Thursday, 23 April 2015

5 safest apps to send private and secure messages | You can use this for CAS & SDI Services

People are always looking for better ways to shield their communications from prying eyes. The `end to-end encryption' technology means that a message is ciphered before it's sent and then deciphered after it is received. This way, anyone looking to snoop on intermediary servers won't be able to understand the message.

erson to adopt into their everyday work. Now developers are figuring out new ways to make message-sending as easy as possible using this kind of encryption.


TextSecure is an Android app built for the sole purpose of secure texting. It was created by a group of developers known as Open Whisper Systems, who build suites of completely private communication apps and release the code to the world under an open-source license. TextSecure is OWS's Android solution. It provides end-toend encryption both over the air and in the actual phone. The app used to send encrypted messages using SMS standard. Last month, the app decided to nix SMS and send messages using data. This made it possible for users to send messages to TextSecure's iOS counterpart, Signal. The app requires users to have a unique passcode, which can be used to prove that they received the message. 


Signal is the iOS app made by t he O p en W h i s p e r S ys t em s pr oje c t . L i ke TextSecure, it provides complete security to protect users from any external snooping. It now supports sending and receiving messages from TextSecure, which runs on Android. The app uses the same encryption technology as its Android counterpart. 

Telegram (secret chats)

Telegram is a messaging app available on iOS, Android, and Windows Phone. It was created by two brothers who helped launch the huge Russian social network V K (formerly VKontakte) in 2012. It offers two different types of chat op tions: normal chat -which has chats stored in the app's cloud, and `secret chat' -which uses end-to-end encryption. While the normal chat does not follow the most scrupulous securing processes, if a user sends only secret chats, that person ought to have their security bases covered. 

Silent Text

Silent Text is the secure messaging app from Silent Circle, one of the better-known companies building secure communication programs. Most famously, the company built the supposedly ultra-secure BlackPhone, which purports to be an NSA-snooping proof mobile device.Silent Text is said to be completely secure, using the best encryption practices available.But it requires a monthly subscription, which starts at $9.99 (`629 approx). 


Gliph is another messaging app, supposed to be completely secure. Its spin dif fers from most other apps, however, in that it also facilitates Bitcoin payments. The app allows users to anonymously send amounts of the digital currency to other Gliph users. It also has special message features, including the ability to set a message. expiration time as well as schedule messages

Source | Economic Times | 22 April 2015

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

The Online Learning Revolution - Open Online Course can be valuable additions to workplace learning



Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have revolutionised the world of education and most learning and development professionals have started taking note of it.While there is in-principle acceptance of MOOCs as an important tool for professional development and executive education, there is a lack of clarity on how it can be integrated into workplace learning in India.

The Indian education system traditionally has been content-rich but interaction-poor; so, careful orchestration is required for an employee to adapt to this new way of learning needs. Here are some recommendations to integrate MOOCs within your organisation:


Any new platform or way of working needs evangelism. L&D personnel should champion this at the workplace. It becomes critical that they are up-to-speed on the latest in the world of MOOCs, emerging methodologies and challenges. It makes sense for the L&D folks to complete a couple of MOOCs before they start propagating it within their organisations. There are a few websites that are great for curated resources on MOOCs, reviews, case studies, etc.


This is a big next step and would probably consume most of your time. It’s important that employees are educated on MOOCs and their benefits.You can start by creating a short 30-minute starter module. During this session, get your employees to experience learning sites to gain first-hand knowledge. While there are several MOOC websites, limit your campaign to about two or three sites as too many resources at the start could overwhelm employees. It’s best to allow them to get started and let employees figure out more platforms as they progress.


Treat the MOOC integration campaign as any other serious learning solution. Every L&D professional knows that leadership endorsement can be a make or break factor. Get your leaders to talk about MOOCs and encourage employees to participate and adopt it. Ask your CEO to share their views on MOOCs in R&R forums and monthly events. It makes a big difference when your CEO says,“Go try this and it will blow your mind.”If you have an enterprise social network, you can ask employees to share what courses they are taking.


It’s important to be a bit directional at the start of the campaign as employees are still figuring out the MOOC mechanics. Research courses and make recommendations to all employee groups. As adoption levels increase, this can and should get totally crowdsourced with time. Think of an ideal state as one where your enterprise social network becomes an indispensable part of learning. One employee asks recommendations for learning a particular skill/knowledge module and another employee recommends.This takes time and continuous effort; so the L&D team must be prepared to play this in the long haul.


