Thursday, April 30, 2009

Advantages of using CFL lighting

Compact Fluorescent Light or CFL as they are commonly known as have increasing become the lighting of choice - be it in homes or offices. Let's look at the advantages of having CFL lighting over the normal bulbs.

First consider the various environmental impacts of using CFL. I guess around 4 years back an European Union ruling compelled all businesses in EU to dispose of most lamps, including fluorescent types in an environmentally considerate manner. This obligation now extends to USA and a host of other countries as well.

Make sure you install 10% more light than you need as the light output falls off with age, also the light output will not reach maximum until they are at running temperature.

Flicker from CFL lamps should not be an issue when they are new as the frequency at which they operate is around 20,000 Hz, however, as they age the smoothing capacitor in the power supply of the lamp circuit looses its capacity and the 50Hz mains flicker may become apparent to some more sensitive people. The solution is to change the lamp OR run them off 240V DIRECT CURRENT from a battery supply charged by your UPS perhaps.

A regular bulb creates light by heating a tungsten wire to white hot. 90% of the energy consumed by the lamp is lost as heat into the surrounding environment. A typical incandescent (ordinary) bulb has an efficiency of 12 to 15 lumens per watt (12 Lm/w). In other words you only get 15 units of light for every unit of electricity you put in. Now compare this with a CFL. This lamp creates light by exciting atoms of mercury vapour, making them give off ultra violet light. This UV then hits the white coating on the inside of the lamp and is converted into the light we see. Very little heat is produced in this process, giving this type of lamp an efficiency of 60 Lm/w which is 4 or 5 times greater than the ordinary bulb. So a 20 watt CFL will give the same light as a 100 watt bulb at one fifth of the cost (or electricity used and lower carbon emissions etc). You can also use them as Shop Work Lights.

Also, CFLs last about 5 times longer than incandescent. In addition to cost savings you're also saving electricity which reduces the demand for new power plants.

There are those that still argue against them based on their mercury content, but it's just silly. The mercury level in bulbs today is so low as to run no risk to the user. Where it is a problem is when they're disposed of, so the best thing to do is recycle them properly.

So yes, they are worth it. LEDs will probably be the ideal light in the future but for now they have many hurdles to overcome (cost, lack of fill lighting). For at least the next 5 years, CFLs are the way to go.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Vodafone ZooZoo Cartoon Ads: Are they real humans?

ZooZoo's are the new eye-catching and very funny looking creatures in the new Vodafone ads that are mostly screened during the current IPL matches. But little did anyone know that they were real human's that were acting the show and not some animated character's as most of us had previously thought off. ZooZoo have now become an icon for Vodafone. Fresh from the Vodafone's Ad inventory, these cute and pesky looking characters promote most of Vodafone's services in a very funny, quirky and laughable way.

ZooZoo's were conceptualized by the Ad agency O&M for the latest Vodafone Ad campaigns. ZooZoo characters though they look like animated characters are actually played by real people. The real people are dressed in white outfits. The sets have been constructed by shadows created by spray painting.

It seems that the production team divided the outfit into two separate parts - body and head. The body part of the outfit was stuffed with foam in some places, while the head was attached separately. To make it look bigger than a human head, a harder material called Perspex was used, which in turn was stuffed with foam (with scope for ventilation). Here's how they decided on the size of ZooZoo's head: a human head would typically reach up to the mouth level of this giant Zoozoo head. So the creators kept the hands and legs thin. Also, the cast comprised mostly of women – and occasionally children coz they fitted well into it. The thin limbs, contrasted with big bellies and a bulbous head, all add to the illusion that these creatures are ‘smaller’ than humans.

Sets were actually created to suit the size of the Zoozoos. Cinematically, ZooZoo's actual size was a trick: the creatures look smaller than they actually are on screen, this was done deliberately to portray a different world of sorts. For this, the speed of shooting was altered, it is originally shot in a high-speed format to make them look the size that they do and also make their movements look funny.

Also, another trick up the sleves of O&M was to use simple backdrops that were created and spray painted with neutral Greys – a colour of choice so that attention isn’t diverted from the ZooZoo's (main characters). And also for a supposedly ‘outdoor’ shot, even the shadow of a Zoozoo was kept ‘live’ and not done in post production: it was painted in a darker shade of grey on the ground!!. And an even lighting was maintained throughout. O&M claims that there was virtually no post production work done.

