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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

FOODIE SPECIAL..EAT WITH YOUR HANDS ..SAY TOP CHEFS IN CLASSY RESTAURANTS

Eat With Your Hands

Fine-dining restaurants now advise their diners to get their hands dirty for a more sensory experience


Julie Sahni vividly remembers the first time she had to eat with utensils. Ms Sahni, a New York-based cookbook author and cooking teacher, grew up in India eating the traditional way, with her right hand. Then, in college, she won a dance competition that would take her to Europe. How, she wondered, would she eat?
The answer was a three-day immersion course in Western dining etiquette, which progressed from soup (don’t let the spoon clatter on the bowl) to green beans (spear them without sending them into your neighbor’s lap) and finally a slippery hardboiled egg. Ms Sahni, 66, mastered the knife and fork, but she has never really liked them.
“Eating with the hands evokes great emotion,” she said. “It kindles something very warm and gentle and caressing. Using a fork is unthinkable in traditional Indian eating. It is almost like a weapon.”
Eating with the hands is common in many areas of the world, including parts of Asia and much of Africa and the Middle East. But, until recently, you would have been hard-pressed to find many restaurants in the United States — especially those with $20 or $30 entrees — where digging in manually was encouraged. Now, several high-profile chefs are asking diners to get their hands dirty, in the belief that it heightens the sensual connection to food and softens the formality of fine dining.
When chef Roy Choi surveys the busy dining room of A-Frame, his restaurant in Culver City, California, only one thing can dampen his mood: cutlery. “I see people cutting kalbi ribs like a steak, and it’s like fingernails on a chalkboard,” he said.
A-Frame, whose eclectic menu Mr Choi says was inspired by Hawaiian cuisine, is utensils optional. Though a basket of silverware is provided at each table, when the grilled pork chop or market salad arrives, servers advise customers that they’ll be missing out if they pick up a fork. “Then there are a lot of questions like ‘Am I really supposed to?’ and ‘Is there something else I need?’ ” Mr Choi said. “But the moment we answer ‘yes’ and ‘no,’ people usually just go for it.”
He had thought he might have to provide finger bowls, as many restaurants do in other countries, but hands-on eating proved to be much neater than expected. “You eat with conviction and passion when using your hands,” Mr Choi said. “I hope that people let their guard down and throw out some of the rules we have regarding etiquette and connect like animals.”
Etiquette, as a matter of fact, is central to most traditions of hand-to-mouth eating; the artfulness and ritual of the practice is part of what people love about it. Hand-washing often comes first. In Muslim communities, a prayer of thanks comes next. Only then can one reach in — usually with just the right hand — to eat.
And dining with the hands is not necessarily easy: in some regions, including parts of India, it is most polite to use your thumb, pointer and middle finger, and to let only the first two joints of those fingers touch the food.
Details differ from place to place, but often rice or flatbread is used to ferry food
to the mouth — think of Indian roti and naan, Ethiopian injera or Middle Eastern pita. Central and Southern Africans pound root vegetables or corn into starchy mashes like fufu or ugali; you’re meant to pull off a bite-size ball and use it as an edible scoop.
Sahni refuses to eat Indian food with a knife and fork, even in the most formal South Asian restaurants in New York. “I don’t care if I’m all dressed up, if everyone else is eating with a knife and fork, if the wine pairing is $80,” she said. “It’s essential.”
When she reaches in with her right hand, others are often happy to follow suit. But it wasn’t always that way. She remembers an Indian restaurant in Manhattan that, in the 1970s, had unofficial sections for Indians and non-Indians. She says the owners explained that Indians didn’t want non-Indians to see them eating with their hands and that Westerners didn’t want to see it, either.
Today, the writer Amitav Ghosh says he doesn’t go to Indian restaurants in London and New York because eating with hands is discouraged. “They regard this essential aspect of the cuisine with a kind of embarrassment,” he said.
In the United States, most run-of-themill restaurants, with the exception of Ethiopian spots, do not forbid the practice, but do not encourage it either.
One Manhattan restaurant that does encourage it is Tulsi, Hemant Mathur’s upscale Indian outpost in Midtown. Upon delivering dishes like goat curry with roti or stewed chickpeas with puffy bread, servers tell patrons they are best eaten with the hands.
At the New York restaurants Fatty Crab and Fatty ’Cue, the chef, Zakary Pelaccio, provides silverware but hopes that the nature of his signature dishes, like chilli crab and barbecue, will inspire diners to use their hands. Convinced that the sense of touch is integral to good eating, he eats just about everything except soup with his hands. He even named his new cookbook after the practice: Eat With Your Hands, to be released in April. “I eat with my hands today, and not just because it would be a serious shame to let utensils slow me down,” Mr Pelaccio writes. “It has become a sort of philosophy of mine — a metaphor for life.”
In Los Angeles, Bistronomics, a longrunning pop-up restaurant inside Breadbar, presented a no-utensils menu last spring. The $65 prix fixe, created by the chefs Jet Tila and Alex Ageneau, included dishes like salt cod croquettes with zucchini purée and grilled lamb chops with carrot confit. The chefs plan another dinner like it this spring.
“It creates more of a social atmosphere,” said Mr Tila, who grew up in Hollywood. “It brings us back to our childhood, and it seems to lighten the mood in the room.”
A glimmer of this idea has even made it to the White House. When the New York chef Marcus Samuelsson prepared the state dinner for India’s prime minister in 2009, he included a bread course (unusual at such events) of naan and corn bread with dips. “What could be better than for people who don’t know each other, from all over the world, to break bread together?” he said.
In fact, Mr Samuelsson expects that as American fine dining evolves, flatware may become more and more optional. “I think there will be a four-star restaurant where knives and forks are used, but not for every course,” he said. “‘Great’ does not have to mean one narrative, the European narrative.”

(SARAH DIGREGORIO TOICREST 21J0112)

TECH SPECIAL..TECH AND SCIENCE BREAKTHROUGHS OF THE 2000S (10)

Mankind’s dependence on science is undeniable. All the civilized races today strive for scientific progress underlining man’s quest for knowledge. Even religion, ethics and culture takes a backseat in comparison to science. What better way to celebrate this progress than to commemorate some famous and some not so famous scientific inventions of the previous decade.

10 2009

The Sixth Sense developed in the year 2009 by Pranav Mistry at the MIT media lab USA is a wearable gestural interface turning all actions into digital information capable of being processed in any technologically advanced device, such as a computer, mobile, etc. It has been the fundamental technology of digital effects in sci-fi movies for almost a whole decade. The Sixth Sense consists of a pocket size projector and a camera connected to a portable computing device. The camera identifies the hand gestures and movements of the user while the projector can use surfaces to display visual data and let them be used as computer interfaces. The device uses the video streaming from the camera and processes it with the software in synchronization with the visual tracking referencing sensors that the user wears at his fingertips.

