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Saturday, March 31, 2012

FOOD SPECIAL...FOOD PEEL..NOT JUST FOR COWS


Don't bin the skin of those fruit and veggies -- eating the peel can keep you fighting fit ..Banana peel is an excellent remedy for depression, and protects your retina

I'VE ALWAYS had what you might call a thing for peels. As kids, my mom always insisted that both my sister and I eat our fruits with the peel ­ always. It was the same for vegetables: whenever she cooked bottle gourd (lauki), a separate subzi of its skin, usually combined with sprouts or potatoes, was also served at the same meal.

Similarly, my mom turned bitter gourd peel into a spicy, tangy dry subzi. And when helping her depod peas, both my sister and I would chew the soft peels along with raw peas. We were a peel-eating family through and through.

So as soon as I could, I got on my son's case. But despite trying for years, nothing seems to work on him. He continues to peel and eat his fruit ­ even apples! Though I never questioned my mom's reasoning (`eat the peels as all of the vitamins are near the surface' she would say), I decided to arm myself with some solid information before sitting down to talk to my son.
Here's what I found.


CITRUS FRUITS:

The logic of eating the peel sure applies to citrus fruits. Research done at Purdue University in the United States, published way back in the Journal of Nutrition in 1999, indicates that the monoterpenes in citrus fruit, which are the oils that give oranges and lemons their special smell, may help prevent skin, liver, lung and stomach cancers.

But the catch is that these oils are found mostly in the peel. Plus a study done in 2004 and published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry by US and Canadian researchers found that orange and tangerine peels could be better than drugs for lowering cholesterol.

According to researchers, the compounds, called polymethoxylated flavones (PMFs), found in these peels, have the potential to lower cholesterol more effectively than some prescription drugs, and without side effects. Apparently the white pulpy inner peels of the oranges contain herperidin (this compound is also present in the fruits' flesh but in a smaller amount), an antioxidant that besides lowering cholesterol, also helps normalise blood pressure.
Orange peels also contain pectin, a natural appetite suppressant that also helps to normalise blood sugar.


HOW TO EAT THEM: These studies yielded no clues on how to get used to the taste of an orange peel. So here's what you can do ­ add tiny bits of peels as you juice the fruit in a blender; boil them in water and have as orange/lemon peel tea (it's great for insomnia too); dry and powder them and add to cakes and salads; or just chew them bit by bit ­ the taste will grow on you.


APPLES

The apple's appeal too lies in its peel. We all know that apples pack a wallop of antioxidants (polyphenols), especially vitamin C, for healthy skin and gums. But what is really important to know is that these polyphenols are five times more prevalent in the skin than the flesh of the apples.

In a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry (May 8, 2007), researchers found that the apple peel may account for the lion's share of the fruits' anti-cancer and antidisease properties.

They analysed the chemical composition of apple peels and identified a group of phytochemicals that work against at least three different types of human cancer cells: breast, colon and liver.


HOW TO EAT THEM: Wash apples well to wash off insecticides. Or buy organic fruit.


GRAPES, BERRIES AND GUAVAS

Thankfully, grapes and blueberries are not peeled and eaten. In an article published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry in 2010, a chemist from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), Wallace H Yokoyama and his coinvestigators, reported that hamsters that were fed blueberryenhanced rations (peels and juice byproducts) had from 22 to 27 per cent lower total plasma cholesterol than hamsters fed rations that didn't contain these.

And it's also time to stop discarding guava peels. These peels contain more anti-oxidants (such as anthocyanin pigments) than the pulp or flesh that can potentially fight cancer, ageing, inflammation, and neurological diseases.


HOW TO EAT THEM: Chew into guavas whole, that way you won't be tempted to peel them.


BANANAS

If you are feeling depressed, all you need to do is to peel a banana and eat it. Eat the peel, that is. And you thought that the peel was just fodder for cows and comic situations?

Scientists at Taichung's Chung Shan Medical University, Taiwan claim that an extract of banana peel is not only an excellent remedy for depression, but also protects your retina ­ the bit of the eye that actually `shows' you stuff.

They found that banana peel is richer in serotonin (a hormone vital in balancing moods) than the fruit.
Low levels of serotonin in the brain are believed to cause depression.
Plus the peel contains lutein, an antioxidant from the carotenoid family, which helps the retina cells to regenerate.


HOW TO EAT THEM: Researchers suggested you boil the peel and drink the water a few times a week during the evening.

WATERMELONS AND MORE

Everyone loves the pink flesh of a watermelon but how about its rind?
Experts say that the white part of the rind (between the green and the pink) contains large amounts of citrulline, an amino acid, is rich in vitamin C, beta carotene, and lycopene and also contains smaller amounts of vitamin A, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and zinc.


HOW TO EAT THEM: It obviously doesn't taste as good as the pink flesh, so maybe you can juice the rind along with the watermelon flesh and add a little sugar. You can blend it with other fruits in a smoothie, or turn the watermelon rind into a chutney.

But please wash it very very thoroughly to get rid of bacteria, pesticides and dirt. And remember, it is an unfamiliar food, so it might give you an upset tummy.

Similarly, pomegranate rind has double the antioxidants as compared to the fruit, but it's not easily consumed. You could dry it and add to subzis or drink as chai (like orange peel tea).

VEGETABLES

A popular restaurant in Goa ­ Souza Lobo (which also has a branch in Delhi) ­ has a best-selling dish made of potato peels. Potato peels are loaded with vitamins C and B6, potassium, manganese and copper. So next time you make mashed potatoes, just scrub the potatoes really well and leave the peels on ­ ditto for stews and yes, even french fries. Also, avoid peeling radishes as they are rich in allyl isothiocyanates (which gives a peppery pungent flavour to this root vegetable) and is an antioxidant.

So, next time you make mooli parantha, wash it properly and simply grate along with the peel. Or have some unpeeled, washed radish with some rock salt.

Cucumber peels besides being very high in fibre are also a hidden source of beta-carotene, a type of vitamin A, which is fabulous for your eyes. In the southern state of Andhra Pradesh, people make a tasty cucumber pickle with its peel (see recipe).

