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Migrating from PHP to Node.js

Matt Quinn

I’ve been developing web apps in PHP for years but recently have been building more iOS apps. When I move back to web development I really miss the elegance of Objective-C and it’s MVC structure. I was able to find a similar structure for my client side JavaScript but my server side code was left to the confines of my comfort zone and PHP. The great thing about PHP is its ubiquity and low barrier of entry. You can get a web app up and working in almost no time however the code itself can quickly devolve to a mountain of spaghetti code. After almost every job I do using PHP I tell myself it’s time to start working smarter. I’ll then start investigating new frameworks for PHP and think about jumping ship completely to new stack that uses Java, Ruby or Python. I’ll start tinkering with the new approach and build out simple apps. What inevitably happens though is a new job comes in and I resort back to my domain knowledge of PHP. This is partially due to me, but at the same time its problem of the platform I’m trying to learn. I’ve found the entry points to make solid apps using other languages much higher than I did with PHP. This is partially why PHP is such a monster in the industry and why Rails and Django are typically relegated to the purists.

On top of all the popular alternatives to PHP there is a relatively new kid on the block called Node.js. When I started tinkering with Node a few years back it was refreshing to lean on the JavaScript knowledge I had to create server side code. However Node never seemed like it would be a realistic competitor to the big languages when it came to writing complete server side code; it was just too new and unproven.

Recently I took another look into using Node as my primary server side language and I was blown away with it’s progress and community. It has matured enough to be used as a essential tool for any web developer, but especially for UI/front-end developers. It was time to dig into Node again and see if it would break me away from PHP once and for all.

Node 101 Getting Node up and running on my MacBook was as simple as you could hope. Here is how the OSX install looks:

After that you’re ready to run JavaScript code on your server. The Node ‘Hello World’ app shows the basic code structure while at the same time illustrates that it’s a very capable web server. With only 2 lines in the terminal you’ll have all the power of JavaScript at your disposal and a web server to boot. Try it out, open a text editor and put in this code:

Save your file as app.js and from the terminal run:

Load up your browser and goto http://localhost:1337 and voila!

This gets you to where you might ask, “ok, now what?” At least that’s what I did when I first gave it a crack. I didn’t know or understand how to apply any of my existing knowledge on how to build out a real proper web app from this example.

NPM Node gets really powerful when you start adding to it. The Node Package Manager* or NPM is included with the install of Node. The community has created some invaluable apps, tools, frameworks and middleware to help UI developers focus on the key tasks at hand; making great user experiences. If you are experienced with composer when building your PHP web apps then using NPM won’t be much of a reach for you. There are some great sites out there to help with understanding the ins and outs of NPM so I’ll just mention a couple of key things. NPM uses a file called package.json to outline the metadata of your app and most importantly your web app software dependancies. You can edit this file manually and fill in the dependencies on your own just like you would with composer’s composer.json file. You can also install packages from the command line like so:  If you are looking for website design for your project visit Vivid Designs

npm install <package_name> –save I typically add the ‘— save’ option so the package gets added to the dependency list in my package.json file.

Beyond your web app, NPM houses some really great server side apps that you will want to use to make your life easier. You can install packages within your local app directory or you can choose to install packages globally on your system. Installing them globally will give you access to the package from the command line (you will have to add the NPM bin folder to your terminal’s PATH). Installing a package globally looks like this:

npm install -g <package_name> After learning how to manage packages there are some essential ones you’ll want to install before getting your feet wet with Node.

Building and Porting Websites I haven’t been playing with Node for too long but I have come across some essential things to get me moving in the right direction. Here are a selection of the ones I found most helpful.

Express Perhaps the single most important component of building successful web apps in Node is Express. It’s a middleware package that builds on the foundations of Node by adding some all important structure to building web apps with it. Node itself delegates a lot of the web server responsibility to the programmer. Express builds upon a middleware package called Connect that fills in this gap so developers don’t have to worry about the little details of parsing input and serving pages. On top of that Express provides a very nice framework for a developer to follow and create rich and sustainable code upon. Express has become the de-facto standard for building web apps in Node. I won’t be building a web app without it. There is a fantastic guide over at ExpressJS.com to get going: http://expressjs.com/guide.html

Note: I was informed that there is a new framework being built by the Express team called KoaJS. Definitely worth checking out: http://koajs.com/ Thanks @jeswin!

On the Express homepage there is a link to a very helpful book as well. It’ll run you through a very in depth overview of Node and builds up towards making web apps using Express. I found it very helpful in understanding the barebones of Node before jumping into Express. Have a look: http://www.manning.com/cantelon/

Nodemon Running and testing a Node app is quite a lot different than building one in PHP. Typically with PHP you hack through some code and then head over to the browser and refresh. Every now and then you might need to modify the Apache config and restart the web server. The process in Node is quite a lot different. Since the web server and application are bundled into one tight little package, changing the code meant having to restart the whole web app; which also meant restarting the web server. When I was learning how to build the basics it seemed like there was an endless amount of killing the process, hitting the up arrow to goto my last command and then hitting enter to restart the app ([Ctrl+C][Up][Enter] cycle). This quickly became a giant pain in the ass. For people to make meaningful work in Node this had to improve. Fortunately this is where Nodemon comes to the rescue. Install Nodemon using NPM globally and instead of starting your app using:

node app.js us the following:

nodemon app.js This app will monitor changes in the code and automatically restart Node for you. Very straightforward and very essential. Have a look at the git repo for more details: https://github.com/remy/nodemon

Swig When I built PHP web apps my template engine of choice was Twig from the good folks at SensioLabs. It was a component of the Symfony framework and made putting together front end HTML a breeze. Twig was an essential tool for me and if I was going to port any of my existing projects to Node, I had to re-use the view templates I already had. Swig made this transition incredibly simple. Almost every part of Twig that I used was available in Swig. I had to make a couple minor modifications to the template code, but overall it was ready out of the box. It’s completely compatible with Express and has a very helpful guide to getting going here: http://paularmstrong.github.io/swig/docs/.

There is a direct port of Twig to Node but unfortunately that project has stalled. Swig is very actively updated so I opted to use it going forward.

Note: I assume others might find this helpful given Twig is one of the most popular template engines in PHP. Beyond Swig there are numerous template engines available for Node. All of the popular ones have the same or similar functionality; it’s just about syntax differences for the most part.

MySQL for Node When you read about Node most of the time it’s paired with a NoSQL type databases like MongoDB. Going forward I will most likely use Mongo simply due to the amazing Mongoose middleware. It makes model management within web apps incredibly straightforward. However, given that I have a few legacy projects to manage and port over, I want to keep as much in place as I could. This meant keeping my existing MySQL schemas and data in place. There are a few MySQL packages available but I found the one by felixge incredibly full featured. Have a look here for more information and usage: https://github.com/felixge/node-mysql

PassportJS Almost all web apps these days has some sort of connectivity with third party APIs. To authenticate with these services has its challenges. Fortunately there are numerous packages available in PHP to make accessing these APIs straightforward. With Node you really only need to concern yourself with PassportJS. It’s an Express compatible package that allows you to authenticate just about anywhere on the web. You can even use it to authenticate your own local login and manage sessions if need be. I found this tool invaluable when authenticating with other services like Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. From the software’s wiki, it says it can authenticate with 140 different services. A must have for any web app developer. Have a look at the details here: http://passportjs.org/guide/

Starting the engines After understanding the Node fundamentals and getting familiar with the new stack I was ready to jump in and start creating apps. It took about a day or so to read through the NodeJS in Action book and work through a few examples using Express. With a basic understanding with how the mechanics worked, the next task was getting one of my old projects ported over. For a small to medium sized multilingual site the porting process took about 2-3 days to do. The speed at which I port sites would no doubt increase as I become more familiar with the process and structures of Node and Express. Here are a couple things that are worthy notes for others moving from PHP. Best web design company in Hyderabad

Synchronous vs Asynchronous One of the biggest changes I had to wrap my head around was converting my synchronous PHP code into asynchronous JavaScript code. Since Node is built on a single thread non-blocking event loop system, any action you do won’t wait for a blocking action to return before executing the next line of code. All lines of code are executed immediately one after the other. The idea that the requested data will be available on the next line of code is not a guarantee. This is where your front-end JavaScript experience will help. Just like the client side, events are handled via callback functions and the same goes for Javascript code on the server. To create synchronous code using JavaScript you’ll need to nest your sequence of events in callbacks. Here is an example:

Just what you would expect. PHP will execute and wait for a result of the first query and then use the data received in the second. In Node you would have to nest the queries via the completion callbacks like so:

You might think that this type of code will grow to be absolutely unwieldily when you have a lot synchronous code to execute, and you’re right it does. Using promises solves this “Pyramid of Doom” problem. I won’t go into promises in this article but there is a great package for Node called Q and it gives you an idea of how promises will clean this up. Have a look here: http://documentup.com/kriskowal/q/

Bugs are really bad Since Node is a single thread system it’s important to keep in mind that when your code has an uncaught exception it will bring down Node for everyone not just the person who caused the crash. This is different than PHP and Apache/Nginx because the thread that handled the request dies, not the entire web server process. In a dev environment this is totally fine and probably the encouraged so you can properly catch and fix issues. However in the production environment this can be very disruptive since your web app will be taken down for all users visiting your site. The way around this is to create a listener for all uncaught exceptions and to handle them gracefully (see note below). The code looks like this:

This will ensure your app stays up even when the unexpected happens.

