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Stories and tips to improve lifestyle. Well researched articles about health, food, profession, fitness, green living.

the day I stopped google search for health symptoms

In this past one week, you might have searched Google, at least once, for the term Coronavirus. Not just Coronavirus, but a few other words along with it like symptoms, remedies, and prevention. This is fine.

However, there are times you Google specifically for symptoms like coronavirus headache, coronavirus inflammation, coronavirus cancer…and so on. This is where I want to share the importance of E-A-T algorithm introduced by Google in 2018. I will explain later about EAT and the Medic Updates of August 2018. First I would like to share a story.

My Story

The story begins in 2014 long before Google introduced E-A-T in SEO. I got admitted, for one month, to get ayurvedic treatment for arthritis. There were symptoms of arthritis for a year hence I was on medication.

Arthritis is a relatively harmless condition unlike deadly diseases like Cancer – that is what my family believed. That was because there were no hereditary cases of severe arthritis in my family.

According to the ayurvedic doctor, there are about 5000 variations of arthritis. Furthermore, the ancient Sanskrit texts on Ayurveda say that a doctor cannot claim to completely cure four diseases, out of which arthritis is the foremost.

Only when my health condition got out of control did I decide to undergo proper ayurvedic treatment. There were excruciating pain and trouble in walking.

Ayurveda is a holistic treatment; therefore as the treatment began there was more pain and inflammation. Furthermore, for the first in my life, I came to know how functional every part of my body was. The situation is like taking the car for servicing and the mechanic finds a number of faults with the car, which you had never imagined.

Every day I used to clear all my queries with the doctors. Some replies were unsatisfactory. There were too many queries. Besides you cannot pester a doctor with ludicrous queries.

Therefore, to get more information I searched Google. The disease crippled and brought to a halt my speedy lifestyle. I had scores of queries for Google.

I was searching Google for arthritis and life span, arthritis and cancer, arthritis and degeneration, arthritis and deformation, arthritis and gingivitis. There were search results for every query. In case the answer was no satisfactory I would modify the question until I got satisfactory answers.

There were stories of many arthritis patients – a young lady in her twenties, a mother with three kids and a single mother with two grown-up children – all depended on their family to fulfill their daily routines. There were no positive motivational stories.

After reading all the articles I thought I was either going to die or remain bedridden forever. Thinking about my kids’ future, one night I was in a frenzy and loss of breath.

The next day Doctor told me that Rheumatic Arthritis is reversible. He showed me two of his staff who came there crippled with Rheumatoid Arthritis, now they were free of the disabilities and working like others.

Then I went to my room and searched Google for Arthritis reversal. There were many articles and inspiring stories on arthritis reversal. Those stories gave me the motivation to approach arthritis positively and to expect a recovery very soon, On a positive note, that day I stopped searching for health queries regarding arthritis.

That day…..

That day I got the answer for the query for my cardinal question ‘Can I live a normal life once again’? Five years after the severe arthritis attack, I now live a normal life. Like the doctor said arthritis is not completely curable. By following certain food and lifestyle changes, the disease has come under control.

Google Search and Coronavirus

At this time when Covid-19 is spreading, faster and wider than wildfire, I would like to tell you how to make good use of the August 1, 2018 Medic update introduced by Google. To ensure quality content in sensitive topics like health and money google brought in the EAT ( Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness ) algorithm.

To be ranked high on google, the author of the post must be able to establish  Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness about the topic. Now the question is how can a reader understand the EAT of the post that he or she is reading.

Here is how you can decide on the EAT of the post:

The Bio of the Author

Medical News Today

When you read a health post check the credentials of the author. In the above example, the claims of the author have been reviewed and verified by a Doctor. That gives authority and trust to the post.

Read the comments

The comments of the readers are very important in asserting the trustworthiness of a post. In the above comments, the readers are doubtful about the genuineness of the post. In such cases, the author’s replies are very important.

Medical claims backed by science

Every medical claim that the author makes must be backed by science. In the above example, the author quotes from WHO. The quotes make the article authoritative and trustworthy.

Tips on how to search google for health topics from my personal experience

Listen to the Doctor

Some doctors have put posters outside their consultation rooms asking the patients to leave their google knowledge outside.

Listening to the doctor with an open mind is very important. A doctor gets his medical degree after years of hard work. They are those multitalented, studious, disciplined classmates who chose medicine as a profession with a passion to serve humanity. They have to clear tough exams to qualify for medical studies.

Listening and following what the doctor says is very important. Google can provide additional information and clarity about the disease. What a doctor says about your health condition and what you think about your health issue may be entirely different. The doctor is always right. There should be mutual trust between the doctor and the patient to get proper healing.

From my personal experience, I understand that we end up with the wrong information when we search for health issues we feel we are suffering from. For instance, now you are doubtful whether you got COVID-19 because of an irritation in the throat. The search results for your queries on COVID-19 and throat irritation might either give you jitter or false hope.

Yesterday a Volgger apologized for spreading false information on Coronavirus. She had said in her vlog to drink hot water so that coronavirus goes from the throat to the stomach and thus dies. Now she says her claims were a mistake.

I would say that you should not overdo google search. Google for Coronavirus symptoms or Coronavirus Cure and the top search results are from the renowned health organization from the world over. Trust what they say.

