Tuesday, June 30, 2009

10 things about Technology every HR Manager should know

After spending a lot of time working on HR technology, I have collated some of the technology knowledge that every HR Manager should know.

1. The Era of Excel is over, its no more the most Powerful tool.

There was a time when Excel Geeks were highly in demand. Everybody will approach them for a solution. However, with the arrival of softwares like PeopleSoft, where HR can ask the software team to create personalized reports, Excel has been moved to the corner. With the amount of analysis and metrics that appear today, Excel is just insufficient. Added to it is the cost of acquiring MS Office. Open Office and Google Docs have appeared as the free alternatives to Excel. Sharing Excels sheets is fun with Google Docs. Though none of these serves as an alternate to customized HR software.

2. Locally developed softwares are out of fashion.

The technology is growing at such a pace that the small and one-room-run software vendors are unable to infuse the technology and dynamics that world of HR needs. Don't you remember the important updates that you required but your software vendor was unable to do. People are changing, become more tech savvy, blogs are swarming all over – so how can you expect your employees to appreciate your locally developed software. And then there is no need to worry, the latest SaaS technology offers high degree of customization to develop a system meeting your specific needs.

3. Web based Software is the new affordable tool

The huge success of, Salesforce, EmpXtrack, SuccessFactors, etc. is enough to prove that the era of web 2.0 has begun. Most of these, especially, EmpXtrack provides updates to the software at the fly, the price of these softwares is unmatched and no need to keep in-house support staff. So why would anybody keep the old, poorly interfaced software in HR. Would you?

4. Books are not the only resource of knowledge

The web 2.0 has changed the way the knowledge was store. Gone are the days when you need to read a complete book to know what you need. There are blogs (like this one), forums, communities where you can interact with people of similar interest and read their articles, opinions and blah blah. The ones that I frequent often are Cite HR, TooStep and Recruitment Blogs.

5. Email is not the only communication tool

The nightmare of writing e-mails and then waiting impatiently for the response is over, and off course of missing an important e-mail id in your list. Thanks to chat software, blogs, SaaS software, twitter, forums – you can send your message to your employees, juniors, seniors seamlessly. Web-based softwares provide employee portals for easy communication of information like News and Events to employees. Use these to make your life better.

6. Virtual Office is no more merely a 'Good Thought'

Its a reality! Employees can work equally well from home using virtual office softwares, where they can share their important files, documents, projects with your team. With the rising cost of travel, why to bother your employee to ask them to travel to office daily, when they can do the same from their home-office.

7. There are freelancers exchange forums to get the job done.

Sometimes your project managers needs an expert to do a urgent job, that is not part of their regular activity. What to do? No matter whatever you did in the past, there are sites that allow freelances and the HR managers to interact. HR managers/ project managers can post their jobs or choose a freelance of their choice to do the job. Like Elance.

8. Job sites are not the only place to find right talent.

There are social sites like Facebook, Linkedin, Ecademy, communities like Orkut, yahoo groups, and blogs etc. where people post their portfolios. Try using these, they are an alternate to the conventional job sites. They are almost free.

9. New Generation employees are very tech savvy – catch up with them

The latest generation of employees is very tech savvy. They play with gadgets, iPods, write blogs, create communities and interact in so many ways. HR needs to catch up with them, else they will find a place that suit their tastes. Given them web based softwares, blogs, and forums to be engaged – it will energize them to use their creativity for the organization.

10. Technology cannot do magic! It is not a replacement for man.

Technology can do wonders but only to the extent of helping people to do their tasks better. It cannot replace the intelligence that man carries with him. Even the best technology cannot replicate the convincing HR manager who can motivate an employee to give his best, understand complex Human problems and provide solutions, show empathy to employees.

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Monday, June 29, 2009

Custody Problem

A man and his wife were seeking a divorce at a local court. But the custody of their child posed a problem.

The man also wanted custody of his child. The judge asked for his side of the story too.

After a long moment of silence, the man rose from his chair and argued,˜Your Honor, when I put a dollar in a vending machine and a Pepsi comes out, does the Pepsi belong to me or to the machine?

Hai koi jawaab?

Funny Equations


An Idea + An Idiot = A Dot com.

One Chinese gymnast = India's Gold Medal tally since 1896

4 weeks in Switzerland + London + New Zealand + Canada = a 4 minute song in Hindi movie.

Ajay Devgan + cosmetic surgery + acting ability + personality + own production company = Kajol...

Rona dhona x Bewafai x Badle ki aag = Your mum's favorite serials.

Amitabh Bachchan + Jaya Bachchan - Talent = Abhishek Bachchan

One engagement + Two weddings + Three wedding songs + Four hundred Relatives + A house bigger than Buckingham Palace = One Sooraj Barjataya Film

Reading mails all the time + no replies = Silence of the Lamb!

Software Engineer, Qualified Employee + No Work = Forwards
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The kingdom of heaven

The kingdom of heaven is like a professor who went off on a long sabbatical. Before he left, he called together his graduate students and gave each of them projects to work on; to one he gave five projects, to another two, and to another one, each according to their ability.

The one who received five projects immediately went to work, designing experiments, building equipment, and analyzing data. She worked long and hard, and eventually she achieved good results on each project. Likewise, the one who received two projects immediately went to work, and eventually got results as well. But the student who received one project was easily discouraged, got distracted by her coursework, and eventually gave up.

After a very long time, the professor returned to settle accounts with his students. The first student said, "Professor, you gave me these projects to work on, and see, here are the results." And the professor answered, "Well done, good and faithful graduate student. You have been faithful over five projects. You shall be co-author on five publications and receive a Ph.D! (And you can expect a good letter of recommendation, too!)" Likewise the second student showed his results, and the professor said, "Well done, good and faithful student. You have been faithful over two projects. You will be co-author on two publications, and receive a Master's degree."

But the third student came and said, "Professor, I know that you are a harsh man, publishing where you did not labor, and claiming credit where you did not contribute, and I was afraid. So I kept the lab locked up and I didn't let anyone borrow any equipment. See, everything is just the way you left it." Then the professor answered, "You wicked and slothful graduate student! I will judge you by your own words. So, you knew that I was a harsh man, publishing where I did not labor, and claiming credit where I did not contribute; well then, you should have at least gotten a teaching fellowship so that I wouldn't have had to pay your salary out of my research grants! Now depart from me and from this institution ... out into the REAL world, and try to find a job. There you will have weeping and gnashing of teeth."