Note: I’ve read a little deeper into this issue and it appears that handling uncaught exceptions this way isn’t ideal. Using domains appears to be the better solution. Read about it in the Node API docs. Another option would be to use a tool like forever to start the app with. It will automatically restart the server when the unexpected happens.

Rewrite Rules One of the powerful parts of web app development is the ability to rewrite messy URLs into nice clean ones. This makes search engines happy and makes your users even happier. With PHP it didn’t care what the URLs looked like, it just wanted input to work with. The re-writing of the URLs was managed by Apache (or Nginx). When using Node to build web apps, Express’ route mapping is the special sauce to directing requests. I found managing routes through my server side app code a very welcome change. After getting comfortable with this idea you’ll never want to write another routing rule through your <VirtualHost> entry ever again. Here is a small example:

RewriteRule ^/blog/([A-Za-z-]+)$ /blog/entry.php?slug=$1 Using Express’ route mapping:

app.get( ‘/blog/:slug([A-Za-z-]+)’, blogController.entry ); No more running around managing request route mapping between your web server and your web app code. <Applause>.

Running multiple Node sites on one server* Since Node is both a processor of code and a web server built into one, it presents a challenge when running multiple sites in a single environment. Running a Node web server requires you to select a port to run requests through. Once you run a site on port 80, you can’t map a second site to the same port. One might just tell you to get a new VPS for each website given they are so affordable these days however in a lot of cases a single VPS is complete overkill for one site. In these cases you can choose to run a standard web server like Apache or Nginx and pass the requests through to Node via proxy. I opted to proxy using Apache rewrites because I use them so often. Here is what an example <VirtualHost> entry looks like:

You can also choose a pure JavaScript approach by using the Node-Http-Proxy package. Use what makes sense for you.

*Note: I’ve been getting a lot of feedback on this topic and most are saying that using Nginx isn’t as big of a bottleneck as I originally made out and in some ways using it as a proxy will help more than it’ll hinder. My point was supposed to be about getting multiple node instances running in the same environment so I’ve re-written this point to be more helpful. I’ll leave the performance debate for the community as I haven’t tested much in a busy production environment. Thx Reddit!

Seek and you shall find One of the most exciting parts about programming with Node is the community that surrounds it. There is such much happening in the space and it’s happening very quickly. When I was porting my first site over I would run into a snag and ask “How do I do this in Node?” I would simply google whatever my problem was and sure enough within seconds I would have answers. I never came across a deal breaker problem that just wasn’t easily solvable using Node. It’s a testament to the progress it’s made. If you run into a problem, just google it, no doubt someone has a solution.

Wrap Up After spending about 3-4 days with Node and its counterparts I was completely blown away with how easy it was to get running and most importantly how easy it was to get to work making things. The barrier of entry for developing web apps using Node is still not as low as PHPs but it’s pretty close! Even saying that, the value you get from understanding package managers and MVC frameworks are essential to be a modern day web developer. Those two concepts are probably the only things keeping Node+Express’s barrier of entry higher than PHP’s. Node+Express force you to learn these concepts before you can get cooking and that is a really good thing for a developer and the code they write.

Finally, I think its important to understand why writing server side code in JavaScript is such a great thing for a web developer and specifically the UI/Front-end web developer.

Full Control Most UI web developers already have an intimate knowledge of JavaScript and it’s nuances. Taking advantage of this knowledge when preparing server side code increases productivity. In addition, my experience tells me business logic/back end developers typically loath putting the UI code together for building web sites. They would rather focus on the engineering of the core functions of the app. Creating apps using Node allows the UI developer to take over the UI portion of the server side app. The business logic can be completely separated from the UI and accessed through API calls. Separating the back-end from the front-end allows each developer choose the stack they want to work with to get their job done.

There is a great article that goes into more detail about the idea and I couldn’t recommend it more: http://www.nczonline.net/blog/2013/10/07/node-js-and-the-new-web-front-end/

Given this recent experience I have committed to moving all future projects to Node (where possible) and committing to a full JavaScript stack for UI development. It’s been an essential language for building amazing user experiences and now it can be fully leveraged to make great server side code as well. I honestly believe it will become the dominate language for building front-end web app code going forward. I applaud and thank the community of developers who put their hard work into making these amazing tools so guys like me can use them to make great web sites.

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Land Rover Discovery Sport Performance

Land Rover Discovery Sport Overview

The growing demand for SUVs globally and great products have written the success story for Land Rover. Land Rover has been successful and was also in profit even when Tata Motors had bought it. However, now what has changed is the company’s approach as it is making lighter, faster, more efficient and greener UVs. The Discovery Sport is the newest entrant, and will be the new-entry level off-roader to earn the Land Rover badge. For information on contact details of Land Rover car dealers in Pune

View Offers & Price on Land Rover Discovery sport in Jaipur at CarzPrice

Land Rover Discovery Sport Exteriors

The Discovery Sport, unlike the Freelander 2 isn’t boxy, and that’s a welcome change. In fact, a quick glance at it is enough to figure that it draws some inspiration from the Range Rover Evoque. But amazingly, the Disco still manages make its own identity with its subtle design cues.

Look at the Discovery Sport from the front and it screams Land Rover. That smoothly carved out bonnet, and the honeycomb grille grill with the Discovery badge above it give it a clean look up front. And then adding a bit of spunk, there are those sweet looking circular daytime running lamps around the projector headlamps. We particularly liked the way the rear end coexists with the front thanks to certain elements in its design. The smoked tail lamp cluster too has circular LEDs and there’s the all important Discovery badge above the registration plate. Although the oddball rear design doesn’t look as evolved and butch as the front, the overall styling will surely grow on you over time.

Land Rover Discovery Sport Interiors

On the inside, the Discovery Sport is straight and simple. Purposeful, yet classy. It cannot be termed very premium but the build quality is solid and built to last. The finish in some areas does feel ordinary. The instrument cluster has twin dials and is lit in white, having a simplistic design. A new centre console comes in place and houses the gear dial which rises for use only when the ignition switch is activated. A new touchscreen infotainment system is seen in this SUV which is easy to operate even while driving, however, it takes time getting used to the interface .The driving position is not very tall but near perfect, and offers good visibility. The seats are firm, well contoured and comfortable. The seats also have electric adjustments. The vehicle over all is pretty spacious and has air vents for all rows. The huge panoramic glass roof further makes it feel spacious. The unique thing here is that every passenger gets a USB charging point which makes it a total of seven USB ports.

The Discovery Sport is slightly longer than the Freelander 2 and hence it also comes as a seven-seater option. Hence it makes this compact SUV a good option for a larger family. But its only the kids who can occupy the third row comfortably . The seven-seat version gets a space saving spare tyre instead of the full-size spare which is found on the standard five-seat version.

Land Rover Discovery Sport Engine

The Discovery carries over its engines from the Freelander2, which are the 2.0-litre turbo petrol and 2.2-litre diesel. The diesel engine is offered in states of tune – 148bhp and 188bhp. The Discovery Sport weighs less than the Freelander2 and therefore has better performance too. The engines are mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission with all-wheel drive. The 188 bhp version, that we got to drive, is very responsive and strong. The engine pretty silent and the NVH levels well controlled. The ride in the Discovery Sport is supple and Handling is comparable to its competition. It is sprung slightly stiffer than the Freelander2, which can be felt at times over some bad potholes. However, it has a lesser body roll and remains well composed even at high speeds. The steering is light and easy to maneuver, building weight as speed rises.