by Kavita Devgan

HTBR18MAR12

E-Self Improvement

A few sites to help manage your online life easily

Your online life is spread across so many different online properties. Your friends are on Facebook, Twitter and Google+, you network professionally through LinkedIn, those cool snaps reside on Flickr and Instagram, the videos go to YouTube and Vimeo, and your random thoughts are penned on blogs at Wordpress or Tumblr. Of course, if you are a bit more tech-savvy, you might even have your own web site.
But just like in real life, if your personal data is scattered across many places, you are bound to have issues with managing it all. Still, with the right tool for the right job, you will find it a breeze to audit your e-self.
>> utopic.me
Now that chacha, chachi, Munnu and Bublee are all online, it’s natural to be daunted by the sheer number of links, photos, videos and other cool things being shared. Don’t worry, Utopic will help you figure out what deserves your attention first. Connect this nifty little service to your Facebook, Twitter, Google Reader and YouTube accounts, and Utopic will intelligently scour all the data shared by your family and friends to figure out what’s most interesting to you. But that’s just the ‘Discover’ part of the service. The new ‘your bookmarks’ section lets you pin or save these links for future reference, so you can easily curate all the stuff you find fascinating. The coolest part of Utopic is how easily and seamlessly all your networks gel together to give you one window to rule them all.
>> www.greplin.com
Remember the video of the cute doggie who thinks he’s a cat? Yeah, let’s watch that again. But wait, did you receive the link on Facebook or Twitter or Gmail or Dropbox or…
Greplin to the rescue! This new platform wants to become the Google of your online life. And much like the search giant, Greplin keeps it simple with one search box to greet you and nothing else. You can choose to hook up as many, or as few of your accounts as you want, with options including Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Contacts, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Dropbox and many more. Greplin takes some time to fully index all your online data. But the wait is worth it, because you get a personal search engine that is lightning fast in retrieving anything from any account. And what’s more, not only does it order the results by service, but over time, understands your search patterns enough to offer more relevant results.
>> about.me
When you meet someone new in real life, you give them your business card. In the online world, the equivalent of a visiting card is your About.Me page.
The service lets you create a page about you and bring all your links in one place — Facebook, Twitter, Email, LinkedIn and whatever else. It’s really easy to use, and more importantly, it looks very cool and inviting. You can customize the background, the details you want to share, and even the fonts and colours, making it a wonderful landing page for anyone who wants to find out more about you.
And the best part is that the URL can be customized to your name or anything else you desire, such as About.Me/YourNameHere.
>> mypermissions.org
But wait a minute. It’s great to have all these services to make your online life easier, but how do you track who is accessing your private data? After all, you just granted all the apps in this piece “access permission” to your private accounts — and you may have just as easily given other apps similar access in the past… Don’t hit the panic button yet. Two developers, Avi Charkham and Eran Sandler, faced the same predicament, so they made a simple page where you can check all your accounts and see which apps have free passage. A simple icon grid lets you quickly log into your Facebook, Twitter, Google, Yahoo, Instagram, Dropbox, Foursquare or other accounts, to see the apps connected to them. And of course, you can even choose to revoke access to a few services that you may find suspect. For security sake, it’s prudent to visit this site at least once to clean up your account access; and if you’re a power user, it might be wise to set the auto-reminder for a monthly check-up. You never can be too careful when it comes to private data on the Internet.

MIHIR PATKAR toicrest120317

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

FOOD SPECIAL..Quinoa

A new supergrain that packs a mean protein punch has found favour with the health conscious


Deepika Padukone is eating it, five-stars hotels are proudly displaying it on their menus alongside blue cheese and almost every nutritionist is including it in her diet plans. Quinoa (say KEEN-wah) is undoubtedly generating a lot of buzz these days. From being unheard of in India, the tiny and tasteless seed has now become a staple, and even replaced rice and rotis, on the dinner plates of the swish and health conscious in metros. Just walk into health food store Modern Bazaar in New Delhi’s posh Vasant Vihar market to see how quickly quinoa packets are flying off the shelves. At least 30 packs imported from Germany are sold at the store and its branches in Gurgaon and Saket each day. The steep cost — Rs 750 for 500 gm — is no deterrent, says owner Kunal Kumar. In Mumbai, too, there is such a craze for quinoa that Shailarna Vaze, who runs a sushi delivery service called Ninja Sushi, had to introduce a special range wherein she replaced the vinegared rice, the chief ingredient of the Japanese rolls, with the superfood. And, the Yoga House, a café in Mumbai’s suburb Bandra, is offering quinoa and hummus burgers. Though quinoa is a recent discovery in health circles, it was first cultivated nearly 5,000 years ago in the arid, high mountains of Bolivia and Peru. It was one of the three staple foods, along with corn and potatoes, of the Inca civilization and since been consumed consistently by people of the mountainous regions of South America.
Wondering what the secret of quinoa’s sudden global superstardom is? The answer lies in its high protein quotient — more than any other grain. “It has as much protein as meat,” says Shonali Sabarwal, a macrobiotic nutritionist, explaining why it has earned titles like “mother grain” and “vegetarian caviar”.
The list of health benefits of quinoa is long. It is gluten-free, contains all eight essential amino acids, has high level of
antioxidants — mainly vitamin E — and is rich in B vitamins, folic acid, calcium, potassium, iron, copper and magnesium. It is also free of cholesterol and trans fats.
Better still, though quinoa acts like cereals such as rice or couscous, it is not a grain at all. It is actually the fruit of broadleaf plant in the same family as spinach and beets. It just masquerades well. “Even though quinoa is all protein, it tricks the mind and makes you feel like you have eaten a nice bowl of rice, which is all carbs, and satiates one’s craving,” says Jyoti Kumar, a Delhi-based make-up artist, who eats a quinoa and veggies pulao at least thrice a week.
This feeling of satisfaction is what makes quinoa the perfect choice for people who want to lose weight but can’t go to bed after eating just a lean chicken breast or grilled fish, considering the Indian habit of having rice or rotis with every meal. “Quinoa is also very high in fibre. It gives one all the roughage we need but normally don’t get,” says fitness trainer Yasmin Karachiwala, who runs Body Image gym in Bandra.
The pilates expert recommends quinoa to all her clients, which includes many B-town celebrities. “Deepika has really taken to it. Katrina not so much. Shahzahn Padamsee likes it a lot,” says Karachiwala. She adds that Zarine Khan has almost completely “switched” to quinoa. The young actor, who promises to wow audiences with a sexy, toned body in the upcoming Housefull 2, has admitted she went from a whopping 100 kg to her current 57 kg thanks to the exercise and diet — which included lots of quinoa — she was put on by Karachiwala.
Filmmaker and producer Mozez Singh, who consults Sabharwal, too, swears by quinoa. Singh follows a macrobiotic diet in which brown rice is a must-have but he has now replaced the rice with quinoa. “Brown rice makes me feel bloated,” he says.
But is all the hype around quinoa justified? “Quinoa is excellent. But I would still consider brown rice the mother grain as it has much more insoluble fibre. Besides, the easily available and inexpensive Rajgira (Amaranth) is equally good. It’s just that it is still in the closet,” says Sabarwal.
The light yellow quinoa seeds have a fluffy texture when cooked, and a mild nutty flavor which makes it blend with all kinds of cuisines and ingredients. Read food blogs online and you will see that there is no dearth of desi quinoa recipes — try quinoa khichdi, bisibele bhat and even quinoa upma if you please. Body Image stocks quinoa flour, too, so people who can’t do without rotis, have the option of eating this high-protein version.
Of course, quinoa is better known for its exotic preparations. Manish Mehrotra, executive chef at Indian Accent in Delhi, has concocted a goji berry confit accompanied by servings of wok tossed quinoa.

