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Topics - sivaji
I didn't know this: Friedrich Nietzsche used a typewriter. Many of those terse aphorisms and impenetrable reveries were banged out on an 1882 Malling-Hansen Writing Ball. And a friend of his at the time noticed a change in the German philosopher's style as soon as he moved from longhand to type. "Perhaps you will through this instrument even take to a new idiom," the friend wrote. Nietzsche replied: "You are right. Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." Gulp.
The technology writer Nicholas Carr, who pointed out this item of Nietzsche trivia in the new issue of The Atlantic, proceeded to make a more disturbing point. If a typewriter could do this to a mind as profound and powerful as Nietzsche's, what on earth is Google now doing to us? Are we fast losing the capacity to think deeply, calmly and seriously? Have we all succumbed to internet attentiondeficit disorder?
The astonishing benefits of Google are barely worth repeating. I spend most of my day blogging -- at a current rate of about 300 posts a week. I'm certainly not more stupid than before. I'm much, much better and more instantly informed. However, the way in which one now thinks and writes has subtly -- or not so subtly -- altered. I process information far more rapidly and seem able to absorb multiple sources of information simultaneously in ways that would have shocked my teenage self.
In researching a topic, or just browsing through the blogosphere, the mind leaps and jumps and vaults from one source to another. The mental multitasking -- a factoid here, a video there, a link over there, an e-mail, an instant message -- is both mind-boggling when you look at it from a distance and yet perfectly natural when you're in mid-blog.
When it comes to sitting down and actually reading a multiple-page printout, or even, God help us, a book, however, my mind seizes for a moment. I'm ready for a new link after a paragraph. But the prose in front of my nose stretches on. I get antsy. I skim the footnotes for the quick info high that one's used to. No good. I scan the acknowledgements, hoping for a name one can recognise. I start again. I reach for the laptop a few paragraphs later. It's not that one cannot find the time for real reading, for a leisurely absorption of argument or
narrative. It's more that my mind has been conditioned to resist it.
Is this a new way of thinking? And will it affect the way we read and write? If blogging is corrosive, the same could be said for texting and social network messaging, on which a younger generation is currently being reared. But the answer is surely yes -- and in ways we do not yet fully understand. What we may be losing is quietness and depth in our literary and intellectual and spiritual lives.
The experience of reading only one good book for a while, and allowing its themes to resonate in the mind, is what we risk losing. I would carry a single book around with me for days when younger, letting its ideas splash around in my head, not forming an instant judgment (for or against) but allowing the book to sit for a while, as the rest of the world had its say -- the countryside or pavement, the crowd or train carriage, the armchair or lunch counter. Sometimes, human beings need time to think things through, to allow themselves to entertain a thought before committing to it.
The white noise of the ever-faster information highway may, one fears, be preventing this. The still, small voice of calm that refreshes a civilisation may be in the process of being snuffed out by myriad distractions. I don't want to be fatalistic here. As Carr points out, previous innovations -- writing itself, printing, radio, television -- have all shifted the tone of our civilisation without destroying it. And the capacity of the web to retrieve the old and ancient and make them new and accessible again is a small miracle.
Right now, we may be maximally overwhelmed by all this accessible information, but the time may come when our mastery of the new world allows us to gain more perspective on it. Here's hoping. Shallowness, after all, does not necessarily preclude depth. We just have to find a new equilibrium between the two. We need to be both pond-skaters and scuba divers. We need to master the ability to access facts while reserving time and space to do something meaningful with them. It is inevitable this will take our always-evolving species and evermalleable brains a little time and the Google era in a mass form is not even a decade old.
Some have suggested a web sabbath -- a day or two in the week when we force ourselves not to read e-mails or post blogs or text messages; a break in order to think in the old way again: to look at human faces in the flesh rather than on a Facebook profile, to read a book rather than a blog, to pray rather than browse. I'll start with Nietzsche at some point. But right now there's a blog to fill.
HDFC Bank has hiked its benchmark prime lending rate (BPLR) by 0.25 per cent to 15.25 per cent. The hike comes into effect from June 18, a HDFC Bank spokesperson said on Friday.
A couple of other banks such as J&K Bank and Yes Bank have already increased their prime lending rates following the 0.25 per cent hike in the repo rate effected by the Reserve Bank of India recently.
The Reserve Bank had on June 11 hiked the repo rate by 25 basis points to 8 per cent. While State Bank of India has deferred taking a call on its interest rates, a few other banks are likely to take a decision on whether to up their rates or not in the next few days.
Driven by increasing investments, the Indian fashion industry is expected to reach Rs.7.5 billion by 2012, almost double its current size of Rs.2.9 billion, the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham) said in a report released Friday.
The industry would also create additional employment for over 50,000 people like designers and merchandisers, Assocham said in its analysis on the "Indian Fashion Industry".
"The government should establish more fashion institutes across the country with R&D facilities developed in each state so that the regional expertise in apparel are brought to light and blended with other regional and international designs to produce high breed design," Assocham president Sajjan Jindal said in a statement.
The key reasons for the projected growth are the increased investments by Indian apparel firms and a shift in consumer focus towards designer wear, it said.
At present, the Indian fashion industry accounts for only 0.3 percent of the international fashion industry.
Currently, the global designer wear market is worth about Rs.1,800 billion and is growing at 10-10.5 percent every year, the report said.
Indian consumers are becoming more fashion conscious and this will drive the growth further and would continue to set the growth trend for its fashion industry, it added.
The report also said that the industry is at an advantage over other countries as far as its growth prospects are concerned because India is the third-largest cotton producing country in the world and also possesses an abundance of talented designers.
What we predicted earlier this year is now coming true. Salary increments in IT companies are lower this year than it has been in previous years. In some cases, significantly so.
EDS is giving an average increment of only 8 per cent to 10 per cent this year, substantially lower than the 18-20 per cent it gave last year.
"In some cases last year, it even went up to 40-50 per cent," said an employee of the company. That's the increment trend across the tech sector. "We have received lower increments this year," said an employee of Infosys Technologies. "Laterals got only some 8 per cent hike. A company security policy e-mail has also asked us not to share such details with anyone outside.''
Mohandas Pai, head of education & training in Infosys, said that inclusive of variable pay, the company's increments this year were in the range of 11 per cent to 13 per cent, against 13-15 per cent last year.
Senior HR executives at some large tech firms confided that their companies are not in a position to increase salaries '' beyond single digits' ' at least for a couple of years, till the global markets stabilize .
''Companies are hit from all corners. Market downturn, increase in hiring cost and billing pressures is choking even large players. This has forced them to drastically revise their increment formula,'' says Mohan Lal Menon, managing director, Sentient Consulting, a corporate consulting firm.
The biggest pressure is seen to be coming from the US, which looks to be quickly slipping into a recession.
Almost 60 per cent of the revenues of many Indian IT companies come from the US. Tech firms are increasingly moving away from an equalitarian regime in compensation.
''Companies preferred it as they wanted to keep employees across the board (except the bottom 10%) happy, to keep attrition at bay. But in today's scenario, cost pressures are compelling them to change that approach,'' said the HR director of a tier 1 tech firm.
''Indian companies have so far been effecting unsustainable salary increments. It has clearly hit a correction mode this year,'' says B S Murthy, CEO of hiring firm Human Capital. Wipro's average salary increments are expected to be in the range of 8 per cent to 10 per cent against 12-14 per cent last year.
''Pay hikes expected to happen in August will be some percentage lower than the previous year's,'' says Anindya Shee, head of compensation & benefits in Wipro.
Product firms that give out huge hikes are also on a cost cutting binge. ''Recession is hitting them hard and increments are down to 10-15 per cent from 20-25 per cent in previous years,'' observes Ajay Dutt, VP, New Era India Consulting.
And if lower increments make employees unhappy, there's little they can do about it. In previous years, they would have jumped into another job at a significantly higher salary. Now, with IT companies no longer hiring as they were, nor offering any such hikes, they have to be content with what they get.
How do the browsers stack up against each other?The Test
I took six identical VMware virtual PCs, running Windows Vista Ultimate SP1 32-bit. The systems were given a meager 512Mb of RAM. We then took the browsers for a one hour browsing session, visiting some of the Internet's best "hot sheets" websites and loading up 30 tabs for each browser. I also accessed and made use of several Google services (such as Gmail and Google Analytics).
Note: I tried to keep the browsing as similar as possible for all the browsers.The Results
Here are the results:
So, we have the good (Opera 9.27 and Firefox 3.0 RC2), the bad (Opera 9.50B2, Safari 3.1.1, and Internet Explorer 8 Beta 1), and the ugly (Internet Explorer 7).
What's interesting is that if I were to list the browsers in order of sluggishness when running with 30 tabs open, the order would be the same as for the memory usage, with IE7 being the most sluggish and Firefox 3.0 RC2 and Opera 9.27 being the most responsive.
Having just read that Google is taking up residence at Moffett Field, a storied air base in Mountain View that is home to NASA's Ames Research Center, among others, I realized there's a great opportunity for Google to learn a little about high end security, at least the kind that secures a perimeter, fends off unwarranted access, and punishes miscreants with true Old Testament fervor. With this comes the hope that Google will also learn that security must be taken seriously, and in the process become a little serious about changing its terms of service for its online apps to bring them in accord with accepted corporate security practice.
And therein lies a story. I had the pleasure of visiting Moffet recently to get a briefing from a most interesting little company, Apprion, and, having come in the wrong entrance (i.e. not the one on my Yahoo maps printout), I found myself wandering around somewhat aimlessly, looking for street signs and other directional indicators that Moffett seems to be too cheap, or too clever, to post. Next thing I know, lights were flashing in my rear view mirror and I was being pulled over by a cop, though not just any cop, this was a Federal police officer, as we were on Federal govmint property. Apparently, security is so tight that a relatively well-dressed, if poorly coifed, man in a relatively harmless mini-van, is jail bait if he dares to get lost at Moffett.
The encounter was pleasant enough -- a misspent youth taught me to always be civil to someone with a badge -- and I was let off with a warning. The crime -- some Federal version of reckless driving that is a catch-all misdemeanor used to clear the roads of meandering daddy vans -- was a little made up, but it was only a warning.
What my hosts at Apprion told me when I relayed the story was that a real ticket on Federal property is a major hassle, for one important reason: there's no appeal process. Despite constitutional guarantees of due process that our Founding Fathers ensconced in our legal system, if you get a ticket at Moffet, there's no traffic school, no groveling in front of a judge, no opportunity to explain why your pants were on fire and you had to run that red light at 70 miles per hour. Effectively, that made the cop who pulled me over my judge and possible executioner, which meant I felt especially lucky that I had washed the van that morning and cleared out the debris from a weekend spent hauling the kids around.
I later found out the real kicker: get a couple tickets from the Feds, and they can ban you from the property, or at least from driving on to the property. Wow: talk about crime and punishment. I was impressed, and a little awed at the lack of redemptive possibility that we Americans are so used to, particularly when it comes to a mere speeding ticket or two.
So, there's a couple morals to this story. As the Gang from GOOG starts getting comfy in their new digs, it will be interesting to see how this tough love security model rubs off on them. Maybe they'll see what no-nonsense security is all about, what a real security team means when they talk about enforcement, and what it does to the innocent (me, I swear!) when they're faced with the prospect of true damnation. Then, maybe, Google will try to tighten things up a little so that their users could rest assured that their content isn't going to end up in a Google marketing campaign, or worse, and just maybe Google will realize that free to the user doesn't have to mean free for Google to use as it sees fit. Ahhh, one can always dream.
The other moral to the story? Next time I'll use Google Maps. I'm pretty confident they'll have the Moffett map thing nailed down before my next visit. Because, right now, searching for Apprion's address in Google Maps yields the following result:
We were not able to locate the address:
NASA AMES Research Park, Bldg 19, Moffett Field, CA 94035
All those towering sixes from Yusuf Pathan's blade that clinched the IPL crown for Team Jaipur and brother Irfan's wily outswingers that took Yuvraj Singh's Team Mohali to the semis counted for a lot.
The Pathans will soon move into a palatial Rs 2.5 crore bungalow in Vadodara, the design for which is now ready.
The Pathans' new address in Tandalja is a plush five-bedroom home spread over 15,000 square feet complete with lush green lawns and state-of-the-art interiors. It will also boast a gymnasium, a swimming pool and parking space large enought for a couple of big cars.
