Earth Hour activities to participate in Dubai, Dare to go Green – 2012

Earth Hour is back this year, which means. It’s lights out for the UAE come March 31, as residents unite in a global cause to combat climate change.

This year, Earth Hour will again witness landmarks across UAE, including the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi and Al Qasbah in Sharjah, as they plunge into darkness for one hour in support of the world’s largest environmental event in history.

However, the 2012 initiative will not just request a one-hour conservation pledge, but hopefully aims to target residents at the grassroots level by hosting a number of public events and social media campaigns to target the society at large to participate in the most essential cause.

“Earth Hour is not about turning off your lights for one hour, but an opportunity for all of us to reflect on how our everyday actions impact our environment”

So whats happening in Dubai

Candlelight march at Burj Park Downtown

Organised by Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa) and held under the patronage of Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, the Crown Prince of Dubai, families and friends are welcome to light the way for a better tomorrow as they bear witness to the tallest building in the world, Burj Khalifa, switching off its lights for one hour to commemorate Earth Hour.

The walk will commence from the Burj Plaza towards Burj Park. The event starts from 5pm, while the candlelight march will begin at 8:30pm.

Light up a lamp at Dubai Internet City

Canon Middle East is inviting environmentalists and those who love Mother Earth to join them in this global initiative as its employees and their families gather outside the office building in Dubai Internet City with lamps as a sign of solidarity for Earth Hour and to make a pledge that they will take long term actions towards environmental conservation.

Additionally, Canon has also announced a public photo competition entitled “My Earth, My Lens, where people will be required to take a photograph that best symbolises what the environment means to them.

Photographs could range from images of the ocean to pictures of gardens, and will need to be accompanied by a photo caption that best captures the essence of the image.

If you are at Abu Dhabi

Drumming on the Corniche

The ongoing Abu Dhabi Festival is inviting residents in the capital to join millions of people around the world in celebrating the annual Earth Hour. Abu Dhabi will celebrate the evening with a drumming spectacular on the Corniche aiming to spread the important message of environmental awareness to passers-by.

The event kicks off from 7pm until 9.30pm at the Sahil Al Maydan Corniche in Abu Dhabi.

Cycle to save the Earth

For the second year in a row, Fairmont Bab Al Bahr in Abu Dhabi plans to go beyond 60 minutes by generating 24 hours of clean, renewable green energy through cycling to further support the biggest climate awareness campaign from the World Wildlife Foundation.

From 10.30am on Saturday, March 31 until 10.30am Sunday April 1, the lobby of the Fairmont Bab Al Bahr will be outfitted with stationary bicycles.

With the use of dynamo technology and a full 24 hours of cycling shared amongst residents in the community, guests and hotel colleague participants, this “pedal power” will activate an LED lighting structure, fashioned after the property’s iconic facade, with symmetrical LED lights designed to reflect the water patterns of the Abu Dhabi Creek.

Sharjah and Northern Emirates

Family fun day

In Sharjah, a family event is being planned in Al Majaz Park by the Environment and Protected Areas of Sharjah.

Residents can participate in a host of activities including environmental competitions and a musical performance. The event starts from 6pm.

Music for the soul

In Ras Al Khaimah, the emirate’s tourism development authority has partnered with Al Manar Mall to invite the residents to join a public gathering with an acoustic performance by Fusion Again music band. The performance will start at 8:30pm.

Light the way

In Fujairah, a low-key event will take place in front of the municipality building, with candles and floating lanterns to mark Earth Hour. The event will start at 8:30 pm.

On Social Media 

There is another massive campaign online for Earth Hour is taking place which is more interesting than the offline campaigns and something that encourages people to work on the grass roots level. I will if you will. Check out 2 of my fav RJ’s on radio Catboy and Georgdie Bird on this one. The concept is simple: inspire others by challenging them to commit to an environtmental action in exchange for a dare.

Some more Dare’s below:

Check out more challenges and dares here.

Location, Location, Location … the next big thing

At first there was the humble Mobile Phone, then it received a GPS and with the addition of a camera and smart internet connections, it transformed into the SMARTPHONE. Then came Android and the iOS platforms making it easier for developers to use the platforms and launch new services and applications on them. Apps are all the rage. Through the entire process a new object came to light, the location. With mobiles becoming more location aware, searches could be tailored to what’s nearby.

The world of Check Ins was born. Facebook, Twitter, Google + and other services opted Check ins as a new inclusion into the vast software frameworks. However one company did spark off the initial interest and its popularity is what drove companies to follow. Foursquare. Foursquare has not been the most famous of apps for the mobile phones, but it was really instrumental in making the location based aspects of mobile phones important.

Foursquare is a Social Networking platform that will try and get you to meet people in your vicinity and also provide you with opportunity to meet with like minded people who go to similar places like you. Restaurants offer discounts and offers on Check ins usually and frankly I was happy to see this in Dubai too. We were at the Le Meridean village, Dubliners Pub and restaurant and walla they have a special for check in as well. I am not sure if it still exists but was an interesting find when I was there a few weeks back. Check out Checkin Mania, a site that keeps track of checkins on Twitter, Foursquare, Gowalla and Britekite.

Now they are taking location based applications to the next level. With newer developers now beginning to use Foursquare as a platform for their related Apps new interesting location based games are coming up. Here are a few that might really interest you all.

World of Fourcraft

The World of Fourcraft is a clever Foursquare application which allows users to track their check-ins and use them for ‘social conquest’ gameplay. Currently the application is designed for use within New York City, pitting the five boroughs and the areas surrounding, aptly titled ‘Here Be Dragons,’ against each other.  Signing in with a Foursquare account, players must select – and join forces with – their borough.  ’Borough Buddies’ must then boost their teams status with increased Foursquare check-ins across the city, ‘swarming’ and conquering territory.

There are no prize-incentives, with the app relying on neighborhood pride to encourage play. Users can keep track of their ‘hood’s progress with the Battle Map found on the website.

