How can mobile be your best friend during UPSC preparation

Smartphones have become an essential part of our daily life. It has substantially changed the way we interact with our surroundings. Be it shopping, traveling, entertainment etc. everything is just a click away.

In the same way, smartphones have also changed the way students are accessing education services. 24X7 internet and easy availability of smartphone have made it one of the most preferred ways to prepare for competitive exams. The wide reach and penetration of smartphones have made millions of students from small town and villages to avail quality education services and so more and more service provider are making it easy to use smartphones for exam preparation.

Similarly, the aspirants are also using smartphones for UPSC preparation. So let’s see how it can be used wisely and in a positive manner.

 

  1. To keep yourself updated about current affairs

Smartphones can be used to read daily news and current affair sites to keep yourself updated on all the latest happenings.  This will help in general studies preparation for both prelims as well as mains stage of the exam. Some of the apps that must be installed in a UPSC aspirant’s phone are

  • PIB
  • The Hindu
  • The Indian Express
  1. Accessibility of Study materials

Study material has always been a cause of worry for UPSC aspirants, particularly students preparing from their hometown or remote places. There are many apps and websites, which provide quality study materials free. Some of the apps and website that are worth mentioning are

  • Constitution
  • NCERT Books
  • Previous years papers
  • UPSC preparation websites

Study material can also be purchased using online shopping and can be delivered to your doorstep. Thus technology has removed any wedge between you and your counterpart preparing from coaching hubs.

  1. Daily quiz practice

Daily reading coupled with quiz practice helps in retention of the topic studied. This way you can also check your level of understanding of a given topic. Doing daily practice helps build aknowledge base and helps immensely in the prelims stage of the exam. Smartphones can be easily used for daily quiz practice by using the relevant apps as per your requirement. Devoting only five to ten minutes in such quizzes can be quit useful.

 

  1. Digital notes

Smartphones can also be effectively used for making digital notes. These notes can be seamlessly accessed anywhere and in any device and so you can easily revise the study material anytime and anywhere you find thetime. Digital notes are particularly more beneficial to working people who can utilize there traveling time for studies. Digital notes save a lot of time as you just need to cut and paste relevant materials rather than writing it. Evernote is the best app to use for this purpose.

  1. Group discussion

Facebook groups and what’sup groups can be used to indulge in group discussion and doubt resolution. But these need to be used cautiously and with anonly small group of friends who have the same commitment and dedication towards the preparation of the UPSC exam. As many a time, people get involved in theuseless debate and waste their time.

  1. Educational Video

Many good quality educational videos can be availed by using youtube.com. These videos help in doubt resolution and developing clarity over the topics. Some of the useful YouTube channels that can assist your preparation are

  • LokSabha
  • RajyaSabha
  • Justice Harvard Video
  • UGC
  • NPTEL
  1. Meditation

Meditation is very useful for any UPSC CSE aspirant as it helps controlling stress, mood swing and also improves the concentration level. But still many find it difficult to practice meditation. Smartphones can be used to start meditation practice as there are apps which allow developing meditation practice in a playful manner. Some of the apps which can help are

  • Meditation game
  • Meditation music
  • Calm

With time, the mode of UPSC preparation is changing and aspirants are equally adapting fast with the changing trend, but still, the core preparation strategy and methods are same to successfully qualify the exam. You have to read from the authentic sources (NCERT Books and some Essential books), develop conceptual clarity, revise concept multiple times and practice writing skills.

Smartphones are tools which make your tasks a bit easier but using it wisely depends on you. Some people blame technology for their failure and others take advantage to achieve success. The decision is yours

5 Important Cryptocurrencies that are Not Bitcoin

There is no doubt that Bitcoin is the oldest and the most famous cryptocurrency of them all and to many people, it is a name that’s almost synonymous with the term cryptocurrency itself. However, it isn’t the only digital currency that’s worthy of your attention because here are five that are fast becoming the next big name in blockchain.

Ethereum

While Bitcoin continues to be the dominant name in blockchain, if there is one other name that people know of in the world of cryptocurrencies, it would be Ethereum. Aside from its popularity, Ethereum is also the second most valuable cryptocurrency that is estimated to grow to great heights in the next five years. Keep in mind that Ethereum was only launched three years ago in 2015 and has since managed to outperform almost every other cryptocurrency out there.