The Land Rover Discovery Sport challenges the BMW X3, Audi Q5, Mercedes-Benz GLA and the Volvo XC60. Its price ranges from INR 53.6 lakhs to INR 72.2 lakhs (on-road, Mumbai). While it compares well with its competition and is at par in most things, it doesn’t impart an equivalent luxurious feel. Rather, the Discover Sport differentiates itself as being a more serious, spacious and a skilled off-roader. This SUV will set you apart from the rest.

Land Rover Discovery Sport Driving

Again, this is the manufacturer’s unparalleled understanding of how a contemporary Land Rover must be made to handle: not, crucially, as a sports saloon might, but rather how something tall, forceful and hefty ought to.

The contrivance at work among its rivals is absent, replaced by the apparently organic fluency of an SUV not disguising its amplified body movements but instead tuning them to an inner-ear-pleasing model of consistency and linear balance.

Apart from an occasionally awkward weight at manoeuvring speeds, the same finesse has been applied to the steering, which allows this mass to be threaded along with the kind of linear delicacy that is rarely accorded to hatchbacks, let alone SUVs.

Consequently, on the open road, the car can be driven swiftly and very pleasingly. Its occasional harshness and questionable refinement notwithstanding, it is the charm of this two-way relationship that defines the Sport as ‘good to drive’ beyond all else, and wonderfully typical of Land Rover’s current output.

Land Rover Discovery Sport Safety

The Land Rover Discovery Sport comes loaded with features like seven airbags (driver and front passenger, driver knee, side airbags for first two rows). It also gets features like ABS with EBD, Electronic Traction Control, Hill Start Assist, Roll Stability Control, Dynamic Stability Control, TPMS, Emergency Brake Assist and Trailer Stability Assist. In terms of after sales service, Land Rover still has a long way to go before it can match the service quality levels as well as the network spread of Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi.

Land Rover Discovery Sport Price

Land Rover Discovery Sport Ex-Showroom Price in Chennai ranges from 41,98,009/- (Discovery Sport 2.0l Diesel Pure 5 Seats) to 51,75,623/- (Discovery Sport 2.0l Diesel HSE Luxury 5 Seats). Get best offers for Land Rover Discovery Sport from Land Rover Dealers in Chennai. Check for Discovery Sport price in Chennai

Land Rover Discovery Sport Verdict

The Land Rover Discovery Sport is one SUV that will largely appeal to families and those people who want a comfortable cruiser and not a performance oriented vehicle. The British model excels in most departments like comfort, features, looks and mileage and the only thing going against the car is the engine’s performance. However, not everyone out there wants to compete in a drag race and hence the 147 HP trim will suffice to most buyers who restrict usage to the city. For those who want that extra bit of power, they have an option to choose the SD4 trim with more horses. However, while Land Rover calls the Discovery Sport a 7-seater, we really beg to disagree. The third row has so less space that even your kids will complain after a while and the optional third row seat is ridiculously priced at almost Rs. 1.7 lakhs which is just expensive. Buy the Discovery Sport if you’re a family of four and need the boot space to stash all your luggage and enjoy that scenic drive to your favourite hill station, the British SUV won’t disappoint at all.

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Hosting A Toll Free Number For Your Small Businesses

Toll-free numbers have proven successful for businesses, particularly in the areas of customer service and telemarketing. Referred to as 800 numbers, after the original area code, toll free numbers today can start with the area codes, 800, 888, 877, and 866, however these area codes are not interchangeable with each other. The warehousing of these numbers by service providers is prohibited by FCC rules, because it is illegal for a subscriber to sell a toll free number for a fee. Service providers have access to the SMS/800 database, which contains information regarding the status of all toll-free numbers. Toll free numbers are assigned on a first come, first served basis by accessing a database and reserving a number for subscribers. The FCC is not involved in the day-to-day assignment of toll-free numbers, nor does it have direct access to the toll free database, and cannot provide any information about the status of a number or respond to a request for a number.

A toll free hosted number is a telephone number that can be called by your existing and prospective customers without incurring any cost and all the call charges will be borne by the called party. As a business person, you might wonder why you should needlessly add to your expenses.But hosted toll free number makes tremendous business sense once you understand what it can really do to your small business. Please appreciate that for the low price of a phone call or two, you could get yourself a new customer that you would not otherwise have had. This is a great marketing tool to expand your customer base.Customers will be too happy to call you and also call you more often because of the simple human psychology that people all over the world are fond of things that comes free. Strictly speaking, small businesses offering hosted toll free phone numbers are not giving much beyond the cost of a phone call, but it is perceived as being generous by the callers and more importantly, by the prospective customers. For more details of Toll Free Phone Number Visit Linkedphone

Market surveys have conclusively shown that customers prefer toll free numbers because of the fact that sales campaigns that advertise a toll free number fetch 40 percent additional responses. Besides, having a hosted toll free phone number will also improve customer’s perception of your small business.If you have merely a local phone number customers think that yours is a local business. Since toll free numbers have become commonplace, customers reasonably expect you to have a toll free number. Going one step further, it can be said that today customers are even reluctant to deal with companies that do not offer a toll free number.As most companies today do business online, a hosted toll free number remains a potent tool for serving customers. Like having a Web site and being available by e-mail, a hosted toll free number lets customers get the information they need with a minimum of time, effort and also without payment.

There are several hosted toll free service provider companies that specialize only in providing toll free numbers. This means that they can offer your small business cheaper and more affordable prices. There may be a set-up cost involved, but some specialist toll free number companies do not charge one if you sign a long-term contract with them. If you do a proper cost-benefit ratio analysis, you will find hosted toll free number an excellent option for your small business.Getting a toll free number does not entail investment in additional equipment or extra phone line. Once you choose your number the provider company can set it up to ring through to any phone that you select. In the U.S. the toll free numbers commonly begin with 800, 866, 888 or 877. Your business can also choose a .vanity toll free number, in which case the numbers will be alpha-numeric and easy for regular callers and existing customers to remember.The cost of a hosted toll free number for a business house is based on a variety of factors. These hosted toll free number price include amount of usageComputer Technology Articles, cost of the phone line and perhaps a flat-rate monthly fees. These are factors you should consider carefully when choosing a hosted toll free number service.

 

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Audi Q3 Features & Transmission

Audi Q3 Overview

The Audi Q3 is an SUV offered by the German carmaker in a 2.0 litre diesel engine which is offered with a choice of a manual and an automatic transmission. The automatic is a 7 speed S tronic unit while the manual is a 6 speed gearbox. The 35 TDI is also offered with Audi’s exclusive Quattro all wheel drive system while the 30 TDI S Edition has a front wheel drive. This SUV is available in one variant for each engine option and has a number of exterior, interior and upholstery colour options. The Audi Q3 measures 4,388 mm in length, 1,831 mm in width, 1,608 mm in height and has a wheelbase of 2,603 mm. Other features on the Audi Q3 include cruise control, hill hold assist, reversing camera, audi sound system and electrically adjustable seats. View Offers & Price on Q3 in Mumbai at CarzPrice

Audi Q3 Exteriors & Style

There are minimal changes to the exterior of the car. At the front, the car dons a new face with the bold singular frame grille that gets matte chrome finish. It extends all the way to the headlamp and forms a contrast with the body colour, making the front appear sportier than before.The redesigned front bumper gets black inserts for the fog-lamp housing, interestingly there are no fog lamps here. That is because, the car gets new all-LED headlamps (first in segment) with DRLs, which Audi claims, offers the enough illumination even in the foggy conditions. The other change is to the internals of the headlamp, the shape of the day time running lamps is different and they are visibly larger than before.

The only change to the side profile is the addition of the new ten-spoke alloy-wheels that look elegant. The changes to the rear are even lesser; the internals of the tail lamp have been altered, but unless one has spent a lot of time with its predecessor, the changes will be hard to notice. The new turn indicators though are instantly noticeable, the dynamic indicators illuminate from inside out in the direction of the turn.Although the changes are limited, I still like the way the new Q3 looks. It is more aggressive than before, but importantly Audi has managed to do it in a subtle manner. There are no additional cuts and creases on the body like on the new Mercedes cars, the aggression comes just from the face and stance. If I were to draw an analogy, while the entry-level Mercs look like hardcore action heroes like Sylvester Stallone, the new Q3 has the demeanor of Jason Statham.

