E-learning, though good for some, doesn’t appeal to me as the best mode of education and learning. If you ask me, I think what a student can learn in the classroom with the help of a teacher, cannot be achieved through e-learning. Discussion and explanations make things easy to understand and that is missing in e-learning. It even reduces social and cultural interaction, because it would keep a student occupied with computers all the time.
Student, Law Faculty
Assistant Manager, ICICI Bank In the past few years, elearning has grown considerably and, in my opinion, it is bound to be an important traditional qualification measures in the future. It would be great help for those who do not have time to attend classroom sessions, especially in some professional courses. With the help of e-learning, one can study as and when required as per convenience. Out of the tight job schedule, not only for me but for everybody I think, e-learning is a blessing.
liveit.in 22 March ‘09
In a country where a significant number of the population is still illiterate, e-learning has made great contribution towards spreading awareness amongst the general people. Various medium of e-learning like Internet, television, radio, etc. have revolutionized channels of mass communication and have also assured easy access of information by one and all. E-learning is surely a boon for the society.
e-Learning is a great help for those who do not have time to attend classroom sessions
Student, ICFP Pursuing studies via the Internet is a good opportunity for those who are busy in other fields of work. This way they can continue with their studies besides being engaged in other work. E-learning via Internet can be explored anywhere in the world. It is also convenient for college and universities to upload various courses with forms so that students do not face any problem.
Student, IP College E-learning is an expensive method of learning, because despite technology advancement, there are many people who cannot afford the facility of e-learning. In comparison, college fee in the university is remarkably less and even then there are people who cannot afford to study in colleges. As it is, one requires facilities like a computer with decent Internet connection; and not everyone can afford to spend that much.
We invite you to share your experience on arriving at a fun solution for a serious problem with the help of technology. Send us your entries, with your photograph, to email@example.com
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et e-Learning via Intern ywhere can be explored an in the world
MSC Student, London University e-Learning is a good medium for study and its standards are constantly evolving. We just need to gear up to educate ourselves responsibly. I think the courses are easily accessible and do not require you to physically move to any location for attendance. It would also enhance the computer skill which is a must for everybody these days.
Learning in the Digital Age
teacher walking into the classroom to deliver lecture to a group of students – that is the vision of education that most of us like to harbor in our minds. But the truth remains that in the Web 2.0 era, education is not simply confined to the boundaries of a brick-and-mortar classroom. Computers and other Internet enabled devices have managed to break through the walls of places of learning, giving students greater opportunities to individualize their educational needs and aspirations. They can, using these resources, access distant resources, learn in myriad new ways, and also find exposure to unique concepts and ideologies. It is safe to assume that what was earlier simply ‘Learning’ has now come dressed
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up in the new avatar called ‘Learning 2.0’. Times change … technologies change … students change … and the system of education changes too! It is quite common nowadays for students to browse through websites like YouTube, Flickr, MySpace, Facebook, Scribd, Wikipedia, etc. for their research work. Pervasive wireless networks are redefining the ways in which schools and universities interact with their students. Ample storage space and omnipresence of cloud computing are having a seminal effect in their own way. A teacher may still appear in a classroom to address a group of students, but instead of reading from a book, he may use an LCD screen connected to the World Wide Web.
And when they are submitting their homework, the students may end up creating files in the university’s server and share it with not just their teacher, but also with their classmates. If the teachers and students need to alert each other about any development, the Twitter comes in very useful.
The Web 2.0 generation of students can hardly imagine life sans information and communications technology. The Internet is something akin to oxygen to them. They can’t comprehend of a real world that is not linked to the cyberspace, where they prefer to meet, play, date, and learn. It’s an integral part of their social life. And that is precisely why Learning 2.0 is expanding at such a furious pace. Students today tend to be more ready recipients to online information than they are to the world of books and papers. They would rather Google for information than turn the pages of a physical volume of Britannica Encyclopedia. Net-savvy students are capable of expediting their learning process as they surf through the resources available online. In fact, the speed with which students in many developed countries have imbibed the net culture has made it difficult for topmost universities of the world to catch up. Till a few years ago, websites like YouTube, Flickr, MySpace, Facebook, Scribd and Wikipedia did not even exist, but today they are a popular and integral part of the popular youth culture. Many of the world’s leading universities, including those in India, have finally realized that in order to create a better bonding with their students, they have to evolve out of the traditional set-up by coming up with new web-based learning techniques that can augment, but not replace, the brick and mortar infrastructure already in place. The idea of conventional universities, as delivering information to comparatively passive learners, has now become outdated. The scope of Learning 2.0 is turning out to be massive in scope, in the sense that the teachers and the university infrastructure can no longer claim to have the sole monopoly on information; students can collect information on any subject through various avenues available online. Then there is the facet of online collaboration. Thanks to cloud computing and softwares like Windows Live Office, it is possible for students to post their essays online where their teachers as well as other students can see them. All this leads to collaboration on a wider level. A student in the U.S. University may find himself collaborating with a student in China or in Bengaluru.
at least few of them will. The fact remains that the concept of ‘Distance Education’ has acquired a whole new meaning in the Web 2.0 era. There was a time when distance education used to entail, and it still does in many cases, packets of reading material arriving by post on a regular basis. But that method is extremely inefficient because text typed on paper does not allow any room for feedback from students. So the flow of information becomes a one-way street, where the teachers keep sending papers to isolated students, who are expected to read it quietly at their home without having the privilege of generating discussion or feedback. Online universities, on the other hand, have found a unique way to deal with this problem. They manage to generate feedback and discussion by creating new learning environments that can use the unique capabilities of the Web. Many of the popular online universities are equipped with in-house forums, blogs and digital bulletin boards. In order to communicate with teachers or other classmates, a student can simply login and post his comments. One student’s comments many inspire many other students to post their own ideas resulting in a situation where the digital space takes the shape of a brick and mortar classroom. Moreover, if the content is being supplied to the students in a digital format, it is easier to update it with new information that may have just arrived. New age technologies like Second Life are helping also online universities reach out to their students in their own way. Let’s imagine a situation where a class of ancient Egyptian history is going on. A brick and mortar university might sponsor its students for a trip to Egypt so that they can get a direct feel of the pyramids and other ancient Egyptian artefacts. But an online university can offer similar experience by taking a student to a virtual tour in a format similar to one in Second Life. In fact, many educational researchers are of the view that in the days to come such virtual tours are going to become part and parcel of online education. Students and their teachers can log into a virtual classroom and they can directly interact with each other, hold discussions and set out on virtual learning tours of all different kinds of exotic and modern landscapes.
There is simply no dearth of ways by which online learning can allow participants to collapse time and space. An Internet-based delivery method allows for flexibility of access, from anywhere and usually anytime. But the best thing is that the technologies that go into online learning are still evolving. That means, in near future we can expect more efficient, and web–based, ways to facilitate interaction between students and teachers. Here is a short list of few of the emerging trends in online education:
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Just type in the words ‘Online Universities’ in the search box and Google it. It is true that majority of these search results might not accurately reflect someone’s educational needs, but
Feature Growing up with search engines
For the present generation, the computer is the nucleus of their workplace. Browsing online is the best form of searching option. Multi-tasking is a way of life for them. State of the art emerging technologies allow them to connect to more than one person at the same time. The popular image of a teen engaged in five chores at the same time – yapping on his cell phone, surfing the net, playing a video game, listening to music on a MP3 player, and exercising on his treadmill – might turn out to be based on fact rather than on a parody. Even the popular cell phone is losing out on its significance owing to the simple fact that people just don’t need to call someone when they chat with up to eight people at the same time using IM. In the coming months and years, the transition between the real and the digital avatars is bound to get more seamless. Students will spend more time in virtual worlds and gaming communities. Social networking sites, such as MySpace, Facebook and Bebo, could evolve further so that they can deliver educational material to the students. An innovative multi-player virtual environment, built on the lines of Second Life, might be used for organizing virtual tours and seminars open to all students. Rather than relying on words and symbols, learners will get to experience the real thing in a virtual world – participating in a mission to Mars, travelling through the human body. Twitter already does the job of constantly updating on activities, feelings and observations to friends and followers. And finally Google is already on its way to turning into a virtual encyclopedia. Need a question answered – just ask Google! provide opportunities for learning. Due to the sheer fact of being ubiquitous, the hand-held net access devices also foster collaboration and networking on a far wider scale.
Start gaming to get educated
One of the most promising aspects of online learning is that it might offer new hope to those for whom learning from books, or in conventional classroom settings, is difficult. While learning history lessons, students might be taken on guided virtual tours of historical landscapes. They might even have to play video games, based on the political or cultural movements of any given era about which they are being taught. Students might even role-play characters from history to get a real feel of the bygone era. Learners could also become virtual tourists visiting museums a thousand miles away. In classes on astronomy, they might play video games based on trips to Mars or to the furthest reaches of the solar system. A whole range of games and simulations can be developed to offer educational content in a way that is easier for the students to grasp.
Next generation interfaces
In times to come, the interaction that students have with computers and web- based content is bound to become more intuitive and that is because of the evolution of a whole range of more natural and human centred interfaces. In fact, the developers at Microsoft are already envisaging a situation where the bulk of computing would move from the desktops to be embedded in objects, devices and locations around us. In other words, our desktop and data will cease to be device dependent and will follow us across multiple platforms and locations. In the realm of education, the proliferation in the number of interfaces can only lead to a better understanding of complex content and enhance the opportunities for collaboration online. A newly launched gizmo called Microsoft Surface is a good example of a new generation interface. The system of the interface is based on optical tracking set up, which can track up to 40 simultaneous touches at the same time. It is possible that in times to come the desks in the universities might not be made out of traditional wood; instead, they might consist of a system like Microsoft Surface. While talking of desks, we can also take note of the fact that even paper is turning interactive these days. There are digital pens available as well that are capable of capturing everything that you write.
Gizmos that foster learning
The rise in the number of smaller, faster, and wireless technology enabled gadgets, coupled with constant improvement in wireless networks, is allowing students to easily access information on their course material. When students of the Web 2.0 era venture out of their house, they prefer to take the tools of web access such as mobile phones, media players and other wireless devices with them. The ability of being connected to the rest of the world and being able receive information customized to one’s life is now taken for granted. The Internet-based services are maturing at an amazing rate and they are effectively knitting together Web 2.0 with the mobile platform to create a new system that is geared to
Pitfalls to avoid
The myriad advances in web-based digital technologies are mostly going to have a salubrious effect on the educational needs of society. But there are some potential bottlenecks that have to be addressed in order
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to derive maximum advantage from online learning. Although we may rightly assume students are technologically savvy, they still might not have the sense to fully comprehend the scope of the Internet. Here are some of the issues that need focus: 1. In an online environment where plagiarism is so easy to execute, whose responsibility is it to ensure that students develop respect for intellectual property and the ethical use of information? 2. It is true that a wealth of information is available on the Internet, but not all of it is authenticated. So how can it be ensured that students only get to access the genuine websites
and they keep away from those with doubtful authenticity? 3. Due to proliferation of information outlets, at times students develop low attention span. How can students be taught the value of following the longer argument or narrative? 4. Collaboration is becoming the buzzword in universities these days. But when students collaborate to create a project, who gets credit for it? More importantly, how does the community judge the quality of its collective output? After all, the purpose of education is to prepare students as responsible citizens, but outside the university campus, such collaboration may or may not be possible. 5. There is also the issue of online safety and privacy. When you are storing your personal profile and information online, you give up something to get something. That something you give up is your privacy and your control over the content that you have created. There is also the issue of ownership. Who owns the data? Is it the creator or the owner of the website? The students have to be taught to verify such simple facts before they start using any webbased service. 6. When it comes to online universities, there are still no clear norms about how to rate them. Often times, students end up paying fees to websites promoted by fly-bynight operators, whose only intention is to make a quick buck, rather than impart education. There is no doubt that the future of education may ultimately rest with online universities, which can use the latest web-based tools most efficiently, but a clear set of norms is a must. 7. There is no doubt that the Internet is full of information on a whole range of issues and subjects. But not all the information is good or moral. There are sites that deal with pornography, with violence and with fraud. It would definitely be a bad idea to try to censor the Internet; it is best to let it remain the bastion of free speech. But at the same time, the students have to be taught the difference between content that is legal and one that is illegal. So, what are the best ways of doing this? I
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Active, Interactive and Reflective Learning!
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Most ideas about teaching are not new, but not everyone knows the old ideas.
edagogy empowered by digital technology,” says a definition of e-learning. Sounds terrible? Hey, wait! This is only a pompous way of describing ‘learning through the medium of the computer’. In other words, we can say that e-learning is all about technology-enabled learning. We have always associated learning with physical classrooms, teachers, fixed hours of group or individual instructions and, of course, the printed form of the word, or the ubiquitous texts and notes. E-learning takes away all this paraphernalia and concentrates on the learner and ‘how’ he/she learns. In fact, even ‘what’ the learner learns lags a fraction of a second behind. The ‘method of learning’ claims the same level of importance with the ‘content learned’, in the context of e-learning. To put it in simpler words, what is considered most important is getting the learner to learn without getting bored and also retaining his/her interest. You might even see a methodology in elearning classes where the student is asked to click on specific options and also asked to react in a given situation rather than telling him/her what/how to do. You may wonder whether e-learning is an IT tool or an educational one. Well, you are not the only one to be thinking so. This is a debate that is yet to see the last argument. But it has been agreed upon without doubt that e-learning is a way to improve people-performance in a positive and concrete way.
– Euclid, c. 300 BC
E-learning is applicable in a wide array of contexts. While a company uses e-learning to impart training and perk up employee potentials (and cutting costs while on the job), a university uses it to facilitate more students to attend classrooms online without having to shift their geographical positions to attend a course. In general, we come back to the general definition we used initially, “learning that occurs at the computer.” e-Learning is not confined to converting pages of printed material to lessons displayed on a browser or sitting at your computer listening to pre-recorded lectures alone. The possibilities of interactive sessions in e-learning have been exploited to a large extent, but it is by no means exhausted.
Advantages of e-learning
Cost savings is perhaps the primary advantage available to users opting for e-learning method. There is definitely more to gain from e-learning than this lone reason.
A user learns at his pace in these virtual classrooms. There is no slow learner here who lags in courses here, but a learner who is reached out to and who learns what he prefers to learn at a speed most comfortable to him. In fact, he can take as many repetitions of the same class as he likes.
A short burst of teaching is what does the trick in e-learning. A ten or fifteen minute lesson on a particular topic makes sure that the learner gets the most out of the learning session. This ensures that the learner is not inundated with ideas at any point and hence finds it difficult to assimilate a lesson.
The impact of environment is reduced considerably when one is in a virtual classroom. External disturbances can be limited to a large extent. The impact on environment is also reduced to a considerable extent. One can get rid of paper work, which certainly is a boon to the planet if not to the student.
The tools of e-learning can be as basic as the Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint or as sophisticated as specially developed software and games that facilitate intricate patterns of learning. It can also be multimedia content like DVDs, CD-ROMs, Internet, satellite broadcasts, interactive TV, etc. Other than the tools described
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here, the methods of e-learning can be active, interactive and reflective as well. The learning factor here does not merely adhere to education; it takes into purview entertainment factor as well, making the effort an endeavour in edutainment. emergence of the PDF file ensured that data won’t be tampered with since it cannot be edited.
Data analysis tools
Tools like SPSS have become a literal blessing to the research student. Laborious calculations and simulation exercises are a thing of bygone days and hypotheses are formulated in seconds with research data. The researcher can now work on the analysis part of his work rather than routine mathematical applications all the time worrying about their accuracy.
CD-ROMs and DVDs
A decade ago, the Encyclopedia Britannica was almost a synonym for bulk. Remember those seemingly endless rows of hard bound editions in the public library? No longer so! The Britannica is a handy pack of CD-ROMs now. In fact, it is not the only source offering edutainment. Any aspect of knowledge is now available in the form of a CD-ROM as an aid to e-learning.
Information gathering tools
Search engines are the right hand associates of anyone who spends time on the web, and for the e-learner. Gathering information is now child’s play if one knows the rules of searching. Google, Yahoo!, Lycos, Jeeves … there are any numbers of search engines being used. Google Earth provides images of geographic locations from geo-stationary satellites monitoring the planet skies. Google Maps provide maps of not just countries but specific locations too.
World Wide Web
The term WWW is known by the pseudonym of the Internet and it has almost become the last word in edutainment as well as e-learning. There is no limit to the possibilities of the Internet today. The very Britannica, which you purchased as a CD-ROM last week would be updated again by now and available on the web at the click of the mouse, once you have made the payment. But web encyclopedias are not the only things on the net for elearners. Here is a non-exhaustive list of tools of e-learning for the basic learner.
Information storage and management tools
Journals and databases are valuable tools here. Spreadsheets often store and share data online, giving easy access to multiple users. Folders to store information and databases from which information can be easily retrieved are the tools that aid storage as well as management.
E-mails, blogs, chat, online groups and discussion/bulletin boards have made their presence felt in the e-learning arena. Yahoo! and Google groups have become the mainstay of elearning groups these days. For example, creative writing courses hosted on the web are almost always held together by online groups. Here the groups use group boards to post lessons and feedback. This remains accessible for the members at any point facilitating learning at the required pace.
Personal management tools
Most e-mails have reminders, address masters and task masters, which can manage the e-learner’s social and academic calendar to a good extent. Messenger applications like Skype, Gtalk, Yahoo IM, etc. facilitate instant communication between users, which reduces virtual distances between various learners and the faculty.
Tools for brainstorming, mind mapping, visualization and project management
Adobe Photoshop is an example of a visualization tool that can manage your images from digital photography to the precision required. Microsoft Projects is an excellent software for project management.
Tools for manipulating text and data
Writing with a pen is a skill of the past, and the convenience of the ‘cut and paste’ option is something one cannot imagine being without. Microsoft Word, Excel and Access initiated the revolution in manipulating text and data and now the parallel applications in open software have joined the bandwagon. Arranging data in the order required, mathematical operations at the touch of a finger and the click of a mouse have all reduced the stress of the e-learner and helped him focus on the primary issue of acquiring knowledge. The spell-checker and grammar monitoring devices make sure that there are zero errors in the documents.
Tools for movie making endeavours
Windows Media Player, Movie Maker, YouTube, etc. all aid the e-learner with the various aspects of film format. Media Frame is an open source streaming media platform allowing web users to view your audio/video content without having to rely on external player applications.
Tools for videoconferencing/Webinars Presentation and dissemination tools
The tools that made the change here include PowerPoint and Adobe; and the final glossy presentation is all a matter of some patience and knowing how to manipulate a few keys. The
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Polycom video conferencing is one such facility used mainly in distance education. In India, the Indira Gandhi National Open University, which hosts a number of distance learning courses, uses video conferencing facilities quite extensively.
Seminars, today, no longer put a stop to regular work or require a person to move geographically to another location. Webinars, short for web seminars, have changed the concept of distances in seminars.
Are these tools effective?
The emergence of technology has eased the burden of the scholar in general and the e-learner in particular. But, not all the tools are fool-proof and there is plenty of room for improvement. For example, the very popular MS Word is often used by the layman without full knowledge of its entire set of applications; they use just the relevant feature that is of most use to them at the point, resulting in just a fraction of the developed software being made use of. The trade-off is between the time required to master the software and its use to the learner. Again, a finished appearance of a document does not really signify that the content is perfect. Often the content may have a lot of imperfections like typos, which are
acceptable to the dictionary of the document but which makes no sense in general. The easy reach of mathematical operations has also led to the wide speculation that general mathematical skills are on the decline among young students who have never had a chance to use the concept of brain-math. A tool like Movie Maker is compatible only with Windows XP, so sharing is highly limited. As a result, research communities now swear by the e-prints. But does that mean the end of traditional journals?
