Study shows parasites may resort to sabotage if there are conflicting interests

first_img(Phys.org)—A pair of researchers at the Max Planck Institute has found that for at least one type of parasite existing inside one type of host, sabotage might be at play when there are competing interests. In their paper published in the journal Evolution, Nina Hafer and Manfred Milinski, describe their experiments with tapeworm parasites that live in copepods, a small crustacean and what they learned about the tapeworm’s behavior. Copepod. Credit: Uwe Kils/Wikipedia Citation: Study shows parasites may resort to sabotage if there are conflicting interests with a host (2015, February 10) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2015-02-parasites-resort-sabotage-conflicting-host.html Prior research has shown that there are many instances in nature where a parasite causes a change in a host that benefit the parasite. One case is with tapeworms and copepods. The tapeworm parasites move in to their host when they are young and cause the host to swim slower to reduce the chances of being eaten by a larger fish—but when the tapeworm gets older it wants to move to a larger fish so it causes the host to swim faster than normal, increasing the odds of both getting eaten by a large fish. In this new effort, the research pair wanted to know what happens when more than one tapeworm infests a single copepod. To find out, they obtained specimens of both species and watched what happened in the lab.The researchers found that when both of the parasites were the same age, their efforts appeared to be magnified—the host copepod swam even slower when the parasites were younger and even faster when they were older, suggesting either cooperation or a double dose of whatever the parasites do to change the swimming speed of the copepod. Things were different, however, when they put a young parasite into a copepod along with an older one—the younger one wanted the host to swim slower, while the older one wanted the host to swim faster. In every single case, the older parasite won out. The two competing interests did not cancel each other out, allowing for normal swimming speed by the copepod, instead, the infested crustacean behaved as if there were just the one older parasite inside, swimming faster and benefiting only the older parasite.The researchers suggest the behavior they observed was an instance of sabotage by the older parasite, though they offer no other evidence. It could just be that the speed change ability of the older parasite was so much stronger than the slow-down effect of the younger, that it was overwhelming. © 2015 Phys.org This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.center_img Do parasites evolve to exploit gender differences in hosts? More information: When parasites disagree: Evidence for parasite-induced sabotage of host manipulation, Nina Hafer andManfred Milinski, Evolution Accepted Article, DOI: 10.1111/evo.12612AbstractHost manipulation is a common parasite strategy to alter host behavior in a manner to enhance parasite fitness usually by increasing the parasite’s transmission to the next host. In nature, hosts often harbour multiple parasites with agreeing or conflicting interests over host manipulation. Natural selection might drive such parasites to cooperation, compromise or sabotage. Sabotage would occur, if one parasite suppresses the manipulation of another. Experimental studies on the effect of multi-parasite interactions on host manipulation are scarce, clear experimental evidence for sabotage is elusive. We tested the effect of multiple infections on host manipulation using lab bred copepods experimentally infected with the trophically transmitted tapeworm Schistocephalus solidus. This parasite is known to manipulate its host depending on its own developmental stage. Coinfecting parasites with the same aim enhanced each other’s manipulation but only after reaching infectivity. If the coinfecting parasites disagree over host manipulation, the infective parasite wins this conflict: the non-infective one has no effect. The winning (i.e. infective) parasite suppresses the manipulation of its non-infective competitor. This presents conclusive experimental evidence for both cooperation in and sabotage of host manipulation and hence a proof of principal that one parasite can alter and even neutralize manipulation by another. Journal information: Evolution Explore furtherlast_img read more

Optically activating a cell signaling pathway using carbon nanotubes

first_img Explore further Citation: Optically activating a cell signaling pathway using carbon nanotubes (2015, March 27) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2015-03-optically-cell-pathway-carbon-nanotubes.html Professor Xiang Chen, graduate student Liang Lin and undergraduate student Ling Liu, along with a team of researchers from Peking University, Tsinghua University, and Harvard Medical School have found a way to activate TGF- β using near infrared (NIR) irradiation by combining the small latent complex (SLC) formed from TGF- β and its latency-associated peptides with a single-walled carbon nanotube (SWCNT). Their work, which investigates both in vitro and in vivo systems, is published in Nature Nanotechnology. SWCNTs have two responses when irradiated with NIR light. They will respond by heating, or and they will produce reactive oxygen species. Prior studies have shown that these effects can be used to destroy cancer cells and denature proteins when they are associated with a SWCNT. Lin and Liu investigated whether these same effects can be used to control the TGF-β signaling pathway by conjugating SLC onto the SWCNT. The idea is to irradiate the SWCNT-SLC complex so that it would release active TGF-β. The authors were particularly interested in using NIR to spurn the activation of TGF-β, by exploiting SWCNT’s response to NIR. NIR is also biologically gentler than ultraviolet and visible irradiation. Also, NIR is better at penetrating through surfaces than UV-vis, including skin, and is less likely to cause photodamage to cells. Lin and Liu et al. conducted three experiments in which they confirmed that TGF-β can be activated by NIR irradiation of the SWCNT-SLC complex, and they also confirmed that TGF-β maintains its biological activity both in cellular and mouse models.The first experiment involved conducting in vitro studies to test their supposition that SLC and be conjugated onto SWCNT using known chemical conjugation methods, and that TGF-β would be released upon irradiation by NIR. They confirmed, using SDS-PAGE, that SLC was conjugated onto the SWCNT using their procedure. The next step in their in vitro studies tested whether irradiation by NIR successfully released TGF-β (Note: In this study, they used porcine LAP in complex with TGF-β1 for their SLC protein). They irradiated a solution of the complex using a 980 nm NIR laser for five minutes, and then used centrifugal filtration to separate the complex from TGF-β. The supernatant was mostly the SWCNT complex with the latency peptide and the flow-through contained TGF-β, confirming that TGF-β was successfully released. Lin and Liu et al. then determined that the released TGF-β maintained its biological activity, which is binding to cell-surface receptors and activating the cellular signal pathway. The tests that NIR-released TGF-β induced the activity of a TGF-β-responsive reporter as strong as pure TGF-β indicated that TGF-β does maintain its biological activity after being activated via NIR irradiation of SWCNT-SLC.Finally, in an effort to optimize their experimental conditions before moving to in vivo studies, various NIR wavelengths were tested to see if they obtained similar results. They found that NIR wavelengths at 808 nm, 915 nm, and 1,064 nm all effectively activated TGF-β, allowing for some versatility when using this technique in living systems. The second experiment involved taking the optimized results from the in vitro studies and applying them to live cells. SWCNT-SLC was incubated with cells and then irradiated with NIR for five minutes. Phosphorylation of TGF-β signaling mediator SMAD2 and enhanced transcription of three endogenous TGF-β/SMAD pathway target genes showed that TGF-β was successfully activated and bound to TGF-β receptors to initiate the signaling pathway. Since cellular studies indicated that the SWCNT-SLC was relatively stable and non-toxic, the last experiment involved preliminary mouse studies in which NMuMG cells that were pre-incubated with SWCNT-SLC were implanted under the flank of a mouse. The site was irradiated by a 980 nm laser through the skin. Tests showed that TGF-β was activated after NIR irradiation, but was not activated in the control group in which the cells were implanted but not irradiated.Overall, this method shows that TGF-β can be optically activated by conjugating its complex with SWCNT. Additionally, this method could be used as a general strategy for optically controlling the activation of certain biomolecules. © 2015 Phys.org Promising new target may treat pulmonary fibrosis More information: Carbon nanotube-assisted optical activation of TGF-[beta] signaling by near-infrared light, Nature Nanotechnology, DOI: 10.1038/nnano.2015.28AbstractReceptor-mediated signal transduction modulates complex cellular behaviours such as cell growth, migration and differentiation. Although photoactivatable proteins have emerged as a powerful tool for controlling molecular interactions and signalling cascades at precise times and spaces using light, many of these light-sensitive proteins are activated by ultraviolent or visible light, which has limited tissue penetration. Here, we report a single-walled carbon nanotube (SWCNT)-assisted approach that enables near-infrared light-triggered activation of transforming growth factor β (TGF-β) signal transduction, an important signalling pathway in embryonic development and cancer progression. The protein complex of TGF-β and its latency-associated peptide is conjugated onto SWCNTs, where TGF-β is inactive. Upon near-infrared irradiation, TGF-β is released through the photothermal effect of SWCNTs and becomes active. The released TGF-β activates downstream signal transduction in live cells and modulates cellular behaviours. Furthermore, preliminary studies show that the method can be used to mediate TGF-β signalling in living mice. Schematic of carbon nanotube-assisted optical activation of TGF-β signalling by NIR light. SLC, the complex of TGF-β1 and LAP, is chemically conjugated on the SWCNT surface. NIR irradiation generates local heating near the nanotube surface, which disrupts the association between TGF-β1 and LAP and therefore releases TGF-β1. The released TGF-β1 becomes active and binds to TGF-β receptors on cell surfaces to trigger downstream signal transduction. Typically, R-SMAD (SMAD2/3) is phosphorylated by the activated receptors. The phospho-SMAD2/3 forms a complex with SMAD4. By translocating into the nucleus, the complex regulates downstream gene expression and cellular responses. Credit: (c)2015 NPG, Nature Nanotechnology, doi:10.1038/nnano.2015.28 Journal information: Nature Nanotechnology (Phys.org)—Our bodies have highly regulated and integrated systems. One such system, the TGF-β cell signaling pathway, regulates many developmental processes. A malfunctioning TGF-β pathway is implicated in many diseases, including cancer, developmental defects, and kidney disease. Typically this is due to a problem in the regulatory system that says when to activate TGF-β. Because it is involved in so many cellular processes, scientists are interested in finding ways to control TGF-β activation. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

