Sunday, December 2, 2012

How Facebook Was Changed By Its IPO

On the afternoon of Thursday, 17th May 2012, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg officially opened the Facebook IPO, making it one of the biggest publicly traded companies. The company priced the IPO at $38 per share, making its market value just over $100 billion. However, the staying power of Facebook remains to be seen and how the IPO (initial public offering) will affect the company and its future.

Although the IPO will make Zuckerberg and FB investors and employee’s billionaires and millionaires, what happens to the public? Will a publicly listed company affect the average person who wants to know what is happening with their family and friends?

If anyone asked me whether I would invest in Facebook, my answer would be in the negative, because it just is too risky. Although they may have a fantastically smart man on top, at the end of the day it is just another techie company. Because you never know what can happen with such techie companies, it’s either up or down, there are no middle levels and hence I just wouldn’t risk and put any money on them. Perhaps, for a short-term investment, it might turn out good.

Personally, I feel that here are a few ways that users may experience the change firsthand.

Less privacy and more ad revenue: In order to increase its ad revenue, FB would have to compromise on its user privacy and improve its ad platform. If done correctly, ads should not overwhelm the content and the potential is virtually unlimited. Alternately, if taken too far, the results could be disastrous. They have to figure out a way to advertise without compromising privacy.

The mobile platform: Currently the mobile users account nearly for 50% of the Facebook user base. However, FB is unable to generate any revenue from its mobile platform. In other words, it has to monetize it. If not done properly, it could end up with a lot of annoying adverts instead of enhancing user interaction.

Facebook-generated content: If done properly, Facebook-generated content has tremendous potential than the current user-generated content. Facebook has the possibility to enter markets that are dominated by the likes of Craigslist and Groupon.

Then there are others who are dead convinced that Facebook will crash and may not be able to reinvent themselves. Their only USP seems to be gathering control of someone else’s web presence. As a result, this could lead to them being alienated. Another factor is that Facebook does not have a tangible product and hence there is no prospect of a long-term revenue model. Of course, Facebook has solid hidden potential, which they have not used. Having private information of nearly 1 billion is not a joke. In other words, it has the private information of 14% of the people who habitat this planet.

Now being public, Facebook has to develop new products to generate revenue from those potential 1 billion users. In my view, Facebook is not a bubble, but $100 Billion valuation is a bubble. As stated by experts, I feel that the Facebook stock will continue to go down. Once the dust settles on the Facebook IPO, I reckon that their stock would possibly range around $12 to $25 per share. This is of course if the world does not end by 2012.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

AppNeta Announces The Launch Of SpeedChecker

AppNeta, the top cloud-delivered service provider for performance management, recently announced the launch of SpeedChecker, a free and accurate internet speed testing tool. According to the officials from AppNeta, it is the only absolutely accurate, free, and continuous internet speed testing tool available in the market today.

SpeedChecker is powered by “AppNeta PathView Cloud network performance management service” that provides more intelligent and accurate approach towards testing the speed and performance of network connection.

AppNeta prides in providing the industry with a more lightweight and intelligent approach for continuously monitoring and measuring the performance of network connection so that end-users can have the confidence on the results, and resolve the performance problems more efficiently and quickly. AppNeta is a leading Information Technology performance management service provider, offering first cloud-delivered solutions for end-to-end, integrated visibility across applications and network connections.

Being a pioneering provider of cloud-delivered services for enhanced performance management, this new application is expected to guide the users with historical performance data whenever a performance problem arises. It can accurately and efficiently test the speed of internet connectivity from multiple sources, enhancing performance management and problem solving in an effective manner.

With network structures becoming more intricate, slow internet connections are becoming an increasingly painful problem across organizations. Often, end users fail to get the maximum performance and speed from internet service providers in lieu of what they are paying. With SpeedChecker, users can quickly and accurately test how effective and fast, the network connection is from the user’s computer, location, and network to independent multiple, high-speed targets.

The existing internet speed checking tools are too much dependent on end-to-end network latency, and hence, require several speed testing locations to run more effectively. However, SpeedChecker from AppNeta does not depend on network latency, and allows the end users to get more relevant and accurate results, which are not affected by the test location. The tool not only tells about how fast the internet connection is at any point of time, but also delivers;

• Ongoing internet speed checking tests for multiple sources for simple performance evaluation and verification

• Continuous monitoring of internet connectivity speed and performance

• Visual Performance Charts including important elements like latency, bandwidth capacity, utilized bandwidth, available bandwidth, and data loss.

SpeedChecker performs in the way of continuously sending out data packets from the client computer, at the rate of about 20 packets every minute. Once the data packets are sent, the tool then calculates how much time it takes for the data to reach target destination, and what time it takes for the data to bounce back from the destination computer to the client computer. With this new and effective tool, AppNeta aims at improving the performance and productivity without having to waste any time on slow internet connections.

Unlike other free internet speed testing tools in the market, SpeedChecker truly delivers accurate and easy solution to test the speed and performance of client internet connection.

Synergex International Corporation Announces Launch of KitaroDB 1.0, The Highly-Scalable, Fast and Efficient NoSQL Database

Synergex International Corporation, the top business application and technology solution provider recently announced the launch of KitaroDB 1.0, a free and highly-scalable NoSQL database that natively runs on .NET environments, WinRT, and Win32. It is an efficient and fast data store that can support intrusive keys and key-value pairs, and can be successfully used across diverse platforms in Microsoft.

Designed particularly to be used by C, C#, C++, HTML5, JavaScript, and VB developers, KitaroDB 1.0 is efficient in conducting ten thousand operations every second. Popularly known as Synergy ISAM or Synergy DBMS to the professional DBL developers, this robust and highly-scalable database system is successfully used by more than 1 million users and over thousand companies every day. From medical industry to the banking institutions, ERP solutions to timeshare and resort operations, KitaroDB is a highly efficient NoSQL database system that is running unobtrusively and successfully across end-users.