For to everyone who has, more will be given. But to him who has not, even what little he has will be taken away. (Matthew 25:14-30)

Source: Parables for Modern Academia

Copyright reserved by Deborah and Loren Haarsma.

May be freely distributed electronically in whole or in part, but please keep this notice attached and do not alter the text.

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Sunday, June 28, 2009

News: India Inc. taps Gay Market

There is some good news for the LGBT (Lesbian Gay Bi-sexual Transgenders) community in India. Signaling a major shift in its once unyielding stand, the government of India has for the first time indicated it's willingness to review the 150 year old law that makes homosexuality a criminal offense.

And corporate India is boldly tapping into the hitherto 'under the carpet' gay clientele. India's first LGBT Pride Store, fittingly called Azad Bazaar (, is set to launch online operations in a fortnight.

Two women entrepreneurs from Mumbai co-founded the store after encouraging response to exhibitions held at parties in Mumbai and Delhi.

The store's philosophy is to "create ways that members of the LGBT community and its supporters can make statements of freedom and pride while still having fun with naughty one-liners" explain the gutsy entrepreneurs.

50 per cent of their customers are straight and none of the products offend Indian sensibilities. The products range from slogan T shirts, mugs, key chains and earrings to butch biker wristbands, leather cushions and shot glasses.

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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Fashion Show

Once, when Mullah Nasruddin was visiting a Western town, he was invited to attend a fashion show. He went, and afterwards he was asked how he liked it.

"It's a complete swindle!" he exclaimed indignantly.

"Whatever do you mean?" he was asked.

"They show you the women - and then try to sell you the clothes!"

Friday, June 26, 2009

HTML5: The OS Killer?

By allowing the Web to become a universal operating system, and making mobile devices more powerful than low-end laptops, HTML5 (also sometimes referred to as Web Applications 1.0) is transforming IT more profoundly than any development since the advent of the Internet. As HTML 5 becomes the widely-adopted standard for authoring on the Web, it will radically transform the IT landscape.

The Web Applications 1.0 (WA1) specification updates HTML, but that’s not all it does. WA1 also defines several application programming interfaces (APIs) that have been de facto standards, and adds new ones. WA1 improves on the abilities to use the web as an application platform by adding things such as document state storage in the browser history, local data storage, offline browsing, drag and drop, copy and paste, undo and redo history, cross document messaging, and more.

Unlike XHTML2, which doesn’t have any support from browser vendors, HTML5 has support from all the major browser vendors except Microsoft.

HTML5 is almost the Holy Grail, offering the ability to run applications regardless of the underlying operating system. While the browser isn't more important than operating system today, Google this week firmly suggested it is only a matter of time.

At its developer conference, Google demonstrated HTML5 applications support inside future versions of its Chrome browser and the future Android 2.0 operating system. Mozilla executives also promised HTML5 support inside the forthcoming Firefox 3.5 browser.

Google demonstrated how HTML5 allows tighter integration of browsers and applications, such as its Google Web Elements. Developers will be able to add applications to web sites by adding only a few lines of HTML5 code, much as they already do with Google Web Elements.

The rate of browser innovation is accelerating, with new browser releases nearly every other month. The progress towards the level of UI functionality found in desktop apps through adoption of HTML 5 features in browsers has been quite rapid. It's also fascinating to see how mobile browsers are in the forefront of the innovation.

The technology is here even if the standards committees haven't caught up. Developers are taking notice of these new features, and aren't waiting for formal approval. That's as it should be. As workers on the web today, we reject: kings, presidents, and voting. We believe in: rough consensus and running code.

Support by four major browsers adds up to "rough consensus" in my book. We're seeing running code at Google I/O, and I'd imagine the 4000 developers in attendance will soon be producing a lot more.

Never underestimate the web. We believed that web apps would never rival desktop apps. What was once thought impossible is now commonplace.

Java was supposed to raise apps above the level of the operating system, offering cross-platform "write once, run everywhere" applications that would break the coupling between an application and a specific operating system. Proponents predicted Windows would become less important with the rise of Java apps.

While Java has accomplished a great deal, it's potential as an OS-killer has not been realized. HTML5 has a better shot.

What does this mean for users?

HTML5 is a standard that is still being developed and is likely to remain so for several years. Its focus on running applications within the browser is an important driver of interest in cloud computing, where applications live somewhere off on the Internet and are delivered by the browser.

The focus of future browsers will shift from "going places" to "doing things." This will be a boon to free operating systems, which will increasingly be able to hide themselves under the browser user interface. While Windows and Mac OSX won't go away overnight, the pressure on them will be to innovate beyond the browser, perhaps through a common set of extensions for HTML5 applications to use.

It is too early to start betting against desktop operating systems from the major vendors. However, it is clear their role and importance is likely to change--and probably diminish--as browsers become dominant in users' lives.

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The future of computing looks like Twitter

Marc Benioff, co-founder and chief executive of, said that the world of business software and infrastructure is starting to see the same craze for real-time results that’s taking over web search. And he extolled the virtues of the pioneer of the real-time web — microblogging service Twitter.

Customers of Salesforce’s sales and and customer service web applications, as well as its platform for business applications, expect everything to happen right away, Benioff said — if they update their data, they expect those changes to appear immediately, not an hour or two in the future.

The core insight behind the Service Cloud is the fact that customer service has become decentralized and spread throughout the web. If customers need answers, they’re no longer calling into the company for help. They may not even be logging into the company’s customer service website. Instead, they’re looking on Google, on their social networks, and on other websites. The Service Cloud allows companies to use their Salesforce customer relationship management (CRM) accounts to find customer service queries across the web, to track them, and to capture those questions and answers for use elsewhere.

The Service Cloud officially launched in January, and there are now 6,800 companies using Salesforce to provide customer service. But there’s been one overwhelming request since the launch: adding Twitter. That integration will be available soon.

