A sip of e-commerce

ecommerce

     An unquenchable thirst for reading books drove me to the great Connemara Library at Egmore, on 28th September,2013.  I usually hang around the history section trying to pick up some interesting books on people, both common and extraordinary, in the pre-independence period. This time I noticed that section contained books on a mix of categories: Computers, History, Biographies, Literature. It may have been the mistake of the librarian or a purposeful assortment of varieties. Whatever it is, as usual I picked up some armful of bulky books planning to skim and sip through whatever tastes good in all of them. Then, there was one particular book which attracted me the most: “E-commerce Logistics and Fulfillment, by Deborah.L.Bayles”. There were 2 things, in the first place, that attracted me to this book:

1.    One, the fact that I work at a place, which is aimed at designing and providing a web presence to retail giants in US and UK, coupled with the fact that my performance appraiser had recently pointed out my deficiency  in e-commerce knowledge.
2.    Second, being acquainted with friends from various walks of life, who have set foot on e-commerce business, I had some curiosity to dig a bit into this buzz word.
The book, at the end of reading  its initial chapters for about 2 hours, was excellent! It was clear, crisp and made me realize facts that I wouldn’t have thought about otherwise.

I have taken some notes on  few interesting concepts from the initial chapters and I wish to share them here.  These are in no way complete and will just give some idea to anyone who ventures into e-commerce business. I suggest you to buy hardcover of this book at Amazon

Tagline of this book: “The first e-commerce book that tells you how to get product orders from the Buy button to the doorstep – quickly, cost-effectively, and hassle free”.

In e-commerce or in any business, learn from the mistakes and successes of those who had already blazed a trail, partner with others when there is a mutual benefit, hire experienced guides to help you through parts unknown, and never assume that the road ahead is just like the road behind.

In order to make money, you must understand your expenses before establishing your prices, and the most flexible among the expenses are the charges of your partners, for advertising, banking, shipping, software development, Internet hosting etc.

40% of cost of selling online takes place after the customer presses the “Buy” button:  Payment processing, Order fulfillment, Product delivery and Product returns handling.

Most online businesses are doomed to fail because they won’t be able to fulfill orders or ship their products adequately to their customers as sales grow.

E-commerce logistics and fulfillment is ensuring the customer gets what the customer wants when the customer wants it.

E-Logistics Landscape:
Today’s online customers want to be able to track their orders instantly, from the moment they click the “Buy” button  until the moment the package arrives at their doorstep.
Land’s End and Victoria’s Secret are two catalog retailers that have transitioned to the Internet very successfully.

Defining your own business:
When defining your business you need to answer the following questions:
1.    What business am I in?
Determine complete range of products that you plan to stock and to offer online. Start out with the top 20% of the     products that represent 80% of your business.
2.    Are all your offerings  physical goods, or will you be selling digital goods, such as service contracts, insurance policies or software?
3.    You need to figure out how many unique products, including variations in size, color, fabric, texture, and the other features, you want to offer, and develop a Stock Keeping Unit(SKU) system for your product line.
4.    Will you be selling a product mix that will change frequently(eg. Seasonally) or technical products with constantly    updating versions and data?
5.    Are any products hazardous in any way?
6.    Are there any special packaging requirements?
7.    Are any products perishable?
8.    What are the core requirements?
9.    Do any products require assembly?
10.  Product description, promotional verbiage, care instructions, sizing charts, and a whole host of other documentations need to be written and assembled so that your online product catalog can be comprehensive and your customer service staff can be fully informed.

You should  also weigh each product and measure its dimensions(both packaged and unpackaged) so that you will have that data for shipping purposes as well as for customer reference online.

As per Federal Trade Commission(FTC) rules you need to  offer the Substitution Products for out-of-stock products, before the customer places the order.

Navigation in e-commerce sites:
One of the most important features customers remember is whether or not they can easily navigate through your site to find what they are looking for. Put yourself in their place and try to figure out the terms they would use for  searching, for categorizing products, for price ranges, for brands, for specific requirements, for specific features, or other criteria when looking for a product. The more fun and engaging you make this process, the more often a customer is likely to return.

Custom configurations:
Dell Computer’s online  configurator is so accurate that there are fewer product returns from the customer who have used the configurator than from those who used Dell customer representatives to configure their orders.