The films were shot by Nirvana Films in Cape Town, South Africa, with the help of a local production house there, called Platypus. Incidentally, the same combination of people also worked on the ‘Happy to Help’ series last year round for Vodafone.

Also there is a very cool ZooZoo community on Facebook which has thousands of fans(including me). The group has ZooZoo commercials that have been released so far, ZooZoo emoticons and also ‘Tag me’ application.

You can also watch all the ZooZoo Video's online here.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Watch IPL Cricket matches Online for Free

Yes, you can now watch the ongoing IPL matches online for free from any part of the world. All you need is access to the internet and a free software from Microsoft called Silverlight.

The official IPL site - has started to offer live telecast (not actually live), but works only on Internet Explorer with Silverlight 2 installed. But for those who're on the go, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has announced the availability of IPL Live on mobile phones too!

Many of my pals who tried watching it this way last evening said that the live coverage from suffered from frequent downtimes since the match started. The live coverage is viewable on Firefox browser by installing Moonlight, an Open Source alternative of Silverlight too.

Microsoft Silverlight works fine on Internet Explorer and Google Chrome browser. However, the continuous downtime of the DLF IPL Live stream has been kind of disheartening for users who feel promises were not fulfilled. BTW, mobile users will be charged per sec for watching live updates on their mobile by mobile service operators - so watch out for the bills too.

Screenshot on how to watch at the page.

Related :Watch Cricket matches LIVE online for free

The Best Online websites to morph your photos for Free

You must have seen some funny images posted on profiles of friends in social networking websites. Some snaps show your friend's on the front page of prominent magazines like Time, Fobes, The Week, etc. and sometimes their images are plastered to walls as advertisement and people starring it. These look cool at many times and you might have too wanted to get images of yourself onto such places.

There are many free websites online that allow you to upload images to incorporate different things such as other clipart, text, text boxes, etc.. Or just for mounting on other predefined images. Here is a small selection of the best websites to morph photos.

WriteOnIt : This is absolutely a fun site to check out. It allows you to include your image on posters, magazine covers (with your own head - like the one above) and other photomontages. Also, there is no need for a registration.

Hairmixer : This site allows you to swap faces and hair. It has an option for you to upload your own photos or use the ones available online too.

Kyolo : This is a pretty basic site. In it, it only allows you to add text balloons to images. This can be useful at times when you want to make fun of your pals. Also you need to register.

PhotoFunia : The best site I must say!! Kinda different website which allows you to place the image you upload into an integrated picture. The final work can be easily downloaded or created as an avatar without registering.

FunPhotoBox : Very similar to the above website, but with other effects, and new listings every week. It also has a great feature to allow you to select the area of the photo you want to show. Also, no registration is required.

Ransom Note Generator : This website creates a text composed of letters cut from a magazine. You can place any image as a wallpaper and see the fun around your desk. No registration is required.

BigHugeLabs : This website offers many options. You can easily add text balloons, motivational posters, "warholizar" your photo, given to, and so on. It has a wide range of possibilities, but requires registration.

FaceInHole : classic put your face on the body of another kinda site. Many options and also up to date.

AutoMotivator : You know those posters that are in some offices with motivational phrases supposedly? Here you can do the same. Of course, it's more fun to parody them. Lets you save the image on your computer or directly to Flickr or ImageShack (which is very cool). This site is part of a larger one called Wigflip, which give you other options to create graphics for your website with your own text, like post-it or labels. No registration required.

Have some fun with your images and fool a few folks too!!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

How to easily uninstall Internet Explorer 7 and restore back to Internet Explorer 6

Here is how you can easily uninstall Internet Explorer 7 and restore back to Internet Explorer 6 in Windows. But please note that the method given below is only applicable for Windows computers which were upgraded from Internet Explorer 6 to Internet Explorer 7. Windows Vista on the other hand comes pre-installed with Internet Explorer 7 and so cannot be un-installed (at the end of the post I have given details on how to remove Internet Explorer in Windows Vista Machines).

Here are the steps to uninstall Internet Explorer 7 and restore to the good old Internet Explorer:
  • From the Start Menu goto the Control Panel.
  • Click on the Add or Remove Programs.
  • Scroll down to Windows Internet Explorer 7 and then click Change/Remove button.
  • When prompted choose Next to start the uninstall process.
Once you have removed off Internet Explorer 7, your system should be automatically taken back to the Internet Explorer 6 without affecting any of your Internet Explorer settings.

