Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Mobiles to detect fake notes: Courtesy 21 yr old

Bangalore: A 21-year-old engineering student Neha M, has developed a mechanism by which a cellphone can double up as a counterfeit note detector, and for this project, she won the Rs. 1 lakh prize at the Innovation Challenge, organized by Schneider Electric India, where Neha competed with 150 entries from engineering colleges across the country, reports Gayatri Nair of Bangalore Mirror.

Neha, a student of Vidya Vikas Institute of Engineering and Technology in Mysore says, "The increasing number of counterfeit notes in the country prompted me to develop this device. A trained eye can detect a fake note, but not the common man."

Her aim was to empower the common man with a easily available device to help him detect fake notes. That's why she decided to use a mobile phone for her project, which she started off seven months ago.

"I read a number of surveys by the Intelligence Bureau on the circulation of fake notes, features of currency notes, security features, including water markings and magnetic ink," said Neha who is an alumni of Jyoti Nivas College at Koramangala.

The most important tips came from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). "In October, the bank held an exhibition, where officials discussed various features of currency notes and how they are printed," she said. Neha took the opportunity to ask the officials about fake notes. However, she faced a problem when she wasn't allowed to touch fake currency, as it is against the rules. "But, after much persuasion, I got to at least see the notes," she recalls.

She came to know the differences between genuine and fake currency, and used her knowledge to modify her phone to detect fake notes. "The modifications do not disturb any of the normal functions of the cellphone," she says. The only requirement is that the cellphone should have the camera feature. However, she refuses to reveal the specifics.

Now Neha is hoping that some mobile phone company will pick up her invention. "I have done 60 percent of the work. For the rest, which includes installing and design modification, I want a cellphone firm to endorse the software," she says.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Women worse at parking than men: Study

Bangalore: A new scientific study has revealed that women are slower and less accurate in parking the car as compared to men. Female drivers take an average of 20 seconds longer to park their cars but are still less likely to end up in the middle of the bay, the research suggests, according to The Telegraph.

A test was conducted amongst 65 participants where they were asked to park Audi A6 family saloon in a standard-sized parking space. They had to do many maneuvers - including head-on, reverse and parallel parking - were timed and rated for accuracy, which was judged by how far they kept the vehicle from the edges of the bay.

The researchers said that it was expected that women will be slower than men but were surprised to find that the cautious approach did not lead to a tidier final result. Dr. Claudia Wolf from Ruhr University in Bochum, Germany, who led the study, said that the research confirmed previous findings that men have better co-ordination and spatial awareness than women, and take more risks behind the wheel.

"These prejudices exist and as a scientist I decided the find out if they are true or based on myth. I don't think that feminism or the cause of women is in any way set back by these findings. It only proves what previous studies about the spatial differences between men and women have shown. Besides, it is not as if there was a massive failing by women. It is just about parking - not the triumph of men over women," said Wolf to the Mail.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Over 60 percent employees ready to quit job

New Delhi: Even if the going is tough in the market, more than half of the people surveyed are ready to quit job, switch the professions or take break. 62 percent of the respondents were ready to consider quitting; taking a career break or shifting to a firm with flexi-work options in order to handle the family responsibilities better, said a survey.

According to the findings of the survey conducted by Outlook Business and Avtar Career Creators, the high competition at work place, lead employees towards extreme job conditions and they are gradually realising the need for family life. The survey was conducted on 745 private sector employees between November and December 2009, and was done across seven cities - Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Pune across varied sector, including FMCG, IT, ITES, consulting and telecom.

Also, the survey found that as many as 40 respondents felt that internal issues of the company are responsible for unhealthy work life balance and an equal number said they know people who took a break or resigned last year due to their responsibilities at home. There is a crying need for work-life balance measures. Hyper competition has meant all the stops are being pulled out for customer service, which leads to extreme jobs. There is a renewed awareness and interest in personal life, the survey said.

According to the survey, while 38 percent of the respondents blamed the location of the workplace for bad work-life balance, 44 percent believed a balanced life would give them time to study or train further.

"In a society filled with conflicting responsibilities and commitments, work-life balance has become a predominant issue in the workplace," Avtar Career Creators' Founder-President Saundarya Rajesh said.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

How to handle bullies at office

Bangalore: It is being observed that people who are oblivious to the dynamics of their work environment end up being the victims of office politics, reports Economic Times.

"The first thing to do is to become alert. Gauge other peoples' strengths and weaknesses and understand their insecurities because even the toughest group of bullies have their hot buttons," suggests Deepti Baliga, Behavioural Trainer and Psychologist.