Check out more about World of Fourcraft

Foursquareopoly

Foursquaropoly turns your city into a Monopoly board and your Foursquare check-ins into a gaming piece.  Players begin with ten-thousand dollars and can buy unclaimed buildings they check-in to using Foursquare.  Rent and upkeep fees are determined by the building’s popularity and are payable by the owner.  Just like the original Monopoly game, players who ‘land’ in a claimed location must pay rent to the virtual landlord.

Originally a student concept, the app is currently in development.

Check out more about Foursquareopoly here.

 

We can only wait

Alas, unfortunately like everything in technology, these games are currently gaining popularity in the US, next it will spread to countries like India and then come over to places like Dubai. However, in the mean time we can get around the various check in stops in Dubai and meet with the different Mayors and Chieftains of Foursquare.

Have not yet tried Foursquare ? here is how you can get it for yourself, FREE. Available for Android, Blackberry, Nokia and the iPhone on http://m.foursquare.com ; visit it on your phone browser.

Inquisitive Interviews : Simmy Mathew – Auditor

Hi all we are back this week again with Inquisitive Interviews, yes it’s not been on for a couple of weeks, and I am to blame completely. However, this week we are back with something inquisitive for you guys to look at. The profile that we will cover today is that of an Auditor. Yes Auditors, the very same people that can give a shiver to many. If at all you wondered what they do and why people seem to be scared of them, well here are probably some answers.

For the uninitiated, Inquisitive Interviews, the feature was born out of the requests by some of the students who read this blog, requesting information regarding careers. And with a view to help them make a better choice, I have started to feature various careers from different people, starting with people I know and hoping to slowly reach many different people. The Inquisitive Interviews feature would not only help the students reading the interview but also the interviewees providing them with some Online PR of sorts, the benefits of which I mentioned in another post earlier.

 

[Q] Tell Us something about yourself (Things like Name, how many years you have been working and anything else you would like to add.)

 I am known as ‘Simmy Mathew’.

Lived in Dubai for the last 14 years and counting….

Work has been part of my life since the last 7 years.

[Q] What do you Do for a living and Where?

I work as an auditor for Ernst and Young, Dubai

[Q] Is the job what you had expected it to be?

Yes, and maybe a little more…I always wanted to be an auditor and I still remember when I was 16, telling my aunt that I wanted to be an auditor and work in the Big4.So, yes! I am living my dream! 😀

[Q] Is the salary what you had expected it to be?

Yes, I started off at the junior level and it was what I expected.

[Q] What is your average day like?

Well, being an auditor means you are never in office but at the clients – auditing their books.  So an average day is working in a team and trying to achieve deadlines. It varies – depending on the industry you are working in, the size of the entity you are auditing…They are times that I am at a client for months and they are times I am at the client for one-two weeks…. and no two days are the same.

 I work with different sets of people , which is a challenge in itself .

[Q] What’s the most interesting part of your job?

The exposure that I get is high and the learning curve is great. ..But I think the most interesting part of the job is multitasking – applying what you learned in different types of industry and getting your work done, supervising your junior staff work, being proactive and planning ahead.

[Q] What’s the most challenging part of your job?

People ….i guess in a country like UAE – you meet different types of people  – different upbringing, different cultures, different nationalities….so working with them…can be a challenge but I love challenges and embrace  them with open arms.

[Q] What’s the part of the job that you don’t like?

Actually nothing……Sometimes it can get monotonous hence maintaining a right mix of work is important.

[Q] Do you get bored at your workplace at all?

I have to say I don’t have time to get bored……so the answer to that would be no!

[Q] Do you report to someone? How much of an impact the person you report to has on your job?

Yes, I do but that varies…it could be a senior/asst manager/ manager.  Basically they are there to review your work and sort out any issues you have while auditing .

[Q] Do you use all the skills that you learnt in school / college? or where did you pick up the skills ?

well, I have to say what I studied in college as my degree was a bachelors in accounting and Finance definitely helped….Also. ACCA had been an added plus point on the growth path.

 Also, at Ernst & young, if you join as a graduate – they have the graduate development program which ensures you are up-to-date with the Ernst & Young methodology and the latest developments in the accounting world. So there are enough training to develop your career at Ernst & Young.

[Q] What are your Alumni? Where did you study?

School              : Our Own English High School, Dubai

University         : Middlesex University, Dubai campus

Currently pursuing my ACCA

[Q] Would you advice younger people to join in your industry?

Yes, I would. But it requires a little effort and being able to manage a lot of work in time pressure situations.

[Q] What advice would you give to someone trying to get into the industry?

Plan ahead. I f you are an university student and want to try a career, decide where you want to get in and plan how you are going to go about it. Have a roadmap to where  you want to go …and that will help you plan your direction.

[Q] Anything else you want to tell the readers?

Love what you do…no matter what industry you are …then work is all fun…otherwise all work and no play will definitely make Jack a dull boy! 😀

[Q] Any online resources you recommend for people taking up this profession?

ACCA website : http://www.accaglobal.com/ 

IAS plus : http://www.iasplus.com/

You can get in touch with Simmy on Facebook at here profile here: http://www.facebook.com/simmy.mathew

If at all you wondered what Auditors do, I hope this would have given you a better idea. Thank you Simmy for an insight into the world of the Auditors, hope you guys the readers are more aware of the work of Auditors. Until next time, Be Inquisitive.

6 reasons I love my Phone, and 3 reasons I hate it

It’s been close to 1.5 years with my Android, the gorgeous Nexus One from Google. And let me tell you they have been eventful 1.5 years and I have loved it. I want to highlight what I have loved the Nexus one and maybe some reasons I hate it. I wrote about the raging excitement when I got my Nexus One as a gift from my wife and have been an avid Android promoter ever since.