Audi Q3 Interiors & Space

There are no major changes to report in the cabin. The Audi Q3 carries forward with the same neat dashboard and generally user-friendly interior. Quality is up there with more expensive Audis and though the seats are not real leather but leatherette, the ambience inside is what you’d expect in a premium SUV. You sit reasonably high up in a Q3, the front seats are generous in size and support and even the rear seat is spacious enough for two adults to sit in comfort.

With the update, Audi has streamlined the variants on offer. The 30TFSI and 30TDI can only be had in Premium trim while the 35TDI is available in Premium Plus and Technology trim too. What is nice is that even the Premium variants get much wanted goodies like a panoramic sunroof and electrically adjustable front seats. The Premium Plus trim doesn’t get more features but adds in richer aluminium-look inlays. The top-spec Technology variant is pricey but your money does get you paddle shifters, SD card-based navigation, a reverse camera and a colour multi-info display in the instruments binnacle among other features.

The Q3 runs Audi’s MMI infotainment system. It is easy enough to use but the interface doesn’t look as slick as that in the newer Audis and there’s no Android Auto or Apple CarPlay support either.

Audi Q3 Engine & Transmission

Petrol Q3s start with a turbocharged 1.4-litre unit driving the front wheels. It’s powerful and rarely forces you to change down on steep hills. In fact, we’d choose it over the more powerful 2.0-litre engine since that one is available only with quattro four-wheel drive, and is less efficient as a result.

At the top of the range sits the RS Q3. It’s all-wheel drive and automatic only, and gets a 2.5-litre turbocharged five-cylinder petrol engine. It’s extremely quick in a straight line; there’s even a Performance version that’s quicker still, thanks to a power boost.

Of the two diesels, the lower-powered unit is the best. It’s easily strong enough to cope with a full load, pulling from low down over a wide band. The higher-powered diesel feels more strained under load and is hard to justify.

Audi Q3 Driving Dynamics

Audi hasn’t altered the suspension of the Q3 and it rides and handles the same as before, there is nothing to complain about though. That’s because the baby Q has always carried a good balance of ride and handling, taking bad roads in its stride with confidence while also being sharp through corners. The Q3 is the only car which can carry the SUV tag with pride in its segment as it comes with the quattro all-wheel drive system, making it quite capable off-road. We took our test model through some off-road sections and it didn’t bat an eyelid. The steering is light at low speeds which is a boon in the city while at high speeds, the feedback could have been better. Braking performance is excellent and the Pirelli tyres offer very good grip. Check for Audi car dealers in Bangalore

Audi Q3 Safety & Security

When compared with its small SUV rivals, the Q3 falls short of the class best but still performs well with regards to safety. In fact, examining its five-star Euro NCAP rating more closely, it’s evident that the model’s child protection rating is near the top, although its pedestrian rating is only average.The Q3 provides most of the safety kit you’d expect: six airbags, including curtain bags that extend into the rear of the cabin, electronic stability control and ISOFIX fittings for the front passenger and two outer rear seats. However, automatic emergency braking isn’t available.

There’s a long, and largely reasonably priced, selection of optional safety and security kit including visual and acoustic front and rear parking aids, rear side airbags, and active lane assist and blind spot assist.To ward off thieves, deadlocks, locking wheelnuts and an alarm are also included. It’s enough for the Q3 to have earned five-star ‘theft-of’, and four-star ‘theft-from’ ratings from to security experts Thatcham.

Audi Q3 Price

Audi Q3 Ex-Showroom Price in Hyderabad ranges from 33,40,000/- (Q3 30 TFSI Premium AT FWD) to 41,54,250/- (Q3 35 TDI Quattro Technology). Get best offers for Audi Q3 from Audi Dealers in Hyderabad  Check Q3 price in Hyderabad

Audi Q3 Verdict

The new Audi Q3 is now a lot fresher, offers extra features and at the same time, retains the good qualities of the previous version. It would have been nice to see the updated engine with betterpower and efficiency make it to India as well. There are more colour options too, like the shade you see here. Model trims will mostly be similar to the outgoing model. We drove the Technology variant that features standard navigation and 20GB jukebox storage in addition to the other features like the panoramic sunroof and LED lighting. The entry level model wasn’t here at the drive but expect this version to get added features too. The Q3 rolls out in India on June 18 and we expect prices to go up only marginally

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Maruti Suzuki Swift Engine & Transmission

Maruti Suzuki Swift Overview

The Maruti Suzuki Swift is India’s most popular hatchback and has ruled the streets for a good 10 years now, unchallenged mostly. There is definitely something about the Swift which makes it such a hot seller, we have it our long term garage and can’t deny the smile it plants on our face everything we show it a pair of twisties. It’s not a very practical car due to the lack of rear seat room and a small boot but for those who love driving, the Swift is among the few options. The company updated its popular model with a minor facelift not so long back and we gauge the minor changes. View Offers & Price on Swift in your city at CarzPrice

Maruti Suzuki Swift Exteriors

The next generation Maruti Swift shares great resemblance with its predecessor, but the new design alterations have added a sporty charm to the vehicle. With its curvy and elegant body, the Swift is definitely one of the most beautiful cars ever seen in its segment. The new Swift looks bigger with extended dimensions, stylish front grill, large headlamps, ORVMs with integrated blinkers, chrome-finished logo and fog lamps. The coloured door handles, thin window glasses, mirror cowls and alloy wheels further enhance its aggressive look. Its rear looks quite refreshing with body-colored bumper and chic LED tail lights. Maruti Swift has all the crunchy features that have made it a game changer in the Indian automotive industry.

The mid variants of Maruti Swift are available with 14-inch steel wheels, whereas its top variants are equipped with 15-inch steel wheels, adding extra elegance to this premium hatchback. With an aim to offer comfortable and sporty drive, the new Maruti Swift comes with puncture-resistant tubeless tyres. The 165/ 80 R14 and 185/ 65 R15 are the standard tyre sizes for 14- and 15-inch steel wheels, respectively. The tyres are highly efficient and offer better grip over the rough Indian roads

Maruti Suzuki Swift Interiors

Get inside the car, and you will notice rich upholstery and all-black interiors. With an extended cabin area, there is a good knee space for rear passengers to make long drives enjoyable. However, the boot space remains unchanged and may bother you if you are looking for more luggage area. The black styling gives it a stylish and sophisticated visual appeal.

The elegant silver-painted door garnish, door trim fabric and door opener add more to the car’s appeal. The other features include digital display trip meter, rich dashboard with integrated cup holder and waterfall console, chromed door handles, LCD display, speedometer cluster, automatic climate control, single touch lane indicator, sun visor, anti-glare inside rear view mirror, and more. You can enjoy your favorite tracks while driving the car with a six-speaker audio system, which also supports USB. The new Maruti Swift comes with an improved NVH level, which has made it an even more fun-to-drive car.

The integrated stereo system with six high-quality speakers, steering mounted audio controls and three-level volume controls give pleasure while driving the all-new Maruti Suzuki Swift. Its audio controls illuminate during night to provide you better visibility. You will find many other features, like electrically-adjustable ORMVs. However, all these features come with the top-of-the-line trim only.

Maruti Suzuki Swift Engine & Transmission

Coming in both petrol and diesel engine options, the Swift has total six variants: Petrol – LXI, VXI and ZXI Deisel – LDI, VDI and ZDI The petrol version of the car derives its power from the 1.2-litre KB12 unit that has a displacement capacity of 1197 cc, while the Swift diesel has the proven and potent 1.3-litre multijet motor under its hood. While the petrol mill has an MPFI (Multi Point Fuel Injection) system, the diesel engine has a 5-step Multi Injection CRDi system.

When it comes to performance, both the units are powerful and responsive. With a 16-valve DOHC (Double Over Head Camshaft) valve train and four-cylinder set-up, the petrol mill churns out a maximum power output of 85.8 bhp and 114 Nm of peak torque, making it one of the most powerful engines in its segment. The oil burner 1.3-litre diesel unit too is equally impressive with 74 bhp and 190 Nm. Despite being a hatchback, the Swift is one of the few vehicles in its segment that is as good for highway driving as it is for driving in the city and that has been the reason behind its popularity everywhere.

