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FB warns employers: Don't ask for passwords

Sunday, March 25, 2012


Facebook and lawmakers have warned their employers against requesting Facebook passwords while screening job applicants, a controversial practice that underscores the blurring distinction between personal and professional lives the era of social media. The practice has reportedly grown more commonplace as companies increasingly regard profiles - or embarrassing photos from wild nights out - as windows into a prospective employee's character. On Friday, Facebook Inc's Chief Privacy Officer, Erin Egan, posted a note warning that the social networking company could "initiate legal action" against employers that demand Facebook passwords. Also, lawmakers in several states and in Washington said they would introduce bills to prohibit companies from vetting employees by demanding access to private accounts. Leland Yee, a California state senator, told Reuters on Friday he introduced legislation that would prohibit companies in the state from soliciting Facebook passwords from job applicants. The Associated Press reported that lawmakers in Illinois and Maryland were also considering similar moves. "Employers can't ask in the course of an interview your sexual orientation, your age, and yet social media accounts may have that information," Yee said. "Employers have legitimate questions about a person's job performance, but they can get that information the regular way, without cutting corners and violating people's privacy." Egan said in a post on Facebook's website published on Friday that the social networking company has seen in recent months "a distressing increase in reports of employers or others seeking to gain inappropriate access to people's Facebook profiles. "We don't think employers should be asking prospective employees to provide their passwords because we don't think it's the right thing to do. "But it also may cause problems for the employers that they are not anticipating. For example, if an employer sees on Facebook that someone is a member of a protected group (e.g. over a certain age, etc.) that employer may open themselves up to claims of discrimination if they don't hire that person." 

OPEN UP YOUR MAIL The issue bubbled up this week after the Associated Press reported that employers are increasingly asking to look at content job applicants have uploaded to their digital accounts, regardless of whether that content is shared or not. In the case of the Maryland Department of Corrections, job applicants were asked to browse through their own Facebook accounts with an interviewer present, the AP reported. The ACLU, which previously criticized the Maryland state government's online vetting, called the practice "an invasion of privacy" in a statement this week. "You'd be appalled if your employer insisted on opening up your postal mail to see if there was anything of interest inside," said ACLU attorney Catherine Crump. "It's equally out of bounds for an employer to go on a fishing expedition through a person's private social media account." Facebook's outspoken stance on the issue cast it in an unfamiliar but welcome role. Hundreds of users cheered Egan, applauding a company that has been repeatedly criticized for bungling privacy issues over the years, especially when changing privacy settings without duly notifying users. By Friday afternoon, close to a thousand users had "Liked" Egan's post and many users left positive comments. Yet there were still a few cynics. "FB you're talking out of both sides of your mouth," wrote Facebook user Ron Carrubba. "Now how about fixing your other privacy issues in the application itself?"
 
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CB Series: India won the match against SriLanka with a bonus point

Tuesday, February 28, 2012



India have won the match against SriLanka with the bonus point that is required for this crucial match. India retain all its pride on the tour. They have made a fastest chase ever of 321 runs in just 36.4 overs. Virat Kohli is the man of the match with 133 in 86 balls with a strike rate of 154.65
Virat Kohli was the Indian hero, slamming an unbeaten 133 off 86 balls.
Earlier, Tillakaratne Dilshan equalled his best one-day score of 160 and Kumar Sangakkara also made a ton in Hobart as Sri Lanka's batsmen dined out on India's bowling attack.
Dilshan took just 165 balls to reach his total, smashing 11 fours and three sixes, while Sangakkara's 105 off 87 balls - with eight fours and two sixes - lifted Sri Lanka to 4-320 off its 50 overs at the Bellerive Oval.
Dilshan equalled his highest ODI score, also set against India in 2009, with his 11th on-day ton and shared a 200-run second-wicket stand with Sangakkara to leave India the daunting target.
He was out bowled in the 44th over after taking a swipe at Praveen Kumar.Sangakkara flayed the Indian attack with his 13th one-day international century and has now scored 10,152 runs in the limited overs game at 37.88.
Zaheer Khan (1-61), Kumar (1-64) and Ravindra Jadeja (1-43) shared the wickets among India's bowlers.
Scorecard:
India innings (target: 321 runs from 50 overs)RB4s6sSR
View dismissalV Sehwagc Dilshan b Maharoof301651187.50
View dismissalSR Tendulkarlbw b Malinga393050130.00
View dismissalG Gambhirrun out (Chandimal/Mathews)63644098.43
V Kohlinot out13386162154.65
SK Rainanot out402431166.66
Extras(b 4, lb 6, w 6)16
Total(3 wickets; 36.4 overs)321(8.75 runs per over)
Did not bat MS Dhoni*†, RA Jadeja, R Ashwin, P Kumar, Z Khan, UT Yadav
Fall of wickets 1-54 (Sehwag, 6.2 ov)2-86 (Tendulkar, 9.2 ov)3-201 (Gambhir, 27.3 ov)

