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2024 Audi Q3 first drive: Style and luxury with tech to match

With its US launch not expected until next year, Audi invited us to the incredibly beautiful Bolzano, Italy to try out the new Q3. Tucked into the Dolomites of North East Italy, its peaks and valleys are good enough for the Italian Alpini, the elite mountain warfare corps, and so they’d be good enough for putting the 2023 Q3 through its paces. That its one of the most beautiful places in Europe only sweetened the deal.

The 120 kilometer drive would take us off the highway and through Wolkenstein in Gröden or Selva di Val Gardena in the Val Gardena in South Tyrol, Northern Italy. It’s a very interesting part of Italy, as it’s autonomous: the majority of the population speaks German, even though it has been part of Italy since the end of World War I. The German-speaking part of the community still identifies as Austrian, indeed, while the food is a wonderful mix of all the local cultures.

Unlike US cars, which will get Audi’s 8-speed automatic transmission, the Euro-spec Q3 we’d been entrusted with had the automaker’s 7-speed S Tronic gearbox, and the quick up and downshifts are precisely what I expected. The US transmission will have a lot to live up to when it arrives at dealerships. Merging onto the highway, the 228 horsepower 2.0T engine effortlessly accelerates compared to the first model, and the hour-long, 50 km drive to our starting point at Bolzano Airport went by quickly.

The highways here were constructed through some incredibly old towns, and the sights are beautiful. Trucks and slower cars would generously stick to the right lane, leaving the Q3 to zip right along at the speed limit. After arriving at the airport, it was time for a stint on the highway at the edge of the city.

While it’s likely to be a frequent stomping ground for American drivers, I can’t say I was disappointed when we turned off the highway towards Wolkenstein. Within a few kilometers, we were in the forest and passing through typical European tunnels on our way to the first stop. The views kept getting better, and so did my impressions of the Q3. Quiet in the cabin, and offering no complaints at our route, it proved just as relaxing when I took over passenger duties and had a chance to explore the new interior design.

Audi took a clean-sheet approach with the new Q3’s exterior and interior, with nothing carried over from the previous model. It’s not been miserly with the technology, either: it may be small, but the 2023 Q3 gets the best of the connectivity options and driver assistance systems that debuted in the new Audi A8. The MMI radio plus a digital instrument cluster is now standard, with the speedometer and tachometer now digital. Sandwiched in-between them is navigation, entertainment, and other vehicle information. Unlike the Audi Virtual Cockpit we’re familiar with, though, this version for the Q3 doesn’t have an adjustable layout.

A second, 8.8-inch screen is found on the center stack, where you interact with the optional MMI navigation plus infotainment system. That features a new – but familiar – flat menu structure, along with natural-language voice control and online route calculation powered by HERE. MMI navigation plus is an option, with the full 12.3-inch Virtual Cockpit display and an all-new 10.25-inch MMI touch display on the center console, mounted at a 10-degree angle so as to better face the driver.

Finally, there’ll be the highest tier, Audi Connect Navigation & Infotainment plus with Google Earth, a hybrid radio, as well as online and onboard dual voice control system. Along with the LTE Advanced and Plus packages comes the myAudi app, which allows many of the vehicle’s functions to be controlled from a distance, and you can also unlock the doors with just your phone. The Audi phone box can both wirelessly charge your phone and boost its cell signal, while the Audi smartphone interface adds Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Finally, there’s a sweet-sounding Bang & Olufsen 3D Sound System with 15 speakers.

As our first stop loomed, an incredible tree-framed view of the mountains, with a beautiful blue lake that you could see to the bottom of did its best to distract me from my turn behind the wheel again. As we got closer to the town, though, traffic picked up, and it was time to try out the new adaptive cruise control.

Audi pre sense basic, Audi pre sense front, Audi side assist lane-change warning, Audi active lane assist lane-departure warning system, and an adjustable speed limiter are standard. There are also many options including adaptive cruise assist, park assist, cross traffic assist rear, and 360-degree cameras. The adaptive cruise assist incorporates the functions of the adaptive cruise control, traffic jam assist, and active lane assist.

