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Friday, July 31, 2009

Wife Wanted

Found in the humour page of a newspaper with following matrimonials published in it:

BANKER: Wanted wife who takes interest in me and credits me with her service.

CAR MECHANIC: Wanted a sturdy wife. Should be in working condition. Should be above average and must run the household at a good average.

DOCTOR: Recently a love-bug injected in me a strange bacteria, making me desirous of marriage. I'm looking for a girl who is patient and has knowledge of all ills and pills, is religious minded and keeps away from all sins be it anasin, metasin or crosin. I promise to be a good doctor with no side effects. Apply or reply.

DRUNKER: Wanted a girl. Girl's father should preferably have a soda factory. I am an occasional alcoholic who drinks only when friends come home. Friends come home only seven times a week. Girl preferred will carry me from bar to ghar-bar. Meet personally or send soda for trial. Sample should be ample.

LAWYER: I hereby beg to solicit myself as an eligible candidate for the post of husband after marriage. The person whom I'm looking for should be strictly a girl. The girl should be strictly a girl. The girl should be willing to surrender to the service and jurisdiction of My Lord i.e. Myself. Any objection would be overruled and will not be sustained. Apply in confidence and if you have the confidence.

SOFTWARE ENGINEER: Wanted a Girl with a Lovely Look & Feel, Good GUI with Security features (privileges only for the Specific User especially critical Functionalities) .
There must not be any Critical or Medium Bug in her.
LowBugs can be deferred But needs to B fixed by the Next Build. She Must not be PLATFORM INDEPENDENT, USER FRIENDLY. We are ready to Test the Application & CERTIFY the product but we will assure it will never be released to ANY OTHER Customer.

Contributed by: Devi

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Avoid a Common Interview Pitfall

By Jessica Stillman

Even if you’ve perfected your pitch and learned to summarize your accomplishments in a compelling and concrete way, interviews are not safe ground, especially for those who are relatively new to them. Interviewers have plenty of tricks up their sleeves, not least of which is questions seemingly designed expressly to trip you up. Putting aside the loathed “what are your weakness?” question, blog Cube Rules describes another type of interview question that seems to have no correct answer, calling these “forced choice questions” and giving examples:
  • “What is more important to you, the money or the job?” Great, if I say “the money,” the hiring manager doesn’t think I’m motivated to do the work. If I answer with “the job,” the manager doesn’t think I’ll be upset with a smaller salary offer.
  • “Do you prefer to work alone or with others?” Swell, I can like to work by myself and be thought of as a poor team player with no collaborative abilities, or else I work so well with others I can’t get anything done by myself.

Helpfully, Cube Rules also throws the floundering interviewee a life buoy, suggesting ways out of the bind. Perhaps the simplest solution is to says yes to both answers. For example, in response to the second question above, CR suggests a possible reply: “I like working alone when I need focus and productivity to complete my work. But I like working with people to brainstorm ideas, help get better solutions to problems and help others for what they need.” And if saying yes to all options doesn’t work? Then there is an alternative:

A second way to answer the forced choice is to pick a third option that isn’t presented by the interview question. “Do you work better with a manager that gives you free reign to complete your work the way you want or do you like being micromanaged to get your work done?”

For that type of question, you ignore both options presented and offer up a third alternative to answer this question. “I like a manager that provides clear direction, is open to seeing early versions of the work so we can make sure I’m on track, and to help clear obstacles that might prevent me from getting done.”

Thanks, Cube Rules, that’s one problem sorted out. Of course interviews still have plenty of other dangers. What’s the most impossible-to-answer interview question you’ve ever been asked?

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Is your CV blunder free?

Recession is in, jobs are a rarity, but applicants are plenty. In such a cut throat race the need to have an error free CV (Curriculum Vitae) is very important. Candidates today are trying to make their resumes different and impressive, so that they stand out. In the process, they end up making major blunders. A badly written resume ends up in the dustbin, completely knocking out the candidate's chance of getting a job.

A recent research done by TeamLease Services, a staffing company found that 90 percent of the randomly selected 500 CVs had 'some or the other form of error.' With piles of job applications available to HR managers, it is doubtful if erroneous CVs would be entertained.

