Monthly Archives: September 2014

Snowden honoured with ‘alternative Nobel’


Edward Snowden has been selected among the winners of the Right Livelihood Award, also known as the “alternative Nobel,” for his disclosures of top secret surveillance programs.

The award foundation today said the former National Security Agency contractor splits the honorary portion of the prize with Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger.

The 1.5 million kronor (USD 210,000) cash award is shared by Pakistani human rights activist Asma Jahangir, Basil Fernando of the Asian Human Rights Commission and US environmentalist Bill McKibben.

Award foundation director Ole von Uexkull said all winners were invited to the December 1 award ceremony in Stockholm, though he added it’s unclear whether Snowden, who remains exiled in Russia, can attend.

The awards were established to recognise efforts the foundation felt were being ignored by the Nobel Prizes.


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Facebook not going to charge users any fee: Reports


NEW YORK: An article on the satirical website National Report, which stated that the social networking site is going to charge its users $2.99 per month starting Nov 1 is fictional, media reports said.

“At a press conference, Facebook rolled out their new monthly service plan which begins November 1st of this year. The social media giant says they will start charging members $2.99/mo to use the services that the site has to offer,” the article read.

The article also used “made up” quotes from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Epoch Times reported.

“After thinking long and hard about this decision, at the end of the day we were forced to add this monthly fee. If we don’t do something about our rising costs now, Facebook could cease to exist in the near future,” the website quoted Zuckerberg as saying.

Later, the fake piece of information led people throng social media platforms expressing outrage over the article.

Recently, the social networking website announced that they would add a ‘satire’ tag with their news feed for articles from parody news outlets like The Onion.

“This is because we received feedback that people wanted a clearer way to distinguish satirical articles from others,” a Facebook spokesperson told Ars Technica website.


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Twitter exchanges between ISRO, NASA on Mars mission

Bangalore: ISRO reached out to lakhs of social media users by giving a blow by blow account of the successful historic Mars Orbit Insertion today, even as it launched the MOM’s official Twitter handle, @MarsOrbiter.

Twitter exchanges between US Space agency NASA and ISRO on the Mars mission also formed a major highlight.

NASA whose MAVEN mission reached the Martian orbit only two days ago, congratulated the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on its historic feat.

“@NASA: We congratulate @ISRO for its Mars arrival! @MarsOrbiter joins the missions studying the Red Planet. #JourneyToMars,” NASA tweeted.

MAVEN team has also separately congratulated ISRO, as India scripted history becoming the first country to succeed in reaching the red planet in the maiden attempt.

It said- “#MAVEN team congratulates @ISRO for its #Mars arrival! @MarsOrbiter joins the missions studying the Red Planet. “Thank you MAVEN team!,” ISRO tweeted its acknowledgment of the message.

ISRO also launched the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM)’s official Twitter handle, @MarsOrbiter.

“What is red, is a planet and is the focus of my orbit?” tweeted the official handle of ISRO’s Mars Orbiter. “I’ll be back after breakfast. Good ol’ sunlight. It’s good for your battery,” read the handle’s second tweet.


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Happy Indians take to Facebook, Twitter to hail ISRO


New Delhi: Indians were elated for becoming the first country in the world to enter the Martian orbit in its maiden attempt Wednesday, and many took to Facebook and Twitter saying “mission accomplished”.

Happy and proud Indians, including many living abroad, took to the social networking sites to express their happiness and share the moment of pride.

#Mangalyaan #MissionMars #proudindian were some of the top trending topics on Twitter and Facebook since Wednesday morning.

Praising the scientists of the state-run Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), Sonal Kalra wrote on her Facebook wall: “Nothing compares to the proud feeling of seeing the genuine smiles on the faces of Indian scientists.”

“Congratulations to all the scientists and engineers of ISRO on successfully inserting the Orbiter into Martian orbit, that too in the first attempt!” wrote Ravi Prakash on his wall.

Gauraw Patil was more impressed by the cost-effectiveness of the project.

“Mission accomplished. After world’s cheapest $2,500 car, $30 tablet, now comes mission to Mars at just $74 million. ISRO has achieved truly a remarkable feat that no one ever dreamed could be possible,” he tweeted.

“Congrats ISRO-a proud day for India!! The first country to enter Mars’ orbit on maiden mission,” said Richa Gangopadhyay.

Indians living abroad were all praise for the national broadcaster Doordarshan’s live coverage of the event.

Suyash Chopra, a resident of the US, tweeted: “Excellent coverage. You have been always BEST. Hats off to you guys. I watched Mars Mission LIVE from USA, courtesy DD (Doordarshan).”

“Thanks for bringing live coverage of MOM mission. Your detailed coverage was excellent. We watched from Riyadh, SA (Saudi Arabia),” tweeted Crusader Cat alias Nayak.

India’s Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) sped over 650 million km through deep space for over nine months to reach the Red Planet’s orbit, making India join the elite club of the US, Europe and Russia, which reached Mars after initial failures.