If Internet Explorer 7 is not in Add or Remove Programs you can do the following:

From the Start Menu, select Run.
Type %windir%\ie7\spuninst\spuninst.exe

Here's how to remove Internet Explorer in Windows Vista Machines.
  • Go into Control panel.
  • Click 'add & remove programs'.
  • On the left hand side of the panel click on 'add/remove Windows/Vista components', then a little box appears and scroll down and you will find internet explorer.
  • Just uncheck the box.

How to create a very successful CBT (Computer Based Training)

Today I'll touch upon the topic of how to create a very successful CBT (Computer Based Training) program. Usually a computer based training will include the aspects of teaching a target audience of designers, developers, trainers too, and architects in a Software industry who need to know about a specific software application.

Even before you start off with a CBT plan - the most important thing is to know the content, that is to know what is needed to be known first. Content is definitely the King. Secondly, you will need to be organizing the content into managable bits of information that a learner can digest.

Thirdly, you would need to be understanding the relationship between these two pieces(bits of information + learner) and the CBT software you are going to use to deliver and test the content. Fourthly you would need to look at utilizing one of a variety of methods within the CBT framework (e.g. some video, some text, some sound). Nowadays, everyone thinks in terms of Universal Design for Learning (UDL). A bit of creativity is also a wonderful thing to bring to the equation.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

How to easily share a printer from a Windows Vista desktop to a Windows XP laptop :: Simple Steps

My friend has a Windows Vista desktop that is the base machine for the network and also has a Windows XP laptop that is connected to the network. Though the laptop was able to pick up the internet of the Vista desktop, but it was unable to pick up/share the printer connected to it. So, I had to do quite a bit of tweaking and here's how I helped him out in sharing a printer connected to the Vista machine easily.

Well, since the printer is installed on the Vista Machine - we will need to tweak the settings on it. Head over to the Printer folder inside of Control Panel in Windows Vista. Right click on the "All in one printer" and then Click Sharing. Click on Share this printer in the window that opens and then hit OK.

Next get the IP address of your Windows Vista box, go to Start > Run and type "cmd" enter. Then type "ipconfig" enter. Now note down where it says "Local Area Connection" IP address: "numbers with dots".

After this, move to the XP computer without a printer.

On the XP machine, go to Start > Run, type "\\ipaddress\" where ipaddress are the numbers of the Vista computer. When a windows opens asking for a user name and password input those credentials from your computer. If it doesn't ask it will be even better. Now with this command you will open a folder and the printer will be there. Double click the printer and now the XP computer will be able to use it.

Also, note that both computers have to be in the same WORKGROUP. To verify this: Right click My Computer icon on the desktop, go to properties, Computer name tab. There you can see the WORKGROUP name and even change it to match the same in both machines.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

How to fix the issue of copy/paste from Print Screen - the image appears in Black and White

I had this unusual problem today in one of my office systems, whenever I do a PRINT SCREEN or ALT+PRINT SCREEN and Copy/Paste into MS Paint or Word - I was getting a Black and White Image. This was very weird, since always a colour image would appear.

I tried many ways to fix by pasting into other programs like wordpad, etc. But, using a screen capture program like SnagIt got a colour image of the screen. This left me puzzled.

Finally, I figured out that the system was running very very low on physical memory and also many Windows updates were installed but the machine was never re-started. So the trick was to re-start the machine and lo - it brought colour to the images!! How weird can computer problems be at times.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Some of the benefits of investing in gold

Gold is a universal standard for ages so that itself constitutes to be a pro but it is an investment like anything else, it can go up and down. But you can always be assured that Gold will never go out of business and when the United States dollar gets weaker the gold goes up. On the contrary have you realized that just because the dollar is down doesn't mean the price of gold is not over inflated.

So gold investing is like any investment you need to be comfortable with what you are buying.

However getting the hot stock is not necessarily the best thing to invest in, looking at undervalued stocks can make you a healthy profit, especially if you are investing over the long term which is the smartest way to do it.

So here are the pro's and con's of investing in Gold.