This is something you can consider if tracking and reporting are key expectations. Employees can be scheduled for MOOCs via the Learning Management System (LMS) and then self-report post completion.You could also consider a MOOC with some offline interaction to increase adoption and arrest dropout rates.


Most signature tracks on sites cost anywhere between $39 - $49.This may not be a huge investment but telling employees that even this will get reimbursed is ‘putting your money where your mouth is’.This is also a great way of demonstrating an organisation’s commitment to continuing education beyond the stipulated AICTE-approved courses that most Indian organisations limit employees to.


All L&D professionals know that ‘what gets rewarded gets repeated’. It’s a good investment to start rewarding employees who have successfully completed signature tracks on MOOCs. Get your top leaders to hand them certificates and a ‘thank you’card at the reward forums.What you are rewarding is learning agility and a commitment to lifelong learning. These are skills that all organisations will pay a premium for.

It’s important to remember that integrating any new learning solution is less of a technology but more of a culture/behaviour issue.You can always buy the technology but behaviours and cultures need to be built.

- The author is senior manager – training,Jardine Lloyd Thompson India

Source | Times of India – Ascent | 20 November 2013

The Evolution of e-publishing: Why India has lagged behind in adapting eBooks

Despite its success the world over, India is yet to adapt to eBooks. Gargi Gupta dives into the narrow pool of e-publishing in the country to find out why it comes up short.

Rasana Atreya was an IT professional...and then she wrote a novel. It was good, too, for the manuscript made it to the shortlist of the 2012 Tibor Jones South Asia prize for best unpublished novel by a writer unrepresented by a literary agent. Soon, a publisher offered a contract, but Atreya decided to do something adventurous — self-publish her book, using Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) service. Nearly a year after its publication, her eBook Tell A Thousand Lies gets around 1,000 downloads a month.

Of these, only a few are from India. “Mostly it is from the UK, US and, amazingly, Mexico, from where I get a lot of fan mail telling me that my book about two sisters in a small south-Indian village could have been set in their country,” says Atreya. With 70% royalties coming her way (print publishers pay their authors a fraction of this), Atreya today makes more money each month from the sales of her book than the entire advance that the print publisher had offered her. No wonder then that Atreya has resigned from her job to become a full-time writer and says her decision to self-publish was one of the best things she’s done.

Atreya’s is undoubtedly a success story, but it is the only significant success in the e-publishing/ebooks space in India. For unlike in the West, where as a recent PwC report reveals, ebooks have garnered 9% of the publishing market, and will grow to 22% by 2017, eBooks in India account for a paltry 1% or less. The main barrier, says Random House India spokesperson Caroline Newbury, is the lack of awareness in India about ebooks, how to download them and the ereader devices available. “But this is changing rapidly,” she says. If eBook sales are higher in the US or UK, Newbury feels it is because these places have had dedicated e-reading devices and eBooks for much longer.

So how close is India to this inflection point from where the local market for eBooks can be expected to really take off? Around 18-24 months, feels Santanu Chowdhury, CEO of Swiftboox, a store that specialises in ebooks in Indian regional languages. VK Karthika, publisher and chief editor, HarperCollins India, agrees: “When eBooks first started to come in, I had thought they would take 10 years to reach India; then last year, when we started working on our ebooks programme, I thought it would be five years. Now I think it will take about two years.”

That India has a lot of potential is something everyone in publishing  agrees upon. “India is the third largest market for English books,” says Amazon India’s spokesperson. “A high propensity for reading, coupled with growth in literacy, increasing Internet penetration, Internet-enabled devices and a rapid growth of middle class population with increasing disposable income make it a very promising market.” No wonder then that everyone — publishers, stores (both online and brick-and-mortar) and manufacturers of eBook reader devices and apps — is hurrying to grab an early-mover advantage in the eBooks space.

The last 12 months or so, especially, have seen a lot of new launches and activity. Swiftboox, for example, is tying up with small and medium publishers in Bengali, Marathi, Hindi, Malayalam, Tamil, etc and offering to digitise their backlists using a technology that works with Indian vernacular languages. In October this year, HarperCollins launched an e-imprint, Harper21, with a series of 21 e-singles by 21 authors at a “token cost” of Rs21 each. “We decided to introduce readers with a format that was not too long or complicated to read by known authors, and could be finished while travelling on the Metro, for instance. We are not really looking at it as a revenue earner now,” says Karthika. In the last year or so, leading English-language publishers such as HarperCollins, Random House and Aleph have started to release new titles in both print and eformats.