KitaroDB was launched in the year 1985, and since then, Synergex has continuously enhanced and updated the cross-platform database to release the latest KitaroDB 1.o version, which is more efficient, faster and highly scalable than its predecessor. The key features of Synergex KitaroDB are that it is;

• Proven and established commercial database

• Easy to use interface for C, C#, C++, VB, HTML5 and JavaScript developers

• Has 100 TB storage capacity

• Has synchronous and asynchronous operations

• Has large sector drive support and consumes less than 1 megabyte of memory resource

• Has superior flexibility with intrusive key database or key/value data store

• Has minimal overheads and can handle close to 10,000 operations every second.

KitaroDB 1.0 has APIs for .NET CLR and Win32, in addition to WinRT environment. For development, this database system requires Visual Studio 2010, or to be more specific, ‘Visual Studio 2010 C Runtime libraries and .NET Framework 4.0.’ Certain additional updates have also been made to the version, with the most important one being intrusive key support. Users and developers can now have 255 keys, defined particularly in any provided data file. The package also supports segmented keys.

According to the officials, the developers can use the database system for storing data in any format that fits best to any situation, use the key mechanism when a rigid structure applies, and use key-value pair capabilities to save data that is retrieved via web service. The full product is available for download online. There are plans for future launch of KitaroDB versions for Linux and several other platforms, specialized server edition, and support for data records larger than 64K.

With launch of KitaroDB 1.0, Synergex also introduced open source application powered by KitaroDB.

KitaroDB 1.0 will now allow the developers to incorporate local data storage for different applications that may be lost if internet connectivity fails. Moreover, the data store remains in the same format as they would expect, thus, delivering less coding and lesser errors, he added.

With more than 35 years of professional experience, Synergex International Corporation has driven business applications and commerce across the world with high-performance technology solutions.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Cloudscaling Announces Delivery Of Its First Production-Grade Elastic Cloud Infrastructure System

Cloudscaling plans to unveil the new upgrade at OpenStack Summit to be held in San Diego this week.

As reported by the officials, OCS 2.0 will raise the bar of production-grade elastic cloud infrastructure, and will be accompanied by Cloudscaling’s leading 24/7 operational support. The new upgrade version will be the first-of-its-kind elastic cloud solution that will deliver superior performance, agility, and economic benefits of large public cloud providers, but will be only deployable in the datacenter of the client, under the control of the IT team.

In addition to thus, OCS 2.0 version is expected to be the first private cloud solution that will deliver cloud operation focused enhancements and complex IT management that will transform OpenStack from a mere component of technology to a complete sale-engineered, production-grade cloud infrastructure system.

Officials reported that key features of this latest OCS version include “on-demand compute, block storage, object storage, networking, scale-out edge, core, and block networking services, private to public cloud integration options, advanced security features, intelligent resource scheduling, cloud topology management, and modular hardware reference designs that speed time to deployment and increase reliability.”

OCS is considered to be the first elastic cloud solution that delivers the benefits of high-performance elastic public cloud in client’s datacenter. In addition to delivering the key benefits of an elastic public cloud system as a high-performance private cloud solution, OCS, for the first time, delivers the key federation capabilities that enable the clients to better manage dynamic cloud applications across supported public cloud services and private elastic cloud systems like GCE and AWS. The federation between public and private clouds will be managed more efficiently by the new version of OCS Cloud Application Manager.

OCS version 2.0 brings in new and innovative features and high performance production-grade capabilities that were earlier unavailable in the OpenStack-based cloud solutions. Officials reported that production grade refers to the ability of a cloud system to support operational environments that require critical cloud operations and high up-time features and is contrast to simple OpenStack deployments, which are better suited for development and testing.

The key features of production-grade cloud infrastructure are availability, performance, maintainability, and security.

Michael Grant, chief executive officer of Cloudscaling today said that companies wanted a private elastic cloud infrastructure that can not only be used for production but also had the support of an active open source community. They also wanted something that is low-risk with less capital investment. OCS 2.0 is the response to their requirements which will address all the customer needs through a single product.

Cloudscaling is a pioneering elastic cloud infrastructure company, offering scalable, reliable and production-grade Open Cloud System available to build elastic clouds.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

What Makes The New Base CRM Mobile Apps Different From Others ?

The Base CRM apps have become popular not only because of their productivity and flexibility, but also because of the intellectual factor that these apps bring in. The mobile device based customer relation management (CRM) applications from Base make sure that they provide only the most accurate outcome for the users.

Base is a Chicago-based (sic) company that was founded sometime in 2009 by Uzi Shmilovici. It is a cross platform CRM product that is geared towards small businesses. Base offers applications to the iPhone, Android phone, Windows and the Mac and allows businesses manage their sales and customers from wherever they are. They shortly plan to release tablet and Windows Phone 7.5 application. Base has so far raised closed to $7 million through Series B funding that consists of Index Ventures with Social + Capital Partnership, OCA Ventures and the I2A Fund.

What makes the Base CRM apps different is the fact that it has used the most modern web and mobile device technology to provide their services. Most of the traditional tools for customer relation management were developed years ago for the computers and the web use. However, with the rising use of mobile devices and internet in them, the old computer and browser based applications are finding it hard to match up with the expectations. This is why many companies prefer to use Base CRM apps as these tools are developed to work on multiple mobile devices with ease. These apps can be used from any mobile device and from anywhere.

Just like the apps for the smart phones, Base CRM apps are released recently for the Android tablets and iPad. The apps are developed to be more flexible and intelligent in terms of usability. Just like the phone apps, these tablet Base CRM apps come with a range of great services for the users. These apps offer easy methods to track and capture sales leads. The apps also show the sales leads in visual forms. The contacts of the device can be managed with more options like reminder and tasks. Sending emails or using Google apps is also possible with Base.