In short, the idea is to not only keep you at a safe distance from the vehicle ahead, but make sure you stay in the lane, too. A button at the top of the cruise control stalk allows you to set the maximum speed based on the speed limit automatically, or you can manually override that with the normal up and down motion. On the highway sections I set the speed limit and distance limits, kept both hands on the wheel, but let the Q3 do the rest. After you come to a complete stop, the Q3 will accelerate again automatically.

While there’ll be an array of engines offered worldwide, including diesels, I was able to confirm the two engine options for North America. In the US there’ll be the 2023 Q3 quattro with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder delivering 184 horsepower and 236 lb-ft of torque; it’ll do 0-60 mph in 7.4 seconds. The second version will be the 2023 Q3 quattro S Line, with 228 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque, enough to cut the 0-60 time to 6.3 seconds. quattro all-wheel drive will be standard, along with the 8-Speed automatic transmission.

There’ll be Standard, Sport, and an optional damping suspension system, which relies on sensors continuously measuring the Q3’s body movements. The dampers then adjust to the road conditions and driving situation. The amount of damping can be configured via Drive Select, which is where you find various driving modes, like Dynamic and Comfort.

At the front, the Q3 features Audi’s new Singleframe grille with its striking, oversized octagonal design. The frame is wide and the slats are vertical, and it’s flanked with the standard LED headlights. Matrix LED headlights will be available as an option, at least in Europe. The extended roof-edge spoiler gives the illusion of the Q3 being much longer, while the sharply-angled D pillars and the crisp shoulder-lines – bulging with the classic quattro blisters – really add to the aggressive look. The intricate headlights and taillights have become the signature of all new Audi models, and the Q3 is no different. The body lines wrapping each have been specifically designed to call attention to the lights, adding to the Q3’s visual identity in the process.

It’s a bigger car all round than the first model, now 14.7 ft long (+3.8 in), 6.1 ft (+ 0.7 in) wide, and 5.2 ft high (+0.2 in). An extra 3-inches in the wheelbase, now 8.8 ft long, is directly beneficial to the interior space. There, depending on the position of the rear seats and backrests, the luggage compartment capacity is between 530 (+250 liters from the previous generation) and up to 1,525 liters with the seats down. The rear seats can also slide by 5.9-inches, and their 40:20:40 split backrests can be tilted to seven positions.

In the trunk, the loading floor can be adjusted at up to three levels, while the parcel shelf can be stowed underneath the floor if not needed. The electric tailgate can also be opened and closed with a kicking motion for hands-free access. Much of this we’ve seen before on the Q5 and Q7 SUVs, but they’re welcome additions to a more affordable model.

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The Fifth Adwords Match Type: Phrase Match Modifier

Have you ever wanted to merge Phrase Match and Broad Match Modifier into a single keyword like these people?

It can be frustrating when you want the reach of BMM, but the control of Phrase Match.

Here is what one user had to say:

I am trying to create a keyword pattern that will match the following searches …

london to paris by bus

bus from london to paris

… but not the following searches (opposite travel direction) …

paris to london by bus

bus from paris to london

I imagine using a keyword like the following, but I don’t thinks this is allowed:

“london to paris” +bus

This user was disappointed to hear that:

You cannot use different match types within the same keywords,

The best approach would be to use exact match type with all combinations possible of this query.

The search terms report can be a useful tool.

A few years ago, I was also frustrated that I couldn’t use Phrase Match with a Broad Match Modifier.

I started testing different syntaxes and measuring results in the search terms report.

I tried everything from “the regular” +symbols to #much_more=bizarre &symbols.

After a few months of testing, I noticed something interesting in a search term report.

I saw that when chúng tôi was bid on, it showed up in the search term report as www url com.

I then had a theory that a period would be processed as a space.

After another few rounds of testing, I found a combination that produced the results I was looking for.

How to Use Phrase Match Modifier

For the first time, not protected by an NDA, I am happy to share Phrase Match Modifier for AdWords.

