Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Homework Blog

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Customer Profile please i need it before 21 of may very imporatant please hel sent to Homework Specialists on 17 May 2005 at 11:12pm

uday

Location: irving, Texas
Status Now: Offline
(3 Accepts/6 Questions) Time Left: 14 hours and 4 minutes Status: Awaiting Specialist Reply Priority: High Value: $50

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Assignment Type: Individual Project Due Date: 5/21/2005
Points Possible: 125 Project Duration: will vary
Deliverable Length: 5-6 slides with notes

In the last unit, you outlined your strategies for your new business. In this project, you will develop a PowerPoint presentation about the management of human resources in your business.

You will be preparing a presentation for the business consultant that your have hired to help you in starting your business. The goal of presentation is to outline your plans for managing the human resources in your business. Your slides should be limited to bullet points and visuals, but you should include complete talking points in the notes section of the presentation.

Outline the following items in your presentation:

Your forecast of employees
Recruiting and selection methods that you will use
How you plan to train and appraise your employees
How you plan to compensate your employees
Organization Chart

this is the three employess and what they do, Hiring three employees, I will prepare for the Customers. I will train the employees in food preparation and how to handle customers. Before the Grand opening, we will have a couple of “dry runs”; to practice Customer Service and make sure the food quality is the best.

Assignment Type: Discussion Board Due Date: 5/21/2005
Points Possible: 90 Project Duration: will vary
Deliverable Length: 3-4 paragraphs

you developed a summary of the planning and organizing components of your human resources management. Think about the directing and controlling aspects of implementing your human resources strategy. How are directing and controlling part of a manager's job? How will directing and controlling affect the successful implementation of your strategy



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Google Adwords Blog

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Google Adwords Blog
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AdWords is Google's branded P4P service. This offering classifies Google as part Pay per click (PPC) Search engine. The service places relevant text-based ads both within Google, termed "sponsored links", and on external sites willing to host Google ads, termed "Ads By Gooooooooooogle." These external sites are those that use AdSense, the other side of the Google advertising model. Companies wishing to promote their products or services can enroll in this program. The biggest competitors are Espotting, and Overture owned by Yahoo!.

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Legal Context
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The service has generated lawsuits in the area of trademark law. Several lawsuits [1] (http://www.linksandlaw.com/adwords-pendinglawsuits.htm) are apparently pending over trademark infringement.

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Interacting With Adwords
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The ads are displayed on the right hand side of the natural search results. The Ads are pure text, and thus difficult to block. However, on external sites, they are hosted within an IFRAME tag, making them easy to remove with advertisement blockers like the Mozilla extension Adblock.

VOIP Blog

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VOIP (Voice over IP) Blog
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Voice over IP (also called VoIP, IP Telephony, and Internet telephony) is technology enabling routing of voice conversations over the Internet or any other IP network. The voice data flows over a general-purpose packet-switched network, instead of the traditional dedicated, circuit-switched voice transmission lines.

This arrangement has several advantages over traditional telephony:

Freer innovation. Innovation progresses at market rates rather than the slow pace of the multilateral International Telecommunications Union (ITU) committee process, resulting in more new advanced features.
Lower per-call costs. Once a network connection is in place, a phone call may have no additional charge.
Lower infrastructure costs. VoIP reduces the traditional scheme—two separate wiring systems, one for voice and one for network—to a single connection.
Stability. A higher degree of reliability and resilience may be possible as network reliability improves.
"Future proof" hardware. Since functionality is software (protocol) based.
Protocols used to carry voice signals over the IP network are commonly referred to as Voice over IP or VoIP protocols.

Voice over IP traffic may be deployed on any IP network, including ones lacking an internet connection, for instance on a building-wide LAN without an internet connection.

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Corporate and telco use of VoIP
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Although few office environments and even fewer homes use a pure VoIP infrastructure, telecommunications providers routinely use IP telephony, often over a dedicated IP network, to connect switching stations, converting voice signals to IP packets and back. The result is a data-abstracted digital network which the provider can easily upgrade and use for multiple purposes. Corporate customer telephone support often use IP telephony exclusively to take advantage of the data abstraction. The benefit of using this technology is the need for only one class of circuit connection and better bandwidth use. IP telephony is commonly used to route traffic starting and ending at conventional PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) telephones. VoIP is widely employed by carriers, especially for international telephone calls. Electronic Numbering (Enum) uses standard phone numbers (E.164), but allows connections entirely over the Internet. If the other party uses Enum, the only expense is the Internet connection. Companies can acquire their own gateways, eliminating third-party costs — worthwhile in some situations.

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Implementation challenges
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Because IP does not provide any mechanism to ensure that data packets are delivered in sequential order, or provide any Quality of Service guarantees, VoIP implementations may face problems dealing with latency and data integrity.

A central challenge for VoIP implementers is restructuring streams of received IP packets, which can come in any order and have packets missing, to ensure that the ensuing audio stream maintains a proper time consistency. To help with this, the network provider can ensure that there is enough end-to-end bandwidth to guarantee low-latency, high quality voice. This is trivial in private networks, but very difficult with less than 256 kbit/s bandwith without a fragmentation mechanism.

Another main challenge is routing VoIP traffic to traverse firewalls and NAT. Intermediary devices called Session Border Controllers are often used to achieve this, though some proprietary systems such as Skype traverse firewall and NAT without a SBC.

Keeping packet latency acceptable on satellite circuits can also be a problem, simply due to transmission distances.

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VoIP protocols
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In the overwhelming majority of implementations, RTP is used to transmit VoIP traffic ("media"). The notable exception is IAX which carries both signaling and voice data over a UDP stream, which eases firewall and NAT traversal.

