iPhone: How to Block SMS From Any Sender Including Bulk Messages

iPhone: How to Block SMS From Any Sender Including Bulk Messages

Spam is something most people have accepted as a part of their lives. While there are various easy ways to block email spam, most people don’t bother blocking SMS or text messages spam. On Android, various awesome SMS apps let you fully block spam texts or send them to a separate folder to check later. But if you have an iPhone, there’s a chance that you get a lot of spam texts every day and haven’t yet figured out how to block them.

Whether the spam text is from a mobile number promoting flats you don’t want to buy, or from bulk sender IDs such as DM-DUNKND or VK-UBERIN – whose service you might have used once, long ago, but whose messages arrive daily like clockwork – here’s how to block them once and for all.

1) Open the spam text message via the Messages app.

2) Tap Details on the top-right.

3) If you just want to stop getting notifications from this sender, and you don’t want to block them entirely, then tap the button next to Do Not Disturb. This will mute notifications but you will continue receiving text messages.

4) If you want to block this sender entirely, tap the i button.

5) Scroll down and select Block this Caller.

You will no longer receive spam messages from that bulk sender. Some spammers might text you from multiple IDs such as DM-SPAM, LM-MORESPAM, BZ-SPAM, etc. Each of these bulk sender IDs has a number that you can see after following step 4. You’ll have to block each of these numbers one by one, to stop receiving spam completely. Once you’ve done that, these IDs won’t be able to message you.

In case you want to unblock any of these spammers, then follow these steps.

1) Open Settings > Phone > Blocked.

2) Find the number linked to the bulk sender ID. In India, this usually is +91 followed by an eight-digit number, for example: +91 36386563 (one of the numbers Dunkin Donuts India uses to send promotional text messages).

3) Slide the number towards the left to reveal the red Unblock button.

4) Tap Unblock.

Did you succeed in blocking spam text message senders on your iPhone? Let us know via the comments. For more tutorials, visit our How To section.

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How to Download Your Instagram Photos and Videos

How to Download Your Instagram Photos and Videos

Instagram, the photo-sharing service, has become one of the most popular platforms for users sharing moments captured with friends, family, and others. In September, the service passed the 400 million user mark with over 80 million pictures shared daily. Last month, Instagram claimed that the numbers of monthly active Indian users had more than doubled over the past year.

But have you ever tried downloading a copy of the photos shared on Instagram? As you may have discovered, the social network only lets users post photos and videos – it doesn’t allow anyone (even you) to save or download the photos from within the app. This way the service tries to protect the rights of the Instagram users who share photos on the app. But there are few workarounds that can help users to save the photos they have uploaded to Instagram.

Via third-party apps on the phone
One of the most widely used third-party Android apps to download Instagram photos is InstaSave, which allows you to save Instagram photos to your device storage, so you can see the pictures anytime, anywhere. The InstaSave app can be downloaded via Google Play.

Note that this and the other apps and services mentioned in this article are third-party software not affiliated to Instagram. These apps use Instagram Oauth for login, which means that although your password remains secure, the entire feed is accessible to the apps. And it’s important to note that you can’t always be sure about the password security either – see instances of rogue apps later in the article. If you understand this, it’s safe to proceed with use of these services.

instasave_screenshots_ndtv.jpgTo save your Instagram pictures, download the InstaSave app on your Android device, and sign in with your Instagram credentials. Once signed-in, the InstaSave app will show the photo stream and will allow images to be selected for download. Users can then choose the photos to download and tap the save button, which appears below the photo with a download icon. On tapping the icon, users will be offered with the location where the photos will be saved on the mobile device. You can then find the photos using the Gallery app on your device. InstaSave also allows you to search for users and tags to find images to save.

Android users can also use other apps, such as Photo Saver For Instagram, for downloading Instagram photos. On the other hand, iOS users can download InstaGrab – a new way to view all your Instagram pics from the App Store, to download Instagram photos to the camera roll on the device. The iOS app functions similarly to the Android apps mentioned above.

While the apps mentioned above worked at the time of filing this report, it’s possible that Instagram policy changes may break them in the future. Instagram recently limited third-party apps after an app named InstaAgent was found to ‘harvest’ user names and passwords and send them to an unknown server. The app called “Who Viewed Your Profile – InstaAgent” was available for download via Google Play and App Store was able to send user credentials to a remote server in clear text.

instagram_generic_iphone_nexus_official.jpgDownload Instagram Photos on PC
Users can also download Instagram photos on their PCs to keep a copy of the shared photos on the desktop. Note that like the apps mentioned above, this is a third-party website, and not affiliated with Instagram. To download the photos from Instagram, users will need to go to the Instaport website on their browsers of the computer.

1) Log-in to Instagram using sign-in details.

