Friday, December 22, 2006


Ok, so now We're really off on our trip. We got into Delhi last night, 30 minutes late, due to congesting in landing and thankfully not due to fog, which would have meant longer delays. This evening we leave by train for our overnight jouney to Koliwar, where reach in the morning. So, there will be a long break in my writings here. In the meantime, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Staying in Las Vegas

I've travelled quite extensively in the States, exploring almost all of the Northeast from Maine to Virginia, up through NY State, midwest cities like Chicago and Kansas City, and San Francisco (including Napa valley and the fruit gowing areas to the south) and Los Angeles. Where I want to go now is to Las Vegas, the city which has built itself up from nothing at all. That too in the middle of nowhere. Hotels in Las Vegas are notorious;y expensive, especially if you want a nice place. So where do you go to find a good place to stay in Las Vegas? is one of the largest hotel reservation sites, that provides free online review for the past seven years. The site is choca-bloc filled with information on Las Vegas Hotels and Casinos. So, have a look and see where you'd like to stay on your next visit.

Reliance Retail hires 60 expats

The Economic Times reports that Reliance Retail has stepped up its hiring process and is in the process of hiring approm\ximately 100 senior executives for its retail division. The company has already hired 50-60 expats with in the retail filed from companies such as Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Tesco, ASDA, Sainsbury and Kroger, who are already started working with Reliance. Most of these executives have been hired at salaries ranging grom Rs 1-1.5 crore.

The company’s retail Hear Bijay Sahoo is sourcing talent heavily from South Africa and the Middle East. About 25 senior executives have joined for supply chain management and 30 have joined in operations, concept and strategy.

I need a new camera

Ok, so I messed up big time yesterday. I forgot my camera in Bombay as I was on my way to the airport. So no pictures of our family gathering in Koilwar, no scenic shots of the Soan river and the double bridge (rail tracks on top and vehicles below) where Mahatma Gandhi stopped on his travels around the country way before Independence, no pictures of the beautiful and historic house with a library of books dating back to the mid 19th century.....

Oh the flip side, maybe it is a good thing that I forget the camera cause it has the capacity to drive me bonkers, with the way it suddenly decides to flash its red button, almost as it it's saying 'no more pics, I'm shutting you down and canceling your picture taking privileges' and so forth. So, maybe I've saved myself all that hair pulling and some camera inflicted mood swings. Hmmmm....

What it all boils down to is that I need a new camera and printer. None of this nonsense of emailing pictures to the photo guy to be printed or trying to figure out how to decode it. Just a nice, clean, workable camera such as any one of HP's camera that takes great pictures effortlessly with a dedicated system of printing them out.

Vinod Sawhney to head Bharti Retail

Reliance Retail is going great guns with its retail venture. The latest news is on The Economic Times which reports that the current joint president of enterprise services at Bharti Airtel, Vinod Sawhney will head Bharti’s retail division. In his capacity as President, he will oversee operations for hypermarkets, neighborhood stores as well as super centers across India. He joint the company in 2002 as CEO of the northern region for Bharti Airtel’s mobile operations.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

On bookkeeping

Accounting and bookkeeping are something that I would never attempt to do myself and would outsource it immediately. So, how do you go about finding a good and honest bookkeeper? Especially one that does not charge you the moon? Almost impossible it seems, right? Well, not really, not anymore at least. There are many accounting firms who would be happy to solve your issues for small business owners. By keeping things simple and understandable, these companies are able to help other businesses by taking care of book keeping needs. Generally, the prices are really great, usually starting from as low as $50 a month at the lowest level. I like the look and professionalism of the site and the company. Definitely would give it a try.

Shoppers’ Stop gears up for luxury retail

Business Standard reports that in an effort to consolidate its luxury retail business, Shoppers’ Stop has brought in over 40 international brands and will be investing Rs. 500 crore in its venture. According to sources, the company has hired an expatriate to head and set up the new business. The company has been conducting talks with major brands such as Louis Vuiton, Gucci, YSL, Zegna, Hugo Boss, Christian Dior, Moschino, Roberto Cavalli, Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, Armani, La Perla, Ralph Loren, Diesel and many more to be a part of its luxury retail space.

Although the company has neither confirmed nor denied these developments, it is believed to have set aside over space between 120,000-150,000 sq ft for this venture. Shoppers’ has reportedly selected property in Delhi and Mumbai and is negotiating a deal in Bangalore.

Luxury retail is estimated to be only 1% of the total retail business and is expected to grow by 50% every year for the next 10 years. Shoppers’ Stop is the only Indian retailer to be a member of the International Group of Department Stores.

