Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year's Eve, and Counting Down to 2012....

As we usher into 2012, I wish you and your family all the best of health, great wealth and all your wishes coming true. And 2012 will be one of your best years ever. Happy New Year to All. :D

Thank you all for visiting my blog.  You can follow me on twitter by clicking on the twitter widget on the top right hand corner of the page, or simply by scanning the QR code.  Cheers!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Teamwork!

Here's an interesting version of the race between the Rabbit & Turtle story.

 

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Apple plots smartphones powered by hydrogen


Apple is working on laptops and smartphones powered by hydrogen fuel cells that would last for weeks without needing to be refueled, patent filings have revealed
In two documents submitted to the US Patent and Trademark Office, the iPhone maker said its proposal "eliminates the need for a bulky and heavy battery".

A hydrogen fuel cell converts hydrogen and oxygen into water and electrical energy.

The technology has long been touted as a potential power source for cleaner cars. Electronics manufacturers also have shown growing interest in replacing batteries that rely on toxic chemicals with hydrogen fuels cells that would last longer and produce only water as a by-product.

"Our country's continuing reliance on fossil fuels has forced our government to maintain complicated political and military relationships with unstable governments in the Middle East, and has also exposed our coastlines and our citizens to the associated hazards of offshore drilling," Apple says in its patent filings.

"These problems have led to an increasing awareness and desire on the part of consumers to promote and use renewable energy sources."

It also notes that hydrogen fuels cells could be smaller and lighter than batteries, while still powering mobile computers for longer.

"Such fuel cells and associated fuels can potentially achieve high volumetric and gravimetric energy densities, which can potentially enable continued operation of portable electronic devices for days or even weeks without refuelling," Apple said.

The two patents, "Fuel Cell System to Power a Portable Computing Device" and "Fuel Cell System Coupled to a Portable Computing Device" not the first signs that Apple is working to replace battery technology. In October a further pair of patent applications detailed ways of squeezing more power from lighter hydrogen fuel cells.

Battery technology has long been viewed as a bottleneck in the smartphone industry, leading microchip developers to focus on developing processors with lower power consumption. THE DAILY TELEGRAPH
Source:

Three Agile Methodologies — and How to Use Them in Non-IT Projects


Many project managers working in software development are well acquainted with rapid-fire deliverables and constant iteration of agile. But now, agile is gaining ground in other industries.


“If you look at the principles—collaboration, daily face-to-face communication—they are all good practices for any team trying to deliver a product or a service,” says Michele Sliger, an agile consultant and owner of Sliger Consulting, Denver, Colorado, USA. Ms. Sliger also served as a member of the PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)® Steering Committee.
Agile methodologies
Here’s a look at three popular agile methodologies, and how they can work outside of software development.

1. Scrum
Scrum has found its way into a variety of projectized organizations, including law firms and universities.

Here’s how it works, according to the non-profit Scrum Alliance:
  • A prioritized wish list called a product backlog is created.
  • During the planning phase, the team selects a small chunk from the top of that wish list, called a sprint backlog, and decides how to implement those pieces.
  • The team is given a certain amount of time, called a sprint, to complete its work and meets each day to assess its progress.
  • At the end of the sprint—usually two to four weeks—the work should be ready to hand to a customer.
  • The sprint ends with a sprint review and a retrospective.
  • The next sprint then begins.
For Scrum to cross over into other industries, you would have to: “break down the requirements into a discrete set of items that could be worked across a set of iterations,” says Bob Tarne, PMP,engagement manager for IBM Software Group in Lenexa, Kansas, USA.
He used the example of working with an editor and illustrator on a publishing project.
“We break the book into chapters and start iteration one with chapter one,” he says. “We do the writing, get the illustrations done and do editing all within a [sprint]. We review at the end of the [sprint] and then plan out iteration two with chapter two.”

2. Kanban
With roots in the automobile industry, Kanban is adaptable to non-software development projects—especially human resources and legal—because its principles are not associated with any specific practice, says Abdiel Ledesma, PMP, owner of the Equation Group in Panama and president of PMI Panama Chapter.

