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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

How to Keep Your Online Profile Professional

Sharing your thoughts and experiences with your friends on social networking sites has become a customary way of communication. But not all the personal two-pence you put out on the webscape is safe with employers now keeping an eye on your online antics. In an age where blogs, micro-blogs and social networking sites are blurring the line between private and professional lives, you could do well to wise up and work on your manners to 'block' yourself from risking your job.

Share Smart
To share anything and everything on your Facebook (FB), Twitter or blog is not as good an idea as being judicious is. Whatever enters the web world seldom gets erased completely and software is designed to fish out 'deleted' information even after years. If your luck is star-crossed, an offensive 'comment' you made and 'deleted' can also be retrieved and used against you.

Shishir Dave, a seasoned HR (Human Resources) consultant, says, "In a flourishing metro, Facebook-Twitter usage is very high among the working class. The trend of online surveillance is catching up and there are agencies to do background checks. We get many requests from employers to check up online profiles of prospective employees to find out whether (s)he is a job-hopper, party animal, alcoholic, has criminal antecedents, etc. You never know which post or remark may boomerang on you. If you are already down and your boss needs to hammer a final nail in, even an abusive tweet or a post could be it."

Ask Yourself: What impression does my online paraphernalia give to an employer?

Think Before You Upload
An employer discovering unflattering or inappropriate photos can be disastrous to your image. Uploading intimate, obscene, wasted-looking or drunken party pictures are obviously a strict nono. Un-tagging yourself from friends' indecent pictures may also save blushes. Dave says, "We usually warn out-of-hand employers to behave themselves. It is better to give them the benefit of doubt once. If the employee persists with his loose-talks or improper behaviour online, we issue him/her a notice and eventually decide to sack them. But in most instances, a warning has always sufficed."

Ask Yourself: Do I want colleagues to see this?

Choose 'Friends' Wisely
In US and UK, tons of employees have been given the boot for wisecracks online. A Massachusetts teacher, Dr June Talvitie was shown the door for calling her students 'germ bags' and their parents 'snobby, arrogant' on Facebook. An IT teacher in the UK was shown the door for posting a 'jesting' comment on her rowdy teenage students. In both instances, a school staffer had squealed on the professors.

So think twice before adding someone who you haven't met or before posting an off-hand comment. "You never know how and via which friend your post can land up in the newsfeed of higherups," Dave adds.

HR assistant in a British bank, Stephanie Bon, got fired for her post: "Our new CEO gets 4,000 pounds an hour. I get 7. That's fair." Again, it was Bon's colleague who reported her. Dave explains, "The work ethics in America and Europe is very strong and hence employees run into trouble if they make inappropriate comments. Calling your boss an ass in the US may fetch you a libel suit and pink slip, but in India, you get away saying a lot of things online as a proper system is not in place to deal with these instances."

Ask Yourself: Will this get me fired?

Safe Surfing
To keep your networking profile secure, up your privacy settings to the hilt. But then, nothing actually is private as the internal security walls are not too difficult to break open with the correct software. "HR can easily crack open private information of an employee if it receives a tip-off on his misbehaviour," says Dave. "But even if the top boss wants, it is logistically impossible for the HR of big companies to track employees' online lives. So unless a staffer complains against a particular post, we don't keep a watch on him."

Ask Yourself: Would I say this aloud at work?

Overdoing The Updates
Status updates can get really immediate, with dense minute-byminute account, especially with the on-the-move Tweeple sorts. But it may not always be a grand idea to let the world know which mall you are shopping in or which coffee shop you are chilling out at. This cautionary goes especially for girls, who could be enlightening
their potential stalker with dangerous details. Let us not even get in to how your boss and colleagues will think of you as somebody who does nothing except fool around on FB or Twitter.

Ask Yourself: Does anyone care if I'm buying toilet paper?

Being overcautious online spoils the sole purpose of its carefree existence. Just go easy on excesses. The safest bet for cribbing and ranting about your depressing job would be at that good old haunt — the nearest bar!

10 Things That Give You Away
1. References To Drug Abuse
2. Extremist Or Intolerant Views
3. Criminal Record
4. Proof Of Excessive Alcohol Consumption
5. Indecent Pictures
6. Foul Language
7. Links To Unsuitable Websites
8. Lewd Jokes
9. Silly E-mail Addresses
10. Silly Groups

Career Mistakes to Avoid

Whether you’ve snagged your first job or shifted to a new one recently, you need to follow work etiquette. For, a wrong word or a shoddy presentation may be akin to committing a career hara-kiri. Here are the habits and attitudes that are a strict no-no.

I don’t need to be punctual
Timing is essential. You’re a professional now and a ‘sorry, my brother spilt milk over my homework’ excuse isn’t going to work. Your assignment should be finished before the deadline, with enough time to spare, so that you can polish it. Unlike college, a ‘C’ grade-even once-does matter. If you disappoint your seniors, getting another chance is tough. If your office doesn’t run on a 9-to-5 schedule, ensure that you have a fixed time for coming in and leaving, so you can be available during those hours.

I want everything, now
Instant gratification may be your buzzword, but it’s not going to work at office. You cannot accumulate five years worth of experience in one year, nor can you get the hefty salaries your senior colleagues do. You will only get what your employers believe you’re worth. “In the initial stages, don’t mix career and money. Your priority should be the job profile based on your capabilities, which will help you hone your skills and grow. Once you’re established, the money will come,” says Nidhi Gaur, head, HR, Wiley India. Just putting in your best may not be enough. Your efforts will also have to be fruitful. “If you expect more compensation, the worth of the individual should increase along with the cost,” says Sunil Goel, CEO, Global-Hunt, an HR firm.

This is all I’m going to do
If you stick rigidly to your job description, you may miss out on opportunities to be noticed. Take up tasks beyond the routine ones, especially those that can demonstrate your untapped talents. This also proves that you’re willing to take initiative. If you are new, you may get saddled with jobs that others don’t want or hours nobody else is willing to put in. If you grumble at being given extra work, it may put off your superiors.