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Signaling protocols:
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Session Initiation Protocol (SIP)
an IETF newcomer gaining popularity
H.323
the ITU's widely deployed and continually updated VoIP protocol carrying billions of minutes of traffic each month
Skinny Client Control Protocol
proprietary protocol from Cisco
Megaco (a.k.a. H.248) and MGCP
both media gateway control protocols
MiNET
proprietary protocol from Mitel
IAX
the Inter-Asterisk eXchange protocol used by the Asterisk open source PBX server and associated client software
Several different speech codecs can be used for stream audio compression. Commonly used codecs for VoIP traffic include G.711 and G.729, both ITU-T-specified codecs.

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Mass-market telephony over broadband Internet access
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A new development has been the introduction of mass-market VoIP services over broadband Internet access services, in which subscribers make and receive calls as they would over the PSTN. This requires an analog telephone adapter (ATA) to connect a telephone to the broadband Internet connection. Companies in the US, such as 1TouchTone, Broadvoice, Comcast, Verizon, Vonage, VoicePulse, Packet8 and SunRocket, use IP to offer unlimited calling to the US, and sometimes to Canada or to selected countries in Europe or Asia, for a flat monthly fee. One advantage of this is the ability to make and receive calls as one would at home, anywhere in the world, at no extra cost. As calls go via IP, this does not incur charges as call diversion does via the PSTN, and the called party does not have to pay for the call.

For example, somebody may call someone on a number with a US area code, but one could be in London, and if someone were to call another number with that area code, it would be treated as a local call, regardless of where that person is in the world. However, the broadband phone is likely to complement, rather than replace a PSTN line, as it still needs a power supply, while calling the US emergency services number 911, may not automatically be routed to the nearest local emergency dispatch center, or be of any use for subscribers outside the US.

Another challenge for these services is the proper handling of outgoing calls from fax machines, TiVo/ReplayTV boxes, satellite television receivers, alarm systems, conventional modems or FAXmodems, and other similar devices that depend on access to a voice-grade telephone line for some or all of their functionality. At present, these types of calls sometimes go through without a hitch, but in other cases they won't go through at all. And in some cases, this equipment can be made to work over a VoIP connection if the sending speed can be changed to a lower bits per second rate. If VoIP and cellular substitution becomes very popular, some ancillary equipment makers may be forced to redesign equipment, because it would no longer be possible to assume a conventional voice-grade telephone line would be available in almost all homes in North America and Western-Europe. The TestYourVoIP website offers a free service to test the quality of or diagnose an Internet connection by placing simulated VoIP calls from any Java-enabled Web browser, or from any phone or VoIP device capable of calling the PSTN network.

There is also a free service called Free World Dialup (FWD), that permits users to make free telephone calls to other FWD users, although has only limited connections to and from the public switched telephone network.

Scottish Hotel Blog

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Scottish Hotel Blog
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The Isle of Ericka Hotel, located on an island in Scotland two hours from Glasgow, has its own blog.

The hotel is family owned, has its own golf course, and some nights, a piper play bagpipes outside the hotel as guests get ready for dinner.

This looks like a first class hotel, however, what really hooks us is the hotel blog. The blog is written in a personal voice and covers everything from the first rhubarb, fireside storytelling, and even a touching bit on the recent passing of the hotelier's father. No doubt reading this blog makes you feel like you know the Buchanan-Smith family, and it makes us want to cross the pond to spend a weekend at the families hotel.

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Isle Of Eriska Hotel
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A hotel with its own blog? The Isle of Erika Hotel is located on an island in Scotland two hours from Glasgow. The hotel is a family affair owned by two brothers who bought the hotel from their parents. The blog is a completely endearing read, detailing moments that are simple such as the first rhubarb of the season or touching such as the recent passing of the proprietor’s father. Reading the blog will make you want to dash over and spend a week with the charming Buchanan-Smith family.

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It's own blog.
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Wapiti?

This morning as I walked through the hall after breakfast I noticed that one of our guests appeared perplexed. On questioning her, hoping that I could help improve the situation she explained that yesterday she had almost completed the crossword but had been foxed by one clue and on receiving today's paper and the enclosed answer she was no less perplexed.

She asked if I knew what a Wapiti was- wrong person I immediately suggested then I realized that in the past not only would she have asked my Father but he would have been able to answer the question for her-not always with an answer which was either relevant or correct but always one which either set her mind at rest or changed her thoughts to a less stressful subject. I opted to quickly depart!

Some 30 minutes later i was visiting my mother who had laid out some items of my late father for me to pass judgment on- there on the top was a suede tie, not normal attire for my father, so I picked it up- Then as though passing a message to me, I noticed the motif on the tie of a stag like creature and the the caption "Wapiti". I quickly excused myself and returned to the hotel and one of the wildlife books- There it was Wapiti- North American Deer like Elk from the Indian word for pale tail.

Pleased with my new knowledge I passed the information on to the perplexed guest who seemed glad! So That's what a Wapiti is?

Star Wars at Eriska

With the news, television and radio all smothered with the news of the latest "Star wars" release it is not surprising that we are starting to imagine seeing things connected to the Jedi Knights and Sith warriors. So I was unphased when someone rushed into the hotel announcing that he had spotted a pod in the garden. On further investigation the enclosed shot was seen. Indeed it is a new addition to the garden however it is harmeless to us and not trying to take over the world as suggested.

It is infact one of our new Midge Machines which are begining to control our midgy visitors. Whilst it will never eradicate the little beasties we do hope that it will sufficiently deplete them so as to make sitting out on a still summers evening a pleasure here at Eriska. They simpoly create a gas which attractes the midges and forces them into a sack whcih we empty every couple of days. Every midge caught is one less to bite us.

"So may the force be with them!!"