BowlingOMRWEcon
View wicketSL Malinga7.4096112.52(2w)
KMDN Kulasekara807108.87(1w)
View wicketMF Maharoof302117.00
NLTC Perera705908.42(1w)
AD Mathews704406.28
HMRKB Herath402005.00(1w)

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CB Series: India to make 321 in just 40 overs for bonus points



In the crucial match of Commonwealth Bank Series, SriLanka set 321 run chase for the Indians. And if India want to get to the finals they have to scrore this chase in just 40 overs to get the bonus points. And this is not the end for them, they have pray that Australia must beat SriLanka in the next game.
Tillakaratne Dilshan and Kumar Sangakkara took advantage of some wayward Indian bowling to leave MS Dhoni's side on the verge of exiting the Commonwealth Bank series.
Dilshan hammered 160 not out, equalling his highest one-day score, while Sangakkara stroked 105 as Sri Lanka posted 320 for four after they were asked to bat in Hobart.
That left India needing 321 runs from just 40 overs to stay in the tournament, because nothing less than a win with a bonus point would keep their slim hopes alive.
Knowing that it would be easier to chase a known target in a known allocation of overs than try and bowl Sri Lanka out for 80 per cent of India's total, Dhoni was forced to bowl first on a fine batting track.
While his seamers started well, conceding just 41 in the opening 10 overs, they fell apart in the second half of the innings as Sri Lanka made full use of the platform set by the top order.
Mahela Jayawardene was the only wicket to fall in the first 43 overs, caught at slip off the bowling of Ravindra Jadeja for 22, as Dilshan and Sangakkara constructed a 200-run partnership that slowly but surely eroded India's fight.
The pair then cashed in on flagging bowlers and fielders as India increasingly looked a beaten side, taking 41 in the batting powerplay before opening up further.
Dilshan's century took 132 balls, but by the end of his innings he had taken his strike rate to almost a run a ball.
Sangakkara had been fluent throughout the tournament but failed to build on some promising starts, yet this time he was fluent throughout his 87-ball knock.
India: Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar, Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni (capt, wk), Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Praveen Kumar, Zaheer Khan, Umesh Yadav
Sri Lanka: Tillakaratne Dilshan, Mahela Jayawardene (capt), Kumar Sangakkara (wk), Dinesh Chandimal, Lahiru Thirimanne, Angelo Mathews, Thisara Perera, Farveez Maharoof, Nuwan Kulasekara, Lasith Malinga, Rangana Herath
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BSNL to launch tablet to beat Aakash with Pantel

Monday, February 27, 2012

BSNL is going to launch its three tablet series in a row with a Noida based company, Pantel. Of the three, the cheapest tablet will be sold for Rs 3,250, a few hundred rupees more than the commercial version of Aakash tablet.

The 7-inch tablet - BSNL Penta T PAD IS 701R - is powered by 1ghz processor and comes with 256MB RAM. It has a resistive screen and runs on Android operating software. The tablet will be sold along with special data plans and 3G services from BSNL.

The two other tablets are priced at Rs 10,999 and Rs 13,500. Both have capacitive screen, which has better touch sensitivity. These two tablets are also made by Pantel . Pantel website shows that the company has started a prebooking for all three.



Select & Book Your tablet now. Click Here to book your tablet.
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IRCTC chief talks about bandwidth clogging and steps to improve services

Sunday, February 26, 2012



1.Why is the bandwidth congestion acute during the morning window? 