Both the 1.2-litre K-series petrol and Fiat-sourced 1.3-litre multijet diesel versions won’t disappoint you in this department. You will love throttling them. Having equipped with a five-speed manual transmission, the Swift petrol touches the 0 to 100 kmph mark in about 12 seconds. That is the case with the Swift dieselas well. Even it does the same in about 12 seconds at a top speed of 150 kmph. Despite having much better ride quality than most of its competitors, the Swift isn’t as ‘swift’ as its rival Hyundai i20, especially till the third gear. But as soon as one enters the fourth gear, it gives you a sense of stability and sportiness that you would just like to rev it hard.

As mentioned above, the Swift is available in both petrol and diesel engine options. The 1.2-litre K-Series VVT petrol mill coupled to a five-speed manual transmission pumps out 85.6 bhp at 6000 rpm and 114 Nm of peak torque at 4000 rpm. The 1.3-litre DDiS diesel engine, on the other hand, mated to a five-speed manual and turbocharger, belts out 74 bhp at 4000 rpm and 190 Nm at 2000 rpm. So in terms of power, both the engines are impressive and in fact better than most of their competitors. What impresses more is the improved NVH (Noise, Vibration and Harshness) level; the designers have worked really well on insulation that one doesn’t feel any noise inside the cabin.

Maruti Suzuki Swift Driving Dynamics

The Maruti Swift 2016 is one of the few Suzuki that we pick when it comes to handling. The chassis of this hatchback is responsive and changes directions without much of a hassle. It is agile and it does well around bends. This is one of the strong points of the Swift. This chassis has been built to handle Swift Sport’s power, hence with this engine it does a good job. The ride on the Swift too is composed. It is a bit stiff, but that to improve the handling. The Maruti Swift 2016 certainly has a great package when it comes to the ride and handling aspects. The other strong point for the Swift is its steering wheel. It is light at low speeds and it weighs as you gather momentum. Check for Maruti car dealers in India

Maruti Suzuki Swift Safety

Standard safety provisions across line-up include 3-point ELR front seat belts, rear seat belts, rear door child locks, front head restraint, dual horn, high mounted stop lamp, side door impact beams and iCats. Eminent safety equipment available exclusively on the top-spec variant are reverse parking sensor, new generation anti-lock-braking system with electronic brakeforce distribution, brake assist, airbags in front for driver and co-passenger. Of these features, ABS with EBD and brake assist is available exquisitely on the VDi trims while giving a miss to the petrol variants.

Electrically adjustable outside rear view mirrors are standard on mid and high end trims save for the base variant which gets manually adjustable ORVMs. Similarly, side turn indicators are missing in the base trim. Front windshield gets two-speed intermittent wipers. Cabin features sporty wraparound door trims highlighted by a hint of chrome. Other features like day and night inside rear view mirror, three-spoke steering wheel, high volume glove-box, parcel shelf, inside chrome door handles etc are stuffed in the cabin. The instrument panel features tachometer, reminder is provided for driver’s seat/light off/key-off and warning for door closure/low fuel. There is a multi-information display, digital clock and odometer among others

Maruti Suzuki Swift Price

Maruti Suzuki Swift Ex-Showroom Price in Hyderabad ranges from 5,00,505/- (Swift LXI) to 8,28,685/- (Swift ZDI Plus). Get best offers for Maruti Suzuki Swift from Maruti Suzuki Dealers in Hyderabad. Check For Swift price in Hyderabad

Maruti Suzuki Swift Verdict

The new Swift is bigger and bolder than the outgoing one, but is it better? It’s made a huge leap forward in terms of practicality with a much bigger boot and a more spacious cabin. With families getting bigger and more demanding, extra space is always welcome. But the Swift isn’t really meant to be a family car. It’s for individuals who drive themselves most of the time and, to that end, the new Swift, though it may be quicker, hasn’t bettered the old car’s fun-to-drive desirability. Where it does add a bit of excitement is with its styling which is even more striking than before. To be launched in early 2018 and sold through regular Maruti channels – which means it will be competitively priced (and not have a Nexa premium) – the Swift is sure to be another runaway success. It’s just that the character of the previous car is missing.

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A Designer’s Sublime Text Setup

Before I switched to a Mac a few years ago, I had been using the Notepad++ text editor for all the coding I did. I never really did like Dreamweaver. For me it was too complicated by trying to be everything.

I truly believe in and appreciate simplicity. I like simple tools that allow customisation for power users. On a Windows PC, Notepad++ somehow provided that. To be honest, I wasn’t even a power user back then, so customisation wasn’t a priority. I just needed a very simple text editor.

In Search for a New Text Editor

As I mentioned before, I switched to a Mac a few years ago. After doing so, I realised that Notepad++ is not available on OSX. That was the reason to start searching for a new text editor that would be somehow similar to what I was used to. If you are looking for web design for your company check Vivid Designs

A quick Google search provided me with options like Brackets, Coda, TextMate, TextWrangler, BBEdit 10, Aquamacs, Espresso and Sublime Text. There’s a wide range of these and I tried most of them. In the end, I decided to give Brackets a proper try. It’s free and has live reload on document change already built-in. That was something I really appreciated.

I started using Brackets when it was still in beta. And it was obvious. It had some disturbing bugs but what really bothered me was the performance. Sometimes it got to a point when even scrolling through an HTML document would produce lag. I had none of it and decided to give another text editor a try. For some reason, Sublime Text looked the most promising.

The Text Editor You’ll Fall in Love With

Once you install Sublime Text you get something that looks very simple in both UI and functionalities. At first, it doesn’t look that special actually. Why would someone pay $70 for this? But once again, Google has all the answers you need. After taking some time to really get the essence of Sublime Text, I fell in love with it. Here’s my setup.

Upgrade to Sublime Text 3

If you haven’t already, you should update to the Sublime Text 3. It’s still in beta but works very well, and package support is also very good. There’s no major difference between the two. At least not on the first sight. But because of numerous updates under the hood, the performance is much better.

If you’re not sure whether to upgrade or not, give this tool a try. It will tell you if you’re ready to upgrade, determined by the support for the packages that you’re using.

In my case, I had all green, so I was ready to go.

Install Package Control

First of all, I install the Package Control. Without it, it would be much harder and time-consuming to customise Sublime Text. Installation is very simple and quick. Check the instructions here.

After you have that installed, you’re able to install all the expansion packages right from Sublime Text so you don’t have to manually download and install them. It’s a timesaver. If you are looking for website development in Bangalore for your company visit Vivid Designs

Theme & Color Scheme

After a successful upgrade, I immediately started looking for a cool theme. I need my text editor to look slick and minimalistic. And I really wanted to get rid of that old, Windows Vista like look that Sublime Text comes with by default. To get rid of it, you have to change the theme.

Theme is not the same as colour scheme. The former defines the looks of Sublime text window, sidebar, tabs and modal windows and the latter defines the background and syntax highlight colours.

There’s a particular theme I really like, called Space Gray. I found it after searching for quite some time. I narrowed my options to this and Centurion. Both look very good, both very close to what I like. In the end, I decided to go with Space Gray and I’m sticking with it for now.

There’s even more colour schemes than themes for Sublime Text. There’s a cool website with a lot of them: Colorsublime. I like the base16-ocean so I just stick with it. It gives me just the right amount of contrast so my eyes don’t suffer too much.

I event went further and removed the arrows that are meant for navigation through the tabs. This might come handy when you have a gazillion of tabs open. But I got used to switching between them with the Alt + Cmd + left/right arrows shortcut. So for me, those arrows were just visual clutter and I removed them. To do so you have to add this line into your user settings.

“enable_tab_scrolling”: false

Personalisation

As I mentioned before, I was using Brackets for some time. Not long, but long enough to get used to some keyboard shortcuts. The two I used the most that had different key bindings from Sublime were delete line and duplicate line.

After switching to Sublime Text, I noticed that the duplicate line shortcut from Brackets had the opposite effect in Sublime: it deleted the line. So I decided to add my own custom keyboard shortcuts. And in Sublime that’s very easy. These can be added/edited in Preferences > Key Bindings — User. Whatever custom shortcut you add there will overwrite the default one. In my case they were these two:

{ “keys”: [“super+d”], “command”: “duplicate_line” },

{ “keys”: [“super+shift+d”], “command”: “run_macro_file”, “args”: {“file”: “Packages/Default/Delete Line.sublime-macro”} }

I hate scrolling horizontally, so I wanted Word wrap to be enabled by default. Another search on Google, gave me an answer in less than a minute. I just had to add this line to my Preferences > Settings — User.