  • Universally accepted traditional store of value.
  • Gold will still exist if/when paper dollars and other currencies collapse and also in times of crisis.
  • Gold does not produce income by itself.
  • Gold can suddenly lose favor and stay depressed for a long time (but this has rarely been a case in the present age)

How to Uninstall Windows 7 easily without any hassles

Many of you might have installed Windows 7 and may have found a few of the features annoying and would like to Uninstall Windows7.

If you previously had Windows XP or Vista exist in another partition and having problem to boot into Windows XP or Vista. Then follow the instructions below to restore your desktop or laptop to boot only XP or Vista and completely remove Windows7

  • First insert the windows 7 dvd into your DVD drive.
  • Next goto Start > Run in the start menu and type cmd
  • If your dvd-ram drive for example is on E: (where the dvd inserted) then type "E:\boot\bootsect.exe /nt52 ALL /force" in the DOS window opened by the cmd command.
  • Finally Restart the machine
This easy procedure will restore to boot only Windows XP or Vista and after you log in you can format/delete windows 7 partition from the computer where you had installed it.

I got a lot of inspiration from my previous article How to Uninstall Windows Vista easily without any hassles. Hope this article too helps.

Easy to use Free iTunes alternative software for Windows Vista

Most of the folks will say that Apple’s iTunes software used for syncing and storing music/videos on your iPod is not a lightweight application - makes your system to run much slower.

I have been installing and testing iTunes release after release for quite sometime and I have noticed that the total over all installation does grow to include several hundred MB of temp files (much like Nero does). First of all, iTunes is a 80MB installable. One may argue that 80 MB is not much of disk space nowadays, but installing software isn’t like storing files. Software registers itself to thousands of places, adds many, many files to many, many different folders. Also, it may add services, which also run in the background, thus perhaps slowing down your computer. 80 MB may also be compressed. It might be much larger when installed and all files are taken in to account.

This is exactly where Free iTunes alternatives come into the picture and Froddle Pod is one such alternative. Froddle Pod is awesome. I was using iTunes and now I’ve tried out this app, I don’t think I’ll be going back to iTunes. Froddle Pod already has heaps of features iTunes doesn’t. I loved the normalization feature, just plugged my iPod in, clicked normalize iPod, went and got a bite to eat and came back to an iPod with completely normalized music. Froddle Pod is definitely worth the download!

It certainly is not as feature rich as iTunes but it has the essential stuff hat you need: It can copy music and videos from and to an iPod which is the most wanted feature for an iPod user. Froddle Pod can also backup and restore all data that is stored on an iPod. Go ahead and give Froddle Pod a spin!!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Does eating Candy really damage your teeth? The truth is here

Most of us believe that eating large amounts of Candy will cause irreparable damage to our teeth, but that assumption is not always true - I'll get into the specific reason in a giffy. But lets get the facts straight before we can dwell on the real implications of candy on our teeth.

It is very true that eating bulk candy leaves behind a lot of sugar in our teeth. And the good old bacteria eat the remnants of sugars and produce acids right in our teeth. These acids are produced by bacteria on breaking the sugars in a process called glycolysis. In this process the bacteria produces energy for themselves and acids which help our teeth decay!!.

Well, that's not it - there is always another problem. It is to do with those bacteria. It can store these sugars found in our tooth for later use, so they can produce the acid any time they'd like to. Well, the answer to this is simple, brush your teeth twice a day at least 2 min per brush with a fluoride containing paste. Now this is very important as it is a good idea to ask the dentist for brushing instructions, believe me its more complicated than it seems. Also floss daily and use a daily mouth rinse if possible.

If you do all these things consistently every day and go to the dentist for a check up once in 6 months or so, the chance that you will have a cavity is largely reduced. Talking about the body, this depends greatly on the amount eaten, your metabolism and amount of exercise you do regularly. I hope all this information was helpful - I had taken my wife over to the dentist last evening for a Root Canal treatment and had a casual chat with the dentist and the conversation opened up all this information.

Also, one more thing which I forgot to mention - when I mentioned sugars I meant white sugar(sucrose), fructose and similar ones. There are other sugars which are helpful for the teeth such as xylitol. So chewing gum with xylitol is great for the teeth, it mechanically cleans the teeth and provokes saliva secretion which reduces the acidity in the mouth!!

