Author: Taposh Ghosh

Microsoft recently launched its new gaming console called the Xbox One X at the 23rd Electronic Entertainment Expo, more popularly known as E3. All the “Project Scorpio” speculation the gaming community had been hearing for the last few months, this is it, without the code words.

Microsoft is hyping its new device as “the world’s most powerful console.” Based on its internal specs, Microsoft isn’t bragging. But since this kind of iterative releases are a bit untraditional for gaming devices, one might have questions about what exactly this new Xbox is, and where it fits into the larger gaming market.

Here’s everything we know about the Xbox One X.

Microsoft’s Version of the PS4 Pro

The Xbox One X is not a newer generation of the device. Instead, it’s more like Microsoft’s version of Sony’s PlayStation 4 Pro — it simply takes the existing Xbox One and makes it stronger. The Xbox One X’s headlining features are its support for 4K and HDR gaming at up to 60 frames per second. If a given game supports all of that, it should be sharper, look more lifelike, and run smoother than it does on other consoles.

Most Powerful Home Gaming Console Yet

Microsoft is touting the Xbox One X as the world’s most powerful console. It comes with 6 teraflops of graphics performance. By comparison, the PS4 Pro has 4.2 teraflops and the standard Xbox One has 1.31 teraflops, and the standard PlayStation 4 has 1.84 teraflops. In addition to that, the device boasts 12 gigabytes of GDDR5 memory. Every other current Xbox and PlayStation console has only 8 gigabytes of memory.

Prettiest Xbox till Date

It’s hard to believe that Microsoft was able to make the latest generation Xbox so compact, and yet still so much more powerful. It’s the slimmest Xbox yet, even slimmer than the Xbox One S, released last year. Microsoft has also decided to ditch the white out outlook and has gone back to the more traditional matte black finish.

It’s Backwards Compatible

The Xbox One X will play all the same games you can play on the original Xbox One or Xbox One S. There is no deviation in any of the three devices’ game libraries. All additional accessories for the previous models will also be compatible with this new device. In addition, Microsoft is promising that games on the Xbox One X will look and run better than they will on other Xbox One devices, provided that those games are built with the Xbox One X’s extra horsepower in mind.

It’s Coming Out this November

The Xbox One X will be launched for sale on November 7 and will cost $499, almost $100 more than the less technically capable PS4 Pro. That’ll make it the most expensive console on the market. By comparison, the Xbox One S costs $249, the PlayStation 4 Slim costs $299. Hardware wise, the Xbox One X seems like good value for what it’s packing, but it’s possible success is still very speculative.

The Xbox One X is not for Everyone

Microsoft is trying to sell its latest device, leveraging on its enhanced graphical abilities. But the kind of gamers who care deeply about such graphical upgrades usually just buy a PC, which, may be pricier, but is stronger and also upgradeable. With the Xbox One X, Microsoft is attempting to mix the graphical abilities of a PC with the convenience of a console. But it might not be shocking if the device struggles to find that niche market of hardcore console players. Guess, we will have to wait till November to find out.

As a university student it is often very difficult to explain how all of our money disappears even before the 3rd week of the month ends, let alone keep track of all our transactions. You have numerous obligations to meet which includes attending social gatherings, purchasing the latest gadgets, staying updated with latest fashion trends, university book shopping and so on. With all these expenses piling up, one could easily drown in the budget deficit sea every month, leaving you wondering if somethings could have been done differently.

Just for such scenarios, we have provided 5 advices to help you get a grip on your personal finance more effectively:

  1. Learn to Prioritize

It might be alluring to attend every single hangout, to be as social as possible among your new found peers, but it should not be at the cost of burning a hole in your wallet at a pace which you cannot afford. There is no shame in skipping the odd gathering and opting for a lunch at home, rather it will help you avoid that weight gain, which often comes along with eating out.

  1. Budget, Budget, Budget

This might sound like the most cliched idea on the list, but hear me out. Often the pocket money we receive from home is not sufficient to meet our expenses and we engage in part-time jobs and tuition to cover the deficit. Since you are already earning, it is important for you to keep track of your inflows and outflows. I’m not asking you to monitor every single Taka, but to create a presumed budget to have an understanding of how much money you can afford to spend on food, travel, stationery, phone bills, etc. each month.

