15 March 2012

The News - News

The News - News

New DGCA rules may see Jet cutting flights

Posted: 14 Mar 2012 12:21 AM PDT

Even as the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA)'s deadline for implementing new rules for pilots' duty time and rest draws close, Air India and Jet Airways are refusing to adopt it in current form, fearing an impact on their schedules.

Jet Airways would have to cut flights if the rules, in their current form, come into effect, a senior airline executive told Business Standard. After pressure from pilot unions and a court intervention, the DGCA had framed new rules that take into account factors such as human fatigue. The rules no not allow a pilot to fly two consecutive nights, and provide for more rest before flights on crossing multiple time zones. These would increase the requirement of pilots and impact schedules, particularly those for trans-Atlantic flights.

Last August the DGCA had introduced the new civil aviation regulation (CAR) to replace the rules in effect since 1992. The new norms were scheduled to come into effect from February 24, but this was postponed to March 24. Air India and Jet Airways are not ready to implement the rules in their current form, and have sought clarifications from the regulator.

A Jet Airways executive said, “We had several meetings with the DGCA on this issue. We asked for clarification on the new policy. We are again meeting next week." He added the airline had sought time till the end of December to adapt to the new rules, if the regulator decided to stick to the deadline.

The executive also said the Federal Aviation Administration had given the airline two years to implement the rules on pilot duty time.

"There will be a significant impact on us," he said, adding the airline would have to recruit additional 30-35 commanders. Since the last few months, it has struggled to return to profitability and is cutting down costs. An increase in staff costs and hotel accommodation charges would upset the airline's plans to cut costs. In 2010-11, the airline had spent over Rs 1,300 crore on employee costs.

"We will have to curtail operations if the rules are implemented from March 25, without any changes,'' he said. Both Air India and Jet Airways are yet to submit their implementation plan to the regulator. Jet Airways operates 600 flights daily to 75 destinations in India and abroad.

An Air India executive said, "We have sought a written clarification from the regulator. There is ambiguity regarding certain clauses. There will be an impact on our schedules."

"Safety wouldn't be compromised if we don't implement the rules in their current form,'' said another Jet executive. He added the DGCA rules were restrictive compared to those in place in the US, UK, Europe and Australia. "It does not follow the international standards,'' he said.

However the stance of Jet Airways' management's has upset the pilots. "The CAR has its flaws. But it is a step forward from what is being followed now,'' said a commander, adding the management was selective in choosing to follow regulations that were in place in the West. "The problem is the airline wants the rules which would cater to its schedules,'' he said. "The 1992 crew rest rules are unscientific. Why did the airline not suggest that scientific rules be implemented in India, like those in the rest of world,'' he asked.

A bone of contention between the airline and the regulator is interpretation of the clause regarding rest before flights. According to the new rules, pilots would have to be given 14-36 hours' rest if they fly three to eight time zones. For instance, Jet Airways operates flights to the US/Canada with a stop at Brussels. According to a source, Jet had said while crossing the Atlantic, pilots could rest in Brussels. So, there was a change of three-four time zones. Accordingly, the period of rest at New York or Toronto would be lower.

It is learnt the DGCA has a different view on the issue. It had suggested that the difference in time zones from India be taken into account.

SpiceJet to start cargo operations from Surat by April

Posted: 14 Mar 2012 12:01 AM PDT

SpiceJet is set to start its air cargo services from the diamond city in April second week. The airline had recently started its passenger air services connecting Surat with Delhi and Mumbai.

Executive, corporate communications, SpiceJet, Priti Dey told TOI, “We are waiting for approvals and soon will begin our cargo operations from the city to Delhi and Mumbai.”

An airline team visited the city on the day of Holi and met a number of textile and diamond association office-bearers at J J Market board room and South Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industries (SGCCI).

The team consisted of senior vice-president V Raja, general manager, cargo, V Raghuraman and a few officials from the airlines’ sales department.

“Federation of Surat Textiles Traders Association (FOSTTA) officials made their presentation for the cargo services to the cities like Hyderabad, Chennai and Kolkata. Representatives of diamond industry demanded cargo services to Dubai and Antwerp,” SGpresident Rohit Mehta said.

SGCCI and diamond industry representatives made a strong representation for a direct flight from Surat to Dubai.

“We are planning special passenger-cum-cargo services for textile and diamond industry of the city. Once we finish discussing the modalities with different agencies, they will be started,” Raghuraman said.

FOSTTA asked for connectivity to 11 different cities of the country from Surat. It demanded connectivity to Kolkata, Patna, Ranchi, Cuttack, Guwahati, Varanasi, Lucknow, Amritsar, Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Jammu, Raipur, Bhopal, Indore, Goa, Kochi, Chennai, Bangalore and Trivandrum.