Rose of Argyll back at Sea

Some 20 years ago my father was at the launch of a small vessel from Donnie Currie's boat yard in Oban. It was build for John Yeoman of Foster Yeoman who created Glensanda Quarry on the Kingairloch Estate. Some 15 years later my father bought Rose of Argyll from the quarry and began to restore her to her former glory. He opted to remove the wooden wheelhouse and replaced it with a canopy so she became a true convertible of the sea!!

He replaced the huge engine with a more modest and considerably quieter diesel engine which still allowed sufficient power for use around Eriska and he devoted much time and effort into restoring the varnished interior and running lines. Last year both my parents had a huge amount of fun from her so when my father passed away earlier this year we had to decide what we should do with her.

In truth it was not a difficult decision as Chay has stepped up to the plate and taken on the mantle this year. So water preparations complete Rose returned to the Loch this weekend and she enjoyed her first outing to the local Grieg Isles for a picnic lunch. Only now does it seem ridiculous that although we were surrounded by water we managed without boats for nearly 5 years, but now that she is back we know what we were missing in the enjoyment, fun and memories she gives us every time we are out aboard her.

Les's weather WC16th May
Congratulations again Les 100% spot on last week and what a glorious week it was. Scotland truly at its very best with sunshine light breeze and perfect weather for golf.

There is almost no point continuing the competition with the BBC as it seems too easy to win!!


So whats ahead for the next 7 days:


Well the fine weather will continue with the High pressure in charge all week.


Monday will see a little cloud and rain showers coming from the North so keep an eye out if you are going walking on the island and if it look like rain wait an hour and it will pass and the dry spell will return.

Tuesday will be similar to Monday but maybe a few more showers but brighter from tea time onwards.

Wednesday will be warm and sunny

Thursday, Friday and Saturday all look like days for plenty of sunscreen so bring a straw hat if your are heading west later in the week.

Construction continues

It has been a great week on our construction site. The building has almost overnight taken shape. Peter and Colin have completed the mid walls which separate each house for both sound and fire reasons, the joinery team have erected the shell and hoisted the joists into place, covered them with sheeting and felt and left them ready for Peter Pollock the roofer to start tiling.

The new schedule is to complete the brickwork by the end of next week and then start painting the external block work. The joinery team should complete the internals of the first unit by Friday and then our tiler should arrive and tile the floors whilst the plumber and electrician work behind him. That will leave the taper to come in on the 21st and then a mad dash to paint and gain a completion certificate by the end of the month.

this is out third staff building in three years and each one we have used different methods, the first we constructed some parts on site and bought in others, the second we constructed totally on site ourselves and this final block we have used Scotframe, a firm who built my Brother Chay's house some 6 years ago. The kit arrives leaving the erection to our contractors, everything is ready to go right down to the door furniture being easily assembled. there were three reasons for using this method, firstly speed- it takes time for our joiners to build frames and they have been in high demand, secondly control, Scotframe kits are supplied with just the right amount of nails, plasterboard and timber leaving little waste, and thirdly and finally due to the speed and lack of wast we hope to be able to save money by overseeing the project ourselves whilst controlling the quality of the job. Hopefully time will prove us right!

Bluebell Carpet

Eriska will soon be covered in a carpet of blue, when the bluebells start to flower. Some things you may not know about this lovely plant are that Britain hosts over 20 per cent of the world’s bluebell population and the Elizabethans used to grind the bulbs and stems into a glue and starch paste to stiffen the fluted ruffs worn by them, to help bind books and to fix feathers into the ends of arrow shafts.

Also, if a cow grazes on bluebells she will dry up as the toxins in the leaves will affect her milk. These toxins are similar to those found in the foxglove.

So the next time you look at the humble bluebell, just stop and think.

Emerging Nine Hole Golf Course

Ten years ago we started to create a golf facility here at Eriska. Stage one was to create a 9 hole pitch and put , stage two was to convert this to a 6 hole par 22 course, followed by the addition of a teaching academy and driving range.

The final stage is to be the completion of a further 3 holes bringing the course to a 9 hole par 35 course, with two sets of tees allowing 18 holes on one of the most picturesque courses in Britain. The Millennium our initial target came and went and now our attention has returned to the course. Howard Swan the designer has been extremely patient but knows that one day we will succeed but it will take time for the course to form and create itself and hence we have called it an "Emerging Golf Course" .

However Duaine has taken this more literally than Howard and today managed to position his Tractor and Grasscutter sub the golf course so here you can see Ian from R McColl rescuing Duaine and his emerging tractor.!!!!!

Out of the Ground

Another couple of dry days and we are out of the ground and the worst part of the construction is behind us. The floors have been poured and Peter has started the dividing walls between each house.

The kit has arrived on site on a huge lorry and we will start tomorrow with the erection of it and hope that all our mneasurements are correct. The wall palte will take out any rough areas, then the frame will be erected and the trusses passed up onto the roof. Once the trusses are upright and in place they will be braced and the roof sheeting will be nailed on and from then on the houses will begin to take shape and we will get a real idea of what they will look like.

Broadband throughout -

It has taken us about 8 weeks to complete but not because we were ripping up floors or rewiting walls. Nearly two months ago we had an inspection to see the potential of offering a free internet access to the guests at the hotel. having waited a year to get broadband to Eriska I was determined not to take the same legnth of time to get it from the office to the rooms.

Stage one was to find out if we could offer it through the power supply and then satge two was to find out where we would need to access the power grid in order to reach all the outlets. this was achieved by wandering aimlessly around with a laptop and testinmg variuos outlets and input options. Finally 4 weeks ago we established a network through the mains supply in the main house however gaining a signal in the Stables and the Spa Suites was more tricky.

Today we finally established a wireless bridge and our offices and the Spa Suites gained immediate access to the wonderful worlds of the internet. Its amazing the diffence in speed and resopnse time and it will be fascinating to see how many guests use the service and take advantage of the costless activity. Already we have caused a few marital difficulties whn a guest got in trouble for staying in his room on Saturday afternoon in order to fiollow his football team on the radio through the internet link.

