Wikipedia to shut for 24 hrs to stop anti-piracy act

Wikipedia, the popular community-edited online encyclopedia, will black out its English-language site for 24 hours to seek support against proposed U.S. anti-piracy legislation that Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales said threatens the future of the Internet.

The U.S. service will be the highest profile name to join a growing campaign starting at midnight Eastern Time on Wednesday that will see it black out its page so that visitors will only see information about the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect Intellectual Property Act.

The information will urge Wikipedia readers to contact their local congressman to vote against the bills. Other smaller sites leading the campaign include and Cheezeburger.

“This is a quite clumsily drafted legislation which is dangerous for an open Internet,” said Wales in an interview.

The decision to black out the site was decided by voting within the Wikipedia community of writers and editors who manage the free service, Wales said. The English language Wikipedia receives more than 25 million average daily visitors from around the world, according to comScore data.

The bills pit technology companies like Google Inc and Facebook against the bill’s supporters, including Hollywood studios and music labels, which say the legislation is needed to protect intellectual property and jobs.

The SOPA legislation under consideration in the House of Representatives aims to crack down on online sales of pirated American movies, music or other goods by forcing Internet companies to block access to foreign sites offering material that violates U.S. copyright laws. Supporters argue the bill is unlikely to have an impact on U.S.-based websites.

U.S. advertising networks could also be required to stop online ads, and search engines would be barred from directly linking to websites found to be distributing pirated goods.

Google has repeatedly said the bill goes too far and could hurt investment. Along with other Internet companies such as Yahoo , Facebook, Twitter and eBay , it has run advertisements in major newspapers urging Washington lawmakers to rethink their approach.

White House officials raised concerns on Saturday about SOPA saying they believe it could make businesses on the Internet vulnerable to litigation and harm legal activity and free speech.

“We’re happy to see opposition is building and that the White House has started to pay attention,” said Wales.

News of the White House’s comments prompted a prominent supporter of the bill News Corp Chief Executive Rupert Murdoch to slam the Obama administration.

“So Obama has thrown in his lot with Silicon Valley paymasters who threaten all software creators with piracy, plain thievery,” he posted on his personal Twitter account Saturday. News Corp owns a vast array of media properties from Fox TV, the Wall Street Journal to Twentieth Century Fox studios.

Wales said the bill in its current form was too broad and could make it difficult for a site like Wikipedia, which he said relies on open exchange of information. He said the bill also places the burden of proof on the distributor of content in the case of any dispute over copyright ownership.

“I do think copyright holders have legitimate issues, but there are ways of approaching the issue that don’t involve censorship,” Wales said.



Open-Source Robotic Surgery Platform Going to Top Medical Research Labs

Robotics experts at UC Santa Cruz and the University of Washington (UW) have completed a set of seven advanced robotic surgery systems for use by major medical research laboratories throughout the United States. After a round of final tests, five of the systems will be shipped to medical robotics researchers at Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, University of Nebraska, UC Berkeley, and UCLA, while the other two systems will remain at UC Santa Cruz and UW.

“We decided to follow an open-source model, because if all of these labs have a common research platform for doing robotic surgery, the whole field will be able to advance more quickly,” said Jacob Rosen, associate professor of computer engineering in the Baskin School of Engineering at UCSC and principal investigator on the project.

Rosen and Blake Hannaford, director of the UW Biorobotics Laboratory, lead the research groups that developed the Raven II robotic surgery system and its predecessor, Raven I. A grant from the National Science Foundation funded their work to create seven identical Raven II systems. Hannaford said the systems will be shipped out from UW by the end of January. After they are delivered and installed, all seven systems will be networked together over the Internet for collaborative experiments.

Robotic surgery has the potential to enable new surgical procedures that are less invasive than existing techniques. For some procedures, such as prostate surgery, the use of surgical robots is already standard practice. In addition, telesurgery, in which the surgeon operates a robotic system from a remote location, offers the potential to provide better access to expert care in remote areas and the developing world. Having a network of laboratories working on a common platform will make it easier for researchers to share software, replicate experiments, and collaborate in other ways.

Even though it meant giving competing laboratories the tools that had taken them years to develop, Rosen and Hannaford decided to share the Raven II because it seemed like the best way to move the field forward. “These are the leading labs in the nation in the field of surgical robotics, and with everyone working on the same platform we can more easily share new developments and innovations,” Hannaford said.

According to Rosen, most research on surgical robotics in the United States has focused on developing new software for various commercially available robotic systems. “Academic researchers have had limited access to these proprietary systems. We are changing that by providing high-quality hardware developed within academia. Each lab will start with an identical, fully-operational system, but they can change the hardware and software and share new developments and algorithms, while retaining intellectual property rights for their own innovations,” Rosen said.

