This section allows you to view all posts made by this member. Note that you can only see posts made in areas you currently have access to.
Messages - arunkathir
Cisco announced the second generation of its Integrated Services Router, the ISR G2, a borderless networks architecture or a branch office platform optimized for video and virtualized services.
The Cisco ISR G2 helps businesses and service providers simplify and scale delivery of on-demand, networked business services like video and collaborative applications at branch offices.
It combines Cisco's routing, switching, wireless, and security technologies into a more tightly integrated networking infrastructure that allows businesses to embrace the growing use of video, collaborative applications, and other networked services and deliver them across their enterprises.
The Cisco ISR G2 portfolio is built on the company's 25-year routing heritage. It offers as much as five times the performance of its predecessor, the Cisco ISR, the industry's most widely deployed router with more than 7 million units sold since its introduction in 2004.
Business video: With business video adoption expected to climb to 77.6 percent by 2012 (Cisco VNI Research), and with video proven to play a key role in enabling business innovation and better customer service, the video-ready architecture and new video digital signal processors in the ISR G2 will be key to delivering medianet capabilities essential to the borderless networks experience.
Service virtualization with an "on-demand" service delivery: Borderless Networks solutions decouple hardware and software so that virtual services can be remotely deployed and managed. The ISR G2 implements this with the innovative Services-Ready Engine, which lets businesses dynamically deploy services in branches without costly onsite support. The ISR G2 Services Module comes with up to 1 terabyte of on-board storage, which is useful for video surveillance deployments, and supports up to seven times the performance of previous network modules.
Operational savings: The Borderless Networks architecture delivers Cisco EnergyWise across multiple platforms to enable organizations to better manage their power consumption and costs through increased visibility and policy-based controls. ISR G2 extends this capability to the branch office with a new family of integrated EnergyWise compliant switch modules and slot-based power control.
The borderless experience: The Borderless Networks architecture breaks down boundaries between location, device, and application. As applications and services are increasingly offered and consumed from beyond the enterprise perimeter, a new approach will be required. The ISR G2 enables sophisticated premise-based services while extending mobility, security, and performance to users, no matter where the user or application is located.
IT services firm HCL Technologies Ltd said on Wednesday it has tied up with Microsoft to provide retail banking solution to help banks in the Asia-Pacific.
The product will help address sales, marketing and services needs in retail banking, it said in a statement to the Bombay Stock Exchange.
At 10.24 a.m., HCL shares were up 4.13 percent at 323.1 rupees each in a flat Mumbai market.
HELSINKI, FINLAND: Top mobile phone maker Nokia Oyj on Friday announced changes to the management of its struggling phone businesses, a day after posting its worst-ever quarterly results.
Nokia said Rick Simonson, the company's chief financial officer since 2004, would head its new Mobile Phones unit, which would focus on cheaper models, starting in November, and global head of sales Timo Ihamuotila, who joined Nokia in 1993, would take over as CFO.
A Nokia spokesman said that Jo Harlow would move from global marketing to run its Smartphone business -- its other new phone entity in the Devices and Services group -- and John Martin from rival Apple would step in as head of Nokia's Mobile Computers business starting November.
"Mobile Phones remains the powerhouse of Nokia's business. It requires a steady hand on the tiller combined with operational excellence to ensure it remains a lean, mean phone-making-machine," said Ben Wood, analyst at CCS Insight, but added Smartphones was the firm's biggest challenge.
Nokia said that in his new role, Simonson would manage the portfolio of Series 30 and 40 devices, and head strategic sourcing of Devices.
"Rick Simonson's deep knowledge of the business and its financials will be valuable for the significant part Mobile Phones plays in Nokia's business," Nokia Chief Executive Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo said in a statement.
Nokia reported its weakest ever quarterly result on Thursday, with a net loss of 913 million euros ($1.36 billion) compared with a 1.06 billion profit the previous year.
It lost share in the high end of the cellphone market to rivals Apple and RIM and was hurt by a large writedown in its struggling networks unit.
"To split its mobile phone business seems like a good idea, with development in smartphones taking place at such a fast pace," said OP Pohjola analyst Hannu Rauhala.
"In Mobile Phones it's more about cost efficiency, sourcing and negotiating the best deals, so in that sense Simonson is a good a candidate as anyone."
SAN FRANCISCO, USA: Apple Inc is once again expected to top Wall Street's estimates when it unveils quarterly earnings next week, but it may have to beat by a lot to drive an already lofty share price higher.
The maker of the Mac, iPhone and iPod is on a roll: CEO Steve Jobs is back at the helm, its stock has more than doubled this year to within spitting distance of a record high, and it has smashed profit expectations two years running.
Now, analysts say one potential speed bump this quarter is the iPhone. Sales of the device that competes with Research in Motion's BlackBerry and Palm's Pre may look weaker in comparison to strong numbers a year ago, and may not be enough to satisfy the voracious hopes of some investors.