How to easily find Custom Car Parts online

Custom car parts have become the defacto stuff of the rich and famous for their Ferrari, Lamborghini, Mercedes or Lexus cars. Looking at the aftermarket(the way custom car parts are called downtown) parts business one can surely tell that most of the companies currently building carbon fiber parts are doing so outside the US (mainly in Mexico, Taiwan and China) are the top three right now. But to get it online you can easily access a superb website for car parts.

Usually laying up carbon fiber parts means you have to go out and purchase the OEM part (Original Equipment Manufacturer) keeping in mind it has to be perfect otherwise your part wont be able to fit. But when you contact the experts at the site, they do it all for you and customize your car as per your needs and even home deliver the work (I mean your car).

For each and every part you want to make you need the factory part, keeping in mind a hood for an Acura can cost around $500.00 if you decide to build at least 4 part numbers the cost is about 2K. Now you just have to contact the great team over at the website for the carbon fiber (composite one is a good source) and they'll put in one of their skilled employee's who are very good at making molds. Once you have a mold it has to be seasoned ( the first 4-7 parts out of a carbon fiber mold are useless) that cost will be around 1500 dollars per mold - since we are talking about custom content here, the moulds can never and will never be reused.

But if you want to spend a fabulous amount money quickly to get race carbon parts - you can easily specify the experts and they'll get it done for you in jiffy. The website also has some very good resources that can help you take calculated decisions and make your car a truly unique one of it's kind. Do visit the site to get a clearer idea about the designs and their past work.

Sun Direct Launches India first HD DTH Service

Sun Direct the 80:20 joint venture between the Maran family and the Astro Group of Malaysia created history by launching the first ever High Definition (HD) DTH broadcast in India. HDTV(High Definition TV) is considered as one of the world’s best digital broadcast platforms with a much higher resolution than the traditional television broadcast that we have. The images and pictures appear more clear and sharp and sound quality is also enhanced. HDTV will improve the viewer experience by about 5 times over a regular television, coz it cuts down significantly on the noise.

Sun Direct offers almost 200+ channels and has all of the most viewed and new channels broadcasted in India. Sun Direct has also recently started to introduce International channels in all their basic packs.

The HDTV Package though currently seems to be a bit too costly at Rs.9,999(for the HD box) + taxes (Any basic pack must be purchased for 5 or 10 or 12 months for experiencing the service. Installation charge Rs. 1250 + HD content usage charge(Rs. 100 p.m.) extra.)

Are Training Videos really better than books?

For those who have a choice of actually ordering a training video or a book - the decision making calls for extreme thinking. For all those who are doing Microsoft Certification Courses like MSCE, MCAD, MCTS, etc or the various Cisco certification courses like CCNA there are umpteen number of choices and the most obvious ones come out to be a video training course or a book.

Books have traditionally been the matter of choice while preparing for exams, but do they really fit in when you want to take some competitive exams that really test your skills and ability to perform. I for once, doubt that having a mere bookish knowledge will not definitely help in any way.

Training Videos seem to be the best option in such situations. Videos show you the practicality of doing things and the demonstrations get easily registered in your mind. I recently checked out a website that specializes on a+ training videos. Well, these are very specially designed videos for each of the courses. Each video starts of with an introduction and a brief specifics on what is being covered in the video. You also have some really cool and interactive lab sessions designed in the video which simulate the actual workings of the topic - this helps a person easily register the session in his/her mind.

The player used in the videos have all the basic operations that you will find on the latest media players and you can at any time pause and then resume at a later point of time. I for once found the Bookmarking functionality to be very useful to bookmark important concepts that can be retouched later in time. Also, these videos come with a complete Course Map by which you can easily select specific topics to cover and finish them. The search functionality too helps you out - you can search by words or phrases.

You can take notes right away and also print the content for easy review and to study offline. Finally, you can congratulate yourself by printing a certificate of course completion. So, with so many possibilities - books will sure remain an impasse to these modern training videos.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Easy tips to Working smarter and Not harder

The old saying goes as "Working smarter is not necessarily harder". Today I'll tell you all the secrets on how you can master the concept which will easily make your entire working life that much more easier.

These are very simple yet practical techniques that you can employ to save steps and tedium from almost any task. So, here we go - and keep this a secret too (Just kidding - please share this with your friends and well-wishers as always).