Yusuf and Irfan, at present on a break before their ODI tour to Bangladesh next week, denied comment but their father Mehmood Khan had told TOI earlier, "We are looking for a spacious, new bungalow in the same vicinity (Tandalja). Irfan and Yusuf will need more room once they are married."
The bungalow will come up not far from their present residence, a four-room house, that the family moved into three years ago following Irfan's early success. Before that, the Pathans lived in a one-room tenement behind a mosque in Mandvi where their father worked as a muezzin.
Setting boundaries is the single most common issue my clients deal with in their personal and professional lives. Why do women find them so difficult to put in place? And what can you do if a lack of boundaries is standing between you and the career success you desire?
What are Boundaries?
Whether you're working in the corporate world or running your own business, you need to develop and continually exercise strong boundaries. Boundaries are the environment within which you operate - mentally, emotionally and physically. They separate you from other people.
Think of a boundary like a vase. The vase is holding a beautiful bouquet of flowers - these represent your mind, body and spirit. If the vase were to break, the flowers would be scattered about, the water keeping them alive would flow over the table and on to the floor and very soon the blooms would wither. The same thing happens when you don't have boundaries. You feel overwhelmed, out of control, and scattered. And, still worse, you make yourself vulnerable to being controlled and manipulated by others because you're afraid to stand up for who you are. We need boundaries, "the vase," in order to bloom, in fact, quite simply, to survive.
Why are Boundaries So Difficult to Set?
There are several reasons why women find boundary setting challenging:
1. They don't like confrontation.
2. They're socialized to be nice because "that's the way they're supposed to be," and
3. They're afraid people won't like them.
Women seem to experience more difficulty setting boundaries than men do. We're socialized in a way which makes it seem like we're "bad" if we are too assertive. My clients often comment that they're afraid that if they say "no" or speak out, that their colleagues will not like them, or even heaven forbid that they will become the office B**** that everyone loves to hate.
Life is filled with confrontation of one sort or another. We must all learn to deal with it. No one will agree with you 100% of the time. The opposite is also true. And, others will not always treat you with respect, no matter how much you may deserve it. Confrontation is where problems are aired and new lines are set. When you look at it from this perspective confrontation actually plays an important part in our growth as people.
Being nice and having boundaries are not mutually exclusive. Setting boundaries does not mean that you're bad or wrong. Instead, it means you value and respect yourself. You need to define what is acceptable in terms of how others will treat you. So what is the best way to move into your power by setting boundaries? Here are seven tips to help you get started.
Build Better Boundaries: 7 Success Tips
1. Model success. Think about someone you really admire. I'm sure he or she has strong boundaries. While you might sometimes find it somewhat annoying, that's probably the single most important reason you respect them as you do. How do they manage their boundaries? Observe their behavior - then try modeling it.
2. Think first, act later. What's important to you? How do you want others to treat you? Spend some quiet time thinking things thru before you decide to let others know how you feel. This is a much better approach than suddenly deciding in the middle of a heated argument, that you're "just not going to take it anymore", often a very expensive mistake. Don't risk damaging your career, business, or personal relationships by acting on impulse.
3. Teach others how to treat you. Every day, you're training people how you want them to treat you, whether you know it or not. By not speaking up, by not informing people about how you wish to be treated, you are confirming that this behavior is completely acceptable in your world
4. Management by following up. This strategy is especially important if you're working with others to whom you've delegated tasks. Write down the deliverables, when they were committed to, and their expected completion dates. Follow up daily by phone or in person to make sure that others are working towards completing things according to plan. Regular and focused follow-up reminds others of your expectations.
5. Say "No" and tell them why. When you say "no" to someone, offer a reason. "No," in and of itself, can come across as harsh and abrupt. Lighten up your communication by extending the conversation with some details. "No, I'm so sorry, but I have a lot of commitments right now and taking on this project - would be too much at this time."
6. Say, "Yes, but ...". When faced with the inevitable last minute request, typically delivered by those who live in chaos and overwhelm, make sure you're even stronger with your boundaries. If you can handle the task, say "yes" - but with the provision that you'll do it when and only when you're completed with working on your current projects.
7. Under-promise and over-deliver. When you're asked to do something, tell them that things will take a little longer than you expect. This way, if something does come up you'll still be able to deliver on time. And, if everything proceeds as planned, then you'll finish early and they'll be pleasantly surprised. Setting boundaries and setting expectations in the minds of others go hand-in-hand.
Boundaries and Your Success
In summary, boundaries are critically important to your success in life, both personally and professionally. They define who you are and who you are not. They empower you to value and respect yourself. And, when you do, others will as well. It all starts with you. Take on the challenge - I guarantee you that the rewards will be well worth it.
I have been upgrading my Gibbons to Herons recently. And like many readers, I imagine, I have been finding a few little challenges along the way. That was no surprise, since it's pretty much par for the course when carrying out a major upgrade. But something else did surprise me, although in retrospect I see that it shouldn't have.
To begin with, I tried to fix things that the upgrade threw up on my own. I reasoned - somewhat optimistically, perhaps - that it was just a matter of applying some logic. But then I realised that this was a stupid thing to do - real closed-source thinking. After all, one of the central ideas behind open source is that if we collaborate, and build on the work of others, less effort will be required from each of us, and the end-result will be better. What was the point of re-inventing this particular wheel if others had been there before me?
So I began searching online for solutions to my various minor difficulties. And I was amazed at what I found. In every case, others had had similar problems, and in every case people had offered helpful suggestions as to how to fix them. It was a wonderful vindication of the entire open source way, of people helping each other by passing on their personal discoveries.
But as I searched around, something else became clear: that finding this information is not a trivial exercise. First, you need to formulate your search engine enquiry very tightly, otherwise hundreds of false positives are thrown up. And even then, the discussion threads that deal with your problem are long, winding and branching; following the right path through the explanatory labyrinth is a challenge, and it often took me a while to find the discussion that led to the suggestion I needed.
It's something of a truism that a strength of the free software community is that it will help people with the problems that they encounter. And as my own experiences showed, often it's not even necessary to seek that help, since others have already posed the same question in the past. But equally, it's clearly unrealistic to expect general users - especially newcomers to the world of free software - to take this path. It's easy to be overwhelmed by the information out there, and hard to find exactly what you're looking for.
That got me thinking: given the amazing resources that are available online, how could we make it easy for anyone to find things? One obvious solution would be to create a central database of knowledge - a kind of Wikipedia for free software - where everything is linked together logically, and laid out in a way that people can find what they're looking for with ease.
But that's neither realistic nor particularly desirable. It would require a huge amount of effort from volunteers whose skills could be more usefully applied elsewhere in terms of solving new problems rather than rehashing old ones. Moreover, it seems a terrible waste just to ignore the huge body of knowledge that already exists out there. What we need, rather, is a more intelligent way to search through what we've got - one that can respond to any kind of naive question posed by beginners.
There are two main issues here. One is the question of intelligence - of search engines that "understand" what we are looking for. The other is how the search is framed. At the moment, we typically throw in a few keywords to a search box; even if we pose it as a sentence, it is not much better in terms of the richness of the query. Maybe we need new ways - new interfaces - to help users, especially non-technical ones - express themselves more usefully as far as the search engine is concerned. That, in its turn, would allow exactly the right information to be pinpointed more easily, avoiding the need to go sifting through the hundreds of Google hits that are typically turned up.
These kinds of capabilities are typical features of what is generally called the semantic web. Despite interesting experiments like Freebase and Powerset, it's clear we're still a long way from realising that idea. Maybe the free software world should be doing more in this space, since it stands to gain more than most from the boost to search capabilities it implies. As a start, it might encourage researchers and companies active in the field of the semantic web to use the vast, chaotic body of knowledge about free software as a test-bed for their ideas and technologies. They would get the best beta-testers in the world, and we would gain better access to that rich mine of information.
Everybody who owns a computer will someday need to dispose of a disk drive. Before you do, it is a good idea to cleanse the drive, so no one can read your sensitive information. Deleting files and reformatting is not sufficient; determined effort can still reveal data from a drive even after it appears to be gone. To do a more thorough job, I suggest using wipe.
You need to take special pains because files that are "deleted" are not really gone. Most operating systems, including Linux and its ext2 filesystem, just delete the pointer to a deleted file; the data still exists on the drive. It is not effectively removed until every bit of the space it was occupying on the drive has been overwritten. Even then there are ways, albeit difficult, to analyze the drive and extract data. The only way, short of melting the drive, to ensure the data is gone for good is to overwrite the drive several times with random data.
Several Linux utilities can cleanse files and drives, and all do the same thing. Wipe has more options than some of the other tools, including the ability to erase a block of data on a partition.
If the target drive is installed in a working system, the easiest way to clean it is to run wipe off of a Linux live CD. Knoppix, the granddaddy of Linux live distributions, comes with a ready-to-use version of wipe. To get started, download and burn the latest version of Knoppix, then put the CD in the CD drive of the target machine and boot. If all goes well, Knoppix should boot and present the KDE interface.
Launch Konsole, KDE's terminal emulator, using the icon in the bottom toolbar. Find the partition names of the target hard drive by listing all of the disk devices in the /dev directory. For IDE drives, run ls /dev/hd*. For SCSI drives, use ls /dev/sd*. The command should list several items. The primary drive is typically /dev/hda or /dev/sda. There will be an item in the output for every partition on the device.
It should go without saying that running wipe will nuke everything on the target file system. Everything beyond this point is destructive, so make sure anything important is backed up.
Wipe's developers suggest only wiping one partition at a time, so for every partition, including the swap partition, run the command sudo wipe /dev/partition. Use the sudo command so that there are no permission errors. The wipe process will take several hours to complete for a moderate-sized hard drive. If you want it to go faster you can tell it how many passes you want it to make by using the -Q option with a number less than the default of 4. However, the more passes wipe makes, the better the protection, at least in theory.
If the target drive is not in a working machine, you can place it in a USB enclosure and attach that to a Linux machine. Note that most window managers will automatically mount external USB storage devices when they are attached; unmount the drive before running wipe. If wipe is not already installed on the machine, install it using your distribution's package manager. Next, launch a terminal session, find the device, and run wipe on each partition, using the command above.
Using wipe does not absolutely guarantee that data on the drive cannot be recovered, but it goes a long way in making it difficult.
Google has become a corporate juggernaut, dominating the UK's search market with a 74% share.
Yet despite enjoying the public's affection, with billions of users every day, the search giant is winning fewer friends in the business sphere.
A YouGov poll carried out last week among the UK's leading internet entrepreneurs revealed 44% of those attending thought the search engine was the biggest threat to their businesses' online growth. Only 6% felt traditional media, such as newspapers or radio, posed an equally serious threat.
According to the latest figures from internet measurement group Hitwise, Google has 74% of the UK search market. Its nearest competitor, Yahoo, has a market share of just 3%.
The YouGov poll, carried out at last weekend's Online Founders Forum event in Hampshire, is the latest sign of a growing backlash against the search engine.
In March, the company was heavily criticised for making businesses bid against their competitors for the use of their own trademarked names on the "sponsored links" section of the search engine's site. And last Tuesday, the Belgian newspapers group Copiepresse announced it was seeking 49.2 million from Google as the result of a copyright lawsuit it won in 2006, suing Google for using its newspapers' content .
With several Scottish traditional media companies, such as Sunday Herald owners Newsquest and Scotland's main commercial broadcaster, SMG, finalising the details of their new online ventures, Google's dominance of the search market has been increasingly being criticised as monopolistic.
Steve Leach, chief executive of Bigmouthmedia, one of Scotland's biggest search engine marketing companies, told the Sunday Herald: "The 44% figure is much lower than I thought it would have been. For anyone selling a product or a service related to the internet, the biggest threat is Google."
So what's the problem with the world's favourite search engine, a service valued by many users, including Leach, for its efficiency and its free-to-use business model?
"It's the oldest business trick in the book - undercutting the opposition," said Leach. He fears the search engine has become too big, labelling it a "classic corporate dinosaur." He said the free "tools" Google offers, such as maps and a device to personalise the news stories a user reads, are stifling innovation.
"You could have spent five years developing the software, and along comes Google and gives it away for free. They have people keeping their eye on almost anything you can think of."
Alistair Brown, head of digital at SMG, says he knows of one Edinburgh company who recently lost out after an idea for an online product they had spent years developing popped up on Google for nothing.
"I'm sure that's happened all over Scotland. But that's a risk you take - that somebody will come up with the same thing. They have got people working on things you can't even imagine yet. But when they do something, they do it so well it's difficult to compete with them."