"The driver is if the iPhone keeps selling well," said Hudson Square Research analyst Daniel Ernst. He also noted that Mac sales, the largest single chunk of Apple's revenue, should be impressive.
"Mac is a huge part of the company and I think it's going to get better next year, so while there may be some risk in the iPhone sales for the quarter, people will take some solace in that the Mac sales are pretty strong."
Investors have grown accustomed to Apple crushing Wall Street estimates, so there are strong expectations for the company's fiscal fourth-quarter, which ended September. Nearly 20 analysts have lifted price targets since September.
"Expectations for Q4 are high going into FY Q4, and we would not be looking to make a big bet on the quarter," Sanford Bernstein analyst Toni Sacconaghi wrote in a recent research note, adding that Apple may not deliver a "blow-out" iPhone number.
Simply exceeding average expectations isn't guaranteed to please investors. IBM surpassed Wall Street forecasts for revenue and earnings slightly and raised its full-year outlook, but its shares slid 5 per cent on Friday. On the other hand, Google's shares rose 4 per cent after it beat by a wide margin.
Apple has bested consensus Wall Street EPS estimates in every quarter for the past two years, and beat on revenue every quarter save one.
That's why Apple detractors are tough to find, and many analysts argue the stock still has room to run. The company has handily outperformed competitors despite an economic downturn that was supposed to hurt sales of its expensive products, and unlike others it has not slashed costs to protect its bottom line.
With Jobs back in the driver's seat following half a year of medical leave -- during which time his lieutenants carried on -- thits stock is now nearing it all-time high of $202.96. But Apple's shares now trade at 32 times forward earnings, versus RIM's 16 times.
"People are expecting a beat, EPS numbers have climbed up over the last couple weeks," said Oppenheimer & Co analyst Yair Reiner. But for the top-line, "it depends on what happens with the iPhone."
Room to move
The company moved 6.9 million iPhones in the year-ago quarter, so it will be a tough comparison. Wall Street expects around 7.5 million units this quarter although some estimates are well below that.
In September, Apple reported sales of more than 30 million iPhones to date, which some analysts say translated into about 3.5 million so far for the quarter, meaning the company would have to pick up the pace to best the total from a year ago.
It launched its latest iPhone in June and sales have impressed, even as the company expands into new markets such as China. But some analysts say the company has had a hard time meeting demand in foreign locales.
Analysts are forecasting a net profit rise of 15 per cent, and sales to increase 17 per cent. They see a profit of $1.42 a share on $9.2 billion revenue, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Its gross margin is expected to hit 35.5 per cent.
Wall Street is expecting Mac sales of around 2.8 million units on good back-to-school sales, implying growth of around 7 per cent. But despite a recent refresh, analysts expect iPod units to fall 5 per cent-to-10 per cent from a year ago.
According to estimates by industry tracker IDC, Apple's U.S. shipments surged 11.8 per cent in the quarter, far outpacing the overall market.
Though Apple's stock is often volatile around its earnings, few people are betting against it. Short interest stands at under 2 per cent, compared with 32 per cent for Palm.
Analysts believe Apple shares can move higher in coming months. And a new product -- in the form of a rumored tablet device -- looms on the horizon.
One wrinkle is recently approved accounting rule changes that would allow Apple to record much more revenue from iPhones when they are sold, rather than over time.
Apple, which supported the rule change, will not say when it would move to adopt the new standard, but many analysts expect it to see the change take effect from the December quarter, its first of fiscal 2010.
Still, it has been reporting non-GAAP results to provide a better picture of sales and profit, and analysts say investors have already been valuing the company by that metric.
Shares of Cupertino, California-based Apple fell 1.3 per cent to close at $188.05 on Nasdaq, in line with the market's decline.
SCOTTSDALE, USA: Microsoft Corp's first store looks ready to open in an upscale Phoenix valley city in the next few days, as the software maker takes its first step in trying to match rival Apple Inc's successful venture into retail.
Expectations are running high that its first store, in the Fashion Square Mall in Scottsdale, Arizona, will open next week, to coincide with the launch of Microsoft's new Windows 7 operating system next Thursday.
The site is still boarded up, but a peek through an open door reveals lights and shelving all ready for customers and a large, flat-screen display running along the walls.
Microsoft has so far been coy about its retail plans and a company spokeswoman would not officially pin down an opening date beyond "the fall."
Chief executive Steve Ballmer teased reporters with an imminent opening on Friday, but also would not commit to a date.
"We'll open a couple of stores, try to improve, open a couple more stores," Ballmer said at a public appearance in downtown Boston.
"It's very important for us to have a direct connection with the user," said Ballmer, talking about the planned stores, which he said will be important for "showing the customer what you really can do."
