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Saturday, October 1, 2011

Google opens its first retail store, located in London

Watching how Apple has made such a big success of its retail stores, it appears that Google now wants a piece of the action.

The Internet giant has taken over 285 square feet of space inside a computer store in central London, though it’ll only be there until Christmas.

The Chrome Zone store opened for business on Friday inside a PC World store on Tottenham Court Road and, according to an Evening Standard report, “only sells Google’s Chromebook laptop and a few accessories such as headphones.”

Its opening was, by all accounts, a low key affair, and certainly a far cry from the commotion usually associated with the opening of Apple stores.

Google UK’s head of consumer marketing Arvind Desikan told the Standard: “It is our first foray into physical retail. This is a new channel for us and it’s still very, very early days. It’s something Google is going to play with and see where it leads.”

Desikan went on to say that the Chrome Zone would give consumers a chance to try out a Chromebook for themselves and help them better understand what the device is all about. Up until now UK consumers could only buy the Chromebook online, so Google will be hoping that giving people the opportunity to get hands-on with the machine will boost sales.

A post on the company’s Chrome blog by Google product marketing manager Laura Thompson said: “Many things in life, like football and rock music, are best experienced in person. Chromebooks are no exception.”

Google’s Chromebooks, which launched in June this year, are supposed to offer users a quicker, simpler and more secure computer experience. The laptops have no hard drive, and all software and data is stored in the cloud – so an Internet connection is essential for its operation.

A second Chrome Zone is set to open in a major shopping mall close to London next week, with more stores planned for other countries in the coming months.

Commenting on the new store, a spokeswoman told the Standard: “We’ve put a lot of effort into making it feel welcoming, homely and, dare I say it, ‘Googley’.”

Reebok to pay $25 mln for toning shoe claims

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Reebok International Ltd has agreed to pay $25 million to settle charges that it made unsupported claims that its "toning shoes" help wearers get fit faster, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission said on Wednesday.
The money will go toward consumer refunds.
Reebok advertisements said the shoes strengthened hamstrings and calves by up to 11 percent more than regular sneakers, and toned the buttocks up to 28 percent more, the FTC said.
"To its credit, Reebok pulled these ads sometime in the middle of our investigation," David Vladeck, head of the FTC's Consumer Protection Bureau.
Toning shoes are designed to be slightly unstable. Manufacturers say the instability requires the wearer to work harder, thus strengthening muscles.
"We did get consumer complaints. We watch TV. We read the newspapers," said Vladeck. "There is no such thing as a no-work, no-sweat way to a fit and healthy body."
Adidas, which owns Reebok, said it disagreed with the FTC and stood behind the shoes.
"The (FTC) allegations suggested that the testing we conducted did not substantiate certain claims used in the advertising of our EasyTone line of products," Adidas said in a statement. "In order to avoid a protracted legal battle, Reebok has chosen to settle with the FTC. Settling does not mean we agreed with the FTC's allegations; we do not."
The company added: "We stand behind our EasyTone technology -- the first shoe in the toning category that was inspired by balance-ball training."
Reebok brought out a toning shoe in early 2009 and has sold "millions" of pairs in the United States, said Katja Schreiber, an Adidas spokeswoman in a telephone interview from Adidas offices near Nuremberg, Germany. She declined to be more specific about sales.
Despite the Adidas statement, much of Reebok's advertising has already changed, and other changes are coming, said Dan Sarro, a Reebok spokesman.
A variety of companies advertise toning shoes, including New Balance, Skechers, Ryka and Avia. The shoes range in price from $12 to nearly $300.
Jaime Bianchi, an expert in consumer class-action lawsuits with the law firm White & Case, said these other manufacturers could become targets of the FTC if their advertising makes unsubstantiated claims.
"They normally go after the biggest player and work down," said Bianchi.
Skechers said in an August filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that the FTC was looking at its advertisements for its Shape-ups and other toning shoes.
Private lawsuits alleging deceptive advertising have been filed against Skechers, New Balance and Reebok.
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Kapil blasts Tendulkar's 100th ton hype

New Delhi, (AFP): Former India great Kapil Dev has slammed the media's obsession with Sachin Tendulkar achieving 100 international centuries, saying the focus should be on the team's performances.

During India's recent tour of England, speculation reached fever pitch about Tendulkar reaching the landmark figure. But the star failed to fulfil his fans' hopes and was left stranded on 99 hundreds - 51 in Tests and 48 in one-day internationals.

India were blanked 4-0 in the Test series, conceding their number-one ranking to the hosts, and also lost the one-dayers 3-0. "You seem more keen about Sachin's 99 hundreds and not about how we are going to win the next series," Kapil said while delivering the Dilip Sardesai lecture in memory of the former Test batsman in Mumbai on Thursday.

"I am not saying don't give credit to individual performances, but the country should come first. Everyone knows Sachin has 99 centuries, but how many know which of those have ended in victories? Out of Sachin's 99 hundreds, 60 have ended in wins. If anyone reports that I'll be happy. We have to change our mindset. If we lose the match, what's the use of statistics? To hell with that!"

Kapil, 52, regarded as one of the best all-rounders of his era, claimed a then-world record 434 Test wickets, besides taking 253 one-day wickets, before quitting the game in 1994. He also scored 5,248 runs in Tests and 3,783 in one-dayers.

Kapil, who became India's first World Cup-winning captain in 1983, also blamed tight scheduling for the team's disastrous show in England. The Indian players figured in the lucrative Twenty20 Indian Premier League (IPL) a few days after winning the World Cup in April before leaving for the West Indies and England tours.

