20 August, 2015

Internet Of Things

Something really interesting caught my attention sometime back. Wanted to share it with all of you...
Internet of Things (IoT) is a process, by which data can be transferred from biochips, sensors, monitors and devices, via the internet, to machines and datacenters, without human interaction. Built on cloud computing, and data-gathering sensors, IoT is a mobile, virtual and instantaneous technology, being developed, as we speak. A revolutionary tech, that goes beyond the techies and gets into our homes, appliances, vehicles, and even bodies. ‘Smart’ or ‘intelligent’ devices, appliances, gadgets, structures, are all, basically, IoT technology.
The term, Internet of Things, was coined by British entrepreneur, Kevin Ashton, in 1999. A vision, still in a nascent stage, this technology stems from the idea of optimizing things. IoT devices gather important data, with the help of numerous current technologies and then automatically feed the data to other devices, as they would have been programmed to. IoT allows ‘things’ to be sensed and controlled, remotely- across networks- generating prospects of integration of physical and virtual systems. Which results in better, efficient, accurate, and economic outcomes. IoT is likely to give us advanced connectivity of gadgets, machines, systems, and services and go beyond the Machine to Machine Communications, such as it is, at present. Another expectation from IoT is to produce data, in great numbers, from device locations, to compute them instantaneously, and thereby increasing the need for better indexing, storage and processing of data.
Some of the examples of the first few areas, where IoT is presently being used:
• Biochip transponders on farm animals
• Heart monitoring implants
• Computerized vending machines
• Smart parking assistance
• Wearable technology
• Foot traffic monitors
• Field operation devices to help fire-fighters in search and rescue
• Smart thermostats
• Smart Washer/Dryers that use WiFi
• Interconnectivity of machines and personal gadgets

Where IoT is expected to take us, in the near future:
o Intelligent datacenter which can generate relevant business insights, after having gone through all the company’s data
o Smart streetlights, energy-grids, buildings, roads, stop-lights, seaports, therefore smart cities, nations, and then world
o Monitoring the vibrations and material conditions of buildings, bridges and historical structures
o Monitoring traffic, air quality, waste management, water leakages, floods, forest fires, snow levels, air pollution, radiation levels, hazardous gases, chemicals leakages in water bodies, ozone presence
o Prevention of landslides, avalanches, early detection of earthquakes
o Smart lighting in homes and office places
o Portable monitor to check water quality
o Supply chain control in retail and manufacturing
o Intelligent shopping assistance based on habits, preferences, allergies, expiries, etc.
o Item tracking of shipments
o Smarter agriculture, animal farming, homes and health
IoT is the present and future of technology and not limited to any one field. It is expected to improve our lives, from basics to industrial. But since it is still a relatively new technology, policing and laws need to be strict, to keep crimes in check, before hackers start pulling-off ‘remote-robberies’ of IoT Smart Products.

Five Rules Working Women must know

1. Dress & behave professionally
As they say about first impressions, provocative clothing, excessive makeup, or jewelry, might distract others from taking you seriously.
Do not indulge in flirtations and romances at work. Same goes for keeping flirts at bay. This makes people around, doubt your commitment to work. Even in cases, where you may be keeping it discreet, sooner or later word would get out, and gossip would get difficult to manage. Most importantly, women are more likely to be fired, in such circumstances.
‘Thank yous’ go a long way. In day to day work, as well as when you are switching jobs, do not be tempted to burn any bridges.
When you see your superiors making a mistake, if you can, try to avoid pointing it out. If you must, do it subtly, to keep them from becoming over-analytical about you.
On the other hand, take criticism with a pinch of salt. Especially, in the beginning of your career, and when you are new in an organization.

2. Be assertive. Not aggressive
While a man would be said to have leadership skills, a woman might be seen as hostile, for the same amount of passion.
You must get your point across. Your job is redundant unless you make your voice heard and participate in the work.
Do not work for praises. Let your work speak for yourself.

3. Showing emotion
It is extremely important for us, if we want to be seen as an equal at work, to keep our emotions in check. If we cry, we do not only seem weak, but might be kept away from challenging jobs from that point on.
When pointing out mistakes, instead of being emotional, it is preferable to be coldly analytical about it.
Ignore and smile at all the, ‘is it that time of the month’, remarks. No good can ever come out of reacting to those.
Confidence is another thing that men bring to the table, where women remain unsure. Men get taken at face value, because of their sureness. Whereas women get grilled for their ideas, just because of seeming hesitant or shy.

4. Get Noticed
Be at the office, before the boss. And leave after them. Believe it or not, you have to let them see that you are working.
Be punctual. Gain the confidence of your peers.
Voice your inputs to get noted.
Be prompt at the work given to you and prove that you are reliable.
Respond to your emails. Let people know that you do not dilly dally.
And once you finish a task, and meet the objectives, then demand credit for it.
Make the reputation you want to be made of yourself.