"You can't please all of the people all of the time!" - But it was worth a try.

A comfortable View of the Crannog
One of the disadvantages of living and working in the same place is that its hard to escape however it also can be an advantage as you can quickly leave work and be in a different world and so it was today. I try if possible to walk round the tracks on the island at least once a week, it allows me to check whats going on, gives Dibley a walk and me a little bit of exercises. Well that's the idea but in reality it also gives me space to think and relax.

As I was wandering aimlessly along the shore I came across a seat which someone had obviously rescued from the sea to let them sit and admire the view without getting a damp posterior. The view was out towards the centre of the channel which separates Eriska from the mainland and the Crannog. The Crannog is a pile of stones which are the remains of an ancient dwelling which would have been on stilts amid the water to help offer protection.

No sooner had I turned to see what they had been admiring than Dibley the Shared Labrador had grabbed the seat, before me, in order to keep his rear dry!! I must learn to be quicker.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Travel Blog

Travel Blog

Agra and the world’s most famous tomb


Fatehpur Sikri is only 37 km away from Agra, so we thought the bus ride would be no problem. Far from that! We had to take a minibus, there was no other means of public transport available. Our luggage was safely stored in a separate compartment and when we got in and took our seats, we knew why: there was absolutely no space inside. Mind you, the seats were so small that even Klaudia’s knees touched the back of the front seat, and she really isn’t very tall. Stephan called it a shrunk bus and was wondering whether we were not riding on a recycled school bus. This trip was the most uncomfortable one so far, the streets inside Agra were so full of potholes that you could no longer see any tar and are a real shame for a city housing the world’s most famous building (according to our guidebook). Already on our way from Barathpur we had got a foretaste of this driving from the railway station to the bus stand, had disliked it then and did not like it any better today. We wanted to stay in a hotel close to the Taj Mahal and really got a room there, how exciting to sleep in the vicinity of such a famous monument, furthermore at reasonable prices. What attracted us most at the place was its lush garden, where you could sit until late in the evening if the mosquitoes did not eat you up before. One day, we met a French-speaking family there, it turned out she was French, he was Tunisian and they were living with their two kids in Cairo. We sat with them and had a long interesting chat, it is so nice to meet people of different walks of life when travelling!

The Taj Mahal
Taj Mahal complex Full Image
On both sides of the tomb you can see two identical red sandstone buildings, one of them a mosque, the other a replica used for symmetry reasons as well as the Red Fort lie by the Yamuna River, and in our typical European point of view we thought the surrounding districts to be posh, but this is India and it was not a residential area at all. Close to the Taj there was a commercial street, very busy and crowded, driving there in an auto-rickshaw was a nightmarish experience, walking even more so. Although we had arrived early in the afternoon, we did not visit the Taj Mahal the same afternoon because the sky was whitish and Stephan’s honour as a photographer would not allow the famous Taj in such a sky. Klaudia needed a rest because she was still weak and Stephan went to explore the surroundings. He walked alongside the eastern side and spotted many stone cutters, who were busy repairing the outer wall. Unlike in the South they did not use any machines for the initial stages, one could watch the guys chiselling away chunks of red sandstone until the slates were approximately flat. Close to the river there was a gate with a turnstile leading down to the river and a small temple with several steps leading into the water, a typical ghat where people would gather for bathing and washing the laundry. From there you already had a nice view of the backside of the Taj Mahal and following a small footpath it got even better as you approached the building. The view from there was stunning but the filth was repelling. The riverbank by the Taj Mahal was unbelievably dirty, a real shame for the city of Agra, where foreign tourists leave so much money every day. You pay the usual 250 Rupees (ca. EUR 5) which go to the Archaeological Survey of India and they really do good work with
Corner building Full Image
All buildings around the tomb as well as the outer wall are of red sdandstonethe money, the monuments are clean and the parks and gardens are nicely kept. You have to pay additional 500 Rupees as a toll tax, which go to the city of Agra and they definitely do not use the money in an appropriate way. With the sum foreign tourists pay every day, they could easily employ several guys to clean the riverside.

Next day we were up early and went to see the Taj Mahal, we hoped for blue sky so that the photographer could take good pictures. Stephan is perfectly aware of our readers’ expectations and he was quite stressed to live up to these. In spite of the very early hour there were already many visitors around and it was practically impossible to photograph the Taj Mahal without people around or with just the person you wanted to. The beauty of the complex does not only stem from the stunning building of white marble with intricate stone inlays, but is also due to the fine Muslim garden. In the Koran the garden is repeatedly seen as a symbol of paradise, the old Persian word pairidaeza even means garden. Muslims venerate water, without which plants will not grow, this is the more understandable as Islam was born in the deserts of Arabia. The “charbagh” (= quartered garden) is typically Moghul, its idea originates in the four main rivers of paradise (water, milk, wine and purified honey). This concept was also applied in the Taj Mahal, the charbagh is separated by watercourses originating from the central pool and the quarters are furthermore divided into 16 flowerbeds, making a total of 64. It is well kept nowadays but is nothing compared with its former glory. Due to the water shortage, most of the channels remain dry and offer a rather sordid sight.
Detail of corner building Full Image
Beautiful white marble linings as well as lovely stone carvings and a fine jali screenThe Taj Mahal is definitely a sublime building, but we have to admit that we were not as awe-struck by it as many other visitors. Maybe this due to the fact that we have seen so many wonderful buildings in India before or maybe our expectations were just too high.