I’m the only one who made it a success
No man is an island, especially not in crowded cubicles. In an office, you need to work as a team. If you do well, give credit where it’s due, especially to your juniors. Even if you don’t get along with someone, be polite. There’s no place for anger or tantrums at the workplace. Remember, your electronic mails are being sent through your employer’s server, so badmouthing someone on mail or chats in the office could lead to an embarrassing fiasco.

What’s a network?
Even a genius could hit a roadblock. This is when your network of peers will come to your rescue as you can take their advice. It also helps you stay abreast of the latest issues in your field. Keep in touch with college mates, mingle during conferences and functions, and join a professional networking site.

I know everything there is to know
No job is secure forever. The business landscape is changing constantly and if you don’t want to be a dinosaur, you’ll have to upgrade your skills regularly. You need to stay on a par with colleagues and others vying for your job. Don’t expect past accomplishments to suffice. Learn constantly, especially from your mistakes. If a senior corrects you, don’t sulk or complain. You’ll not only exasperate your boss, but end up repeating your mistake.

I’m irreplaceable, I deserve that promotion
If you believe you are the only one who can do the job right, back your conviction with accomplishments. Before you jump at the chance to be promoted, ask yourself: am I prepared for it? A promotion not only means more professional responsibilities, but also changes in personal life. Make sure you are ready to shoulder these. If you aren’t, the step may backfire and destroy chances of future promotions. Don’t promise to get something done without ensuring that it is achievable.

Financial Planning Tips for Newly Weds

Stop dreading the post-nuptial financial planning, as iDiva teams up with leading experts to help you understand the necessity of making financial provisions even after you've 'settled down'.

Be open
Irrespective of the fact whether you have known your partner before marriage or not, experts opine that it is important to share each other's current financial standings. Financial planner, Gaurav Mashruwala states, "Partners must reveal their existing finances including their income, expenses, investments, loans and any other assets." Any form of hesitation might put one's future at risk. According to Gaurav, couples are often unaware of the future impediments from concealing existing finances. He adds, "In a situation where the wife had a joint account with her parents, post marriage she should transfer the account to her partner instead. Also, in any other form of investment, she should make her partner a nominee."

Even if couples are aware of the steps to be taken in securing their future, it is crucial to strategise spending on a regular basis. Gaurav says, "If both the partners are earning, then it's only fair that both of them invest in short and long-term savings. It should never be a one-way traffic. Even if there are arguments, couples must strategically chart out their current income and invest wisely into various tools giving higher returns."

Keep insurance in place
It's never advisable to undermine the necessity of having a life insurance and medical insurance policy in place. CFP, Suresh Sadagopan has the following suggestions for all newly married couples:

Life insurance – Prior to marriage when the bride/groom stays with their respective family members, perhaps there's no need for a life insurance policy, as there's zero dependency. However, post marriage one should always opt for life insurance as the dependency factor comes into play.
Medical insurance – In case both you and your partner are working, then the medical insurance offered by your respective companies should be sufficient. In case, only one of you are working, then your spouse's medical insurance may not suffice. Therefore, start looking for additional medical insurances.

Periodical investments
Investments come in different forms. You can invest in mutual funds, insurance policies, shares, debentures, etc. Suresh lists the short and long-term investment tools:

Short-term planning - Couples can invest in Equity oriented assets; they can also go for recurring deposits (ideally for 12 months); short-term deposit (safety deposit) which yields a higher return; interval plans for Mutual Funds (monthly/quarterly) can be beneficial too.
Long-term planning - Equity/Mutual Fund investments can give good returns. However, since the investment is for a longer period of time, you need not worry about the volatility aspect.

Build sufficient liquidity margins: You should have saving of 3-4 times your income in the form of liquid savings for unplanned expenses, medical emergencies, travel plans, etc.
Restrain in taking loans all at one go: People have the tendency of taking loans all at one go. This in turn might affect your long-term savings plan.
So when taking a loan, make sure that at least 50% of the loan amount is paid up-front and remaining can be covered through EMIs.
Making a will way in advance.
Nominating partner for any Fixed Deposits, joint accounts, etc.

My World: Cut Your Work Hours, Live Longer!

My World: Cut Your Work Hours, Live Longer!

Cut Your Work Hours, Live Longer!

Bet you knew this already, but now it's official - long work hours can kill! Yes, spending over 11 hours a day in office ups heart disease risk by 67%. And none of us want to die early. That's why we put together a few ways to help you cut your long work hours and live longer. Check them out.

Early e-mail scan: You bought that Blackberry. Now you may as well use it! Do a quick review of work e-mails on your commute to work. The ones that need a quick reply can be sorted out before you get to work, saving you at least half an hour.

To-do list: More often than not, a good one hour of the day goes figuring out what needs to be done. Jot down a list of to-dos the previous night and arrange them according to priority. This way you will get the important things done in the first half of the day when you are most fresh.

Short work breaks: Every time you walk over to the coffee/ vending machine, don't get stuck there listening to the latest office gossip. The less you faff, the more work you will be able to get done. And of course, you will be able to get out of office quicker!

Light lunch: Ever noticed how the day just drags on post lunch? That's because a heavy meal makes you feel sluggish and hampers productivity. A chicken/ egg salad or sandwich with a fresh fruit juice is a good option. Tip: Avoid outdoor lunches during work hours. They will only make you stay back late at work.

Evening meetings: If you have a meeting at the client's office, schedule it for early evening (around 4 or 5 pm). This will ensure you wrap things up at your office before that. Once your meeting is done, you can head straight home.

Why Your Child Should Learn a Musical Instrument

One of the best things about being a kid is the long summer break. While vacations must be used to travel and catch up with friends, it is also an opportunity for learning something new. Learning a musical instrument need not necessarily culminate with rock-god status.

Studies show that playing an instrument can help your child in various facets of his/her life. Everybody is born creative, but many people don't realise it because it's not encouraged in their early years.

