Sunday, November 24, 2013

Short Term 12

Short Term 12 was the toast of this year’s South by Southwest (SXSW) festival, winning both the Grand 
Jury Prize in the Narrative Feature Competition and the Audience Award.  
Told through the eyes of Grace (Brie Larson), a twenty-something supervisor at a foster-care facility 
for at-risk teenagers, Short Term 12 is written and directed by Destin Cretton. Passionate and tough, 
Grace is a formidable caretaker of the kids in her charge, and in love with her long-term boyfriend 
and co-worker, Mason (John Gallagher Jr). But Grace’s own difficult past, and the surprising future 
that suddenly presents itself, throw her into unforeseen confusion, made all the sharper with the arriv-
al of a new intake at the facility: a gifted but troubled teenage girl with whom Grace has a charged 
While the subject matter is complex and often dark, Short Term 12 finds truth, and humour, in unex-
pected places.
SHORT TERM 12 – Written and directed by Destin Daniel Cretton. Produced by Maren Olson, Asher 
Goldstein, Joshua Astrachan, Ron Najor. Executive producers are Frederick W. Green, Douglas Stone, 
David Kaplan. Director of Photography is Brett Pawlak. Edited by Nat Sanders. Production design 
by Rachel Myers. Original Music by Joel P. West. Costume Design by Mirren Gordon-Crozier and Joy 

 “After I graduated from college, I couldn’t find work, and a friend of mine mentioned a
group home for at-risk teenagers that was hiring. It was by far, one of the scariest
experiences I’ve ever had – at first. I was really afraid of doing something wrong and messing
up these kids more than they already were. But after a month or so, I fell in love with it.», says
Destin Cretton.
This is an experience that stuck with the director. A few years later, he created a 20-minute
short for his thesis project, titled Short Term 12 – based on his experiences at the home. The
film went on to win the Jury Prize at Sundance in 2009 – and prompted Cretton to make a
feature version. “I was kind of a novice filmmaker, and somebody told me that if you were
going to Sundance, you’d better have a feature script ready. So I wrote one.” That script
eventually found its way to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, where it was
one of five scripts in 2010 to win the Nicholl Fellowship. “That was a big stamp of approval,”
he says.
Brie Larson, who was filming another project in Georgia, was sent the script, and immediately
connected. “Within 10 pages, it was just a role that really spoke to me,” the actress says. “I
felt it had a lot of great architecture to it, and was just a big space for me to work and play
with.” She and Cretton spoke via Skype, and, says the director, “I saw Grace very quickly in
her. She was really funny, but she also had something about her that was extremely
thoughtful. She would stop and think about things, and it was in those moments where I saw
a combination of intensity and lightness, and I knew she would kick ass as Grace. And she
did.” The actress immediately dove in to develop her character, the director notes. “She
worked her tail off to get under Grace’s skin, and it was a joy to watch. She asked smart
questions and devoured as much information as she could, to become an expert not on
group homes, but on Grace – and the different things she could be feeling at every moment.
It’s the reason her performance is believable and realistic – she had a specific take on everything for her. She never does the same thing twice. Grace is continually walking the line
of being extremely vulnerable and being an extremely strong woman. And that’s difficult to
“Humor is very much a part of the reality of the group home setting – it’s part of survival
there. My character is kind of an anchor, in a lot of ways, for a lot of the mayhem that’s going
on around, both with things going on with the kids and with Grace.”, agrees John Gallagher
JR, who plays Mason “It’s something that I noticed when I went and visited one of the group
homes. The line staff keep it very light – nothing inappropriate, but they joke with the kids,
try to keep a friendly, happy, easygoing environment.”                                   

Saturday, November 23, 2013

International marketing planning model

International marketing planning model
A  surprisingly  large  proportion  of  sales  to  foreign  markets  are  made  in
response  to  chance  orders  coming  either  from  customers  who  are  international
players or from other sources such as foreign buyers attending a domestic exhibi-
tion. Such 'passive exporting' is not international marketing, although it contributes
to  international  trade.  It does  not  associate  with  the  central  principle  of creating
customer value  and  market  targeting,  there  i.s  little  assessment  of critical factors
for competitive success, and it is unlikely to build a long-term market position,
Limited  domestic  growth  and/or  intense  domestic  competition  is  a  key
reason  why  firms  enter  foreign  markets  and  was  a  prime  motivator  behind  the
Japanese  companies'  overseas  expansion   programme   during   the   1970s  and
1980s. In practice, many firms quickly suspend foreign market activity when the
domestic  economy  improves  or  when  they  fail  to  make  money  in  the  overseas
operation.  Finns  driven  to  exporting  because  of  domestic  recession  often  fail  to
anticipate  the  wider external constraints  to  doing business  in  a  foreign market
and tend to take a short-term orientation  to international marketing.3
Furthermore,  companies  that  are  struggling  to  survive  at  home  are  highly
unlikely  to  successfully  take  on  and  beat  sophisticated  competitors  in  foreign
markets.  The  domestic  market  must  be  secured  first  before  going  abroad  and  it
should  be  maintained  thereafter.  Japan's  top  two  car manufacturers,  Toyota  and
Nissan, are arch rivals at home. They took this rivalry overseas and in the process
have raised the level of competitive activity to new heights in North America and
Europe,  while striving to  remain strong performers in  their home base.
Geographic  market diversification to reduce country-specific  risk  -  that  is,
the  risk  of  operating  in  only  one  country,  due  to  different  political-economic
cycles  -  is  a  popular  reason  behind  firms'  international  expansion  drive.  Firms
must  understand  that  market  needs  may be  strikingly different,  even  for  appar-
ently similar products,  and  that different management skills and approaches are
needed  for  different  country  markets.  So,  managers  must  weigh  the  costs  and
barriers to global diversification against the benefits of risk reduction.