We still had plenty of time that day as we had started very early and took a bicycle-rickshaw to Agra's second famous monument, the Red Fort. It is already visible from the Taj Mahal, you can get a glimpse of the massive walls of red sandstone. There are solid fortifications with a heavy exterior gate and a still working draw-bridge, it must not have been easy to conquer it. If an aggressor managed to get through the outer gate they would have to make a right hand turn and thereby expose their flank to the defenders on the inner wall. The inner gate is a good example for the fort's defensive power and is flanked by two massive towers, but has been attractively decorated with tiles. The Red Fort covers a huge area and is endowed with the known buildings, like Hall of Public and Private Audience, you can see an interesting throne as well and a small private mosque, several towers in the bastion can be visited, in one of them the emperor even had his bedroom due to the coolness, in one of the courts we found a very nice garden with interesting display of water. The buildings were in a very good state and the stone carvings and inlay works absolutely amazing. We liked it much better than the Red Fort in Delhi, if you are short of time you can skip the Delhi monument, but do not miss the one in Agra!

It was still early afternoon, the
Main building Full Image
The first glimpse you get of the Taj Mahal is incomplete, its grandeur is only slowly revealedweather was wonderful (nice blue sky for top pictures) and we were feeling good, so we hired a taxi for the last of Agra's three great monuments, the I'timad-ud-Daulah, sometimes called "Baby Taj". The rickshaw took us to the east bank of the river, through horrible streets, once we passed a bridge so full of potholes (!) that we could hardly advance. We were glad to get off the rickshaw and to walk again, this way we felt much safer. This mausoleum is the least visited monument in Agra, though it does not deserve this nor the slightly pejorative sobriquet. It set a startling precedent as the first Moghul building (1678) to be faced with white marble inlaid with contrasting stones. Unlike the Taj, it is small, intimate and has a gentle serenity. Repair works constantly go on and we watched the inlay work being performed, really fascinating. We spent quite a long time in the nice garden and admired the exquisite stone inlays or watched kites feeding their chicks in the nest. When you are in Agra, please do not miss it, it left a strong impression on us.

We had visited three impressive monuments that day, but we were still not tired of culture and Klaudia was again feeling fit. She was tired, though, and Stephan had to convince her to make another stop. He had in mind a romantic walk on the riverbank at the backside of the Taj Mahal. We arrived there without any problems and were there almost on our own. The light was perfect and finally Stephan could take the fabulous pictures everybody awaited. It was really marvellous though it was not as romantic as Klaudia had hoped, the riverside was too dirty and we were disturbed by a boy who absolutely wanted us to
Tomb with minarets Full Image
In the next step, the minarets become visibletake a picture of the Taj Mahal with a camel, what a strange idea. Still we were glad to have seen the Taj Mahal from this side, too.

So a long day ended, once again we were exhausted but we had seen beautiful buildings and were again ready for new adventures after Klaudia's illness. Agra's monuments are fantastic but we disliked the industrial, chaotic and dirty city lacking of atmosphere. Next day, we headed towards Khajuraho with several stops in between, the first one at Gwalior.

About Blog

About Blog

A weblog (usually shortened to blog, but occasionally spelled web log) is a web application presented as a webpage consisting of periodic posts, normally in reverse chronological order. The term blog came into common use as a way of avoiding confusion with the term server log.

Blogs run from individual diaries to arms of political campaigns, media programs and corporations, and from the writing of one occasional author to the collaboration of a large community of writers. Many weblogs enable visitors to leave public comments, which can lead to a community of readers centered around the blog; others are non-interactive. The totality of weblogs or blog-related websites is often called the blogosphere. When a large amount of activity, information and opinion erupts around a particular subject or controversy in the blogosphere, it is sometimes called a blogstorm or blog swarm.

The format of weblogs varies, from simple bullet lists of hyperlinks, to article summaries with user-provided comments and ratings. Individual weblog entries are almost always date and time-stamped, with the newest post at the top of the page, and reader comments often appearing below it. Because links are so important to weblogs, most blogs have a way of archiving older entries and generating a static address for individual entries; this static link is referred to as a permalink. The latest headlines, with hyperlinks and summaries, are offered in weblogs in the RSS or Atom XML format, to be read with a feed reader.

A weblog is edited, organized and published often through a content management system or CMS.

History

Precursors
Electronic communities existed before internetworking. For example the AP wire was, in effect, similar to a large chat room where there were "wire fights" and electronic conversations. Another pre-digital electronic community Amateur (or "ham") radio allowed individuals who set up their own broadcast equipment to communicate with others directly. Ham radio also had logs called "glogs" that were personal diaries made using wearable computers in the early 1980s.
Before blogging became popular, digital communities took many forms, including Usenet, email lists and bulletin boards. In the 1990s Internet forum software, such as WebX, created running conversations with threads. Many of the terms from weblogging were created in these earlier media.
Diarists kept journals on the internet: some called themselves escribitionists. A notable example was game programmer John Carmark's widely read journal, published via the finger protocol.
For example, "troll," a term for a person who disrupts a discussion by posting messages to trick other users into reacting in hostility or aggravation, dates back to Usenet. "Thread," in reference to consecutive messages on one specific topic of discussion, comes from email lists and Usenet as well, and "to post" from electronic bulletin boards, borrowing usage directly from their corkboard predecessors.

Blogging begins
Blogging combined the personal web page with tools to make linking to other pages easier, specifically blogrolls and TrackBacks, as well as comments and afterthoughts. This way, instead of a few people being in control of threads on a forum, or anyone able to start threads on a list, there was a moderating effect that was the personality of the weblog's owner.

