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Friday, 7 May 2021

How I succeeded in getting vaccine slot on cowin portal

 India is undergoing a very difficult phase at this point of time, with Covid positve patients increasing exponentially, our resources are exhausted beyond imagination. One would think what went wrong in otherwise slowly but steadily picking up pace of normalcy. After year long WFH routine, offices were opening up, markets were all live and not to forget we planned mega events like elections, protests, religious congregations as if corona is a thing of past. In all this dull atmosphere, only ray of hope is the vaccination program rolled out by govt. of India. 

From 1 May onwards, authorities has opened registration for 18 years to 44 years candidates. After initially crashing down the servers due to mad rush for registrations, the portal is stable however users are still complaining of not getting slots. I have myself tried different combinations before coming to conclusion that there are no slots but its just a scam, as the centers would either show no availability or suddenly it will be completely booked. However I was wrong, wrong in concluding it to be scam and wrong in my approach for booking slots.

What should you know before going for slots booking.

As with anything else, people rush to get things done as soon as they can do, we are talking about a country where mobile phone flash sale records just don't matter now. Don't expect to open the app any time of your choice and find slots available near you. In my experience (Location Gurugram, Haryana), all free vaccine slots are opened a day before only, so don't bother yourself by searching for future dates you will find all unavailable. The slots are opened gradually for all the centers, for instance today first of the slot was available at around 11:30 AM and for the center when slots were opened last was 9:35 PM. The slots are booked within 5-10 mins of availability even the ones having 300 slots.

So, with above you can see even refreshing the screen all day is not going to help, you keep refreshing one center and some other center might get full without you knowing. I then looked up in the internet to find solutions and got to know that few techies are actually solving this very problem by making use of cowin API which are available for public to use. While most of the solutions work by searching on a portal and providing a consolidated status of vaccine centers by pincode or district, the one I found best was under45.in

How to use under45

Using this is very simple, just that you need to have a telegram account as pre-requisite. Once you open the url you will be directed to page as below to select your state and district.


Next step is to select your desired State and District combination where you are looking for registration.



Click on button with Telegram Icon and you should be able to join channel for your district, please not if your district is not in the list you can click on reply on this tweet link and request to add it.

Once you are added to the channel, you will get notification of each center whenever slots are opened in real time. Which will not only save you from searching all day, but also allow you to plan your centre wisely rather than booking just any center which may be far away from your place.




I was able to reschedule my appointment from Jhajjar (~ 30 Kms from my place) to within Gurugram in my proximity. Hope this will help you too to plan your vaccination. 






Thursday, 22 April 2021

Amazon Launches Fire TV Cube in India– The Fastest and Most Powerful Fire TV Device Ever With Hands-Free Alexa Voice Control

Amazon today announced the all-new Fire TV Cube, the hands-free, Alexa-enabled Fire TV experience, and the fastest and most powerful Fire TV ever at INR 12,999 in India. The all-new streaming media player features far-field voice control built into the device. This signature Fire TV device combines the capabilities of Amazon’s best-selling line of Fire TV streaming media players with the Alexa features. With Fire TV Cube, customers can voice control their entertainment system including compatible TV, Set Top Box, Smart Home devices, A/V receivers, etc.



“We are excited to introduce Fire TV Cube – our fastest and most powerful Fire TV device, developed after gathering a wealth of feedback about how customers use voice in the living room. We have combined the far field voice technology of Echo devices with the much loved Fire TV user experience so that customers can use the convenience of Alexa to control their entertainment. With its excellent picture quality and immersive sound experience, Fire TV Cube aims to deliver theater like experience at home.’’ said Parag Gupta, Head of Amazon Devices, India.


With Fire TV Cube, you can watch your favorites from Prime Video, Netflix, YouTube, Disney+ Hotstar, Zee5, SonyLiv, Voot, and others. Plus, tune to live TV channels with cable or set-top box providers. Fire TV Cube gives you access to tens of thousands of channels, apps, and Alexa skills. The vast Fire TV catalog combined with powerful voice control makes it easier than ever to enjoy TV. Simply say, “Alexa, open Netflix” or “Alexa, find music videos on YouTube” or “Alexa, watch Pokemon on Voot Kids”.



