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Saturday, July 12, 2008

World-famous heart surgeon Dr Michael DeBakey dies aged 99

World-famous heart surgeon Dr Michael DeBakey, who served as an advisor to US presidents for more than 40 years, died yesterday, aged 99(1908-2008).
DeBakey was the pioneer of bypass surgery and helped develop more than 70 surgical instruments in a career spanning 75 years.

His long list of patients included King Hussein of Jordan and American Presidents Richard Nixon, Lyndon B Johnson and John F Kennedy.

While still a medical student in 1932 he developed the pump which would be used 20 years later to keep blood moving in the body during open heart surgery.

In 1996, aged 87, he flew to Russia to examine President Boris Yeltsin and later oversaw his heart bypass surgery in Moscow and helped save his life. Yeltsin died of heart failure aged 76 last year.

DeBakey also went under the knife himself in 2006 for a damaged aorta, a procedure he developed during his career.

He died on last night in the Methodist Hospital in Houston, Texas, from "natural causes".

His first wife Diana Cooper DeBakey died of a heart attack in 1972.

He is survived by his second wife German film actress Katrin Fehlhaber, their daughter and two of his four sons from his first marriage. The two others died before their father.

BPO People gets a Social Networking Site - Its Cool

It's the era of social networking groups. When everyone is either joining or starting a social networking group on the net these days, how could the young crowd from the Indian BPO sector be left behind? That's why BPO Voice, a new social networking group for people with a background in the BPO industry, is fast catching up in cyberspace.

Formed a few months ago but opened for membership only last month, the group meant exclusively for BPO employees already has over 200 members. ‘‘The idea took shape when I started using some of the BPO communities on other networking sites,'' says Amit Saxena, the brain behind the latest online community.

"The more I used other networking sites, the more I realised how they could offer much more than what they were currently giving,'' says Saxena. "Most networking groups in Google, Yahoo or even Orkut, offer nothing more than a space for reuniting old friends and making new ones. In fact, most of what they have is either spam or recruitment drives or some mindless activity or games," explains Saxena.

Realising the potential, this former BPO employee saw the need to make use of the collective intelligence of BPO employees and create a platform to share their domain related expertise. Saxena and his band of friends, Ankush Wadhwa and Siddharth Jindal who joined him later, have their job cut out.

Besides improving the overall image of the BPO industry, they plan to create the biggest online resource for BPO professionals. They also want to help these professionals in sharing knowledge and opportunities among themselves on a common platform nationwide. What's more, the site also plans to take up studies and research on lifestyle and career related challenges through various surveys and polls.

While the number of hits and request for membership is increasing by the day, the site is careful to sieve through every request. "We are quite selective about membership. We go through each request and weed out irrelevant members and try our best to remain consistent in our quality in content and membership. There have been occasions when we have asked people to leave simply because their profile did not match our group," says Saxena.

India’s top outsourcing(BPO) companies

The findings of Black Book of Outsourcing 2008 have not been too pleasing for the Indian IT industry. The 2008 list sees several Indian outsourcing companies failing to find their way in the Top 50 list. The list shows how Indian companies are losing their grip over the outsourcing market and also called for better delivery from Indian vendors to improve their act.

Leading Indian companies like Infosys, Hexaware, EXL Service and ICICI Firstsource failed to make the cut this year due to low client approval ratings.

Firstsource (formerly ICICI), a four-year top ranked performer fell the most of any outsourcing company to 1550 of 1690. Indian IT bellwether Infosys too fell out of the Top 50 circle to rank at 59 this year. According to the survey, most of these Indian outsourcers were deficient in their delivery levels.

However, with the losers, the Indian industry also had some winners. These companies with their consistent delivery levels and solid models continued to gratify clients across industry verticals.

Here's meeting the top BPOs of India Inc.

1. Wipro (World 6th)
2. Satyam (World 7th)
3. Tata Consultancy Services(TCS) (World 15th)
4. HCL (World 21st)
5. NIIT (World 36th)
6. Patni (World 45th)

Guided tour to Google Lively

Google gets Second Life. The no. 1 search engine company has launched a 3D virtual space, called Google Lively, that aims to give competition to the popular virtual world hangout Second Life.

