An Indian going Indie

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Image courtesy of artur84 at FreeDigitalPhotosnet
Image courtesy of artur84/FreeDigitalPhotosnet

I have great respect for the writers of the yore who wrote, found an empathetic publisher and got published eventually. I can actually feel them take a deep sigh of relief and their hearts leap up a ‘hurrah!’ as the in-house editors and the publisher took up the remaining exercise of proofing and advertising or publicising the price may be so that more copies could be sold. The author got his/her royalties and the publisher their pound of flesh and that was that. This is much the traditional way it’s been for as close as during the late 80s and into the 90s when the paucity of good publishing houses showed their uppity noses and gave the short shrift to wannabe writers. The people…driven people who had faith in their manuscripts and stories turned to publishing the books themselves, i.e., went independent, managing to incur huge monetary investment and usually failed to recover their funds. Not only did they incur personally loss as such; there were derisive allusions and scoffing for all their efforts as ‘vanity publishers’.

That the vanity books must have given some positive result for all that bogey attached to it gets credence by the fact that the independent or the indie publishing as it is called now is very much alive and thriving. In fact many traditional writers are looking this way for the huge reach; more say in the percentage of their earnings and even the power to keep the story intact i.e. as it had been intended by the writer; without any outside influences turning the story a different way is enticing more people towards it in hordes. This is especially true in the case of digital publishing that has opened the floodgates of any and every creative impulse in the world. You’ve written poetry, short stories, biography, murder mystery, romantic novel or anything that held your fancy, you’ve got the chance of getting it shown to the world at the click of the ‘publish’ button! Easy-peasy.

Did I say easy?

Well! Here I am ready to respectfully give a double bow (if that is possible; D) to the next wave of writers and authors who are actually self-publishers and who are an evolved version of the vanity publishers of the yore, who being armed with way better technology are akin to a ‘lone ranger’ who has to fend for him/herself out in the fields once the button has been clicked. Actually, hitting the publish button is possibly the easiest thing to do in the writing business. It is the latter part that takes up most of your attention once the writing is up in the air. As a newbie writer on the horizon with no real knowledge of how technology could be used to avail a book on a public platform especially in India I have taken the leap with hopes that it’d lead to some tangible and fruitful results. I went the indie way and it’s not plain vanity at play here!

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotosnet
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

All through the primary and middle school years of my children I was a disheartened parent who could not find enough good poems that could be used in classes that were about good, gentle sounding real life situations with meanings that did not necessarily sound preachy or had double meanings. I mean poems for children should be just that….for children. That is considering it is for children who are an entity that have simple, logical, rational brains that did not need a patronising word thrown at them from every available turn. Keeping that in mind, I was able to make a neat collection of 15 poems called ‘The Vagrant’ that I wrote over a period of two years, edited and proofread for n number o-f times in the next couple of years before I despatched it for a feedback to a couple of English professors at the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) as well as some students who were my beta-readers and who gave me the required input regarding my efforts.

Here I would like to add a note of caution and that is that whatever said and done English is our second language though it seems closer to us than our own mother tongue. Hence, it is advisable that one really pays attention to the story/poem as well as the language before thinking of going into print. If the thoughts are honest but not supported by the right notes of the language, it will bog down the good content as well as ones aspirations. So it pays to be very critical of one’s work and get a third, fourth or fifth viewpoint on your baby. A detached version than say your own view on it.

So all this while, I’d been simultaneously reading and scanning the net for the developments taking place in the publishing arena. Amazon had made great strides in the self-publishing business and many Indians had gotten a break through this platform. The hugely popular writer of the Indian historical fiction got his break first as an indie writer with ‘The Rozabal Line’ (under a nom de plume Shawn Haigins) and who was then picked up by a traditional publisher Westland (relatively newly established).

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Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

That was heartening to the extent that one came to realise that it is okay to have to struggle before one achieved some amount of fame and recognition! And that you need to search for the best course of action under the circumstances and take the required action asap. In my search for the best way to go in for, I searched the net extensively. There are several self-publishing companies in the Indian market now- pothi.com, flipcart.com, amazon.com, partridgepublishing.com and many others who are dotting the scene literally! I spent enough time on many of them asking questions, removing my doubts as also knowing precisely how they functioned. All these sites are made to give a step by step self-help instructions into getting a good thing ready. It’s not really very different in any of these sites but when the time came, I chose to publish my book via the Smashwords.com. It is an American website that helps self-publishers and which I thought was more user friendly than any of the lots. Luckily for me, I got in contact with a professional computer whiz and a talented cover designer who got my book together for me in almost no time. Here’s a link to it, THE VAGRANT.

