Ratan Tata's Farewell note to Tata Employees

As we reported earlier, there is a change of guard at the Tata Group of Companies. The iconic corporate leader, retired as Chairman of Tata Group after a 50-year run on Friday, December 28th. Ratan Tata hung up his boots and Cyrus Mistry took the reins of India's best known global brand today.

Ratan Tata, who helmed the group for 21 years after being chosen successor by his uncle, the iconic JRD Tata, in 1991, is credited with transforming the group through bold decisions including large global acquisitions, even as some of its peers struggled to stay relevant post economic liberalization.

In his farewell letter, the best CEO of India Inc told the employees to live by the "value systems and ethical standards on which our group was founded". He asked his colleagues to show their "support", "commitment" and "dedication" to achieve success in these somewhat difficult times.

Below is the full text of the letter -

Dear Colleague,

As 2012 comes to an end, let me wish you and your family all the best for the New Year. I hope that 2013 and the future years bring you good health, peace of mind and great happiness.

This is also the last time that I write to you prior to my retirement as the Chairman of the Tata Group and I want to convey to you how privileged I have been to have had the opportunity of leading this great Group over the last two decades through good times and bad.

Whatever has been achieved has only been possible because of the amazing spirit, the dedication of each one of you and the enormous support and faith reposed in me, for which I am deeply grateful and appreciative. I feel immensely proud of the manner in which the employees and the companies have come together in facing crises from time to time.

These have included adverse market conditions, natural calamities like earthquakes and tsunamis and gruesome acts of terrorism.

The memories of personal sacrifices, loyalty and individual acts of heroism will always remain in my memory, to reinforce the great sense of pride I have in having been a member of this team. We today are a $100 billion Group in revenues. Over the past 20 years our revenues have grown about 20 times and today 58% come from overseas operations. Our brand has emerged as the 45th global and the number one Indian brand.

Our products and services are present in 85 countries. We therefore have every reason to feel proud and feel confident in facing the challenges ahead. The difficult economic environment that we face in the current year will most likely continue through most of the next year.

We will probably see continued constraints in consumer demand, over-capacity and increased competition from imports. There will therefore be great pressure on our companies to reinvent themselves in terms of business processes and to dramatically reduce costs, to be more aggressive in the market place and to widen our product range to better address consumer needs.

We will also need to contain our borrowings and work hard to retain our margins. This environment would once again call on you for your support, your commitment and your dedication to achieve success in these somewhat difficult times.This seemingly gloomy picture however will be a passing phase.

I feel confident that the robust growth that India has shown over the past several years will be re-established and the strong fundamentals in the country will result in India once again taking its place as one of the economic success stories of the region.

The Tata Group will undoubtedly play an important role in the continued development of our country, providing leadership in various industrial segments in which they operate and living by the value systems and ethical standards on which our Group was founded. The future growth of the Group will be led in thecomingn

g years by Cyrus Mistry. I am sure that he will receive from you the same support, the same commitment and the same understanding that I have enjoyed over the years. Tatas are a Group where I feel proud to have belonged and proud to have been associated through the years. I wish the Group, Cyrus Mistry and each of you great success in the years ahead. I hope the Group grows and shines in the coming years.

Yours sincerely, Ratan N Tata, chairman, Tata Sons.

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Electrical Socket/Plug Map of The World

Have you ever wondered how many different types of electrical sockets/plugs are in use in the world? According to the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), an international standards organization, there are 14 plug-and-socket systems in operation throughout the world. Some of these are compatible with each other and hence in some countries more than one type is used. Similarly numerous national standards for voltage and frequency exist.

When traveling to a foreign country, you may be confronted with the problem of trying to plug your razor or mobile device charger into a socket with an unsuitable configuration - like pounding a square peg into a round hole.

With this problem in mind, the IEC created a plug and socket map that is both informative and practical. It explains why things are as they are today and how they might be improved. It also provides information on the plugs, sockets and voltage used around the world, along with illustrations of the various plugs and sockets available.

Click on the link below to access the interactive world plugs & sockets map.


Here's another map by Mark Lakata, that was first published in National Geographic.