Let’s say you’re a mobile phone manufacturer, for example. Within Salesforce, you’ll be able to search for any relevant “tweets” — for example, complaints about a broken phone — track any responses, and then use the company’s Twitter account to respond yourself. Of course, you can already do all of those things within Twitter, but this makes the process more convenient, and, more importantly, allows you to capture that information and respond, all within a single application, one that lets you perform similar tasks on Facebook and elsewhere.

Salesforce’s emphasis on managing a process that’s become scattered throughout the web is smart, and the Twitter integration (which will be added without extra charge to the Service Cloud package) is a necessary addition.

Many companies haven’t realized this is where things are headed, Benioff said recounted attending meetings with chief information officers who all refused to believe that Twitter represents anything significant; they don’t have accounts themselves because “it’s not their generation.” Benioff’s response? He types the name of their company into Twitter search and shows that they’re missing out on a huge part of the conversation. (Benioff isn’t an impartial observer here, since Salesforce’s Service Cloud product is all about connecting companies to their customers on services like Twitter.)

I think corporations have to step it up in terms of integrating with these real-time systems.

That’s the same lesson that Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has learned recently as Twitter is used to organize anti-government protesters.

Business Mashups LLC
partners with to build core business applications, like human resource management (HRM), supply chain management (SCM) and Customer relationship management (CRM).

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Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Manual: Book Review

A True Bad Boy Explains How Men Think, Date, and Mate--and What Women Can Do to Come Out on Top

Written by Steve Santagati

Do men notice your haircut? Your heels? Your witty sense of humor?

Let's face it: women want to look sexy sometimes. And whether you're into a vintage style, or the full-on va-va-voom, you do wonder, what do guys notice? If you ever wanted to know about men's preferences—like whether your Manolos even register on his Richter scale—here's your definitive guide. In this excerpt from The Manual, you'll find out for sure what men find sexy.

Attention to vanity will seem shallow at times, but in the game of love, it's very important. Most women I see are lazy in this department. And, not surprisingly, these are the same women who complain, saying things such as “Men are so superficial,” “I want him to love me for what's inside,” or “I hate the gym.” Well, no one is telling you that you can't dress as you choose. But when you put those constraints on yourself, you're limiting the number of men who will find you attractive. In the end, meeting the right person is a numbers game, and part of getting those numbers rolling is how you dress.


Lingerie can be inexpensive, but it can't be the kind that comes in a package of three (white, pink, and blue). Nor can it be the “granny” kind with a waist that reaches up to you rib cage and that hangs like a diaper. Lingerie is one garment that you should find as sexy as he does. And it benefits you, too. Women have told me that when they wear nice underwear, even though no one may see it, they will actually walk and talk differently, just knowing they have a little sexy secret. If lingerie can do that to a woman—and we already know how it affects men—then don't you think you should go out and get yourself some? You have tons of choices, and when it comes to lingerie, men like just about anything.


Again, men don't care. We know you like them. We don't understand why you like them. All we know is that many of you have closets full of them, and we've figured out that since you spend so much time and money on them, we can compliment them to flatter you. That's about it.

Most likely, if a guy tells you what nice shoes you have, he's either gay or “working on you.” My friend Mari recently told me that a guy came up to her in the airport and complimented her on new shoes. She's so sweet that she thought he meant it. I'm not saying that they're not nice shoes. But have you ever heard a man say, “Well, the thing that caught my eye was Shirley's shoes. I love those pumps, and when I saw them I knew she was the woman for me”? I don't know a single male who would say, “Dude, this chick had the hottest shoes on last night. Damn, I should've gotten her number.” It doesn't happen. Shoe flattery is for one purpose one: flattery.

Have I made my point?

There is one style of shoes that men notice, and that's high heels. But heels are more about what a girl looks like in them than about the shoes themselves. Heels make feet and legs look sexy. The classic example is a girl wearing high heels in a bikini. Cheesy, and not particularly functional in the sands of Miami and L.A., but men notice for sure.


Hair, on the other hand, is, sigh, one of the sexiest things about a woman. Hair grabs us and doesn't let us go. Think octopus tentacles. Your style, color and texture are no matter. Your hair only needs to have a clean, tousled, just-out-of-bed look. My opinion is that most women look sexier with longer hair than shorter. Men like long, sexy hair largely because we don't have it. Plus, very few women can get away with that short boyish look. Next time you're out in public, watch how men look at women with long hair versus short.

On a related note, hair salons suck. I can't believe what they've done to some of your mops. They're not just ruining your hair; they're wrecking your love life. With the Internet and a gazillion fashion magazines at your fingertips, you've got plenty of references. Please think sexy and spend the time and money to get the right do. When in doubt, turn to whichever celebrity women are getting the most attention for being sexy, and copy them. Messy sexy is what you should be after: think Sheryl Crow, Jessica Alba, Jane Seymour and Reese Witherspoon.

A few more tips: Don't color your hair based on the swatches you picked up at the paint store. Other styles to avoid include bad bangs, mullets and that “business in the front/party in the back” look. And stop cutting your hair short as you age—there's no need to.


Every woman wears a dress differently. The only hard-and-fast rule is to pick a dress that accentuates your best body parts. Whether you have a gorgeous back, incredible thighs, or lovely collarbones, stock up on designs that not only fit but also highlight those attributes.

Your shape and height determine much of what you'll look good in, but here are some general rules of thumb:

Shorter Girls

  • Wear heels. Heels create the illusion of longer legs. And as I've said, they're sexy!

  • Buy a dress that vaguely clings, while still allowing your bum to move freely. Check out the red carpet “best dressed” lists for examples.

  • Loose cotton dresses are best if you have some pounds to shed. They give us a hint of your bum and legs without a solid picture. We have vivid imaginations and we fantasize you better-looking, not worse. (We're on your side here. Just give us something to work with!)

Taller Girls

  • Stand up straight, shoulders back, chest high.

  • Wear longer dresses that hug your legs a bit. You want a fitted design.

  • Pick either heels of flats, depending on how tall you want to appear.

  • Make sure that at least 60 percent of your skin is covered by the dress. You have a lot of skin, and a little goes a long way.