Firms spread  the costs of production over more units if output is expanded for
overseas  markets.  While  economies  of  scale  give  firms  a  strong  incentive  to
expand into foreign markets, the firm must also take on board additional adminis-
tration, selling, distribution and marketing co.sts. A 'cost-led' approach or a 'selling
orientation' in international marketing is unlikely to lead to long-term success.
Without  H  marketing-led  orientation,  where  customers'  needs  are  identified  and
satisfied, and  die  firm's  marketing  mix  adapted  for  the  foreign  market,  the  inter-
national business activity of the firm is unlikely to flourish.
In  summary,  firms  enter  overseas  markets  for  profits  and/or  survival.  But
firms  must  not  confuse  exporting  with  international  marketing.  The  latter  is
about taking a long-term perspective of foreign market potential and relentlessly
adopting a market-led  approach  to  identifying,  anticipating  and satisfying  the
needs of customers in target international markets.  Before going abroad,the firm
must weigh the risks and question its ability to ope rate globally. Can the company
learn to understand the preferences and buying behaviour of customers in other
country markets? Can it offer competitively attractive products? Will it be able to
adapt to other countries'  business  cultures  and  to  deal  effectively  with  foreign
nationals? Do the company's managers have the requisite international experi-
ence? Has management considered the impact of foreign regulations and political
environments? International marketing is really about exploiting market oppor-
tunities based upon sound environment and specific market analyses.

The Global Marketplace

This Blog discusses the importance of global marketing and explains the key
elements  of the  planning process:  analyzing international  market  opportunities;
deciding whether or not to go abroad; establishing market entry mode; allocating
resources; developing  the  marketing plan;  organizing for international  marketing;
implementing the marketing strategy; and evaluation and control.
Companies pay little attention to international trade when the home market
is  big  and  teeming  with  opportunities.  The  home  market  is  also  much  safer.
Managers  do  not need  to  learn  other languages,  deal  with  strange  and  changing
currencies,  face  political  and  legal  uncertainties  or  adapt  their  products  to
different  customer  needs  and  expectations.  This  has  been  the  attitude  of many
western  companies,  which  saw  little  need  to  sell  in  overseas  markets  because
their  domestic  market  alone  seemed  to  offer attractive opportunities  for growth.
Today, however, die business environment is changing and firms cannot afford to
ignore  international  markets.  The  increasing dependency  of nations  around  die
world on each other's goods and services has raised awareness among companies of
die need for a more international outlook in their approach to business. International
markets are important because most firms are geared towards growth and so must
seek new opportunities  in foreign countries as their domestic markets mature. As
international  trade  becomes  more  liberalized,  firms  are  facing  tougher  foreign
competition  in  the  domestic  market.  They  must develop  the  ability  to  fight  off
competitors  on  tlieir own  home ground,  or to  exploit business  opportunities in
foreign markets.
Furthermore,  time  and  distance  are  shrinking  rapidly  with  the  advent  of
faster communication,  transportation  and financial flows. Products  developed in
one  country  are  finding  enthusiastic  acceptance  in  other  countries.  Across
western  Europe  and  North  America,  names  such  as  Toyota,  Sony  and  Toshiba
have become household words in the same way McDonald's, Toys 'fl'  Us, Philips
and  IKEA are familiar names  to most young consumers in Asian  countries like
Japan, Singapore find Hong Kong.
Thus,  as global  competition  intensifies,  local  companies  that  never  thought
about  foreign  competitors  suddenly  find  these  competitors  in  their  own  back-
yards. The firm that stays at home to play it safe not only misses the opportunity
to enter other markets, but also risks losing its home market.
Consider,  for  example,  Japanese  victories  over  western  producers  in  ninny
sectors   -   motorcycles,   cars,   cameras,   consumer   electronics,   machine   tools,photocopiers. These markets used to be the stronghold of US, German and British
companies in the 1970s, but are now dominated by .lapanese manufacturers. The
latter  are  not  insulated from  foreign  competitors  either.  Increasing competition
from  lower-cost  newly  industrializing  countries  (NIGs)  in  the  Far  East,  notably
South Korea  and Taiwan,  are posing a big threat to  established Japanese  firms in
traditional industries like steel, chemicals and heavy machinery.
In  the United  States, American firms are fighting off aggressive  assaults  by
international  European   companies:   Die's   successful  attacks   on  Gillette   and
Nestle's  gains  in  the  coffee  and  confectionery  markets  are  a  reflection  of  the
growing  level  of  international  competition  in  'safe'  home  markets.  In  the
European Union(Ell), foreign firms'direct  investment is  on  the increase and
ititra-Union flows of investment in all kinds of business sectors - cars, clothing,
retailing,  financial  services  -  are  particularly  active.  Many  sophisticated  and
aggressive foreign companies also see the emerging eastern European economies
as longer-term opportunities.  So, more than ever, firms must learn how to enter
foreign markets and increase their global competitiveness.
Although  some  companies  would  like  to  stem  the  tide  of  foreign  imports
through  protectionism,  this  response  would  be  only  a  temporary  solution.
Suppressing a free  flow  of foreign  imports  would  lead  to  fewer  choices  for  the
consumer and higher prices for indigenously produced goods.  In the long run, it
would raise the cost of living and protect inefficient domestic firms. It also means
that consumers' needs and wants would not be met effectively and efficiently. A
better  solution  is  to  encourage  more  firms  to  learn  to  make  the  world  their
The importance of internationalization is also reflected by the fact that most
governments run an export promotion programme, which tries to persuade local
companies  to  export.  Denmark  pays  more  than  half  the  salary  of  marketing
consultants who help small and medium-size Danish companies get into exports.
Many countries go even further and subsidize their companies by granting prefer-
ential land and energy  costs -  they even  supply cash outright so  that  their  com-
panies can charge  lower prices  than do  their foreign competitors.
Today the pressure on firms operating in global industries is not just to export
to  other  countries,  but  to  strive  to  be  a  global firm.  A  global industry  is  one  in
which  the  strategic  positions  of  competitors  in  given  geographic  or  national
markets are affected by their overall global positions, A global  firm,  therefore, is
one  that,  by  operating  in  more  than  one  country,  gains  research  and  develop-
ment, production, marketing and financial advantages in its costs and reputation
that are not available to purely domestic competitors,2 The global company sees
the world as one market. It minimizes the importance of national boundaries, and
raises capital, sources materials and components, and manufactures and markets
its goods wherever it can do the best job. For example, Ford's 'world truck' sports
a cab  made  in  Europe  and  a  chassis  built  in North America.  It  is  assembled  in  and  imported  to  the  United  States  for  sale.  Thus  global  firms  gain  advan-
tages by planning,  operating and  co-ordinating their activities  on a worldwide
basis.   These  gains   are   a   key   reason   behind   recent   global   restructuring
programmes undertaken by leading German car producers, BMW and Mercedes-
Benz. Global marketing is concerned with integrating or standardizing marketing
actions  across  a  number of geographic  markets.  This does  not  rule  out forceful
adaptation  of  the  marketing  mix  to  individual  countries,  but  suggests  that  firms,
where possible, ignore traditional market boundaries and capitalize on similari-
ties between  markets  to build competitive advantage.
Because firms around the world are globalizing at a rapid rate, domestic firms
in global industries must act quickly before the window closes on them. This does
not mean that small and medium-size firms must operate in a dozen countries to succeed.  These firms can practise global  nichernanship. The world, however, is
becoming  smaller  and  every  company  operating  in  a  global  industry  -  whether
large or small - must assess and establish its place in world markets.
Firms  that  confront international  competitors  in  their existing markets  must
ask some  basic questions;  What market position  should we  try  to establish  in  our
country,  in  the  geographic  region  (e.g.  Europe.  North  America,  Asia,  Australasia)
and globally? Who will our global competitors he and what are their strategies and
resources?  Where  should  we  produce  or  source  our  products?  What  strategic
alliances should we form with other firms around the world V.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Innocent Boy

