Thursday, February 26, 2009

Haroun And The Sea Of Stories - A Review

The book, “Haroun and the Sea of Stories”, was written by Salman Rushdie in 1990, while he had been sentenced to death by Islamic fundamentalists. It was actually, according to the writer's own view, a kind of redirecting his attention towards the work of fiction after being frustrated a lot. In short, it is a warning about the dangers of story-telling that won him the Writers' Guild Award (Best Children's Book in 1992).

It is the story of Haroun, a 12-year-old boy whose father Rashid is the greatest storyteller in a city so sad that it has forgotten its name. When the gift of gab suddenly deserts Rashid, Haroun ventures into Gup City, Kahani, which is located on the shores of the Great Story Seas to save his father's renowned story telling abilities, and ends up saving the entire story-telling world from the evil Khattam-Shud, the Prince of Silence, who is intoxicating the Sea of Stories with poison. Rushdie employs the simple tactics of a legendary plot and imaginative characters to make his novel as great as any child's fairy tale.

The theme works as a beautiful fantasy story about a boy who saves a world of make believe. It can also be viewed as an experiment on creativity, the obvious dangers of authoritarianism, the honest weaknesses of democracy, the importance of history, and ofcourse all expressed through a theme of an illusion. Definitely a message for the adults.

Don't get me wrong, this is not a bad book as such. It’s just that it is a children's book, a fact that most of us don’t realize, until we start reading it. However, it is beautifully written and imaginative, and to top it all one who has read Rushdie’s other books would like the hidden message and the meaning behind the names.

The way Rushdie goes about describing each character and each event is enthralling and it is refreshing to note how Rushdie is creative with his imagination.

Whether people say, am sure that children would definitely enjoy it, and you would think it as lot of fun, too. And to top it off, I am not such a big fan of Salman Rushdie.

It definitely is not a waste of time, as it is so short

Anyone who liked Rushdie’s other books is bound to love this one as well. The book certainly has some great moments that will definitely hold your interest. Whatever may be the reason, just read it for the child inside you

That’s it - a must read if you want to dive back into your childhood.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Love - Start In The Right Direction

What is the secret of a healthy relationship?

A good relationship first begins with YOU.

This works more efficiently when two partners are focused on a goal of keeping their relationship better than ever before.

A lot of relationships have begun so well only to end in disaster. Ever wonder why this happened?

This is mainly because, couples have the tendency to take each other for granted and as a result have become more negligent of each other over the years and months they have been together. This is not how a relationship should progress. In a way as the relationship grows old, it should be viewed in a mature perspective. In other relationships it is not correct to say that relationships grow old, but it should be said “as the relationship matures”.

In most cases, love that has the hottest beginning has the coolest end. In other words, love does not develop over time.

While it is true that there can be a love at first sight, it depends on the partners how to maintain and sustain that love they have felt from the start.

It is important that partners work together in achieving their goal of making the relationship works for them. It is definitely a combined effort and a shared endeavor. Part of every great relationship is setting common goals, then figuring out a way to work together to accomplish these goals. This gives couples a sense of purpose and direction. It also teaches couples how to work together, making their relationship stronger and more rewarding.

This takes a great deal of focus, commitment, and compromise, but the rewards are well worth the effort. Actually, this concept is not limited to only relationships, but applies to other aspects of life such as work and career.

Remember, when you really love yourself, you cannot help wanting to give some of your love away. You must learn to be alone and happy before you can be together with someone else and still be happy. Your happiness always depends upon how you feel when you are alone.

So, when you want a great love partner, become a great love partner. Sharing love with someone must only and always begin with YOU

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Authentec: What Happened To Their Stock Price?

AuthenTec (Nasdaq: AUTH) is the world’s leading provider of fingerprint sensors and solutions. AuthenTec Inc., is actively involved in issues and trends related to biometric technology and security with specific expertise in the PC, wireless and access control markets. It was founded in 1998 by a small, dedicated team led by co-founders CEO Scott Moody and CTO Dale Setlak. It has since then grown to more than 100 employee "players" worldwide and is led by the most experienced team of semiconductor, biometrics, and segment market professionals in the industry.

Though the internet makes many things more convenient (banking, shopping, etc.) one of the most inconvenient things about it is remembering all those passwords (must be at least six but no more than ten characters, containing at least one letter and one number, case sensitive ... you know the drill) without writing them down on a cheat sheet that defeats the whole purpose of security. Finally someone has figured out how to turn your fingerprint into your password, which is not only more secure, but more convenient too. Plus this is the best technology out there and it's cheap enough that not only James Bond can afford it.

In short, it is a mixed-signal semiconductor company that provides fingerprint authentication sensors and solutions to the high-volume personal computer (PC), wireless device, and access control markets. It offers a range of fingerprint sensors that enable users to access and control multiple functions on an electronic device by touching or sliding their finger across the sensor. The company’s fingerprint sensors utilize unique information in fingerprints to verify the identity of the individual, as well as the unique, individual fingers on the same person. Its sensors are used in various applications related to security, password replacement and financial transaction authentication.

AuthenTec Inc.’s award-winning sensors take full advantage of The Power of Touch™ by utilizing the company's patented TruePrint® technology to deliver the most convenient, reliable and cost-effective means available for enabling touch-powered features that extend beyond user authentication. AuthenTec’s patented TruePrint® and TrueMatch® technologies allow fingerprints to be read below the surface of the skin to the live layer – or true fingerprint. As such, they are less affected by common skin surface conditions, including dry, worn, calloused, dirty or oily skin that can hinder competitive sensors’ ability to acquire accurate fingerprint images for user authentication purposes. TruePrint is the only fingerprint sensor technology capable of acquiring everyone’s fingerprint under virtually any condition.