We take notes from our very own Grammy-winning keyboardist Louis Banks and child psychologist Salma Prabhu on why an instrument should be learnt this holiday.

Increases IQ
A paper published in scientific journal Nature concluded that studying a musical instrument strengthens students' academic performance.

Prabhu feels this stems from the fact that playing music uses both your rational side (left brain) and your creative side (right brain), thus increasing the IQ. Banks adds, "Children have an amazing capacity for mastering new skills, so it's a good idea to give them the challenge."
Calms mood swings

Your child can take the instrument anywhere and play it any time. There is actual scientific proof playing music elevates the state of mind. Prabhu says, "Playing music releases endorphins, the happy hormones. Regardless of whether you are sad or in a bad mood, playing an instrument will always make you feel better."

Keeps you alert
Banks says, "Learning an instrument keeps your brain alert." The pressures to excel academically are intense. A recent US study shows that playing a musical instrument can reverse multiple components of stress.

Engaging in a calming expressive ability proves more effective than merely sitting down to relax. Prabhu says, "Music calms the nerves and stimulates the brain. It also increases the ability to absorb more information."

Inculcates discipline
According to Banks, learning chord progression is more difficult than it seems. It requires hours of practice and rigorous discipline. With short attention spans, learning music inculcates a sense of discipline and helps improve the child's focus by leaps and bounds.
Eases transitions
A musical edge helps in school and college. Figuring how to play that song not just elevates shaky adolescent self-esteem but gives a sense of accomplishment.

Prabhu says, "This is true transitional phases from fourth to the fifth standard, childhood to pre-adolescence and adolescence to adulthood.

Playing an instrument gives a sense of identity. On an average, in a class of 40 children, only three or four pursue music. So it makes you stand out." Banks feels that parents must encourage their children's efforts.

He adds, "Playing an instrument teaches the benefits of teamwork. A group playing a song together promotes bonding, friendship, healthy competition, respect and self-belief."

Hit WWW for Love

They met, they dated, they broke up… and so the story goes. When break ups and heartaches overrule the will to go out and meet people, we decide to opt for the unconventional like blind dates, speed dating and who can ignore dating websites?

But I guess the chaos of meeting complete opposites in the mad world of the web makes it almost impossible to find the (what sounds like a myth) true love. But myth or not the search begins post puberty and continues. So while keywords won't help you really narrow down your searches on normal dating websites, we now have websites tailor-made to your specific needs to help you find your very own version of true love. Right from dating someone whose smell you can stand, to finding your soul mate in a fellow pet lover - it's all here on the www.

Smelly welly anyone?
Signature perfumes aside, everyone has a scent. A hint of lavender, wet leaves or even hot iron at you can get your very own smell profile and check out others, which very well replaces your nose on the internet (sure beats smelling pig breath under his arm pits when you'd rather prefer drying paint!). Does your nose mate really equal your soul mate? I have no clue, but why not give chemistry a shot?

Sugar on top
Rich, old and love wanting? Or young, poor and sugar needing? is for you! On this site you can either be a sugar mommy/daddy or a male/female sugar baby! The arrangement is simple. As a sugar daddy/mommy you make an arrangement with a sugar baby where you pay him/her a certain amount per month, finance shopping, trips and dinner in exchange for their "company". I have no clue why a girl would want to date an old balding wrinkly guy, or how she can face pops at home but if you have the hots for them + need the cash, this is the easiest way.

Not without my doggy
...or cat, fish, mongoose, sheep blah blah blah. is for people who are so hung over with their pets that they just can't imagine dating someone who doesn't have and love their petty too! Now this isn't just about finding a lovey dovey for yourself, you can also find a coochie-poo for your four legged (or less) friend. You can double date with your pet, have picnics and do your yoga together (yoga with your dog - doga is the inniest thing right now). So log on for some fun in the sun with your pet.

Oh very veggie
As if age, bank accounts, skin colour and religion wasn't enough, now introducing what's your food preference? So if you are vegetarian and don't want to be kissing fish breath then is your perfect salad dressing. The site makes you meet like stomached peeps. Be you an organic-food-only freako, a vegan, a normal vegetarian, a raw foodist or gosh knows what(!) your celery mate is bound to be found here and here only, whew.

"Such a geek!"
If you've heard that from potential boyfriends all through school and college just 'cause you have always been smarter than they can ever hope to become, or you have more brains than boobs, then you can finally say you have a site for like minded geekos like you ( btw it’s This place doesn't care about how pretty you are, how old you look, or whether you are wearing Gucci or Valentino, all that your fellow geeks care about is how geeky you are. So when all else fails, you are bound to get straight As here.
Now theress more out there online, there are sites for homosexuals, people with STDs, Goths and a never-ending list of whatever! So don't give up on love all that easy, with the web connecting you to the world, you are surely bound to bump into someone who loves you just the way you are.

Stay Happier by Letting Go of the Past

You may not be able to change your personality, but you could change your approach to time - to be a happier person. After, all getting nostalgic about good times can bring a smile to your face.

A new study suggests that savouring happy memories or reframing painful past experiences in a positive light could be effective ways for individuals to increase their life satisfaction.

More than 750 participants completed surveys about their personality, life satisfaction and "time perspective" -a concept coined by Stanford psychologist Philip Zimbardo to describe whether an individual is past, present or future oriented.

"We found that highly extraverted (extroverted) people are happier with their lives because they tend to hold a positive, nostalgic view of the past and are less likely to have negative thoughts and regrets," said Ryan Howell, assistant professor of psychology at San Francisco State University.

"People high on the neurotic scale (moody, emotionally unstable and fretful), essentially have the exact opposite view of the past and are less happy as a result," added Howell, who authored the study with graduating senior Jia Wei Zhang.

The study examined how people's ratings on the "Big Five" personality traits relate to their approach to time and life satisfaction, reports the journal Personality and Individual Differences.