Google makes most of its money from paid-search advertising. When a user clicks on a link - called an "adword" - the company pays Google a fee for directing the user in its direction. In 2007, the company made a profit of $4.2bn (£2.1bn), up 40% on 2006.
Paul Adams, head of paid search at Ambergreen, another of Scotland's leading search companies, says businesses are worried about the search engine only because they don't understand it.
"It seems a bit of a silly thing to say, because Google is the main way traffic is driven to most businesses' websites. I would see it more as an opportunity than a threat. As long as businesses have a competitive product they will do fine."
A Google spokesperson said the company was a supporter of business.
He said: "Google specifically develops products that are designed to be affordable and easy to use so that our partners can be as innovative and competitive as possible. Our products enable businesses of all sizes to store and share huge amounts of information at no cost and from wherever they are in the world."
Year 2008 has reached it's mid and the quarterly market reports for companies are out indicating growth ratios with a certain blend of recession all over.
Apart from analytics of recession on companies' growth prospective another thing that keeps them busy is reviewing the products marketed for such a long duration. There are abundant products available in the market with even wider options to choose from but only a few are able to create a charismatic and mesmerizing impact only to add value to the consumer's kitty. This feature presents you with some of the web and multimedia products those have stolen the limelight in the period 2007-2008 (mid).
Like iPhone that poured magical spellbound effects on the consumers, this time it was Apple iPod touch. With lesser differences in their assembly, it is much similar to the former just lacking camera and calling features. MP3 player that in no time become the most wanted gadget of the year for music lovers, features support for wireless connectivity, multi touch screen of 3.5", video player and a web browser. The product was rated best among consumers, and reached pinnacles of success with ease of use and bundles of integrated features.
Flickr, was the next to make to this list of best products of the year on account of its photo sharing and abundant memory facility to the consumers. With the support from web, mobile devices it has touched new heights in few years. On web sharing photos is an instant procedure: click, upload and invite others to view or share. Flickr, the most successful photo sharing site, contributed its part to make this trend more lucrative for users. This is not the one of this kind but the ease of imaging and community tools and the number of views that photos of consumers get have made this site to rank so high on this list. Other site offering such feature is Picassa, a product of Google.
Next on the cards is a product by open source community, might you be using it now: Mozilla Firefox. With latest version awaited in next few months Mozilla Firefox 3, the product has created a niche of users taking pie away from Internet Explorer, Netscape Navigator, Opera and others. Its fast, its clean, its easy to use, it allows multiple tabs (feature incorporated in IE7 recently, and Firefox supports it from the times it was in the market), support for plug-ins, support to block pop-ups and do not make sites to crash with new developments are some of the features that rate it highly on the user's list.
Taking the latest trend of Social Networking growing faster and touching pinnacles of success, Facebook is the next product that managed to rank high on this list. A social network with new people flocking in your profile, uploading videos, photos, checking out their plans and events, and many more, this site is a grand hit in this period. Despite numerous other sites like Orkut, Zorpia, Hi5, and many others featuring the same utilities the site is ranked high among all due to its ease of use, convenient tools, and interesting user interface.
You are surfing Facebook, Twitter feeds, checking out for videos on You Tube, Checking mails on Gmail or Yahoo, managing all at once is quite a cumbersome job. But this tool offered great help to the users and so ranked high on the consumer's choice of products- Flock. A browser free product helps integrating all the recent updates on your favorite sites and blogging tools into a single navigation, making your job done efficiently and with no swapping through multiple sites.
The list is highly consolidated, picking the best from the heap can be real challenge. Long live technology and its wonderful innovations.
Apple seems certain to unveil a new iPhone at a developer conference in San Francisco on June 9 - but how will it differ from its predecessor?
It seems, at times, as though Steve Jobs has an impossible job. Within days of the iPhone going on sale, technology fans and gadget geeks were already speculating what the next-generation version of the device would look like.
Since the launch of the device in July 2007, Apple has sold more than five million iPhones, and despite grumbles about slow mobile browsing speeds and difficulties typing on the touchscreen virtual keyboard, the handset remains, for many, one of the most innovative gadgets available today.
So, what will the son of "Jesus phone" look like, and will it really be an improvement over the first-generation device, or simply another clever way of bleeding our wallets dry?
The blogosphere seems pretty unanimous in its verdict that iPhone 2.0 will run on the 3G mobile network. That means it will be able to download data much quicker than it can on the current Edge network, and should make the web browsing experience much slicker when outside of a wireless hotspot. At the launch of the original iPhone, Jobs claimed that it had decided not to use 3G because it would be too much of a drain on battery life. Apple, presumably, has addressed this issue, which could explain why pictures of what is purported to be the new iPhone show a new-look handset with a slightly curved back, supposedly to make way for a bigger battery. Some bloggers also claim to have uncovered code in the new software for the device that suggests you can toggle 3G on and off, to help conserve battery life further still.
There's also some general consensus about the fact that iPhone 2.0 will have a much better camera than the two-megapixel snapper it currently boasts. A five-megapixel camera would be most people's desired minimum, but it's more likely that Apple will plump for a three-megapixel camera, and sweeten the pill by offering video calling capabilities (which were missing on the original device).
Gadget fans will also hope that iPhone 2.0 makes much better use of its built-in Bluetooth, which at the moment only works with a few selected Apple-approved accessories. This could potentially allow iPhone owners to 'pair' their handset with their Bluetooth-enabled computer to transfer files between them, and wirelessly connect to Bluetooth headphones and handsfree systems.
Expect to see voice-dialling and speed-dialling added to iPhone 2.0 as well - it seems ridiculous that such a cutting edge gadget is missing so many of the utterly basic mobile phone functions and capabilities that we've taken for granted on lesser handsets for years.
Apple could also add "proper" global positioning software to the iPhone, which would tie-in nicely with its Google Maps tool. At the moment, iPhones are able to triangulate a users' vague location by triangulating their mobile phone signal with nearby masts and wireless internet hotspots. In truth, that's probably sufficient for most iPhone users, and GPS is an expensive technology that is still largely in its infancy on mobile phones. Adding it to the iPhone would probably increase the cost of the device prohibitively, and it's unlikely to improve navigation and triangulation accuracy enough to justify the outlay.
In terms of appearance, several industry analysts have said that they do not expect Apple to make any significant or dramatic changes to the look of the device until early 2009. The main differences are likely to be that slightly convex back to make room for a 3G-capable battery, and a non-recessed headphone plug - plenty of iPhone users were left disgruntled to discover their expensive, noise canelling headphones didn't have a long enough jack to fit into the current iPhone's sunken headphone socket.
So, what won't we see with the new iPhone? Don't expect too many dramatic changes to its text-messaging functionality. Americans are not big fans of "txting", and while we Brits would love to be able to forward on text messages to other contacts in our address book, it's unlikely to be added to the device. Instead, keen texters will have to look to the new Application Store for those sorts of tweaks - more of which below.
It's also unlikely that Apple will make any dramatic changes to its touchscreen keyboard. iPhone users have long hankered after the ability to flip the iPhone for a horizontal keyboard layout, and haptic feedback to indicate that buttons have been correctly pressed, but that sort of interface improvement is more likely to appear on the third-generation device rather than on iPhone 2.0.
Opinions are divided on whether Apple will drop the 8GB version of the phone and instead offer 16GB and 32GB versions of the device, which would bring it into line with the storage capacity of the iPod touch range. The fact that Carphone Warehouse and O2 stores slashed the price of the 8GB model just a few weeks ago could either be taken as a sign that they were trying to clear soon-to-be-discontinued stock, or that they are simply making a bit of extra space for the next-gen model.
Personally, I think we will see an introduction of a 32GB model, not least because Apple will be making another big announcement at the conference that is all about software, rather than hardware: details of the iPhone application store, that will allow people to buy third-party programs and widgets through iTunes and install them on their device.
Essentially, Apple is seeking to make the hacking of iPhones unecessary by providing a development ecosystem in which people can build small programs that improve, diversify and personalise the iPhone's capabilities. The iPhone is built on a stripped-down version of Apple's OS X operate system, which means there is plenty of latent power that can be leveraged to turn the handset into a mini computer of sorts.
Expert to see some really clever bits of software that fill in the gaps Apple itself is not plugging, such as an instant-messaging program for the iPhone, nifty location-based features, such as restaurant recommendations and movie reviews that tie into Google Maps and its triangulation capabilities, and even software to keep track of your company expenses.
In many ways it is this, rather than the actual handset itself, that should dominate the headlines, because it is the platform, rather than the hardware, that is key to securing the enduring popularity, flexibility and longevity of the device.
But the poor old iPhone, rather like a handsome movie star, has been typecast for its good looks and sex appeal. Still, there are worst things to build a reputation on.
Scientists will soon be able to use tissue from dead people to create cloned human stem cells for medical research, under a legal change proposed by the British government.
Health ministers have put forward the proposal that clinical laboratories should be permitted to use stored human tissue to create cloned embryonic stem cells even without the explicit consent of the donor, the Sunday Times reported.
This would allow research to be done on tissue donated for medical research as long as 30 years ago, according to the ministers in Britain.
Many laboratories have banks of stored tissues which act as DNA libraries that can play a crucial role in finding cures for serious disorders such as diabetes and motor neurone disease. Ministers have until now insisted that scientists contact tissue donors to gain explicit consent before DNA can be used to create cloned embryonic stem cells.
However, leading scientists say gaining such consent is sometimes impossible because the donors have died, donated anonymously or cannot be contacted. They say the ban on using DNA without consent could hold up vital research.
Now, the ministers have tabled an amendment to the human fertilisation and embryology bill, currently passing through parliament, which would allow stored tissue and cells to be used without the explicit consent of donors. The amendment, which is expected to be supported by most MPs, will be debated this week.
Meanwhile, the Ohio Senate overwhelmingly approved a $1.57 billion package to use concrete and research to jump-start the state's sluggish economy, but not before forbidding use of the money to facilitate human cloning.
The package includes investment in biomedical and bioproduct research and development; push solar, wind, and other advanced energy technologies; and encourage top college graduates to remain in Ohio through internships and private-public job opportunities.
Senator Stephen Buehrer sponsor of the cloning amendment, said researchers hope to use taxpayer dollars targeted toward biomedical research on "cloning and destruction of human life. Ladies and gentlemen, that is wrong policy for Ohio, and is morally wrong," he said. The amendment passed 21-11 with Republicans largely in support and Democrats in opposition.
"The governor believes that would significantly limit research in Ohio that could save countless lives in areas of cancer, Alzheimer's, and diabetes," said a Strickland spokesman. "He also believes this would limit the state's economic potential by going far beyond common-sense definition of human cloning to severely limit stem-cell research."
Test Automation is basically using soft wares to control the execution of tests (test cases describe the tests that need to be run on the program to verify that the program runs as expected) and comparing the actual output to the predicted one. This helps in measuring the deviation of the actual product from the one that was initially planned. It also involves deciding upon test preconditions, and other test reporting and control functions. It is mainly organized for short-term goal-achievement. One way to generate test cases automatically is model-based testing where a model of the system under consideration is used for generation of the test cases.
Test automation means tool support for all the aspects of testing a project, not just its execution. The automation process progresses when supported by dedicated programmers who are directed by the testers. Here, by 'short term' we mean 40 man-hours or lesser. For relatively longer tasks, these are divided into subsequent increments that in them selves are deliverables. This way, even a longer task is converted into many shorter tasks.
Also, by 'Directed By Testers' we mean the progress of test automation is measured in terms of how it solves problems for testers and the test managers.
The automation formula typically comprises of the following few steps:
1. Purchasing a GUI test execution tool. Here GUI stands for Graphics User Interface. This has increased the pressure on testers, who are considered bottlenecks to the delivery of software products.
2. The next is step is to define and chalk out the various possible test procedures on paper.
3. These procedures are then automated, one by one, by automation professionals.
4. A framework that comprises of the tests must be built next. This must be comprehensive and scaleable.
5. This is iteratively fixed.
This 'formula' so to speak works if the testing of the product is simpler. Also, the product specifications mustn't change much during the testing process.
Several problems that plague test automation projects are:
- Lack of clear goals: Automation can save time, make testing easier and improve the testing coverage. But it's not likely to do all these things at the same time. Different users have different expectations from the system. These need to be stated, or else disappointment is likely.
- Lack of experience: Often, junior programmers tackle test automation projects.
- High turnover: Test automation takes a while to learn.
- Spare time test automation: In most cases, people are allowed to work on test automation on their own time. This keeps it from getting the time and focus it needs.