“word_wrap”: true

Now, every time I create/open a new document, the word wrap will be enabled by default.

Packages

I don’t want to repeat myself so this is a list of additional packages to the ones I mention in other parts of this article (themes and Package Syncing later on).

Alignment is one of the Top 25 packages for Sublime. It provides easy alignment of multiple selections and multi-line selections.

Autoprefixer is also a very popular package. When you run it, it adds the vendor prefixes to you CSS. Ain’t nobody got time for messing with that.

BracketHighlighter marks the opening and the closing bracket of the current line of code. Sometimes, this comes very handy.

Can I Use adds a shortcut to your key bindings with which you can quickly check how well is a CSS property supported by browsers. This one goes online to check for that. There’s also a package that provides this offline — caniuse_local.

CSScomb makes your code beautiful. Now you can do it very quickly with this package.

Emmet is like magic for your coding. Once you get the hang of it, you will save time. A lot of time. Just write an “equation” of your code, press tab, and there it is.

Emmet Css Snippets the same as Emmet but this time for CSS (including LESS and SASS).

LiveReload refreshes the website you’re working on when you make a change to the source code. I got used to this behaviour when I was using Brackets and really liked it. Another time saver.

SCSS adds syntax highlight for the .scss files. I recently decided to learn to use CSS preprocessing, so I need this.

SideBarEnhancements makes the sidebar in Sublime more useful. It adds some basic functions: new file/folder, edit, open/run, reveal, find in selected/parent/project, cut, copy, paste, paste in parent, rename, move, delete, refresh…. and also some advanced features.

TrailingSpaces highlights all the trailing spaces in your code. It can also remove all trailing spaces with one action. What’s wrong with having trailing spaces?

Package Syncing

I have Sublime Text installed on two machines: my personal MacBook and my iMac at work. No matter which machine I’m working on, I need my personal Sublime Text setup. I need it to look exactly the same with all the packages on both machines.

Keeping both installations in sync manually is time-consuming. I did it for some time but got tired of it. After a while my two Sublime Text installations grew apart. I thought to myself: can’t there be a way to automatically sync the two installations of Sublime Text?

There is! Or, there are, because there’s a bunch of them. The most popular would be to sync your installation with a little help from Dropbox (I don’t really like Dropbox so I used MEGA instead). And there’s a package you can install that makes it very easy to set this up — Package Syncing.

So now, when I install a new package on one of my machines, it will be automatically synced to the other. This also applies for all my settings and personalisations of Sublime Text. Neat, right?

Icon

For some reason, nobody likes the default Sublime Text icon. That’s why there’s so many alternatives available on Dribbble. I honestly never really had any problems with the default icon. I kinda liked it. But since the Yosemite UI switch to a flatter look, the default Icon didn’t match anymore. Yes, that’s the only reason I decided to change the icon. Designers, eh? ☺

I really like this icon. It keeps the original design of the Sublime Text icon but also looks great on latest OSX. You can get it here.

Source

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Ford Figo Hatchback Overview

Ford Figo Overview

The facelift of the Figo will be launched by the end of the year. The company has just launched the Ecosport S and Signature editions, with new features. This will be followed by the introduction of the facelifted Ford Aspire, possibly in July. The company may then take a break for a few months and launched the new Figo by around October / November, which is the festive season. The changes to the Ford Figo 2019 will not be much. It will be a minor facelift. The interior will be updated. A new infotainment system on offer this time and will be the same as the Ford Freestyle. It is a touchscreen system, which is a welcome feature on this hatchback. A new 1.2-litre Dragon petrol engine will also be offered. An automatic transmission will be mated to this engine. It is expected to be more fuel efficient than the earlier engine. Check Ford cars Price & Specifications at CarzPrice

Ford Figo Exterior

As can be seen in the Ford Figo pictures of the exteriors, Figo hatchback and Aspire sedan are indistinguishable except for the additional boot fixed at the rear of Aspire. Leave that apart and you can very well confuse Figo hatchback to the sedan version. Similar modish radiator grille in the front with multiple chrome bars boosts the overall outer look. Again the identical swooping head lights flank front grille, trickle to the lower bumper and you will notice the petite lower grille and fog lamps in higher variants. Side profile is simple yet impressive, it gets body

colour matching outside rear view mirrors, body painted outside door handles, multiple spoke alloy wheels, indicators and subtle character lines. The outside rear view mirrors get integrated turn indicators along with power adjustable and foldable functions. At the back, wrap around tail lights are present, an integrated roof spoiler, fog lights and body coloured bumper pretty much define the rear styling. Check for Figo Car Model Price in CarzPrice

Ford Figo Interior

Just like exteriors, interiors are also akin to Aspire with the only difference of an all black colour theme unlike the dual tone colour scheme available on Aspire. Space on offer is generous for passengers in front implying comfortable legroom, head space and shoulder room. Rear is a snug place too for passengers in terms of space; moreover the rear seat can be folded flat for creating additional storage space at the back. An armrest is also placed at the centre of the rear seat. For driver’s convenience, height adjuster is provided on the seat so as to adjust height accordingly. Various styling similarities can be spotted inside like the centre console, instrument cluster and three spoke steering wheel with tilt-adjust feature among others. There are

several cubbyholes inside providing enough space for storage. A bettered Figo hatchback is rich when it comes to features, some of the notable features loaded inside include equipments such as steering mounted audio & phone controls, front/rear power windows with one touch up-down driver window, AM/FM radio with Aux input, USB port, Bluetooth, tachometer, boot lamp, electric boot release, climate control and a 12 V power outlet among several others. High end variants get leather seat covers while rest of the range comes with fabric upholstery. Other than the above mentioned features, the top-spec trim highlights additional goodies like CD/MP3 player, FordMy Key, MyFord Dock, multi-function display and voice activated SYNC Applink. Further information on the accessories available can be retrieved from Ford Figo dealers in your locality

Ford Figo Specifications & Mileage

The new Ford Figo 2019 will be powered by a new 1.2-litre Dragon petrol engine. This engine will also power the Aspire. It also does duty in the Freestyle. This engine will have a five-speed manual and also a six-speed automatic. The diesel will be the same 1.5-litre unit that will churn about 98bhp of power and 200Nm of maximum torque. This will be mated to a five-speed manual transmission only.

Both engines are powerful and the diesel especially has been the talk of the town. The 1.2-litre has good enough power for city usage. The major update is the petrol engine. The diesel will see some tweaking to have better driveability. The Figo will have to wrestle with some strong competition in the form of the new upcoming Honda Jazz, the Swift and the Hyundai i20.The fuel-efficiency for the petrol manual is about 12km/l in the city and 16km/l on the highway. The automatic will return about 11km/l in the city and 14km/l on the highway. The diesel is more efficient at 17km/l in the city and about 20km/l on the highway.

Ford Figo Performance and Handling

Ford has tweaked the suspension of the Figo for this edition. It comes with a stiffer setting now and the ride height has been lowered. You also get meatier 195/55/15 tyres which offer better grip than the tyres on the regular Figo. Thanks to the revised suspension settings, the Figo feels more composed and stable on straights as well as corners. It feels eager to dive in corners too. The ride is also very pliant. The steering is sharp and offers decent feel, it is also light at city speeds. The brakes also do a very good job and the Figo is definitely an engaging car to drive.

Ford Figo Braking and Safety

Braking duties are performed by disc brakes in front and drum brakes at rear. On the safety front, Figo hatchback gets a number of equipments such as six airbags, anti-lock-braking system with electronic brakeforce distribution, among the prominent ones. Besides the aforementioned safety features, the hatchback also feature engine immobilizer and driver seatbelt reminder. Some features are exclusive to automatic version like electronic stability control; traction control and hill start assist.

Ford Figo Price

Ford Figo Ex-Showroom Price in ranges from 4,79,105/- (Figo 1.2P Base MT) to 7,78,633/- (Figo 1.5P Titanium AT). Get best offers for Ford Figo from Ford Dealers

Ford Figo Conclussion

The changes on the Figo Sports Edition are mainly to the interiors and exteriors while the suspension changes have made the car more fun. We have always stated that the Figo is a fun to drive car offered as a value for money proposition and there is no denying to this fact. But, the Sports Edition loses out on some features that are offered in the regular Figo in the Titanium Plus trim, so there’s a trade-off between a higher variant with more features or a lower variant with sporty additions and that’s what the buyer needs to think and decide, since the Sports Edition and the Titanium Plus cost almost the same on the road.