2) On signing-in, users can either choose to download entire photos or just some of the select ones.

3) On selecting the photos to download, Instaport will ask for a location to keep the photos.

It’s worth noting that users will download the Instagram photos using the Instaport website in .zip files.

Save your own Instagram photos while posting
One of the easiest ways to keep a copy of your Instagram photos on your mobile is by opting to save both photos as well as videos on the device while posting available. The feature is available to all users in the app settings.

1) Go to your profile.

2) Tap on Options icon (Settings icon on iOS, hamburger menu on Android).

3) Slide the Save Original Photos setting to on.

instagram_setting_photo_backup_ndtv.jpgOnce Save Original Photos option is set to on, photos will automatically saved to your phone’s photo roll every time you post something on Instagram.

Note that people using Instagram on Android may see a delay in photos appearing in their phone’s Instagram photo album.

Did these steps help in downloading your videos and pictures from Instagram? Do you know any other apps or services to achieve the same? Let us know via the comments. For more tutorials, visit our How To section.

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How ABVP is bringing caste violence into universities by imposing its idea of the sacred on everyone

How ABVP is bringing caste violence into universities by imposing its idea of the sacred on everyone
Photo Credit: IANS
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The Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad has a long list of taboo subjects that it considers outside the purview of discussion and contestation. To engage with these subjects or ideas is to violate the ABVP’s idea of the sacred. What has precipitated the crisis in universities is that the Bharatiya Janata Party’s student wing also wants to impose its notion of the sacred on all students and teachers.

The tendency of one group to impose its idea of the sacred on others has its origins in the caste system, which, as we all know, is organised on the principle of purity and pollution. Any violation of the ABVP’s idea of the sacred now runs the risk of encountering violence, or invites punishment from the authorities, or both. This too is a feature of the caste system.

Taboo topics

The ABVP does not want students to discuss the hanging of Yakub Memon or Afzal Guru, or the inclusion of beef in the mess menu. It believes a seminar on human rights violations is akin to supporting Maoism, which is deemed anti-national. It opposes seminars on Hinduism unless these are unequivocally in its praise. The list is long and forever evolving.

Just how this form of imposition is linked to the caste system can be illustrated through an example. The higher your caste, the less polluting your occupation – but you would be defiled in case you were to shake hands with those whose very touch is polluting, or dine with him, or partake of beef, or remove the carcass of a dead animal.

You can choose to refrain from certain activities. That is your decision. You can, for instance, get another person to remove the carcass from your compound. You can, obviously, abstain from eating beef.

But you also have to depend on others to subscribe to caste rules for preserving your purity. What are you to do if the pariah insists on touching you? What if the outcaste draws water from the tap you too use, or demands to drink tea from the same tumbler as yours?

Either you will adjust to this reality or you will dissuade him from polluting you by striking the fear of retribution or punishment in him. This is often at the root of horrific caste violence in the country. Indeed, for caste rules to have salience, it is vital not only for you but also for others to adhere to them as well.

Caste ethos

It is this caste ethos, and arrogance, the ABVP brings to universities, more fiercely now because the BJP government rules at the Centre. Ideas designated as sacred can’t be violated and what the ABVP views as profane must be shunned. In case some choose not to, the ABVP would pressure the authorities to take punitive action against them. It is on the fear of punishment (or violence) that the caste system breeds

Discussions on ideas that the ABVP considers taboo cannot defile its members. Whom does it defile then? It is the Mother, the deity that is India, whom we must worship. Her spirit infuses all spaces, more so the campuses. Just as Dalits were (and are still) proscribed from entering temples, certain ideas have attributes that defile Mother India.

This was indeed the theme of the statement Union Minister Smriti Irani issued following the arrest of protesting students at Jawaharlal Nehru University. Ideas of purity and pollution and religiosity are fused in the politics of ABVP, as is true of the entire Sangh Parivar.

The ABVP’s list of taboo subjects can be arranged in a hierarchy. The most profane is the idea of self-determination. Try conducting a seminar on the issue on campus. It is bound to get disrupted by boys who will later be discovered to be belonging to the ABVP.

Ask for a just trial of terrorists – and every word spoken in favour of it will lead to the defilement of Mother India. Try to get Delhi University’s Law Faculty to organise a talk on the need to withdraw the Armed Forces Special Powers Act. It won’t, because that is a taboo subject, as is the issue of observing human rights in Chhattisgarh.

Proscribed from university campus are even those whom the AVBP considers Naxalite sympathisers. To check this hypothesis, Delhi University should invite writer Arundhati Roy to address the students. It was the reason the ABVP cited to deny journalist Siddharth Varadrajan from speaking at Allahabad University.

