Wordless Thursday – Are you an STD risk ?

This hilarious but interesting and informative infographic talks about why you are an STD risk and what can you do to not be one.  Starting from the top Risks for contracting to spreading a disease, this infographic lets you know what you should eliminate to not be a risk to yourself and others. However, following it is the part where we need to concentrate on.

Wordless Thursday is an attempt on this blog to bring about some of the creative and interesting info graphics to the readers of the blog.

Eight Simple Ways to Plan your Taxes.

The Inquisitive Minds, features guest authors who are interested to contribute to the readers of this blog and the author of this article is Ramalingam Kan MBA (Finance) and Certified Financial PlannerHe is the Founder and Director of Holistic Investment Planners (www.holisticinvestment.in) a firm that offers Financial Planning and Wealth Management. He can be reached at ramalingam@holisticinvestment.in.  He has been a regular on this blog for a while now. If you would like to contribute something then please let us know on guest [at] melvinpereira.com.

You have got only a few more months to complete this financial year. Very soon you will get a call from your company to submit the proofs for tax saving investments. So why don’t you spend some time on organising your tax plan?

1)     Proper Allocation of Annual compensation

Restructuring your salary with some additional components can reduce your tax liability. This restructuring doesn’t require any additional cash outflow. The following components can be efficiently used to reduce your income tax liability.

v  Transport allowance to the extend of Rs.800 is exempt

v  Medical expenses which are reimbursed by the employer are exempt to the tune of Rs.15000

v  Food coupons like sodexo or ticket restaurant are exempt from tax up to Rs.60000

v  Individuals who are all living in a rented accommodation can include House Rent Allowance ( HRA ) as a part of their salary

v  Leave Travel Allowance (LTA) can be part of your salary as this can be claimed twice in a block of 4 years.

2)     Effective Utilization of Tax Exemption

As far as possible utilize the maximum exemptions available under section 80 C, 80 CCF and 80 D. The maximum exemption available under section 80 C is Rs. 100000.

Under this section Rs.100000 investment or contribution can be made in PPF, NSC, Life insurance premium, 5 year FD with banks and Post offices, Mutual Fund ELSS, Principal Repayment of housing loan, and the tuition fees paid for children’s education.

Under Section 80 CCF, you can invest up to Rs.20000 in infrastructure bonds.

Under Sec 80 D, the premium paid towards the mediclaim policies are exempt. The maximum limit of exemption is Rs.15000 and for senior citizens the limit is Rs.20000 and for covering senior citizen parents there is an additional exemption to the extend of Rs.15000.

3)     Properly Structure your Housing Loan

The Principal repayment of a housing loan is eligible for a deduction up to Rs.100000. The interest paid on a housing loan is eligible for a deduction up to Rs.150000. If the housing loan is for a sizeable amount, then it is possible that the principal repayment and interest may exceed the specified tax exemption limit. To utilise the maximum tax benefit, an individual can consider going for a joint home loan with his/her spouse or parent or sibling. This will make sure that both the co-owners can claim tax deductions in the proportion of their holding in the loan.

 4)     Tax Plan in Sync with Overall Financial Plan

You should not do your tax plan in isolation. You need to do it in sync with your overall financial plan. So a tax plan is not only to just save taxes and also it should assist you in achieving your other financial goals like children’s higher education, buying a home or retirement.

5)     Avoid Last Minute Rush

In fact the right time to do the tax plan is the beginning of the financial year. If you postpone your tax planning even now and do it in the last minute, then you will not be able to choose the right investment. In the last minute rush, you will be forced to choose a scheme which gives the proof immediately. Is the investment sound and profitable? Is there any other better options? You will not be able to choose the best scheme and you may settle with a mediocre one.

6)     Invest Some Quality Time

Before investing your money, you need to invest your time. You need to take some quality time to understand the various tax saving options and compare their benefits and limitations.