Future of e-learning tools
E-learning is constantly evolving. We are now established on the threshold of M-learning, or mobile learning, which combines the advantages of e-learning onto any portable communication device like the mobile. There are no restrictions of time and space, and the user gets access at his fingertips to just about anything. In fact, information literacy is donning a new avatar here. The explosion of information is going places. It is now left to us how we harness the energy in the information highway to suit our purposes. I
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Online Courses without the
Price Tag Price $0.00
o acquire knowledge is the prerogative of one and all. The Internet has tremendous source of information, yet, browsing through the scores of pages involves a lot of time since the pages are presented in a random fashion, thereby throwing up info in a scattered manner. It is more strenuous if you have a busy schedule and cannot afford time to
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browse through the different sites. Online courses are in plenty, but then it could be that you are not willing to shell out those extra bucks for learning. So, here’s a list of places from where you can take free online courses. Some of them have discussion boards or classrooms and yet others offer courses via e-mail, or in the form of e-book.
HP Learning Center (http://h30187.www3.hp.com)
A reliable and informative course provider, HP Learning Center has dozens of courses on offer. Registration is free and so is enrollment. Most of the courses offered have chapters put together as a pdf file, quiz and assignments as well as a discussion board. For example, the course ‘virus protection best practices,’ a 42page pdf file, is available for download. It has four lessons, which include an introduction to malware, implementing layered security strategies, exploring security tools and techniques as well as understanding proactive and reactive protection strategies. Besides, at the end of each lesson, a quiz is provided to evaluate your understanding of the topic. Plus, there’s an assignment you have to cover. An interesting topic for schools and family is ‘Internet safety for students and schools.’ The course is designed to help students, parents as well as school. Also, there’s a message board for each course, where you can discuss the topics or clarify your doubts.
MIT OpenCourseWare (http://ocw.mit.edu/Ocw Web/web/home/home/index.htm)
MIT Opencourse ware offers course materials for both undergraduate and graduate subjects taught at MIT. The course material is available for download in zip format. Clubbed under various categories including aeronautics and astronautics, architecture, biology, chemical engineering, economics, foreign languages and literatures, history, music and theater arts, nuclear science and engineering, political science, urban studies and planning, writing and humanistic studies, physics, etc., this site is worth paying a visit.
Courses such as Jinger Jarrett’s ‘How to really start your business in 30 days,’ ‘7 steps to killer ad copy’ and ‘Hackers, fraud and trust online: the netpreneur’s quick & easy guide to cyber-crime
Additionally, HP Learning Center offers video sessions of 1020 minute duration. There are also two minutes’ videos such as on how to create a pivot table in Microsoft Excel 2007, using the disc clean-up feature in Microsoft® Windows Vista and similar simple yet must-know topics.
Here, you can browse by the name of the course or see the list of available courses by topic and subject. There are plenty of courses like Visual Studio.NET (Fundamentals), Pre-algebra, Child psychology, Principles of modern marketing, etc.
About U (http://u.about.com)
About U lists a range of courses categorized under arts & literature, business, computing & technology, electronic & gadgets, hobbies, jobs & careers, etc. These courses can be received via e-mail daily or weekly, depending on the course. Find courses such as a ‘9-Day Make a greeting card’ class for the beginner or non-designer, ‘Starting your career in advertising,’ ‘how to promote a show,’ ‘learn yoga to ease your back pain,’ ‘bead stringing for beginners,’ etc. prevention’ are some interesting courses. For more free courses, visit their website. These are resources you can take a look at to get started. There are many more such interesting free online courses or ‘ecourses,’ which you can do at your leisure, for the sake of gaining more information and knowledge, and saying goodbye to examinations. I
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Jaipur, a distinct city with rich cultural, historical, and architectural heritage is fast developing and even set to surpass larger cities in India by embracing latest technologies.
Everybody fancies royalty and luxury. Jaipur stands as the symbol for a unique combination of these with technology. A city making way for itself down the tech path has now integrated tech suaveness with its most acclaimed royalty – the Palace on Wheels. Each and every cabin of the Palace on Wheels is being designed to be equipped with modern amenities like Wi-Fi, LCD television and DVDs with six satellite channels inside it. The facility will be provided to help passengers in the train to stay in touch with the world outside through wireless connectivity.
Wi-Fi in Palace on Wheels
Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited, world’s seventh largest telecom providing company, along with Aksh, one of India’s leading optical fiber cable maker, have for the first time in the state of Rajasthan launched an Internet Protocol television. The service has been provided under the brand name ‘iControl.’ iControl, through Internet broadband connection, would make it possible to watch more than 120 channels as per the viewer’s choice. The company has further planned to extend the service to more cities in North India, namely, Punjab, Haryana, UP, etc.
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BSNL IPTV launched in Jaipur
Jaipur Municipal Corporation along with RUIDP and JDA is all set to become the first municipality in the country to use ultra filtration and reverse osmosis technologies for removing contaminants present in water. This would be useful for using all the sewage water for industrial and agricultural purposes like boilers and other industrial processes after recycling. The process of reuse and recycle mechanism would go under various STPs. The municipality is working on five sewage treatment, environment-friendly plants and would get remittance of over Rs. 35 lakhs per annum. A great step towards social welfare through technology!
New technology to recycle waste
Any kind of work done towards social cause is considered a marvelous achievement, and Jaipur is not far behind in this respect. The city’s remarkable organization named Bhagwan Mahavir Viklang Sahayata Samiti, which is famed for making artificial foot and limb for people, is now in association with the ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization), a premier scientific body of India, to produce the limbs and foot with Polyurethane. It is used by scientists to make rockets and satellites. This technology would make artificial foot and limb lighter and of better quality. Therefore, this would be a major breakthrough in limb making technology all over the world.
INTL and BSNL have come together with a technological initiative to bridge the IT gap in rural areas of Jaipur. This joint initiative of public and private partnership has been done to provide support to both teachers and students for training in IT. Providing help in the field of technology is indeed a good step towards advancement of Jaipur city. It would also work for the advancement of broadband to enhance the connectivity. Thus, it will help bridge the digital divide by increasing IT adoption in rural areas.
Intel unveils Jaipur technology initiative
Jaipur is a name where every step taken is only for the benefit and development of the society as a whole. And E-Mitra is an example of the same. Just to deploy IT for the benefit of society, the government of Rajasthan has come up with citizen-friendly projects called LokMitra and JanMitra. LokMitra helps in the payment of all kinds of bills like electricity, water, and landline bills; it can even take care of fee payments. Likewise, JanMitra is mainly for any kind of online work like online submission of any applications, gathering information on mandi rates and agriculture, or for public grievances redressal, etc. This technology has surely made life hi-tech and easy for the people of Jaipur. I
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Learn hile w You lay P
he students of Mrs. Johnson’s fourth grade math class fidget in their seats as they count the remaining seconds before the bell rings. So far, no homework has been assigned and they hope the teacher will forget. But they’re too late – Mrs. Johnson swiftly dictates a homework assignment to supplement today’s lesson on long division. Surprisingly, this homework doesn’t involve cracking open a textbook. The students are told they must go online and play a game. The ways in which children learn are changing. While you may fondly remember the essential learning tools in primary school as pencils and papers, and blackboards and chalk, today children are reaping the benefits of technology and learning their ‘three Rs’ (reading, ’riting (writing), and ’rithmetic (arithmetic)) through a computer and keyboard. They play electronic learning games, or ‘e-learning games,’ to reinforce or supplement the material they are taught in school.
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E-learning games for children usually take a simple learning concept, such as memorizing multiplication tables, practicing spelling, or learning historical facts. They add graphics, music, sound, and immediate feedback by rewarding correct answers and penalizing incorrect answers. These games give context to learning by adding story and setting to give the players clear objectives and goals to achieve. For example, to brush up on their spelling a student may play a computer game called Bookworm Adventures. The principle idea behind the game is similar to the classic wordforming game of Scrabble, but the electronic version of it allows for the potential of many more bells and whistles. Players take on the role of Lex the worm as he battles creatures and advances on his quest. But unlike a traditional
game where the player might battle by using arms or magic, Lex defeats his foes by forming words from a grid of available letters. The longer the word formed, the more powerful Lex’s attack. So, players who push their spelling vocabulary to the limit are rewarded in the game. The learning experience in Bookworm Adventure is heightened by colourful graphics, music, and engaging gameplay. Another e-learning game, Speare has the player blasting through space and zapping enemy spaceships while – at the same time – learning about Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Players help recover the stolen texts of the bard’s play by memorizing lines, learning facts about Shakespeare’s life, and devising synonyms and homonyms for parts of the text. Not all e-learning games are that advanced. Many can be as simple as a variation of ‘hangman’ and still be fun for the player. E-learning games are becoming an accepted part of the curriculum, and there are many benefits from using games as learning tools.
learning games teach kids how to use and navigate a menu and interact with a computer. Most of all, these games are a fun way for kids to learn. A game provides a challenge that begs to be mastered by the player. Games add a fun context to learning by giving the player creative objectives in the game-world, such as eliminating ghosts or saving the princess. By immersing the player in a game and getting them to care about the experience, games can succeed in making learning fun. While many teachers have embraced games as effective learning tools, some are still skeptical of this non-traditional form of education and feel games may trivialize learning. Tabula Digita, the makers of the DimensionM games, has conducted research to demonstrate the effectiveness of their games. DimensionM teaches students about algebra by having them embark on exciting missions in a video game world where they can compete against other students. The research compared students in a Washington, DC high school. The group that worked with Tabula Digita’s Dimenxion Algebra curriculum showed a 10% improvement over those students that did not. Edutainment and e-learning games is still a relatively new idea and many are still researching and exploring the application of such games as learning tools. There are plentiful books and studies on the subject. The Serious Games Initiative is a movement focused on using games to explore management and leadership challenges facing the public sector. The Serious Games Initiative intends to find productive links between the electronic gaming and education, training, health, and public policy. The union between educational learning and gaming is a natural one and it’s easy to see how the two are linked. When you play any game, whether it is educational or not, you learn the rules, objectives, and various strategies. Players must acquire and adapt a wealth of information in order to succeed in the game. And in games, the player is then rewarded for their acquisition of knowledge and skill development. But with most commercial games, even though players are learning, it isn’t always useful information that can be applied to their schoolwork or real-life activities. The difference here e-learning games apply is to learn something that can help students with their education. The result is that games are a great way for kids to learn. And when learning becomes fun for kids, then they emerge as the real winners. I
Math Man, an obvious homage to Pac-Man, has the chomping down pellets and numbers. The twist is that when you eat a power pellet, you can only eat the ghosts whose numbers solve the equation.
There are no cumbersome materials to find and set up. All you need is a keyboard, computer, and a decent Internet connection. It’s easy to find great e-learning games with a search engine, and most are usually free. The immediate feedback afforded by a program keeps the student engaged in the activity. They do not have to check if their answers are correct or not because the game will tell them. Games provide clear goals and coherent objectives which keep students from being distracted. Computer games simultaneously teach children about using a graphical user interface. We often marvel at how young children learn to use a computer, but it’s absolutely essential for kids today to be prepared to use technology in the digital age. E-
Links to learning games:
http://www.learninggamesforkids.com http://www.funbrain.com http://www.primarygames.com
Kids practice their keyboarding in The Typing of the Ghosts. The player must eliminate the ghosts by typing the words on them before they take away a life.
Role of e-Learning in Imparting HOTS
hen Benjamin Bloom proposed the taxonomy of educational objectives in 1956, a gradual change was observed in the education standards. The advocates of reforms in the education system wanted higher order thinking skills (more popular as HOTS) to become an essential part of teaching, learning and testing learning outcomes. Though it has always invited criticism from the conventionalists who want to emphasise on the basic skills, HOTS have, nonetheless, become popular with the reformists. Benjamin Bloom categorized educational objectives into three domains: Affective, Psychomotor and Cognitive. While the other two domains deal with behaviour, attitude and physical skills, the cognitive domain focuses on knowledge, understanding and thinking. It was the levels proposed in the cognitive domain that brought about the major change in educational reforms. This domain lays emphasis on thinking as a skill. Higher order thinking essentially includes the following: G Critical thinking G Analytical thinking G Decision making G Inference making G Problem solving These skills are not about learning by rote. Rather, they go beyond learning facts and concepts. They focus on tackling situations that go beyond the text book. Arizona State University, on its website, describes higher order thinking as “a complex level of thinking that entails analyzing and classifying or organizing perceived qualities or relationships, meaningfully combining concepts and principles verbally or in the production of art works or performances, and then synthesizing ideas into supportable, encompassing thoughts or generalizations that hold true for many situations.” So, how can HOTS be taught or learnt? Or, can they be ever taught at all? Instructional designers and e-learning enthusiasts are of the view that e-learning can promote HOTS effectively. The basis of this connection is Bloom’s taxonomy of educational objectives in the cognitive domain. Bloom classified cognitive objectives into six levels of hierarchy: Knowledge, Comprehension, Application, Analysis, Synthesis and Evaluation. The Knowledge level of Bloom’s taxonomy deals with recalling and remembering facts and concepts. Example of a knowledge-level learning objective: Name the first five prime ministers of India. The Comprehension level deals with understanding a piece of knowledge. A comprehension-level learning objectives asks the learner to identify, describe and compare elements. Example: Describe the process of photosynthesis. The Application level asks the learner to apply his/her knowledge and understanding to perform a given task. Example: Given the radius of a circle, find the area and the circumference of the circle.
The Analysis level of Bloom’s taxonomy requires the learner to analyze a concept, differentiate between two elements, or make an inference. Example: Differentiate between the food habits of Bengal and Kerala. The Synthesis level asks the learner to make a plan or design a product. This level deals with constructing something using one’s existing knowledge. Example: Create a flowchart for categorizing a number into the following categories: Prime Number, Composite Number, Negative Integer and Positive Integer. The Evaluation level of Bloom’s taxonomy triggers the highest order of thinking in an individual. It asks the learner to assess and evaluate a concept, situation, opinion, etc. Example: Assess the situation of moral policing in India. Typically, HOTS fall into the Analysis, Synthesis, and Evaluation levels of Bloom’s taxonomy. It is obvious that higher order thinking skills cannot be taught using conventional teaching methods alone. Can HOTS training be imparted on an e-learning platform? What is e-learning and how can it promote HOTS? Simply put, e-learning is training delivered via electronic media. Web and computer-based trainings impart e-learning. Teaching HOTS sounds absurd, irrespective of the platform it is being taught on. This is where e-learning makes a difference. Unlike conventional teaching, e-learning focuses on learning. Instructional design, which forms the basis of e-learning, focuses on making the training learner-oriented and goal-oriented, not just content-oriented. Since the focus in instructional design is on the expected outcome and the way the learner learns, the resultant training created on an e-learning platform is more effective than conventional training. e-Learning is better structured because of the underlying instructional design, which is usually absent in conventional training mediums. The most important thing to understand when promoting HOTS is that they cannot be ‘taught’; they can only be facilitated and triggered. The first step towards facilitating HOTS is to understand the learning behaviour of adults. While
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Online group discussions, live chats, live multi-participant simulations, and multi-player games are some of the ways e-learning promotes higher order thinking. Apart from being convenient, e-learning offers several other benefits to the learner. G e-Learning is not intimidating. The learner is no longer overshadowed by brighter students or intimidated by a strict trainer. G It helps learners shun their inhibitions. Even the most shy and introvert learners find it easy to express themselves and voice their opinions in discussions, forums and chats. G The instructional design strategies present the content in a smarter way, making the training friendly for the learners. G e-Learning is not bound by time. The learner can learn at his/her own time and pace. G The learner has the flexibility to skip concepts that he is already aware of. e-Learning trainings are learner-driven. e-Learning has enhanced drastically over time. Now, the focus is no longer on giving Computer-Based Instruction (CBI) or Computer-Assisted Instruction (CAI) but on ComputerEnhanced Instruction (CEI). It is the CEI that promotes higher order thinking. e-Learning, however, will not work just because it is electronically delivered. It may completely fail to benefit learners if it is not created properly. Learning theories and instructional strategies are the foundational stones that make e-learning beneficial. e-Learning is, in fact, a structured adaptation of what learning theories and strategies preach. Higher order thinking cannot be initiated without understanding the learner and the learning theories. The best way to reap the benefits of e-learning is to introduce learners to a blended learning environment. Learners can be initiated to ‘think through’ only if they learn in an open environment that embraces all learning styles and platforms. I
some adults are visual and some auditory, others are kinaesthetic. Visual learners learn better by seeing things; they respond well when presented with visual educational media like charts, presentations and diagrams. Auditory learners learn by listening; they respond well to lectures, audio presentations and discussions. Kinaesthetic learners, on the other hand, learn by doing things; they do well in a lab or when they use simulations. One cannot impart learning effectively without understanding the learner. A thorough audience-analysis paves way to successful e-learning. Scenarios, simulations and games are integral to promoting higher order thinking. They offer the learner opportunities to explore and judge that are otherwise missing in a conventional learning environment. Learners also get to interact with other learners, triggering discussions and debates. These help elicit responses and opinions from all learners, making them think better and harder. With 3-D virtual environments like SecondLife, learners can do more thinking than they need to do in their real environments.
Saras Salil Editor Elected New ILNA President
Paresh Nath of Saras Salil, a publication of Delhi Press, was elected President of the Indian Languages Newspapers Association (ILNA) at its 67th Annual General Meeting held in New Delhi on 14 January 2009. He succeeds Sunil Dang. Mr. Nath is associated with many organizations in various capacities. He is Deputy President of Indian Newspapers Society. Founder President Association of Indian Magazines. Other office bearers elected are VK Chopra (Gavakari), Dinesh Shakti Trikha (Kavita Express) as Vice Presidents and Anil Agarwal (Amravati Mandal) as General Secretary (Headquarters). Krishna Shewdikar (Shramik Ek Joot) and Ravi Kumar Bishnoi (Kesar Khushbu Times) will be other General Secretaries, Chandrakant Bhave (Dauk) is the Treasurer, Members of the Executive Committe of ILNA are Govind Lal Vohra, Girish Kumar Aggarwal, Pushpa Sharma, Rajeev Vashishth, Sandip Kulshreshtha, Sanjay Gupta, Satya Prakash Aseem, Sunil Dang, Uttam Chand Sharma and V.G. Wani. New Co-opted members of the Executive Committee are Ankit Bishnoi, Chaitnaya Kashyap, Gaurav Chopra, Jai Prakash Pandey, Prakash Aggrawal, Vipin Mohan Sharma, Yashpal Singh, and R.C. Tanwar. The Indian newspaper & magazine industry has two major organizations working in their interest, ILNA, being one of them. One-third of its executive members are elected every year.
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Idea, Innovation & Creativity with Apple
Apple is making waves in the PC space so much so that it has compelled Microsoft to re-look at their entire model of product development and marketing. It is not very uncommon these days to see a Macintosh replacing the Windows driven PC and in huge numbers. The company that set the personal computer revolution rolling way back in 1970 is today regaining its glory of being the market leader and a trendsetter. It is the uniqueness of its products that lies at the heart of its position of eminence. Be it OS X, iLife or digital products like iPod, iPhone, video players or the iTunes online store, it’s all about innovation, trendy Model: Mansi Tambade Concept & Photography: Hemant Kedar Makeup: Amit Sawant Hair Stylist: Sharda Apple Gadgets: RSG design and great marketing ideas. These technologies offer the best that is in the field of entertainment, and also enhance personal productivity and creativity in an easy, complete, and connected way. You can store, share, and enjoy all of your photos, all of your music and even all of your video in the most sleek and simplified space. Live IT features Apple’s foray into the modern technology based entertainment market with its revolutionary products. A large platform is now set for exciting advances in mobile entertainment technology.
