सलमान खुर्शीद नवे परराष्ट्रमंत्री

नवी दिल्ली, दि. २८ – केंद्रात रविवारी झालेल्या मंत्रिमंडळ विस्तार आणि खातेपालटात सलमान खुर्शीद यांना नवे परराष्ट्रमंत्री घोषित करण्यात आले आहे. ते यापूर्वी केंद्रीय कायदा मंत्री होते. यापूर्वीचे परराष्ट्रमंत्री एस. एम. कृष्णा यांनी मंत्रिमंडळ फेरबदलापूर्वी राजीनामा दिला होता. खुर्शीद व त्यांच्या पत्नी लुईस यांच्यातर्फे चालवल्या जाणा-या संस्थेत भ्रष्टाचार झाल्याचे आरोप इंडिया अगेन्स्ट करप्शनचे नेते अरविंद केजरीवाल यांनी नुकतेच केले होते. पण त्याचा त्यांना नवा पदभार देताना परिणाम झाला नसल्याचेच दिसते.

नवे मंत्रिमंडळ खातेवाटप पुढीलप्रमाणे –

कॅबिनेट मंत्री

– के. रहमान खान – अल्पसंख्याक व्यवहार

– दिनशॉ पटेल – खाणकाम

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Congress, BJP on a level playing field of corruption

BJP LOGO

BJP SYmbol

It is now clear that both the major parties – the Congress and theBharatiya Janata Party (BJP) – will approach the next general election with the ball and chain of corruption tied to their feet.

While the Congress has been weighed down by allegations of sleaze for more than a year, the BJP’s travails caused by the infamy of former Karnataka and Uttarakhand chief ministers B.S. Yeddyurappa and Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank have been aggravated by the latest charges against party president Nitin Gadkari.

What this means is that the electoral contest between the two parties will be on a level playing field where their tainted reputations are concerned. As a result, the conventional wisdom that the Congress – 206 Lok Sabha seats, 28.5 percent votes – will lose some ground while the BJP – 116 seats, 18.8 per cent votes – will gain only marginally is likely to be proved correct.

Since there is little that the Congress can do to refurbish its sullied image, it will have to bank on the Manmohan Singh government’s reforms initiatives to generate an atmosphere of hope in order to tilt the balance, even if slightly, in its favour. Aware that it had left the task of boosting the economy too late, the government will have to work overtime to inject a sense of buoyancy.

Its only advantage is the silence of the earlier critics of the reforms within and outside the party – the “socialists” in the Congress and Trinamool Congress among the allies – although the objections to a National Investment Board by environment minister Jayanthi Natarajan show that hurdles still remain.

However, the fact that the National Advisory Council led by Sonia Gandhi has withdrawn into the background is a sign that there is some a realisation of the harm which its left-of-centre outlook inflicted on the economy, hobbling the government and the party.

But, since an upswing in the economy will take time to manifest itself, notwithstanding favourable indications like an increase in the demand for housing and a rise in the number of people with “good” jobs, according to a Gallup poll, the Congress will have to work much harder to show its resolve to fight corruption – something which is not helped by the arrogance of its members, who threaten to break television cameras if they face inconvenient questions, as Himachal Pradesh chief minister Virbhadra Singh did, or promise to write their political careers in blood, as law minister Salman Khurshid did.

The Congress’s only hope lies in the ever-deepening gloom in the BJP camp. It isn’t only that Gadkari has become embroiled in a scam of his own, there is every possibility that Yeddyurappa will strike out on his own by forming his own regional outfit. In that event, the pride which the BJP took in securing its first foothold south of the Vindhyas – albeit with some help from Janata Dal (Secular) – will be dashed.

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‘Sonic Jump’ for iOS game review

Sonic Jump is the latest installment in the series of Sonic games for the mobile platform. However, unlike the other games that came before it, this is a brand new game and not just a port from some other platform. Update: It seems this is a remake of a J2ME game released on mobile several years ago.

With Sonic Jump, the series has taken a new direction, and I mean literally at that. Instead of the previous side scrolling or the third person sprinting, Sonic Jump takes you straight up, as you vertically jump from one platform to another. We decided to take a look and see how well this new experiment works.

Title
Sonic Jump
Developer
SEGA
Platform
iOS
Android
Release Date
October 2012
November 2012
Content rating
4+
N/A
Size
97.7MB
N/A
Price
$1.99
N/A
Note: The game is currently only available on iOS but an Android version is expected in November.