The Nexus One was Google’s first made Android Phone which aimed at selling the phone on-line without tying it to any carrier in the US. However the marketing plan of selling Nexus One bombed, but the Operating System flourished. As most people got hold of Android phones knowing that Android was fully backed by Google, the popularity of the Operating system just quadrupled. Thanks again to Nexus One which you cannot really buy now in the market, you can just get a developer version from Google on request.

Here are my 5 reasons I absolutely love my Phone.

1. Android

For most of you who read this blog frequently you will know that I am a big fan of Google and how they work. Google’s Android is not just a break from the monotony of the iPhone and the marketing gimmick of Steve Jobs, but it’s also a new way for people to stay united with the freedom to choose what you want to run on your phone. From getting a large choice of hardware, than a monotonous iPhone to the Galaxies of the world and the Nexus One of course, Android gave freedom of hardware and software.

2. Over the Air Upgrades

Android’s biggest losing point has been the fact that it has been criticized for not being able to provide uniform upgrades to all the phone manufacturers and models together. The main problem was that phone manufacturers add custom skins on the Android Devices to be able to customize them as their own branded phones. However this has created a lot of problems as well.

Google’s upgrades need to be vetted against the custom skins before they can be installed on the phones making them difficult to install. With Nexus One running stock android the upgrades to the Operating System are delivered as soon as Google releases them and it’s a nice feeling to get the new features before anyone.

3. Google Services

Having the stock Android means that all Google Services are configured to run well from the word go. Google ensures that the applications are working from the word Go in most stock Android flavors. Google Services like Contacts sync, Maps and Search all integrated into a consolidated package, making the services integration seamless and borderless.

4. Break away from stereotypes

Well I say that, but Android fans are getting into a stereotype themselves. Before I bought the Android, I have always been a Nokia user, from my first awesome Nokia 3310 right through to the N95. While N95 was my favorite phone of all times, its upgrades did not keep up much with the competition. Nokia lost the way when it came to touch screen smart phones, although they had great visions for what they wanted to do and still want to do, where they lost their way was in Software.

They were the first to realize the potential of Apps and custom Ringtones, as well as music. And they were the last to do something about it. By the time they came back with Ovi, I guess it was too little, too late. At the time that Nokia was losing ground, blackberry and the iPhone were catching on. The clumsy blackberry models available then were not really appealing and the iPhone was too expensive outside of the US.

5. Apps, Apps, Apps

This I guess I have in common with the iPhone lovers. From getting an app for WordPress, to Firefox right though to task managers and other software (I promise I will write a post about the apps on my phone soon) Apps are all around us. Well Apps also covers mobile games for me, and Angry Bird is the king of them. From being a free app on Android to getting into the lives of anyone who has tried it one, the Apps on the Android will definitely make the phone much better in functionality.

6. The 5MP Camera

The camera is one of the most versatile tool on my phone, from Augmented reality apps right through to just plain old taking pictures, there are awesome applications for the phone. I wrote about 18 such tools here in one of my most read posts of all time. The camera is brilliant, with apps providing additional control and functionality into the cameras.  They are so good that they also can replace your everyday tools, again something that I wrote about a while back here. All in all the camera with some of the cool Android apps are breathing a new lease of life into my phone.

I hate my phone too !!

As much as I love my phone I do hate it, at times. While not all frustrations I have are due to the phone itself its the feeling of having the problem that would bother me.

1. The Data Packages in UAE

While most of the world is receiving amazing data packages for the phone (read, India, UK, US), the data packages in Dubai are still made to hurt you, financially. Be it calling right through to using 3G and GPRS services. The part that is really frustrating is the fact that Etisalat and Du both seem to try and gain revenue from the large expatriate population, but it is just the middle and lower classes that they tend to hurt the most, this is not the best deal.

On the contrary the Blackberry users in Dubai face a lovely 3G package, where in the services are activated and provided at affordable prices. This for sure seems to be the very reason for the sheer increase in the number of Blackberry users.

Although Customer service is not the best in India, the packages and the deals for using the data packages are really unbelievable. It makes for the common man to go and use technology a little more. Which is the actual reason technology exists, to use it.

2. Android Market and its non availability 

I have written about this earlier, the fact that Google has not yet recognized the region as an important region for its mobile business, means more android users are getting deprived of the wonders of Android. This include some of Google’s apps too, like Google Earth, Google Plus the app and more.

We all know how Google is really putting a lot at stake in making the Android work (read, patenting problems) still the phones here without Android Market will work adversely for them. Having said that I must admit that the number of Android Phones I am seeing these days are really a lot. From the every persistent Samsung phones through to some interesting Sony and Acer phones, the Android OS is gaining ground in the middle east.

Hopefully now is a good time Google ! I know you are fighting a multi sided war with all the tech companies for us, a little attention here will mean financially we will be able to back you up and help you as well.

3. Some parts of the Hardware 

Although the first 2 annoyances are nothing to do physically with my phone, this one definitely does. Here are 4 of my annoyances with the hardware of the Nexus One.

a. The Coverage 

I am happy with the coverage, but when the phone gets into tight spots like lift lobbies which have low coverage, the phone not only looses signal like most other phones, but takes a long time to get back the signal.

I am not sure if this is an Android thing, or just my phone thing. But definitely this has hurt me in more than one occasion in the past. I hope that my next android will not have this issue (yes, I will buy an Android next as well).

b. The RAM / ROM 

There is inadequate local storage in the Phone. Period. Regardless of what Google thought at the time the phone was released, the fact that the RAM on the phone is small and restricts the usage of more apps, it is a serious problem with the hardware.

Although there are apps like App2SD and with the support of the Honeycomb version to support Apps to be installed in the SD card, its applications like Facebook which are not only large and cumbersome, but also not movable to SD that compound this issue.

c. Front Facing Camera 

Well to be honest, when this phone was launched, the world of internet calling was dominated by the desktop and the phone market was not getting there quick. Now that services like Skype, Fring and others operate well on the Android and that too for free. It is a feature that I miss a lot.