The "Big Five" model assesses how extroverted, neurotic, open, conscientious and agreeable a person is, and rates individuals as high or low on each personality trait rather than assigning them a personality type, according to a San Francisco University statement.

"This is good news because although it may be difficult to change your personality, you may be able to alter your view of time and boost your happiness," said Howell.

Rules of Arranged Dating Before Marriage

At some point, singletons will feel pressured by their parents and an assortment of relatives to consider someone they've shorlisted. Arranged marriages are a legit way to meet people, and whether you enter the market willingly or grudgingly, you will at least meet people who are serious about commitment. So, what is the protocol when you meet someone through a more formal medium? Your attitude to the process could make it at least a painless, if not enjoyable process. Karishma Malkani, who has been setting up eligible singles for 12 years now, gives you a few tips on arranged date decorum:

Eliminate To Facilitate
Ninety per cent of Karishma's clients tend to shortlist people on the basis of the photograph. But pictures can be misleading. "Some people look better in person, some photos make a person appear more attractive. I always tell my clients not to base their judgment simply on a picture. A smiling photograph in Western casuals (that seems to be the general preference) will do the trick."

Unfortunately, she points out, there are more eligible girls than boys. It's harder to find decent looking and well educated boys, so the boys end up having more choice than the girls.

It's also important to shortlist profiles on factors such as diet (vegetarians prefer not to meet nonvegetarians), living with the family or apart, etc. This helps save time and energy on both sides.

Minus The Khandaan, Please
Earlier, when two families met, usually they'd be accompanied by an assortment of siblings, grandparents, uncles and aunties. Karishma has noticed that the new trend is for the couple to meet minus the chaperones.

"Youngsters prefer meeting alone at a coffee shop. With the khandaan, they barely get time to know each other. The second meeting could be with the parents. Some people still go with their folks, but it's uncomfortable to have people staring at you. Others, especially the girl's parents, want to see the boy first before letting him meet their daughter. Eighty five per cent parents are letting their kids meet alone. To take immediate family is perhaps okay, but not other relatives."

It's embarrassing to be directed to another table. "Go talk, beta," is the usual refrain. Avoid it. For obvious reasons.

Ask Me Anything. Or Not
Now that you've met and your potential partner hasn't repulsed you in the first five minutes, what are the appropriate subjects to touch on? Karishma says, "The first meeting is more formal usually. I've noticed that now people ask about everything frankly. They want to know how well settled the other person is, how many siblings, how many relationships the other person has had, etc. Ideally, leave the more personal questions for the next date. Some people have complained that they don't like being asked that. Talk about mutual interests and likes and dislikes. Be yourself, because you can't fool anyone for long."

Questions like 'Can you cook?' are redundant. You're looking for an equal partner, not a maid. Ensure that your queries are phrased in the least offensive manner.

What's Your Salary?
To inquire about a prospective candidate's financial status is not a polite question. You're not buying a commodity, this is a life partner you're thinking about. "Of course, it's important," says Karishma, "But usually I have the financial details of those registered with us. So, it saves the embarrassment of asking that question."

Cheque, Please
If the kids meet alone, says Karishma, usually it's the boys who pick up the cheque. "Yes, the thought that he can't pick up a piddly coffee bill may cross the girl's mind. Also, I think the belief that when families meet, the girl's parents are supposed to pay is outdated," she says.

Sorry. Next...
Arranged marriages are like the lottery. "I met my husband on the first meeting and now we're celebrating our 14th anniversary. But not everyone is so lucky," she says with a laugh. So how do you politely communicate your disinterest? You could always have a friend on standby who calls you with an emergency. Karishma laughs, "Usually, people leave the dirty work to me. If you want to meet the person again, ask for the phone number and send a polite message. Pay them the respect of giving them your full attention even if you don't like them. Or just go home and tell your parents it isn't working."

Most parents would like you to make up your mind after about three meetings and they don't like their daughters meeting a guy ten times before he rejects her, Karishma observes. And there is not need to insult anyone when you reject them. Usually, the safest excuse is to say that the horoscopes don't match. That way you can blame the divine powers for the mismatch.

Amateur Sherlock Holmes-ing
Arranged set-ups always throw up the trust factor question. There have been instances where people have hidden their medical condition or lied about their financial status. So how does one know if a person's claims are real?

Karishma says, "People conduct discreet inquiries from at least four-five sources when they zero in on a bride/ groom. I caution them to not barge in at their workplaces or randomly call up colleagues. Go with an appointment. I don't give away the names of the companies where the candidates are working. People ask in societies as well. Normally, they just figure out a friend or relative who knows someone in the marriage prospect's company to make discreet inquiries."

Go through the process thoughtfully, and hopefully you'll make an informed decision that will change your life beautifully.

Why Are You Attracting the Wrong Guy?

Unhappy with the people you date, are you? Maybe you’re the one with a problem personality. Take this quiz to find out why you attract the wrong kind of attention.
Calculate your score according to the options that you choose:

1 Describe yourself:
A God's gift to the opposite sex
B A great listening post
C A martyr

2 What attracts you in a partner?
A An assertive, cocky personality
B Quirks and flaws
C A wild streak

3 What interests do you hope to share with your partner?
A Movies and music
B Impulsive and unplanned trips/ dates
C Wild parties that involve generous doses of the drinkie

4 Recount a strange experience while someone asked you out:
A At a funeral
B Outside the loo in a bar
C Someone told you he/ she'd dreamt you'd be together

5 How many relationships would you like to admit you have had?
A One. We've been together forever.
B Three-five. I am in the peak of my dating career
C Who's keeping score anyway?

6 Your last our last relationship ended because:
A It was a mutual decision based on several compelling factors
B You met someone else
C He cheated on you

7 On your last three dates, who picked up the tab?
A He/ she offered but how could I accept?
B Is that a rhetorical question?
C You

8 Do you tend to be disappointed with set-ups because:
A Your date is too religious
B Your date doesn't match your standards.
C Your date is too clingy/ needy. You're not his mother!