The free service which requires no registration and can be accessed through a user's Google account enables people to congregate in fantasy rooms and other computer-manufactured versions of real life.

Lively's users will be able to create an avatar for themselves that can be male, female or even a different species. This avatar can assume a new identity, change clothes or convey emotions with a few clicks of the mouse.

Lively also enables users to create different digital environments to roam, from a child's room to an exotic island.

3G iPhone debut marred by glitches

The launch of Apple Inc's much-anticipated new iPhone turned into an information-technology meltdown on Friday, as customers were unable to get their phones working.

"Its such grief and aggravation," said Frederick Smalls, an insurance broker in Whitman, Mass, after spending two hours on the phone with Apple and AT&T Inc, trying to get his new iPhone to work.

In stores, people waited at counters to get the phones activated, as lines built behind them. Many of the customers had already camped out for several hours in line to become among the first with the new phone, which updates the one launched a year ago by speeding up Internet access and adding a navigation chip.

A spokesman for AT&T, the exclusive carrier for the iPhone in the US, said there was a global problem with Apple's iTunes servers that prevented the phones from being fully activated in-store, as had been planned.

Instead, employees are telling buyers to go home and perform the last step by connecting their phones to their own computers, spokesman Michael Coe said.

However, the iTunes servers were equally hard to reach from home, leaving the phones unusable except for emergency calls.

The problem extended to owners of the previous iPhone model. A software update released for that phone on Friday morning required the phone to be reactivated through iTunes.

"It's a mess," said freelance photographer Giovanni Cipriano, who updated his first-generation iPhone only to find it unusable.

Apple shares fell $4.05, or 2.3 per cent, to close Friday at $172.58 amid a general decline in US stocks.

When the first iPhone went on sale a year ago, customers performed the whole activation procedure at home, freeing store employees to focus on sales. But the new model is subsidized by carriers and Apple and AT&T therefore planned to activate all phones in-store to get customers on a contract.

The new phone went on sale in 21 countries on Friday, creating a global burden on the iTunes servers.

The iPhone has been widely lauded for its ease of use and rich features, but Apple is a newcomer to the cell-phone business and it's made some missteps. When it launched the first phone in the US a year ago, it initially priced the phones high, at $499 and $599 and then cut the price by $200 just 10 weeks later, throwing early buyers for a loop.

Rollouts to other countries were slow, as Apple tried to get carriers on board with its unusual pricing scheme, which included monthly fees to Apple. The business model of the new phone follows industry norms, and the price is lower: $199 or $299 in the US.

Hottest Google Earth apps

Google mail might be the most popular application in Google’s software arsenal but when it comes to casual use, perhaps Google Earth takes the cake.

When it was launched, many observers had turned their noses up at it, saying that it was at best an online atlas that allowed you to zoom into specific locations.

Well, those gentlemen (and some ladies) have been consuming vast amounts of humble pie ever since as Google Earth has emerged as one of the most popular online applications of recent years.

And it is not just because it shows a lot of maps and zoomed-in locations and is extremely easy to use -- there is oodles of fun hidden behind Google Earth for those willing to look for it.

And Google keeps adding to the goodies -- from tours to games to developer tools and other little knickknacks, there is plenty to play around with in Google Earth, even if you are not a great fan of maps. Here’s a brief look at just some of them. (Note: All of them might not work with all versions of the software.)

To Relax Your Brain Or Improve Concentration Levels -Here is I Dose

I Dose has a collection of free sounds that, they say, can help relax your stressed brain or make it more alert and improve the concentration level.

These are basically Binaural Beats and used by neurophysiologists to lower the brain frequency to relax the listener or to raise it to help focusing.

I haven’t tried them but there’re a few interesting tones. For instance, i you are addicted to caffeine, try the Coffee Break tone as a replacement for drinking coffee. Then there’s an Inspiration tone for creative artists and writers.