"The players did not get time to unwind and enjoy their World Cup victory. They had worked four years for it. But they just got four days before the IPL began," Kapil said.

"They should have got more time to enjoy the moment. If you don't give time to unwind, you lose the passion to play. That's what happened in England." Kapil also wanted players to be paid more for representing the country than their IPL franchises. How can you give more money to play for a club and not for playing for the country?" he said.

Kapil, who played 131 Tests and 225 one-dayers over a 16-year career, wanted the burden on seamers to be reduced in order to avoid injuries, like the ones to current spearheads Zaheer Khan, Ishant Sharma and Munaf Patel.

"The cricket board should understand how much burden the fast bowlers can take," he said. "They can't bowl for 365 days."

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Friday, September 30, 2011

Easier Ways To Lose Weight

With all the weighing, measuring, and calorie totaling, dropping a few pounds can seem as mind-bending as high school calculus. But it doesn't have to be. "Of course calories count," says Dawn Jackson Blatner, R.D., a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association, "but there are plenty of ways to cut them without a math Ph.D." In fact, some simple lifestyle changes are often more effective for weight-loss success than obsessive number crunching. Follow these four strategies and the only figure you'll be thinking about is the smokin' one in the mirror.

Instead of  Counting Calories. . .

Try Joining a Club.  Here's why: Keeping a running total is a little like guessing how many jelly beans are in a Mason jar. According to a 2006 study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, Americans--even those who are at a healthy weight-­-consistently lowball the number of calories in large fast-food meals by up to 38 percent.

For portion control without the decimal points, sign up for a delivery service like DeliciouslyYours ( or Health Management Resources ( They deliver meals in just-right sizes to your doorstep each week. And the foods they consist of are usually high in fiber and protein, so you won't feel deprived, says Anne Fletcher, R.D., author of Thin for Life.

Another, er, plus: The smaller portions train you to recognize proper serving sizes, so you'll make smarter choices when the prepackaged food  is out of reach. You can enroll in a meal-delivery service for $12 to $20 a day; there are good options in the freezer aisle too, says Elisa Zied, R.D., author of So What Can I Eat?! Look for frozen meals that have less than 500 calories and have at least four grams of fiber, no more than 15 grams of fat (fewer than three grams saturated and no trans fat), and fewer than 700 milligrams of sodium.

Instead of Eating By Food Ratios . . .  

Try Eye-balling Labels.  Here's why: If diets like the Zone, Atkins, or South Beach didn't work for you, it may not be because you couldn't give up bagels. It could be because you're too damn busy to bother updating percentages and ratios at every meal. If you don't have Rain Man keeping tabs on your meals, try this instead: Take 15 seconds to scan food labels for key ingredients. According to a 2007 report by the USDA Economic Research Service, we spend an average of 30 percent of our annual grocery bill on foods such as muffins, cakes, cupcakes, cookies, crackers, ice cream, candy, soda, and doughnuts--foods whose ingredients lists have sugar at or near the top. It's a pretty big duh that sweeteners jack up calories, but they also take your blood sugar on a roller-coaster ride that lands you right back at the fridge. We call it the theory of "calories in, calories in."

End the snacking madness by making natural, whole foods the bulk of your diet. That includes fruits, veggies, and lean meats such as chicken, turkey, flank steak, pork chops, and fish, plus these foods that burn fat. And when stocking up on packaged foods, choose ones "that list whole foods, such as whole-wheat flour, oats, peanuts, and real fruit, in the first line of ingredients," Zied says. That's your clue that a food is lower in calories and higher in fiber and protein than one with a lot of high-fructose corn syrup, sugar, molasses, or even honey.

Instead of 30 minutes on the Treadmill . . .

Try Pumping Up to Scale Down.  Here's why: According to a recent review by a Duke University medical research­er, treadmill displays inflate the number of calories you burn by 10 to 15 percent. The study also found that 20 percent of us reward ourselves after exercise by eating as many calories as we worked off--and that we're less inclined to get physical after a strenuous workout for two to six hours. That's when we'll veg out on the couch instead of do housework.

A more efficient way to counteract dessert is to pump iron.  Though cardio torches more calories minute-for-minute than lifting, weight training keeps your internal furnace going long after you put down the dumbbells. A study in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise found that after six months of lifting weights three days a week, subjects increased their resting metabolic rate (that's the number of calories you burn just sitting on your butt) by 7 percent. To squeeze the most out of every curl and squat, speed it up: Another study in the same ­journal found that lifting quickly (for example, during a squat, lowering for two seconds, then coming up as fast as you can) fries calories 11 percent faster than lifting slowly. Researchers think the explosive movements create more calorie-melting muscle contractions.

Instead of Measuring Each Bite . . .

Try Enjoying Each Bite.  Here's why:   Being a slave to your kitchen scale won't make the one in your bathroom budge faster. A 2007 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition confirmed that it is possible to eat more and slim down.  The study compared weight loss in two groups of obese women. All of them were told to eat a reduced-fat diet, but one group was also instructed to consume a lot of water-rich foods, like soups, fruits, and vegetables. That group ate 25 percent more food by volume but lost more weight (an average of 17.5 pounds versus 14). How? They were eating fewer calories, but were still satisfied, thanks to the foods' high water content. "Physical activity was the same in both groups, so if the people in one group lost more, they had to have eaten fewer calories," says lead study author Barbara Rolls, Ph.D.

Instead of measuring your meals, try a more measured approach to eating. It takes your brain 12 to 15 minutes to receive the signal that your stomach is at max capacity, so wait for it. If you pause between bites, chances are you'll get that signal before you've scarfed down seconds. Don't have that kind of self-control? Choose foods that are impossible to bolt down: produce you have to peel, nuts in the shell, and spicy foods.