Customer Dialogs:
Your e-business site will be open for business 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. You must determine how you will respond to questions and conduct customer dialogs throughout the sales cycle.
1.    Who will answer emails?
2.    Will you accept phone calls, faxes, and snail mail from customers asking questions or placing orders?
3.    What scripts will you use for the most frequently asked questions?
4.    Do you have written policies and procedures for handling customer inquiries?
Many sites offer live chat, online video conferencing thru’ NetMeeting and 24 hour toll free customer service.
5.    What kind of response time you will offer?

Order Processing:
If you are selling high-ticket items, buyers may not want to put the hefty sum on their credit cards. In this case, you’ll have to decide if you want to offer terms, take purchase orders or credit applications, and set up a billing infrastructure.

Tax and Shipping Calculations:
Your site must automatically calculate all taxes and shipping expenses and add them to the total cost – prior to the customer placing the order.

There are software and services such as those offered by Vertex and Taxware  that can provide the tax calculations for your site. You should be familiar with the states in which the tax is applicable to your sales and which items you’ll be selling that are taxable.

Shipping:
First, consider which products are small enough to ship with small parcel carriers. For larger products, you may be dealing with a variety of shipping methods, such as by truckload, Less than truckload(TTL), train, ocean carrier, and so on.

Also, its important to note that some U.S. carriers do not ship or deliver on New Year’s day, Independence day, Labor day etc.

International Ecommerce:
First, make sure your site covers all of the expected ecommerce conventions for the U.S. In other words, you should include privacy and customer services policies; contact methods(English only or other languages); participation in industry groups(Better Business Bureau, etc); seal programs(Verisign, Trustee etc); and clear product guarantee policies.

Also include any information about restrictions, limitations, or conditions on purchases;  instructions for proper use of products, including safety and health care warnings; cancellation or refund policies; gift wrapping and special handling; and ongoing customer service.

Next, decide on the currency in which you will handle all sales(e.g. U.S. dollar). Determine how long it will take an order to de delivered to various worldwide locations and if any unexpected taxes/duties may be added to the cost.

Finally, think about whether you will localize the site for different countries. Localization is more than language translation; it is transforming the site according to local customs and idioms so that a native buyer will feel  comfortable.

Integrating with inventory and fulfillment:
When you first launch your site, I strongly suggest that you offer only those products that are in your immediate inventory.
Figure out policies for when you want to stop offering an item for sale – when inventory count is at a minimum or when there are none left in inventory.  Also, chart whether the same policy should be applied to all products or should differ by product.

Some very successful sites offer the ability for a customer to place an order by 5.00pm for an overnight delivery and have the order leave the dock that same day. Other sites batch up their orders and only process them at the end of each day. The timing and techniques of how you’ll conduct order processing is of paramount concern.

According to Forrester research, online customers check order status on an average of 7 times to figure our when their item will arrive and who will deliver it! UPS and FedEx both offer free online tools to enable you to track packages through assigned shipping numbers.

Branding:
A brand is not a catchy tagline – a brand is the entire experience someone has that is associated with your company.
How do you want people to experience your e-business? As the most trustworthy?  The most competent? The most innovative? What makes your site unique?

Think carefully about your value proposition. Why would someone shop at your site instead of a competitor’s? What “pain” are you solving with your e-business?

As we’ve seen, anyone can develop a pretty web interface, slap it onto an electronic shopping cart, and say they’re doing e-commerce. In truth, they haven’t even started and they will eventually fail.

Installing Ns2.34 with Mannasim in Linux Mint 14

Post Version: 1.1

Version of GCC I use: 4.7.2

This is the version of GCC that comes default with Linux Mint 14.

gcc_VersionIf you wish to install ns2.34 without Mannasim skip steps 4 and 9.