The Fastest, Most Powerful Fire TV Ever

Featuring an ultra-powerful hexa-core processor, the all-new Fire TV Cube delivers a fast, fluid experience, with instant access to Dolby Vision and 4K Ultra HD content at up to 60 frames per second. You will enjoy the brilliant color of Dolby Vision and HDR, and HDR 10+, as well as the audio clarity of Dolby Atmos on the all-new Fire TV Cube.


Easy Control of All Your Entertainment

Hands-free voice control means convenience. The all-new Fire TV Cube features cutting edge far-field voice recognition with eight microphones and advanced beamforming technology that combines signals from the individual microphones to suppress noise, reverberation, content currently playing, and even competing speech to make sure Alexa clearly hears your request when placed next to your TV. When combined with the powerful new processor, you can easily search and navigate content using just your voice, whether it’s through your cable or set-top boxes; streaming apps like Prime Video, YouTube, Netflix, Disney+ Hotstar, Zee5, SonyLiv and more. From across the room, just say, “Alexa, switch on the TV” or “Alexa, watch Mirzapur ” and Alexa will respond to your request.



Fire TV Cube uses multi-directional infrared technology, cloud-based protocols, and HDMI CEC, that when combined with Alexa, lets you control your compatible TV, sound bar, A/V receiver, cable, select set-top boxes, as well as other smart home devices. Fire TV Cube lets you dim the lights, check the weather, listen to the news, and more—even with the TV off with the built-in speaker.

Always Getting Smarter

The Alexa service is always getting smarter with new features, device control capabilities, and hands-free voice functionally currently supports enhanced in-app voice controls on Fire TV Cube, giving you more ways to use your voice while navigating through content.

Pricing and Availability

Fire TV Cube comes with an Ethernet adapter, Alexa Voice Remote, and IR extender cable and is available for customers in India at INR 12,999 starting today on Amazon.in and select Croma and Reliance outlets. To connect Fire TV Cube, customers can purchase an HDMI cable separately, which is available at no extra cost along with the device as an introductory offer. For more information visit www.amazon.in/firetvcube

Fossil Launches Pro-Planet Cactus Leather Tote Bags And Limited-Edition Solar Watch In Celebration Of Earth Month

As part of a continued commitment to sustainability, and in celebration of Earth Month, Fossil is proud to launch our latest pro-planet assortment. This collection includes brand new cactus leather tote bags made in partnership with Desserto®, and our second iteration of the limited-edition Solar Watch. The launches follow commitments that Fossil announced in 2019 as part of our ongoing Make Time For Good initiative, dedicated to making change in communities throughout the world through pro-planet materials, products and packaging, as well as reducing our footprint in water consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. The cactus leather totes and Solar Watch are an example of new materials and sustainable partners that Fossil has cultivated in an increased push towards leaving a lighter footprint for a more sustainable future.

 

Fossil is proud to be one of the first retailers to introduce vegan cactus leather, an innovative material new to the industry, through the collection of Kier Cactus Leather Totes. Each bag is designed with material made from organically grown cactus leaves developed by Desserto®, a Mexico-based company with a focus on sustainable materials. The leaves come from cactus plants that require only rain water and Earth minerals for growth. Once harvested, the leaves are dried in the sun for three to six days, which removes the need for any additional energy source for the drying process. Not only is this an energy-efficient processing technique, but no herbicides, pesticides or irrigation systems are used in the production of the cactus. As a result of this innovative process, each Kier tote saves 7.5 liters of water — the equivalent of fifteen 500 milliliter water bottles. Additionally, each cactus’ trunk is left intact to enable repeat harvesting, as the leaves regenerate every six to eight months. The collection will include four stunning colorways — moss, wine, black and brown — and will be available for Rs. 19,295 beginning April 22. 




 

"After witnessing first-hand the impact that tanneries have on the environment, we sought to create a vegan alternative that leaves a lighter footprint while meeting our rigorous quality standards," says Desserto cofounder Marte Cázarez. “Almost immediately, we decided to leave our jobs and dedicate the next two years to designing and creating a solution."

 

"Since first introducing Desserto cactus leather to the world in 2019, we have continued to develop and educate others on our materials and sustainable processes. Today, we are proud to partner with brands, like Fossil, who share a vision of reducing their environmental impact through the use of eco-friendly materials,” adds Desserto cofounder Adrián López Velarde. 