Microsoft unveiled its plan to open stores in February, in emulation of Apple, hiring a former Wal-Mart Stores Inc executive to run them.
In July, Microsoft's chief operating officer said the company would open up stores "right next door" to Apple stores. The nearest Apple store to Scottsdale is several miles away in Phoenix.
SAN FRANCISCO, USA: Google Inc's growth machine is back in gear. The world's No. 1 search engine not only posted higher-than-expected third-quarter profits and revenues, but also said it was looking for major acquisitions and could buy a large company "maybe every year or two."
"We're open for business in making strategic acquisitions, both large and small," Google CEO Eric Schmidt told analysts on a conference call.
Google executives said large advertisers were more eager to spend on search ads in the third quarter and consumers shopped more online, helping the Internet company notch its strongest quarter-on-quarter revenue growth since 2007's final quarter, underscoring improving economic conditions.
Shares of Google, which have surged more than 80 per cent since mid-March, rose 3.2 per cent to $547.00 following the earnings report, after closing down 1 per cent at $529.91 on Nasdaq on Thursday.
"It's a reflection of the fact that there's a lot more economic activity going on on the Internet," said Sanford Bernstein analyst Jeff Lindsay.
Google was widely expected to be one of the biggest, early beneficiaries of an economic recovery, thanks to its dominance of the online search market, whose growth has slowed as recession-hit companies cut back on advertising spending.
It said both the amount of money that advertisers pay for the text ads that appear alongside search results as well as the number of clicks on those ads by Web surfers increased quarter-over-quarter.
Google also made headway in some of its other business initiatives, although they have yet to pay off the way its search advertising business has.
Finance Chief Patrick Pichette said the company was monetizing more than 1 billion video views a week on YouTube, the popular video site that Google bought for $1.65 billion in 2006. He reiterated comments made last quarter that YouTube was on track to become profitable in the "not too distant future."
And executives said searches on mobile devices, like smartphones, increased 30 per cent quarter over quarter, though they declined to offer details about how mobile ad rates compared with rates for ads in the standard search engine.
Eye on costs
Google's results come as Microsoft steps up efforts to challenge Google's search dominance with a revamped search engine, dubbed Bing, and a recently announced search deal with Yahoo that has yet to close.
But Brigantine Advisors analyst Colin Gillis said Google's third-quarter results showed that Google - whose share of the U.S. search market is about 65 per cent, according to comScore - was not under any immediate threat. Yahoo is a distant second with an 18.8 per cent market share.
"Google has no competition. Yahoo is withering on the vine and Bing is too tiny now," said Colin Gillis, senior analyst at Brigantine Advisors.
Google's net revenue in the third quarter - excluding traffic acquisition costs, or the money that Google shares with partners - rose 8.5 per cent from a year earlier to $4.38 billion, beating the $4.24 billion expected by analysts.
Net revenue also grew quarter-on-quarter for the first time this year, after being roughly flat in the second quarter and falling for the first time ever in the first quarter.
Net income was $1.64 billion, or $5.13 a share, compared with $1.29 billion, or $4.06 per share, a year earlier, thanks in part to ongoing cost controls at the Mountain View, California company.
Excluding special items, profit per share was $5.89, beating the $5.42 expected by analysts, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
But some analysts sounded a note of caution about Google's spending going forward.
"The only thing making investors cautious is that Schmidt mentioned investing heavily on our future," said RBC Capital Markets analyst Ross Sandler.
Schmidt had told Reuters in September that Google expects to buy one small company a month as it starts up its dealmaking machine again after a breather during the worst period of the financial crisis.
He said on Thursday that any large deals would need to have a significant strategic rationale, such as accelerating revenue or providing access to a "major, major" pool of customers that Google cannot currently reach.
Besides acquisitions, Google plans to step up hiring of engineers and salespeople as well as invest in new projects as its business improves and worries about the economy recede.
"We are short key technology talent to achieve some of these broader initiatives," Schmidt said.
NEW YORK, USA: IBM raised its full-year outlook and reported higher-than-expected quarterly profit on Thursday as its growing focus on higher-margin software and services helped it cope with weak technology spending.
International Business Machines Corp still failed to satisfy investors, whose expectations had risen along with a 24 per cent rise in the shares over the past three months. A drop in service contract numbers, an indication of future sales, also worried Wall Street.
"I think people had expected a bigger upside," said Kim Caughey, an analyst with Fort Pitt Capital. "If you are someone who follows technology closely, the third quarter isn't a strong quarter -- so that they beat at all, I'm happy."
Indeed, IBM reported third-quarter net profit rose to $3.2 billion, or $2.40 a share, from $2.8 billion, or $2.04 a share, a year earlier. Analysts on average expected a profit of $2.38 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Revenue fell 7 per cent from a year earlier to $23.6 billion, but it rose 1 per cent from the previous quarter and was better than Wall Street's forecast of $23.4 billion.