NEHA BHAYANA TOICREST120317

MOBILE SPECIAL..Six best smartphones under Rs 10K

Six best smartphones under Rs 10K
Samsung Galaxy Y
Samsung’s TV promotions of the Galaxy Y seem to be quite successful as this is currently one of the more popular smartphones in the market. Designed for the young crowd, the Galaxy Y delivers on a great form factor, speedy 832MHz CPU, 3G, Wi-Fi ‘n’ and offers a long battery life. The 2MP camera may not be the best, but you do get handy features like ‘panorama shot’, ‘smile shot’ and an ‘image editor’. Like all Samsung phones, the audio quality in the Galaxy Y is really good, enough to ditch your MP3 player.
Specsheet:
OS: Android Gingerbread (2.3)
Screen: 3-inch (320 x 240 resolution)
Connectivity: Wi-Fi ‘n’, Bluetooth v3, 3G
Storage: 160MB internal (2GB microSD card included)
Price: Rs 8,000

HTC Explorer
The HTC Explorer recently had a minor
price-cut, making it even more attractive. The screen offers a good resolution and
accurate colours which makes it great for surfing the web or watching a video while travelling. Despite it having a slower 600MHz CPU, Sense 3.5 UI disguises that very well and you’ll rarely notice it. The build quality is also excellent and it feels really good in your hand. The camera produces good pictures with plenty of options to tweak.
Specsheet:
OS: Android Gingerbread (2.3)
Screen: 3.2-inch (320 x 480 resolution)
Connectivity: Wi-Fi ‘n’, Bluetooth v3, 3G
Storage: 90MB internal (2GB microSD card included)
Price: Rs 9,500

Samsung Wave Y
Don’t underestimate this Bada phone as it can do just about everything an Android smartphone can. Samsung uses the same TouchWiz interface so you get all the features found in their Android handsets. Social media apps are built right in through Social Hub and ChatON. You also get a proximity sensor, which is normally not found in phones in this price range. The Wave Y also delivers on battery life and will easily last for two days without charging. The Wave Y also features DLNA, allowing you to stream music and video files over compatible devices.
Specsheet:
OS: Bada v2.0
Screen: 3.2-inch (320 x 480 resolution)
Connectivity: Wi-Fi ‘n’, Bluetooth v3, 3G
Storage: 150MB internal, expandable to 32GB
Price: Rs 7,200

Spice Mi-350n
Spice may have started out as a maker of affordable feature phones but has since branched out into smartphones.
The Mi-350n is one of the best Android offerings to date. The 3.5-inch screen
sports a decent resolution and the colours are rich and vibrant. It’s a dual-SIM handset with a 3.2MP shooter with auto-focus. Facebook and Twitter come pre-loaded and the memory is expandable to 32GB.
Specsheet:
OS: Android Gingerbread (2.3)
Screen: 3.5-inch (320 x 480 resolution)
Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth v2.1, 3G
Storage: 170MB internal, expandable to 32GB
Price: Rs 7,800

Micromax Superfone Lite A75
The successor to the A70, the A75 steps it up a notch by offering a larger screen, dual-SIM, Ginger-bread, LED flash for the camera — all this for a slight bump in price. The build and design of the handset resemble the Galaxy Nexus S quite a bit without coming across as a cheap knock-off. There’s even a front-facing camera for video calling. The A75 is also one of the only 3.7-inch phones in this price bracket which gives you more room to play with. This is really handy when browsing or watching videos on the go.
Specsheet:
OS: Android Gingerbread (2.3)
Screen: 3.7-inch (320 x 480 res)
Connectivity: Wi-Fi ‘n’, Bluetooth v3, 3G
Storage: Expandable memory up to 32GB
Price: Rs 8,900

Nokia E5
The E5 may not have an Android flavour but it’s still a very productive phone. It sports a full QWERTY keyboard and runs Symbian OS v9.3. The 600MHz ARM CPU offers a decent amount of power for multi-tasking. You also get a 5MP shooter with an LED flash. The E5 also supports Mail for Exchange, IBM Lotus Notes, Push Mail notifications as well as Quickoffice for viewing and editing Office documents. Navigation needs are taken care of by Ovi Maps along with life-time Walk and Drive navigation support.
Specsheet:
OS: Symbian OS v9.3
Screen: 2.4-inch (320 x 240 res)
Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth v2, 3G
Storage: 250MB internal (2GB microSD card included)
Price: Rs 9,200
(DNA 120313)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

TECH SPECIAL..New tech to run ultra-fast Internet

WAIT, SPEEDY RELIEF IS HERE

Connection Speed Could Be 2,000 Times More Than What We Experience Today


Madrid: Lightning-quick Net speeds, more robust connections and a big increase in network capacity at little extra cost may now be possible, thanks to the ground-breaking fibre-optic technology, under a new project.
The project, known as Sardana, involving a consortium of European universities and research institutes, has demonstrated speeds of up to 10 Gigabits per second (Gbps), around 2,000 times quicker than the fastest Internet speed today.
Researchers also showed that such speeds can be achieved at relatively little extra cost using existing fibre infrastructure. Though still in the experimental stages, the fully optical technology would mark a giant leap forward in fibre network performance.
“We are proposing a new access network architecture using fibre to the home that provides new functionalities and extended performance,” said Josep Prat, researcher in optical communications, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC), Spain and the scientific coordinator of the project.
According to some estimates, yearly global internet traffic will need to be measured in Zettabytes (one trillion Gigabytes) within the next three years, a four-fold increase from today and the data equivalent of all the movies ever made passing through operators’ networks every five minutes, according to a university statement.
Streaming video from sites such as YouTube and Netflix will account for most of the traffic, alongside more widespread use of similarly bandwidth-demanding video conferencing and telepresence applications. IANS

(TOI13MAR12)

HEALTH SPECIAL..An End to Allergies?

New drug could block reactions to anything from pollen to penicillin


Pollen, dust and even certain kinds of foods, to name but a few, are all allergens, capable of inducing anything from an irritating rash to a life threatening reaction in the susceptible. Current treatments for allergies are often clumsy, tackling the symptoms rather than the cause and occasionally leaving the patient’s immune system compromised.
Now biochemists in the US have created a drug designed to halt an allergy in its tracks, preventing the allergen from confusing the human immune system and causing a reaction. When an allergen such as pollen enters the body, the immune system recognises it as an invader and produces antibodies in response. These antibodies bind to cells that make up a different part of the immune system, called mast cells. If the allergen enters the body again, it binds with the antibodies that are already linked to the mast cells.
“The mast cells release molecules they think will destroy a pathogen — but there is no pathogen,” says Basar Bilgiçer of the University of Notre Dame, Indiana, who is involved in the research. “The molecules end up hitting our own tissue. This results in all the symptoms we associate with an allergy.”
The solution developed by the biochemists at the University of Notre Dame and at Harvard University is a substance they’ve called a heterobivalent ligand (HBL), which steps between the allergen and the immune system, preventing a response. It binds to the antibodies, thus preventing the allergen from doing so, meaning the body does not produce the reactive symptoms experienced by allergy-sufferers.
Human bodies contain billions of antibodies, each capable of responding to a specific invader. But HBL binds only to the antibodies produced in response to the allergen, so the rest of the immune system is unaffected. The scientists carried out their first tests using dinitrophenol — a chemical that has been used as a weight loss drug – as the allergen to be blocked. “The next step would be to do the same thing with penicillin, as it’s quite common to have an allergic reaction to it,” says Bilgiçer.
Each allergen would need its own HBL to combat it, so it could take some time to develop treatments for several different allergies.