1. Download ns-allinone-2.34 from this site:

http://sourceforge.net/projects/nsnam/files/allinone/ns-allinone-2.34/ns-allinone-2.34.tar.gz/download

2. Extract the downloaded file into your home folder(say, /home/micman)

Throughout this post, I shall be mentioning my home folder /home/micman. When you follow these procedures, replace my username micman with your username.
3. Place the file ns2.34-mannasim-gcc4.3.patch into the following folder:

 /home/micman/ns-allinone-2.34 

4. In Terminal, type the following commands:

cd /home/micman/ns-allinone-2.34
path -p1 < ns2.34-mannasim-gcc4.3.patch

5. If the patch gets applied without any error, proceed to next step open the following file

 /home/micman/ns-allinone-2.34/otcl-1.13/configure 

Replace the following lines:

Linux*)
SHLIB_CFLAGS="-fpic"
SHLIB_LD="ld -shared"
SHLIB_SUFFIX=".so"
DL_LIBS="-ldl"
SHLD_FLAGS=""

with the following:

Linux*)
SHLIB_CFLAGS="-fpic"
SHLIB_LD="gcc -shared"
SHLIB_SUFFIX=".so"
DL_LIBS="-ldl"
SHLD_FLAGS=""

6. Next, open the following file:

/home/micman/ns-allinone-2.34/ns-2.34/tools/ranvar.cc

In line 219, make the following changes:
Find this line:

return GammaRandomVariable::GammaRandomVariable(1.0 + alpha_, beta_).value() * pow (u, 1.0 / alpha_);

and replace it with:

 return GammaRandomVariable(1.0 + alpha_, beta_).value() * pow (u, 1.0 / alpha_);

7. Next, open the following file:

/home/micman/ns-allinone-2.34/ns-2.34/mac/mac-802_11Ext.h

In line 65, make the following changes:

Include this header file

#include "cstddef" 

8. Open the following file:

 /home/micman/ns-allinone-2.34/ns-2.34/mobile/nakagami.cc

Find the following code:

if (int_m == m) {
resultPower = ErlangRandomVariable::ErlangRandomVariable(Pr/m, int_m).value();
} else {
resultPower = GammaRandomVariable::GammaRandomVariable(m, Pr/m).value();
}
return resultPower;
}

Replace it with the code below:

if (int_m == m) {
resultPower = ErlangRandomVariable(Pr/m, int_m).value();
} else {
resultPower = GammaRandomVariable(m, Pr/m).value();
}
return resultPower;
}
}

9. In the following file, some code needs to be commented:

/home/micman/ns-allinone-2.34/ns-2.34/mannasim/onDemandData.cc


Comment the following lines:

OnDemandData :: OnDemandData()
{
/// REAL request type is default.
OnDemandData::OnDemandData(REAL);
}

10. Finally, in the following file:

/home/micman/ns-allinone-2.34/ns-2.34/linkstate/ls.h

Make the following changes:
In line 137, change the following line

void eraseAll() { erase(baseMap::begin(), baseMap::end()); }

into

void eraseAll() { this->erase(baseMap::begin(), baseMap::end()); }

11. When all the above steps have been completed successfully, run the following commands in Terminal before we begin installing ns2:

sudo apt-get install build-essential autoconf automake libxmu-dev

Once the above updates are successful, we shall proceed with installing ns2.

12. Navigate into the ns-allinone-2.34 folder:

cd /home/micman/ns-allinone-2.34

13. Just run the following command:

./install

14. Meanwhile, while the installation is happening, create the following file in /home/micman, if it doesn’t exist(else use the existing file):

.bashrc

15. Copy the following contents into .bashrc file created now:

# LD_LIBRARY_PATH
OTCL_LIB=/home/micman/ns-allinone-2.34/otcl-1.13
NS2_LIB=/home/micman/ns-allinone-2.34/lib
X11_LIB=/usr/X11R6/lib
USR_LOCAL_LIB=/usr/local/lib
export LD_LIBRARY_PATH=$LD_LIBRARY_PATH:$OTCL_LIB:$NS2_LIB:$X11_LIB:$USR_LOCAL_LIB

# TCL_LIBRARY
TCL_LIB=/home/micman/ns-allinone-2.34/tcl8.4.18/library
USR_LIB=/usr/lib
export TCL_LIBRARY=$TCL_LIB:$USR_LIB

# PATH
XGRAPH=/home/micman/ns-allinone-2.34/bin:/home/micman/ns-allinone-2.34/tcl8.4.18/unix:/home/micman/ns-allinone-2.34/tk8.4.18/unix
NS=/home/micman/ns-allinone-2.34/ns-2.34/
NAM=/home/micman/ns-allinone-2.34/nam-1.14/
PATH=$PATH:$XGRAPH:$NS:$NAM

Here, micman is my username, replace it with your system username.