IBM forecast a return to revenue growth in the fourth quarter and said it was ahead of pace to achieve its target earnings of $10 to $11 per share in 2010.
Total gross profit margin rose to 45.1 per cent from 43.3 per cent a year earlier.
One concern among investors was that service contract signings fell 7 per cent $11.8 billion. Such signings are an indicator of long-term sales.
Despite that decline, Frost & Sullivan analyst Ronald Gruia said, IBM's results were positive and investors were likely taking profits.
"Sometimes there are ups and downs," he said. "I think it's mostly 'sell on the news'-type stuff."
For its part, IBM said the decline in services reflected a weak business environment, but conditions were stabilizing, particularly in credit markets.
"What we see more broadly I think is some stabilization in the economic environment," Chief Financial Officer Mark Loughridge told analysts on a conference call.
"You remember last time at this point in time, we were talking about -- questions like, do you have commercial paper or do you have a financing business? We are certainly through those kinds of questions."
IBM has managed to escape the worst of the tech downturn of the past year by shifting more of its sales from servers to software and services in outsourcing, automation and technology support -- areas that have remained relatively strong as companies seek ways to cut costs.
"Corporate spending is very much starting to show some rebound," said Keith Wirtz, president and chief investment officer at Fifth Third Asset Management.
"As we look at the tech space, we think the general tone in this reporting cycle and for the next several quarters will be better than expected."
IBM shares, which had risen on hopes of a recovery in technology spending, fell 3.88 per cent to $123.01 in extended trading after closing at $127.98 on the New York Stock Exchange.
That was in contrast to a 3.1 per cent gain in the shares of Google Inc, which also announced better-than-expected third quarter profit and revenue on Thursday.
NEW YORK, USA: Microsoft Corp said on Thursday it has recovered most of the data feared lost by users of its Sidekick mobile phone, following a Microsoft server computer failure.
Data such as contacts, photos and calendar entries saved on the phones and remotely at Microsoft's servers was originally thought to be destroyed, according to T-Mobile USA, a unit of Deutsche Telekom, the U.S. carrier for the handset.
"We are pleased to report that we have recovered most, if not all, customer data for those Sidekick customers whose data was affected by the recent outage," Microsoft executive Roz Ho said in a statement.
Microsoft plans to begin restoring users' personal data "as soon as possible," the company said, adding it now thinks that only a minority of Sidekick users were hit by the data loss.
The problem was caused by a server failure that hurt Microsoft's main and backup databases supporting Sidekick.
The glitch hit as technology companies are increasingly looking to convince customers to use remote storage services to back up their data, and at a time when Microsoft is fighting to gain ground in the market for smartphones.
SAN FRANCISCO, USA: Amazon.com Inc said on Thursday it was launching same-day delivery service in seven cities as the online retailer looks to win sales from last-minute shoppers this holiday season.
Amazon said "Local Express Delivery" will offer customers same-day delivery in New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Baltimore, Las Vegas, Seattle and Washington, D.C. for $5.99.
That price applies only to Amazon Prime members, who pay a $79 yearly fee for free shipping from the online site. For a non-Prime customer, the price could be as high as $18.99 to ship a computer or a piece of luggage, for example.
The service will be extended to Chicago, Indianapolis and Phoenix in the coming months, Amazon said. It will be a permanent service from the retailer that will continue after the holidays.
"If a customer needs a last-minute present for a birthday or wants a copy of their book club book before the weekend starts, they can order from Amazon instead of the hassle of a last-minute trip to the mall," Girish Lakshman, Amazon's vice president of transportation, said in a statement.
The company will use the courier services Dynamex Inc and A1 for its same-day needs, Amazon said.
Ed Weller, an analyst with ThinkEquity, said the new service "removes yet another barrier to closing the sale" for Amazon, which has outpaced rivals in the difficult spending environment.
"It will surely contribute something incremental to sales, especially around holidays," wrote Weller in a note, adding that the $5.99 price for Amazon Prime members seems intended to drive membership to that yearly service.
Amazon is also expanding its Saturday delivery options. Items ordered before the cut-off time on Thursday using two-day shipping will be delivered on Saturday instead of Monday. Amazon Prime members will pay $6.99 for the service, with an additional cost for non-Prime members.
The Seattle-based online retailer reports third-quarter results next week.
Shares of the company were down 1.6 percent at $95.90 in early afternoon trading.
PALO ALTO, USA: Facebook's chief operating officer said the social networking company was targeting a bigger ad market than the search ad market that has made Google Inc rich.
Sheryl Sandberg also told a group of high-tech specialists on Thursday that revenues were growing so fast at privately held Facebook that it turned cash positive recently, instead of in 2010 as predicted earlier this year.
A member of the board told Reuters the company was on target to bring in revenue of $500 million this year. Sandberg gave no numbers that would update that figure.