The major benefits are:
- Improved efficiency in automation efforts because of use of expertise in building automation frameworks and methodologies.
- Reduction in the automation cost.
- Automated testing systems can produce test reporting and analysis. These reports provide a measure of test status and results, thus allowing more accurate interpretation of testing outcome
- Automation allows the testing organization to perform consistent and repeatable test.
Test automation is often expensive in operation and it must be used to aid manual testing. Regression testing is one technique that helps make the operation of test automation a little cost-effective.
Almost every aspect/phase of the Software Development and Testing life cycle finds application of Black box testing.
The attempt is to find errors. These errors can be broadly categorized as:
· The user interface contains errors.
· The methods (functions) used are either syntactically incorrect or missing.
· The data structures used in the code are erroneous.
· The external access to the database has errors
· Performance errors
· Initialization and termination of the various variables, functions etc.
Some positives of using this technique are:
· Since no prior knowledge of the coding and the internal structure of the application is required, testing can be performed by a non-technical person as well.
· This method can be used for verification of contradictions (if any) between the actual system and the specifications.
Some negatives of using this technique are:
· There is always a possibility that a previously undefined path may come up during the testing process.
· The test cases that need to be written for the testing process are time consuming and complex in nature.
· The identification of inputs in a limited time domain is difficult
Some of the methods of using this technique will be discussed now. The first one is 'Graph Based Testing Methods' in which the objects of which the application is build of , are identified and a graph is prepared. The object relationships are thus easily identified and test cases are then written for the discovery of errors. Generally a 'Cause-Effect' graph is made in which a cause is a distinct input condition and an effect is an output condition. Next is 'Boundary Value Analysis' whereby the systems that have tendency to fail on boundary are taken into consideration.
Here, the extreme boundary values are chosen (randomly). Boundary values include maximum, minimum, typical values besides the error values. This method is efficient only for variables that have fixed values (boundary values). Also, the technique of 'Robustness testing' is co-related with BVA (boundary value analysis) in which a value slightly greater than maximum and a value slightly less than minimum are taken. Next is 'Error Guessing' which is based on the experience of a tester. It's an art of guessing where errors can be hidden. As such there are no specific tools for writing the test cases. Next is 'Comparison testing' in which different versions of software are developed and checked for consistency. Reliability is the criterion that is crucial under this type of testing. The last method that we discuss is 'Equivalence partitioning' method which divides the input domain of the application into classes of data from which test cases can be derived for testing.
If the input condition specifies a range, one valid and one two invalid classes are defined. However if the input condition requires a specific value, one valid and two invalid equivalence classes are defined. Further, if an input condition specifies a member of a set, one valid and one invalid equivalence class is defined. Lastly, if an input condition is Boolean, one valid and one invalid class is defined.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Monday said the government was left with no option but to hike the price of fuel due to soaring price of crude oil in the global market and asked for "wider political consensus to adopt more rational economic policies".
"We cannot allow the subsidy bill to rise any further. Nor do we have the margin to fully insulate the consumer from the impact of world commodity price and oil price inflation," Manmohan Singh said at the annual summit of the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Assocham).
"Up to a point we can insulate poor sections of our society and we have done that. Our government has not raised the price of kerosene in the past four years. We have only marginally raised LPG and diesel prices. Even petrol prices do not fully reflect world trends.
"In the case of other national resources, especially water, we have been altogether imprudent. This situation cannot continue forever. We need wider political consensus to adopt more rational economic policies," the prime minister said.
Nuclear bomb blueprints and manuals on how to manufacture weapons-grade uranium for warheads are feared to be in circulation on the international black market, the Guardian has quoted investigators tracking the world's most infamous nuclear smuggling racket, as saying.
Alarm about the sale of nuclear know-how follows the disclosure that Switzerland, allegedly acting under United States' pressure, secretly destroyed tens of thousands of documents from a massive nuclear smuggling investigation.
The information was seized from the home of Urs Tinner, a 43-year-old Swiss engineer who has been in custody for four years as a key suspect in the nuclear smuggling ring allegedly run by Abdul Qadeer Khan. The report said that Swiss president Pascal Couchepin stunned his compatriots last week by announcing that the Tinner files, believed to number around 30,000 documents, had been shredded.
The extraordinary move was warranted to prevent the documents "getting into the hands of a terrorist organisation or an unauthorised state", according to Couchepin. However, many fear this has already happened.
"We know that copies were made. Both US intelligence and the IAEA had been pursuing this with great urgency. "But what happened to the other copies that Tinner made? It is worrisome that there are other plans floating around somewhere out there," the paper quoted Mark Fitzpatrick, an expert on the illicit networks at the UK-based International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS), as saying.
Testimony at the 2006 trial of another nuclear-smuggling suspect in Germany alleged that Tinner told investigators he had nuclear bomb designs at his office in Switzerland. The blueprints were in digital form and are believed to have been copied on to the network's computers in Dubai. "It's amazing these people had so much information, incredibly sensitive stuff on nuclear weaponisation and gas centrifuges," said David Albright, a Washington-based former UN weapons inspector.
I can dig into frozen ground as hard as concrete. The scoop has special blades and a powered "rasp" to scrape ice. Cool!
Whoever thought a Nasa spacecraft could be so adept at social networking and internet?
For users of Twitter, a web microblogging service, the Phoenix Mars lander has been sending pithy news "tweets" to the cellphones and computers of interested "followers."
As of Friday night, the Phoenix lander had 9,636 followers at Twitter. According to twitterholic.com, it ranks No. 30 among all Twitter feeds in the solar system.
Of course, the messages are not coming from Mars. Instead, Veronica McGregor, the news services manager at Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, has been playing the part of Phoenix each night after she gets home from work, forwarding questions to the science team and then posting answers.
"It's been amazing," Mc-Gregor said. "I had no idea. I didn't know how many people were using Twitter."
Most twitterers use the service to send up-to-the-second news about the minutiae of their lives to friends, but Rhea Borja, a member of Mc-Gregor's team, sees it as a way to spread Nasa news to twentysomethings. "To reach a new generation of folks," said Borja, a thirtysomething.
The tweets were written in the first person, as if Phoenix the friendly spacecraft were sending out text messages to friends and fans. In part, that was to be more entertaining, McGregor said, but a larger reason was the limit of 140 characters per message.
"If I had to write 'the spacecraft is,' that's too many characters," McGregor said. "I am" is much shorter.
Controversial Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasreen has said she will return to India by July or August.
"I will come to India in July or August. Leaving India permanently means death to me. After coming, I will see whether I will be allowed to enter Kolakata or not,'' Taslima said. This was stated by Taslima's close friend and writer Kripashankar Chaubey in his book 'Najarband Taslima' (Taslima Under House Arrest). The writer, who is now staying in Sweden after leaving India, said, "Although I was put in a safe house in Delhi, it was like a chamber of death. I faced physical and mental torture. I was left with no other option but to leave India.''
"I am more of a victim of appeasement politics than of threats from fundamentalists. But I don't want India to become another Bangladesh,'' Nasreen said. The author of controversial books Lajja and Dvikhandita had to leave India in March this year following protests from Islamic groups against her writings.
As the summer sun turned pale for a few minutes over the vineyards in Nashik, a group of grape farmers hurriedly checked their mobiles for an SMS alert. Average humidity: 30 %, Downey Mildew: none.
They heaved a sigh of relief--the dreaded Downey fungus will not attack their ripe grapes for the next 24 hours--and called up their farmhands, asking them not to use pesticide sprays for the day.
For these 300 grape farmers in Nashik, checking their mobiles every morning has now become a way of life. The text message alerts are sent from the Digital Informatics Lab at IIT-Powai, where scientists have been accurately predicting the diseases that may strike the grapes during the course of the day. The results have been remarkable: in the last one year, the grape growers here saved around Rs 2 crore by cutting down on their regular dose of pesticides and insecticides in their vineyards.
This "miracle of sorts'' became possible after alerts were sent by various disease forecasting stations situated at these vineyards on a daily basis. Farmers like Pandeet Chaure, a resident of Pimpligaon village, one of the beneficiaries, said this technology has saved him at least 100 chemical sprays worth more than Rs 10,000 last season. "Earlier, we used to do a blanket spray almost every other day, more as a preventive measure rather than targeting a particular disease. That used to leave a lot of chemical residue on the grapes,'' he said.
The farmers admitted that many vineyards in India are still not very bothered about the quality of the grapes. "They do not check if the grapes have chemical residue and then reject them. It does have an adverse health impact, as today, wine is being promoted as a health drink,'' said Narayan Sharma, who owns a 10-acre vineyard.
Agrocom, the company promoting this disease-detection technology, has established 25 monitoring stations in vineyards at Nasik. "These stations measure temperature and humidity at a very local level and send the reports to the lab at IIT,'' said Anil Bahuman, MD and CEO, Agrocom told TOI.
The company began as a spin-off of a project started by DIL, which had been studying weather patterns in this region and looking at the major diseases affecting the crops here. "We zeroed in on grapes as we found out these fruits were affected by the slightest change in weather. They are especially vulnerable to diseases like Downey Mildew, Powdery Mildew and pests likes thrips insect,'' he said.
The DIL's head, Prof Kirthi Ramamrutham, and her team then studied the disease pattern of grapes across the globe. "We found that some diseases strike on a regular pattern in tropical climate. We then conducted a detailed study based on inputs provided by various agricultural scientists working in this region,'' Bahuman said.
According to the scientists in IIT, pesticide companies might not be too happy initially. "But we plan to include them in this campaign as adhering to organic farmimg will be good for the grape growers in the long run. If the farmers want to make good profit they will need to export their grapes, where the chemical residue should be at the minimal level,'' Bahuman said.
Everyone knows that talking on a cellphone while driving is not safe. Now, a study establishes biologically the interference which takes place while carrying out the two tasks simultaneously.
A team at South Carolina University, led by an Indian-origin researcher Amit Almor, has found that planning to speak and talking put far more demands on the brain's resources than mere listening.
Their findings are based on two experiments which involved nearly 50 people. One required participants to detect visual shapes on a monitor and the other needed them
to use a computer mouse to track a fast-moving target on screen.
In both the experiments, the participants performed the visual tasks while listening and responding to the narratives.
"We measured their attention level and found that subjects were four times more distracted while preparing to speak or speaking than when they were listening. People can tune in or out as needed when listening," Almor said.
In both the experiments, the researchers placed the participants in a circular, surround-sound environment in which the speakers were hidden and the voice shifted from the front, rear or either side.
Two Tamils, one a native of Thanjavur and the other from Ramanathapuram, have been sentenced to death by a Chinese court for narcotics smuggling. Though arrested in separate incidents last year in different provinces, both were sentenced on the same day by a court in Zhuohai.
Family members of Askar Miyan, picked up by Chinese customs on February 22, 2007, on charges of possession and smuggling of a banned substance, have appealed to the ministry of overseas Indian affairs to plead for his death sentence to be commuted to ''any kind of jail term''.
A communique from the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, available with this newspaper, says, ''Askar Miyan and Hussain Mydeen smuggled drugs into China...police checked Askar's luggage and found 1301 grams of heroin...38 pieces of heroin, about 300.09 grams, were recovered from Mydeen's stomach at the Armed Police Hospital...''
It's now learnt that Askar had left India in August 2003 to work in Thailand as a cook. In that period, a man named Sulthan and his son Saleem Khan had approached him, promising him a job in London. Askar had then called his family and asked them to pay Rs 3.5 lakh to Sulthan.
On receiving the payment, Sulthan asked Askar to fly to Cambodia and assured him a safe passage into London via China. ''Although Askar soon landed in Cambodia, he was stuck there for two years doing odd jobs and was even tortured by his employers,'' his brother Khaja Mohammed told TOI.
Eventually, Askar informed his family on February 14, 2007, that he was finally on his way to China. ''That was the last call my brother made. After that we do not know what happened,'' said Khaja.
It was in April 2007 that the family received a letter from Chinese government. Askar's father immediately faxed it to his younger son employed in Dubai. Khaja took the help of his Chinese colleagues to translate the letter which said his brother had been arrested on charges of drug smuggling.
Khaja said his family had been cheated by Sulthan who may have used his brother to traffic drugs. Although he has visited China to meet his brother, he said his attempts to contact him in prison have failed.
''I'm sure he wasn't aware of the items concealed in his luggage. We have appealed to the Chinese government to release him on compassionate grounds as the family is poor and our parents are aged.''