- Listverse

Monday, January 30, 2012

Local E-Books

Local E-Books Breaking Cover

More Indian titles will be in the digital format as publishers hope to ride on higher growth rates and device explosion



A small team at Penguin India’s New Delhi office is agog with excitement as the publishing powerhouse – with 250 titles every year – waits for its E-moment – launch of the first set of 150 ebooks slated for this month. Not just Penguin, other Indian book publishers are taking the risk to launch e-books to try out the potential of this virgin market at a local level. Top publishing houses like Harper Collins and Amar Chitra Katha are all expected to release their first set of e-books within the next six months.

“We are aggressively converting books into e-books. At this point in time, there is not a big market for e-books here but when the device explosion happens, we’ll be there,” says Ananth Padmanabhan, vice-president for sales at Penguin Ind-ia.

HarperCollins India, the Indian subsidiary of American publishing major HarperCollins, will launch its first e-book this year. Right now, it is now preparing the ground for entering the e-book market: developing the technology conversions, working out the legalities and creating the right distribution and sales strategy. “Online sellers entered a few years back and has since then very quickly grabbed a growing percentage share in the sales charts… now the movement to e-books is a natural progression keeping in view a certain set of audience,” says Lipika Bhushan, senior marketing manager at HarperCollins India.

Penguin says entry of ebooks will contribute to wider availability of content, but wouldn’t affect sales of standard books. “We want the readers to be comfortable with digital content and want it to be available in every possible format. Both physical and e-book markets will flourish. One will not cannibalise the other,” Padmanabhan said. HarperCollins’ Bhushan also says e-books would not take over the physical book bit since there would still be those who would prefer the touch, feel and smell. “It might move towards print-ondemand kind of set-up. But yes, e-books are a serious consideration for additional revenue generation and we have already started to work at it.”

Home-grown publishers such as Amar Chitra Katha - the creators of Jataka and Birbal tales - are also rolling the dice as they prepare to foray into the e-book market. The company is currently creating e-books for the Apple platform, but soon plans to tie-up with other vendors. Penguin, India’s largest book publisher by revenue, will launch its e-books across platforms like Kobo, Nook, Kindle and IPad.

There are three key drivers which could transform this initial excitement into a successful foray. First, the growth of tablets and smartphones in India, devices that would host the e-reader. The second is the growth of the publishing industry in India – ebooks can piggyback the success of the print versions. And third, but not the least, is the far lower cost of an e-book.

India’s publishing industry is growing at a compounded rate of 30% annually and it is expected to grow at the same pace over the next three years, says industry body Ficci. It ranks behind the US and the UK in English-language publishing when measured in number of titles.

But the success of e-books will hinge on higher sales of tablets and smartphones. According to hardware lobby Manufacturer’s Association of IT Industry, there are 300,000 tablet users in India today and it forecasts a 100% growth for the current year. Smartphones sales have been rising 8% year-on-year right now. Sayoni Basu, publisher at ACK Media -- which brings out the Amar Chitra Katha titles – says: “The e-book market in India is in the nascent stages. But once the cost of devices reduce, it will be a big market. Also, the mobile market in India is huge, and publishers look for ways to tap that.” But HarperCollins feels the devices will probably have to be remodeled and designed keeping the Indian demographics in mind. Releasing a book on an e-reader is far more cost-effective than printing copies of the same, it is generally assumed. For a buyer, e-book prices can be 10% to 20% lower than that of a hard-bound volume. But from a publisher’s perspective, certain parts of the digital value chain can be expensive and hence the cost reduction may not be as sharp, an ET poll of the top publishing houses and research estimates point out.

For instance, conversion of text into the e-book format, digital warehousing which includes storage and maintenance of data and hiring people with the right technical know-how can be expensive, a senior official from a top publishing houses said.

“In fact, even the sales and marketing of e-books is going to be different from the way we market physical books as more focus will be on positioning. E-readers are innovative and user-friendly devices. They are the need of the hour,” he added. Basu of ACK Media says digitisation of content has become extremely important and her firm is already innovating in this space.

The innovations in India’s nonacademic publishing industry, estimated at anywhere between Rs 1,500 crore and Rs 2,000 crore in 2011, have to be seen in the light of successes in the US and Japan. In the US, e-books have been so successful that on December 15, 2011, Amazon announced that it had sold one million units of its Kindle e-book reader in the previous three weeks. Exactly as in a print title’s sales success in US and the UK would have some ruboff effect here.

With the rising popularity of ereaders in the West, an increasing number of authors have now turned self -publishers, giving them a higher share of the profits. 27-year-old Amanda Hocking, an American writer, has sold more than 150,000 copies of her book Switched on Amazon in less than six months after release. Publishers suggest that self-publishing is slowly catching up locally too.

Sceptics are there too. Jatin Varma, founder of Delhi-based Pop Culture Publishing says the present market is too small and undependable for e-books. “It is an investment for the future and it’s going to take some time. But I am not sure how the market would respond.” Pop Culture Publishing brings out Random Comic magazine.

An e-book is something Alok Kejriwal, 43-year-old co-founder Games2win, an online gaming platform, swears by. But he doesn’t think the digital variant is going to overtake physical books. “I think conceptually we are book reading country. There is a charm around them,” he said. “I think for the big publishers, releasing an e-book is about smartening their proposition.”

And an e-book drive may be new trigger ...

Top Indian publishing houses like Penguin India, HarperCollins and Amar Chitra Katha are gearing up to release e-books. Penguin is likely to release close to 150 e-books in January

Technology-linked innovations in India’s publishing industry have to be seen in the light of success stories from the US, Europe and Japan

In the US, for one, e-books have been extremely successful. On December 15, 2011, Amazon said it had sold 1 million units of Kindle e-book reader in the previous three weeks

Releasing a book on an e-reader costs less than printing the same, it is assumed. For a customer, e-books will cost 10-20% less than actual books

The success of e-books in India would critically depend on tablet and smartphone sales. Hardware lobby MAIT says there are 300,000 tablet users in India today with expected 100% growth in 2012. Smartphones comprise 8% of the mobile market

A future driver could be India’s reasonably-priced textbooks are in great demand in developing countries.

INDU NANDAKUMAR & SRIVIDYA IYER 20J0112

TECH SPECIAL..TECH AND SCIENCE BREAKTHROUGHS OF THE 2000S (9)

Mankind’s dependence on science is undeniable. All the civilized races today strive for scientific progress underlining man’s quest for knowledge. Even religion, ethics and culture takes a backseat in comparison to science. What better way to celebrate this progress than to commemorate some famous and some not so famous scientific inventions of the previous decade.