Since I was going to do a digital book only, it didn’t really matter where I got it published from. The biggest factor that I saw in Smashwords was that it marketed the book to multiple retailers. It also allows the author to have own say in its pricing, availability or non-availability to any particular retailer as well as earn more than 75% of one’s sales. Anybody wanting to know more about its working can go to its site on the link provided above.

Imagine the shock when I realised that for something that can be easily got online, one not only had to be a plain old writer/author/poet, but also an ace in marketing the product as well! Most self-pub companies publish it for free but charge you for any professional help you ask of them. Some were quite reasonable, but many were too steep to even consider them seriously especially when they weren’t going to do anything to help promote your work. Self-publishing is a major thing trending the foreign shores as of now and Indians are not too far behind too. But the thing is, the whole publishing business is more organised and amenable there than in India. They have web designers who know the specifics of the trade, the cover designers, editors, beta-reader clubs and all those tools that help in the making of a book and then airing it. All this gives a very professional look to the end product- the book which is the first important step after which comes brandishing your product as a brand. Smashwords has its own eBooks on marketing tips and publicity, growing your traffic that give a close look and pointers about how to go about the latter part of business post publishing.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotosnet (2)

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I am trying to garner interest in my book by using the social media as well as I am able to. I am active on twitter, facebook and google+. You can find me on my twitter handle richa04richa and Facebook page.

Internet market is bound to see a healthy growth in this field and it may be that a one-stop shop for all our digital and print book needs will be found just around the corner. Or as my twitter handle says- just around the round corner!

Hope you enjoyed the post! I definitely hope you can enjoy my published work too ‘THE VAGRANTS’.I would like to have your view on this. Thank you very much.

How much useful are creative writing courses?

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Image courtesy of iosphere at FreeDigitalPhotosnet

Image courtesy of iosphere/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Do you think creative writing courses are a waste of time? Are the writers born with a talent to create stories? Do they need an inborn talent in writing? Yesterday I came across an article authored by Alison Flood on the online edition of The Guardian newspaper that was dated 4th of March 2014; where it reads as “The creative writing courses are a waste of time.” This was an opinion came out from a man of letters, none other than an award won author of the book, The Buddha of Suburbia, and even more a professor appointed for teaching creative writing at Kingston University, Mr.Hanif Kureishi. I got an interest in the topic as I am currently enrolled for a creative writing course from the Writers Bureau, u.k.

According to his opinions, it can be concluded that students can’t be made to tell a story as it is a great skill someone should have. He added that the students are wasting money on such courses and making not much progress out of it.

While going through the article, it can be seen that another novelist and former creative writing teacher Lucy Ellman partially agreeing with his opinions. The author of the article, Alison Flood pointed out one statement from Lucy Ellman where she said “What you should really be doing is reading as much good literature as you can get your hands on, for years and years, rather than wasting half your university life writing stuff you’re not ready to write.”

Another famous novelist Matt Haig contradicted Kureishi’s statement citing the example of music lessons. Music lessons will definitely improve the skills of someone studying music. Likewise, even if writing skills are partly instinct and partly craft, the craft part is the one that can be teachable.

I agree with the arguments of Lucy Ellman and Matt Haig to a certain extent. We cannot say that someone who has talent in music should not go to a music class. Similarly, how it be possible for anyone to master a musical instrument without attending any course?

It is our common knowledge that music, painting, craft, sculpture, etc. are like literature pertaining to the field of aesthetics, the sense of which is guided by inborn talent. Like music, no man of letters cannot have good command in a language without learning the alphabets. There are no famous painters and artists who never had any learning from the feet of a master.

Image courtesy of iosphere at FreeDigitalPhotosnet (2)

Image courtesy of iosphere/FreeDigitalPhotos.net 


Some of you may have the physique needed for a basketball player but if you do not practice playing it, you can’t be a player. Here your height may be a positive factor that you got by birth while your skills are developed through years of hard work and determination to succeed. Remember you may not be able to become a great basketball player if you happened to be someone with a height of just four feet. Similarly you may need some inborn abilities or nature to be a good story teller.


Even if you have that much-needed instinct to write,I strongly believe in the following three factors that are crucial for anyone to develop the writing skills.


# Constant reading of quality contents related to your subject you wish to write about. If you are a writer interested in publishing your own novel, you should definitely be reading books related to your area or storytelling. 


# You should stick to a plan of regularly writing. It is human tendency to postpone things to be done for tomorrow. If you keep on postponing your daily writing tasks every day, your chances of becoming a published author will happen only in your dreams. 