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This is the most handy, stylish and stirring machine ever. Made of a just a single piece of aluminum, the Macbook Air weighs just 3 pounds. So, you can carry it anywhere and everywhere at any time. In simple words, it is more than portable. It has a glossy 13.3-inch wide screen, which is just of the same viewable size as of other Macbooks. It gives vibrant images and rich colour. To add to its beauty, it has backlit keypads, which makes it easy to use in low or dim light settings.
iPod Classic 120 GB
The cool and sleek iPod Classic with 120 GB memory can store up to 30,000 songs, 150 hours of video, and a huge collection from your photo album as well. In other words, it’s a musical treat. Isn’t amazing, one size fits for everything. Available in black and silver, the Classic 120 GB is truly beautiful, durable and sleek.
iPod Shuffle 2GB
This one’s for hard core music lovers. This surprisingly small iPod can carry up to 500 songs of your choice to keep you entertained on the go. Clip it on anything and rock with the music you love. Choose from four new colours – vibrant blue, envious green, pretty pink, and ravishing red. Available in 1 GB and 2 GB capacity.
Wireless Keyboard and Mouse
The Apple wireless keyboard features a low-profile anodized frame that complements any Mac. Just connect this beautifully designed ultra thin keyboard to the USB port of your MAC to enjoy its functions. Then, to experience the ultimate in flexibility, pair it with Apple’s wireless Mighty Mouse.
Get fast 3G wireless technology, GPS mapping, a widescreen iPod, a breakthrough Internet device with rich HTML e-mail and a desktop-class web browser. The apple iPhone 3G definitely redefines what a mobile phone can do – yet again.
A simplified and compact, which allows up to ten network users and includes a new feature called AirTunes. With the blazing 802.11n, the affordable AirPort Express is powerful enough to run a home Wi-Fi network. It is compatible with both Mac and PC. Its small design and light weight makes it extremely portable and stylish as well.
Now redefine what your TV can do with Apple’s stylish high definition TV. Watch high definition movies, listen to your favourite iTunes, watch podcasts, and even show off your cherished photos. The Apple TV even connects you to the Internet so you can stay in touch with the world outside.
This smart, sleek, ultra thin Apple iMac (20”) desktop offers more performance and features than many Windows-based PCs; robust iLife ‘08 digital media suite. It is just for everything and anything you want to pack in for a computer.
The Food Blogs
Ritu Goyal Harish
“Recipes are like poems; they keep what kept us. And good cooks are like poets; they know how to count.” – Henri Coulette
t was a revolution that began indistinctively and right out of the blue. Slowly but steadily like a fire that rages, catching up in intensity and spread, suddenly having a blog became fashionable and having a ‘voice’ became the latest craze. Rising from amongst the popular blogs talking of politics, media, technology and personal experiences were the ‘Food Blogs’. As Kate Hopkins, a popular food blogger says, “There was never any conspiracy to forward the discussion about food. It just happened.” Blogging about food became a culture for many, and a daily dose of their connection with the virtual world. Blogs are popular also because they are inexpensive, have easy accessibility and allow freedom of expression.
Internet, especially South Indian. Books usually have very exotic recipes but blogs gave me several options where I could browse through very simple everyday recipes. My own interest in cooking fuelled the beginning of my own food blog.” Suganya, another regular food blogger since April 2007, says determinately, “It is definitely a passion and purely a means for me to improve my skills with cooking and photography.” While most bloggers try to be as regular as possible, “it is difficult to post everyday” admits Arundhati. Most of them are busy professionals and find it tough to post recipes everyday. However, they also agree that,
“What we’re all striving for is authenticity, a spiritto-spirit connection.” – Oprah Winfrey
It is no longer a secret that the Internet has brought the world closer and blogging, in particular, has made people-to-people interactions at a human level a possibility. Food bloggers agree that blogs have a deeper and perhaps a more personal connection with the reader because of their very nature. “The ability to interact with the creator of the recipe allows the readers to understand the exact procedures of preparation. This not just helps increase the probability of replicating the recipe, but also provides a creative forum to improve the recipe further and create multiple variations of the same dish,” says Suganya. “There is great amount of interaction on the Internet. There is a sense of intimacy and readers know that the person posting the blog is real. It also helps to know that the recipe has been tried by them, making the chances of success that much higher,” adds Arundhati. Anita also believes that blogs are very interactive. “Readers on my blog can ask me questions related to the recipes I post and I respond to them, making this a two-way interaction.” Feedback is another crucial element to blogging. Everyone thrives on compliments, and most bloggers welcome constructive criticism to their recipes. “Many times, the recipes from cook books don’t work. And there is no one you can turn to for assistance. But on my blog, visitors can leave their comments about the recipe, or a suggestion to improvise on it. Some of the comments are very honest and help me devise a variation to the original,” says Arundhati. “Blogs also offer a social environment to exchange constructive feedback that in turn contributes to personal development,” feels Suganya. Notwithstanding, the bloggers in unison agree that food blogs may never actually replace books. “Books have their own
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“Nothing great in the world has been accomplished without passion.” – Georg Wilhelm
For almost all bloggers, it is passion that drove them to develop and maintain a food blog. Arundhati Raghavan, avid food blogger, singer and HR professional, has always been passionate about food. “I was 10 when I started baking. So, effectively I have been interested in food for 20 years,” she says with a smile. For her, the blog was initially and essentially “to keep my recipes in one place.” Blogging since May 2007, Arundhati has a repertoire of over 400 recipes on her blog, some of which include cherished recipes passed down by her mother. “I wanted to safeguard the recipes from my mother, which include Tamil and Konkani dishes for posterity,” she says emphatically. For Anita Tikoo, a Landscape Architect by profession and a regular food blogger for the past two-and-a-half years, food was always a passion. “I started searching for homely food on the
blog,” beams Anita. “We haven’t met until yet but we chat on a daily basis. There is certainly a connection.” “Initially a lot of them were just acquaintances. With time and repeated exchange of comments with these interesting individuals, I have made several friends across the globe who share common interests, values and principles as me. A few of them have gone on to become extremely close friends. I have not met a lot them in person yet, but have learnt a great deal from them,” adds Suganya. And this deep connection brings bloggers and readers together, across cultural and geographical boundaries. “Blogs help us to break boundaries of country, culture and language quite easily. In my opinion, this is one of the fundamental strengths of blogs,” says Suganya. However, most bloggers are not at ease revealing their identities on the Internet and are quite comfortable with the anonymity. “Although people close to me know that I have a blog, professionally no one knows,” admits Anita. On the other hand, to Arundhati the anonymity is of little importance. “I have 200 followers on my blog and even my nephew visits often. Most of them are random visitors but many are friends,” she smiles. “A new recipe for success” “I am happy that I have managed to attract many visitors. What started as a personal space to post my collection of recipes has now become a great place to exchange notes and try out new stuff,” says Arundhati. “The biggest high I get is that on my blog I am the writer, editor and publisher,” laughs Anita. “To my family, my passion for food was well known. But that I could write well was also a surprise,” she adds. As for readers, says Mayanka who refers to food blogs when she needs to whip up something special for a guest or party, “I like food blogs for their simplicity. The recipe sounds uncomplicated. They give the feel as if anyone can make the dish, even a novice in the kitchen.” If you are a writer with a passion for food, or a cook who likes to write and share recipes, a kitchen novice or expert, or a compulsive recipe browser, peep into the extraordinarily scrumptious world of food bloggers, and you will be pleasantly surprised at the bounty available! I
romance. I still read a cook book page to page although I may not cook the recipe immediately,” admits Anita. “A blogger, I myself refer to books all the time. Books will always be around as they provide a valuable perspective and a point of reference,” feels Suganya. Arundhati also echoes the sentiment. “There is a certain charm in cook books and a joy in flipping through the recipes. I may be buying fewer books than I used to, but I certainly refer to them all the time.”
“Books may well be the only true magic” – Alice Hoffman Publilius Syrus quotes
(Roman author, 1st century BC) Food blogs are one of the greatest places for a variety of recipes on the Internet. From simple home cooked Indian recipes, to complicated Kebabs, Biryanis; world cuisine such as Italian, Mexican, Chinese, Greek, Continental, Japanese, Malay or even Egyptian; desserts, breads, pastries, cakes, puddings, pies – you just name it and you have it on blogs. “On food blogs you can find recipes from the exotic to the regular; simple to complicated,” says Arundhati. On most food blogs, as in books, the pictures convey a lot. Some blogs thrive on presentation, while others simply depict the dish ‘as it is’. While some bloggers consider pictures to be as important as the recipe, some don’t. “Photographs are essential but I think as long as they are not ‘dressed up,’ they connect with the reader,” feels Arundhati. “I did buy a better camera but nothing more than that,” admits Anita.
Popular food blogs:
http://chefatwork.blogspot.com http://tastypalettes.blogspot.com http://madteaparty.wordpress.com http://indianfoodrocks.blogspot.com http://onehotstove.blogspot.com http://elaichietcetera.wordpress.com http://saffrontrail.blogspot.com
“Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born” – Anais Nin
For a lot of bloggers, their personal spaces on the web have been a great way to make new friends and foster long-lasting relationships. “I have made some great friends through my
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Online Degrees – Are they Accredited?
o, you are this busy executive who wants to add value to her resume with a management degree. Or, maybe a homemaker venturing into a home business but require some entrepreneurial skills to get started. Or, a graduate student who wishes to enhance her work profile with a post-graduate degree while continuing to work. Maybe you would like to make a career switch, but need to first get a certain skill set in the new industry. Well, whatever it is that you are desirous of doing, the best answer to all your constraints of time and effort made at travelling down to the educational institute seems to be one of the many popular online courses available on the net. In fact, you have even selected the right course which provides you with the proper skill-enhancement
that you require. But, even as you get ready to part with some hard-earned money in the hope of forwarding your career, certain niggling doubts always remain. Beginning with what exactly is it that you can expect from an online course? How do online courses differ from distance education courses? What sort of a qualification can you expect at the end of the course? What are its pros and cons? How necessary is accreditation? How do you know whether the course is accredited? Who accredits online courses? What is the difference between accreditation and approval? What sort of industry standing does an online course have? Well, these are questions that arise in the minds of every person planning to enroll in an online course.
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For the beginner, an online course is simply a course of study which aims to provide the student with a certain skill set using the Internet as the primary medium of instruction. Use of the Internet, in this case, typically involves downloadable self-study material, lectures through webcasts or interactive webinars, online chats with professors to resolve doubts and online tests, which are graded online and a final assessment of the student’s proficiency. In that sense, online courses differ greatly from distance education courses, the latter usually is a blend of studies using the Internet and a contact program, which requires that the student go to a designated study centre for a few lectures, laboratory experiments or project work. The exams are held in a conventional setting at their examination centres. Within online courses also, there is a clear bifurcation based on the type of qualifications that they claim to provide – at the end of some courses, the student would get a proper qualification – say a Bachelor’s or a Master’s degree. The other type of online course is simply a skill enhancement course, for example those offering proficiency in OOAD (object-oriented analysis and design) concepts. These courses do not provide any qualification per se, but are intended only as study modules for gaining knowledge. Institutions like NIIT (www.netvarsity.com) and Aptech (www.onlinevarsity.com) offer similar courses online, which include a plethora of subjects in a variety of fields – Crystal Reports, RDBMS Concepts, Client Server Concepts, SQL Server, Word, Excel, Access, time management, Linux and so on. Many of these study courses are industryrecognized; the Sun certified Java program is a good example here (http://www.sun.com/training/certification/java/ index.xml). The study material is available online exclusively through e-learning modules and doubts can be resolved by e-mail; the test is also administered online. To this end, Sun Microsystems also provides a list of authorized training centres. As far as the pros and cons go, online courses are advantageous in that they offer great flexibility of study hours and also save time and cost, especially that of travelling. The primary disadvantage would be that you would have to deal with the feeling of being on your own and be disciplined enough to set aside proper time for study, because procrastination can be a real problem with self-study. While there are clear answers to most of the queries related to online courses, answers pertaining to accreditation are still a little hazy. By definition, accreditation is easy enough to understand – it means a minimum guarantee or the act of granting credit or recognition (especially with respect to educational institutions) that maintains suitable standards. But, determining whether or not a course is accredited is much tougher. For a course to be accredited, there has to be a government authorized organization providing the accreditation. The problem lies in the fact that in India, there is no clear rule on which organization provides accreditation to online courses. In the U.S., for example, The U.S. Department of Education (USDE) approves certain organizations to be in charge of approving schools with providing online accredited
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college credit courses. ‘The Distance Education & Training Council’ (DETC) and ‘The Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges & Schools’ focus specifically on accrediting online degree schools. In India, the ‘Distance Education Council’ (http://www.dec.ac.in/) is the authorized organization to provide approval and accreditation to distance education. So, logically, courses by any university, which is recognized by the DEC, would be accredited. Online courses offered by Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) (http://www.ignou.ac.in/) come under the purview of the Distance Education Council. Similarly, courses provided by the Yeshvantrao Chavan Maharashtra Open University (http://www.ycmou.com) are recognized by the University Grants Commission (http://www.ugc.ac.in/). This means that degrees offered by such universities, duly recognized by the government, must be accredited; unfortunately, there is
no clear, written rule about this. So, if an online course claims to be accredited, first check with the Distance Education Council or the UGC. The next big issue is whether these courses are recognized by the industry and whether it is important to enroll for an industry-recognized course only. Jyoti Jagasia, Assistant Professor at S.P. Jain Institute of Management and Research opines: “I did my Masters in Information Technology from BITS Pilani, which was a distance education course, recognized by the UGC. This course was a work-integrated learning program, completely off-campus with the project viva at Pilani. So, this is very close to being an online course. Getting a qualification like this was a huge boost to my profile. Being an electronics engineering graduate, this course not only helped me getting a foothold into the IT industry, but also got me into the academics field and an option of pursuing doctoral programs anywhere in the world. Obviously, securing a job after the completion of a course actually depends on previous work experience and the industry recognition that the course has. Several courses are
actually helped me get more work in freelance writing was the rigorous training and constructive criticism in writing that I got through the assignments that I completed.” The verdict is clear – online courses are good, but they must be accredited and industry-recognized. A simple search on the Internet will throw up a confusing array of online courses, which may seem right for you. We selected some of the popular courses, not necessarily offered by Indian educational institutions, but approved by government organizations (See Box below). So, go ahead, take that course and get those skills which would catapult you up the ladder of success. But remember, whichever course you do decide to study, it is important to spend some time ascertaining whether it will give the value that you want from it. I
Some important links:
well accepted, while some others may not be. It’s important to talk to people from the industry and find out what courses are accepted. All in all, online courses are a great option for skill enhancement and value addition to your profile – but they must be accredited.” Batul Hafiji, Project Manager with a leading software firm adds, “We do consider online courses as a positive indication of the candidate’s skill set, but job experience in the technology or a certification from Microsoft or Sun Microsystems would have far greater value than a regular online course that does not have industry recognition. Of course, we would prefer a candidate who has done an online course to acquire certain skills, for example, OOAD concepts, as against someone who is just a graduate.” Preeti Mishra is a freelance writer who did a correspondence course to augment her writing skills. She says, “Though all the study material came in through post, my assignments were submitted through e-mail. At the end of the course, I received a certificate of completion, which did not help much because employers do not accept this sort of a course as guaranteeing a minimum competency. What Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools: Commission on Higher Education http://www.msche.org/ New England Association of Schools and Colleges: Commission on Institutions of Higher Learning http://www.neasc.org/cihe/cihe.htm North Central Association of Colleges and Schools: The Higher Learning Commission http://www.ncahigherlearningcommission.org/ Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities http://www.nwccu.org/ Southern Association of Colleges and Schools: Commission on Colleges http://www.sacscoc.org/ Western Association of Schools and Colleges: Accrediting Commission for Junior and Community Colleges http://www.wascweb.org/ Western Association of Schools and Colleges: Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities http://www.wascweb.org/ The International TEFL Corporation http://www.teflcorp.com/ol-home.htm Kaplan Open Learning http://www.kaplanopenlearning.org.uk/ MIT Sloan School of Management http://ocw.mit.edu/OcwWeb/Sloan-School-ofManagement/ Institute of Chartered Financial Analysts, India http://www.iutripura.edu.in/ Amity Institute http://www.amity.edu/ http://amityelearning.com/
Fill in PDF Forms Online with PDFescape
Tech Tips by: Anoop Verma
t is a common misconception that PDF files cannot be changed once they have been created. About time you made a visit to the website www.pdfescape.com. There is nothing to download or install as the application runs on the web itself and enables you to make changes in any PDF document, fill up PDF forms and save them onto your system. In addition to text, you can also use PDFescape to
throw in custom images, shapes, and links into the document. The best part about the website is that the service is completely free. You are only required to register yourself
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and fill in your e-mail ID. But PDFescape does attach a logo mark to the documents that you export from the site. If you want to remove the logo mark, you will have to purchase premium credits. To use PDFescape, go to the website www.pdfescape.com and click the icon that says ‘Start Now.’ You can either use the application as an unregistered user or as a registered user. It is better to get registered before using the application, because as an unregistered user, you cannot avail of a bulk of the features that are accessible there. Click on the icon that says, ‘Register Now Free.’ Out here you will have to fill in your name, e-mail address and also create a unique login ID with a password. Click on the option ‘Create Account’ and it will take you directly to the site where you can launch the PDFescape application. Here you will have the option to open a PDF file from the computer or from the Internet. Make a selection and after the file opens, you can either fill a form or make changes in the PDF file itself. There will be a menu bar at the top, with drop-down menus under the heading File, Edit, Tools and Help. The features of each tab are somewhat similar to what you may find in a normal Word document. Once you have finished working on the file, you can save it on PDFescape’s online server. The file will remain in the server and you can access it by logging into your account anytime. You also have the option of e-mailing the PDF documents in which you have made changes. You have to give PDFescape a try, in order to find out how easy it can be to fill PDF forms and to make changes in a PDF document. I
he Internet in the Web 2.0 era is breaking boundaries between different cultures and countries in more ways than we can imagine. Now there are web-based applications that allow you to translate text from one language to another with the click of a mouse. Most of the time, these applications are available for free. It is only in case of some languages that you are required to pay some fee. You can check out www.freetranslation.com. This site offers free translation from English to a host of European languages, as well as Japanese and Russian languages. For availing of free translation, you have to select the language combination that you require from a drop-down list. Once the selection is made, click on the box that says, ‘Type of Paste text here.’ Once the text has been inserted, just click on the link that says, ‘Free translation.’ The translated text will appear in the same box instantly. In any case, the computer translation remains far from perfect. You have to keep your sentences very short, or the computer might not be able to analyze and it might give absurd results. All sentences should end with a full stop so that the computer system can recog-
Translate Text Online
with Free Online Translators
nize where the sentence ends. At one time, you can have 750 words translated. But if you need text from English or any other language translated to most other Asian or African languages, then the service does not remain free. The going rate for having about 250 words in English translated to Hindi turns out to be $50. And if you want to have the translation proofread as well, then you have to pay $10 extra. Now, that is really costly. But as the technology improves, it is possible that the translation costs might actually come down to zero. Another website www.online-translator.com offers similar service. At this site there are two boxes in one of which you can paste the text that you need to have translated. After that you choose the language combinations from a drop-down list and when you click the translate icon, the translated text will appear in the second box. www.worldlingo.com offers translations into Chinese, Arabic and Korean languages along with all the European ones. Then there is the site http://babelfish.yahoo.com/, which proves quite efficient in translating English to a host of European languages as well as many variants of Chinese. The application at http://www.reverso.net/text_translation.asp is confined to European languages only. IBM, too, has made a modest foray into the translation bandwagon with its WebSphere software. But the scope of this software is quite limited as of now. However, if you are looking for free English to Hindi translation and vice- versa, then you will face some amount of problem. It seems an efficient translation application is yet to come up that
can take care of desi languages. As of now, for your translations involving Hindi language, you still have to rely on human translators or pay hefty fees to online portals. I
March ‘09 61 liveit.in
Store Just about Anything Online with Hordit
click in order to verify yourself. That’s it, no downloads, no sign-up fees, your account becomes operational and you are free to start uploading on your unlimited Hordit space. On the Hordit interface, you will find a range of pre-created folders that you can use to categorize the documents or the links that you upload. If none of the folders match the profile of your documents, you can create new folders easily. Hordit also has a built-in tracking feature that enables it to remember the links that you have browsed during any session. And if you are prone to working from different computers, you can simply import all your bookmarks into your Hordit space and use this information to go to your favorite sites from any computer with an Internet connection. Currently, Hordit accepts imports from Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox browsers. But the best feature of Hordit lies in its ability to make networking possible between different users with similar tastes. If you click on the People tab at the top, it will take you to the list of current users. It is for a user to decide if he wants to make his profile public or not. If you opt to make it public, then other users can check you out. By clicking on the Groups tab, you reach the groups menu at Hordit, which turns out to be quite extensive. You may wish to join any particular group according to the dictates of your ideology and tastes. It is also possible to share documents with other users, or make it completely public. The application is still in the beta stage. Therefore, you might come across some glitches, but even in its present avatar Hordit is capable of providing great service to its users. I
f you are tired of tugging along heavy files in a cumbersome laptop or even a portable flash drive, then you might as well take a look at the new website on the block, called Hordit. Billed as a place where you can store and backup any amount of data, Hordit allows users to store docs, photos, spreadsheets, PDF documents, notes, contacts, YouTube links, scanned images, etc. in an online space. You are no longer tied to a computer or a flash drive as Hordit allows you to access your data from anywhere by simply logging into your account. The best thing about this site is that there really is no limit to the size of files that you can store. Be it 100 GB file or 1 TB file; at Hordit, size simply doesn’t matter. And all this is available for free. To start using this site, you have to log on to www.hordit.com. First, you must sign up, the process for which is remarkably hassle free. Just provide your first name, last name, and an e-mail address. However, you need to pick up a login ID and a password. Once you have finished with the sigh-up process, Hordit will send you an e-mail with a link, which you have to
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o you find it difficult to believe that movies can be available online for free! Nevertheless, it is true. There are a number of websites that promise to deliver online movie experience for free. Check out www.bharatmovies.com, which has a massive collection of films in Indian languages. When you open the website, you will find a bar on the top that lists most of the major Indian languages – Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada, Bengali and Marathi. Just click on the tab of the language in which you want to watch the movie and you will be taken to a page that incorporates the list of movies available in that language.