Here are few of the top blunders made in a resume:

  1. Biography: Marital Status - Yes

  2. I laugh easily, but do not suffer fools gladly. I expect the same effort as others as I give myself.

  3. Weakness: Fresher

  4. Interests: Open to learn, make others laugh and feel happy, enjoys the nature.

  5. Family details: Father - Death

  6. Objective: To always spread positively within the branch and reduce the grape vine.

  7. Notice Period: Minimum two (1) month.

  8. Career Objective: To consistently develop by learning and sharing skills with a focus on the ultimate objective in order to achieve higher goals in conjunction with the growth of the organization and to set a name and be recognized in the industry.

  9. Marital Status: Marriage

  10. Profile: To prepare the whole film production plane and financing plane.

  11. Contact Email: www.aradhana@rediffmail.com

  12. Areas of strength: My background to date has been centered on grooming myself as a well-rounded person.

  13. I am quietly forceful, original and sensitive.

  14. Languages known: English (Good), Malayalam (Native), Hindi and Tamil.

  15. Career Objective: Seeking a final placement in any organization to untilize the plethora of skills I have developed during my whole career.

The study revealed that many resumes are written in great haste and no attention is paid to detail. Candidates in an attempt to impress go overboard and consequently make a mockery of their bio-data. "The situation worsens when candidates make silly mistakes due to sheer oversight and sometimes overconfidence. A CV is the first piece of information about a candidate that reaches the potential recruiter. It is always advisable to have one's bio-data proof read and checked by professionals, or someone proficient in English.

So, is your CV blunder free?

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Effective Resumes That Can Get You An Interview Call - By The Immigrant Coach. A Package Comprising Of A Video And Articles That Clarify Issues Related To Format, Content And Pages Required To Grab The Attention Of The Recruiter And Evoke A Response. Click Here!

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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Fake It at Your Own Risk

Let's say you visit a site like Yelp.com and discover scathingly negative reviews of your product or service. Making matters worse, only a few of your happy customers have balanced the harsh criticism with their praise.

In such a scenario, you might be tempted to pose as a customer and leave some positive words about your company. "The temptation to post fake reviews is so strong because in a recent Nielsen report, over 70% of web users trust online reviews," says Bryan Stapp at Loud Amplifier Marketing. "So why not try to scam the system?"

Fake User Reviews are a dumb idea

The thing I like best about user generated content and user reviews is that its really easy to spot the fakes.

The company behind Lifestyle Lift—a surgical mini-facelift—found out the hard way when New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo questioned positive reviews posted to sites like InfomercialScams.com and RealSelf.com. After Cuomo alleged they were written by employees, not customers, the company paid a $300,000 settlement and promised to discontinue the practice of writing its own reviews.

Instead of attempting to counteract negative feedback in this manner, argues Stapp, companies should use the criticism to improve a product or service. The natural outcome will be positive reviews from actual customers.


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Gettin Things Done | The workflow Map

The GTD Methodology systematically keeps you in control, relaxed and inspired. This flowchart can be applicable in any facets in management field. Here's how it works:


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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Cloud security depends on the human element

In a recent survey on cloud computing of 300 corporations worldwide by Information Technology Intelligence Corporation, 38 percent of respondents said that they are unsure about adopting cloud services, and another 47 percent said they are not considering the cloud over the next 12 months. The main reason cited for not using cloud services was security.

Though I am not sure that the numbers are indicative of the entire IT industry, I do agree that security is a concern. And of course, there are a few options that can reduce the security risk, including, in some combination, encryption, VPN, building an ExtraNet, SSL, and HTTPS, depending on the vendor and the type of data you are sending through the cloud. ITIC says 83 percent of survey respondents said they would require "specific guarantees" of the safety of their mission-critical data, and 62 percent would want multiple access paths. These safeguards wouldn't be out of the ordinary. And to make sure all possible protections are in place and satisfactory, a company needs to move slowly when adopting the cloud. A great place to start might be e-mail or CRM data.

Ralph DeFrangesco who teaches security at Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pa. and is currently teaching Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity says, "Putting security aside for a moment, I feel that the cloud offers an excellent recovery option. Think about it: If something were to happen to your facility and you needed to relocate, you could still access your data with just a connection and no recovery effort. This benefit might be the one to convince IT folks who are not ready to place their trust in cloud providers for daily operations. The threat of one type or another of disaster is always present, but keep in mind, as Carl Weinschenk recently wrote, that we are in hurricane season."