Recharge you Phone with your Breath!

Posted: 13 Mar 2012 11:45 PM PDT

Just breathe to give your device a new life!  Sounds amusing, but this concept is soon going to be a reality as researchers have come up with a new device that uses the air from your lungs to charge your phone.                                                                        Recharging the gadget with a spoon of water and with body movements were marvels in themselves and now you just have to breathe to juice your gadgets.

The new device is called 'AIRE mask', it uses the wind power generated by your breathe and converts it into electricity to recharge anything from an iPod to a smartphone. The whole kit comes with an electronic mask which has minute wind turbines to cover wind (breath) into electricity and a small cable to transfer the energy to the device.

Inventor Joco Paulo Lammoglia, from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil says, "It can be used indoors or outdoors, while you're sleeping, walking, running or even reading a book. Besides saving energy and helping environmental preservation, it also encourages physical exercise." Its energy is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Though many of our modern gadgets offer benefits, they tend to use a high amount of electrical energy. Harnessing energy from human activities and transforming it into electricity is possible and is a great solution," Lammoglia added.

Smartphones: Fastest Disease Surveillance Device

Posted: 13 Mar 2012 11:36 PM PDT

Smartphones disease

Smartphones have not only placed huge computing power at our finger tips, but are also providing faster, cheaper and more accurate surveillance of diseases.

Researchers at the Kenyan Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP), found the smartphone cheaper than traditional paper surveys to gather information, after the initial set-up cost.

In the study, data collected with smartphones had fewer errors and was more quickly available for analyses than data collected on paper, according to a CDCP statement.

Researchers compared survey data collection methods at four flu surveillance sites in Kenya. At each site, surveillance officers identified patients with respiratory illness and filled out a brief questionnaire that included demographic and clinical information.

Some of the questionnaires were collected using traditional paper methods, and others were collected using HTC Touch Pro2 smartphones using a proprietary software program called the Field Adapted Survey Toolkit (FAST).

“Collecting data using smartphones has improved the quality of our data and given us a faster turnaround time to work with it,” said Henry Njuguna, sentinel surveillance coordinator at CDCP Kenya. “It also helped us save on the use of paper and other limited resources.”

A total of 1,019 paper-based questionnaires were compared to 1,019 smartphone questionnaires collected at the same four sites.

Only three percent of the surveys collected with smartphones were incomplete, compared to five percent of the paper-based questionnaires.

Of the questions requiring mandatory responses in the smartphone questionnaire, four percent were left unanswered in paper-based questionnaires compared with none of the smartphone ones.

Seven paper-based questionnaires had duplicated patient identification numbers, while no duplication was seen in smartphone data.

Smartphone data were uploaded into the database within eight hours of collection, compared to an average of 24 days for paper-based data to be uploaded.

The cost of collecting data by smartphones was lower in the long run than paper-based methods. For two years, the cost of establishing and running a paper-based data collection system was approximately $61,830 compared to approximately $45,546 for a smartphone data collection system.
Source: IANS

Twitter Acquires Mobile Blogging Firm Posterous

Posted: 13 Mar 2012 11:31 PM PDT


Social networking site Twitter has said it has acquired Posterous, a start-up firm in mobile blogging business, but did not disclose the purchase price.

“Posterous engineers, product managers and others will join our teams working on several key initiatives that will make Twitter even better,” Twitter said in a blog post.

“This (Posterous) team has built an innovative product that makes sharing across the web and mobile devices simple, a goal we share,” the micro-blogging firm said.

Withot disclosing the financial terms of the deal, it said: “Acquisitions have given us people and technology that have enabled us to more quickly build a better Twitter for you.”

Founded in 2008, Posterous is a mobile blogging platform which let people use smartphones to post pictures, videos and audio etc and share them with others.

“The opportunities in front of Twitter are exciting, and we couldn’t be happier about bringing our team’s expertise to a product that reaches hundreds of millions of users around the globe,” Posterous Founder and CEO Sachin Agarwal wrote in a post on the company’s website.

He further said, “Posterous Spaces will remain up and running without disruption. We will give users ample notice if we make any changes to the service.”

7 Companies Who Destroyed Their Competitors

Posted: 13 Mar 2012 11:25 PM PDT

There are many companies which were at the top once, but couldn't hold the position for too long and were toppled by much smaller and nimbler companies which had better products and innovations to change the business sector. 24/7 Wall St. has listed out some of those companies who recently toppled from their position.