 

Fossil is also proud to announce the second iteration of its limited-edition Solar Watch — the World-Timer — launching on Earth Day. The watch houses a solar-powered movement with rechargeable battery, which can reach a full charge after eight hours in the sun and will retain charge for up to three months. Also, the 42mm watch case is made with castor oil while the rPet strap is made from post-consumer plastic bottles. In addition to its pro-planet designs, the World-Timer is packed with features, including a compass, stopwatch, alarm, timer, and world time function. In the world time function, the user can select from forty-nine cities around the world to easily check the local time in that area, connecting users across the globe. The limited-edition watch will be available for Rs. 11,995 beginning April 22.




 

“Over the course of the last two years, our teams have worked diligently to identify areas of our business that make the largest environmental impact and to chart the course towards meaningful charge. The result is an index of commitments that we’ve established to leave a smaller footprint and better world for future generations. Some of these changes include: introducing more pro-planet materials like recycled stainless steel and litehide leather into our assortment, removing foam material from packaging, and moving to ensure all paper goods are made from a minimum of 80% recycled material,” says Steve Evans, EVP Chief Brand Officer. “Fossil believes that when we combine our time and passion, we can make lasting change for people and the planet.”

 

Johnson Verghese, Managing Director at Fossil India said, “We are delighted to provide our consumers in India with a retail experience that is fueled with our passion to embark on a sustainable journey. One that will reduce carbon footprints and help in optimizing resources to the fullest. In doing so, we aim to contribute towards better environmental and people health. As our planet continues to be in a constant climate crisis, sustainability is certainly the need of the hour. With our pro-planet initiative, we look forward to creating products that will inspire and celebrate sustainability as well as continue to be at the forefront of fashion.”

 

In addition to the Kier Cactus Leather Totes and World Timer launches, Fossil is excited to grow our assortment of pro-planet styles in our seasonal collections as well. This summer, mainline solar watches in the bestselling Minimalist and Jacqueline styles will become available in a variety of colorways. As with the limited-edition Solar Watch, the sun-powered battery plus pro-planet case and straps reduce water and battery waste. Additionally, Fossil’s assortment of pro-planet bags continues to grow as classic styles are re-released in eco-leather this summer. Since being introduced to Fossil’s product assortment last fall, more than 90% of our leather material for bags and small leather goods is now sourced from Leather Working Group certified tanneries. To date, about 1.8 million gallons of water have been saved through the use of 1.5 million square feet of eco-leather, sourced in partnership with our pro-planet leather providers.

 

Fossil Group’s ongoing commitments towards pro-planet progress include:

  • Design and produce 100% of our product to meet our pro-planet criteria by 2025.
  • Make 100% of our primary packaging recyclable and/or reusable by 2025.
  • Lead in circular business model approaches — where our materials can be used, reused and reduced — by 2025.
  • Reduce water consumption for leather tanning by 45% by 2025.
  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2030.
  • Eliminate virgin plastics in our supply chain by 2030.

PicsArt launches special stickers for Earth Day to promote climate change awareness

 PicsArt has launched a range of special stickers, backgrounds, and templates to commemorate Earth Day, aimed at raising awareness around climate change. The new tools were created in line with this year's theme "Restoring Our Earth," and with the Government of India's Green India Mission that highlights the importance of conserving forests and other ecosystems.

 


With the launch of these stickers, templates, and backgrounds, PicsArt aims to connect with its millennial users and spread awareness around the need for protecting our natural resources. These stickers will also allow PicsArt creators to create unique digital art to promote awareness on this Earth Day for a cleaner, greener, and healthier Earth. For the first time, PicsArt has also introduced new Swachh Bharat stickers with the aim of promoting a cleaner, greener India. 

 

Earth Day is celebrated on the 22nd April of every year to promote environmental awareness and conservation. Once again, most Earth Day celebrations will be virtual this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The new stickers from PicsArt will help people spread the word online about climate change and the need for all of us to work together to conserve our planet for future generations. 