# This  third and most important thing to be done is improving your skills constantly. Imagine you have a so-called inborn instinct to write. You are reading a lot of books of your choice or quality contents from the internet, but not taking any interest in constantly improving your skills. I bet you are not going to improve your skills unless you make a constant effort to improve it by analysing your mistakes. Here lies the importance of creative writing courses using which you can polish your skills. 


The entire scenario of writing has changed now. Remember your parents made their successful careers without the help of Google. They spend their time in libraries searching for knowledge. Now every information is on your finger tip. The current generation follows a different perspective towards writing with the emergence of blogging as a self-publishing platform. With respect to the current trends in writing, I would like to know your opinion whether the writers are born or made? Do you believe story telling skills are something like a music skill where people are born with the talent to sing? Do these creative writing courses are worthy to make good writers? 


Dear friends, I would really like to know your thoughts on the above three questions. Please find some time to answer my questions through the comments column. I am waiting for your comments. Thank you. Have a great blogging journey.

Image courtesy of Naypong at FreeDigitalPhotosnet

 Image courtesy of Naypong/FreeDigitalPhotosnet

 

 

©2014Digital Dimensions. The content is copyrighted to Reji Stephenson and may not be reproduced on other websites.

How to make money from your smart phone photos

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The vast majority of people who use smart phones have the habit of taking photographs. Some of them are interested in photography while most of them just do it because they have a smart phone handy where ever they go. It does not matter whether you are interested in photography or not but if you are able to manage a desired level of quality in your photos; you may be able to sell it using the app ‘Foap’. I recently came across with this app and uploaded few photos for sale.

Foap 1

If you are interested, you can also try this app. This free app allows you to upload your photos from your smart phone. Each of your photos will be reviewed by a group of people in the community and then selected for commercial sale with respect to the rating for the quality of the images. A buyer has to spend $10 for the license of your picture so that you get $5 from each photo they buy.

The amount you earn increases with respect to the number of times you are able to it sell to different customers.

London morning

Since I live in London city, I believe capturing any interesting images of the city may make some extra money for me. Hope it may work for some of you as well. Good luck with your photos.

Flowers london

 

 

 
©2014Digital Dimensions. The content is copyrighted to Reji Stephenson and may not be reproduced on other websites.

Three inspirational and motivational bloggers

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Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotosnet

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

When anyone starts blogging for the first time in their life, it is natural that they get interested in reading blogs from different niches. They may go through lot of blogs of different niches ranging from food to technology. I used to read quite an enormous number of blogs from different niches during the months when I first started getting attracted to the concept of blogging.

In this article, I am mentioning about three of my favorite bloggers and their blogs. I suggest you to go through these blogs as they will undoubtedly provide you with valuable tips on topics related to blogging. I am pretty sure that these bloggers will definitely motivate you to be more serious about blogging.

1. John Chow

I came across his profile only after about three to four months of blogging. After I had gone through his blogs, I find them really interesting and encouraging for any newbie blogger. He started his blog named Johnchow.com as his personal one and later became one of the top successful blogs in terms of income and popularity. The most important thing I noticed in him as a person is his down to earth character that I realized when he replied for an email query that I had sent to him few weeks back. Being one of the top earning and popular blogger in the world, I expected a delayed reply or no reply from him for my e-mail. Read his blog and go through his profile, I am sure; you will definitely become a fan of him.

2. Neil Patel

Age does not matter; one of the great examples is Neil Patel. He is the only one and only Indian origin American, born in London and a highly successful entrepreneur.This young guy is an absolutely talented personal who blogs about SEO, Blogging tips, social media tips and marketing tips through his blog named Quick Sprout. You can imagine his potential as an expert when you notice that this man was hired by top most companies like HP, Microsoft, Amazon, etc., for his advice on growing the traffic to their websites.

3. Darren Rowse

This is another famous blogger from Australia, who can provide you with valuable tips on blogging as well as ideas on making money online. His important blogs include Problogger, Digital-Photography-School and TwiTip. Even a quick glance on his site, Problogger, will give you an idea on the excellent source of information regarding all the aspects of blogging.

I would suggest you to read and follow these blogs especially if you would like to get more and more valuable tips on SEO, Blogging and Social media. Please feel free to spend some time to have your opinion on these bloggers and their blogs on the comments column after going through their respective blogs.

12 things you should know about India’s Mars Mission, the ‘Mangalyaan’

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Image courtesy of Victor Habbick at FreeDigitalPhotosnet

Image courtesy of Victor Habbick/FreeDigitalPhotosnet

Twenty-fourth of September 2014 is a historic day for India. A day of national pride for the country after the great success of its mars orbiter mission ‘Mangalyaan’. Here are 12 things you should like to know about ‘Mangalyaan’

1. After the success of Mangalyaan, India has become the first and only one country in the world to reach the orbit of Mars in its first attempt.