First I'll explain the simple Steps To Follow:
  1. Assess everything that needs to be done. Before you plunge in headfirst, remember that enthusiasm needs to be tempered with actual and sound wisdom. Look over every aspect of the job at hand, and allow yourself ample "pondering time" so that you can be sure that every detail is accomplished on time, and accurately.

  2. Make an outline. Whether it's in your head or on paper or on your laptop.Y o u should have a checklist in mind, and follow it to the letter, and in order - you don't want to repeat steps, duplicate the efforts of others, or make mistakes. Also, you definitely don't want to forget anything. Am i not right?

  3. Consider the materials you'll need for the task. Don't take shortcuts, when possible, on the quality of your materials. Cheap materials are harder to work with, because they aren't as sturdy or nice. Because they're harder to work with, they take longer to bend to your will. Remember that working smart means thinking about these things - in most jobs, the materials aren't where the majority of the costs are. It's the labor - the time needed to complete the job - that costs the company more money. Using inexpensive materials where they are easily installed makes sense. Trying to save a few bucks but spending an extra hour or two because those cheap things didn't install properly doesn't make any sense at all.

  4. Follow your plan and don't deviate from it - unless you really must. Once you've assessed the job and come up with a plan, it's usually best to stick with the plan. However, things come up: a part doesn't fit, or it turns out it's not the best item for the job, someone gets sick, all sorts of emergencies can throw a wrench into your plan. Be prepared to think on your feet, and be resourceful. Nimble thinking is essential to working smart, especially when something goes wrong. Following a plan slavishly, in spite of new information, developments, or problems is just plain dumb. But also be flexible and change if you need to.

  5. Delegate to the right people at the right times. This is a very big mistake we usually make. Do make sure your team is well-ordered. If one person is faster, put him or her on the part of your task that will take longest. If one person is more skilled and accurate, put him or her on the part of the task that is most critical.

  6. Work parallel'ly - this results in faster time-lines. This means that there may be four or five, for example, components to your job. Let's say you are a design and display company creating a display for a county fair. Your client wants a combination of signs, banners, flyers, and brochures, along with a booth design. You set your best designer in motion to design the copy and look of things, but meanwhile, you assign someone to procure what essential supplies you will need. So far, you could be having one of your people contact printers to get pricing for the number of flyers and/or brochures your client wants, and another to take an inventory of what sign and banner materials you already have on hand - vinyl or paint colors, banner sizes, pre-cut blanks. This way, once the client meeting is complete and you have a good idea of what is going into the installation, you can match it to your inventory and see if there are things on hand that you can use to get started, while someone else goes and gets the things you still need.

  7. Keep your clients under control by communicating properly. This is something that I learnt at my current organization and it works wonders -trust me. Many times, it's hard to work smart because your clients will insist that their job is a big rush. Instead of scrambling to get that job done, make sure your clients understand in the initial meeting what your normal turnaround time for their job would be. If you know you will need two weeks, don't let the client squeeze you into one week unless that client is willing to pay extra for the rush. Most businesses have more than one client, yet many clients forget that their job is not the only one you're working on.

  8. Always stick to your policies. If you charge extra to rush a job, don't deviate from that, ever. It's unfair to apply policies to some customers and not others. When one client comes in and is very pushy, feeling entitled to your undivided attention immediately, often, you can simply say something like, "Sure, we can rush the job for you, but I need to let you know that it will cost extra - probably as much as 50% more than the original quote, for the rush." It's amazing how quickly this type of client stands down, saying, "Oh, forget that - it's not that big a rush. We can wait." Just let them know that you are willing to rush their jobs, but by doing so, you must move other customers who were "in line" before them out of the way - causing you to run those jobs behind. Plus, you need different workers to complete different jobs, and rushing requires you to pay them overtime, rather than allowing more time to complete the job during regular hours. This is smart - it lets your clients know that you really know your stuff, plus it relieves your schedule or makes you more money.

  9. Always give one to three choices - never more. Handing a swatch book to a client and saying, "Tell me which colors you are interested in" is deadly. Too many choices will cause horrible delays as the customer peruses ALL possibilities, and later tends to second-guess every decision, wanting to see it now "In green?" . Instead, say things like, "Do you like this blue or this green better?" Lots of the jobs you do will instantly suggest certain tools, colors, approaches, materials, etc.