Litecoin

Coming into existence two years after Bitcoin, the most prominent name behind Litecoin is that of Charlie Lee, an ex-Google employee. The fully decentralised currency has actually played a role in reducing the severity of fluctuations in the value of cryptocurrencies through diversification. Litecoin is also easier to exchange and the transaction costs are among the cheapest.In Australia, CoinSpot is the number one cryptocurrency exchange that supports more digital currencies than any other legal exchange in the country. Check the review on Crypto Head first to know all about the pros and cons before signing up though.

Ripple

A big name in the world of cryptocurrency recently, Ripple is an open payment network and a product of OpenCoin. The two prominent names behind Ripple are Jed McCaleb and Chris Larsen, who are also the founders of OpenCoin. However, the most important feature which makes Ripple stand out from the likes of Ether and Bitcoin is the fact that there is absolutely no need (or way) to mine Ripple at all. Ripple is also the more accepted form of payment in banks, as compared to other digital currencies.

Zcash

Zerocoin was a project that was created to keep the identities of the Bitcoin users a secret from prying eyes, and it was successful at doing that. In 2016, however, Zcash came into existence, right out of the Zerocoinproject, and it has turned out to be a success as well. The CEO of Zcash has made it clear that the currency will not exceed 21 million units at any time. What makes Zcash unique is the fact that it allows users the choice between complete anonymity and remaining public with their transactions. The privacy features of Zcash are unmatched and it offers more customisation options than any other currency.

IOTA

The least heard of coin on this list is the IOTA, a digital currency used primarily for IoT transactions. Everything about how the IOTA works is different, and it doesn’t even use the traditional blockchain technology. The main advantages of IOTA include zero transaction fees and zero network latency. A lot of experts are of the opinion that in the future, IOTA will surpass every other coin in the market, but that future might still be a long way off, given that the Internet of Things still has to evolve a lot more.

Despite the unstable nature of cryptocurrencies, exchanging any one of these five can be a lot more profitable than trying your luck at the stock exchange.

How to Build Local Engagement on Your Website

A few years ago, owning a website was seen as a way to reach an international audience. In fact, it was the only way to reach a global audience. Local viewers could still see your site and benefit from it, but there were no ways to make the site geared more towards a local audience. That view was changed by the immense effectiveness of local SEO.

Since it was introduced, local SEO has enabled thousands of businesses, including small and home businesses, to connect with potential customers around them. The level of optimization you can do today goes even beyond that. There are ways to build local engagement on your website and we are going to discuss the best strategies in this article.

Going Local

It is not a secret that search engine crawlers now take virtually every metric into consideration. The algorithms behind search engines are now so advanced that they are very accurate in directing users towards the information they really need.

Among those metrics are technical details about your site. Where is your site hosted? Do you use a country-specific domain name? Is your site benefiting from close proximity to your target audience?

These may seem like minute metrics at first, but they are important first steps you need to take to build higher local engagement. If you are a Toronto-based business targeting customers in Canada, for instance, moving to a Canada web hosting company is the way to go.

Fortunately, the steps you have to take are easy to complete. You can turn to MangoMatter Media for a great Canada web hosting review collection if you need help choosing the right one to use. Grabbing a .ca domain name isn’t difficult either.

Act Like Locals

Optimizing a site for local viewers is like trying to get to know the communities around your business. You want to speak their lingo and be part of their activities; that’s how you build a stronger relationship with local communities.

With a website, adding location information is the next step to take. Make sure your complete address appears on every page. You also need to start thinking about using key phrases and words that your target audience actually use instead of formal or irrelevant ones.

Small optimizations add up. Altering the way your articles are written and adding “Toronto, Canada” to your footer alone can boost your local engagement substantially.

Don’t Forget the Engagement Part

To get users to interact with your site, you need two things: great flows and strong calls to action. Users will have different journeys through your site. What you need to do is identify those journeys and make sure every one of them ends with a strong call to action.

The call to action can be anything. You can ask users to sign up for your newsletter for better long-term engagement. You can direct them to social media pages or let them read valuable articles. The more time local users spend on your site, the better your site will perform engagement-wise. The rest is easy from this point.