2. India has become the first Asian country in the world to send an orbiter to mars.

3. India becomes the fourth nation to put a satellite into orbit around mars.

4. India now joins the Martian club that consists of the U.S, Russia and European Space Agency.

5.It was launched by ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization) on the 5th of November 2013.

6. It was launched from Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota, which is in the south of India.

7. It had covered a distance of 680 million kilometres to reach the red planet.

8. The ‘Mangalyaan’ reached the orbit of Mars on the 24th of September.

9. This is one of the cheapest interplanetary missions by any country.

10. The estimated cost of the mission is Rupees 450 crore (nearly 74 million dollars).

11. The sensors on ‘Mangalyaan’ look for traces of methane on the planet. If methane is available on the planet; it is a sign that may prove life existed on Mars.

12. U.S. space agency NASA was one among the first to congratulate ISRO for its mission.

Thank you very much for visiting Digital Dimensions. Hope you enjoyed the post!

Is India’s Mars Orbiter mission, the Mangalyaan, an exorbitance?

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Image courtesy of bandrat at FreeDigitalPhotosnet
Image courtesy of bandrat/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

How is it possible for India to join the elite group of NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration), ESA (European Space Agency) and Roscosmos (Russia)? This was a question in the minds of millions of people around the globe when the news for India’s Mass orbiter mission called ‘Mangalyaan’ came out as news for the first time. It was launched into earth’s orbit on the 5th of November 2013.

According to the reports on NDTV, the mars expedition has nearly reached ninety-eight percent of its journey. At the time of writing this post, the mars orbiter is left with only few more hours of journey to reach the red planet on 24th September.


What are the main achievements for India if the journey is fully successful?

India will become the first Asian country in the world to send an orbiter to Mars.

India will become the fourth agency in the world after NASA, ESA and Roscosmos to send a mass obiter. Surely, a matter of pride for those who involved in researching and developing the technology behind it.

India will be the first country to achieve this success in its first attempt.

What makes it different from other mars missions?

This mars mission is the lowest cost interplanetary journey ever made by any country. The estimated figure of cost for this mission is Rupees 450 million (74 million dollars) which is less that the total cost for making the Hollywood movie ‘Gravity’. When you know that the overall cost of the project is equivalent to a contribution of Rupees four per head from every Indian, you can imagine how much meagre is the budget for such an inventive purpose. In other words, we can say that the contribution of a small amount of money (Rupees four) from each person of the country’s 1.2 billion population made the mission possible.

Do you still believe that this project is a waste of money and resources for an underdeveloped country like India? I never think it is? If ‘Mangalyaan’ is a major motivation, the day is not so far that the technology sending humans to other planets like the mars.

What is your opinion my dear fellow bloggers and friends? I would like to know your views on this topic. Please kindly spare few minutes of your time to have your opinions on the comments column.

Five useful free i-phone apps for you

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Whenever I use any new i-phone app, I would like to share the same with others. Even if there are millions of apps out there on the internet, you may miss some useful ones just because you might not have ever searched for it or no one might have told you about one such app. So here is a list of five useful i-phone apps that you might not have used.

1.Do not forget your pills.

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If you are taking any medication, this app will give you a notification and sound alert at the specific times when you are supposed to take medication. You can set up reminders at hourly, daily or weekly intervals. You need to tap done to indicate that you have taken the medication for clearing the reminder. Here you have the option to postpone it by half an hour by choosing the option ‘Later.’ If you would like to manage multiple user plans, there is an upgrade to a premium plan.

2.Around me

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This app really helps me to find important places whenever I go out in London. I hope this app will be of real help for anyone looking for a specific location or place of particular importance like a hospital, Hotel, petrol station, etc. Surely your navigation system in your car may lead you to the place but this app comes very handy when you are walking down the street or when using the public transport.

3.Zoopla

photo (4)photo (1)
If you are looking to rent a property or buy a property, this app will make the job easier. There is an option to choose the country where you would like to do the renting or purchasing of property. Definitely, this is one of the best property search app on the app store.

If you are looking to rent a property or buy a property, this app will make the job easier. There is an option to choose the country where you would like to do the renting or purchasing of property. Definitely, this is one of the best property search app on the app store.