Watch Regional Movies Online for Free
When I checked this site, a number of good Hindi films were available for viewing – Akele Hum Akele Tum, Raaz, Daag, etc. The list of films keeps changing on a day to day basis. The film that is available today might not be there tomorrow, its place might get taken by some other film. To watch any given movie of your choice, you just have to download a Veoh Player on your laptop or PC. The software is available for free on the Bharat Movies website itself. Once you have downloaded and installed the player, you can start downloading the film. But that turns out to be a job of patience. Even if you have a high-speed broadband connection, the downloading process takes lots of time. Another good website for movie viewing is www.rajshri.com. As of now, this website has a library of more than 500 Hindi films and a sizeable number of Tamil and Marathi films as well. It also has TV shows, documentaries, trailers, short films, kids’ movies, etc. Here you are not allowed to download the movie;
you have to watch it on the website itself on a YouTube kind of a window. Then there is www.apnaview.com, which turns out to be full of great movie resources. Last time I checked, this portal had latest blockbuster films like Ghajini and Chandni Chowk to China listed for viewing. But in order to watch movies, you have to download and install a software called Zango. In fact, if you make a simple Google search for free Hindi movies, you are going to get an amazing amount of response. For a somewhat complete list of such websites, you can go www.indiaholic.com. But not every website listed on www.indiaholic.com is capable of offering original print. Mostly, it is camera copy prints or badly burned DVD prints that are available. So the quality of the movie downloads that you get for free, might not be as prefect as what you get to see in any theatre, but as it is free, you can still use it for pastime. It is far better to use these websites to download music videos, as the file size in that case is much smaller and so it does not take too much time. I
Change Default Web Browser Quickly using Browser Tray Switch
ith a number of browsers like Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome, etc. available for free, it is now becoming increasingly common for most computers users to have more than one browser installed in their systems. There are Internet users who may want to use one browser while they are checking their e-mails and another for searching for a piece of information on the Internet. And if someone is a web-developer, he may have all the major browsers installed in his system to check out his website in IE, Firefox, Chrome and Safari. But, while switching from one browser to another, you have to copy and paste the link. That can turn out to be a cumbersome process. A way out is a software called Browser Tray Switch. It’s a software available for free and takes up as little space on your system as 90 KB. And, to top it all, it is going to make the process of switching from one browser to another remarkably simple. Just visit the website http://www.donationcoder.com/ Software/Mouser/browsertray/ index.html and download the software. The installation process takes less than a minute. Once the installation is complete, every time you have to change your
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default browser, all you need to do is right click, and all the selected files and URLs will open in the selected browser. Along with helping to shift between browsers quickly, the software also helps in making the system more secure. This it does by preventing malicious programs from connecting through the Internet by launching the default browser. I
ow you don’t even have to go through the rigmarole of downloading pirated music. You can actually listen to your favourite music online for free. There are any numbers of websites that are currently offering this facility. Blame it on quirk of fate, or a quirk of nomenclature, because of which all of them end up having names that start with the letter ‘S’. But it is also possible that that the names start with ‘S’ because each website owes its leitmotif to songs. Just visit the websites of Songerize, Songza, SingsBOX or Seeqpod and have a tryst with the music of your choice. Songerize is located at http://songerize.com. The home page is quite stark, but the music that you can hear out here turns out to be absolutely riveting. You will find two boxes on the home page – one carries the heading ‘Song Name’ and the other says ‘Artist’. Below these two boxes, there is the ‘Play Song’ button. Well, you don’t need to be an Einstein to figure out how the system works. An enthralling musical experience is only a click of the mouse away. Try it today itself. Located at http://songza.com Songza is geared to let you listen to any band or song of your choice. It has a Google type search box and a search button beside it. All you have to do is fill the title of the music of your choice in the search box and then leave it to Songza to find it and start playing it for you. Out here you have the facility to register yourself. In fact, it would be a good idea to get registered
Listen to Music Online N
because then you become eligible for creating your own playlist and storing it online. During any subsequent visit to the website, all you have to do is access your playlist to start playing your favourite songs. SingsBOX is spreading its musical joy at http://www.singsbox.com. The starkly bare home page has only one rather long search box in the middle of the screen and beside it lies the Search button. In fact, the website looks somewhat like Google, but it does have a banner advertisement at the top. SingsBOX proves itself to be really efficient in finding songs from all genres. Other than giving you the chance of listening to your favourite songs, this website also allows you an option to store the songs on your playlist or embed them on your website or blog. Then there is Seeqpod, located at http://www.seeqpod.com. The role that Seeqpod plays goes far beyond music, in the sense that this is a search and recommendation engine for indexing and finding playable search results including audio, video, podcasts and Wikipedia articles. The site is currently indexing more than 13 million tracks and files. Powered by the GenoPharm algorithm, Seeqpod solves search queries by linking relevant information automatically from each analyzed source of information, creating connections similar to that in the human brain. In that sense, its working is somewhat different from that of traditional search engines that rely on keyword associations. I
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hese days everybody is publishing blogs with lots of amateur pictures in them. But there is always the chance that your pictures might end up as plagiarized pictures on someone else’s blog. That is just the sort of eventuality that you can avoid by using the freely available Windows Live Writer. The latest 2009 edition of the software has now be come available at http://windowslivewriter. spaces.live.com. Just log on to this website, and click on the download button. The minimum operating system required to run this software is Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7 Beta. There are other requirements regarding the browser, RAM, graphics card and processor, but these are nothing exceptional and most PCs running on XP or Vista should have these systems in place. The download and installation process will be over in few minutes depending on the speed of your connection.
Watermark Photos and Images Using Windows Live Writer
Watermarking an image by using this software is absurdly simple. First of all, you have to insert the image into the blog that you are writing. After that, click on the image to select it. On top of the Windows Live Writer window you will find three tabs – Picture, Advanced and Effects. Click on the tab that says Advanced and from there choose the Watermark tab, which appears at the bottom of the drop-down list. A watermarking form will open in front of you. You can type in the text that you want to have as watermark. You can also choose the font type, the size of the letters and the exact positioning of the text. While Windows Live Writer proves to be a nifty watermarking tool, it can also be put to many other uses. You can crop, tilt or create a border around your picture. You can also use it to insert multiple pictures using as Individual Thumbnails or as Windows Live Photo Album. There is no dearth of album styles through which you get to display your pictures. For example, you can use the ‘Scatter Style’, by which you can make your pictures appear scattered all over your blog. You can even use the Windows Live Writer to insert a video from your computer and have it automatically published to either YouTube or Soapbox when you publish your blog. Then there are the various add-ons that you can choose to have with this software. You can download and install add-on softwares like Flickr Upload, Digg This, and Twitter Notify. For those avid bloggers out there, this software is certainly a must have. It makes blogging look so easy and enjoyable.I
liveit.in 66 March ‘09
Create a Free Avatar with DoppelMe
hese days in most Internet chats, forums or blogs, a personal avatar has become somewhat de rigueur. You simply can’t express yourself properly online unless you have an avatar that is in sync with your real personality. A visual identity has the effect of putting a friendly face to your Internet presence and the best thing is that you can quickly update it to reflect your mood at any point of time. Still wondering? Well, you don’t have to be a graphics expert in order to create an avatar. Leave it to web-based applications such as DoppelMe to create one for you; and it takes just a couple of minutes to get it done. Take a peek at the site http://doppelme.com whose homepage seems so starkly bare, and yet it hides an innovative system that is capable of dishing out an array of delightful avatars. It is not necessary for you to register yourself on this website, but if you choose to register then you will have the option of saving in this site’s server your very own DoppelMe avatar, which you can access any time by simply logging into your account. However, even if you do not register you can still access the application and save the avatar that you create on your own system. At the top of the website there are four tabs – Home, Create, Sign In and FAQ. In order to create an avatar, just click on the Create tab. A toy-like figure will appear on one side of the screen. You have the option of choosing the gender, skin colour and eye colour of your avatar. The changes you make will reflect on the toy-like figure. Once done, click on the next icon. The new page has a small screen on which myriad smiley kind of images are set in a row. Simply click on the smiley that best reflects your mood and then click on the button that says, “I am done.” On the new page you fill in some of your personal details and reveal your e-mail address. Within a few minutes you will receive an e-mail link with step-by-step instructions on how to make more changes to your avatar. There is no end to the funny or rather serious looking avatars that you can come up with. You can give it a look from the figure of the iconic movie called Star Wars, or you can have an avatar that is like any normal boy or girl. You can change hairstyle, facial expression, hats, tops, bottoms, shoes, accessories, background and extras in so many different ways. By default, the avatars carry a GIF format, but you can also request for a PNG format. To do that all you have to do is replace GIF with PNG while saving your avatar. Once the avatar is ready, you can put it in blogs, forums, instant messenger and anywhere on the Internet. Go ahead, try it out! I
Joongel and Lemmefind – Internet Search Portals
hen you think of a search engine, you think of Google. Sure Google is currently the Goliath amongst all search engines in the market, but newer search engines are new breed search engines are emerging all the time like so many bubbles in the vast Internet pond. Have you heard of Lemmefind? This is a search engine, with its home page located at www.lemmefind.us. The home page is somewhat bare, but not as starkly bare as it is in Google. There is a drop -down list at top, where you can choose if you want to make a countrywise search or an international search. There is as search box followed by a search button that is quite similar to that in Google. But the difference lies in the array of buttons that occur on the top of the search box. By clicking on any one of the buttons, you can narrow down your search and target results that are more in line with what you want. For example, if you click on the ‘button Images’ button, then only the search results that have to do with an image of some kind will be generated. Similarly, you can opt for video, audio, MySpace, Wikipedia, and much elsemany more. Every search result can be instantly shared by using the e-mail link at the bottom of each page. This search engine is still in beta stage as it was launched only in November last year. Another search engine that is generating interest is Joongel. Its searching method is based on the geographic location of the user and traffic ranking analysis from Google, Hitwise, Compete, Comscore, Nielsen, Netratings, Quantcast and few other systems. If anything, the home page of Joongel at www.joongel.com is absolutely cluttered with buttons and tabs and that is probably why it takes some amount of time to load. On the main body of the home page you will find buttons that lead to every popular search engine, blog and much else. Then there are the buttons occurring on the
side bar, by using which you can narrow down your search. The search box is located at the top of the screen. Instead of one search button, there are two of them. The first button is meant for choosing the category of your search and you need to click on the second to get the search process going. Joongel is probably derived from the world ‘jungle’. The idea is that Internet is like a jungle and you need a search engine like Joongel to find the information that you seek out there. Currently, the website is running in its beta phase and this could be the reason why itthat might be the reason why it is so slow to respond. I
Open Intern t Explorer in Full Screen Kiosk Mode
here can be umpteen numbers of occasions when you may want to maximize the viewing area in your browser. This can be achieved by turning on the full screen kiosk mode, which gets rid of the toolbars at the top, status bar at the bottom, and the scroll bars, leaving the entire space on the screen free for the web page that you may be surfing through. To switch on the full kiosk mode in your Internet Explorer browser, go to Start and click on ‘Run’. In the box that opens, type the following command: ‘iexplore –k page’. The ‘page’ in the command stands for the URL of the web page that you wish to go to. When you click OK, Internet Explorer will open in full kiosk mode. For example, to start IE in the kiosk mode with the Microsoft website, type ‘iexplore -k www.microsoft.com’ in the box. You can also use this method to open any website saved in your system in the kiosk mode. For this also you have to click Start, point at Run and in the open box you have to type: iexplore -k ‘c:\my documents\name.htm’. As the forward and back keys and the taskbar are not visible in kiosk mode, you have to use keyboard shortcuts in order to operate IE. For closing IE, use CTRL + W or Alt + F4. A full list of the keyboard shortcuts that you can use to operate IE in kiosk mode is available at windows website: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/154780. And if you tend to use this type of browsing too often, then it would turn out to be a good idea to keep on your desktop a
shortcut that can launch IE in kiosk mode instantly. To create such a shortcut, right click on the blank area of your desktop. On the menu that appears, just point at ‘New’ and then go to ‘Shortcut.’ Into the open box of the Create Shortcut wizard that appears, type the following instruction: C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\IEXPLORE.EXE –k. After that, click on the option ‘Next’ and in the new window, you can choose an appropriate name for this new version of IE. Click on ‘Finish.’ Whenever you click on this link, IE will open in kiosk mode on the home page. It is fun to browse on the full screen mode, and if you have not tried it already, it is about time you did. I
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n an era where electronic gadgets are becoming more and more economical, it is but natural for you to settle for one yourself. Only a few years ago, it would set you down by half a lakh to buy the cheapest home theatre system. But today, you could buy one for as low as 10K. And if you have a great budget, there are home theatre systems that cost Rs. 10 lakhs, too. However, no matter what your budget, there are certain things you need to look at after you bring home the stars into your drawing room. The beauty of a home theatre system lies in its sound quality above all. The clearer and booming it is, the more realistic feel you get of a movie hall. After all, you are turning your drawing room into a theatre. However, if you don’t take care of a few important things, your movie-watching could be no less a nightmare. Here are a few tips that could go a long way in ensuring good quality music to your ears.
1. Positioning the speakers is important: gear surround speakers high up on the walls, tilted down towards your listening position, or use tall stands instead. Place your centre speaker at the same height as the main left and right speakers, under the screen if possible. Try to align its tweeter with those on the other front speakers in your system. 2. Specify to the dealer before he offers choices to you. For example, if you want a system that could meet both your hi-fi and home theatre needs, say so early on. Also, specify the size and shape of your room because it’s important from an acoustic perspective. 3. If you have money to spare, get your room sound-proofed and acoustically perfect. It could set you back Rs. 1 lakh, but it’s worth it. If you don’t have the money, even curtains will make do as they absorb sound. But don’t use glass walls as they reflect sound. And for better acoustics, buy two sub-woofers (one passive and one active). 4. There’s no point having 6.1 speaker systems if your intent is to enhance the acoustics in the room, as most movies except Gladiator and a few others are made for 5.1. Go for 6.1 only if you have a wider room or a 7.1 if it’s a lengthier room. For example, a 15 × 20 feet room should be perfect for a 5.1 whereas a 25 × 30 feet room requires a 7.1. 5. Go for a projector instead of an LCD or plasma screen if you have a very dark room. Most people use plasmas for commercial purposes. The biggest advantage of an LCD is that it can be mounted on the wall and also enhances your style statement. Flatscreen TVs take a lot more space and are pretty old fashioned. I
How to Maximise your Home Theatre System
Double your Fun with Dual Monitors
second monitor on your system has great potential to double your fun, especially if you happen to be a videogame aficionado. Looking beyond videogames, two or even multiple monitors can be helpful when you want to get extra productive by working on more than one office program at the same time. Especially when working on a really large spreadsheet, you can have different parts of it open on different monitors. While chatting with friends, you can have many more IM chat windows open. But the best thing about a double monitor is that it is easy to install and comes very cheap; in most cases all you need is an extra monitor. Most laptops these days come with an external VGA port, so you just have to plug your second monitor into this port and switch it on. This is usually done with the help of the function key – ‘turn on one, or both monitors’. Once this bis done, you
have to set it up under your display settings in the computer’s operating system. But if you are planning to set up a second monitor on your desktop system, first make sure your CPU has a dedicated video card. Many of these cards come with two video ports that can support two different monitors, but if your card has a DVI type port, then you will have to get for yourself a DVI to VGA adapter. Use this adapter to plug in your second monitor and you are ready to double your fun. However, if your CPU has the video built into its motherboard and lacks a second video port, then installing a second monitor is not that easy. In this case, you will have no option but to add a video card to your desktop computer. However, you must also ensure that the new video card has two video ports. Running two different monitors can pose as an incredibly vibrant computing experience; if you have not tried it yet, then it is time that you did. I
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What’s your E-Avatar?