7)     Check for Future Commitments

Some tax saving options like NSC or ELSS need only onetime investment. Some other tax saving options like PPF, Ulips need periodical investments year after year. You need to be careful in choosing a tax saving scheme where you need to commit for periodical future payments. You need to check on a few things like; do you need such a future commitment? Will you be able to meet the future commitments at ease? The law may change and you may not get any tax exemption for your future payments. Would you consider the scheme irrespective of tax benefit for the future payments?

8)     Changed Your Job; Redo your Tax Plan

Did you switch your job in the middle of the financial year? Then you need to redo your tax plan with consolidating the income from both the companies. It is advisable to inform the new company about the income during the particular financial year from the old company. So that your new company will deduct the right amount of TDS. Otherwise you may need to pay extra tax at the end of the financial year.

Whenever you change your job, you need to have a sitting with your financial planner or tax advisor. So that the required changes in your tax plan can be done proactively. With proper tax planning you can reduce your tax liability; save more; invest better and become wealthier.

Inquisitive Interviews cos Google is your next Interview

Google has been the cornerstone of the Internet’s expansion for some time now, I know there would be a few readers that would disagree with me on a more technical level, however Google did to the Internet what windows did to the desktop PC. Gave it a shape and a voice. Today we cannot really think of a life without Google. We use the search for everything, even the term Google It is now in the dictionary as a synonym of search. One of the industries that really did well with the explosion of the internet was the Job Search industry, going from newspaper ads locally right to the internet job search sites like Monster.com to now the very popular Linked In. Most people use the common routes of the internet for job search, i.e. search for a job on a job site, send in your CV and wait for a response. However there are more innovative ones among us that are using the Internet resources differently for job search, more on that later. The tried and tested route is great for beginner jobs and for intermediate jobs. However a you grow up the ladder this method starts to fall short. Main because head hunters look for people in higher places, as well as referrals and contacts take over.

Through all of this, one thing is emerging as a major trend in the Job Search / Hunt industry. Google. Most people these days are Googling potential candidates to search for information like credibility, recommendations etc. Linked in is one of the most popular of these sources that shows up, on a close second would be Facebook and Twitter. It would be logical considering that these sites are as big as they are, Linked in with over 100 Million users and Facebook with a staggering 500 million users. Googling a person can bring about the information about a person that he may or may not be particularly proud of. Like that drunk party you were at, or someone blogging about your inefficiency etc.

Based on this it becomes imperative that you really go out there and start Ego Googling once every few months, just to make sure that the information about you is current and relevant and in fact you are Googlable. What do I mean by that ? well for starters make it easier for people to find you on Google, make sure that there is good information about you and not too much dirt. Once this process is done you will see that a person looking for your information might be able to find, that you are indeed an achiever as well as have some evidence to back it up.

The entire process above is called Personal Branding. What it means though is that you are working to promote yourself similarly as a brand would do. I am working on something similar for myself, if you Google Melvin Pereira, you would see that most results are between a namesake and of course me. The namesake is a renowned photographer of Jet Planes and has been quoted over the internet a lot. Which makes him easier to search than for example me. But I have an advantage, this blog. Having a domain name with my name and a blog has ensured that I am searchable, and findable. My thoughts and knowledge base is this blog itself. I know a lot of you are thinking is this really relevant to me ? Well for starters you don’t always need a blog to be findable on Google, you only need to compete with all your name sakes in order to reach the first page and the top results there. Here are some steps that might help in the process :

  1. Google Yourself regularly : What does come of that exercise is you can see how far off from the first page are you. Only when you know how far back you are, can you know how much work is required to put you to the front pages.
  2. Online Participation : Participate in websites where interaction would lead to increased visibility. Read and comment on blogs that are related to your line of work, try to help others out online, e.g. educational forums where college students ask for answers. Etc.
  3. Linked In : Have a great Linked In profile. Filling in all the sections as well as providing as such relevant work related information as possible. Considering that Linked In profile would be one of the first pages that show up for your name, the more information it does have the better the impact it would have.
  4. Repeat Step 1 every few months, or every month initially.