Software wish list

Computer security is high on every company wish list this holiday season and one of the top items is on the lines of protecting company property and privacy, a keystroke recorder. Using such as software, companies can monitor and even record all activity on computers at the office to ensure that employees are following company policies regarding usage of computers and other online activity. The software follows a company's Internet Acceptable Use policy and is one of the key methods in making sure that employees follow the rules. SpectorSoft is one of the leading providers of this type of security software and was awarded by PC Magazine as the Editor's choice for Spector Pro being the best Monitoring software.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Going away

Almost time for our next vacation....This time it is going to be completely different from all our earlier travels and vacations. We will be spending 9 days in Koilwar, a village on the banks of the Soan river, with our entire extended family. For some historical facts, it was here that MK Gandhi stopped on his travels across India, and it was even shown in the movie about him made by Richard Attenbrough in the 1980s. This is my husband's ancestral village, where no one but the care takers have lived for the past 50 odd years. The house is a beautiful, built in the old formal style of red bricks, with columns, deep veranda's on two sides and a courtyard at the back. My husband's great-grandfather used to live there is grand style, complete with his full library (which I hope to explore while I am there), double kitchens (one for continental food and one for Indian food) and a constant stream of visitors traveling from Calcutta to Delhi.

For us it will be a vacation that takes us back to old times, since there is no electricity, to simple living, to catching up with loved ones without any interruptions of modern life like cell phones, TV, Internet etc.

Has blogging reached its peak?

Research firm Gartner released its 10 predictions for trends and events that are likely to 'change the nature of business and IT in 2007'. Surprise, surprise!! Blogging is one of them. Gartner predicts that blogging and bloggers will peak in early 2007 to around 100 million bloggers and will decline from then on. The number of ex-bloggers is also increasing as the 'average life span' of bloggers is quite short. According to Technorati, there are currently 56 million blogs. Read all the other predictions here on the Gartner site.

Khaitan hopeful to supply fans to Wal-Mart

Business Standard reports that Khaitan Electricals Ltd is hopeful about a deal with Wal-Mart, where it would supply the company with fans. According the sources, the deal is expected to go through in the next 6-8 months. Negotiations are being conducted and specifications of the fans have been sent to Wal-Mart for approval. Khaitan Electricals is also keen on exporting its products to the UK, France and South Africa.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Skype makes some changes for the new year

Certain Skype calls will no longer be free in the new year. reports that the company which was bought by eBay in 2005, is set to charge $30 per year for making unlimited calls from a computer to landlines and cell phones in the US and Canada. Calls from computer to computer will continue to be free.
Yahoo and Google are expected to be brought on board to provide Skypers with "click-to-call" technology, enabling users to call businesses they have found during a search with one click. Programs are also in development that will allow Skype to be used on wireless phones and pocket computers. Ebay will also most likely incorporate Skype calling into the buying and selling process, allowing consumers and shop owners to communicate with audio via their computers.

Metro Cash & Carry India MD resigns

The Managing Director of Metro Cash & Carry India, Harsh Bahadur has put in his papers and will be leaving the company effective from February 28, 2007. According the a statement issues by the company, Mr Bahadur will be leaving due to personal reasons. Mr Bahadur who joined Metro from the RPG Group said that, “I am evaluating various options and have not yet decided where I will be joining.”
From Business Standard

Monday, December 18, 2006

Are you born with the entrepreneurial gene?

Are you born with business skills or is it something that you develop? asked the several entrepreneurs and academicians their opinion on whether entrepreneurs are born or made and came up with some interesting results.
Frank Moss, director of the Media Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and former CEO of Tivoli Systems as well as co-founder of Stellar Computer and Infinity Pharmaceuticals: I would suggest that the entrepreneurial gene is in everyone's DNA. Eons before the first big companies emerged about a thousand years ago we were all entrepreneurs: farmers, craftsmen, artisans, storytellers, bloodletters, etc.

Mark Veeder, co-founder and creative director of Event Quest in New York City and co-owner and co-creator of the River Market in Barryville, N.Y.: I think entrepreneurs are definitely born. Even though "the making of an entrepreneur" is a huge business in this country with Tony Robbins and the rest, I think those programs try to systematize the mind of the entrepreneur, which is impossible. My feeling is that entrepreneurs are a rare mix, the perfect storm of creativity, talent, confidence, personality, drive, intuition, and energy.