I am a boy. An innocent boy. I wonder why people can't live together here. I hear voices, whispering, running around frantically.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

5 Money Moves Everyone Should Make By Age 30

Millennials, the current generation of 20-somethings perhaps best known for their tech-savvy ways, are growing up. The oldest members of the group are now turning 30, which means they increasingly have adult money issues on their minds. The need for long-term savings accounts, retirement funds, debt payments, mortgage payments, and family-related costs are among the responsibilities weighing them down.
The good news is that the financial services industry wants to help. Eager for younger customers’ business, they have been busy analyzing millennials’ financial challenges and trying to figure out how they can best reach out to them. As a result, a handful of financial services companies recently released money tips for millennials. Here are five of the best ones:
Save like it’s 2009. Savings rates tend to go up during recessions, which is why personal savings rates shot up in 2009. The fear of financial instability appears to motivate people to squirrel more money into the safety of bank accounts rather than squander it on new shoes or a new smartphone. Millennials could use some of that motivation, since many have yet to start padding their bank accounts or saving for retirement.
A recent Wells Fargo Retirement Survey found that 2 in 3 millennials consider themselves “savers,” with men more likely than women to do so. Still, just over half of the group says they haven’t started saving yet — but plan to by age 30. The reason for that lack of saving? Most respondents said they simply didn’t have enough money.
Those who had found a way to start saving tended to have some help from their employers; most of those saving for retirement are using employer-sponsored plans, the survey found. Around half of those saving are putting away between 1 and 5 percent of their income, 31 percent are saving between 6 and 10 percent, and 14 percent are saving more than 10 percent. (Financial advisers generally recommend saving between 10 and 20 percent of your income over your working years, with the goal of replacing 80 percent of your income during retirement.)
Karen Wimbish, director of Retail Retirement at Wells Fargo, urges millennials to get started with saving as soon as possible in order to benefit from compounding interest. Having more money in the bank, she says, can also provide a confidence boost when it comes to achieving long-term goals.
Get over your fear of the market. Given that millennials came of age in the era of Bernie Madoff and the subprime mortgage crisis, it’s no surprise that more than half profess a lack of confidence in the market, according to the Wells Fargo survey. Women are particularly wary, with two-thirds saying they are not confident in the market. The problem with this distrust of the market is that millennials could lose out on the chance to benefit from its long-term growth. After all, millennials saving for retirement have decades to ride out any bumps.
Confront loan stress. Student loans are a huge source of worry for millennials. Most respondents cited it as their biggest financial concern in the Wells Fargo survey. The survey also found that millennials were about twice as likely as boomers to feel overwhelmed by their debt (42 percent versus 22 percent).
Chat about money on dates. Okay, maybe not the first date, but USAA financial planners suggest talking about money, and credit histories in particular, with long-term mates. USAA put out a release urging millennials to ask their partners how much debt they have, as well as get an overview of assets, before exchanging vows. The reason? A bad credit score can derail post-marriage plans, from buying a house to purchasing a new car.
Get a job, not a degree. Obtaining advanced degrees can make sense in a lot of situations, but USAA financial planners also warn against using school as a second-best option when the job market doesn’t work out. Returning to school often means building up more debt, and if the degree isn’t directly related to your future career, it might not pay off in the long run.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Rain Drops Fall From Heaven

Rain drops falling in my head,and never knowing when it will end.Should I run for cover,or let another rain drop fall in my head again?I would love to dance in the rain,and knowing somehow it’ll help erase the pain.