 

 

 

 

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What Does The Virtual Receptionist Actually Do ?

Answering calls while you manage your business can be time consuming and could drain your energy. Traditionally, hiring a receptionist to answer all your customers’ inquiries on the phone and taking some personal calls for you could be the best thing to do. And as we become more accustomed to digital and virtual technologies, Virtual Receptionists were introduced to the market and is now on the test run whether it could be the latest trend.Why not? People had accepted and embraced Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry today so why not Virtual Receptionists? Nevertheless, there is a difference between a Virtual Receptionist and a call center agent (as what we usually call people who works in BPO industries). A call center agent merely takes calls and answer queries while Virtual Receptionists, acts in the name of your company’s name

He or she will take a message if necessary, but also gives you a way of having a single public number covering everyone in the business

A virtual receptionist should be more than an answering service. Sure, the basic idea is that you have a real person answering calls instead of letting them go to voicemail, but that’s just the start.

Depending on whose statistics you believe, as many as three-quarters of first time callers to a business will hang up if they reach voicemail rather than a person. We don’t know how old that figure is, and we suspect people are more comfortable with voicemail now than they were a decade ago.

An answering service is basically just a human being pretending to be an answering machine, though at one time we would have put that the other way round. Someone phones, you don’t answer, the service picks up the call, takes a message and forwards it to you, typically by SMS or email.

A virtual receptionist goes beyond that. He or she will take a message if necessary, but also gives you a way of having a single public number covering everyone in the business. Calls are answered just as a ‘real’ receptionist would, and then directed to the appropriate person’s landline or mobile. The illusion of being a larger business can be encouraged if the service ensures the same agent answers your calls whenever possible.

Virtual receptionists should also be able to provide answers to basic questions such as “what are your opening hours?”, “what is your address?” and “do you deliver flowers to Mater Mothers’ Hospital?”

Even if your business is at the stage where it needs a real receptionist, it may be worth adding a virtual receptionist so you know you are covered if you’re flooded with calls, during breaks, or the occasional sickie.

Some of these services also offer call screening, so you can avoid being interrupted by routine inquiries that can safely be left until it’s convenient for you to return the call, while making sure that important clients and family members can reach you at any time if it is at all urgent.

Or you may want to go even further. Virtual receptionist services may be able to take orders (“a large bunch of gladioli to Mrs Jane Doe at Calvary North Adelaide Hospital by noon tomorrow, please”) or book appointments (“I’d like a perm on Friday, please, what time can Adele fit me in?” or “I’d like a quote for cutting down a tree in my garden”).

Other add-ons may include out-of-hours answering, fax-to-email, and even a virtual postal address.

All this comes at a price, of course. While the costs vary, providers typically charge a monthly fee that includes a certain number of calls, with an additional charge for every call after that. Services that simply pass on messages are normally cheaper than those that can connect calls (screened or otherwise) to one or more people, and some providers charge per minute rather than per call. And be prepared to pay extra if the nature of your business is such that you really need someone with local knowledge to answer calls – some services only use offshore workers.

 

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BMW X6 Hatchback Overview

OVERVIEW ;

Sports Activity Coupe (SAC) is a vehicle type which not many are familiar with, after all there is only one such car in the SAC segment. The BMW X6 or in other words an SUV coupe is an interesting body type, which the German automaker kick started in 2008 and plans to continue by launching more SACs like the soon to be introduced X4. The company agrees the body style is quite unusual but the demand is high with more than 1.5 lakh units sold globally till date. Just last year the vehicle was given a minor facelift and was launched in India in November 2012. The BMW X6 has been suprisingly very successful which has prompted other automakers to consider entry in the segment as well. Audi is working on the Q6 while Mercedes-Benz is already in advanced stages of developing the MLC (ML-Coupe). The X6 has had a free run till now with no competition whatsoever. So what makes this X5 based vehicle tick? Check for review & price of BMW Cars

EXTERIORS ;

Few might find the overall design of the X6 to be a bit odd. While the coupe roofline gives it a nice curvy silhouette, some might think it doesn’t sync too well with the large SUV body. I personally love the way the roofline blends into the integrated spoiler but it kind of eludes practicality; more on that later. But then design is entirely a matter of perspective. That aside, look closely and you simply can’t ignore certain details of the car. To ensure that the front-end looks aggressive and proportionate, BMW has widened and stretched the trademark kidney grille. The sleek twin headlights flanked by the eyebrow LED Daytime Running lights make the 2015 X6 look menacing.

We particularly liked the air-dams incorporated in the front bumper. They channel the wind towards the wheel such that it exits from the vent near the front doors, thereby reducing aerodynamic drag. The rear, although equally sculpted doesn’t look as butch as the front. Discount the badge and you might just mistake it for a beefier version of the 5 Series Gran Turismo. Check for X6 price in Mumbai

INTERIORS ;

he insides are quite refined as every inch inside the cabin reflects richness and craftsmanship of skilled designers. The manufacturer has used a great amount of leather and superior grade plastic for designing the cabin. It gets a completely redesigned dashboard with fine-wood accents with glossy finish along with a few metallic inserts. The steering wheel has a signature three-spoke design along with the company’s logo embedded on it. This leather wrapped steering wheel is mounted with several illuminated control switches related to audio, calls and cruise control. Right behind this, there is a large instrument cluster that houses analogue gauges along with a color display. The seating arrangement is luxurious that can host at least five occupants. These seats are covered with premium grade leather upholstery that renders an opulent look to the cabin. While the seats have electrical adjustment facility along with lumbar support for added comfort. The company has given a lot of importance to the driver orientation to enhance convenience and driving experience. For this, its floor and the center console in the cockpit are equipped with an array of equipments, which are easy to reach and operate.

As for comfort features, this model series is equipped with several advanced comfort features unlike rest of the SUVs in this company’s portfolio. It has a powerful 4-zone automatic air conditioning system with rear air vents, which takes care of cabin temperature in all weather conditions. It also has rain and light sensors, which automatically switches on the wipers and lights when necessary. This model is integrated with features like electrically operated windows, power adjustable windows, a multi-functional M Sport leather wrapped steering wheel, front center armrest with storage compartment and electric steering column adjustment. Furthermore, it also has power adjustable front seats including memory function, leather upholstery for seats, smokers package, inside and outside rear view mirrors with automatic anti-dazzling function, roller sun blinds for rear side windows 60:40 split foldable rear bench seat. Along with these, the manufacturer has also equipped it with an electric glass sunroof and parking distance control feature for front and rear.

PERFORMANCE ;

The 2016 BMW X6 is available with 2 Petrol engine and 3 diesel engine options. The Petrol engine options include a newly introduced xDrive35i which produces 306 hp of peak power beside the existing V8 on the xDrive50i which now produces 450 Hp of peak power.The diesel drivetrain of the X6 consists of the xDrive40d which produces 313 hp of peak power and this diesel engine has been introduced recently to the lineup. You can also choose from the existing diesel engine lineup which consists of the six-cylinder in-line diesel engine which produces 258 hp of peak power available with the xDrive30d. You can also choose from the powerful straight-six diesel with three turbochargers available with the M50d which generates 381 Hp of peak power.

All the above mentioned engines are mated with a eight-speed Steptronic sport transmission which enhances the overall driving experience. The X6 also comes equipped with an intelligent all-wheel-drive system that comes as a standard feature. This drive system ensures directional stability and cornering dynamics and also optimizes traction. Still if you are not satisfied with all these you can further opt for an optional link up with adaptive suspension packages, including Dynamic Performance Control.

RIDE AND HANDLING ;

Hit the road in the 2017 BMW X6 and the first thing you’ll notice is the authoritative acceleration provided by the 35i’s 300-horsepower six-cylinder engine. This engine also feels refined throughout its rev range and is nicely complemented by the smooth-shifting eight-speed automatic transmission.If it’s more thrust you’re after, the xDrive50i model’s 445-hp V8 should prove sufficiently satisfying, although it comes at a hefty price premium. This engine provides all the performance most people could ever want, along with an exhilarating exhaust note when pushed hard. Best of all, its prodigious power output is balanced with a level of refinement that the hyperactive high-performance BMW X6 M sorely lacks.

