Monthly Archives: January, 2013

A MUST HAVE TRAVEL APP

A NEW APP FOR PASSIONATE TRAVELERS

Gogobot (http://www.gogobot.com), the place where millions of passionate travelers provide insider tips on the world’s best destinations, recently announced the long-awaited launch of its mobile application for Android devices. The Android app joins the iPhone in the Gogobot app lineup, extending the range of mobile offerings for its social network of travelers. Like the iOS version, the Android app allows Gogobot users to search and book hotels, restaurants and things to do in more than 60,000 destinations worldwide. The app is available in English, German, Italian, Hebrew, Portuguese and Japanese.

The Android app integrates features new to Gogobot’s mobile users, including the ability to search and book a hotel on the fly with filters for real-time hotel pricing and availability; user ratings; hotel class; and social recommendations, which Gogobot is known for. The app also includes enhanced restaurant filters that allows for searching and selecting restaurants by cuisine as well as the ability to book a table on the go through a seamless integration with OpenTable.

The app features a smart integration of Google Street View for Android, which uses the phone’s compass to turn an Android device into a virtual window, with 360-degree panoramic views of millions of Gogobot locations. Anyone can remotely scope out neighborhoods, restaurants or hotels found on Gogobot to make more informed decisions about their travels.

The app is optimised for Android tablets and phones, with a newly designed user interface, so users can easily and seamlessly browse, discover, and book their travel plans.

Like the rest of the service, recommendations are curated for each user based on the input of friends in their network.

Gogobot’s new Android app allows users to:

Easily and quickly explore relevant places:
* Search for attractions, restaurants, and hotels, either near your current location or within any city in the world
* Receive recommendations and tips sorted according to your friends’ advice
* Browse detailed information on each location, including photos, maps, addresses, phone numbers, operating hours, and user reviews, as well as nearby hotels, restaurants, and attractions
* See a 360-degree panoramic view of a place via Google Street View to get a better sense of an unfamiliar location

Get the best deal on a hotel and book in a snap:
* Filter hotel results by availability, price, minimum user rating, and hotel class
* Book hotels directly on mobile via Booking.com
* Filter restaurants by cuisine and friend ratings
* Make restaurant reservations through OpenTable

Socialise around travel and share experiences with friends:
* Turn great travel moments into digital postcards of places visited and creatively modify photos with filters and custom titles before sharing them on Facebook and Gogobot
* Check-ins at various locations, which is reflected on your passport and shared with friends
* View and share personalised guides of every location visited

BIO-STORAGE !!!

STORING INFORMATION IN DNA – AN INNOVATION

Researchers led by Nick Goldman at the European Bioinformatics Institute, UK synthesised DNA to encode an eclectic mix of information in its adenine, thymine, cytosine and guanine components. They used these “letters” to record an audio file of 26 seconds of King’s speech, all 154 of Shakespeare’s sonnets, a digital photo of their laboratory and the famous paper in which James Watson and Francis Crick first described the double-helical structure of DNA.

The team built on previous DNA-encoding techniques by adding error correction, allowing content to be retrieved with 100 per cent accuracy. The process involved the conversion of ones and zeroes of digital information into the four letter alphabet of DNA code (A,T,C and G) which was used to create synthetic DNA strands. Machines read the DNA molecules and recovered the encoded information.

DNA-based memory is sought after because DNA can last for thousands of years without special storage, other than being somewhere cold, dark and dry. In theory, DNA can encode roughly the capacity of 100 billion DVDs per gram of single-stranded DNA.

WHAT MAKES MARKETS MOVE ?

DRIVING FORCE BEHIND FINANCIAL MARKET’S MOVEMENT
Ever wondered what makes financial markets move!!! Let me introduce two broad categories of investors, namely, risk-averse and risk-appetite. Risk-averse category of investors are, as the name suggests, averse to risk and they are always ready to sacrifice return inorder to have a safe investment. Risk-appetite category of investors, on the other hand are ready to take risks with an expectation of getting higher returns. The movement of investors between these two categories is all that makes the financial markets move up or down and this movement is based on the continuous flow of facts, figures, events, etc..

Before proceeding further, let me give an example where the Government of India is issuing a 5 year bond (government security) with a yield of 5%. This is a sovereign bond which usually is considered risk-free, meaning investors assume that there will not be any default by the government in servicing coupon and redemption. When the investor gets a risk free return of 5%, would he not expect a higher return in a risky environment, for eg, stock markets? This is one of the reasons why generally stock market moves up when interest rates come down and the vice-versa. When interest rates are brought down, there is a shift from the risk averse category of investors to the risk-appetite category of investors which leads to flow of money in stock markets. This illustrates that interest rates is the fundamental factor for a financial market.

Why does any economy bring down the interest rates? Interest rates are usually determined by Central Banks (like RBI in India). In an economy there are broadly two categories of people, namely, savings oriented and spending oriented. The more one spends the more the prices of goods and services rise and leads to an inflationary environment. This is where Central Banks step in wherein they usually rise interest rates which leads to a shift from spending-oriented category to savings-oriented category on account of higher interest rates, which leads to lesser spending and thus low inflation and the same concept can be used to explain why Central Banks reduce interest rates.

More often than not the above concepts culminate to a probable theme that a falling interest rate environment usually drives the stock markets up and that is what is happening currently in indian stock markets.

RAGS TO RICHES STORY – URSULA BURNS

Ursula Burns grew up in a housing project on Manhattan’s Lower East Side and now  runs Xerox

 Burns was raised  by her single mother in a housing project in Manhattan, an area known for hub of gangs. Her mother ran a daycare center  out of her home and ironed shirts so that she could afford to send Ursula to  Catholic school. She went to NYU, and from there became an intern at Xerox.

In 1980, Burns first worked for Xerox as a summer intern, permanently joining a year later, in 1981, after completing her master’s degree. She worked in various roles in product development and planning in the remainder of the 1980s throughout her 20s.

In January 1990, she was offered a role of an executive assistant to a senior executive and then on quickly rose through the ranks. In June 1991, she became executive assistant to then chairman and chief executive Paul Allaire. In 1999, she was named vice president for global manufacturing.

In 2000, Burns was named a senior vice president and began working closely with soon to be CEO Anne Mulcahy, in what both women have described as a true partnership. Nine years later, in July 2009, she was named CEO, succeeding Mulcahy, who remained as chairwoman until May 2010.

She’s now Xerox’s CEO and Chairwoman. She’s the first African-American woman to be the head of a  Fortune 500 Company.