  • As with shorter girls, loose-fitting, sheer cotton dresses that cling a little are great for those of you carrying a bit of extra weight.
Tops and Bottoms

This is fairly straightforward: You need to have tops and bottoms in your closet that you have no doubt are “man killers.” Call it your “good luck resisting me” section. This is the part of the closet that houses the cleavage cuts, the tighty tops, and the bootylicious jeans. Feel free to mix and match from the more “domestic” side of your closet, but never forget: it's a jungle out there, and sometimes it pays to get a little wild if you want to survive.


Glasses are hot! Hands down. Just make sure you pick a great style that flatters your face and keep the lenses free of eyelashes and finger prints. I love chicks in glasses.

A self-confessed serial dater and Bad Boy, Steve is telling all for the benefit of womankind. Every guy is at least part Bad Boy, and in The Manual, this prime specimen reveals what every woman needs to know to counter Bad Boy tactics, both amateur and professional. Steve is never condescending or callous, but honest, perceptive, and street-smart. His guidance is straightforward and his insights are dead-on, giving women tools they can immediately put to work.

Discover what you may not want to know but need to know about:

•The Heart of the Bad Boy (i.e., the nature of the beast)

•The Male Mind: how he sees you and how you can make this work to your advantage

•Guys on the Hunt: the male modus operandi, from the grocery store to Home Depot

•When Boy Meets Girl: how to handle dating, from flirting to “sext” messaging to learning his weaknesses

•Mating: so you’ve got him . . . should you keep him?

Why learn from a Bad Boy instead of, say, a psychologist? Because there’s no replacement for “in the field” experience. You’ll benefit from (and laugh at) stories of real things Steve has done in relationships with women as well as of women turning the tables on him when he least expected it. The book also includes a question-and-answer section, in which Steve explores some of the toughest dating issues. To understand Steve is to understand the Bad Boy, and that will take you a long way in understanding all men. Find out how much more fun dating can be when you get the upper hand on Bad Boys . . . for good.

Buy The Manual Now!

Total Ten: The Movie

It took Hollywood nearly five years to open its first feature film on the attacks of 9/11. Bollywood moves at a much faster pace: Its first film on last year's Mumbai attacks will be completed within nine months of the deadly events.

An Indian film company is to depict the execution of the alleged only surviving gunman from the Mumbai terror attacks, despite the fact that his trial is still ongoing.

The producers of Total Ten say their film will tell the true story of 21-year-old Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab, the Pakistani national who stands accused of 166 counts of murder and waging war against India. The title refers to the number of people in the terror squad said to be responsible for the three-day rampage of co-ordinated violence that, in addition to the deaths, left more than 300 injured in India's financial capital last November. The movie will also highlight the response of the Mumbai police.

"Top Ten's" producers say their film will not affect the outcome of the trial; they said they are only showing the inevitable. "The outcome of the trial is a known fact," producer Sugath Kumar said. "It's just that the government is going through the motions and making it look as just and transparent as possible. Kasab will be hanged. However long the law takes, we are just showing the eventuality. That's it."

Spoiler Alert: This film is expected to raise controversy because, at the end, Kasab is prosecuted and hanged. In real life, Kasab's trial is being conducted in Mumbai with only a judge and no jury because of security fears. Charges against him include "waging war" on India and, if convicted, he faces the death penalty.

The trial was delayed several times in the past few months after Kasab's court-appointed defense attorney was dismissed because of "professional misconduct." After another delay, a new attorney was appointed and the trial is expected to last at least four more months, meaning that the real outcome of the trial will be determined after "Top Ten's" expected run at the theaters.

Starcast: Rajan Varma, Mushtaq Khan, Aroon Bakshi, Shiva

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India’s wealth gap impedes growth

India needs to curb a concentration of wealth or risk becoming hostage to a corporate oligarchy that will depress its rapid economic growth.

A study funded by the Asian Development Bank found that, by early last year, India had 50 billionaires who together controlled wealth equivalent to 20 per cent of gross domestic product and, reportedly, 80 per cent of stock market capitalization.

The report warned that this concentration of wealth and influence could be a hidden time bomb under India’s social fabric.

India’s corporate sector is hailed as one of the most dynamic within emerging markets, with groups such as Reliance Industries leading the expansion of the country’s oil and gas sector and Tata Group acquiring overseas companies.

But critics say the greater prosperity from market-driven policies introduced since 1991 is also leading to glaring wealth disparities in India.

Per capita income is about $1,000 (€715, £625), but many in its population of 1.1bn scrape by on much less.

In Mumbai, where more than half of the population lives in slums, Mukesh Ambani, India’s richest man and chairman of Reliance, who is ranked seventh on the Forbes global rich list, is building a 27-floor family home at a reported cost of $1bn.

The report warned that the creation of oligarchies was a common trap in developing countries that often prevented them from realising their potential.

It said India needed to develop an effective competition commission and strengthen regulation to prevent crony capitalism as well as foster greater transparency in the allocation of land and infrastructure projects.

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Dell's new Z

This is the yet unannounced Dell Latitude Z Series laptop. Not much to say at the moment, aside from the obvious Adamo influence, but I did spot a biometric fingerprint scanner, and an oddly-placed ethernet port in the back. This is the first Dell that has me slobbering in a very long time.

It has a 24in screen, backlit keyboard, Core 2 Duo processor, webcam with facial recognition, and DisplayPort, remote erase,
FailSafe™ theft prevention etc.

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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Mobile Mashups: Breaking Out of the Pocket

What is a Mashup?

Mashup is a very general term for an application that incorporates realtime data and services (APIs) from 3rd party sources over the Internet. A Mashup is often very focused and task oriented.

Although the browser is the most accessible platform for developing and distributing a Mashup it is by no means the only platform, and arguably not always the most appropriate from an end-user perspective. mWorks, for example, provides a platform for creating mashups that run as an application on your mobile phone, Apple Widgets and Yahoo! Konfabulator both provide a platform for creating a mashups that run as Widgets on your desktop, and the list goes on. The important thing to remember about a Mashup is that it is an application that leverages realtime data and / or services accessed over the Internet. The delivery mechanism for the Mashup is completely independent. In fact, many mashups are available in mobile, widget, and browser versions.

The mobile browser is NOT the only platform “open” to the developer. You may be surprised to find out that you could create a mashup using SMS and Java in addition to the browser on a device.

Things are getting really interesting in the mobile development field.