9 In retrospect, the guys/ girls you dated were:
A Decent chaps, reliable if a tad predictable
B Creative, but moody
C Repressed and prone to be emotionally abusive

10 In retrospect, the real reason your past relationships didn’t work was because your partners were:
A Nice, but weak
B Insensitive jerks from hell
C Commitment phobes

YOUR SCORE: Based on your score, your relationship quotient is:

You're quite sorted about what you're looking for and your priorities are in place. Your jerk magnet radar is working fine and you're alert for potential disasters. Your threshold for pain is low. Go with the same instinct and it will end up in a rewarding relationship.

You're self-centred and are yet to learn how to give equally in a relationship. In the process, you tend to overlook certain good qualities of your partner. Your standards may be too high and getting a reality check might be a good idea. Analyse what you expect from a relationship and find a middle ground. When you learn to centre yourself, only then can you attract a normal mate.

101-140 THAT’S A YES!
You're devastatingly and magnetically attracted to people who are wrong for you. Either it's a deep seated self-esteem issue or you have commitment phobia, leading you to deliberately pick people you're not going to end up in a stable relationship with. Therapy may not be a bad idea.

Do You Confess Your Dark Secrets on the Internet?

Do you have a secret so dark and deep that you just can't live with it and yet you don't have the guts to confess it? You can ease your guilt by confessing it online now! No, we aren’t asking you to spell out your sin on some social networking website. That would be harakiri. But various websites are ready to soak in your guilt, anonymously. According to a recent report, more people than ever are using these confessionals that are very popular amongst netizens. So why not head to a shrink, rather than tell your deepest darkest secret on the web? Here's why...

Not judgmental
The worst fear that most people face is that someone will give them a tag for a mistake that they have committed. Of course, this doesn’t justify the mistake, but most people who confess online use this excuse in their defence. Akshay Shah, a college student says, “My friends and I were just goofing around and we ended up breaking a few window panes in my society. I felt terrible about it, but I knew that if I admitted to my mistake then they would always look at me if something went wrong. That’s the reason I confessed my mischief online.”

Being Anonymous
Whether you confess over SMS or email, your identity can’t be kept a secret. While internet on the other hand gives you the option of confessing and yet not letting the world know of your misdeeds. Says Nitesh Jagtap, a banker, “I lost a lot of money in stocks, but I couldn’t bring myself to reveal this to my wife because I knew that this would upset her. So, I decided to go online and ‘download’ my guilt.” He adds, “For people like me who know that they will eventually repair the damage that they have done, this does come across as a good option.”

No repercussions
The first and foremost worry that any wrongdoer has is about the repercussions that he/she will have to face. “Many times we feel terribly guilty about doing an act, but if you don’t want to face the music then internet is the obvious answer to your troubles. Though, of course, any post by you can be tracked to your computer. The chances of that happening are very less especially if it’s not a serious crime you are talking about,” says Manisha Uttam, a call centre executive. She has used the internet to confess her feelings. “I was in a relationship, but I just couldn’t get over my ex. I felt terribly guilty, but I just couldn’t help it. So instead of revealing it to my friends or boyfriend, I wrote about it online.”

Gives you time to reflect
Having no repercussions also leads to this point. The fact that you don’t have a sword hanging over your head gives you time to think about your mistake and try and make things right. Says psychologist R Rao, “People who fear other’s reactions are definitely going to find this to be a convenient outlet. The pros are that it gives you time to reflect. The negative factor is that you convince yourself that you don’t need to own up to your guilt in front of other people. How each person handles this option is up to that person.”

Easy Ways to Fight Wrinkles

Did you know you that ageing slows down the skin’s repair cycle? Mature skin recover five times slower than young skin when exposed to external aggressions. Other factors that influence ageing are lifestyle, skincare, nutrition et al. That’s why it’s important to start taking care of your skin before fine lines and wrinkles appear. We give you five ways to keep those wrinkles at bay.

Follow a skincare regimen
“A proper skincare routine like cleansing, toning, moisturising and applying sun block daily, contributes to healthy and younger-looking skin,” says Dermatologist Dr Apratim Goel. “Sun block creams should be UVA and UVB resistant for proper and wholesome skin protection.” she adds. Most importantly, one should never forget to remove one’s make up before going to bed. Finish off with a night cream – which is like beauty sleep for your skin.

One should begin with a regular skin care regimen right from adolescence.

Nourish your skin
Eat leafy vegetables and purple-coloured vegetables, which are high in anti-oxidants, for skin nourishment. Also, nuts like almonds and walnuts can reduce wrinkle formation. Fruits like pomegranates, blueberries and beverages such as green tea are rich in antioxidants.

The New Youth Code Serum from L’Oreal Paris boosts your skin’s ability to repair itself from external aggressions like UV exposure, pollution & stress.

Exercise your facial musclesSome easy facial exercises can help you avoid wrinkles. Dermatologists suggest exercises which help the muscles contract and expand without overdoing it. Yoga exercises are also beneficial as they increase blood supply in the face, retaining healthy facial skin.

For people on the move, exercises such as slight blinking of the eyes, lip pursing, raising the forehead are recommended by Dr Goel. She also suggests a ‘drop jaw and extend neck’ method to avoid reflection of signs of skin aging on the neck, which is equally prone to wrinkles.

If you begin to notice crow’s feet appearing near your eyes or have puffy eyes & dark circles, use the New Youth Code Eye Cream from L’Oreal Paris. The illuminating texture melts into the skin for a smoothing action and soft finish.

Prevent loss of collagen
Collagen in the skin, maintains skin elasticity which helps in avoiding wrinkles. Dr Goel says, “Collagen is less in ageing skin. Loss of collagen can be prevented by moisturising and preventing the skin from dryness.”

The new rejuvenating anti-wrinkle skincare range from L’Oreal Paris – Youth Code is enriched with Pro-Gen which increases the skin’s capacity to recover and re-establish its natural youthfulness. This technology is based on 10 years of cutting edge research on Gene Science ushering in a new era in skincare.