16. Meanwhile, in the Terminal, if the installation completes without any error, then close the terminal, and reopen it and type the following command:

ns
if % sign appears then the installation has been successful.

Additional Links:

Download Linux Mint: http://www.linuxmint.com/download.php

Download mannasim patch for ns2.34: https://www.box.com/shared/th6qi9b5v0

Download PowerIso: http://www.poweriso.com/download.htm

This article is sponsored by: http://hikmainfotech.com

hikma

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Sharing values between Servlets and Jsp

In this post I will show a simple code and explain how to pass information between Jsp and Servlet. This information sharing is highly essential for many programming scenarios encountered in real time.

We will pass information to and fro between servlets and jsp using sessions and servlet context information.
I presume you know how to invoke a servlet from a jsp page by making entries in web.xml in Tomcat Container.
If you are using Eclipse, the latter will take care of the mapping, though in some cases you would have to manually make the entry in web.xml (Deployment Descriptor).

Overview:
We got 4 files here:

  • Page1JSP.jsp
  • Page2Servlet.java
  • Page3JSP.jsp
  • Page4Servlet.java
  1. We will pass a value from Page1JSP to Page2Servlet.
  2. Then we will pass another value from Page2Servlet to Page3JSP.
  3. And finally, we pass a value from  Page3JSP to Page4Servlet.
  4. In addition, we will be accessing a value in Page4Servlet that has been sent from Page1JSP to Page2Servlet.

Lets see some action!

In Page1JSP.jsp,
This is the form we have in Page1JSP.jsp

Notice that we are passing the form data “tName” to a servlet named “Page2Servlet”.

Output of Page1JSP.jsp:

In Page2Servlet.java,
We obtain form data sent by Page1JSP.jsp  in the service() method of the servlet:

Next, we create a  session  and set an attribute named “Page2SessAttr”
Page2SessAttr contains the form value received from Page1Jsp. You can also set any another value into it.
Next, we obtain the Servlet Context and set an attribute in it, so that when we  pass a servlets context to a Jsp , the latter would be able to access the attribute set and “forwarded” by the servlet.

Page3Jsp will receive the entire context of the servlet, that includes even the attributes set by the latter.

In Page3JSP.jsp,
We will access the values sent by Page2Servlet both by the session and through the servlet context.

Notice that, towards the end of the code, we have also created another session attribute named “Page3SessAttr”. The session itself was created in Page2Servlet.

In Pag3Jsp, we have just accessed that session and NOT created a new session. This you can know from the following line in the above code:

HttpSession sess = request.getSession(false);

The parameter “false” indicates that this is an already created session.

Finally, In Page4Servlet.java
We will access the session attributes set by Page3JSP.jsp

In addition, “recvStr2” contains the value of “Page2SessAttr” set in Page2Servlet session.

The final output I see in my Eclipse console is:

I hope, this piece of material was clear enough to explain you how to share values between Servlets and Jsp. There may be other methods of sharing too, but this seems fairly simple to me.

If you are not clear with my explanations in tutorial just read follow the code snippets alone.

Share this post if you like it!
Cheers!

கண்ணுபடபோகுதையா

    

      மணிமேகலை பிரசுரத்தின் “கண் திருஷ்டிகளும் பரிகாரங்களும்” என்ற புத்தகத்தை சமீபத்தில் நான் படிக்க நேர்ந்தது. அதில் சில சுவாரசியமான செய்திகள் குறிப்பிடப்பட்டு இருந்தன. அவற்றை இப் பதிவின் மூலமாக உங்களுடன் பகிர்ந்துக் கொள்கிறேன். நம்புவர்கள் நம்பலாம், நம்பாதவர்கள் இதன்  சுவாரசியம் கருதி தொடர்ந்து படிக்கலாம். 