Futuristic Home Design – Box House Interior Designs

Box house designing is a simple yet innovative concept in modern house design. Box houses are the houses of future. Modern and elegant box houses can be built using pre-fabricated standard modules with custom architectural design. These modules can be arranged in a number of ways. An architect can play with infinite number of ideas arranging them aesthetically. There is no limit how a house can be designed using these modules and decorated. The box house design is cost effective and it reduces construction time without compromising building quality. Here is an award winning box house located at Portland, Oregon, designed by PATH Architecture. The house is a twin row house, designed in such a way that privacy of both the units is maintained. Each unit has a large private deck on opposite sides of the lot. The box house design utilizes natural light and offers beautiful view of the park. Floor to ceiling windows are placed in such a way that the residents can enjoy the natural light and view of the garden without attracting direct view from the outsiders.
Each room has a floor to ceiling glass window. Windows are placed on the side of each room, so that privacy of the residents is not violated. The repeating pattern of windows and solid wall on each unit gives a beautiful look and sense of symmetry to the entire structure. Windows on the main floor give the view to the park. View of trees, grass and sky gives you a feeling of living in a meadow rather than being in midst of a bustling urban neighborhood.
On the East side of the twin units, there is a big Douglas Fir Tree. The East unit hasmaster bedroom on upper level, extended over the deck below. This gives a large covered space for an outdoor dining space. Main floor window on the East unit is placed on the large stair landing. Natural light floods through the window illuminating interiors of the house.
The interior of the house has minimum design. Wooden flooring and elegant staircase give contemporary look to the interiors. The decor is minimalist. Color scheme of the interiors is pale and neutral. The interiors are relaxing and clutter free. Upholstery and rugs are of soft and subdue hue. Accent colors are used for dining chairs and art pieces on the wall. Whole space looks tidy, clean and simple. Minimalist interiors coupled with green exteriors give an aura of serenity and tranquility.

Social Media Social Ignorance

This appeared in The Indian Express on June 01, 2013

Twitter outrage over the mannequin ban does not reflect Mumbai’s many conflicting moralities

Applying Western liberal standards of gender equality to Indian society is perhaps premature. Being the world’s largest democracy is no mean achievement. However, political democracy and equality alone is cited as a measure of its relative success. Social and economic equality, emancipation and empowerment have failed to follow political equality. One aspect of this socio-economic parity was the cause championed by B.R. Ambedkar (somewhat diluted and distorted today by his successors). Lamentably, in the context of gender, the issue didn’t quite get the same impetus.

Unequal socio-economic development is not only a function of class and caste, but of gender as well. And herein lies the root of our present predicament. Gender issues are just as deep-rooted as class and caste divisions, and cut across caste/ class divisions. This is a phenomenon that has existed in Western society as well. Plato for instance, advocated the communism of wives, along with property. Enough has been written and said about the position of women in our patriarchal society. However, what needs to be pointed out is that this is merely the result of a lack of social development. It is worth noting that there exist multitudes of demographics in India (often oversimplified as Bharat and India). Starting with that section of society that genuinely believes in the cause of female emancipation, followed by the section that mouths equality in public but manipulates the sex of their child through the use of technology in private, right down to the section that sees women as nothing more than cattle. The deeply traditional (read patriarchal) nature of a large section of our population, juxtaposed with those of scientific (and cosmopolitan) temper, clearly makes for a heterogeneous culture and value system. And it is this heterogeneity that the law must sadly cater to.

Mumbai is arguably India’s most cosmopolitan city. However, the thousands who come to the city seeking a better life are quite removed from the liberal culture of the city. Is it possible to compare men from a place where they don’t speak to a member of the opposite sex (unless she is a relation) with those who are part of Mumbai’s “upwardly mobile” crowd? And it is not only the migrant workforce that has attitudes and values different from what we consider Bombay culture. It is also the plurality of Bombay culture itself. So, do I agree with the ban on lingerie-clad mannequins? Most certainly not. But I do understand that a lingerie-clad mannequin will probably mean different things to my husband and to my 8th-class-pass Man Friday from rural Bihar. Banning things is the flavour of the season, and is easier than implementing much-needed social development and reform programmes. But, deep down, I can understand where Ritu Tawade, the BJP corporator, is coming from. Sadly for us, the social media voice of outrage is not quite representative of the actual value system in Mumbai.

I often hear the argument that women can wear what they like in Mumbai, and so Mumbai is liberal and progressive. Being an “outsider” from Delhi, I agree about the relative freedom to dress the way you want. But just because no one leers at a girl in shorts in Mumbai doesn’t mean the polity is progressive. What it means is that people have become desensitised to the way different women dress over the years. For example, just because one no longer reacts (overtly) to the sight of an elephant ambling along on our roads, it doesn’t mean that we are ok with it and don’t have an opinion on it. It just means that we are used to such sights. However, foreigners are completely awestruck at the very presence of a pachyderm.

My cook, a thoroughbred Mumbaikar, doesn’t react to girls in skimpy tops and shorts, or to lingerie-clad mannequins for that matter. But you have a conversation with her on the subject, and she will lash out at the “erosion” of moral values in our society and the impact on young men of the titillation that these girls and mannequins “provide”. According to her, the overt display of sexuality entices young men, whether in flesh-and-blood models or plastic ones. She sees it manifesting in the way young men covertly gaze at the girls dressed in non-traditional clothes. She also has an opinion on the roadside male vendors who sell lingerie, as well as the mostly male salespersons in generic shops that sell lingerie along with other items. But she feels powerless to do anything about it. She supports the mannequin ban and sees it as a way to check “moral erosion”. Coming from where she does, I find it hard not to see merit in her argument.