Google did not preempt the requirement which is why it was not there, however it was not there in the iPhone too until iPhone 4 was released. How I wish that there was a front facing camera for Skype, would have been able to catch up with my sister in the US even more easily.

d. The Battery Life 

Here I believe, it is my fault. I used to leave the phone charger on charging the phone when I go to sleep and it used to be connected. Now like laptop batteries the performance has begun to degrade. But keeping in mind the fact that the phone needs quite a lot of juice just to operate and run it does not help the cause.

The screen and most of all radio communication, are the biggest energy hoggers and have hurt my battery life of the phone, with degraded performance it definitely seems to be a problem.

Last words 

Although when you read this post it would sound like I am 50 – 50 with the phone, I will tell you I will purchase an Android Phone next as well. Make it the next nexus series. Although Nexus S will be a good option, I currently love this phone and will use it for much longer. ruling out the possibility of changing phones currently.

I love the Android Operating system especially in its stock format. And a looking forward to Ice Cream Sunday (the next Android Version). to release.

Inquisitive Interviews : Sangeeta Khiara – Freelance Photographer

Another Sunday, calls for another Inquisitive Interview. And you will love the interview this week, Sangeeta Khiara is really someone who should provide some sort of inspiration for all the women, being a freelancer in a predominantly Male dominated field which is just warming up to women, takes a lot of courage and hard work. I am sure most people with SLR’s these days think of themselves as some sort of professional photographers. But after reading this interview you guys will know it’s a lot more than just that.

Inquisitive Interviews, the feature was born out of the requests by some of the students who read this blog, requesting information regarding careers. And with a view to help them make a better choice, I have started to feature various careers from different people, starting with people I know and hoping to slowly reach many different people. The Inquisitive Interviews feature would not only help the students reading the interview but also the interviewees providing them with some Online PR of sorts, the benefits of which I mentioned in another post earlier.

[Q] Tell us something about yourself- where you live, work, your interests…?

I am a complete Dubai product, born and raised here. Originally from Mumbai, India but Dubai is first home to me. My Father used to be a photographer and spending so much time with him gave me the basic instincts to this field.
Since the past 2 years I have been functioning as a freelance photographer and this has been quite a long term dream to me. I think my interests have varied ever since I was young, I have always wanted to do everything quite possible. I do love music, dance, reading, adventure sports and most entertaining factors that come with life.

[Q] Is the job what you expected it to be ? And is the compensation good enough ?My job is like a new journey everyday, I meet different people some are difficult some are very easy going. When you work in a creative business one needs to come up with a lot of ideas and concepts that dont just come easily to you. Its not like a functional job where things have to go one particular way. 

As for compensation, No human is usually satisfied with their income. Compensations vary from clients/jobs as there is no fixed timing of work so no fixed incomes too. There are months when you are filled up with work and there are times when there is no work at all.

[Q] What is your average day like at work? If possible a recent project or work that excited you enough as part of your job?

Everyday is a new day at work. New work place, new people and concepts. I usually have my R&D done about my upcoming project a day or two earlier and discussed them with my client so I don’t have any issues post shoots. So on the D day its just pack the equipments required and reach the location. Do some basic discussions with the client about how we want the day to be planned, talk to the model (if a model related shoot) or have a good look at the products/area that has to be shot. Once all set I am just clicking away to glory. I enjoy keeping a light atmosphere at the shoot so that the everybody is relaxed and spontaneous.

[Q] Is this job what you had pictured to be? If yes, then how long did you take to get here?

I did picture this job very easy going when I was initially stepping into it but as time passed its been getting tougher. People think just because you are a photographer you just meet cool people and do some point and shoot and that’s it you get paid for making people look good. It takes a lot of hard work and knowledge to get into any profession, and photography also has its creative and technical aspects which make work so much more detailed than ever before.

I did take 2 years to get here, within where I was working at a branding company and would save the cost of a photographer and do it myself for the clients, then I trained, assisted, and now a few people know me by my name and work. Still a long way to get where I want to.

[Q] What’s the most interesting part of your job? Do you get bored at your workplace?

I love networking, I think people make you what you are and its very important to keep a network and communicate. We are lucky to reside in a multi-cultural region like Dubai where we get to meet people from all ends. My job has a new flavor to it everyday which makes it exciting. I dont think I could do an 8-5 job where I have to perform the same task everyday. Its never boring if you got new challenges everyday at various places with varied people.

[Q] What’s the most challenging part of your job?

Expectations are challenging. Clients believe that you would make them or their project look outstanding. Fashion has reached to such a height that regular people are portrayed flawless and when your client expects you to make them look like a different person it becomes a difficult job. I love capturing people but in their own skin and not make them look like they never do, but this is what most people don’t want. Its same in terms of products or events, but that is acceptable because those subjects have a selling point attached to them.

[Q] Do you report to someone? How much of an impact the person you report to has on your job?

I am self employed and work as a freelancer. Thus I dont report to anyone.

[Q] Whats your Alumni ? Where have you studied ?

School : The Indian High School, Dubai
Pre University :
Bachelors Degree: B.A. Media and Communication specializing in Advertising and PR
Masters Degree :

[Q] Do you use skills that you learnt in school /college? Did you take up any specific training or courses?

I did have basic training in photography,video as well as post production as my course involved me to have them. Post university I worked for a bit and joined many workshops and courses available in Dubai to get more professional training. Unfortunately in Dubai there is no academy offering a full- fledged degree in photography specifically. So, I had to take up varied courses at different institutes to complete my training. I have done courses in Digital photography, Studio photography, Portrait photography and fashion photography. I would love to keep learning but I am out of any more courses available in Dubai.

[Q] Would you advice younger people to join in your industry? Meaning what are the limitations/ drawbacks of the industry?

