Archive for the ‘freedom’ Category
Imagine buying your SIM-free mobile phone from a local electronics store and logging into your Google or Apple account as soon as you turn the phone on for the first time. Then imagine having the phone ready to use for voice calls with a phone number provided to you by Google Talk or Skype, and ready to access email, YouTube or Facebook.
That same phone automatically hooks to your home Wi-Fi or any of the available 3G, WiMax or LTE networks without you even knowing (or caring) which specific network its running on at the moment. No longer do you have to belong to a specific carrier — your phone automatically picks the strongest and cheapest network option at any given time. Your network access, along with voice, app/in-app purchases and everything else are provided to you by the mobile platform provider. The carriers are only there to run network infrastructure and sell bandwidth to two to three mobile platform providers.
Let’s face it, the only two things that still connect carriers to consumers are the voice number and billing for the network access. SIM card technology is rudimentary — you can easily conduct user authentication using a simple login, just like Apple does on iPods when you want to buy apps or songs from the iTunes store.
Looking into the future, even the phone number itself will disappear. Why bother with all these numbers when you can just place a call directly to anybody’s Facebook profile?
This future is inevitable, and the changes are coming very soon. With mobile platform providers running the show today, carriers simply have no way of stopping the process. Not having any control over the platform vendors — for instance, via a consortium that would centrally license Android or other mobile platforms to equalize the balance of power between the platform provider and the carriers/OEMs — they will eventually give up on their ambitions to control the user. Just read the Google/Motorola/Skyhook story to see how it happens.
It only takes one carrier to crack and start selling bandwidth to Google, Microsoft or Apple; all other carriers will simply have no choice but to follow. It’s like the prisoners’ dilemma from economic textbooks: If both prisoners don’t talk, both win. But if separated and one is promised a way out (or an easier sentence) and he talks first, then game theory suggests the winning strategy for each prisoner is to talk. In other words, one of them will crack. They are nowhere close to being united enough to stand together, even in the short to mid-term. Look how effortlessly Apple, then everyone else, took over their app distribution businesses — something that only five years ago would have been totally unthinkable.
Most likely, these first-to-crack carriers will be tier-two low-cost carriers outside the U.S., possibly acquired by, but likely just partnering with, the big platform players. Those carriers will have a high incentive to enter such partnerships, as their networks are already optimized for low costs (lean, efficient cost structure without heavy marketing, support, premium services overheads, better network logistics, etc.). Short to mid-term, the strategy will be against tier-one carriers, who have a high marketing/operations cost burden. The UK actually looks like a very logical place to start, especially when some UK carriers have already been experimenting with Skype phones, which were successful to the degree that price-sensitive younger audiences actually started to carry Skype phones as their second device.
It will probably be a while before most users fully switch to non-carrier-provided voice/network services — maybe five to seven years — but it’s only a matter of time, as the new model is so much more compelling to the consumer. Signing up for multiple phone numbers as easily as opening email accounts, getting the best and the cheapest network at any given time in any spot (finally, no more service drops!), free and unlimited voice/video on WiFi networks, cheap roaming even when overseas on a local service, and so many more benefits are poised to take off.
Once this happens, carriers fall into a very undesirable position. Network access becomes an absolute commodity, much more so than in the case of landline ISPs. The latter at least have relatively high switching costs, while a mobile phone is already connected to every network available in its physical location. This means carriers compete head to head over who sells the cheapest bandwidth to Google, Apple or Microsoft, and only those most economically fit with the strongest network logistics survive in the game. This time, the brand, handset subsidies or any other marketing tricks are of no help — it’s all about economics.
What’s really interesting is what could happen with next-generation networks. As carriers see their margins disappear almost entirely and the profits shift to mobile platforms, operators won’t accumulate enough profits to be able to invest in next-generation networks. Nor does the marginalized economics of the network business promise them high ROI. Mobile platforms do the opposite: By that time, they’ll have accumulated profits for all the value-added services, so they’ll have both the money to invest and the strong economic incentive to do so. This will also be very lucrative to mobile platforms politically, as owning services end to end, from cloud to network to devices, enables a whole new level of control and market power.
by Ilja Laurs is CEO at GetJar
Britain’s newly married Prince William and his wife, the former Kate Middleton, have left the island nation of the Seychelles after a 10-day honeymoon, officials said Saturday.
“They left happy and clearly content with their stay,” said the head of the Seychelles tourism board, Alain St Ange, who saw the couple leave Friday.
William’s office at St. James’s Palace confirmed the couple had returned to Britain.
The palace said the couple “thoroughly enjoyed their time together, and they are grateful to the Seychelles government for their assistance in making the honeymoon such a memorable and special 10 days.”
The island nation’s foreign minister said the nation was proud to host the couple.