Search for the disease, not symptoms

You must search for a specific disease like Coronavirus. Then you get the proper search results. If you search for symptoms, you get confusing search results. If you google ‘cold, cough, sneezing’, then these are the symptoms for the common cold, flu, coronavirus and even cancer. Weight loss is a symptom of cancer, liver disorders, and many other diseases. Therefore you should google for disease in general instead of symptoms in particular.

Top Search results are most credible

According to Marie Haynes, a renowned SEO consultant, the top three Google search results have a Wikipedia page. Which means those are from credible sources that have Expertise Authority and Trust.

PS: This post was written with an intention to give a proper direction to everyone who searches about Coronavirus. Maintain social distancing, wash your hands always and stay safe until coronavirus in contained.

Meet women fashion entrepreneurs in India

The Indian fashion industry is one place where you can find a number of women entrepreneurs. Through their creations, they nurture some of the subtle aspects of nature, culture, tradition, and environment. A woman knows best how to bring out the best in her creations. She knows how to protect and give a breath of new life to those things from the bosom of mother nature that are on the verge of extinction.

Sustainability is the watchword these days. Creating products that are sustainable is not just trendy, it is the need of the hour. Climate change and the environment depletion make us all sit up and think about what we can do to save mother earth as we know her. These women fashion entrepreneurs are on the path of sustainability.

Here are interviews with a few women fashion entrepreneurs in India, who have carved a niche for themselves in the field of fashion and sustainability.

Rebecca Reubens

Rebecca Reubens

Dr. Rebecca Reubens core expertise is for bamboo and rattan. She is the founder of Rhizome, a multidisciplinary sustainability design studio. She is a world bamboo ambassador for the World Bamboo Organization. A trained industrial designer from the National Institute of Design, India, she focuses her creations on design, craft, and sustainability. She is associates with multi-governmental institutions, governments, NGOs, SMEs, and communities in Europe, Asia, and Africa. Rebecca is the author of the book, ‘Bamboo: From Green Design to Sustainable Design‘.

Here is an interview with her, where she talks about sustainability, her journey so far and her experience of being a woman entrepreneur:

About her enterprise

Tell us something about Rhizome, India’s first multidisciplinary sustainability studio?

Design impacts sustainability because it orchestrates how materials are harvested, produced, used and disposed. The question is only whether you want to take accountability for these design decisions and their impact on sustainability. Rhizome, since its inception in 2009 does commit to doing this. We go beyond the environmental aspects, and also consider the social, economic and cultural aspects which influence sustainability. 

What can we expect to gain by visiting your studio?

Bright minds hard at work and good design! 

Who can visit?

Anyone and everyone

Journey So far

From your student days at NIFT, how has your journey been so far?

Exciting, and always growing larger and yet quieter. The scope and understanding of what all impacts design and needs to be considered while designing has expanded exponentially, whereas, the ego has become smaller. 

About Sustainability

Why have you chosen bamboo and sustainability?

I chose bamboo because of sustainability. Bamboo is one of the most sustainable materials known to man and needs to be leveraged for sustainability. While I don’t only work with bamboo – I work with other sustainable materials as well. Bamboo is my material of choice because I have been working with it for almost two decades now. I began my bamboo journey as a student at NID, then as a part of the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan, and finally through my own practice.

What are your future ventures, especially at this time when a sustainable lifestyle is become a necessity due to compelling environmental reasons?

We have a new brand of sustainable jewelry called Baka. We are moving also into the fashion space. 

Fashion Tips

How can the college-going youngster and the young office going population adapt bamboos and sustainability in their lifestyle?

Buy less, and what you buy, buy sustainably. Read and keep yourself informed. Check up on tall claims and beware of greenwashing. Pick the real ones – we all know who they are – and buy things that are classic and will last you longer. Buy into experiences rather than ‘stuff’. Look at alternate service models rather than ‘stuff’ – take public transport or an Ola instead of buying a car.

How can the common people, especially the college-going and the office going people make the best use of your creative collection?

Our collections are extremely practical and competitive in terms of price and performance. They are a good design. So its really simple – buy them, use them, don’t throw them away. Get a piece customized from us – we want you to love what you own and keep it forever. 

As a successful woman entrepreneur, how was your journey so far?

It was possible only because of support from my family and friends. Cultivate a strong network – this is what will catch you when you jump into the universe with eyes wide open. 

Women’s Day Message

It would be super if there was no women’s day – because gender equality existed. Unfortunately, it does not. Some of us are more privileged than others – we need to speak up and be the voices of those who cannot speak for themselves. Fight for equality – quietly and loudly – make sure you are heard and seen if you are privileged. Be the change you want to see.

Rebecca Reubens

Medha Khosla

Medha Khosla

Medha is the founder of the designer brand Anomaly, that focuses on workwear wardrobes. The clothes are designed for Indian professionals and designed using natural Indian textiles. She was educated at the prestigious Pratt Institute of Brooklyn, New York. Armed with the skills, expertise, and exposure of working and studying in New York for ten years, she returned to India. Anomaly has become well-known within a span of four years since its inception.

About her enterprise

Tell us something about your brand “Anomaly’?

ANOMALY is a premium clothing brand specializing in high-quality essentials for men and women. We are a brand born out of dislike for excess, desire for subtle detail and clean design. We create classic, everyday staples crafted from natural, Indian textiles. 

Journey So far

Tell us about your journey so far?