Sandberg, who has long fought the perception Facebook lacked a revenue model, laid out a gameplan to turn the company into a cash machine by describing how the company aimed to bring in revenues from novel ads aimed at its 300 million users.
She sai advertising was a "funnel" that starts at the top by engaging many people and creating demand, then getting to the bottom where a select group bought a product.
Google does a better job than any other company in advertising to people who are at the bottom of the funnel and know what they want, and are searching to buy it, she said hours after Google reported third quarter net revenue of $4.38 billion, beating analysts expectations.
"If you look at global ad spend its about a $640 billion annual business ... It's 10 percent demand fulfilment," which is what Google's search ads do, she said.
"Where we are playing in the ad market is in that demand generation, which is the top 90 percent of the funnel."
Sandberg said Facebook has been shifting to an approach similar to Google's, in which the style of the ad resembled the style of its searches.
One success story she cited involved Starbucks Corp, which posted a video that created complaints. In response, Starbucks altered the video and won kudos from Facebook members. She said the message was, "Thanks so much ... isn't it great to have a company that listens."
BANGALORE, INDIA: With the acquisition of Laser Soft, Polaris Software Lab Limited is aggressively eyeing at fulfilling its core banking portfolio, competing with established players like Infosys (Finacle) and I-flex(Flexcube). It expects to grab more market share in the Indian and emerging market.
Speaking to CIOL, R Srikanth, executive vice president and chief financial officer said, "Our products like the Global Universal Banking (GUB) covers the western world and global banks. We have been in strong position in terms of modular banking, but were lagging in core banking."
LaserSoft, he added, is doing extremely well in the domestic/ Indian market.
"Like, the entire core-banking of Corporation Bank runs on Laser Soft platform, also the Catholic Syrian Bank. Laser Soft products will compliment our products and not only help us enhance the core-banking portfolio, but also help establish strong foothold in the domestic market, which we can take to other emerging markets as well."
Taking about the present market he elaborated, "We would now compete directly with two companies in India with respect to core banking installation, like Infosys (Finacle) and I-flex (Flexcube). Therefore in terms of market positing, we would be counted among top three companies with equally smart solutions."
Furthermore, the company would now be very competitive from technology and also the pricing aspect, he said.
Resonating the vision, Srikanth added that the acquisition is in line with its stated Polaris 3.0 vision of achieving market leadership in financial technology through focus on account expansion and intellect expansion. This might also come through other strategic acquisition as well, based on the market trends and growth prospects.
The entire process of integration is expected to take 14-15 months, meanwhile LaserSoft will continue as an independent firm.
Post the integration, B. Suresh Kamath, present CMD of LaserSoft will be roped in the management level, where he would be handling the core-banking responsibility with major focus on the LaserSoft portfolio.
The Chennai-based financial technology company has announced to acquire 100 per cent of Laser Soft Infosystems Ltd in an all cash deal for about Rs. 52 crores ($11 million).
Laser Soft was established in 1986 with specializing in serving the unique needs of India and emerging markets.
The company has proven solutions in core banking, trade finance, treasury, cash management, mutual funds and loans serving over 50 customers including leading banks such as Corporation Bank, State Bank of India, ICICI Bank, Mashreq bank, Catholic Syrian Bank, Andhra Bank, EXIM Bank of Tanzania and KEP Trust, Kosovo.
The solutions are benchmarked and recognized for sites having more than 20 million accounts, winning Best Technology Awards consistently for its ability to deliver high-performance banking at the lowest total cost of ownership.
"Together we will bring a robust and complementary solution-set that is uniquely suitable for emerging markets and will support our market proliferation plan," Srikanth is confident.
Bajaj Auto's Kawasaki Kracker is a gem of a machine which is sure to write another glorious chapter in the firm's sporty motorcycling theme says Adil Jal Darukhanawala after a quick spin on the baby Ninja
The wait just got over! For bikers who aspired for top notch contemporary motorcycles without having to shell out in excess of a million rupees, rejoice! The spanking new Kawasaki Ninja 250 is here and is just what the doctor ordered! Before we get down to what all is on offer, here's something for you all to salivate on before we hit the road big time:
- A twin-cylinder liquid cooled & fuel injected motor
- 4-valves per cylinder actuated by twin overhead camshafts
- 33PS at 11,000rpm
- 22Nm at 8200rpm
- A six-speed gearbox
- 172kg all up kerb weight
- Tubeless tyres
- Disc brakes front & rear
- Kawasaki patented Uni-Trak rear suspension
What is surely of the essence is that we finally have a motorcycle which has the right bits on it, looks like Kawasaki's litre-class superbikes, goes like stink, handles like a dream and best of all doesn't blow a hole in the wallet! You can have your Yamaha R1s and Honda Fireblades (damn fine machines these, but you'll get four plus Ninjas for the price of one of these hyperbikes!) but when it comes to corner carving on our roads and also doing the high speed hustle, the Ninja 250 has the beatings of all the big bikes in our biking eco-system. And best of all, with this attribute comes yet another trait, the Ninja 250 is an all round everyday bike with great ergonomics that allows you to play street scratcher, high speed commuter and MotoGP pilot all rolled into one with aplomb!