According to the Base blog, there is a distinct difference in the feature updates a mobile CRM provider makes when compared to a desktop or SaaS service. This is one of the reasons why more traditional players are having issues with the move to mobile. However, the Base CRM apps for mobile devices are designed differently than the ones that can be used in a desktop PC. This is the main reason why the Base CRM apps for the mobile devices have become more trusted than the other app developers. Another reason is that the traditional apps lack in ideas. According to the CRM and mobile app experts, it’s very disturbing and surprising that most of the large PC and web based developers of CRM apps have missed out on the point of required changes when providing services for mobile devices. It is here where the Base CRM apps win hands down.

A study of the traditional customer relation management apps shows that they lack the use of their developing code. They are stuck with the codes used at the time of the development of their apps. This makes it harder for them to cope up with the modern needs of the users, and that’s exactly where Base CRM apps make all the difference. Base CRM apps are designed for the users, keeping in mind what they need and how they use the apps with more command. Most of the apps in the market today are unable to make sure of that because they use complicated systems.

Base is also designing a community for the CRM apps developers, which is surely a great news for the future. CRM is getting a new meaning with Base.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Top Five Automobile Repair Tips That Reduces Maintenance Expenses

In the U.S., the consumer’s automobile collision repair bill is estimated at $40 billion every year. The first fear that comes to mind of the consumer if the car has had a small scratch or a huge dent is the expense bill that the consumer has to face in fixing this, or the tiresome task involved in repairing. To remove this fear, AutoMD ( has released the below five tips in celebration with the National Collision Awareness month. President Shane Evangelist has gone ahead and said that these simple body repair tips add up to potentially huge cost savings for car owners, whether they are DIYing or going to the repair shop. Of course, the best way to avoid these expenses is to carefully drive following the road rules and regulations and steer clear of collisions.

The top five auto repair tips are as follows:

1. Evaluate and verify the auto labor rates
Auto repair shops usually have two set of labor rates, one for mechanical and the other for body repairs. So make sure to evaluate the labor rates in nearby auto repair shops before getting the work done. Also, double check the bill and verify that you are paying the correct rate for the work. Many garage’s prefix their rates for different tasks. AutoMD’s Shop Finder helps to make a comparative rate study in the nearby shops.

2. Opt for paintless dent repair (PDR)
In cases where the repair is little, paintless dent repair (PDR) would be the best option. There are highly skilled technicians who can repair dents without the tedious tasks of sanding, filler and painting. This reduces the repair cost considerably.

3. Self help for small vehicle damages
Avoid going to the auto repair shops for small scratches. Instead try and obtain your car’s color code and get the right color so that it can be touched-up quickly so as to prevent rusting. Cars with minor scratches can be sand papered using fine sandpaper and soap water and then rubbed down using a rubbing compound to blend the final finish.

4. Replace new parts for the heavily damaged areas
If the damages are heavy, then replace it with new parts as it is more cost effective than repairing. This can be done by the consumer himself instead of going to the auto repair shop. DIY’s (Do it yourselfers) can save money and replace damaged parts by going online and locating replacement parts or from accessing AutoMD How-To-Guides.

5. Use products to avoid damage
Today’s market has number of products which is used to prevent damage to the vehicle like bumper protectors and door damage protectors. Use these products to reduce dents, dings, scratches and other types of damage.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Can The Human Race Sustain Another 100 Years?

In a world that is in chaos politically, socially, and environmentally, how can the human race sustain another 100 years?

The famous Cambridge Mathematician Professor Stephen Hawking had asked the above question which implied that he was worried about the future of the human race. In the long term, Professor Hawking feels that the humans will only survive if they colonise space or perhaps genetically engineer humans to make them less hostile. This dissertation is in conflict to Professor Hawkings’ views and the observations expressed are entirely mine.

The end or the beginning...

We all face worries sometime although most of them resolve themselves in a time-based situation. The old worries have always been there - political stupidity, corruption, religious bigotry, nuclear warfare and endemic diseases in addition to the new ones "global warming and the exhaustion of natural resources." For any grim-faced pessimist, this is a banquet of worries that can keep him unhappy until the day he dies.

These concerns are virtually unjustified as the human race is unlikely to take the route that the dinosaurs took. It is even more difficult to perceive that aggression will wipe out the human race, as the human race has the "survival of the fittest" character inbuilt into their gene structure. This means that the human species will find ways and means to adapt and survive to cope with whatever challenges that they may face. It is unlikely that we would wipe everyone off the surface of the planet, despite the number of weapons of mass destruction present. In other words, there would always be survivors as aggression augments the survival instinct and the side that insures the survival of its people would be the ones that colonises the space. Moreover, it is too early that the human race would spread and colonise space in the next 100 years.

In comparison, we are living in one of the most peaceful periods of human history. Ofcourse, there are skirmishes in Afghanistan, the Middle East and a few other parts with a few thousand people dying. However, this is very small when compared to the amount of the people dying in a planet that has a population of 6 billion. This is even less than the number of people who die due to natural calamities; certainly not something to be compared with the survival of mankind.

Perhaps the greatest immediate threat where I could perhaps agree with Prof. Stephen Hawking is the planet’s present breeding rate. Within a period of 40 years, the human population has literally doubled from 3 billion to more than 6 billion. Over-population creates disparities. With it comes poverty, warfare (through lack of space), pollution, and the depletion of natural resources. Over population must be controlled as no species can ever survive beyond certain limits of overpopulation. Either we limit our population sensibly and voluntarily, or Mother Nature will do it for us.

If we leave it completely to Mother Nature, then our numbers will be likely cut back by an epidemic. As we will be so closely packed, our resistance levels would have weakened, and that in turn will have lowered the efficiency of our immune systems. All it needs is a deadly new virus that will be able to spread like wildfire. If such a scenario occurs, then there will be an epidemic that will kill millions. Although millions may die, millions more will survive, and they will then start to re-build. As we would have spread to the remotest areas of this planet, the chances of the human race being wiped out is again remote.