Those principles are:
  • Visualize the workflow.
    This can be done by using a card wall, with the columns on the wall representing the states or steps in the workflow and the cards representing the work items.
  • Limit the works in progress.
    “If your team was working on five items at a time and not making progress, reduce that number to two or three,” Ms. Sliger says. “Select the most important, most valuable work items. Always be working on the next most important thing.”
  • Manage flow.
    The flow of work through each state or step should be actively monitored, measured and reported in order to evaluate positive or negative effects of incremental and evolutionary changes.
  • Make process policies explicit.
    Ensure an explicit understanding of the mechanism of a process to achieve a rational, objective discussion of issues—and facilitate consensus around improvement suggestions.
  • Improve collaboratively.
    To truly leverage Kanban, teams must collaborate. “Kanban is like any other agile method in that the team can meet as a team to plan, meet daily for a stand-up, and can choose to do retrospectives to inspect and adapt their process,” Ms. Sliger says. “All these items and more involve collaboration and continuous improvement.”
To adapt to a human resources project, for example, visualize the hiring process through a Kanban board. Categories on the board would include a column for the candidates who submitted résumés, a column for candidates who are qualified for the position and a column for candidates who have moved past the phone interview process. Support that workflow with a document that outlines who is responsible for these different roles and kickoff the process with a short meeting attended by all stakeholders.

3. Extreme Programming (XP)
The name alone may turn off many project teams working on projects outside of software—and they may be right. XP focuses on test-driven development, small releases and a team structure that includes the customer, whereas traditional project management approaches generally do not, Mr. Tarne says.
Many of the rules for this agile methodology are designed specifically to address coding, designing and testing. Take planning, for example: A traditional project does planning up front; XP says to plan the release at a high level, but plan each iteration at its start (or every two weeks).

But XP does offer some lessons learned for non-IT projects.

“The most powerful of agile practices is the recognition of the people as the most valuable project asset and leadership as the catalyst,” Mr. Ledesma says. “XP has five values that can be emphasized in non-software development projects: simplicity, communication, feedback, respect and courage.”
Those values can—and should—be applied to all projects in every industry, Mr. Tarne says. “Communications is a great example,” he says. “I’ve seen a number of projects get derailed because of poor communications.”

Before You Adopt an Agile Approach…

No matter what agile methodology implemented, remember that it will work more efficiently with your organization’s support. Agile is best suited for organizations that value discussion and collaboration and support employees learning from their mistakes.
If your organization is not familiar with agile, you can help increase their buy-in by de-emphasizing the technical jargon commonly referenced in agile methodologies. Devote some time to explaining agile: how projects will be planned, how team members will deal with changes and how work is prioritized so they can focus on the more important items first.
Visit PMI’s Agile Toolbox to get training in agile techniques and to access books, papers and other materials.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Five Things You Should Stop Doing in 2012