(ETS120311)

Monday, March 26, 2012

On the Sly, Pepsi Goes off Low-calorie Diet


On the Sly, Pepsi Goes off Low-calorie Diet

Takes ‘Snack Smart’ Logo off Lay’s, moves away from rice bran oil to cut costs


PepsiCo has silently taken off the 'Snack Smart' logos from the packs of its snack foods like Lay’s chips, Kurkure and Cheetos as it gives up rice bran oil to cook its snacks, four years after launching the snack smart initiative. Since March, the company has been using cheaper palm oil to cook its snack brands as a cost-saving measure, three officials in knowledge of the development told ET. A PepsiCo spokesman confirmed the switch. “Our analysis of consumer feedback on the use of rice bran oil showed that the consumer did not show any added preference to the use of rice bran oil,” he told ET. The ‘snack smart’ logos used to claim that the brands, apart from being cooked in healthier oil, had 40% less saturated fat, zero trans fats and no added monosodium glutamate. Beginning from the second half of 2007, PepsiCo had been saying across various multimedia campaigns and announcements that it had switched to cooking all its snacks brands in rice bran oil, instead of the earlier palm oil. Pepsi’s website, snacksmart-.co.in, still shows actor Saif Ali Khan promoting the ‘snack smart’ logo for its Lay’s chips. It says rice bran oil, used to cook Lay’s, Kurkure and Cheetos, is “naturally high in good fats and 22% lower in saturated fats”. Typically, the cost difference between snacks cooked in rice bran oil and palm oil is about . 8-10 per kg. PepsiCo’s decision to silently withdraw the logo and switch to cheaper oil has not gone down well with health activists. Centre for Science and Environment Director Sunita Narain said the move amounts to taking the consumer for granted. “If Pepsi spent crores telling consumers about the meaning of the ‘snack smart’ logo in the past, they should now tell consumers why the logo is off on the same marketing budgets,” Narain said. “They should have Saif Ali Khan on TV telling consumers why the logo is off.” Narain had triggered an outcry against Pepsi and Coke in 2006 by saying their soft drinks in the country contained pesticide.

There’s a Need for Self-regulation by Cos

Pankaj Sharma, chief trustee of Centre for Transforming India (CFTI), a Delhi-based NGO that works on health and environment issues, says companies should have self-regulation. “Either they should not bother telling consumers details of cooking medium (or)…they should tell consumers about changes as well.”

The PepsiCo spokesman insists that the company is not taking its focus away from healthy food.Lay’s has significantly reduced sodium in Lay’s Classic salted and all its snacks are free of MSG and trans fat, he says. The company has also launched a baked version of Lay’s potato chips.

“A new range of baked, multigrain products under the Aliva brand is next in the offing,” the spokesman says.

With growing health concerns and mounting criticism over widespread obesity, food and beverage majors have begun adopting nutritional labelling in the country, in line with global trends, to reduce portion sizes, reformulate existing products to reduce saturated fat, cholesterol, added sugars and sodium. Several companies including the two cola majors, Unilever, Nestle, Kellogg’s, Kraft Foods and Mars came together in March last year to sign an India Pledge, a set of guidelines to restrict and regulate propagating unhealthy foods on the lines of the European Union Pledge.

The pledge involves the companies making individual commitments to social responsibility in marketing food and beverage products to children, and providing a framework to promote healthier dietary choices.

RATNA BHUSHAN NEW DELHI ET 12026

CANT ESCAPE THE WEB OF DESIRE

Social media more addictive than cigarettes

Networking Urge Harder To Resist As It Is Considered Not Too Costly

Washington: Cannot resist your urge to tweet or check emails Dont get surprised,as a new study has found that checking email and social media is more addictive than cigarettes and alcohol.US researchers who carried out an experiment to test the will power of 205 people,aged 18 to 85,in the German city of Wurtzburg found that most of them were more likely to give in to urge to tweet or check email than other cravings like drinking or smoking.
Desires for media may be comparatively harder to resist because of their high availability and also because it feels like it does not cost much to engage in these activities,even though one wants to resist, said lead researcher Wilhelm
Hofmann at Chicago Universitys Booth Business School.In the experiment using BlackBerry devices,participants were asked seven times a day over the course of a week to identify desires they were experiencing and the strength of said desires.
The team sifted through thousands of responses and came up with some telling results.Thankfully,the study showed were all not slaves to vice and distraction,as the need for sleep and leisure topped the list.However,next on the list of self-control failure rates was checking in with social media,email and work ahead of the urge to have a Camel Light,while sipping on that glass of 12-year single malt scotch.With cigarettes and alcohol there are more costs long-term as well as monetary and the opportunity may not always be right one, Hofmann said.So,even though giving in to media desires is certainly less consequential,the frequent use may still steal a lot of people's time, he added.PTI

(TOI120107)

TECH ENTREPRENURSHIP

Silicon Tiger emerges from the jungle

The startup action has shifted from not-so-risky clones and outsourcing services to an array of made-in-India techie products with global potential

India has the promise to emerge as a tech power, maybe even in this decade. Already, India is home to the world’s third largest venture capital business, superior-class engineering talent, a sizeable and growing mobile communications sector second only to China, not to mention switched-on startups.
A new era for tech entrepreneurship is emerging in India as savvy investors place bets on startups that can compete globally in biomedical, cleantech and e-commerce — and a lot more than outsourcing services. Another catalyst is India’s rise as a base for high-end research and development.
Despite this progress, red tape, poor infrastructure and a lack of confidence restrain the entrepreneurial spirit in India. There’s no startup hero such as Jack Ma of Alibaba or Robin Li of Baidu in sight, and there’s no splashy IPO that can compare with China’s video sharing site Youku — though mobile advertising service inMobi and others could get out of the gate and go public. India lacks the entrepreneurial buzz and fast pace I’ve observed among China’s tech hotspots even as innovation clusters have emerged in Bangalore and Gurgaon. All things considered, India’s entrepreneurial journey is at least five years behind China’s path.
Indian entrepreneurship has been led by grassroots efforts, and the government hasn’t always promoted regulations that foster an ecosystem ripe for creating the next, new thing. If India is ever to break through and catch up with China, it needs to develop an innovation culture, improve its infrastructure, and ditch a backward image as just for low-cost engineering and business services — a major challenge for the world leader of the huge outsourcing market.
The gap hasn’t stopped leading Indian venture capitalist Ashish Gupta from betting his career on the rise of tech stars in his home country. “One good reason to set up a venture fund is that you really don’t know where the white spaces are going to be in India whereas in the US there are already established players,” says Gupta, a technologist who joined Helion Advisors in 2005 as senior managing director. Among his finds were MakeMyTrip, job site Naukri and IBM-owned Daksh eServices. “In tech, we’re out another four to five years. It’s already happening in enough bulk in India not to be called an accident,” adds Gupta, who has a computer science degree from the elite Indian Institute of Technology and a PhD from Stanford.
What’s in the pipeline to speed up the pace of innovation? Startups powered by India’s thousands of talented engineers as well as MBA graduates in the leading edge fields of social networking, mobile communications, cleantech, biotech, the Internet and e-commerce, funded by experi- enced investors. “The companies we are backing are less than five years old, and are run by founding teams who are under 40 years of age. Already, they are well-funded, generating revenues, have a global customer footprint and patents to their credit,” points out Sudhir Sethi, founder, chairman and managing director at IDG Ventures India.
Interestingly, the same venture firms that jumpstarted Silicon Valley in the 1990s have been fishing for deals in India (and China) for a decade or more: Sequoia Capital, Kleiner Perkins, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Accel Partners, Lightspeed Ventures, Norwest Venture Partners, New Enterprise Associates, Greylock Partners, Matrix Partners and Charles River Ventures. This network of dealmakers is supported by a vibrant angel investor community in India that numbers 1,000 and includes well-known serial entrepreneurs who belong to the Mumbai Angel Network and Indian Angel Network.
Moreover, India’s newly developing tech entrepreneurship is the result of a new breed of company founder who is bolder and braver. Only a few years ago, it was common for India’s local entrepreneurs to pick up financing from the West and transplant business models that were successful in the US and China to India. In social networking, there was Twitter in the US, Weibo in China, and in India, SMS Gup-Shup. For online books and e-commerce, there was Amazon in the US, Dangdang in China and Flipkart in India. For job portals, there was Monster.com in the US, 51.com in China and Naukri in India. Yahoo had its cousins SINA in China and Rediff.com in India. In digital mapping, there was MapQuest in the US, AutoNavi in Beijing and MapMyIndia in Delhi. For online payment, the pattern repeated: PayPal in the US, 99Bill in China, and PayMate in India. The popular online gaming sector sparked a lot of lookalikes in India too: for example, Kreeda, Nazara and Games2Win.
Today, the startup action is shifting to locally based investors and from not-so-risky clones and outsourcing services to a broader array of made-in-India techie products with global potential. Venture investor Sethi contends that the product companies his team is backing have “strong intellectual property and patents,” and are “led by serial entrepreneurs who have a product background and know how to build global companies from India”.
No doubt, India’s business leaders are optimistic about the country’s prospects, longterm, to propel its own Silicon Valley economy forward. “You have a vibrant, stable market in India. While India may seem bureaucratic, you have fewer of the regulatory and restructuring issues that you have in China due to currency issues,” says Ash Lilani, president of India for SVB Financial Group. He adds, “India has the most dynamic entrepreneurs, and the good news is that there are so many of them.”
Yet, the search for truly breakthrough technology from India remains elusive. Tellingly, India is not even among the top 15 countries on the scales that measure international patents. By contrast, China has leaped ahead to fourth place globally for new patent applications.
All this is not to overlook another booster of both China and India as tech powers: the nations’ emergence as a land of opportunity for returnees from the west. Highly educated and skilled immigrant entrepreneurs and professionals who made their career in the US are returning by the thousands to their home country for careers and enrichment — and it’s a one-way ticket.
India’s Silicon Valley has started off more slowly but steadier than China’s Silicon Dragon. Now there’s growing evidence that India could speed up and deliver better results. In no small measure India’s democratic system and free speech practice are stimuli that unleash the imagination and creativity that go into the DNA of the best startups that survive and matter.
Fannin is author of StartupAsia (2011) and Silicon Dragon (2008)
and Forbes contributor TOICRST120225