Avoid vigorous massages
Many a time, vigorous massages on the face lead to skin damage. Also, prolonged massages reduce skin elasticity. As an alternative to facial massages, consider using an anti-aging cream. Massage the L’Oreal Paris Youth Code Day Cream gently on your face for three to five minutes. You will notice visible skin improvement in a week.

With proper care, you won’t have to fear the extra candle on your birthday cake anymore!

Try to figure out Love !!

"When the whole is taken from the whole, behold, the remainder is whole" — Ishavasya.

From the point of view of ordinary arithmetic this is absolutely incorrect. If we remove some part of a thing, the remainder cannot be the same as it was originally. Something less will remain. If I take ten rupees from a safe containing millions of rupees, the total will be something less. It will be less even if ten paise are taken out.

The remainder cannot be equal to the amount as it originally was. Similarly, however great the fortune may be, ten paise added will make it greater. But according to this sutra, the whole may be taken from the whole, not just ten paise but the entire fortune, and still the remainder is whole.

This seems like the babbling of a madman whose knowledge of arithmetic is nil. Even a beginner knows that a thing will be less if something is taken from it, no matter how little is taken; and if the whole is taken, there will be nothing left at all. But this sutra declares that not just something, but the whole, remains. Those who know only the logic of the money-box will certainly not understand this phenomenon. Understanding appears from an altogether new direction.

Give to have more
Does your love decrease when you give it to someone? Do you experience any shortage of love when you give it totally? No! 'Love' is the word we need to come to an understanding of this sutra; this is the word we shall have to use. However much you may part with your love, what you are left with remains as much as it was originally.

The act of giving it away produces no shortage. On the contrary, it grows, increasing as you give it away, entering you deeper and deeper as you distribute it more and more. As you give it freely away, the wealth of love within you begins to grow. One who gives his total love, freely and unconditionally, becomes the possessor of infinite love.

Simple arithmetic can never comprehend that when the whole is taken from the whole, the remainder is whole. Only love can find the meaning in this statement. Perhaps, through Meera and Chaitanya you can find your way to understanding, for this is a subject relating to some other, unknown dimension, in which nothing decreases when given away. The only experience you have that can enable you to understand this in a sudden flash of insight is love.

If, having given your love, you experience a sense of loss, and then know that you have no experience of love at all. When you give your love to someone, and feel within you that something has disappeared, then know that what you gave must have been something else. It cannot be love. It must be something belonging to the world of dollars and pounds.

It must be a measurable thing which can be valued in figures, weighed in a balance and estimated in metres. Remember, whatever is measurable is subject to the law of diminution. Only that which is immeasurable and unfathomable will remain the same no matter how much is taken from it.

Drop your delusion
If someone loves me, I want that she love no one else, because my reasoning says that love divided is love diminished. So I seek to become sole owner and possessor of her love. My demand is that the person loving me give not even a loving glance to anyone else; such a glance is poison because "I know" that now her love for me will begin to diminish.

If I cling to this notion of love diminishing, I need to accept that I have no idea what love is. If I had any appreciation of true love, I would want my beloved to go out and give it freely to the whole world, because through so giving it she would come to understand its secrets and mysteries, and as she falls deeper and deeper into love, her love towards me, too, would overflow. Love is immeasurable. Drop your delusion that true love diminishes when it is shared.

Facebook blamed for kid's low grade

A new survey has revealed that two-thirds of parents fear that their kids' exam grades suffer because they spend too much time on social networking websites such as Facebook.

Children aged 12 to 17, however, reckon keeping up to date on social networking sites is more important than using the internet for studying.

Half go on Facebook, Twitter or Myspace every day and 40 per cent listen to music online - while only 16 per cent use the Internet to help with their homework.

Around half of 4,427 parents quizzed in a new survey said they had no idea what their kids are up to on the Internet.

But 76 per cent of them admitted they should take responsibility for introducing restrictions on home PCs.

Now broadband provider TalkTalk is introducing a system that allows parents to control what their kids see online.

They can create "homework time" on their Internet connection when social networking sites are blocked.

"Children under 15 have never known a world without internet. It's revolutionised how they learn, play and communicate. We support the introduction of this system," the Sun quoted Will Gardner, chief executive of charity Childnet, as saying.

Selfish behaviour comes from your mum

Acting selfish? Well, blame your mother, says a new study.

Francisco Ubeda, assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, along with fellow evolutionary biologist Andy Gardner from Oxford University, examined the impact that genomic imprinting has on the carrier's selfish or altruistic behaviour.

Genomic imprinting is the phenomenon in which the expression of a gene depends upon the parent who passed on the gene. Every person has a set of chromosomes from each parent but due to imprinting, a particular gene -- either the one inherited via egg or sperm -- is inactivated.

Ubeda and Gardner developed an evolutionary mathematical model that examined the consequences of ancestral women's tendency to follow their mates and raise their children among people they are not related to.

They found this behavior spurs a conflict between mom and dad genes in a juvenile over how it should act in society.

The battle all has to do with relatedness.

"Because the child's dad stayed put, the genes the child gets from dad are more likely to be present in her neighbours. The genes telling her to be nice to neighbours (genes for altruism) will be dad genes. Because her mom moved around to be with dad, and thus is not related to the other villagers, her maternal genes will be telling her to be mean to neighbours," Úbeda said.

Therefore, if a child finds an apple, her paternal genes will tell the child to share it with other children in the village, since the other children are likely to be relatives. Her maternal genes, will say ''keep the apple for yourself.''

This research applies to all societies where females migrate more than men or vice versa. It is this demographic inequality that makes it more likely that children who are helpful to others are related through their father's genes, not their mother's genes.

10 Ways to win your lady love !

Someone wisely remarked, 'Who says you've got to understand women, you've just got to love them!' And yes, he sure was a wise man. But does loving them mean that you get the girl automatically? It sure doesn't! You have to work your way into her heart and for that, you need to really impress her. Let us help you win over your girl!