You can now combine Phrase Match with Broad Match, Broad Match Modifier, and other Phrase Match phrases within one keyword. Here are examples of how to use them.

You can +mix +modified +broad +match with broad match and

When you add the period between words that start with +, you are binding those words together in that order. They then function like a phrase match within the larger keyword.

PMM is most useful when the specific order of words significantly changes what they mean.

The order of those words completely changes the intent of the search.

You can use PMM to get the semantic control of Phrase Match while still keeping the reach and flexibility of BMM.

A great use case for PMM is when you want to add geographic modifiers to phrase match terms.

For instance, +vacation.home +Florida. A user searching for “home vacation” is not looking for the same thing as a user searching for “vacation home”, however, “Florida” can show up nearly anywhere in the search and hold the same meaning.

Geographic modifiers are a powerful tool for identifying intent for users.

In many industries, users include a location in their search because they are looking for a business where they can take action. They are often further down the funnel, and PMM allows you to easily keep a tight hold on the placements you buy while capturing all the variations of geographically modified searches.

What About Quality Score

You may be wondering what the PMM syntax does to quality score.

Quality score is calculated for every auction, and the keyword itself only serves to enter an ad into that auction.

The keyword text is not an element of the calculation, just a gatekeeper to entering the auction.

Quality score is then calculated by measuring the relevance of the user’s search phrase to the ad and landing page.

When I use PMM, I see higher quality scores as a result of earning a higher CTR through entering fewer irrelevant auctions.

How Does PMM Impact Stemming

PMM will allow stemming or close variants within your keywords, but I find that the phrase match portion of the PMM tends to be more conservative in its variant matches than the BMM portion.

Check out this real search term report for the PMM +NJ. Driving matched to driver, school matched to schools, and NJ matched to New Jersey:

In this example of a PMM search term report, you can see how it works for +cdl +in.NJ.

The phrase match portion, +in.NJ, was not able to match to “in New Jersey”, only “in NJ”.

What I typically see is that the phrase match portions of the PMM will not expand abbreviations like BMM will, but will catch basic stemming like going from singular to plural.

The less comprehensive matching still saves you from having to build out excessively long keyword lists to account for basic variations.


PMM can be an effective tool for optimizing your AdWords accounts, but only when used correctly.

PMM shines when the order of specific words has a large impact on intent (e.g., free care vs care free), but you want to add modifiers, like a city name, that do not require a specific order for semantic relevance.

More AdWords Resources:

2024 Jeep Grand Cherokee L First Drive Review: A Three

2024 Jeep Grand Cherokee L First Drive Review: A three-row SUV worth the wait

When you arrive late, you can either slink in through the back door, or make a dramatic entrance: Jeep chose the latter. The 2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee L may be the first three-row of its lineage, but arrives to a crowded market of strong rivals. That it manages to stand out among that group is a testament to just how big an improvement this SUV is over its predecessors.

The three-row SUV space is big. Huge, in fact. Almost 75-percent of the full-size SUV segment is made up of six- or seven-seaters, and the fact that Jeep wasn’t competing there had become a liability.

It’s notable, then, that the all-new Grand Cherokee starts out with this three-row model. There’ll be a two-row version eventually, and indeed an electrified Grand Cherokee (also with two-rows), but Jeep is pulling out all the stops to court the audience that’s actually opening its wallet.

Pricing kicks off at $36,995 for the Laredo 4×2, with 4×4 a $2k upgrade on each trim. The Limited 4×2 is $43,995, the Overland 4×2 is $52,995, and the Summit 4×2 is $56,995. Jeep’s flagship 2023 Grand Cherokee L Summit Reserve 4×2 starts at $61,995; expect to pay $1,695 destination on each.

There’s no mistaking it for anything other than a Jeep. From the seven-bar grille, to the high shoulder-line, to the short overhangs and rear-drive proportions, the Grand Cherokee L’s heritage is clear.