Home Solutions expects turnover of Rs. 10 billion from consumer durables

Business Standard reports that the home furnishings division of the Future Group, Home Solutions Retail (India) Ltd, expects a sales turnover of Rs. 10 billion from its electronic and consumer durables section by the year 2008 financial year. At the opening of an E-Zone and Connection i store in Hyderabad, its sixth store in the country, Manoj Kumar, Head of consumer durables and electronics for Home Solutions Retail, said that the company would be opening 15 more E-Zones in the next two-three months and then increase the number to 25-30 stores by June 2007.

Consumer durable industry undergoing change

There's lots going on in the conusmer durable sector, with all the major retail players getting interested in setting up specialized chains. With the attention from high profile retailers such as Tata’s in the consumer durable industry, smaller retailers in the industry are also setting their sights on expanding their retail spaces and offering improved products in a newer shopping environment. One such retailer is Mumbai based retailer, Sumaria Appliances which is now looking to Pune and Nashik for opening stores. Other retailers such as Digital Shoppy and Vijay Sales are also thinking on similar lines, and are keen to use their local market knowledge to the fullest.

Gift ideas

Here are some more on great ideas for Christmas gift giving. has a huge selection of stuff for the outdoorsman and outdoorswoman (for you PC people out there). Everything from telescopes, sporting scopes, flashlights, night vision digital scopes etc are available at great prices and there is no shipping charges on orders of over $29.99, so shop away and get some incredible gifts for your loved ones. Some of the top brands such as Nikon, Leupold, SureFire, Celestron, Meade, Eotech, Barska, Streamlight and Serengeti are available. Have a look around and you will likely find a Christmas present for yourself too.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Spencers’ to open 15 outlets this month

There is lots happening in the food retail sector this month. Business Standard reports that the RPG group owned Spencers’ food retail stores will soon have 15 new stores in 10 cities by the end of December 2007. All new stores will be Spencers’ Dailies. The company currently has 88 outlets in the country and is expanding rapidly to position itself as the largest supermarket brand in the country. There are 74 Spencers’ Dailies at present, 3 supermarkets, 7 hypermarkets 3 Express and 2 Fresh. The company has plans to open more of its other formats, hypermarkets and Spencers’ Supers next year.

Dabur getting deeper into fast food

The Economic Times reports that Dabur Foods has signed a franchise agreement with Hot Brands International to set up quick service restaurants in Delhi and the NCR area. Incidentally, this is not the company’s first fast food venture, as it is one of the franchisees of US chain Subway. The new venture will be under a new company called Consortium Consumer Care, and will have three formats of restaurants, Shamiana for Indian food, Magic Wok for Chinese food and Santino for Italian food. There will be 6 restaurants opening in 2007, for which the company will be investing Rs. 300,000 each.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Louis Philippe, Van Heusen to expand in metro cities

Business Standard reports that Bangalore based Madura Garments, which handles the Louis Philippe and Van Heusen brands, announced that it will be expanding its network of stores in high streets and malls and that the company will be crossing 100 stores in the next 18 months. New stores will be opened in Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata and in other smaller but emerging metros. Currently, there are 22 exclusive Louis Philippe stores and 25 exclusive Van Heusen stores in the metros.

Dabur explores entering consumer retail business

The Economic Times reports that Dabur India is considering entering the consumer retail business in the areas of health and wellness. According to Sunil Duggal, chief executive officer of Dabur, “Retail is an opportunity that requires to be studied. We are looking at various options, but have not finalised any plans. But we are sure that we will not be a mainstream retail player, meaning we wouldn’t be in food and grocery retailing.”

He added that, “If we decide to enter the retail business, it will be in the front-end. Our plans will be focused and specialised with health and wellness being the obvious option at the moment. We could make a foray through Dabur India or through a separate company.”

Send an free ecard this Christmas

While on the subject of ecards, here's another great resource of cards to send this Christmas. A site called eCards for everyone, has a great listing of the top 10 funny free Christmas cards on All Christmas cards on are free, unlike a lot of other ecard companies. The general trend for Christmas cards this year is humor and you can find lots of cards with a variety of humor on The usual routine of mailing Christmas cards is undergoing a change and for a change you can send out a free christmas card to everyone on your list this Christmas. Besides Christmas cards, the site also has a great compilation of a variety of other cards available online.

