Citizens' Issues
The curious case of 'Freedom 251': 5 crore registrations, 25 lakh sets promised
New Delhi : While the world kept asking questions and Indians remained puzzled, the Noida-based startup, promising a Rs.251 (less than $4) "Make in India" smartphone, on Friday claimed to have received nearly five crore registrations in just two days of opening up for online pre-orders.
 
In a chat with IANS over phone, Ringing Bells Pvt Ltd president Ashok Chadha said that since the company will hand over 25 lakh "Freedom 251" phones to the people who have registered for it online, the firm is now considering whether to stop the registration process or not as there are two more days left to pre-order the phone till 8 p.m. on February 21.
 
"The pre-booking numbers we received are sheer humongous. I am happy that so many Indians have responded to our 'Make in India' smartphone call. Now the onus is on us to deliver on the promise and I am hopeful that we will be able to start delivery latest by April 10 and finish well before the June 30 deadline," Chadha told IANS.
 
The smartphones will be handed over via first-come-first-serve basis, he announced.
 
According to Chadha, the company is looking to set up two more units - one each in Noida and Uttarakhand. But how fast the company is going to start the manufacturing and churn out devices is a big question.
 
Chadha further said that while the manufacturing cost of the phone is high, it will be recovered through a series of measures like economies of scale, innovative marketing, reduction in duties and creating an e-commerce marketplace.
 
However, how well the little-known firm is placed to achieve this task is yet to be known.
 
"We are only looking at slim margins here. The aim is to first empower people especially from rural parts of the country to connect with the mainstream with this cheap yet powerful smartphone," he added.
 
Reacting to the controversy that all the icons of the built-in app were almost a replica of Apple's iOS icons, he said the phones that were shown just as samples during the launch on Wednesday were "of some other brand" and the company will provide people "Freedom 251" with all promised features.
 
With such tall promises, the road ahead for the "Freedom 251" makers is not easy though.
 
The Indian government is keeping a close watch on its four-day booking offer that started from 6 a.m. on Thursday.
 
The Indian Cellular Association has also written to the telecom ministry, urging the government to get to the bottom of the issue as selling a smartphone this cheap is not possible.
 
Earlier on Thursday, Ringing Bells claimed to have received 30,000 confirmed orders and over six lakh hits per second on its website on the first day.
 
But hours later, the firm stopped taking orders after its servers crashed owing to a huge rush to book the device online.
 
The much-hyped launch of the world's cheapest smartphone "Freedom 251" was also thrown into disarray as there was utter chaos at the company's Noida-based head office on Thursday.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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Want to win an argument on Facebook? Read on
New York : If you have never won an argument on Facebook while reacting to burning social or relationship issues on your friends' timeline, don't fret. Here are certain simple rules which, if followed properly, can make you a winner in online arguments.
 
According to Chenhao Tan, a PhD candidate in computer science from Cornell University, the team followed 18,000 threads on social networking website Reddit under the subreddit "r/changemyview" over two and a half years to find out that people need to follow certain rules if they want to win online arguments.
 
"We find that persuasive arguments are characterised by interesting patterns of interaction dynamics such as participant entry-order and degree of back-and-forth exchange," Tan noted.
 
"Furthermore, by comparing similar counter arguments to the same opinion, we show that language factors play an essential role," he added. 
 
In particular, the interplay between the language of the opinion holder and that of the counter argument provides highly predictive cues of persuasiveness. 
 
"We show that stylistic choices in how the opinion is expressed carry predictive power," the researchers noted.
 
To win an argument, you must respond sooner rather than later to the initial post and always try to link your post to some evidence for authenticity.
 
Also, keep your language clean with longer responses. 
 
"Changing someone's opinion is arguably one of the most important challenges of social interaction," the authors said. 
 
"We find that not only are interaction patterns connected to the success of persuasion, but language is also found to distinguish persuasive arguments. Dissimilarity with the wording in which the opinion is expressed turns out to be the most predictive signal among all features," the study noted. 
 
"Although this novel dataset opens up potential opportunities for future work, it remains an interesting problem how our findings generalise to different contexts. It is also important to understand the effects of attitude change on actual behaviour," the research paper suggested.
 
According to Tan, the findings can be generalised to other online settings and social networks.
 
The research paper titled "Winning Arguments: Interaction Dynamics and Persuasion Strategies in Good-faith Online Discussions" is set to be presented at the International World Wide Web Conference in Montreal, Canada, in April.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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'Neerja' - A glorious tribute to the braveheart
Film: "Neerja"; Director: Ram Madhvani; Cast: Shabana Azmi, Sonam Kapoor, Shekhar Ravijani and Yogendra Tikku; Rating: ***1/2
 
Neerja, a biopic, encapsulates the life of Neerja Bhanot, head purser, Pan Am flight 73, which was hijacked in Karachi in September 1986 where she laid down her life heroically, trying to save the passengers.
 
Set inside Pan Am Flight 73 and Bombay's Navjeevan Society, this is a well made, crisp film that takes the audience through Neerja's short life of 23 years. And as Neerja, a die-hard Rajesh Khanna fan used to say, "Zindagi badi honi chahiye, lambi nahin (Life should be grand, not long)". She lived her life to the fullest and brought joy to those whose lives she touched, till the very end.
 
Director Ram Madhvani adroitly showcases Neerja's life and the actual incident of the plane getting hijacked in a brilliant narrative. He gives viewers a peak into her life with her family, her strong bond with her mother, her attachment to her father, the lessons she learnt from them and her traumatic marriage, in a smooth flowing plot, the focus of which never wavers.
 
The hijacking incident and the manner in which Neerja attends to the passengers, rescues them with single-minded devotion and confidence, remains the centre stage of the film. Yet, we get glimpses of her life, which tell us the kind of person she was.
 
Sonam Kapoor as Neerja Bhanot slips into the role with ease. Whether it is playfully mouthing the dialogues of her favourite superstar Rajesh Khanna, chiding her mother for her unnecessary concern, or staring adversity in the face as a composed flight purser, she makes it all look effortless as an actor.
 
But it is Shabana Azmi as Rama Bhanot, Neerja's spirited and loving mother, who steals your heart with a natural and heart-rending performance. She is every inch Neerja's mother whether it is waking her up lovingly before a flight or promising her a yellow salwar kameez for her birthday. The last scene where she gives an emotional speech on the first death anniversary of Neerja, is easily one of the highlights of the film.
 
Shekhar Ravijani, of the Vishal-Shekhar music director duo, makes his debut as an actor and plays Neerja's love interest, Jaideep, who dotes on her. Unfortunately the character does not offer him much scope by way of performance.
 
The actors playing the hijackers too are competent and display their anger, frustration, nervousness and unleashing of terror, in a convincing manner. The rest of the actors too are natural, not indulging in unnecessary histrionics.
 
Nothing in the film appears staged or artificial. It is truly a slice of Neerja's life.
 
The only aberration in this otherwise well told engaging tale, is the jerky camera movement and poor lighting, which barely allows you to see the face of the actors with clarity, giving it the feel of a film with compromised production values.
 
The music has been skilfully used to create the right mood in certain scenes and does not seem out of place.
 
Overall, Neerja is bound to engage you emotionally owing to the nature of its subject and its adept treatment.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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