In response to Professor Hawkings' question on how mankind can survive the next hundred years is that we need to recognise our current problems and confront them in the years to come. First, we require a vision for our world. We have to become aware of life and living it the right way. We have only rushed to improve our lifestyle and way of living but have never thought whether we were taking the right or wrong step. With the new vision and an improved way of life, we must be ready to take responsibility and which will bring us meaning, hope, and happiness. If this vision is "bigger" than the problem itself, it definitely helps in solving this crisis in the long run. Hence, Professor Stephen Hawkings' assumption that the world is facing chaos politically and socially is not true, as it is this very chaos that helps you to enhance your ability to live happily.

Professor Hawking is however correct in his identification of environmental chaos as one of the biggest threats to humanity. Although it is highly unlikely that humanity would make itself extinct within hundred years, the burdens imposed by the environmental pollution would continue to grow daily destroying much of mankind’s achievements and its wonders. However, the planet has sufficient advance warning and support systems, and is equipped to face most natural calamities. We even have the facilities to nuke an asteroid or a stray meteorite and hence we really should not be worried sustenance or colonizing other planets so as to ensure our survival.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Why You Stand To Benefit With A London Web Design Agency

With digital marketing expanding rapidly, London has become the new home to an increasing number of web design companies. London is the center for most of Britain's most progressive web design talent. It is here where young designers flock to jump-start their careers. If you consider yourself, an internet entrepreneur who is trying to make his presence felt online, then web design London should be your destination.

Many companies in and around London offer the full service portfolio in addition to web design. This includes advertising, email marketing, link building, public relations, SEO, and social media consultancy. The key issues while considering a web design company in London is its size. Larger web design agencies usually offer much more than the conventional services. Although companies may find the small web design London companies to offer the best balance of quality and cost, it is to be remembered that a website requires search engine optimization services, PPC advertising and social media promotion services as well. In all likelihood, it is only the larger design agencies in London that provide these services along with the web design services. Some smaller design companies also outsource their work to web designers in low cost economies like India, but their gains are mostly short-lived as there are many communication difficulties. Ofcourse there are the exceptions when the outsourced company is a professional one in which case the difference in cost is only marginal. Hence, you may stand to benefit with a web design London agency in the long run.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Thinking Of Staying In Discount London Hotels?

The historic city of London is filled with a variety of attractions that make it one of the most desirable cities in the world. One of the main reasons that tourists want to spend some quality time in London are the easy availability of discount London hotels spread in every part of the city. Travelers can now not only choose to stay at any of these discount hotels that serve their purpose, but can also make their visit very comfortable. This is specially important in case of business visitors who always look for a discount hotel, which is near to their client’s location.

Discount room rates have always been a bit tricky. Most discount hotels, balance occupancy rates and price to get the best profit for the hotel. However, listed below are a few points that can get you a better deal;

• Book and contact the hotel early - well ahead of when you propose to travel.
• Do not give a fixed date, but instead play around with the dates a bit.
• Watch out for special deals and promotions.
• Be sure to check on what you get and what you will not get with the discount package.

Following the above rules can make you a winner most times. Yet in fairness, discounts and promotional packages are not something that we need to analyse too deeply. As a potential guest, your aim should be to enjoy your stay at the Discount London Hotel.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Should Students Pursue an Online PhD in Psychology

Should students pursue a Ph.D., in Psychology and should it be online?

Most graduate students are a bit confused when they are confronted with the above question. Splitting the question into two sections makes it a lot easier to answer.

Firstly, what is a Ph.D. in Psychology and how does it help your career? A Doctor of Philosophy otherwise known as the Ph.D., is the highest degree you can obtain in a particular field. Obviously, it is not only time consuming to obtain, but also with it comes a lot of prestige. Therefore, the biggest question is whether it is worth to you, because you will be spending around five years and much money on this project. Psychology on the other hand is one of the most sought-after programs of study for many prospective students. However, according to the United States Bureau of Labor, there are only few jobs that are available to those who only possess a Bachelor in Psychology. Therefore, the need to obtain a Ph.D., in Psychology is fast becoming a necessity for those wanting to make this field, their line of profession.

Although the courses vary with universities, obtaining a Ph.D., in Psychology consists of a variety of research, essay writing, completing a dissertation, data analysis, and clinical studies. This course can also be obtained virtually through an online degree. However, there are many prerequisites required by almost all accredited colleges and universities in order to be accepted into their online Ph.D., psychology program. Prospective students should not only possess at least a Masters or Bachelors in Psychology, but also possess the necessary technical knowledge so as to successfully participate in online classes. In addition to this, prospective students may also have to take extensive written examination and other entrance tests so as to ensure that they possess the necessary knowledge in the field.

Why should a student choose an online course instead of the traditional campus path?

The factors that influence a student pursuing an online Ph.D., in psychology are;

• That the online study is less expensive. Studying online will reduce various costs, such as lab fees, parking and other fees that traditional on-campus students must pay.
• That an online doctorate course allows them to study at their own pace. Typically, a Ph.D., program can be completed anywhere within 3 to 10 years.
• Although obtaining a Ph.D., online means that a student will have the convenience of attending classes at home, they may not have the physical interaction that a traditional campus classroom brings.
• That they are more convenient for working people as they tend to learn better in an online setting than in a purely traditional classroom setting. Furthermore, online graduate students are at an advanced age, which means that they have a family to look after, in addition to full-time work commitments. The opportunity to take online classes from home, not only saves their career, but also provides them with more flexibility in their personal life.
• That the analyses of 2009 Doctorate Employment Survey data from the American Psychological Association’s (APA) Center for Workforce Studies (Michalski, Kohout, Wicherski, & Hart, 2011) found that 72% of responding psychologists who earned their doctorates in 2008–2009 secured their first choice when looking for a job. In addition, at least 73% of the respondents were employed within 3 months of receiving the doctorate. As might be expected, the highest paid and greatest range of jobs in psychology are available to those with doctorates in psychology. (ref : [2])
• That students who thrive in a live instruction and interaction, may find the virtual classroom a bit too informal. It is also essential that online Ph.D., students be in touch with their research labs and classrooms while taking the online course. Without such an apprenticeship program, an online option would make little sense. Students who plan to take a Ph.D., course soon after their Bachelors or Masters are advised go in for the traditional campus Ph.D., course, as they would likely receive funding or research assistantship. Despite the success of online degree programs, there is a section of employers who feel that online training does may not impart the knowledge and training as a traditional class does. It is also highly unlikely that an online Ph.D., course would guarantee a job unless the college that provides the online course is reputed and is well recognized.

