Category Archives: Tips & Tricks

3 tips on consuming criticism to evolve oneself

It just occurred that we all face criticism one or the other time, and either gulp it down, react strongly or get defensive.  Not only is time wasted reacting to it, valuable inputs are lost when criticism is not consumed. What can be done with it? Is it really helpful? Can it be consumed? Yes, to bring in a change, and to evolve oneself. And here’s how-to.

3 tips on consuming criticism effectively:

1. Accept that its good

If you let criticism hurt your ego, you’re not going anywhere. Understand that it’s really the best source to reflect and learn more about yourself. It will expose things you never knew or sensed. So don’t shy away, and encourage constructive criticism & confrontation!

2. Work on the negatives, forget the compliments

Flattery received (or given) adds up to nothing, ignore it. Compliments tell you what you’re good it, which helps motivate yourself an a bad day. The action items lie hidden in the negatives. Spend time to identify, investigate, verify and plan the change.

3. Know whom to listen to

This is perhaps the most important one. Don’t confuse like-ability and trustworthiness. Not everyone you like, likes you and in this world, there are a ton of people willing to compromise integrity to get their way and put you down. Listen to those whose advice you trust and still use your brains to filter what you hear.

For the record, this post is not the aftermath of some serious criticism or embarrassment 🙂

7 tips on dealing with situations!

In my last post, I spoke about unwanted surprises in life and how the human mind usually deals with them. In this part, I will share some guidelines that will help retain focus in tough situations. As I said before, I am no authority on this subject, but I will share what I learned (the hard way) & feel.

1. Stay in control

You will often find yourself in a state of shock when you experience something that you never thought of. The sooner you release yourself from this lock, will you find yourself with the capacity to deal with the situation. Motivate yourself to live life and tackle this situation.

  • Do not loose control of your mind, else you will find yourself being too dependent on others.
  • Do not make a compromise or you will find yourself slipping into a dream world, that you will never want to leave in the fear of reality.
  • Do not leave things to time or just dream that someday this will fall in place, or you will repent later for not having tried enough.

2. Don’t mix the past and the current situation & think fresh!

Introspection is the key to dealing with situations. It is always worthwhile going back in time to see what happened, and try to determine factors that must have given rise to the current situation. But it is not at all necessary that those factors alone triggered the situation. Hence, it is as important to deal with these two information elements  (learning from introspection & info about the current situation) separately, as important it is to understand them. Continue reading 7 tips on dealing with situations!

Automated Report Template for BITS DLPD Dissertation

This is not a blog post, but just sharing the report template used for the final semester dissertation/project at BITS, Pilani. I guess this is common to MS SS & MM courses offered by DLPD (WILPD). This is the result of the numerous email that keep floating during the semester, only adding to the confusion. So I created a Word template that one can use right away, for lazy bums like me who start late. Just define custom properties, and the report template will automatically fill itself up.

Usage:

  1. Download the file from either of the 2 links:
    DocStoc (latest)
    Box.Net
  2. On Windows, right-click, go to ‘Properties’, then the ‘Custom’ tab
  3. You will see all the fields used in the document like Report Title, Mentor Name, Student ID, etc.
  4. If not, in MS WORD 2007, go to ‘Prepare’ > ‘Properties’ from the OFFICE menu. Then ‘Document Properties’ > ‘Advanced Properties’ on the yellow band and ‘Custom’ tab on the pop-up.
  5. To modify a value,
    – Click on the field name in the field list
    – Change the ‘Value’ above
    – Click ‘Modify’
    – Repeat this procedure for all fields
  6. Do not delete any of the fields.
  7. Open the document now, select all the text (CTRL + A) and press F9.

I have taken care of the fonts, page numbers, table of contents, etc. You can copy-paste one of the existing chapters to create a new one. However, if something is missing as per the checklist, please bring it to everyone’s attention. We can discuss this via comments below.

Wishing you all good luck without your report & viva!

This intelligent template is dedicated to Sonal Purandare who motivated me to get started on the report and offered immense support in difficult times.

Get updates from any web page via a Feed43 RSS feed

As is evident from several posts on my blog, I am a total food freak! I am also a regular burrper. I have written several valuable reviews at Burrp and also received written appreciation from Burrp. A couple of months back I was thinking of copying food review from Burrp to my blog. Since that was going to be tedious, I went looking for a RSS feed from Burrp. It was sad they don’t offer it, but I wrote them my feedback. Now I was left with no option but to think out of the box!