Historical personalities can be assigned to a higher or lower order of profanity depending on the location of a university. It is taboo to make a critical appraisal of Shivaji in Maharashtra or Rana Pratap in Rajasthan. It is taboo, as students of Hyderabad Central University have repeatedly discovered, to demand that the college serve them beef. Outside metros, you periodically hear of the ABVP demanding a dress code for girls.

Lost ironies

The ABVP’s obsession with its list of taboos creates hilarious situations at times. The ABVP vociferously protested against philosopher Ashok Vohra at Mohanlal Sukhadia University, Udaipur. The reason: he had addressed an audience of around 100 on The Religious Dialogue: The Need in the Contemporary Times. The ABVP claimed he had insulted Hinduism.

Vohra had done just the opposite – he had criticised western Indologists, such as Wendy Doniger. In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Vohra wrote,

“To evaluate theories supported by these scholars one has to use their vocabulary, their descriptions and their interpretations. I chose this because American writers speak very derogatorily of Hindu gods and goddesses… (But) if you want to rebut an argument, you must quote it.”

The poor philosopher, quite clearly, missed the point. They protested against him for much the same reason as the higher castes disallow the Dalit groom to mount the mare in a wedding procession. It may not violate the principle of purity, but it certainly conveys Dalits assertion. It is possible they could feel emboldened to infringe caste rules in the future, just as a few in Vohra’s audience could become intellectually curious about Doniger and learn to question the Hindu religious tradition.

In the ABVP’s imagination, Mother India is dressed in the fabric of nationalism and Hinduism. To question either is to defile her. It is of little significance to the ABVP that its activists don’t contest these two ideas. This is because it believes Mother India would be defiled anyway because of those who are willing to debate the taboo subjects.

The ABVP has now taken upon itself to teach them a lesson for their audacity, in much the way, the dominant castes punish the transgressor of caste codes in villages. This is why our universities are now in tumult.

Ajaz Ashraf is a journalist in Delhi. His novel, The Hour Before Dawn, has as its backdrop the demolition of the Babri Masjid. It is available in bookstores.

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How the New York Fashion Week came to be

How the New York Fashion Week came to be
Photo Credit: Timothy A. Clary/AFP
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New York Fashion Week kicked off this week. Celebrities, designers and bloggers (and the increasing number of “slashies” that embody all three) have descended on the Big Apple to drink champagne, admire eye-wateringly expensive clothing, and air kiss one another.

Kim Kardashian was set to make her first public post-baby appearance at husband Kanye West’s Yeezy fashion show. West was to debut his new album The Life of Pablo (formerly known as WAVES).

After a short hiatus from the event, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen’s cult brand, The Row, will make a hotly anticipated return to the American runway on February 15.

And you can bet that Anna Wintour will watch, sphinx-like behind her enormous Chanel glasses, as close friend Marc Jacobs brings the week to a triumphant close with his climactic show.

For a certain kind of person, New York Fashion week is a “must”. For those of a certain age, income and social status, the event is not just a fixture on the social calendar but a high point.

Even for those who aren’t in possession of that enviable trifecta (including me), the slavish devotion the event inspires is familiar through many fictionalised and semi-fictionalised explorations of New York City (think Sex in the City, Gossip Girl, Project Runway, and The Real Housewives of New York City).

But how did it all get started? Why did it begin? Was there even a New York Fashion Week before Anna Wintour?

Fashion Press Week

New York Fashion Week has not always been exalted or esteemed. The event is actually a relatively recent phenomenon: it can be traced back to 1943, when it began as Fashion Press Week. Up until that point, American women overwhelmingly purchased American-made copies of French designs, and thus the American fashion industry was overshadowed by its Parisian counterpart.

Eleanor Lambert, 1963.  Source: Council of Fashion Designers of America.
Eleanor Lambert, 1963. Source: Council of Fashion Designers of America.

During the Second World War, however, access to the Gallic centre was cut off by the German occupation. This presented the American fashion industry with a unique opportunity, and Eleanor Lambert, the canny director of the New York Dress Institute, took advantage of this by clustering the American fashion shows into a single “event” to promote home-grown design.

To be clear, these weren’t the first ever fashion shows. From the turn of the century, many individual fashion labels and stores hosted their own shows in department stores and hotels throughout Paris and New York in a bid to drum up business. But Fashion Press Week was the first coordinated fashion event to showcase numerous designers of the same nationality.

New York Press Week, 1943.
New York Press Week, 1943.

Even more importantly, the event also proved the effectiveness of this new approach. Although the initial response wasn’t encouraging – only 53 of the 150 journalists Lambert invited to the first Fashion Press Week attended – the impact of the event was strong and swift.

In its wake, the American press heaped praise upon local designers such as Claire McCardell, and New York Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia boasted that:

the only reason Paris set styles all these years was because buyers like to go there on holiday.