by Dorie Clark
I recently got back from a month's vacation — the longest I've ever taken, and a shocking indulgence for an American. (Earlier this summer, I was still fretting about how to pull off two weeks unplugged.) The distance, though, helped me hone in on what's actually important to my professional career — and which make-work activities merely provide the illusion of progress. Inspired by HBR blogger Peter Bregman's idea of creating a "to ignore" list , here are the activities I'm going to stop cold turkey in 2012 — and perhaps you should, too.
  1. Responding Like a Trained Monkey. Every productivity expert in the world will tell you to check email at periodic intervals — say, every 90 minutes — rather than clicking "refresh" like a Pavlovian mutt. Of course, almost no one listens, because studies have shown email's "variable interval reinforcement schedule" is basically a slot machine for your brain. But spending a month away — and only checking email weekly — showed me how little really requires immediate response. In fact, nothing. A 90 minute wait won't kill anyone, and will allow you to accomplish something substantive during your workday.
  2. Mindless Traditions. I recently invited a friend to a prime networking event. "Can I play it by ear?" she asked. "This is my last weekend to get holiday cards out and I haven't mailed a single one. It is causing stress!" In the moment, not fulfilling an "obligation" (like sending holiday cards) can make you feel guilty. But if you're in search of professional advancement, is a holiday card (buried among the deluge) going to make a difference? If you want to connect, do something unusual — get in touch at a different time of year, or give your contacts a personal call, or even better, meet up face-to-face. You have to ask if your business traditions are generating the results you want.
  3. Reading Annoying Things. I have nearly a dozen newspaper and magazine subscriptions, the result of alluring specials ($10 for an entire year!) and the compulsion not to miss out on crucial information. But after detoxing for a month, I was able to reflect on which publications actually refreshed me — and which felt like a duty. The New Yorker , even though it's not a business publication, broadens my perspective and is a genuine pleasure to read. The pretentious tech publication with crazy layouts and too-small print? Not so much. I'm weeding out and paring down to literary essentials. What subscriptions can you get rid of?
  4. Work That's Not Worth It. Early in my career, I was thrilled to win a five-year, quarter-million dollar contract. That is, until the reality set in that it was a government contract, filled with ridiculous reporting mechanisms, low reimbursement rates and administrative complexities that sucked the joy and profit out of the work. When budget cuts rolled around and my contract got whacked, it turned out to be a blessing. These days, I'm eschewing any engagement, public or private, that looks like more trouble than it's worth.
  5. Making Things More Complicated Than They Should Be. A while back, a colleague approached me with an idea. She wanted me to be a part of a professional development event she was organizing in her city, featuring several speakers and consultants. She recommended biweekly check-in calls for the next eight months, leading up to the event. "Have you organized an event like this before?" I asked. "Can you actually get the participants? Why don't you test the demand first?" When none materialized, I realized I'd saved myself nearly half a week's work — in futile conference calls — by insisting the event had to be "real" before we invested in it. As Eric Ries points out in his new book The Lean Startup , developing the best code or building the best product in the world is meaningless if your customers don't end up wanting it. Instead, test early and often to ensure you're not wasting your time. What ideas should you test before you've gone too far?
Eliminating these five activities is likely to save me hundreds of hours next year — time I can spend expanding my business and doing things that matter. What are you going to stop doing? And how are you going to leverage all that extra time? 

More blog posts by Dorie Clark

Saturday, December 24, 2011

How 33 Famous Brands Got Their Names


Now scroll down the list and then tell us how many did you already know?

Skype

Adidas

source: uttertrivia.com


3M

7-Eleven


Intel

Canon

Coca-Cola

Ebay

IBM


Lego

Nike

Nikon


Nintendo

Nokia

Pepsi

Reebok

Sega

Sharp


Vodafone

Volkswagen



Thursday, December 22, 2011

Building the Perfect and Sexiest Micro 4/3 Camera kit for under $2500



So there you have it…
If you have about $2500 to spend and want to buy a new camera kit that is small, sexy, capable, AND versatile then the E-P3 and lenses/accessories above can give you quite a bit of “BANG for your BUCK”. Sure, with $250o you could buy many other cameras but none will be an entire package like the one above. Sure you can spend less and buy a new Olympus E-PL1 or old E-P1 but the list as I typed it out above is sort of an “Ultimate” list for this format, what I deem to be the best of the best that this format has to offer for photography. The best of the lot. The camera, the lenses, the accessories. It is what I love and I have been using this setup more and more lately and thoroughly enjoying it.
To recap:
  • The Olympus E-P3 camera with kit lens – $899
  • Olympus 12mm or SLR Magic/Noktor 12mm – $499-$799
  • Panasonic 20mm 1.7 – $349
  • Olympus 45 1.8 – $399
  • Olympus EVF – $179-$249
  • Barton Strap – $79
To read all about the details:

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

List of Samsung Galaxy Devices Getting Android 4.0 Upgrade


  • Galaxy R 
  • Galaxy Tab 10.1 
  • Galaxy Tab 8.9
  • Galaxy Tab 7.7 
  • Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus
Samsung will make separate announcements on the schedule and availability of updates for each market according to market situation and carrier's requirement. Other Android vendors such as HTCMotorola,Huawei and LG also unveiled upgrade plans for their respective mobile devices. 
Source: Samsung Tomorrow via The Verge

5 Easy Ways to Stay Motivated



Face it: There are days when being an entrepreneur sucks. Here are a few simple steps to getting your mojo back.





