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DELL'S MUNIFICENCE? More R&D spend in India

If all go according to the plan, Dell might end up with about 20,000 Indian staffers by 2009, writes Deepak Mankar.

business Updated: May 15, 2006 20:38 IST

"I read. I write. I work. I live. At least, I think I do all those things. Recently, someone who was out of touch for a long time advised me to "Get a life". I decided to get a blog, instead." (Strange are the ways of the world and those in it, don't you agree?) popgoestheslop.blogspot.com. I'm not a very good communicator when it comes to talking. One-to-one or one-to-many. Especially, the latter. I do a lot of uhh-ing, umm-ing., er-ing and ah-ing. I just came across 'Why do we say "um", "er", or "ah" when we hesitate in speaking?' by Stephen Juan, PhD. He's an anthropologist at the University of Sydney. Linguists call the above 'fillers' "neutral vowel sounds". Kind of "over to you" or "I don't want to give up my write to talk" signifiers, I reckon. theregister.co.uk.

DELL'S MUNIFICENCE? More R&D spend in India.

"A new Bangalore team will go at improving Dell's hardware portfolio, complementing work done today in Round Rock, Texas. The Indian group will work on motherboard and enclosure designs along with tweaking the systems' BIOS and thermal traits. Word of Dell's ramped up Indian efforts came from an IDG News Service report," Ashlee Vance tells us in 'Dell stuns India with increased R&D spend'. And: "One gets the sense that Dell wants to spin this engineering push as proof that its hefty Indian operations aren't all about call centers and assembly lines. The company wants to make 'real' use of local talent or at least have it look that way." 300 to 600 engineers Dell plans to add within 18 months will do the server and storage designs, it seems. theregister.co.uk. An earlier late-March story by the same reporter theregister.co.uk ('Dell seeks (another) 10,000 Indians'), in effect, said: "Despite mounting complaints about poor customer service, Dell plans to double its workforce in India over the next three years and bulk up its call center operations in the country." Michael Dell, Chairman, told reporters in India, according to an AP report: "We will double our staff from the current level over the next three years. There is a fantastic opportunity to attract talent (here). We will ensure a major recruitment push in engineering talents." Should all go according to the plan, Dell might end up with about 20,000 Indian staffers by 2009.

EXPERTSPEAK. Knowhow gathered over a decade.

When it comes to search engines, Danny Sullivan is the 'ultimate authority'. His decade-long experience is distilled in 'My Decade Of Writing About Search Engines' blog.searchenginewatch.com, a must-read article. The conclusions of his 1996 study about search engine marketing and the use guidelines flowing out of them, he claims, still hold good. There are also year-by-year highlights of what happened in the search engine universe. Recommended to all those who want to recall what search was like before we became Google-obsessed. P.S.: While we're in the search- and Google-mode, let me point you to two useful search aids: Google Cheat Sheet google.com and Google Search Tips Poster google.com. Don't thank me. Thanks Google.

GOOGLE NEWS. With a twist of 'Suggest' (only in English).

This is really great news, folks. Google News with the added advantages of Google Suggest (drop down menu as soon as you start typing in your keywords, correcting your spelling, even suggesting search variations) is a great advance and a great help. news.google.com. True, it's in English only at present. Googler Jon McAlister put his free time to good use and deserves our gratitude. ResearchBuzz's Tara Calishain tells us that "Google News searches only 4500 sources", has stuck to this figure for months. researchbuzz.org.

SPAM, SPAM, GO AWAY. Back again another way?