In the process, I will also be able to help. On this blog I am starting a section called Inquisitive Interviews, a series of Interviews that are well, Inquisitive to start off with. I was being asked the question by some college students on if there line of work is correct and what are the growth prospects, although I am not qualified nor experienced enough I thought that by providing them with information related to how people work ? What did they study to get there etc, it might help to make some good decisions regarding their career. Complimenting this, it would also provide some visibility for the person in the interview on Google, as my Blog is now quite frequently visited by Google.

There are many different ways through which you can be famous online, by putting up really stupid pictures of yourself (which might not be the best for your career) also by helping people, and getting recognized for it. For the benefit of a lot of my readers, I hope Inquisitive Interviews will provide some value too, making the interviewee Googlable and help them advance in their career. If you want to get featured in Inquisitive Interviews get in touch with me at me[at]melvinpereira.com. Additionally I would request you to share this section with more students in the hope that it will be helpful to them

Guest Post – How to create a workable budget that gives you money and life?

As mentioned in an earlier post, I am beginning to have some guest bloggers provide some valuable posts to the readers of this blog. This time around a very important topic of personal finance management is being discussed by a very proficient blogger from India. Dealing with details of why you would need a budget and how to create a workable budget that gives you money and life. If you would like to write on the Inquisitive Mind as well, please do drop in a line at the contact me page. I will get back to you.

“Modern man drives a mortgaged car over a bond-financed highway on credit-card petrol.”

Taking control of your cash inflow and outflow is the base for financial planning. Budgeting is important to gain control over your financial life, be prepared and avoid surprises, save for a major purchase, get out of debt and stay out of debt, expand your lifestyle, and to retire early.

Thiruvalluvar, a much celebrated Tamil poet emphasizes budgeting through his following lines:

Incomings may be scant; but yet, no failure there,
If in expenditure you rightly learn to spare. (Kural: 478)

Who prosperous lives and of enjoyment knows no bound,
His seeming wealth, departing, nowhere shall be found. (Kural: 479)

Most of us hesitate to make a budget because we think it is about cutting all the fun in life. Budgeting is not about cutting all the fun; it is about conscious allocation of funds. Once we start spending consciously, our mind will find out a whole new way of having fun within the budget.

Making Budget: A step by step guide

There is a saying, “God is in the details”. Detail every bit of your financials while creating a budget.

1)    Check your financial statements:

It could be your utility bills, d’mat account statement, other investment receipts, ITR, Form 16A, Form 16, bank statement, credit card statement etc. The idea is to make out the monthly average of income and expenses. Therefore the more details you can get the more relevant and accurate will the budget be.

2)    Listing out income from all sources:

It is very easy for us to list down the income from employment or self employment. Normally we will lose track of income from investments, rental income and other miscellaneous income. Also check is there any annual income. Don’t forget to record the incomes received by way of cash equivalents like meal voucher and credit card reward points.

3)    Finding out your total expenses:

We can easily list down the major expenses. But listing out the miscellaneous and petty expenses would be difficult. This is where the collected financial statements would help. Don’t forget the annual expenses like car insurance and property tax. Once you have recorded all the expenses then split them into fixed expenses and variable expenses. This classification will provide much more clarity.

Most people are surprised to learn that it may go for things that we do not need at all. Writing your expenditures down provides us with the unique opportunity to visualize and find out if any money goes for things that we do not need or want.

4)    Are you saving or over spending?

Now you have your total income as well as total expenses. Deduct the total expenses from the total income. You will know whether you are saving some money or doing over spending. If you are saving some money channelize that money into the priority areas such as clearing your credit card outstanding or any other loan to become debt free or retirement savings or children’s future plan. If you are on over spending, then you need to make some adjustments to expenses.

5)    Review your spending pattern:

On your expenses list, pay close attention to the variable expenses. This is where you can cut short a few expenses.

Every month we need to keep aside appropriate amount for the proportionate annual expenses.

You can find out the reasons for over spending. Most of the cases it would be emotional buying or unplanned shopping. Once you have pointed out the reasons for overspending, then find out the steps or precautions to be taken to rectify the same.