Tuck in Imperial style

first_imgOf the several ways of self-indulgence, this has to be the most pleasurable one, soaked in pristine luxury. The lobby at The Imperial will take you to a magical forest with green trees covered with snow, reindeers and owls. The bespoke French flower decoration enriches the ambience with snow, green, white, silver shades and in the middle of this forest, a brilliant tree with goodwill balls. Also throw in a larger than life size ginger bread house and a hand crafted Santa. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Spearheaded by Executive Sous Chef Prem Kumar Pogakula, The Imperial ushers in happy tidings with a plethora of choices to celebrate the festive occasion in style. Try the Christmas Eve buffet at 1911 with Roast turkey with Bread Stuffing- Giblet Gravy on a live station, Grilled Scottish Salmon with malted Blinis, sauce Gribiche, Sole fillet with roasted bell peppers lined with zucchini (priced at Rs 4000 without taxes per person).The Christmas brunch at the 1911 lawns (priced at Rs 3750 plus taxes per person)could also be on your cards. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with Netflix1911 also has a New Year Eve dinner buffet with a selection of fine delicacies (at Rs.4750/- inclusive of taxes per person).San Gimignano presents delectable Italian fare to choose from at Rs.6000 per person. Recipes created from the home kitchens of South East Asia will bring in the New Year at The Spice Route featuring South East Asian specialties by Chef Veena (at Rs 6000 per person) and at Daniell’s Tavern – Pan Indian fine dining, opens door to the old and original menu dating back to the era of Thomas and William (at Rs 5500 per person). All prices have additional taxes levied. Make the best of this season. Head over!last_img read more

Dilli Haat Janakpuri brings you Idgah

first_imgThe Centre of Theatre, Arts and Child Development, ‘Udaan’ in association with Delhi Tourism presented a play titled ‘Idgah’ written by the prolific writer, Munshi Premchand. The play was directed by Sanjay Tuteja. The young artists, trained under Udaan’s Children Mind Power and Theatre Workshop displayed their talent on stage at Dilli Haat, Janakpuri today.The event, inaugurated by  ZU Siddiqui, MD and CEO, Delhi Tourism in the presence of Sanjay Tuteja said that the sole aim of this workshop is to instill self confidence in the children so as to minimise hesitation and the fear of public speaking. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Bharatmuni Sansthan’s initiative of Udaan – The Centre of Theatre and Child Development in association with Vidya Memorial Public School, Uttam Nagar works towards developing and sharpening the mental skills of school children.Sanjay Tuteja as the director of the theatre group teaches with an aim to nurture the talent of children and illumine the artists within them thereby focussing on the evolution and progression of their thought process, strengthening their mental abilities and concentration power. As told by him, Bharatmuni Sansthan and Udaan have already organized around 100 workshops and trained more than 6000 students.last_img read more

Power department urges govtrun hospitals to pay electricity dues

first_imgKolkata: State Power department has written to the Health department urging an immediate payment of around Rs 19 crore to clear off the outstanding electricity dues from various government-run hospitals across the state.After receiving a letter from West Bengal State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (WBSEDCL), the Health department has acted promptly asking the hospitals to clear off the dues.A senior health department official has instructed the principals and superintendents of the medical colleges and hospitals to look into the matter and arrange for payment of the outstanding dues. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeA compliance report in this regard must be sent to the Health department within 15 days from the date of receipt of the letter. It will go through the reports on each and every hospital and health institution as to why they failed to pay the dues on time.It may be mentioned that the Chairman and Managing Director of WBSEDCL has requested for an immediate payment. It was learnt that over Rs 19 crore is due from various district, sub-divisional hospitals and other medical institutions in the state. The highest amount of money is due from the district of Darjeeling with the figure touching almost Rs 9.5 crore followed by Nadia with Rs 4.5 crore and Burdwan with little over Rs 1 crore. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedThe other districts having the highest amount of dues include Murshidabad, West Midnapore, South 24-Parganas, East Midnapore.According to the sources at the Health department, over Rs 95 lakh is due from various hospitals in Murshidabad, while it is over Rs 61 lakh from the hospitals in West Midnapore and around Rs 51 lakh from South 24-Parganas and East Midnapore each.In case of North 24-Parganas, the due amount is over Rs 16 lakh, while Birbhum and Bankura have to pay around Rs 24.7 lakh and Rs 18.4 lakh respectively.While Hooghly and Howrah districts have to pay around Rs 33.6 lakh and Rs 76.5 lakh respectively, Purulia and Malda have to cough up around Rs 12.9 lakh and Rs 26.2 lakh.According to sources, the bills have been outstanding up to May this year. All the hospital authorities have been asked to take immediate action in this regard.last_img read more