  10. Never willingly trap yourself into accepting a bad job. You know when a job is going to be great. You also know when you get that "uh-oh" feeling that something is not right. A client or boss who pressures you into areas where you are not comfortable, either because it is an unreasonable expectation or because it's outside your scope needs to be aware immediately of your discomfort with the job as proposed. Make any misgivings clear instantly, and in front of others, if possible. If you are self-employed, declining a job like this is much smarter, even though it's so hard to let that money go when you depend on every job for your livelihood. Still, a client who doesn't pay because you didn't adhere to every jot and tittle of his demands (and some are just breathtakingly demanding) is not a good customer in the end, and if you work for hours and end up not being paid all or part of what you worked for - especially when you were sweating bullets over it the whole time - is not smart. And it's the hardest work you'll ever do.

  11. Always work as hard and as efficiently as possible, and finish each job as quickly as you can. Hit every job with everything you've got. Getting it done quickly and efficiently - while you have the time - is much smarter than looking at the schedule and telling yourself you have three more days to get it done, and then going to a long lunch or off to play tennis or whatever. You don't know what will happen tomorrow - you might come down with the flu. Figuring that you will need only one day to complete that job if nothing goes wrong and then sitting on it just because you can is dumb. If you end up getting sick, you might not even be well enough to finish on time, let alone early. Running out the clock on jobs when you don't absolutely need to can force a rush at the finish line, or worse, deprives you of opportunities you might not have otherwise.

  12. Recognize the point of 'diminishing returns.' The above steps do not imply that you should work yourself to the point of exhaustion. You need to protect your health and the integrity of your job. Working yourself to a frazzle constantly makes you prone to mistakes. When you're so tired that you realize it's taking you twice or three times longer to do a job than normal, you need to call it a day. Rest at least a few hours, and come back fresher, so that you can be strong at the end of the job. Learn how to power nap(maybe I'll write another article on this sometime later).

  13. Always Finish strong. It's sooooo important! Being dead tired and sluggish at the finish line is not smart - it's foolish. Be sure that you are well rested at deadline time. On the day a client is expected to pick up his or her job, go over it with a fine-toothed comb - and this means checking the finished product against the original instructions, making sure they match up. Check it for accuracy and detail, make any adjustments, corrections or touch-ups well ahead of the time the client will arrive. Making sure every last detail has been checked and re-verified will make you confident and calm when your client comes to pick up the job. You can present it proudly, knowing that everything has been done to ensure the client will be happy with the finished product. Your confidence spills over to the client, which also makes it easier to ask for that final payment - when you see the client smiling and appreciative of the work you've done for him or her. This works for any project you have to do in life.

Here are also some cool Tips to get you there really..
  • When you can work, do. Don't slack or allow time to run out so that you're rushing at the end to meet a deadline.
  • When you're sick, stay home and rest until you are well. You make too many mistakes when you're ill or tired to call that "working smart."
  • Learn to make your money work for you. Working a lot and spending every penny you make is NOT working smart!

And here are some general Warnings that you must Adhere to

I mentioned above that you should avoid taking a bad job. By that, it's meant that you know that it's a sort of thing you aren't good at, or that is not part of the usual services you offer, or that it's something you don't know much about. Instead of trying to boss your way through it, tell the truth. And if you get an "uh-oh" feeling from the client, don't take the job. If you have a sense right away that this client is not on the same page with you, either you must take steps immediately to get them there, or you must not take the job. This doesn't suggest that a difficult client is a bad client - often, a difficult client isn't really so difficult at all, once s/he knows you and trusts you to do the good job s/he requires. But one who constantly grinds for discounts, tries to get you to cut corners to save money, or changes scope of job or deadlines in the middle of everything, this is someone who will work your last nerve. You must ask yourself if the money you make on these jobs is worth the time, effort and tears. * There is one other situation you should take caution with, and that is allowing the customer to make changes mid-stream, causing you to go out of pocket much more than you originally planned. A little tweak is one thing. A big change should stop everything while you re-think - and re-bid. The client should be made aware instantly that it's not "just a little change", and that making changes in mid-job could cost significantly more. Don't allow yourself to be suckered into making "just a little adjustment" more than one time during a job. Some clients have this down to a science, asking for "small changes" several times when you're already heavily into the project. Many huge problems and disagreements (usually resulting in you not getting paid as you should have, had you bid the job this way originally) start with "small changes."