Five years ago when you talked about application development you were most likely targeting web browsers, desktop computers, game platforms or very limited phone OS’s. On each of those platforms the vast majority of the input was via the user’s fingertips — text, buttons and joysticks.

Today’s devices obviously offer so much more. Touch, GPS, compasses, accelerometers, and proximity detection to name just a few previously unavailable input modes. This has made possible a raft of new types of applications.

The idea that the mobile phone should be a one-stop shop of digital services is universally shared in Asia. There's also a convergence of features among cell phones, personal digital assistants, cameras, MP3 players, and high-speed wireless networks that's turning mobile phones into all-purpose digital devices.

But the combination of disparate features into one device isn't just a top-down phenomenon pushed by carriers and manufacturers. Consumers often take the lead, playing with user-generated content in myriad ways. They can seamlessly "mash up" or combine, say, music or video from various sources and integrate applications from their personal computers and printers with their handsets.

The feature-power of mobile phones and the creative melding of content and software applications are bound to increase as 3G mobile handsets and ever-speedier wireless networks continue to be rolled out across the region.

Korean handset maker LG Electronics is also trying to export high-end multimedia mobile phones to the U.S., where the mashup fad is also entrenched, though more PC-based. LG's Fusic mobile phone delivers an array of services over Sprint's high-speed network. Subscribers can access Sprint TV and Sirius Satellite adio via the handset, buy songs, and copy tunes from one handset to another—or even transfer music collections to a car radio or personal computer.

Japan's mashup scene is more dominated by small Web 2.0 venture businesses than programming-savvy individuals. A company called DigitalStreet has come up with software filters that let mobile-phone users view Web pages that would normally only be accessible from a PC. In the past, businesses had to direct cell-phone users to special Web sites that were pared-down versions of the actual site, with few graphics, loads of text, and limited content.

The new programs aren't limited to Web browsers. For instance, a program called Fileseek lets you check out the latest YouTube videos from your cell phone. I see real potential as we move forward with the synergy and integration between mobile social media and enterprise applications. I am reminded how much Web 2.0 trends will drive mobile technology. When I originally started to design mMashups I had it in my mind to create a platform that would allow me to pull together interesting web services in a way that was intuitive and useful on any mobile device. Today, web services are now passé and terms like Ajax and Mashup are gaining in popularity; but this does not change the fundamental technology and concepts upon which mMashups was originally designed.

My research (with help from co-workers Viktor Stephen and Amit Kapur), has turned up an interesting list of services and sources of services. Amit pointed me to which has an impressive list of XML APIs for creating mashups. Technorati and Feedburner also have some interesting APIs for navigating and browsing blogs and feeds. Sites like Flickr and TextAmerica have some interesting API’s for accessing a wealth of image content, and Google and Yahoo both have API’s for a variety of things. In addition there are some UDDI registries for for premium Web Services such as StrikeIron and XMethods.

Mobile Mashups
sounds like a really interesting niche to me.

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Somethings you cant explain...

A farmer is sitting in the neighborhood bar getting soused. A man comes in and asks him, ‘Hey, why are you sitting here on this beautiful day getting drunk?”

Farmer: Some things you just can't explain.
Man: So what happened that's so horrible?

Farmer: Well, today I was sitting by my cow milking her. Just as I got the bucket about full, she took her left leg and kicked over the bucket. Some things you just can't explain.

Man: Ok, but that's not so bad.

Man: So what happened then?
Farmer: I took her left leg and tied it to the post on the left.

Man: and then?
Farmer: Well, I sat back down and continued to milk her. Just as I got the bucket about full, she took her right leg and kicked over the bucket. Some things you just can't explain.

Man: So, what did you do then?
Farmer: I took her right leg this time and tied it to the post on the right. I sat back down and began milking her again. Just as I got the bucket about full, the stupid cow knocked over the bucket with her tail. Some things you just can't explain.

Man: So, what did you do?
Farmer: Well, I didn't have any more rope, so I took off my belt and tied her tail to the rafter. In that moment, my pants fell down and my wife walked in. Some things you just can't explain.

The PHP Anthology: 101 Essential Tips, Tricks & Hacks, 2nd Edition - Free 207 Page Preview!

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Download sample chapters here.

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Reinventing the Enterprise Desktop

The Windows-based desktop and notebook computers that your employees use haven’t changed much in a decade. Sure, they’re faster, have a lot more memory and have bigger hard disks. Of course, they mainly have sleek LCD panel displays instead of clunky CRTs. However, those Windows XP and Windows Vista boxes are still 32-bit machines running the same sort of applications they ran under Windows 98. Beyond Wi-Fi and faster Ethernet, their support issues are largely the same, too.

That’s going to change soon, driven by two factors: 64-bit Windows and new initiatives that will drive multithreaded software.

While Microsoft has offered 64-bit versions of Windows for several years, most consumers and enterprise users continue to run the 32-bit versions of Windows XP and Windows Vista. The 64-bit capabilities in modern Intel and AMD processors have sat dormant.

That’s changing. According to Microsoft, consumer pre-installs of 64-bit Windows Vista are exploding. The enterprise desktop may be on a similar track.

Next stop will be new multithreaded applications, both those being built in-house and upgraded versions of commercial software. Thanks to new tools from Intel and Microsoft, as well as new generations of multicore processors, developers will find it both easier and more compelling to write multithreaded code. That will push demand for end-user machines with two- or four-core processors. While that shouldn’t affect support too much, there is bound to be some impact.

After 10 years (or more) of static 32-bit desktops and notebooks, this is a welcome change.

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The Google Analytics API and PHP

The Google Analytics API allows developers to extend Google Analytics in new and creative ways that benefit developers, organizations and end users. Large organizations and agencies now have a standardized platform for integrating Analytics data with their own business data. Developers can integrate Google Analytics into their existing products and create standalone applications that they sell. Users could see snapshots of their Analytics data in developer created dashboards and gadgets. Individuals and business owners will have opportunities to access their Google Analytics information in a variety of new ways.

Google Analytics API PHP Class

Cris Hope has created a PHP class for accessing the Google Analytics API with CURL and using DOMDocument to parse the XML. The resulting class and example script can be downloaded here and there are a number of posts on this website showing how to use it.