5. Family vs Career
Get your priorities in place; work, family, social life, recreation. Create a system to give them all the kind of time, you want to give. Then stick to that system.
Be clear to your colleagues, of your priorities, commitment, and expectations from the job. Do not leave them in a limbo, mid-task, when there is no system in place for someone else to take over your work, when you leave on a child-related emergency.
Fathers are the best people to have as mentors or bosses, at workplaces. They are kinder. And fathers of daughters, even more so. They would be more understanding with the kind of their own daughters.
Have each other’s back. If we women, do not support one-another, then how can we expect men to give us a chance?

05 August, 2015

Let's Get By Together

The LGBT community has been in news all over the world, recently. The United States made same-sex marriages legal. All over the world, people are celebrating being themselves, through the Pride Parades. While, in India, we are still holding onto the laws the British had left upon us, centuries ago- who, by the by, have long since made same-sex marriages legal.
Most folks who are against it, say that the LGBT community are a bad influence on the kids, and our society, in general. Although, these same people would enjoy a spicy Bollywood item song, or drink a few till they pass-out, or shout at their wives and parents, just fine. A hated-murderer-of-100’s-terrorist’s hanging would take precedence over, a beloved-uncorrupt-ex-President’s passing, because. The story of corrupt-politician unfolding, in the news, would be found entertaining, something to be viewed with the entire family. Suicide cases of famous men’s wives or girlfriends, who had recently started speaking-out, would get brushed under the carpet. Every time, there is a rape-case reported and gets some media-mileage, millions would flood the streets, with candles in hand, only to ignore the neighbourhood/school/college/office/public-transport eve-teasing, sexual abuse, or harassment incidents that take place, right in front of them.
Now, you see how open our society is! And how fragile we thought it to be. To think that two same-sex people in love, who want to profess their love to one-another, legally, could bring our society down, when none of the gruesome, shameful, appalling, heinous things, we are surrounded with, could do it?
Some people are so vocal about their hatred for the LGBT community, you would think they are jealous of the lesbians, gays, bisexual, transgender and transsexuals. When we start thinking about it rationally, it would come to us that, whom anyone else has sex with or marries, should be of absolute no consequence to us. Unless we wanted them for ourselves, that is.
So, is that it? Do all the people against LGBT, hate them because they are jealous of them, want to have sex with them, or want to marry them? While, one can understand this vengeance. It’s just not fair to the LGBT people. Considering if we have such feeling for a heterosexual, when they weren’t interested in us, we couldn’t have done anything about it. And rightfully so.
Imagine the plight of someone, who has to spend most of their life, trying to live a lie. And then they remainder, trying to hide who they really are and be alone, while at it. First the denial, then the disbelief, then the worry, all of which, we as a society, have to offer to them. Just because of whom they have sex with. How terribly regressive, we as a society are, to still want to dictate whom someone can marry or not, have sex with, or not, love or not!
What message are we trying to give to our children, in all this? That it is abnormal to love, respect and then marry someone. But dowry, domestic-rapes, sexual abuse, physical abuse, bdsm, khaap panchayats, preference of a male-child, female-infanticide, patriarchy, corruption, medical malpractice, terrorism, rage, disrespect, hatred, violence are all, the norm?
Who died and made us God, to decide who others can love and marry or not?. Ponder on...S m i l e