Gameplay

If you have played Doodle Jump, you already know how to play Sonic Jump. You have a character that is constantly bouncing and you have to control him around so he doesn’t fall off the platforms or hit an enemy. You control the character by tilting the device left or right. To jump higher mid-air, tap once on the screen. You will have enemies to deal with and to take them down just jump towards them from below. Hitting them from the sides or the top means you will be the one taking the damage.

This is a Sonic game, so obviously there are rings to collect. You can collect as many rings as you can but if you hit an enemy or a spike strip you lose all of them. Hit something again when you have zero rings and you die. At times you will find safes during a level that you can use to store all the rings you have collected till that point so if you hit something you don’t lose all of them.

Along with the rings, you also have three stars to collect during the level. Depending upon the number of rings and stars you collected and the time you took to reach the top, you get rated in the end. You don’t need a great rating to complete the level; just reaching the top does the trick but you might want to play the levels again to get a better rating. Completing the level unlocks the next one.

There are three worlds in the Story mode of the game, with 12 levels each. The first 11 levels have the same basic structure where you have to avoid all obstacles and reach the top. The 12th one is a boss level where you have to keep jumping to the top while avoiding as well as attacking the boss. SEGA has promised more levels in future through free updates.

There is also an Arcade mode, where there is no finish line and you have to keep going as high as you can, similar to Doodle Jump. You can compete with your friends through Game Center to see who can jump the highest in Arcade mode.

The pacing of the game in the initial levels was a bit slow and it was fairly easy to complete the level without breaking into a sweat. But by the second world things go up several notches and while before it hardly took any effort to collect all the rings and reach the top, you would now have a hard time even reaching halfway through the level without dying several times.

The shift in difficulty comes in right when you start thinking things were getting too easy and takes you by surprise. By the end of the second world, the sheer number of things you have to look out for while jumping is quite staggering and it’s hard not to die repeatedly if you aren’t paying attention. In fact, to be honest, I didn’t quite manage to finish the game in time for this review because I got stuck badly at this one level for a long time and am yet to finish it.

Helping you through the game are several power-ups that you can use, such as magnets that attract nearby rings towards you, shield for protection against enemies, etc. You can either purchase them using the rings you collected or you can also often find them within the level while playing. If you don’t have enough rings, you can purchase more using in-app purchase option.

While reading about the premise one might assume that the game would become boring pretty quickly but that does not happen. Sonic Jump introduces new gameplay mechanics at a frequent rate so with every other level you have a new challenge to look out for. The platforms you jump on eventually start sliding around, flipping upside down, crumbling underneath you and at times, completely disappearing. You have spike strips to watch out for, enemies that explode when you’re near them, fans that blow you sideways and giant boulders dropping down from the top. Keeping up with all of this requires the reaction times of a fly on Red Bull and perfect timing for the double jump or else you would soon have to start all over again.

Is the game exciting? Yes. Can it be frustratingly difficult at times? Yes. But I think the developers have managed to keep the difficulty level just high enough to make you want to keep playing and push harder instead of giving up immediately.

If you get tired of playing with Sonic you can also unlock other Sonic world characters such as Tails and Knuckles to play with instead but they can only be unlocked once you reach a specific level in the game.

Graphics and Sound

Sonic Jump uses the same typical colorful visuals that you have seen for a long time in the Sonic series of games. Even the sound is similar to the old-school 8-bit style sounds for some of the actions, such as jumping. Not that the game looks or sounds bad, in fact it looks pretty good on the iPad’s Retina display. It’s just the visuals and the sound feels a bit dated now after all these years, especially the music, which is just about average.

Just look at the Rayman series, for example. It too has been around for a while now but received a major facelift recently with Rayman Origins and Jungle Run, which significantly freshened up the visuals of the game while maintaining the basic look that the game is known for. The Sonic series has been around for even longer and is starting to look a bit long in the tooth. A major visual upgrade could inject some new life into the series and make it more appealing to today’s gamers.

Verdict

To dismiss Sonic Jump as a Doodle Jump rip-off would be a folly, because this game is much more than that. The basic gameplay might be similar, but SEGA has added enough bells and whistles to make this feel like an entirely different game, and a good one at that. The basic controls make the game approachable to anyone and the challenging levels will give some of the more serious gamers enough meat to chew on. The visuals and sound are definitely in need of a major refresh and this applies not just to this game but the entire Sonic universe but otherwise it’s not a bad looking game at all and looks especially good on high resolution displays.

For $1.99, Sonic Jump is well worth the money and worth checking out even if you’re not a particularly big fan of Sonic games.