4.Tidy

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This application helps you manage all your photos in your i-phone. If you would like to sort your photos with respect to the months you have taken it, it is very helpful. There are also options available to sort your photos with respect to the distance from where you are located. If you would like to sort your photos by its shape, that is also possible with this interesting app.

5.Wish

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This app seems to be a great choice for many of those who love internet shopping. A category wise selection is available on this app that include items including gadgets, clothing, footwear, etc., etc.

Thank you very much for visiting my blog. Hope you enjoyed the post!

Content is King-Do you believe in that statement?

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Image courtesy of iosphere at FreeDigitalPhotosnet
Image courtesy of iosphere/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Do you believe in the Bill Gates concept “Content is King.” When I started this blog, I was not giving hundred percent efforts to enrich the quality of the content as this used to be my personal blog in the beginning.

When I analysed the success of few successful blogs, I realized how importance regarding the quality of the content. I remember the days when I started blogging for the first time in my life. It was in the month of December 2013. I wrote few posts and I was not sure whether my style of writing is good or not.

After about three months of blogging, I asked few of my friends’s to have their opinion about blogging as well as my blog. One of them said “Blogs are like personal diaries. Anyone can have a blog so there is nothing much important having a blog. ” I had some people with the opinion that blogging is a waste of time. Few of my friends said its o.k. while others said “you need to change the topics for writing.” Another friend said to me that I should write a travel blog or write something about India. I realized that most of these people don’t have a better idea about blogging. If today someone tells me that blogging is a waste of time, I will tell them to read my article 25 advantages of blogging for inspiration.

My source of inspiration and motivation came from one of my friends from India, Mr. Raju Yohannan, a web designer, whom I used to contact over the phone or through Skype to have an opinion on whatever I write. Being a trustworthy friend of mine, he used to give me suggestions to write more posts. He always insisted on the importance of the uniqueness and quality of the content.

During the last few months of blogging, I came across lot of bloggers and blogs while some of them made a big impression on me than the others. If you analyse those successful blogs, you can see that those bloggers have some really valuable content to share with their readers. Some of them may be giving ideas to improve business. Few others may be offering technical tips to solve a problem. Few days back I came across another blog called the penelopetrunk.com where the author is providing career advice to people.

I found the most amazing of all blogs from India “Digital Expressions” authored by Mr.Amit Agarwal, who can be best described as a father figure of blogging in India. His blog posts are really informative and helpful to those who are in need of various technical solutions. His how-to Guides and Software tutorials are a must read for anyone looking for technical stuff.

Recently I had become a fan of another blogger from India, Mr. Harsh Agrawal and his blog “Shoutmeloud.” I had gone through many of his articles and found out that he is writing long informative posts. Most of his posts act as a useful guide for solving various technical issues as well as provide you with the much- needed blogging tips.

I came across one more blog from India called the Problogging success. I am amazed to see that the author Mrs. Jane Sheeba runs few more blogs with the names Tech buzz online,Slickwellness.com,Best Hosting and Design, DoSplash Blog along with the other one I mentioned.

I told myself “I struggle to find time to manage just one blog, then how can she manage five blogs at the same time?” Probably one needs a scientific brain to manage five blogs of five different niches all at the same time.Perhaps she being a scientist in real life, it may be easy an easy task for her.

Few months back while I was reading some blogs, I found out one of the highly successful personality in the blogosphere Mr. John Chow. I was really excited by the fact that Mr. John Chow has an income of nearly forty thousand dollars per month from his blog Johnchow.com alone. If you are a blogger and if you don’t read Johnchow.com, it is a real loss.

Even though I live in Britain, I find only few blogs related to my niche written by someone in U.K. Probably I had gone through thousands of travel and fashion blogs written by authors from U.K., but I came across very few blogs having the same niche that I am writing now.

My curiosity of finding out someone blogging from London and of Indian origin ended up adding one more fan for me from the blogosphere. The fan is none other than Mr. Neil Patel, who is an immensely successful entrepreneur and blogger currently based in Seattle. I am pretty sure that if you read the profile of him in the blog quicksprout.com, you too become a fan of him.

If you go through the blogs from any of the four bloggers mentioned above, you will definitely conclude that these bloggers make precious content and hence content is definitely the king in today’s online world.

12 important benefits of Social media

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Image courtesy of photoraidz at FreeDigitalPhotosnet
Image courtesy of photoraidz/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

With the large scale use of smart phones and gadgets, the number of people using social media also increased in number. Even with the increased usage of social media sites, many people still believe social media sites are a waste of time and resources. This article provides you with some of theadvantages of social media in order to make it clear that if used properly you may gain more benefits from social media in your personal life as well as in your business or profession.

#1.Networking with others.