Whichever path one chooses, the online Ph.D., in Psychology degree will require intensive research and a commitment to the field of study.

Works cited:

[1] American Psychological Association: Graduate Study Online

[2] American Psychological Association:
Frequently Asked Questions About Graduate School:
Which is the "best" program in psychology? (Page 2)

[3] American Psychological Association: Careers in Psychology: Doctoral Graduates (Page 3)

[4] United States Department of Labor; Bureau of Labor Statistics: Psychologists
Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition

list of search queries :


Monday, March 26, 2012

Is Art there for real or is it all hype?

Great art does not require hype to thrive.

It is the new artists who are served by such hype. What art requires is a concentrated critical culture. The more noise that art makes, the less it matters.

Artists must first have a vision and with it a plan on how to create that vision on a medium without compromising quality. If the artist can do that and produce that as their own work, then that can be classified as art. Of course, there is no compulsion that somebody must like it, let alone buy it. They also don’t need any brand value or a reputation so as to give that art its value.

In short, it is just what it is. Actually, art is something that re-creates the soul and the inherent connection with the viewer.

It is the critics and the artists themselves who are responsible for the current hype associated with art. However, to be fair, a large part of this problem is because of the critics who consider themselves as the final say in any form of art. It is these self classified pontificators, who classify a rudimentary finished product into a masterpiece, thus giving the product a brand equity far more than it deserves. It is here where the marketing hype creeps in.

Personally I reckon that if you intend to create art or recreate something, then it is better that you recreate it from a totally different perspective where you are able to express yourself, irrespective of the medium or the channel of expression.

In such a scenario, whatever you create is art.

Art and music sell ainly because somebody or someone has an opinion about and which is influenced by passion and emotion, not because it has any inherent value.

To exemplify this a little further, most of Pablo Picasso's oil paintings are purely oil on canvas and would likely be considered junk for someone who doesn't know or appreciates art and sees only the material point of view. However if a media hype is created around a painting, then it is certain that its value and its sales will shoot up.
In other words, the bottom line is that a true artist is someone who enjoys his work and not someone who does it for any other reason.

Hence, there is a very small line between what is classified as art and what can be classified as hype. The market is actually art minus all other aspects. The so called aspects that comes with art is what that can be classified as hype.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Shortage of drivers looms for the American trucking industry

Truck transportation is the most widely used method of hauling freight within the United States.

According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, the U.S. transportation network hauled more than 13 billion tons of goods worth nearly $12 trillion in 2007. Trucks transported almost 9 billion tons of freight valued at more than $8 trillion for that same period. [Transportation Statistics Annual Report ][1]

Shortages of truck drivers are delaying some deliveries of products and raw materials across the USA and raising freight costs. The crunch is defying a tepid recovery and near-10% jobless rate that should supply a vast pool of unemployed construction and manufacturing workers. Experts say that the shortages are likely to worsen when the economy heats up and new rules kick in later this year that will make it tougher to hire truck drivers with poor safety records and could limit the number of hours drivers can work.

For the many unemployed truck drivers across the US, it may be surprising to learn that there is currently a nationwide shortage of qualified and experienced truck drivers. According to [USA Today][2] “Shortages of trucks and drivers are delaying some deliveries of products and raw materials across the USA and raising freight costs.” In the context of an almost 10% general unemployment rate in the U.S., such a shortage seems unlikely and out of step with the experience of the wider economy. The USA Today report uses examples from companies such as Con-Way truckload freight company, who had to offer $10,000 bonuses to entice the 70 new drivers they required this summer. [USA Today][2]

According to the [U.S. Truck Driver Shortage: Analysis and Forecast][3], done a few years ago (2004 to be specific), “the truck transportation industry in the U.S. is experiencing a national shortage of truck drivers that has become a limiting factor in the operations of many companies. This study takes a systematic look at the long-term structural problem of the availability of truck drivers relative to the future requirements for drivers that will be created by retirements of an aging driver workforce and by economic growth”. The principal findings of the analysis of the potential future supply of long-haul heavy duty truck drivers were:

• Although that there have been some positive developments in demographic trends affecting the growth of the truck driver workforce over the past ten years (1994 to 2004), the demographic trends will turn against the industry over the next 10 years. The size of the white male population of ages 35-54 – a demographic group that currently provides over half of all truck drivers – will decline by over 3 million persons between 2004 and 2014.

• A major problem for the trucking industry and the U.S. economy as a whole is that the annual rate of growth of the overall labor force will slow sharply, from 1.4% currently to only 0.5% by 2012.

• If the trucking industry is to attract the higher share of workers that it needs to achieve the growth projected over the next 10 years, earnings in the industry must, at a minimum, return to the relative position that prevailed during the 1990s. [U.S. Truck Driver Shortage: Analysis and Forecast][3].

According to Office of Publications & Special Studies [4], the employment in trucking generally follows the larger business cycle. Consequently when the demand for goods is stifled, the call for freight services is likewise sluggish.