Tell Us: What are your go-to tricks for slimming down?

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7 Surprising Health Benefits of Honey

September is almost over, but guess what? It's National Honey Month! Which means you still have a day and a half to indulge in the sweet stuff without the guilt.

And here's even more incentive to join the national celebration: Not only does honey make your tea taste better, it's also a natural way to sweeten and enhance the flavor of foods (Michelle Obama keeps a honey beehive in the White House garden!). It also helps take the edge off a Sunday morning hangover, or so we hear, and may even combat cancer.

To comb even more super-sweet facts about honey, we spoke to Willow Jarosh and Stephanie Clarke, contributing editors at SELF and co-founders of C&J Nutrition.

Related: 20 Superfoods for Weight Loss

1. It may help beat hangovers
Fructose speeds up the oxidation of alcohol in the liver. Honey is roughly equal parts glucose and fructose, so it has the potential to cause this reaction. However, studies that looked at honey's ability to increase alcohol metabolism are using about 2 ounces of honey (8 tablespoons) per 25 grams of alcohol, which would be about 480 calories worth of honey. We wouldn't recommend consuming that many calories worth of honey in one day.

2. It contains antioxidants
Some types of honey have been found to contain antioxidants (the darker the honey the more antioxidants it typically contains), which can help fight cell damage that may increase the risk for diseases like cancer, heart disease, etc. However, in order to really pack an antioxidant punch, you'd have to consume more than a teaspoon or two of honey; the American Heart Association recommends that most women consume no more than 25 grams or (6 teaspoons) of total added sugar per day (that's about 100 calories worth). While a teaspoon used here and there can provide a small antioxidant bonus, we'd recommend getting antioxidants from more nutritious sources, like fruits and veggies.

3. It may help fight cancer
Preliminary studies on mice show that some types of honey may inhibit cancer cell growth. So far, studies have only been done in mice, so that can't be translated with certainty to humans.

See Also: How Jennifer Hudson Lost 80 Pounds

4. It may help heal your cuts and burns
Some research shows that the topical application of honey on minor to moderate wounds may speed up healing.

5. It may ease coughs
Small studies found that children's coughs decreased with given honey.

6. It's sweeter than sugar
Per teaspoon, honey contains 20 calories, 5 grams of sugar and no fat. Granulated sugar has 15 calories, 4 grams of sugar and no fat per teaspoon. Honey is slightly sweeter, so you can use a bit less -- so the calories probably are about equivalent to granulated sugar when you account for using less honey.

7. It may help with weight control
We almost always recommend that people buy the plain version of foods and sweeten them themselves using a natural sweetener, so they're able to control the amount of added sugar. But be sure to consume no more than 6 teaspoons (2 tablespoons) of honey per day, and that's if it's the ONLY added sugar you're eating. If you're getting sugar from other sources, make sure your total sugar intake does not top 6 teaspoons.

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Vitamins: The Good, the Bad, and the Useless

Vitamins and minerals are essential to health, but that doesn't mean that megadoses will keep you out of the hospital or make you live longer. Some may be harmful. In most cases, it's preferable to get these nutrients from a balanced diet. Here's the lowdown on eight common supplements — most of which you probably don't need.

High doses of certain vitamins and minerals may be appropriate for certain people, though. Talk to your doctor about supplements if you are a woman of childbearing age, are a vegetarian or vegan, have limited exposure to the sun, are an athlete in training, or suspect for any reason you may be malnourished.

1. Beta-Carotene
Best food sources
Carrots, spinach, kale, cantaloupe

Why you may be taking it
As an antioxidant, especially to prevent cancer.

What you should know
Beta-carotene supplements increase the risk of lung cancer in smokers. There is no evidence that they prevent any other form of cancer.

Do you need it?

Don't take it *Recommended dietary allowances for healthy adults are listed; they may be lower or higher for children, women who are pregnant or nursing, the elderly, and other groups.

PLUS: 11 Red Flag Words on Packaged Foods

2. Folic Acid
Best food sources
Fortified bread and breakfast cereal, legumes, asparagus

Why you may be taking it
To prevent birth defects.

What you should know
Supplements reduce the risk of neural tube defects in newborns. However, some doctors say supplementation of food with folic acid could be fueling rising rates of colon cancer.

Do you need it?
Only women who are pregnant or may become pregnant are advised to take it.

PLUS: How Fat Makes You Smarter

3. Selenium
Best food sources
Brazil nuts, tuna, beef

Why you may be taking it
To prevent cancer, especially prostate cancer.

What you should know
One 2007 study found a 50% increased risk of type 2 diabetes in people who took 200 micrograms a day. A major study will determine whether selenium supplements prevent prostate cancer, but it won't be completed until 2013.

Do you need it?
Don't take it.

4. Vitamin B6
Best food sources
Baked potatoes, bananas, chickpeas

Why you may be taking it
To prevent mental decline and lower homocysteine levels.

What you should know
Two studies failed to show cognitive benefits. B6 does reduce homocysteine, but it's not clear whether this prevents heart attacks.

Do you need it?
Take it only if your doctor recommends it.

PLUS: 13 Things You Should Know About Farmers' Markets

5. Vitamin B12
Best food sources
Fish and shellfish, lean beef, fortified breakfast cereal

Why you may be taking it
To prevent age-related mental decline and boost energy.

What you should know
Vitamin B12 deficiency, which can cause anemia and dementia, is a problem for some seniors, so supplements can help. However, high doses of B12 have not been proven to prevent cognitive loss, nor do they boost energy.