Govt brings 17 markets in 14 districts under ENam

first_imgKolkata: The West Bengal State Marketing Board has already brought 17 markets in 14 districts in the state under the E-Nam platform that creates a network of the existing agri markets or krishak bazaars to create a unified national market for agricultural commodities.More than 4,066 farmers, 625 traders including commission agents and 54 farmers/producers have already been registered in the E-Nam platform in Bengal. “Our target is to bring 100 markets in the state under E-Nam platform by 2020-21. This platform is a major stride in ensuring that the farmers get access to a nationwide market and get prices commensurate with the quality of their produce. It promotes uniformity by streamlining the procedures across the integrated markets and removes lack of information between buyers and sellers,” a senior official of the board said. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeNational Agriculture Market (NAM) is a pan-India electronic trading portal that creates a unified market through online trading platform both at national and state levels. Three markets located at Bethuadahari, Nakashipara and Karimpur in Nadia and one each in North 24-Parganas, Hooghly, South 24-Parganas, East Midnapore, Jalpaiguri, Alipurduar, Siliguri, North Dinajpur, South Dinajpur, Murshidabad, Birbhum, East Burdwan and Bankura have come under E-Nam. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedThe project was rolled out by the Union Ministry of Agriculture Cooperation and Farmers Welfare on April 14, 2016, across the country and Bengal started its implementation from March 1 this year. “We have made necessary amendments in the West Bengal Agricultural Produce Marketing (Regulation) Act and rules for incorporating e-trading through the E-Nam portal,” the official said. The board, with the approval of the state government, has already created infrastructure like providing computers with printers, weighing machines, digital display boards and deployment of skilled personnel in these 17 markets to assist registration and e-trading through the portal. It may be mentioned that the department has already started the process of setting up assaying laboratories with state-of-the-art quality detection machinery and equipment in the 17 markets under E-Nam for quality analysis and grading of the farm produces brought by the farmers. “Now the farmers are able to trade intra-state among the 17 markets in the state. For inter-state online trading, the items’ quality certificate needs to be in place. We are taking all possible measures towards this,” the official maintained. More than 585 markets in the country have already come under the E-Nam umbrella. Till the month of August, 127 metric tonnes of produce has been e-traded with a transaction value of Rs 17 lakh.last_img read more

Promoting craftsmanship

first_imgIndian Handicrafts and Gifts Fair (IHGF) is one of Asia’s largest gifts and handicrafts fair, held twice a year organised by the Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts (EPCH).The inauguration of the 41st edition of IHGF Delhi Fair (Spring) 2016, took place on Saturday at the India Expo Centre and Mart in Greater Noida in the presence of Dr K Gopal, Development Commissioner (Handicrafts); AM Singh, Joint Secretary, Ministry for Development of North East Region (DONER); Deepak Aggarwal, IAS, Chief Executive Officer of Greater Noida Development Authority; NP Singh, IAS District Magistrate, Gautam Budhnagar; SP Dadoo, president IHGF-Delhi Fair; Dinesh Kumar, chairman, EPCH; Raujesh Kumar Jain, vice chairman, EPCH; Rakesh Kumar, chairman, India Expo Mart and Executive Director of EPCH. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Rashmi Verma, Secretary (Textiles), who was the chief guest at the inauguration spoke of the importance of the handicrafts sector both from an economic and social point of view. The individuality of this sector according to her include high export potential, low capital investment and immense scope for generating employment and increasing job opportunities particularly for economically and socially backward sections of the society. She also advised the exporting community to lay emphasis on new designs and product innovation to retain the share of Indian handmade products in the world market for the fast pacing change in lifestyle. More than 2800 exhibitors from all over India including permanent marts are displaying numerous products in the IHGF-Delhi Fair Spring 2016. Raujesh Kumar Jain, Vice Chairman, EPCH said: “I have been in the Handicrafts business for 20 years. We have exporters from all over India at the IHGF Delhi Fair and it is not possible for everyone to go abroad to sell their products due to the high expenses involved. We have to promote the Indian handicrafts. We are providing them booths to sell their products here, while we have invited foreigners to purchase handicrafts from India, the largest sector for handicrafts in the world.” He is also the Managing Director of Exmart International Pvt. Ltd. and has set up a stall as well. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixRakesh Kumar, Executive Director, EPCH, said that the Council has chalked out a three-pronged strategy to promote the exports of handicrafts and focused its efforts by participating in fairs and exhibitions organised in different countries annually and in exploring new markets in Latin American, CIS, ASEAN and African regions where exports of Indian handicrafts is negligible.He further said that a strategy has been prepared to promote the new regions within India also from where presently handicrafts exports are not substantial such as North Eastern Region, Eastern Region and Southern Region by bringing artisans and craft-persons from Narsapur, North Eastern Region and Jodhpur to participate and display their crafts in the fair and provide them direct market linkages with the domestic as well as international buying community. The products available for display and export include a varied range of strikingly attractive housewares, decorative and gift items, lamps and lighting products, jewellery and fashion accessories, furniture, home textiles, Christmas decorative and incense, bathroom accessories and lawn garden ornament and accessories. The participants at the fair are from Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, New Delhi, Western India, Eastern India and Southern India. IHGF Spring Fair has been the growth of the Indian Handicrafts sector for over 20 years. The four-day fair will be on till February 23.last_img read more