The writer is Mumbai-based actor and activist

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Why You Need To Learn HTML5

If you already write computer code or are planning to enter the IT industry then you might know about the buzz surrounding HTML5. This is the latest version of HTML which is the most popular code that powers the internet. The current focus of internet technology is to enable people to watch videos with the greatest amount of ease from any device of their choice (and there are a whole lot of devices in use these days).
If you are still wondering whether you need to learn HTML5 then you'll find the following details very interesting:
  1. This new language is very versatile when compared to older versions. It ensures that both audio and video can be handled by an internet browser. This makes plug-ins unnecessary for all sorts of videos and animation. Websites launch faster as a result of this.
  2. Websites that use this language will be accessible using any mobile device. Currently, there is no uniformity in this, leading to the use of various third party applications. Many sites miss out on viewership because of this reason.
  3. It is set to be a replacement for Flash which has many detractors because it takes too much of power and also because it causes browsers to crash. Apple is putting its considerable weight behind HTML5 because it is not a supporter of Flash. Since iPhones and iPads are very popular and are here to stay, many websites will be switching to this language.
  4. There will be high quality video streaming across various devices, enabling users to watch television, videos etc without any interruptions, even on their mobile phones.
In addition to the many benefits it offers, this language has excellent interactivity and is therefore being embraced by many web designers. Websites that use it can be modified very easily and quickly. Your employment prospects will definitely look brighter if you learn HTML5 since many websites are going to switch to it. As a matter of fact, many websites are expected to re-make their animations and video players in this language as they abandon Flash. It goes without saying that many websites will stick to Flash, but there will still be immense demand for HTML5.
You'll need to put in a bit of effort to learn HTML5 but this is definitely a good strategic move on your part. Make sure that you learn from the right source so that you can finish with the program in the shortest possible time.
Author bio: The latest buzz in the IT industry surrounds the newest version of HTML.

What Is Python Web Programming?

The python programming language is a modern web programming language that was originally conceived and developed by Guido van Rossum in the 1980s. Since that time, Python has evolved into a high-performance programming language that is modular and extensible. Some of the largest websites in the world are utilizing Python such as YouTube, Disqus, and Reddit. Python offers a number of features that make it an attractive programming platform including stability, portability, object-oriented development, a powerful standard library and a wealth of third-party modules or packages.
Python has been under active development since the late 1980s and is considered a mature programming language. The developers of the Python language conduct extensive functionality and regression testing to ensure the language remains bug-free and stable with each new release.
Python programming offers a number of features that make it an attractive option for web application development. Python applications are portable due to the fact that python interpreters are available for all modern operating systems and some embedded computing systems.
Object-oriented Development
The object-oriented nature of Python makes it an ideal first language for new programmers and easy to learn for programmers migrating to Python from other object-oriented languages. Python programming is intuitive and reinforces good program structure and object-oriented methodologies.
Standard Library
The standard Python library offers developers a plethora of features comparable to more complex languages such as C++ while maintaining simple and approachable language syntax. Comprehensive file-based I/O, database interactivity, advanced exception handling and a host of built in data types make Python appropriate for both web applications and general purpose programming. This makes python web programming an easy task for application developers seeking to transition to web application development.
Third Party Modules
Python is known for being a comprehensive language with extensive functionality included in the standard library. However, the growing popularity of python programming has led to a vast array of third-party packages, or modules, that extend Python's functionality and allow the language to deal with unique programming challenges. For example, modules are available for handling non-standard database interactions and advanced cryptography functionality. There are also modules available for dealing with common tasks such as reading file metadata, rendering charts and compiling Python applications into standardized executable applications. Python web programming is made easier due to the availability of many web-centric modules to handle tasks such as e-mail, maintaining HTTP state, interacting with JavaScript, and other common web development tasks.

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Survival of the Speediest - Young People and the Digital Race of Job Search

A study commissioned by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation found that job seeking for young people in the current economy is "a job in itself."
In an economic climate described as "one of the most challenging labour market scenarios for young people in recent decades," researchers found that young people were blighted by low demand, high competition and a new speed of digital recruitment that moves faster than ever before.
Professor Becky Tunstall and Professor Anne Green of the Social Exclusion Unit at the LSE led a team of researchers to recreate the job seeking experiences typically encountered by young people looking for low skilled entry positions in the UK.
Fictional personas of candidates aged 22 to 24 were created to apply for 667 real jobs in three different geographical locations with varying rates of unemployment.
Three applications were sent to each of the 667 selected jobs; two of each batch were allocated the postcodes of deprived areas to test for evidence of postcode discrimination. Over 2,000 applications were sent to a range of jobs adverts for finance assistants, security guards, cleaners, care workers, hotel workers, office assistants and kitchen porters.
Despite widely held belief in postcode discrimination, statistically there was no evidence of candidates being rejected on account of where they lived. In 192 cases the employer showed a preference for one of more of the candidates from the batch of three sent. Young people with good qualifications and appropriate work experience were shown to be shortlisted for interview, regardless of their postcode.
The research highlighted the difficulties that young people faced in today's job market. As with any economy in a recession, lower demand for labour and a competitive economy creates a problem for those trying to enter the work force - young people are always more vulnerable to unemployment and underemployment.
In this new digital age, a faster paced recruitment process has developed and young people seemed unaware of the speed required to respond to a job posting - a person's success was almost dependent on their ability to respond to adverts as soon as they were posted. Fast moving and predominantly online, the concept of a closing date was defunct as nearly 30% of jobs advertised on the internet were taken down after a week of being posted. Employers removed job adverts as soon as sufficient applications were received. Vacancies were seen to close to candidates within days and in some cases within hours of being posted online.
Access to internet was key to success. Young people who had no internet access at home or only sporadic internet access were at a severe disadvantage and according to the researchers had "low or zero chance of success" if they did not respond to a job as soon as it was seen.
Young people were found to be reacting to the challenge of finding employment by volunteering, turning to friendship networks to find work and improving their qualifications.
Co-author Anne Green, now Professorial Fellow at Warwick Institute for Employment Research added: "This research provides evidence that employers are not discriminating according to postcode and provides helpful advice for young job seekers to make sure their qualifications and CVs are good, and to apply for jobs as soon as they are advertised."