Familiarity, though, is no drawback here. I think the new Grand Cherokee L is very much color dependent: with some hues, the truncated grille segments look a little odd, but with its LED lighting front and rear and the optional blacked-out roof it’s distinctive and crisp among the big SUV competition. Lest you forget what it is, or where it’s made, Jeep makes sure to slap a big name-badge across the doors, and an American flag.

Pride in a good product, though, can’t be argued with. On that level, it’s tough to speak ill of this new Jeep. There are two engines, starting with a 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 on the Laredo, Limited, Overland, and Summit. It’s good for 293 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque, rated for 6,200 pounds of towing, and is paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission as standard. 2WD models are rated for 19 mpg in the city, 26 mpg on the highway, and 21 combined; the 4WD version drops a point on the city and highway numbers, but keeps the same combined rating.

Optional on the Limited, Overland, and Summit 4×4 trims is a 5.7-liter V8. That bumps power to 357 hp and torque to 390 lb-ft, and nudges towing capacity to 7,200 pounds. It’s rated for 14 mpg city, 22 mpg highway, and 17 mpg combined.

There are three all-wheel drive configurations, too: Quadra-Trac I, Quadra-Trac II, and Quadra-Drive II. Quadra-Trac I has a single-speed active transfer case, and can push up to 100-percent of power to the front or rear axles. Quadra-Trac II adds a two-step active transfer case, has improved low-range performance, and is standard on the Overland. Finally, Quadra-Drive II has a two-speed active transfer case and rear electronic limited-slip differential: it’s optional on the Overland 4×4 with the Off-Road Group package, and standard on the Summit.

At the same time, there’s also Jeep Quadra-Lift air suspension, also standard on the Overland. That can adjust the ride height across 4.2 inches, including dipping the Grand Cherokee L down to make loading and unloading easier.

Jeep is, understandably, keen to prove its new model is no pretender when it comes to the rough stuff. The result was an off-road course tougher than any luxury SUV will ever face in typical use: jagged and haphazard rock piles, unruly log piles, and chassis-testing twist fields. As I crept adeptly through with the aid of spotters I concluded it was a textbook example of overkill – Jeep happily agrees that basically nobody will use those capabilities in practice – and evidence of just how useful the front-facing camera is, even if owners only ever use it to avoid parking lot curbs.

It’s compliant but not squishy, partly down to Jeep’s efforts to keep curb weight about the same as the smaller outgoing model. That same stiffness that leaves the SUV so capable on the off-road course also leaves it stiff and reassuring on asphalt: there’s no body twist to unsettle or leave those in the third row feeling seasick.

With the V8’s 357 horses it’s fast but not especially sporting. The engine sounds distant and muffled; there’s none of the hearty grunt that eight cylinders typically aim for. Straight-line speed is ample and the refined tuning means there’s minimal body roll come the corners, but even in sport mode the Grand Cherokee L feels focused on comfort.

I suspect that’s the right decision on the part of Jeep’s designers. As, too, was their focus on the cabin: this interior feels a level above anything we’ve seen from the company in memory. Layout, trim choices, and technology all punch above their weight and, indeed, the Grand Cherokee L’s price tag.

For maximum-lavish you’ll want the Summit Reserve, which has double-diamond stitched leather, massage seats, waxed walnut wood accents, a 19-speaker McIntosh audio system, and heating/ventilation for both the first and second rows. Even the more attainable trims, though, feel considered and refined. Jeep’s 8.4 or 10.1-inch Uconnect 5 touchscreens are large and responsive, there’s real metal trim – albeit a little more hard plastic below the interior belt line – and the switchgear strikes a great balance between sturdy and special.

The new infotainment system is a nice improvement. Uconnect has been capable and fast for the last couple of generations, but a little overwhelming in its interface. For this fifth-gen version, Jeep revamped the graphics and made customization easier: you can drag shortcuts to the top bar for persistent access to things like the surround camera, rearrange the home screen with widgets to avoid so much menu-hopping, and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto coexist more harmoniously with Uconnect 5 than is the case with most infotainment systems.