It’s been a rewarding and challenging journey at the same time. Being a first-generation entrepreneur and never having worked in India before, I’ve faced many difficulties in setting up our studio and workshop. Finding the right team is an ongoing work in progress. I have had to fight many battles in order to execute my vision and goals for Anomaly. But, I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything else as I continue to grow and meet incredible people along the way!

As a successful woman entrepreneur, how was your journey so far?

Tough, rewarding, full of hurdles and great opportunities at the same time. While it is no doubt difficult to navigate a man’s world in business. It is very inspiring to build a business from the ground up and enrich the lives of our workers and karigars with relevant skills. I have decided to keep going no matter what the challenges because resilience and perseverance are key to continuous success. 

About Sustainability

How are your creations sustainable?

We approach sustainability in a holistic manner from designing smaller collections, using ethical and lean production methods to manufacture based on need/orders. We use only natural textiles like cotton, linens, and silks and ensure each and every textile scrap is upcycled into trimmings, home accessories, and fabrics. Our philosophy is ‘less is more’ and we believe sustainability must be practiced in every aspect of the design, sourcing and manufacturing process. 

What are your future ventures, especially in providing sustainable products?

We are working on building our accessories range into an exclusively sustainable collection of upcycled home goods. Strengthening our business as an ethical production house for other brands and startups is very important to me as I strongly believe our studio has the right skill set for helping other like-minded brands grow. We would like to tie up with bigger companies/corporates to develop a line of sustainable clothing or accessories for them – this would be an incredible step forward for us to execute a shared vision on a larger scale. 

Will sustainable fashion become affordable to the common people?

We need to first identify what affordability means to the average Indian buyer and educate them on why it is better to choose a sustainable garment or textile over synthetics and cheap mass fashion. There is a lack of awareness amongst the average consumer and so they choose to opt for a cheap garment over a well-made, ethically produced and beautifully designed garment. Sustainable fashion cannot be cheap because a lot goes into the development and creation of a garment from the design to sourcing to execution. We need to stop comparing everything to mass fashion and instead focus on why sustainability is more valuable and imperative in today’s world. 

Fashion Tips

How relevant and affordable it is to the college-going and the young office going population?

We focus on elevating classic silhouettes into contemporary garments relevant to a wide audience from 25-65 years. Our styles are not trend-based but designed for everyday wear and all seasons. Our price points are very accessible especially since we only use 100% natural, high-quality textiles to create a superior quality product. We don’t compromise on either and keep our prices very competitive at the same time. 

Now slow fashion and repeating garments are becoming a trend, can you give some fashion tips to the young generation about what factors they have to take into account to look trendy and presentable every day?

Taking care of one’s garments is essential. We recommend choosing the right detergents and hand washing whenever possible for longevity in one’s wardrobe. I recommend finding unique ways to style one’s staples to feel and look presentable. The more we care for our garments, the longer they last and stay relevant. 

Women’s Day Message

Keep breaking barriers and follow your passions. Don’t stop trying and be prepared for failure. Women are holding this world together and this is the time for us to push ourselves to the forefront – be seen and heard.

Medha Khosla

Image Courtesy: Rebecca Reubens and Medha Khosla

7 connecting features of MG Hector: India’s first Internet Car

Within a few weeks, India’s first Internet Car, MG Hector, specifically manufactured for the Indian Roads and Climatic conditions will be launched. A first of its kind, the brainy Car manufactured by MG Motors, a century-old Britsh Sports Car manufacturer, understands, commands and responds when you say something. In this age of Smart gadgets, the cars are becoming iSmart with this innovative connectivity technology.

The iSmart Next Gen Car provides an integrated solution in partnership with leading technological giants, Cisco, Microsoft, Adobe, Cognizant, Panasonic, Unlimit, Nuance, TomTom, Gaana, Accuweather, SAP and iTeligence. The iSmart consist of embedded connectivity solution, maps and navigation services, voice assistant, pre-loaded infotainment content, emergency and concierge services and built-in apps. It also supports OTA (Over the Air) updates.

The Head Unit

A prototype of the Head unit: the brain of the Car
The device is vertical because consumers prefer to use mobile devices vertically

The 10.4″ Head Unit, is the largest in its category in any cars, and bigger than any tablets available in the market. The brain of the system is installed in this head unit. The unit is preloaded with an entertainment content which will be updated OTA (Over The Air).

iSmart Mobile App

Every MG Hector owner would get a downloaded iSmart App for their mobile phone. A number of actions can be carried out by the App:
Fuel level and vehicle range.
Lock and unlock status.
Remotely switchon the Climate control on the hot day when the car has been standing in the sun.
Speed Alert
Security Alert
And many more features……………….

Hello MG: Voice Assist

The AI based Voice Assistance understands about 100 voice commands

MG Hector iSmart system comes with a cloud-enabled; AI-based Voice Assistance enabling over 100 voice commands to control the vehicle. These includes commands like “open sunroof”, “Climate Control”, “Open Window”, “Radio Control”, “search embedded songs” and “navigate to places”. Apart from accents, the system also recognised differences in semantics in speech.

E-Call: Safety and Security feature

MG cars come with an instant emergency response system. In case of an accident, if the airbags are deployed, E-call is automatically triggered. The information of the exact location of the occurrence is transmitted to the pulse hub team. They try to connect with the Head Unit, if there is no response they call the owners phone and in case there is no response they call the emergency contact number.