Regional language publishers, however, still remain largely out of the ebook revolution, says Chowdhury, of Swiftboox. The market is also being flooded with ereaders and ebook apps of late — GooglePlay Books launched in India in February this year; in June, Amazon launched its Kindle range of e-readers and the Kindle Store; Flipkart, the leading books retailer, came out with its eBooks app in August; and last month, Kobo, a popular brand of ebook readers globally, unveiled its range in India. Even brick-and-mortar stores like Landmark have jumped onto the bandwagon with online ebook stores.

Why, these days, even highend smartphones come preloaded with Blio, a free-to-download ereader software! Clearly, there’re all waiting for the eBook revolution to happen.

The top shelf describes electronic publishing as “the issuing of books and other material in machine-readable form rather than on paper”.

E-publishing, short for electronic publishing, refers to work published online, on a compact disk, emailed, or provided in a format compatible with handheld electronic readers. Amazon Kindle and Kobo are two eBook readers popular amongst bibliophiles.

Source | Daily News Analysis | 25 November 2013

Tablet buying guide 2013 | How to pick the right tablet

You might be looking to snag a tablet for yourself or for your loved one. But before you venture out to a brick and mortar store or get lost scouring for websites and looking for deals, take a step back. Like everything else in life, tablet shopping is easier if you have a plan.

There are so many tablet options available, it's easy to be overwhelmed by all the possible criteria. You'll have to consider size and weight, how long the battery lasts, and which platform offers the apps and services you use the most. Let us help you with our guide on what to look for when you're in the market for a tablet, and what to avoid so that you don't needlessly spend money on something that turns out to be a dud.

Choose a platform

Most tablets will let you do common tasks like read books, browse the Web, play music and games, or watch movies and videos. But not all of the platform ecosystems are built the same.

One of the easiest ways to consider which platform best suits you is by looking at the devices you already have. For instance, do you have an iPhone that hooks up to a MacBook or a massive iTunes media library? Then you might want consider the iPad to help seal the circle and keep things easily synced across devices. Or, maybe you're platform agnostic and wouldn't mind a tablet with a bit more malleability? Google's Android-powered Nexus 7 is a worthy choice. Alternatively, if you're a member of Amazon Prime and find yourself pooling money into the site on a constant basis, then consider hooking yourself into its vast array of movies and e-books by bringing home a 7- or 8-inch Kindle Fire HDX.

Bear in mind that not all Android tablets are created equal: many of them either run older versions of Android or the manufacturer will offer up their own version with a customized interface that requires its own learning curve. Companies like Samsung and LG are notorious for this, and they package up the devices with their own bundle of applications--many of which you can't remove.

What will you use it for?

Those of you aching to be productive with a tablet that's easier on your back than a laptop might want to pay mind to Microsoft's Surface 2, which uses a touch-friendly version of Windows 8.1. However, you'll have less of an "entertainment tablet" experience with the absence of the some apps and games that are popular on other platforms. The iPad Air is also good for this reason as Apple offers its iWork productivity suite for tablet users, in addition to iCloud, which works with both your Mac and iPhone as well as your browser.

If you're e-book and movie crazy, any modern device will do, especially since Hulu, Netflix, and the official Amazon Kindle app are available on almost every device.

Go big? Stay small?

After you've determined which ecosystem to stick with, you'll have to pick a size. Tablets come in several sizes, beginning with 7-inch screens and getting as big as 10.1 inches. It's useful to think of it as two size categories: "big" tablets over 9 inches, and "small" tablets in the 7 to 8-inch range.

Smaller tablets travel better because they're lighter and more compact, but you'll also have to consider how the device fits in with the rest of your stuff. For example, the full-size iPad Air will take up almost as much space in your bag as an 11-inch MacBook Air.

The tablet size will also affect how it feels to hold the device. Devices like the second-generation Nexus 7 are comfortable to hold with one hand, but if you like to read, you'll have a better grip on a rocky transit ride with the shorter 7-inch Kindle Fire HDX. Of course, tablet size also determines the display size, which brings us to our next criteria...

Resolution matters

Remember that the bigger the tablet, the bigger the screen size, and the heavier the weight. If multitasking is your main concern and you want a tablet for both productivity and entertainment, a larger screen-size will make everything look better and give you more space to work with, but you'll be carrying more weight around.

A really high-res display like the Retina display in the latest iPad mini from Apple, makes text look crisp and reduces fatigue when reading for long periods. For watching videos and movies or for a tablet that will entertain the kids, it's more important that the screen be large than especially hi-res.