Chivalry counts: Yes, we girls love to show that we can take care of ourselves but deep inside, we all love to have a chivalrous man taking care of us. There's no girl who wouldn't love it if you open the car door for her, or pull open the seat or carry her shopping bags.

'Eye' care for you: Make eye contact. Every time you're speaking to her, look her directly in her eyes and talk. And yes, smile a lot, not so much that it makes you look like a goofball but enough to make her see that you're a cheerful person.

Ex factor: Don't hide past relationships but don't flaunt them either. There's nothing worse than listening to a man go on and on about his ex-girlfriends. Or on second thoughts, there's nothing worse than finding out that he had many past relationships that he had 'accidentally' forgotten to ever mention to you.

Words worth: When you meet her after a day's work, never forget to ask her how her day was. Showing concern will definitely make you go up a few notches higher in her eyes.

Pda at bay: Touching hands or holding from the waist is fine but anything that goes too much in the realms of PDA is uncalled for, specially if you aren't officially seeing each other.

Take charge: Be confident or like Aamir Khan famously told a nervous Saif Ali Khan in Dil Chahta Hai, 'Be a man!' A man who oozes self-confidence will impress anyone, let alone a girl.

Cook it up! Earn brownie points by cooking her favourite meal. It's not just the way to a man's heart that's through the stomach!

Praise worthy: Any girl would like it if you compliment her. But God save you if the compliment comes out sounding insincere. Praise her dress or her make-up only if you really like it. If not, tell her gently that she's looking nice but maybe it would be better if she tries something else on. Believe us, girls appreciate honesty as much as compliments.

I'am 'interested': Take interest in her hobbies. Let her know that what interests her, is of importance to you as well. Read up on it and encourage her to be active in it. For example, if she likes collecting coins, keep a look out to add to her collection.


Our lives start and end with the same thing: breath. Life starts with our first breath and ends with our last.

Hence, we are intimately connected to this life and world through breath. Breathing is also such a mechanism that we have partial control though it is an involuntary function. While we have no control over many other involuntary systems and organs like the heart or liver or pancreas, we do have the ability to regulate breathing. However, we cannot hold our breath indefinitely.

The practice of yoga makes use of the partial control that we have over breathing. Patanjali's Ashtanga Yoga lists the eightfold path to salvation and enlightenment, one of which is pranayama or the practice of regulated breathing. In pranayama, one has to sit in a comfortable pose, with the spine erect and breathe in and out, in a specific way. There are many types of pranayama, where the breath is taken in through one nostril, held for a period of time, and then released, either through the same nostril or through the other. In many forms of breathing, the breath is also taken in or released through the mouth.

Most people report an instant feeling of well-being after doing these breathing exercises. The scientific explanation is that deep breathing results in a higher concentration of oxygen in the blood, which is then supplied to the tissues in generous quantities. But yogic exercises do much more than increasing oxygen levels. Yoga is a process which is not just physical; it is also metaphysical. Yogic pranayamas draw in vital energy or prana, and circulate it throughout the body. This vital energy or prana is what keeps the human body functioning. At death, the vital energy leaves the body, and life comes to an end. If breathing was only a matter of inhaling oxygen and exhaling carbon dioxide, then even a dead body could be brought to life by supplying oxygen to it. But as we know, this is not possible, and no amount of pumping in oxygen into a dead body will restore life to it.

Prana or breath is then much beyond the chemical composition of the air that we breathe in. It is the energy of the universe; it sustains all life. Energy cannot be manufactured or analysed in a laboratory; it is a gift of existence. While we use energy unconsciously, yoga teaches us to use it consciously, and to direct it with intention to various body centres and organs. This increases efficiency of physical structures, and helps in mind and sense control.

Ancient scriptures mention that every individual is born with a fixed number of breaths. Life ends when we finish our prescribed number of breaths. Yogic breathing exercise slows down our breathing rate, both immediately and throughout the day; this is believed to increase the practitioner's lifespan. This could perhaps be one reason why existence or Nature has endowed us with the capacity to have some control over what would otherwise be an automatic function of the body. We have the opportunity to evolve and to improve ourselves in many areas of life, and this could well be one such area.

Life is indeed breathtakingly beautiful, but it might be more than just one breath followed by another. More important perhaps than the actual breath are the gaps and pauses that we take between breaths.

Families that don't dine together

A new survey has revealed that one in ten families never sit down to an evening meal together.

And, worryingly, of the few who do manage to sit down together, one in five families then spend less than ten minutes at the table.

Almost ten per cent of people admitted they don't eat a meal with their partner and children on a weeknight, with another one in ten saying it only happens once a week.

The study of 3,000 adults also revealed two thirds of kids yearns for a return to the traditional family dinnertime.

And four out of ten children have even asked their mum or dad to have more evening meals as a family.

"For many families, the evening meal is the one part of the day where they can all get together and catch up," the Daily Mail quoted Fiona Johnston, marketing controller for Bisto Aah Night survey, as saying.

"But it seems we're letting pressures from our work and school lives get in the way.

After everyone is home from their day at school and work, sitting around the dinner table means you get some time to have some real quality time as a family.

Unfortunately, it seems this isn't happening in many households with people eating at different times, or in different rooms of the house instead," Johnston added.

The study also revealed that long working hours were blamed by most with 40 per cent admitting that shifts and late nights in the office meant missing out on a family dinner.

Another 36 per cent said the family all eats at different times, while 16 per cent even said they wanted to watch something on the TV instead of sitting down together.

But researchers also found that just half of families have their evening meal at the dinner table, with more than a third saying they are more likely to eat it on the sofa or in front of the TV.

Almost one in twenty people even said the family all eats their meal in different parts of the house.

Despite this, 94 per cent of people reckon the evening meal is a great time for families to catch up together.

And almost three quarters want to make more effort to get their family sitting down for dinner together.

But even those who do manage to sit at the table together don't always have the quality time together thanks to mobile phones, television and computer games.

