Table Mountain towers spectacularly over the city of Cape Town. The mountain is one of three natural South African sites in the running for the seven natural wonders of the world. (Image: Walter Knirr, South African Tourism) New7Wonders founder Bernard Weber with Portuguese soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo at the ceremony in Lisbon announcing the new seven wonders of the world. (Image: New7Wonders of the World)Janine ErasmusSouth Africans have the chance to vote for one of three of the country’s top natural landmarks in the New7Wonders of Nature campaign, the first phase of which is open until the end of 2008.The Kruger National Park, the Cape of Good Hope, and the iconic Table Mountain are all in the running for nomination as one of the world’s seven outstanding natural sites.The Cape of Good Hope, a rocky headland on South Africa’s Atlantic coast, has been a maritime landmark for centuries and is referred to by sailors as “The Cape”.The Kruger National Park, which celebrated its 110th anniversary in June 2008, is South Africa’s largest game reserve and is now an integral part of the 35 000km² Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park, a peace park with no internal borders that joins the Kruger to Zimbabwe’s Gonarezhou National Park and the Limpopo National Park in Mozambique.Table Mountain is one of the country’s major tourist attractions. Part of the Table Mountain National Park on the Cape peninsula, the flat-topped mountain towers impressively over the city of Cape Town.Searching for seven natural wondersIn July 2007 the New7Wonders of the World were announced after an extensive global campaign in which more than 100-million people cast their votes. The second campaign, also organised by the non-profit New7Wonders Foundation, turns the focus to the natural world in the search for the seven greatest natural sites on earth.There are three criteria for selection – only a natural site, natural monument or landscape can be nominated. Natural phenomena such as the Northern lights are not eligible.After the first round of voting a panel of architectural experts will short-list 21 options from the 77 top-ranked sites, based on the number of votes received. The short list will be announced in January 2009. The panel is headed by Prof Federico Mayor Zaragoza, scholar, politician, and former director-general of the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation.South Africa’s Aziz Tayob, the first non-white architect in the country, was a member of the expert panel which selected the New7Wonders. Tayob graduated from the University of the Witwatersrand in 1969.The second round of voting will determine the final seven sites, which will be revealed in the second half of 2010. Nominated places must be backed by an official supporting committee to qualify for the second round. Forms are available on the site for those wishing to establish a committee for their chosen landmark.At the time of writing none of the South African sites were in the top 77, which is updated twice a day. Voters are encouraged to vote for their favourite South African natural site to ensure victory against some stiff competition from elsewhere on the African continent. East Africa’s Great Rift Valley, Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Zimbabwe’s famous Victoria Falls, and the Serengeti National Park, also in Tanzania, are just a few of the natural African sites vying for a place in the top 21.However, voters may participate only once in each round and must cast their votes for seven sites per round. Only one of the seven sites may be located in the voter’s home country.Safeguarding world heritageEstablished in 2001, the New7Wonders Foundation and its two campaigns are the brainchild of Swiss-born Canadian filmmaker, author, aviator and adventurer Bernard Weber. Weber’s intention in inaugurating the campaign is to help protect the world’s human-made and natural heritage, as well as to unite people by encouraging them to respect earth’s cultural diversity.These philosophies are particularly applicable to South Africa, which possesses an extraordinary wealth of natural and cultural heritage.“I feel very strongly that world heritage, as the name says, belongs to the people of the world,” says Weber. “Over 100-million votes from every corner of the world very clearly legitimises the New7Wonders of the World. And we are estimating over one-billion votes for the New7Wonders of Nature. These are choices made by the people of the world.”The New7Wonders of the World, as voted by 100-million people, are the Great Wall of China, Petra in Jordan, Chichén Itzá in Mexico, the Statue of Christ Redeemer in Brazil, the Colosseum in Italy, Machu Picchu in Peru, and the Taj Mahal in India.The New7Wonders of Nature campaign aims to increase awareness of and respect for the natural beauty of the world and the need to take care of it. Increased awareness, says Weber, will boost the tourism industry and contribute to the care and preservation of important natural sites.Half of all revenue raised by the project is allocated towards monument conservation and documentation. One of the project’s success stories is the high-definition 3D model of the 4th-century Bamiyan Buddha, a cultural treasure that was destroyed by the Taliban in 2001. The 3D model will enable the people of Afghanistan to rebuild the giant statue.“The more we know about each other, spread across continents and time zones, and the more we share, the more we actively create a peaceful and prosperous future for us all,” says Weber, adding that the sites chosen as the New7Wonders have experienced a boost in tourism of up to 40%.Once the New7Wonders of Nature is complete Weber plans to find the New7Wonders of Technology.Useful linksNew7Wonders of NatureCity of Cape TownKruger National ParkTable MountainCape of Good HopeUnited Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural OrganisationDepartment of Environmental Affairs and Tourism
Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement Aaron Forth, VP of product for personal finance and budgeting service at Mint. com, talked at SXSW this week about the challenges the company faced when going mobile. As a service whose business model depends on people visiting the Mint.com website, the decision to launch a mobile application was not one the company took lightly, Forth said.But Mint did decide go mobile, launching first on iPhone, then on Android, after studying the actions of its mobile user base. And now, Mint is planning to launch a brand-new iPad application in just a few months – a prospect that has the company again rethinking its product for the tablet’s multitouch interface.Case Study: Mint Goes MobileMint says that the majority of its users have a phone connected their account with the service, and 20% are relying only on a mobile phone. Given those demographics, the company knew it wanted to serve the mobile audience with native applications.Forth then explained the thought process the company went through when creating its first mobile app (the iPhone version of Mint). The results make for an interesting case study which other developers may be able to learn from.Step 1: Pick Your Platforms CarefullyForth said that when it came to making a decision about what devices to launch its applications on, the first thing they looked at was device adoption trends. What devices have good market share?, they wanted to know. The answer was Android and iPhone and Android, each which have “massive distribution,” said Forth.Another important factor was whether or not the platforms they chose would have a way to get apps directly to consumers via an app store environment. Again, both iPhone and Android filled this need.Finally, they needed a platform where there was a good SDK available and developer support. In this area, Forth said Mint found that Apple’s strict guidelines didn’t interfere with development, but actually helped them understand very simply what they could and could not do. They didn’t have to figure out the phone, he said, they could just focus on development.Another key factor in the decision was finding a platform where there was low fragmentation. “It’s hard enough to support multiple browsers and versions,” said Forth. Mint wanted to find platforms that had a fragmentation strategy plan. Apple is great example of this, he said.Once the company decided what platforms it wanted to build apps for, it created some general goals. For example, the company decided it wanted to earn a top three position in the free finance category and it wanted to take advantage of specific platform features available to native apps, because that would make it more likely that platform maker would highlight the app within its store as a showcase example of its platform.Finally, Mint wanted to deliver on-the-go utility to its users, and make Mint easy to access. But most importantly, because Mint needed visitors to its website to earn revenue, it decided to build its mobile app as more of a companion to the site, instead of a standalone application. Step 2: Figure Out What’s TransferrableThe second question Mint needed to address was to figure out what’s reused versus what’s new when going from the Web app to mobile. “You basically tear down the idea of what your product is when you go mobile,” said Forth.On the “reused” side, there was only brand and positioning, the finance data and the user profile that was ported to the mobile app from the Web. Everything else was new. This included, of course, the UI itself – the interaction and visual design involving gesturing, a one-button interface on iPhone and the fact that there’s not a lot of typing involved when using mobile apps. It also included new security features where encrypted protocols were used to exchange data, plus the use of passcodes and more.Also new were to the company were the skills involved in the app’s creation (languages like Objective C and Cocoa), the different development environments used, the QA process and the authentication methods.Even the service layer and architecture was new, because the layer of APIs used for the earlier Mint Web app were different from ones that support the mobile app. On a phone, explained Forth, the app needs to be more efficient when delivering the payload of data to the device. It’s bursting data to you upon loading, instead of streaming data to you, like on the Web.Step 3: What is the End User Experience You Want?Finally, Mint wanted to focus on the user experience, keeping in mind that the mobile app will serve different needs than Web app, and its design needed to evolve in order to embrace device it runs on.Mint designed the app to focus on core jobs using simple screens: an overview screen, accounts screen, expenditures screen and budget