The reality is that security is a concern whether you are using the cloud or not. If your company decides that it makes sense to adopt the technology, then put the solution in place along with the proper security measures.

A report published on http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/07/22/cyber.security/ suggests that instead of new technology the problem was with us – the people – as in us humans. The study suggests that we need more educated smart folks to thwart those evil hackers and prevent attacks.

Andras Robert Szakal in Cloud security depends on the human element says "many of the poorly constructed services, SOA, Cloud or otherwise are the result of poor design and a lack of architectural skill. The challenge here is that high value architects are difficult to grow and often more difficult to retain". He adds, "The fact is that most organizations have created an artificial barrier between IT professionals and business professionals. The line of business professionals, management and executives are more valued than the techies running the IT shop. Some headway has been made in the integration between IT and the business. But for the most part they still exist as separate entities. No wonder the cyber report suggests that prospective high valued cyber security specialists and architects don’t see a future in a cyber security career".

He offers some ideas to address the challenge:

First, ensure these folks have architectural as well as cyber security skills. This will allow them to think in the context of the business and find opportunity to move from IT to a line of business position as their careers grow. Ultimately, the IT teams must be integrated into the business itself. As the report suggests it’s necessary to establish a career path for technologies but more importantly technical career paths must be integrated into the overall career framework of the business.

Is your organization using the cloud? If so, let me know what you are using it for. If not, why not?

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Unlearn Learned Helplessness | Take Charge of Your Life

How we attribute the events that occur in our lives has a significant effect on our attitudes and efforts in improving our lot. In particular there are three types of belief affect us:

  • Stable or unstable cause: If we believe that events are caused by factors which do not change, we assume that it is not worth us trying to change them. So if I believe my success is based on an unchangeable ability, it will seem that it is not worth my trying to improve myself.

  • Internal or External cause: We can believe that events are caused by ourselves or something outside of ourselves. If I assume a serious car crash was my fault, I will be less likely to drive again than if I attribute it to a greasy road.

  • Global or Specific cause: If we believe that events are caused by a large number of factors then we feel we can do less to change things than if we see few and specific causes.

Martin Seligman is responsible for the Learned Helplessness theory which had a major influence on psychological research into depression in the 1970s. Seligman discovered helplessness by accident whilst studying the effects of inescapable shock on active avoidance learning in dogs.

Seligman restrained dogs in a pavlovian harness and administered several shocks (UCS) paired with a conditioned stimulus (CS) - this is the conventional CS-UCS pairing procedure used to study classical conditioning . Then these dogs were placed in a shuttle-box where they could avoid shock by jumping over a barrier. The shuttle-box was used to study the role of operant conditioning in learning. Most of the dogs failed to learn to avoid shock.

Seligman argued that prior exposure to inescapable shock interfered with the ability to learn in a situation where avoidance or escape was possible. Seligman used the term Learned Helplessness to describe this phenomenon.

It is important to emphasize that helplessness is not an all-or-none phenomenon. Seligman studied the behavior of about 150 dogs between 1965 and 1969. About 100 (2/3rds) were helpless after the administration of unavoidable electric shock in the pavlovian situation. The remaining 1/3rd were completely normal and learned to avoid shock in the avoidance learning test. There was no intermediate outcome - dogs either learnt to avoid, or passively accepted shock in the shuttle-box. Furthermore, about 5% of naive dogs that had never received inescapable shock, exhibited helplessness when first exposed to shock in the operant learning situation.

The central idea in the Learned Helplessness theory is the notion that all animals (including humans) are able to learn that reinforcers are uncontrollable . This marks a sharp change in direction from previous studies of learning which had focused on learning in controllable situations (Seligman,1992).

Example

If a poor test result is attributed to a lack of intrinsic capability as evidenced by many past failures, then we are likely to reduce our efforts, be more depressed and view ourselves in an ever-fading light.

Cognition and helplessness

It is important to appreciate that although cognition is at the heart of Seligman's theory, learned helplessness affects other psychological processes:
  • motivation - reduced, no incentive to try new coping responses
  • cognition - inability to learn new responses to overcome prior learning that trauma is uncontrollable

  • emotion - the helpless state resembles depression

The most efficient solution for learned helplessness is to open your eyes and free your mind. Many of us think of learned helplessness as an inability. We tend to imagine this situation as not being able to do something. We also tend to believe that it involves fear.

