Friday, August 26, 2011

Straight Talk - low cost, no Contract, mobile service

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Straight Talk for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

When it comes to mobile telecommunications Americans have had it tough since the past several years. All telephone service providers are large corporations and make rules that the consumer has to follow. The end result has been that mobile phone service has been on the expensive side with prices rising almost every year. Moreover phone companies love to trap consumers into contracts by offering them free phones. Once in a contract the consumer has to stay with the service provider for two years.

This kind of contract phone service is changing thanks to Straight Talk, the latest mobile phone service provider to enter the market. First and foremost Straight is a no contract, low cost service, that promises to cut your cell phone bill by half. Now imagine paying half of what you are paying for the same excellent service, nationwide coverage and using the same trendy handheld device, what would you do with the money you save? I can think of a 100 things I could do with the mega savings, I could save the money and go on a vacation once a year.

Straight talk offers several great plans to fulfill everything you need as far as mobile communication goes. For instance the "All You Need Plan" offers 1,000 minutes, 1,000 texts and 30 MB of web data. Then there is the Unlimited Monthly Service including calls, text, picture messaging, and web priced at only $45. There is no other company that offers all these services at this kind of low price. That is not all you can get this unlimited service for a year for only $499 - even more savings. You can call a friend and talk as much as you want, not worrying about whether your minutes will get exhausted or not. I am sure if you were to tell your mom about Straight Talk, she would jump at the offer, simply because mom knows best and it is generally true.

The best is yet to come, Straight talk doesn't charge you for 411 calls and there is no activation, reactivation or termination fees. Straight Talk also offers international long distance to enable you to make international calls from your home, cell or office phone at extremely low rates. This would help expat workers to keep in touch with their families and friends at home.

Finally let us talk about the hardware, Straight Talk offers reconditioned phoens starting from $10 with camera, mp3 player, internet access and blue tooth capability. Can you believe that? $10 is less than the cost of a meal in a good restaurant and you get a feature-filled phone.

This offer sounds too good to be true. So I went online and did my own research to find out what users have to say and this is what I found. Almost all the customers are delighted by Straight Talk's offerings. Watch the video below and decide for yourself.

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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Lovely Lepakshi - Splendor in Stone

Lepakshi about 100 km from Bengaluru city is home to one of the most spectacular Vijayanagara era temples. Located in the State of Andhra Pradesh Lepakshi is easily accessible from Karnataka, i.e. Bengaluru.

I paid a quick visit to this wonderfully sculpted temple back in 2005 and ever since I have been smitten by the memories of the place. Lepakshi in my opinion is a place for those willing to get away from the routine multiple-destination tourist circuits and want a quiet weekend amidst ancient monuments and rugged scenery.

With its fine temple architecture and historically interesting monuments, Lepakshi is an ideal getaway for history enthusiasts, heritage lovers and monument fanatics. Sited in Anantapur District of neighbouring Andhra Pradesh, Lepakshi is a small village about 100 km from Bangalore.

Lepakshi is perhaps one of the most important locations close to Bangalore from a historical perspective. A trip to Lepakshi will prove revitalising for those who love in heritage sites, who marvel at the art created by our ancestors. Lepakshi, renowned as the repository of the best mural paintings of the Vijayanagar empire, hosts three shrines dedicated to Shiva, Vishnu and Veerabhadra. On a hillock known as ‘Kurma Saila’ (tortoise shaped hill), is located the large temple complex dedicated to Veerabhadra which also houses sub-shrines of Papanatheswara, Raghunatha, Srirama and Durga.

According to Skandapurana – a holy book of Hindus -- Lepakshi is one of the 108 Shaiva Kshetras or important pilgrim centres for worshippers of Lord Shiva. An inscription (in HaleKannada or old Kannada) on the outer wall of the temple records that one Virupanna, the treasury officer of the Penukonda Fort of the Vijaynagar empire, constructed the temple during the 16th century.

As with most ancient Hindu temples, Lepakshi also has several legends associated with it. But the most accepted legend is that Virupanna discovered the idol of Veerabhadra and decided to build a temple in the lord’s honour. Since the king was absent, he used money from the royal treasury without the former’s knowledge and started constructing the temple. When the temple construction was nearing completion the king returned to find the treasury empty. Enraged at Virupanna’s act of spending all the money without his consent, the king ordered that Virupanna should be blinded. Being a loyal person Virupanna carried out the punishment on the spot with his own bands and dashed his eyes into the temple’s stone wall. To this day one can see two dark stains upon the wall near the Kalyana Mandapa, which are said to be the blood stains made by Virupanna’s bleeding eye balls when he dashed them against the wall. Thus blinded and ailing Virupanna did not survive for long, and soon the village came to be called ‘Lepa-akshi’ i.e. the village of the blinded eye.