“The people of Seychelles are truly honored that Prince William and his wife chose to return to Seychelles for this special holiday and we are proud to have been able to offer them a peaceful and private getaway,” Jean-Paul Adam said in a statement released by the government.
The string of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean about 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) off the eastern coast of Kenya is known for its sandy beaches, clear waters and secluded hideaways.
“We hope their stay was everything they had hoped for and we look forward to welcoming them back to our shores again in the future,” Adam said.
The Seychelles coast guard helped ensure the couple’s privacy as they stayed on North Island. On their last day the royal couple invited the coast guard ashore to personally thank them for their efforts.
North Island in the Seychelles, where the royal newlyweds celebrated their honeymooning, is the paragon of tropical island escapes – the Christian Louboutin of what travel types call barefoot luxury.
At £1,957 per person per night – the average honeymoon for two people costs £3,220 – the stylish resort attracts the super-rich, City whizzkids and A-list celebrities including Liz Hurley, Jennifer Aniston, Pierce Brosnan and JK Rowling. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are rumoured to have plans to exchange wedding vows on one of its two beaches.
Should you wish to reserve all 11 villas, ensuring privacy rather than paparazzi, the tiny granitic speck washed by the emerald shallows of the Indian Ocean will cost £43,000 – a remarkable flourish to what had been dubbed the austerity wedding.
For the considerable outlay, visitors to the fecund island of three small peaks and two white powder beaches stay in huge two-bedroom, butler-serviced villas of 4,843 square feet (450 sq m) made by Balinese thatchers and Tanzanian wood carvers. They have indoor and outdoor showers, staggeringly large bathrooms and floor-to-ceiling windows opening on to decks with private gazebos and plunge pools. Each villa has an electric golf buggy to nip around the sandy tracks.
At 8,000 square feet, Villa 11 claims to be one of the world’s ultimate beach huts with a circular-flow swimming pool, cinema lounge and multiple levels cascading down the boulders to the sand. The resort’s public areas, designed by the renowned safari camp architects Silvio Rech and Lesley Carstens, use upturned sun-bleached takamaka trees to create Daliesque columns for open-sided rooms containing rectangular reflection pools, sunken sofas and screens of roped coral.
The choice of the hyper-fashionable if slightly cliched honeymoon suggests the royal couple not only have a less stuffy idea of romance than his parents but also enjoy a more equal relationship. Charles and Diana’s post-wedding travels in 1981 took in Broadlands in Hampshire, the family home of the Mountbattens, followed by a Mediterranean cruise on the royal yacht and a visit to Balmoral with his family – which suggests Charles called the shots rather than his younger bride. Whether North Island will be such an aphrodisiac is another question. William was born in 1982, eight months after his parents returned.
William and Kate might like to give this idea for their big day a miss.
A couple have turned the other cheek to tradition by getting married – in a naked wedding.
Melanie Schachner, 26, and Rene Schachner, 31, had racked their brains to come up with something so memorable for their big day that they would never forget.
Wedding tackle: Melanie Schachner, 26, and Rene Schachner, 31, stripped off for their wedding in Feldkirchen, Austria, while guests remained clothed
The groom and not-so-blushing bride decided to strip off and get married in the nude in front of their family and friends.
They walked down the aisle in a register office service in Feldkirchen, Austria, before celebrating with a reception in a nearby castle.
Melanie wore a traditional veil and white high heels. Her breasts were exposed but a flesh-coloured thong covered her nether-regions.
The groom, however, remained totally nude throughout the service, using only a top hat to cover his modesty when posing for wedding pictures.
The cheek of it: The bride walked down the aisle in a traditional veil while the groom only had his top hat to cover his modesty
Thankfully for the couple, the registrar managed to keep her embarrassment under control and make it through the reading of the vows.
Melanie said: ‘We’re not ashamed of our bodies and we wanted to do something different. It certainly saved on a wedding dress.’
In 2009 Australian couple Ellie Barton and Phil Hendicott, who conducted their nuptials in the nude back in 2009.
They won a radio competition which awarded them a free wedding – as long as they both wore nothing at all.
But their 250 wedding guests were allowed clothes.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1376927/Something-old-nude-Groom-blushing-bride-marry-naked-wedding.html#ixzz1JnEUvgCA
The Arab Tsunami started a couple of months before the one that struck Japan. The one in Japan was a natural calamity, but the one in the Arab region was man-made.
Not that the world was unaware to the long simmering across the region. What they did not anticipate was the acceleration and momentum of the rebellion that it created.
Well, the street vendor from Tunisia can be considered as the small wave that started the Arab Tsunami, the repercussions of which were felt across the Arab world.
The Internet, via, FaceBook, Twitter & YouTube just added the much needed support within the timeframe, in order to create that ‘moving’ force.