Those are not close to the truth of learned helplessness.

Learned helplessness is a psychological condition in which a human being or an animal has learned to act or behave helpless in a particular situation, even when it has the power to change its unpleasant or even harmful circumstance (wikipedia).

When a person is suffering from learned helplessness, he or she is not even aware of his or her state. When confronted with a situation which requires an act on the part of an individual, and this individual does not act accordingly, this is not because of a feeling of helplessness. It is because he even cannot think that he should act or he does not know that he can act.

Therefore, the key solution to learned helplessness is not courage but awareness. This is not a road in which the subject will be empowered. This should be a way of "dis-learning" or forgetting and learning again in a new fashion, what is being learned beforehand.

Learned helplessness is not an emotion, it is a belief.

Then how can one overcome learned helplessness? How is it possible for an individual who is not really aware or just barely aware of his situation?

Learned helplessness is itself not an emotion but it can produce negative emotions usually so much that the individual knows deep inside about his helplessness. However the big obstacle is the resistance towards such a negative emotion and willing to work on it. It takes time.

So, the biggest help is insight about the helplessness and trying to decondition and unlearn it.

To overcome such a learned helplessness, you have to try and expose yourself to the same situation again.

I think we all have a touch of this learned helplessness, in some areas of our lives, and I also think we can overcome this learned helplessness in three very simple steps.

The first step is just to recognize that you’re practicing learned helplessness. You can ask someone you really trust if they see this behavior in you at times. You can also start noticing when you tell yourself you can’t do something when in fact you really just don’t want to. Whatever method you use for recognizing your helpless behavior, it’s important that you do recognize it.

Second, you can then begin eliminating this behavior simply by committing to stop. Like anything else, you have to want to stop acting helpless, but fortunately, once you realize you are doing this, you’ll be so annoyed by your behavior, yourself, that you’ll be very eager to get rid of this pattern of inaction in your life.

And of course the third step is to stop acting helpless. Of course, it’s not that easy. I would suggest that once you’ve identified an area in which you do not take responsibility (which is all learned helplessness is), you first find someone who can help you learn the things you need to do, if you don’t know how, then make a practice of doing one thing in that area every day. If it’s not something that needs doing every day, then spend time every day learning or writing about that area of your life.

When I say “area,” I don’t mean that if your computer is messed up or you haven’t figured out how to program the DVD player you should spend endless hours fixing these things. But if you can spend time on that area of your life. Learn what it takes to take charge of those technologies or hire someone else to do so. This way, you’ll be using the technology for what it was intended for instead of watching it gather dust and cursing at it and the world in which we live. Spend time on the maintenance areas of your life.

How can you take charge of your life and overcome learned helplessness today?
  • Find one area of your life that needs an overhaul

  • Plan what you can do this week to start taking responsibility

  • Take an action today

Seligman suggests in his book "Learned Optimism" that one can overcome depression by learning new explanatory styles. This is the basis of cognitive therapy. In such therapies, the counselor challenges the client's beliefs and explanations of life's events.The whole self-help movement is based on the optimistic belief that we can change ourselves for the better.

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Monday, July 27, 2009

Shareflow: It's Google Wave, And Available Now

From readwriteweb.com :

It was inevitable really. Ever since Google Wave burst on to the scene as the next hot thing, someone, somewhere was going to beat Google to the punch and release something comparable. That something is Shareflow, a new SaaS play by New York City-based startup Zenbe.


Whether or not Shareflow is simply an imitator is really beside the point. What matters is that it's available here and now, and it works.

Shareflow is a granular version of a flow-based collaboration; you can either view all flows or just single projects. In terms of content, it handles threaded comments, files of most types can be uploaded and previewed through Scribd's iPaper interface, there's Google Maps integration, images, and video. Like other Zenbe products, email integration is also a big component of Shareflow.

Part of the reason this doesn't look like an imitator is that the two major features that Shareflow doesn't really do very well are real-time document collaboration and chat, both of which are key parts of Wave.

Not A Wave-killer

It's doubtful Shareflow will be the game-changing tool that everyone has predicted Google Wave will be, and that's only natural, considering Zenbe isn't Google. Even if it was, the fact that Shareflow is proprietary means it will never get near the crazy level of adoption and interest that Wave will.