Saturday, March 24, 2012

FOOD SPECIAL..FRUITS

FRUITS

MAKE you indomitable, literally. Several studies show that eating five helpings — five cupfuls — of raw fruit prevent cancers, heart disease, diabetes and osteoporosis. In citrus fruits such as oranges, mandarin and lemons, the health benefits lie in of the presence of pectin, a natural compound that helps prevent prostate and other cancers, reports a study in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry.

The study was done by Dr Bhimu Patil, director of Texas A&M University’s Vegetable and Fruit Improvement Centre, and colleagues.

“Pectin is a complex carbohydrate found in many plants, but is most abundant in citrus fruits. It has already been shown to reduce cholesterol and blood sugar. While our study focused mainly on prostate cancer, pectin may show similar benefits in inhibiting other types of cancer,” Patil told Hindustan Times.

Another study done by Patil’s team shows that orange and grape fruit juice, if consumed regularly, prevented osteoporosis, a debilitating disease that causes bones to become brittle with age and break. The study was published in Nutrition, which ran the research as its lead article.

Few people are aware about the health benefits of fruits on bone health. “One of the reasons for reduced bone density is the increase in cell-damaging oxidants produced by the body’s metabolic process. Our studies showed that both grapefruit and orange juice increased antioxi dants in the rats’ systems, which protects the bone cells from damage,” he explains.

Earlier studies have shown that pectin can also help reduce levels of artery blocking “bad” cholesterol (low density lipoprotein or LDL) in the blood and maintain blood sugar at a healthy concentration. (ORKUT SSFC 15JAN07)

“Citrus fruits are a vast reservoir of anti-carcinogens and storehouses of health-promoting nutrients,” says Patil, who received his undergraduate degree at the University of Agri cultural Sciences in Bangalore before moving to the US.

If locally grown, a whole fruit packs in a lot more nutritional punch than its juice. The fibre in a whole fruit also fills people up, so they tend to eat less. “Fruits need to be stored at temperatures below 15 degrees centigrade — 9 degrees in the case of citrus — to ensure they retain their nutritional value. Up to 60 per cent vitamin C is lost within two months of the fruit being plucked, which is the time it takes for artificially-ripened fruit to reach the market in many parts of the world,” says Patil.

If you are not sure about how fresh the produce is, it may be a good idea to opt for juices for the nutritional value and get the fibre from other sources, recommends Patil.

The nutritional components of many packaged juices are preserved because the fruit is freshly picked and juiced. PepsiCo, the makers of Tropicana, say some, like mandarins and oranges, are squeezed with the skin to maximise nutritional content. “Independent studies that compared commercially squeezed juice with domestic squeezed juice found the levels of beneficial phytochemical and flavonoid to be higher in commercially squeezed juice,” says Yashna Harjani, nutrition specialist, Asia PepsiCo.

But don’t go for citrus alone. “In general, people should eat different coloured fruit to get all of the beneficial compounds. And make sure you eat them fresh,” says Patil.

WOMAN SPECIAL...Simple yet sublime..SARI


A coffee tabler on the sari demonstrates, through insightful commentary and sumptuous illustrations, why the sari is the most fascinating garment ever invented


For all the advances in fashion technology and garment design, the sari is still unsurpassed in the way it combines utter simplicity with almost limitless scope for innovation. Just consider: there's not a stitch to keep all those yards in place. And depending only on how you wear it, the same folds can fall gracefully, or bunch up frumpily. As you turn the pages of Rta Kapur Chishti's Saris: Tradition And Beyond — which incidentally presents, with illustrations, 108 ways of draping the sari — you'll understand just why the garment holds such fascination, and has managed to hold its own despite umpteen obituaries mourning its rumoured demise.
This book is the fruit of Chishti's travels — starting in the 1980s and spread out over 20 years — through the weaver settlements in India's 15 sari-producing states. Chishti chronicles the experiences of the weavers' families, documents the mind-boggling array of sari designs, and describes the socio-economic dynamics of the industry today.
Weaving a sari isn't just a matter of livelihood for a community. In many states, the sari is the cultural glue that binds the people together. In Chhattisgarh, for example, the coarse cotton sari reflects the vibrant, colourful, geometric tribal designs on people's homes. Chishti observes how a people's homes, pottery, and textiles can speak the same language. The famous Bangalore and Mysore silks, on the other hand, exhibit an earnest desire to weave motifs of temple sculpture into their saris.
The history of the sari in each state, when seen in the context of its place in the present, reveals the journey of one garment through time. In Goa, the Portuguese banned sari-weaving for 200 years in order to promote the sale of imports. However, many weavers went underground, and wove saris in hidden basements. More than 460 looms operated in hide-outs. Chishti met one such weaver, Anton Rasquinha, in the late 1980s. Then 85, Rasquinha weaved zealously despite being well-off and in no need of the income. But he refused Chishti's request to weave samples of saris long forgotten, citing pending orders he couldn't handle. But Chishti records his wry observation that the sari which flourished under the ban, now perishes in freedom.
Weavers in other states have similar stories, though they're not all as busy as Rasquinha. Chishti relates how several elderly weavers in Karnataka were wary of sharing information on old patterns, fearing that their younger weavers who now work on power looms would feel cheated.
Ironically enough, though skill levels seem to have declined, Maharashtra is perhaps the only state where the handlooms still pose a threat to the power loom owners. The reason seems to be the constant reinvention of limited designs. Several weavers who took up the author's production orders were paid to drop them or were baited with better offers — a clear indication of the insecurity amongst power looms owners and the fear that a traditional weaver may find his way to the modern market and command his worth.
Interestingly, Chishti also demonstrates how the sari offers insights into the anxieties of the people who weave and wear it. In Kerala, the weavers appeared reserved and unwilling to speak of what they called "very limited pattern elements." Actually, this unwillingness was more a reflection of their dilemma in a market where, without compromising on their traditional minimalist design that gives their saris a unique identity, they have to compete with the far more flamboyantly coloured saris from neighbouring Tamil Nadu. Tamil Nadu's saris have "colour all over," they say. In comparison, Kerala's predominantly white drapes are at most sprinkled or dip-dyed in turmeric or saffron-tinted water, that too, on auspicious occasions such as marriage or festivals.
The way a sari is woven also tells tales about a state's culture. In Andhra and Karnataka, observes Chishti, motifs, materials and layouts are freely mixed, while in neighbouring Tamil Nadu, the colours, contrasts, inlaying and combinations follow a certain pattern, "playing within strictly drawn lines," as the book puts it. The Tamils follow a similar order while drawing the kolam — a rangoli or floor pattern. First a dotted grid is drawn and with that as a base, flowing lines are interwoven within.
Strangely enough, these differences in design, materials and motifs also serve to highlight how the sari brings people together. In Madhya Pradesh, the patterns worn by Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians are so similar that it is difficult to tell them apart.
More than 90 per cent of the designs reproduced in this lushly illustrated book have been recreated by the weavers. At the famous weaving centres of Chanderi, Maheshwar and Bilaspur, weavers brought out their collections and drew old, nearly extinct border patterns with shaky hands. Chishti got them to weave more than 500 of those patterns and has documented them in Saris.
Writes Chishti, "Women in Jhansi rode horses and swam in rivers with their sari tucked between the legs like an unstitched pair of shorts." Flipping through this book, one can't help feeling that the modern Indian woman hasn't managed to get as much out of the sari as those women in Jhansi did.