Just one look at the Cruze and you will be taken in by its good looks, taunt stance and size. The large rakish headlights, wide grill and sculpted bumper give the car a menacingly handsome fascia. GM is definitely taking styling very seriously and considering the fact that the Cruze is set to have a global presence, this fact is all the more important for the first step towards acceptance is that customers worldwide should admire the way the car looks.
With such focus on style, GM didn't just stop at the front. When viewed from the side, the sporty overtone carries over for the car has a nicely curved roofline that merges well with the rather steeply raked rear windscreen. It's a rather European look and feel that this car possesses, except from the rear. The rear of the Cruze screams 'Honda Civic'. Literally, the rear lights just look like inverted Civic lights a fact that was confirmed by onlookers who asked me if I happen to be driving the new Civic. Of course they were completely oblivious to the bow-tie on the rear, but it does prove my point.
Nevertheless, the Cruze oozes with style and complimenting the entire package are the nice large 16 inch alloys wrapped in tubeless 205/60 JK Vectra rubber. To sum the exterior styling, I would say the Cruze is a combination of American Muscle Car and European Sedan with a dash of Japanese essence thrown in! What you get is a marriage of parts that work to give you a stunning car that would even look good in racing stripes.
Getting into the Cruze is also an experience for you don't need the keys to open the door! That's right, the Cruze comes with sensors on the door, so just as long as you have the keys in your pocket the door will pop right open when you pull on the handle. While on the subject of doors, it is rather simple to lock as well, for all you have to do is give the handle a gentle pull and the doors will lock. Anyways, back to the interiors of the car.
Once inside you will notice the sporty-muscle tone carried over here as well. It's a bit too much plastic at parts and the fit and finish could have been better but the overall look is rather striking for you almost feel as though you are in a cockpit. The large steering wheel with cruise control and stereo controls has a nice feel to it, the dials boast of a three-pod look that might have come straight out of a classic Chevy car-chrome and all! The center console however had me thinking 'Transformers'. Starting from the LED display to the controls of the in dash stereo and CD player down to the controls for the A/C and climate control and flanked by the center two A/C vents on the dash, the entire look was rather like the Transformers logo- a good thing considering the fact that GM is the official provider of cars for the Transformers movie franchise!
GM could have really done wonders with the interiors for they are well designed, its just that they are poorly put together at places. Apart from the plastic cubby holes in the doors the one little box on top of the dashboard spoils the party for it just doesn't sit right and has gaping gaps when shut. Another element that caught my eye as tacky was the sunglass holder. Placed uniquely towards the right side of the driver's head, the quality of the holder was really sub standard.
In terms of space, the Cruze is rather decent and offers ample room for the front passengers. Rear passengers also get enough leg room however head room is at a premium thanks to the steeply raked rear glass and downward flowing roofline.
A neat yet rather awesome surprise is thrown at you when you want to get the car moving. There is no key hole for the ignition! Instead you get a rather neat start/stop button towards the left of the steering column on the dash. A gentle push of the button, provided you have the clutch pressed and the 2.0 VCDi Diesel engine roars to life. Alright, you really can't hear it roar thanks to all the insulation, but the car does come to life. The instrument cluster takes on a neat blue glow which fits in well with the sporty tone and as you notch it into first gear to drive away you finally realize why this car is called the Cruze!
Sleekly styled, very well built and turned out with a poise and presence which is right up there, the new multi-faceted Indigo Manza is sure to stir up the hornet's nest which is the present day C-segment says Adil Jal Darukhanawala after an exclusive first drive
If ever one needs reminding as to how effectively Tata Motors has progressed as a car maker, one only needs to sense, see and experience its newest products. From the time the Indica Vista appeared on our roads, the going seems to have changed completely. The ground-breaking Nano seemed to indicate a whole new paradigm shift for the automotive world but Tata Motors didn't seem eager to step off the throttle pedal. And while a few yet seem to look at the Indian firm somewhat disparagingly, it is this determined drive which is so very indicative of an automobile firm eager to stand up and be counted in its peer group.
The latest Indigo Manza sedan is yet more proof of the above. And lest someone suggest that it is but an Indica Vista with a boot, it would be doing India's largest indigenous car maker and its latest product a huge disservice. The Indigo Manza is an all new sedan which like its Indo-Italian stablemate - the Fiat Linea, oozes grace and elegance and doesn't look at all as if the boot has been grafted on in a tacky manner.