The problem is that as the counters open at 8am sharp, the number of concurrent connections peaks. We have seen a maximum peak of up to 8 lakh concurrent connections -- it means there are 8 lakh people knocking on our firewalls during the first 10-15 minutes from 8 o’clock. This number goes up ahead of festivals and summer vacations. We have a capacity for 1,500-2000 successful transactions a minute. So, naturally there’s congestion. 

2.What steps are you taking to ease this congestion? 

Demand will always be there, in fact it will grow. We have added 52 servers which cater to peak traffic today and have plans to add 18 more servers. Scaling up is not the only solution. We have to add more trains and routes. If we were to increase our bandwidth to unlimited capacity, people in rural areas, who don’t have net access will always be deprived of Tatkal (reservations made a day ahead) tickets since all will be booked within the first 15 minutes of counters opening at 8am. 

3.So, is it a deliberate strategy by IRCTC to not increase website capacity to allow more transactions per minute? 

No. We have increased our bandwidth 10 times, to allow more people to come and log in. But traffic keeps on peaking, especially during a particular time in the morning. Suppose, we were to increase capacity to unlimited ticket bookings a minute, then most tickets will be booked in the first hour. Of the 8 lakh people who log on simultaneously between 8 am 8.10am, only 50,000 manage to get tickets. There are about 7.5 lakh people who go dissatisfied each day. If we increase our capacity to handle 15 lakh concurrent connections, then about 14.5 lakh customers will go dissatisfied. The solution is to increase the capacity and number of trains. My aim is to double the 50,000 bookings to over-a-lakh successful bookings in the first hour, which will reduce the number of dissatisfied customers. 

3.What is the reason that almost one-in-four is a failed transaction on IRCTC website? 

Failure of transactions may be for several reasons. Slow speed of online services of various banks – we have tie-ups with 18 of them -- is a major cause. The payment gateway transaction takes about 1.5-2 minutes. But for some banks, take longer, resulting often in failure. There can be customer-centric reasons like no money in account. Sometimes, customer gives a berth preference and it takes time for the system to find a particular berth. By that time a ticket may already be booked. We have already identified 7 to 8 issues. The aim is to reduce the time taken for each transaction. 

4.What are the steps IRCTC is taking to reduce this transaction time? 

We are looking at a rolling deposit system in which customers can deposit advance money into an account. They won’t have to go to a payment gateway then. They would not have to wait for two minutes for using the netbanking operations. I have put forward this challenge to our technologists and the systems architecture for it is being worked out. Also, Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation works with the Ministry of Railways on a system of advance money. Every day I deposit about Rs 50 lakh in the bank account of Indian Railways -- advance money for the tickets I will buy from them that day. We are extending the same system for other websites such as MakeMytrip.com and Yatra.com to book rail tickets, which will ease the load on our site. 

5.Why customer’s money is not instantly credited back after a failed transaction?
After a failed transaction, a report goes back to the bank that a transaction has failed but money has been deducted. The banks make a report and send it to us. It takes 2 to 3 days. We release the money as we get the report. 

6.How do you look at your tenure with IRCTC? 

When I took charge of IRCTC in 2009, we used to book about 40,000 e-tickets every day. Now it has shot up to 4-4.5 lakh bookings a day. It is a quantum leap. Of course, we have become India’s largest e-commerce website -- IRCTC booked about 10 crore tickets worth Rs 8,000 crore in 2010-11. Today, we are able to manage 8 lakh concurrent transactions. In 2009, we used to do about 10,000 successful transactions in the first hour. Now it has gone up to 50,000 bookings per hour. My goal is to increase it to 1 lakh bookings. 

7.Is IRCTC targeting the hospitality and tourism on a big scale? 

We have a tie-up with about 8,000 hotels across India. These are 3 star hotels. We have not gone for 4-star and above because majority of the railway customers are not the airline customers. Over the last 3 years, our revenue through tourism has grown from Rs 10 crore to Rs 70 crore. By the end of this fiscal, we hope to touch Rs 100 crore. Our corporate booking segment is also growing. We are looking to tie-up with PSUs for their total travel arrangements. The company also has ambitious plans for air ticketing.

8.Has the new Tatkal scheme benefited users? 