Music by Gaana

MG Hector is preloaded with Gaana App and premium account with ad-free music and download capability. The owner would get the largest collection of latest music, smart playlist and presonalised recommendations.

OTA (Over The Air) Updates

MG India is introducing OTA feature for the first time in India. This will make sure MG cars gets updated as and when new updates are available. Hence the system would get new look and themes periodically.

Developers and partners over time would be able to bring in many more features and services, unimaginable today. All available to MG car owners via a simple update.

Privacy and Cyber Security

Data related to driver and vehicle analytics will be stored locally in the Microsoft Azure Cloud DC in India. MG is working with Microsoft around the world to ensure the utmost standards of cybersecurity are available. #MGDriveIn

Unbox Festival: A Weekend of Discovery and Learning

UnBox 2019 was a weekend of discovery and learning, and allowed for unanswered questions as well as explorations. It brought together emerging and disruptive ideas from those who are pushing boundaries of their own practice. The three day festival had 100 Indian Collaborators and 32 International Collaborators.

With 328 Total Participants, the festival outcomes are both tangible and intangible. Some projects were co-created at the festival and will continue into longer projects. Here are some quick highlights from UnBox Festival 2019:  

Discussions and talks                                            

Stories, conversations, and dialogues took centre stage at UnBox Festival this year touching upon relevant topics shaping contemporary thought. Day one was loaded with talks on water resource management at the grassroots, cultures and values of learning in the present age, the importance of consent in the digital space, exploring technology for conservation, the impact of social media on India’s upcoming general elections, as well as exploring the messy futures space from a personal and human perspective. Conversations on the burgeoning city limits and its impact on infrastructure and resources, storytelling traditions that share genealogies and ecological patterns, ethics that may govern the use of AI systems, the impact of technology in the social sector, making a truly inclusive Internet, design-led innovation strategies, the need for intersectionality in design and the use of digital processes in preserving heritage, unfolded and expanded through the three days of the festival.

Workshops

UnBox 2019 curated a set of workshops conducted by experts from varied practices, for festival attendees to participate and immerse into. While some created intimate spaces to brainstorm and ideate, others got participants down to their hands and knees exploring and making. Taking on multiple tracks and formats, they led participants to experience disability to understand its needs and choices, explored emerging technologies, create a wishlist of a feminist Internet, build unique conspiracies, imagine a world of AR/VR without using it, and discussed the role of technology in craft practices. UnBox also curated workshops that used three-dimensional tensile structures to evaluate the relationships of the human body, and featured the unheard stories of the brave women of Karnataka, explored the future of consent, examined data driven investigation, and making zines.

The festival also hosted a 4-day lab, in partnership with UK-based artists collective – Invisible Flock, that focused on building meaningful, cross-disciplinary collaborations within environmental and socially engaged practices. It brought together artists, designers and writers from India, Uk & Uganda to think about technology beyond its traditional understanding, and instead as a creative medium. Outcomes from the Lab were shared in multiple formats ranging from exhibits to talks and performances.

UnBox Food Lab

UnBox Food Lab explores connections and meaningful interactions between food, its preparation, the act of enjoying it, and the people who consume it. This year the lab manifested in the form of  talks, workshops, and communal meals at the festival, with conversations on cultural appropriation in food and the future of urban farming; workshops that investigated the fascinating world of coffee through games, experience traditional fermentation processes, and explore our interconnected food ecosystems. A selection of films explored the challenges of rising food demands, while thematic culinary experiences translated into community meals that served traditional regional recipes and helped reconnect with those that grow our food.

Performances

The evenings brought together an eclectic mix of sound and visual artists. A transmedia narrative using improvised electronica and live visual programming, featured Seasonal Affected Beats, Aural Eye and Cursorama came together in Dreamswitch at the UnBox Open House on day one of the festival. UnBox After Dark was a collaborative audio-visual showcase by UnBox residents and guests at Foxtrot, Koramangala. The night combined sounds from Bombay based electronic musicians SPRYK and Echofloat, with visual interpretations from Thiruda and Cursorama from the VJing collective Alt-Q, supported by Romanian collective Aural Eye Visions Studio. The last evening of the festival brought together an indie folk trio with Abhijeet Tambe accompanied by Michael Dias and Kaushik Kumar in The Unwind Collection, at The Humming Tree in Indira Nagar. This was followed by a modern, electronic set that brought together the sound experiments of Nikhil Narendra and Shreyas Dipali.

Installations & Exhibitions

The exhibits at UnBox transformed the space of the festival into a transient gallery with projects and ideas across multiple formats. More than 18 installations and exhibitions were presented that ranged from immersive entertainment with VR film pods to a participatory installation on creating a collective scent. Others included the outcomes of mixing environmental data collection with technology, a curated set of albums that created an archive of stories from India’s countryside, an interactive installation that made visual and acoustic connections between outer space and physical spaces that surround us, and the making of both real and virtual Narkasur effigies. Music came alive through the stories of a curious crow that lit up each time a musical note played, and a transient space within an auto rickshaw that urged all to make their own music.

As reported in the Press Release of the Unbox Festival. Image Courtesy: Unbox Festival Team

Day 1 of Unbox Festival filled with activities and entertainments

Like the past editions of UnBox festival, this year the line up for day one was stacked with some great talks, panel discussions, workshops, exhibitions, installations and meals. 

Festival attendees got a chance to explore talks and panels on water-related issues, the future of urban farming, the digital content landscape in India, language and learning, the impact of social media on the upcoming general elections, building resilience from distress and tech ecologies.