The tie between retailers and real estate developers

The Hindu Business Line reports that at “Estate South 2006”, a real estate seminar organized by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), BS Nagesh, Managing Director of Shoppers’ Stop emphasized the importance of a good connection between retailers and real estate developers for the success of the Indian retail industry. He added that, "Positioning a construction as `retail' cannot be done after the planning and design stage." Importance was placed on planning issues such as availability of tenants, car parking, common retail area and access to stocking areas.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Reliance Retail loses 5 executives to Subhiksha

The Economic Times reports that soon after the leaving of Rajeev Karwal, Reliance Retail has lost five middle and senior level executives to food and grocery chain Subhiksha. According to R Subramaniam, MD of Subhiksha, the new entrants from Reliance Retail have “joined at assistant vice-president and vice-president levels at Subhiksha” and were performing similar duties at the company.

SuperValu to set up IT operations in Bangalore

Business Standard and The Hindu Business Line report that US based SuperValu, a $44 billion company and the third largest grocery chain in the country will be starting operations in Bangalore to support its IT requirements. The company will be investing $50 million (Rs. 230 crore) in the next five years. The Indian division, SuperValu Services India (SSI) will employ 50 people, eventually growing to 300 IT professionals in the next 12-18 months, which will be supported by 1,800 associates at three different locations in the US. In the past, SuperValu has worked with Indian vendors such as TCS, Infosys, Wipro and IBM and hopes to continue working with them despite having their own set up.

Sachets likely to decrease in popularity

The Economic Times reports that the rise of modern retail could likely cause the death of sachet marketing in urban areas. These small packs that were runaway successes in the 1990s are not finding any shelf space in modern retail stores who prefer larger packet sizes and offer bulk discounts. Many organized retailers, including some neighborhood chains, avoid stocking these items due to a bad visual display and high shrinkage rates.

At one time, sachets were the success story for many a FMCG company, enticing the bottom of the pyramid market but now don’t have many takers. CK Ranganathan, Founder of Cavinkare, who pioneered the sachet revolution, says that the sachet needs to be reinvented for the organized retail market. He added that Cavinkare is “…working on a packaging to offer a carton of sachets, with an MRP, which will be easy for the retailers to stock and bill. I don’t think the sachet trend would die out."

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Future Group to set up 55 Brand Factory stores

The Economic Times reports that the Future Group announced that it will be setting up 55 outlets of its newest format, Brand Factory by 2010 and Central malls in every state capital in the next three to four years. According to Vishnu Prasad, Pantaloon Retail India president (south) and CEO of Central and Brand Factory, the company will have 5 Central stores by the end of 2007.

Baroda will have a Central store opening in December 2006 and one in Gurgaon in June 2007. At present, the company has Central stores in Bangalore, Hyderabad and Pune. At a press conference, Rajesh Seth, marketing chief of Central and Brand Factory, said the company would have 120 brands at discounted prices. Most of the items would be out of season clothes and cater to customers who wear brand name items but cannot afford them at regular prices at lifestyle stores.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Retailers rushing to raise PE funds

In the wake of Wal-Mart entering the country's retail sector and Tesco on the verge of coming to India, domestic retail chains are rushing to raise funds to cover expansion plans as global giants are all heading towards the Indian market. LifeKen, one of the leading domestic pharmacy retailers based in Bangalore, Mobile NXT, a Delhi based mobile retailer, 24/7 a pharma chain from Delhi and Digital Shoppy a consumer durable chain from Hyderabad are all focusing on raising funds for expansion.

New ways of branding

Now this is pretty wild and really cool. Progressive Direct and Universal Studios Home Entertainment have tied up to create a calculator called Progressive Direct: Insurance Damage Estimates, a software that estimates damages to cars in the HD DVD release of "The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift". As cars pile up and smash into each other, a running total of the damage keeps adding up in a small window. This is the first of a stream of branded interactive features on new DVDs that Universal Studios is planning.

Due to the extra space on HD discs, Universal is able to add an array of extra features, such as games, picture-in-picture commentaries and web links to movie DVDs. According to Crain Kornblau, President of Universal Studios Home Entertainment, "Product placement is hard because it doesn't all fit, but this gives us new opportunities," Progressive Direct has set up a website, and set up contests to promote the movie and disc release. This is a new venture for a car insurance company like Progressive Direct which usually specializes in auto insurance quote information on each state and even offering online car insurance.

HCL to open digital lifestyle stores in Hyderabad

HCL Infosystems announced that the company will be opening digital lifestyle stores in the South Indian market. The company currently has 18 stores in north and west India and will be launching 2 stores in Hyderabad. The company will be opening 10 stores in Andhra Pradesh, especially in Chennai, Bangalore, Cochin and Madurai. HCL is targeting 150-200 stores by the end of 2007. Each of the stores will be in the 800-1,000 sq ft in space and will sell brands such as HCL, Apple, Microsoft, Toshiba and Casio. The digital lifestyle industry is estimated to be worth Rs 2,500 crore, according to a statement of the company.