  • The ‘American’ model (yellow), consisting of two vertical rectangular openings, side by side.
  • The ‘subcontinental’ model (dark green), a triangle of circular openings.
  • The ‘antipodean’ model (light blue), made up of three rectangles arranged to look like the mask from the Scream movies, is used in only four countries, all in the Southern Hemisphere: Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, and Papua New Guinea.
  • The ‘imperial’ model (dark blue), two flat rectangles below, one upright on top, quite clearly is a remnant of the British Empire, as it is used not only in the UK and Ireland, but also in that swathe of Africa with which Cecil Rhodes had once sought to connect ‘the Cape and Cairo’.
  • The ‘European’ model (light green), which looks a bit like Wall-E.

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Tata - India’s Best Known Global Brand

Source: various:

As Ratan Tata steps down and Cyrus Mistry steps in at Bombay House Friday, top CEOs of the world have said the $100-billion Tata Group is India’s best-known global brand within and outside the country.

“Ratan Tata occupies the well-deserved iconic status who has taken the group from largely an Indian family-owned business house into a professionally managed global conglomerate,” a survey by Assocham said.

About 77 percent of those who participated in the survey said they are confident Mistry will be able to steer the group well, it said.

Assocham said it has surveyed about 78 top CEOs and heads of both domestic and foreign companies in the first fortnight of December.

The survey, it said, was conducted not only in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Hyderabad, but also in London, New York and Singapore.

However, the respondents said the biggest challenge for Mistry would be to ensure that the Tata companies are able to sail through the global slowdown, since the group operates in some 80 countries, several of which are in the grip of difficult times.

The group has interests in steel, automobile, chemicals, telecommunication, information technology, beverages and hospitality, among other areas.

“The Tata story which began in 1868 by Jamsetji N Tata has been the most successful among India Inc. The role played by Ratan Tata and J R D Tata in making the group truly global has been deservedly recognized all over the world,” Assocham President Rajkumar N Dhoot said.

Infosys Technologies, Wipro, Mahindra & Mahindra and Aditya Birla Group were the other major Indian corporate houses listed to have made their mark on the global business landscape, the survey said.

However, it said the brand Tata stood out among all the top Indian corporates and perceived as the truly international brand.

It said while the change of guard at the Bombay House, the headquarters of the Tatas later this month, is on the corporate calendar and the event would go down as a landmark occasion among the most watched for several years.

Ratan Tata, after being at the helms of affairs for 21 years at Tata Sons, the holding company of the group, will be retiring on 28 December.

Credit: FirstPost.com

Major Global Acquisitions By Tata under Ratan Tata's Leadership

  1. 2000: Tata Tea acquires UK’s Tetley Group for $450 million.
  2. 2001: TCS acquires the Indian government’s 51 per cent stake in CMC Ltd for Rs. 152 crore.
  3. 2002: Tata Sons acquires a 25 per cent stake in VSNL from the government for Rs. 1,439 crore. Tata goes on to increase its stake in the company and renames the company Tata Communications Ltd.
  4. 2004: Tata Motors acquires the heavy vehicles unit of Daewoo Motors in South Korea for $102 million.
  5. 2005: Tata Steel buys out Singapore’s largest steel company NatSteel—with operations in Singapore, Thailand, China, Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines and Australia—for around $365 million.
  6. 2005: Tata Communications acquires US-based Tyco Global Network, making it one of the world’s largest providers of submarine cable bandwidth, for $130 million.
  7. 2005: Indian Hotels takes over the management of The Pierre Hotel in New York under a 30-year contract worth $5 million.
  8. 2005: Indian Hotels acquires a Starwood-managed hotel in Sydney from the Hong King-based Harilela Group for $36 million.
  9. 2005: Trent acquires a 76 per cent stake in the Landmark chain of bookstores for Rs. 103.6 crore.
  10. 2006: Taj buys the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Boston for $170 million.
  11. 2006: Tata Chemicals acquires UK-based Brunners Mond Group for around Rs. 508 crore.
  12. 2007: Tata Steel acquires Anglo-Dutch steelmaker Corus for $11.3 billion.
  13. 2007: Taj group acquires Campton Hotel in San Francisco for $58 million.
  14. 2008: Tata Motors acquires Jaguar and Land Rover from Ford for $2.3 billion.
  15. 2008: Tata Chemicals acquires US-based General Chemical Industrial Products for $1 billion.
  16. 2009: TRF Ltd acquires a 51 per cent stake in Dutch Lanka Trailer Manufacturers Ltd for $8.67 million. The company exercised its call option in 2012 to acquire the remaining stake in the company for an additional $8.33 million.
  17. 2010: TRF acquires UK-based Hewitt Robins International for 3 million pounds.
  18. 2011: Tata Chemicals buys UK-based British Salt for Rs. 650 crore.