---Kareena N Gianani

TECH SPECIAL..Mobile majors unveil flagship smartphones



From maps to books, the mobile phone is replacing more objects than ever. MWC-2012 will see another assault by mobile device makers on computers, laptops and satnavs. The four-day event is expected to cover both how the mobile networks of the future will evolve as well as how phones will change. The mobile market may not be profitable, but it’s expanding 47% year-on-year.
On the first day, it became clear that manufacturers increasingly opted for newer, quad-core processors, with only Sony continuing to use older, dual-core models. Chinese giant Huawei announced what it called the world’s fastest smartphone, the Ascend D Quad, which it claimed was able to perform better than both Apple’s iPhone 4S and the Samsung Galaxy Nexus.
Asus is set to announce the launch of its ‘Padfone’ which sees a mobile literally slot inside a larger screen - it is another response to the challenge of smaller devices now being able to stream and play media that looks equally at home on the giant screen.
LG’s new flagship, the Optimus 4X HD, offers a four-core processor and a high definition screen, as well as a 4G receiver for territories such as America where the technology is available. The firm emphasised that the phone could be used for intensive gaming, and some officials claimed that in normal use the device could last for two days without needing to be recharged. The Optimus 4X HD will run Google’s latest version of Android, Ice Cream Sandwich, and will feature a 4.7” screen with a 1.5GHz processor. The firm is also producing a small tablet, called the Vu, for the American market.
Sony also announced an expansion to its Xperia line of phones, the first the company has made since the end of the Sony Ericsson joint venture. The P and U Xperia models mark an attempt to sell the brand at more mid-range prices. Sony emphasised its task was as much to continue to try to integrate its music, video games and movies into phones as it was to improve devices. Improved displays would form a key part of the new strategy.
HTC, however, focussed primarily on devices rather than on content. Although the Taiwanese manufacturer announced an improvement to its Dropbox tie-up, allowing enhanced back-up and synchronisation of files, the new ‘One’ range focused on improving photography and design.
Mobile phone companies are hoping the Near-Field Communications (NFC) technology will help turn your phone into your wallet. When it comes to the devices themselves, however, phones are increasingly more purse-size than wallet. The Samsung Galaxy Note and the Galaxy Nexus have done well at sizes at least an inch bigger than the iPhone, and a number of five-inch screens are set to be marketed as phones rather than tablets - if your mobile is to stay in your pocket, you might need bigger pockets.
And deeper pockets could come in handy too: mid-priced smartphones are apparently now less profitable than any other type, which means it’s more cost-effective for a network to sell you an upgrade either to something very expensive, such as an iPhone, or something very cheap and out of date, rather than anything in between.
Chip-maker Intel, it is said, can achieve ultra-modern performance with one “core” processor where others require four. By the way, Apple
does not go to the MWC, and Samsung is staying away this year, and will launch new
gadgets at its own event later. It remains to be seen if others at the MWC will their dominance. Matt Warman Daily Telegraph DNA 120228

FOOD SPECIAL..Eat (Healthy) thus

Make careful menu selections: Pay careful attention to the descriptions of the items on the menu. Anything labelled deep-fried, pan-fried, basted, batter-dipped, breaded, creamy, crispy, scalloped, Alfredo, au gratin or in cream sauce means high on calories, fats and sodium, and thus unhealthy.


Avoid aerated drinks.

With the extreme heat, aerated drinks might be a great draw but they are a huge source of calories. Just a regular cola could pack in 425 calories. Instead, try unsweetened iced teas or lemonade, if not fresh fruit juices with no additional sweeteners.


"Undress" your food.

Dressings and sauces are generally to be avoided as they are high on fat and salt. So when you are ordering, avoid cream and fat packed salad dressings, spreads, cheese, sour cream and so on. For instance, when you ask for a grilled chicken sandwich, insist that it should not have any mayonnaise. Ask for the ketchup and mustard separately. You can add them yourself, thereby controlling the calorie intake.
Place special orders. Most restaurants have healthier options and are happy to accommodate your requests. Many food items would be healthy if it weren't for the way they were prepared. You can thus ask for your main dishes to be served without the sauces. If you are ordering a salad, ask for the vinegar, olive oil and dressings to be brought separately and not stirred into the bowl. Then spoon small amounts of these into your salad. Items which are fried or cooked in oil or butter can easily be broiled or steamed instead.


Order small portions.

Avoid any item with descriptons such as jumbo, grande, supreme, supersize and so on. Choose smaller portion sizes and order for a side salad instead of fries. Most servings in restaurants are enough for two meals. So either divide the portion with a dining partner or take half of it home.


Share.

Sharing entrees, appetizers and desserts with dining partners is a great idea. It allows you to sample something that you really want to have without really overindulging.


Watch the salt.

Sodium is a major contributor to high blood pressure and it tends to be high in fast food items. The least you can do is to avoid adding some more salt to them.


Avoid buffets.

Buffets promote overeating. You are likely to overindulge either because it is too much of a temptation or because you want to get your money's worth. If you do land up at a buffet, wait for at least 20 minutes after the first round to make sure you're still hungry enough to take a second helping.


Eat mindfully.

Always avoid eating on the run and chew your food thoroughly. Stop eating before you feel full because it take the body time to register the fact that you have eaten. You also digest better with mindful eating.


Remember the big picture.

Look at the total picture of your day's calorie intake before making choices. Have a snack before going out to dine. An apple or a soup can take the edge off one's hunger. Or if it is your birthday and you want to celebrate by ordering your favourite meal, make sure your earlier meals in the day were extra healthy.