Alexa is built-in, and the center console screen plays nicely with the standard 10.3-inch digital cluster and optional 10-inch head-up display. You may have to spend a little time setting it all up initially, but the Grand Cherokee L supports multiple driver profiles for easy recall. Sadly there’s no profile sync across Jeep’s cloud, and while the redesigned owners app is faster and looks much improved, you can’t remotely configure the infotainment with it yet.

It’s not just glitter that Jeep gets right, though. The basics, like space and room for cargo, are pitch-perfect too. There are 6- and 7-seat configurations – the former with plush captain’s chairs in the second row – but even those relegated to the third row won’t be too disappointed. Jeep promised it was sized for adults and sure enough that’s the case: at 5’8 my knees weren’t around my chin and my head was still some way from the roof, and 6+ footers were similarly accommodated.

Getting in there, too, is straightforward with the tip-and-slide seats. The second and third rows will drop down, of course, including the second row center console in 6-seat versions, for a big, flat load floor. With all the seats up there’s 17.2 cu-ft to play with; that expands to 46.9 and 84.6 cu-ft as the two rows drop down.

For towing, the V6 is rated for up to 6,200 pounds, and the V8 up to 7,200 pounds. With a sizable boat hooked up to the back – and coming close to that maximum limit – it’s impressive just how little impact it has on the Grand Cherokee L’s acceleration, handling, or braking. Were it my boat I probably would’ve taken Jeep’s slalom a little more sensibly, which goes to show both the capability of the SUV and why you should never loan me your boat.

As for times when you don’t want to drive, there’s a slight stumble. Adaptive cruise is standard, along with lane management, front and rear parking alerts, blind spot warnings, rear cross path alerts, and forward collision warnings with auto-brake, and you can add on night vision and a 360-degree camera. Jeep’s Hands Free Active Drive Assist, though, won’t be ready until after the Grand Cherokee L is in dealerships, and while the SUV supports over-the-air software updates you won’t be able to retroactively add that feature to models without it. If you want the ability to drive on highways without your hands on the wheel, you may want to wait a little longer.

Hotels In Kolkata: Luxury, Ambience And Grandeur

About Kolkata

Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) is the capital of India’s West Bengal state. It was founded as an East India Company trading post and served as India’s capital under the British Raj from 1773 to 1911. It is now known for its grand colonial architecture, art galleries, and cultural festivals. It also houses Mother House, the headquarters of the Missionaries of Charity, founded by Mother Teresa, whose tomb is on the premises. Fortunately, several exceptional hotels in Kolkata can provide visitors with a comfortable and delightful experience.

Top 6 Best Hotels in Kolkata

There are numerous hotels in Kolkata, which is why we’ve described some of the best hotels in Kolkata:-

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#1 The Lalit Great Eastern Kolkata

The Lalit Great Eastern Kolkata, constructed in 1840, is one of Asia’s oldest luxury hotels still in operation. Even though the exterior is still Edwardian, the interior displays a modern style.

Location– 1,2,3 Old court house street Dalhousie square, Kolkata 700069

Rating– 4.4/5 Stars

Price– Rooms start at 8000 Rs, and Suites start at 13000 Rs.

Checkout-Before 12 PM

It is also one of the larger hotels in the city center, with 215 rooms and suites. The Deluxe Room, which starts at 350 square feet and has huge bay windows that look out over the terrace garden or pool, is the smallest in the hotel. Book the Edwardian suite for the ultimate luxury, complete with restored furnishings, local artwork, and traditional handicrafts.

Facilities: Free wifi, air conditioning, mini bar, 42-inch LCD TV.

How to Reach: It’s a 30-minute Bus ride from the Kolkata Airport to The Lalit Great Eastern.

Nearby Attractions: Marble Palace, Indian Museum, and Victoria Memorial.