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Twenty Five Pcs of Writing Software U Should Know About

Of course, all you really need in order to write is a notebook and pen. But there are lots of software packages that can make life easier for writers. Whatever you want to be able to do, there’s almost certainly some software out there to help you. The list below includes the best packages to help you plan and structure a novel, share documents online with other people, format your screenplay or script correctly, minimize writing distractions, improve your English and more…

Collaborative Documents

Often when writing, you’ll want to share a document with other people – either to ask for feedback, or to get them to add to it. All of these pieces of software allow you to share documents online, so that multiple people can have access to and edit them. I’ve found this very successful for receiving feedback from friends on my short stories.
“You can easily do all the basics, including making bulleted lists, sorting by columns, adding tables, images, comments, formulas, changing fonts and more. And it’s free. … Google Docs accepts most popular file formats, including DOC, XLS, ODT, ODS, RTF, CSV, PPT, etc. So go ahead and upload your existing files.”
“Writeboards are sharable, web-based text documents that let you save every edit, roll back to any version, and easily compare changes. Use Writeboard to write solo or collaborate with others.”

Word Processors

Microsoft Word
$324.99 for Microsoft Office 2007 Standard version
$109.99 for Student version
“Microsoft Office Standard 2007 offers the core Microsoft Office applications, but significantly updated for faster, better results. Comprised of Excel, Word, PowerPoint, and Outlook, this software suite empowers you to create high-quality documents and presentations, build powerful spreadsheets, and manage your e-mail messages, calendar, and contacts.”
“View, print and copy Word documents, even if you don’t have Word installed.”
“ 2 is the leading open-source office software suite for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, graphics, databases and more. It is available in many languages and works on all common computers. It stores all your data in an international open standard format and can also read and write files from other common office software packages. It can be downloaded and used completely free of charge for any purpose.”
As a hard-up student (who preferred to spend money on booze than software), I used Open Office throughout my degree, and found it an excellent alternative to Microsoft Office. It’s a whole office suite, so can also be used to replace Excel, Powerpoint and more.
Famous open source word processor, and ideal for someone looking for a light and compact software. It comes with all the basic features that you would expect from a word processor, and it also supports different languages and operating systems.

Fiction: Writing Novels and Screenplays

If you’ve tried a bit of fiction and you want some help with writing longer pieces, there are a number of software packages you might want to try out. Here’s some reputable, well-established ones:
New Novelist
$54.99 download, $59.99 download and CD
“If you’ve ever tried to write a novel (or even just thought about it), you know the routine. You just can’t put everything together. You’ve got to work step by step to write a great book, right? NOT ANYMORE! NewNovelist Software has turned the writing process on its head. With this revolutionary software, you can write your novel the way you want to.”
I used version 1.0 of this myself, and it definitely helped me with my world building and pre-writing notes. None of the twelve structures it suggested quite worked for the novel I was planning, but you can change the headings to suit yourself.
Character Pro from Typing Chimp Software
60 days free, then $69.99
“Character Pro puts a proven system for understanding human behavior at your fingertips – The Enneagram – to create a character spine for your character. But that’s only the beginning. Character Pro isolates each part of the character, provides tools and extensive help files to guide you to a well-rounded, complex and realistic character.”
“Create a basic story structure with the Story Generator then use the tree to organize your structure while you develop the story in the edit box on the right. Simply drag and drop or insert and delete story items until your story is perfectly structured.”
You can get both of these for $89.99. Typing Chimp also do Character Writer, which combines features of both, and is Java Based (so runs on almost any system), for $39.99.
Writers Café
Demo version free, $45 download, £32.90 (approx $65) on CD.
“Writer’s Café is a software toolkit for all fiction writers, whether experienced or just starting out. The heart of Writer’s Café is StoryLines, a powerful but simple to use story development tool that dramatically accelerates the creation and structuring of your novel or screenplay.”

Writing: Organising and Formatting your Manuscript

One of the biggest headaches for fiction writers is coming to the end of a project only to realise that every scene or chapter is in a separate file (and sometimes in different formats), and that pulling this all together – and editing it to match editorial conventions – is going to take ages. These packages can help you keep things organised:
“Celtx is the world’s first fully integrated solution for media pre-production and collaboration. It replaces old fashioned ‘paper, pen & binder’ media creation with a digital approach to writing and organizing that’s more complete, simpler to work with, and easier to share.”
30 days free, then $39.99
Mac Only
“Scrivener is a word processor and project management tool created specifically for writers of long texts such as novels and research papers. It won’t try to tell you how to write – it just makes all the tools you have scattered around your desk available in one application.”

Minimise Distractions When Writing

If you’re anything like me, distractions come up constantly when trying to write. Whether your problem is instant messenger, web browsing, email, or just using all the fancy formatting features on your word processor, a simpler writing environment can be the solution.
If you’re running Windows, this almost certainly came free with your computer. Some people find all the extra bells and whistles of a full wordprocessor distracting when writing. If you have trouble knuckling down to write, Wordpad allows formatting (bold, italics, etc) and can be easier to use than Word.
Write Room
Free trial, then $25. Mac only.
“For people who enjoy the simplicity of a typewriter, but live in the digital world. WriteRoom is a full-screen writing environment. Unlike the cluttered word processors you’re used to, WriteRoom is just about you and your text.”
Dark Room
Windows version of Write Room
Both Write Room and Dark Room have a retro feel of green text on black background (though you can change the background of Write Room). I’ve used Dark Room when suffering from a severe bout of procrastination on my novel, and would certainly recommend it.

