Tuesday, August 30, 2005


the famous PDF software Adobe Acrobat (version 7) has RSS capabilities, With Acrobat 7 you can convert RSS feeds into PDF documents. First this is a more than welcome improvement as you'll be able to read your favorite feeds off-line.

Derek Franklin (who has a book forthcoming: RSS Domination) suggests that you could easily convert a blog into an e-book. How? Well, assume you run a blog and you are a disciplined writer. You post regularly, each post being, say, one chapter of your book. In a month (say you blog everyday) you have a manuscript up and running. Your blog is RSS compliant. Hence if you own a copy of Acrobat 7 you can convert your blog into a book and distribute it digitally! (Here is a tutorial by an Adobe engineer; see also Robin Good's comments on this RSS/PDF feature).

Source: Cyberliris

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Better Meeting 10 Steps

To-Done has this post on "How To Get The Most Out Of Your Meetings"

Don’t call a meeting unless you have to.
Invite only those people who will get something out of the meeting.
Have a detailed agenda.
Schedule your meetings at least a few days in advance
Cancel your meeting if you think you no longer need to have it or if everyone is not prepared.
Start on time.
Set a time limit.
Have a leader.
Stick to the agenda.
End your meeting on time.


Wednesday, August 03, 2005

What is Blogging?

A VC's take on blogging

Blogging is about three things:

Posting, Subscribing, and Tagging.

These are the three essential and fundamental functions and they are the building blocks for all the different kinds of blogging.

Posting came first.

In my Blogging 1.0 post last year, I suggested that people have been blogging in some form since the advent of the Internet. Creating Geocities pages; Guides working for the Mining Company (About.com’s first name); and Jim Cramer’s hourly posts from his trading desk were all early forms of blogging.

Subscribing came next.

RSS is a big deal, but it’s a technology not a human behavior. It’s like TCP/IP or HTML. It’s an enabler. But subscribing to RSS feeds is a human behavior and it’s fundamental to the whole blogging equation.

Tagging is the third and final leg of the stool.

First there’s self tagging. That is when the person making the post contributes some descriptive tags to the post. That’s how most of the Flickr tags are created.The second kind of tagging is user tagging. That’s what del.icio.us and others offer. This is when the person consuming the content contributes a tag. In the del.icio.us world, its in connection with bookmarking the content so that it can be remembered and shared.

US Students to become Brand Ambasadors of Kashmir

Another interesting piece that i found was on the Union tourism ministry is launching a gurukul package for foreign students — especially from the US — who can come to Kashmir during their annual summer break and learn how to make carpets, shawls and rugs in villages. On finishing their crash course, the students will be given a certificate.

Tourism minister Renuka Choudhury feels that on returning home, the students will help spread the word that Kashmir is a safe tourist destination. Students from some of America’s best known universities like Harvard, Yale, MIT, Princeton and Stanford.

I like this appraoch, it very proactive and innovative. !!!

Slacking at Work

Times of India is carrying a piece on time wasted at work...Point in reference - "People waste more than two hours a day slacking at work, according to a study. It's no different here ". The average worker wastes more than two hours a day, excluding lunch, according to a new Web survey in the US. About 10,000 people responded to the poll, with 41 per cent saying that the number one way they waste time is personal Internet use and responding to online polls. The second most popular way, according to 23 per cent, was socialising with coworkers. Other ways included personal business, spacing out, running errands and making personal phone calls.

Some interesting counter arguments:
  • "Most people work from 8.30 am to 8 pm, which is more than required. That compensates for the time wasted."

  • "I work more than my eight hour schedule, so if I spend some time talking to my coworkers, there's nothing wrong. It's important to know what's happening in other departments."

  • Bill Coleman, one of the researchers maintains that some of the wasted time could be considered helpful, as conversations and personal Internet use can lead to new business ideas.

  • "How do you motivate employees to achieve an emotional end state? Be innovative. Make them happy. Fun at work is an outcome of our belief that the core of delivering client delight is happy, passionate and highly motivated employees. We feel that, mature responsible adults know when to go beyond the call of their duty and when to take it easy."

Non Technical Managers Managing Technical People

Well this topic I have been thinking about a lot in the recent past so I decided let me start by writing something and than enhance/improve it as we go along.

First there a lot of cases where people who are non technical end up managing people who are ....now this can be quite a difficult situation for both the people, invariably leading the technical guys to make fun of the manager in terms of "he just doesn't get it, even such basic stuff" and we have the manager thinking "how can these people work like this ...they are so disorganized etc etc etc (Am a technical guy so am unable to think of too many thing no techies think :) )".

Well I think there is a way out, and this situation instead of turning the team/unit environment into a dead state, by both the sides taking some positive steps can be leveraged into a thriving environment.

What are these steps?

1. The manager should have no problem admitting to the team, that he is not the most technically qualified for the job. Techies are logically, they will understand if this guy is clear that he doesn't know the stuff technically and still is managing us he must be bring some other stuff to the table....dont boast about the other stuff ...implement it and show it to them. They will be impressed.

2. When you get something wrong admit it...admit it immdly, there is no shame...you dont need to be the smartest person in the room to manage a team/be a leader...infact to quote JW in winning you should be comfortable being the dumbest person in the room , asking questions like a 4 year old....(Danzel Washington..Philadelphia)

3. Have a game plan, well this is true for most things but particularly in this case put together a plan for each day/week/month.

4. Get invited to the old boys club, that is there is always a group of guys who are very sound in that particular technology/product etc, join them , for sure you will have something to offer them and when time need to be you can lean on them for help. Never Eat Alone will defn help here.

5. Be Logical ...sounds simple enough right ...wrong...sometimes when the "geeks" are having a problem dont shy away from the situation thinking there is nothing that you can help them with...jump in sit in first listen then try to organize the points...help them brainstorm...Organize...bring in your skills....and contribute...the answer has to be logical....ask the right questions.

6. Participate...its important to participate, in as many endeavor as possible this not only increases your knowledge, but builds the teams confidence in you.

7. READ...Allocate a good portion of your time reading up on relevant stuff.. It is important.

(This is the first draft of the list ...will refine it further/ make enhancements to it over a period of time)

Update: My co-author over at the CIO-Weblog has an post up along similar lines where he gets into the sales & engineering linkage. Read on.