Visit Wilson’s—The Pub, a traditional English pub named after the hotel’s builder, David Wilson, for a few drinks. After that, dine at the all-day, multi-cuisine Alfresco Restaurant on the lobby level, which serves Bengali and international cuisine, or at The Legacy Grill, where they serve a perfectly cooked steak. The 13,000-square-foot, award-winning Rejuve Spa at the hotel provides a variety of aromatherapy, herbal, and Ayurvedic treatments. Relax by the pool outside, where the juice bar next to it serves light snacks and drinks.

#2 The Oberoi Grand

Particularly on Jawaharlal Nehru Road in Chowringhee, central Kolkata, the noise and bustle of the city can be overwhelming. The Oberoi Grand, a sprawling colonial-style hotel built in the middle of the 1800s and entirely lived up to its name, is still a peaceful haven.

From the basic Deluxe Room to the grand Presidential Suite, it has 209 rooms and suites. Open spaces have high roofs and enormous windows that let in steady light, while old-fashioned teakwood goods, red rock washrooms, and white finish baths complete the look.

Location: 15, Jawaharlal Nehru Road, Kolkata 700013, India

Star: 4.4/5 Stars

Price: Rooms start at 10000 Rs and Suites at 18000 Rs

Check-in Time: After 2 PM.

Check-out Time: Before noon ( Following Day)

Amenities: Besides its well-liked Sunday Brunch, Three Sixty-Three serves European and Indian dishes. One of the best Thai restaurants in the city is Baan Thai, and The Bar is great for a sunset drink if you want a custom cocktail, fine wine, or single malt.

Facilities: Use the well-equipped gym, relax in the spa, which has therapy rooms with exquisite chandeliers, or unwind by the outdoor pool, which is the hotel’s quadrant garden’s focal point.

How to Reach: It’s an eleven-minute taxi ride from Howrah Junction and a 20- Minute bus ride from Vidyasagar Setu.

Nearby Attractions: The famous Howrah Bridge, St Paul’s Cathedral, and Mother House.

#3 Hotel Roland

One of the best budget hotels in central Kolkata is the Roland Hotel, which is in Ballygunge and is in a quiet residential area. It is close to numerous shopping, entertainment, and dining options.

Location: 28A, Rowland Road, Kolkata 700020, India

Star Rating: 4/5 Stars

Price: Rooms start at 2600 Rs.

Check-in: Before 2 PM

Amenities & Facilities: The 27 air-conditioned and spacious rooms at the hotel feature a work desk, a sitting area with a coffee table, a flat-screen television, a safe, and a minibar. The showers are decent, and the bathrooms are clean. Free buffet or in-room breakfast, wifi (though it may be intermittent in some rooms), toiletries, snack baskets, ironing services, and other amenities make the rooms an excellent value. Even a bathtub-equipped suite is available at the hotel.

How to Reach: This Hotel is 20 km from the airport, which means it is a 30-minute drive and 4 km from Sealdah Railway Station.

Nearby Attractions: Forum Mall and Minto Park.

#4 ITC Sonar

ITC Sonar offers some of the best luxury accommodations in this crowded and frequently noisy city, even though its sleek, contemporary design contrasts Kolkata’s old-world charm.

Replica statues from the Pala era, regarded as Kolkata’s golden age and spanned the 8th to 11th centuries, line the lobby and corridors. The 237 rooms and suites at ITC Sonar all have views of the vast estate, giving the impression that you are at a resort. The suites are exceptionally pricey with their deep-soaking bathtubs and butler service.

Location: 1 JBS Haldane Avenue, Kolkata, 700046, India

Star Rating: 4.7/5 Stars

Price: Rooms start at 7000 Rs.

Check-in: After 3 PM

Check-out: Before 12 PM( Following Day)

Amenities & Facilities: Butler services, fitness center, swimming pool, spa, Doctor on request, wake-up calls, and baby cribs.

How to Reach: It is a 20-minute taxi ride from Kolkata Airport.

Nearby attractions: Science City, Quest Mall, and Birla Temple.

#5 Taj Bengal

The opulent Taj Bengal situates itself in Alipore, the cultural capital of Kolkata. Walking distance separates the horticultural and zoological gardens from many of the city’s iconic attractions, such as Victoria Memorial and Eden Gardens, a famous cricket stadium. The hotel situates itself around a grand, five-story marble and stone atrium. Genuine antiques and priceless art decorates its interiors.