Credit: NDTV.com

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What On Earth Is Boxing Day?

I assume you have heard about "Boxing Day". If not, then head to the Wikipedia link at the bottom of this post. If you have heard then I guess you also know that traditionally the day after Christmas, 26th December is celebrated as Boxing Day. However, do you know why it is known so and when it all started? In case you do know, then kindly enlighten us on the history and origin of Boxing Day, in the comments section.

I was intrigued by the question emailed to us by one of our geeks, "What is Boxing Day?" So, I researched a bit and here is what I found -

  • There is still uncertainty around the origins of Boxing Day. However, one fact is certain - it falls on December 26th which is also St. Stephen's Day, a religious holiday in some countries.
  • Despite its name, Boxing Day has nothing to do with pugilistic competition. It is not related the sport and the day is not celebrated as a popular day to hold boxing matches.
  • It is also NOT a day for people to return unwanted Christmas presents.
  • Boxing Day is customarily celebrated in England, as well as in several Commonwealth colonies such as Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.
  • Boxing Day originated about 800 years back in the middle ages. It has been a national holiday in England, Wales, Ireland and Canada since 1871.
  • When 26 December falls on a weekend, the celebration is moved to make sure workers still get a day off (except in Canada, where it remains 26th Dec)
  • Some historians say the holiday developed because servants were required to work on Christmas Day, but took the following day off. As servants prepared to leave to visit their families, their employers would present them with gift boxes.
  • Another theory is that the boxes placed in churches where parishioners deposited monetary donations for the poor were opened and the contents distributed among the poor on 26th of December.
  • One more school of thought is that the day after Christmas was also the traditional day on which the aristocracy distributed presents (boxes) to servants and employees — a sort of institutionalized Christmas-bonus party. The servants returned home, opened their boxes and had a second Christmas on what became known as Boxing Day.
  • The Irish still refer to the holiday as St. Stephen's Day, and they have their own tradition called hunting the wren, in which boys fasten a fake wren to a pole and parade it through town. Also known as Wren Day, the tradition supposedly dates to 1601, to the Battle of Kinsale, in which the Irish tried to sneak up on the English invaders but were betrayed by the song of an overly vocal wren — although this legend's veracity is also highly debated.
  • Cyber Boxing Day: In 2009, many retailers with both online and High Street stores launched their online sales on Christmas Eve and their High Street sales on Boxing Day. This was derived from the American holiday, the cyber Monday.
  • Just as Americans watch football on Thanksgiving, the Brits have Boxing Day soccer matches and horse races.

So, there you go ... let us know your thoughts.

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Season’s Best Wishes on Christmas - 2012

Merry Christmas to all our Christian and other friends around the globe and other planets!


May this Christmas bring everlasting peace on our planet!

Follow Santa -

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12/12/12 - 12:12:12 - Last Repeating Date and Time of The 21st Century

The historic moment today at exactly 12 minutes and 12 seconds past 12noon is the last repeating date and time for the 21st century. Meaning all numericals in a date at a particular time are the same (12/12/12 - 12:12:12). The next time this will happen is in about 88 years on January 1, 2101, or 01-01-01.

After couple of attempts, one of us geeks at the Fundoo Geek! was able to capture the screen shot as it happened on the web site timeanddate.com.