Rating: 4/5
Pros: Fun, challenging gameplay, short levels make it ideal for pick up and play
Cons: Graphics and sound can use some freshening up to keep up with the times

 

How Google is Making Your Favorite Brands Market for Them

Hello SEO’s, PPC’ers, Digital Marketers, and Internet Enthusiasts –

Remember when Facebook started? I do. I was still on MySpace and in high school – I couldn’t wait to get my college .edu so I could get an account. They made people wait, and slowly opened the social network to more and more people to create demand. First Harvard, then ivy leagues, then top colleges, then all colleges, ect ect… You can contribute some of Facebook’s success to starting out and limiting users. Once you tell people they can’t have something they just want it more. Then fast forward 5 years and Google wanted to get into the social media game. I remember Google announcing it and I was so pumped to get one, and then I did a week later… and so did everyone else. And then after checking it out, people moved back to Facebook.

But Google is now pushing it on to us whether we like it and with help from our favorite brands and celebrities. You might have noticed a new thing in Google this week. On the right hand side of the SERPs above the ads is now some pretty…pretty…pretttty good real estate. There’s box that will show you the top Google+ results. However these results aren’t placed there because of some fancy algorithm they are there for other reasons which I will explain in this blog post.

Google+ is making your brands advertise for them

The new episode of “This Week in Tech” was one of my favorites of all time – they talked very extensively about “Google plus your world” and had some awesome examples that got me thinking about Google alternative motives. The first example was when they searched for “Cars” and got this:

Wow, Ferrari and BMW are both displayed at the top of the first page for such a competitive keyword? I don’t have them in my circles and I don’t talk about them on Google+ (I’m more of an off road truck kind of guy) so why are they there? They are there because they are car companies that have the most followers. (At time of writing General Motors is in 2,532 circles and Ford Motor Company is in 4,266 circles.)

So then my marketing degree kicked in, and it sparked, I think I know what they are doing! They are making companies start advertising their Google+ pages and thus advertising Google+!

Ok so how did I get to that conclusion? Let’s backtrack here, Ford and GM are definitely some of the automobile industry dominators who are usually on top of their marketing game, so once this comes on their radar they are going to want to beat Ferrari and BMW out of their spots in order to show up on the first page.

But how will they do that?

By getting people to add them to their circles on Google+.

And how do they get people to add them to their circles?

The same way people get Facebook likes – marketing campaigns. Give the public a reason to “like” them/ add them to your circles. So that could be giveaways, deals, exclusive offers, and concept cars pictures. Just cool stuff that we want to see and get that we can’t anywhere else.

So let’s say Ford and GM start dumping all this money into their Google + pages.

But they think, if no one is following us on Google+ how do we get the word out?

Advertise these exclusive offers on their Google+ page on their website and across their competing social networks! (The Ford Facebook fan sites have over 6 million fans across their different pages and General Motors has over 3 million across theirs).

In summary, by having these exclusive offers, to get followers, in order to have their company name show up on the top of page for the search term “Cars” (that is searched locally 45,000,000 times a month), they have to also promote Google+ itself, and get their fans, follows, and visitors of their far greater networks to sign up for Google+. And the more people that sign up the more information about you Google gets! Genius!

Google+ gets celebrity endorsements

Here’s another example from Danny Sullivan’s post on Search Engine Land. Just like the Cars search term showing the Google+ pages for Ferrari and BMW it shows the same for “music” and “movies”. Here’s what it looks like for those search terms:

Just like your favorite car company’s celebrities are singers and pop stars are brands, and their management team market them like a brand. The more they are in the public eye the more famous they are. So I think that you will see a lot more celebrities start showing up in Google+ thus more people joining Google+ to follow them. In fact, Lady Gaga who has the largest twitter following and over 46million Facebook fans did not have a Google+ page last week until Sunday when she created one. Did she start a Google+ page just to be more in touch with her fans? I think NOT! She wants to beat out Britney and Snoop for that spot. And she is doing just what Google wants her to do, advertising Google+ on her other networks and basically telling her fans and followers “Hey, I’m on Google+ you should come join me, if I [Lady Gaga] am on it, it must be cool!”

Just wait, I am predicting a sudden shift in Google+ users because there is going to a fight for those top when entertainment key words are used.

But what does this mean for SEO?