screen.In a later version of app, Mint made it easier for new users to sign up for the service directly from the app itself. This was important to the company because Mint’s users with mobile phone are more engaged than the others. After 4 weeks, 20% of Mint’s new sign-ups were from mobile, said Forth. Mint Coming to iPad!Now Mint is developing its first iPad application, which again is forcing the company to redefine what its app is. The tablet form factor offers new possibilities, and new use cases, said Forth. Within the iPad app, some of its graphic libraries will be built in HTML5, for example, when previously on the Web, its graphics were built with Flex.It will also incorporate gesturing for things like categorizing transactions, which will work via drag-and-drop. Like its iPhone counterpart, the iPad app will be more similar to the iPhone than website, as there won’t be a deep, exhaustive set of menus. It will serve as a companion to the website as well.In the Q&A session at the end of the talk, an audience member asked why Mint didn’t launch on iPhone and Android at the same time. “In an ideal world, we would,” said Forth. But there were time constraints. Also, Mint’s developers were more comfortable and familiar with iOS, which made it easier to launch there first. If there is etiquette around when to launch on different platforms, we probably broke it, Forth said. The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technology What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … Tags:#apps#iPhone#mobile Related Posts Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces sarah perez
Over 100 people were killed and around 180 injured after a high-velocity dust storm followed by thunder showers wreaked havoc in parts of Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan on Wednesday night, leaving behind a trail of destruction.Trees and electricity poles were uprooted and mud houses collapsed in the high-intensity squall, officials said on Thursday.Expressing sorrow at the loss of lives, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday directed officials to coordinate with the States to ensure speedy relief and rehabilitation of those affected.“Saddened by the loss of lives due to dust storms in various parts of India. Condolences to the bereaved families. May the injured recover soon,” the Prime Minister’s Office tweeted quoting Mr. Modi. In Uttar Pradesh, at least 70 people were killed and 83 injured, with Agra accounting for the maximum casualties — 43. Three persons each died in Bijnore and Kanpur Dehat, and two each in Saharanpur, Hamirpur, Kanpur Nagar and Mirzapur districts. One casualty each was reported from Bareilly, Pilibhit, Chitrakoot, Raebareli, Unnao, Mathura, Amroha, Kannauj, Banda, Kanpur, Sitapur, Sambhal, Etawah, Allahabad and Rampur.In Rajasthan, 16 people died in Bharatpur district, 10 in Dholpur and five in Alwar, while over 100 were injured in the storm that hit the region around 7 p.m.The worst period lasted about 45 minutes, according to reports from Dholpur, but the extent of the damage was known only in the morning.Another storm comingThe Meteorological Department has issued warnings that another dust storm may hit parts of Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan in the next 48 hours due to the cyclonic circulation formation in the region.DMs on high alertUttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has issued an advisory ordering all district magistrates to be on high alert. He has asked the district officials to calculate the losses and provide compensation to those affected urgently, a government spokesperson said.State Chief Secretary Rajive Kumar has instructed the Commissioner of Agra division to ensure that relief is distributed in the affected areas by Thursday evening and senior officials visit the injured in hospitals, said U.P. Information Department principal secretary Awanish Awasthi. Power supply was cut off in many areas as the squall uprooted trees and snapped electricity cables. Officials said it was being gradually restored.Rajasthan declares natural disasterIn towns, the storm triggered traffic snarls and in rural areas there were reports of crops being damaged due to hailstorm. Farmers lost cattle and poultry. U.P. Relief Commissioner Sanjay Kumar said 160 head of cattle were lost.Rajasthan Home Minister Gulab Chand Kataria, who also holds the Disaster Management and Relief portfolio, said the storm has been included in the category of natural disasters for the first time in the State and funds to the tune of ₹2.55 crore have been sanctioned to the affected districts.Financial assistanceThe next of kin of each deceased in Rajasthan will get financial assistance of ₹4 lakh from the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund.Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje expressed grief over the calamity and directed the Ministers and officers concerned to begin the relief work immediately and restore utilities.Power discoms have launched action on a war-footing to restore electricity supply in the affected areas, while the administration has ordered a survey of damaged properties.Major destruction was reported from Alwar district, where trees fell and power cables snapped, plunging a number of areas into darkness. In Dholpur district, relief camps have been opened for the villagers whose houses were destroyed.