6)    Are you on the track? Check monthly:

Every month set aside an hour to compare the actual expenses with the budgeted expenses. If there is a negative deviation, find out the measures to control them.

Why your earlier budgeting attempts failed?

Budgeting is not a onetime activity. It is a continuous process. Normally we start budgeting with a genuine motive. But after a few months it may get off-tracked like our attempts on dieting or exercising. Therefore one needs to understand the behavioural aspects of budgeting.

1)    Positive Approach:

Never focus on the negative aspects. Focus on the benefits of successful budgeting. What will you accomplish by creating a budget? It could be becoming debt free, some money for vacation, planning for retirement or children’s future.

2)    Keep your enthusiasm alive:

Budgeting may over a period of time become routine and hence boring. Set a few short term goals like trying to repay the personal loan in 18 months instead of 36 months. If you achieve it reward yourself. Recognition could be a good motivating factor. Inform all your family members, friends and well wishers about your progress on budgeting. You can also join in some of the forums related to money management.

3)    Have a realistic expectation:

One needs to keep realistic expectation on the outcome of the budget. Over expectation may demotivate you. Budgeting is not a magic. It is an art like singing and dancing. You will be able to progress it only over a period of time with constant practice.

If you have not done budgeting for yourself and family so far, then now is the right time to take action. The fact that you are reading this article shows you have decided to stop procrastinating, and have answered the ancient question, “If not now, when?” with “NOW!”.

 

The author is Ramalingam K, an MBA (Finance) and Certified Financial Planner. He is the Founder and Director of Holistic Investment Planners (www.holisticinvestment.in) a firm that offers Financial Planning and Wealth Management. He can be reached at ramalingam@holisticinvestment.in.

Why ‘NFC’ will be the most important alphabets of this year

NFC, or Near Field communication is burning hot this year. Another technology centered around the Mobile Phone like Augmented Reality. Unfortunately Augmented Reality has not yet completely taken off, but NFC on the other hand is driven by money and so will definitely do well in the coming year. It is an old idea that started off with contact less smart cards, and is now adapted into the mobile. Some time back I had shown Apple patent application for the introduction in the next generation iPhone, but while Apple was still working on the paperwork, Google has rolled the technology (although half baked) into the Nexus S, the new flagship phone of Google made by Samsung.

But why is NFC going to be big ? Everyone in technology usually dreams of technology getting unified and ubiquitous where certain aspects of our lives will be completely supported through technology in a completely integrated form. We already use a whole load of technologies like them, the credit card is an excellent example. The problem with the credit cards are how successful the cards have become. Every small agency and company now wants us to carry a card with their loyalty program running with them, like you Gym, airline, favorite restaurant etc etc. But I feel there are one too many on the front of cards.

What is the solution ? smash the cards into one. It would be even better is this card would be easily accessible and programmable to be whatever card you want it to be when you need it to, something like this was demoed by Microsoft in their video for the future of technology.

Its time this technology starts getting into main stream with many different application and service providers. Companies and services are utilizing this new technology as a dedicated app on phones. Did I say phones ?? yes I did, the new Near Field communication chip is now into mobile phones, Google has already launched the chip into the phone.

Phone might be not the best place to keep it, this according to many people all over. Main issue being what if the phone is lost ? Phones get lost at all times, and so do wallets. What do people do when something like that happens ?? They find a way out.

Not only is the Nexus S the mobile with this included, if the rumor mills are to be believed then Blackberry and iPhone are next. All in all its a good start for the year, and tell you what its not the last you are going to hear of it.

Water on Blog Action Day

Today is blog Action Day, and for a lot of people who do not know, its a day blogger like myself get to gather world over to write about a particular topic that requires world wide attention. Last year we wrote about climate change which made a bit of a difference during the Copenhagen Summit. This year I am joining 15,000 other blogger today on October 15, 2010 to write about something that will have an impact on all our lives weather it is now or in the next 20 years time. Water.