Star Rating: 4.7/5 Stars

Price: Rooms start at 10000 Rs, and Suites start at 20000 Rs.

Check-in: After 2 PM

Check-out: Before 12 PM( Following Day)

Amenities & Facilities: There are 229 rooms and suites with views of the entire city. Some of the suites view the pool, while others view the Victoria Memorial, a magnificent structure made of domed marble. Facilities include a Fitness center, spa, bar, all-day dining hall, and 29 suites.

How to Reach: It’s a 20-minute bus ride from chúng tôi Howrah and a 10-minute car ride from Howrah Station.

Nearby Attractions: Neetaji Bhawan, National Library, and Victoria Memorial Hall

#6 JW Marriott Hotel Kolkata

The JW Marriott Kolkata is an excellent choice for business or leisure travelers, as it is just four miles from the city center and 10 miles from the airport. The hotel’s exterior and interiors are stylish, and the lobby stands out with its etched glass and muted golden accents.

Location: 4A, J.B.S. Haldane Avenue, Kolkata, 700105, India

Star Rating: 4.6/5 Stars

Price: Rooms start at 10780 Rs and suites at 22050 Rs

Check-in: 3 PM

Check-out: 12 PM

Amenities & Facilities: The hotel has 281 spacious rooms. Each has modern decor, a king bed, a marble bathroom with a bathtub, a butler service, and fantastic city views. Facilities include Hot Tub, housekeeping, pool, fitness center, and 24-hour room service.

How to Reach: It’s a 12-minute drive from park street metro station and a 13-minute drive from park circus railway station.

Nearby Attractions: Eden Gardens and College Street.

Oracle Expected To Match Earnings Projections

Software giant Oracle, now a hardware company as well thanks to its purchase of Sun Microsystems, reports earnings on Thursday after the close of trading, and at least one analyst believes there will be no major surprises.

That’s good or not so good, depending on your perspective. It could be argued that Oracle’s (NASDAQ: ORCL) only significant competitor on a soup-to-nuts, hardware and software basis is IBM (NYSE: IBM). On the other hand, Oracle isn’t in a high-growth industry. Much of its growth has come from acquisitions in recent years, and there aren’t that many big targets left for it any more.

There’s also the added pressure on Oracle’s margins from Sun. As Broadpoint.AmTech analyst Yun Kim noted in a research note on the company earlier this month, Oracle currently enjoys the highest operating margin in the industry and is a relentless cost cutter.

Sun, however, is a hardware company, and hardware is not known for being a high margin business (with Apple a notable exception) and could cause “Oracle’s overall margin profile to decline substantially and it may be weighed down for some time while the company digests the acquisition,” Kim wrote.

Still, Kim expects Oracle to meet estimates with revenue for the third fiscal quarter ended February 26 of $6.41 billion, a 9 percent improvement over the second fiscal quarter and a 17 percent improvement over the same quarter last year. Oracle should report net income of $1.9 billion, or $0.37 per share.

Agreeing with Kim, a consensus survey by Thomson Reuters estimates Oracle will report earnings of $6.35 billion and EPS of $0.38.

One potential area of softness might be the benefit for currency. Recent strength in the U.S. dollar versus the Euro could likely lead to much less than the 7 to 8 percent currency benefit Oracle had forecasted for the quarter. But Kim added he does not expect weaker-than-expected currency to have any significant impact on its non-GAAP EPS.

“We believe its core database business remains solid, although certain local regions and certain verticals faced a more challenging sales environment than expected. Within its database business, ORCL’s middleware business put together yet another strong performance. We believe its application business is likely to remain lackluster,” Kim wrote in his note.

All things considered, he does not project any significant changes to projections as a result. Sun, he wrote, will not be a distraction for now. “We believe that investors are likely to focus on Oracle’s core business in the near-term and not put too much emphasis on Sun’s business as long as it continues to reaffirm its FY11 financial targets, which includes contribution from Sun,” he wrote.