The term "weblog" was coined by Jorn Barger in December 1997. The shorter version, "blog," was coined by Peter Merholz, who, in April or May of 1999, broke the word weblog into the phrase "we blog" in the sidebar of his weblog [1] (http://www.peterme.com/archives/00000205.html). This was interpreted as a short form of the noun [2] (http://www.bradlands.com/weblog/1999-09.shtml#September%2010,%201999) and also as a verb, to blog, meaning "to edit one's weblog or a post to one's weblog." Usage spread during 1999, with the word being further popularized by the near-simultaneous arrival of the first hosted weblog tools: Evan Williams and Meg Hourihan's company Pyra Labs launched Blogger (which was purchased by Google in 2004) and Paul Kedrosky's GrokSoup. As of March 2003, the Oxford English Dictionary included the terms weblog, weblogging and weblogger in their dictionary. [3] (http://www.oed.com/help/updates/motswana-mussy.html)

One of the pioneers of the tools that make blogging more than merely websites that scroll is Dave Winer. One of his most important contributions was the creation of servers which weblogs would ping to show that they had updated. Blog reading utilities, such as Blogrolling [4] (http://www.blogrolling.com/), use the aggregated update data to show a user when their favorite blogs have new posts.

Blogging's rise to influence
After the September 11, 2001 attacks, many blogs which supported the U.S. "War On Terrorism" quickly gained readership among a public searching for information to understand that event; many new blogs in the same genre sprang up in this environment. By 2002, many of these were supporting the policy of an invasion of Iraq to remove Saddam Hussein from power (based on U.S. policy since 1998) and eliminate supposed stockpiles of WMDs. These "war bloggers" came primarily, though not exclusively, from the right side of the political spectrum, and included Instapundit. The term was later broadened to include all bloggers whose focus was the war in Iraq, which spread representation across the political spectrum. By the spring of 2003, Forbes Magazine used "war blogger" in this larger sense when listing the "best warblogs."

The first blog-driven controversy was probably the fall of Trent Lott, who had remarked, at a party honoring Strom Thurmond, that Thurmond's leadership abilities may have made him a good president. Since Thurmond had spent much of his early political career sympathetic to white-supremacists, Lott's statements were conveyed in the media to be racist. In the aftermath, bloggers such as Josh Marshall strove to demonstrate that his remarks were not an isolated misstatement, by finding evidence including quotes from other previous speeches of Lott's which were taken to be racist—their efforts kept the story "alive" in the press until a critical mass of disapproval forced Lott to resign his position as Senate Majority Leader.

By this point blogging was enough of a phenomenon that how-to manuals had begun to appear, primarily focusing on using the tools, or creating content. But the importance of a blog as a way of building an electronic community had also been written on, as had the potential for blogs as a means of publicizing other projects. Established schools of journalism began researching the blogging phenomenon, and noting the differences between current practice of journalism and blogging.

Since 2003, weblogs have gained increasing notice and coverage for their role in breaking, shaping or spinning news stories. One of the most significant events was the sudden emergence of an interest in the Iraq war, which saw both left-wing and right-wing bloggers taking measured and passionate points of view that did not reflect the traditional left-right divide. The blogs which gathered news on Iraq, both left and right, exploded in popularity, and Forbes magazine covered the phenomenon. The use of blogs by established politicians and political candidates—particularly Howard Dean and Wesley Clark—to express opinions on the war and other issues of the day, cemented their role as a news source. Meanwhile, the increasing number of experts who blogged, such as Daniel Drezner and J. Bradford DeLong, gave blogs a built-in source of in-depth analysis.

The Iraq war was the first "blog war" in another way: bloggers in Baghdad gained wider readership, and one (Salam Pax) published a book of his blog. Blogs also arose amongst soldiers serving in the Iraq war. Such milblogs have given readers a new perspective on the realities of war. Reading the thoughts of people who were "on the spot" provided a counterpoint, if not a counterweight, to official news sources. Blogs were often used to draw attention to obscure news sources, for example posting links to the traffic cameras in Madrid as a huge anti-terrorism demonstration filled the streets in the wake of the M11 attacks. Bloggers would often provide nearly instant commentary on televised events, which became a secondary meaning of the word "blogging," such as "I am blogging Rice's testimony," i.e., "I am posting my reactions to Rice's testimony to my blog as I watch it."

By the end of 2003 top rated blogs Instapundit, Daily Kos and Atrios were receiving over 75,000 unique visitors per day.

Blogging goes mainstream
In 2004, the role of blogs became increasingly mainstream, as political consultants, news services and candidates began using them as tools for outreach and opinion formation. Even politicians not actively involved in a campaign such as Tom Watson, a UK Labour Party MP, began to use blogging as a means for creating a bond with constituents and creating a channel for their ideas and opinions. Minnesota Public Radio broadcast a program by Christopher Lydon and Matt Stoller called "The Blogging of the President," which covered the transformation in politics that blogging seemed to presage. The Columbia Journalism Review began regular coverage of blogs and blogging. Anthologies of blog pieces began to reach print, and blogging personalities began appearing on radio and television. In the summer of that year both the Democratic and Republican National Conventions credentialed bloggers, and blogs became a standard part of the publicity arsenal, with mainstream programs, such as Chris Matthews' Hardball, forming their own blogs. Merriam-Webster's Dictionary declared 'blog' as the word of the year in 2004. (Wikinews (http://en.wikinews.org/wiki/Blog_declared_Word_of_the_Year))

Blogs were some of the driving forces behind the "Rathergate" scandal involving Dan Rather of CBS and some memos used on the show 60 Minutes II. Within 72 hours a coordinated group of bloggers had built a case that they were likely forgeries. The evidence presented eventually created such concern over the issue that CBS was forced to address the situation and make an apology for their inadequate reporting techniques. This is viewed by many bloggers as the point of blogs' acceptance by the mass media as a source of news. It also showed how blogs could keep the pressure on an established news source, forcing defenses and then a retraction of the original story.

Blogging is also used now to break consumer complaints and vulnerabilities of products, in the way that Usenet and email lists once were. One such example is the vulnerability of Kryptonite 2000 locks.