Campus of the Future – Second Life Experience
Payal Shah Karwa
magine a typical day in your campus life, just a couple of years down the line. You wake up early morning, finish your daily ablutions and get ready for another exciting day in college. Instead of putting on your satchel and shoes, you simply switch on your PC, the broadband connection and log on to your 3-D classroom, based out of the USA. You greet your classmates online, engage in a chat session, and when the professor walks in, you start your class. This is no cyber-fiction story, but a future reality, the reality of virtual 3-D campuses. It’s about time we start taking seriously the role of technology in our daily lives and realize the potential it has to the maximum. For instance, the Internet has opened up incredible opportunities in all fields, including education. Starting from distance learning, or e-learning as it is popularly known, the Internet has used multimedia to disseminate knowledge seamlessly, crossing geographical and demographic boundaries. Probably one of the only lesser points of distance learning courses would be the lack of physical presence or interaction with the faculty or peers. But this issue can be addressed with the use of the latest innovation in cyberspace – www.secondlife.com. Secondlife, or SL, is a Netbased 3D virtual world, which thrives on usergenerated content. People can login as a resident with a new avatar (online personality) and teleport themselves into any such inworld … they can attend live concerts to contests, visit museums or a green park using the SLurl or build a world of their own. Similarly, there exist several education campuses created by educators around the world, which you can explore and enroll yourself for. SL offers educators to create a campus of their own by virtually lending them an island. These educators also
have a choice to permanently buy off or rent the island on SL to continue their classroom activities. What’s good about SecondLife campus is the fact that just as a student, you can have a basic account for free. You just need to sign up for a SL account and locate the SLurl of the campus you would like to visit. A SLurl is the exact location in terms of co-ordinates. So, once you have the exact url or address you are directly taken to the island wherein you are asked whether you would like to teleport. Currently, the universities of Stanford, Harvard, and New York have their own campus on SL wherein students from any part of the world can attend the sessions created by educators and interact with each other. One can even visit the library of the respective university, explore the campus and its facilities, etc. Similarly, INSEAD is the world’s first virtual campus. Launched in 2006, INSEAD offers MBA and Executive MBA programs. Once you have created your avatar at SL, you can participate in the virtual event on their campus. For instance, try logging on the SLurl of INSEAD (http://slurl.com/secondlife/INSEAD/176/214/31) to experience this. You only need to ensure that your PC is equipped with the requisite hardware and software requirements. The INSEAD program, for instance, has video streaming and IM tools so you need to have the requisite broadband connection and programs.
SecondLife offers a powerful and effective learning facility to students in the virtual environment. They can enter into the existing virtual campuses and interact with each other using their new avatar. This allows them to maintain some level of anonymity and at the same time a great platform to express themselves. So, one can even consider the environment relatively safer to operate in. The platform gives the student to experiment reality in virtual space and learn from mistakes. Another benefit of virtual campuses on SecondLife is the depth of opportunity it offers for students to learn. For instance, they can do research, meet potential employers, innovate and share through distributed learning. In other words, they can generate their own content, share with fellow classmates and in turn learn better. Virtual campuses also get rid of travel and other costs involved in attending a full-time course. For instance, Mayeka’s family was financially challenged. Having completed her Bachelors’ Degree in Architecture, she desired to take up an advanced course, which would help her automate her planning process and help create 3D structure designs. But the advanced course was turning up to be too expensive for her family to afford. However, her career plans did not go futile. One of her friends residing in the USA informed her about e-learning courses in a 3D environment of the virtual world, called secondlife.com. Today she has created an island using her own ideas and developing the content and sharing with fellow learners online. Her designs too have been well appreciated. The diversity that a virtual campus brings along with it is also commendable. It brings together people and educators from across the globe who share their experiences to enrich other residents’ knowledge base. Currently, cyberspace has over 250 such educators, thus enabling thousands of learners to learn creatively through virtual campuses on SL. Fields like gaming, architecture, medical, media, business management, etc. can adopt the help of SL to build a virtual campus. Also, the educators have the flexibility to build the learning ambience as per their choice and what they think would be liked by students. From amphitheatres to open gardens to box classrooms, there exists an interesting variety of campuses online. The courses conducted here are as good as a normal study course, i.e., they have semester schedules, examinations, projects, assignments and the works. The diversity also stems from the fact that educators have a choice to create content. This way they can develop their teaching courses by adding new objects and material as and when required. Experts foresee virtual campuses created on SL as the future trend owing to the flexibility and dissolution of geographical boundaries and physical distances. The growth of SL has nurtured the growth of the use of elearning through in-world as well. From a user base of almost 4 million in mid-2007, the number has leaped to about 11 million. Second Life is a free online virtual world Though the concept is still new in imagined and created by its ‘Residents.’ cyberspace, it is gaining ground slowly. With broadband You’ll surely discover a fast-growing digital connections and acceptance of world filled with people, entertainment, distance learning making inroads into the Indian psyche, the use of experiences and opportunity. virtual campuses might be a regular feature in a student’s life. Have a happy second life. I
E-Learning: Make it your Business
ll around us, in every part of our life today, e-learning is making a difference. Whether it is tiny tots learning their alphabets from multimedia CDs, homemakers learning new dishes from Sanjeev Kapoor CDs, or software professionals learning Java on the job from Internetbased videos, we cannot avoid being affected. Supporting this rising demand is a new wave of entrepreneurs creating the content and tools that go into e-learning programs. Given the right tools and the right approach, this is one business that has huge potential for growth – and you could be one of those riding the wave! So how does one go about creating an e-learning product? To understand this, we need to break apart the typical ingredients of popular e-learning products, and see what makes them tick. The three broad areas that we need to explore are the content, that is, the actual pieces – text, sound, video, that make up the product, the platform used to integrate all these pieces, and finally the delivery method, that is, how we get the completed product to the user.
skills. If you have a passion for the written word or are a regular contributor at blog spots, possessing good experience in the field of journalism, you’ll be a a good fit, else find a professional technical writer.
2. Images and video
Similar to music, there are several resources available on the net for free images and video. Care must be taken not to violate copyright since ‘free’ usually refers to ‘free for personal use’, and not in commercial products. There are a number of websites that offer royalty-free images and clipart – these are the safest bet.
Content, as they say, is King. The real core of any e-learning product is the knowledge it provides and how it is presented. Modern multimedia-based e-learning products make full use of text, music, voice narration, images, and video to convey the point. Each of these components has its own strengths, and the tools and skills required to create them are different. Often, specialists are required in each area to create these parts. An ambitious project may have specific teams for each department, and a different person or set of people to put it together. The lowbudget or quick solution does exist, though: use free images and music from the Internet and open source software to put it together. In addition to the technological skills required to create the content, as described below, pay close attention to the subject itself. Are all the relevant areas covered? Does it provide enough depth on the topics? If you are not confident of these, or if the topic is very technical, it will be a good idea to consult a subject matter expert while creating the content.
Software tools such as Photoshop, CorelDraw or even MS Paint are very useful to have in order to create images and then turn them into the right sizes, resolutions, and colour schemes for your e-learning product. Video, until recently, was considered a high-budget option, since the cost of cameras, editing and transferring to computers was very high. But new webcams are fairly powerful, and camcorders, too, now come within an affordable range. Some elearning sites (such as those for the popular programming platform Ruby on Rails) offer tutorials shot entirely as a video file. Webcasts, as they are called, are regular sessions on specific subjects, shot on a low budget, and offered as a series on a hosting site. They make an ideal format for creating e-learning modules on rapidly evolving or changing subjects.
We have studied from books all our lives. Even when learning from a screen, we need the reassurance of familiar text explaining or confirming the information we have learned. For example, Sanjeev Kapoor, though he may demonstrate the entire recipe in video, still recaps everything in a traditional, written recipe format. The content writer for the product has one of the most important roles to play – the text must flow well and should be easy to read. Some or all of the text may also be read out by a narrator – this part needs to sound natural and engaging. MS Word or Notepad is all you need to create the text. Writing good text for e-learning products requires good writing
3. Voice and music
For very simple or low budget products, a simple microphone and a voice recording software like Audacity is good enough to record spoken text. More sophisticated recording may require employing a professional voice artist, and using a recording studio to get a noise-free voice track. Music is a trickier business. Whether or not your product requires music depends on the target market. If you are aiming for casual users or children, music adds to the appeal of the product. For technical-oriented products, such as programming language tutorials, or school/college subject guides, you may do away with this requirement.
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Larger companies get original music created by composers, or else license existing soundtracks. Software such as RealAudio Server or Shockwave can be used to mix and compose. On a small budget, you can look up free music and sounds on the Internet (two good sites are www.royaltyfreemusic.com and www.mymusicinc.com), and download these as required. The most common audio formats include WAV, AU, MPEG, MPEG2, MIDI, and RA. All these can be played using audio players that are usually bundled along with operating systems.
Putting it all together
Now you have all the text, video, and photos you need to create your product. Time too get ready for the second stage: combining them all into a single compelling product. This can be a long, demanding process. Fortunately, there are several tools that help you take in various media and combine them into a package. There are several companies and professionals available on hire for this purpose but they are not too difficult to learn, especially if you are familiar with computers.
This is probably the most popular format for standalone elearning products. Flash, owned by Adobe, offers tools like Flash Professional to create applications quickly. There are other tools like Adobe’s Flex and Articulate, which give you a different environment to create your product, and finally create the result in Flash. These may be used depending on availability and pricing.
cover, perhaps a box, along with manuals and set-up instructions. Selling the product as a boxed package will also require tie-ups with bookstores, electronics stores and distributors to allow it to be displayed and sold. Using the Internet to sell your product avoids all of this. The Internet has turned into a viable delivery mechanism in recent times – especially with broadband connections becoming more common. The infrastructure required to host a website, too, has become cheaper. All you need, basically, is a registered URL, and space on a hosting server (GoDaddy and RackSpace are popular international companies that can provide these facilities, while BSNL has a good service of its own in India). The amount of space you buy on it depends on the size of your product. Make sure your account also has enough bandwidth, since customers will be downloading multimedia files as part of the learning. The Internet as delivery method is especially useful when your target market is already a heavy net user – professionals, college students, and IT workers, for example. Many software companies offer training on their products only through the net. It allows them to reach a market that is scattered worldwide, and the infrastructure required is much less. Another advantage is that the content can be updated quickly. The users can be notified using e-mail whenever new modules are added, and errors only need to be fixed in a single location – the web server where the e-learning product is hosted.
So, is it for you?
e-Learning is a large industry that has the potential to be much larger. Whatever your skills are, there is a space for you. As a subject matter expert, you could work on content. As an artist, writer or photographer, you could work on creating the text, images, and sound that create a compelling multimedia experience. As a software engineer or web designer, you could work on integrating media and text into a complete product. As a marketing executive, you could work on creating access to your product for customers. And as a businessman or investor, you could oversee the operation and make sure the final product is the best possible. Whatever role you decide to take up, you will find yourself in a career that is much in demand. E-learning is here to stay, and is the biggest invention in teaching since the blackboard. I
So now you’ve put together a package in Flash or HTML and are ready to sell it. How do you get it to customers? The most common method of distributing e-learning products is on CDs, especially those targeted at casual users. Children’s learning, cook books, foreign language tutorials, exam preparation aids, all use packaged CDs as the delivery medium. If you’d prefer to use this method, you will need to work on designing and printing the packaging for the CDs – the CD
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A language instructor was explaining that French nouns are grammatically designated as masculine or feminine.
Puzzled, Harry raised his hand and asked, “What gender is a computer.”
at computers belonged to the eclared th udly d masculine gender. n pro her the he teac T
First, in order to
get their attention, you have to turn them on. Second reaso n they ar being, althou e alway g s cluele h they hav e a lo ss. t
o f da ta,
e supposed to help you solve a pr Thirdly, they ar oblem but
half th e tim
’ are th e ones
who a re
the p robl em i
And, lastly, as soon as you are committed to one, you realize that if you had waited a little longer, you might have had a better model.
Illustrations by: Tanmaya Tyagi
Pre- rime –The Pl t Resolved
AD 2050 our Pre-Crime cops burst into the cubicle and stared at her with accusing eyes. “What do you want?” Rachna ejaculated sharply, frightened out of her wits at the sudden intrusion. Without batting an eyelid, one of the cops declared, “We are here to arrest you on charges of murdering your husband a year from today.” “Murder my husband!” Rachna screamed. “What are you saying? I don’t even have a husband, I am unmarried. I am just 23.” “We know that you are not married. But, according to a latest prediction made by the Pre-Crime computer system, two months from today you will be married and thereafter you will go through many upheavals. You will murder him after another nine months.” “That’s nonsense,” Rachna cried. “Your Pre-Crime computer system has made an incorrect prediction. You can’t arrest me on basis of such flimsy prediction made by a mere computer system. I already told you I don’t have any husband, so there is no question of my murdering anyone.” “Hold on miss,” said the Pre-Crime cop firmly, “the last thing we need is you getting hysterical and creating a scene out here. I can assure you that all the necessary legal procedures have been followed in your case. As per law, we have to take you into custody to prevent a future murder from happening.” Rachna realized that her pleas and arguments would definitely not yield any result. So, she allowed herself to be
escorted out of the cubicle by the Pre-Crime cops. The robotic receptionist and few shoppers, present in the lobby, cast disdainful looks in her direction. “My God,” Rachna thought sadly, “everyone is already taking me to be a criminal.” She wanted to plead not guilty but felt too traumatized to articulate a single word. A dark and sinister looking vehicle, with the Pre-Crime logo emblazoned across its sides, was parked outside the building. The cops made her sit down in the vehicle, which then drove away. Sitting in the vehicle Rachna ruminated quietly about how happy she had been only few minutes ago, when she left her home to come to the mall and do some shopping. ***** After emerging from her home, Rachna stood on the sidewalk and looked at the gaudy hoarding on the other side of the road. It had the caption in bold letters saying, “In a city guarded by Pre-Crime Computer System, everyone can feel safe.” Rachna smiled at the hoarding before marching ahead. When it was first introduced ten years ago many people, including Rachna, had misconceptions about Pre-Crime. But there were many others who insisted that such a system was needed in order to rid the society from the scourge of murderers. Now, ten years later, all debate about the good and bad side of Pre-Crime had been squelched. The system had worked so perfectly in making the country safer that most skeptics, like Rachna and others, were won over completely.
For the last ten years there hadn’t been a single case of murder in the country. How could there be, when the perpetrator of every future murder got detected and apprehended up to a year before he could even conceive of killing anyone. The system functioned by keeping a tab on the movements and on the minds of every human being living in the country. A network of spy satellites, surveillance cameras and microphones, covered every inch of the public area in the country, and kept a firm eye on the body language and facial expressions of every single person. Every e-mail, chat message, blog post and telephone conversation was also routed through the Pre-Crime computer system, whose state-of-the-art software was capable of analyzing voluminous amounts of data and draw up an accurate profile of each and every individual. Rachna reached the shopping mall where she planned to do her shopping. The year was 2050 and no one went shopping for goods physically. You could either do it from home using online networks, or you could come to the shopping malls where you could lounge on a comfortable massage chair, while your brain got logged on the shopping mall’s computer system. After that your physical body would hibernate on the chair while its digital
avatar walked around and browsed at different shops. It was the kind of ‘out of the body experience’ entailed in this kind of shopping that Rachna especially enjoyed. She entered into the plush lobby of the mall, where the robotic receptionist welcomed her with the usual frozen smile on her face. A robotic shopping assistant appeared in the lobby to escort Rachna into an empty cubicle, where a sofa with its corresponding headgear was arranged. Rachna ensconced herself on the sofa and the robot assisted her in wearing the headgear. “I wish you a very happy shopping experience,” said the robot cheerfully. “Thank you so much,” replied Rachna happily. The headgear latched itself firmly with her head like any helmet covering her entire face. She could not see, hear or even speak except through the mind’s eye, which in this case meant a digital rendition of her own body. Soon she found herself getting up from her seat, but her body remained behind in an inert state. It was only her sense of consciousness that had now got transported into the digital space, which moved out of her body. She walked out of the cubicle through the digital door and entered the glitzy world of fashionable stores: a world that was
full of many other digitally generated people, some of them manning the various shops, but majority of them simply out there shopping like her. At a coolly designed music shop there were many young people browsing for music or just hanging out. Rachna’s digital avatar walked into the music store. A digitally created shopping assistant came forward to offer help, but Rachna declined and instead expressed her desire to browse for music herself. In no time she had found what she wanted and she had the music downloaded into her online cloud space. The payment for the music got automatically debited to her credit card account. Next on her agenda was the bookshop, where she browsed for the latest in fiction, but none of the digital books on display caught her fancy and she dropped the idea. However, the scenario at the boutique turned out to be quite appetizing and Rachna managed to select a dress, which would be couriered to her home address automatically. Shopping in a state of art digitally carved mall was such a pleasurable exercise that every time Rachna came here, she was struck by the feeling that she should spend the rest of her life hanging out in this cool ambience. Today also, the sheer beauty of digital space mesmerized her. But technology had still not advanced to the degree where people could lead their entire life in the digital space; they had to return back to the normal world in order to carry out other chores. Rachna left the mall and started making her way back to the cubicle where her physical body was stored. Outside her cubicle she saw four Pre-Crime cops, who seemed to be looking at her intently. Rachna was somewhat unnerved by the intense stare that she was getting. “Why are they staring at me?” the annoying question popped up in her mind. She did think of asking the cops if they had come here to arrest a Pre-Crime suspect, but their relentless stare was giving her creeps and she preferred to vanish into her cubicle. Inside her cubicle, she touched the body that was lying on the sofa. Immediately her digital avatar faded away and conscious returned to her body. Her hands reached at the headgear, which she promptly and came back on her feet. It was precisely at that moment that the Pre-Crime agents burst into the cubicle. ***** Through the tinted windows, Rachna saw the vehicle enter the foyer of a large building. Having seen this building many times from the outside, she knew that she had been brought to the Pre-Crime Headquarter in the city. The vehicle stopped just in front of the building’s large portal. The cops opened the door and jumped out. Rachna quietly left the vehicle to follow them. As she was escorted inside the forbidding entrance of the building, she shivered with fright. Tears welled up in her eyes. But the cops didn’t seem to care about her feelings. She was taken to a large chamber whose walls, floor and roof were made out of some kind of laminated white-coloured material. There was a large computer screen fitted to one of the walls. In front of the screen there was a single ergonomically designed chair.
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The cops made Rachna sit down on the chair and face the computer screen, which suddenly came to life and the face of an elderly but genial looking man materialized on its surface. “Ah, you must be Rachna,” said the face on the screen. “I am the computer- generated interface of the Pre-Crime computer system. I am going to be the judge for your case. Please take a seat.” Rachna sat down on an empty chair facing the judge. “I guess you already know why you have been brought here,” said the computer-generated judge. “The charge against me is completely baseless,” Rachna cried vehemently. “I am not even married, so how can I murder my husband.” Her plea failed to have an effect on the implacable judge on the computer screen. He said, “According to my prediction you are going to be married in two months and in another nine months you will kill your husband.” “That’s such nonsense. Can you at least tell me who my socalled future husband is, the one I am predicted to kill?” “According to my data, the name of the gentleman who is predicted to be your husband in two months is Mahesh Gulati.” “God!” Rachna screamed. “I hope you are not talking about the Mahesh Gulati who works in my office.” “I am talking about the same gentleman who works in your office.” “Then I am sure that your predictions are totally incorrect,” said Rachna firmly. “There is no way I will ever marry someone like Mahesh Gulati. I mean that guy is an absolute retard. He is also a thief. About a month ago, I found evidence that he was pilfering money from the office fund that the company has entrusted him to manage. I had reported the matter to my seniors and departmental inquiry is currently on against Mahesh Gulati. He is likely to be arrested in few days’ time.” “Miss Rachna, the Pre-Crime system is not concerned with matters relating to financial fraud. We are only concerned with cases of murder. So, even if you have evidence of financial fraud against Mahesh Gulati, there is nothing we can do about it.” “There is no way I can ever marry a man who I know is a thief.” “But my computer system says that you are all set to marry Mahesh Gulati in two months and in nine months you are going to kill him.” “I would not marry Mahesh Gulati even if he were the last man alive on earth.” “I don’t care about your personal opinions,” said the digitallygenerated judge firmly. “I will only go by the predictions that my computer system has made. In order to prevent you from taking Mahesh Gulati’s life, I have to sentence you for a nine-month preventive detention at the Pre-Crime facility.” “But this is so unfair. You can’t lock me up for nine months when I have not committed any crime.” “The purpose of Pre-Crime is to prevent future murders from happening. That’s the reason why we have to hold you back. If you stay with us for nine months, you won’t be able to marry Mahesh Gulati and, thus, you won’t be able to kill him. I hope you enjoy your nine month long stay at the Pre-Crime facility.”