  1. Use Mobile Applications to Keep Track

Now if you are still thinking that managing a budget might be too much of a task; the solution is to use expense manager applications on your phone. My personal favorite is Money Lover, but there are a number of other similar applications available on the app stores, which sort your transactions categorically.  They work offline and require minimum effort and can help you show real-time balances of your wallet, keeping you on your toes.

  1. The Unexpected Does, and Will, Happen

Out-of-the-blue expenses can appear and impact your wallet at any given time. A surprise batch trip may come up, and you do not want to miss out. Or your laptop might start acting up, and it is going to cost you a hefty 5k to repair it. It does not even have to be an expense, you can lose your tuition job anytime; they happen to everyone, so prepare for the worst. Always try to have a Plan B. Have a backup fund stored away in an envelope, at the further corner of your wardrobe, possibly near Narnia. Reach out for it at times of dire need only.

  1. First Save, then Spend

When it comes to talking about personal finance, you can never ignore this age old advice of putting away a fixed sum of money from your earnings first, and then spending whatever remains. Open a bank account if you don’t have one already. Most banks offer lucrative services for their student/college accounts and there are various savings schemes as well which some times provide a little interest. I recommend students opting for short-term monthly deposit schemes; you might not get a good return, but you will end up having sufficient cash for that international trip you are planning to go on at the end of the final year.

How productive you are often defines how successful you are at work. Managers and executives all aim to get the best performance out of their workforce, and it is individual productivity that sets one apart in the eyes of their superiors. While facing competition from your colleagues when it comes to that next promotion, if you’re lagging behind in productivity in comparison, your job prospects could be in jeopardy.

Here are 7 simple yet effective ways to help you make the best out of your time and deliver more than before:

  1. Pre-plan Your Tasks

List your tasks in terms of priority of completion the night before and you will know exactly what needs to be done when you return to your desk. Not only will a schedule help you stay organized, focused and on track, you will get the satisfaction of crossing items off your “to do” list once you complete them.

  1. Reduce Multi-Tasking

Attempting to accomplish more than one task at a time can actually be of more harm than help. Studies show that people who try to do two or more activities at once end up becoming distracted, and the quality of their work suffers. Focus on one task at a time, complete it properly and move on to the next project.

  1. Unclutter Your Workstation

As the old saying goes, “a cluttered desk is a symptom of a cluttered mind.” The time you spend looking for misplaced papers each day is extra time you could be using to complete your work. Use sticky notes to label file cabinets and drawers to increase convenience while searching for required documents.

  1. Take Small Breaks to Relieve Stress

Take short walks down the office corridor, or even across the street for a cup of coffee. Brief interludes from work can help to increase your productivity by rejuvenating you and allowing you to return to your work with fresh eyes.

  1. Get Rid of Distractions

Although interruptions during the workday are often unavoidable, minimize them to as less as possible. If you have an office with a door, keep it closed. When an office friend comes around for a chat while you’re working, let them know that you’re occupied, but would love to converse later. (Just be sure not to brush off any of your superiors.)

  1. Avoid Heavy Lunches

Snack on foods that are high in protein, fiber and antioxidants throughout the day. Seasonal fruits will keep you refreshed, full and focused. Sugary intakes and drinks keep you going only for a short time, and the inevitable “crash” may hamper your productivity and ruin your ability to work for the rest of the day.

  1. Impose Deadlines on Yourself, and Stick to Them

As you would with a financial budget, coordinate and monitor your time to meet deadlines faster. Some people who thrive under deadlines even deliberately shorten their workday by 15 minutes to ensure optimum efficiency.