Produced by UnBox Food Labs, lunch at the festival was catered by Bengaluru Oota Company which was a tribute to the Gowda and Mangalorean cuisines of Karnataka, a culinary experience based on heirloom family recipes that are passed down through the generations.

Post lunch, we dived right into workshops – Experiential Immersion in Disability, The future of History, Smellscape, Emergent Tech, What is your feminist wishlist?, Narkasur, Conspiracy creation and Seeing Invisibility. 

UnBox X Open house – a free for all event kicked off at 6PM with Now: A Kinetic Life – an interactive installation and performance, and a three-part film addressing the challenges of rising food demands. A collection of art exhibits, installations, screenings and immersive experiences were on display and open for all those who walked through the fest. We closed day one with a trans-media narrative of hypnagogic dreamscapes (titled Dreamswitch) through improvised electronica and live visual programming, featuring Seasonal Affected Beats, Aural Eye and Cursorama. 

As reported by Vibhuti Jaswal from the festival venue.

Information about the Evening Performances On February 16th and 17th.

February 16 | 8:00PM onwards
UnBox After Dark
Aural Eye X Cursorama X Echofloat X SPRYKPresented at Foxtrot – House of Subculture in Koramangala.

Unbox After Dark presents a collaborative Audio Visual showcase by the Unbox residents and guests. The night combines sounds from Bombay based electronic musicians SPRYK and Echofloat, with visual interpretations from Thiruda and Cursorama from the VJing collective, Alt-Q supported by Romanian collective- Aural Eye Visions Studio.
Spryk is the brainchild of Tejas Nair, an independent electronic musician pushing boundaries of technology-driven art. EchoFloat is a music project conceived by Jeff Nelson, exploring productions and DJ sets ranging from lush thoughtful soundscapes to intricate granular textures, to invoke a sense of space, form, interconnectivity and movement.

February 17 | 6:00PM-10:00PM

The Unwind Collection

Nikhil Narendra X Shreyas Dipali X Tambe and Friends
Presented at The Humming Tree in Indira Nagar.
Tambe & Friends is an indie folk trio based out of Bangalore, India. The project revolves around an intimate collection of songs written and sung by Abhi Tambe with ample support from Michael Dias and Kaushik Kumar on guitars and vocal harmonies. Abhi Tambe, currently performing as a solo singer-songwriter, is remembered in the city as one of the founding members of the cult band Lounge Piranha, which disbanded back in 2010. Michael Dias is founder and frontman for current city favourites Mad Orange Fireworks and Kaushik Kumar plays bass in the same band.

They will be followed by a modern, electronic set that brings together the sound experiments of Nikhil Narendra and Shreyas Dipali. They used to perform with alternative band The Bicycle Days, but have found their true calling in electronic music that condenses their many influences into one sound. 

A Curtain Raiser to The Unbox Festival

The countdown has begun for a festival that connects people and helps one to learn from the experience of people from various fields. The Unbox Festival is being put together, for the fifth time, by Quicksand Design Studio, a research and design practice with studios in New Delhi, Bangalore and Goa.

UnBox Festival will take place at the Bangalore International Centre, in Domlur, between February 15-17, 2019. Here is an interview with Babitha George, Co-Founder – UnBox Festival & Director – Quicksand Design Studio. She talks about the events at the festival this year, how the festival began, and the outcomes from the festival so far.

Tell us something about UnBox Festival?

The multi-disciplinary festival brings together people from various fields of design, technology, culture, art and Policymaking.

Incepted by Quicksand Design Studio in 2011 as an annual festival in India, and a fellowship program since 2012, UnBox has promoted new thoughts and partnerships at the intersection of design, art, culture and social innovation. UnBox is a growing community of creative, academic and developmental professionals seeking to collaborate beyond their immediate practice and looking to infuse future world experiences with imagination, sustainability and responsibility.

In 2014 we took a pause on the UnBox festival format to reflect and renew. While we were away, we spent time quietly tinkering. UnBox was evolving and we tried on many hats. We packed it small and took it to Ahmedabad, Bombay, Bangalore, Goa, Berlin, London, Leeds, Sheffield, Anstruther, and Tokyo. It became a lab, a caravan, a pop-up, an immersive media arts platform, and an in-house experiment for the folks at the studio. It’s now back in India as a festival platform after a 4-year hiatus and with the upcoming edition we hope to rediscover lost paths, forge new trails, and have a good time while we are at it!

This year, UnBox will take place at the Bangalore International Centre in Domlur between February 15-17, 2019 and will bring together a unique programme that features diverse tracks for participants to explore intersections across design, art, culture, technology and policy. The festival will invite diverse participation and bring together technologists, activists, policy makers and a mix of the creative community to ideate and collaborate on the most pressing challenges facing India today.

What are the main events at the festival?

UnBox 2019 will run across three full days with workshops, labs, conference sessions and conversations over meals, along with evenings of performances and excursions into the city curated to inspire, provoke and imagine. With a detailed programming in place this year we deep dive into conversations around art, design, culture, technology, policy, environment and social innovation. Right from conversations and discussions around emerging technologies such as AI to conservation and human ecologies, design led innovation to digital heritage and food ecosystems to creating a smell map of the city, UnBox 2019 brings together a diverse mix of projects which are shared either as evolved project ideas, or other projects that either culminate or are initiated at the festival. In this way the UnBox experience lives not just for the three days of the festival, but moves into a space of continued learning and collaborations.