Go for some good ol Chinese cuisine

first_imgThere was a time in Kolkata when Chinese cuisine – comprising the ubiquitous fried rice and chilli chicken – was a considered a goal, a reward for children after winning a trophy at school. It could also be the ultimate Durga puja lunch. With the advent of international cuisine in the shape of new Italian, Japanese, Thai restaurants, the Chinese food craze has probably pipes down a little but Kolkata’s love affair with Chinese dishes continues unabated.  Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Tung FongIf you know the food trail around Park Street like the back of your hand, there is hardly a chance that you have not introduced yourself to Tung Fong. Like the handful of other legendary eateries in the area, Tung Fong too owns a massive space. The first thing you notice while entering its grand doors are the stone lions, by the door sides. The interiors are beautifully lit and the wooden furniture takes you back to the authentic food scene in the 60s and 70s. The central area is slightly higher than the floor and sports a concave roof surrounded by pillars decorated with dragons. This area is just right for a big group getting together for a scrumptious lunch buffet.  Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixAlmost all the dishes are cooked to perfection at this restaurant, especially the fried wantons, the red pepper fish or chicken, drums of heaven, chilli garlic pepper chicken or fish, Schezwan fried rice. The chilly chicken tastes great too. One can opt for the buffet (Rs 670 with tax per head) and it will not disappoint. The drums of heaven and veg fried wanton are great starters. The chilli garlic aloo and Hunan chicken are also very tasty. The Manchurian fish is delicious and soft. The virgin Mojito, Kung Pao chicken, Hakka Chilli fish and fried button mushrooms are worth trying for sure.  Mainland ChinaThis Chinese restaurant is simply a must-try. It is perhaps a little expensive but the food they offer is to die for.  The starters are always warm, crispy and yum. There are five to six types of starters like chicken wanton, drumsticks, one fish item, soups and crunchy potatoes.The main course – both vegetarian and non-vegetarian section– is equally good. The fish, chicken, lamb and crab are scrumptious. The crab in white gravy is awesome. But please try all their options for dessert – chocolate wantons, fruit custard, pastries, ice creams and a lot more. This Ballygunge outlet of Mainland China also has a chocolate fountain. The service is satisfactory and the slightly steep price is worth the food. Do visit this haven of Chinese food as it’s probably the best Chinese buffet in town. BeijingLocated at the heart of Tangra – Kolkata’s own China town -this is one of the most authentic Chinese restaurants of the city. Many years ago, Kim Ling, opened in the early 1990s by Monica Liu , “The Queen of Tangra” was the favourite. Beijing opened almost a decade after Kim Ling. The service is prompt, the food is fresh and hot and the green chilli sauce exquisite.Once can easily opt for starters and soup. The Thai Soup is a winner – the flavours bold – and just right for the monsoon and winter months. The starters  are Fried Chicken Wantons , Spring Chicken , Crispy Chilli Baby Corn , Drums of Heaven , Honey Chicken and the unbelievable Chilli Garlic Crab Claws, a must order for crab-lovers.If you do have place for the main course, try the Meifoon noodles and on a rainy day, the Cantonese Rice, which is basically steamed rice with a delicious Cantonese gravy of fresh vegetables and your choice of protein. Pair it with Chilli Chicken, Chilli Garlic Prawn, Pepper Prawn, Lemon Chicken, or Peking Fish. For vegetarians, the Manchurian or Stir Fried Vegetables are your best bet. End your feast with Tutti Frutti ice cream, which balances all the spices and then stagger home contented and satiated. YuatchaIf you heart fine dining  and Asian cuisine, go for Yuatcha at a plush mall in the Park Circus area.  To start with, try the chicken sweet corn soup and dumplings. In main course, the Kung pao chicken and braised chicken with mushrooms scores.  The Fish in Black Bean Sauce is worthy of youe attention too. Don’t miss the dessert platter, especially the raspberry cake, macroons and ice cream. Their drinks are superb, all the cocktails very well mixed. The staff are helpful with their suggestions all through the meal. The ambience of this eatery is great though the portions a trifle small. But the tastes of the food and finesse in them surely make up for everything else. Prices: a bit steep. Not only do the desserts look exquisite, they taste brilliant too. My personal favourite amongst their desserts has to be the Jasmine Tea Cake.last_img read more

Exporters Mecca

first_imgThe 42nd Edition of IHGF-Deldi Fair organised by Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts [EPCH] at India Expo Centre & Mart, Greater Noida, will be held from October 14 – 18, informed Rakesh Kumar, Executive Director – EPCH.Having  over 2950 exhibitors from all over the Country, 1,90,000  sq mtrs covered space, over 5000 buyers from more than 110 countries, 2000 product lines, styles and designs of Home, Lifestyles, Fashion and Textiles, more than 450 buying agents will be the distinctive features of the IHGF-Deldi Fair Autumn 2016.  Also Read – Add new books to your shelfKumar further said that speciality of this fair is that the products on display are of all quality and variety.  Buyers can select products for meeting the requirement of high end consumers, middle end consumers and mass and low end consumers.  Another unique feature of Indian product range is that they are still hand crafted and machines are used only for finishing purposes. India still has the distinction of exclusivity in terms of product, design, colour and raw material. Indian products are eco-friendly as most of the raw materials used are natural and not chemically made and more over the dyes used are also natural vegetable dyes rather than chemical dyes. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveProducts on display will include gifts and decorative items, furniture, home furnishing, houseware, fashion jewellery and accessories, lamps and lighting, Christmas and festive décor, carpets and rugs, bathroom accessories, garden decoratives, educational toys and games, handmade paper products, leather bags and cases, candles, incense and potpourri.  The products are made on a wide range of raw material base like wood, metal, cane and bamboo, textiles, natural fibers, wool, silk, jute, coir, stones, bone and horn, terracotta and lacquer etc informed Dinesh Kumar, Chairman – EPCH.  Editors of International publications pertaining to gifts, houseware and decoratives from Australia and UK will also visit the show to witness the range and quality of products on. Over 5000 buyers will be visiting from more than 110 countries. Apart from overseas buyers, Domestic volume retail buyers from many leading retail chains of India have confirmed their visit to source from IHGF-Delhi Fair Autumn  2016, elaborated by ED-EPCH. One of the highlights of the fair will be setting up of thematic pavilion of products from North Eastern Region. North Eastern Region is one of the richest regions of the country in terms of eco-friendly crafts. Products like bags made out of natural fiber, cane and bamboo, furniture, decorative items, gifts, dry flowers, shawls and hand woven textiles and made ups are expected to be the attraction to the visitors and the entrepreneurs from this region will be able to secure good business orders. Further, handicrafts of Mega clusters like lace and lace crafts from Narsapur (Andhra Pradesh) and wooden handicrafts from Jodhpur would also be on display at the show. To upgrade the knowledge of the participating companies, informative seminars will also be held during five-day long event at the fair ground itself. A Round Table Conference of eminent speakers from retail and e-commerce on 360° marketing – home and beyond will also be held during the show.IHGF-Delhi Fair has already acquired the reputation of one stop sourcing amongst the overseas buying community and most effective marketing medium amongst Indian exporting community.  It is actually a Mecca both for buyers and for exporters. The IHGF-Delhi Fair since its inception in 1994, has made significant contribution to the Handicrafts exports from India. The most important role played by the IHGF has been the increase in the foreign exchange earnings said Rakesh Kumar, ED – EPCH.The Handicrafts exports during the year 2015-16 was Rs. 21457.91 crores  with overall 6.85% increase in comparison to last year. During the first six month of current financial year, export to the tune of Rs 13005.35 crore has been met out and it is hoped that target fixed for the year 2016 –17 will be surpassed.last_img read more

