Facebook Catches the Green Bug

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Facebook, the immensely popular social networking website started by then-college student Mark Zuckerberg, has come to an agreement with environmentalists.
Greenpeace was less than happy when Facebook started a data center in Prineville, Oregon, powered by a company that uses coal as its main fuel source.
According to, Facebook had good intentions in choosing the site. The temperature, especially during cool nights, would prevent overheating and overall reduce the company’s energy usage.
But Greenpeace would not let Facebook claim green. The use of coal would more than counter the energy-saving effects of cool nights.
So Greenpeace started a group on Facebook, which it called “Unfriend Coal,” to protest the action, says
This group ended up with the favor of around 700,000 Facebook users.
Now, the two have reached a truce, and Facebook has agreed to move toward renewables and energy efficiency in its future data centers.
Facebook has even gone as far as announcing OCP, or Open Compute Project—a joint effort with Greenpeace.
In OCP, Facebook will build a new data center that, according to the India Times, will be 38% more efficient in energy usage and be 24% cheaper than the average Internet data center.
Greenpeace is happy with this new plan, which could begin a move in the industry toward more energy efficient centers.
According to the India Times, if just a quarter of data centers switched to this new plan, it would save the energy equivalent of 160,000 homes.
As Tzeporah Berman of Greenpeace told Mirror:
“This move sets an example for the industry to follow. This shift to clean, safe energy choices will help fight global warming and ensure a stronger economy and healthier communities.”
Facbook is currently preparing to file for initial public offering in the second quarter of 2012.
PAB News says that it is possible Facebook will raise as much as $10 billion in its IPO.
That’s all for now,

India enjoys mobile growth

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The Indian mobile phone sector will grow by an average of 13% over the next four years, with sales boosted by the popularity of dual SIM handsets.

According to IDC, a consultancy, handset shipments reached 47.1m units in the third quarter of 2011, up 12% from the previous three months and equating to a year-on-year increase of almost 14%.

Looking further ahead, IDC said it expected 184.4m mobile phones to ship in India across the whole of 2011. By 2015, annual shipments are forecast to reach 301m, a compound annual growth rate of 13%.

In the latest results, dual SIM devices – which are particularly popular among people on lower incomes who wish to share ownership of a phone – outperformed other categories, rising 25% from the previous quarter.

More broadly, the mobile phone sector as a whole benefitted from retailers building their inventories of handsets ahead of what is anticipated to be a busy festival period, Deepak Kumar, research director at IDC, India said.

Dual SIM’s popularity is thought to have provided a boost for Nokia, which launched several handsets of this type in India in September 2011.

The Finnish carrier’s share of India’s mobile phone market was up 6.8% from the previous quarter, rising to 31.8%. Samsung was in second place on 17.5%.

Included in the overall increase in mobile shipments was a 21.4% quarter-on-quarter rise for smartphones, which are more popular among urban consumers on higher incomes.

Nokia also remained the market leader in the smartphone handset market with a share of 35% for the three-month period.

But Android gained the top spot for smartphone operating systems, taking a market share of just over 42%.

IDC said that smartphone shipments should increase by an average of 63% each year to 2015, with annual units shipped eventually reaching 77.5m.

Warc subscribers can get more in-depth analysis of India’s “big three” mobile networks – Bharti Airtel, Reliance Telecom and Vodafone – in this recent Warc Exclusive paper.

HCL Info systems hikes PC prices by 10-15%

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Computer maker HCL Infosystems has increased prices of desktops, laptops and servers by 10-15 per cent September onwards, as depreciating rupee has pushed up its imports bill.

“We have increased the prices of most of our products by 10-15 per cent. The hike has been gradual, we have had to increase prices from September onwards,” HCL Infosystems CEO Harsh Chitale told PTI.

The company, however, has not increased the price of its tablet PCs.

“We just launched our tablet PCs a few weeks ago and the pricing has been done, keeping in mind the forex rates. So, the prices have not been hiked for that category,” he said.

In nearly four-and-a-half months, weak economic conditions, inflation, high interest rates, increased capital outflows and trade deficit have weakened the rupee by about 20 per cent against the US dollar.