     “திருஷ்டி” என்ற வட சொல்லுக்கு இணையான தமிழ் சொல் “பார்வை” என்பதாகும். ஒருவருடைய கண் பார்வையிலேயே அவருடைய நவரச  பாவங்களையும் உணர்த்த முடியும். கோபம், வெறுப்பு முதலியவற்றை ஒருவரது பார்வைகளிலேயே நாம் பார்த்திருப்போம் அல்லவா?      கூர்மையான ஒருவருடைய பார்வை நம் மீது படும் போது நமது உடலில் பல மாற்றங்கள்(நல்லதோ கெட்டதோ) ஏற்படுகின்றன. இந்த பாதிப்புகளின் வீரியத்தை   குறைப்பதற்காகவே  பரிகாரங்கள் செய்யப்படுகின்றன. ஒரு பெண் தனது நெற்றியில் திலகம் இடுவதே கண் திருஷ்டியைக் குறைக்க ஒரு பரிகாரம் தான். இதில் எனக்கு நம்பிக்கை உண்டு. விஞ்ஞான பூர்வமாக ஆராய்ந்தால், புருவத்திற்கு இடைப்பட்ட பகுதியை நோக்கி பார்வையை செலுத்தி mesmerism மூலமாக ஒருவரை வசியம் செய்ய முடியும். இதையே திரிஷ்டி  என்று நமது முன்னோர்களால் கூறப்பட்டது போலும்.

     உலக வரலாற்றிலும் “திரிஷ்டி” சில சுவாரசியமான இடங்களைப் பிடித்திருக்கிறது.ஹிட்லரின் ஸ்வஸ்திக்(swastik) சின்னமும் திருஷ்டியோடு சம்பந்தப்பட்டு இருந்ததாக ஜேர்மன் ஆராய்ச்சியாளர்களே கூறுகின்றனராம். வீட்டில் பல்லிகள் இருந்தால் திருஷ்டி பாதிப்பு வராது என்பது மலேசியா மக்களின் நம்பிக்கை. பிரிட்டன் மக்கள், தம் நாட்டில் குரங்குகள் அதிகம் இருந்தால் அது நாட்டிற்கும் தங்களுக்கும் தோஷம் ஏற்படாமல் இருக்கும் என்று நம்பினார்கள். ஒரு கட்டத்தில் குரங்குகளின் எண்ணிக்கை குறைய ஆரம்பித்தவுடன் மக்களிடையே பீதி பற்றிக்கொண்டது. இதை அறிந்த அன்றைய பிரிட்டன் பிரதமர் வின்ஸ்டன் சர்ச்சில்(Winston Churchill)  இரவோடு இரவாக வெளிநாடுகளிலிருந்து நிறைய குரங்குகளை இறக்குமதி செய்துள்ளார். 

    கண் திருஷ்டி மனிதர்களை மட்டுமல்ல, மற்ற உயிரினங்களையும், உயிரற்றவைகளையும்(நிலம்,பயிர்) பாதிக்கும்.

திருஷ்டி ஏற்படுத்தக் கூடிய கண்கள் என்று குறிப்பிடப்படுபவை:
* செவ்வரி படர்ந்த கண்கள் 
* நன்கு கறுத்து உருண்டு திரண்ட கண்கள் 
* பூனைக் கண்கள் 
* யானையின் கண்கள்  போன்று சிறுத்துச் சுருங்கிய கண்கள் 
மேலும், இந்த புத்தகத்தில் பெண்களுக்கு கர்ப்ப காலத்தில் ஒவ்வொரு  மாதமும் ஏற்படும் திருஷ்டிகளும், குழந்தைகளின் வாழ்க்கையில் ஒவ்வொரு வயதிலும் ஏற்படும் திருஷ்டிகள், வெவ்வேறு தொழில்களுக்கான திருஷ்டிகள் முதலிய பல சுவாரசியமான செய்திகள் கூறப்பட்டுள்ளன. அவற்றையெல்லாம் நேரம் கிடைக்கும் போது உங்களோடு பகிர்ந்துக் கொள்கிறேன்.


History of Temples in Tiruvanmiyur

 

 

DR S SURESH goes on a spiritual sojourn as he re-visits some prominent and lesser-known temples in and around Thiruvanmiyur.