The Raven II includes a surgical robot with two robotic arms, a camera for viewing the operational field, and a surgeon-interface system for remote operation of the robot. The system is powerful and precise enough to support research on advanced robotic surgery techniques, including online telesurgery.

In addition to Rosen and Hannaford, UCSC postdoctoral researchers Daniel Glozman and  Ji Ma, along with a group of dedicated undergraduate students working in Rosen’s Bionics Lab, played a key role in developing the Raven II. Rosen and Glozman have also developed a Raven IV surgical robotics system, which includes four robotic arms and two cameras. The system enables collaboration between two surgeons working from separate locations and connected over the Internet.  – Tim Stephens

SOURCE: UC Santa Cruz

Best IT talent pool in Delhi & Bihar; TN lags: Survey

The National Employability Study 2011 by Aspiring Minds reveals that Delhi and Bihar champion and provide the best talent pool for IT Product, IT Services, KPO, BPO, Software Testing and Hardware Networking roles. The data released under the National Employability Study 2011 analyses the employability scores of over 1.2 lakh final year engineering graduates. Regionally, it is observed that employability in IT services companies Delhi is highest of Engineers in the North, followed by East, then West and Uttarakhand Rank East then South.

Read More

Source: The Financial Express

India Inc to go slow on hiring in 2012

Amit Bansal, CEO, Purple Leap, says, “In engineering, the bulk of recruitment is in the information technology (IT) sector. The sentiment has changed over time. In mid-2011, there was a 25-30 per cent increase for freshers in IT. In the later half, that sentiment changed. People are cautious. I believe that in the first quarter of 2012, the sentiment would be to wait and watch.”

Read More:

Source: Business Standard



Talent shortage a major constraint for start-ups

The National Employability Study 2011 recently conducted by Aspiring Minds Assessment Pvt Ltd, a Gurgaon-based ‘employability solutions’ company, based on the scores of more than 120,000 technical graduates and final-year MCA students in a test it conducted among them, revealed that a mere 3.25 per cent of engineering graduates are software-industry-ready, and ready to be hired without need for further training.

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Microsoft: Five things to look for in 2012

Next year is one of those years that can’t come soon enough for Microsoft.

It’s not that 2011 was a particularly difficult year. The company posted record revenue for the fiscal year that ended June 30. And its 2-year-old PC operating system, Windows 7, hit 500 million copies sold, further embedding it as the most widely used operating system in the world. But 2011 had few big product launches at the company, Office 365 and Internet Explored 9 notwithstanding.

Next year will be altogether different. Microsoft is prepping the big kahuna of its product arsenal, Windows 8. The company hasn’t set a date, though most analysts expect the flagship operating system to debut before the end of the year, and perhaps in time for back-to-school shopping. From that product, much else from Redmond flows.

So here are five things to look for from Microsoft in 2012:

1.      Windows 8 tablet

2.      Xbox moves farther into live TV

3.      Windows Phone: We’re No. 3

4.      Patent litigation aggressor

5.      Growing search through social

Read more;topStories

Making a case for inclusiveness

Much like India needs “inclusive” growth, our companies too need to be inclusive when hiring. After all, organization are microcosms of society. Therefore building inclusive companies will not only supplement our national goal but also be an effective test of our capability to do so.

Read more:


Companies cut hiring in October: Naukri

Telecom sector, however, bucked the trend with 19 per cent increase in hiring. Barring ITES (IT-enabled services) sector which saw a dip of 3 per cent, all other sectors witnessed two-digit dips. While auto sector registered a fall of 26 per cent, IT, pharma, oil and gas, and banking witnessed dips in the range of 13-19 per cent in hiring.

Read more

Source: Business Line

How to make office meetings productive

How to make office meetings productive

The term ‘Meetings’ has become synonymous with all self-confessed ‘busy people’. 25 to 50 percent or more of most managers’ time and talent is usually tied-up in meetings. Considering how badly most meetings are run these days, it’s no surprise to learn that the age-old practice of getting a group of people together for a common goal has become such a contemptible and dreaded activity.

Most people even think that it is just wasting precious time which could have otherwise been spent fixing bugs, designing applications, polishing pitches, writing reports — anything that involves actually working rather than sitting in a room (or on a call) staring into space.

It is hence important to realise that meetings are relevant and conducive to a successful and productive working environment. We can’t rid the world of meetings. After all, the benefits of meeting does sometime outweigh the costs. There are steps we could take to make sure that our meetings are more productive and that we meet more wisely.

Below are the Q-A sessions in Rediff chat answered by Amit Bansal, the founder and CEO of PurpleLeap.