A dramatic slowdown in consumer demand has been crippling the Nation's trucking firms, making job losses during the current recession worse than at any time since the series began in 1990. (Below Chart - Chart # 1)

According to a Bloomberg Report [5], U.S. trucking companies may face a 30 percent surge in wage bills by 2014 as rising demand for freight shipments threatens to push the industry’s driver shortage to the longest on record. The current shortfall will double in a year to about 300,000 full-time positions, or 10 percent of the workforce, said Noel Perry, managing director at consultant FTR Associates in Nashville, Indiana. A three-year deficiency would top the 300,000 vacancies lasting for about a year in 2004, he said. [5]

Increase in Spending

Saia Inc. (SAIA) said this month it would increase wages by 2.5 percent for drivers and many other employees. The added cost will be $10 million, according to the Johns Creek, Georgia-based company. That is about 1.1 percent of 2010 operating expenses. At Con-way’s truckload unit, some routes are being limited to only four to five states so drivers can be home once a week. A new “lifestyle” program allows drivers to alternate between two weeks of driving and time off.

Possible Solutions

What amazes me is that the cost to ship freight is higher not because of anything else, but in most cases it is the simple demand and supply rule. In other words, if a customer wants to move their freight to an area that does not have any other freight identified, they obviously raise the cost of shipping. Obviously, the trucking industry does not function like a taxi stand, as the overheads are very high. It includes fuel, driver wages, logbook time, and the time taken to transport a load and more. It is just that the operating costs are far more expensive. This is particular evident for independent owners and operators. They are the ones who have to worry about getting decent freight costs, cost of repairs, fuel costs, high insurance costs, taxes among other overheads. They work close to 10 hours a day and virtually live in a truck. It just is not a nine-to-five job as it is completely a different lifestyle.

Most of the independent operators are not surprised about the low pay rates. Besides, as the job gets more dangerous day by day, it's not surprising that they are not getting drivers to work under the salary/ pay that is being offered. How many would be prepared to be gone from their home for over four to six weeks on a stretch and living and sleeping in areas where they have no idea about. Besides, how can they manage to lead a happy family life.Given the current conditions, to become a trucker they must be prepared to sacrifice. Therefore, it is not shocking that the freight industry is faced with a shortage of drivers and it is fast losing even more.

Given the above reasons, the primary reasons that people still accept a driver’s job is money and thanks to the recession, it is the only commodity, which is in short supply. Perhaps with increase in pay and better terms, America can reverse this situation in a couple of years.

References :

[1] - Transportation Statistics Annual Report

[2] - USA Today

[3] - U.S. Truck Driver Shortage: Analysis and Forecast

[4] - Office of Publications & Special Studies

[5] - Bloomberg Report

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Web Vandalism and its threat on global IT security

Web vandalism is becoming rampant thus highlighting the poor state of global IT Security.

Recently, the owner of a popular site says that his site has had over 400 separate attacks per day and to over 1000 per day during weekends. This is a worrying trend and IT Security Managers should make note of this, mainly because if crackers (also known as malicious hackers) get access to a web server, there is all the likelihood of them controlling the entire network.

It is also known that the pentagon has spent over 100 million dollars in a period of 6 months, just to counter web vandalism and cyber attacks on their multiple systems.

In the last few years, there has been the gradual rise of a new wave of hackers (otherwise known as crackers) who have been attracted to the underground movement and its politics, which are indications that more defacements and web server attacks would be forthcoming. Some of these “crackers” have very little or no knowledge of computer programming and are popularly known as neophytes or script kiddies or n00bs. Their objective is to cross viruses with vandalism and create a simple easy to use self duplicating website defacement tool.

They thrive on posting obscene and nude images on popular websites or sending their girlfriends notes through federal government website pages. In short, they want to get noticed and the easiest way to do it is through web vandalism. The more expert crackers have gone a step further by developing a virus type program to automatically spread defacements across the net. Hence, it is certain that we would be seeing more technologically advanced worms that could be devastating in terms of web vandalism the future.

However, the script kiddies are usually malicious teenagers with very little skill in programming whose sole objective is to disrupt net traffic. They do this by setting their customized worms on the loose thereby affecting a whole lot of web servers with their personal messages and spreading defacements. Some of the script kiddie messages go like this - "Hi, ma name is Yuri and I am from Russia. I have 10 years and i want ot bo a hacker, because i vey like it much and i need someone to tch me. Some of them could be politically oriented as they like to break into government sites and leave their calling card which could be a tirade against that government.

Recently a group calling themselves PHC broke into the Indian Government’s nuclear plant network site and supposedly stole plans for India’s atomic energy consumption rates for the next couple of years. They then claimed that they passed this information on to the Al Qaeda Alliance which it is believed has since been officially disbanded. The group consisted of a group of hackers, many of whom who were pro-Palestinian and pro-Al Qaeda.

Some time defacements could be a little more than web vandalism with hard messages or the crackers political agenda. Sometime in the past the RIAA, otherwise known as the Recording Industry Association of America was the attack of a high profile defacement, which also drew a lot of public attention.

The new tool in the script kiddie bag to hit Linux based servers recently is a variation of the Ramen worm. The worm tapped in to holes in the Red Hat Linux 6.2 and 7.0 operating systems and replaced website pages displaying a message stating hackers love noodles. This worm has gone ahead and hit a lot of sites, some of them which included websites run by the NASA and Texas A&M. According to global research firms, Red Hat is a free operating system and is widely recognized as the most popular variant of Linux and is used on 30 percent of the world’s public servers.

It is said that Ramen identifies the three known weaknesses in a server, which is in the printer software, file sharing package and the other in the FTP file server. Although Ramen comes forth as a piece of sophisticated software that clubs together several existing cracking tools, it is now freely available for any amateur vandal to change the graphics and the hackers love noodles text to his own message.