Hope this article enlightened you - I spent quite a lot of time on this and look forward for your thoughts too.

Summers' here - Choose the best cooling solution

Atleast here - the Summer has begun and most have started to hunt for the best cooling solution. Well, portable air conditioners are the newest fad in the market.

Portable air conditioners are truly unique in that they are comparatively small, portable and can be easily moved from place in the house to another place. Though they still have an exhaust tube that must be vented out outside the house like a normal air-conditioner, they are truly portable in the sense that they require no permanent installation and can be easily moved around.

Most portable air conditioners come with what is called a window venting kit. This venting kit easily slides into a window and can be easily fit. Newer ones come with door venting kit too. The exhaust hose is easily fit into the appropriate space in the window kit, and the unit is ready to go. To know more details about the ins and outs of installing portable air conditioners contact your local technician or the sales man(watch out, you may be taken in for a ride).

Portable air conditioners virtually always have caster wheels for movability or easy portability. They consist of one "box" that holds both the hot and cold side of the air conditioner in one and they use their exhaust hose to expel heat. There are several ways to get rid of the water that the air conditioner condenses out of the air. Most units collect this water in an internal drain bucket, but some units exhaust the water through their drain hose. Some units have pumps that pump the condensate water out through a tube in their drain hose. Most models that collect condensate water in an internal bucket can also be adapted for direct drain off. There are also now models ib the market that produce no water at all.

Happy shopping and hope you make the right decision.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Do employers really perceive online learning degrees?

Recently I was looking for doing a online learning course and was really confused to one question - Do employers really perceive online learning degrees? and here's what I could perceive of the situation.

Most employers really care less if you have got a masters from Harvard or a masters from an online university, they still have the same payscale as long you simply have the qualifications (pretty ridiculous as it may seem). Other employers put more emphasis on traditional colleges than the ones done on correspondence or online.

In an indirect (and maybe somewhat unfair) way, it may be generally viewed that a traditional college setting requires more work and commitment, and therefore is valued more. It doesn't mean there aren't plenty of very smart people with only online training / educations but when you walk in for an interview, generally you are being sized up in a very short period of time, and human bias is always a factor.

You never know how the interviewer is going to perceive you but as long as you stand out well and are educated and well-spoken in your interview, you should be mostly okay. I personally feel that with all the technology advancement - an online course is just as good or at times better than a good old classroom one.

1 million plus Skype downloads on iPhones already

Looks like Skype has made a dent into the iPhone market too - tough it launched pretty late after a couple of years of the iPhone. But it sure looks like it is on the path for the numero Uno position on VOIP calls on the iPhone too. The Skype version for iPhone was launched on 1st April and till date it has recorded a million plus downloads already!!!

Skype blogger Peter Parkes posted a quick update on the official blog sharing this great news!! I suppose now that Skype is one of the fastest-downloaded apps of all time in the iTunes app store - it now accounts for an average of six downloads each passing second. Let's wait and watch if Skype has truly raised a storm in the iPhone VOIP market. You can download the Skype app for Iphone here for free.

BTW, as always Skype to Skype calls are free :)

Lenovo T60p, Lenovo T61p and all HP portable machines at risk of Data Corruption : Courtesy Windows 7

As I have been exploring Windows 7 RC1 for quite sometime now. I hit upon this rather dangerous news, for all you folks out there who are running Windows 7 (irrespective of the builds - either Beta Build 7000 or 7048 or 7057 or recently leaked Build 7068) on a Lenovo T60p, Lenovo T61p and all HP portable machines are at a very high risk of Data Corruption.

Microsoft has recently warned that testers of Windows 7 could come across data-corruption issues on various machines including computers from Lenovo and HP. Data Corruption is the worst thing that can happen to you - coz you'll have bits and chunks of your data and most probably that data might not be useful as it may not open up at many times.

According to Microsoft the problem lies with the Offline Files service and the Client-Side Caching (CSC) driver, which fail to work together. Users running Windows 7 on Lenovo T60p, on Lenovo T61p, and on HP portable machines are at a very high risk of having their data corrupted. Both the 32-bit and the 64-bit variants of Windows 7 Beta Builds were affected.

But luckily, Microsoft is currently offering a hotfix designed to resolve the issue. the hotfix can be found here.