Paris, London and Florence

Unfortunately, LaGuardia’s smug sentiments were premature. Having watched New York’s Fashion Press Week from afar, other sartorial centres began to replicate the event.

The Coincidental Dandy. Source: Flickr, CC BY-NC
The Coincidental Dandy. Source: Flickr, CC BY-NC

In a bid to reclaim its former dominance, as soon as the war ended the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture organised the first seasonal showings of Parisian couture to the international press. Along with the emergence of Christian Dior and his sensational “New Look”, this bi-annual event – which commenced in 1945 – was pivotal in re-establishing the Gallic capital as the sartorial leader of the Western world.

In the immediate post-war period, showings in London also created ripples (although not the tidal waves that Paris did). In January 1942, the London couture industry established its own official organisation, The Incorporated Society of London Fashion Designers, which began to host fashion shows after the war.

Bettina Ballard attended these events in her role as fashion editor of American Vogue, and recalled in her memoir In My Fashion (1960) that:

the Incorporated Society of London Fashion Designers gave handsome and very social parties.

Unfortunately, at this stage the British weren’t so good at sealing the deal, and Ballard noted “the whole couture performance was carried on […] in a rather grand detached manner” as they “never pressed for publicity or even tried to make the buyers buy”.

From the early 1950s, this trio was joined by a fourth fashion market – Italy – which established the “Big Four” that fashionistas still follow today. Seeking to attract bountiful American money to an impoverished and deprived Italy, Giovanni Battista Giorginiorchestrated Italy’s first fashion shows with considerable aplomb.

The first, held in his sumptuous Florentine villa in February 1951, was not a success (180 pieces by numerous Italian designers were viewed by just eight American buyers and a lone fashion journalist – an even worse turnout than Lambert’s first endeavour in New York).

But its successor in July 1951 was a triumph, with 200 American buyers and journalists in attendance, and the event was thereafter established as essential for the fashion-minded.

By the early 1950s, the advent of these rival fashion shows had diluted the sartorial impact of New York’s pioneering event. The annual trips to Paris that LaGuardia had gloated were no longer necessary during the war were back with a vengeance by the late 1940s.

Even worse, they were now the gateway to yet more European options. As Bettina Ballard explained of her own annual migrations:

although Paris was the main objective of each trip, it was also the door to all Europe. I very soon found, along with the postwar travel-starved buyers and the fashion press, how pleasant it was to travel on an expense account with the legitimate excuse of looking over new fashion markets.

American Design for American Women

In the 1970s, the tide began to turn for American fashion. Critical in fostering a renewed respect for American design was the landmark fashion show held in 1973, the so-called Battle of Versailles. Ostensibly a fundraiser for the then-leaky French palace, the event – once again cooked up by the enterprising Eleanor Lambert – pitted five American designers (Oscar de la Renta, Stephen Burrows, Halston, Bill Blass and Anne Klein) against five French designers (Yves Saint Laurent, Pierre Cardin, Emanuel Ungaro, Christian Dior and Hubert de Givenchy).

Play

The Versailles ‘73 show went down in fashion history.

In front of a crowd full of celebrities, socialites and aristocrats, the Americans stole the show, proving that they could not only compete – but actually win – against their old French rival (and on French soil, to boot).

More broadly, the advent of second-wave feminism during the 1970s also repositioned American ready-to-wear as the ideal solution for the new “working woman”. This development boosted its popularity with both American women and the American press, and generated effusive praise of anything all-American.

A round-up of the New York collections in a 1976 issue of American Vogue, for example, now boasted:

American Fashion at the Top of Its Form: Racy, Freewheeling … Casual!

This newfound legitimacy was solidified when the more informal and improvised fashion shows of the postwar period became slick, professional events. The term “Fashion Week” actually wasn’t adopted until remarkably recently: the French Fashion Federation held the first “Paris Fashion Week” in 1973; the British Fashion Council organised its inaugural “London Fashion Week” in 1984; and the Council of Fashion Designers of America waited until the early 1990s to debut “New York Fashion Week.”

It also was during this period that the American shows – which had previously been scattered across town – were centralised in one location (first in “the tents” in Bryant Park, then in Lincoln Centre, and from 2015 shows have been split between the Skylights at Moynihan Station and Clarkson Square. Increasingly, the event is becoming decentralised again, with shows held at a variety of off-site venues throughout the city).

But although last to adopt the term “Fashion Week”, New York remains the first stop during fashion season (every February and September, back-to-back fashion shows are held sequentially in New York, London, Milan and Paris).

Yet New York’s leading role is fitting. Certainly, New York has become one of the great fashion centres of the modern world, a place where trends are forged and significant money is made. But New York is also where the concept of “Fashion Week” was first conceived and executed, a history neatly mirrored in its prestigious opening slot.

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