Code Reuse

Feel free to use the class as you wish but if re-posting it on other websites or using it in your own projects or for your customers, please retain the notice in the analytics class file attributing the original work to Cris.

GA API Introductory Posts

The following posts cover a couple of things about the Google Analytics API:

Code examples

The following code examples have been posted for using the Analytics class:

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BI and its Its Impact on Organizational Decision-Making

Business intelligence (BI) is an important aspect of an organization’s strategic framework. But what is beyond BI? Some indicators point to business analytics, a progression from BI, as the next step. Business analytics is predictive as well as historical, which requires a cultural shift to the acceptance of a proactive, fact-based decision-making environment, providing organizations with new insights and better answers faster.

Many IT and business professionals still continue to define business analytics in broad generalizations. According to the IDC Market Analysis Report, Worldwide Business Analytics Software 2001-2011: “The business analytics software market comprises performance management (PM) tools and applications and data warehouse (DW) platform software. This software is used to access, transform, store, analyze, model, deliver and track information to enable fact-based decision-making and extend accountability by providing all decision-makers with the right information, at the right time, using the right technology.” Additionally, business analytics is a framework that extends beyond software and systems to include culture, process and performance strategies as well.

IT and business professionals mainly align business analytics with BI products. In fact, more than half of respondents (54%) cited BI as the category of products that first comes to mind when they think of the term “business analytics.” Business analytics may be the next logical step in the evolution of BI. Additionally, 18% of respondents think of PM products, 11% think of the general category of analytics and 13% reported that they do not use the term “business analytics” at their organization.

The top software tools that respondents consider part of business analytics spanned across various areas, including analytics, data integration, query/reporting and performance management. More specifically, seven out of 10 respondents (70%) consider advanced analytics tools, such as data mining or statistical software to be part of business analytics, followed by query/reporting/analysis tools (66%) and dashboards (60%).

Business analytics is broad enough to include capabilities and solutions that benefit a variety of disciplines. Since business analytics is designed to be used by all decision-makers, it is not surprising that almost three-quarters of respondents surveyed (73%) view business analytics as a function of both IT and business. While 21% consider it primarily a business function, 6% consider it primarily an IT function. With business analytics being a function of both IT and business, there is an increased need for collaboration across organizations, as well as the need for supervision by cross-departmental management teams.

Less than one-third of respondents (32%) rated themselves as extremely or very familiar with the product category, and only 10% rating themselves extremely familiar. While more than four out of 10 respondents (44%) are somewhat familiar with the business analytics software product category, 24% rated themselves as not very or not at all familiar. However, respondents cited a number of key benefits their organization derived or expects to derive from using business analytics software, which encompassed various areas of business analytics.

Top benefits included improving the
decision-making process (75%), speeding up the decision-making process (60%), better alignment of resources with strategies (56%), realizing cost efficiencies (55%) and responding to user needs for availability of data on a timely basis (54%).

Conversely, there were also a number of challenges noted when implementing business analytics software. Respondents have encountered or expect to encounter problems with data integration with multiple source systems (59%), challenges with regards to data quality (56%) and issues when attempting to integrate with enterprise applications (44%).

The implementation of a flexible and straightforward business analytics framework would alleviate these challenges and provide organizations with the right information at the right time to enable fact-based decisions at every level of the enterprise.

Function of business analytics

Almost three-quarters of respondents (73%) view business analytics as both a function of IT and business. While 21% of respondents view business analytics as primarily a business function, only 6% view business analytics as primarily an IT function.

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Monday, June 22, 2009

Indian retail needs more liberalization

Among the 30 emerging markets, India has become the number one hotspot for global retailers for the fourth time in five years. Global consulting firm A T Kearney's eighth Annual Global Retail Development index has ranked India first in terms of attractiveness as a retail destination followed by Russia and China. India wrested back the top honors from Vietnam, thanks to factors like low inflation and a fall in rents especially in 2 and 3 tier cities. Since GDRI is geared to helping retailers take investment decisions on the basis of criteria like economic and political risks, the report also suggests a broder interest in the Indian economy.

In a recession-hit world, Asian giants like India are being viewed as key to a global recovery. India continues to notch impressive quarterly growth rates. Its domestic demand driven economy has a competitive edge over export led economies. It has a growing and brand conscious middle class, along with an expanding luxury goods clientele. All this has been water off the back of a parliamentary standing committee that's asked for a ban on retail FDI. The committee also objects to large domestic corporates doing business related to grocery, fruits and vegetables. Foreign-Indian partnerships, seen as allowing 'outsiders' backdoor entry , are opposed. The old bogeys are raised: the supposed death of mandis and corner shops as well as job loss.

The fact is that Indian firms not only survived the challenge of foreign specialty in retail, they became more competitive. Nor did the shops around the corner of unorganized retail die out. Big retailers, foreign or domestic, are wrongly projected as bad for farmers and consumers. Supermarket chains can augment farmer's earnings many times over through direct purchase of their produce. Today, it is middle men who gain at the cost of farmers and consumers. Moreover, post-harvest infrastructure in India related to warehousing and processing operations needs improvement. Thanks to poor cold chain management and distribution networks, an estimated 40 per cent of the country's fruit and vegetables are annually wasted. So, in both farm and rural non-farm sectors, the need to increase investment can hardly be overstated.

Go native arguments make little sense in the face of global interest in setting up shop in India. If anything, India's $400 billion retail industry is underdeveloped, with organized retail comprising only 5 per cent of the market. Given that the Manmohan Singh led government seems to recognize the need for big-ticket private investment, the retail roadmap should include further liberalization in single brand retail as well as opening up the foreign multi-brand retail. Mom 'n' pop stores coexist with malls and supermarkets the world over. Why should it be any different for India?

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Emerging Trends in HR: RPO

A new addition in the series of BPO, KPO, and LPO is RPO i.e. Recruitment Process Outsourcing. In coming years India is going to face a talent crunch of half a million people. That increases the demand of RPOs.

What is an RPO?

RPO stands for Recruitment Process Outsourcing. It also stands for Research Process Outsourcing but here we are dealing with the former.