In the second conviction, a Tamil named Hussain Mydeen was caught on suspicion when he entered Ghuang Zhou province on March 31, 2007. It was his fourth trip in three months into China and he was travelling under a fake name. Hussain has confessed to the Chinese authorities that he worked as a drug peddler
A 30-year-old web designer was rescued from his abductors by the special cell of Delhi Police on Saturday. The police arrested six persons including a doctor for their involvement in the kidnap for ransom. Those arrested have been identified as Parveen Kumar (28), Sunil Sharma (39), Mohammad Hasan Raja (25), Rakesh Sharma (20), Sarvesh Kumar (19) and Hemant (25). Raja is a Unani doctor.
Victim Anurag Ranjan (30) was abducted from Khanpur in Ambedkarnagar in south Delhi on May 27. Ranjan had been on his way to work in Jhandewalan when he was abducted.
The next day, Anurag's brother Rajeev, a software engineer in Pune, received a ransom call from Anurag's mobile number. The caller stated that Anurag had been kidnapped by them and demanded Rs 50 lakh for his release. The family later filed a case with the police, which was transferred to the special cell.
"The special cell team led by inspector Mohan Chand Sharma arrested three person identified as Parveen Kumar, Sunil Sharma and Mohd Hasan Raja from Lado Sarai on Saturday. Their interrogation further revealed that two of them were known to Anurag and hatched the plan as they were hard pressed for money," said joint commissioner of police (special cell) Karnal Singh.
After the arrests, Anurag was rescued from the Mathura Cantonment area. Six mobile phones, two pistols, Rs 13,500 in cash and an Alto were seized from their possession. The accused persons had kept Anurag at various places and had given him doses of Alprax and Formalin to keep him sedated. His face bore injury marks.
Parveen Kumar, a welder by profession, disclosed that he knew Anurag, who was a tenant in his house about two years ago and belonged to a very rich family. He hatched the kidnap plans with contractor cum builder friend Sunil Sharma.
Later, Sharma roped in his brother-in-law's son Rakesh. Rakesh again hired two more persons into the conspiracy. Meanwhile, Raja, a unani doctor was also roped in.
BenQ has announced its foray into the laptop segment in India with a range of sleek, designer Joybooks. The new range will offer three distinct models, BenQ S32W, BenQ R43 and BenQ Q41.
The S32W model has a silver strip with a diamond-cut logo on the outside to match the artistic POP art pattern, 3D image embedded in the svelte aluminum body and a ripple textured touchpad.
The Q41 Joybook has an auxiliary 2.5 inch screen on the outer panel that allows users to view photos, play games and listen to music even when the Joybook's lid is closed. The R43 comes with a polished deep black lid and a band with an inscribed laminar film that shines, to give the Joybook a shimmering appearance.
BenQ's patented UltraVivid technology increases the brightness of the screen by using the DBEFTM (Display Brilliance Enhancement Film) technology and provides vibrant and sharp quality pictures even in variable lighting conditions.
The Joybooks incorporate Intel Core 2 Duo Processor and Windows Vista Premium. In addition the laptops come with wireless connectivity, built-in Bluetooth, speakers, microphones and one touch back-up process for data security
The Joybooks range is priced at Rs 30,000 onwards.
Microsoft's next operating system (OS) will come with multi-touch features as an alternative to the mouse
It is hoped the successor will have a better reception than the much-maligned Vista OS, released last year.
Scheduled for release in 2010, the new fingertip interface lets users enlarge and shrink photos, trace routes on maps, paint pictures or play the piano.
"The way you interact with the system will change dramatically," said Microsoft chairman Bill Gates.
Speaking at the All Things Digital conference in San Diego, Mr Gates said Windows 7 would incorporate new forms of communication and interaction.
Despite issuing more than 140 million licences for Vista worldwide, it's seen by many as a failure
"Today almost all the interaction is keyboard-mouse. Over years to come, the role of speech, vision, ink - all of those things - will be huge."
Chief executive Steve Ballmer described the limited demo of the multi-touch screen at the conference as "a small snippet" of the next version of Windows after admitting he wants "to do better" than Vista.
Even though Vista has suffered from a poor public image and a lukewarm welcome from many firms and users, Mr Ballmer said the company had shipped 150 million copies of the program.
Industry watchers say Microsoft is hoping that Windows 7 can change the way people interact with PCs in the future.
"Touch is quickly becoming a common way of interacting with software and devices," writes Windows product manager Chris Flores in a blog post.
Making music using the touch screen interface
"Touch-enabled surfaces are popping up everywhere including laptop touch pads, cellphones, remote controls, GPS devices and more."
When challenged as to who would get to market first with a new touch screen device, Microsoft or Apple, Mr Ballmer said it was not much of an issue.
"We'll sell 290 million PCs and Apple will sell 10 million PCs.
"They're fantastically successful and so are we and our partners. But it's a different job. Steve [Jobs, Apple chief executive] can flip his hand and sell a few models and I don't take a thing away from him."
Website Beta News reports that "beta testing of the product should begin later this year although a lack of touch-screen devices could slow widespread trials of the new interface".
We walked away
During the conference, Mr Ballmer also talked about the company's failure to buy Yahoo, following its offer of $47.5bn.
"Look, we made a bid for Yahoo. It was out there for three months and there was a difference between bid and ask.
What does Windows 7 mean for the mouse?
"We thought we could accelerate our business. We were going to be financially disciplined about it. We walked away. We are talking with them about other ideas but we are not re-bidding on the company. We reserve the right to do so. That's not on the docket."
Mr Gates said: "I've been supportive of everything Steve has done. Totally supportive."
World's best search
While many attending the D6 conference focused on the Windows 7 announcement and comments on Yahoo, a spotlight was also turned on Mr Gates himself, counting down to his last day at Microsoft on 1 July.
The new touch screen aims to be an alternative to the computer mouse
At a reception earlier in the day, he chatted to reporters about what the future holds for him. He said even though he was retiring from his "daily duties" at the firm he founded, he wouldn't be letting go completely.
Instead of spending 80% of his time at Microsoft and 20% at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation he would now reverse that.
Mr Gates, who will remain as chairman of Microsoft, said he would still have an office in Redmond and spend time writing, thinking and working on a variety of pet projects, including the next generation Microsoft Office.
"I'm very involved in search, the internal development," he said. "We will build the world's best search."
Purists may dismiss the Indian Premier League (IPL) as dumbing down of cricket but Sachin Tendulkar feels instead of being criticised, the glamorous Twenty20 series should be lauded for globalising the game.
"I don't personally feel that, you know, (IPL is) dumbing down the game. It's just another version of cricket," Tendulkar said.
"Test cricket is there and then they started One-day cricket many years ago and One-day cricket has been a tremendous success and if the game is gonna get globalised in the form of IPL, then why not? It's better for cricket," he added in defence of the league that has been criticised for being too glamorous and money-centric.
The veteran right-hander said despite playing the game for the past 19 years, he still gets child-like excited every time he steps out to bat in an international game, especially at his home ground - The Wankhede.
"It's a special place. That is what I've dreamt of as a kid and then I'm living that dream and that's just fabulous. Every time I walk out, you hear the crowd going crazy, I mean it's just a special feeling.
"I consider myself so fortunate that I can walk out there in the middle and the whole stadium is backing me," Tendulkar said in an interview to a TV channel.
His is a prized wicket in international cricket but Tendulkar refuses to name the one bowler he has found most difficult to handle, saying it would be unfair to single out somebody as anyone with more than 400 wickets to his credit deserves to be respected for the effort.
"It's hard. I mean Shane Warne, Muttiah Muralitharan, Anil Kumble, you name it and it's not enough. So I think all these bowlers who've got more than literally 400, 500 wickets, it would be unfair to just single out one guy because they all are in top category," he said.
Asked about his thoughts on the way his career has gone, the affable former India captain merely said, "I've done reasonably well."
Tendulkar said it was his dream to be regarded a great batsman and now that he is counted as one among them, he feels contended.
"I can say that the dream was to be regarded as one of the top players in the world, and I think I've managed to get there and that's a good feeling," he
What is a Dates table?
A Dates table stores a range of dates. Dates tables are very common in a DateWarehouse as a dimension table. You can also use Dates tables in OLTP databases for lookups.
When programmers use Dates tables, they don't have to worry about using or designing functions for handling or formatting dates in the database.
It is a precompilation of a wide range of date values and their associated month, quarter, year, etc.
Creating a Dates table
It's simple to create a Dates table--it only takes a little TSQL programming. The script below creates the DateLookup table, which I will use throughout the rest of the example.
CREATE TABLE DateLookup
DateKey INT PRIMARY KEY,
As you can see from the field names, the table contains detailed information regarding parts of a date, such as the name of the month, name of the day of the weekend, the quarter number, etc.
It's very useful to have this information stored in a table for date searches based on certain months, quarters, and similar information.
The script below populates my DateLookup table with date information from the year 1900 through the end of 2100. I enter this large range of dates because I am not sure what type of dates I am going to handle in my tables, so I like to have a wide range available.
This range likely won't cover erroneous dates in my tables, but it should do a pretty good job covering a large percentage of them.
DECLARE @Date DATETIME
SET @Date = '1/1/1900'
WHILE @Date < '1/1/2100'
INSERT INTO DateLookup
DateKey, DateFull, FullYear,
QuarterNumber, WeekNumber, WeekDayName,
MonthDay, MonthName, YearDay,
, @Date, 112), @Date, YEAR(@Date),
DATEPART(qq, @Date), DATEPART(ww, @Date), DATENAME(dw, @Date),
DATEPART(dd, @Date), DATENAME(mm, @Date), DATEPART(dy,@Date),
DATENAME(mm, @Date) + ' '
+ CAST(DATEPART(dd, @Date) AS CHAR(2)) + ',
' + CAST(DATEPART(yy, @Date) AS CHAR(4)),
CONVERT(VARCHAR(10), @Date, 101),
SET @Date = DATEADD(dd, 1, @Date)END
Using the DateLookup table
Once I load data into my DateLookup table, I can run queries against it. For example, the following query lists the number of Wednesdays in the year 2003:
SELECT WeekDayName, DayCount = COUNT(*)
WHERE FullYear = 2003 AND
WeekDayName = 'Wednesday'
GROUP BY WeekDayName
There were 52 Wednesdays in 2003.
The real power of using a Dates table comes when you use the table in conjunction with other tables. In the following example, I use my DateLookup table and join it to my SalesHistory table (from my article about generating dynamic SQL statements in SQL Server) on the SaleDate. Performing this join makes it easier for me to analyze my sales information based on the date the sale occurred.
The following query ranks the month with the highest sales per product line:
RecordCount = COUNT(*),
Ranking = DENSE_RANK() OVER ( PARTITION BY Product
ORDER BY COUNT(*)
DESC, NEWID() DESC )
JOIN SalesHistory s ON dd.DateKey = CONVERT(VARCHAR(
dd.MonthName, Product) a WHERE Ranking = 1
This query ranks product sales per quarter per year:
SaleCount = COUNT(*)
JOIN SalesHistory s ON dd.DateKey =
, SaleDate, 112)GROUP BY
Without the DateLookup table, this query would have to be written like this, which I think is more difficult:
SaleCount = COUNT(*)
The main drawback to using the Dates table is with the way in which I have to join it back to my OLTP tables. My Dates table does not contain time data, and my OLTP data almost certainly will; this means that joining the two tables requires some conversion on my part to do in the join. While this conversion in the join is not necessarily a huge deal, it may lead to poor performance under certain conditions
A die-hard mango lover living in a small town of Malihabad in Uttar Pradesh has grown 300 varieties of mangoes on a single tree in his orchard.
Malihabad has a long tradition of producing delicious varieties of mangoes and one of the famous varieties is known by the name of the town.
Some of the rarest varieties of mangoes, which have become extinct, are still growing on a 'miracle mango tree'.
Kallimullah Khan, who hails from Malihabad wants to save these and many more varieties of mangoes for the posterity.
"These are extremely tasty mangoes. We cannot find these everywhere. I am trying my level best to grow different types of mangoes," said Khan.
The original tree is nearly 80 years old. Khan has grafted and grown new varieties of mangoes on it.
Relentlessly working in his nursery, Khan's passion for the fruit goes back to his childhood when he began experimenting with mango saplings.
Driven by zeal to preserve vanishing variety of mangoes, Khan started his conservation effort by grafting seven to eight varieties of mango stems.
The sight and smell of different varieties of `King of fruits' on a single tree is attracting many visitors to the mango grove.