There is no need to explain about the networking aspect of social media. Even children of the school going age know the importance of social media as a tool for networking. It may seem to be of little importance to anyone but if you compare how you used to communicate with others before the emergence of social media, say like twenty years back, you may identify its true value.

#2.Finding and meeting new friends.

The emergence of social media makes it easier for anyone sitting at any corner of the globe to make friendship with anyone around the globe. Probably, it makes it more exciting when you get the chance to renew few old friends with whom you might have lost contact for a long time.

#3.Video chatting with friends and business partners.

Nowadays most of the social media sites come up with video chatting facilities. This made it possible for anyone having a social media account gets connected with his or her friends or business partners through video chatting. If you consider the fact that video chatting makes it possible for anyone to make free calls to anywhere in the world, it is truly a benefit for you especially if you need to make business calls that otherwise might have lead to huge telephone bills.

#4.For recruiting new employees

Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Linkedln, are being used as a source for hiring potential employees. Nowadays it is very common that the recruiters checking your social media profile if they want to hire you for a job. The role of your social media profile as a portfolio for your skills and talent is of utmost importance. The better looking profile you have in social media, there is more chance for you to get hired. Remember you social media profile is acting like your online resume.

#5.Useful for job hunting.

Social media sites like LinkedIn are a great resource for those who are hunting for a job. It also provides an opportunity to enhance your current career prospects as well as any business you are running. The networking options available in Linkedln make it a truly valuable tool for enhancing anyone’s career prospects.

#6.Source of information and news.

If you use social media in a proper manner, it can be used as a source of information by reading the shared contents on various topics. Of course, it can be a source for updating latest news. From my personal experience, I can say that my Facebook profile gives me the wonderful opportunity to gather and update any important information about my parent country(India) even if I live in London. Remember this was really difficult some twenty years back.

#7.Arranging an event.

As we are now connected with most of our school and college friends through different social media sites, it becomes easier for us to organize an event by inviting people through social media. Suppose if you would like to arrange a get together of all your university friends, you can now do nearly half part of the co-ordinating job by the click of the mouse and sending few message and replies. No more costly phone calls or long journeys to meet someone for arranging such an event. A big thanks to social media.

#8.Promote your product and service.

Social media sites are one of the main and most essential part of today’s business whether it is a small business or a big corporate. It helps anyone to promote their products and services online. It is a common trend that a lot of people worldwide are trying to establish small businesses using social media sites like Facebook as a platform. You can click on the link given below to view a post describing how to do business using Facebook.

Link

#9.Social media as a tool for an election campaign.

Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, can be used an effective tool for an election campaign. If you analyse the recent election campaigns in India, you may realize how important is social media as a tool for election campaigning. Reports suggest that when Mr.Narendra Modi sworn in as prime minister of India, he had almost 16 million Facebook “likes.” Recent statistics shows that he is currently one of the most followed leaders in Twitter (5.9 million followers) after Barack Obama and Pope Francis. These records show ample evidence that social media can be even become an influencing factor on deciding the political situation of any country.

Narendramodi twitter

Narendramodi facebook
Image source: Screen shots from Twitter and Facebook

#10.Social media for fund-raising.

Fund-raising using social media for various causes is also a modern trend. This possibility of social media can be utilized for various charity organizations for collecting funds for their successful functioning. Raising funds during an emergency situation like an accident or illness to someone is also a useful benefit.

#11.Reduce the cost of advertisement.

Traditional advertisement methods are costlier for anyone to afford. The cost of an advertisement is really a big problem especially when someone is running a small scale business. The introduction of social media advertisements made it possible for entrepreneurs to have low budget advertisements on platforms like Facebook.

#12. Social media can boost traffic to your website

If you are running a website for business purpose, you definitely need more and more traffic to your site. The proper usage of social media will provide you with more traffic and hence better business prospects for you.

If you have more points in mind regarding the benefits of social media, please share it as a comment so that I can be able to update this post with more ideas.

©2014Digital Dimensions. The content is copyrighted to Reji Stephenson and may not be reproduced on other websites.

Driverless cars – Some essential things you need to know

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Image courtesy of digitalart at FreeDigitalPhotosnetImage courtesy of digitalart at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It seems that any news regarding the development of driverless technology is a matter of curiosity for many of us around the world since its successful test drive in different parts of the world.Now it is not only a part of science fiction story or Hollywood movie. They already exist or soon going to be out there in large numbers. After the testing of a number of driverless cars on the public roads, there are a few questions that come up in the minds of people. How does it run without a driver? Even if technology can make it possible, how can such a car avoid accidents while running? Obviously such curiosities pushed me to have a small research on the topic and write this post. This article covers some basic ideas on driverless car technology and the curiosities involved with it.