Who are the participants at the festival?

UnBox 2019 is where people from seemingly disparate backgrounds, but with similar interests and values around collaboration come together to explore diverse themes and apply their unique skills and talents in co-creating new products and ideas. The festival line up in terms of participants and practitioners is carefully curated for a rich balance of the intellectual and the experiential.

How did the UnBox festival begin in the first place?

We started UnBox with the intent to create a larger community who value multidisciplinary approaches and are open to questioning their own practice and learn from others. 8 years in, we have built a vibrant network of artists, designers, thinkers, young professionals and stakeholders in the creative economy space in India and abroad. We’ve always put innovative experiments at the center of our programming and this year UnBox festival will be no different. With UnBox 2019 we hope to bring people from disparate backgrounds together to explore diverse themes and co-create new products and share fresh ideas. It’s important to have a safe space that allows for discussions about failure as well as about work that is in progress, which might be messy and chaotic.

Through UnBox, we want to allow for new encounters and conversations, and to draw inspiration from unlikely spaces. This festival edition will collectively engage with new futures in a way that acknowledges and builds on the multilayered complexity of our lives, from culture, memories and the past to the spaces and communities we inhabit and shape.

Tell us something about the outcome of the festival in previous years?

The outcomes of the festival are both tangible and intangible. Some projects have started at the festival and continued into longer projects. For eg; UnBox has been working with the University of Dundee for a while around decentralised narratives for technology that attempt to co-create solutions with communities that are appropriate for the context. We are partnering with Black Baza Coffee and Buffalo Back Collective on this project and all of these explorations will make its way to the festival this year via conversations, workshops and exhibits.

There are several other examples like this, also of projects that start at the festival and continue to be explored beyond the festival through active collaborations. Some other outcomes are intangible, through connections that are made. The intimate format of the festival allows for informal and meaningful networking, some of which are facilitated by the UnBox team, while some others happen organically.

What is most exciting is when practices that would traditionally not work with each other find points of connections and new ways of collaborating and exploring challenges. For eg; what does it mean for a technologist to work with a social scientist to think of what it means to develop more sensitive and thoughtful technology services for communities, that take into account the unique aspects of various contexts.  

Tell us something about the installations, exhibition and performances at the festival?  

Attendees can expect to see a diverse mix of installations, exhibitions and performances at the festival. For instance, Invisible Flock and Quicksand bring to UnBox 2019 Kāṇada kathegaḷu which aims to mix environmental data collection with technology to find new ways of representing hidden elements of nature and our fragile relationship to it.

Stories from Down Under: VR Cinema Pods with Crossover Labs (UK) is a showcase of cutting-edge immersive entertainment from Australia featuring award-winning virtual reality films in association with Australian High Commission. The films export you to different worlds including the life of a street artist, a magical autumn forest and the land of an Australian indigenous elder.

Anatomy of an AI – In this talk, Prof. Vladan Joler from Novi Sad University uncovers the invisible matrix of human labour, energy consumption and resource extraction that is hidden behind digital networks and Artificial Intelligence. Specifically, it takes the home assistant Amazon Echo as a case study of black box technology and, step by step, reconstructs its design and the relations of each component with planetary ecology and economy.

In a participatory performance installation titled Un Parfum En Commun (supported by Pro Helvetia) with Swiss artist Maeva Rosset the intent is to create a common scent that identifies with all those who become part of its creation.

Aurora with Invisible Flock and Quicksand aims to open up a dialogue on the value of water at a local and global level, to understand it as an element, a life force, a resource, a commodity and a danger.  

NOW – A Kinetic Life (supported by Goethe India) with Thomas Heidtmann (Lacuna Lab) and Bidisha Das is an interactive installation that spans a visual and acoustic connections between outer space and physical spaces that surround us. It is an orchestra of movement using elements from outer space, nature and human bodies as instrumentations.

Reminiscent of the warmth of a hardbound book and the scent of its pages, The Unlimited Book with Thejesh GN expands the ecosystem of a library as the keeper of infinite knowledge. Taking the form of a secret book safe which consists of a custom server that runs on battery it serves readings that are stored locally on the server without the use of the internet. Project Infinity with Thejesh GN and PARI, an edition of the Unlimited Book includes a curated selection of stories from the People’s Archive of Rural India.

Mix the City Auto with Indian Music Experience is a transient space created within an Indian Auto Rickshaw to showcase and experience the diversity of sound, music and cultural influences from various cities in the country. It features original content by Indian composers and musicians in the form of short audio and video samples, compiled by UK music producers (Boxed In, Django Django and Anna Meredith, along with Israeli producer Kutiman). Supported by the British Council.

UK-India Lab with Invisible Flock and Quicksand who are facilitating a new network of artists and creatives from UK and India through a lab that focuses on building meaningful, cross-disciplinary collaborations within environmental and socially engaged practices. Supported by the British Council.

Swarpeti with Pratyush Gupta explores Indian classical music is intertwined with nature, seasons, colours and emotions. It transcends time and cultures to create a blend of music full of depth and wonder.

Talking Albums with PARI present a curated set of albums that speak from The People’s Archive of Rural India, a living journal and an archive of stories from India’s countryside.