Career scope for women today

When you think about career-women in the 2010’s, in urban India, you imagine a smartly-dressed executive, in high-flung, jet-setting jobs, who has it all. But the fact that this image does not give you the full picture, would be an understatement.
Our parent’s generation was the first, when the middle-class women started working. Only a few of them, but still, you started seeing women in workplaces. Most of these working women stuck to ‘safe’ careers; teaching, medicine, home boutiques, grocery-shops, etc. In our generation, even though, there was very limited exposure, zero career-counselling, the women managed to somewhat break that stereotype, sustained their careers, or at least went back to work after their kids grew up a bit. When you see the teen girls of today, aspiring for the world, you can see their mothers, grandmothers, and other well-meaning elders, still reminding them of the goodness of ‘safe’ career options. Careers that they could sustain, even after getting married and having children.
Men on the other hand, are never questioned about how they plan to give time to their wives, household or children, with long-work-hours, excessive travelling or frequent ‘networking’ dos. The modern urban Indian male, is stuck in a pool of contradictions. He was raised in a patriarchal environment. His mother always, only - if at all- had a ‘safe’ career. But, on the other hand, thanks to globalization, the internet and modern education, he has got exposed to things like ‘equality’, ‘respect’, ‘women’s rights’, ‘involved parenting’, and so on. So, even though, he means well, most of the times, he still can’t bring himself to pick a broom, when the maid bails. And he still finds it unnatural for himself to be changing diapers. He can’t understand the concept of cleaning-up, after himself. He is yet to feel the need to roll chapatis. He can’t understand what stops him from going out for drinks or gaming with his boys, a few times a week- even though he hasn’t seen his own child awake for 4 straight days- he needs a break once in a while, doesn’t he? And he certainly can’t relate to his wife looking tired, and haggard after a long day at work. He feels that she doesn’t need to work. He can earn enough or that they should manage within his income. And of course, he can’t stand it if she prioritizes her work, over him, even if that happens rarely.
Which brings us to urban Indian women of the 2010’s. We are driven, hardworking, eager and earnest. We got married, when we were ready. Had children, because we wanted to, and when we wanted to. We genuinely care about them, are involved in their lives and do not want to waste time at office, just sitting around, to seem like we work long hours. Our mother-in-laws, mothers and nannies, along with cooks, drivers, part-time cleaning staff, are our support-system. We want to be there for our kids. We want to be there for our families. We respect and love our husbands and parents more, after having been on the other side of making a living and bringing up our children. We like our homes. We love to dress. We know that we have earned it. And we love how upgraded a simple makeover, or even just wearing makeup, can make us feel. We do like the ladies-night outings also, a few times, a year. We make it work, in spite of the days, when our little ones have their summer, autumn, winter, fall school breaks, some 50 other holidays, or worse, are sick. In spite of the school-projects, they would remember at the 11th hour. In spite of the herculean crafts or culinary tasks, they expect to furnish, ignoring all our inabilities, in the kitchen and the toolshed.
What keeps us going, eventually, is our drive, and our need for an identity. In this volatile world, there are no guarantees. The knowledge that if his salary doesn’t come, you can still run the house, is a huge relief, in itself. And then, there is the pride you see in your loved-one’s eyes, when they see you happy, successful and involved, at work.
Ponder on...S m i l e

03 August, 2015

Aplava Products Review!!

Recently, I was given the task to review a few products from Aplava, by SHEROES.

The Aplava online store has a huge variety of skin & hair products, cosmetics, baby products, men’s range and accessories. After getting the assignment, I went to their website and found it quite user-friendly, easy to navigate and thorough.
Also to be noted, signing up on SHEROES gives the individuals discount codes for Aplava.com.

Dove Hair Therapy- Daily Shine Conditioner. With Nutritive Serum. Protects Normal Hair from daily wear and tear.
Priced at Rs. 165/- for a 180ml bottle, this conditioner falls in the drug-store price range.
Pros: I’ve been using this for a week now. And from the very first usage, my hair felt smoother and lighter, right from when I rinsed it off. It’s fragrance is light and calming.
Cons: Perhaps, because my hair is curly and since it is Monsoon season right now, it made my hair extremely frizzy. This problem got somewhat resolved, when I used an anti-frizz serum, though.

H2O+ Spa Sea Salt- Hydrating Body Butter
Priced at Rs. 200/- for a 60ml tube, this is a high-end product.
Pros: It genuinely leaves your skin feeling like you have spent a few hours at the spa. After a week of use, my skin has felt nourished and moisturized, even after 24hrs of application.
Cons: It smells quite bland and medicinal. And since it is currently, the most humid season and since I have oily skin, it made me start sweating, immediately after application.

Natio Ageless- Dual Action Cleanser and Exfoliator. Pure Plant Extracts with microfine polishing spheres to lift away the dull veil that hides skin’s natural glow. Helps stimulate skin cell renewal for a younger looking complexion. For all skin types. To be used thrice weekly.
Priced at Rs. 1,010/- for a 75gms tube, this is a high-end product.
Pros: This one smells like heaven and exfoliates the skin, without feeling rough. Every time I used it, in the past week, my skin felt suppler.
Cons: None that I could notice, in spite of my oily skin and 5-minute bath slots.

Lakme Enrich Satin lipstick- For an intense and vibrant pout. With added goodness of olive oil and Vitamin E, helps keep your lips feeling satin smooth.
Priced at Rs. 260/- this is a drug-store price range, product.
Pros: I wore this lipstick at 7am, and did not need a touchup, till at least after lunch. It stayed on, through breakfast, juices and several water breaks. Doesn’t bleed either. Has a nice, thick fragrance too. It keeps the lips feeling soft, rich and doesn’t let any lines form, either.
Cons: I was sent a bright red shade. My complexion is wheatish. And I never wear dark, especially red lipsticks. Just the colour made me feel quite self-conscious.

Repechange Foaming Gel Cleanser- for problem skin
Free sample pouch
Pros: Smells really fresh and cleanses the skin without any irritation.
Cons: None

Repechange Day Protection Cream- For sensitive skin
Free sample pouch
Pros: It smells amazing. Keeps the skin hydrated throughout the day.
Cons: Made my oily skin, oilier. But most creams do that, unless I use oily skin products specifically.

I was also sent a gift voucher of 300 rupees, in the goodie-bag. Thank you Aplava. Really great products!