Public-private partnerships will give a boost the retail sector

The Economic Times reports that one of the major requirements for further growth of the retail industry is real estate development and investments in infrastructure, which can be funded through public-private partnerships. According to Ajay Dua, secretary, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, "There is scope for public private partnership in real estate management and infrastructure for retail."

There is also a need for an efficient system of logistics in the retail industry, a place where FDI would likely be possible. Mr Dua urged retailers to go beyond the metros and expand to smaller towns and cities, to enter rural markets and offer micro credit schemes.

Increasing your online popularity

Anyone who has a website wants it to be popular and ranked high on Google and other search engines. How to get there is not easy considering Google's complicated algorithm based system of ranking sites, but still possible if you are a mathematician. For the most part, Google uses both on-site and off-site factors to determine site ranking. Page rank is part of its off-site factors, which gives you a basic number ranking based on how 'popular' your site is. Defining what is popular is the tricky part and Google is relying less on page rank since it can be manipulated.

Google looks for inbound links to you site from a wide mix of sites, including nitty gritty details as what is the page rank of the web site linking to your site, what is the quality of the page that it is being linked to, what is the text around the linked word or phrase etc. Even the Title, H1 and META tags are looked at by Google in determining what your ranking should be. The key to increasing link popularity is to get links from quality sites and links on different pages of different websites where the content is similar to yours.

Some of the more common ways of doing this are link baiting, reciprocal linking or buying links from brokers, none of which are worthwhile in the long run. The best way to increase a site's popularity is using press release distribution, although it is also the most difficult, since the material has to be interesting enough for publications to want to write about it. Blogs and personal websites provide a natural style for press releases and are a great way to increase a site's popularity. Blogitive has a network of over 2,000 writers for this purpose, where you can submit a mini press release that will be picked up by writers for their websites.

Wal-Mart takes a serious stand on misuse of its name

The Economic Times reports that Wal-Mart has taking a serious stance on any misuse of its name and has served legal notices to Indian businessmen who have registered trade names under the ‘Wal-Mart’ brand name. Four businessmen in India, have received legal notices in this regard, in Noida, Punjab and West Bengal. Wal-Mart is not the first company to follow strict rules regarding its name, Dairy Farm International of Hong Kong also followed similar procedures when in came to India.

Traders Forum against Wal-Mart entry into India

The Economic Times reports that traders in Delhi have opposed the entry of US giant Wal-Mart into the county as they feel it would leave the domestic traders “totally unprotected”. According to Praveen Khandelwal, General Secretary of the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), "The Foreign Direct Investment in retail sector will prove to be much detrimental to the interests of internal trade of the country, which is contributing about 70 per cent to the national exchequer.”

Epocrates updated

For doctors, nurses and clinicians, this is a really great way to access information on drugs and formulations. Epocrates is a free software through which medical professionals can access critical information such as drug dosing, interactions and even health plan coverage before making prescriptions. It is estimated that close to one-third of adults in the US take at least 5 medications or supplements daily, making it hard for patients to remember or list all their medications. With Epocrates online, clinicians can view pill pictures so patients can correctly identify their medications and reduce drug errors and interactions.

With Epocrates Online, clinicians can answer frequently asked questions such as missing doses, side effects etc easily with handouts in English or Spanish. Clinicians can also look up the average cost of the medication in the Epocrates drug database for uninsured patients and check to see if medications are covered in health plans for those who are insured. The Epocrates database includes information on over 3,300 drugs, such as Zithromax and uses MultiCheck, a drug interaction checker to avoid drug interactions.

Left Party upset with Wal-Mart entry

Nothing really new about this. The Left Party was expected to oppose the entry of Wal-Mart though its tie up with Bharti Enterprises, and it has. The Economic Times reports that the tie up with Bharti Enterprises and Wal-Mart has angered the Left parties who have asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to intervene and stop the US company from entering the country. The Left is one of the strongest opponents of FDI in retail and had earlier even opposed the governments easing the rule to allow 51% FDI in single brand retail. The CPM and CPI has called for a nationwide bandh to protest against Wal-Mart’s entry to India.