First it means that you better have a Google+ page and start thinking about it more and more. You are going to need it, if you want to achieve page one domination in the future. Also the Google+ accounts that show up on the right hand side, as far as I can see, are only based on the amount of circles you are in. Personally I think that’s a little messed up, and contradictory to Google’s algorithm for search results. They have over 200 factors to rank sites organically and even have a complex formula for the ad rank quality score (thanks for the ppc info Aaron!). But for top of the page real estate it’s only the amount of circles you are in? C’mon Google, your better than that. I tried the searches logged in and out of Google+ and even tried it in incognito mode and got the pretty much the same results. If you refresh the page a couple times you will see some other accounts but they are still the top people in the Google+ field and not ranked on relevance. Another test I did was I logged into Google+ and added both Ford and GM to my Circles and refreshed the “car” SERPs and still got Ferrari and BMW. I even tried a branded search for Cyangenmod (the brand name) the community based firmware for Android and it didn’t even rank 1st for its own Google+ page.

Ya, its #2 but when I refresh it doesn’t even show up – for a branded search?! (And look at the organic results, why is their Google+ page showing up ahead of their Wikipedia page? I can bet that the wiki page gets a lot more traffic and has a lot more links then its G+ page. But organic social results are a whole other story for another post.)

What do you do you think about the new Google+ integration have you noticed anything funny or odd about the accounts that show up for different search terms? Do you like the changes in social search? If so, please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments box. And don’t forget to follow me on twitter.

BCCI awards retainerships to cricketers for 2012-13

 The Board of Control for Cricket in India(BCCI) on Friday announced retainerships for cricketers in various categories for the 2012-13 season.

There are nine players in Grade ‘A’ category, eight in Grade ‘B’ and 20 players in Grade ‘C’.

Tamil Nadu and India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has been promoted from Grade ‘B’ to Grade ‘A’.

The details of the retainerships are as follows:

Grade A: ‘ 1 crore each

1. Sachin Tendulkar

2. M S Dhoni

3. Zaheer Khan

4. Virender Sehwag

5. Gautam Gambhir

6. Suresh Raina

7. Yuvraj Singh

8. Virat Kohli

9. R Ashwin

Grade B: ‘ 50 lakhs each

1. Harbhajan Singh

2. Ishant Sharma

3. Pragyan Ojha

4. Rohit Sharma

5. Cheteshwar Pujara

6. Ajinkya Rahane

7. Irfan Pathan

8. Umesh Yadav

Grade C: ‘ 25 lakhs each

1. Ravindra Jadeja

2. Amit Mishra

3. Vinay Kumar

4. Munaf Patel

5. Abhimanyu Mithun

6. Murali Vijay

7. Shikhar Dhawan

8. Wriddhiman Saha

9. Parthiv Patel

10. Manoj Tiwary

11. S Badrinath

12. Piyush Chawla

13. Dinesh Karthik

14. Rahul Sharma

15. Varun Aaron

16. Abhinav Mukund

17. Ashok Dinda

18. Yusuf Pathan

19. Praveen Kumar

L Balaji (ANI)

 

 

10 Steps to Creating a WordPress Blog

1.) Layout: Draw up a layout of how you would like your site to look. Brainstorm the major categories you are going to cover. Research other blogs that you enjoy reading to help you get a feel for how you want your site to look. One big decision is whether you want to have more than one navigation bar.

Tim Ferriss’s site Four Hour Blog covers a wide array of topics, way too many to fit across his primary navigation bar. He uses his primary navbar to cover the basics and then a site wide sidebar to cover the topics he frequently writes about.

This navigation bar was taken from a successful affiliate site. They are using their targeted keywords across the navigation bar to maximize the link juice passed across each page. From an SEO perspective, their can be a benefit to limiting the links you have on your navigation bar and each page in general. This sites news section uses a sidebar but it is not used site wide.

2.) Choose a theme: Many themes are available for free and some great ones are out there for purchase. If I had one piece of advice for choosing a theme it would be to keep it clean. You don’t need a million widgets, images or menu bars on your pages. If you are providing educational or entertaining information that is what the readers will be there for. If you are researching other WordPress blogs while planning your design then at the bottom you can often see what theme they are using.

If you just want to use one of the many free ones available then in your WordPress dashboard go: Appearance —> Themes —> Install Themes —> Search

3.) Get a Logo/Header: One of the things I love the most about WordPress is outside of a theme, a logo is the only thing you have to spend extra time or money on. Unless you are great with photoshop, I recommend hiring someone from ELance or a forum to design a logo for you. I know I have gotten really nicelogos for as little as $20.00. Make sure you get the pixel specifications from your theme correct and that the logo will mesh with your sites theme and color scheme. Also tell your designer that you want at least one edit as part of the agreement.