The elixir of life and soon to be liquid gold, is something that is definitely something that we need to be looking at seriously not only in terms of an irreplaceable resource but also in the context that, the same about of water exists on the planet for the past billion years and its not going to change. So the more water we actually pollute, the more we loose as water is not created, but transformed from one form to the other and one place to the other. I have also believed that it is definitely better to use presentations better than text where possible, because like we all know a picture is worth a thousand words and a presentation is worth an entire book.

There is three things I want to touch with this post, first of all the importance of water and what is available to us, the second well what would happen to us if we do not preserve it. Have a look at the below two presentations for it.

This third presentation is basically a presentation that is actually a letter from the future, a letter from someone who might live in the future and tell us what we are doing wrong in this lifetime especially when it comes to the precious commodity called water. Finally, another important word about the water we have.

Water is most definitely something that needs to be preserved and saved and unfortunately in a country like India where the water that is safe is still not really pure, it definitely seems like there are a lot of people who are trying to misuse the situation in a way that is detrimental to the economy and in a way that they might make more monetary gains. And this definitely is not something that can be tolerated.

I did write about how India is planning to import water in huge quantities from Alaska for drinking water, and then there are the Bisleri”s the Pepsi’s the Aquafina and million other Bottled Water brands that are well, driving the economy down and causing more harm with the plastic bottles that they use. Here is another short movie/ presentation that might be something that you need to not only take note of but also apply if possible.

Like I mentioned earlier, if I am able to even ensure that a few people who read this make a small change or even if this is shared enough that the message goes through, I am going to consider that this post for the Blog Action Day 2010 is a success, please let me know about what you think is the way to go keeping the above in mind.

Innovation to help the Blind read novels

Everyone knows that the best way or the only way that the Blind read is through their hands using the very innovative and universal standard Braille. There is however a big problem considering the fact that all books need to be specifically made for the blind to read. And doing a quick search on the interwebs will let you know that the choice for reading for these fellow men and women is not that great. I guess if you can single out the one quality of a person that makes them human, its Choice. So in a way the fact that technology is not available for people to get this choice is a failure of technology, right. Guess some people did think about it and well here are few concept gadgets to help break that shackles.

The technology’s already here, we just need a venture capital firm and a determined entrepreneur to make it happen. A foursome of designers — Seon-Keun Park, Byung-Min Woo, Sun-Hye Woo and Jin-Sun Park — have banded together to create the above pictured concept, an e-reader for those with limited or no vision. Their Braille E-Book concept theoretically relies on electroactive polymers in order to change the surface’s shape as pages are turned, and while we fully expect the battery life to suffer due to all the necessary commotion, it’s definitely a start that needs to happen.

Simple in design, the device uses electroactive polymers, which change shape when voltage is run through them, forming the raised braille letters. Since the traditional paper braille books for the blind are roughly double the size of normal books, this could be a muscle-saver for those of us who are unseeing or partially sighted.

Apart from the Design from Yanko Studio there is the Haptic Reader another similar device which has more illustrations like how to use the devise as well. Check out he pics below.

Via Yanko Via Engadget

Oorja power, an Indians Invention taking on Bloom Box

Bloom Box is the brain child of an Indian, Mr. K R Sridhar who used to work at NASA and found that Fuel Cells using the right potent fuel for its input can be used to run entire house holds. Now Another Indian Mr. Sanjiv Malhotra is now looking to challenge the invention with another invention of his own which uses Methanol as the input fuel to generate clean electricity for the homes. Yes you read it right, two people from the sub continent in USA are working on technologies that can change the face of the earth.

With stationary fuel cells hot again, Oorja Protonics is jumping into the market. In a few months, the company, which specializes in methanol fuel cells, will release a fuel cell capable of generating 5 kilowatts of power, enough to run a home or small business or to provide backup power to cell towers. It’s somewhat small in size, as well. Check out the video: the 5-kilowatt fuel cell fits on top of a gurney. It is about the same size as a 500-watt device Oorja produced a few years back, then the market for this technology did not really exist. “This will sit on large forklifts. You could use it for auxiliary power for trucks, RVs or marine applications, or for off-grid power for homes or farms,” said CEO Sanjiv Malhotra. “This opens up a plethora of other markets.” For larger applications, the fuel cells can be chain-ganged together. Connect twenty of them and they would be capable of generating 100 kilowatts of power — as much energy as the recently unfurled Bloom Energy Server. Check out the video below.