It has benefitted the consumers who are net savvy. However, the rural Indian is still going to the reservation counters. With this scheme agents are also blocked from transacting on the net or counters in the morning.
Thus, demand will always be there, in fact it will grow. We have added 52 servers which cater to peak traffic today and have plans to add 18 more servers. Scaling up is not the only solution. We have to add more trains and routes.
 
RAKESH TANDON 
CMD, IRCTC

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SBI to cut interest on education loan


State Bank of India (SBI) has taken in-principle decision to slash interest on education loans by up to 1 percentage point. “The bank has taken in-principle decision to cut (interest on) education loan,” SBI Managing Director and Chief Finance Officer Diwakar Gupta told PTI.
“Announcement would be made soon. The bank will issue the notification shortly,” he added.
Without giving details of quantum of rate cut, he said, it may be up to 100 basis points.
Interest rates on education loans range from 12.25 per cent to 14.50 per cent, depending on their quantum and the duration.
The education loan book of SBI constitutes under 7 per cent of its Rs 1.75 lakh crore retail loan portfolio. In the quarter ended December, the bank saw its education loan books swell by 14.17 per cent.
SBI is also offering a concession of 50 basis points on interest rates for loans given to female students.
Earlier this month, SBI Chairman Pratip Chaudhuri had said the possibility of a reduction in base rate at this point of time looks bleak as the bank has absorbed last three RBI policy rate hikes without raising its base rate.
The lender’s base rate stands at 10 per cent as of now, which is the lowest in the country.
About the possible slashing of home loan rates, he had said the possibility was “less.”
“The possibility of (reduction) in home loans is less as the rate is 10.50 per cent and the base rate is 10 per cent. Hence, the possibility is less. Moreover, the tenor of a home loan is 25—30 years, (so) we have to think about it a lot,” Mr. Chaudhuri had said.
He, however, had said in case of further CRR cut by the central bank, the entire rate structure will come down.
On January 24, the Reserve Bank had reduced the cash reserve ratio (CRR) by 0.5 per cent to 5.5 per cent to infuse liquidity into the system, and indicated a reversal of tight money policy stance.
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Kingfisher submit fresh flight schedule before DGCA

Wednesday, February 22, 2012



Ailing Kingfisher Airlines, whose services remained affected for the sixth day, on Wednesday  submitted a fresh flight schedule with DGCA, scaling down its operations to about 170 daily flights with 28 functional aircraft. Faced with the regulators deadline, the airline submitted a revised winter schedule of flights it would operate till March. This schedule is being examined, DGCA sources said.
On a day when over 30 flights were cancelled by Kingfisher, DGCA chief E K Bharat Bhushan briefed Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh on the tough financial situation faced by the carrier.
With reports that banks were offering to help out the airline, the Minister again made it clear that government would not give any dole to a private carrier.
“We have made it clear and I am sure Mr (Vijay) Mallya knows that Air India is a government concern. Whatever help we give them (Air India), we cannot do it to any private industry.
“We have said it before that banks will decide that (pumping in money). Government is not going to interfere in it. Banks have to follow RBI guidelines. They have to worry about their NPAs (non—performing assets). They have to decide on the basis of the business plan of the company. If they are satisfied with the business plan, they can lend money,” he said.
Sources said that as per the revised schedule, the airline would operate about 170 flights daily, instead of over 400 it had sought permission for last October when the winter schedule for the airlines came into operation.
At that time, Kingfisher had informed the regulator that it would fly 64 aircraft, a number which has now come down to 28 as many of its planes have either been taken away by the lessors or were awaiting repairs and spare parts or been cannibalised.
The DGCA, which summoned the Kingfisher’s CEO Sanjay Agarwal yesterday, had asked the airline to come up with a “realistic” schedule which can be operated by 28 planes.
Bhushan is understood to have apprised the Civil Aviation Minister on the discussions he had with the Kingfisher top brass and the airline’s plan to restore its flight schedule over the next few days.
Issues relating to whether any action could be taken against the struggling carrier for flouting the provisions of Aircraft Rules of 1937 are also understood to have come up for discussion, though the Minister has made it clear that closure of any airline would not be good for the health of the Indian aviation industry.
Kingfisher also partially resumed flights from Kolkata, operating four to the Northeast, though it cancelled 14 from Mumbai, eight from Bangalore and two from Delhi. The entire Kolkata operations were shut down from Friday night.
The cash—strapped carrier had faced the wrath of the Income Tax authorities which froze its bank accounts, which, the airline said had been primarily responsible for large— scale disruption of its flights.
Kingfisher, which suffered a loss of Rs 1,027 crore in 2010—11 and has a debt of Rs 7,057.08 crore, posted a Rs 444 crore loss in third quarter this fiscal.