Riaz asked, Amit: Many persons unable to understand the jist of the entire meeting fail to question. This is another disaster and guest lose interest. At the end the meeting is branded as boring. Do u suggest time bound meetings?
Amit Bansal answers, Absolutely. Meetings MUST be time bound. One hour is a good time to make a couple of good decisions.

Samm asked, Thanks amit … I believe to make any biz meeting effective and sucessful the management needs to have clear cut strategies and understanding with in team in place ?? what do u say ??
Amit Bansal answers, True… and like I said before…not arriving at a solution is not an option in any meeting.

Riaz asked, Hi Amit, Cluster meeting where the entire day is utilsed. First they explain what happened viz figures,then what to do and what went wrong. Ifn u see these kind of meeting the guest do not gain but the company exe utilsie the entire time. Lunch and tea, by the time the time is over. how do u rate these meeting . pls comment for positive result and participation of guests.
Amit Bansal answers, The steps to make meeting effective do not change with the length of the meeting. Lack of direction in turn can many any kind of meeting a disaster and sheer waste of time.

Samm asked, Hey Amit ..throw some light on an effective business meetings ?
Amit Bansal answers, Good business meetings should have: 1. 3 to 4 points of discussion only. 2. An agenda which is distributed to all participants before the meeting. 3. Only the relevant number of people required to take a decision. 4. A discussion which is directed towards reaching a solution or a plan of action. 5. A clarity that ‘not arriving at a solution’ is not an option. 6. And finally a conclusion with action points and people responsible to execute the action.

shashi asked, i have felt in most of our company meets that managment always try to impose their point of view. although we are the front liners and know the situation better than managment. but still they are not willing to take our point of view. in case we counter , they can always take it otherwise. what to do in those circumtances
Amit Bansal answers, I think strategy is important. Before you bring a point in a meeting why don’t confide in a senior member who is also a part of the meeting. Do this before the meeting. In that case you will have a supporter from the senior group in a meeting. Once you have even one supporter from the senior group you will be heard. Strategise a bit!

lalitha asked, In a group of 25 people meeting iam only a girl, that to they book in overseas,facing so much shy and dissapointment, plz tel me how to overcome
Amit Bansal answers, Well you will have to take up the ownership of talking. Write down the points you would like to discuss. It helps when you write things down.

as asked, Hi Amit , What should be a maximum time frame for a meeting
Amit Bansal answers, Not more than an hour. Any meeting going beyond it means you are not going anywhere with the agenda.

subhranath asked, Hi Amit how to combat negetive and baseless criticism in a meting without losing the patience?
Amit Bansal answers, Directing it back to arriving at a solution. Simple sentences like, ‘appreciate your thoughts but we have limited time to arrive to a solution’. I think emotional intelligence has to be increased in such situations.

Venkat asked, Hi Amit, we often write down the minutes of the meeting and at times there are action points are forgotten until the next meeting is up. Is there any way to be more organized about this, than just putting it in the MOM?
Amit Bansal answers, Someone has to follow up on the MOM with people. I hope you have the name of the person responsible to take action against action points. The host of the meeting needs to follow it up with them before the next meeting.

subhra asked, Hi Amit.In our departmental meetings some supervisors try to portray only negetives and excuses. Is there a way to make things right?
Amit Bansal answers, The point is, even if negatives are discussed everyone must know that at the end of the meeting they have to arrive at a solution. The position of ‘this problem does not have a solution’ is not an option. If that is made clear, people can talk about negatives its alright.

Aniket asked, Hi Amit, we have very organized meetings. Our manager sends us a agenda of the meeting along with the time and date. But once we meet, usually the talk revolves more on other things which are not in the agenda at all. This means that when I go to the meeting I would have not prepared to discuss the points which finally are being put on the table. How can I ask my manager to give us a fair warning in advance about such things?
Amit Bansal answers, Yes you must. And also let him know that his efforts of sending an agenda and planning an organized meeting are going in vain. I am sure it will help.

lavanya asked, Hi Amit, I have a problem with meetings. They somehow put me off to sleep. Reminds me at times of the lectures we used to attend back in college! Some of these guys talk in a level which only they can understand and so lowly mortals like me think it better to dream off in gaga land… How can I put across this fact to the team and ask them to stick to the point without being rude?
Amit Bansal answers, Why are you closed about understanding the language used by different kinds of people? You will have to deal with such people all the time during your career. Look at it as a learning experience. Try see what you can take back from this experience.