The Veerabhadra temple divided into three parts -- the Mukha Mandapa, (also called Natya Mandapa), the Artha Mandapa and Garbha Griha. The Kalyana Mandapa, with its 38 attractively carved monolithic grey sandstone pillars is yet unfinished. These three form a triangle with a common Mandapam or roof. To the south of the main shrine is a magnificently carved larger-than-life monolithic statue of a Shiva Linga sheltered by a massive seven-headed cobra known as the Nagalingam.

The temple is surrounded on all sides by a spacious outer courtyard or prakara supported by large and attractively sculpted stone pillars replete with relief figures of dancers, musicians, animals and birds. The finest parts of the temple however are Natya (Dancing) and Ardha (worship) Mandapas which perhaps host the best specimens of Vijayanagar style of sculpture and mural paintings. The former is adorned with intricately sculptured pillars on which are carved life-size representations of musicians and dancers in various poses of performance. The unfinished Kalyana Mandapam is a standing proof of the detailing in sculptural art of that period. The sculptures adorning the pillars and walls of the temple depict puranic episodes like those of Ananthasayana, Dattatreya, Chaturmukha Bramha, Tumburu, Narada and Rambha.

The beautiful sculptures on the outer prakara (courtyard) are bound to awe the visitor. Notable among the sculptures are the 14 forms of Siva, such as Dakshinamurthi, Ardhanareeswara, Tripurantaka etc. The unfinished Kalyana Mantapa in which the pillars are decorated with attractive patterned sculptures has provided perennial inspiration to textile designers across the world.

Another must-see monument in the town is the massive monolithic Nandi statue located a mere 500 meters from the Veerabhadra temple. The idol measuring about 30 ft long and 16 ft high, located towards North-East of the Veerabhadra temple is perhaps the largest monolithic Nandi in India.

Getting there.
Road. If you are travelling on your own vehicle, start off on the Bellary road (NH 7) to reach Lepakshi via Hindupur. Both APSRTC and KSRTC Buses ply frequently from Bangalore.
Train. Nearest railway station is at Puttaparthi aka Sri Sathya Sai Prashanti Nilayam Railway Station. Ph: (08555) 287355
Air. Puttaparthi is the nearest airport. Flights connect Chennai, Mumbai and Bangalore. The Airport is closed during summer season (April to June). Ph: (0091) 08555-87346.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Falling into Fall Semester

Organisational structure of the study modules ...Image via WikipediaIt was back to school today early in the morning. Yes, the beginning of Fall 2011 semester which takes me a little step closer to my ultimate educational goal. This semester like the previous one promises to be hectic, time consuming, tortuous, and of course a great learning experience.

As I sat listening to the first lecture of the semester I was glad that the professor this time around has a great sense of humor and enjoys teaching. The very complex topics that were being taught was broken into the simplest possible units, this enabled me to understand much more. Another aspect of the prof's teaching style - humor - made the lecture engaging and kept me attentive to the goings on in the class.

I sure hope that this semester will go better than the previous one in terms of academics. Looking forward to having a learning fall and winter 2011.

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Sunday, August 21, 2011

Unlimited Online Data Back Up Solution From Carbonite

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Carbonite for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

In today's globalized world where business deals are struck at the click of the mouse and millions of dollars exchanged across national borders it is very important to have a backup of all the data that one transmits. Data is power, data is money, data can save businesses millions of dollars if stored and retrieved at the right moment.  Since data is so important it is important that all important information is stored not only on your personal computer but also online on a safe virtual location.

Carbonite Online Backup
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Right Now Carbonite is offering a great deal. Use the discount code BLOGAD and get two months free with purchase of an annual storage plan. You can try Carbonite free for 15 days and decide if it works for you. With all these facilities I am definitely going to try it and I am pretty sure it works well for my business.

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Happy Krishna Janmashtami

Today is Krishna Janmashtami... the birthday of Lord Krishna the supreme personality Godhead. If I were in India with my parents we would have celebrated the festival in a traditional way, but I am here in the US where the only festival celebrated is Christmas. Well you give some to get some....

This is the greeting card I received online from JK YOG a leading Hindu Non-Profit group here in the DFW area.