More than a third of adults and children watch TV while sat at the dinner table, and another 18 per cent make phone calls or send text messages on their mobile.

Sixteen per cent read a book or magazine instead of having a conversation with their loved ones, while nine per cent admitted to playing computer games.

Ten Technology Tips That Are Popular Today with our Readers

1. How to stop Google from remembering my searches - Block Google from tracking

2. What's the location of Google Desktop Index files - Check the data_dir registry entry

3. How to add English words in bulk to Firefox dictionary - Edit persdict.dat in notepad

4. How to find exact Latitude, Longitude of my street or city - Use Loki

5. How to convert Real audio to MP3 songs - Use Real Player or Jodix

6. Where to download free video editing software - Adobe Premiere Pro CS3

7. How to hide the top ad bar or blogger navbar - Old Blogger, New Blogger

8. How to capture still images from a DVD movies and videos - Disable Hardware Acceleration

9. Can I copy files with Long filenames - Limit is 255 characters

10. How to upload videos by email as attachments - Use Youtube

Is Internet addiction a disease?

Internet is largely seen as one of the world's biggest technology platform. It is a source of knowledge, entertainment, brand building, commerce, education and much more. However, Internet, which has over the years changed the way we live, work and communicate, also has a darker side: Addiction. Internet addiction has been a headache for several Asian countries -- like South Korea and China – over the past decade. The South Korean government recently estimated that the country has over 2 million citizens addicted to the Internet. Nearly 50 percent of teenaged delinquents in south China's Guangdong province are said to be Internet-dependent. Though Internet addiction is still not a cause of concern in India, the use of Internet, especially online social networks, is fast rising in India. Do you think Internet addiction is really a disease?

5 Hidden dangers of Facebook

Over the last few years, Facebook’s growth has been phenomenal. The world’s no. 1 social networking site also sometime back beat Google to become the most visited Web site in the US for an entire week at a stretch. However, the site has also lately being receiving lot of flak for its privacy policies. An expert in online privacy drew attention to the five dangers of sharing information on social networking site Facebook. Joan Goodchild, senior editor of CSO (Chief Security Officer) Online, said that marketing efforts by the company often results in a compromise on account holders' privacy.

Goodchild noted five risks of using Facebook. They are:
1. According to Facebook policy last updated on April 2010, "When you connect with an application or website it will have access to General Information about you. The term General Information includes your and your friends’ names, profile pictures, gender, user IDs, connections, and any content shared using the Everyone privacy setting. ... The default privacy setting for certain types of information you post on Facebook is set to “everyone.” ... Because it takes two to connect, your privacy settings only control who can see the connection on your profile page. If you are uncomfortable with the connection being publicly available, you should consider removing (or not making) the connection."

2. In March, private e-mail according to a Gawker report, private email addresses that many Facebook users wanted to keep hidden were revealed publicly on a multitude of Facebook profiles. The glitch was later resolved by Facebook.

3. Recently, a Facebook event invitation was reportedly sent to some over 2,300 friends of Jim Breyer, Accel Partners venture capitalist who sits on Facebook's board of directors, asking "Would you like a Facebook phone number?" However, the message was actually a scam and the users who entered their passwords in response to the message in turn sent the whole thing to their friends lists too.

"This was a phishing scam and Jim's account appears to have been compromised," read a statement from Facebook as provided to venture industry news site PEHub.

4. On May 6th, the popular social network patched a major security bug that allowed users to snoop on their friends' private chats, and view their pending friend requests. The exploit forced Facebook to temporarily disable chat.

5. Earlier this week, 15 privacy and consumer protection organizations filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, alleging that the site manipulates privacy settings to make users' personal information available for commercial use.

What Facebook tells about you

A new study has claimed that companies who want to know more about prospective employees can learn a lot by checking their Facebook profiles.

Jennifer Golbeck and colleagues at the University of Maryland surveyed the public profiles of nearly 300 Facebook users for information about their favourite activities, TV shows, movies, music, books, quotes, and membership in political or other organizations.

They also looked at the 'About Me' and 'blurb' sections. The work did not include status updates or other data that is only available to users' online friends.

The researchers then had users take a test that measures the "big five" personality traits: openness to experience, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness and neuroticism.

"It turns out you can get to within 10 per cent of a person's personality score by looking at Facebook," the Discovery News quoted Golbeck, a computer science professor who has become an expert at social media studies, as saying.

"Lots of organisations make their employees take personality tests. If you can guess someone's personality pretty well on the Web you don't need them to take the test," she added.

People who tested as "extroverts" on the personality test tended to have more friends, but their networks tended to be more sparse, meaning that they made friends with lots of different people who are less likely to know each other.

Now, charge your phone by just talking!

In what is being billed as a godsend for those who regularly suffer the frustration of flat batteries, Korean scientists have devised a gadget that will allow mobile phones to be recharged by using only your voice.

The technology turns sound into electricity, allowing a mobile to be powered up while a conversation is in progress - and the greater the volume the greater the charge, reports the Daily Mail.

But there are fears it will simply be an excuse for inconsiderate phone-users to make even more annoyingly noisy calls in public places. The technology could also be used to power up personal music players, raising the possibility of charging an iPod by singing along to your favourite songs.

Sang-Woo Kim, of Sungkyunkwan University in Seoul, South Korea, said that just as speakers transform electric signals into sound, the opposite process of turning sound into a source of electrical power is possible.

Kim's device uses tiny strands of zinc oxide - the main ingredient of calamine lotion - sandwiched between two electrodes. A sound-absorbing pad on top vibrates when sound waves hit it, causing the tiny zinc oxide wires to compress and release.

This generates electrical current that can then be used to charge a battery.

Devices made so far can convert sounds of around 100 decibels, the equivalent of noisy traffic, a passing train or a nearby lawnmower, into a mild electrical current.

While this is not yet enough to charge a phone properly, the engineers are hopeful that altering the material the wires are made from will allow them to produce more energy at lower sound levels.