Low-scoring and edge of the seat exciting matches don’t mix. But Saturday’s ODI at the New Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg not only mixed but gelled rather well with India winning the match by one run. SCOREWith this win India have squared the five-match ODI series 1-1.Man-of-the-Match Munaf Patel. APAnd the result wouldn’t have been so had India bowlers not come good at death against host South Africa.India batsmen after scoring a meagre 190 had left a lot to be done by the bowlers and still they performed.India’s Munaf Patel took the cake finishing with figures of 8-0-29-4. Undoubtedly, the wickets of openers Hashim Amla and Graeme Smith earned him the Man-of-the-Match award.The wickets though widely spaced brought about the desired result. Amla fell early but Smith’s wicket came towards the end. In a way it was Smith’s wicket that proved to be the turning point of the match.Munaf knew that early wickets can make the difference in an ODI and he struck really early. He scalped Hashim Amla on 4 with a ball that came in from the off to take the edge of his bat and settle in skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s gloves behind the stumps. The hosts were 7/1 at this juncture.Still, a target of 191 was an easy call for South Africa batsmen. And Colin Ingram and Graeme Smith wanted to make sure that it stayed easy. The two batted on to numb the Indian bowling attack and kept the Protea scoreboard ticking.advertisementThe duo had put on 59 runs for the second wicket before Harbhajan Singh claimed Ingram on 25 with the umpire adjudging him LBW even as the South Africa score was 66/2.Unfortunately for the hosts AB de Villiers, who wasn’t looking confident, fell to Ashish Nehra on eight.Later, Rohit Sharma accounted for J.P. Duminy on 13 as the South Africa score was 120/4.But, Smith was still at the crease and had found his lost form. Finally, Munaf Patel sent him back on 77 with an inside edge from his bat crashing into his stumps.At death, Zaheer Khan claimed David Miller and Johan Botha to bring India within striking distance of a victory.And then Dale Steyn’s run out and Morne Morkel’s wicket added to the excitement, but again it was Munaf who performed the final act when the hosts were just two runs away from a win with just one wicket in hand.A short ball saw tail-ender Wayne Parnell go for a big hit but Yuvraj Singh caught him at point and that was the end of South Africa batting. They could only manage 189 on board.Lonwabo Tsotsobe. APEarlier Lonwabo Tsotsobe, who had claimed four wickets in the first ODI in Durban, came up with another four-wicket haul to reduce India to 190 all out.He scalped opener Murali Vijay, Yuvraj Singh, Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Suresh Raina to nip in bud any designs that the visiting batsmen had of scoring at a brisk pace.After scalping opener Murali Vijay early, Tsotsobe came back to send Yuvraj Singh packing on 53, breaking the 83-run fourth wicket partnership between him and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni.Yuvraj went for a big hit but failed to cross the boundary and Dale Steyn lapped it up in the deep as India score read 150/4.That wicket started the slide as batsmen kept paying the crease quick visits.Suresh Raina, who picked up from where Yuvraj Singh had left too fell after staying in the middle for a few minutes. He had put 11 on board before Tsotsobe claimed his third wicket of the day. India score then was a poor 169/5 in 41.1 overs.Soon, he struck again to send skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni back on 38. India now were 172/6 with the tail popping up. And the tail managed to put just 18 runs before heading back to the pavilion.Earlier, Sachin Tendulkar and Virat Kohli too could not stay in the middle for long.Tendulkar fell in the 19th over when the India total was 67/3. Off spinner Johan Botha foxed Tendulkar with a turner as the batting maestro failed to read his delivery that turned in sharply from the off stump line. He fell for 24 with an edge from his bat striking against the stumps.Virat Kohli, who had scored a resolute half-century in the first ODI in Durban, was run out by David Miller in Morne Morkel’s over. He fell on 22.India skipper M.S. Dhoni had won the toss and elected to bat.The two teams now meet at Newlands in Cape Town on Tuesday.advertisement