Saurabh asked, Amit, Meetings are often called by top management to say what they have to say and I feel that they do not actually want to listen to what the freshers have to say. in such cases why not just send a mail and not waste people’s time to congregate in the hall to just make a speech.
Amit Bansal answers, I think look at it as an experience. As a fresher you can observe how people speak in public, understand the kind of people who work in your organization. There is a lot you can learn just with the non-verbal communication that people do. Soak in the experience I would say. Sometimes the top management congregates people for such meeting to create a platform for people from different departments to meet.

assboss asked, i have meeting tommorow with general manager but i dont confidence pls suggest what should i do to make good impression?
Amit Bansal answers, Know everything about the topic of discussion. Keep all the data handy. Anticipate uncomfortable questions be prepared for them. And run over your presentation at least 3 to 4 times.

tt asked, Pls advise us how to conduct a goal oriented meeting and what is the approach ?
Amit Bansal answers, Please check the answer posted for Jiya.

Jiya asked, Hi Sir, I work in a small organization and we usually have our team meetings on every friday to take stock of the work that was done during the week and also to plan ahead for the week ahead. Somehow I’m not sure we are able to brainstorm as I want my team to. Do you have any suggestions? How can I bring a little more life into our meetings?
Amit Bansal answers, Write down these three things before you go into the meeting: 1. What is the purpose of this meeting? 2. How do I want the process of discussion to happen? 3. What do I want to achieve at the end of this meeting? 4. How much time do I have to do all of the above? try this out.

JP asked, A brainstornming session with about 1o people in a room ends up with lots of chaos .. how to handle this ?
Amit Bansal answers, The host of the meeting needs to moderate a meeting and ensure every body else is in the right direction as per the meeting agenda. If people digress bring them back stating that they are digressing. At the same time all must know that at the end of the discussion a solution must be arrived at. A lot of times people discuss in a meeting thinking its not very important to arrive at a solution today. That will only turn a meeting into chaos.

shashi asked, suppose if your employees are not motivated internaly. do u think even in that case office meeting do matters
Amit Bansal answers, Meetings can be just to motivate each other talking about future plans within the department and uprising each other of current situations within the organization. It can be a very good bonding activity where people share their thoughts, feelings and ideas.

Khalsaa asked, This is my 1st meeting on ‘Marketing’ presentation of my official career, any suggestions.
Amit Bansal answers, All the best!! Prepare well and anticipate questions.

Shreyas asked, Hi Amit, for our weekly meetings I do have points to say but often when we sit for meetings I find that I have either forgotten the point or am not able to put across in words that are impressive. Any way i can improve on this?
Amit Bansal answers, You must create a notebook for meeting agenda. I know someone who used to use the last page of her diary just for this. As she address those points in a meeting she would strike it off. If you have written it down somewhere I am sure you will be able to remember and talk about it as well.

sankesh asked, Amitji, my manager likes to call meetings every week. Most of the time we feel that we are wasting time on Mondays when we should actually be taking stock of our work and going ahead with it. How can we make our meetings more productive and short?
Amit Bansal answers, Any meeting happening without a clear agenda will be unproductive. So when you walk into a meeting you must have a written list of things that will be discussed. The discussion must not digress from the specific list of things decided earlier. Any new agenda should be added only in the next meeting. Moreover, a clear output should be arrived at after the meeting. And everything should be contained in some time duration. You cannot have a meeting going on forever. Remember, the model is Purpose…Process….Product and off-course timeline.

suresh asked, Hi Amit, don’t you think we could be more productive by not having meetings, but just having those same discussions via email?
Amit Bansal answers, Well unless the idea does not require brainstorming or if it’s between two people discussing over emails is alright. However if are looking at a larger group to contribute towards making a decision emails are not a good option. Sometimes emails are responded only at the end of the day, in such scenarios the whole idea of brainstorming dilutes. I think we must look at making meetings productive rather than eliminating them completely.

mamu asked, hi amit, i think 99 out of 100 times office meetings serve no purpose. They end up not reaching at any conclusion or concrete plan of action…why should we have office meetings?
Amit Bansal answers, Hi, meetings are an important part of any organization. We cannot work alone and to work together we need time to discuss and brainstorm. That needs us to organize meetings. However, i do understand the productivity of such meetings are under question. It all boils down to… purpose..process and product. Most often when we decide about meetings we are only looking at a process….we neither decide a clear purpose or expect a product. That’s what need to be looked at while planning the meeting.

Chat Date: October 28, 2011


Hiring on track, Infy to add 45,000 by year end

Infosys on Wednesday said that its hiring plans for the year were on track – a barometer of the global demand environment. The firm plans to hire 45,000 employees by the year end and even with the macroeconomic outlook in theUSandEuroperemaining gloomy. The IT major will hire 8,000 people during the third quarter, it said.



source: Financial Express