Scientific Writing

For specialised types of writing, such as creating scientific documentation, normal word processing software may not be enough.
“LaTeX is a high-quality typesetting system; it includes features designed for the production of technical and scientific documentation. LaTeX is the de facto standard for the communication and publication of scientific documents.”

Improving your English (for native and non-native speakers)

The spelling and grammar checks built into word processors can often leave much to be desired. If your English is shaky, or if you’re learning English as a foreign language, you might want to invest in software designed to help you improve your grammar and style.
This cool little program will bring a handy dictionary to your desktop, that you can use to confirm spelling of words or to check their meanings. The advantage of JaLingo is that it is OS independent, so it will work smoothly on most computers.
$79.99 for “General” version, $99.99 for “Business” version & other specialised ones. Executive writing version usually $250 but currently $125.
“WhiteSmoke is an innovative software tool that improves and edits your English writing. Based on patented natural language processing (NLP) technology, WhiteSmoke performs advanced and context-based English grammar, spelling, and punctuation checking, as well as text enrichment to enhance your writing.”
$160, which includes a “Software for writers” CD
“Designed by journalists, editors and business writing tutors, StyleWriter gives you the skills of a good editor. Simply click the StyleWriter button in Microsoft Word’s or WordPerfect’s toolbar (or any clipboard text) to launch a check for thousands of faults and bad habits found in writing. Trimming the excess words, simplifying and clarifying your style, checking for good English usage — editing is easy with StyleWriter.”

Typing Software

After a mis-spent youth playing online text games, I learnt to touch-type without trying to, but I realise many people aren’t so lucky (or so geeky). Typing speed is a surprisingly big factor in being a successful writer, and if you’re still pecking away at the keyboard with two fingers, it’s worth investing in software to help you learn to type properly.
$19.95 download, $34.95 CD
“KAZ will teach you how to learn to type and master your computer keyboard fast. Our interactive, multimedia typing tutor software uses a revolutionary learning method so you can learn to type really quickly without the need to resort to repetitive typing drills and games. Learning to touch type with KAZ is tested and proven with over 1 million users.”
“Miracle Type is the perfect answer for you if typing on your computer is just taking far too long or if you have given up in frustration after trying to teach yourself to Touch Type with other typing software.”

Blogging Platforms

If you run your own blog or website, you’ve almost certainly heard of WordPress and Movable Type. Both are content management systems that you install on space provided by your web host, allowing you to easily publish new posts to your blog and modify existing ones.
FREE (but you’ll need to pay for web hosting)
“WordPress is a state-of-the-art publishing platform with a focus on aesthetics, web standards, and usability. WordPress is both free and priceless at the same time.”
Moveable Type
FREE (but you’ll need to pay for web hosting)
“Movable type is a professional publishing platform.”
There are also many blogging services which will host your blog for you, such as,, but these are more “sites” than “software” (you don’t install them on your own webspace.)

Journalling Software

At the moment, I journal on paper, as I like to get away from the computer screen and take fifteen minutes alone with my thoughts. I also enjoy writing with a good fountain pen, in a nice hardback notebook. However, this does make it hard to search for anything…
David RM’s “The Journal”
$39.95 download / $49.95 CD / $69.95 for “Writers’ edition”
“The Journal is a powerful journaling and writing tool that can help you take control of your life. Create a digital scrapbook of your life! Organize your notes about your family, about your work, about a hobby, about anything. Write a short story, a magazine article, or even a novel. Remember your appointments, events, tasks & special days! Find whatever you’re looking for with The Journal’s powerful searching. Get inspired!”
FREE basic version, $29.95 for standard version, $39.95 for professional version
“Debrief® is software for saving notes on your PC. Ideas. Experiences. Research. Thoughts. They come from projects, meetings, status, tasks, issues, changes, risks, decision, contacts, brainstorming, pondering, work, studies, school. Capture them while you can and put them to good use later”

Suggested by Our Readers

Use your creative energy to focus on the content; let Final Draft take care of the style. Final Draft is the number-one selling word processor specifically designed for writing movie scripts, television episodics and stage plays.
This sure is not a cheap writing software, but it is supposed to be the industry standard when it comes to script writing.
A free alternative for Dark Room and WriteRoom, Q10 brings you a full screen word processor that will let you focus entirely on what you are writing. Additionally, it also come with customizable features like paragraph styling and live statistics about your pieces.
An online service that lets you write, edit and print your scripts straight on their website. The advantage is that you can work on your scripts from different locations and from different computers.

100 Beautiful and Ugly Words

One of the many fascinating features of our language is how often words with pleasant associations are also quite pleasing on the tongue and even to the eye, and how many words, by contrast, acoustically and visually corroborate their disagreeable nature — look no further than the heading for this post.
Enrich the poetry of your prose by applying words that provide precise connotation while also evoking emotional responses. (Note the proportion of beautiful words to ugly ones in the compilation below; it’s easier to conjure the former than the latter, though I omitted words associated with bodily functions, as well as onomatopoeic terms.)
Notice how often attractive words present themselves to define other beautiful ones, and note also how many of them are interrelated, and what kind of sensations, impressions, and emotions they have in common. Also, try enunciating beautiful words as if they were ugly, or vice versa. Are their sounds suggestive of their quality, or does their meaning wholly determine their effect on us?