The Rs.450-crore ($70 million) ambitious mission was launched Nov 5, 2013, on board a polar rocket from spaceport Sriharikota off Bay of Bengal, about 80 km northeast of Chennai.


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Facebook to introduce new advertising platform: Report


Facebook Inc is set to unveil a new advertising platform to improve effectiveness of online ads, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday citing people with knowledge of the matter.

The product is a redesigned version of Atlas Advertiser Suite, an ad management and measurement platform that Facebook bought from Microsoft Corp last year.

It is expected to help marketers target Facebook users more effectively by measuring which users have seen, interacted or acted upon ads that appear on Facebook’s services and on third-party websites and apps.

The product will also provide a tool for marketers to buy ads to target Facebook users across the Web.

Microsoft took on Atlas with its $6.3 billion acquisition of digital ad agency aQuantive in 2007. Unable to make it work for its own purposes, Microsoft wrote off $6.2 billion of the aQuantive deal’s value in 2012.

The world’s No 1 Internet social network, which lags behind market leader Google Inc in US market for online display ads, did not reveal how much it paid for the technology.

Facebook counts 1.5 million advertising customers and the company’s ad business saw strong growth across all of its geographic regions, Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg told Reuters in July.

Mobile advertising revenue grew 151 per cent year-over-year, accounting for roughly 62 per cent of Facebook’s overall ad revenue in the second quarter.


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2014 may become hottest year on record


New York: The year 2014 is poised to become the warmest year ever measured, suggests new data released by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The combined temperature of June, July and August has been unprecedented in historical records, said the NOAA data, suggesting that Earth’s oceans reached a level last month not seen since humans have been keeping comprehensive weather data, reported.

“Global ocean temperatures in August 2014 warmed to the largest departure from average for any month on record,” according to a NOAA statement.

The previous record was set in June 2014.

“If the next four months rank among the five warmest on record, 2014 will be the warmest on record for the globe,” Jake Crouch of the National Climatic Data Centre was quoted as saying.

“Having an El Nino would increase the chances of 2015 starting out much warmer than average, and approaching record or near record warmth,” Crouch added.


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Soon, technology to help human body heal itself

Washington: U.S president Barack Obama has revealed about Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)’s program that aims to help the human body heal itself.

Doug Weber, DARPA program manager, said that the technology DARPA plans to develop through the Electrical Prescriptions (ElectRx) program could fundamentally change the manner in which doctors diagnose, monitor and treat injury and illness.

Weber added that instead of relying only on medication, they envision a closed-loop system that would work in concept like a tiny, intelligent pacemaker, which would continually assess conditions and provide stimulus patterns tailored to help maintain healthy organ function, helping patients get healthy and stay healthy using their body’s own systems.

Initiated in support of the President’s brain initiative, ElectRx (pronounced “electrics”) aims to develop new, high-precision, minimally invasive technologies for modulating nerve circuits to restore and maintain human health.

ElectRx technologies are also expected to help accelerate scientific research aimed at achieving a more complete understanding of the structure and function of specific neural circuits and their role in health and disease.

Potential targets include recently identified circuits involved in regulating immune system function, providing new hope for treating a range of inflammatory diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, systemic inflammatory response syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease.

ElectRx is also expected to improve peripheral nerve stimulation treatments for brain and mental health disorders, such as epilepsy, traumatic brain injury (TBI), Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and depression.


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5 Steps for Becoming an Indispensable Leader


Indispensable leaders make employees better, they drive revenue and maintain a sense of optimism around the office.

They understand that each day of leading is a challenge and embrace the hurdles they encounter rather than circumvent those obstacles.

These are the individuals who accept full responsibility for the performance of their people. They embrace the fact that the buck stops with them.

Most importantly, indispensable leaders leverage their influence, knowledge and experience in order to make the companies they work for win.

They share an unwillingness to accept defeat. As a result, they figure out what must be done in order to achieve uncanny monetary improvements.

Below, you’ll find a few key implementations that will not only propel you to the next level, but that will also make you invaluable and indispensable to any company.

Remember, the more important an applicant is to their company, the more options they have upon working with recruiters, HR managers or executives upon searching for other jobs.

Personal success without leadership brings only limited effectiveness. Without leadership ability, a person’s impact is only a fraction of what it could be with strong management.

When average leaders depart from an organization, it is an annoyance to that company. HR may have to take significant time and energy to find a replacement, people around the office may have to take on extra responsibility.

Though, it does not hinder the “big picture.” The more difficult you are to replace, the easier it is to negotiate raises, start entrepreneurial ventures within the company and gain the respect of both your subordinates, bosses and clients.

Prior to requesting a promotion, asking for a raise or leveraging another job offer, you have to gauge how crucial you are to the company’s success.

For measurement purposes, there are a few questions that are imperative to answer. Be honest with yourself and, where you fall short make the necessary adjustments to improve your skills, work ethic and sense of character as the greater the consequences for the company, the greater your leverage is in a myriad of areas.