On December 15, the rupee fell to a historic low of 54.30 per US dollar amid sustained foreign capital outflows and strengthening greenback. Even though the domestic currency has recovered some of its lost ground since then, the decline has been worrisome for the importers.

Since the PC industry relies heavily on import of IT components (hard drive, memory, display amongst others) for product manufacturing, the price of the finished good is hugely impacted by the currency movement.

Depreciation of the Indian currency against the dollar has significantly pushed up input costs for PC-makers over the last few months, resulting in PC manufacturers hiking prices.

It has also been sort of a double whammy for computer hardware manufacturers as hard disk prices also went up last month.

Many hard disk manufacturers raised their prices, following the shortage created due to the floods in Thailand.

Scientists Pioneer New Methods In Climate Studies

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Using sophisticated new methods of statistical analysis to study patterns of extreme rainfall in India, a handful of members of the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Expeditions in Computing Program have created a research tool that has already resolved an ongoing debate in the science community and may go on to revolutionize the study of climate change.

Scheduled for official publication in February of next year, the journal Nature Climate Change pre-published the critical paper online on Dec. 19 conducted by engineer and computer-science expert Vipin Kumar of the University of Minnesota and his co-author Auroop Ganguly of the civil and environmental engineering department at Northeastern University in Boston and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Using new so-called ‘data-driven methods’, the two NSF members and their team have identified significant geographic variability in India‘s climate over the course of the last 50 years.

Engineers who built dam is worshipped

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A larger –than life portrait of a foreigner greets those entering Kuchanur, a nondescript village on the Theni- Cumbum highway. The painting on a community stage in the village yard is of Colonel John Pennycuick, a British engineer, who successfully completed the task of building Mullaperiyar dam.
The portrait sit next to that of Goddess Amman, indicating the position Pennycuick enjoys in the minds of the people here. Villagers say they also have a Pennycuick Peravai (forum). “It was formed about 10 years ago. During trans plantation of crop from nursery to fields and again during harvest we of fer prayers to Pennycuick. During Pongal too offecings and poojas are performed to Pennycuick,” says R Subbraj, foundermember of the peravai.
“ Many villages like Markeyanpatti, Ammapatti and Palayam have such a peravai,” says Subburaj. Palayam was the fist in the region to start it 30 years ago. Each peravai has about a dozen members who organize the prayers. During temple festivals, the members make it a point to pass on the story of Pennycuick to other villagers and children.
While many have portraits of the British engineer, some also have busts of Pennycuick. “we are making efforts to install his statue in our village.” Officials who hail from our village have assured to help us for the project,” says S Ramesh, a youth from Kuchanur Pennycuick has clearly become part of folkore and even children are named after him in villages across Theni district.

IT tools put to effective use by small businesses

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Be it attracting talent or finding new markets, thousands of small and medium-scale businesses (SMBs) have started using information technology tools, and several IT companies now offer them products and services.
For instance, Google India has launched ‘India Get Your Business Online.’ It is aimed at helping five lakh SMBs go online in three years. Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) has rolled out iON, an integrated IT solution for SMBs, and Microsoft India has a range of products and applications for this sector.
IT penetration among SMBs is at different levels. Those at the entry level have the basic hardware and software, while those at the utility level use these in their everyday business activities. SMBs that go for enhanced IT usage are those that use it as a process tool. Interestingly, several small and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs) in the manufacturing sector are rapidly converting their static websites into data-base oriented and interactive ones and those in the B-to-C segment are using social networking sites, says Rajveer Singh, managing director of Apex Cluster Development Services.
Small-scale businesses in the B-to-B segment could also use these sites to generate leads, says Yashraj Vakil, COO, Red Digital.
Rajiv Sodhi, director-SMB, Microsoft India, says SMEs are in two main categories — those in the mid-market segment, and the very small entities. IT use differs between these two. The top 50,000 units use IT for better business processes like cost management. They use it as a growth driver. The second category mainly uses personal computers to automate and manage information. An entrepreneur will need web presence, communication tools, and social networking. Adoption of IT among these units is set to increase.
While SMBs in the consulting, financial and IT services use the networking sites effectively, those in manufacturing have a specific market and are mostly part of a supply chain. Even they have started using online tools to attract new talent and get consultancy.
Penetration of websites in SMEs is less than 5 per cent. The Federation of Indian Micro and Small and Medium Enterprises is working with Google India to help more units have their websites. It is also working with TCS to develop a cloud for SMEs, says its secretary-general Anil Bhardwaj.