What is an autonomous car?

An autonomous or driverless car is a vehicle capable of sensing its surroundings and navigate without the help of a human being or driver. It can also be called as a driver-free car, self-driving car or robot car. How does an autonomous car find its way for moving forward?

Autonomous cars use the principles of Radar, Lidar, GPS and Computer Vision for finding its path.Inorder to move forward, an autonomous car needs to know the relative position of it with respect to its surrounding objects and obstacles on its way. This task is accomplished by utilising equipments like those listed below.

1. Radar Sensors: The signals that are send out from a radar helps to detect any objects or obstacles that are on the route of the car.

2. Lidar (Laser Range Finder): This is to be fixed on the top of the car that send out laser signals to take horizontal distance measurements.

3. GPS unit: Satellite information is used to find the location of the car.

4. Cameras and Image-processing software: Computer vision techniques are utilised here in order to process the pictures taken from the camera by image processing software. Images obtained from the cameras. The images from the camera can be used to distinguish the driving lanes on the road. Image processing software is capable of detecting traffic lights and signs.

If the autonomous car needs to move forward, it requires a map of the area. The map needed here is obtained using techniques utilized in the equipments listed above. With the help of those techniques, the car will obtain a map of its immediate surrounding with all the objects and travel path defined in that area. The relative position of the car will always be changing with respect to the surrounding objects and path when the map is continuously updated.

Who are the main manufacturers of driverless cars at present?

1. Google:

At present google seems to be the forerunner in this field with the testing of its car google self-drive. The presence of search engine giant google in this field motivates other major brands also to try and test their own versions of autonomous cars.


Video source:The Verge

2. Mercedes-Benz:

Mercedes-Benz had their version of driverless cars experimenting on the public roads. Mercedes Benz S500 Intelligent Drive research vehicle successfully completed its hundred kilometre long test drive route in Germany last year. Click the link below to see the amazing video of Mercedes-Benz self-driving car.

Mercedes-Benz S500 Intelligent Drive

3.BMW:

BMW demonstrated its driverless technology at the consumer electronic show conducted in Las Vegas, Nevada, during the month of April 2014. [Heather Kelly]

BMW Autonomous car.

Video Source: Disney Collector Toys Club

4. Volvo:

Volvo carried out test drives of their cars in different places around the world including London. The Sweden-based car giant is planning to introduce a hundred of their autonomous cars on the public roads of Gothenburg. It is supposed that the cars are going to be tested on certain selected routes in and around Gothenburg. [Chris knapman] Click the link below to see the video of Volvo self-driving car.

Volvo Self-driving car

5. Audi:

Audi recently tested its self-driving technology on an expressway in Florida. In 2012, Florida government implemented a law allowing testing of autonomous vehicles in the state. The new law allows Audi to carry out its test drive on Audi A7 on an expressway in Florida. [Lucas Mearian] Click on the link below to watch a self-driving car from Audi.

Self-driving car from Audi

6.Toyota:

Toyota is another big name involved in the manufacturing and development of driverless technology. Here, it is fascinating to see that Google uses a Toyota Prius for testing its technology. [Andrew English]

7.Nissan:

Researchers from Oxford University is developing autonomous technology with the support of Nissan. They also successfully tested a Nissan Leaf on private roads. Click the link below to watch the video of Nissan autonomous car.

8. Baidu, Inc

Baidu, Inc a Chinese search engine giant is own it way to develop their autonomous car. Unlike other car manufacturers, Baidu is trying to develop a semi-autonomous car rather than a fully autonomous one. In a way, Baidu is trying to develop ideas that may provide more intelligent assistant to help the drivers. So the car may be having steering wheels and pedals for the drivers to take control.[ Barry Levine]

9.Volkswagen:

Volkswagen tested a Temporary Auto Pilot system (TAP). The car is supposed to drive at a speed of eighty miles per hour on a highway route. Reports on various publications suggest that Volkswagen is one of the main contenders along with other rivals in the field of developing autonomous driving technology. [David Magee] Most predicted benefits of autonomous cars.

Most predicted benefits of autonomous cars.

If you are unsure about the safety and other aspects of an autonomous vehicle, the advantages listed below may change your mind.

1. Reduces the number of accidents.

If autonomous cars are allowed on the road with all the facilities available for its proper running, there is the possibility of reducing the number of accidents.This is well-supported by the concept that sensors are more accurate than humans.

2. Anyone can use the car

Elderly people, children and those who are disabled can easily use the autonomous cars according to their needs. There is no need to wait for someone who can drive them to their intended location.