"This is the first time in my 70 years of life that I am seeing something of this sort. I have never seen anything like this," said Pandit Rameshwar Dayal, a visitor overwhelmed by the sight.
Malihabad is located in the mango belt in Uttar Pradesh where 90 per cent people are engaged in the profession of growing mangoes.
Mangoes from Malihabad are exported to various parts of the country and abroad. The cost of the most famous variety of mangoes 'Dussehri' reaches Rs 200 rupees per quintal in the season.
About 1,000 varieties of mangoes are grown in India, in an area of 2.5 million hectares.
Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Orissa, Assam, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu are major mango-growing states in India.
India is the world's biggest producer of this tropical fruit contributing to 59 per cent of total production, but its share in the world mango market is less than 15 per cent.
It exports about 30,000 tonnes of mangoes every year to nearly 40 countries including Britain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Canada and now the Untied States. Mangoes account for around 39 per cent of the total fruit exports from India.
British chipmaker ARM has unveiled a prototype mobile phone that will use the operating system Android, launched by Google last November.
The unbranded prototype handset demonstrated at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona features an internet browser, map software, multimedia applications, text messaging, calendar functions, email and other cell phone functions.
Tipped to rival Apple's iPhone, ARM's prototype uses Google as its web browser home page, Google Mail as its email application, and Google Maps for navigation.
Although the Android project is at a relatively early stage, the first Android-based mobile phones are expected to be launched in the market later this year, reports the Telegraph.
Experts at the research firm Strategy Analytics reckon that Android-which is being backed by an alliance of more than 30 mobile phone operators, handset makers, software firms and component manufacturers-will be installed on two per cent of smartphones by December.
Growth in Asia and strong sales of notebook computers helped Dell Inc beat Wall Street expectations for first-quarter sales and profit.
That strong report pushed shares of Dell, the world's second-largest seller of personal computers, up 9.9 per cent in late trading on Thursday.
Now, investors will try to determine if the results were a one-term wonder or a sign that founder and CEO Michael Dell's turnaround plan is working.
Notebook shipments jumped 43 per cent in the first quarter compared with a year earlier. Dell had made them a priority, developing products for emerging markets, and the Round Rock, Texas-based company rang up more sales overseas than at home for the first time in the first quarter.
Revenue rose 19 per cent in Asia and 15 per cent in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, helping Dell overcome a weak US market where businesses were cutting back on technology spending.
"Dell did relatively well, but it was against low expectations," said Shaw Wu, an analyst with American Technology Research who rates the shares "neutral."
They rose 12 cents on Thursday, closing at $21.81 in regular trading before the results were released, then jumped $2.16 to $23.97 in late trading.
Still, the results added to the sense that technology spending "is turning out a little better than expected," Wu said.
"Most of the vendors, from Intel to HP to Apple and Microsoft; the spending has been stronger than feared," Wu said.
Much of that strength has come from overseas. Dell, which is more dependent on US sales than Hewlett-Packard Co, sees US business customers "holding back from spending" on desktops, said Chief Financial Officer Donald J Carty.
He added that US companies may continue to defer technology spending into this summer.
Dell trails HP in worldwide PC shipments but leads in US sales, according to technology research firms IDC and Gartner Inc, but that could make Dell more vulnerable to a slowdown in the US economy.
For the three months ended May 2, Dell earned $784 million, or 38 cents per share, up from $756 million, or 34 cents per share, in the same period last year. Revenue rose 9 per cent, to $16.08 billion.
On average, analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial expected a profit of 34 cents per share on sales of $15.68 billion.
Michael Dell, who returned to the chief executive's job in January 2007 after the company floundered, said the company was "executing on all points of our strategy to drive growth in every product category and in every part of the world."
He told analysts on a company conference call on Thursday that the strong Asia sales were partly due to a 140 per cent surge at 1,800 stores in China that sell Dell machines.
By early August, he said, Dell will be in 3,500 Chinese stores.
But sceptics might note -- as some analysts on the call did -- that Dell's strong first quarter was helped by the weak dollar and unusually sharp job cuts, which might be more difficult to repeat.
Currency rates added 3 to 4 per cent to total revenue, Carty said. And the company's strong cost controls resulted in part from cutting 3,700 jobs in the quarter, far more than expected by analysts, who relied on Carty's estimate just last month of about 1,000 cuts.
Dell has eliminated 7,000 jobs in the past year -- 8 per cent of last year's work force --although that has been partly offset by 2,700 jobs added through acquisitions.
Dell is trying to cut costs $3 billion by 2011. Carty, who plans to step down next month, said the biggest challenges for the company now were continuing to control costs and, "We've got to continue to improve the product line."
John Enck, a technology analyst for Gartner, said the better-than-expected resulted indicated that Michael Dell's return refocused the company on controlling costs and repairing relations with business customers.
"The customer experience has been good this year," Enck said.
Barry Jaruzelski, a partner at the consulting firm Booz & Co, said Dell still faces drawbacks in its strategy of augmenting direct sales by phone or Internet with sales made through retail stores.
With retail sales, Jaruzelski said, Dell loses the direct contact that used to give the company immediate feedback on winning pricing and features and an edge over competitors.
Now, he said, "They only know what the retailers will tell them, and they have higher overhead rates."
Carty said Dell was making progress in bringing down overhead while boosting retail sales.
But, he added, "Suffice it to say that direct is a lot more profitable than retail."
Well!! For all those who agree that old age is a synonym to defused social life, here is study which says, elderly people who are active socially may delay or have a slower rate of memory loss.
Earlier, studies have suggested that an active social life may reduce the risk of dementia among elderly. Memory loss is a strong risk factor for dementia, which afflicts millions of elderly globally.
The researchers wanted to test whether memory loss could also be associated with social connectedness. "We hope this study adds to and advances our growing understanding of the important role that social forces play in shaping health," said Karen Ertel of Harvard School of Public Health, who led the study.
Ertel relied on data gathered from 1998 to 2004 from the Health and Retirement Study, which surveyed a large, nationally representative population of US adults 50 years and older.
Memory was assessed in 1998, 2000, 2002 and 2004 by reading a list of 10 common nouns to survey respondents, then asking them to recall as many words as possible immediately and after a five-minute delay. The results showed that individuals with the highest social integration had the slowest rate of memory decline from 1998 to 2004. In fact, memory decline among the most integrated was less than half the rate among the least integrated.
These findings were independent of socio-demographic factors (such as age, gender, and race) and health status.
The researchers found that the protective effect of social integration was largest among individuals with fewer than 12 years of education.
The study is slated to appear in the July issue of the American Journal of Public Health.
A mysterious call from Madurai inquiring about a bomb being planted at the Taj Mahal on Friday sent security personnel manning the monument of love into a tizzy.
ADG (law and order) Brij Lal said heavy frisking was done and CISF personnel alerted following the call received by Kalyan Singh of Lightpura locality in Agra on his mobile phone.
"The caller asked Singh whether the bomb has been planted in the Taj after informing that he had done the same in Tamil Nadu," Lal said.
When Singh asked who the caller was, the latter disconnected saying that it appeared to be a wrong number.
Singh immediately informed the police and later it was found the call was made from a PCO in Madurai.
The Tamil Nadu Police have been informed, Lal said.
Tata Motors on Wednesday warned of "challenging times ahead" and announced raising of Rs 7,200 crore through three simultaneous but unlinked rights issues to fund its ambitious takeover of Jaguar and Land Rover marques from Ford.
In a first of its kind in the country, the company will introduce shares with differential voting rights, called "A" equity share, in the proposed rights issue to raise Rs 2,000 crore. In this, every 10 "A" equity shares will carry only one voting right. Merchant banker sources said as "A" equity shares will not carry the similar voting rights, it will be traded at discount to the other common shares having full voting rights.
Another Rs 2,200 crore will be raised through normal rights issue of shares, having full voting rights. In the third issue, which will also hit the market simultaneously, the company proposed to Rs 3,000 crore through a rights issue of 5-year 0.5% convertible preference shares (CCPs), which can be optionally converted into "A" equity shares after three years but before five years from the date of allotment.
In a statement, the company said, the precise terms and condition like ratio on which these securities would be offered, the offer price and the conversion price would be decided only when the issues are ready.
However, Tata Motors also indicated that the issues would raise the equity capital of the company by 30-35% during the current financial year. This means, in the first two category of rights issue, the company is likely to issue 11.5 crore to 13.5 crore shares. Out of this, around 5 crore to 6 crore shares with full voting rights, will be issued at around Rs 400 per share to raise Rs 2,200 crore. At the same time, 6 crore to 7 crore "A" equity share will be issued at around Rs 300 per share to raise Rs 2,000 crore.
As the company has announced Rs 15 per share as dividend, the cost of funds raised through "A" share will be around 5% only. The merchant banker said it is an efficient way of raising funds. "On completion of the above rights issues, it is also proposed to raise about $500/600 million through issue of securities in the foreign markets on terms to be decided at that time," it said.
The company's $2.3 billion acquisition of the two British brands is expected to be completed by the end of June. "Though the initial acquisition cost will be financed through bridging loans provided by a syndicate of banks, these loans would be fully repaid through the above-mentioned capital raising schemes," it said.
A decision on raising retail fuel prices and partly compensating revenue losses of oil firms will be taken by Saturday, even as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh assessed the problems caused by the spike in crude prices.
"Hopefully, by day after tomorrow, we will have a solution," Petroleum Minister Murli Deora told reporters after a meeting with the Prime Minister and key ministers.
A meeting of the Cabinet, which was to have taken up the matter today, has been postponed, he said.
Any hike in prices would be accompanied by a duty rejig to help state-run oil companies curtail revenue losses that are pegged at Rs 225,000 crore for this fiscal on account of crude prices touching a record level in the global market.
"The Prime Minister and Finance Minister saw papers of revenue losses and the price increase in the international market. They realised very much that we need to help (PSU oil companies) on a war-footing," Deora said.
Singh would also discuss the issue with Congress president and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, the Petroleum Minister said, adding that these decisions (price hike) were outside his jurisdiction.
The Petroleum Ministry has been pushing for a combination of duty cuts and price hike (Rs 10 per litre in petrol, Rs 5 a litre in diesel and Rs 50 per LPG cylinder) to bail out PSUs IOC, HPCL and BPCL that are on the verge of running out of cash in the next 2-3 months to import crude.
"Some things have been agreed at today's meeting, but I cannot say what the Cabinet will decide," Deora said after the meeting that was attended by External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Finance Minister P Chidambaram, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia and Prime Minister's Principal Secretary T K Nair.
A laptop has gradually assumed the role of a mobile office and a pocket diary that is a custodian of one's personal and professional profile. Sometimes, due to a technical or mechanical mishap, the Laptop becomes the villain of one's life by going dead and all of a sudden one feels as if one's life line has been disconnected. Unfortunately, when the laptop goes dead and silent there's a lot more that goes dead and quiet along with it. It is at such times that one can't wait to bring it back to life and regain access to all the information stored in it. Every second that passes following a data loss means time and money. It is only after retrieval of data that one can resume one's work and other activities since admittedly, these machines have become the focal point of one's existence. Data recovery is the process of retrieving computer data that, for any number of reasons, has become inaccessible using normal methods. Data Recovery specialists help one quickly determine which data recovery approach is the best for one's situation.
Fortunately, it is now possible to recover 99% of the data stored in a laptop all within the space of 24-48 hours. The Laptop being a much smaller machine compared to a regular PC, its Drives are very small in comparison to Desktop Drives and the internal mechanics too are miniature versions of their desktop counterparts. All the more reason then, that as soon as your laptop makes whining protesting sounds and throws up messages that spell trouble, it's the right time to call in the experts, and Laptop Data Recovery experts specialists at that. A host of agencies now offers a complete solution for disk diagnostic, data recovery, and file repair needs.
Usually the Laptop Hard Drive is sent via a suitable postage service to a designated agent after prior online consultations. Thereafter the drive is examined and on identifying the problem, an estimate of the level of data/recovery that can be attained is drawn up and communicated to the client. The data is then recovered and copied on to CD-ROM, DVD or another Hard Drive and optionally, one's hard drive can be rebuilt with a specified operating/media system and the recovered data. The entire exercise takes not more than 48 hours.
Websites that are dedicated to finding solutions to Laptop Data Recovery problems are staffed with specialist engineers who constantly upgrade their knowledge base and continue to produce ground-breaking solutions.