Body of housewife found at inlaws house

first_imgKolkata: Mystery shrouds the death of a housewife whose body was found hanging from the ceiling fan at herin-laws’ house. The incident occurred in the Nodakhali area of South 24-Parganas on Sunday morning. The victim has been identified as Tumpa Adhikari Sarkar (20). The incident triggered tension among locals. Police said the victim was found hanging inside a room at her in-laws’ house. She was declared brought dead after being taken to a nearby hospital. Police are yet to confirm if the victim had committed suicide or there was any foul play behind the incident. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeThe family members of the deceased have lodged a complaint with the police saying the woman was strangulated to death by her husband after she protested over his extra-marital relationship. They also alleged that the body was put in such a manner so that it appears to be a case of suicide. According to the victim’s family members, the woman was subjected to both mental and physical torture by in-laws as she protested against her husband for his involvement in an illicit relation. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedAs per the preliminary investigation, police came to know that the victim, a resident of an adjacent village, got married to one Subhra Sarkar of Nodakhali more than a year ago. After getting marriage, the victim came to know that her husband was involved in an extra-marital affair and used to talk to the woman all the time over phone. Despite of several pleas, the accused allegedly continued the relationship. They often used to fight in this regard. The family members of the victim later lodged a complaint at the local police station on the basis of which police started a detailed probe. Cops are waiting for the autopsy report which might throw some light on the death of the victim.last_img read more

Fashion tips for plussize women

first_imgThe mantra that every curvy girl should follow is to dress right for her size. Bid goodbye to all those oversized clothes and slip into outfits with the right fit that will underplay your problem areas and accentuate all the right angles of your frame, say experts.Styling can bring about a lot of difference to your appearance, says Kristy De Cunha, Associate Designer of Female Clothing, Shopotox.4 Ensure that you pick the right fit: You may be tempted to buy oversized clothes to cover those ‘problem areas’ of your body. However, the bigger the size of clothes, the plumper you tend to look. Instead, choose an outfit that complements your body shape and size. Choose from comfortable fabrics and look for the right fit that flatters the slimmer parts of your body well. Also Read – Add new books to your shelf4 Select from vertical prints and smart detailing: Vertical prints can be your best friends, as they can create an illusion of slimness and height. Colour-blocking patterns and small patterns in mild colours also look perfect. You can also opt for diagonal prints that can make your waist look slimmer.4 Show more skin: Deep or V-shaped necklines can make your neck appear lengthier. Curvy ladies should opt for V-necklines more often as they tend to give a slimmer appearance. You can get your tops, kurtis and even sari blouses stitched in V-necklines. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsive4 Waist belts are life saviours: Look for wide and broad waist belts that help in defining your waist and accentuating your curves. The belt should not only complement your outfit but should also make you look slimmer. Do not overly tighten the belt, as it may make unseemly fat bulge.4 Shirts are chic: At any given day, a nice pastel summer shirt could be your thing. Buy just one size larger than your actual size. You don’t have to go two tags larger. Combine it with your favourite pair of cotton jeggings, your staple outdoor sandals and your everyday sling. You now have a sassy casual look to flaunt.last_img read more

Nail the nail art trends

first_imgNail marbling, mirror nails or 3D nail art – its time to have some fun with your nail art, say experts. Nails take on major pops of colour this year. From tangerine orange to bold blues, bright hues have never looked so chic.When in doubt, go with something impossibly fresh. Clear polish on clean nails is the understated look that continues to be a staple on runways from Milan to New York.Have some fun with your nail art. Go for geometric shapes like circles and squares and try an achromatic design on a single finger or go all out with every nail. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfIf you want to infuse some colour into your beauty routine but candy hues aren’t your style, pastels are just as fresh, whether you prefer an almost-nude apricot or something soft and pink.Nail art is definitely a way to make your nails stand out. Nail marbling and mirror nails are the latest in nail art. Various combinations of chrome nails along with mirror nails and glitters are the most trending nail art this season.Painting all your nails in a cohesive shade or motif is so last year. In 2017, every nail has its own identity, whether a solid colour or a hint of rainbow. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsive3D nail art is the latest trend in the Indian nail industry. Chrome, rhinestone and metallic nails are the on going nail trends in India. Internationally, nude and pastel nails are in vogue. The ‘reverse french’ is also in trend for a long time.Give your nails some attention. Apply nail paint only as a strip in the middle section of the nail leaving either sides as it is. This trend is inspired by nail artist Jin Soon Choi.Go for cuticle jewellery. Apply a thin coat of clear base and then apply glittery paint around the edges of the cuticle for a light highlight.Ring finger detailing is also in trend. Apply any colour nail paint using the same colour on all the nails except the ring finger. The different colour applied on the ring finger could be glittery, for it to stand out even more.last_img read more

Air travel may spread infectious diseases

first_imgTravelling by a plane may be the quickest way to get to your destination, but it is also one of the fastest ways for infectious diseases to spread, researchers, including those of Indian origin, suggest. A study by researchers at Arizona State University (ASU) in the US reveals that factors like plane size and boarding method can have a huge impact on infection rates.Plane rides are a triple threat when it comes to spreading sickness. They force people into a closed space for a long period of time and make close contact with others unavoidable, researchers said.”Surprisingly, changing policies – even those as simple as boarding patterns – can have a significant impact on the global spread of an infectious disease,” said Anuj Mubayi, assistant professor at ASU.To make flights safer for that worst-case scenario, the research team, including Sirish Namilae and Ashok Srinivasan, created a hybrid model that evaluates how people move and how infectious diseases randomly spread through contact with a host.Its first application was to simulate how Ebola infection, a viral hemorrhagic fever of humans and other primates, might spread on an airplane.The model predicts how many passengers would be infected after using one of several different boarding methods, and also evaluates the impact of other factors like deplaning methods and plane size.Researchers found that the commonly used three-section boarding technique, where passengers board by first class, middle zone and back section, is actually the worst strategy for reducing the number of infected.The reason this works so poorly is that it forces passengers to stand together in the aisle while they all wait to get to their seats, which means more time for a tightly packed group to be exposed to the contagious passenger.Safer options include the two-section, random method, where the plane is divided in two lengthwise sections and passengers board randomly within those sections, researchers said.By preventing any hallway bottlenecks and keeping passengers from being next to any one person for very long, this approach results in the lowest number of new infections, according to the model.As far as getting off the plane, the team found that how it happens has little impact on infection rates because it is a much faster process, so people are not all crowded together for as long.The study found that planes with less than 150 seats are better at reducing new infections; there are fewer susceptible people present overall, fewer people within a given person s contact radius and less time spent moving through the plane to reach assigned seats.”Using smaller airplanes during an outbreak, instead of completely banning flights to a specific destination, can drastically reduce the probability of introduction of infection,” Mubayi said.last_img read more