But open source or not, if you're desperate to start working in a manner that is similar to Wave, Shareflow might just scratch your itch until the big day arrives, just about two months from now.



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Career Enhancement

What is it that you do uniquely well? Do your core values for yourself and your family fit with what you are doing, where you are putting your energy, what you are developing, and where you are focusing/immersing yourself?

In your career, as well as in your life, to achieve full capacity and happiness, all of you must be going in the same direction. For career and personal success to achieve its fullest potential, the inside and the outside must match: strength, motivation, passion, strategies and goals must be consistent with who you are and be an extension of who you are -- not to define yourself, but to be defined by you. The application of focus and direction on your potential and goals with all of you going in the same direction allows expansion of strength and measurable results to achieve your vision.

Investing in your core values is synonymous with the pursuit of simplicity. Your decisions are your self statements, not statements about anyone else. Simplicity includes not taking things that others say personally, but recognizing that they, too, are making self statements; discerning internal versus external point of reference; owning rather than blaming your decisions and their results; creating reality rather than believing in fate. Change does not happen, you create it.

Your assumptions and beliefs drive your behavior. Coming to the end of the past is not enough: you have to have a purpose, a dream consistent with your internal ideal in order to have hope. A game plan and goal actualize hope, the confident expectation that something good can be created. You move toward what you picture in your mind. Pinpoint focus and laser precision of that picture allow the pathway of a plan and the flexibility of strategy to have a context and meaning.

What you believe to be true about yourself will become true. What you believe will work well can be changed to become that which works well. Change may involve new ways of thinking, doing, being, and growing.

If you let someone recommend a solution or strategy for you, unless you fit it to your situation and ideal, you will be getting a suit tailored to someone else. If you want to change your life, your performance, and your career, change your mind first. At times, however, you may simply look for patterns in your behavior, find out what is working, and create that more often, and that will change your mind.

Dr. David
Krueger offers the following 18 caveats to career enhancement in this article published at http://www.evancarmichael.com/:
  1. When your head and your gut (what you think and feel) both agree, and act accordingly, you won’t go wrong.

  2. Having a definition of success and an internal ideal of “good enough” are essential for satisfaction.

  3. Rich is knowing you have enough.

  4. Long-term goals are necessary to keep perspective, while short-term goals are necessary to sustain enthusiasm and tolerate frustration.

  5. Respect the boundaries between work and private life.


  6. Develop your emotional and interpersonal expertise as well as your technical expertise.


  7. Thinking, feeling, and imagining are all active forms of doing something.


  8. A potential space between urge and action is where judgment resides.


  9. You’ll never do anything important that will feel comfortable in the beginning.

  10. Assess what reaching a goal will do.

  11. Just having a choice can make choosing the same thing feel very different.

  12. Growth and change are hard. The only thing harder is not growing or changing.

  13. Recognize your own limits in order to achieve success.

  14. Admit mistakes in order to cut losses.

  15. Be willing to seek suggestions, critiques, and advice and not to take it personally.

  16. Distinguish lack of information and organization from unconscious conflict.

  17. Planning and strategy are essential components of a plan.

  18. Examine the process that gets you to a good result. Examine the process that gets you to a bad result.
[Dr David Krueger, M.D. is an Executive Mentor Coach, and CEO of MentorPath, a coaching firm tailored to the needs of executives and professionals. Dr. Krueger is author of 15 books on success, money, wellness, and mind-body integration. ]

Choosing a career is a hard decision to make. The decision and choice you make will impact you for most of your life because it sets a course for you for decades.

How do you make such a choice?

First, realize that since you make that choice you can always make another one. In other words, you are not locked into a single career for life. You can change your mind and your direction at any time.

Whether you change your mind or stick with your original decision, you will want to advance and refresh your job and career often. It's called Career Enhancement and should be a part of any career plan and path.

Most professions require constant enhancement of skills called continuing education. Professional organizations typically advertise programs and allocate credits for enhancement courses.

If you are not in a professional organization set up your own career advancement program. It can be a simple class taken once a year or a complete program over several weeks. What ever your choice study your options and make judicious choices.

After completing a class, update your progress and resume regularly. Keep a log of your classes, instructors and where you attended them. The real value in this will unfold as you prepare for your annual review, ask for a raise or promotion or search for a new job.