 

It wasn’t a long time back, when we first watched a young foreigner on Indian television, traveling through the mystical lands of India and sending a postcard back home, with “Incredible India” inscribed on it. That advertisement marked the beginning of a multimillion-dollar campaign attempting to brand India to global travelers. Since then, tourism in the country has come a long way.
The Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report 2017 ranks India 40th out of 136 countries overall, and 10th when it comes to price competitiveness in tourism. There has been a growth of 10.7% in Foreign Tourist Arrivals to India in 2016, with the USA accounting for the highest number of travelers, followed by Bangladesh and the United Kingdom. The sector contributed to 9.6% of the nation’s GDP in 2016 and supported 40.34 million jobs, 9.3% of its total employment. The industry is expected to grow further at an annual rate of 6.8% to attain a valuation of $440 billion by 2027, as per the Indian Ministry of Tourism.

Regional Tourism

SHIFT FROM CENTRALIZED TO STATE-WISE TOURISM CAMPAIGNS
Besides promoting tourism, the Incredible India campaign had primary goals of erasing stereotypes and clichéd images associated with the country. Later parts of the campaign saw Aamir Khan trying to raise awareness amongst the masses on treating travelers as guests of the nation. While the campaigns were successful in achieving its initial goals of promoting the variety of cultures and destinations that the country had to offer, it failed to cater to the specific needs that most international travelers sought.
The turnaround came in the form of state-based tourism campaigns as state governments picked up the responsibility to endorse what each state had to offer, relieving the central government of the burden to promote the offerings of each location separately. What started as an attempt to attract inbound travelers, has now evolved into international campaigns to rope in foreign travelers. It is not unusual these days to catch a glimpse of Amitabh Bachchan promoting Maharashtra in television commercials with high production values on Indian TV channels.
What these state tourism campaigns are doing right is promoting the uniqueness of each state, let it be going on an adventure, sightseeing, experiencing cultural diversity, shopping, visiting medical facilities or food outlets. A very particular brand of travelers is being targeted by each campaign. The states have packed up their campaigns with their own logos and slogans for each state, examples being “God’s Own Country” for Kerala and “The Sweetest Part of India” for Bengal. Most states now have their dedicated websites and 1800-helpline numbers at the assistance of the travelers regarding any particular need. The Incredible India campaign lacked the provision of such facilities to foreign tourists, which to some extent discouraged enthusiasts having safety concerns.
Recent statistics show that the most popular states being Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi, hold over 60% of the total inflow of foreign travelers. The government believes that this decentralized approach towards promoting India has prompted a competitive landscape between the states, with each trying to outperform the others, in turn benefitting the entire economy overall.

THERE HAS BEEN A GROWTH OF 10.7% IN FOREIGN TOURIST ARRIVALS TO INDIA IN 2016, WITH THE USA ACCOUNTING FOR THE HIGHEST NUMBER OF TRAVELERS, FOLLOWED BY BANGLADESH AND THE UNITED KINGDOM.

THE BOLLYWOOD FACTOR
Indian movie stars have been spokespersons of global brands for ages. These film stars are considered to be international icons and the states have not been shy to cash-in in on their stardom to promote tourism.
Be it Maharashtra roping in Amitabh Bachchan and his mega-stardom, or the use of Shah Rukh Khan’s indefatigable charm by West Bengal, or Assam trying to take advantage of Priyanka Chopra’s fresh Mary Kom image, or John Abraham vrooming on a bike through the hilly terrains of Arunachal Pradesh, channelizing John’s adventure persona as juicy tourism carrot; each state is trying to utilize the nation’s obsession with Bollywood stars to boost tourism in their domains.
The inclusion of these stars bring in a sense of relativity for the people and provide them with something unique to remember these campaigns by. For all those who have contributed to over a million views of Shah Rukh Khan’s advertisement for Bengal Tourism, it is not only about knowing the places and the things to do there but to connect and hum along with the star as he croons Tagore’s ‘Ogo Bideshini’ in the video.

ADOPTING A DIGITAL APPROACH
Travel enthusiasts and adventure seekers loom mostly around social media platforms, seeking suggestions as to where to travel next. The states have picked up this trait and engaged themselves in a digital push to rope in younger inquisitive souls, through social media campaigns, digital launch promotions and customer engagement through blogs.
Kerala was the first to introduce the Blog Express Model, where the state invited leading bloggers from 25 countries and took then on a fortnight trip across ‘God’s Own Country’ to explore its heritage and culture. The immense success of the campaign has compelled the central government to conduct a similar activity, taking bloggers on a Heritage Wheels trip across India. Through the use of such bloggers, states have managed to appeal to their clientele through people who are heard.