Subhiksha plans to open 60 outltes in Delhi

The food retail sector is the fastest growing segment of the Indian retail industry and the potential for growth is still enormous. The Economic Times reports that Chennai based food retailer Subhiksha announced that it will be opening 60 new outlets in Delhi to its 100 existing stores. The new stores will have additional facilities such as medical check-up and railway booking counters. According to Ashu Sake, vice president of operations (Delhi region), "Delhi has a huge retail potential and we want to tap this opportunity. Our aim is to become a neighbourhood store with an outlet every two kilometres or so."

Earning an online degree

How many people do you know that have a master's degree in your family or amongst your circle of friends? Would you consider getting an online master degree from an online university, doubling up while you work, increasing your knowledge and applying it in practical ways. Capella University is a leader in online education and offers a graduate degree programs in business, IT, human services, education and psychology, and undergraduate degrees in business and IT. Founded in 1993, Capella has over 16,000 students from all 50 US states and 63 countries, offering 76 graduate and undergraduate specializations and 16 certificate specializations. Visit their website for more information.

Reliance Retail likely to purchase Ruby Mills for Rs 400 crore

The Economic Times reports that Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Retail is likely to purchase Ruby Mills in Dadar for approximately Rs 400 crore to set up Mumbai’s largest hypermarket. Senior officials have had a series of meetings with Manharlal Chunnilal Shah, executive chairman of Ruby Mills for the past few months and are likely to sign a deal in the next few weeks. According to sources, Reliance had earlier shown interest in Kohinoor Mills, also located in Dadar, which was eventually bought by Matoshri Realtors, promoted by Raj Thackery-Unmesh Joshi for Rs 400 crore.

A place to chat

Social networking is all the rage these days. It is probably the number one means of communication for those aged 13-19, more than email and cell phones. Chat rooms are teenagers and yound adults most favored methods to keep in touch and there is a huge variety of chat rooms available at sites such as the chat room, which is one of the most popular places to chat online.

Pantaloon Retail targets younger customers

Pantaloon Retail announced that it will be targeting younger customers with its Top 10 brand for college students. The brand has been inspired by Top 10 music and movie chartbusters. The first of these stores will be launched in Mumbai next week. According to Zahid Shaikh, chief of marketing, “Top 10 brand will have a special collection dedicated to colleges in Mumbai. It is well known that campus rivalry exists among college students and one always takes pride in wearing the college batch on their sleeves.”

Pantaloon’s other brand Indus League Clothing, opened its first Jealous 21 store in Mumbai. Jealous 21 offers casual, club and denim wear for women from 17-24. The company plans to offer Jealous 21 through department and lifestyle stores along with 120-130 stand alone outlets in the next three years.

Capturing keystrokes

Companies are getting tough on employees who misuse office computers. Earlier, it was considered quite alright to spend a certain amount of time for personal work at the office, but with the number of cases of misuse growing, companies are no longer taking it casually and are using high tech equipment to catch employees who misuse office computers. One of the premier companies specializing in keystroke capture and other security issues is SpectorSoft with its Spector Pro software which has been awarded the PC Magazine's Editors' Choice Award for Best Monitoring Software twice, in 2002 and again in 2004. With such as system, companies can track the exact keystrokes typed on any computer, even recording the passwords used to access sites.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Farmer’s retail revolution writes that since several states are permitting retailers to purchase produce directly from farmers, there is a new kind of revolution going on in the rural areas. Farmers are taking special care of produce to garner higher prices, selling to retail companies such as Reliance and ITC, and finally making money after nine years. More than 2,000 small farmers are benefiting from organized retailing in Andhra Pradesh, are dealing directly with companies without middlemen or intermediaries.

According to Harsh Bahadur, MD Metro Cash & Carry India, "Between 30 - 40% of fresh fruits and vegetables in the country get wasted because they rot before they reach the customer. What we do is build a collection centre at the farm gate. This is cooled, then we put all vegetables and fruits in cooled trucks and we bring them here."

A sword as a gift

In boarding school I had a friend who was crazy about weapons. Of course, this was before the time of security threats and terrorism, and we took it in good spirits when she brought a samurai sword to school to show off to her friends. Since I was the most responsible one amongst our friends, I was given charge of the sword for safekeeping. Samurai Swords are a thing of beauty, even though they are suited for a niche audience. At you can find more than 100 varieties of swords and sword sets, especially samurai swords. Whether you see them as a collectible item or to hone your samurai skill, these swords are unique in their worksmanship, materials and history. will also deliver them by Christmas if you order by December 13th.

Reliance looking to acquire Suhbiksha, Landmark

The Economic Times reports that Reliance Retail is believed to be interesting in acquiring several small retail chains to compete with the Bharti-Wal-Mart franchise deal. The company is interested in taking over Subhiksha, a south based food retailer and Landmark, a book and music chain owned by Tata’s retail arm Trent.