Sun is expected to provide around $635 million, $1 million off from an earlier projection by UBS, and it will provide around $1.22 billion in product and services revenue next quarter, according to Kim.

The fourth fiscal quarter ending in May is traditionally Oracle’s busiest for the year. Kim projects Oracle will report revenue of $9.61 billion and non-GAAP income of $2.71 billion, or $0.58 per share.

Andy Patrizio is a senior editor at chúng tôi the news service of chúng tôi the network for technology professionals.

Review: Hyper’s Istick, The First Usb Drive W/ Integrated Lightning Connector

While most of my content goes straight to the cloud these days and is usually easily accessible to move around, download or stream from any of my devices, I still found myself getting a lot of use out of Hyper’s new iStick. It’s one of the first made-for-iPhone USB flash drives that also includes an integrated Lightning connector to easily transfer content to and from the device to others. Hyper’s companion app is what makes the experience more than just storage, however…

The iStick is much like your standard USB thumb drive, but a small switch allows you to expose either the standard USB connector (the one that will connect to your computer) or the integrated Lightning connector (which connects to your iPhone or iPad). The overall build quality of the all-plastic design feels solid enough, and I didn’t have any fears of the switch breaking after using it regularly for the last month or so.

The key to iStick is the companion app of the same name. It presents users with four main options on launch: iPhone for accessing local files, iStick for viewing files on the drive, Contacts for backing up and restoring address book contacts, and Photo Library for backing up photos from your iPhone to the drive.

Most of these functions work great. Backing up photos is as simple as you’d hope and lets you select multiple photos at once while viewing your iPhone’s camera roll and other photo folders. The iStick function lets you view files you’ve dumped on the drive and easily stream music and movies or open documents in other apps. With all the cloud services many people use for storage these days, there’s still no cloud solution to carrying several GBs worth of movies or other content and being able to stream it on a plane or other location where internet access isn’t available or reliable (not to mention how that would impact your data cap). That alone might be worth the cost of the premium iStick demands over the typical USB drive.

The Contacts feature, which lets you backup and restore contacts on the iPhone, is also super easy to use and worked without hiccups in my time with the device.

One great use for the iStick is making back ups of important files when backing up to the cloud isn’t possible or convenient. The experience is somewhat frustrating when you want to transfer files from your iOS device onto the drive, however. It’s mostly Apple’s fault, to be fair, as the iStick has no way of tapping into iOS and displaying all available files on local storage (those that you saved from apps like Pages and other content storage and creation apps). That means to transfer files from iPhone to the iStick drive, you have to first manually use the iOS “Open in another app” feature to transfer the file to the iStick app. For a document in Pages, that means 5 taps to transfer a single document to the iStick app and no option for transferring multiple files at once. Other apps might not even support the feature. It’s not ideal if you were planning on using the iStick to dump a large number of files from a specific iOS app.

That app design leaves a bit to be desired, but all the functions for moving, copying, renaming and organizing files you’d expect are present. There’s also an option in the app to format and wipe the drive clean with one tap (and a confirmation to avoid accidents).

If streaming content you don’t want taking up space on your device is your motiivation, the company says the app’s hardware accelerated video decoder supports a wide variety of non-iOS native video formats like MP4, M4V, MPV, MOV, MPG, MKV, AVI, WMV, RMVB, FLV, 3GP, GIF.”

For me in most situations using my Synology Diskstation NAS or other cloud services to sync, store, share, and stream content is my go-to solution, but without an internet connection that strategy becomes useless. I’ve also been known to carry a physical copy of important projects when traveling or on the go just in case the cloud gives me a problem when arriving at my destination. That’s also now an option for iOS projects or presentations with the iStick, allowing me to leave my Mac at home. When the cloud won’t cut it, iStick might be the only option.

Hyper’s iStick is available now in 8GB ($80), 16GB ($100), 32GB ($140), 64GB ($200), and 128GB ($350) in both black and white.

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