The face on the screen started to fade away. “Wait!” Rachna screamed. “You can’t do this to me. I am innocent. There is no way I would ever marry Mahesh Gulati, so there is no question of my killing him.” But the image of the digital judge had already disappeared and she realized that she was protesting ineffectually in front of a blank screen. The cops held her hand and made her rise from her seat. Rachna screamed again and again that she was innocent, but the cops reminded her that they were only doing their duty. She was led to her quarters at the back of the building where she was presented before a female warden. “Hi, you must be Rachna,” said the female warden breaking into a smile. “I am innocent,” Rachna said ruefully. “I am sure it is some kind of computer glitch because of which I have been brought here.” “As you have not committed any murder yet, technically you are innocent,” replied the warden. “But according to the laws of the land, we have to hold you back in order to prevent you from committing a murder at a future date. It is for your own good.” Rachna collapsed on a nearby chair and placed her head between her hands. “I know what you are going through,” said the warden sympathetically. “But by allowing yourself to be overcome with sorrow, you are only aggravating your problems. You have to accept the truth that for the next nine months this facility is going to be your home. This place is not as bad as you may be fearing it to be. You will have your own personal room, where you
can enjoy complete privacy and live in comfort. When you want to have food or snacks, you can place your order via room service or you can walk up to the canteen. We also have a very good gymnasium, a club and an outdoor garden where you can walk.” The warden escorted Rachna to her room, which was equipped with a bed, a closet, a TV and a computer. There was an attached bathroom as well. “Is that computer connected to the Internet?” Rachna demanded. “Of course. Every computer in the Pre-Crime facility is in the online mode. The inmates at this facility, most of whom are people like you, have not committed any actual murder; you are merely being detained to prevent a future murder from happening. That is why we have no problem if you use the Internet to communicate with the rest of the world or to do any other kind of work.” “The computer will prove handy during my stay here,” Rachna said with a sigh of relief. Few minutes later, the warden walked out of the room. Rachna remained seated on the bed, with her head in her hands. The same nagging question kept hammering into her mind, “How could something like this happen to me?” It was certainly unbelievable that the computer system at Pre-Crime had predicted that she would get married to someone like Mahesh Gulati. How far-fetched that idea was, of her marrying that inveterate thief who was pilfering from the funds that his office had entrusted him. But what if a master hacker had tricked the computer system at Pre-Crime? The idea jumped
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How To Fiction
into her mind all of a sudden. She knew quite well that Mahesh Gulati was good with computers and all kinds of software. The thought energized her and the very next moment she was in front of her computer, with her office website open. There she found the names of various employees. She logged into her own account and started looking for any activity that she could construe as suspect. She checked the time for her last log in; there did not seem to be any discrepancy in it – the same bunch of mails in her inbox, in the draft folder and the sent folder. She clicked on icon of special folders that she had created few months ago to store mails and files that she thought she might need at a later date. Here too she could detect nothing extraordinary. There was absolutely nothing in this mail account that could help her prove her innocence. Maybe there was no evidence to be found out here. She felt depressed. She was about to log out when her eyes fell on the bar at the top of the web page. The bar indicated that her mail account was using about 12.82 GB of space. In fact, her mail account had been indicating a usage level of above 10 GB since last 15 or 20 days. She didn’t store any heavy files in her account, so why should her usage level be 12.82 GB? She did a check on the size of all the individual folders and the total came to 7.6 GB. But that failed to explain about 5.22 GB of extra bulk. It could only mean one thing – she had a hidden folder in her mail account, about which she knew nothing. The evidence of her innocence might exist in this hidden folder. She frantically searched down the network for any trace, but they all came up negative. She knew that the system used an integrated protocol to verify r/w rights. She decided to run a check on the mail account’s administrative system to detect any kind of security breach. To her immense surprise, the server rebuffed her by sending the message, “You have no right to make changes in the administrative section. Please contact the Master-Administrator to gain more rights.” “Hey, this is my mail account and I am the MasterAdministrator out here,” Rachna shouted at the screen. But now it had become apparent to her beyond doubt that her mail account had been hacked. “I am a victim of a conspiracy hatched by Mahesh Gulati,” she gathered. She went on a search for integrated system security, anything that could be capable of generating feedback. There were plenty of feedback generators, but none integrated and she had to bypass each one of them on entry. She opened another window and started searching through the main system on which the accounts of all the employees at her office were maintained. Suddenly it hit her. Buried under a few thousand lines of code, sat a Trojan program designed to play the role of a Master-Administrator to her account. She took control of the Trojan and used it to change the administrator settings of her account. The secret folder in her email account now became visible. There were copies of a bulk of mails supposedly written by her to Mahesh Gulati. Most of them were mushy kind of love letters. There were her replies to his e-mails that reiterated their desire to get married within the next two months. She was
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breathless with fury as she read some of the e-mails, but she hardly had the stomach to go through the vast majority of them. Her priority was to trace the router that Mahesh Gulati had used to plant those incriminating e-mails in her account. After some digging, she managed to trace the complete log of his activities that proved beyond doubt that he had been planting false evidence in her account. She e-mailed this log to the PreCrime Computer system, hoping that the system would be able to draw the correct inference. The response was much quicker than what Rachna had expected. In less than five minutes, the door to her room opened and the female warden peeped in. “The judge wants to see you,” said the warden. “About time,” said Rachna and she got up from the chair. She was taken to the same chamber where she had met the digitally created interface of the judge earlier in the day. She waited expectantly to hear the new verdict. “The Pre-Crime Computer System seems to have made a terrible mistake,” the judge began. “Now it has come to light that it was Mahesh Gulati who planted files in your account in order to create a false profile for you and get you arrested by the Pre-Crime System. He wanted to take revenge against you because he was frustrated by your act of reporting his corrupt activities to the seniors. The false profile has now been removed from your account and that has led the Pre-Crime Computer System to predict that there is no chance of your murdering anyone during the next one year. You are free to go now. The Pre-Crime Computer System wishes you a safe and happy life.” “I always had a feeling that the Pre-Crime Computer System is not infallible,” said Rachna. “It is prone to misuse by any hacker.” “Instances of misuse are extremely rare,” said the judge complacently. “Will you arrest Mahesh Gulati now? That man tried to wreck my life. I want him to be punished.” “Pre-Crime System is not concerned with any crime other than murder. But the new evidence has been passed on to the cops who are engaged in normal police duty and according to my latest data he has already been taken into custody.” “I am relieved to hear that.” When Rachna walked out of the chamber, she did not go back to her home. After her short tryst with incarceration, she wanted to enjoy her freedom in the digital universe. She walked back to the same mall from where she had been arrested. The robotic receptionist seemed surprised to see her back so soon. “Oh, I thought you had been arrested by Pre-Crime cops,” said the robotic receptionist. “You know,” said Rachna quietly, “it is difficult even for the draconian Pre-Crime system to incarcerate someone like me, who is well versed in the techniques of hacking. I managed to convince them that they must let me go.” “I am so glad to know that you are versed in the techniques of hacking. Maybe you can hack into the mind of the robotic janitor who works in the mall and make him fall in love with me.” “Why not!” said Rachna and broke into a dense laughter.I
How to Make Money Through Blogs S
Zahid H. Javali
ure the headline is instant eye-grab material, and you must be salivating to read the next few sentences on how to monetise your blog. I have read tons of stuff on how to monetise your blog and here is what I have found out … 1. First and foremost, get your own domain name. Many affiliate marketing firms and even text link ads don’t work on platforms like WordPress. (I am soon going to start my own blog where I own the domain name.) 2. Write content that’s genuine, honest, insightful and original. In the beginning, however, just keep at gaining a steady readership through your content. 3. Once you gain a critical mass of readers (both through RSS feed subscribers and site visitors), that’s when you should begin to monetise your blog. 4. Many sites like reviewme.com and kontera.com will not even accept you if your traffic rank is below 500,000 hits a month. Therefore, it’s important to get there with great content. 5. Promote your blog on social networking sites, emails, messengers, chat status messages, and through other blogs and websites … it could even be stuff like leaving an insightful comment on other blog posts. 6. Linking to other popular blogs and asking them to reciprocate the gesture works wonders. 7. Make the most of link festivals like April Fools Day to make unrealistic announcements that you made an ‘X’ amount of money through your blog and so on. This will let many people forward
your blog post and you will attract plenty of new visitors to your site. After that, it all depends on whether your site has enough engaging content to keep them hooked and they don’t mind the con game. 8. Read. Study. Assimilate from the success stories of other bloggers, most notably John Chow dot Com. Last heard, this guy made a cool $31,000 from his blog in just one month. This is how he made his moolah … G Private Ad Sales: $15,230.00; G Affiliate Commissions: $7,729.37 G ReviewMe: $5,000.00 G Text Link Ads: $2,031.90 G Kontera: $1,000.00
TTZ Media: $384.24 FeedBurner: $45.73 G Subscription: $20.00 G Grand Total: $31,441.24 (that’s around Rs 15 lakh) By any measure, 2008 was a good year for John Chow dot Com. He accomplished many of the goals he set for himself and saw some amazing growth from the blog. At the start of the year, the blog had just broken 14,000 RSS readers. He finished 2008 with nearly 45,000 RSS readers and over $400,000 in income. That’s more than double the income from 2007 and more than triple the RSS readership. It’s really hard to believe that all this happened in just three years, but it did happen. Which is why, I highly recommend his blog. Not only do his reports inspire you, but subscribing to his blog posts should give you enough dope on how to go about making your blog more profitable. I
Data Security in a Stolen Laptop
Zahid H. Javali
hy would one want to secure data on a laptop that has been stolen? To make sure that confidential and important data does not lie in the wrong hands. While it’s certainly disheartening to lose even the tiniest of possessions, imagine the despair at losing a laptop with months or years of data. However, even after losing the laptop, one can prevent the data from landing into malicious hands. The service that helps in this seemingly impossible task is known as LaptopLock.
Here’s what the service does:
The LaptopLock team deletes the important files when a laptop is reported missing. The service team can also encrypt all the data stored on the stolen laptop so that no important information falls into wrong hands. If the stolen laptop is connected to the Internet, the service can track the ISP number, which in turn will help the police to track the thieves.
The awareness of this service will deter thieves from stealing laptops in the first place. The following steps provide instructions to set up the LaptopLock service for your laptop. 1. Open the LaptopLock website by typing http://www.thelaptoplock.com in your web browser. 2. Register with the LaptopLock service. You will need a valid e-mail address and a password to register on the website. The registration at this website is free. 3. Once the registration process is complete, log in to the LaptopLock website. A new page will appear with a box titled ‘MONITORED COMPUTERS’. 4. Enter a name for the laptop in the given field. 5. Click the Add Computer button. The message, ‘The new computer has been added to the database. Remember to download and set up the LaptopLock agent’ will appear on the screen. 6. After closing the message box, click the Download here link available on the right-hand side of the screen. 7. Install the downloaded LaptopLock agent.
8. After installation, you need to configure the LaptopLock agent with information about your computer. The following information needs to be entered to complete the configuration: - Account e-mail: This is the e-mail ID that was used to register on the LaptopLock website. - Computer ID: The LaptopLock service generates a unique ID for each computer/laptop you add on the website. Enter this ID in the given field during configuration. Once the information entered is verified, you will get a confirmation message. 9. Next, enter a password to access the LaptopLock agent. Ideally, you should enter a password different from the one you used to register on the LaptopLock website. This password is critical for accessing the LaptopLock agent later. After configuring the computer with the LaptopLock software, you can begin instructing the LaptopLock agent to act in a certain way if the computer/laptop goes missing. Here are the steps to specify what the LaptopLock agent should do if you report a laptop missing: 1. Start the LaptopLock application on your computer. 2. Select the Security/Manage Security Plan option. This is where you start giving instructions to the LaptopLock agent. Now you can specify if a particular folder or file should be deleted from your computer when you report it as stolen. 3. Click the File Security tab. There are various options that you can select here for ensuring that your important data remains untouched. - Add Folder: Using this option, you can secure the data in the folders of your choice. - Add File: Using this option, you can secure the important files that you want no one else to access. The LaptopLock agent provides a feature called the secure data wiping method. This essentially refers to physical deletion of a file from the hard drive of the computer. Some people prefer to encrypt their data instead of choosing to delete it. This essentially comes from the feeling that if the laptop is recovered, the data can also be recovered. A certain encryption function is applied to turn the data into gibberish. After the laptop’s recovery, the corresponding decryption function can be applied to recover the original data. 4. Click the Notification Options tab. In this tab, you can set up messages that the person using the stolen laptop will receive. For starters, you can set up a message
that will pop up as soon as the person switches on your laptop. Some people set up a threatening message while others put a polite message requesting the laptop to be returned. You can add your contact to the message so that you let the person in possession of your laptop get a chance to return it. Apart from the ‘welcome’ message, you can choose a sound that will play when the computer is tuned on. The sound can be selected from the ones that you have stored on your computer. 5. Save all your chosen settings. There are several other options available in the LaptopLock software that you can activate.
Here’s how the LaptopLock service works:
Every time the registered computer is turned on and connected to the network, the LaptopLock agent checks on its website if the computer has been reported as stolen. The owner of the computer is the one who updates the status of the computer on the website if the computer has been stolen. If the status of the computer is found to be stolen, it follows all the instructions that you had earlier specified in the LaptopLock software. All those instructions work as commands now. Thus, as the laptop thief turns on the computer, he/she will be welcomed by your messages while the data being turned into gibberish! The first and foremost thing to do if you realize that your computer has been stolen is notify the LaptopLock service of it. You should do this even before you report to the police. Here are the steps to notify the LaptopLock service of a missing laptop: 1. Open the LaptopLock website in a web browser. 2. Click the Report Computer Missing button next to the computer that has been stolen.
You will get the following message:
“Are you sure you want to flag this computer as stolen? When the computer connects to the Internet all pre-determined actions, including file removal and encryption will occur. Some of the actions could be unrecoverable. Are you sure you are missing your computer?” 3. Click the OK button if you are absolutely sure that your laptop is missing. Otherwise, you may experience a nightmare with all your commands being executed on you instead of a thief. If you get your laptop recovered, follow the steps given below: 1. Start the LaptopLock agent on your computer. 2. Enter the password. 3. Click the Recovery Options tab. 4. Choose to decrypt the files you had asked to be encrypted in case of the theft of the laptop. Remember, you will not be able to recover the files that you had chosen to be deleted. Check the LaptopLock website to learn how your private data is secured and protected. You can go through the answers to the frequently asked questions available on the website to understand the way the service works. In case of the theft of your laptop, you no longer need to have sleepless nights wondering about the plight of your confidential data. I
March ‘09 87 liveit.in
Clearing Search History from Google Search
henever you try to type something into the search box on Google homepage, you immediately see query suggestions both from your own previous searches on a particular topic and other relevant suggestions as well. The latter set of queries is powered by Google Suggest. If you do not want Google Suggest to display possible queries, there is an option to disable it. However, your previous searches are stored in your search history on your browser and not on Google Homepage. Fortunately, deleting your past searches can be done easily. Here’s how you can delete all your past searches, in one go.
entirely, uncheck the ‘Save information I enter in web page forms and the search bar’ option. Another way to quickly clear the search history is to place your cursor on the search box, right-click and select ‘clear search history.’ This is a quick way to delete the stored data.
Deleting search history from Google Toolbar
If you are using Google Toolbar, you would have seen that Google Toolbar also retains the search history if you allow it to store them. Clearing the current search history or disabling the feature in the browser, as explained in the above paragraphs, does not affect the Google Toolbar contents. You have to do it in the Toolbar separately. To completely
In Internet Explorer
Go to the ‘Tools’ menu. Select ‘Internet Options.’ G Select the ‘Content’ tab. G Under the ‘Personal Information’ field, select ‘AutoComplete.’ G In IE 7, AutoComplete is seen within the Content tab itself. G To clear the current history, click on ‘Clear Forms.’ G To disable this feature entirely, uncheck the ‘Forms’ box. Else, click on the General tab on Internet Options window. Click on Delete under Browsing history item. From the new window that opens, you can clear the previously typed entries in forms along with cookies and temporary Internet files. You can also delete individual entries from your search history by using the down arrow key to highlight a previous search and then pressing the Delete key.
In Firefox: http://www.googletutor.com/wow/ cs-pic1.htm
Just as you did with Internet Explorer, you can also clear the search history or disable the feature in Firefox. G Go to the ‘Tools’ menu. G Select ‘Options.’ G Select the ‘Privacy’ tab. Within the ‘Saved Form Information’ area, to clear the current history, click on ‘Clear’ and to disable this feature
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disable your Toolbar’s search history, follow these simple steps given below. Select the ‘Options’ button on the Toolbar, generally notified as a spanner icon on the toolbar. From the window that opens, uncheck the box next to ‘Drop-down search history.’ To simply clear the current search history, click the Google logo to access the drop-down menu; select the ‘Clear Search History’ option. Your past entries are deleted and would not appear again. I
Share your iTunes Library on the Web
f you are a big time iTunes user and happily flaunt your iPod or iPhone, you might sometimes want to share the songs in your library with friends across the globe or would like to download your friend’s iTunes library who owns an enviable collection of music. This way, you could avoid wasting time on making searches on the Internet for music and can simply browse and download them to your library at ease. Mojo is a cool application for both Windows and Macs that allows you to share any song from your iTunes library and download any song from your friend’s library. Download Mojo and create an account to continue working with it. After you create an account with Mojo, you will be able to start adding buddies to your buddy list on the left hand side panel. Remember, in order to share your iTunes library with your friends, it is required that your friends also need to download, install, and create an account with Mojo. Once you add a friend and they accept to get added to your friend’s list, you will have full access to their iTunes library. Now to start browsing their music collection and downloading songs, simply double-click on a buddy’s name. A window will pop up
with a list of all their songs, playlists, movies, TV shows, podcasts, audio books, etc. To download a song of your choice to your iTunes library, click on the small down arrow located next to each song or video or just click on the Download button at the bottom right. Mojo will also create a new playlist with all of the songs that you download from a particular friend’s library. If you do not wish to download a particular song or a video but would like to listen to it or watch it from his library folder, double-click on it to listen to it or play it. Another cool feature about the program is that it can automatically detect whether a song in a friend’s library is already in your library and would highlight those files in grey, so you would not download it again. The Mojo free version has some limitations that it permits access for only three people, which means you can have only 2 buddies to share your iTunes library with. But for a reasonable one-time payment, you can have unlimited number of friends accessing your library and vice versa and also allows subscription to playlists in your friend’s library. Enjoy! I
March ‘09 89 liveit.in
Get the Best
Out of Google Chrome: Tips, Tricks & Shortcuts
oogle Chrome is surely pulling crowd, thanks to the various functions that it has in offer. But do you really know all that Chrome can do for you? Here are some tricks, tips and shortcuts that can come in handy while you are at it. 1. You can create desktop and Start menu shortcuts to web applications, such as Gmail. Just go to www.gmail.com and select Create application shortcuts ... from the Page Control menu (located in the top-right corner of your browser; the menu is similar in appearance to a page with the corner folded over). Next, decide where you want the shortcut to be placed. You can also create similar shortcuts for other Google apps such as Calendar and Documents, and other services such as Windows Live Hotmail. 2. Do you want to view sites and hide them from your History list? Simple, just press Control + Shift + N. This will open an 'incognito' window. The websites you view in this window won't appear in your history and cookies served by sites in this window will be deleted when the window is closed. 3. In case you want to open a link in the incognito window, you can just right-click on the link and select the option Open link in incognito window.