Do you need it?
Take it only if your doctor recommends it.

6. Vitamin C
Best food sources
Citrus fruits, melons, tomatoes

Why you may be taking it
To prevent the common cold. Also as an antioxidant to help fight cancer or heart disease.

What you should know
A review of 30 clinical trials found no evidence that vitamin C prevents colds. Exceptions: It may reduce the risk in people who live in cold climates or experience extreme physical stress, such as running marathons. Smokers may need extra vitamin C. High doses of vitamin C do not seem to prevent cancer or heart disease.

Do you need it?
Most people don't need C supplements.

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Profound change for Facebook set to 'lock in' users

Facebook on Friday begins rolling out its biggest ever shake-up, in a move observers say will not only profoundly alter how its 800 million users interact with the site, but will keep them coming back for decades to come.

The new "Timeline," revealed last week by chief executive Mark Zuckerberg will also likely shock some users, notorious for backlashes in recent years over even small adjustments to the site, let alone a complete re-think of how their lives are presented to the world.
The changes amount to the "heart of your Facebook experience, completely rethought from the ground up," Zuckerberg told an annual developers conference.

Rick Marini, CEO of the Facebook-focused "career network" BranchOut, which itself boasts millions of users, marveled this week in a conference call with marketers and reporters how the site had managed to build an enduring model.

"If your Timeline becomes an important part of your life -- the diary of your life -- Facebook may have just locked people in for the next 20 years," Marini said Wednesday.
If Facebook is "where all of this happens, all your pictures, all your video, everything you've ever done," he added: "you're never going to leave."

Zuckerberg said his team's main aim was "to design a place that feels like your home," prompting Forrester analyst Sean Corcoran to note that Facebook was "positioning itself as not just your social graph online, but your life online."

Pete Cashmore, founder of influential tech blog Mashable, this week anticipated the expected response from users in an article for under the blunt headline, "You'll freak when you see the new Facebook."

The move, Cashmore said, would be likely jarring at first for millions of people who visit the site every day.

But when they see their lives laid out before them in a neat, single page, they will realize Facebook has "unleashed something so remarkable that you didn't even recognize it at first: A meaningful social network," he wrote.

Observers saw a clear challenge to ubiquitous search giant Google, as 27-year-old Zuckerberg explained that the site he launched from his Harvard dormitory room in 2004 sought to be a central hub for the Internet.

The overhauled "Timeline" profile pages, as users will see as it opens up to the world Friday, with access further expanded in coming weeks, shows that the social network behemoth has saved everything that's ever been uploaded.

Mapping people's lives -- through photos, videos, status updates, comments, and even "likes" of specific content -- the new Facebook catalogues it all, literally from the beginning: scrolling to the bottom, every user's Timeline kicks off with an entry for their birth.

"Timeline is the story of your life," the young CEO announced last week with a barely contained sense of glee.

Yet apart from a relatively small number of industry geeks who followed the Zuckerberg announcement last week, the vast majority of 800 million users have little idea of the extent of the changes afoot the next time they log on.

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Could model airplanes become a terrorist weapon?

BOSTON (AP) — Model airplanes are suddenly on the public's radar as potential terrorist weapons.

A 26-year-old man from a Boston suburb was arrested Wednesday and accused of plotting to attack the Pentagon and the U.S. Capitol with remote-controlled model planes packed with explosives.

These are not balsa-wood-and-rubber-band toys investigators are talking about. The FBI said Rezwan Ferdaus hoped to use military-jet replicas, 5 to 7 1/2 feet long, guided by GPS devices and capable of speeds over 100 mph.

Federal officials have long been aware of the possibility someone might try to use such planes as weapons, but there are no restrictions on their purchase — Ferdaus is said to have bought his over the Internet.

Counterterrorism experts and model-aircraft hobbyists said it would be nearly impossible to inflict large-scale damage of the sort Ferdaus allegedly envisioned using model planes. The aircraft are too small, can't carry enough explosives and are too tricky to fly, they said.

"The idea of pushing a button and this thing diving into the Pentagon is kind of a joke, actually," said Greg Hahn, technical director of the Academy of Model Aeronautics.

Rick Nelson, a former Navy helicopter pilot who is now a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said Ferdaus would have had to hit a window or other vulnerable area to maximize damage, and that would have taken precision flying.

"Flying a remote-controlled plane isn't as easy as it actually looks, and then to put an explosive on it and have that explosive detonate at the time and place that you want it add to the difficulty of actually doing it," he said.

Ferdaus, a Muslim American from Ashland, was arrested after federal agents posing as al-Qaida members delivered what he believed was 24 pounds of C-4 explosive, authorities said. He was charged with attempting to damage or destroy a federal building with explosives. A federal affidavit claims he began planning "jihad" against the U.S. in early 2010 after becoming convinced through jihadi websites and videos that America was evil.

Ferdaus had a physics degree from Northeastern University and enjoyed "taking stuff apart" and "learning on my own," according to court papers.

The model planes Ferdaus eyed were the F-4 Phantom and the F-86 Sabre, small-scale versions of military jets, investigators said. The F-4 is the more expensive of the two, at up to $20,000, Hahn said. The F-86, one of which Ferdaus actually obtained, costs $6,000 to $10,000 new.

Ferdaus' plan, as alleged in court papers, was to launch three such planes from a park near the Pentagon and Capitol and use GPS to direct them toward the buildings, where they would detonate on impact and blow the Capitol dome to "smithereens." He planned to pack five pounds of plastic explosives on each plane, according to prosecutors.