If you look at books, movies or video games in the genre of fantasy, you will see that they are always set in an incredible complex world. The author, or authors, has to create a realistic universe with it's own life system in it. These universes have their own set of rules that the have to abide to. There will also be strange races and classes of people that are governed by their own system and often magic has a place in these worlds as well. If you take a look at the complexity of these books,movies and games you will understand that it takes a lot of work to realize these things.
And looking at World of Warcraft you will see that it is not very different from any of the other fantasy movies, books or games. Once you enter World of Warcraft you become part of a complex land and when you are hooked you will have a difficult time cutting yourself loose again. You can not call this game shallow because if it was there wouldn't be so many players around the world playing this game. If you look closely you will discover that the theme of World of Warcraft follows the universal rules of this fantasy genre. It is because of these rules that the game is very attractive for a lot of people who see the beauty of it.
Playing for the sake of playing
It is the World of Warcraft theme that attracts players to the game. The thing that makes this game unique is the large background that was created and developed specificly for it with the addition of the expansion packs. Okay, so the rules that are followed are rahter universal and the type of game is not unique as well, but the way the rules are applied and the story is written and played is what makes it stand out and have people talking and writting about it.
Azeroth is what the games theme is based in. There are other worlds, but Azeroth is where most of the action takes place, it is also where many of the races originate from. You can explore most of the thirteen continents and islands in this world, some more friendly than others.
Of course other fantasy rules are also applied to the game apart from the world you walk in. Creatures, magic, factions, classes, it is all there. Things like dragons, ogres gnomes and other fantasy creatures roam Azeroth. And in the game there is the battle between good and evil, which is played out by the Horde and the Alliance. The fun is that as a game player you can choose if you want to be good or evil.
So you see, World of Warcraft follows a theme with a set of rules seen in many fantasy games, books and movies. But still it is very unique and attracts a lot of gamers around the world. It is the storyline that gives it this uniqueness.
Nitrogen and phosphorus, two of the most dissimilar non-metallic elements, are in the same group (14).While nitrogen is very uncreative phosphorous is very reactive. The discovery of phosphorous by the German Alchemist, Henning Brand in 1669 provided the most interesting saga of the members of this group. His discovery occurred by an accident during investigation of urine which was a favorite topic of research in the 17th century as people were in such of gold and believed that anything gold- colored, such as urine, had to contain gold. When Brand fermented urine and distilled the product he obtained a white waxy, flammable solid with a low melting point (white phosphorous).
Today we may not realize the significance of discovery of phosphorous and importance of routes for its extraction from phosphate rocks, but in 1833, when pocket butane lighters and other handy ways and materials were not available for generating flames and people used to get its nominal amount from buckets of urine, its discovery was a major break through when people were delighted to find an easy route for production of fire by using white phosphorous matches. However, this comfort and convenience came at a horrendous human cost, because white phosphorus is extremely toxic and the young women who worked in match factories used to die in staggering numbers due to phosphorous poisoning. This occupational hazard manifested itself as "Phossy Jaw" a disintegration of the lower jaw, followed by an agonizing death.
The British Industrial Chemist Arthur Albright, a kind hearted man, had been troubled by the enormous number of deaths and related agonies due to toxicity of white phosphorous in his match factory and was struggling to find some safer substitutes/ forms of phosphorus. Fortunately in 1845 the air stable and non-toxic red phosphorous was shown to be chemically identical to while phosphorous. Having learned of this safer allotrope, Albright determined to produce matches bearing red phosphorous. But he noticed another problem as mixing the inert red phosphorous with an oxidizing agent gave an instant explosion.
Prizes were offered for the development of a safe match, and finally in 1848, some now unknown genius proposed to put half the ingredients on the match tip and the remainder on a strip attached to the matchbox. Only when the two substances were brought into contact ignition of the match head occur. This was a peculiar example of science and technology moving forward together.
In spite of the prevalence of cheap butane lighters, match consumption is enormous even today. The modern safety match depends on a chemical reaction between the match head and the strip on the match box. The head of the match is mostly potassium chlorates KClO3, an oxidizing agent, and the strip contains red phosphorous and antimony sulfide Sb2S3, both of which oxidize very exothermically when brought in contact with the potassium chlorate.
Nowadays in addition to the safety match, there is also the 'strike-anywhere' match in which the two chemical components, the oxidizing agent (potassium chlorate) and the reducing agent (tetra phosphorous trisulphide are mixed in the match head and any source of friction, such as the glass-paper strip on the match box or a brick wall, can provide the activation energy necessary to start the reaction.
Samsung Electronics Co, the world's largest computer chip maker, said it has developed a new solid-state drive which is expected to replace hard disk drives in laptop computers.
Samsung said its 256-gigabyte solid state drive (SSD) for data storage is 2.4 times faster than traditional hard drives. The company plans to begin production of SSDs this year.
The new SSD "represents a bold step in the shift to notebooks with significantly improved performance and larger storage capacities," the company said in a statement.
Samsung described the new SSD, 2.5 inches long and 9.5 millimeters thick, as the worlds smallest of its kind. It can read up to 200 megabytes of data per second.
It said, citing market research agency iSuppli, that 35 percent of notebook computers would use the SSD by 2012.
In five years, 1.7 million jobs in Information Technology (IT) sector in India will move out of tier 1 cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore and Hyderabad, to tier 2 cities, Siddhartha Bhattacharya, Infopark's chief executive officer, said.
Bhattacharya was speaking at a discussion organised by The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE), a global not-for-profit organization promoting entrepreneurship.
Infopark at Kochi is a state government-owned IT Park.
It is the better quality of life and lower operating cost that are attracting the IT companies to these cities, he said quoting research reports.
He said among the upcoming IT destinations, Kochi has many inherent advantages.
"The data transmission cost from Kochi is low. Seventy-five per cent of the country's data traffic goes out from Kochi. VSNL has a 15 GB gateway here. The electricity and water tariffs are one of the lowest among all the states. Compared to Bangalore, house rent is low in Kochi. The attrition rates in IT companies are below 10 per cent."
At present around 40 companies in the Infopark employ around 7,000 people. "In next four years we expect the number of companies to go up seven to eight times."
He said that Kerala has the highest density of IT and science professionals.
"The state's infrastructure is pretty strong, especially in telecommunication sector," he added.
Infopark is in the process of coming out with a dedicated incubator to help start up companies.
"This is an early life support system for start ups. We will help them with issues like government clearance, finance and also help them expand," he added.
Finish cell phone maker, Nokia, has launched two new entry-level mobile phones, Nokia 2600 and Nokia 1209, in the Indian market.
Nokia 2600 classic allows users to customise their phone with colorful, fully changeable Xpress-on covers and MP3 ring tones.
It comes with integrated FM radio and a VGA camera. Also, the handset supports MMS and Nokia Xpress Audio Messaging for recording and editing messages.
Nokia 1209 comes with cost-tracking application, one-piece key-mat, power saver mode and multiple phone book that allows users to store nearly 200 numbers.
"Nokia is consistently working towards understanding consumer needs and aspirations and bringing out devices that fulfill these requirements," said Devinder Kishore Director, Marketing, Nokia India.
Nokia 2600 Classic and Nokia 1209 will be available for Rs 3539 and Rs 1789 respectively.
Running a business requires the ability to process credit cards. Without it, many of your customers won't make the critical decision to purchase. But, processing credit cards can be confusing to the uninitiated. There are several methods through which the processing is executed. Choosing the method that makes sense for your business is largely a matter of understanding how each methods works. Below, we'll give you an overview of the many methods available to you for processing credit cards transactions.
Credit Card Terminal
These small black machines litter the landscape of the traditional marketplace. Millions of stores use them to process credit card transactions. Typically, a customer's credit card is swiped through a thin trench on the box. This allows the terminal to read the magnetic strip on the card. Then, it uses a modem to contact the card's issuing bank to receive authorization for the requested charge amount.
The industry that supports and promotes credit card terminals to businesses is rife with hidden fees and contractual blind spots. Though a terminal may be a perfect fit for your business, be wary as your search for the best deal.
Automated Response Unit
Often, it's necessary for businesses to accept credit card payments from customers who order by phone. An Automated Response Unit (ARU) is used to allow customers to enter their card information using the buttons on their touch tone phone. An ARU can be a good option for those businesses who want to avoid the cost of implementing a credit card terminal.
Merchants who need to process credit card transactions online can do so by using a payment gateway. Once a customer's card information has been entered on a website, it is encrypted and forwarded to the card's issuing bank. The issuing bank responds by either approving or declining the charge request. This response travels the same route as the initial request, passing through the gateway. Eventually, the response is delivered to the website and the appropriate action is delivered to the customer. The process from the initial request to the website's action only takes a few seconds.
Tiered-Level Purchasing Cards
Purchasing cards were designed specifically to be used by businesses (or various government agencies) for the purpose of paying their suppliers or service providers. Many companies find "P-cards" convenient because they allow for higher-volume purchase orders without the processing work that conventional purchasing methods entail. A corporation may purchase thousands of items during its fiscal year. Paying suppliers usually requires an immense amount of paperwork and administration, often delaying payments. P-cards relieve much of that workload.
It's worth noting that the fees associated with accepting payments from these cards can be exorbitant. However, a business can significantly lower those fees by providing "level 2 or level 3 data" about the transactions.
A merchant account is an arrangement between a business and a financial institution that agrees to accept credit card payments on the business's behalf. In effect, a bank provides the business with a line of credit. Merchant accounts carry many of the same inherent risks for the bank as a conventional line of credit. As a result, they often place limitations on which merchants are approved.
Merchant accounts are offered to businesses by banks or agents (called ISO/MSPs) who are sponsored by banks. Most small businesses acquire merchant accounts through the agents because the approval process is often easier and smoother. Plus, many of these agents can provide additional services that can be valuable to small businesses.
Choosing A Credit Card Processing Method For Your Business
Deciding on which method of processing credit cards makes the most sense for your business isn't easy. Not only are there several from which to choose, but there can be hidden fees and charges that can ambush someone who isn't familiar with the industry. Take the time to analyze the needs and budget of your business. There is a solution that can be a perfect match. Identifying that solution requires that you research all of your options.
On the 14th of September 2006, Nintendo made the announcement of the release information for the Wii for North America, Japan, South America, Europe, Australasia and Asia, including the prices, dates, and all of the unit distribution projected numbers. It was also announced that most of the shipments of Wii's for two thousand and six were going to be allotted mainly to North and South America, and that there would be thirty three titles available within the 2006 launch window.
When the Nintendo Wii was released on the 8th of December, 2006, the United Kingdom really suffered a huge shortage of the Wii console units because many of the online stores and high-street stores weren't able to fulfill all of the pre-orders. Some of the stores within the United Kingdom still had a shortage of the Wii gaming consoles as of March of two thousand and seven, and as of June of two thousand and seven, the demand for the Wii gaming console still outpaced the supply within the United States.
Nintendo Wii's System Sales
Since the Wii was launched, the numbers related to monthly sales of the Wii gaming console have been a lot higher than that of its competitors all around the world. During the first half of two thousand and seven, there were more units of Nintendo Wii's sold within the United States than the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360 combined. The lead present within the United States is larger than the lead within the Japanese market, where it is currently leading in total sales.
The Demographic Wii
Nintendo has one main objective with the Wii and that is to target a demographic that is much wider than that of its other competitors within the seventh generation. During a press conference that was held for Dragon Quest IX, an upcoming game for Nintendo DS, Satoru Iwata made the comment that they weren't considering fighting with Sony about the amount of people that they are able to get to play games. Later, the statement was made that Nintendo wasn't thinking solely on consoles, portable systems and things of that nature but instead, they were focusing on getting new people playing the games.
You can see this reflected through the series of different television advertisements that Nintendo has within North America that are directed by Stephen Gaghan, an Academy Award winner, along with internet advertisements. The slogans that were used for the ads were "Experience a new way to play" and "Wii would like to play". All of these ads ran beginning on the 15th of November, 20006 and they had a total budget that consisted of well over two hundred million dollars throughout the entire year.
All of these productions are the first advertising strategies that are broad based that Nintendo has put forth and they include a video clip of two minutes which shows a variety of people that are enjoying playing the Wii system, like country ranchers, urban-apartment dwellers, parents and their children as well as grandparents. In the ads, the music that you hear is from "Kodo" the song which is done by the Yoshida Brothers. The Wii is supposed to appeal to everyone and that is want all of the advertisements for the Wii are promoting. As stated earlier, the main objective for the Wii is to get new people playing the Wii gaming system. According to the latest information, Wii has surpassed that goal.