If there is one problem that is seen as the biggest hurdle to the growth of organisations across the world and across sectors, it is talent scarcity. As part of the HR function, recruiting is the most crucial and time consuming function of any HR department. This leads to a complete transformation in the way the recruitment function is perceived by organisations around the globe. This emanates from the simple logic that when companies across worldwide are trying to focus on their core functions and outsource all non-core functions, why shouldn’t recruitment be outsourced to the experts too? Having said that, it isn’t difficult to understand why Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) as a concept has gained such popularity in a span of a few years. Initially companies expressed reservations, since recruiting the right individual is so crucial to an organisation’s success. Companies soon realised that with talent crunch becoming a perennial problem, its time to bring in the experts. The RPO segment is today the fastest growing global segment for HRO firms. IT companies are among the early adopters of this trend. In fact, the high level of activity seen in this space leads several analysts to believe that the time for multi-million dollar deals in the global RPO space has come.

Around 70% of the main HR activities (Training, staffing needs, ensuring performance) suffer due to the constantly increasing pressure on the HR department to fill in the vacancies. Majority of organizations spend a lot of time (around 60%) in sorting resumes and finding candidates from job portals and other sources. This is where RPOs come into play. Recruitments are outsourced these days so that the organization can concentrate on its core competency areas to save time and increase productivity level. RPOs bridge gaps between demand and supply of talented people. The RPO services include searching candidates from internal database and job portals, resume screening, response handling, corporate intelligence research, database maintenance, skills testing, and analyze market trends and recruiting market, etc.

While RPO is new to India, it is already a big industry globally and some estimates suggest it is worth $30 billion. The RPO wave is catching up fast in India. As the Indian labor markets become more and more competitive, RPO is fast becoming more of a common solution. It is claimed that a greater impetus for RPO is provided by the shortage of skilled labor. Although there is abundant pool of labor (3 million/year) in India, only 10% immediately hirable - lack of language skills, lack of practical experience, lack of cultural/interpersonal fit, mobility are some of the factors because of which shortage of skilled labor is faced by organizations and RPO is utilized by some to fill this gap. The Indian labor market too has become increasingly dynamic: workers today change employers more often than in previous generations. De-regulated labor markets have also created a shift towards contract and part-time labor and shorter work tenures. These trends increase recruitment activity and encourage the use of RPO model.

RPO Models:

1. Pure sourcing: It includes providing support services to on-shore based recruiters.

2. Full cycle recruiting: It includes all the activities that come under Recruitment Process like sourcing, screening, etc for both temporary contract as well as permanent positions.

  • Reduces process variations

  • Increases sourcing timeliness and expertise

  • Improves quality of resumes

  • Decreases time to fill

  • Gives better leverage of technology

  • Improves candidate nurturance

  • Improves applicant tracking

  • Enables meaningful reports


For any managed services model to work there are some critical requirements or must haves like :
  1. Executive sponsorship of the project. Any business model innovation requires the executive to champion internal resistance into acceptance.

  2. Clear Partnership Definition - A detailed and clear scope of work to be defined before agreeing on to the terms. The managed services agreement will have the scope of work documented & agreed upon.

  3. Clarity on the role & the deliverables from the onsite resource & the same to be documented & mutually agreed upon.

  4. Mutually agreed expectations to be jotted in the agreement. Prepare a project plan with defined recruitment process & get a consensus on the same.

  5. Historical data to be made available so as to help prepare a project plan blocking all possible loop holes and deciding on the key deliverables.

  6. Its imperative for the success of this arrangement that we have a buy in from each person involved in the project from Clients side and everyone understand that the intention is to meet the numbers and nothing else.

One of the major tenets behind RPO is that there should be the ability to create a significant candidate pool to draw on for their clients. By doing so, the RPO vendor is able to turn around job requisitions more quickly and efficiently than a single employer. At the same time true RPO players need to invest time in follow-up surveys, compiling benchmark data, gauging hiring manager and employee satisfaction post hire and determination of quality of hires. By examining data relating to employee satisfaction, retention rates, and others, RPO providers can improve the recruitment process.

Over the past few years, RPO services have been chiefly employed by IT, retail, finance and insurance and engineering sectors. The trend seems to be gaining ground not only among big organisations but also the small to mid-sized companies. Since RPO affects an organisation’s business growth and success, the organisation should have a detailed understanding of the concept and also of the expenditure for the recruitment process. This helps to identify the processes that should be outsourced, and which RPO is best suited to the unique requirement of the company. Industry studies in the USA show that within two years, 58 percent of the Fortune 2000 companies will rely on this model. This further strengthens the point that RPO is indeed the answer to the recruitment woes of organisations globally.

Advantage India

Research firm IDC forecasts staffing and recruitment spending to reach $92 billion globally by 2009 (Source: ERE media study) and RPO services stand a good chance of garnering a large portion of this spending. India, with its huge talent pool and its rich experience in the outsourcing industry, can indeed ride this wave of recruitment process outsourcing. Although the Indian domestic RPO market is still in its nascent stage, global RPO providers are seriously evaluating the option of offshoring their RPO needs to destinations such as India. RPO providers which were early-adopters of an India-based model are now reaping the rewards.

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Why India is transforming Bharat

I read an article in a newspaper that put the question - who says India is no more a golden bird? It further points thatIt is clearly evident that India has become the golden bird again. The sensex is going higher and higher and is about to touch the 15,000 point mark, GDP is growing at a rate of 7.5% against the estimate of 6.9%.

Another article says that there are 260 million Indians(193 million in rural areas and 67 million in urban areas) who are still living below the poverty line, according to India's first Social Development Report.

I am in a dilemma after reading these two articles. I do not whether I should rejoice for the development of my country or I should feel sad for the pathetic condition of my countrymen.

The great divide Between India and Bharat across four key sectors

Rural teledensity is just 1.67% as compared to 25.90% in urban India

Punjab shines with 99.87% of its rural homes wired but it is just 17.82% for Orissa

Out of 638,596 villages, 217,000 do not have access to safe drinking water

Only 55% of villages are connected by road
It's not an easy divide to bridge. The gap between the towering sky-rises of affluent India and the unglamorous one that goes to bed hungry can't be measured in mere kilometres. Much of the new India regards the other with less sympathy, more scorn, a burden on the country's glittering future. The India that has caught the world's imagination is the one that boasted the world's fastest growing population of dollar millionaires in 2008; the one that has supplied Silicon Valley with some of its brightest minds; the India that notched up an astounding growth rate.