Bloggers have also moved over to other media. Atrios, Glenn Reynolds and Markos Moulitsas Zúniga appear on the radio, and Ana Marie Cox, better known as Wonkette, appears on television. Hugh Hewitt is an example of a media personality who has moved in the other direction, adding to his reach in "old media" by being an influential blogger.

In January 2005, Fortune magazine listed Peter Rojas, Xeni Jardin, Ben Trott and Mena Trott, Jonathan Schwartz, Jason Goldman, Robert Scoble, and Jason Calacanis as eight bloggers that business people "could not ignore."

Blogging and culture
Blogging however, was as much about technology as politics, and the proliferation of tools to run blogs and the communities around them connected blogging with the Open Source movement. Writers such as Larry Lessig and David Weinberger used their blogs to promote not just blogging in specific, but different social models in general. One of the running discussions within journalism and blogging is what "blogging" means for the way news "happens" and is covered. This leads to questions over intellectual property and the role of the mass media in society. Many bloggers differentiate themselves from the mainstream media, while others are members of that media working through a different channel.

Many bloggers have large agendas, and see blogging as part of Open Source Politics, or the ability of people to participate more directly in politics, helping to frame the debate (See George Lakoff). Whereas institutions see blogging as a means of "getting around the filter" and pushing message directly to the public.

Creating and publishing weblogs
Since their introduction, a number of software packages have appeared to allow people to create their own weblog. Blog hosting sites and Web services to provide editing via the Web have proliferated. Common examples include GreatestJournal, Pitas, Blogger, LiveJournal and Xanga.

Many more advanced bloggers prefer to generate their blogs by using server-side software tools such as Nucleus CMS, Movable Type, bBlog, WordPress, b2evolution, boastMachine and Serendipity to publish on their own Web site or a third party site, or to host a group of blogs for a company or school. Such programs provide greater flexibility and power, but require more knowledge. If they provide a Web interface for editing, server-based systems make it easy for travelers to create and edit text; many travelers like to produce their travelblogs from Internet cafes while they travel around the globe.

In addition, some people program their own blogs from scratch by using PHP, CGI, or other server side software. While these are much more difficult to create, they add a maximum potential for creativity.

Two features which are common to blogging are "blogrolls" and "commenting" or "feedback."

A blogroll is a list of other blogs that are linked separately from any article. This is one means by which a blogger creates a context for his blog, by listing other blogs that are similar to his/her own, or blogs the blogger thinks may be of relevance to users. It is also used as measure of the number of citations a blog has, and is used to rank "blog authority" in a manner similar to the way that Google uses hard coded HTML linking to create "page rank." Still another use of the "blogroll" is reciprocal linking: bloggers agree to link to each other, or link to another blog in hopes of getting a link in return.

Another central, and sometimes controversial, aspect of blogging is the use of a feedback comment systems. A comment system allows users to post their own comments on an article or "thread." Some blogs do not have comments, or have a closed commenting system which requires approval from those running the blog. For other bloggers, including several very prominent ones, comments are the crucial feature which distinguishes a "true" blog from other kinds of blogs. Commenting can either be built into the software, or added by using a service such as HaloScan. If a blog has regular commenters, this is referred to as the blog's community.

Tools such as Ecto (http://www.kung-foo.tv/ecto/) and w.bloggar (http://wbloggar.com/) allow users to maintain their Web hosted blog without the need to be online while composing or editing posts. Enhancements to weblog technology continue to be developed, such as the TrackBack feature introduced by Movable Type in 2002 and subsequently adopted by other software companies (e.g., Userland (http://backend.userland.com/trackback)) to enable automatic notification between websites of related content—such as a post on a particular topic or one which responds to a post on another blog [5] (http://www.movabletype.org/trackback/beginners/). bBlog has gone as far as implementing threaded trackbacks on comments, and comments on trackbacks.

Blogs with features such as TrackBack are credited with complicating search engine page ranking techniques [6] (http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/6/33366.html) [7] (http://www.sixapart.com/log/2003/10/its_all_about_c.shtml). Integrating these into search engines has proven to be a challenge, and has been used to deliberately "push" page rankings. However, as one Google executive remarked, it is the search engine's job to find the ways that a website represents a "vote" for another website.

Web hosting companies and online publications also provide blog creation tools, such as Salon (http://www.salon.com/blogs), Tripod (http://www.tripod.com/), Bravenet (http://www.bravenet.com/) and America Online (http://hometown.aol.com/), which calls its subscriber blogs "journals."

Types of weblogs
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Personal
Often, the word blog is used to describe an online diary or journal, such as LiveJournal. The weblog format of an online diary makes it possible for users without much experience to create, format, and post entries with ease. People write their day-to-day experiences, complaints, poems, prose, illicit thoughts and more, often allowing others to contribute, fulfilling to a certain extent Tim Berners-Lee's original view of the World Wide Web as a collaborative medium. In 2001, mainstream awareness of online diaries began to increase dramatically.

Online diaries are integrated into the daily lives of many teenagers and college students, with communications between friends playing out over their blogs. Even fights may be posted in the diaries, with not-so-veiled insults of each other easily readable by all their friends, enemies, and complete strangers.

Thoughtful
Where a personal weblog is primarily concerned with daily life and events, and many topical weblogs focus on some technical topic, weblogs in the "thoughtful" category present an individual's (or a small group's) thoughts on whatever subject comes to hand; not necessarily the latest computer technology or the latest political scandal, but typically less contingent and more philosophical subjects. Thoughtful weblogs of course blur into personal weblogs on one side and topical or political ones on the other, but are distinct enough to constitute a category of their own.