9 2008

The scientific and medical miracle for the year 2008 was the personal retail DNA testing kit. Through a saliva test the DNA kit can estimate your genetic links to more than 90 hereditary traits ranging from baldness to chronic diseases. Although the kit was not invented in the year 2007, it was released publicly to the common consumers. Human genotyping has been available to every person rather than just the executive order thanks to the inventors 23andMe. Consider the possible benefits and consequences of such an invention that can track your chances of being in a specific state, or medical condition based on your genes and not just social, environmental and purely technological factor. Genotyping through this DNA kit can identify the chances of genetically inheriting any traits out of 6 million different traits. Another notable invention of this year was the Bionic Lens. Babak Parviz from the University of Washington invented contact lenses that use tiny LEDs powered by solar cells and use radio frequency receiver to display images, maps and other data over the wearer’s visual field.

- Listverse

Saturday, January 28, 2012

FOOD SPECIAL...CARROT CREATIVITY


Gajar ka halwa may be the most common way to cook carrots in India but there is more to this winter vegetable. Try out carrot cakes, carrot subzi with bajra roti or even stuffed sandwiches



It’s difficult to say when exactly did carrots start evoking the contempt that they do in not just local Indian kitchens but folklore and colloquial expression but the fact is that the vegetable can easily grace the most interesting of menus, not just as steamed-up sides beautifying meat platters, but as the legit main ingredient for starters, soups, mains and, of course, desserts. In Hindi, we may dismiss gajar-mooli, carrots and radish, as the ultimate symbol of being a non-entity (faceless armies can be decimated like gajarmooli, or you can be a person of non-significance like these root veggies) but that is perhaps only because cooking with these was so pervasive in our community cuisines.
Today, in the face of round-the-year vegetables that significance and many of those recipes may have been lost. But still, if you apply yourself, carrots, so beautiful and abundant during winters, can be much more than a reluctant glass of Vitamin A that mother hands out to improve vision and the complexion. One of the most ancient of Indian vegetables, carrots exist in both the desi version today as well as in the more orange “English” avatar (during colonial times, a newer variety was planted in Shimla). And then there are those pretty little baby carrots, increasingly making their way into our salad bars. Should you be able to lay your hands on these, serve them lightly steamed with an assortment of dips.
However, the most common way in which Indians know how to cook carrots traditionally is perhaps as gajar ka halwa. Though terrible khoya-enriched, bazaar-bought versions are convenient and increasingly common, the recipe is no-fuss and deserves to be tried. It was also the first recipe that I possibly picked up — when as a precocious three year old (truly), my grandmother made me learn by heart the proportions she used: 2 litre milk, 1 kg carrot, ½ kg sugar. The trick to a good halwa is to bhuno it well after the milk soaks up, adding a dash of ghee. My grandmother would set this into thin katlis.
For Diverse Tastes
If you want to eat healthily, try making a simple sweet and sour carrot subzi with bajra roti, a homely winter lunch. Methi dana or bitter fenugreek seeds are spluttered in oil and the carrots lightly sautéed. Once done, finish with a little khatai sour (dried mango is the souring agent of choice in my part of the world) and sugar.
Today, chefs consciously juxtapose diverse tastes (and textures) in any dish. With carrots, it seems almost instinctive. Caperberry’s immensely talented chef Abhijeet Saha suggests a simple Tunisian dip omi huriya, which is quite doable: boil carrots and coarsely grind to paste, add extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, salt, roasted cumin powder and chilli flakes. You can also add roughly ground (roasted) almonds and use this as a sandwich spread.
Or, make a pickled salad/cold appetiser: cut into batons and pickle in white wine vinegar. Mix 250 ml of vinegar in 1 litre of water, add pepper, chilli, bay leaves or any spices plus salt and sugar and boil. Soak the carrot batons in this and leave overnight.
The traditional kanji served in Delhi and UP homes around Holi is similar to this pickling process, except the sourness comes from fermentation. To make this at home, grind mustard seeds (the red ones, rai) into a paste and mix in warm water. Add some jaggery and allow it to ferment for three-four days. Add lightly steamed carrot batons once the water is sour enough.
Winter Tales
In winters, nothing can be better than carrot soup. Chef Saha suggests a warming lemon, coriander and carrot one. Saute carrots with onion and garlic, add stock and cook till soft. Then, puree these, adjust seasoning and add stock if required. Finish with lemon juice and freshly-chopped coriander. Another option is the vichyssoise, which, though a cold soup typically, can be served warm. And though typically made of pureed potatoes, leeks, onions, cream (no, this is certainly not for weight-watchers) and stock, it can be wonderful with carrots added on.
If you are serving grilled or roasted meats/fish, you can saute blanched carrot in butter and herbs or rustle up a sweetish, bright orange carrot puree. From spicy samosas (carrots and green chillies go into Irani samosas in Hyderabad) to “spring rolls” to Kerala stew to whole cabbage stuffed with green peas, diced carrot and a generous sprinkle of garam masala, the veggie can enhance many dishes. But the one thing you cannot go without this winter is carrot cake. Take equal quantity of flour and grated carrot (squeeze out the water for that crunch) and use spices like cinnamon and all-spice (kebabchini) for a treat.
HEALTH BENEFITS
Carrots contain huge amounts of carotene that the body converts into Vitamin A, good for the eyes. Carrots also have Vitamin B and C They are a good source of potassium, folic acid and can help lower cholesterol
Because raw carrots have tough cellular walls which makes it difficult to free up nutrients inside, these are one of the few vegetables, studies say, that are better when consumed cook or juiced than raw But most of the goodness is contained in the skin or just below it. Peeling takes away these nutrients

:: Anoothi Vishal ET 22J0112

TECH SPECIAL..TECH AND SCIENCE BREAKTHROUGHS OF THE 2000S (8)

Mankind’s dependence on science is undeniable. All the civilized races today strive for scientific progress underlining man’s quest for knowledge. Even religion, ethics and culture takes a backseat in comparison to science. What better way to celebrate this progress than to commemorate some famous and some not so famous scientific inventions of the previous decade.

8 2007

The Invention of the year 2007 was none other than Apple’s famous iPhone. When first released, the iPhone was a breakthrough in mobile technology boasting unprecedented sensor technology, a brand new operating system, which actually fits the operations of a computer inside the attractive body of a phone. iPhone as we know today has restructured the entire world of Mobile gadgets and was Apple’s ace in the world of technology.

- Listverse

TECH SPECIAL..TECH AND SCIENCE BREAKTHROUGHS OF THE 2000S (7)


Mankind’s dependence on science is undeniable. All the civilized races today strive for scientific progress underlining man’s quest for knowledge. Even religion, ethics and culture takes a backseat in comparison to science. What better way to celebrate this progress than to commemorate some famous and some not so famous scientific inventions of the previous decade.