Well when you’re young you are very vulnerable and tend to get into many decisions without knowing the drawbacks about them. I wont advice someone to take up photography in general as its ones own choice but creativity has no end and the world needs more people with fresh minds. Take time to realize what is it that you could do everyday of your life and never get frustrated of. (No that dosent include playing PSP or surfing on you tube) Once you have sorted out your inner behavior, you would know when reality is far more better than just dreaming.

Limitations and Drawbacks come with everything that you do. Life was never a cake walk. Photography as a profession has its limitations where you have to work for your client and how they want it, dosent matter if you like the images. They like it they pay you. That’s the commercial side of it. People are going to question your talent, one just needs to be patient and constantly improve on oneself.

[Q] What advice would you give to someone trying to get into the industry? And what do they need to watch out for ?

First thing first walk in and out with your camera everywhere when you’re starting off. That will make people know where your passion lies. Make sure all your family and friends are aware of what you want to do as they come the most in handy while getting one of your first assignments. Use the web to show people your work, Facebook works more than a personal website these days. Those are just formalities. Keep updating your images and yourself this will make people realize that you want to work.

Watch out for agencies that want to hire new photographers and artists and then grab 60% of your earnings off on every job and yearly fee to be associated with them because they provide you with jobs.

[Q] Anything else you want to tell the readers?

Being a photographer you get many questions raised at you asking what sort of profession is that and is it really going to make you earn anything at all. Because I am a female, these questions are raised at double impact to me. I have always told everyone to follow their best quality and use it in their profession. Parents need to let their children realize their quality, job satisfaction is more important than monetary satisfaction in the long run.

[Q] Any online resources you recommend for people taking up this profession? In terms of General reading as well as Job Searches?

For some basic knowledge and amazing examples visit
http://www.thephotoargus.com/

For regular tips and updates you can visit
http://www.shariblog.com/

As I said networking is very important whether is personally or on the internet. Social networking websites like LinkedIn provide many job opportunities and UAE based Dubbizle also has a vast network.

Anywhere else the readers can get in touch with you ? LinkedIN ? Twitter ? Google + ? Personal Website ?
Facebook Page : http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sangeeta-Khiara-Photography/
Twitter@sanguB
LinkedINSangeeta Khiara

A big thanks to Sangeeta for a really inquisitive interview, a lot more of an insight into being a freelance photographer in Dubai. More importantly, a budding young photographer. Wishing her all the best in the coming weeks ahead and moving on, Be Inquisitive.

Inquisitive Interviews : Adithya Suvarna – Advertising

Inquisitive Interviews, the feature was born out of the requests by some of the students who read this blog, requesting information regarding careers. And with a view to help them make a better choice, I have started to feature various careers from different people, starting with people I know and hoping to slowly reach many different people. The Inquisitive Interviews feature would not only help the students reading the interview but also the interviewee providing them with some Online PR of sorts, the benefits of which I mentioned in another post earlier.

[ Q ] Tell us something about yourself ?

My name is Adhitya Suvarna.  I have been working for over 10 years in the mass communications field, namely TV, Online News, Corporate Documentary Film making and Advertising.

[ Q ] What do you Do for a living and Where ?

I live in Dubai and work in a mid-level advertising agency.

[ Q ] Is your job what you expected it to be ?

Yes and no. Yes in terms of the industry I wanted to be in (media) and no in terms of seniority and responsibility that I currently have. Yes in terms of a wonderful office environment with lots of freedom and comfortable working relationships built over the last 5 years. No in terms of almost reaching a point of stagnation and the dreaded blank wall.

[ Q ] Is your salary what you expected it to be ?

The honest answer is no. But that would be a blinkered vision. I did not get a good start in terms of salary since passing out of my masters programme. I never fought for ensuring i get paid for what I am worth. Now, I earn a decent income but it could have been really comfortable if in the initial years of my career, I had stood my ground and been a little more informed.

[ Q ] What is your average day like ?

Office begins with checking emails that my client would have sent the previous evening as I leave office earlier than they do. Then briefing the creative department for new jobs or designs that the client wanted. I also follow up with artworkers in the studio for jobs undergoing minor revisions and sending the same to the client.  Meanwhile, client’s call up to check on jobs status, discuss new jobs or request media plans or rates and other sundry items. I also sit with my junior to discuss jobs that I have handed over to him to do.

[ Q ] What’s the most interesting part of your job ?

Thinking of new and innovative ways to communicate the same message in a new way to the audience. Also, no day is the same as the other as the adverts, the communications differ each day.

[ Q ] What’s the most challenging part of your job ?

Trying to understand what the client  actually means in their vague emails or telephone conversations. Also to try and coordinate with suppliers to meet with the really tough deadlines for delivery of jobs for the clients.

[ Q ] What’s the part of the job that you don’t like ?

When after days and months of us doing a lot of work to create something, it is dismissed in one email by the client as not required.

[ Q ] Do you get bored at your workplace at all ?

Yes and it is normal for when you are bored, the really rush days look very interesting and exiting.

[ Q ] Do you report to someone ? How much of an impact the person you report to has on your job ?

I report to my Senior Account Director and the Managing Director. Both have direct and tremendous impact on my job since the amount of freedom and trust they place on me helps me do my job better and more professionally.

[ Q ] Do you use all the skills that you learnt in school / college ? or where did you pick up the skills ?

I use some of the skills I picked up in my masters programme. The rest of the skills have been on the job. I did not pick up anything in my college or school that is has helped or is helping in my career in any point of time.

[ Q ] What’s your Alumni ? Where have you studied ?

Schooling                     : Bangalore, Panjim, Cuttack, Patna and Kolkatta

Pre University               : R S Krishnan, Trichy

Bachelor’s Degree        : Canara College

Master’s Degree           :  Manipal Institute of Communication

[ Q ] Would you advice younger people to join in your industry ?

Absolutely. There is no better reward than promoting a brand and making sure people know about it and in the right way. It is also a great field for learning a lot about every other industry without actually having to be in that field.

[ Q ] What advice would you give to someone trying to get into the industry ?