It comes down to setting goals, planning a path to those goals and accomplishing them. Even if you are alone on your path you can grow in your career.

Finally, take action. Make the first step toward your career enhancement goals even if you feel uncertain. Action opens all kinds of unseen opportunities and clarifies issues once you get going forward. Set your sights high, aim for your goals and take action to move ahead towards successful career enhancement.

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Sunday, July 26, 2009

Subscribers Are Vital For An Online Marketing Growth Strategy

Adam Singer has posted an interesting post "Subscribers Are Vital For An Online Marketing Growth Strategy" on his blog "Online Marketing Blog" where he reveals the importance of having a commuhity to your online brand.

Singer has 9 points; the details to each of those can be found at his blog.

  1. The ~11% of web users who know to use RSS include the users savvy enough to be web publishers

  2. You’ll become a go-to area to link to

  3. Subscribers are your sneezers

  4. A base of well-connected fans could very well be the cornerstone of your social marketing strategy

  5. Community is what makes sites worth visiting

  6. Subscribers will motivate you to create better content

  7. Consolidated network presence is the most effective

  8. Social proofing

  9. Subscribers and a fan base make you less reliant on push PR

My Favorite is:

#7 A consolidated network presence is the most effective

A simple, effective way to have your messages make the largest impact is to build one consolidated source for distribution. Once you’ve chosen that place, focus on funneling as many people to subscribe to it as possible and make it the authoritative voice for your brand or industry. Spawn satellite networks too, but with the purpose of feeding the main hub. Don’t lose sight that the end goal is to create one popular area.
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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Guy Kawasaki's "Art of Schmoozing"

Schmoozing is both a skill and a fine art. Tech guru Guy Kawasaki has posted an excellent piece called "The Art of Schmoozing" in his blog "Let the Good Times Roll" where he has tips on how to hone those skills.

"The key is to establish a relationship before you need it. And this is why I'd like to provide the art of schmoozing."

Kawasaki has 9 points; the details to each of those can be found at his blog.

    1. Understand the goal.
    2. Get out.
    3. Ask good questions, then shut up.
    4. Unveil your passions.
    5. Read voraciously.
    6. Follow up.
    7. Make it easy to get in touch.
    8. Give favors.
    9. Ask for the return of favors.
My favorites are:

#3 - "Ask good questions, then shut up." The mark of a good conversationalist is not that you can talk a lot. The mark is that you can get others to talk a lot. Thus, good schmoozers are good listeners, not good talkers. Ask softball questions like, “What do you do?” “Where are you from?” “What brings you to this event?” Then listen. Ironically, you'll be remembered as an interesting person.

#4 - "Unveil your passions." Only talking about business is boring. Good schmoozers unveil their passions after they get to know you. Great schmoozers lead off with their passions. Your passions make you an interesting person--you'll stick out because you're the only person not talking about 802.11 chipsets at the wireless conference. Personally, my passions are children, Macintosh, Breitling watches, digital photography, and hockey if you ever meet me.


#5 - "Read voraciously." In order to be a good schmoozer, you need to read voraciously--and not just the EE Times, PC Magazine, and the Wall Street Journal. You need a broad base of knowledge so that you can access a vast array of information during conversations. Even if you are a pathetic passionless person, you can at least be a well-read one who can talk about a variety of topics.


#8 - "Give favors." One of my great pleasures in life is helping other people; I believe there's a big Karmic scoreboard in the sky. God is keeping track of the good that you do, and She is particularly pleased when you give favors without the expectation of return from the recipient. The scoreboard always pays back. You can also guess that I strongly believe in returning favors for people who have helped you.


#9 - "Ask for the return of favors." Good schmoozers give favors. Good schmoozers also return favors. However, great schmoozers ask for the return of favors. You may find this puzzling: Isn't it better to keep someone indebted to you? The answer is no, and this is because keeping someone indebted to you puts undue pressure on your relationship. Any decent person feels guilty and indebted. By asking for, and receiving, a return favor, you clear the decks, relieve the pressure, and set up for a whole new round of give and take. After a few rounds of give and take, you're best friends, and you have mastered the art of schmoozing.

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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Artificial brain '10 years away'

From: Artificial brain '10 years away'

A detailed, functional artificial human brain can be built within the next 10 years, a leading scientist has claimed.