Generally, vandals who intend to deface sites, do not use their own machines, but instead use a zombie computer or try and locate vulnerable computers to do so. However, as the Ramen worm is self duplicating, and the infected machine searches for another machine to vandalize and then closes the hole once it does so. This makes the web vandals very difficult to trace, and enforcement agencies would have to depend on script kiddies who brag about their skills in chat rooms.

Although Ramen is known to affect only Linux systems, virus writers would love to distribute their ware in consumer windows systems as well. This would mean system security managers must keep their security systems up to date or they could face a similar problem that Yahoo and Facebook faced sometime last year, where the automatic tools where used for denial of service attacks.

Bottom line is that the IT Security Managers need to wake up on the threat of web vandalism and find out first hand how much of a problem, it really is.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Syracuse China

Brief History and Description

William H. Farrar, set up Syracuse China in 1841. It was initially known as Farrar Pottery and its warehouses were located in West Syracuse, New York. Its main line of business was the manufacturing of salt-glazed stoneware. Farrar Pottery changed its name to Empire Crockery Manufacturing Company in 1868 and later to Onondaga Pottery Company in 1871. In June 1966, it was further renamed to Syracuse China Corporation. Today, Libbey Inc., owns the Syracuse China Corporation, whose shares they purchased in 1995. These changes really did not affect the product as it carried the Syracuse China logo from 1895.

Farrar Pottery's initial product line-up were reproductions of Englishware. The Onondaga Pottery Company’s main product line was vitrified china, which was in great demand with restaurants, hotels, and railroad dining cars. They rapidly expanded their wares to include consumer chinaware and white earthenware for table and toilet use. Their product line up also included a variety of ceramic wares that consisted of storage containers, serving vessels, bedpans, planters, and table accessories.

Pass and Salisbury were the two Syracuse families that owned the company since 1871. After four generations, the 138 year old factory finally shut down its U.S operations in 2009 due to tough competition from low cost Asian manufacturers. Libbey Inc., however, continues to sell Syracuse China dinnerware, by importing these products from factories based in Asian countries and marketing them under the Syracuse China brand name.

Guide for Collectors

The number of collectors and enthusiasts of Syracuse china have increased over the last few years, mainly because the scarcity of the product has increased its value. The Onondaga Historical Association has a huge collection of Syracuse China. The society has catalogued over 30,000 pieces of collectibles that are displayed at the museum. The display includes a wide variety of pieces and is an important source for a collector of Syracuse China.

Notable Auction Sales

A set of thirteen navy blue presidential dinner plates manufactured by Syracuse China and used by President Kennedy on 18th November, 1963 was auctioned off for $6,000 at Bonham’s, New York on 16th November, 2011. These plates were used in JFK's last official dinner with the Inter American Press Association at the Americana Hotel in Bal Harbour, Miami Beach. This was just before his fatal Texas trip later that week.

A 20th century Syracuse China part dinner service was auctioned off for $720 at Christie's, New York on 1st March 2005.

A Syracuse China plate from the 1st class service on board the S.S. Leviathan was auctioned off at the Ocean Liner Furnishings and Art Sale for $660 at Christie's, New York on 23rd June 2005.

A Syracuse China Porcelain Bowl was auctioned off at the 20th Century Decorative Arts, Crafts & Architectural Designs Sale for $483 at Christie's, New York on 13th June 1994.

A Syracuse Old Ivory China tableware was auctioned off at the SoMa Estate Auction for $390 at Bonham’s, San Francisco on 19th August, 2007.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Tips To Sell Your Car

One of the many reasons that you would want to sell your car is to probably get its newer model. However, most of you may be clueless in going about it and would often find yourself asking the question "What is the best way to sell my car?".

You can sell your car using some of the tips mentioned below.

Always ensure that your car is in good condition. Should your car be in bad shape, you would often find buyers highlighting the things that are in bad shape and would obviously ask for a lower price. To avoid this, always keep your car in good shape.

When advertising in newspaper classifieds, do not limit yourself to the "I want to sell my Car" page or location. You may put a heading "I want to sell my Audi" or "I want to sell my car" and post it on several popular websites or magazines where it may get sufficient exposure. You could also pass it through the word of mouth and tell your colleagues about it.

Next is pricing. You can value your Audi and then do a small market research on the web to get the best estimate. This is because overpricing or under-pricing your car is one the biggest evils while selling your car.

You could also put a “for sale" on the hood of your car and park it in a busy street corner where it gets lots of exposure.

You may be aware that the value of your car largely depends on the market and its demand could vary according to location. You must also understand that most people buy cars based on emotion and hence buying prices will vary from person to person.

Before you decide to sell your car, do your homework and find out it's exact worth. If your vehicle has any extras, it could get a better valuation.

If your car has a good mileage you can definitely expect a higher price given the current fuel costs.

Should your odometer display lower readings, it will definitely boost your car’s resale value. Furthermore if the vehicle is still covered by the vehicle manufacturer’s warranty, it will give a whole new aspect to the trade-in, as the warranty can be transferred to the new owner.

If your vehicle does not have add-on features such as power windows, ABS braking system, sun-roof, alloy wheels, air-conditioning, then it is likely that your car could get a rather low valuation.

Colour also lends an aspect to the value, as cars with colours such as coral pink don’t have many buyers. The popular colours are still black, white and silver.

Lastly, extreme modifications to the body of the car could also be a negative factor.

Ultimately, the most important aspect is the model, the year it was made, its popularity and ofcourse its condition of the car.

Like any other financial transaction, it is of paramount importance to weigh the pros and cons prior to selling your car.