My advice to the young crowd is to join when you are young and not wait for a masters degree. Get the hang of the advertising world and after a couple of years, you will be ready to know whether you want to stick around or continue and if the latter, then you will also know exactly which masters programme to do. This industry requires a lot of passion for what you do, whether creative or servicing clients. The rewards come only after a couple of years, so don’t expect to be greatly rewarded on joining. Also, when joining an ad world, try and join a very reputed one, preferably the top 20 agencies that have tied up in your home country. Make sure when you join, you are working for a known brand. That helps lay the foundation, so even after a few years you get an unknown brand, you will be in a position to take charge and give the best to make that brand know.

[ Q ] Anything else you want to tell the readers ?

Always remember to try and chart where you want to be in 10 years time. It is difficult, but a vague idea really helps. In the first few years of your career, don’t stick to a job that does not make you happy doing it or if it is underpaying you. Once you have a few years as a work experience, then try and stick on in jobs for at least a couple of years before leaving as the older you get the more stable your CV should look. Employers won;t look at CV’s that look like you have been hopping more than a rabbit.

[ Q ] Any online resources you recommend for people taking up this profession ?

www.adsoftheworld.com

www.ihaveanidea.org

www.adage.com

You can get in touch with Adithya at the link below :

On LinkedIn    : http://ae.linkedin.com/pub/adhitya-suvarna/7/87/9a4

On Twitter        : www.twitter.com/adkutz

As always I would like to thank Adithya for some very good advice and some interesting insight into the career of Advertising. So next time you have an innovative idea to implement you might want to run it through someone like Adithya just to make sure its not been over used. For the time being this is Adithya and Me signing off, and as always Be Inquisitive.

Inquisitive Interviews : Sinatra Menezes – Brand Manager

More Interviews from the creative side of work. This week we talk to the Brand Manager for one of the most famous brands, Ponds. Here is my interview with Sinatra about her work and career. Please let me know what you guys think of the interview, add to it, please drop in requests of Interviews if you want to see some specific ones.

Inquisitive Interviews, the feature was born out of the requests by some of the students who read this blog, requesting information regarding careers. And with a view to help them make a better choice, I have started to feature various careers from different people, starting with people I know and hoping to slowly reach many different people. The Inquisitive Interviews feature would not only help the students reading the interview but also the interviewee providing them with some Online PR of sorts, the benefits of which I mentioned in another post earlier.

[ Q ] Tell us something about yourself ?

I’m Sinatra, a second generation Indian, born and brought up in Dubai. I completed high school from The Indian High School. Post 10th grade I was faced with a life altering decision, would I opt for Science or Commerce. Finally I choose Commerce with Mathematics, thinking that it would allow me a wider range of job options. One semester through the first year, I realized that Math just wasn’t for me, and was shoved into commerce with Marketing. And this Ladies and Gentlemen, was the best thing that ever happened for my career!! I absolutely loved it and knew that i finally found an area that i could relate to and my gut feeling told me that I’d be good at it.

[ Q ] What do you Do for a living and Where ?

Ponds Brand Manager, Unilever Gulf

[ Q ] Is your job what you expected it to be ?

Everything and more!! I could live and breathe Brand Building for long time to come….the bit that keeps me going is that I’m part of this big project, big idea right from inception till it reaches the hands of consumers.I’m not the best with rountine work, I need something different and challenging happening at all times, to be able to keep my interest levels up.It’s been 8 months since I’ve joined the company, and i can surely say that no two days have been alike.

[ Q ] Is your salary what you expected it to be ?

I know that I’d get paid a lot more in another company. However the stuff that I learn here is invaluable. It’s like my Marketing Director mentioned to me, “if a single month goes by when you can’t add a new line to your resume, that means you are not learning anything new, it’s time to move!”. Unilever is my dream company, and I am very happy to be working here. Every time i walk into the office I can’t help but smile, cuz not too long ago i used to drive by the building wondering if i’d ever get the chance.

 

[ Q ] What is your average day like ?

At any given time I would be working on 5-6 different projects, in addition to ensuring that everyone else does their bit when it comes to the brand Pond’s. Reason being that as Brand Manager, I am responsible for delivering sales numbers, profitability and share growth versus competition. And hence every department needs to be aligned.

[ Q ] What’s the most interesting part of your job ?

The amount of resources that I have on hand! When working on a project, be it the launch of a new product, planning a customer event, or even a press event, I have access to people with specialized skills in various fields. Hence I don’t have to do it myself, I just need to get the work done.

[ Q ] What’s the most challenging part of your job ?

The amount of resources that I have on hand! Like my boss says, think of the company as a ship, you turn the wheel and only 10 minutes later will you see the impact. Similarly when you work with a big company with many people, it takes a long time to ensure that all elements of your plan are aligned.

[ Q ] What’s the part of the job that you don’t like ?

Updating various softwares that are in place, and any job that involves manual data entry……..(hate, hate, hate).

[ Q ] Do you get bored at your workplace at all ?

as of now the only thing that gets be bored is useless meetings. Especially when there is no clear agenda, or no outcome, or even worse, neither of the two!

[ Q ] Do you report to someone ? How much of an impact the person you report to has on your job ?

I report to the Marketing Manager of Face category. The direct boss has a lot of impact on me. Right from the time you join the company, this person takes you through your first induction course, to your first project and then yes, the all important Performance appraisal at year end. As they say people change jobs, not because of the company, but due to the boss.

[ Q ] Do you use all the skills that you learnt in school / college ? or where did you pick up the skills ?

Everything you learn in school comes to use. Even the subjects that you hate. Personally, I hated statistics (high school, college and even during university), but guess what I NEED it at work. I would say that most of the skills that I picked up during my Masters and my work experience have helped shape me as a marketer.

[ Q ] What’s your Alumni ? Where have you studied ?

Schooling                     : The Indian High School, Dubai

Pre University               : The Indian High School, Dubai

Bachelor’s Degree        : Pondicherry University

Master’s Degree           :  University of Southern Queensland, Australia

 

[ Q ] Would you advice younger people to join in your industry ?

Yes, for sure. If you have a natural tendency to observe and analyze people, the constant need to know what makes people ‘tick’, then this industry is for you. That put together with making products to meet the needs of these people / consumers, gives you perfect training on starting your own business sometime down the lane.

[ Q ] What advice would you give to someone trying to get into the industry ?

Start young! It helps to know what you are good at and what your natural strengths are. Nothing like getting a head start in this really rigorous race.

You can get in touch with Sinatra at the link below :

On Facebook    : www.facebook.com/sinatracarneiro

Sinatra has been more than helpful with this initiative referring some friends as well. We will have mor interviews from the creative side in the coming few weeks. Your views as always are greatly appreciated. A big thanks to Sinatra for her insights and her time for the interview.

Blackberry’s main weapon, the BBM [Lots of Videos]

Blackberry is one of the world’s top Smartphone manufacturer, and that is an undeniable fact when it comes to Web enabled Mobile Phones. Traditionally what was considered that the Blackberry was a Business Person’s phone, and they did a great job selling the phone to organizations. For a company who was first time into the market, taking on giants like Apple and Nokia, they carved a Niche for themselves. A few months back my wife got on to the bandwagon and well eventually I did and one of the biggest fact seemed to be the BBM, for her and well cheap internet connectivity for me. However with passage of time and usage I have to admit, BBM is something that I have got accustomed to.

From my boss to my wife, and a whole lot of friends in between, the BBM has actually bought over a lot of fans to the BBM and in turn the Blackberry itself. For all of the guys who are wondering what the BBM is all about this video should give a better idea. In fact this post has so many videos all from Blackberry as a testimonial to Blackberry’s commitment to pushing the BBM.

Blackberry has realized this and the new campaigns of Blackberry are now centered around the BBM, like this one here. More so in India, from the Blackberry boys ad to now an entire range of ads around the BBM here are a few for you to look at.

Now there are more ads talking about flirting and such, so well here are some for you to feast your eyes on.

What really makes the BBM interesting

1. Sometimes, you’ll know that they’re ignoring you:

Once you send a message, a few things can happen.

a. A clock will appear, indicating that the message is in the process of being sent.

b. A check mark will appear, indicating that you’ve sent the message successfully.

c. A check mark with a ‘D’ appears. This means the message has arrived to the intended PIN.

d. A check mark with an ‘R’ appears. Your message has been read.

So why haven’t they answered…? What are they doing?! Did this ever happen to you when you stuck with traditional texting? Probably not, because that ‘R’ makes all the difference. You can rationalize the blue out of the sky when a traditional text message goes unanswered. Try rationalizing an ‘R’ message and see what you come up with besides: “I am meant to be alone forever.”

2. Other times, your message will get lost in BBM limbo:

Due to the flaws of modern technology, you’ll occasionally see a hieroglyphic BBM symbol that you can’t comprehend. No ‘R’, no ‘D’, just confusion and angst. This symbol will remain the same for a few days, at which point you’ll take to Google in order to decipher what it all means. “Was I deleted? Is their phone broken? What the hell is this symbol of what is seemingly a man talking on a phone?”

3. Your PIN is unstable:

With every new cell phone comes a new PIN. Anything sent to your old address is sucked into the ether. This could lead another party to believe that you’re actively ignoring them (see #2);

4. There’s no such thing as “taking a hint”:

When you ignore someone via BBM, it’s perfectly reasonable for them to assume that it would be “okay” to contact you using some other vehicle, like GChat, Facebook, or traditional texting methods due to BBM’s lack of dependability. “She must’ve not received my last 20 BBMs… time to virtually infringe on her alone time some other way.” Don’t ignore someone on BBM and expect that they’ll go quiet into the night. You may have to end this one like an adult.

5. Your risqué messages are at constant risk:

Unless you’re the motivated type who makes amendments to the nicknames in your BBM contact list, it’s likely that common names will show up in multiples. That means confusing your cousin Brian with your lover Brian; your roommate Steve with your one-night-stand Steve. Do you really want to ask your co-worker Dan if he enjoyed your “performance” the night before? Didn’t think so.

Still loved by most users

 

I know I now sound like a skeptic, even with all these flaws, what stands out is features like sending pictures, voice notes immediate reactions, group discussions etc. But these are possible with other ways too, what makes it really interesting is the knowledge if the person has sent the message or not.

I am sure most people with BBM have noticed a scene like the one above, trying to make conversation with the people who are not there, sacrificing the time with the people who are in front of you.

All in all, if it is up to Blackberry most of us will be like this, but I guess that’s where cell phone etiquette comes in. Like they say, life was a lot more simpler when Blackberry and Apple were only fruits.

The REAL ‘Emirates Palace’ is on its way

Frequenting the Internet, some of the information you find is stunning. Sometimes information of something so close to you is relayed from the internet and you haven’t heard about it. Is that just not the worst ? Well, here is another bit of information that might just give you that feeling, I stumbled on a website which had the details and information about the Real Presidential Palace of Abu Dhabi, which is being constructed in Abu Dhabi. Since I work in construction and have worked n some of the best projects in the region, rarely new projects really do excite me. But this one really did. The Abu Dhabi Presidencies new Palace is definitely worth a second look.


This is the proposed presidential palace being built by the Presidential Affairs Department of Abu Dhabi. It is going to replace the existing palace in Ras Al Akhdar, Abu Dhabi. The project will be constructed over 2 plots and will include the main palace, smaller palaces, villas and other facilities. The main palace itself will be 160,000 square meters or over 1,700,000 square feet! Take, the new presidential palace,$490M project that was awarded to Greek construction firm Consolidated Contractors Company and Abu Dhabi-based architects Ewan Architectural & Engineering Consultancy last year. The compound will sit in good, sweet, ostentatious company beside the Emirates Palace Hotel, which made a name for itself around the holidays by hosting a Christmas tree dripping in $11M worth of jewelry.