Last week, I was offered a very lucrative position by a German company, Troy Communcations (sic!) GmbH. I received not one but two e-mails, one addressed to my VSNL mailbox and the other to an unknown address <adarkars@bom8.vsnl.net.in>. (I cannot figure out why the second e-mail was delivered into my mailbox.) Both the e-mails were mailed from Nigeria - a very obvious 'red flag'. Any way, the firm wanted to recruit "responsible, literate and honest persons" to fill the "positions in transaction services" of "financial manager" (sic!). The candidate had to be able to (a) "check your email several times a day"; (b) "respond to emails immediately"; (c) "work overtime if needed"; (d) "[b]e responsible and hard working; (e) "[b]e able to open bank account for company needs (if needed); (f) "have personal bank account". Piece of cake, I thought to myself. When I Googled Troy, though, I found the answer to the mystery. It's, to cut a long story short, "Job offer spam: Processing payments".http://www.joewein.de/sw/spam-payment-jobs.htm. Clever though clearly criminal! P.S.: I pointed out a very obvious 'red flag' earlier. Some of the others are: (1) a job offer sent to a total stranger about whom the company knows nothing; (2) no postal address, telephone number of fax number; (3) no website address. Get the drift?

WHY 'G' IS AN 'F'-WORD. Especially with webmasters now.

In 'Full-up Google choking on web spam?' Andrew Orlowski reports the angst webmasters are suffering from - due to Google's high-handed ways. The latest example is "its 'Big Daddy' update in January, the biggest revision" to the way its search engine has been operating for years. This major change in Google's algorithms has resulted in sites not being crawled for weeks, Google SERPS (search engine results pages) returning old pages and failing to return results for keywords that used to work perfectly earlier. "Some sites have lost 99 per cent of their indexed pages," reported one member of the Webmaster World forum. "Many cache dates go back to 2004 January." Others reported long-extinct pages showing up as 'Supplemental Results'. But "…there's at least some anecdotal evidence to support the theory that hardware limitations are to blame," writes Orlowski, citing the remarks of Google's chief executive Eric Schmidt's remark in an April earnings conference call: "Those machines are full. We have a huge machine crisis." theregister.co.uk.

AN 'E-READY' WORLD? Really?

Using a sample of over 1 billion Internet users and 2 billion mobile-phone users worldwide and a model developed by the Economic Intelligence Unit (EIT) and the IBM Institute for Business Value, the sixth annual 'E-readiness Rankings' of the world's largest economies hint at a more 'e-ready' world than ever. A country's e-readiness is defined as "a comprehensive measure of its overall e-business environment, including the potential for Internet-based business". "Economic progress is increasingly dependent on innovations in the use of technology," explained George Pohle of IBM. The current e-readiness line-up is: Denmark (9%); US (8.88); Switzerland (8.81); Sweden (8.74); UK (8.64); Netherlands (8.60); Finland (8.55); Australia (8.50); Canada (8.37); Hong Kong (8.36); Norway (8.35); Germany (8.34); and Singapore (8.34). The leading e-ready countries in the Middle East and Africa are: Israel (7.59%); UAE (6.32); South Africa (5.74); Turkey (4.77); Saudi Arabia (4.67); Jordon (4.22): Egypt (4.14); Nigeria (3.69); Algeria (3.32); and Iran (3.15). emarketer.com.

DHA. The Silent Killer. (Plus, plenty of freebies.)

Educate yourself about Directory Harvest Attacks (DHA). That's how spammers plunder e-mail directories. hackinthebox.org. This free pdf download is by the courtesy of TradePub.com tradepub.com. Go to their website and browse to examine the range of free one-year subscriptions to trade magazines and technical document downloads. P.S.: The only problem is, once you subscribe for even one magazine, they unleash a deluge of e-mails to persuade you to take more. Somewhat like Oliver Twist the other way round, see?

That's all for now though there's plenty more out there. Join me again next week, same place.

Copyright (c) 2001- 2006 by Deepak Mankar. All rights reserved. Deepak Mankar, an advertising practitioner on the creative side since 1965, is also intensely passionate about the web and web content creation. Read his online articles at asiaondemand.com.  Website: http://www.addgandhi.com/original/. You may e-mail him at dmankar@bom8.vsnl.net.in. Blog: popgoestheslop.blogspot.com.