James Crippin, an explosives and anti-terrorism expert, said that much C-4 could do serious damage — a half-pound will obliterate a car. But he said getting a stable explosive like C-4 to blow up at the right time would have been hugely difficult.

And there were slim prospects of causing any serious damage to buildings like the Pentagon and Capitol, which are undoubtedly hardened to withstand explosions, according to Crippin, director of the Western Forensic Law Enforcement Training Center.

"Basically, I think he's suffering from delusions of grandeur," he said.

Hahn said the heavier of the two models Ferdaus was allegedly planning to use could carry a maximum of two pounds of plastic explosive before malfunctioning. That's not including the weight of any GPS system, he added.

"It's almost impossible for him to get this done," he said.

Remote-controlled aircraft have been considered by terrorists before. In 2008, Christopher Paul of Worthington, Ohio, a Columbus suburb, pleaded guilty to plotting terrorist attacks in the U.S. and Europe using explosive devices. Prosecutors said he researched remote-controlled boats and a remote-controlled 5-foot-long helicopter.

And after Sept. 11, federal agents asked the Academy of Model Aeronautics' 143,000 members to watch for any fellow enthusiasts who might be buying planes with bad intentions.

Well before the Massachusetts arrest, police in Montgomery County, Md., put out a terrorist warning to hobby shops to be aware of customers "who don't appear to be hobbyists" buying model airplanes with cash and asking how they can be modified to carry a device.

The Federal Aviation Administration is devising new rules for model airplanes and other unmanned aircraft, but the restrictions are aimed primarily at preventing collisions. Under current FAA rules, such planes are generally limited to flying below 400 feet and away from airports and air traffic.

Massachusetts prosecutor Gerry Leone, who handled the prosecution of would-be shoe bomber Richard Reid, said terrorists are always building bombs out of common, legitimate items, and imposing restrictions on buying model aircraft would not make sense simply because of this one case.

But he said law enforcement might want be more vigilant about such purchases.

Similarly, Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said recent advances in model airplane technology could make them more attractive to terrorists. But he said the answer is better intelligence, not trying to regulate hobbyists and their toys.

"Kids have them, people fly them, groups are organized just to engage in this type of pastime activity," the congressman said. "It would be almost impossible to regulate the little engines and things, propellers."

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On-Spot: 'Bigg Boss Season 5' launch

The fifth season of TV reality show 'Bigg Boss' promises to get bigger and better with tons of drama and manipulation, having changed its house location to Karjat, besides having two star hosts --Salman Khan and Sanjay Dutt -- who will be welcoming 14 new inmates.

The names that are doing the rounds include - former world heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson, Colombian singer and dancer Shakira, former cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu, Nihita Biswas (wife of convicted murderer Charles Sobhraj) Mexican actress Barbara Mori, former South African cricketer Jonty Rhodes, pop icon Lady Gaga, British singer- rapper Jay Sean, stand-up comedian Sudesh Lehri, Jaspal Bhatti, Shekhar Suman's actor son Adhyayan, TV actors Parul Chauhan (of 'Bidaai' fame), Karan Singh Grover (of 'Dil Mill Gayye') and Amar Upadhyay.

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Thursday, September 29, 2011

TCS, Cognizant and Wipro record top revenues

Indian IT companies post an increase of 19 per cent in its total revenue during financial year 2010-11

Tata Consultancy Services, Cognizant and Wipro were the top IT companies with revenues of Rs.29,801 crore, Rs.25,477 crore and Rs.21,393 crore revenues, respectively while IT companies posted an increase of 19 per cent in its total revenue at Rs.4,38,296 crore ($96.1 billion) during financial year 2010-11, said a research report, according to IANS.

The annual research report of industry journal Dataquest, the flagship publication of CyberMedia has informed "the growth is a significant bounce-back for the industry which recorded just 8 percent growth in 2009-10, in the wake of the global recession in 2009 and 2010, which made both global and Indian companies cut back on their IT spending."

According to the report, exports accounted for 66.4 per cent of the industry while the domestic market accounted for the remaining 33.6 per cent. Also the domestic market has grown 23 per cent with the revenues of Rs.1,47,152 crore while the exports reported Rs.2,91,144 crore, growing at 17 per cent.

However, Hewlett Packard India stood as the largest IT player in the domestic market while Tata Consultancy Services as the largest exporter from India.

Also, when IT services exports grew at 21 per cent, engineering services exports grew 22 per cent and BPO exports grew 7 per cent. Consumer technology segments also witnessed an impressive growth.

However, in the competitive landscape where IT giants like TCS , Wipro and smaller players are in an intense competition with each other, technology major Infosys's growth has witnessed a slow ride in the recent quarters. Due to the economic slowdown in the US and Europe the company's clients might curb their budget plan on information technology this year, feared the company CEO S.D. Shibulal once. More than 80 per cent of the revenues in India's IT sector usually comes from the markets like U.S and Europe.

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Top 10 BlackBerry PlayBook business apps

Explore the business side of Blackberry PlayBook as IT PRO India takes a closer look to find the business utility of this enterprise-ready tablet

RIM, which has carved its niche as a reliable business partner, has stepped into a new era of mobile computing, with the release of its PlayBook tablet. BlackBerry claims that the PlayBook delivers high-fidelity web browsing including support for Adobe Flash, as well as spectacular High-Definition multimedia, advanced security features and out-of-the-box enterprise support.

Let’s explore the 10 best business apps, both incoming and available, for the PlayBook.

Documents To Go

This is an essential application for any professional user as it allows you to edit and create Word, Excel and PowerPoint files on your PlayBook. You can work while on the move and without having to carry a laptop too.