4. To make Google Chrome your default browser, click on the Tools button (in the right-hand corner of the browser window with a spanner icon), select Options, then click the Basics tab and finally select the Make Google Chrome my default browser button. Now, every time you open the browser, Chrome will show up as your default page. 5. To run through open tabs in order, press Control + Tab. 6. Pressing Control + Shift + Tab cycles through your tabs in the opposite order. 7. You can also jump to different open tabs using Control + 1, Control + 2, Control + 3, an so on. For example, Control + 9 takes you to the last tab in the browser. 8. Right-clicking or holding down the back button will bring you a drop-down list of sites to go back through. Show Full History, located at the bottom of the list, opens a new tab with your full browser history. 9. If you wish to load your Google Chrome homepage, with thumbnails of your most visited sites shown in the active tabbed window, press Alt + Home. 10. To open a new tab, press Control + T. You can drag tabs around to change their order or drag a tab out of the window into its own window. 11. Control + Shift + T opens your most recently closed tab. To open the tab closed prior to the last closed tab, press the key combination again. Google Chrome lets you open up to the last ten tabs you've closed. 12. To clear data such as the Google Chrome browsing history and cache, click on the Tools icon and select Clear browsing data ... 13. To clear the list of most frequently visited websites that appear on your Google Chrome start page, you can clear the browsing history using the same method given above. Clearing your Google Chrome browser history will also stop matches from previously browsed sites appearing as suggestions in your address bar. 14. To bookmark a website, click on the star sign located on the left of the address bar and then select a folder to add it to. 15. To quickly bring up the History page, just press Control + H. 16. As with Firefox 3, you can drag a link onto a tab to open it in that tab, or drop it between two tabs to open a new tab in that position.
17. Control +B hides the Google Chrome bookmarks bar. Press Control + B to bring it back again. 18. You can delete history for chosen days by scrolling to the day you want to delete and clicking Delete history for this day on the right-hand side of the window. 19. If you wish to see your Downloads page, just press the combination Control + J. 20. In order to clear an item from your Downloads page, rightclick on the entry you want to delete and select Remove. 21. Press Control + K or Control + E to search from the address bar. Once pressed, you’ll get a ? symbol in the address bar. Here you can simply enter your search query and then hit Return. 22. Right-click the top of the browser window and select Task manager to see how much memory different tabs and plug-ins are using. You can highlight one and click End process to stop it running. 23. Shift + Escape is a quicker way to bring up the Google Chrome task manager. 24. To see what plug-ins are installed, type about:plugins into the address window of Google Chrome. 25. To delete cookies, go to Tools→ Options→Under the Hood. Now, scroll down to the Security section and click on the option Show cookies. Now you can click on the option Remove all or choose to remove individual cookies. I
ant to add new cursors to your same old Windows? It’s definitely worth a try if you are tired of the same cursor you have been using for years. The answer lies in the shape of CursorFX, which gives you some really cool options to replace your mouse pointer with. Now, you must be wondering what could be so special, or new, about this. Well, the cursors readily available for download from the web could be great source but did you know that most of them carry malware or spyware. I am sure you wouldn’t like to have any of it. If that sounds interesting, then read on! CursorFX comes across as a reliable source for safe download of cool pointer options. And, it manages to rule as the best cursor manager without the nasty spyware or malware. To download the free version, just visit www.download.com Once the download is complete, run the software to install it. Now, open the program to see the control panel. On the panel
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that opens up, click on the option My Cursors to bring up the list of available cursors. Next, choose a cursor you like and then click on Apply to activate the cursor. You will get a number of cursors for the theme you have chosen. This will show you the different modes of the cursor once you start using it. You can also add effects to it like ripple animation for a type of mouse action. You also have the option of adding trails to the effect. Just click on the option Trails and apply the type of trail you want. The free version will only take you this far. For more actions and options, like adding sound effects and for more cursor designs, you can get a paid version at www.wincustomize.com So, what’s holding you back? Go ahead and add some fun and action to your work environment. I
stitch in time saves nine. This adage works brilliantly for your computers, too. Not only will keeping your computer clean help you save on maintenance cost, it will also keep you stress-free, so you can focus on your work and not fret and fume about trivial issues. So, why is cleaning important? A lot of dust and debris get collected in your system resulting in the heating up of your machine. This further leads to major faults as fatal as hardware failure. Here are a few simple tips that could help you keep your system clean. Read on…
Few simple tips on cleaning your computer
Zahid H. Javali
To clean the computer case, first unplug your system power from the electrical outlet. Remove all cables and connectors from the backside of your computer. The computer will require the fans to be cleaned also. Some PCs have multiple fans encased in them – one on the processor and one or two on the power supply. Hit them all. Blow air around all the hardware components and keeping away your blower nozzle 4 to 5 inches away from main board components. You can use compressed air to clean a system. 1. Another good alternative to compressed air is to use a portable battery- powered vacuum that can effectively remove dust, dirt, and hair from the motherboard completely and also prevent it from getting trapped within the case. However, do not use a standard electricity powered vacuum as it can cause a lot of static electricity that can damage the computer. When using the vacuum, it is vital that you stay a couple inches away from the motherboard and all other components to help prevent contact as well as to prevent anything from being sucked into the vacuum. Ensure that you do not dislocate any small components with the vacuum such as jumpers. 2. To clean your keyboard, pick up a can of compressed air from 3. any supply store. These cans can be used to clean out dust and debris on your keyboard without disturbing the configuration of components inside it. Be careful not to blow dust into your hard drive as this may damage your machine. It's a good idea to turn the keyboard upside-down and shake it properly to remove the keys. Next, soaking in a solution of ammonia and water can clean the set of keys. Be careful while you try to pop off the keys as not all keys come off easily; if you struggle to get them off, quit the idea. If you feel the need to test fate, you can pull the memory and other cards and gently rub a pencil eraser on the contacts before putting them back in. However, don't pull any cards out unless you're having problems reaching certain areas. 4. 5. Remember, never open a CRT (cathode-ray tube) monitor. Even when unplugged, they retain enough current to harm you. When cleaning the inside of your computer (motherboard, etc.), make sure your computer is not plugged on to the electric socket. And never place your computer on the ground; always use a computer table or shelf for this purpose. 6. Use only an air duster/canned air to remove dust from your 7. components. Do so outside so it doesn’t end up all over your house. When cleaning the monitor, make sure you do so with a clean rag and use cleaning agents that are designed for electronic products. 8. Use lightly dampened cloth or spray any cleaning fluids on the computer case and use a paper towel to dry it. Gently wipe clean the casing, using Q-tips to clean smaller areas like vent holes and floppy disk drive openings. 9. 10. Never clean components inside the computer or circuit boards with damp or wet cloth.
To clean the mouse, wipe the outside of it with a slightly damp cloth. Next, unscrew the scroll ring from the bottom of your mouse and remove the ball. Dust off the ball with a soft cloth. Next, clean the cavity of the mouse where mostly all the dust gets accumulated. This dust clings to the rollers that move the ball and you can just scrape them out with a Q-tip or your fingernail and replace the ball and ring. An optical mouse requires little maintenance, but a ball mouse can be disassembled with much ease. Clean the ball itself as well as the X- and Y-axis rollers. 11. 12. To keep your computer looking clean for a longer time, purchase an inexpensive plastic covering for your equipment! I
March ‘09 93 liveit.in
How to Make the Best of your Camera Phone
Zahid H. Javali
ith most cell phones equipped with cameras, everyone has become a walking, talking photographer. To make your photo jaunt even more eye-opening, here are a few simple tips that could take your photography to an altogether different level. All you need is an instruction manual. Follow the instructions adroitly, and all should be well. Just one thing to be kept in mind: Though some phones equipped with 3.2 megapixel cameras look good when printed, most phones with a lower pixel count are largely good to capture Kodak moments when you don’t have a conventional camera handy. And these pictures are great for circulating through e-mail or posting on the Internet like blogs, websites and so on.
don’t have a bright light behind your subject while taking a picture. Always get the light fall on the subject, and not on the lens, for a clearer picture.
Plain white backgrounds are best
If you are using portraits, it is best to take pictures with a white background or any plain light-coloured background. Just make sure, the subject isn’t wearing white and the background is also white. This will just merge the subject with the background colour. Choose backgrounds that contrast the subject, and not merge him or her into the background. If the subject is wearing white, use black for best results and vice versa.
Go for unique angles It’s a numbers game
The more pictures you take, the better you will get in the art of taking good shots. Remember the ‘use and disuse’ theory? Practice, practice, practice! Since you have a digital camera phone that allows you to see the picture as soon as you take it, you have the flexibility to shoot the same subject and setting in different angles – low angle, high angle, close-up, wide angle, etc. Try any or all the angles you can think of and then choose the one that best compliments the mood and setting.
Get up, close and personal
Since most camera phones don’t have a terrific zoom feature, it is best to move closer to your subject to take the photograph. Even if your camera phone has a zoom feature, try to avoid using it as most pictures get foggy when clicked with the zoom feature on.
Look for unique camera phone functions
Do a lot of trial and error using your camera phone. You could read the manual and experiment or you could just experiment with all the features in the camera phone by instinct. Remember, every camera phone comes with its own value additions. It is important to know all the functions of your camera phone properly to make full use of it. It could be the ‘macro feature’ that allows you to take pictures from an extreme close-up angle.
Look in the eye
One of the first and foremost tools of photography is to make sure that you shoot the subject at his eye level, not yours. Be it a child or a stone bench, the picture seems more real and tangible when you get down to its level. So if you are taking a picture of a dog at your eye level, the picture won’t have the impact unless you shoot at its eye level. The dog will look more friendly/unfriendly as the case maybe and you would have captured it at its very best angle.
Take people’s permission before shooting
Don’t just go on taking pictures of people and places without taking relevant permission. Sometimes, it is best to ask the people you are photographing for their permission. When taking candid shots, you could take their permission after the photography is done. Try to avoid any legal trouble while you are at it.
Focus on the lighting
Lighting plays a key role in any form of photography, particularly in the use of a camera phone because of its limited camera functions. Though some cameras come with the flash feature, it is best used in dark surroundings. Just make sure you
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Keep your regular camera on standby
While taking pictures on your camera phone, don’t forget to carry your regular camera along. While camera phones are used to take
casual, not so important but primarily functional pictures (like taking the picture of a new dress at the shop window to show your mom at home), if it is proper photography, be it portraits, landscapes or wildlife, it is best to use your regular camera.
with your subject leaving no room on either side or placing your subject right at the corner of the frame. Or better still, take only half of the subject’s face to show off your creativity. Once you know the rules, the new rule should be: anything goes.
Share your photographic exploits
All the pictures you have shot are best enjoyed if stored and shared. You could download your pictures on your computer and MMS or e-mail your pictures to your friends and relatives. You could also join an online photo sharing site like Flickr.com and let the whole world see what you are up to.
Lens cleaning is a must
Fingerprints are a common problem on camera lenses, especially if your phone doesn’t have a lens cover. Treat the lens of your camera phones the way you would treat your sunglasses. In fact, use the very same cloth to wipe the lenses every time you use it for shoots. Since the phones remain largely outside and some don’t even have dust covers, it is important to clean the lens before starting the shoots.
Don’t shake the camera
Try to lean your camera phone/hand against a solid object (like a tree, wall, ledge) when taking shots. This is particularly useful in low-light conditions when the camera is prone to use longer shutter speeds, which means it is a longer exposure and demands that you stay put for at least a few seconds after pressing the shutter.
Keep an eye on the camera resolution
Make sure you set the resolution of your camera phone every time you are using it. If it’s just shooting pictures that you don’t really feel the use for, set it to low resolution. But if it’s an important shoot whose pictures you want to keep for posterity, make sure you have set it to the highest resolution. Also remember that the higher the resolution, the more the memory it uses. So, it is advisable to use at least a 2 GB memory card. This should allow you to take at least 800 pictures at the highest resolution. Happy shooting! I
Don’t immediately delete the pictures
It is best to keep all the photos you have taken from your camera phone for a while and revisit them when you have more time to spare. What you initially thought to be bad photos because of their blurry, out-of-focus images, could be quite useable in an abstract way. What’s more, they could even be used to create a painting kind of effect with Photoshop. Also, remember that the photo might appear bad on someone’s computer, but not yours. So, if possible, hang onto your shots until you can get them on your PC.
Go for multiple images of the same subject and experiment a lot
Because they are mobile and tiny, camera phones are quite handy in allowing us to not only take as many shots as we want to (there are 8 GB memory cards), but also help us in experimenting with different angles. Shooting from different angles, like down low, up high, close-up, etc. could get you interesting and cool shots. You can always discard what you don’t like later and not pay a penny for your indulgence, one of the many benefits of being digital.
Break the rules of the game
Before you actually break the rules, you need to know the rules of composition. For example, the ‘Rule of Thirds’ mandates that you place your subject a third of the way into the frame and not bang in the middle. But who stops you if you fill up your frame
March ‘09 95 liveit.in
Changing the Default Program to Open a File With
ll the while, we are used to open, view and edit files with the default applications that come along with the Windows package. But, with a plethora of commendable open source programs available these days, it is pretty normal for anyone to use a third party text editor, photo editor, media player, etc. instead of the default programs. When you double click on the TXT file, it always opens up in Notepad. Now you can open a TXT file with Notepad++, an awesome text/code editor with plenty of additional features. If you have installed Notepad++ on your machine and experienced it, you would rather have all your text files open with Notepad++ instead of Windows Notepad. Here is how to change the default setting for opening a particular type of file.
With and then select Choose Program. Now choose the program that you want to use to open files of a particular type. If it is not in the list, you can click the Browse button, go to the Program Files folder and click on the EXE file. Once you choose the program, make sure to check the Always use the selected program to open this file box. Here, in our example, check this option on Notepad++. Then click OK. Voila! Now, whenever you click on a TXT file, it will open using the program you’ve chosen, i.e., Notepad++ in the Open With dialog.
Method 2 – File Types Dialog
The second method is to open My Computer, go to Tools, and click on Folder Options. Now click on the File Types tab and scroll down to the file type extension you want to change, in this case TXT. Click on the Change button and the same dialog box pops up, prompting you to Choose Program from the Open With menu. Go ahead and pick the program from the list and click OK. You can do this for any file type on your computer, including pictures, sounds, videos, PDF formats, etc. So, wht are you waiting for? Go ahead and enjoy the advantages of Open Source programs! I
Method 1 – Use Open with Dialog
The easiest way to change the default launching program for a file type is to right-click on the file, click on the option Open
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Top It Up with
magine your kids coming back from school and heading straight for the TV or computer, only this time to catch up on their favourite program on Biology or Chemistry. That’s right, there’s a new innovation appearing in classrooms throughout the country that still uses the traditional way of engaging teachers for imparting lessons, the only uniqueness being that they do so from thousands of miles away. Topper Learning, working on similar lines, has developed its own visual learning curriculum that doubles up as a television channel, Topper TV. Instead of having to pen down formulas on paper, students can actually watch what happens when two substances mix. “The television set is largely restricted to entertainment and news,” says Sunil Khanna, co-founder of Topper Learning. “With the existing infrastructure issues in
The first step at Topper’s was to assemble a team of brilliant educators to host their broadcasts.
India, where the quality of education is by far quite inconsistent, we knew that TV was the only medium that could really bridge that gap.” Out of the 300 million students who enroll in schools, there are only 2 million who manage to secure seats in universities and just about 700,000 odd ones who are able to grab professional courses. With the odds so tough, students need every technique they can learn to qualify for the best and, more importantly, to make learning more enjoyable. Programs offered by Topper, for a nominal annual fee of 1100 rupee, are designed for classes 9 through 12. The curriculum that Toppers follows is consistent with CBSE syllabus that’s followed by most state government schools. Thus, whatever students learn online or through electronic media can compliment
what they learned in the classroom earlier that day. The faculty at Toppers develops real-world experiments to make the examples clear. In an effort to reach out to as many students as possible, Toppers has partnered with Educomp Solutions to impart computer training and provide software to schools in 13 states. While Educomp takes care of installing the computers and televisions in schools as well as training the teachers on how to use the same, Topper has taken the key responsibility of teaching the children how to use it as well. “[The Internet] has been a passive medium where the maximum one can download is the written stuff. Quality educational videos were never available for the benefit of students,” sighs Khanna. When the organization was first formed, one of the first steps was to assemble a team of brilliant educators to host their broadcasts. One guarantee Toppers does make is that all their teachers, called Experts, are highly qualified and hold Master’s degrees or PHDs. Khanna says, “We have an internal faculty who develops the lesson; there are script writers to take a call on how things are to be presented on TV, and finally our faculty goes
through lesson modules before they are shot, edited, and put up on the television. People from various skill sets come in for the training. There are programmers, content developers, people engaged in packaging, etc. So, the training modules are obliviously specific to each person’s functional area. The story board chooses the topics to be covered, which are then converted into programming scripts. Lastly, animations are added to the script. We don’t give live lectures online. Instead, we showcase videos so they can be accessed any time, anywhere. Then, there’s an option where students can submit curriculum questions, or anything they didn’t understand, to the ‘Ask Expert’ section. Thereafter, we provide a personalized response from the best experts in the faculty.” Students can also take tests online that are graded immediately to let you assess the areas you are strongest in and those where you need to work hard. However, Khanna isn’t hoping to replace the teachers in the classrooms; he simply aims at complimenting their curriculum with the materials and information that can’t be provided by blackboards and textbooks. I
March ‘09 103 liveit.in
In Conversation with
Eric Tong, Vice President,
Belkin Asia Pacific Limited
Walking through the lifestyle concept of Belkin “@ home, @ work, in the car, on the go,” Eric Tong, Belkin’s Vice President discusses the journey and thought process behind the company’s electronic accessories designed specially for demanding consumers. Tong shares that an important step that Belkin has adopted is to simplify technology to work on a solution-driven approach in gadget development.
the business world and your first taste of success here.
I have been based out of the organization’s Hong Kong office, the headquarters for the APAC region. My fifteen years of exciting experience in sales, marketing and operational activities and a vision to make an end user’s life easier are the reasons that get me going. I started at Belkin in 1993 in product management, for Belkin’s product design, development, and positioning. My first taste of success was heading the launch of a range of successful Belkin’s products like iPod(TM) accessories,
liveit.in 104 March ‘09
Q.yourself, your foray into
Tell us a little about
networking products, and an innovative audio-video accessories line-up. Another achievement was the development of an award-winning, in-house product design studio, R&D group, and marketing team.
Q.companies are already
more or less settled in India, then why should Belkin be accepted here?
Belkin products are available across 130 countries around the world and we compete successfully against well established players in each these competitive markets. Our product offerings in India, divided across four application categories – @ work, @home, in-car and on-the-go – deliver exciting digital lifestyle innovations that make life easy and comfortable. We are here because we are confident that our Indian consumers will embrace our innovative, stylish, user-friendly and reliable products wholeheartedly and in a big way.
How was Belkin Inc. formed? What is the diverse range of products Belkin seeks to offer? And who are most likely to benefit from it?