WHERE INDIA HAS BEEN ENJOYING PHENOMENAL GROWTH IN ITS TOURISM SECTOR, BANGLADESH HAS SEEN A DECLINE IN FOREIGN TOURIST ARRIVALS IN RECENT YEARS.

GETTING PERSONAL
There can be no doubt that state tourism campaigns are designed to provide a more personalized experience to pleasure seekers and adventure enthusiasts alike. But Rajasthan Tourism, hailing the slogan ‘Jane Kya Dikh Jaaye’, which translates to ‘You don’t know what you might see’, takes the personalized approach from the perspective of the travelers themselves.
One ad features a little girl named Meera taking a hot air balloon ride, and from her perspective she considers the hot air balloon to be hundreds of smaller balloons pulling her to the sky, similar to the floating house in the Pixar animated movie ‘Up!’. Another shows a group of travelers, stranded in the desert, witnessing a mesmerizing mirage turning out to be a six-seater motorbike coming to their rescue. The ads focus on portraying individual experiences, which are priceless to such travelers, creating an intimate bond while leaving a lasting impression.

POINTERS FOR BANGLADESH TOURISM FROM INDIA’S SUCCESS
Where India has been enjoying phenomenal growth in its tourism sector, Bangladesh has seen a decline in foreign tourist arrivals in recent years. But inbound tourism is on the rise, with new locations with tourism potential being popularized over the last few years. The Bangladesh Tourism Board can carry out division-based tourism campaigns directed at these domestic travelers, to promote newer locations. Whereas much more established sites, such as the Chittagong bearing Rangamati Hill Tracts, Cox’s Bazar, and Sylhet (being the tea capital of Bengal) can be pushed to international travelers.
Adoption of digital mediums and following a Blog Express Model similar to that of Kerala can help tourism in Bangladesh reach its promised potential. Such mediums can contribute to upholding the nation’s image to the world as the next hottest destination on travelers’ bucket lists. Moreover, such campaigns are needed to eradicate negative images associated with the nation regarding safety concerns in the country.
It might take time for Bangladesh to reach rates of success similar to that of India. But given the government’s interest in building the tourism sector, now is the time to act and adopt innovative tools and mediums to brand and promote Bangladesh to the world. And in doing so, we indeed have a lot to learn from our ‘Incredible’ neighbors.

I have been an avid comic book movie fan for ages, having seen pretty much all of the films that followed the first X-men movie from 2000. 18 years and almost two dozen films later come a movie, which, having to follow the standards set by the its DC Extended Universe predecessors, is expected to implode and burst into flames. But it doesn’t. Instead it does justice to the star-spangled superhero who has been a role model for female strength for decades now. And what it does best is make us want the character on the big screen to exist in real life; isn’t that what superheroes movies were intended to do in the first place?

Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman is a global box office success, currently trending number one. It’s receiving accolades from critics and viewers alike and is rated 92% Certified Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes and 8.2/10 on IMDB. Apparently, it has also smashed the record of having the biggest box office opening for a female director. But let’s not get into those and rather discuss what makes the film so great. Spoiler territory ahead. So, if you haven’t watched it yet, here’s a short review – Go watch it, it’s badass awesomeness.

A Fresh Breath of Storytelling

If you were expecting Zack Snyder’s dark and gritty storytelling to recur in this film, you’d be horribly disappointed. The story rejects the forced ‘easter-egg’ nature of Batman V Superman, and tells an origins story, which is the perfect blend of humor, passion, action and most importantly Diana’s will to do good.

Patty Jenkins beautifully portrays the fish-out-of-water nature of the story as Diana steps out of Themyscira into the outside world with Chris Pine’s Steve Trevor as her guide through her conquests. The film takes crucial moments to develop the plot further and gives purpose to every scene’s existence, my favorite being Wonder Woman standing shield up against the downpour of bullets in the No Man’s Land scene. As an audience you just can’t stop yourself from admiring and applauding, as Wonder Woman climbs up that trench and onto the battlefield in all her magnificent glory.