Power supply cut keeps train on halt for two hours in Pandooah

first_imgKolkata: Train services were disrupted for almost two hours after pantograph of a local train broke at the Pandooah station in Eastern Railway.The train immediately came to halt due to break in the power supply. According to sources, on Wednesday, at 1:39 pm, a local train destined to Howrah left the Pandooah station around 1:39 pm. Just after the train left the platform, one of the pantographs broke. As a result the train immediately came to halt due to break in power supply. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataImmediately station master at the Pandooah station was informed. Later, the station master informed the engineering department for repair work to be commenced soon. Within half-an-hour a tower van from Bandel arrived at the spot and started repair work. But, as the work was time consuming, passengers of the train had to wait for long time to reach their destinations. As the down line was totally closed several more trains have been stopped at multiple stations, waiting for the repair work to be done. Also Read – Lightning kills 8, injures 16 in stateAround 3 pm the repair work was completed and nor mal traiun services resumed from 3:04 pm. According to the Eastern Railway’s spokesperson, train services on the Barddhaman Howrah main line section were affected as the front pantograph of Down Barddhaman Howrah local was broken at Pandooah station blocking both down main line and reversible line. As a result, five local trains including four Down locals ran a lot behind schedule.last_img read more

Mamatas unique mass outreach scheme

first_imgKolkata: Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee on Monday launched a first-of-its-kind unique public outreach campaign titled ‘Didi Ke Bolo’ (Tell Didi) with the target to reach around 1.6 crore families, which is 80 percent of the total households in Bengal in the coming 20 months ahead of the 2021 state Assembly elections.This is the second of the major public outreach programmes initiated by her followed by the “Jan Sanjog Yatra,” which she announced during the Martyrs’ Day Rally at Esplanade on July 21. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataAs part of the programme, TMC representatives will reach out to the families, have dinner at the booth-level party workers’ houses and spend the night in villages. During the level-playing interaction, they will give a phone number: 9137091370 that will enable people to put across their views, grievances, if any, directly to Didi. People can also get straight access to the Chief Minister digitally through www.didikebolo.com. Using this platform, people can reach out to her by simply calling on a number or logging onto the campaign website with their suggestions and problems. Also Read – Lightning kills 8, injures 16 in stateThe campaign will commence with more than a thousand elected representatives and party functionaries who will personally visit 10,000 villages and urban habitations over the next 100 days, meet people and listen to their problems. “The objective of the initiative is to improve citizen’s participation and engagement by providing a platform to every individual to share their views or problems and suggestions for expedited action,” Banerjee said. The brochure that was released by her on Saturday in a press conference lists a stepwise do’s for the party representatives. Trinamool leaders, after reaching a village or town assigned to them by the party headquarters, are required to hold a meeting of the booth-level party workers. They should try to meet three to five prominent personalities of the area and seek their views. The party leaders should then hold an interactive session with the local party workers and booth-level members and stay overnight at the house of one of the party members. The next day they should conduct door-to-door visits of the neighbouring households. Before leaving the area, they should hoist the Trinamool flag there. Banerjee addressed the media conference all by herself and held a meeting with the MLAs and senior party leaders in the district level at Nazrul Manch, asking them to popularise the phone number in the best possible manner. All the MLAs present in the meeting were given bags, small batches, T-shirts and visiting cards to make the new initiative popular that Banerjee termed as the ‘modernization’ of TMC. It may be mentioned that Banerjee had roped in poll strategist and Janata Dal (U) vice-president Prashant Kishor in June. According to party sources, Kishor’s Indian Political Action Committee (IPAC) has designed the campaign for the election to the 294-member state Assembly scheduled to be held in 2021. Representatives from the IPAC were also present during Banerjee’s press conference. The initiative will be followed by similar launch events across the state by elected representatives and key functionaries of the party in over 1,000 locations over the next three to five days.last_img read more

The NFL should hold Ezekiel Elliot to a higher standard than the

first_imgThe NFL should hold Ezekiel Elliot to a higher standard than the lawEzekiel Elliott ended his three-day long appeal of his six-game suspension for violation of the NFL player conduct policy today, and according to multiple reports, there is a good chance the suspension will be reduced.Many who oppose the suspension think that because Elliott was not criminally prosecuted for the alleged domestic violence that led to the suspension, he shouldn’t have been suspended to begin with.Colin disagrees. He thinks the standard for NFL player conduct should be higher than the criminal legal threshold, and because he is a part of a visible multi-billion-dollar corporation, the NFL should have a higher standard, not just the bare minimum to avoid criminal prosecution. If Elliott does have games shaved of his suspension, Colin doesn’t think he should have it drastically reduced. The Celtics are the clear winners of the Kyrie Irving tradeAfter an extensive back and forth, the Cavs and Celtics completed the Kyrie Irving trade. Colin thought if the Cavs were able to pry rookie Jayson Tatum away because of Isaiah Thomas’ hip condition, it could be argued they would have won the trade. Instead, they got a relatively worthless future second round pick.In the end, the Celtics are the clear winners here. They get one of the few legitimate stars in the NBA, and the Cavs get a bunch of “pieces.” Colin has issued his final ruling on the deal, and Boston is the clear winner here. 3 Honda Civics aren’t equal to a Mercedes. Guests:Seth Joyner – Former Pro Bowl linebacker is in-studio to talk Ezekiel Elliott’s suspension appeal, and if tanking is a bad strategy in the NFL.Chris Broussard –  FS1 NBA Insider joins the show to talk Lakers’ tampering fine; Bos/Cle completing the Kyrie trade; and why he isn’t convinced LeBron is headed to L.A.Matt Leinart – FS1 College Football Analyst is in-studio to talk about the dangers of getting drafted by a bad organization; if Sam Darnold should stay in school next year; and why he isn’t sold on Josh Rosen, yet.Phil Savage – Former NFL GM and Senior Bowl Director joins the show to discuss the upcoming season; how this quarterback class stacks up against last year; and why Alabama will be in the mix again, despite losing players to the NFL.last_img read more