The new Premium Edition for PlayBook includes support for PDF file viewing, password protection, desktop synchronisation and advanced character, font and paragraph formatting. In short, it’s the power of Microsoft’s Office suite on your PlayBook.


IdeaPad takes full advantage of the PlayBook’s touch screen interface by allowing you to scribble notes down quickly and effectively. When an idea strikes you can make a note of it, save it and come back to develop it further at a later point.

IdeaPad comes with six templates – Plain Paper, Tic Tac Toe, Notes, Tablet Device, Smartphone Portrait and Smartphone Landscape – installed, so you’ll be able to perform a variety of tasks from the off, like constructing flow charts, designing new mobile interfaces or simply doodling some minutes from a meeting.

Finished files are saved in PNG format and can be shared via Facebook and Twitter as well as being viewable on your smartphone and PC.

SAP Business Intelligence Apps

SAP has confirmed that it will be releasing a whole host of business intelligence apps in the coming months aimed squarely at enterprise tablet users including the BlackBerry PlayBook.

The releases will to be delivered via its recently acquired enterprise mobility technology, which, according to SAP, allows it to deliver business intelligence solutions to users on any platform.

There are no specific details regarding any of these applications just yet, but SAP has confirmed that it is committed to making its business intelligence software available on all platforms.

Adobe Connect Mobile

Adobe Connect Mobile is one of quite a few Adobe Air applications that’ll be hitting the BlackBerry PlayBook in the coming weeks and months. Connect Mobile, also available on the iPad and Android, enables users to participate in mobile conferencing from the comfort of their PlayBook.

Features of note include two-way video conferencing with the ability to add your own upstream video broadcast. There’s also support for both the PlayBook’s cameras so you can switch to using the higher-resolution rear-facing camera when addressing colleagues.

The UI is slick, it’s simple to use and will be an extremely solid addition to the PlayBook’s growing arsenal of enterprise grade applications.

OANDA Currency Converter

This free application gives you on-the-spot conversion amounts for over 180 currencies and, in case you’re in commodities, four metal groups as well.

This is one of many official applications produced by trusted authorities for the PlayBook and is an indispensable tool for anyone that travels abroad a lot.

Not only does OANDA Currency Converter figure out the exchange rates for hundreds of currencies using the same daily filtered rates used by corporations, tax authorities, auditing firms, and financial institutions, but it also shows you interbank rates for money transactions and will even calculate how much you’ll be charged for using your credit card abroad.

Best of all, it does this for free. OANDA Currency Converter is an essential tool for professionals that do a lot of travelling and are constantly contending with fluctuating currency values and bizarre credit card charges.


Many people praise DropBox like it’s the best thing to happen to mobile devices since wireless technology. Evernote is a far superior piece of kit and once you’ve used it, you’ll know exactly what we mean.

The app offers a word processor, the ability to record audio, save web pages and import pictures. You can also create different notebooks if you fancy having one for work, one for ideas, one for interesting websites and so on.

All in all, Evernote makes pretty much everything else look mediocre. And, yes, that includes Google Docs. We love this application and use it every day, so make sure you get it as soon as your PlayBook is booted up.


Frequent travel is commonplace in many professional roles. But operating across a variety of times can be both confusing and disorientating. This shouldn’t be a problem with TimeZones, as the app allows you view up to eight world clocks at once.

Each clock can be custom labelled, so you can assign different ones to different businesses and people so you’ll never be caught out making a 5am phone call again.

Granted, it’s not a cure for jet-lag but it’s certainly a handy tool to have at your disposal to ensure meetings, deadlines and phone calls are made at the correct times when you’re operating in a different time zone.

iSpeech Translator

iSpeech Translator is an app that converts words or phrases into a multitude of different languages. So, if you get an email in German you can simply convert it to English, and vice-versa.

The application also recognises voice input too, so you can say a phrase or read out an email, for example, and iSpeech will convert it into one of its 18 supported languages.

Once you typed or said the phrase, the results will always appear in text format. If you have a client, business partner or colleague based abroad and want to impress them by communicating with them in their native language, you can now do so via iSpeech Translator.


Using your calendar to organise your day-to-day business is all well and good, but sometimes it’s better to have a bespoke option at hand. This is where TaskMemo comes into play, giving you the ability to store thousands of tasks, dates, meetings, notes and reminders in one easy to access place.

The application will also keep you posted on deadlines, meetings and up-and-coming events.

There are 22 standard categories, ranging from meeting dates to deadlines, and you can also implement your own if it’s not catered for within the presets. This app is designed to be used by serious professionals that plan their work lives out well into the coming weeks and months.

As you complete tasks you get a percentage completion notification telling you how far through your agenda you are, which is always handy – especially if you work on large projects with specific deadlines.

Overall, TaskMemo is a cost effective solution that’ll help you to organise and keep track of your business commitments. It also looks extremely professional and has a multitude of themes to choose from, meaning you can personalise the way the app looks too.


Poynt is the perfect application for anyone that does a lot of business travelling. The application uses your GPS position to relay information about surrounding businesses, restaurants, museums, take-aways, galleries, pubs and so on.

If you travel for work a lot and often find yourself in an unfamiliar city, Poynt is a great app to have at your disposal. Not only will it tell you what the best authentic paella eatery is based on your current location, but it also does so in a very intuitive way.

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Anna gets social; on blog, FB, Twitter

Anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare seems set to take the virtual world by storm. He Thursday became a blogger and even joined social networking sites Facebook and Twitter.

The blog, with posts in English, Hindi and Marathi, is titled "Anna Hazare Says" and can be accessed on:

In his inaugural post, Hazare wrote: "It is after a long time that I am directly communicating with you. Henceforth, it is from this blog that I will be constantly in touch with you."