If anything, the Indigo Manza (Manza supposedly means a little steer or a beautiful girl, chose what you want to believe), comes across as probably one of the best looking cars in a segment full of high profile machines strong on style and turnout. The Fiat Linea we have already mentioned but in the C-segment the Manza has also to battle the likes of the Honda City, the Ford Fiesta, the Hyundai Verna, the Chevy Aveo and the Suzuki Swift D?Zire and in the battle for making the best first impression, the Tata product does have its nose ahead.
Design and Style
It isn't hard to realize this when you take in the Manza's profile, the crisp clean lines running front to rear and with proportions of bonnet and boot strikingly elegant, the Indigo Manza is more of a handsome Indian hunk as compared to the chic Latino flair embodied by the Fiat Linea. Both these cars are built on the very same assembly line at Fiat India's modern Ranjangaon facility (the duo share many aggregates and also reside in the same segment), so it isn't hard to see what rubs off on each other. The Indigo Manza's front end has a more pronounced assertion about it with a slightly more detailed grille (than on the Indica Vista) coupled to triple-barreled head lights on either side. The large air intake on the wrap around bumper is separated from the top part by a nifty chrome strip which works brilliantly with the same sort of separator strips on the sides and on the rear bumper as well.
The crisp character streak just below the Manza's belt line seems to hold every thing in lithe tenuous action and the sculpting around the A and C-pillars indicates a fresh characterful approach to the overall package. There is nothing tacky about the rear end of the car and the overall design is harmonious rather than contrived as in the case of many others who have grown into full blown saloons from the large hatchback originals. The Manza's 2520mm wheelbase and its large 15-inch tyres help its stance and turnout. Credit Tata Motors' European Technical Centre then, for the Manza's clean yet pleasing design, making it seem ample yet agile rather than huge and unwieldy, both when stationary and also on the move.
Ride quality and handling
Power, torque, driveability and fuel efficiency are nothing if they are not matched by good dynamic ability and here as well the Indigo Manza makes the smiles stay plastered on the driver's face. It is no rabble rouser or a sports car but is a rapid all round family car with good ride quality backed up with easy neutral manners and good road holding and precise well weighted steering. Of course when on full song, the 200Nm of torque being fed through the two front wheels shod with 185/60 R15 tubeless radials is a tad too much and while the car yet handles brilliantly - credit this to optimum wheelbase to track ratio and also the weight distribution, I am sure that the car on 195/55 R15 tyres would have been even better while going on to 205s would have been the best. The Indigo Manza has phenomenal body control and even though its does tend to roll when hurled into corners at speed, the occupants do stay unruffled for the most part.
The steering is brilliant but we would have liked it to be a tad quicker. However as a plush upmarket saloon, the steering is eminently liveable but what is truly awesome is the poise of the car under braking. The Manza always gripped and came to a halt in a straight line whenever the anchors were thrown at speed and this is a mighty confidence-inspiring aspect of the overall drive experience. For the first time on a Tata Motors product for the domestic market, we find air bags and ABS as standard fitment on the Manza, two very welcome details which would be appreciated by many.
Acronyms for International Airlines
ALITALIA = Always Late In The Air, Late In Arrival
ALITALIA = Arrived Late In Turin, And Luggage In Australia
BOAC = Better on a camel Belgium
SABENA = Such A Bloody Experience Never Again
PIA = Please, Inform Allah
JAT = Joke About Time
Pacific Western Airlines
PWA = Pray While Aloft
PWA = Please Wait Awhile Airlines
Trans World Airlines = Teeney Weeny Airlines.
"Squawks" are problem listings that pilots generally leave for maintenance crews to fix before the next flight. Here are some squawks submitted by US Air Force pilots and the replies from the maintenance crews.
(P) = Problem (S) = Solution
(P) Left inside main tire almost needs replacement
(S) Almost replaced left inside main tire
(P) Test flight OK, except autoland very rough
(S) Autoland not installed on this aircraft
(P) #2 Propeller seeping prop fluid
(S) #2 Propeller seepage normal - #1 #3 and #4 propellers lack normal seepage
(P) Something loose in cockpit
(S) Something tightened in cockpit
(P) Evidence of leak on right main landing gear
(S) Evidence removed
(P) DME volume unbelievably loud
(S) Volume set to more believable level
(P) Dead bugs on windshield
(S) Live bugs on order
(P) Autopilot in altitude hold mode produces a 200 fpm descent
(S) Cannot reproduce problem on ground
(P) IFF inoperative
(S) IFF always inoperative in OFF mode (IFF-Identification Friend or Foe)
(P) Friction locks cause throttle levers to stick
(S) That's what they're there for
(P) Number three engine missing
(S) Engine found on right wing after brief search
(P) Aircraft handles funny
(S) Aircraft warned to straighten up, "fly right" and be serious
(P) Target Radar hums
(S) Reprogrammed Target Radar with the lyrics
As a crowded airliner is about to take off, the peace is shattered by a 5-year-old boy who picks that moment to throw a wild temper tantrum. No matter what his frustrated, embarrassed mother does to try to calm him down, the boy continues to scream furiously and kick the seats around him.