Boundary Conditions with Deepak Kurki Shivaswamy, Abhijeet Tambe is an installation which looks to ignite an experience that is created by placing moving bodies in and against an architectural space that speaks of itself.

Performances

UnBox Open House: Friday @ Bangalore International Centre

With: Seasonal Affected Beats (Tarun Balani) and Aural Eye (Alina & Daniel)

UnBox Afterdark: Saturday @ Foxtrot

With: SPRYK (Tejas), Thiruda, Alt-Q and Echofloat (Jeff Nelson)

UnBox Unwind: Sunday @ HummingTree

With: Abhijeet Tambe & Friends, Nikhil and Shreyas

How can someone participate in the festival?

Apart from an extended team of co-creators, mentors and practitioners who make up the festival programme, there is also a ticketed, open call for participants. Attendees will have access to talks, discussions, workshops, exhibitions, installations, meals, performances and excursions into the city curated to inspire, provoke and imagine.


Babitha George, Co-Founder – UnBox Festival & Director – Quicksand Design Studio

7 Main features of Blog Compass

Featured post on IndiBlogger, the biggest community of Indian Bloggers
Google has come up with Blog Compass, an app for the bloggers. The App which can be downloaded on the iPhone and the Android has much more than analytics to offer.

One thing common with all bloggers is that they want to measure the reach of their activity on the blog.  They want to know how many views their blogs have received. And a sincere feedback of the content.

Blog Compass is a must-have App for the bloggers. The app has a number of features that range from providing the analytics of the published posts to giving suggestions on topics to write about.

Here are the 7 main features of the Blog Compass

Every feature of Blog Compass is equally essential for the bloggers. While planning the day ahead, the Blog Compass provides lots of inputs on improving the content of the blog.

Blog CompassHome

The Home Page of the App contains the highlights of the rest of the 6 pages on the App.

  • There is a graph illustrating the number of views on the website.
  • Mention of trending topics.
  • The number of latest comments.
  • Overviews of Google Analytics.
  • A suggestion of what to learn at the Learning Centre.
  • And the number of badges earned for the posts.

Activity

The Activity page includes the Visitors Overviews, Traffic Source, Search queries and Details of the top posts. You can check the above-mentioned information for a week, month, 3 months or a year.

Topics

An outstanding feature of Blog Compass is the topic suggestions to write about. Following are the categories of the topic:

  • Your Picks: Possibly these topics are based on the google search made by you.
  • Trending: These are the topics that are trending on the internet.
  • For you: Based on the topics that you have posted on your blog.

Badges

The highlights of Blog Compass is the Badges provided for reaching a certain milestone. There are badges like bronze and silver. You can view the badges collected so far.

You can share the badges on the Social Media. I shared one time and the response from the readers was as if received an Oscar.

The badges are given for Page View, Unique Visitors and number of posts written each month.

Posts

The posts can be viewed in different ways: post by date, post by last modified, post by the number of views and posts by title. Under each post, you can view the number of views so far and the number of comments.

Comments

You can view the number of pending and approved comments separately. You can also directly approve or remove the comment through the app.

Learning

A plethora of subjects is provided in the learning centre. Ranging fro SEO starter guideline to how to advertise on your blog. You can click on the subject you wish to get educated about. The learning centre is a help not just for the beginner but also for seasoned bloggers.

Overall Blog Compass is a must-have App for the blogger. Until now the bloggers could only get to know the number of views based on country and demography. Blog Compass provides an in-depth insight into the performance of the posts. And the badges provide lots of encouragement.

Blog Compass is just a few months old and currently available only in India. It is more compatible with Android.

Google is still improving on the App and in future blogger can expect more useful features.

Kerala needs 10 times more fund for rehabilitation

During 1924 deluge, Mahatma Gandhi, collected Rs 6000 for Kerala. Through his publication, ‘Young India’ and ‘Navjivan’ he urged people to contribute to the “unimaginable” misery. People donated gold and their small saving for the relief work of “Mahapralayam of 99” (Malayalam year 1099).

How similar are the two deluges

The flood in 1924 was in Travancore, Idukki, Thrissur and Kottayam. The same places were flooded this time too. The similarity ends there.

The great deluge of Kerala, 2018, is greater than the great flood of 1924. There was massive destruction of infrastructure and property. While thousands of lives were lost in the flood 100 years ago, thanks to the rescue operation in 2018, the heavy casualty was avoided.

If the water reached 6 ft then, now it was more than 8 ft.

Unlike in 1924, now Kerala was on the path of rapid development. Kerala has the highest development index. There are IT parks and Startup hubs generating jobs which in turn improved the quality of life of the people. There are hi-tech buildings and roads that lead to every nook and cranny of Kerala.

Estimated loss

As the infrastructural development was at a rapid pace, the loss was also massive. 221 bridges were destroyed, 10000 km of road damaged and 3 lakh farmers were affected. The Government of Kerala has estimated a loss of more than $3 billion (Rs 20000 Crore).

Dream homes shattered

A house of one’s own is everyone’s dream. Kerala is famous for the huge mansions built along the length and breadth of the state. Even the poorest of the poor own a piece of land and a house in it. They make their houses as cosy as they can afford.

The flood completely destroyed 7000 houses, mostly of the poor. 50000 houses were partially damaged. Because the water gushed into the houses and engulfed the house for two-three days, some houses have become weak. They are not safe to stay.