Reliance acquires Adani Retail

The Economic Times reports that Reliance Retail made its first major acquisition in the domestic market by buying Gujarat based Adani Retail for Rs. 1-1.10 billion. Reportedly, other companies such as Subhiksha, Trinethra and Tata’s were also interested in purchasing the company. The purchase will give Reliance access to 54 stores in a variety of formats such as neighborhood stores, supermarkets and hypermarkets in 9 cities in Gujarat. The company’s infrastructure and sourcing facilities are an added advantage for Reliance.

Managing searches

The internet is a constantly changing place, if you can even call it that. There are more companies and business ideas based on this one aspect of technology than any other, I think. One such company that is innovative in its use of the internet, is USWeb, a company that helps its clients achieve revenue, profit and market share using the internet. Originally founded in 1995, the company has offices across the US and is widely known to have some of the most experience and qualified professionals. USWeb has made a niche for itself in designing, developing and implementing web systems and online marketing solutions focusing on brand awareness, audience development and customer retention. The company also specializes in search engine optimization, a technique that enables a website to be noticed by potential buyers. Using a system called PPC Bid Management and Trusted Feed services, USWeb targets majore search engines on the internet to drive prospects to client sites.

Bharti, Wal-Mart agreement to be checked out by PMO’s office

Business Standard reports that the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) will be looking into the Bharti-Wal-Mart deal due to the concerns of the Left parties. In response, the Commerce Industry will be preparing a detailed note, which is likely to be discussed in Parliament. In response, the department of Industrial policy and promotion (DIPP) under which FDI takes place has given the deal a clean chit.

Toy industry to benefit from retail industry boom

The Hindu Business Line reports that the growth of the retail industry is set to benefit Indian toy manufacturers due to the entry of several large business groups and collaborations with international companies. The upswing in the economy was so far limited to “priority” sectors such as automobile, real estate and consumer durables, but now the toy industry is set to benefit from this boom too, due to increased visibility at large format retail stores, who have the space to display games.

Selecting the right camping equipment

I've loved camping and hiking since we used to spend a week every year in April on our annual hikes and camps from school. It was a time that we had to learn to be self sufficient, to test our skills against others and our own will and to work with nature. Over the years, my camping and hiking has been reducing but lately, I have been wanting to get away from all modern communication modes such as email and cell phones and go for a peaceful camping session. When one is hiking or camping it is absolutely essential to have all the right tools. Northeast Marine Electronics has a huge selection of electronics for all your camping, hiking, hunting, fishing and boating needs.

Northeast Marine Electronics also has lots of marine items on offer such as the Furuno Fish Finders or Garmin Marine Electronics. If you are looking for any kind of fish finders, gpd systems radar, chart plotter, depth finders, compasses, binoculars and instructional video's, then this is the place for you. Northeast Marine Electronics stocks only the best products from companies such as Astron, Garmin, Standard Horizon and Raymarine, companies that are known and trusted. You'll be surprised to see the prices at the Northeast Marine Electronics, lower than anywhere else, but still stocking only the best products.

HyperCITY in expansion mode

The Hindu Business Line reports that HyperCITY, the hypermarket chain of the K Raheja Group is embarking on a major expansion spree, investing close to Rs. 3 billion to open 20 HyperCITY outlets by early 2009. Currently, there is only one outlet in the country, which is located in Mumbai, although the company is planning to open outlets in Lucknow and Aurangabad besides metro cities.

Vishal Retail files for IPO

The Hindu Business Line reports that Vishal Retail Ltd has filed for an IPO to raise up to Rs. 1.1 billion to help it expand. According to Ram Chandra Agarwal, Managing Director of Vishal Retail, "The IPO is a significant milestone in realising our larger corporate vision. It would help us further scale up in the emerging retail landscape."

Flowers for christmas

Does one ever need an occasion to buy flowers for oneself or send them to others? I think buying oneself flowers is a great way to treat oneself and sending flowers to others is a sure way to make someone feel special. The internet is full of online flower delivery services, but not all are equal. Dot Flowers is one of those that stands apart from the usual crowd and offers beautifully arranged flower baskets and gourmet gift baskets. Their Field Fresh Flower delivery system allows for growers to directly send flowers to anywhere in the US. Besides flowers, they also have a great selection of eatables such as cookies and snacks that you can send along with flowers. This Christmas season, send a fresh gift to someone you love.