7 2006

Year 2006 was slightly slow-paced in the field of scientific inventions. Although a lot of prototypes and beta-testers were released, only a few actual products were seen in the markets. One of these products was the Loc8tor. Loc8tor attaches radio frequency emitting tags to all your small possessions that you forgetfully misplace the most. It points in the right direction, left and right, and up and down too, bringing you as close as an inch from the item. The tag does its part and beeps to pinpoint the exact location too.

- Listverse

6 UNKNOWN Uses For TWITTER


Thanks to constant development, Twitter now offers features that are unknown to many. These tips combined with a few easy hacks and cross-platform apps will show you Twitter in an entirely new light



Twitter, the minimalist-format social network that claims to have 100 million users, has built its reputation around its simplicity. Members can post to the service only in text messages of 140 characters or less. They can include a link to another site, or to a photo or video. They can repost other users’ messages on their own pages. They can send each other equally spartan private messages. That’s about it — or so it seems. Look more closely, and you’ll find that Twitter has been augmented, by the company and by other Internet toolmakers, with a virtual appliance store of simple, utilitarian features, widgets and services that let users find interesting posts, create photo albums or search more efficiently. Yet unlike, say, Facebook or Microsoft Office, Twitter’s power tools are easy to find & figure out. 1
MAKE A GALLERY
TWITTER CREATES a photo gallery page that displays each user’s last 100 uploaded images. (There’s no similar feature for video.) An independent site, Hashalbum, automatically groups Twitter users’ images into separate albums based on any hashtags included in the post to Twitter. For example, http://hashalbum. com/aquapets displays all the images whose URLs were posted to Twitter with the hashtag #aquapets. 2
DO POWER SEARCHES
TWITTER’S DEFAULT search box often returns too many results, mostly from the last few hours, for just about any popular keyword. To zero in on a specific entry, click Refine Results near the top center of a search results page. This will take you to Twitter’s advanced search page. Here, you can specify further search filters, like a specific Twitter username or hashtag. The separate Web site Topsy indexes Twitter updates with additional information that can be searched, like a date range for finding older posts. On Topsy, you can also filter out specific keywords, for example, posts that include the word 'lady' but not the word 'gaga.' 3
JUMP TO THE INTERESTING STUFF
TWITTER HAS created two new buttons that appear next to the Home button atop the page: Connect and Discover. Connect is a one-click way to see everyone who is interacting with you on the network. It displays a list of members who have recently followed you, mentioned you, retweeted one of your posts or added one to their favorites list. Discover tries to figure out your personal interests based on your location, who you follow and what topics are hot, much the way Facebook’s Top Stories section tries to guess which status updates you most likely want to read. The company is still improving Discover, so it should gradually get better at picking the right posts. 4
FIND SOMETHING LONGER TO READ
DOES SCROLLING through one-line status updates feel like listening to dogs bark? For those wanting a more intellectual experience, Twitter users have created an ad hoc hashtag, #longreads, for posts that link to longer articles, engaging blog posts and unusually fascinating PDF documents. Sometimes you can find in-depth information on current events by, say, searching for #longreads or #longreads followed by a specific word. With the time you’ll save with these tricks, you’ll be able to grab something a lot longer than 140 characters to read. 5
USE KEYBOARD SHORTCUTS
INSTEAD OF clicking around with your mouse, you can operate Twitter by using your keyboard. Type a question mark at Twitter’s Web interface to pop up a panel with a list of the available keyboard commands. There are nearly 20 listed, including 'r' to retweet a post, or '/' to jump to the search box. Some of the commands require two keystrokes, like 'g p' to go to your profile page. There are two more commands not listed on that pop-up panel. Typing 's p' will pop up a box to search only posts that include links to photos, and 's v' will initiate a similar search for videos. 6
CROSS-POST TO FACEBOOK
YOU HAVE the option to cross-post a Twitter status update to your Facebook Wall by logging into Facebook and installing the Selective Tweets app. The app will prompt you for your Twitter username. Anytime you end a Twitter update with #fb, that post will also be sent to your Facebook page (as long as you’re logged into both Twitter and Facebook in your browser).
Send tweets directly from Google Talk
You can send tweets directly from Google Talk by using chitter.im. Go to www.chitter.im, sign-in using your Google ID and then to Twitter for the app to get access. You will see a friend request from chitter. im which you need to accept. Now, any chat message you send to chitter.im in your Gtalk window will be tweeted on your behalf.
Send tweets longer than 140 characters
Twitter limits you to 140 characters per tweet, but sometimes the need might arise to say something longer than 140 characters. Just head over to www.twitlonger.com and login to Twitter. Now just type your tweet in the text box and post it. It will show half your tweet followed by a link. Clicking on the link will open a webpage where anyone can read the entire tweet.
Find out if someone unfollows you
The number of followers you have may not always increase, mainly because people unfollow tweets that they do not find interesting. To see who has unfollowed you, head over to http://twunfollow. com and sign in with your Twitter account. Enter your email ID and the service will notify you when someone unfollows you. You can also start following the Twitter account 'unfollowr' which will send you a direct message on Twitter when someone unfollows you.
Get custom Twitter backgrounds
Twitter offers basic 12 background designs to choose from but you don't need to stick with the default ones. You can go to www. freetwitterdesigner.com and create a personalised twitter background with your own text, images and colors. You can also head to www.tweetstyle.com to browse through a huge selection of free Twitter backgrounds.

Cool Twitter Clients
Tweetdeck
This is one of the most versatile multi platform dashboard applications that works not only for Twitter, but other social networks as well. Tweetdeck also offers its own service to send long tweets.
Seesmic
Seesmic allows users to manage Twitter and Facebook. It offers apps for mobile and desktop. There is also a web-based interface to use in your browser if you are on a shared computer or cannot install programs.
Twitterific
This is a Mac OSX and iOS exclusive Twitter client. It offers timeline control via the keyboard, a unified timeline as well as timeline sync between multiple devices.
Twitter's own
Twitter's own app is available for all mobile platforms. Desktop users can use the web-based interface that offers a streamlined experience and has recently been revamped.
Hootsuite
Hootsuite works across multiple social networks and offers apps that enable posting to sites like YouTube and Flickr. It even offers a free add-on for Firefox that makes it easy to send a tweet directly from the address bar.