3. Lot of free time for those who use the car.

We know that a lot of our time is wasted every day while driving to work or travelling to anywhere. With the invent of driverless cars, a lot of time can be saved for those people who drive. They can utilize the same time for doing something else like reading or watching a movie as we don’t need to worry much about the journey.

4. There is no need for a driving licence.

We all know how hard it is to get a driving licence. This hassle of passing the driving test and obtaining a driving licence can be avoided by use of autonomous cars.

5. More efficient public transport system

Once the technology is fully developed and tested, it can be utilised in public transport facilities like buses and also for running taxis. Travelling in a taxi without a driver seems to be a really interesting scenario.

6. Less time to reach your destination.

The autonomous cars may be running with a much higher speed limit once they are fully established commercially on the roads.

7. Reduced number of staff like the traffic police.

There is no need for traffic police to be deployed on the streets in large numbers. As the self-driving cars run on their own and sense their surroundings, the need of employees controlling traffic on the road may not be of much importance.

8. Hassle free parking anywhere you go

You know the difficulty in finding a parking space on a busy day especially in big cities like London. What if the car drops you at your destination and goes on its own to find a parking space? Is it sounds awesome? Imagine that the car is coming back to pick you up at a time specified time recorded on its computer memory. Yes, the driverless technology will automate more of our daily life routine of driving.

9. Controlling pollution to an extend

Vehicle sharing or car-sharing facilities can be implemented that may reduce the emission from congested traffic. This may even lead to introducing more electric cars that can control emission problems.

Major concerns regarding the use of autonomous cars.

1. A fear about an occurrence of an accident is always there in the minds of people as the possibility of the computer crashing or malfunctioning cannot be ruled out.

2. Do we need separate roads for all the autonomous cars? Do they run along with the manually driven cars on the same path? How safe is it if both types of the cars are using the same route of travel? These questions can be answered only after successful research that need a bit more time.

3. There is less importance for drivers. We depend on drivers a lot for our day to day life. By the emergence of driverless cars on the road, a significant percentage of people in the driving profession may lose their job as even the taxis may run without a driver.

4. Hackers taking control of computer-driven technology is another cause of worry. By hacking into the system, they can use the vehicles for destructive purposes.

5. Reduce congestion on the road

Since autonomous cars utilize sensors to find a safe distance it needs to keep from the vehicle moving in front of it, the possibility of congestion may be reduced. This is supported by the fact that the sensors are more perceptive than human beings.

6. Liability of an accident

When a driverless car is met with an accident, who is accountable for it? This question seems to be an unanswered one until new laws and regulations are made with respect to the usage of autonomous cars. It appears really difficult to find out whom to blame for an accident? Is it the vehicle owner? If it is the fault of a component or software of the car, who will be liable for the accident? Will it be the owner whose responsibility is to check the condition of the car regularly or the manufacturer of the car?

Conclusion

The technology behind autonomous car is nearly fully developed and its positive results in its experimental stage show that the day is not so far that autonomous car becoming part of our day-to-day lifestyle.

Sources:

1.http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2012/10/28/automobiles/how-an-autonomous-car-gets-around.html?ref=automobiles

2. http://www.autonomouscars.com

3. http://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/driverless-car

4. http://www.wimp.com/driverlesscar/

5. English, Andrew. Accessed on 13-08-14 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/motoring/car- manufacturers/toyota/10404575/Toyotas-driverless-car.html

6. Kelly, Heather. Driverless Car tech gets serious at CES, Accessed on 12-08-14, http://edition.cnn.com/2014/01/09/tech/innovation/self-driving-cars-ces/

7. Knapman, Chris, Large-scale trial of driverless cars to begin on public roads, Accessed on 11-08-14 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/motoring/news/10484839/Large-scale-trial-of-driverless-cars-to-begin-on-public-roads.html

8. Levine, Barry. Hey, Google: Baidu wants to keep humans in the driverless car equation, Accessed on 12-08-14 http://venturebeat.com/2014/07/25/hey-google-baidu-wants-to-keep-humans-in-the-driverless-car-equation/

9 Magee, David.Volkswagen Develops Driverless Car Accessed on 13-08-14,http://www.ibtimes.com/volkswagen-develops-driverless-car-293911

10. Mearian, Lucas. Audi tests driverless car on Florida expressway, Accessed on 12-08-14,http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9250029/Audi_tests_driverless_car_on_Florida_expressway

©2014Digital Dimensions. The content is copyrighted to Reji Stephenson and may not be reproduced on other websites.

 

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