Can WiFi compete with 3G?

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Consumers are using WiFi wherever they can as 3G is too costly and 2G is too slow. Moreover, with only 5 MHz spectrum available, the 3G network will soon be overcrowded.

 

InIndiabroadband access is still in its infancy but with 3G round the corner, the future seems to hold promise. However, 3G is a costly promise as operators have spent huge amounts to buy spectrum, and so prices of 3G services are unlikely to come down. And unlimited plans are a distant dream unlikely to be fulfilled since operators have got just 5 MHz of spectrum which cannot take the load of too many people using unlimited plans.

Therefore, both operators and users are looking at means to get broadband access at affordable costs without overloading the network. And it is here that WiFi has a role to play, so much so that a 3G operator is already planning to start a service that will automatically transfer a user to the WiFi network whenever he visits a partner WiFi hotspot. This, as stated earlier, will reduce both cost to the end user and congestion in the network.

“The next wave of WiFi is becoming a mobile operator phenomenon, and it is our business to help telecom operators enter the WiFi business with speed to market and a reduced cost and risk profile, without a need for additional capital investment,” comments Evan Kaplan, president and chief executive officer of iPass, a global provider of WiFi solutions.

Computer Games: Better Than Sex?

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A survey of 2052 people was commissioned by Doritos in advance of the launch of its new Doritos Dip Desperado Face book game, and it discovered some interesting facts about the game-playing habits of men and women.
For starters, 49 percent of the women in the survey said that they played “online games” — though whether this was Star Craft II or City Ville wasn’t clear. This 49 percent figure, however, is just 1 percent behind the figure for men.
Of these 49 percent of women who play online, 84 percent said they enjoy their gaming sessions. Compare that with the percentage who enjoyed working out (62 percent), shopping (71 percent), having a bath (75 percent) and doing the nasty (70 percent) and we can hastily jump to the astonishing (and possibly flawed) conclusion that women think games are better than sex. (No comment on some of the adult tweaks.)
Further interesting facts from the survey: 17 percent of women (about 1 in 5) admit to playing games in bed (fellas, you’re clearly doing it wrong) and the fairer sex spends 23.1 percent of their time online playing games compared to 22.3 percent for the hairier sex.

Internet search engines cause poor memory, scientists claim

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Widespread use of internet search engines and databases such as Google and IMDb.com to find information is making people lose their memory, scientists claim.

Researchers found increasing number of users relied on their computers as a form of “external memory” as frequent use of online information libraries “wired” human brains.
The study, examining the so-called “Google effect”, found people had poor recall of knowledge if they knew where answers to questions were easily found.
The scientists from Columbia University, in New York, found people were increasingly bypassing discussions with friends to use the internet as their main source of information.
Experts blamed the findings, published online in this week in the journal Science, on popular search engines such as Google, Bing, Yahoo and databases such as Wikipedia and IMDb.com, the movie information site founded in Britain.
Prof Betsy Sparrow, who led the study, said such web tools were making information easy to forget and that if people could not find answers immediately it could feel like “going through withdrawal”.

We are becoming symbiotic with our computer tools, growing into interconnected systems,” said Prof Sparrow, from Columbia’s psychology department.
“We have become dependent on them to the same degree we are on all the knowledge we gain from our friends and co-workers — and lose if they are out of touch.
“Human memory is adapting to new communications technology.”
She added: “We’re not thoughtless empty-headed people who don’t have memories anymore. But we are becoming particularly adept at remembering where to go find things. And that’s kind of amazing.”
Roddy Roediger, a psychologist at Washington University who was also involved in the study, added: “Why remember something if I know I can look it up again? In some sense, with Google and other search engines, we can off-load some of our memory demands onto machines.”
In the study, titled “Google Effects on Memory: Consequences of having information at our Fingertips,” the researchers undertook four experiments involving student volunteers.
They firstly asked 46 students from the Harvard, the Ivy League university, a series of true-false questions based on trivia such as, ”An ostrich’s eye is bigger than its brain” before showing them words in different colours.
When the words could be linked to the internet, students responded more slowly and admitted they were contemplating searching for the answers on the web.
Another 60 students were then given 40 statements to type on a computer before being told that the information would either be saved or erased.
They discovered that people who believed the data would be saved were less likely to remember.
Another experiment involved 28 undergraduates from Columbia who were asked trivia questions. They were allowed to take notes and the researchers found they too struggled to remember information that would be saved.
Finally a further 34 Columbia students remembered where they stored their information in folders on their computers better than they were able to recall the information itself.
Prof Sparrow admitted it remained unclear what the effects of being so “wired” will be on people over the coming years.
She said the Internet had replaced a person’s circle of friends where people would traditionally look for information.
“(They) did not make the effort to remember when they thought they could later look up the trivia statement they had read,” she said.
“It may be no more than nostalgia at this point, however, to wish we were less dependent on our gadgets.
“(It shows) we must remain plugged in to know what Google knows.”
Prof Sparrow said the idea for the study came as she watched the 1944 movie “Gaslight” one night with her husband and, after wondering who the actress was who played the maid, turned to her computer and Googled it.
The maid was thescreen debut of an 18 year-old Angela Lansbury, the British actress.