Methanol is one of the mostly commonly produced chemicals in the world, costs about $1 to $2 a gallon and doesn’t have to be transported under pressure so it’s easy to ship. Many car manufacturing plants already have large tanks on site to store methanol because it’s the same chemical as windshield washer fluid. Methanol would be delivered to plants that don’t have large tanks in large plastic drums. Methanol also has environmental advantages over lead acid batteries. Oorja claims a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions even if the methanol for its fuel cells were produced from coal liquification or natural gas. But methanol can also be made using non-food biowaste, which would virtually eliminate greenhouse gas emissions.

Malhotra founded Oorja, which means energy in Sanskrit, in 2005. The Fremont-based company employs about 35 and Aug. 25 announced a 60-unit sale to a Nissan factory in Smyrna, Tenn. Nissan has tested Oorja’s products for the last 18 months. Malhotra studied fuel cells in graduate school two decades ago, first at the University of Iowa and then at the University of California, Berkeley. “Back then, nobody had heard of fuel cells,” he said. “I remember looking for a job after I finished my Masters and people were sending me to gas stations.” After completing a Ph.D., Malhotra worked at H Power, where he landed an $81 million sale for H Power’s propane fuel cells. The company went public in 2000, raising $100 million and selling in 2002. After tiring of early retirement, Malhotra founded Oorja.

Where is Innovation required in India – i.e Where is the money ?

This is a question that has been asked before and a lot of people and companies are striving to get the answer to this. India is a big country with varying socio economic sectors, each with a different requirement than the other. However the numbers is each sector would dictate what sector is the best sector for the maximum market reach or most profit.  Here are my views on where is the real market for an aspiring service or company in India.

First things first, to categorize India into sectors is very difficult. There are many factors and many conditions that dictate what the consumers need and where is the best place to work. But, largely based on the socio economic front there can be 5 distinct sectors in India.

  1. The Very Rich
  2. The Consuming Class
  3. The Climbers
  4. The Aspirants
  5. The Survivors

The first and second sectors are the ones that expect the products and services the same as that of the developed countries. For the most part, the rest of the sectors are only aspiring to achieve any sort of service that can be there. This is the real market for an aspiring new company. The majority of enterprises in the Climbers or aspirant sectors have ten or fewer employees, and are the main contributors of employment for the poor. Hence micro-entrepreneurs form the backbone of economies in these regions, and their development is crucial for socioeconomic improvement in a country like India.

The climbers / Aspirants and Survivors form the largest sector of the country. In India these sectors represent the sleeping tiger, which is the part of the country which has the most potential but still have to deal with infrastructural requirements that plague the country. There are great markets that can be worked on considering the sharp downfall of the government to provide these services to people:

POWER : For instance, for many it still is a daily struggle to get enough electricity to go about their daily lives. Those living in rural areas or in urban slums simply don’t have electricity. This could be addressed by integrating new battery technology, solar recharging, low-power technologies, or via devices that automatically utilize other ways of charging or saving power that are still being explored.

LITERACY : The UN estimates that nearly 20% of the world population is illiterate – with the vastmajority residing in developing nations. Before even basic information services like SMS can be used, more effort needs to be made into creating new user interfaces for those who can’t read, and more effort into finding the best ways of teaching literacy with mobile devices.

COMMUNITY : Rapid technological change in the world is going to inevitably create friction, as well as great opportunities. Finding ways to integrate technologies into traditional social structures in a positive way could play a huge role in community enhancement. Micro payments, encouragement for Entrepreneurship, Venture Capitalism are all venues where we could approach the community issues.
There have been certain products that have come around in the past few months to cater to these sectors. Good examples to these have been Mitti Cool, the Refrigerator aimed at the villages without electricity and made entirely of clay, and other innovations. You can check more of these inventions at http://www.jugaadu.com/.