Amazon has given our employees access to advanced technologies and innovative idea”, says Souq.com CEO

The global e-commerce giant Amazon acquired Souq.com last year and has helped it grow strategically in the e-commerce space ever since. Amazon and Souq.com are clearly advancing towards innovative ideas and technologies and this is taking them towards a new integration level offering wide range of products and offerings to their consumers. Souq.com employees have equally benefitted with these upgraded and advanced technologies that they have gathered through Amazon.

Grab the best Souq coupons here

Souq.com was founded in 2005 when Middle East was a very new place for e-commerce. Operating e-commerce space in the Middle East was not an easy task but souq.com brought about this change and was sure it had enormous potential to operate into this space. In a country with strict legal customs and laws, logistics issues and slower broadband penetration rates, it was not easy to operate as an e-commerce player. However, slowly and gradually souq.com became the largest e-commerce website in the Middle East and now operates in close to 7 countries as off now. However, the company has scaled new heights after its acquisition with Amazon.

After the acquisition, Souq.com has benefitted in numerous ways. The company can now provide wider range of products to its customers with better prices, faster delivery and improved customer services. Souq.com has definitely improved a lot also in terms of its sales growth ever since it got acquired by Amazon. But, if we compare the online retail sales they still stand at 2% when compared with other western e-commerce spaces. The acquisition which accounted for around $850 million has brought lot of limelight for this UAE giant Souq in terms of innovation and technological advancements and the company is still on the path of growth.

Souq has come a long way since the time it was started. The best thing which clicked behind the acquisition of Souq by Amazon were a lot of commonalities between the two as both of these are technically equipped businesses. Souq’s culture and values, customer centric operation methodology, innovation and technology matched a lot with the culture and values of Amazon. Though, Souq is a great e-commerce retailer in the Middle East, but with a global brand like Amazon which rules the global economy in the e-commerce space, the company has a long way to go. Even the employees of Amazon have been practically exposed to access advanced technologies and innovative ideas of Amazon.

As per the current scenario, retail sales account to be only around 2% but, if this is compared with the western economies, USA accounts for 8%, China at 15% and Europe stands at 12%. Souq would now be able to access all these markets through the expansion it had through Amazon. So after this acquisition, Amazon customers are able to login to Souq.com with their Amazon credentials and another major benefit is Souq vendors and customers having access to a gamut of products and offerings of Amazon. Souq sellers can also sell their things on a wider platform now through Amazon.

As per the CEO of souq.com, Mr Ronaldo Mouchawar despite the current 2% retail sales in Middle East, there has been a “significant acceleration” in the e-commerce space especially in the last 3-4 years. He owes the credit of this acceleration to the young and dynamic youth who are one of the major consumer segments on online shopping. When Souq was launched they were just limited to a website, but they came up with their first app in 2012 and with the enhancement of digitization and increased usage of smart phones, around 70-80% of the payment transactions and shopping has started happening via smart phones.

Customer preferences and choices have also changed drastically over the last few years. UAE being a cash-based economy relied majorly on cash payments and hence, accepting online transactions was also one of the hurdles faced by Souq. Around 75-80% of the economy in UAE is still relying on cash transactions but slowly consumers have started adopting digital payment apps. Earlier in places like Egypt and Saudi Arabia holders of credit cards were very less in number and hence, customers were always very reluctant to do online transactions. But, with time, increase in connectivity and easier and better access to seamless online transactional processes more and more customers have started relying on online payments now. Cash on delivery was a very popular feature of Souq.com but for the first time ever, after the acquisition online payments have surpassed the cash on delivery transactions of Souq.

Delivery was another major hurdle for Souq but, the company overcame this challenge too very smoothly. Many of the cities in UAE do not have postal codes and hence, delivering products was always very troublesome so the company used a tech-enabled delivery setup system and used to geolocate clients. But, with uninterrupted internet connectivity and more and more people relying on mobile apps now delivery has become very easy and convenient for the company. After getting linked with Amazon, which is known for its amazing and fast delivery services SOUQ has benefitted a lot. Earlier, Souq used to deliver products in 3 to 5 working days which has reduced to 2 to 4 working days now and this is a very big factor after this Amazon Souq deal.

The CEO of Souq still believes that they are in “day one” phase as of now as there is a lot to learn and adapt from Amazon and the integration process is still on. The company believes to get higher profit margins and also set up new levels in e-retail space after this tie-up with Amazon.