"We started a movement demanding that Janlokpal Bill be passed in India and slowly the crusade spearheaded into a full-fledged non-violent revolution spilling on to the Ramlila grounds," he added.

The activist said he found the support of the people and his young friends as overwhelming as they came forward from every corner of the country and their cries awakened India from its deep slumber.

"Their cries not only shook the very roots of our country but people from world over who had fallen prey to injustice, corruption took active part in the movement.

"The entire movement was infectious. This was the beginning of a revolution. It was the beginning of India's second struggle for independence," Hazare said.

The 74-year old leader pointed out that parliament gave an assurance that it would put forward some of the demands from the Jan Lokpal Bill and get them approved.

"But assurance doesn't necessarily mean law. A bigger fight awaits us," Hazare urged.

The activist warned that the movement still "has a long way to go and very soon it will acquire a non-violent, but intense flavour of a nation-wide revolution".

"To enable a one-to-one conversation with you I will soon embark on my journey throughout India. I will address problems faced by people at every step of life... Interactive communication on this blog will start very soon. You can share your queries, problems thoughts and emotions with me," Hazare appealed.

He also wrote on his blog that he has joined Facebook and Twitter.

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Nano looks set for Indonesia, eastern Europe assembly

Tata Motors Chairman Ratan Tata said the country's largest auto maker is looking at assembling facilities in Indonesia and eastern Europe for rolling out its small car Nano.

"We are already selling the Nano in Sri Lanka and Nepal. We are also looking at assembling facilities for this, possibly in Indonesia and in some parts of Eastern Europe," Tata told the company AGM here. However, he did not specify which European country would be his choice.

By and large, Tata Motors is also looking at assembly of some of its vehicles in Latin America, Brazil, South-east Asia, especially Indonesia, and in some other countries, Tata said, adding, "Our plan is in fact to grow both in the neighbourhood and in some specific countries".

On the company's JV with the Italian company Fiat, which is still making losses, Tata said, "Yes, the Fiat JV is showing losses. Assumptions (made while starting the JV) in terms of volumes didn't work out, more so for Fiat than for us because there was a downturn and they made an assumption on off-take which did not materialise.

"Well, as we are 50 per cent owners, we have had to share in losses of the company. Both Fiat and we are having a re-look at the whole contractual undertaking to see whether we can make it more realistic. So, I hope we will be able to resolve that in course of time".

Tata also said the company planned to introduce its electric cars in Britain and Norway shortly.

He further said that the auto major is planning to sew together a joint venture in China for assembling the Range Rovers, besides exploring the possibility of setting up a joint engine project with Jaguar.

The Tata Group bought the British marquees Jaguar Land Rover brands from Ford Motor a few years back and had successfully revived the company and today almost 60 per cent of Tata Motors' sales come from this business.

Yesterday, Tata Motors reported a 1.4 per cent rise in standalone profit in the June quarter as the company was impacted by the rise in raw material costs and a drop in domestic sales coupled with shrinking margins even as its sales rose 14 per cent to Rs 11,833.19 crore and had warned of more margin pressures in the coming quarters.

On the coming quarters, Tata said the coming years pose considerable challenge and demand for cars may be dampened due to the global economic happenings. Similarly, if infrastructure spends go down, commercial vehicle sales can be affected, he said.

On the ongoing macroeconomic crisis in the West, Tata said, "the country will have to use this downturn as an opportunity to leverage our low-cost capabilities, right from design to manufacturing".

"We should tailor ourselves to become an auto hub," he said, adding, Tata Motors India will explore the possibility of having a joint engine development project with its British arm Jaguar.

Stating that the days of relative complacency is behind the company, he said Tata Motors will have to protect its market share in the country. Currently, it enjoys only third slot in the car market after Maruti and Hyundai, while in the bus and truck spaces, it is the market leader.

On expanding into overseas market, he said the company is exploring the possibility of expanding into South Africa, Latin America and Southeast Asia where Tata products may have an acceptance. But he said, for this, the company needs to see where it can complement with JLR, which has a presence in 116 countries.

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Leh residents fear Chinese take over

The inaction of central government even after repeated incursions of Chinese troops into Leh has struck apprehensions in the hearts of local population. They feel that the government is sleeping and is quite weak,

Leh: The Union government's continued denial to the recent Chinese incursions on Indian territory has angered the locals, who have been unhappy over the passive response of the Centre.

As reports of Chinese incursion in Leh were confirmed, Headlines Today travelled to the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir to get an insight into the situation.

Leh additional deputy commissioner Tsering Morup was the first to confirm a recent incursion by the People's Liberation Army (PLA) personnel. "Yes, there have been incursions," he told Headlines Today.

Inspector general of police (Kashmir) S.M. Sahai said: "If you look at the terrain in Leh and Ladakh, there are huge terrains which are unmanned. So definitely an incursion can take place there."

To get an exact impression of the situation on the ground, Headlines Today went further towards the Chinese border in Leh district.

Even as the state and the central establishment remains frozen in a state of denial about Chinese presence, Headlines Today found that the villagers were quite unhappy with the timidity of the government in tackling the brazen incident.

Leh resident Phunsuk Tonduk said, "The army and intelligence are sleeping. The Chinese are slowly inching towards Indian territory. One day they will take over Leh."

An angry local journalist went up to say: "The government is weak."

While a majority remain enraged, there were also a few who chose to remain indifferent. Some young boys said they "don't know... don't care".