Landmark to open in Pune

The Hindu Business Line reports that book and music chain store, Landmark will be opening its first store in Pune. There are 8 other Landmark stores in Chennai, Bangalore, Kolkata, Mumbai, Vadodra and Gurgaon. Next of the list is a store in Lucknow, due to open in February 2007. According to Ms Hemu Ramaiah, CEO Landmark, the company is focusing on expanding in the west and north. Since the company is already located in all the metros, it will also be focusing on mini metros and other smaller locations.

Frequency 38 contact lenses

Contact lenses have really changed since I started wearing them in 1989. I have been wearing rigid gas permeable lenses since I have astigmatism, although now I believe Toric lenses are better and more comfortable than RGPs. Another great contact lens is the Frequency 38 contact lens which is part of the Frequency brand and is made up of 38% water as opposed to the Frequency 55 which has 55% water content. Frequency 38 lenses are durable, easy to use and resistant to dehydration, an issue that has plagued me from the begining. Get more information on Frequency 38 and other lenses at

Christmas diamonds from India at Wal-Mart

The Economic Times reports that Wal-Mart will be selling a premium line of Christmas jewelry designed by a Mumbai based jeweler who will be supplying the company with 25,000 X’mas rings, which cost $249 each. According to Rajeev Sheth, chairman and MD of Tara Jewels, as $150 million company that is one of the largest suppliers of diamond and gold-studded jewelry to Wal-Mart.

This year, Indian jewelers have received record number of orders for Christian themed jewelry such as crosses, from retailers such as K-mart, JCPenney and Angus & Coote. The order for religious jewelry has apparently significantly increased since hurricane Katrina hit the US last year.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Indian Terrain will make a new brand for Reliance Retail stores

The Hindu Business Line reports that menswear brand Indian Terrain has tied up with Reliance Retail to create an exclusive brand for the company. The new brand called Spirit will only be sold through Reliance Retail outlets. Indian Terrain is a Rs. 750 million company owned by Celebrity Fashions Ltd.

According to V Rajgopal, Chairman and Managing Director of Celebrity Fashions, "Reliance, as it rolls out, is going to bring a great retail experience to all the smaller cities. It has identified us as a partner to develop a sub-brand for them which will grow along with Reliance's roll out." Celebrity will incur no marketing or branding costs, since it will be exclusively a Reliance brand. Reliance is believed to be setting up partnerships and developing 2-3 brands in each price and fashion category of apparel such as casual wear or denim.

Investing in gold

Monex Deposit Company (MDC) is one of the leading companies for investing in gold and precious metals and has been in the business for over 30 years. Gold is and has always been a good investment whether it is in coin, ingot or bullion form. The ancient Egyptians, Romans and Greeks regarded gold as one of the best investments and an assured way to secure wealth and purchasing power. In the modern world, gold is once again seen as a thing of beauty as well as one of power. Through Monex, you can purchase gold or other precious metals and have them sent to you directly or stored for you in a bank or depository.

Pantaloon to set up standalone stores for its private labels

The Hindu Business Line reports that Pantaloon Retail is planning to set up exclusive stores for its in-house brands such as John Miller, Bare, Ajile and Rig. According to Bina Mirchandani, Head (Category Management) for Pantaloon Retail, "Today our private labels generate between 75 per cent and 80 per cent of our revenues. Some of these brands have taken a natural level of growth in certain areas and we are thinking of exclusive stores for them." Pantaloon has 20 private label brands at present and its ladies ethnic wear brand Akkrruti is likely to grow over 50%. One of the main advantages of private brands is higher margins and greater control.

Reliance keen on acquiring Maratha Stores

The Economic Times reports that Reliance Retail is looking to build its portfolio and is keen on acquiring Maratha Stores, a Mumbai based cooperative chain store. According to source, Reliance is interested in the company due to the large amount of real estate space that it owns in Mumbai, besides the 20 outlets it operates.

In total Maratha Stores has close to 75,000 sq ft of space, a majority of which is in prime commercial areas. Maratha Stores has small neighborhood stores of 500 sq ft and larger outlets of 7,000 sq ft. Reliance is looking to use the 500 sq ft stores to enter

Back in Bombay

So, I'm back from my three week trip to Canada and the US. All in all it was a good trip, a bit rushed and cold but still good. The weather held out for most of the trip and we were surprised that it was as warm as it was....even reaching the low 60s in the US. The drive from Toronto to CT was really great, through the Finger Lake area where we stopped in Auburn. I especially loved the stretch of road along the Delaware river, in the Catskills, along NY17 which is being converted to I 86. Took lots of pics which I have yet to download.....