The repair guides for the Xbox 360 are quiet popular and there are definitely some very good reasons for this particular state of affairs. The main reason that the Xbox 360 repair guides are so popular is because they empower the users of the Xbox 360 to repair their own console at prices that are much lower than what the Microsoft Company would charge. However, popularity doesn't necessarily always mean quality. There are several repair guides for the Xbox 360 that are on the market and sadly there are some that are basically pure scam, because they are made specifically to make the users have to pay for a value that they are never going to get. So if you were put into a situation like this, how you know which one you would like to choose.
In all actuality, it is extremely hard to say. A purchase that is good is always a result of several different factors which includes the trust you have within the brand as well as your ability to check the quality, take into consideration the other recommendations made by the buyer, instinct and the user's reviews. Most of the repair guides for the Xbox 360 don't come with the feature of search inside, you are going to either have to trust your basic instinct or you are going to have to perform an online research in order to see exactly what type of literature you are able to located online, with the actual help of the search engine that are related to the book that you desire to purchase. Since the Xbox 360 is so popular, there is sure to be enough literature available out there on the Xbox 360 that you will be able to find all of the information.
When looking for Xbox user repair guides and the search engines don't seem to be of any help, you can always take the time to visit the Xbox 360 forum and ask the other users. You should be careful though because there are many people out there that are answering your questions that are disguised as innocent users when in all actuality, they are trying to sell you the Xbox repair guide.
So how can you distinguish a scammer from an honest seller? Even though, it isn't all that simple, all you have to do is the same exact things that you do when you purchase everything else. Take the time to check out the customer support and the seller, check to see if there is a refund policy and make absolutely sure that they have use all of the secure payment options. Purchasing an Xbox 360 user guide isn't just the same as going into Wal-Mart purchasing something.
You have to make sure that the user guide for the Xbox 360 really exists and then you have to make sure that you are receiving the Xbox 360 user guide from a reliable source.
With the unveiling of the Xbox 360, there came a lot of commotion. The Xbox 360 was viewed as everyone's dream machine and in all actuality, the Xbox 360 was. Even though there have been a couple of complaints along the way, the Xbox 360 has still proven to withstand the test of time.
Overall, you should purchase your Xbox 360 and get your Xbox 360 user guide and after that it is up to you to decide your fate within the world of gaming.
Oil India Limited, an Oil PSU, has recently signed Exploration and Production Sharing Agreement with the National Oil Corporation (NOC) of Libya, along with its consortium partners Sonatrach, the National Oil Company of Algeria and another Oil PSU, Indian Oil Corporation to acquire four exploration blocks in Libya.
The agreement covers contract area 95-96 in Ghadames basin and comprises of a total of four blocks, one block within 95 (2) and three blocks within 96 (1 2 and 4).
M. R. Pasrija Chairman and Managing Director of Oil India Limited along with the executives of the other companies of the Consortium signed the agreement on May 25 at Tripoli, Libya in the presence of Dr. Chakib Khelil, Minister of Energy and Mines, Republic of Algeria.
Dr. Shokri Mohamed Ghanem, NOC Chairman, signed the agreement on behalf of NOC, Libya.
NOC Management Committee Members and the Ambassadors of Algeria and India attended the signature ceremony.
These blocks have a total area of 6,934 square kilometers in the south-western part of Libya around 700 kilometers from Tripoli adjoining the Algeria border which the Consortium won in the Public Bid Round four for gas exploration, held on December 9 last year.
Estimated reserves from the identified prospects indicated more than 2.0 Tcf gas and 95 MMbbl condensate with possible oil considered as an upside. Overall, the block with fair amount of seismic coverage, drilled wells, inside discoveries and proximal fields is a very prospective venture.
The surface terrain is desert with production infrastructures available towards northwestern side, outside the offered area.
The Consortium is committed to a minimum work program of 2000 kilometers of 2D, 2600 kilometers of 3D and eight exploration wells, at an estimate cost of 152 million dollars.
Geological setting of the area is the southwestern part of Ghadames sedimentary basin, one of the major Paleozoic tectonic units of the country extending to Algeria in west and Tunisia towards north.
Mapping has identified as a number of large prospects towards west and northwest and moderate sized prospects towards east, central, south and southeast of the area.
The prospects mapped are identified at all the Paleozoic (Ordovician-Devonian) levels with confidence. Due to the paucity of seismic data, the interpretation towards the eastern part is constrained.
The consortium won the blocks against stiff competition from several oil majors, including Gaz de France (with JAPEX and Lundin), Poliskie, British Gas and RWA.
Scientists at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine have announced that a monkey in their experiments has been successful in moving a robotic arm to feed itself marshmallows and chunks of fruit by using signals from its brain.
The researchers revealed that the monkey performed this task as its arms were restrained for the restrained.
Explaining the significance of their study, the researchers said that it might benefit development of prosthetics for people with spinal cord injuries, and those with "locked-in" conditions like Lou Gehrig's disease or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
"Our immediate goal is to make a prosthetic device for people with total paralysis. Ultimately, our goal is to better understand brain complexity," Nature magazine quoted Dr. Andrew Schwartz, senior author and professor of neurobiology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, as saying.
"Now we are beginning to understand how the brain works using brain-machine interface technology. The more we understand about the brain, the better we'll be able to treat a wide range of brain disorders, everything from Parkinson's disease and paralysis to, eventually, Alzheimer's disease and perhaps even mental illness," added Dr. Schwartz.
The researcher revealed that the technology is based on computer software that interprets signals picked up by probes the width of a human hair.
He revealed that the probes were inserted into neuronal pathways in the monkey's motor cortex, a brain region where voluntary movement originates as electrical impulses, during the study.
Dr. Schwatz said that the software programmed with a mathematic algorithm evaluated the neurons' collective activity, and then sent it to the arm, he added.
As a result, he added, the arm carried out the actions the monkey intended to perform with its own limb.
He said that the movements were fluid and natural, and that the monkey was found to regard the robotic device as part of its own body.
"In our research, we've demonstrated a higher level of precision, skill and learning," explained Dr. Schwartz.
"The monkey learns by first observing the movement, which activates his brain cells as if he were doing it. It's a lot like sports training, where trainers have athletes first imagine that they are performing the movements they desire," he added.
Scientists at Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) have developed a novel measuring procedure that may aid in the detailed investigation of the behaviour of magnetic nanoparticles, used in cancer therapy.
These days, magnetic nanoparticles (with a size of some few to several hundred nanometres) act as a promising way in combating cancer by acting as a carrier for drugs. The nanoparticles are first loaded" with the drugs and then are released into the blood stream, where they move until they come under the influence of a targeting magnetic field which holds them on to the tumour - until the drug has released its active agent.
In addition to its pharmaceutical effect, they also have a physical action, i.e. an electromagnetic a.c. field heats up the accumulated particles so much that they destroy the tumour. Both therapeutic concepts have the advantage of largely avoiding undesired side effects on the healthy tissue.
In fact, these procedures have already been successfully been applied in the animal model and have already been tested partly on patients. However, one should know before application, if the particles tend to aggregate and thus having the probability to occlude blood vessels.
One can get information about this by magnetorelaxometry developed at the PTB. In this procedure, the particles are shortly magnetised by a strong magnetic field in order to measure their relaxation after the switch-off of the field by means of superconducting quantum interferometers, so-called "SQUIDs".
It is possible to conclude about aggregation behaviour in these media by analysing measurements of suspensions of nanoparticles in the serum or in whole blood. For instance, it could be shown in this way that certain nanoparticles in the blood serum form clusters with a diameter of up to 200 nm - a clear indication of aggregation, so that these nanoparticles do not appear to be suitable for therapy
Currently, the high technical effort linked with the use of helium-cooled magnetic field sensors hampers the way of using this method routinely in practice.
The procedure is currently being transferred to a simpler technology based on fluxgate magnetometers in a joint project with Braunschweig Technical University supported by the Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).
The results of the first orders from customers have served, for example, to optimise the paint drying process in the automobile industry, the thermal design of furnaces as well as the monitoring of glass forming processes.
And now, one more measuring facility is being set up in the PTB which will allow emissivity measurements to be performed under vacuum conditions in an extended temperature and wavelength range - particularly for space applications.
It's like moving from "Musharraf time" to "Zardari time", says a retired government official as Pakistan adopts Daylight Saving Time (DST) on June 1 and advances the clock by an hour.
According to a government notification, the country will advance its time on the first day of the next month and will be six hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) instead of the present five hours.
DST is being introduced to reduce power consumption and maximise the use of daylight. During DST, the sun appears to rise one hour later in the morning, and sets an hour later in the evening, seeming to stretch the day longer.
The experiment with DST is not happening for the first time, as the military government of President Pervez Musharraf tried the same in 2002.
However, the scheme was not repeated the next year as millions of illiterate people, and those living in the rural areas, simply refused to advance their watches.
Even in the cities, the move led to many hilarious and confusing situations with some organisations and institutions following the DST system but anti-Musharraf groups still going by the "old time".
The innocuous question "What is the time?" would lead to another question, "In which system, real or Musharraf?" And now terms like "Zardari time" are already in circulation as he is the leader of the ruling Pakistan People's Party (PPP).
"This is rubbish...more than 40 percent people in the country still adjust their work plans according to the sun and they are never bothered about clocks," Hafeez Ahmed, a retired government employee, told IANS.
The decision was taken by the federal government to curtail power usage as Pakistan is facing a massive electricity shortfall of nearly 4,000-megawatt that is expected to increase in the summer season.
Scheduled power cuts of five to six hours in urban areas and 8-10 hours in rural areas are a way of life in most parts of the country.
"Adopting DST is illogical, it will create a lot of problems, especially for people who say prayers five times a day," says Umer Afridi, a prayer leader in Islamabad.
The midday prayers are usually at 1.00 p.m. throughout the year and Afridi thinks that it will create a huge confusion on the "correct" time to pray, especially among the elderly.
Attempts to adopt this system have been under way since 1994, when the then government decided to go for daylight saving. However, the cabinet decision was put off only a day before the scheduled day of implementation following suggestions that it may get too complicated.
The experts suggest that the system may be working in 80 countries but does not work in Pakistan as the government fails to educate the masses on the benefits - and the rationale - behind the move.
In order to justify the move officials are pointing out that a number of other Muslim countries like Iran, Turkey, Egypt and Syria also follow the system.
Officials, however, say at this stage the scheme is just experimental and being adopted just for one year, and a decision to continue with the system will be taken after assessing the pros and cons in October.
Nevertheless, it is certainly going to be an interesting experience for the people in Pakistan who are not used to this kind of change.
The Gujarat Government on Wednesday received a formal approval from the Central Government to set up Indian Institute of Technology in the state.
The state government has decided to make the IIT functional from the coming academic year, an official release quoting government spokesperson and Health minister Jaynarayan Vyas said.
The Central Human Resource Development Ministry had recently announced setting up of new IITs in which they had given nod to set up one in Gujarat.
IIT will provide a five-year B Tech degree programme with 40 seats each in three branches of engineering namely -- Mechanical, Chemical and Electrical, Vyas said.
At present, the IIT will be located in the Vishwakarma Government Engineering College campus at Chandkheda in Gandhinagar district where the necessary infrastructural support is already in place, he added.
Last year IIT-Mumbai had opened its extension center here which provides courses on developing skills in engineering education, he said.
The state government has already allotted land for the IIT-Gujarat in the Gandhinagar-Ahmedabad Knowledge Corridor, but till the consturction is completed, the IIT will function
Two officials of Tata Motors have been arrested in connection with the chlorine gas leakage from the water treatment plant of the company, which left about 180 people hospitalised.
Deputy General Manager of Tata Motors (Safety), Samir Kumar Ghatak and Water Treatment Plant Chief, B K Sarkar were arrested on charges of negligence on Wednesday night, Superintendent of Police Navin Kumar Singh on Thursday said.
The FIR was registered under Telco police station against ten officials including Ghatak and Sarkar under section 308, 338, 337, 278 and 284 IPC.
He said police had been investigating the matter and did not rule out the possibility of further arrests soon.
About 180 people, including company employees and their family members, were hospitalised after chlorine gas leaked from the cylinders reportedly left abandoned in the water treatment plant premises for the last 10 years.
Meanwhile, the General Manager of Telco hospital, M Roy said all patients, barring two, had been discharged yesterday. The two patients including a woman, who were kept under observation, would be discharged later in the day, he said.