Since furniture was not waterproof, most of the things were destroyed in the water. The water entered the cupboards, shelves and kitchen. Soiling the clothes, kitchen gadgets, cars, grocery and documents. They have nothing left other than the clothes they were wearing when they were rescued.

The earning of a lifetime was gone with the waters. Some of the houses were on loan. Now they need extra money to restore their homes. The houses are to be cleaned and sanitized. The electrical and plumbing lines are to be repaired. Books and uniforms are to be brought for children. Medicines were washed away.

Schools destroyed

In schools (especially government schools) the entire furniture, documents, books (including library books) and computers were spoiled. Restoring the schools is a mammoth task which includes labour and finance.

Hospitals damaged

Some hospitals were also flooded causing damage to the medical equipment and medicines.

Some still in camps

The people of Kuttanadu are still in camps. The water has not receded properly. They are basically hardworking farmers. With a little support, they will back to life very soon.

Tragedy strikes twice

A lady tailor’s husband died suddenly of a heart attack ten years back. Her youngest child was 6 months old at that time. She supported her family of three children and in-laws by stitching. After the flood, only the house is left. Everything inside the house was destroyed.

Her story represents the story of more than one million who were displaced or remained on the rooftop until the water receded.

A heart-warming story

One man who lost a few of his household items in the flood gave a cot and a mattress to his neighbour. Because when he had lost only something his neighbour lost everything.

Funds Kerala received so far

The Central Government has promised Rs 600 crore. The donations in the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund has crossed Rs 700 crore so far. In total Kerala has received around Rs 1300. And if the UAE Government provides Rs 700 crore, the aid will reach 2000. Still, the State needs ten times more funding for rehabilitation.

How the fund helps in rehabilitation

The fund will not only take care of the reconstruction of the roads and bridges but also help in rebuilding houses and rehabilitating the victims of the flood. The funds will also provide relief to the farmers. They had taken heavy loan hoping to reap a profitable harvest during Onam. Unfortunately, a few days before Onam, the crops were destroyed.

How to #HelpKerala

Massive fund for rehabilitation is required. What we can do is to donate generously to the Chief Minister’s Distress relief fund.

Donate Online

Account number: 67319948232
Bank: State Bank of India
Branch: City branch, Thiruvananthapuram
IFS Code: SBIN0070028
PAN: AAAGD0584M
Name of Donee: CMDRF

Providing material support

Almost every school and institution in India is sending material support to Kerala. You can contact the nearest schools and colleges to know if you can contribute in some way.

When the people are returning home from camps, empty-handed, they need the basic essentials to start their life once again. Some of the items that are required are:

  • Stationery for children (Notebook, pen, etc.)
  • Gas stove
  • Cookware
  • Nighties and Lungies (Unused)
  • Water resistant chappals
  • Rice and green gram
  • Mat (Chatai)

Mobiistar XQ Dual and CQ: The wide-angled mobiles designed for selfie enthusiasts

Are you a Selfie enthusiast? Then definitely the newly launched Selfie-centric mobiles of Mobiistar are for you. Two weeks back one of the top Vietnamese mobile brands launched two selfie-centric mobiles in India.

The selfie feature of the camera was the main highlight at the launch. When Mr Carl Ngo, Co-founder and CEO of Mobiistar, was asked why the ‘Selfie feature’ was mainly being highlighted, he said that he wants people to remember the mobile for the selfie features.

Mobiistar XQ Dual and CQ

How to buy a Mobiistar ‘Selfie’ Mobile

Mobiistar XQ Dual is priced at Rs 7, 999 and CQ at Rs 4999. Both the mobiles are available for sale on Flipkart from 30 May, 12 Noon. There are some interesting purchase offers for the mobiles on Flipkart:

  • You can exchange any old smartphone and in exchange, you can get at least Rs 1,000.
  • Protection for the hardware and software of the mobile is available for Rs 99. Broken screens and liquid damages are also taken care of.
  • If you buy a prepaid Jio pack before June 30 of Rs 198 or Rs 299 for the Mobiistar mobile, then you can enjoy a cashback of Rs 2200. You will be given vouchers. You can redeem Rs 50 voucher at a time for the next 44 mobiles recharges.

Mobiistar XQ Dual and CQMobiistar XQ Dual and CQ

The Indiblog Mobiistar, Selfie event

The event was a selfie-event. With Selfies every. Selifes like never before. The bloggers were divided into ten groups and each team was given a Mobiistar camera and asked to make a story only with selfies. And at least 15 selfies within 20 minutes.

Mobiistar XQ Dual and CQ

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advantage Mobiistar Selfie

Taking selfies with the Mobiistar mobiles was much fun because of the three distinct features:

  • The wide angle: Usually when you take a selfie you are forced to leave some element. For instance, when you want to take the selfie with a large crowd, you capture the whole crowd. The Mobiistar cameras have a wide angle feature. The selfie can be upto120 Degree wide.
  • The light exposure: For a perfect selfie, the right amount of light is essential. You can adjust the amount of light in the camera while taking a selfie.
  • The face beautifying feature: The tone of the skin can be brightened or softened.

Tips for those who fail miserably in taking selfiesMobiistar XQ Dual and CQ

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Angles are very important while capturing selfies on a mobile. Like the two Cupcakes above. The cupcakes are placed at a specific angle so they look attractive. While taking selfies hold the mobile at a specific angle.

Follow the tip and fulfil you selfie dreams with Mobiistar selfie mobiles.