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Redesigned iPad 3 picture tips sleeker edges & 8MP camera

Monday, February 20, 2012



Purported images of Apple’s next-generation iPad have been published by Chinese language Apple Daily ahead. The design tips a very sleek design of iPad 3 with powerful 8MP camera. The slate had leaked only in bits and pieces until now, however alleged photos of an assembled iPad 3 show a device that is very much in line with earlier reports. 

The case is similar to the one found on the iPad 2, though it has apparently been redesigned with a more gradual taper leading from the back to the edges. Apple Daily also states that the iPad 3 features a 9.7-inch Retina Display, which was confirmed last week, and an 8-megapixel camera as had been rumored previously. Apple is reportedly planning to unveil the iPad 3 at a press conference in early March, and the tablet is also expected to feature a quad-core Apple A6 processor and embedded 4G LTE connectivity.
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Google: Android 5.0 (Jelly Bean) coming soon

Saturday, February 18, 2012



After Google's Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) operating system which is yet to fully take off, the news of its successor is already doing rounds. Yes, Google is going to launch its Android 5.0 dubbed Jelly Bean in the second quarter of this year, according to report in Taiwan's Digitimes. 

The report, quoting Taiwan-based supply chain makers, reveals that Google is reportedly asking users to adopt Android 5.0 and Windows 8 in the same tablet PC. Software giant Microsoft is scheduled to unveil a test version of its Windows 8 operating software later this month. 

While Android 4.0 brings a bunch of new features for tablets as well as smartphones, Android 5.0 is likely to be further optimized for tablet PCs. The report states that Google plans to integrate its Chrome system functions to push dual-operating system designs. 

The report further claims that Google will let vendors add Android 5.0 to a Windows 8-based tablet or notebook, giving them the option to switch between the operating systems without a reboot. 

While most of the Android phone manufacturers have updated their Ice Cream Sandwich release schedules, it is yet to see how the OS climbs in popularity in comparison to its closest rival Apple's iOS 5. 

Among other things, Android 4.0 offers a brand new font system called Roboto; lets users take screenshots without rooting the smartphone or installing any third-party apps and transcribes words instantly into text. 

The current OS also features Android Beam, based on NFC (Near Field Communication) which allows two Android smartphones to securely exchange Web pages, contacts, media or even applications. 
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Kerala fishermen killing: Antony says, Guilty will be punished

Friday, February 17, 2012


India on Friday said the firing by armed guards on-board an Italian merchant ship killing two Indian fishermen off the coast of Kerala, was “against the laws and norms” and the guilty will be punished.
“We are taking this issue very seriously. What happened was against the laws and the norms. The guilty will have to be punished,” Defence Minister A.K. Antony told reporters here.
Underlining that India wanted to send “strong signals” on the issue, the minister said, “This is not only for India but for all others. Everybody should follow the norms and the laws.”
He was asked about the steps being taken by the government to book the guilty in the incident.
Mr. Antony said the Kerala police and the Indian Coast Guard were questioning all the people involved in the case and it would be “inappropriate” for him to comment further on the incident.
The two fishermen, native of Alappuzha, were killed on Wednesday night when armed guards on-board the Italian merchant vessel Enrica Lexie opened fire on their fishing boat.
The vessel was brought to Kochi on Friday and police and Coast Guard personnel were questioning the crew. The ship has been berthed at Kochi oil terminal, where security has been tightened.
The preliminary assessment of the marine authorities is that the armed guards aboard the ship might have fired at the fishing boat mistaking it for a vessel belonging to pirates.
Italian Consul General in India, GiamPaolo Cutillo, was in Kochi on Thursday in connection with the incident and had met the city Police Commissioner there.
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