--Dr Richa Anand, chief dietician at Hiranandani Hospital

Friday, March 23, 2012

TECH SPECIAL..Solve computer issues using Remote Assistance

Many of us may have had our computer suffer from a hardware or software problem. Usually the way out is to either call a computer expert over or take the system to the nearest service centre. However, you can easily get help for common issues using a remote connection.

Both Windows and MAC have built-in remote assistance features that allow you to share control of your desktop/laptop remotely with an expert over the Internet, who can then examine and solve the issue.

WINDOWS PCS

The Remote Assistance feature first appeared in Windows XP. To enable this feature, go to the Control Panel > System and in the window that opens up, click on the Remote Tab. Check the box that says 'Allow Remote Assistance Invitations'. You can invite an expert you know to connect to your system via a secure remote connection by sending an email or by using Windows Messenger.

Once connected, the expert will be able view your desktop screen, control your mouse and chat with you side-by-side in the remote assistance window. Note that you will need to share control of your system with the expert by clicking on the 'Take Control' button on top (a security feature). Once the expert solves your problem, you can disconnect the remote assistance session and start using your system.

MAC

On a MAC, there are two ways to provide remote control of a system for assistance. The first (and simpler) method is by using iChat/Messages. Just add the user to your chat list, start a conversation and select 'Screen Share Enabled' from the Video menu on top.

The second way is to go to System Preferences > Sharing. Check the box that says 'Screen Sharing' and click on the computer settings button. Check both the options in the pop-up window. You will also need to specify a password for accessing your system. The expert will be required to enter the password to connect to your system. The one issue with this method is that it is really easy to use over a local network, but if the expert is in another location, you need to know how to configure your networking devices (port forwarding).

WEBSITES

TEACHPARENTSTECH.ORG

This website has a collection of how to videos depicting various day-today used programs and functions of a PC/MAC. You can view the videos and even email them to less tech savvy family members or friends.

LIFEHACKER.COM

Lifehacker has a dedicated section (http://goo.gl/hA0jY) of easy-to-understand & emailable articles that feature step-by-step explanations of how to go about setting up a new device or perform various functions on a PC/MAC.

HELP THROUGH A BROWSER

CHROME REMOTE DESKTOP

Google's Chrome browser offers a free add-on called 'Chrome Remote Desktop' — it allows remote control of one computer by another irrespective of the operating system. Both the systems just need to have Chrome with the add-on installed. It generates an authentication code on the host computer, which has to be entered in the remote computer to be able to get secure remote access.

SOFTWARE TEAM VIEWER

This multi-platform (Windows, MAC, Linux) software allows remote control, collaboration as well as file sharing between two connected computers. It is free to download for non-commercial use, you can download iOS and Android apps and it also secures the remote connection using 256-bit encryption. Get it from : www.teamviewer.com

CROSSLOOP

It offers an unlimited connection to another computer with the free version and also allows for a remote reboot. You can get an Android app for remote access plus perform unlimited file transfers between connected computers. Works with (and between) Windows and MAC. Get it from : www.crossloop.com

LOGMEIN FREE

This offers remote control for Windows or MAC from other computers or iOS devices. Using LogMeIn, you can also remotely wake up a computer from sleep. The free version uses 256-bit encryption for remote connection but does not allow file transfers. However, you can still use remote access to open and view files. Get it from : http://secure.logmein.com

MIKOGO

Mikogo offers many more features than just remote control of a computer. It offers session recording, multi-monitor support as well as an option to pause the session. The free account only allows for 14 days of trial usage. (It costs $13/month for the basic plan) Get it from : www.mikogo.com

JOIN.ME

Join.me allows access and control of a remote computer via a web browser. The remote PC is required to install a small software that gives you an access code. The access code allows anyone to connect via the Join.me website. The remote PC can then share control, chat or even set up a voice call over the internet. Get it from : http://join.me

Karan Bajaj. ET120312

CAREER SPECIAL..The Secret Of Success



Serious about getting ahead?

There is a story about a young man, who ­ like all young men ­ wants to become a millionaire.

So, he goes to see a wise guru.
“Meet me at the beach tomorrow at 4 am,“ says the wise guru, “And I will reveal the secret to success.“ So the next morning, the young man shows up on the beach at 4 am, wearing a suit and tie. The guru is already in the water and reluctantly, the young man wets his feet.
“Come out further,“ the guru says.
“This is an expensive suit,“ the young man replies, “I came here to learn the secret to success, not the secret to swimming.“ “The secret must be told in this water.
It is your choice to learn the secret or not,“ replies the guru.
So the young man goes waist-deep.
“Further,“ the guru says.
So the young man wades deeper, until the water is up to his neck.
“Now tell me the secret,“ the young man demands.
“Sure,“ says the guru, and suddenly forces the young man's head under the water.

The fellow resists and tries to push the guru off, but can't.

Just before the young man loses consciousness, the guru pulls him back up and asks a question: “When your head was under water, what did you want to do?“ “I WANTED TO BREATHE,“ the young man sputters. you want success as much you wanted to breathe just now, then, and ONLY THEN, will you have success.“

The difference between people who are successful in life and those who aren't can be summed up in one sentence: Successful people are always willing to get their suits wet.

A `suit' is just a metaphor for your comfort zone. A belief or an idea that you hold dear. Perhaps you wanted to become an artist but you were conditioned to think: artists can never make money. To earn my living, I must be a doctor or engineer.

So that's what you do with your life.
You might make a lot of money. You might even be seen as `successful' by the world. But deep inside your heart you know. This isn't what you wanted.
And if you didn't get to live your life the way you wanted to, how the hell can it be a success?

You are merely sitting on the shore, watching the waves of possibility. You accepted the role of an `extra', when you could have chosen to be a star.

But it's never too late, to rewrite the script. Because the movie that's playing out is your life.

If you want success, you need to start by asking yourself some tough questions. Here are five of the most important ones.

1. How much do I really want it?
So you daydream about how your life could be or should be. But then you snap out of it and come back to `reality' That's not good enough. Whatever your project, your plan, your idea ­ it must be a burning desire. You must want it so badly that it becomes a reality ­ at least in your own head.When you hold a vision of that magnitude within you, it gives you courage.The courage you need to leave the safety of the shore, and wade into the unknown.

2. How far am I wiling to go?
You have a vision in your head, that's great. But other people don't see what you see. Can you deal with that?

The world is full of cynics and know-it-alls (and parents) who believe that things should remain just the way they are. You will have to turn your back on them all, knowing that you know better.You have always been rewarded for `good behaviour'. Now, learn to seek out and stand up for your own good.

3. How long will I hold out?
Success doesn't come in a day, in a month, or in a year. Rishis and munis stood on the mountain tops, on one leg, until Gods descended from the heavens.Choose your mountain and choose which leg to stand on. Then be there, with utmost devotion and sincerity, for as long as it takes. That is tapasya ­ the passion for your work.One day, you will open your eyes and `Success' will be standing there, in front of you.

4. How does it make me feel?
Anything worth having takes blood, sweat and toil. But anything worth having also feels very good. And I don't mean when you actually have it, but even as you sweat for it.A life is enjoyed in its living, and not in some distant future moment of achievement. When you lose yourself in what you do, every moment is a luminous pearl.Success is visible when you've strung all those pearls together, when the necklace is `complete'. But the process of creation is the real miracle.