Even the newspapers in the region have been flooded with reports of Chinese incursions over the last few months. Defence Minister A.K. Antony might choose to blame "perception" for the Chinese incursions, it seems that this dragon has already hacked into the Indian stable.

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How much do these footballers earn in a day?

We are sure that you will fall out of your chair after looking at the salaries of these gentlemen. If you are looking for a career change, it wouldn't be a bad idea to buy a pair of soccer boots.

David Beckham

Country: England

Club: Los Angeles Galaxy

Yearly Earnings: $ 40 million

Earnings per day (in Rupees): Rs.53,54,520

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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Top 20 Best Yet FREE iPad Apps For Your Apple Tablet

You’ve seen the commercials; Apps are what makes an iPad come to life. Whether you have aniPad or iPad 2 that means you need to decide which apps you should purchase and downloadright away. Here are the very best ones for work, play, creation, consumption and everything in between.
There are currently more than 100,000 native iPad apps available, although, as with the iPhone, a big chunk of those are filler. But the good apps are really good: creative, innovative, imaginative, useful and fun (or at least several of the above). So here is our pick of the top 20 best iPad (and iPad 2) apps of year 2011:
WindowShopWindowshop is Amazon’s attempt to reinvent its website for tablets, and it does a great job. As with eBay, the focus is emphatically on product images and flicking between items with swipes and other gestures.
Barrel TonesAn amazing 3-D drum experience! Lay down your beats over top of home-grown jam tracks. These drums are the real-deal! Low latency, fully animated, made by musicians for musicians! Also, check out the Algoriddim Djay App For iPad if you are a music fan.
Tweetdeck (free): Another brilliant port to iPad, Tweetdeck shows you the feeds of your Twitter friends, your own mentions, and your direct messages. It works well because there is enough screen space to actually read all of this content.
SnikkrSnikkr for iPhone and iPad is the first social productivity tool for iPhone. It supports mapping, navigation, directions, and local search. Snikkr also lets you safely share your location, and your favorite places, with friends, inside and outside of the Snikkr network.
Citrix Go To My PCJust like BomGar remote support app, GoToMyPC for iPad makes it simple to control your computer while away from your work area, but the lack of multitasking support, and latency issues, may dampen the experience. GoToMyPC is the fast, easy and secure way to instantly connect to your Mac or PC, with access to all of your files, programs and network.
VevoMTV doesn’t show music videos any more, but Vevo is the nearest we have to a successor. Its iPad app is arguably the best way to use the service, too, tapping and swiping to browse a wide collection of videos.
123D Sculpt:This is a digital sculpting app: you pinch and rub the screen to mould virtual clay, buying in-app theme packs for 69p each including “Medieval” and “Transportation”. A tactile and creative delight.
Dragon DictationFeaturing very accurate voice transcription and the ability to share messages via e-mail, Facebook, and Twitter, Naunce’s dictation app is both fun to use and immensely helpful—as long as you’re connected to the Web.
KindleAmazon’s e-reader app narrowly gets the nod over Apple’s own iBooks, with fewer visual frills but a large collection of ebooks, including regular discounts and offers. It also syncs your reading position across different devices.
iChromyIt’s an iPad browser that looks and feels like Chrome. And since I use Chrome every single day, that’s a good thing! It has tabbed browsing, an incognito window, and an omnibox (a shared box for typing in URLs and search terms) too. As close as you’ll get to Chrome on an iPad. Free
Epicurious: You like food, right? Epicurious has got tons of recipes presented in a nice, photo-friendly format. Show this to your Mom to justify your iPad purchase. Free.
Dropbox for iPad: Simple to use and extremely useful, this file synchronization app will keep all of your files in step, but the lack of built in file editing, and other limitations, may prove irritating.
Infographics: The app has about 50 different infographics created by the design company for its clients. There’s trivia-filled images for technology, sociology, learning and more. Perfect for those moments when you have a few minutes to spare and want to read something besides boring news.
Trulia: Trulia, an impressive real estate search engine and a respected name in the real estate game, has an iPad app that makes finding a new place a lot less intimidating and almost even fun. Poking around to explore apartments and homes with your finger is somehow much less frustrating than clicking around on a website.
FlipBoard: Flipboard wants to be your personalised, digital magazine, and does a great job of serving up articles that your Facebook and Twitter contacts have been linking to, as well as stories from your favourite websites.
PhotoBooth Free (included with iPad 2): A staple of the iPad 2′s starter apps, PhotoBooth takes advantage of the iPad’s dual cameras to bring you stupid pictures of yourself. Yes, it is a novelty app, but it’s one that might make you smile. Or, more probably, make young’uns chuckle at the sight of themselves with silly effects applied.
Google Earth: Google’s planet-mapping service was born to be on touchscreen tablets, getting you to swipe and pinch-zoom your way around the world. It’s an impressive showcase for iPad’s computing power, particularly the iPad 2.
HootsuiteHootSuite allow users to create numerous social network streams and view them in a clean, friendly interface, dispatching messages to multiple networks simultaneously. Compose and Converse on the Go. HootSuite for iOS is the perfect social media tool for Twitter, Facebook, and Foursquare.
Calculator for iPad: Need to crunch some numbers? Calculator for iPad Free gives you a large, easy-to-read, attractive basic and scientific calculator for solving problems. Multitouch support lets you swipe away numbers. Upgrading to the $0.99 adds six additional themes: Standard, Silver Keyboard, Retro Grey, Pink Keyboard, Happy Pink, and Wooden.
RoambiRoambi interactive mobile dashboards let you tap, turn and swipe to analyze and share your company’s latest information on any iPhone or iPad – keeping you connected to your business, anytime and anywhere.