The Herd Hierarchy Colins NFL Top 10 after Week 13

first_img2. Minnesota Vikings – The Vikings and Case Keenum continue to impress Colin to the point where he’s now convinced they have a legit chance to make it to the Super Bowl. Last Sunday, they held the Falcons to season lows in Yards, Pass Yards, and 3rd Down Conversion %.QB Case Keenum is just the 3rd player in Vikings History to have a Passer Rating of 100 in 4 straight games, and in the 2nd half Sunday, he completed all 13 of his passes. Minnesota has the best defense in the NFL and the offense is better than good enough right now. The Vikings don’t look anything like the team that collapsed down the stretch last season. 3. New Orleans Saints – The Saints just handled Carolina at home, and rookie running back Alvin Kamara continues to be the story.  Kamara is the only running back averaging 50 Yards Rushing and Receiving per game, and is averaging 8.4 Yards per Touch overall, including 10 Yards per touch in his last 5. Since Week 8, Drew Brees has the league’s 3rd best Passer Rating (109.2).The Saints have the pieces to make it out of the NFC. 7. Seattle Seahawks – Colin loves Russell Wilson, but right now he’s carrying too much of the load for Seattle. He’s accounted for 29 of the Seahawks 30 offensive TD’s this year, and is accounting for an absurd 82.2% of his team’s total offense.Colin believes in Wilson Pete Carroll, the organization, but they can’t win the Super Bowl unless they get Wilson some help. Advertisement 4. Philadelphia Eagles – The Eagles take a small drop from the top spot, but there’s no need to panic. Even in a loss, they racked up 425 Yards of offense Sunday (2nd highest of the season), but only managed 3-points in 2 Red Zone trips. They also failed to rush for 100 Yards for the 1st time since Week 1.Colin still thinks Philly can make a Super Bowl run. 9. L.A. Chargers – Colin thinks the Chargers are the best team in the AFC West, and they’re getting hot at the right time. They’ve won 6 of their last 8 after starting 0-4, and in their last 8 games have only allowed an opposing quarterback passer rating of 67.3 while forcing 14 Interceptions. Led by Joey  Bosa and Melvin Ingram, L.A. has 4 different players with at least 4 Sacks (no team in the AFC has more). Nobody wants to play the Chargers right now. They could go higher in weeks to come. 5. L.A. Rams – Colin likes the Rams because they show consistent effort and offensive explosiveness every week. Todd Gurley ranks 2nd in the NFL with 125.2 Yards from scrimmage per game and is tied for the NFL lead in Total Touchdowns with 11. Sammy Watkins is averaging 20 yards a catch in his last five games with 4 touchdowns, and the defense leads the NFC in sacks with 37, including 9 in their last 2.The Rams were a nice comeback story to start the season, but now they’re a real threat in the NFC. Every Tuesday during the NFL season, Colin puts out his Herd Hierarchy Top 10 NFL power rankings, and this week it’s most of the usual teams, with a couple surprise additions.This week, the Jags make their first Hierarchy appearance ever; the Ravens sneak back in; the Falcons drop out; and there’s a new #1.Here are his Top 10 teams after Week 13:10. Jacksonville Jaguars –  The Jags sneak into the Hierarchy for the first time ever thanks to their dominant Sacksonville D. They rank 1st in Points per Game, Points per Drive, Yards per Game, Yards per Play, Passing Yards per Game, Red Zone, Sacks, and have allowed fewer than 10 points, 6 times. When Blake Bortles doesn’t throw an interception, they’re 6-0. If the Jags get a real quarterback, they could be scary. Tom Coughlin has changed the culture. 6. Pittsburgh Steelers – Pittsburgh kept it rolling with a win over division rival Cincinnati on Monday night, and are the only team in the NFL with multiple sacks in every game this year. Le’Veon Bell had his 5th game with 180+ Yards from scrimmage Monday – only 2 players in NFL history have had more such games in a single season (1999 Marshall Faulk, 2003 LaDainian Tomlinson), and Antonio Brown has 100 receiving yards in 3 straight games with a total of 6 Touchdowns.The Steelers have the weapons, but Colin still questions their attention to detail and consistency, especially against New England in the playoffs. 8. Baltimore Ravens – Colin slots the Ravens in at 8 because he likes their D that has only allowed more than 400 yards of offense once this year. They’re 7-1 this year when Joe Flacco throws one or fewer interceptions (0-4 otherwise), and running back Alex Collins has 4 rushing TD’s in his last 3 games. The Ravens could be a problem if they can find a way into the playoffs. New England Patriots – The Patriots defense was a liability to start the season, but is only allowing 10.7 yards per game in their last 6 games. The running back tandem Rex Burkhead and Dion Lewis has become a nightmare for opposing defenses, on Sunday the two combined for 195 Yards from Scrimmage and 2 TD on 6.5 Yds per Touch, Sunday.The Patriots are loaded offensively and the defense is good enough for Belichick and Brady to win it all again.The defending Super Bowl champions are back in the top spot #HerdHierarchy pic.twitter.com/7wGVujMXoi— Herd w/Colin Cowherd (@TheHerd) December 5, 2017last_img read more

VIDEO Top pro gamer announces hes breaking up with model girlfriend to

first_img Advertisement Professional gamers are constantly fighting against engarined stereotypes that they’re just a bunch of mouth breathing dorks, but sometimes the truth hurts.Take top professional gamer Doug ‘Faze Censor’ Martin, for example. ‘Faze Censor’ started living the dream three years ago when he began dating knockout Mexican TV personality and Instagram Model Yanet Garcia (Here she is in action during the World Cup). The two even started living together, but sadly Faze Censor just announced on his YouTube channel that he had to end the relationship so he can fully dedicate himself to his Call of Duty career.Pro gamers might be the trendy thing at the moment, but choosing to rack up kills over hanging with a model girlfriend proves they still have dork DNA in large amounts. You can take the gamer out of his mom’s basement, but you can’t take mom’s basement out of the gamer. On the bright side for Yanet, she doesn’t have to date a guy named Faze Censor, anymore.Here’s Faze Censor announcing he’s choosing video games over girls:last_img read more

Your Next Cocktail Could Be Concocted By This Robotic Bartender

first_img Free Workshop | August 28: Get Better Engagement and Build Trust With Customers Now Enroll Now for Free This hands-on workshop will give you the tools to authentically connect with an increasingly skeptical online audience. September 16, 2013center_img What if you were at a company party and, from across the room, you could open a mobile app, select a drink and have a machine concoct it for you? It’s possible, thanks to the founders of Monsieur, a device that takes the art form of bartending and makes it a science.Monsieur was unveiled at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco last week. According to its website, it’s a device that’s able to create 300 different cocktails from 12 themes (tiki bar, anyone?). Monsieur says it can make up to 150 beverages without needing a refill.”The internal brain is a microcontroller that orchestrates thermoelectric coolers, peristaltic pumps, sensors, and other mechanical components to deliver precision mixology,” the website says.It’s kind of like a Keurig for alcoholic beverages. But even cooler. Party goers can read detailed drink descriptions and place an order instantly over Monsieur’s mobile app. The device is able to learn a customer’s tastes based on his or her orders and then make suggestions based on the person’s preferences.Also pretty cool is a feature on the app that can monitor your drink consumption and send you an alert when your estimated blood alcohol level is high. It says it can even help you find a cab if you’ve had one too many to safely get behind the wheel.For businesses that use Monsieur, it monitors in real-time how much and what types of ingredients people are consuming. That gives business owners detailed insight into what liquors are selling and which aren’t. It also knows how much in sales the device rings up during an event.Of course, there are other automated bartenders, such as the Makr Shakr from MIT’s Senseable City Lab. But unlike Makr Shakr’s clearly robotic-looking arms and gears, the Monsieur looks at home at a bar or party and packs a lot of handy features into one device.The idea for Monsieur was first hatched at Georgia Tech. It is the brainchild of Barry Givens, who has a degree in mechanical engineering, and Eric Williams, who has a Master’s in computer science. So far, the men have deployed units at restaurants and bars in Atlanta and are working on partnerships with drink brands and sports arenas, TechCrunch reported. To buy one, a business would need to pony up a one-time $995 installation fee and a monthly $295 maintenance fee.Only question, what if you take your drink shaken, not stirred?What crazy apps and gadgets have you come across lately? Let us know by emailing us at FarOutTech@entrepreneur.com or by telling us in the comments below. 3 min readlast_img read more