AuthenTec Inc’s newest wireless products and technologies for key Asian cell phone OEMs and wireless carriers include their new QuickLaunch personalization and TrueNav user navigation software for mobile phones, durable TouchStone packaging technologies as well as new world phones, smart phones, PCs, and other wireless products that integrate AuthenTec fingerprint sensors for versatile Power of Touch(R) features that extend beyond security to include convenience, personalization and navigation.

The company’s network of partners and customers includes; Analog Devices, APC, ASUS, Bioscrypt, Cherry, Compal, CA, Fellowes, Fujitsu Computer, HP, IBM, Intel,Lenovo, LGE, Microsoft, Motion Computing, Packard Bell, Samsung, SCM
Microsystems, Tatung, Texas Instruments, Toshiba, Quanta, among others

AuthenTec Inc., is a Fortune 500 Breakout 25 company and is a Wall Street Journal Technology Innovation Award winner, and three-time winner of Frost & Sullivan’s Market Leadership Award. According to a report from Frost and Sullivan, AuthenTec enjoys a massive market opportunity. The market for fingerprint sensors is expected to grow 50.6% annually, to $2 billion by 2013.

AuthenTec, Inc., is publicly traded on the NASDAQ Stock Market under the ticker symbol AUTH.

AuthenTec’s stock price has fallen over 90% the last year from somewhere around $18.00 to about $1.60

AUTH doesn't currently meet the $100M market cap / $1.50 stock price minimum.

But then, AuthenTec's shares are severely undervalued and have a legitimate chance to rise in value 50% or more by 2009. Their fingerprint technology is unsurpassed in the industry and protected by a multitude of patents and intellectual property, as well as being well-entrenched in the markets in which they serve.

Besides, AUTH is active in a market space that will be exploding in the future – The Company’s product has a unique and distinct competitive advantage over competition in an underdeveloped field, as a result the company should out grow most companies in S&P 500. Moreover, Security is always in the back of people's minds.

Fingerprint authentication becoming popular on cell phones in Asia. As fingerprint technology is the future. In other words, it recognizes specific fingerprints more specifically your fingerprint. As tomorrow's credit payments will be made with cell phones and AUTH will be playing a big role in making them safe...In short, fingerprint security is catching on fast and AUTH has the best technology and is expanding use rapidly

Stock Value

According to market reports, there were some positive developments including news that the customer loss that they thought was going to affect their revenue and earnings in the back half of 2009, will not actually impact them until well into 2010, thus allowing AuthenTec Inc. more time to make up the difference and find new customers and applications to overcome this loss.

For AuthenTec’s intellectual property alone, there is value in the shares of the company, and it would not be surprising to see AuthenTec bought out by a larger player within the next 6-12 months because of their dirt cheap valuation, and the assets that they possess.

Obviously, if you own shares of AuthenTec, now is not the time to sell. There is some value here that is not currently priced into the shares of the stock. At the current prices the stock is trading below its cash on hand, and is priced for ultimate failure.

I don’t know when shares will stop their recent slide to new all-time lows, but one thing I am certain of: AuthenTec is a cutting edge company that continues to execute in an otherwise wickedly negative marketplace and in the face of continued consumer doldrums. AuthenTec is a rapidly expanding company with a niche product and a patented moat around its business that no competitors can claim.

So, I guess it would be alright to sell, when the price reaches at around $7.50 per share, which is a sure possibility

Friday, February 6, 2009

Childrens Education In India

How do you go from a rural India in 2006 in which

close to half the children in grade 1 could not recognize numbers or letters,
almost half the children in grade 2 couldn't read a grade 1-level text fluently,
almost half the children in grade 2 couldn't do a 2-digit subtraction confidently,
about half the children in grade 5 couldn't read a grade 2-level text easily,
about half the children in grade 5 couldn't do a simple division problem
To a situation by 2009 in which:

all grade 1 children know at least the alphabet and numbers,
all grade 2 children can read at least simple words and do simple sums,
all grades 3-5 children can at least read simple texts fluently and solve arithmetic problems confidently
And the proposed target - about 100 million children?

I recently read an article regarding the NGO - Pratham based at Meerut District in Uttar Pradesh. The staff members highlighted were Ashish Sharma and Nuzhat Mallik of the education NGO, Pratham.

The journalist apparently was sucked into a symphony of singing and movement and for a moment was at a loss of words. Children were following a young man who was singing about an Elephant and the energy among the children is palpable. Not the sort of thing, to be found among Government Schools. In short, this is Pratham’s Read India campaign at work.

There are many organizations that promote literacy and education by running schools in the slum and rural areas for poor children in India. In addition to Pratham, there are other great organizations such as Akanksha and Child Aid Foundation that are doing terrific work to get children reading

A recent report from the World Bank says that children with disabilities are five times more likely to be out of school compared to the average child. In nearly every society, children with disabilities generally are excluded from opportunities for an education by a wide range of barriers such as lack of accessible transportation (buses have no lifts); the assumption that they cannot learn or cannot be taught; lack of awareness of how to meet their needs in the classroom; the assumption that it is not possible to meet their needs while simultaneously teaching a whole classroom of other children; lack of appropriate accommodations such as Braille materials (or even the chance to learn Braille) for blind children or a fully immersive sign language environment for deaf children; and so forth.

Bringing a quality basic level education to 100 million Indian children is a fine goal. But it cannot be achieved until there are targeted efforts to ensure that disabled children are included among these 100 million

For more information, or for those interested, do try and get in touch with Ms. Farida Lambay of Pratham for information on the vulnerable children in India

Education really is the key.

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