If your boss plays favourites or your colleagues belittle you, dazzle them with your knowledge and performance. However, in case things get out of hand, DJ Chakravorty, VP Administration and PR, South City Projects, Kolkata advises, "If you have a problem with your boss, complaining to his/her senior is not a solution. Instead, wait for an appropriate moment to have a heart-to-heart talk with him/her. Explain how you feel and ask if there is something you could do to better yourself." This exercise will even give your boss a chance to voice his/her grievances while appreciating your honesty and willingness to learn.

Office goers need to understand that there are no permanent friends or enemies at workplace. In any specialised industry, people know each other and burning bridges will only spell doom. Baliga said, "You are not at work to make a family, don't get emotional, don't trust anyone completely and set your boundaries from the beginning."

Most 'victims' of office politics choose to quit their job or find other options in hope of finding an ideal workplace; this is a dream. "Such people keep switching jobs and sometimes face self-esteem issues. The important thing is to realise that every workplace has politics and you have to learn to handle it the right way," says Baliga. From a HR perspective, Chakravorty suggests that informal office parties are a good way to sort slight differences over a glass of wine. "It is also important to involve your family. For instance, you may not get along with your boss, but your spouse and his/her partner might," adds he.

In an office environment, everything comes around full circle. Sharmistha Deb, Assistant Manager, HR, says, "It is always important to react only after you get your facts right. Shooting off your mouth in anger even when you think you are right is never advisable."

Friday, December 18, 2009

Firefox, Adobe most vulnerable applications

Bangalore: In the last one year, Firefox is reported as the most vulnerable application, whereas holes in Adobe software have also tripled from a year ago, according to statistics.

Qualys, a vulnerability management provider tallied 102 vulnerabilities that were found in Firefox this year, up from 90 last year. The numbers are based on running totals in the National Vulnerability Database.

Wolfgang Kandek, Chief Technology Officer Wolfgang, Qualys said, "However, the high number of vulnerabilities in Firefox doesn't mean that it has the most bugs; it just means that it has the most reported holes. Because the software is open source, all holes are publicly disclosed, whereas proprietary software makers, like Adobe and Microsoft, typically only publicly disclose holes that were found by researchers outside the company, and not ones discovered internally."

This year, Adobe displaced Microsoft from 2nd spot. The number of vulnerabilities increased to 45 from 14 this year, while those in Microsoft software dropped from 44 to 41, according to Qualys. Internet Explorer, Windows Media Player and Microsoft Office together had 30 vulnerabilities.

"Operating systems have become more stable and harder to attack and that's why attackers are migrating to applications. Adobe is a huge focus for attacks now, around 10 times more than Microsoft Office. However, other widely used targets like Internet Explorer and Firefox are still far from secure," said Kandek.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Love of mother

AN 18-YEAR-OLD young man met with a fire accident. When the fire caught his clothes, he stripped them and threw them away. However, he could not remove the tight underwear, for it stuck close to his legs. By this time fire had spread and destroyed his body to a great extent. With unbearable pain he was admitted in the hospital.

The doctors battled to save his life. Finally they said that he could be saved only if human skin suitable and befitting his could be got. His friends and relatives who were gathered there repeatedly kept looking at each other but none came forward to give their skin. At that time, with her heart thumping heavily his mother entered. She who knew the requirements of the doctor pleaded, “Sir! Please take as much as skin you want from my body. Do not be bothered about me. It is enough if my son lives.” The mother’s skin saved her son’s life.

The love of a mother is indeed special but what does God have to say?

"Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

"Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes, that way when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes." -- Jack Handey

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Good looking employees work less?

Saturday,12 December 2009

New Delhi: There might be one answer, but believe it at your own risk - after all, it's only skin deep. According to a survey by research firm Synovate on beauty, 55 percent people in India and Brazil believe that good looking people can get away with less work. Delhi Times spoke to a few Delhiites to find out if they were part of the 55 percent, and came up with some heartburn, and some stubborn belief in merit. Which of the two do you feel?

The people who said yes, the lookers actually did get home earlier and get to have a life, blamed only themselves for it. "See, it's not about how much work good looking people do or don't do, but what other people do for them. Yes, the levels of acceptability are lowered for people who look pleasing," admits Theatreperson Aamir Raza Hussain. "I mean, if I had a pretty secretary who made a thousand spelling mistakes per page, I'd be more likely to explain things to her gently. If she were short, fat and ugly, however" and he leaves the workday from hell to the imagination.