While the Guggenheim labor controversy has shed negative energy on the Emirates city of Abu Dhabi, turns out there’s a whole lot of other stuff going on there. The Presidential Palace being maybe the crown jewel when it comes to it. All my reluctance in going to Abu Dhabi for a visit is not slowly being overcome to go see this behemoth coming to life.

More Information on Skyscraper City. More Pics here.

Inquisitive Interviews : Jason Prince – Marketing Engineer

As mentioned in a post earlier about Inquisitive Interviews, this blog is attempting to provide some real helpful information to students and professionals alike. Once a week this blog will feature an Inquisitive Interview of a professional from daily life, from really varied professional backgrounds. No part of this interview has been edited or modified in any way.

I kick start this series with one of the best Marketing guys that I personally know, being part of the events initiative we started, Jason has been an important person within Inquisitive Events. I would request you to add in your best wishes and comments for Jason below.

[ Q ] Tell us something about yourself ?

Name is Prince. Jason Prince.

Born and raised in Dubai, went to Canada, came back with a degree in electrical engineering, got a job 3 months later. Started my MBA program parallely with work.  Been in construction industry for 7 years now & loving it.

[ Q ] What do you Do for a living and Where ?

At the moment, I am a Marketing Manager for a company called InoSafe Lighting Solutions based in Dubai.

[ Q ] Is the job what you had pictured it to be ?

It is my 3rd job in 7 years and it is closest to the picture I had in mind!

[ Q ] Is your salary what you expected it to be ?

It was. But i was surprised to know that there are many other industries that pay much better, for example, media industry.

[ Q ] What is your average day like ?

That is the best part of being a Marketing Engineer, every day is different. If there is a huge project, like an airport; we take a week to design it as perfect as possible, 3 days to make a good presentation out of it and another 3 days to present it the client. If it is a smaller project, one day is good for each one of these activities.

On off peak times like summer holidays and Ramadan, mornings are usually set for meetings and after lunch for paperwork.

[ Q ] What’s the most interesting part of your job ?

Meeting people. Usually, the relationship that forms is lifelong and it is interesting to see how each relationships takes form.

[ Q ] What’s the most challenging part of your job ?

Deadlines usually. Sometimes, these deadlines can get impractical. And the frustrating part of it is that the deadlines becomes tight when someone along the “work-chain” didn’t complete their work on time.

[ Q ] What’s the part of the job that you don’t like ?

Sometimes, the people who take decisions take advantage of their position. Dealing with these people are never fun or challenging.

[ Q ] Do you get bored at your workplace at all ?

Sometimes. But that is good. It gives a chance to change things. Every company appreciates a positive change. If you can suggest it to improve the company’s turnover and your role in the company, grab it.

[ Q ] Do you report to someone ? How much of an impact the person you report to has on your job ?

Yes, I do report to my manager. And the manager can have a huge impact on the work that you do. As a fresher, I believe it doesn’t really matter who your boss is. If he has good qualities, adopt it. If he has bad qualities, add it to the list of things-not-to-do-if-I-ever-become-a-boss. It is all part of learning.

If you are going to look for a job at senior level, then it is important to check the chemistry you have with your manager because firstly, you tend to get a lot crankier by now & it is hard to gel with anybody like before & secondly, he could really have an effect on your growth up the ladder.

[ Q ] What would you say are the growth aspects in this Industry are like ?

Initial growth is slow. But once you gain like 10 years of experience, you are king! You can command whatever you want with respect! But of course, it is hard to generalize. It differs from industry to industry.

[ Q ] Do you use all the skills that you learnt in school / college ? or where did you pick up the skills ?

70-80% of the skills are the ones you picked up at the job itself. But the remaining 30% is crucial too. The person and the habits that you have picked up reflects on your work. For example, there are some people always looking for shortcuts. This stems up from the fact that they were always looking for shortcuts while studying. While there are others who were always looking for the whys and how’s and they have more research type attitude. Mind you, they are both good and required. You just have to pick a job profile that best fits.

[ Q ] What’s your Alumni ? Where have you studied ?

Schooling                     : Our Own English High School, Dubai

Pre University               : Tandem Institute of Engineering, India

Bachelor’s Degree        : University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada

Master’s Degree           : University of Southern Queensland, Australia (campus in Dubai)

[ Q ] Would you advice younger people to join in your industry ?

Construction industry is not the best option right now in Dubai right now. You might not get the salary that will best match your expectations. If the company is concentrating on growing third world countries, it could be an exciting opportunity.

[ Q ] What advice would you give to someone trying to get into the industry ?

Like I said, it is not the best time and it might take a while to establish. Patience & luck goes a long way!

[ Q ] Anything else you want to tell the readers ?

Keep a hobby. And actively pursue it as you grow at work. It will help.

[ Q ] Any online resources you recommend for people taking up this profession ?

Nope, you learn everything at work. Some companies invest in personality development programs. Those are great!

You can get in touch with Jason here :

On Facebook    : http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=691991915
On Linked In    : –
On Twitter        : –

Thank you Jason, the readers would really appreciate your insights.

Wordless Thursday – The Hardest Languages to Learn

For all the newbies on this blog, Wordless Thursday is this blog’s way of providing a visual homage to the world. Most of it though interesting infographics. You can see all the infographics that have been published on this blog here. This week in the office, I was trying to pick up some new words in Arabic from some of my colleagues and guess what ? I found out that it is indeed one of the most difficult languages to master around the world.

Although this infographic is called “What are the Hardest languages to learn ?” they do not represent the majority of languages in the world, In fact India itself has over 15 National Languages, with hundreds of dialects each. I am sure if one were to chart out the languages in India  and which one is the most difficult, the intricacies of Malayalam, Tamil and other South Indian languages would show up as the most difficult to learn. What do you guys think ?