5. How much further do you want to go?
You have name, fame, money, lifestyle and `success' in your chosen field. Everything you ever dreamed of has come true, now what?Yesterday you were nobody, today you have something to lose your market cap, your popularity, your `price' in the market.The trouble is, the more you try to hang on to things outside of you, the more they weigh you down.

Success is ultimately about lightness of being. About peace and quiet, internal joy.

If you were to `lose it all' ­ can you still preserve that state of mind?
Then you too will be a wise guru, beckoning young men and women into the water. To make their millions, then look back and laugh.

Because what you thought was `success' is no big deal, after all.

by Rashmi Bansal

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

TECH SPECIAL..WHERE MOBILES WERE REBORN


MWC 2012:

From quad-core processors to 41 megapixel cameras, here's a taste of the new smartphones coming our way

THE WORLD of tech is a pretty strange place. While many other industries have their own exhibitions and showcase events, no one can compare to a tech event. There's a certain insanity, a deranged glint in everyone's eyes, a wild and psychotic quest that everyone seems to be on. Bloggers, product manufacturers, geeks, techies, journalists and TV crews from across the world arrive with a hunger and demand for their minds to be blown. Almost everything is analysed, dissected and torn apart within seconds of the product being unveiled and announced. People stand in line for hours to feel that new device in their hands only to deride it for not feeling exactly like they thought it should. People who've never met before form discussion groups on the spot and argue about a device or new service as it their life depended on it. Everybody is out on a hunt to find the unknown, the unannounced, the most secretive next big thing. Tech is a strange place and the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, is the Mecca of strangeness.

But this time Barcelona did a one up on techies. For the first time ever, strange sights and events played out even before you got into MWC. First, a public transportation strike crippled the event (threats and bargaining got some things working, but it was never normal). Then slogan-shouting and banner-wielding protesters took over the Fira circle right outside MWC (the slogans and banners were poetic, if you like your poems with only four-letter words).
The protesters came with different agendas. Some hated mobiles as an industry, some hated companies who were job cutting and some just hated! Horse-mounted riot police did the job of greeters at MWC and most of us were shepherded in and out like we were in a war zone. And as soon as you got inside, the Chinese invasion took over.
Yup, China had literally taken MWC hostage. The biggest banners, the largest posters, the most enormous displays and halls, the huge guest and media areas, the Pegasus horse made entirely of mobile phones, the holder for your event ID card, the bag to hold all your papers were all either ZTE or Huawei. If ever the rest of the world mobile industry was made to look a bit minuscule, then MWC 2012 was it!

MWC 2012 will also be remembered for the clear directions it gave for the industry for the next five years. From companies that were born again (Sony minus Ericsson), to product maturity (quad cores, large screens, unibody designs), to the shock of the Nokia PureView with a 41 megapixel camera, to radical new innovations (a Porsche controlled by a BlackBerry PlayBook Tablet to a three-in-one device, the Asus PadFone), this was the year we'll all look back at and say, “This is where it all started all over again.“

ASUS PADFONE

This is the device that broke all the rules. A device that rethought the dynamics of all that we carry. Think about it. Most of us have a phone, a tablet and a laptop.

then the most stunning phone of MWC, the Xperia U with the transparent band below the screen that you can't help be hypnotised by. Customise it to the colour you want when you get a call. And when you are viewing any images in your phone gallery, the band changes to the most predominant colour in the photograph. Sony is finally on a roll.

NOKIA 610

It was expected to happen. But not this fast. A Windows phone at about ten thousand bucks. And the all new aggressive we-will-conquer-the-worldagain.Nokia has packed quite a punch.
Running on the same Windows Phone 7.5 OS, it has almost all the features its big brothers have. While it runs on a middling 800 MHz processor, it still works well. A 3.7-inch display, Nokia Drive, Nokia Maps, a 5 megapixel camera and Zune complete the knockout punch. Take that right on your face, all you Android economy phones!

LG OPTIMUS VU

When you take on the might of the Samsung Galaxy Note, then you better have some strong arsenal of weaponry in your pocket. And this one does. It's big, it's bright and it has a wow screen. The LG Optimus Vu has a supremely big IPS display with a crisp 1024x768 pixel resolution. The funny part is that it has a 4:3 form factor which is very unusual. Apparently it opens Web pages perfectly and without need for scrolling and also ebooks read perfectly. It may be wide but it's also very thin at 8.5 mm and also loaded to the brim: 32 GB internal memory, 1 GB RAM and a microSD card slot, an 8 megapixel camera that shoots videos at 1080p, 1.2GHz dual core processor and a jaw dropping 2080mAh battery. Wonder what Samsung will do now. Maybe a Galaxy Note 2?
HUAWEI ASCEND D1 QUAD

Beware all mere mortals. The almighty, the powerful, the Ascend D1 Quad has arrived. It comes in a beautiful, super-slim package too with very slick ergonomics. A 4.5-inch screen with 720x1280 resolution. Plus the mighty phone has 1 GB RAM and 8 GB ROM, Android 4.0 and an 8 megapixel camera at the back. But the reason why it is mighty and powerful? Well it's the fastest smartphone in the world and pulls it off with H u a w e i 's proprietary processor, a beastly 1.2 Ghz quad core. And that is not a small feat to pull off! HTC ONE X

This was the phone that had even the competition salivating. The HTC One X is a gigantic 4.7-inch super IPS LCD display with 720x1280 pixel resolution. The superior Corning glass toughens it up to scratches while the 8 megapixel camera clicks brilliantly and as fast as five pictures a second. Powered by an NVIDIA Tegra 3 quad core 1.5 GHZ processor, this has serious horsepower. But it's in the sound that it truly shines. With Beats Audio built in, this has a punchy bass and sounds like no other phone.
And then the thin unibody polycarbonate form factor is awesome and holds beautifully in the hand.

NOKIA PUREVIEW 808

The phone that rocked MWC and shot it to bits. 41 megapixel bits in fact. Just when we thought that the cellphone megapixel war has come to an end, Nokia blew up the competition with a camera of super-human proportions. 41 FORTY ONE! Even professional DSLRS wouldn't be able to pull that off, yet here it is in a simple phone. The real devil is in the detail and this one has an amazing amount if it. Zoom in to a photo with the usual pinching or tapping gesture and keep pinching ­ you can zoom in to the smallest detail. And you can print pictures even 9 metres wide. Running on Symbian Belle, it comes with a 4-inch AMOLED display. But that's all boring stuff.

Samsung Note 10.1

If you blew the world to little bits with a big phone, then why not take that idea and put it in a Tablet.
The Samsung Galaxy Note is now a 10-inch Tablet and borrows liberally from its smaller brother. It has a 800x1280 pixel resolution mated with a surprisingly ordinary 3 megapixel camera at the back.
It runs on Android 4.0 OS, has a dual core 1.4 ghz processor and all the other gee whiz features you need on a slate. The cool quotient goes up as it comes with the S Pen, basically a stylus on steroids with amazing pressure sensitive magic.

The real story is the 41 megapixel camera.
Yes, FORTY ONE! LG OPTIMUS 3D MAX

They started the whole idea of a small screen with 3D but without the headache-inspiring glasses and now they've bettered it. A better screen, better viewing angle, far better resolution and a picture that really does look 3D, raw and naked to the eye. Even the camera shoots photos and videos in 3D and completes the experience.

Rajiv Makhni is managing editor, Technology, NDTV and the anchor of Gadget Guru, Cell Guru and Newsnet 3.

Rajiv Makhni

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