Though it is tempting to simply assume that eventually growing economies will need many of the same things that developed nations already have, innovation and new services to help the poor and uneducated can’t stop because some parts of these sectors have crossed into what can be called “lower middle class.” For the vast majority, there are still many problems with accessing just the most basic requirements of human beings. The opportunities to improve the lives of millions of people with new services aimed at growing economies are incredible. As time goes by and new technologies become cheaper and accessible by more people, the possibilities for even greater services that truly improve the quality of life are enormous.

New Invention for Sleep at Airports

The airport Industry is considered the peak in commercial automation in terms of the technologies in use, of course there is Industrial Automation, Military Automation as the other parts or you could say peaks. But in Commercial Automation, working on an Airport is like working on a Spacecraft. The airports often throw up technologies and or gadgets that may in fact one day move into daily life a few examples of these would be travelators, escalators, and image recognition through security cameras etc. I am working on the Dubai Airport expansion project and recently came across this interesting little device from the consultants who have designed the Dubai Airport, Airport De Paris International (ADPi) that they have installed in the Paris Airport as a sample.

Sleep Machines, that allow people to sleep or rest while they wait for flights these seem like amazing machines. It looks just right, the perfect place to catch up on your sleep between long flights. We like its clever design, with sheets that are automatically changed by winding from one roller to another, just like a conveyor belt. Each Sleep Box is decked out with an LCD display, Wi-Fi, a place to stash your luggage, and plenty of sockets for charging up your laptop and cell phone. Sure beats sleeping in a chair. Check out the pictures of the same here below and also the video below.

Try before you buy, online ? Now you can !


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[tweetmeme] One of my favorite technologies that I keep writing about is Augmented reality and this is one technology that is definitely going to change a lot of habits among us; And the part of society or business that will be the first to adopt will be able to be on top when the technology comes up for good. Anyway, back to what I want to talk about, I did do a post earlier where I had mentioned how Cisco imagines our future, where we shop using augmented reality. That future is closer than I think it is. As a refresher check out the video below :

Now imagine how this could be happening ? Well, I have the answer. A business in London http://www.glassesdirect.co.uk has come up with an online solution for people to be able to select their glasses and having to try them on before buying them …. all online :) How you ask me?

You can check it out yourself here. I can assure you that you will be surprised at the result. You can see a demo of the same here below :

This reminds of a very famous quote about the future :

“The future is already here, its just not evenly distributed ” – William Gibson

Buy a piece of the future at Sharaf DG : Power Mats

[tweetmeme] Sharaf DG in Dubai is one of my favorite stores, offering a lot of electronics gadgets and offers at the same time. Personally, my experience is of a kid going to a candy store. I always find something noteworthy and something of utter uselessness when I go there, however it might not stock the latest Google Nexus One or Samsung Droid, it still sports something that grabs my attention.

My pick at my last visit was the Power Mat, well you have heard about normal mats, but this will help your gadgets charge and juice up wirelessly, yes you hears that right wirelessly. We’ve seen quite a few induction-based “wireless power” systems make the scene, and while the idea is interesting both in theory and prototype, actually getting it to market has proven to be quite difficult, with some casualties along the way.  Unlike other induction-based “wireless power” contraptions, this one came out earlier this year as total vaporware and has now resurfaced as a collaborative effort by Michigan-based HoMedics Powermat North America (HPNA).

It seems as though Powermat is a shoe-in to the first company to really hit with something usable, affordable and practical. When you need to give something with a USB port a bit of juice, you can simply plug it into the PowerMat and let it transfer power across. It’s nice and neat, and a simple concept. Of course, it tackles the question of wireless charging, that charges devices without them needing to be attached, but it’s no less interesting for it.

I would have got one except that they do not really support Nokia devices and my N95 would not really make use of it, but really when they support it, I would be more than happy to get it. Priced at about Dhs 300, it is something that will drop price as the sales increase.

Checkit out here:

http://www.powermat.com/us/home/
http://www.sharafdg.com/shop/index.aspx