Google vs. Yahoo

Google is the synonym for internet, searching products, or downloading software. Google rules as the biggest search engine. But it's hard to believe that this was not the scene earlier. In the early days, Lycos, Excite, AskJeeves were the rulers of the search world. By 20th century end, Yahoo became the leader by dragging the smaller companies under it at any cost. In 2000, Yahoo had 56 percent of the search engine referrals, which was six times its closest competitor.

Google had only 1 percent of the market in June 2000. Soon Yahoo started using Google's search algorithm. Yahoo began to lose steam quickly as Google began competing for market share. Within 2002, Google's efficient search engine became much popular. It referred 31.8 percent of all searches, compared to Yahoo, which is only 36.3 percent. Google's popularity increased exponentially in the next eight years and reached at the top most position. According to Comscore, in July 2011, Google had more than 65 percent of the market share while Yahoo had just 16.1 percent.


Hewlett-Packard vs. Dell

Dell was once the market King for global PC sales, with 13 percent of the market share. Compaq was second with 11.2 percent share. Over the past decade, the graph of personal computer market has changed drastically. In May 2002, Hewlett-Packard acquired the fraught Compaq for $25 billion.

Dell was the leader with a 17.2 percent of market share till 2005, but HP quickly closed the gap with 14.7 percent share. Within third quarter of 2008 that is within less than three years, HP surpassed Dell, and leads the market till now. In Q2 of 2011, HP's market share was 17.5 percent, Dell's was 12.5 percent, and Lenovo's was 12 percent which is just behind Dell.


Apple vs. Nokia

In Q4 of 2007, Nokia had more than 50 percent of the worldwide smartphone market share, whereas Research In Motion's Blackberry had 10.9 percent and Apple at just 5.2 percent. Though Apple had less smartphone market share it was leading the digital music device market consistently.

In the fourth quarter of 2010, Apple iPhone still had a relatively small portion of the market with a 16.1 percent share which is a little over half of that of Nokia's 28 percent. With a huge sale number and Steve Jobs driving the company, Apple shared 19.1 percent market share within second quarter of 2011, with an annual growth of 141 percent. Nokia came down to the third position after Samsung which had a 15.7 percent of the market share.


Facebook vs. Myspace

Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation purchased upcoming Myspace for $580 million in July 2005, when Facebook membership was still limited to college students. According to Comscore, in May 2007, Facebook's unique monthly viewers were restricted to just 30 million, whereas Myspace's were at around 70 million.

In May 2009, Facebook toppled Myspace's unique viewers, which had still 70 million viewers. Later Facebook had nearly 160 million users. Meanwhile Myspace's users dropped below 40 million and that number kept on falling. In June 2009, Murdoch sold the dying company Myspace for $35 million which is 93 percent less than the original purchase price.


GM vs. Toyota

General Motors aka GM has actually experienced two major hurdles in the race to become the top automaker in the world. GM had been the dominant leader in U.S., since 1930s, and was dominant in the global market as well, for almost of the latter half of the 20th century. But it started to lose its grip from the top most position, because of the global recession. Toyota officially became the world's topmost automaker by the end of 2008, beating out GM. GM's global market share continued to decline globally as well as in U.S.

Due to limited sales and financial troubles from the recession, the manufacturer (GM) filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in June 2009. Within two years it regained its top position. GM made profit very quickly as its new IPO was successful. With Japan earthquake hitting its rival Toyota hard, GM again became the world's largest automaker in August 2009. In the first half of 2011, GM sold 4.5 million units whereas Its Japanese rival, Toyota sold only 3.7 million.


Amazon vs. Barnes & Noble

Barnes & Noble was the largest bookseller for years. However, online retailer Amazon.com has blown the company away by taking book selling online. Amazon.com became less burdened due to no expensive business running stores. The convenience and ease of operations became an additional benefit for Amazon.

Its e-book reader Kindle surpassed the e-reader race with B&N's Nook and others. Barnes & Noble's net income dropped from $147 million in 2006 to a loss of $74 million in 2010. Amazon, meanwhile saw a net profit from $190 million to $1.2 billion.


Blockbuster vs. Netflix

Blockbuster is a VHS rental company founded in 1985. Blockbuster, with more than 6,500 stores around the country, went public in 1999, the same year when Netflix launched. By 2006, Netflix came into the picture by making just $1 billion profit that year, which was not so close to the figure of Blockbuster's revenue, which was roughly $5.5 billion.

But the small company introduced streaming video in 2007, which allowed the viewers to watch films on home computers. This unique feature, along with the growing popularity of the company's DVD delivery service became an additional benefit to Netflix and it led to a steady downfall of Blockbuster's profitability. By 2010, the massive company Blockbusters lost it millions of customers each quarter. Finally it declared bankruptcy by the middle of the year. By then, Netflix had more than 25 million subscribers.