10 Questions to Ask When Optimizing Your Website for Mobile Users

first_img 7 min read Americans can’t get enough of their smartphones. Most of us compulsively check them countless times a day, then stash them by our bedsides at night, according to the Pew Research Center. We’re hooked on them because they make our lives easier.Fortunately for businesses large and small, smartphones also make it easier for people to research and make purchases on the go. And that very (and very lucrative) mobile purchasing power is precisely why it’s critical for your company website to look great and work smoothly on smartphones — and on tablets, too.Here are 10 crucial questions to ask when optimizing your company’s website for mobile users:1. My website looks okay on mobile devices now. Is it really worth it just to make it look and feel as slick as possible on smartphones and tablets? Yes, without a doubt, says Brian Alvey, “chief scientist” at Ceros, a cloud-based real-time web content authoring platform. Global fashion, auto and retail brands look to Ceros to publish interactive marketing experiences that are designed to “work flawlessly” on all types of devices, and smartphones and tablets are no exception.“Mobile used to be the future of business,” Alvey says. “Mobile used to be a trend. Now it’s the norm.” The bottom line: If you don’t adapt to mobile and quick, you could miss out on a prime revenue-generating opportunity, or even lose customers to competitors who already embrace mobile. 2. Should I have a dedicated mobile version of my existing website or simply make my existing website responsive to mobile? You have two choices. You can either opt for a single website that displays content responsively for different device and browser types, otherwise known as responsive web design. Or you can create a standalone dedicated mobile website separate from your main website. If your main site is www.examplesitehere.com, then your dedicated mobile site would likely appear as m.examplesitehere.com. The .m signifies mobile. Alvey prefers an all-in-one responsive site. He says he’s heard that Google and Bing prefer them as well.3. Should I try to mobile-optimize my website myself or delegate it to someone on my staff?  Particularly for small businesses that are light on resources, it’s best to leave it to the pros. The mobile optimization process is generally too cost-prohibitive, complicated and time-consuming to go in-house.“Most SMBs can’t justify even a single full-time designer, so in-house isn’t an option,” Alvey says. “Unless you have the time and experience to directly manage freelance designers, I’d hire a company [to do the job].”4. What are some of the best mobile optimization options available and what do they cost?Luckily, there are a wide variety of solutions available for every budget. Alvey suggests deciding what you’re willing to spend, then choosing the best available option from there.Alvey’s favorite mobile services are from popular website hosting companies like WordPress (free hosting, plus premium upgrades), GoDaddy (hosting costs $4.99 to $7.99 per month) and SquareSpace (free 14-day trial, hosting costs $8 to $24 per month). Each offers a broad array of automatically mobile-friendly, attractive prefab website designs, features and themes, plus premium add-ons.Another is bMobilized, whose slogan is “mobilize any website… instantly.” This can be a smart option if you simply want to add mobile responsiveness to your existing website. The service’s software mobilizes your site with the click of a button. Pricing is monthly and reasonable at $15.20 per month annually or $19 month-to-month.5. Should I just hire a contractor? Hiring a contract web designer for the job is also an option, though it could cost you more in the end than using an online solution. Alvey says web designer fees are generally charged hourly and vary quite a bit from city to city. If you do go the contractor route, he advises that you hire locally and carefully check customer references before committing.6. What are some key, must-have mobile site features?Required mobile features vary, Alvey says. “Obviously, if you don’t have e-commerce, then a shopping cart is useless.” But if you do sell goods online, you should definitely include one in your mobile design. Or, if you own a brick-and-mortar retail business, be sure to prominently display your store address and hours, and perhaps a link to driving directions as well.Another essential feature all businesses should position front and center is a “click-to-call” phone number. All mobile users have to do is click the number and their smartphone will call you, allowing them to instantly and directly engage with your business.“Never forget that a customer who is checking out your business on their phone — is holding a phone.”7. What about social media integration?Social media integration is like free advertising. It lets users generate a buzz around your brand. In most cases including social elements is a must. For example, on the mobile site for a free online deal-tracking service called Hukkster, first-time users can sign up to use it by entering their Facebook (and Google) credentials. Hukkster’s Facebook integration makes it easier for its users to share their favorite product discounts with their friends on the popular social platform, while simultaneously broadening Hukkster’s marketing reach on Facebook.   Alvey points out that, because they’re so inherently visual, hotels and fashion companies thrive on Instagram and Pinterest, so those particular platforms make sense to integrate into their mobile sites. Whereas Twitter integration is a better fit for airlines and TV shows, which tend to experience high engagement on the microblogging service, he says.Whichever social platforms you settle on, it’s wise to limit yourself to only two or three social media sharing buttons, not a dozen, Alvey says.8. What’s the best way to test my mobile site before launch?Test-driving your site helps you discover and weed out bad links, confusing navigation and a host of other potential functionality issues. Be sure to test yours on as many devices and browsers possible, “not just the ones your team or your CEO uses,” Alvey says.   Interestingly, he also suggests swinging by Best Buy, which he cheekily calls a “free mobile testing lab,” or a similar consumer electronics retailer to check your site out on as many of their sample smartphones and tablets as possible. You’ll get a hands-on feel for what works and what doesn’t — at zero cost.  9. How can I track the success of my mobile strategy? The most popular, user-friendly website traffic and usage tracking option available is Google Analytics. The free self-service tool shows you how many people visit your mobile site, from which devices and how often, along with where they live, how they found your site and much more. It also tells you which social channels drive people to your mobile entity and what content they share from it. Use what you learn to fine tune your mobile strategy over time.10. What are some common mistakes to avoid?One of the biggest blunders is poorly targeting which devices users will view your content on, Alvey says. “If you send my Android phone to a desktop version (of a website) or my iPad to a smartphone version (of a website), you’ve lost me as a customer.”Other common mistakes on Alvey’s list of mobile mistakes to skip include: crowded designs with links that are too close together for people’s fingers to accurately click, not optimizing image sizes for mobile bandwidth, making people fill out complicated forms and “harassing me to download your app.” March 4, 2014 Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box.center_img Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global Register Now »last_img read more