But a new breed of do-gooder is set on blurring the boundaries between the two worlds. Senthil Gopalan, a 36-year-old mechanical engineer, has earned himself the epithet 'Enga Ooru Shivaji' (Shivaji of the village) after superstar Rajinikanth. The actor returned from the US to play reformer in the Kollywood blockbuster 'Sivaji The Boss'. Senthil, likewise, chucked a well-paid job in Detroit, and returned to a new career in Tamil Nadu - social work. Using all his savings - Rs 30 lakh - he set up Payir, a non-profit trust in Thennur near Trichy. Payir has already built a hospital in the village, which is in one of the state's most backward districts. Now, it will focus on education and employment "if we still have the money to keep going," says Senthil. Last month, his blog nearly carried an obit for Payir but "a friend pitched in with Rs 1 lakh and the work went on". In yet another part of Tamil Nadu, there is Rangaswamy Elango. He studied at IIT Chennai and gave up a promising career at the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research to do voluntary work in the village where he grew up.

Today, Koothambakkam, near Chennai, owes much of its transformation to its Dalit sarpanch. Roads, drains, toilets and 100% enrollment till Class IX - it's a model village. "I saw inequalities and injustices while growing up and I knew I wanted to do something about it," says Elango. His work has inspired 13 other MCAs and M.Techs to quit India for Bharat. "They are using my village as a laboratory so that they can take this experiment with development to other parts of the country."

So is corporate India serious about the business of doing good? The Azim Premji Foundation, funded by the head of Wipro and the Akshara Foundation and Arghyam Trust established by Rohini Nilekani, wife of Infosys co-founder Nandan Nilekani, are proof that Indian tycoons are increasingly ready to invest in Bharat.

To some extent, Indian business isn't just about making money any more but also about being sharp enough to achieve social goals. But what of the fat pay cheque? "It's not so difficult to live without money," says Senthil who traded his flat and Volvo for a hut without electricity.

Many share his drive and dynamism, in what Ranjana Kumari of the Centre for Social Research a calls a "promising sign". She says, "India and Bharat are two different habitats living in contradiction. There is an urgent need to end disparities and bring them closer."

The kings of yore used to mingle with commoners incognito. Legend has it that Rana Pratap shared coarse millet-bread made by a Bhil woman while wandering Mewar. Akbar often went around his kingdom in disguise to find out the real state of his subjects. The difference today is that when modern India's political and corporate princelings visit Bharat, everybody knows. A sign of the times?

Adapted from Why India is meeting Bharat by
Neelam Raaj, TNN

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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Five rules for posting your resume online

Sometimes when you apply for a job online you can feel like you're sending your resume into a black hole. Here are some tips for finding the right sites and getting results.

A few years ago I would not have hesitated to tell you to put a lot of time into visiting sites and posting your resume. After all, what did you have to lose? I’ve changed my mind. You can waste a lot of time, and even money, if you visit a lot of sites.

Today, there are literally hundreds of sites, and some are not even based in this country. With the advent of online payment services and inexpensive Web site hosting, anyone can put one of these sites together, and entice you to give them some money to post your resume. Who knows if companies even know they exist or care to search their databases?

Call me cautious at this point, because I haven’t given up on the Internet as a career resource. To keep people from sinking too much time and effort into online job searching, I have developed a few simple rules for when and where to post your resume and hunt for jobs:

Rule #1: Never pay a big fee for posting your resume on a site or for using resources on a site. The site may look great, but you don’t know what they are doing with your resume. They could also be making up job postings. Reputable sites should be getting fees from the companies that search the cache of resumes, not from you.

Rule #2: Don’t bother posting to a site that is national or international in scope if you are not willing to relocate. If you don’t want to move, then spend your time researching companies in your area and sending them resumes. Check the local papers for jobs, and make sure to check the job postings on the papers’ Web sites.

Rule #3: If the IT job postings on the site require so many diverse skills or an arcane mix of skills, then don’t bother applying for those jobs. Skip job postings that require you to give your salary requirements or current salary. It's hard to believe, but companies use the online sites to test salary ranges and job descriptions. They have no intention of hiring, but they’re trying to do some research on the cheap.

Rule #4: Post on a broad-spectrum job site only if you can quickly find at least five recent job openings that interest you. Fewer than five means the companies that need your services don’t use this particular site as a regular resource. (This rule doesn’t apply for specialized IT job sites.) Also, if you can’t read the job postings before you post your resume, then the site is of no use to you and you should skip it.

Rule #5: Look for sites that are specifically geared for what you do or want to do, such as trade associations and peer organizations. They often have job and resume posting sections. Savvy companies know to go there, rather than the general job sites, when looking for that one special person with the IT skills they need.

Let me give you an example of how to hunt jobs on the Web while keeping these rules in mind. Say you are a manager who manages teams of programmers, software testers, and so forth. Write down your top five skills and three most important perks for a new job. Write down your title, plus three or four other titles that you think someone who does what you do might have.

Since you work with software, begin your search by visiting a software trade association Web site -- such as NASSCOM ( You check out the postings in the JobsNetwork section of the site. It’s easy to find the kinds of jobs you’re interested in because the section is set up for IT people who work with software. You post your resume here. You visit a couple of other trade association sites, and decide to post your resume at one or two because they have interesting job postings and more than a few are management level.

You then check out the job postings at the corporate sites of several companies in the area that you know do software development. Even if you don’t see a job posted that fits you, look for the e-mail address of the HR department and send a brief synopsis of your resume highlights in the body of the e-mail. (Don’t send an attachment because many corporate e-mail servers now discard mail with attachments because they are trying to ward off viruses.)

Finally, you browse through the online job postings at the major daily newspaper sites for your area and any area you might consider moving to, just in case you might find something. When you find something, you respond to the ad as directed. If a company name is listed in the ad, visit the company’s Web site and find the HR contact. Send a brief e-mail saying you’re interested in a job you read about in the paper and include your resume synopsis in the body of the e-mail.

Then, you pat yourself on the back because you’re using your time wisely, and you’re on you way to a new job.

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