(ET25J0112)

Friday, January 27, 2012

FOOD SPECIAL..BLACK TIL

Sesame Street

Grey doesn't normally sound like an appetising colour. But there was something eye-catching about the tub of grey gelato, flecked with black specks, that sat in the middle of all the regular bright or creamy coloured varieties at Il Laboratorio del Gelato, a New York gelato place that's famous for its offbeat flavours. Strawberry pink, pineapple yellow, pistachio green, even blueberry purple are all expected in an ice-cream place, but what could this elegant grey, with suave black undertones be?
I asked for a taste and the moment I put it in my mouth I got an explosion of flavour that was both familiar, yet not, like seeing an aunt who's suddenly become glamorous and sexy and ready to go out partying. There was an earthy, intensely nutty base flavour, but also bitter, toasty overtones, with a lingering taste like a really good cup of coffee. I thought I was familiar with black sesame, which was what the flavour was, but I had never realised it could develop in such a fascinating way.
Perhaps I shouldn't have been surprised because I've always been drawn to black sesame rather than the more common white kind. Sesame sweets, like til laddus are a common enough snack, or temple offering in South India, and sometimes in shops you find them side by side with equivalents made from black sesame. It was probably the unexpected look of the latter that attracted me, but there was always something about the taste too, not dissimilar from the nutty sweetness of white sesame, but with a bitter edge, a slightly wicked overtone that made them seem like the vamp to their simpler sister.
Sesame, whether black, white, or a range of brownish shades inbetween, brings us some very ancient flavours. There is a mention of it in the Enuma Elish, the creation-myth of Babylon where the gods are reported to have eaten bread and drunk sesame wine before picking Marduk to become the chief of the gods in their fight against the demonic forces of chaos. Once Marduk won he established the world and humans to live in it, and sesame was always part of their lives, usually with some ritual significance. From its probable origin in the Middle East it moved across the world, particularly to India where it was established so early that the subcontinent developed its own distinctive strains.
K.T.Achaya notes that in the Rig Veda, the most ancient Vedic text, sesame is not mentioned as til, as it is in the later Atharva Veda. But the Rig Veda does use terms like palala which meant ‘a confection of sesame seeds and jaggery’, identical to what is still made today, most notably in this season, during Makar Sankranti. This shift in the traditional solar calendar is celebrated across India and sesame is part of most celebrations. Most often it is made into a sweet with jaggery (chikki, laddus, revdi), but it also cooked with rice, made into small sweets strung in necklaces, and in many places is given with some variation of the phrase: "Til-gul ghya, god god bola" (Eat this sesame sweet, and speak sweetly).
The reason usually given for eating sesame in winter is that it is 'warming'. I have never understood the logic behind these 'heating/cooling' systems, but with sesame I can see one obvious link — it is a source for oil, which is heated for use. Sesame is, in fact, perhaps the oldest widespread source of edible oil - its name in most languages derives from an original which means 'oil plant'. It grows fast (compared to olives, the other ancient oil source), is easily harvested and crushed, the oil tastes good, lasts well and, as modern medicine has proven, is healthy. No wonder we value sesame when winter is at its height.
As it has spread across the world, some uses of sesame have remained the same, like using it in sweets, or sprinkling it on breads, where its nutty crunch gives a nice contrast. Yet some uses remain quite distinct — in the Middle East it is ground into tahini, their ubiquitous wet paste, but in India we usually grind it dry in spice powders and podis (the major Middle Eastern use of dry ground sesame is halvah, which is not our sweet paste, but a crumbly nutty sweet). But the bigger shift happens in China, Korea and Japan, where sesame takes forms like gomasio, sesame-salt seasoning, goma dofu, tofu-like cakes made of sesame and starch, or sesame shochu, a spirit, perhaps like what those Babylonian gods drank.
Many of the uses in the East involve toasting sesame seeds to bring out smoky, darker flavours (one set of compounds that develops when sesame is toasted is also found in coffee). The sesame oil that results is intensely nutty and smoky tasting, and is not used as a cooking medium, but added at the end of cooking as flavouring. The biggest change comes when black seeds are toasted, since this accentuates all their bitter, richer flavours, to the extent that it is almost too strong tasting to eat on its own. The seeds are ground with nuts, sunflower seeds, some sugar, salt and vinegar, to create an oddly addictive concoction that, as with many Far Eastern flavours, seems to stimulate all the tastes together — sweet, salty, sour, bitter, umami and a lingering note that is only sesame.
It was a paste like this which was used in the gelato I ate in New York. I have tried making it again here and it's not easy. One of the problems with black sesame is that, unlike with the white seeds, you can't see the colour change as you toast, so it's all too easy to burn them quite inedibly. I'm still trying to find the best balance to make a paste that can be used in all kinds of dishes, like ice creams, cakes, a sauce for noodles and other ways, all coloured that same elegant grey-black. Till I manage that, I sustain myself with black til laddus, chikki and papad that all offer a uniquely healthy and tasty way to get the ancient benefits of sesame.

(Vikram Doctor ET13J0112)

TECH SPECIAL..TECH AND SCIENCE BREAKTHROUGHS OF THE 2000S (6)

Mankind’s dependence on science is undeniable. All the civilized races today strive for scientific progress underlining man’s quest for knowledge. Even religion, ethics and culture takes a backseat in comparison to science. What better way to celebrate this progress than to commemorate some famous and some not so famous scientific inventions of the previous decade.

6 2005

The most popular and successful invention in the year 2005 was YouTube. The website which achieved the greatest consumer response is a video-hosting website that lets users share videos across the globe. The website invented by Jawed Karim, Steve Chen and Chad Hurley is currently one of the most famous websites in the world!

- Listverse

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

CAREER SPECIAL..HOW TO CRACK your appraisal in 3 months.


It’s that time of the year, the annual appraisal process is beginning. Here’s guide to all those worried about a bad year at work. You can still impress the boss

So, this hasn’t been your year at work. May be, you started well, but lost your way. To add to your troubles, the economy went into a slowdown and made your targets a bigger challenge. Or may be, you just took it easy. Or, your boss changed midway. Or your KRAs. Whatever, the thing is that now’s appraisal time, the first HR mails are landing in the inbox, you think you are in for a rotten evaluation from the boss. After all, what can be done in three months — January to March, let’s say — to make up for nine months of cutting a sorry figure at work?
Don’t give up. Read on. Listen to what one of the world’s foremost appraisal experts have to say. “Yes, it is definitely possible — even likely,” says Dick Grote, author of How to Be Good at Performance Appraisals. Here’s why.
Bosses Have Poor Memory
The most common appraisal error bosses make is the ‘recency effect’, according to Grote. If you have had a great nine months, but were average to poorly performing in the three months leading up to appraisal, most bosses will unthinkingly base the whole year’s rating on the most recent performance. “That is the period the manager most clearly remembers, and few managers have the discipline to maintain regular performance records all year long,” says Grote.
So, turn this around. Take advantage of this trait. You have had a bad nine months, but if you can excel in these three months, the recency effect will work in your favour. “Recency effect will work in the employee’s favour if she can make herself look as good as possible during the month or two before the manager picks up his pen and starts writing his assessment on the appraisal form,” advises Grote.
This may not get you to the top of the class, but it will almost certainly pull you out from the bottom. As Genpact’s V-P, HR, Piyush Mehta says, self-realisation — that you messed up for nine months — is a good strategy. A late but determined effort on your part can even make a boss not particularly prone to the recency effect acknowledge your willingness to change.