This rebellion by the populace is against the suppression of the aspirations on civilians, particularly the youth. This suppression is by the government spearheaded by the ruler, be it a monarch or an autocrat; some of which have succumbed to the rebellion demands (some by pressure & some by being extra-charitable overnight), while the defiant still continue to uncomfortable on their “thorny” thrones.
The Arab Tsunami threatens roll some more dictatorial and “possibly” some monarch heads; if they are not flexible enough to accede to the demands of the civilian population. It is a well known fact that during the thunderstorm even the mighty oak falls, but the humble grass stays on.
Hence, there is a desperate need to change the mindset of the Arab rulers, if the region has to survive peacefully and see some radical growth, in line with the world. Just waking up with a philanthropical thought after the catastrophe, is not going to resolve, defuse or bridge the gap between the ruler and the ruled. It has to be inclusive growth in line with the aspirations of all the strata of the society.
Those rulers directly in the “line-of-fire” are doing their bit to assuage the fire; but it a fact that their other peers are not immune to such uprisings.
It is said that Western world is being very selective and disparate in their responses to these uprising Arab Tsunami. They have been blamed for their “double standards” in dealing with such situations from across the world. They are considering their selfish interests in giving their support to this situation.
The tsunami has already swept across Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan, Yemen, Syria, Bahrain, & Libya.
So one may ask, “Who’s next”? Change is inevitable. Its not if, but when?
In Armenia it was a custom that on New Year’s Eve, children gathered in-groups and went around their village, singing songs and greeting the New Year by singing to their neighbors.
The Hindus of Gujarat, in western India, celebrate the New Year at the end of October, at the same time as the Indian festival of Diwali.
When the New Year begins, the Japanese people begin to laugh, and this is supposed to bring them good luck in the New Year.
The Portuguese pick and eat twelve grapes from a bunch as the clock strikes twelve on New Year’s Eve. This is done to ensure twelve happy months in the coming year.
The Taiwanese begin the New Year day by worshipping their ancestors, following which the streets become filled with people making New Year’s visits to friends and relatives and with the lively display of dragon dancing, lion dancing, and other folk activities.
The Thai New Year celebrations start by people chasing each other down the street with buckets of water.
and many more exciting traditions. For more click here
Another WikiLeaks sensational disclosure that may matter to the religious muslim fundamentalists.
Saudi Arabia might be an ultra-strict Islamic society , but princes’ mansions in Jeddah hide a buzzing party scene replete with alcohol, drugs and sex.
“Behind the facade of Wahabi conservatism in the streets, the underground nightlife for Jeddah’s elite youth is thriving and throbbing ,” said the November 2009 cable, released by the WikiLeaks website. “The full range of worldly temptations and vices are available — alcohol, drugs, sex — but strictly behind closed doors”. “This freedom to indulge carnal pursuits is possible merely because the religious police keep their distance when parties include the presence or patronage of a Saudi royal and his circle of loyal attendants.”
The truth is out for the world and in particular to those who hide behind the ‘veil’ of religious propriety.
Muslim religion bans a number of vices, which the Western world these days treats as acceptable behavior. So if they are doing things behind the veil, who is to be blamed for their behavior?
Is it not time that religion relaxes some of its strict principles, for the common person?
Well, everybody living here in Kuwait how hot it is when the government declares the official temperature as 50 deg. A couple of minutes on a bad glass is enough to start a fire, as we saw the Sawaber Complex incident.
In this time, it is very imperative that we manage the power prudently and not waste it on unproductive work.
In order to overcome the power crisis, what the govt authorities have suggested is to reduce the govt work timing to 12 noon. So that reduces the official working hours to 5, including the breaks of all kinds.
What I am trying to emphasize is that to beat the power crisis, the government is not focusing on generating power from the resources which are plentiful and requires minimum efforts to tap, namely SOLAR ENERGY. People talk of having a nuclear power plant, as if it can be built over a year.
We need to concentrate on tapping the solar energy to beat the power crisis. A community power plant may take longer to materialize; hence individual houses can tap this energy to beat the power crisis. In this regards, the govt should form a committee to promote the SOLAR energy to all by giving incentives and facilitating easy import of solar panels that can be incorporated into the homes easily.
Well just to make a start, why don’t we get this small, pocketable, foldable solar charge that can charge your mobiles, iPods, etc.
Japanese firm ambienTec has a smart and fashionable solution. They make the 2W, 5V USB Solar Fold and Solarfan portable chargers SC001P1-01BK which can provide 3 hours of listening time on your ipod (or 3 minutes of mobile phone talk time) for every 10 minutes of sunlight exposure. The 186g Solar Fold has dimensions of 195×69×22(mm) looks like a fan when maximize.