Henry Markram, director of the Blue Brain Project, has already simulated elements of a rat brain.

He told the TED Global conference in Oxford that a synthetic human brain would be of particular use finding treatments for mental illnesses.

The Blue Brain project was launched in 2005 and aims to reverse engineer the mammalian brain from laboratory data.

In particular, his team has focused on the neocortical column - repetitive units of the mammalian brain known as the neocortex.

"It's a new brain," he explained. "The mammals needed it because they had to cope with parenthood, social interactions complex cognitive functions.

"It was so successful an evolution from mouse to man it expanded about a thousand fold in terms of the numbers of units to produce this almost frightening organ."

And that evolution continues, he said. "It is evolving at an enormous speed."

The project now has a software model of "tens of thousands" of neurons - each one of which is different - which has allowed them to digitally construct an artificial neocortical column.

Although each neuron is unique, the team has found the patterns of circuitry in different brains have common patterns.

To make the model come alive, the team feeds the models and a few algorithms into a supercomputer.

"You need one laptop to do all the calculations for one neuron," he said. "So you need ten thousand laptops."

Instead, he uses an IBM Blue Gene machine with 10,000 processors.

Simulations have started to give the researchers clues about how the brain works.

For example, they can show the brain a picture - say, of a flower - and follow the electrical activity in the machine.

"You excite the system and it actually creates its own representation," he said.

Ultimately, the aim would be to extract that representation and project it so that researchers could see directly how a brain perceives the world.

But as well as advancing neuroscience and philosophy, the Blue Brain project has other practical applications.

For example, by pooling all the world's neuroscience data on animals - to create a "Noah's Ark", researchers may be able to build animal models.

"We cannot keep on doing animal experiments forever," said Professor Markram.

It may also give researchers new insights into diseases of the brain.

"There are two billion people on the planet affected by mental disorder," he told the audience.

The project may give insights into new treatments, he said.

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Kensington Launches World’s Biggest USB Pen Drive


The days when you plugged your tiny pen drive into your notebook or PC may be over; memory maker Kingston Monday unveiled the 256GB DataTraveler 300 — more hard drive space than many desktop or laptop computers.

Kingston has come up with the DataTraveler 300, a 256GB USB Drive, which is quite an impressive capacity for such a format. That pretty much tops the biggest SSD drives in 2.5" form-factor. Of course, you might not have the fancy controller and you won’t get SATA II performance levels, but the idea that you can backup most laptop hard drives on a single USB key is awesome. The sheer capacity is impressive, if you are willing to pay $900. Obviously, there are cheaper ways to backup, but most won't fit in this form-factor.


This pen drive isn’t meant to transfer a few MP3s or an occasional Word or Excel file. No, the European branch of Kingston reports the DataTraveler has bigger tasks in mind, like 51,000 images or 365 CDs.
Could this signal a flash memory NetBook is possible?
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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Innocence at its Best

A three-year-old walked up to a pregnant lady while waiting with his mother in the doctors office.

He inquisitively asked the lady, "Why is your stomach so big?"

She replied, "I'm having a baby."

With big eyes, he asked, "Is the baby in your stomach?"

She answered, "He sure is."

Then the little boy, with a puzzled look, asked, "Is it a good baby?"

She said, "Oh, yes. It's a real good baby."

With an even more surprised and shocked look, he asked,

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.

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"Then why did you eat him?"

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Business Colloaboration Opportunities around Google Wave

Business collaboration is where people assist and co-operate with colleagues and other contacts to further a particular aspect of the business that they share.

What if you could keep track of all the changes to a document (any kind of document, not just word processor files), without mandating that everyone use the same package (especially important if you collaborate with other businesses or even just people out side your business).

You would be able collaborate with anyone, at anytime with all changes and versions kept up to date automatically. Furthermore, all changes could be traced back to whom made them and when. All old versions of documents would be available for you to check information.

With the global economy tightening as never before, collaboration between businesses is absolutely vital to business growth as well as profitability.

Brought ever closer by technological breakthroughs and increased communications around the globe, today’s world is smaller than ever. The need to constantly grow, change and innovate in today’s business landscape requires a new approach to connect, communicate and collaborate, inside and outside the enterprise, to accelerate revenues and reduce costs.

Companies everywhere rely on positive and consistent interactions with customers, partners and suppliers.