4.) Set your permalinks structure: I’ve seen some debate on what the best permalink structure is but you definitely don’t want to leave it on the default. Below is my recommendation but feel free to do some more research.

In your dashboard go to Settings->Permalinks. Change the URL to a custom structure, and use /%category/%postname%/ as this will allow for SEO friendly URLs like yoursite.com/SEO/links/ as opposed to: yoursite.com/?p=001.
Change the Category Base to ./ then click save. Once you do that, only the . will remain there. If you leave it as is, your SEO category URL will be yoursite.com/seo/links/ when you want it to be yoursite.com/seo/

5.) Create your primary pages: Now that you’ve set your permalinks it’s time to decide on what will be included in your primary navigation bar and any site wide sidebars. This is a good time to breakout the Google keyword tool and run through some searches on what topics you will be covering the most. Test your assumptions and try to come up with at least five primary keywords for each category. Create these pages (even if you don’t have all your content ready) and organize your navigation bar. On your blog you might want a secondary navigation bar that expands on the topics you will write posts on.
I always recommend creating the following pages which are considered fundamental on a legal and ethical level:
Privacy Policy: A privacy policy is where you disclose if you have cookies on your site, what your doing with e-mail you collect and more. Here is a free template but I recommend doing more research specific to your site.
Terms & Conditions: This describes how users are allowed to use your website. These vary based on what you include on your site (software, free downloads, etc.) so research what other people in your industry, topic are using.
About/Contact: It builds user trust to know who runs the site and if they have a way to get in touch with them. This doesn’t need to be long just a short bio and an e-mail or contact form will suffice.
Disclosure: The FTC requires bloggers to disclose if they are getting paid or compensated in anyway for the content on their blog. Many use a disclosure page to go over what content is and is not sponsored or affiliate related.

6.) Set your home page: The WordPress default is to show your latest posts on the front page. If you’d like to have any kind of landing page for home and a blog section than do the following.

Settings – > Reading: Choose a static page then select your desired home page from the drop down menu. Right below it you can select the page where you would like your blog posts to show up.

7.) Set your navigation menus and widgets: Now that you’ve created your pages you need them to show up on the page where you want. This is very specific to the theme you choose so I don’t want to show visuals that could end up being contradictory. That being said, the general steps are:
Dashboard —> Appearance —> Menus – From there you can add pages to your top navigation bar and put them in the order you want.
Dashboard —> Appearance —> Widgets – This is generally where you would build your sidebars. You can have more than one sidebar on a page and you can customize what pages they will show up on. As I mentioned previously many sites only have a side bar on their blog page.

8.) Plugin’s: WordPress has a huge variety of plugins available to help you improve site functionality, SEO, collect e-mails and thousands of other things. The plugins I am recommending here are all free and can be found by going to Plugins —> Add New and searching for the name.

XML Sitemap Generator – Generates an XML Sitemap for better indexing of your site by the SERPS. This also makes it much easier to get your site setup in webmaster tools (Don’t even consider not using this one)
SEO Ultimate – Another plug-in you shouldn’t go without even if your theme has solid SEO capabilities. This is the best all around SEO tool for WordPress and its free. You can do everything from changing multiple title tags to editing your meta tag descriptions and adding pages to your robot.txt file.
W3 Total Cache and W3 Super Cache – These can majorly improve your sites loading speed and greatly lower the risk of your site crashing from too much traffic.
Broken Link Checker – Will notify you of broken links on your site.
Permalink Trailing Slash Fixer – If you used my recommended permalinks structure this will add a trailing slash in the URLs if its missing.

9.) Google Analytics: For those that don’t know, Google Analytics (or any other analytics service you might use) allows you to see how many visitors come to your site, what pages they visit, how long they stay and much much more. You may want to do add your analytics code earlier in the process but if you have a theme or plugin that can post your analytics code site wide then it’s fine to wait until the rest of your site structure is setup. To register your site go to Google Analytics and they will walk you through the process.

10.) Webmaster Tools: Submit your site to Google and Bing Webmaster tools (which now covers Yahoo). They have solid instructions in both Bing and Google so I won’t explain this step by step. Depending on the XML sitemap plugin you choose the instructions will also vary slightly. My only other point would be to do this as soon as your site structure is setup if you want the SERP’s to start indexing your pages. I once forgot to do this for two months and couldn’t figure out why a lot of my pages and links weren’t showing up. The data you get from using these tools is also crucial.