Plant a Seed in Boss’ Brain
Plant a thought. It never hurts. You can approach the boss and say — respectfully — “Boss (or Sir/Ma’am) I’ve been working hard the past few months. But I know that you’re really the best judge of that. Did you notice any progress?”
Now, here’s the trick. Hardly any boss will be willing to admit they haven’t been paying attention to subordinates’ efforts (although many bosses, in fact, don’t pay attention). And few bosses will want to be brutally frank and say, “Nope, you are exactly where you were, I don’t see any change”.
Therefore, when it comes to writing your appraisal, that seed you planted in the boss’ brain about your selfimprovement efforts may well produce a crop of positive assessment. Worst case, as we said, it won’t hurt.


Don’t Waffle
It’s not just immediate pre-appraisal strategies that may work. You can get a better appraisal, even after a lousy nine months, if you are smart during your appraisal conversation.
First, prepare. Don’t walk in without an agenda. What are the questions you’d like to get answers to? What areas of your performance does your boss feel are most important? Think about all these things. Then, you won’t waffle. “The biggest mistake employees make in performance appraisal discussions is to think that it’s a one-way conversation and that their job is simply to listen to whatever the boss has to say,” says Grote.
Take an active role. But never, ever argue. “Don’t treat the conversation as a debating contest,” says Elango R, chief HR officer at MphasiS. Marc Effron, president, Talent Strategy Group, a global HR and talent management consulting firm, lists some rules of thumb for your appraisal this year. “Start by being humble. No one likes a braggart,” he says.


Don’t Negotiate
A big mistake, a really big mistake you can make if you have had a bad nine months at work is to try and negotiate with your boss during the appraisal conversation. If your boss thinks you had a so-so year, and especially since you know that’s true, don’t get into the but-don’t-you-think mode. You’re not going to sway the boss’ opinion. You are going to make him think you are clueless, which is far worse than being thought of as having had an average year at work.


And Next Year…
All the above will help you, if you are smart about applying these strategies. But here’s the best strategy — for the next appraisal cycle just make sure you don’t have to read articles like this! Around this time in 2013, be in a position where you know you have already cracked your appraisal. And here’s wishing you best of luck for this year’s appraisal.

:: Saumya Bhattacharya ET 8JAN0112

TECH SPECIAL..TECH AND SCIENCE BREAKTHROUGHS OF THE 2000S (5)

Mankind’s dependence on science is undeniable. All the civilized races today strive for scientific progress underlining man’s quest for knowledge. Even religion, ethics and culture takes a backseat in comparison to science. What better way to celebrate this progress than to commemorate some famous and some not so famous scientific inventions of the previous decade.

5 2004

The two inventions that grabbed popular attention in the year 2004 were the Sono Prep, and the Adidas 1 shoes. The Adidas 1 shoes with built-in microprocessor think for themselves, deciding what kind of foot support the wearer needs. Sono Prep invented by Robert Langer, was an advancement in the field of biotechnology that can administer medications through sound waves rather than conventional methods such as injections. The device is said to direct low frequency ultrasonic waves to the skin for 15 seconds that opens up the lipids in the skin enabling transfer of liquids. The skin returns to its original state in the following 24 hours.

- Listverse

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

CAREER SPECIAL..Five Ways To Deal with a Change in Leadership



JYOTI AHUJA WAS taken completely by surprise when her favourite boss put in his papers. She had trouble getting used to the new man in charge — she failed to create the same equation with him, and failed to deliver the way she used to. Finally, she quit, too. The arrival of a new boss or leader can either be a rewarding or damaging experience. Writankar Mukherjee discusses how professionals can survive a change in leadership comfortably

1 Give Your Best
At the end of the day, performance talks. Give your best shot when a new boss takes over, since that’s the only way to attract his or her attention. Work for some extra hours each day, and try to achieve something. Try to meet your deadlines and targets. “Performance never goes unnoticed, whatever the equation with the new boss,” says Sahil Roy, a mid-level HR executive with a foreign bank.
2 Take on New Projects
Take on some extra work , especially if it is conceived by the new boss. That way, you can easily get the boss’ attention. And if you can perform well in such projects, you can earn some brownie points too.
3 Don’t Show Off
Even when you try to boost your performance to gain attention, do not exhibit a know-it-all attitude. Talk in a measured way and avoid speaking about a subject that is not directly in your area of work or expertise. Showing that you are a valuable asset is good idea, but overdoing it can set a bad example.
4 Observe your Boss
Every boss has a different leadership style and way of working. So, an executive should study the working style and expectations of the new boss and accordingly adjust theirs. You can also meet the new boss and ask him or her about his or her expectations. “Employees should realise a change in guard does not change the business goal. Only the style of operation may change. If they can adjust to it, the job is easier done,” says Sunil Goel, director of HR firm GlobalHunt India.
5 Be Patient
The golden rule to adjust to a new boss is not to be impulsive and react to a situation randomly. Just like every person is different, so are bosses. People should not panic during a tough situation and at the same time, not be too happy during a light moment. “People should have a wait-and-watch approach before taking any hasty decision. It takes time to develop a healthy and happy working relationship and one should give that much time to manage the transition,” says James Agrawal, director and business head (India) at BTI Consultant, a part of Kelly Services.

(ET6J0112)

TECH SPECIAL..TECH AND SCIENCE BREAKTHROUGHS OF THE 2000S (4)

Mankind’s dependence on science is undeniable. All the civilized races today strive for scientific progress underlining man’s quest for knowledge. Even religion, ethics and culture takes a backseat in comparison to science. What better way to celebrate this progress than to commemorate some famous and some not so famous scientific inventions of the previous decade.

4 2003

Toyota’s Hybrid Car was the invention for the year 2003. Getting its popular share of publicity the Hybrid car is known for its self parking attributes. The gas-electric powered automobile has a feature that lets it park itself! This happens with the help of a rear mounted camera, power steering and software called Intelligent Parking Assist, designed to direct the car into a parking space. The user does not even have to touch, talk or provide any input throughout the process.

- Listverse

Monday, January 23, 2012

CAREER SPECIAL...STAND YOUR GROUND WITH THE INTERRUPTER

It’s the ‘big meeting’ day. You are all set with your pie charts, sales forecasts and plans of how much money you can bring in for your company. All the honchos of various verticals are looking at you. The presentation begins well, and you have managed to hold everyone’s interest. And just as you are beginning to celebrate, you hear the voice you have been dreading for so long.

It’s the one person you wished wasn’t here... the interrupter.

Most of us have at some point in time in our career encountered The Interrupter — a person who believes that interrupting anything flowing smoothly is his birthright.

A person who will go to any extreme to pick holes in your presentation and render your communication exercise meaningless.

And dealing with a person who thinks he is always right, is not easy.

So how do you handle someone who always wants to have the last word?