Collaboration has been described as the next phase of the Internet, and a $34 billion market opportunity.


Collaboration Is a Key Driver of Business Performance

Collaboration is a key driver of overall performance of companies around the world. Its impact is twice as significant as a company’s aggressiveness in pursuing new market opportunities (strategic orientation) and five times as significant as the external market environment (market turbulence).

A global culture of collaboration exists, but that there are regional differences in how people in various countries prefer to communicate with one another.

American professionals were more likely to enjoy working alone, and prefer to send e-mail rather than calling a person or leaving a voice mail message. They are also more comfortable with audio, video and Web conferencing technologies than people of other regions and tend to multitask the most when on conference calls.

Europeans thrive on teamwork more than their counterparts elsewhere and prefer to interact in real time with other people. They are more likely to feel it is irresponsible not to answer the phone and want people to call them back rather than leave a voice mail message.

Professionals in the Asia-Pacific region, more so than anywhere else, want to be in touch constantly during the workday. As a result, they find the phone to be an indispensable tool and prefer instant messaging to e-mail.

These differences highlight an opportunity for greater cultural understanding to improve collaborative efforts around the world.

Collaboration can positively impact each of the gold standards of performance — profitability, profit growth and sales growth — to determine a company’s overall performance in the marketplace. “As a general rule, global companies that collaborate better, perform better. Those that collaborate less, do not perform as well. It’s just that simple.” said Jaclyn Kostner, Ph.D., best-selling author and expert on high-performance virtual collaboration.

Measuring the quality and capability of collaboration in a given organization presents an opportunity for management to prioritize technology investments, encourage adoption of new tools and open up communications lines for improved collaboration.


Google Wave is an incredibly smart tool that can turn any Web browser (even a mobile one) into an über-communication hub, essentially rolling e-mail, IM, social media and document sharing into one easy-to-navigate platform, er “wave,” that can be shared among different users on a single hosted server.

In Google’s own words, a wave is equal parts conversation and document, where users can almost instantly communicate and work together with richly formatted text, photos, videos, maps and more. Unlike e-mail, waves start out as a conversation with a set of users picked to participate in the dialogue.

Waves can have many uses in a business setting. For one, they’re highly collaborative. Wave participants can share and edit documents at the same time and use waves to track and complete projects without ever having to set foot in the same office. And since waves are live transmissions, employees can have faster conversations than they can by waiting for e-mailed replies. Waves also make managing multiple media easier. Within a single wave you can manage your Twitter and Facebook accounts, e-mail alerts, and more. As long as a gadget is open source, it can sit within a wave. Waves even come with a handy robot called Rosy, which can translate your typing as you type it into 40 different languages, allowing you to communicate with customers in real time around the world.

Collaboration Opportunities around Google Wave

What business opportunities exist around Google Wave? What can startups, software vendors, and consulting companies offer that could be profitable? Here are a couple of ideas...

  1. Migration Tools and Services
    Companies today use Outlook and Exchange. If Wave is good enough, some of today's users of Outlook, Exchange, Notes, or even SharePoint could be convinced to switch, either in whole or just for a part of their workflow. Third parties could offer migration tools and services that allow companies to get started and port their existing data - Terabytes of emails and documents - into Google Wave.

  2. Enterprise Wave
    The key to making organizations switch to Google Wave is to make it sufficiently full featured for enterprise use. In particular, it's hard to see anyone switching from Outlook without tightly integrated group calendaring, task lists, and mobile sync. Since Wave is open source, you could add those in and sell an "enterprise version" of Wave under your own brand.

  3. Extensions
    There is no shortage of plugins, extensions, and add-ins to Microsoft Outlook: Think Xobni, Gwabbit, ClearContext, and many little helpers that can you extract attachments, schedule emails, or remove duplicate contacts. Some of these tools are highly profitable paid extensions, and it's conceivable that you could build and charge for extensions that add useful features to Google Wave.

  4. Hosting
    Since Google Wave is open source, you can host the server on your own hardware. There's no shortage of hosted Exchange providers - a quick search will give you many offerings that will give you an exchange account for $9.95 a month. Similarly, you could host Google Wave accounts for a fee.

  5. Wave as a Feature
    I imagine that this will be the most common type of use for Google Wave. Once it's released, websites will replace systems for commenting and user-generated content with Google Wave.

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