The X6’s standard suspension produces an unruffled ride quality even over bad pavement. Dialing up the Comfort mode with the adjustable suspension produces a similar result. Switching the adjustable suspension to the firmer Sport mode improves handling thanks to firmer body control, though there’s no escaping the fact that this is a large, heavy vehicle with a higher center of gravity than your average sport sedan. The steering feels precise but doesn’t offer as much feedback as in competitors such as the Porsche Cayenne.

SAFETY FEATURES ;

The 2017 X6 comes heavily loaded with features. From Head-Up Display, night vision with dynamic light spot, 360 degree camera to parking assist, the X6 has it all. In terms of safety, the X6 gets 6 airbags, ABS, EBD and all other abbreviations you can think of. It also gets Lane departure warning and pedestrian alert. For the passengers at the back there are two separate HD 9.2-inch monitors with separate DVD drives to view different films on. Talking about movies and sound, the 2015 BMW X6 also comes with a 16 speaker Bang and Olufsen high end surround sound system.The centre console gets a 10.25-inch screen below which is the dual zone climate control and the controls for the integrated Bang and Olufsen infotainment system. Aside from the media and navigation, the screen also displays vehicle information and settings too. All the buttons are soft touch and well within reach. And then there is the automatic tailgate operation. If you hands are full after a shopping spree, a quick wave of the foot under the rear bumper opens up the tailgate.

VERDICT ;

The BMW X6 might loose out on headroom and boot space against the X5, but it offers an unparalleled level of desirability. While it sure is expensive, it’s a very different and unique body style which is attracting many people to the vehicle. The X6 has carved out such a niche that others are now following with their own offerings (Mercedes and Audi). If you want an SUV which drives well, performs brilliantly and looks out of this world, then the BMW X6 is your only choice today.

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Renault Duster Price & Specifications

OVERVIEW ;

It was the Renault Duster that had kicked off a storm in the affordable SUV segment in India. Before the Duster arrived, the Mahindra Scorpio and Tata Safari were ruling the roost but Renault clearly knew what the Indian buyer wanted. The Duster became quite a success story and it also established the Renault brand in India. However, it’s been almost 4 years since this SUV was launched and it started feeling very outdated, what with rivals coming up with far more polished vehicles. Renault has now given the Duster a new lease of life so let’s see what we’ve got here. Check for Duster price in Gurgaon

EXTERIORS ;

For starters, the Duster facelift isn’t much different to begin with from the original Duster. You do get blacked out and upgraded headlights that look quite futuristic with it’s distinct cuts and details and a set of new tail lights with a very unique LED lighting pattern. What you also get is a new grille that is better styled than the older one. And then there are the new wheels. Now although some like this blacked out design, we think Renault could have given us a far sportier and slightly larger set of wheels on this new Duster.

You also get a set of silver skid plates on the front and the rear bumper and a chrome exhaust tip that adds to the look. The overall SUV look of the Duster combined with the wide stance are still very much as they are and all these smaller updates actually help accentuate it. Although a little late to the party, the upgrades on the Duster make it look quite nice and modern and personally I prefer the simplistic lines on this car as compared to the over the top design of some other SUVs in its segment. As a final note on the design, we personally love this new and bold orange shade that the Duster now comes in.

INTERIORS ;

The cabin is quintessentially Renault, from the odd-numbered speedometer, the large steering wheel, sub-par plastics to the quirky layout overall. When the Duster was introduced in 2012, poor interior surface feel was one of its main shortcomings. Now, though, Renault has improved the quality of the surfaces, there is still a low-rent feel to the doors and centre console surrounds… more on this later.

Coming to the design and layout, the previous model’s old-school design has made way for a somewhat modern look. The combination of black and brown upholstery and silver highlights across the centre console and the door panels do a good job of hiding the cabin’s age. The centre console’s layout is pretty minimalistic with the central fascia dominated by a touchscreen infotainment system responsible for almost all the functions on board. Rounding out the major changes to the dash are the revised air-conditioning controls which are set painfully low. Mind you, this isn’t the only quirk in here. The driver’s seat height adjuster still requires bit of an effort to operate and having separately placed buttons on the steering wheel and the centre console for the cruise control isn’t the brightest of ideas either. Thankfully, the rear-view mirror controls are no longer underneath the handbrake and are now on the driver’s side panel.

As for space and comfort, the Duster remains unchanged and in no way that’s a bad thing. The front seats are just about the right size and offer enough back and knee support. They also helped us to limit fatigue over a full day of full-on driving. More importantly, the rear-seat space is also plentiful with better thigh support than the competition. What’s noticeably changed, though, is the amount of standard equipment; Renault is finally offering climate control for top-spec variants while other highlighting features include rear-view camera with guidelines and an updated touchscreen infotainment system. All in all, the Duster’s cabin still doesn’t feel as premium as the competition, but there’s no denying that it’s more appealing than before. If anything, it’s certainly more luxurious than its badge-engineered sibling, the Nissan Terrano.

PERFORMANCE ;

The Renault Duster comes with the same 1.5-litre dCi diesel powerplant in two states of tune – 84bhp and 109bhp. There’s also a 1.6-litre petrol engine mated to a five-speed manual gearbox. The biggest addition though is of the automated manual transmission (AMT) on the more powerful diesel version. Renault also claims to have improved the packaging of the engine bay and have strengthened it in key areas to improve safety.

The AMT gearbox is available in the top RxL and RxZ variants and comes only in front-wheel-drive guise. Let’s start with the positives. This is by far the best iteration of the AMT we have experienced till date, across makes. This ZF-sourced system works well on the highway and part throttle gearshifts are relatively smooth. You also get a creep function which is a boon in stop-start traffic

But as soon as you put your foot down you get that typical AMT pause as the hydraulic actuators struggle to downshift quickly enough to keep up the momentum. Even in stop-start traffic, power delivery can be jerky and upshifts at lower speeds feel painstakingly slow. It’s in the manual mode that this gearbox feels the best and there is a way of getting around this drawback by just lifting off before every shift. Unfortunately, this defeats the whole purpose of having an automatic in the first place.

Despite the slow gearbox, performance figures are quite impressive with 100kmph coming up in 13.61 seconds. But it’s in the drivability test where the Duster AMT suffers as it takes 8.08 seconds for the 20-80kmph dash and 10.46 seconds in the 40-100kmph kickdown. This makes it nearly two seconds slower than the Hyundai Creta automatic on both drivability runs.

We also sampled the AWD version of the Duster and as before we came away really impressed. The AWD variant uses shorter gearing as compared to the 4X2 variant and this helps its drivability considerably. There is loads of pulling power from the word go and even at speeds as low as 20kmph you can easily pull away in third gear. Renault seems to have made the clutch lighter too which makes town driving a hassle free affair.

DRIVING DYNAMICS ;

The New Renault Duster AMT is surprisingly a delight to drive. What came to notice instantly is that it responds well to throttle inputs. Drive with a heavy foot and the upshifts get delayed, thereby providing adequate power. The AMT is very easy to drive in the city. The good part is that the usual lag during shifts, that AMTs have, is reduced and is hardly felt while driving in a relaxed manner. Its only when you push the New Renault Duster AMT hard that the lag is evident.

Another impressive thing about the New Renault Duster AMT was that while driving in the manual mode, rev-limiter comes in to play only beyond 5000 rpm. This gives ample room to the driver for maneuvering the SUV as desired and is especially useful while driving in hilly areas and ghats. I would’ve preferred a slightly taller gear selector lever in the AMT. The lever in the New Renault Duster AMT feels a tad short and hence one needs to stretch out a bit more than normal, while driving in manual mode.

SAFETY ;

Talking about safety, the 2016 Renault Duster comes with dual front airbags and ABS. The AMT transmission also gets features like Hill Hold and ESP. There is also a traction control system on offer which does its job pretty well should you decide to have some fun around the twisties. In terms of after-sales service, Renault does have a not-so-good network and it just doesn’t match the quality levels of Hyundai for that matter.

VERDICT ;

Despite the automobile scenario being a bit dull overall, the Duster has still come in at just the right time for Renault India. While it is still going to be a tough task to keep the tempo going for the Duster, it is quite clear that it is not without reason that prospective buyers are queuing up for test drives and causing traffic jams outside Renault showrooms around the country.