Ad Executive and Musician Surojit Dev is not quite so introspective. "Obviously they do. Especially in a service industry, you do use your beauty and charm to get out of work. Even if the biologically blessed don't actively use their charm, they know that it's a weapon they have at their disposal. Typically, the office charmer, for instance, would not hang around with colleagues at the office, but would go out with them. 'Oh, let's discuss this over lunch', or 'Oh! Let's go out for a drink.' It'll be five minutes of work-related conversation and 30 minutes of chatting," he says. There are those, however, who provide unusual insights into the issue. Ranjita Chaney, a 28-year-old art curator, says there might be a slight advantage, not because of looks, but gender.

"I would say it's easier for a woman to get work done," Ranjita says. "Even if I'm pulled over by the police on the road, say, I'd get away with much more lenient treatment than a guy. In general, the fact that women are considered the weaker sex works in their favor. It tends to happen that way, not that you intend to use your gender to get away easily. And of course, if you dress decently, that matters. If I dress like a punk, I won't be perceived as a serious curator. But beauty is not an issue. In fact, women are more competitive," she adds.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

HR - 'Human Resource' or 'Harassing Resource'?

Bangalore: Some call it 'Hardly Required', while others prefer 'Harassing Resource'. What are we talking about? HR = once known as 'Human Resources'. With changing times, the Human got lost somewhere and the Resources are no more accessible. We've all had our rather unpleasant experiences (99% of the time) with this species that every company hires to bring some method to madness.

We've all waited with baited breath for that one call or one email. But they just don't bother to convey the response - especially if it's negative. Here's a lowdown by iDiva on some common excuses, statements, reasons whatever - used by HR professionals, and what they really mean so you are not left hoping and anticipating for that response for days and even months sometimes.

1. We'll get back to you / We'll call you for the next round
This is that one thing, which is inscribed on each and every HR textbook in college, we are sure. And we are also sure there are special classes on voice modulation and acting, when it comes to saying it. Each one of them practised repeating this one line again and again, even in their dreams. And every successful HR professional has scored a 100/100 on this one.

What it means: You hear this, and it's all over for you. They just forgot to add that 'never' before the 'get back to you'. Never ever even in your most optimistic dreams, expect a positive... sorry... any response from this person ever in your life.

Piece of advice: Move on. There are better pastures to be captured.

2. We are waiting for the top management's decision / The decision maker is not in town
Wow! What a way to shoo away a candidate.

What it means: It means there is no top management. And if there is, they don't even know you exist. This HR professional wanted to break the cliche (refer statement no 1), and came up with this one.

Piece of advice: Google the company's CEO/VP/Director's email id, and send an email to this HR person, putting all the biggies on cc. You might just get someone fired. Revenge was never this sweet.

3. The position is on hold
This one's a classic rage this season. Its origin lies in recession, and this one statement has been ruling the recruitment industry for the last couple of years. You usually get to hear this one after 10 calls to the HR department.

What it means: Forget that you even went to this company for an interview. Put on hold all the dreams you ever had to join them.

Piece of advice: Please move on. It's the classic 'The End' with a different sound.

We are sure there are a lot more innovative words of wisdom some of you would have been subjected to. Leave a comment and share yours with us. Help our readers overcome their professional illusions and move on to a fresh interview with a smile.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

No engineer in India good enough for Infy Engg prize? Wednesday,02 December 2009

New Delhi: You thought India produces one of the best engineers across the globe? Not really. Indian IT giant Infosys Technologies has reportedly failed to find a worthy candidate for its Infosys Engineering Science Prize 2009.

The company has decided not to give the prize in that category to anyone this year. Infosys' Chief Operating Officer (COO), SD Shibulal, told that there were 34 nominees for the engineering and computer science prize but even after relaxing the age limit to 55 years, the jury could not find anyone who met all the criteria of the Infosys Prize. So, the jury has taken unanimous decision to not award the prize for the engineering sciences discipline this year.

Infosys Science Foundation is a not-for-profit trust set up by Infosys Technologies. The company has named three scientists and two academic experts as winners of Infosys Prize 2009 for outstanding contributions to scientific research.

The winner in physical sciences is Thanu Padmanabhan of Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophyics, Pune, in recognition of his contribution to a deeper understanding of Einstein's theory of gravity in the context of thermodynamics. For mathematical sciences, Ashoke Sen of Harish Chandra Research Institute at Allahabad was given the prize in recognition of his contributions to mathematical physics. For life sciences, K VijayRaghavan of National Centre of Biological Sciences in Bangalore got the award.

The winner in the social sciences and economics category is Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee of Massachusetts Institute of Technology for his contributions to the economic theory of development. Upinder Singh of the University of Delhi won an award for her contributions as an outstanding historian of ancient and early medieval India.