Processor performance

You may not be concerned with having the latest processor--you may not even be familiar with which tablet processors are new and fast and which are old and slow. But going with an older tablet because of its low price point may end up costing you in the long run. As apps and games are updated, they'll require more hardware resources, thus making them incompatible with the hardware you have inside your tablet.

The current processor landscape looks like this: quad-core processors from companies like Qualcomm are all the rage these days and help make for some very speedy devices. They're usually coupled with about 2GB of RAM and can be found in most Android devices, including Samsung's Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition. Nvidia hasn't been too successful in the system-on-a-chip (SoC) wars in the last year, but the initial reviews of the Tegra Note 7 and Microsoft Surface 2 seem to suggest that a revival is on the horizon. Apple makes its own chips, and its latest, the iPad Air, features a very fast 64-bit A7 processor.


If you're looking for external connectivity, the Surface Pro 2 has the most to offer with both a USB 3.0 port and microHDMI to hook up to your TV. The iPad has one sole proprietary port with a selection of attachable dongles for things like SD cards and USB cameras--all sold separately--while some Android tablets come with either an HDMI or USB port, in addition to a MicroUSB port that sometimes supports Miracast, which tethers the tablet to your TV.

Penning with a stylus

If you like drawing, sketching, or just scratching out ideas, the Android-powered Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition comes with its own dockable stylus called the S-Pen. It features a button you can press with your index finger to bring up additional apps to help you get all of it out on virtual paper. Many Windows 8-based tablets also come with styluses to enable you to take advantage of the built-in digitizer, like the Surface Pro 2, which features Wacom tablet technology.

If you're really keen on the iPad though, you could always look at the vast array of third-party styluses, but the iPad's capacitive screen is not really optimized for stylus input.

Buying a tablet for everyone

It's likely that the tablet you're considering isn't just going to be used by you, but by other members of your family, too. Apple's iPad only offers password-protected restrictions, while both the Kindle Fire HDX and Nook HD+ offer special kid-friendly modes. Amazon calls its feature FreeTime, which lets you control your child's access to content on the device; the Nook offers up to six password-protected profiles with parental controls. Windows 8.1 allows you to set up multiple accounts and set restrictions on them, too.

Android features a better implementation for multi-user accounts by offering restricted profiles in tablets running Android 4.2.2 and later. You can allow each member of your family to have their own profile complete with their own customized Home screen and apps. The restricted profile just ensures that only the main user of the device will have complete access to things like apps and system settings. You can also set it up to keep your kids from going trigger happy in the Google Play store or downloading apps with mature content.

You're ready to buy

Now that you've got your list of things to look for and money burning a hole in your pocket, it's time to finally pick up that tablet.

First and foremost, look for any deals on tablets from your favorite stores. Some previous-generation models may be offered for less, but consider whether their aging processors will outlast the constant barrage of software and app updates. You might find clearance deals on older models of once-popular tablets, and while they'll work fine for sending emails, reading books, and surfing the Web, the buck stops there. If that's really your only interest, grab a device like the last-generation Nexus 7, which is currently going for $99. It won't receive any other Android updates after the current version of KitKat, however. Also, Apple is usually better about keeping older versions of its hardware updated for as long as feasibly possible, and its refurbished iPads and iPad minis aren't a bad idea either.

Don't immediately run to your carrier looking for a deal on a 4G-connected tablet. Many mobile carriers will offer a tablet at a subsidized price, but tablet technology advances so fast that you'll likely either still be paying off that tablet when the new one comes out, or get stuck on contract with something that's in danger of becoming outdated.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Folger Shakespeare Library's printed collection to go online

You will soon be able to view Shakespearean manuscripts on your mobile devices. The world’s largest collection of original Shakespearean books and manuscripts is all set to go online. According to BBC, Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington DC will release a series of apps next month that will allow access to these manuscripts and books.

The Folger Shakespeare Library – an independent research library in Washington, D.C. – is a primary repository for rare materials from the early modern period (1500–1750). It has the largest collection of Shakespearean works in the world. The library was established by Henry Clay Folger  along with his wife Emily Jordan Folger. However, it opened two years after his death.

The library is now listed on National Register of Historic Places, and privately administered by the Trustees of Amherst College. It offers several scholarly programs including national outreach to K–12 classroom teachers on Shakespeare education.

It’s a great way to preserve and introduce Shakespeare’s work and rare manuscripts to larger audiences across the globe, and it is thanks to projects like these that we feel like we’ve truly entered the digital age. Last month, Lloyd's List, which claims to be the world’s longest-published newspaper announced to go completely digital starting December 20 2013.