Focus on Character Development

The movie does enough justice to developing each character as richly as possible. You can feel Diana grow from a fierce Amazonian, set by the opening scenes of the movie, to the compassionate, yet powerful Wonder Woman, as the film progresses. You live the journey with her, as she innocently soaks the world around her and tries to portray what Wonder Woman truly stands for. Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman gives a sense of purpose to anyone she meets, starting from the war misfits to the ice-cream guy asking him to be proud of his creation.

Even Chris Pine’s Steve Trevor is thoroughly developed as he intends to defeat the evil of humanity, in the form of General Ludendorff and Doctor Poison, whereas Wonder Woman sets out to battle the higher evil of Ares, the God of War. You unconsciously start feeling attached to each character, which ultimately almost makes you cry leading up to the climax.

Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman

I have been fangiriling about Gal Gadot ever since she first appeared in Fast & Furious back in 2009. When her first photo came out in the glorious new Wonder Woman armor, fans all over the globe went crazy, and criticized the casting, until they were blown away by her performance in Batman V Superman. And today, she’s synonymous with the Amazonian Princess, and after this film, she has made the role her own, much like what Robert Downey Jr. has done with his role as Iron Man.

Given her current popularity, she might even go past Lynda Carter’s legacy of portraying the role. Gal Gadot through her indefatigable charm and brilliant acting will leave you gushing for more once the film ends. Muscle tone or not, the fight choreography she puts forth is good enough to give Hollywood’s bests a run for their money. And for God’s sake, she continued shooting for the character carrying a child in her womb. In short, Gal Gadot is a goddess in her own rights. Period.

“It’s not about what you deserve. It’s about what you believe.”

This is what Steve tells Diana towards the end of the film on the watchtower; I’m coming back to it in a bit. The climax holds one of the only weak links of the film, which is, an old, skinny Ares. And perhaps a bit more of that final action sequence? Everyone deserves a bit more of Wonder Woman in all her full glory, don’t they? But I don’t want to talk much about that. Instead it’s the more emotional aspect of the climax, which I want to deal into.

Right before boarding the plane, Steve says something to Diana, something which is inaudible to her at the time due to a deafening blast. But moments later, after the plane explodes (yes, Steve dies), Diana recalls the memory, and this time we hear what he says, or that’s what they want you to believe. I think what Diana recalls, is what she believes Steve had said to her, which was a heart-wrenching ‘I Love You’, right before sacrificing himself, for the sake of humanity.

The scene leaves you crying, inside, as Diana realizes that humanity in itself is flawed, and love is the answer to defeat all evil.

What Does Wonder Woman’s Success Mean for the DC Extended Universe?

Wonder Woman has given DC the oomph it needed after the bashing Batman V Superman and Suicide Squad received. The super-heroine, with all her majestic might looks to carry DC back into its battle with Marvel, with Justice League set to hit theaters later this year.

Wonder Woman, all in all, is ‘almost’ a perfect superhero film, and I hate to say almost. The film provides us with a strong female role model for the world to look up to. And more, the film works so well because they got the character of Wonder Woman so perfectly right – she’s the perfect amount of good, passion and power, and bears a moral compass, which we want to see in all of us.

Photo From comicbook.com

 

The average corporate/office worker is exposed to prolonged sitting hours without much physical movements throughout their 9-5 days; this just might be shortening their lifespan. Researchers have linked sitting for long periods of time with a number of health concerns, including obesity and metabolic syndrome. Here are 5 ways how sitting for long periods can affect your health:

  1. Frequent Sitters Have a Greater Risk of Developing Heart Diseases

A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that men and women who sat more than six hours a day suffered from more heart-related diseases than their counterparts who limited sitting time to 3 hours a day or less. The study surveyed 53,440 men and 69,776 women who were healthy at the start of the study and over the course of the 14-year follow-up they saw a higher rate of cardiovascular diseases among the frequent sitters.