1. Create an unified vision among your subordinates. A team doesn’t win the championship if their players are working from conflicting agendas. Getting everyone on the same page will allow you to become a key part of the company as the organization risks losing clients, employees and moral if you leave.

2. Develop a good relationship with those under you. People want to go along with those whom they get along with. Build trust by being honest and authentic.

3. Become cognizant of market changes. Really strong leaders have a special capacity to anticipate the radically unexpected. Start to become cognizant of the moves made by your competitors and be aware of new entrants and threats to the industry.

Companies live and die by their ability to alter business strategies with changing market conditions. Often, the individual who can do this is worth their weight in gold to the company.

4. Surround yourself with people better and smarter than you are. A good leader has the courage to surround themselves with people better than themselves.

5. Gain a heavy duty resilience. Every leader makes mistakes, every leader stumbles and falls. Indispensable leaders learn from mishaps, regroup and then get going with a renewed speed, conviction and confidence.

Work on improving yourself before you attempt to improve others. Find a job that you are passionate about and an industry you are happy with. Know where your time goes.

Remember, becoming an integral part of a company will not only provide you with a happier, more lucrative career, but it will also foster self-confidence and a sense of well-being.


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iPhone opening weekend sales top 10 million: Apple


Apple said on Monday it sold more than 10 million of its new iPhone models globally in the opening weekend of record sales of the bigger-screen version of its smartphone.

The US tech giant broke its own record for launch weekend sales of nine million a year earlier.


“Sales for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus exceeded our expectations for the launch weekend, and we couldn’t be happier,” said Apple chief executive Tim Cook, adding that “we could have sold many more iPhones with greater supply and we are working hard to fill orders as quickly as possible.”

The new iPhones were launched on Friday in the United States, Britain, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Puerto Rico and Singapore. They will be available in more than 20 additional countries on September 26, and 115 countries by the end of the year.

The global rollout led to long lines outside Tokyo’s flagship Apple store in glitzy Ginza, and in stores from Hong Kong to Paris to New York.

Cook personally kicked off sales of the iPhone 6, joining in “selfies” and shaking hands with customers Friday outside the company’s store in Palo Alto, California, near his Silicon Valley home.

Both new iPhones have larger screens in what some consider Apple catching up with the “phablet” trend pioneered by competitors.

The iPhone 6 has a screen of 4.7 inches and the 6 Plus is 5.5 inches, reflecting a growing preference for bigger displays, despite Apple’s earlier vow to stick with the traditional size.

Main rival Samsung has long had a range of larger handsets, which are popular in Asia, and will soon release a new Galaxy Note 4 phablet.

Apple says more than four million pre-orders were received in the 24 hours after the sale was announced.


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5 Common Strategic Mistakes to Avoid When Using AdWords


Creating successful AdWords campaigns is not only about making things the right way but also avoiding mistakes that might cost your business a lot on the long term. Here are five mistakes you should definitely avoid:

1. Overly broad remarketing campaigns. Remarketing campaigns are a convenient way to target any visitors who did not convert. These campaigns usually have a high conversion rate at a low cost but there is a better way to do it.

Target only those visitors who visited a specified number of pages, spent a certain of time browsing the site and visited a page that might indicate their interest to buy from you. Avoid everyone who bounced off right away. It is not difficult to set up and has proven to be effective for both small and large budgets.

2. Using generic ads for all keywords. Generic advertising messages are neither eye-catching nor differentiating. Test several features or benefits of your products and calls to action to find out what works best.

Be specific with your ads to stand out from the competition. The best way is to structure adgroups by theme and write ads that offer a solution to your customers’ needs.

3. Having an agency open a new account with their email address. A common mistake that both agencies and their customers make is opening a new AdWords account with an agency email address. If the company and the agency part ways, the client risks losing access and the entire history of the account. Not all agencies like this but I do I see customers with that problem every now and then. Either use the company’s existing account or open a new account and then link the agency to it.

4. Underestimating the power of peer pressure. Split testing, or A/B testing as it is sometimes referred to, is quite common among advertisers but few utilize the principles of behavioral economics. While tracking customer behavior has been around for a while, sociology professor Jeni Cross from Colorado State University has brought a new level of awareness and a better understanding of common sense to the general public with her TED Talk on behavior change.

One of her case studies describes that hotel visitors would rather reuse their towel if they thought other people who have stayed in the same room reused their towels versus obeying a sign that politely asks them to reuse it to protect the environment. While caring for the environment seems to be a noble cause, peer pressure wins every time. Utilize that for your ads and landing pages with little changes such as “Join” vs. “Sign Up”, or “63 percent of website visitors who scrolled down to this point also downloaded XYZ”.

5. Failure to align brand, landing page and social media. Too many businesses are underming their campaign by not making the effort to create a consistent brand experience throughout their landing pages, websites and social media pages. Font and colors should be exactly the same across the board. Wording and imagery can sometimes be different if fits the same style. Consistency makes your brand familiar, and more trustworthy, which increases the likelihood of converting.

Starting an AdWords campaign and avoiding common mistakes will jumpstart your campaigns.


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