Here’s the screen shot of that historic golden moment »

People pray for peace during 12:12:12, at an event called "Light Meeting" in Tama, west of Tokyo December 12, 2012, marking the last day in this century where the numeral date appear with the same numbers. (Reuters / Yuriko Nakao)

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If I Were A Holiday Gift

Author: Shiamak HK

“Rrrrrriiiiiiip!” That is the sound of a lucky child frantically shredding my green and blue box with a shiny purple ribbon. Even though my box is comfortable, I am desperate to meet my new owner.

”I would be a perfect present,” I said confidently; thinking of all the hundreds of apps my owner could download on me. I have a smooth, shiny screen, not too big, but not too small with a nice grip on the back. The kid will be able to listen to music on me and search the web.

“Rrriiiip! Rrriiiip” As the ripping got closer, I got more excited. When the child finally reached me I heard a loud “Aaaaaaaaahh!” Two soft, sturdy hands lifted me. “A new Samsung Galaxy Tab 2!” The boy yelled.

Then the boy, Shiamak, turned me on for the first time!

The above is the work of one of our avid readers, Shiamak HK. Shiamak is 9 years.

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How To Make A Perfect Holiday Cookie

Author: Shiamak HK

“Crunch! Munch!” That is the sound of me chomping and demolishing my cookie as crumbs rained onto the desk. I’m going to tell you how to make the same colorful, chewy cookie. It will taste as delicious as candy and chocolate!

First, smear white icing on the smooth cookie surface.
Second, carefully dot green icing around the circumference and a dot of pink icing in the center. Initially randomly sprinkle red and green sugar crystals. Then carelessly scatter coconut shavings.
After that, place seven red hots wherever you'd like.
Next, drop creamy chocolate and butterscotch chips.

If you’d like, you can repeat any of the numbers. “Chomp Chomp!” My favorite part. Sit back, relax and demolish your perfect cookie.

Sorry, did I say that was my favorite part? This is my favorite part. Smear white icing on the next cookies smooth surface...

The above is the work of one of our avid readers, Shiamak HK. Shiamak is 9 years.

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Sensory Thanksgiving Memory

Author: Shiamak HK

“Dinners ready!” I heard my mom yell. I dropped my book on my bed and rushed down stairs, my mouth watering like crazy.

When I got off the steps a sweet aroma hit my nose. As I looked around, I saw my relatives devouring piles and piles of savory food. While picking up a cool, metal spoon I sat in my chair. Using the spoon, I scooped a bite of moist, creamy mashed potatoes.

My mom pulled out a sizzling turkey from the oven while another one kept cooking. My mouth was watering like I swallowed a river. The turkey felt rough on the outside but was soft and tender on the inside.

After a serving of turkey, I stuffed a fist full of sweet potatoes and cranberry sauce into my mouth. The sweet potatoes were buttery and soft, while the cranberry sauce tasted sweet and tangy.

I could already tell that this was going to be a Thanksgiving memory I would never forget!
Smile with tongue out

The above is the work of one of our avid readers, Shiamak HK. Shiamak is 9 years.

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I Am Poem

Author: Shiamak HK

I wonder how tall the tallest tree is
I hear the splashing when I swim
I see a soccer ball rolling towards me
I want a soft, fluffy dog to keep my other one company
I am an athlete and a student

I pretend that I am an Olympic competitor
I feel my soft, amazing dog’s fur
I am an athlete and a student
I touch my friend’s hand when we high-five
I worry about the blue sky falling down
I cry when I see terrible things happen to people
I am an athlete and a student

I understand why people shouldn’t litter
I say don’t ever give up
I dream of winning an Olympic gold medal
I try not to let myself down
I hope more amazing animals don’t get extinct
I am an athlete and a student

The above is the work of one of our avid readers, Shiamak HK. Shiamak is 9 years.

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Satellite Images of India on Diwali Night - NASA

Source: NASA:

NASA today released black and white satellite images of India this Diwali night, cautioning people against the fake image in circulation in social media circles.

"On November 12, 2012, the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the Suomi NPP satellite captured this nighttime view of southern Asia," NASA said releasing a picture of India on this Diwali night.

"The image is based on data collected by the VIIRS 'day- night band', which detects light in a range of wavelengths from green to near-infrared. The image has been brightened to make the city lights easier to distinguish," it said.