Oxford Comma Dropped: University of Oxford Style guide Says No To Serial Comma

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It seems like the Oxford comma’s days are numbered. The University of Oxford style guide has decided that as ‘a general rule’ use of the serial comma should be avoided.
Here’s the official entry:

As a general rule, do not use the serial/Oxford comma: so write ‘a, b and c’ not ‘a, b, and c’. But when a comma would assist in the meaning of the sentence or helps to resolve ambiguity, it can be used – especially where one of the items in the list is already joined by ‘and’:
The serial comma, comma because of its use by writers and editors based at the University of Oxford, had been waning in popularity. For example, most journalists in Canada and the U.S. who follow the AP or CP stylebooks do not use it.
The Canadian Press Stylebook has this to say: “Put commas between elements of a series but not before the final and, or nor unless that avoids confusion. But seem to be divided, with strong opinions on both sides. All this over a punctuation mark.
The serial comma has had other brushes with fame, of course, even inspiring a song by hipster band Vampire Weekend. No semicolon, em dash or tilde can say that.

MP land prices to go up from July

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Come July and land prices will go up for industrial use in Madhya Pradesh. Almost all Audyogik Kendra Vikas Nigams (AKVNs) subsidiaries of State Industrial Development Corporation (SIDC) have obtained government nod for raising prices. “Bhopal and Gwalior AKVNs will raise land rates from July 1 in Manideep (Bhopal), Govindpura, Satlapur, Pilukhedi, Banmore (Gwalior), Nandantola, Chainpura and Jaderua (Morena) and Pratapura industrial areas. The rates will be different at different industrial areas, however prices are likely to go up from 10-50 per cent from the existing land rates,” a government source informed Business Standard. Lands in industrial areas in the state are available at throw-away prices vis-à-vis land in commercial areas in adjoining towns. According to a senior official in department of industries, the state government has not reviewed land rates for years as a result of which, middlemen make money from transfer deal of lands in industrial areas. Industrial areas like Pithampur, Dewas and Mandideep areas are out of space and investors are either pulling out of their projects ore shifting base to other states like Himachal Pradesh for expansion. “We will be able to have at least some funds for AKVNs and investors will have more options,” said the official. If sources are to be believed, land prices are likely to go up by 100 per cent or more in some industrial areas. At present, land is available at as low as Rs 8 per sq feet in industrial areas like Govindpura and Rs 35 per sq feet in Mandideep and Satlapur as against Rs 400-1000 per sq feet in nearby towns. Since land acquisition Act 2008 does not bar the land holder to transfer land and reclaim better prices, AKVNs have no teeth to demand the land back from the holder. At a nominal transfer fee, any land holder in industrial area can transfer his land at commercial rates. This way middlemen and real-estate players make money. The government has yet not made it clear what will happen to those investors who want to set up micro, small and medium scale industries (MSMEs). “Certain provisions will be made in this regard. MSMEs will get land at cheaper prices,” PK Dash, principal secretary of department of industries had told Business Standard earlier. Reportedly MSMEs have no space in prime industrial areas like Dewas, Pithampur and Mandideep. Similarly new large and medium scale industries and existing industries could not execute their expansion plans for years.

UK Bribery Act may put additional pressure on some Indian companies

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Indian companies doing business in the UK will have to watch out the next time they take a bureaucrat out for a long liquid lunch or try to soften up a hard-nosed regulatory official. Someone could be watching them.
The UK Bribery Act, 2010, a draconian legislation that will come into force from next week, may put additional pressure on some of the companies, already grappling with corruption scandals, say experts. Indian business houses that run some of their activities in the UK will be exposed to potential criminal liability where bribes are paid by employees, agents and subsidiaries even if the relevant conduct happens in some other part of the world. Lawyers say that many Indian companies with business links in UK are consulting them to find ways to comply with the new law that becomes operational from July 1.
The Act introduces four new offences – offering, promising or giving of a bribe (which need not be in cash); requesting, agreeing to receive, or accepting a bribe, either in the UK or abroad, in public as well as private sectors; bribery of a foreign public official in order to obtain or retain business; and, inability of companies to prevent a bribe being paid by those who perform services for or on behalf of the organisation.

Quality of food affects weight loss

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A study has found that the best way to lose weight is to concentrate on the quality of food that we eat and not on the amount.

What you eat is said to have a greater impact on weight gain than other lifestyle factors such as exercise, a TV couch-potato existence or the amount of sleep you get each night.

Experts at Harvard School of Public Health in America revealed that small lifestyle changes can make all the difference to staying in shape rather than becoming overweight or obese.

But they said focusing on calories alone would not keep you slim. Instead, the best way to stay a healthy weight is eat nutritious and filling foods of good quality, especially when it comes to carbohydrates.

“An average adult gains about 1lb per year. Because the weight gain is so gradual and occurs over many years, it has been difficult for scientists and for individuals themselves to understand the specific factors that may be responsible,” the Daily Express quoted study co-author Dr Dariush Mozaffaria as saying.

“Small dietary and other lifestyle changes can together make a big difference – for bad or good. This makes it easy to gain weight unintentionally, but also demonstrates the tremendous opportunity for prevention.

A handful of the right lifestyle changes will go a long way,” Mozaffaria said.

The findings have been published in the New England Journal of Medicine.