The Need
The Need

And then the Web 2.0 enthusiast in me came to life! I had been using a service called Feed43 to process several feeds and remembered that it allows creating a feed out of any page on the internet. I checked the HTML source code of my Burrp profile page to find that reviews were quite structured in terms of markup. So why not let Feed43 read out the page and create a feed for my reviews? This way I won’t have to copy anything manually. Moreover, whenever I post a review to Burrp, it will be available on my blog in less than 6 hours (that’s the refresh rate for free feeds at Feed43) Continue reading Get updates from any web page via a Feed43 RSS feed

Tarpipe workflows for publishing updates to multiple social media sites

Off-late, I have had too much social presence on the internet. How do I manage it? Ping.fm! This service lets you pre-configure & then simultaneously update multiple social media sites by pinging Ping.fm which can be done via email, SMS (to a UK number – noooooh!) or a Jabber/Gtalk bot. Now that’s enough for the aam zindagi, but when you live the mentos (or should I say prasadgupte) zindagi, you might just want some processing to be done before you post to multiple services. That’s where TarPipe kicks-in! Here is a short tutorial.

Tarpipe lets you build custom workflows through an intuitive UI (like Yahoo pipes) to control how, where, and what part of your data is to be published. In my example, I’m creating a workflow to upload a photo to Facebook via email and then post its URL to Twitter & FriendFeed. I avoided using a URL shortening service to KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid)

My First TarPipe Workflow
My First TarPipe Workflow

I first drag a Email Decoder connector onto the canvas, and then Facebook, Twitter and FriendFeed. Note that bubble on the left side of a connector indicates ‘input’ & the one on the right side indicates ‘output’.

So when I connect the Mail Attachment bubble to the Photo in Facebook, it means that the attachment (a photo) will act as input to Facebook. On similar lines, the message body acts as the caption for the photo. The URL for the photo, generated by Facebook, will be available as output which I will use as a link in Twitter. The photo-thumbnail goes to Friendfeed along with the title & link. The title in either case comes directly from the email. Continue reading Tarpipe workflows for publishing updates to multiple social media sites

Google Transliteration: Type Indic languages in any text-box

Type in English, Save as Marathi
Type in English, Save as Marathi

Last week I stumbled upon this amazing service called Google Transliteration that can be accessed through a bookmarklet (jargon explained at the bottom). You can use this to type in one of the Indic languages in any text input box on the internet! (whether it really gets saved depends on the website 🙂 ) Language currently supported: Arabic, Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Nepali, Persian, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu & Urdu.

Update (21-Feb-10):
After reading this post, one my valued readers questioned the utility of this service! And this is what I wrote back:
Few years back acquiring Indic fonts, and learning to use Indic keyboard layout was a challenge. Google eased that with a web service which takes away reluctance to reply in local languages.
With such a service, an application developer need not provide for transliteration as a feature (its a feature in Gmail). Creating a database with double-byte storage is enough to record input in any language.

Also, Transliteration can help people understand how words are pronounced when they are familiar with a different script. However, this may not work when the same word is spelled in multiple ways. eg. Mohammed [Read more]
With CJV languages, transliteration will often yield only an approximate result.

Continue reading Google Transliteration: Type Indic languages in any text-box

Bulk Image Compression & Gift-CD in Picasa

For the last decade, I have been scuffling to find a tool that will reduce the quality of several images at once. Before Picasa Web Albums was available, I used to manually reduce the quality of my scanned or digital images to meet two constraints: available server space and bandwidth (offered by a free host) I used evaluation versions of a couple of tools, that didn’t live too long. In this post I will explain how Picasa lets you compress several images at once so that they can be attached to email; also, creating a Gift CD – a great way to share pictures with so-called ‘computer illiterates’! Continue reading Bulk Image Compression & Gift-CD in Picasa

LDAP Address Book in Mozilla Thunderbird

Necessity is the mother of invention

Although I haven’t invented anything, necessity has sure been the driving force for this post. A few of us share a common Novell mailbox at work. Since archiving is done locally on a single machine, it is not available to others. Tired of this, I migrated to Thunderbird a couple of months back. I set up my mailbox, created folders & message filters and a back-up utility. The only thing missing was my address book. While in Groupwise, names would auto-complete. So I went on to find a solution! Continue reading LDAP Address Book in Mozilla Thunderbird

Setting up my Press, Part 2: Choosing the right property

This trilogy titled ‘Setting up my press’, will definitely not serve as a tutorial, is only an account of my decade long experience with web hosts & getting along with WordPress. In Part 1, I discussed my build-or-use decision and WordPress PoC. In this part, I will put my decade long experience with web hosting to use to help buy web-estate wisely. Do stick around for Part 3 on installation tips & must-have plug-ins. Continue reading Setting up my Press, Part 2: Choosing the right property