Beautiful Words

Amorphous: indefinite, shapeless
Beguile: deceive
Caprice: impulse
Cascade: steep waterfall
Cashmere: fine, delicate wool
Chrysalis: protective covering
Cinnamon: an aromatic spice; its soft brown color
Coalesce: unite, or fuse
Crepuscular: dim, or twilit
Crystalline: clear, or sparkling
Desultory: half-hearted, meandering
Diaphanous: gauzy
Dulcet: sweet
Ebullient: enthusiastic
Effervescent: bubbly
Elision: omission
Enchanted: charmed
Encompass: surround
Enrapture: delighted
Ephemeral: fleeting
Epiphany: revelation
Epitome: embodiment of the ideal
Ethereal: celestial, unworldly, immaterial
Etiquette: proper conduct
Evanescent: fleeting
Evocative: suggestive
Exuberant: abundant, unrestrained, outsize
Felicity: happiness, pleasantness
Filament: thread, strand
Halcyon: care-free
Idyllic: contentedly pleasing
Incorporeal: without form
Incandescent: glowing, radiant, brilliant, zealous
Ineffable: indescribable, unspeakable
Inexorable: relentless
Insouciance: nonchalance
Iridescent: luster
Languid: slow, listless
Lassitude: fatigue
Lilt: cheerful or buoyant song or movement
Lithe: flexible, graceful
Lullaby: soothing song
Luminescence: dim chemical or organic light
Mellifluous: smooth, sweet
Mist: cloudy moisture, or similar literal or virtual obstacle
Murmur: soothing sound
Myriad: great number
Nebulous: indistinct
Opulent: ostentatious
Penumbra: shade, shroud, fringe
Plethora: abundance
Quiescent: peaceful
Quintessential: most purely representative or typical
Radiant: glowing
Redolent: aromatic, evocative
Resonant: echoing, evocative
Resplendent: shining
Rhapsodic: intensely emotional
Sapphire: rich, deep bluish purple
Scintilla: trace
Serendipitous: chance
Serene: peaceful
Somnolent: drowsy, sleep inducing
Sonorous: loud, impressive, imposing
Spherical: ball-like, globular
Sublime: exalted, transcendent
Succulent: juicy, tasty, rich
Suffuse: flushed, full
Susurration: whispering
Symphony: harmonious assemblage
Talisman: charm, magical device
Tessellated: checkered in pattern
Tranquility: peacefulness
Vestige: trace
Zenith: highest point

Ugly Words

Cacophony: confused noise
Cataclysm: flood, catastrophe, upheaval
Chafe: irritate, abrade
Coarse: common, crude, rough, harsh
Cynical: distrustful, self-interested
Decrepit: worn-out, run-down
Disgust: aversion, distaste
Grimace: expression of disgust or pain
Grotesque: distorted, bizarre
Harangue: rant
Hirsute: hairy
Hoarse: harsh, grating
Leech: parasite,
Maladroit: clumsy
Mediocre: ordinary, of low quality
Obstreperous: noisy, unruly
Rancid: offensive, smelly
Repugnant: distasteful
Repulsive: disgusting
Shriek: sharp, screeching sound
Shrill: high-pitched sound
Shun: avoid, ostracize
Slaughter: butcher, carnage
Unctuous: smug, ingratiating
Visceral: crude, anatomically graphic

7 Grammatical Errors That Aren’t

There are two types of grammar: Descriptive, whichdescribes what is customary, and prescriptive grammar, whichprescribes what should be. A tension between the two systems is inevitable — and healthy; it keeps us thinking about what we’re saying and writing.
Allowing mob rule at the expense of some governing of composition is madness, but a diction dictatorship is dangerous, too. As with any prescription, an overdose is contraindicated. Here are some hard pills to swallow for language mavens who require a strict adherence to rigid syntactical patterns at the expense of, well, language:
1. Never split an infinitive.
It isn’t wise to always ignore this fallacious rule against dividing the elements of the verb phrase “to (verb)” with an adverb, but to blindly follow it is to prohibit pleasing turns of phrase — one of the best known of which is from the introductory voice-over from all the Star Trek television series: “to boldly go where no one has gone before.” (The original series, produced before the more recent sensitivity to gender bias, put it “no man.”)
2. Never end a sentence with a preposition.
This rule is ridiculous, to start with. If you believe it, please tell me what planet you are from. What are you striving for? Give it up. Am I getting my point across?
The stricture against closing sentences with words that describe position stems from an eighteen-century fetish for the supposed perfection of classical Latin, which allowed no split infinitives — for the excellent reason that Latin infinitives consist of single words. English, however, being a distant relative of that language, should be allowed to form its own customs.
3. Never begin a sentence with a conjunction.
And why not? For an honorable tradition of doing just that exists. But some people persist in prohibiting this technique. Yet we defy them. Or we simply ignore them or laugh at them, neither of which they appreciate. Nor do they understand our attitude, though we try to convince them, and will continue to do so. So there.
The words beginning each of these sentences are conjunctions, easily recalled with the mnemonic FANBOYS. Every one is perfectly acceptable at the head of a sentence. As is obvious from the previous paragraph, however, a little goes a long way.
4. Distinguish between while and though.
Petty prescriptivists would have you reserve while for temporal usage only: “While I agree, I resist,” they say, should be revised to “Though I agree, I resist.” I freely admit that I often change while to though, and while I understand — I’m sorry, I can’t stop myself — and though I understand that it may seem pedantic, I think though reads better.
5. Distinguish between since and because.
Ditto. And ditto. I concur that indiscriminate replacement of since withbecause may seem persnickety, but since — ahem — because I find the latter word more pleasing, I will reserve the right to prefer it.
6. Use data only in the plural sense.
Where did they get this data? The alternative is to use datum in the singular sense, which makes you sound like a propellerhead. (Look it up, kids.) People who say “datum” get data, but they don’t get dates.
7. Use none only in the singular sense.
None of these rules, followed strictly, allow for a vernacular ease with language.
Did that sentence hurt? Did the waves stop crashing to shore? Did Earth stop spinning? If you wish to replace none with “not one” or “no one” (“Not one person admitted guilt”; “No one saw that coming”), by all means, do so, but fear not none in a plural sense.
+Varghese Mathew