Pvt. universities told to adhere to SC directives

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The private universities in the state have been directed to adhere to Supreme Court directives and the rule of central agencies like Medical Council of India (MCI) and All Indian Council of Technical Education (AICTE) for fixing feel and finalising admission process.
The admissions would be on basis of national level common entrance exam for professional courses and on merit for other courses, the MP Private Universities’ Regulatory Commission has told the private universities. The issue of fees and admission process for the different courses including professional courses being run by the private universities were discussed at a meeting convened on Wednesday by the regulatory commission. Vice – chancellors (where appointed), registrars and finance officers of the nine notified universities attended the meeting.
The chairman of the regulatory commission, Akhilesh Kumar Pandey told Hindustan Times that to monitor the fees to be changed by the universities, the commission had decided to fix of format, wherein the universities would give details of their expenditure and the proposed fees structure.
During the meeting this format was discussed and the universities were asked to adhere to the Supreme Court guidelines in this regard,
“We are also gathering the fees details of other private universities from country so as compare the fees structure,” Pandey said. The universities have been asked to present their fees structure in given format within a week.

Spend Rs5 lakh for engineering degree, but don’t expect a job

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Despite their middle-class background, Vikas Kumar’s parents shelled out Rs5 lakh during his four years at an engineering college. His institute, however, saw just four to five firms treading in for placements last year. The companies picked only 50-60 students from a batch of 220 across streams – computer science, information science, civil, mechanical, etc.

Since he graduated a few months ago, Kumar, 22, has been knocking at every possible opportunity and shelling out over Rs55,000 in the process. “I have registered on quite a few job sites for freshers, approached the placement co-ordinator of another institute, registered in the campus pool of other colleges as well as enrolled for a course in networking,” said Kumar, who did his engineering in computer science from an institute in Chickballapur, about 56 km north of Bangalore.

To hone his potential, Kumar paid nearly Rs48,000 for a six-month networking course. He has also paid Rs4,000 for getting registered for placements with another college in Bangalore while simultaneously spending Rs3,500 for registering on two job sites.

“Despite doing all this, there is no guarantee that I might get a decent job. My college is busy with placements for the current batch and has no time to consider ex-students,” said Kumar.

Many of his classmates have also doled out similar amounts in the quest to get a job. Many are doing courses pertaining to VLSI (very large-scale integration), embedded technology, mobile communications, programming, etc, paying anywhere between Rs35,000-Rs50,000 for a duration of two to six months.

Saicharan Shetty, another fresh engineering graduate who paid over Rs4.5 lakh for graduation, did a two-month networking course in August-September for Rs22,000. He plans to shell out another Rs12,000 for giving the course exam. Passing the exam will guarantee him a certificate certified by a Nasdaq-listed networking firm. “Neither the institute from where I did the course nor my college will help in my job hunt. In short, it means investing more and more effort and money for returns which are not guaranteed,” said Shetty.

Experts said this trend is highly prevalent, especially with students hailing from lesser- known colleges. Estimates reveal that just 25% of engineering students get job offers by the time they graduate. “Three of four kids are jobless at the time of graduation. They need to then run from pillar to post to figure out ways to get jobs,” said Amit Bhatia, CEO of Gurgaon-based employability education firm Aspire.

This happens as top recruiters visit only renowned campuses, while setting yardsticks of minimum cut-offs. “Students should score not less than 60% or 70% in their semester exams to be eligible for placements is what some firms as well as colleges stipulate. This excludes several students,” said an HR official from an IT firm.

Shetty said as there was no structured guidance available on what to do post graduation, freshers end up emptying the pockets of their parents. However, in rare cases, colleges do call upon ex-students who are jobless, if they get approached by companies with a sudden requirement for talent, said Bhatia.