A privately held company founded way back in 1983, Belkin started off from a small garage in Hawthorne, California, with just two employees and sales of $100,000 for the first year. We have come a long way since then and have employed over 2000 employees, over 10,000 product SKU’s and have sales revenue in excess of US$ 1.2 billion. Today, Belkin offers a diverse range of networking and connectivity solutions across three screens of your life – television, mobile phone and laptops/computers. Apart from that, we also offer some very stylish and innovative accessories for MP3 gadgets, We offer a diverse computers and gaming devices. range of networking Belkin has and will always be a mass brand. We believe every individual and connectivity with a digital lifestyle aspiration or a gadget is solutions across somehow a Belkin three screens of life customer. And we are committed to providing – television, mobile supporting accessories to every imaginable digital phone and lifestyle gadget or application @home, laptops/computers. @work, in-car or on-the-go.
Q.and they are providing their services to
India has a very talented pool of workmen
many of the International companies. Do you have any such plan to take them into your organizational activities?
Yes definitely, India has a large talent pool indeed. So we would like to have more of talented Indians as a part of our organizational activities.
Q.question for a new product to settle in. What
do you think in that respect?
I think sustainability in a market for a new product to settle in, depends on how well you cater to the everyday need of an end user. We design products specifically for a consumer-driven market, helping them to have a smoother and more comfortable life.
Sustainability in a market is a million-dollar
Research and development is a major issue for a product to be successful in the market. Do you believe so? If yes, then what do you do in that respect? What does the process involve and how do you go about it?
Q.you travel a lot within and outside your
I see, in view of your business commitment,
country. In that case, how do you manage to devote quality time to the personal front?
Yes, definitely. In fact, every Belkin product available on the retail shelves today is the result of many man years of involved mapping of ever-changing consumer applications and digital lifestyle aspirations. We believe strong research, innovative design and involved product development is integral to the success of any digital lifestyle product. Naturally, Belkin invests a significant amount of its resources in its strong product design studio, R&D group, and marketing team.
My professional commitments constantly keep me away from my beloved country and my family. My hectic schedule notwithstanding, I still take care to stay connected with my family, of course with help from various Belkin innovations, and by doing socially relevant community service projects.
One last question. The secret mantra to your
I think, one should have a strong passion for excellence with plain hard work to be successful. There is nothing called impossible; you just need to have conviction in what you do. I
March ‘09 105 liveit.in
n the last years, the financial system created a fog so thick that even its captains could not navigate it. Like the rest of us, they fell for a kind of pseudoobjectivity. But not Pankaj Patel. The CEO of Carazoo.com, India’s first and only automobile portal with interactive animations, is a hands-on manager who brought with him unique strengths in conceptualisation, creativity and design that were instrumental in successfully redesigning and re-engineering Carazoo.com from a mere car website to a full-fledged portal, which won PC World’s ‘best designed website’ award for 2008 in the automotive sector. In the age of Barack Obama, a silent but fateful struggle for the soul of capitalism is being waged. Can the market system be made to serve us? Or will we serve it? According to Patel, it works both ways. “Net is the biggest leveller,” he says in his trademark style of eschewing wisdom. “Whether you are big or small, you have access to the best news, views and applications. Similarly, you are given an equal chance to take a shot at success. With an investment of Rs 5 crore, we intend to break even by 2010,” he says with businesslike precision. “Our revenue last year was Rs 1.5 crore and target for 2009-2010 is Rs 3-4 crore. Last year, I met 92% of my target. This year, I will exceed it.” And how much does luck play a part in this ambitious revenue drive? “Being a Libran, I have two views on this,” he says after attending to an urgent business call. “There is no such thing as luck. If you can’t achieve something, you blame it on luck. I have rarely seen people saying, ‘I got this order because of luck’. Luck is nothing but recognising the opportunity, seizing it, and converting it to business.” Obsession can be genuinely agonising and disruptive. It can also be highly valued in an artist, a lover, or a businessman. In the 25 years of doing commerce, Patel’s obsession has always bore fruit. Being smart does not entail being able to make the right decisions. Rational behaviour, getting on in life, can be beyond those even with the highest IQs. Patel has a few gems of wisdom to share here. Says he: “If you don’t have common sense, you are bound
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Cars by Web!
PANKAJ PATEL, CEO, Carazoo.Com, speaks to ZAHID H. JAVALI on how he turned a staid car website into India’s first automobile portal to have interactive animations!
to fail and repeat mistakes. Hard work is important, but doing more of smart work is the need of the times. When I joined Carazoo, I knew zilch about cars. Now, I can hold fort on them.” As we all seek more connectivity, we lose our sense of a private self. We no longer hear the still, small voice that speaks only in silence. However, Patel does and that is precisely what keeps him going in good times and bad. “Every day is a new day; every day brings good and bad news; I don’t let stress affect me,” he reveals. “If something is going wrong, I will think of what is it that I can do to stop it and the options available to me. If it has already happened, I will think of ways to minimise the impact and if I can’t do that either, I will just say to myself ‘I can’t do anything about it now, can I’ and let it not affect me.” If religion and television are the opium of the masses, education can be a great detox. Take Patel. The 47-year-old has forever been a student and loving every bit of it. “I always wanted to be a doctor but it never happened even though I did my bachelor’s degree in science,” he recalls. Instead, he did a certificate course in Cyber Laws and a Post Graduate Diploma in Tax Management covering Income Tax, Sales Tax, Wealth Tax & Excise Tax. He also got a degree in law from the Government Law College, Mumbai University and a Post Graduate Diploma in Business Management from KC College of Management Studies, Mumbai. And this is helping Patel cut costs in his business. “Whatever I have learnt in law and management is helping me in my daily life,” he says. “I draft my own legal agreements and save my company a lot of legal fees. It is fairly easy to draft legal documents on your own. It is more about the meeting of minds. Therefore, it is more about the intent behind the agreement and not on how bad or good the business is.” If you think facts do not solve problems and actually feel they are core of an antiintellectual curriculum, it’s time to think again. “Don’t bother to tell your potential customer about the different features of your product,” says Patel. “Rather, tell him how he will benefit from it. The bottomline is important, more so in India.” He has mastered the art of the Elevator Pitch. It is nothing but a concise, carefully planned, and well-practiced description about your company or product. “It’s an American concept that basically tells you to sell your idea between the time it takes you to go from the ground floor to the top floor,” explains Patel. “In that time, you
need to say one or two quick benefits to a prospective customer which will get his attention. And then, he gives you five more minutes for you to explain further and 10 more minutes and so on.” That is how he sealed the deal with a car dealer. “I was told that the owner of this car dealership in Bangalore was very busy,” he explains. “It was my third attempt to meet him and I had got the same answer. If he kept on saying that, I wouldn’t get a chance to make my elevator pitch.” This demanded some shrewd machinations. Patel found out the time the car dealer exited his office on a normal day and took a chance on one such working day and strategically placed himself. “As soon as he walked out, I bypassed everybody and gave my visiting card,” he explains. “The dealer asked, ‘What can I do for you?’ and I gave my one-sentence spiel. Since he was hurrying for another appointment and also interested in what I had to offer, I asked him if he wouldn’t mind me doing the rest of the pitch in his car. He said ‘yes’ and I got half an hour in the car, which gave me enough time to say what I had to. It got him interested enough to get a meeting confirmed with his GM and other people for a full-fledged demo. Today, he’s one of my biggest customers.” Carazoo is part of Logix Microsystems Limited, the world’s largest supplier of Automotive Animations. And Patel joined this firm in October 2006 to oversee their India operations. It is not only listed on the BSE and NSE but is also ranked amongst the ET 500 companies. And recently, Logix was the recipient of Asia’s Fastest Growing 500 Companies from Deloitte Fast 500. Which is why Carazoo has no competition as it is a division of a company which has pioneered automobile animations. If you log on to Carazoo, you can interact with the site by taking a 360-degree tour of the interiors of the car and even paint the car to the colour of your choice, to see how it looks. Not just that. You can even attach accessories that you are going to buy, like alloy wheels, and see how it will eventually look before you buy them. Started in August 2007, it was on a test run (beta) for almost eight months before going completely live. However, changes
are a part of the portal. “We do a little bit of design changes every 1-2 months and overhaul the entire site every 12-16 months,” says Patel who believes in continuous improvement. “Content is king. And then comes the useability and how easily can you navigate on the site. For example, if you are looking for a Honda City, how many clicks does it take you to go to your desired page – it shouldn’t take more than three clicks to do so. When that happens, the person will spend more time on the site, but if he has to click one too many, he may lose interest and move on to some other site. Similarly, the design should be great and inspiring, so the person stays around longer.” Patel’s target group is anybody between the age of 24 and 36 in any of the Indian metros who is planning to buy a new or
“Whether you are big or small, you have access to the best news, views and applications.”
second-hand car. With cellphones outnumbering computers, Carazoo is going to have a mobile-friendly version by May 2009 as well. Until then, Patel is happy to report that the number of visitors to his portal have exceeded 2 lakhs every month among whom 1.4 lakh are unique visitors and nearly 60,000 repeat visitors. The hits have grown by 50% from last year and he is happy the way it’s going. “We get 3 million views and 18,000 enquiries per month,” he beams. The slowdown hasn’t affected him as much. It has only raised his stature on the web. “Internet is the only medium that is less costly than the traditional media like TV radio, print and hoardings and it is also , the only medium where you can monitor and track on what’s happening with your advertisements,” says Patel, matter-of-factly. “Once the advertiser understands that, the recession will only help us. The last two
months have been a record month for us in terms of revenue and the number of users.” Patel has his own guesstimates to back up his revenue model. “According to my personal estimate, 45% of Indians in the metros go on the Internet before buying new or old cars unlike 92% in the US,” he says. “It is here that a user can take a car, spin it around, paint it, compare it, read the review, download car brochures and even order a test drive online. The test drive is arranged through a dealer. These features draw consumers to our website and eventually lead them to a car showroom.” An avid reader, Patel’s other interests include online marketing, alternative medicine and ozone technologies. In fact, he was one of the first guys to create an application using Ozone gas for continuous fumigation and disinfection. “You could use it in the ICU,” he says. “I sold a few to pharmaceutical companies and hospitals. But that meant a whole lot of concept selling rather than product selling. I was too ahead of my time, so I gave up.” However, never ask him about his pastimes, because he doesn’t have any. “I don’t remember when I am not working; my wife and kids stay in Mumbai; I work out of Bangalore, so I have all the time in the world to remain a workaholic,” says Patel, who works anywhere between 16 and 18 hours on any given day. “I don’t remember working less than 14 hours, but I try not to work on Saturday and Sunday.” Prior to joining Logix Microsystems, Patel was a Director with Advance Computer Services Limited (ACS), a Tier 1 vendor of IBM in USA and India. At ACS, he successfully created a business plan for contract staffing and offshore development business. He successfully developed a pan India presence and built revenues up to Rs 50 million and a total staff of 150 + engineers in three years. Some of Patel’s other key engagements and assignments were with NetBusiness Solutions India Limited as Chief Operating Officer, Surger Exim Inc. as President and Chief Executive Officer and Circuitron Private Limited as Director. With 25 years of work behind him, no wonder Patel is the poster boy of e-commerce. I
March ‘09 107 liveit.in
Peek & Pick
Casio EXILIM Zoom EX-Z9
Twenty three ‘best shot’ modes, face detection technology that allows you to take clear pictures of at least three faces in a group photo, anti-shake feature that reduces blurring of photos due to shaky hands or moving subjects, ‘Easy Mode’ option that allows you to set your camera with just three easy menus for quicker shots – if all these features don’t get you, there’s something more: a new, improved 8.1 megapixel of image resolution, and a 2.6-inch wide LCD display. And if you are a colour freak, this model is available in pink, black, silver and orange. Price: Rs. 6500 Availability: www.my.casio.com
Transcend PF810 Digital Photo Frame
Combining a lustrous gloss-black finish with elegant inlaid rhinestones and an intuitive LED touch-sensitive menu interface, Transcend’s PF810 is the perfect addition to any room or office. Its bright new 8-inch 800 x 600 (4:3) colour TFT LCD panel and 2 GB of built-in flash memory makes sure users can easily display the entire photo collection in great clarity and detail. The photo frame is also equipped with advanced NaturaTone intelligent skin colour processing that analyzes the makeup of each image and enhances colours for a more natural, life-like appearance. It is a true multimedia device fully equipped to play back movies and videos as well. Besides, the PF810 functions as a full-featured MP3 player and an FM radio. The digital frame comes with a two-year warranty. Price: Rs. 9500 Website: www.shopping.rediff.com Availability: Supertron Electronics Limited Tel: 033-22131221-23 Mediaman Infotech Pvt Ltd Tel: 91-22-2382-3100/3200
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Washable Mouse from Belkin
It’s a specially designed washable mouse from Belkin. The product is water-resistant, so it endures spills and stays clean. Its versatile Scroll Pad lets you scroll vertically and horizontally with one easy touch. Designed to work on a variety of household surfaces including upholstery and wood, the product features optical technology with 1200 dpi and is powered via USB cable. Price: Rs. 1500 Availability: www.in.com
Peek & Pick
If style and sport get you going, then this collected by the Swiss watchmaker could do the trick for you. The range is ‘Faster’ (inspired by the world of automobiles and motor-sports), ‘Further’ (for elegance of performance on treks), and ‘Higher’ (influenced by aviation) and ‘Deeper’ (unveiling the ocean’s secrets). Sporting fluid lines, aerodynamic curves, energy-filled typography and tachymeter, it boasts of an automatic selfwinding mechanical movement and offers a power reserve of 46 hours. The watches are equipped with triple security deployment buckles that are water-resistant up to 300 metres. Lateral protection for the crown and double security folding clasp with integrated diving extension-piece. Price: Rs. 28,500-1 lakh+ Availability: ITC Park, Sheraton Hotel, Chennai Amarson Watch Co., C-10, Connaught Place, New Delhi.
PC Guardian Ezolution Combo Lock
Carrying your laptop is akin to carrying your office with you. So it’s most important to lock it away when you are not using it. Here is where the PC Guardian Ezolution Resettable Combo Lock (Rs. 1200-1600) is ideal for users who prefer the convenience of keyless security and the ability to choose their own combinations. However, if you are worrying about keys and lost combinations, the PC Guardian Master Coded Combo Lock (Rs. 2000) should help. A push button head offers keyless locking for press-andgo convenience. The locking mechanism secures virtually any device equipped with a security slot. Price: Rs. 1200-2000 Website: www.pcguardian.com
Play and record video footage from handycam camcorders and other sources directly onto a DVD without using a computer. That’s what Sony’s VRD-MC10 DVD recorder allows you to do. Equipped with a Compact Flash, Memory Stick (regular and Duo), and SD/xD, this gadget has an array of input ports for analog R/L audio-in, video-in, S-Video-in, DV-in, and USB. It is therefore the most versatile PC-agnostic DVD recorder on the market. It supports all hi-def formats, including 1080p. Only one downside: it doesn’t support Blu-ray Disc. If you find this a tad expensive, you can go for the previous model, the VRD-MC5, for Rs. 9000. Price: Rs. 18,000 Availability: Avit Digital, 62, Janpath, New Delhi Vivek Ltd., 36/1, Elephant Rock Road, 3rd Block, Jaynagar, Bengaluru
Peek & Pick
Transcend JetFlash V33
Transcend’s JetFlash V33 has a curved, ultra-compact body (60 mm x 16.5 mm x 8.1 mm) and is ultra-light at just 7 gram. The USB drive comes in pure white with a splash of colour around its cap. With a storage capacity of up to 16 GB, JetFlash V33 supports Windows Me/ 2000/XP/Vista, Mac OS 9.0/OS X and Linux Kernel 2.4.2 or later. The versatile rflash drive is also available in 1 GB, 2 GB, 4 GB, and 8 GB capacities, and is backed by a 3-year warranty. Price: 1 GB - Rs. 400/-; 2 GB - Rs. 500/-; 4 GB - Rs. 800/-; 8 GB - Rs. 1300/-; 16 GB - Rs. 2300/Availability: Redington: 91-9381924185, 91-44-32467705; Supertron: 91-33-22131221/23; Mediaman: 91-22-23823100/3200; Bharti Teletech: 91-9871115703
This is a versatile scanner that offers features like document scanning, editing, digital filing and archive management; basically it’s a machine that’s been specially designed to help offices go paperless. Users can scan documents and convert them into searchable PDF format before sending them to the repository. Plustek PL2546 has an automatic document feeder (ADF) that can take 50 sheets at a time and has a heavy duty cycle of up to 1500 sheets per day. It can scan 25 pages per minute (or 46 images per minute) in colour, duplex mode. The auto detector function of this scanner also allows an auto preview of the scan. Price: Rs. 60,000 Availability: Fortune Marketing and Intra Tech Computers Pvt. Ltd.
LG KU990 Camera Phone
This is undeniably a slinky number from LG. This is a camera you can ring people on and at the same time, watch TV, browse the web and listen to music. The 5-megapixel camera with a touchpad screen and dedicated camera buttons on the side allows movie shooting and playback. Viewing your pictures is almost as good as having your prints in your hand, especially when using the landscape setting. Images can be viewed either as standard thumbnail or scattered around the screen giving it a snazzy look. Bonus: music player and FM radio. Price: Rs. 21,000 Availability: www.gadgetsguru.com
March ‘09 113 liveit.in
Live IT provides you the following shopping guide which should help to get you started on a fabulous online shopping spree. Call it an easy finder or a quick search, the list compiles all the gadgets and gizmos featured in this issue with appropriate links of the best possible places for you to shop wisely and browse coolly!
The surf shop
News (pages 8-11) Nokia 3640 Price: Rs. 7,910.00 Coming soon Kindle 2 Buy online: www.amazon.com Price: 359.00 USD Sony Ericsson Gaming Handset F305 Retail: Shop no D1-31, Lotus Communication, Kamla Nagar, New Delhi Salore, Shop No. 56, Khanna Market, New Delhi Price: 139.99 USD
Minoru 3D Webcam Buy online: http://www.firebox.com/produ ct/2274/Minoru-3D-Webcam Price: 49.95 Euros Desktop Coffee Maker Buy online: http://www.firebox.com. Price: 19.95 Euros Elvis Duck Buy online: www.firebox.com. Price: 5.95 Euros Banana Guard Buy online: http://www.bananaguard.com/ Price: 6.99 USD Flip Digital Video Camera Buy online: www.firebox.com Price: 119.95 Euros Sky Lanterns Buy online: www.firebox.com Price: 24.95 Euros Light Cast Buy online: www.firebox.com Price: 49.95 Euros Digital Camera Mask Buy online: www.firebox.com Price: 89.95 Euros Digital Wi-Fi Detector Buy online: www.firebox.com Price: 39.95 Euros
Bubbles Wrap Keychain Buy online: www.firebox.com Price: 6.95 Euros Style IT (pages 45-53) Apple TV Buy online: www.apple.com Price: 229.00 USD Airport Express Buy online: www.apple.com Price: 99.00 USD Wireless Keyboard Buy online: www.apple.com Price: 49.00 USD Macbook Air Buy online: www.apple.com Price: 1,799.00 USD iPod Shuffle Buy online: www.apple.com Price: 69.00 USD iPod Classic 120 GB Buy online: www.apple.com Price: 249.00 USD iPhone 3G Buy online: www.apple.com Price: 199.00 USD iMac 20 Buy online: www.apple.com Price: 1199.00 USD
(Note: Prices may vary or discounts may be available on some products.) I
Live IT or Leave IT
Bellysonic Speaker Pouch Buy online: https://www.amazon.com Price: 80.00 USD Sun Jar Buy online: www.amazon.com Price: 44.99 USD Glow Graffiti Buy online: http://cgi.ebay.com/ Price: 42.95 USD Color Phasing Shower Light Buy online: https://www.thinkgeek.com. Price: 49.99 USD
liveit.in 114 March ‘09
Cover Model: Yuvika Choudhury Photographer: Niloy Kumar De