FriendBlog
A FriendBlog is a distributed networked journal on the web, composed of short, frequently updated posts written by friends connected through their similar interests. The author allows his FriendBlog to connect to other FriendBlogs, belonging to friends and acquaintances. This creates a "chain" of blogs.

Topical
Topical blogs focus on a specific niche, often a technical one. An example is Google Blog (http://www.google.com/googleblog/), covering nothing but Google news. Another example is a soldier blog. Many blogs now allow categories, which means a general blog can be reshuffled to become a topical blog at the user's need.

News
Many weblogs provide a news digest on a certain topic, e.g., Internet in China (http://china-netinvestor.blogspot.com/), baseball (http://baseballnews.blogspot.com/), or music (http://djmonstermo.blogspot.com/) with short abstracts/summaries and links to interesting articles in the press.

Collaborative (also collective or group)
Many weblogs are written by more than one person about a specific topic. Collaborative weblogs can be open to everyone or limited to a group of people. MetaFilter is an example of this type of weblog.

Slashdot, whose status as a blog has been debated, nevertheless has a team of editors who approve and post links to technology news stories throughout the day. Although Slashdot does not refer to itself as a weblog, it shares some characteristics with weblogs.

A new form of blog involves cooperation between bloggers and traditional media sources, allowing for topics discussed on the air to find legs on the Web, and vice-versa. The first and most prominent example of this form is Lone Star Times (http://www.lonestartimes.com), which is affiliated with Houston talk-radio station KSEV.

Political
Another common kind of blog is a political blog. Often an individual will link to articles from news web sites and post their own comments as well. Many of these blogs comment on whatever interests the author. Some of them are more specialized. One subspecies is the watch blog, a blog which sets out to criticize what the author considers systematic errors or bias in an online newspaper or news site—or perhaps even by a more popular blogger.

Political blogs attracted attention because of their use by two political candidates in 2003: Howard Dean and Wesley Clark. Both gained political buzz on the Internet, and particularly among bloggers, before they were taken seriously by the establishment media as candidates. Joe Trippi, Dean's campaign manager, made the Internet a particular focus of the campaign. Both candidates stumbled in the end, but were, at one time or another, thought of as front runners for the Democratic Nomination.

In 2004, the Democrats took political blogging a major step forward by creating Blog Swarm (http://blogswarm.org) to coordinate the hypertext links of progressive blogs. This allowed one blog to drive traffic by harnessing the power of a full blog array.

Legal
Blogs that discuss law and legal affairs are often referred to as blawgs.

Directory
Directory weblogs are useful for web-surfers because they often collect numerous web sites with interesting content in an easy to use and constantly updated format. News-related weblogs can fall into this category or the previous one (political blogs).

Media
Some blogs serve as media watchdogs, reporting on falsehoods or inconsistencies that are presented as facts in the mass media. Many media blogs are focused exclusively on one newspaper or television network.

Corporate
Increasingly, employees of corporations are posting official or semi-official blogs about their work. The employers however, do not always appreciate the endeavor. In January 2005 Joe Gordon was fired from Waterstone's bookshop in Edinburgh, Scotland, because he referred to his boss as an "asshole in sandals." In 2004 Ellen Simonetti, a Delta Air Lines flight attendant, was fired for posing in uniform on her blog. Perhaps the most famous case of all occurred when "Troutgirl" Joyce Park was fired (http://troutgirl.com/blog/index.php?/archives/46_Shitcanned.html) from Friendster because she discussed the rationale behind the website's technology conversion from J2EE to PHP on her blog.

Other employers have reacted differently. For instance, when Power Line bloggers were attacked by a Minneapolis Star Tribune columnist, one of the bloggers' employers came to his defense (http://powerlineblog.com/archives/2005_01.php#009119).

With the rise in popularity of blogs in 2004 senior management caught on to the trend and by January 2005 several types of organizations, including universities, had started using blogs to communicate with their stakeholders. Many believe this corporate takeover of a tool that was used primarily by Internet enthusiasts will lead to a decrease in the popularity of the medium. Others believe that the use of blogs by organizations will add new voices and vitality to the medium. At any rate, there is little evidence that the growth rate of the blogosphere has slowed.

In 2005 the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) published a guide to blog anonymously and safely (http://www.eff.org/Privacy/Anonymity/blog-anonymously.php) about work or anything else.

Advice
Many weblogs provide expert advice, such as Microsoft technical knowledge (GaryDev (http://blog.advisor.com/blog/garydev.nsf)) or fiction publishing for women (Four Chicks and a Book (http://www.codexwriters.com/4chicks/)).

Religious
Some blogs discuss religious topics. Religious blogs show the public's points of view on various controversies both in religion and in politics, economics, and life in general.

Formats
Some weblogs specialise in particular forms of presentation, such as images (see web comics), or videos (see videoblog), or on a particular theme, and acronyms have been developed for some of these, such as moblogs (for "mobile" blog).

Audio
One of the types of blog that has undergone rapid expansion since the year 2000 is the MP3 blog, which make audio files available to the user. MP3 blogs are normally targeted at highly specialized musical genres, such as late 60s soul music or early 90s hip-hop or even the latest stuff in electronic dance music genres like grime. However, personal audioblogs are also on the rise (See also Podcasting).

Photography
The increasing ubiquity of digital cameras and broadband connections has made it ever easier to post and share photos on the web. Bloggers have adapted their software to facilitate the publishing of photos, creating what is called a photoblog. Photo sharing sites like Buzznet (http://www.buzznet.com) and Flickr have integrated the typical photo gallery service with photo sharing, blogging and syndication to create a new kind of social software.

Video
In January 2005 the first VloggerCon (http://vloggercon.blogspot.com) was held, catering for a new breed of bloggers, the video blogger. A vlog, or videoblog, is a blog where video is included in blog posts. This is also known as videoblogging.