“It is irritating to be interrupted. You can’t do much about it during the meeting. But this does not mean you can’t do anything about it.

Firstly, do not lose your temper, especially when your boss is present for the meeting. This will only soil your impression and will give others reason to believe the interrupter. Instead, every time you get interrupted, turn it around and build some humour around it. Think on your feet. Just make sure you don’t turn vindictive,” says Alok Bhasin, a management consultant.

According to Bhasin, you need to follow up after the meeting gets over. “Once you are out of the meeting, have a one-on-one with the interrupter and explain how you thought they were rude. Either the interrupter will stop doing so or will continue to irritate you for his or her own benefit.

If things get out of control, try finding a mediator who can help you. Whatever you do, try not to be a tattle tale,” he adds. In case you know who is will attend the meeting, it makes sense to put in extra effort in preparation.

Always have a better plan of action, where it leaves no space for the interrupter to speak up.

Try to make your presentations interactive so that others also get a chance to speak. This would make sure that interrupters don’t bag all the limelight.

Suresh Krishnan has an interesting point of view. “I was once in a sales presentation, where I was constantly being interrupted by this person who wanted to prove me wrong on almost everything. Every time I was interrupted, I would sit down on my seat and turned the limelight towards the interrupter, making him conscious about the situation.

Soon, the other the colleagues realised he was giving unnecessary and frivolous opinions. Finally we reached a situation where my boss asked him to listen to what I had to say without interrupting.”

What Suresh says needs a fair bit of skill and needs you to think fast.

Often, reacting and countering the verbal tirade of the interrupter with your own may not be the ideal solution.

Alok also has a word of caution. “The worst thing about interruptions is that it makes you lose track of what you are saying. And that’s where the interrupter scores.

You will be better served if every time you get interrupted, you focus harder on your presentation. Eventually, the interrupter will finally run out of things to say.” But there is a reasonable limit to which you can counter fire with sophistication.

If things are spinning out of control, remind the interrupter that the meeting is still on, and you have an agenda to complete in a limited time frame. But do this politely.

If you ever encounter these animals in your presentations, stand your ground and make sure you take control, not the other way round.

(ET 3J0112)

SHOUD PEOPLE IN LOVE SHARE THEIR PASSWORD?

Young, in Love and Sharing Everything, Even a Password



Young couples have long signaled their devotion to each other by various means – the gift of a letterman jacket or an exchange of class rings or ID bracelets. Best friends share locker combinations.

The digital era has given rise to a more intimate custom. It has become fashionable for young people to express their affection for each other by sharing their passwords to email accounts, Facebook and other services. Boyfriends and girlfriends sometimes even create identical passwords and let each other read their private emails and texts.

They say they know such digital entanglements are risky, because a souring relationship can lead to people using online accounts and secrets against each other. But that, they say, is part of what makes the symbolism of the shared password so powerful.

“It’s a sign of trust,” Tiffany Carandang, a high school senior in San Francisco, said of the decision she and her boyfriend made several months ago to share passwords for email and Facebook. “I have nothing to hide from him, and he has nothing to hide from me.”

“That is so cute,” said Cherry Ng, 16, listening in to her friend’s comments to a reporter outside school. “They really trust each other.”

We do, said Carandang, 17.

“I know he’d never do anything to hurt my reputation,” she added.

It doesn’t always end so well, of course. Changing a password is simple, but students, counselors and parents say that damage is often done before a password is changed, or that the sharing of online lives can be the reason a relationship falters.

The stories of fallout include a spurned boyfriend in junior high who tries to humiliate his ex-girlfriend by spreading her email secrets; tensions between significant others over scouring each other’s private messages for clues of disloyalty or infidelity; or grabbing a cellphone from a former best friend, unlocking it with a password and sending threatening texts to someone else.

Rosalind Wiseman, who studies how teenagers use technology and is author of “Queen Bees and Wannabes,” a book for parents about helping girls survive adolescence, said the sharing of passwords, and the pressure to do so, was somewhat similar to sex.

Sharing passwords, she noted, feels forbidden because it is generally discouraged by adults and involves vulnerability. And there is pressure in many teenage relationships to share passwords, just as there is to have sex.

“The response is the same: If we’re in a relationship, you have to give me anything,” Wiseman said.

In a 2011 telephone survey, the Pew Internet and American Life Project found that 30% of young people who were regularly online had shared a password with a friend, boyfriend or girlfriend. The survey, of 770 people aged 12 to 17, found that girls were almost twice as likely as boys to share. And in more than two dozen interviews, parents, students and counsellors said that the practice had become widespread. In a recent column on the tech-news website Gizmodo, Sam Biddle called password sharing a linchpin of intimacy in the 21st century and offered advice to couples and friends on how to avoid missteps.

“I’ve known plenty of couples who have shared passwords, and not a single one who has not regretted it,” said Biddle in an interview, adding that the practice includes the unspoken notion of mutually assured destruction if somebody misbehaves. “It’s the kind of symbolism that always goes awry.”

Students say there are reasons, beyond a show of trust, to swap online keys. For instance, several college students said they regularly shared Facebook passwords – not to snoop on or monitor each other, but to force themselves to study for finals. A student would give her password to a friend to change it – and not disclose the new password – thereby temporarily locking out the Facebook account holder and taking away a big distraction to studying. Counsellors typically advise against the practice, and parents often preach the wisdom of password privacy.

(New York Times News Service)

WOMEN POWER

Sylvia Ann Hewlett and Ripa Rashid believe that companies can no longer afford to maintain this blind spot. The authors of Winning the War for Talent in Emerging Markets: Why Women Are the Solution (Harvard Business Review Press, 2011)

India came out of this research as the most innovative in terms of what companies are doing with female talent.

Eleven percent of CEOs in India are women — which is four times more than the Fortune 500 has ever managed.

One reason is that the business process outsourcing industry was at the heart of India’s initial economic growth spurt, and by definition it required flexibility and unusual work hours.