  1. Sitting Increases the Risk of Obesity

It is widely known that exercise and a healthy diet are two major factors in maintaining a healthy weight, but there is a third important factor for weight control, according to researchers at the Mayo Clinic—moving throughout the day. Frequent sitters, as a result, are more likely to experience unwanted weight gains compared to people who physically move frequently.

  1. Prolonged Sitting Increases the Risk of Developing Type 2 Diabetes

Sitting for extended periods effects blood sugar levels and insulin in the body, meaning not only are sedentary people more likely to be obese, but they are also more likely to develop type 2 diabetes.

  1. Frequent Sitters Are Susceptible to Muscular Issues

Muscles are pliable, but when locked in sitting positions for the majority of the day, they tend to get stiff. After years of constantly sitting the body gets used to the position and is no longer as proficient at running, jumping or even standing. Researchers believe this might be part of the reason why elderly people have such a hard time getting around later in life.

  1. Sedentary Habits Are Associated with Higher Risk of Developing Depression

Researchers say since sitting reduces circulation it is harder for “feel-good hormones” to make their way to receptors. A study published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine followed 9,000 middle-aged women and determined that those who sat longer and did not meet minimum exercise requirements suffered from depression at much higher rates compared with the women who sat less and exercised more.

The solution seems to be less sitting and more moving overall. You might start by simply standing rather than sitting whenever you have the chance or think about ways to walk while you work.

The impact of movement — even leisurely movement — can be profound. For starters, you will burn more calories. This might lead to weight loss and increased energy. In addition, muscle activities needed for standing and other movements trigger important processes related to the breakdown of fats and sugars within the body. When you sit, these processes stall — and your health risks increase. When you are standing or actively moving, you kick the processes back into action.

Fact: leaders are readers. Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, Howard Schultz, Barack Obama. The list goes on. Successful people are voracious readers because they understand to earn more you need to learn more.

For most of us reading is a pastime, one we only pursue when we’re bored, but for leaders, it’s an investment in their education and often when we look into their success stories, one thing is similar across most of them; they read at least one book a week.
To an average man engaged in a 9-5 job, this idea may seem preposterous. The most common mistake we do is read non-fictions, similar to how we read fictions. Fictional fantasy stories demand the reader to indulge into its literary universe, something which is in contrast to the types of books corporates or business leaders prefer reading. The average time to read a book may vary depending on its length, but a 240-page book becomes a lot shorter when you eliminate its Bonus, Appendix, Notes, Index, Acknowledgments, Sources, etc.
But reading one non-fiction book a week does not have to be hard, in fact, it is easier than you think, once you know how.

1. LEARN ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Read the writer’s bio. If you can find a brief interview or article online about the author, read that quickly. It will give you a sense of the person’s bias and perspective.

2. READ THE TITLE, THE SUBTITLE, THE BACK COVER, AND THE TABLE OF CONTENTS
Try to get a hold of the gist the book is attempting to deliver. Go through the elements and by now you can give a brief idea about the book, even without having gone through it fully.

3. READ THE INTRODUCTION AND THE CONCLUSION
The author often makes their case in the opening and closing arguments of the book. Read these two sections word for word but quickly. You already have a general sense of where the author is going, and these sections will tell you how they plan to get there (introduction) and what they hope you got out of it (conclusion).

4. READ EACH CHAPTER
Read the title of the chapter and anywhere from the first few paragraphs to the first few pages of the chapter to figure out how the author is using this chapter and where it fits into the argument of the book. This can help you gain an understanding of the chapter’s significance. If you have grip of the content being discussed, you can skim through the pages without having to go through repetition of topics.

5. END WITH THE TABLE OF CONTENTS AGAIN
Once you have finished the book, return to the table of contents and try to summarize it in your head. Take a few moments to relive the flow of the book, the arguments you considered, the stories you remember, the journey you went on with the author.

Apart from these, whether you succeed in reading one book a week depends solely on your ability to turn reading into a habit. Instead of only reading when you are “in the mood”, habitualize when you do it. Identify a constant trigger for when to read and commit to it. Only then will you be able to attain this habit of the elites.