NASA said most of the bright areas in the imagery released by it are cities and towns in India, the country with the world's largest Hindu population.

"India is home to more than 1.2 billion people and has 30 cities with populations over 1 million. (For comparison, China has 62 cities with more than 1 million residents and the United States has 9)," it said. Cities in Bangladesh, Nepal, and Pakistan are also visible near the edges of the image.

"In that image, white areas show city lights that were visible prior to 1992, while blue, green, and red shades indicate city lights that became visible in 1992, 1998, and 2003 respectively," it said.

"In reality, any extra light produced during Diwali is so subtle that it is likely imperceptible when observed from space," NASA said.

This image, released by NASA Earth Observatory on December 5, 2012 that shows India during Diwali celebrations on the night of November 12, 2012.

This image, according to NASA, is the colorful picture which has been making the rounds online as map of India during Diwali celebrations and is actually an overlay of shots highlighting India's burgeoning population over several years.

NASA | Earth at Night:

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Cool Time Lapse Photo Videos of Airplanes

Source: various:

Have you ever wondered how is a pilot's view from the cockpit of an airliner? Me too! So, I went about searching the net for any available time lapse photos or videos. And discovered that there are infact quite a few. So, here are some for your viewing pleasure ...

Pilot Films Flights From Take Off To Landing:

Our first video is of Vimeo user and commercial pilot Jakub Vlk. Jakub filmed his flights from Prague, Nantes and Catania, among other locales, and compiled them all in a cool time lapse.

The video shows what flying looks like from the cockpit over what Vlk says is a seven-day period.

Five Hours of Airplane Landings Captured in Thirty Seconds:

Check out this curious 25-second time-lapse/composite video that shows every airplane that landed at San Diego International Airport on Black Friday a week ago between 10:30am and 3pm. The giant planes whiz by overhead as if they’re part of a fighter jet squadron heading off to battle — not something you’d expect to see with commercial planes at an airport. It was created by photography and film professor Cy Kuckenbaker.

Time-Lapse Makes Approaching Airplanes Look Like Wobbly Toys:

Martin of Cargospotter created this mesmerizing time-lapse video showing the constant stream of airplanes that land on a particular runway at London’s Heathrow airport, the third busiest airport in the world in terms of passengers. The still photographs he captured are played back 17-times faster than real-time, causing the planes to look like RC airplanes floating around and bobbing in the breeze.

A340 Cockpit Takeoff in Los Angeles:

Nose view Takeoff in Los Angeles 1080HD of the A340-300, takeoff on runway 25R at Los Angeles International.

A340 Nose view Landing in Los Angeles:

The SWISS A340-300 Nose view landing in KLAX, in 1080HD. The daily Service from Zurich to Los Angeles.

PhotoShop'ed Crash:

Graphic designer Alexander Koshelkov created this amazing time-lapse video showing how he created an epic plane crash image in Photoshop using elements found in other photographs (e.g. freeways, an airplane, destroyed engines and cars). The project took Koshelkov nearly 4.5 hours and required 244 separate layers.


Building A $30M Bombardier Q400 Turboprop Plane:

A new video from Indian low cost carrier SpiceJet takes viewers inside a Canadian factory where one of its new Bombardier Q400 passenger planes is assembled, making for a fascinating inside look at the complicated manufacturing ballet.

The carrier, which recently added the turboprop to its fleet, plans to link smaller cities in India with the 78-passenger plane.

The video explores many of the complicated steps that go into building a passenger plane, from assembling the fuselage to adding wings, from testing cockpit systems to adding fully finished leather-upholstered seats two at a time. A time-lapse scene of crews painting on the SpiceJet livery is particularly cool.


Space Time-Lapse Video: ISS Travels Around The World In 'The Journey Home':

This video, made from time-lapse photographs taken from the International Space Station's (ISS) Cupola observatory module, takes us around the world from Africa to the Mediterranean Sea, North America to South America and Europe to the Middle East, among more than a dozen other journeys. It passes over Hurricanes Katia and Irene and catches a number of lightning bolts in its lens as well.

The video was made aboard the ISS by Ron Garan, the space-tweeting NASA astronaut

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