Suddenly, from the rear of the plane, an elderly man in the uniform of an Air Force General is seen slowly walking forward up the aisle. Stopping the flustered mother with an upraised hand, the white-haired, courtly, soft-spoken General leans down and, motioning toward his chest, whispers something into the boy's ear.
Instantly, the boy calms down, gently takes his mother's hand, and quietly fastens his seat belt. All the other passengers burst into spontaneous applause.
As the General slowly makes his way back to his seat, one of the cabin attendants touches his sleeve. "Excuse me, General," she asks quietly, "but could I ask you what magic words you used on that little boy?"
The old man smiles serenely and gently confides, "I showed him my pilot's wings, service stars, and battle ribbons, and explained that they entitle me to throw one passenger out the plane door on any flight I choose."
An airline captain was breaking in a very pretty new blonde stewardess. The route they were flying had a stay-over in another city, so upon their arrival, the captain showed the stewardess the best place for airline personnel to eat, shop and stay overnight.
The next morning as the pilot was preparing the crew for the day's route, he noticed the new stewardess was missing. He knew which room she was in at the hotel and called her up wondering what happened to her. She answered the phone, sobbing, and said she couldn't get out of her room.
"You can't get out of your room?" the captain asked, "Why not?"
The stewardess replied, "There are only three doors in here, "she cried," one is the bathroom, one is the closet, and one has a sign on it that says 'Do Not Disturb'!"
You'll Know It's a No-Frills Airline If:
1. They don't sell tickets, they sell chances.
2. All the insurance machines in the terminal are sold out.
3. Before the flight, the passengers get together and elect a pilot.
4. If you kiss the wing for luck before boarding, it kisses you back.
5. You cannot board the plane unless you have the exact change.
6. Before you took off, the stewardess tells you to fasten your Velcro.
7. The Captain asks all the passengers to chip in a little for gas.
8. When they pull the steps away, the plane starts rocking.
9. The Captain yells at the ground crew to get the cows off the runway.
10. You ask the Captain how often their planes crash and he sez, "Just once."
11. No movie. Don't need one.
12. Your life keeps flashing before your eyes.
13. You see a man with a gun, but he's demanding to be let off the plane.
14. All the planes have both a bathroom and a chapel.
All of these pilot and aviation jokes get me to thinking about my first skydiving instructor. During class he would always take the time to answer any of our stupid first-timer questions.
One guy asked, "If our chute doesn't open, and the reserve doesn't open, how long do we have until we hit the ground?"
Our jump master looked at him and in perfect deadpan and answered, "The rest of your life."
A blonde went to a flight school insisting that she wanted to learn to fly. As all the planes were currently in use, the owner agreed to instruct her by radio on how to pilot the solo helicopter. He took her out, showed her how to start it and gave her the basics, and sent her on her way.
After she climbed 1000 feet, she radioed in. "I'm doing great! I love it! The view is so beautiful, and I'm starting to get the hang of this."
After 2000 feet, she radioed again, saying how easy it was to fly. The instructor watched her climb over 3000 feet, and was beginning to worry that she hadn't radioed in.
A few minutes later, he watched in horror as she crashed about half a mile away. He ran over and pulled her from the wreckage.
When he asked what happened, she said, "I don't know! Everything was going fine, but as I got higher, I was starting to get cold. I can barely remember anything after I turned off the big fan!"
Sue and Bob, a pair of tight wads, lived in the mid west, and had been married years.
Bob had always want to go flying. The desire deepen each time a barn stormer flew into town to offer rides.
Bob would ask, and Sue would say, "No way, ten dollars is ten dollars."
The years went pay, and Bob figured he didn't have much longer, so he got Sue out to the show, explaining, it's free to watch, let's at least watch.
And once he got there the feeling become real strong. Sue and Bob started an arguement.
The Pilot, between flights, overheard, listened to they problem, and said, "I'll tell you what, I'll take you up flying, and if you don't say a word the ride is on me, but if you back one sound, you pay ten dollars.
So off they flew. The Pilot doing as many rolls, and dives as he could.
Heading to the ground as fast as the plane could go, and pulling out of the dive at just the very last second. Not a word. Finally he admited defeat and went back the air port.
"I'm surprised, why didn't you say anything?"
"Well I almost said something when Sue fell out, but ten dollars is ten dollars."
I have a friend who is a pilot on a 747.
I said "Hi Jack."
He shot me.
The most dangerous organization in America today is:
a) The KKK
b) The American Nazi Party
c) The Delta Frequent Flyer Club