No matter what you do for a living, the key to success is superlative performance, day after day after day. And that’s only possible if you make optimism, expectancy, and enthusiasm part of your daily experience.

That’s easy if you’re pursuing your life’s dearest dreams.  But what if, like almost everybody else in this world, you’ve got a job that’s not exactly perfect. Here’s how to remain a go-getter, even when the getting gets tough:

STEP #1: Realize That YOU Are in Control
Your attitude isn’t controlled by the outside world.  That’s an illusion, a fantasy that, if you believe it, you’re simply using to escape responsibility for managing this all-important part of your career.
For example, if you run into snowstorm that’s making you late to a customer meeting, you can get frustrated and start cursing..., or you can look forward to the appreciation that the customer might feel because you were committed enough to fight the weather to make the meeting.

Similarly, when the economy goes south, you can start obsessing about how it’s going to affect your job, or you can be one of those individuals who use tighter budgets as a way to streamline operations, develop new markets and create innovations.
It’s all in how you see it!

STEP #2: Neutralize Your Negative Triggers
Stop letting exterior events trigger negative thoughts.
For example, suppose you’re traveling to a customer meeting but keep running into red lights and traffic delays. That IS a problem, but if you get flustered, you’ve got TWO problems: the fact that you’re late, and the fact that you’re flustered.

And if you walk into the meeting flustered, the customer might wonder if you’re moody and unreliable. So now you’ve got THREE problems.

To get a better result (and achieve a better attitude), modify your interpretation of exterior events that tend to trigger a negative outlook. Once the events in your life take on a different, more useful meaning, they won’t trigger a bad attitude.

For example, while the delays may be making you late, use the extra time to collect your thoughts, consider your options, and decide on a damage control strategy. Or use the time to come up with a better schedule, so that you always leave plenty of time, just in case there’s traffic.

As a mentor of mine once said: “Life is like those signs that say ‘You Are Here’  What you make of where you are is up to you.”

STEP #3: Detoxify Your Media Consumption
Much of today’s news programming consists of “if it bleeds it leads” stories followed by commercials offering some form of (often addictive) security or comfort. The constant flow of negative imagery automatically creates a negative attitude about life, the world, and everything in it.

If you want to maintain a positive attitude, you MUST reduce or even eliminate your exposure to broadcast news programming. Rather than waste time with that garbage, add material and content into your life that will help you become more successful (like this column!) 

Start and end each day reading something positive! When you’re on the road, rather than listening to negative, emotionally-charged talk radio, listen to motivational tapes, music that raises your spirits, or maybe great literature.

STEP #4: Avoid Negative People
You probably have one or more friends, relatives, or acquaintances who make you feel tired and drained. They always seem to have something sour to say; criticisms come to their lips far more quickly than compliments.

Such folk are toxic to your attitude (and hence to your success) because, if they’re not actively tearing down your enthusiasm, they’re trying to get you to think the same way about the world as they do.  What a drag!  Literally.

If you want to maintain a positive attitude, consider sharply limiting your daily exposure to such people. Don’t show up at the daily “water cooler complain-fest.” Don’t go to lunch with the “grouse and grumble” crowd. If you’ve got family members who are constantly negative, tune them out.

STEP #5: Adopt a Positive Vocabulary
The words that you use—both what you speak aloud and your internal dialogue—have a vast influence in how you perceive what’s happening in the world. All words carry a certain amount of emotional baggage, inherent in their exact definition and the way that they’ve been used in the past.

For instance, the words “despise,” “hate,” and “dislike” mean essentially the same thing, but carry very different emotional baggage. If you “dislike” something, but tell yourself that you “hate it” over and over and over, it will intensify the original emotion.

To keep a positive attitude, use weak words for negative feelings and strong words for positive ones. This thwarts the downward spiral of negative feelings and words, and accelerates the upward spiral of positive feelings and words.

The above is based upon a conversation with one my favorite people, motivation-guru extraordinaire Jeff Keller, and is a shortened version of one of the chapters in my newly-published book How to Say It: Business to Business Selling.