 

"Nature is the key to everything. But with rapid development and other changes around the world, concerning issues like climate change and global warming have become top priorities. The pandemic has also made us realize that it is important to maintain a balance in nature. To achieve that balance everybody needs to work together towards sustainable development and climate conservation. Creating awareness can make a huge difference during times like this. PicsArt believes in being a creative medium of this much-needed change and we are doing our bit in this direction," said Ravish Jain, Country Head at PicsArt.

 

Using PicsArt's advanced editing tools, more and more people can now support and celebrate Earth Day while also creating awareness and educating people about climate change and environmental conservation. Creators can show their support with creatively made posters or social media posts this Earth Day using the newly launched stickers, templates, and backgrounds from PicsArt and play an active role in spreading awareness on environment conservation and restoring our planet’s fragile ecosystems. 

 

PicsArt is free to download on Apple, Android, and Windows and can also be accessed on the Web. PicsArt Gold is also available on a monthly or annual subscription basis for those wanting full access to all premium tools, features, and content available. With PicsArt Gold, subscribers have access to millions of stickers, hundreds of fonts, frames, and backgrounds, and an entire library of free-to-edit content and stock photography. PicsArt creators can sign up for a  free 7-day trial to explore the premium perks included with PicsArt Gold.

Friday, 9 April 2021

Air purifying ACs, convertible refrigerators in demand with rising mercury: Flipkart Insights

 With the temperatures soaring across the country, customers are increasingly seeking cooling appliances to create a comfortable environment at home. This has also led to the rise of various new age cooling appliances to cater to health and hygiene requirements of customers.

According to insights by Flipkart, the current heat wave has significantly increased the demand for cooling appliances which includes ACs, refrigerators, coolers and fans across the country with New Delhi, Bengaluru and Hyderabad emerging as the top cities with the highest demand. While ACs witnessed a rise of 4x in demand in March 2021, the rest of the categories saw 2.5x, 3x and 2x increase respectively. Interestingly, consumer preferences for these appliances have changed drastically with people continuing to stay indoors to fight the pandemic.

Increased focus on health and hygiene and cost savings have led to customers opting for appliances with anti-bacterial, air purification and energy-efficient features. While these functionalities existed even before, it is witnessing greater traction among customers with the growing focus on the air quality. A consumer survey conducted on the Flipkart app also confirmed this shift with a large number of surveyed customers preferring built-in air purifiers as one of the top functionalities in their ACs. This has led to more brands launching ACs with similar functionalities including Samsung, Haier, Whirlpool, Daikin, Bluestar, Voltas and Godrej who are expanding their selection of cooling appliances on Flipkart.

As far as refrigerators are concerned, there has been an increase in the demand for energy efficient and convertible variants offering higher storage refrigerators along with multi-functional features such as curd maker. As the usage of freezer is limited in India as compared with other parts of the world, convertible options are witnessing greater adoption which transforms the freezer section into a normal fridge. This apart, customers are seeking appliances with higher storage space as they continue to work and learn from home for a longer period of time. Furthermore, a higher percentage of customers are opting for replacement options while purchasing a refrigerator since the launch of product replacement construct on Flipkart. Also, there has been an almost 20% increase in the adoption of No Cost EMI in the past one year, highlighting the growing importance of affordability for customers. Through these constructs, Flipkart is able to help customers to upgrade their appliances in an affordable manner.

In addition to this, customers are also opting for energy efficient ACs and refrigerators to save on electricity bills and reduce cost of operations. While the former saw a jump of upto 40% in the demand for 5 star high capacity, high energy efficient AC's, refrigerators adoption too reflected a similar trend.

Interestingly, the above mentioned trends are not only concentrated in metros but smaller cities and tier 2 and 3 cities are also contributing to this growth. This clearly indicates a change in sentiment and buying preference in the smaller towns.

Hari G. Kumar, Vice President – Large Appliances, Flipkart, said, “The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically transformed the priorities for customers who are now looking for appliances with air purification, expandable storage and energy efficiency functionalities. This is indicative of maturing of the cooling appliances market in India which is expected to witness significant growth this year. As a homegrown e-commerce marketplace with a nuanced understanding of customers evolving needs, we will continue to collaborate with leading brands and sellers partners to bring the best products to the millions of Indians customers at their doorsteps, no matter how far they are."