The festival season has set in and all the temples in the city are busy preparing for special events and rituals connected with each festival.Thiruvanmiyur,which is presently a bustling residential locality on the southern fringes of Chennai city,was,for centuries,a small village with large temples and traditional tile-roofed houses.It was one of the last villages to be included within the modern city.
Thiruvanmiyur has a long and interesting history.According to the locals,the very name Tiruvanmiyur is derived from the name of the famous saint Valmiki,the author of the epic,Ramayana.He is believed to have lived here for some years,several centuries before Christ.There is a small temple dedicated to this saint in the area.

Between 300 BC and 300 AD,Roman traders frequented Thiruvanmiyur,which was then a part of the kingdom of the Sangam Cholas.The Romans came to India to buy our spices,gemstones,textiles,ivory and sandalwood.In return,India got wine,gold,silver and lead from Rome.Since the 19th century,Roman coins have been recurrently reported from the Mahabalipuram-Thiruvanmiyur coastal stretch.Thiruvanmiyur was located between two major ports frequented by the Romans,namely Mahabalipuram or Mallai and Mylapore.In Greek literature,the former port was called Malange and the latter port,Mylarpha.

After the decline of the Sangam Cholas,Thiruvanmiyur came under the control of the Pallava dynasty (fourth to ninth centuries AD).An interesting coin minted by this dynasty was unearthed from the compound of a school in Thiruvanmiyur in August,1989,when the school authorities were digging the ground for Independence Day celebrations.The coin was made of lead.It featured the bull,the royal crest of the Pallavas,on the obverse and a vase with a tree on the reverse.On typological grounds,archaeologists have assigned this coin to the fourth century AD.After the Pallavas,Thiruvanmiyur came under the rule of the Medieval Cholas or Imperial Cholas and later,the Vijayanagar empire.Subsequently,the region was passed on to the British.

The biggest and most important temple in Thiruvanmiyur is undoubtedly the Marundisvarar Temple on the East Coast Road.This temple has two main entrances – one facing east and the other facing west.Although the temple existed during the age of the Pallavas,most of the structures in the campus belong to the time of the Cholas and the Vijayanagar empire.The temple was extensively damaged when Hyder Ali,the Sultan of Mysore,invaded the area in the eighteenth century.Unlike many other Hindu temples where the main shrine faces east,the principal shrine in the present temple faces west.The vimana or tower above this shrine is over 30 feet high.The shrine of Goddess Tripurasundari faces south and belongs to the period of the king Rajendra I Chola (1012-44 AD).To the north-east of the temple is a large tank with a pillared Niradum Mandapa (bathing pavilion ).The tank has been cleaned and restored recently.It is rather strange that this beautiful temple has not got the publicity that it richly deserves.It is rarely visited by tourists.Hundreds of people pass by this temple each day,while driving to the tourist sites of Mahabalipuram and Dakshinachitra,but none of them are aware of its unique heritage.

The writer is the Tamil Nadu State Convener,INTACH and is presently in Washington DC,studying the American system of Heritage Conservation,as a Fulbright Scholar and this article appears in Times of India Chennai Edition dated 22.10.2011

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The Valmiki temple in Thiruvanmiyur, which is steeped in legend, is believed to be at least 1,300 years old.
Be it a huge edifice in the centre of the road or just a small elevation beneath a tree, temples have always had special significance in Chennai.

And the Valmiki temple, sitting bang in the middle of East Coast Road in Valmiki Nagar is no exception.
Legend has it that poet Valmiki, after writing the Ramayana, was heading south along the sea shore and rested here.
Hence, the area is called Thiruvanmiyur. Although the temple looks like a mandapam, it is believed to be at least 1,300 years old.

During the Chola reign, the Maruntheeshwarar temple was constructed. Now the Valmiki temple is officially under the supervision of Maruntheeshwarar temple. But the Valmiki temple has been under threat from the development of ECR. The government planned to demolish the temple as it is in the centre of the road.
“The temple authorities have managed to get a stay order on the demolition.Now attempts are being made to widen the road around the temple, so that it will serve as a median and not be an inconvenience,” says Kuppuswamy, an officer at the Maruntheeshwarar temple.

Every year the Brahmatosav festival takes place in March and special pooja is done every month on the full moon day.

The above piece of information appears in the Chennai edition of The Hindu, dated Jan 23,2003.