The constitution of Kuwait gives all residents the right to practice their own religion.
Why then there are so many mosques, a few churches and absolutely no other religious architecture?
Then why is the Bohri community in Kuwait, who are devout Muslims, are fighting for a mosque dedicated to their sect of faith.
As for temples, gurudwaras, synagogues, there are absolutely no such identities that freely allowed to exist.
I then ask, why are the law keepers & enforcers not acting by the words of the law makers (or is it that I have the wrong info)? Or is it also the case of are double standards (as in Wasta, Human Rights, & other issues)? There’s a popular Hindi proverb “Haathi ke daant, khane ke aur, aur dikhane ke aur” (which means that the Elephant has two sets of teeth; one for showing off and other for eating).
Given the fact that there are more expats in Kuwait than locals, it is natural that the expat community is a mix of different faiths. So why are there not any place of worship for them, considering the fact that the constitution give them the rights.
Leave aside temples, gurudwaras, synagogues. There are not even multi-faith prayer halls, where the faith believers can be with their GODS.
Well, even if there is only ONE GOD (who goes by different names of Allah, Jesus, and others), believers are more comfortable with someone who they have known for all this times.
Every individual is born free of any religion or faith. It is the upkeepers of that child that impose on them the faith that they have to follow.
So give everyone a place to worship where they are comfortable with their OWN GOD.
What is the level of intimacy you share with your partner? Have you tried something different to do, together?
Well then it time you try out this Love Exercises. Do take care to spend enough time for this, preferably on a weekend or a vacation.
Art by Rikuko
Art by Hirokazu
1. Two as One. Embracing each other gently, begin to sense your partner’s breathing and gradually try to synchronize your breathing with his or hers. After a few minutes, you might feel that the two of you have merged.
Inhibitions. Countless millions of relationships have probably started with a glass of wine. Inhibitions block feelings of vulnerability, so lowering inhibitions can indeed help people bond. Getting drunk, however, is blinding and debilitating. Instead of alcohol, try the Two as One exercise above.
2. Soul Gazing. Standing or sitting about two feet away from each other, look deeply into each other’s eyes, trying to look into the very core of your beings. Do this for about two minutes and then talk about what you saw.
Art by Jayun
3. Monkey Love. Standing or sitting fairly near each other, start moving your hands, arms and legs any way you like—but in a fashion that perfectly imitates your partner. This is fun but also challenging. You will both feel as if you are moving voluntarily, but your actions are also linked to those of your partner.
Similarity. Opposites sometimes attract, but research by behavioral economist Dan Ariely of Duke University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and others shows that people usually tend to pair off with those who are similar to themselves—in intelligence, background and level of attractiveness. Some research even suggests that merely imitating someone can increase closeness. See the Monkey Love exercise above.
4. Falling in Love. This is a trust exercise, one of many that increase mutual feelings of vulnerability. From a standing position, simply let yourself fall backward into the arms of your partner. Then trade places. Repeat several times and then talk about your feelings. Strangers who do this exercise sometimes feel connected to each other for years.
Arousal. Studies by researchers such as psychologist Arthur Aron of Stony Brook University show that people tend to bond emotionally when aroused, say, through exercise, adventures or exposure to dangerous situations. Roller coaster, anyone? See the Falling in Love exercise above.
5. Secret Swap. Write down a deep secret and have your partner do the same. Then trade papers and talk about what you read. You can continue this process until you have run out of secrets. Better yet, save some of your secrets for another day
Self-disclosure. Research by Aron, Sprecher and others indicates that people tend to bond when they share secrets with each other. Once again, the key here is allowing oneself to be vulnerable. See the Secret Swap exercise above.
Art by Fujisawa Machi
6. Mind-Reading Game. Write down a thought that you want to convey to your partner. Then spend a few minutes wordlessly trying to broadcast that thought to him or her, as he or she tries to guess what it is. If he or she cannot guess, reveal what you were thinking. Then switch roles.
Art by Nariyuki
7. Let Me Inside. Stand about four feet away from each other and focus on each other. Every 10 seconds or so move a bit closer until, after several shifts, you are well inside each other’s personal space (the boundary is about 18 inches). Get as close as you can without touching. (This exercise often ends with kissing.)
Proximity and familiarity. Studies by Stanford University social psychologists Leon Festinger and Robert Zajonc and others conclude that simply being around someone tends to produce positive feelings. When two people consciously and deliberately allow each other to invade their personal space, feelings of intimacy can grow quickly. See the Let Me Inside exercise above.
Art by Tetsukuzu Tetsuko
8. Love Aura. Place the palm of your hand as close as possible to your partner’s palm without actually touching. Do this for several minutes, during which you will feel not only heat but also, sometimes, eerie kinds of sparks.
Original here – Thanks, Kitsune