That kind of work model attracted a lot of women. Moreover, companies in India were willing to take risks with their talent model.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

TECH SPECIAL..BUGS LIGHT UP

Living neon signs made of bacteria

WHEN LIFE IMITATES ART

‘Light’ created by attaching glowing protein to bacteria, colonies are then persuaded to blink in unison



Bioengineers at UC San Diego have created a living neon sign composed of millions of bacterial cells that periodically fluoresce in unison like blinking light bulbs.
Their achievement, detailed in this week’s issue of the journal Nature, involved attaching a fluorescent protein to the biological clocks of the bacteria, synchronizing the clocks of the thousands of bacteria within a colony, then synchronizing thousands of the blinking bacterial colonies to glow on and off in unison.
Using the same method to create the flashing signs, the researchers engineered a simple bacterial sensor capable of detecting low levels of arsenic. In this biological sensor, decreases in the frequency of the oscillations of the cells’ blinking pattern indicate the presence and amount of the arsenic poison.
Because bacteria are sensitive to many kinds of environmental pollutants and organisms, the scientists believe this approach could be also used to design low cost bacterial biosensors capable of detecting an array of heavy metal pollutants and disease-causing organisms. And because the sensor is composed of living organisms, it can respond to changes in the presence or amount of the toxins over time unlike many chemical sensors.
“Many bacteria species are known to communicate by a mechanism known as quorum sensing, that is, relaying between them small molecules to trigger and coordinate various behaviors,” said Jeff Hasty, a professor of biology and bioengineering at UC San Diego who headed the research. But the researchers found the same method couldn’t be used to instantaneously synchronize millions of bacteria from thousands of colonies.
“If you have a bunch of cells oscillating, the signal propagation time is too long to instantaneously synchronize 60 million other cells via quorum sensing,” said Hasty. But the scientists discovered that each of the colonies emit gases that, when shared among the thousands of other colonies within a specially designed microfluidic chip, can synchronize all of the millions of bacteria in the chip.
Each of the blinking bacterial colonies comprise what the researchers call a “biopixel,” an individual point of light much like the pixels on a computer monitor or TV screen. Agencies MM 4JAN12

TECH SPECIAL..TECH AND SCIENCE BREAKTHROUGHS OF THE 2000S (3)

Mankind’s dependence on science is undeniable. All the civilized races today strive for scientific progress underlining man’s quest for knowledge. Even religion, ethics and culture takes a backseat in comparison to science. What better way to celebrate this progress than to commemorate some famous and some not so famous scientific inventions of the previous decade.

3 2002

The birth control patch, the Braille Glove, and the Nano-tex fabric were all scientific inventions of the year 2002. Using leather Golf gloves, Ryan Patterson, invented a device that can identify the wearer’s hand movements and transmit them wirelessly to a hand-held monitor as words. Although not very famous, the Braille Glove has enough importance in the world of impaired people. The Nano-tex fabric was another invention that went slightly unnoticed by the common people. The Nano-tex fabric goes through chemical treatment that gives them around a million tiny fibers which are one hundred thousand of an inch long, which for their basic use repel spills. The birth control patch invented by Ortho McNeil Pharmaceuticals known as the Ortho Eva patch was the first birth control patch that could be changed once a week and had the same effects as the contraceptive pills.

-- Listverse

YAHOO'S CO-FOUNDER EXITS YAHOO

Yang Resigns from Yahoo Board, Exits Firm He Co-Founded

BLOOMBERG BUSINESSWEEK SAN FRANCISCO

Jerry Yang is exiting the Yahoo board and its management team, the latest casualty of an overhaul that led to the ouster of Chief Executive Officer Carol Bartz and left the company in search of strategic options. Yang, who started Yahoo in 1995 with David Filo, also left the boards of Yahoo Japan and Alibaba Group Holding, Asian Web companies Yahoo partly owns, Yahoo said on Wednesday in a statement. Scott Thompson, former president of EBay’s PayPal unit, was named CEO on January 4.

“Jerry’s thrown in the towel,” said Colin Gillis, an analyst at BGC Partners LP in New York, who rates the stock a “hold” and doesn’t own it. “He founded the company -- this is his baby.” Yang, 43, whose company helped pioneer Web content and searching in the 1990s, exits Yahoo as it struggles to compete with Google and Facebook for online users and advertising dollars. As it seeks ways to revive the company and placate impatient investors, Yahoo has considered selling its stakes in its Asian partners, including Alibaba, and has fielded proposals from private equity groups to sell a stake in itself.

“By clearing out some artifacts of the past, it’s symbolic of the company’s desire to move forward,” said Allen Weiner, an analyst at Gartner Inc. in Austin, Texas. “With Jerry out of the way, it will perhaps make negotiations with the folks at Alibaba easier.”

Alibaba Group spokesman John Spelich didn’t immediately respond to messages left seeking comment.

‘CHIEF YAHOO’

Yang, who had the position of “chief Yahoo,” was CEO from June 2007 to January 2009. After the Sunnyvale, California-based company rejected an acquisition offer from Microsoft for $47.5 billion, Yang was replaced by Bartz as CEO, who was fired by the company in September 2011.

Yahoo investor Third Point LLC late last year demanded two board seats and asked for Yang to step down as a director. Third Point CEO Daniel Loeb cited the “board’s inability -- or perhaps unwillingness -- to properly solicit true strategic alternative bids, let alone to negotiate them,” in a November statement. Third Point already had called for Chairman Roy Bostock to step down last year.

Yahoo shares fell less than 1% to $15.43 at the close in New York Tuesday. They jumped as high as $16.48 after the announcement. The stock declined 3% last year.

YAHOO’S MARKET VALUE

Born in Taiwan and raised in San Jose, about 10 miles south of Yahoo’s headquarters, Yang co-founded Yahoo as a Stanford University doctorate student. In 1996, Yang and Filo took the company public with CEO Timothy Koogle. As traffic on the Web soared, so did advertising revenue, helping Yahoo’s stock market value surge to more than $100 billion. Then the market collapsed during the dot-com bust. After peaking in January 2000, Yahoo shares lost 97% of their value before bottoming out in September 2001. Today, the company is valued at about $19.1 billion.

Yahoo had already been through management and identity shifts before Bartz’s reign. Terry Semel, a Warner Bros. movie executive who knew Yang from an Allen & Co. media conference in Sun Valley, Idaho, replaced Koogle as CEO in 2001 and stepped up efforts to make the company a media hub. While Semel presided over five years of more than 20 percent sales growth, the company lost its lead in Internet ads to Google.

When Yang became CEO in June 2007, he vowed to renew the struggle against Google’s growing dominance. “I’m ready to dig in and make sure we can take Yahoo to the next level,” Yang said at the time.

MICROSOFT’S OFFER

In 2008, after Yang failed to jump-start sales growth, Microsoft stepped forward to acquire Yahoo -- an offer that Yang spurned. Yang tried to assuage investors with a partnership with Google, though that effort fell apart. The company later forged an agreement with Microsoft, the world’s largest software maker, to share Internet-search operations.

Yang’s handling of the Microsoft negotiations rankled investors at the time, including billionaire Carl Icahn, who successfully lobbied to add new board members in 2008. Icahn, who is no longer on the board, sold the last of his stake in 2010.

“My time at Yahoo, from its founding to the present, has encompassed some of the most exciting and rewarding experiences of my life,” Yang said in a letter to Bostock included in the statement. “However, the time has come for me to pursue other interests outside of Yahoo.” Yang didn’t respond to a request for an interview. Yang still owns 46.6 million shares, or 3.8% of the company’s outstanding stock, according to a November 25 filing. “We appreciate Jerry’s comments and share his enthusiasm for the company’s prospects,” said Bostock.