Monday, January 2, 2012

What Is NFC And When Will It Take Off

Although people may still be doubtful about NFC and the risks associated with it, NFC technology is already a hit in Japan, where over 47 million residents adopted the tap-and-go mobile payment technology within three years, according to an IDTechEx, Dec 2010 report. It is already available in most Japanese shops, taxis, vending machines, metro / train tickets, and even on domestic flights. The fact that Japan has a comparatively low theft rate may be one of the reasons why NFC payment schemes have taken off there. According to the report, NFC has become one of the fastest electronic device product rollouts ever. The report also estimates about 800 million Chinese acquiring contactless national ID cards by 2014. [Source - IDTechEx, Dec 2010 report ]

You will have to care about NFC technology simply because “if you’re in any face-to-face environment, like retail, or services, you’re going to see a gradual trend towards people paying by tapping their phones,” says Todd Ablowitz, a mobile-payment consultant and president of Double Diamond Group in Centennial, Colorado. Besides, “major credit-card companies have already ensured NFC technology will be backward compatible with contactless card systems currently in the market.”

"The number of NFC-enabled mobile handset shipments is projected to increase from 40 million in 2011 to over 700 million in 2016," says Don Tait, an analyst from IMS Research.

In 2008, Nokia (NOK) revealed one of the first NFC integrated mobile phone (Nokia 6212), but the market in 2008 was just not ready to accept that kind of technology. In fact, Nokia also has the Nokia 360 Play (a NFC compatible Speaker) that plays multimedia files. All it needs it a gentle tap and it is time to rock and roll.

However, things have changed now. One cannot hide the fact that NFC technology is round the corner and the public should start caring about it by the end of 2012. Within 2016, we could see it being actually adopted by most services in the U.S, thereby relegating credit cards to history. Basically, NFC is old technology that has been waiting for the right moment to become a major part of our lives. Apple and Google are simply looking for a way to cash in on the wave of conversions before that time comes. Qualcomm is already preparing its critical move from credit cards to NFC devices with a PayPal type sign-up and cash dispersal. However, the biggest bottleneck is the costs involved in upgrading the entire credit card network. It is hoped that the current Citibank Blink RFID (Radio Frequency Identification tag) payment system will support future NFC standards.

It is unlikely that NFC technology will take off by 2012. However, many mobile phones that carry the NFC-technology that ought to be launched. A definitive list of NFC phones that are being launched and that are proposed to be launched in 2012 can be found at [ ]

What are the possible pitfalls in the NFC technology?

NFC excels in the two pitfalls that likely kills a new technology - lack of consumer demand, and a poor business rationale. It is unlikely that a consumer will buy a mobile phone just because it has NFC. They would probably buy it for its camera resolution, or for its looks or because it has a pink or violet exterior. Even if NFC is inbuilt in to the mobile phones that people are buying, you cannot expect most of them to use it. There will however be a few techno-geeks, journalists, and mostly fraudsters who would likely use it. The criminals and fraudsters are likely to jump on it if there is a slightest sign of a security loophole. Hence, NFC needs to be extensively tested and monitored prior to a full-scale launch.

Although it may appear a bit gimmicky initially, the consumer needs to be educated so as to understand more. As it will standardize payments and personal information into one single entity, I just am not sure how that will help people to safeguard their stuff, among all its other advantages. If someone wants to steal your stuff, getting your phone seems to be the ultimate key to ownership of everything you have. Your credit cards details, your information, entrance into your hotel room, house and eventually steal your belongings. To top it all, if you by chance happen to drop your NFC mobile phone and break it, you are likely to be homeless until someone can recreate all your accounts.

Why is that the Near Field Communication technology so important?

NFC or Near Field Communication is old technology that has been waiting for the right moment to become a major part of our lives.

·         A mobile phone with NFC technology can not only read credit cards, but can also provide a serial number, like an UPC or barcode. This will convert your mobile phone to a contactless credit card and enable you to sell to anyone with a contactless credit card. In simpler terms, a NFC device cannot only dispense money but can also make buy items.
·         NFC supported mobile phones just need to touch each other so as to exchange reader-to-reader information over the Near Field Communication interface. That is to say, a NFC device can eventually replace your wallet that contains digital money. However, it would take some time before this happens, as market standards needs to be developed, and NFC devices must be freely available before any innovation takes place.
·         It is the banking industry that would greatly profit from the NFC technology. Banks would rather opt for internet banking or ATMs as these facilities reduce banking overhead costs considerably. Banks would love if you use your mobile phone to withdraw money from your bank account and move it into your NFC-mobile wallet. Therefore, it is natural that Banks would want NFC, as it would reduce their costs massively.

What is the future of NFC?

The future for NFC technology is certainly bright! This has been further fuelled by some optimistic-sounding predictions by analysts;
·         Global NFC m-payment transactions will be almost US $50 billion worldwide by 2014 (Juniper Research, June 2011).
·         Almost 300 million or 1 in 5 or smartphones worldwide will be NFC-enabled by 2014 (Juniper Research, April 2011).
·         NFC will be 32.8 percent of global m-payments transactions – estimated at US $1.13 trillion – in 2014. Volume shipments of NFC phones are expected in Western Europe and North America in 2011 ( IE Market Research, July 2010).
·         There will be 169 million users of mobile contactless payment in China in 2013. Total number of m-payment users will be 410 million, making China the largest m-payments market in the world (Celent, Nov 2010).
·         NFC Chip Makers predict there will be at least 40-50 million NFC mobile phones on the market by 2011, based on orders for NFC chip sets (NFC Times, Oct, 2010).


Much as we are aware of NFC, it must be remembered that credit cards took nearly 30 years to take off. Hence, a new technology like NFC needs about five to seven years to establish itself. SMS was launched by Orange sometime 1994, but it took nearly four years before it really took off. Likewise, mobile email, Bluetooth and others hung around for a few years before the public accepted it. It may not be the technology that is keeping people off the NFC technology, but it seems to be the fear of compromising all their personal information and the likelihood of theft.

As of now, except for Japan, NFC is still an uncertain business technology. Perhaps with over a period of time, say over five to seven years, NFC might turn out good someday, but not until they find a better way to secure the data and make it convenient to use.

 Ref. Sources: