Archive for Business & Economy

Google Chrome Moving To Open Source For PDF Rendering With The PDFium Project

Google Chrome Moving To Open Source For PDF Rendering With The PDFium Project
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Google wants to change the way its browsers process the Portable Document Format, also known as the PDF file. As of now, Google Chrome uses a mix of proprietary and closed-source elements to process PDF files. It is now moving into a fully Open Source platform, using Foxit PDF‘s technology to achieve its needs. The project, called PDFium, is currently on Google Code, opening the process to the Open Source community. They are also working to match the Open Source process with the Chromium and the Chromium OS projects, which are Open-Source versions of the Google Chrome browser and the Chrome OS. Google wants to make the process as Open-Source friendly as possible.

According to tech pundits, Google seems to have no commercial interests at stake for the move. This project is likely to be geared towards moving their products away from commercial, closed-source and proprietary code, and onto a paradigm that’s more friendly to collaborative development. Moves that will certainly please the developer and Open Source communities.

A move that is highly in line with Google’s other pursuits. The Android mobile platform is purely Open-Source, and PDFium Project only reinforces that cause.

Sources:

Google Open Sources PDF Rendering

Foxit PDF Technology Chosen For Google Open-Source

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Tips for Using IM at Workplace

Tips for Using IM at Workplace
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Instant Messengers has gained widespread acceptance in the corporate space with more and more companies adopting IM for communication over email. Like any communication tool you can use IM effectively by following some tips. Using IM in the office is very different than personal use and hence these tips can be really helpful:

Be as specific and to the point as possible. Long chats and messages are often not received well in a corporate setting. Communicate your thoughts briefly and use IM for constant back and forth communications. If it’s a more complex topic, using video call feature in an IM is your best bet.

small__2588344751If you’re online make sure you respond quickly. Instant messaging is all about responsiveness. If you’re not prompt enough in our replies than IM becomes similar to an Email which defeats the purpose of fast communication. If you’re away from your desk for more than 5 minutes than set your IM status to away or drop a quick message to key contacts that you’ll be back online after a while.

Stop using abbreviations or chat language that you would normally use for personal chats. Words like LOL and BRB shouldn’t be used; they are not easily understandable by less tech-savvy users. Use proper English along with punctuations.

If you’re in middle of an IM chat, make sure you sign off from the chat in a proper way. Let the user at the other end know that you need to leave for whatever reason it is. Being responsive is the key for efficient use of IM.

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Cultivating a Remote Team for Your Organization

Cultivating a Remote Team for Your Organization
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Organizations both small and big are looking for newer ways to collaborate efficiently and rapidly. Many organizations today have a global footprint with employees in different countries and offices; the work from home culture is also gaining popularity with tech companies in particular. In such a scenario it’s important for businesses to embrace technological solutions to manage remote teams in a better way and in the process recreate an environment of a typical team working from the same office.

It’s extremely crucial to have clear and prompt communication channels setup with remote team members or else you could see productivity levels dwindling. Following are some of the key things you need to look into before you setup a remote team:

  1. Set a Schedule for Reporting: You need to setup a schedule for reporting meetings. They could be every week or everyday as well depending on the project scope. This ensures all remote team members know the progress of the project. It also helps team members to pitch in and help another member or provide any ideas or suggestions to speed up the process. The meetings need to be as brief as possible and to the point. You could use any enterprise grade instant messenger that has video calls as part of its feature list for conducting these meetings.
  2. Hiring the Right People: Working as part of a remote team requires a slightly different skill set from the regular team player. You would typically want to hire employees who take self responsibility seriously. Employees who can only dish out productive work when their boss is around the corner or a team lead sitting on the next table cannot be good remote team players. The people you hire should also be proficient with using team chat software or apps on smartphones since that’s quickly becoming a new standard in collaborative communication and even replacing email in some organizations.
  3. Using Technology: Remote teams require additional efforts for getting their communication act together since they don’t enjoy the luxury of a shared office space. Technology can be a key driver here in facilitating the smooth flow of communication among the team. You would want to research what kind of technology you’re investing in. It can be a good idea to experiment with free 30 day trials that a lot of communication and IM tools offer. This will give you a good idea of what team chat or group chat app and software works best for your setup.

 

 

Working and setting up remote teams is often considered to be an uphill task. Having team members work in sync like a well oiled machine can be a challenging but it just requires some planning and execution.
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Google Night Walk: An Immersive Maps Experience

Google Night Walk: An Immersive Maps Experience
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Google Maps is by far the best navigation tool available for public use. There’s no competition in sight and efforts from rival competitors like Apple have failed miserably. But Google is not resting on its laurels as it constantly looks to evolve its mapping solution to offer more rich and enhanced experiences for users. We all have come to love street view and now Google is extending that with night walk.

Google’s night walk although an experiment for now offers a really rich experience. It’s an in-depth tour of Marseilles, with your own private tour guide. The idea is to show how Marseilles looks in the night. The tagline says it all: explore the sounds, streets and soul of the city.

You can’t explore the whole city, but a majority of the famous places have been covered. The interface is similar to street view but with quite a lot of bells and whistles thrown in. So you will hear the voice of your tour guide as you move through different streets, alleys and corners of Marseilles. He will let you know the significance of the place and why it’s famous. You also get rich contextual information of the area in terms of photos and other information pulled from Google’s vast database. You can zoom in, zoom out and move around the city with the help of a map on the bottom left.

To make the experience closer to being real you will hear the sounds of the city. For instance, I was exploring the area where localities play football and you’ll hear sounds of the players and can actually hear the football being passed around. When it comes down to it, you need to try it to feel it. In the end I believe it’s the closest anyone has ever got to capture the spirit of a city. Interesting to see which city is next on the list. NYC anyone?
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Using Technology to Boost Business Productivity

Using Technology to Boost Business Productivity
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Making your business productive is a not an easy task, it requires a lot of concentrated effort and overall effective implementation of your strategy. Optimal utilization of resources is tricky but technology can be a great helping hand in realizing your long term goals. Allowing employees to use productivity apps on their smartphones and tablets for work purposes can yield great results. Following are a few tips to increase productivity using technology:using smartphones for productivity

  • Cloud Services: A lot of businesses are still reluctant to use modern day cloud services and apps. Using cloud services can to a great extent simplify the work flow for employees. Collaborative editing and sharing of files are really strong features. Simply use a free solution like Google docs for managing word, excel and powerpoint documents or you can use the Office 365 suite from Microsoft. With these tools at your disposal you can sync and share files with ease. No more sending files through email.
  • Mobile Apps: It’s a mobile and tablet first environment out there. Companies should encourage employees to use productivity apps like Quickoffice, Dropbox, Teamviewer, Zamurai and Clear among others. These apps have been developed to make life easier when you’re working.
  • Communication Tools: Being in constant touch with your colleagues on an important project or a strict deadline can make all the difference. You can deploy corporate instant messengers for quick and effective communication. This would minimize the need to wait for email replies. Real time communication is the key here.

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Eye Tests Made Possible With Smartphones?

Eye Tests Made Possible With Smartphones?
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Technology has helped tremendously in giving access to medical solutions to people across the globe. There are a lot of towns, cities and countries in the world that do not have the medical infrastructure to assist patients with their eye problems. This is partly because medical devices for examining your eyes cost a ton of money and not every hospital can afford it. But there is something positive to look forward to.

Researchers at the Stanford University have developed low-cost and highly functional iPhone adapters for taking high resolution images of your eye with the existing camera. The adapters can be used to snap pictures of your eye and even the retina with reasonable detail and then you can simply upload it to your medical record. The device is designed to be used with minimal training and patients can use it themselves too. The patient can than show the image to an ophthalmologist for further diagnosis. This reduces the cost attached for having high priced eye testing devices and optical cameras. It could be really helpful in rural areas where medical infrastructure is bare minimum.

stanford-adapterIn principle, there are two things in action here. One is the adapter for the anterior or front of the eye and there’s a fundus camera mount for the back of the eye. This can do wonders for testing eyes remotely and sending pictures across to the ophthalmologist at the hospital. The model is still in early stages and the researchers would be testing its efficiency against the more expensive eye testing devices. The cost for developing the anterior adapter is close to $15 whereas the 3D printed mount for the fundus camera costs $90 but the costs can be scaled down further.

David Myung, one of the researchers, says “Our ultimate goal is for this system to be usable by healthcare staff with minimal specialized training for taking high resolution retinal images”

It’s always a good thing to find out about innovations in technology that contribute to a social/health cause.
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Maximizing Your Team’s Efficiency with IM

Maximizing Your Team’s Efficiency with IM
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Team work has been an underlying foundation for the success of an organization in challenging times. Getting along with team members and forging a strong relationship has been a key factor for successful teams. Another important factor for truly top notch teams is the use of collaboration tools like Instant messengers to communicate, share files and get work done with team members scattered across the world. Group chat features in an IM can be really useful for teams handling small to medium size projects on strict guidelines.

Powerful group chat features in an IM has a lot of benefits over doing conference voice/video calls, where team members often overlap in their talks, there’s no record of what was discussed, and you surely can’t share files over the call. There are lots of IMs that have great one-on-one chatting features, but that doesn’t always make the cut for companies having teams spanned across continents. Business group chat features are specifically designed and tailor made to improve collaboration between team members and increase efficiency.

small_9180358591You can set up group chat rooms between different departments like marketing, sales and development. Add all the required members to the group and start discussing your project requirements with all the members. You can share files and send links to everyone at one go and even ask for suggestions from individual team members so other members can improvise on the suggestion and come out with the best solution. Virtual group chat truly enhances the brainstorming process which is essential for any competitive organization today.
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Using Instant Messengers at Conferences or Events

Using Instant Messengers at Conferences or Events
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Tech conferences and events are an exciting thing for tech geeks and nerds. You can learn a ton of new things and it’s a great opportunity to network with new people. You’ll get a chance to get your hands on the coolest new devices and services in the industry and its one hell of a ride. The recently concluded SXSWi was a grand success as expected.

A lot of journalists, bloggers, and marketing professionals attend these events to network and learn about the new trends emerging in the marketplace. In such a scenario using instant messengers can be really helpful for staying connected with their colleagues back at the office. You could be a blogger or journalist covering a live event or launch of a new product. Your colleague at the office needs quick updates on what’s happening at the moment. This is where instant messengers can play a crucial role.

small__917810014Additionally, you could report the latest happenings and news back to your colleague at the office. This could help him write an article or do a section for the live updates from the event. Even better you can send pictures from the event using your IM and share it on your blog article for your audience.

There are various other ways IMs can assist you at the events, such as having virtual meetings with your colleagues over a video call to discuss what things to cover next and deciding the strategy for the remainder of the event.

 

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Why a Retreat is a Great Idea for Professionals

Why a Retreat is a Great Idea for Professionals
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Retreats used to be thought (to some people) of as places for people to get over an addiction or to handle a personal crisis in their life. However, retreats of any kind can help business professionals in their career, as they hold many benefits that aren’t fully realized until the retreat is over.

Here is a list of some of the reasons why a yoga, meditation, writing, or silent retreat (or others) may be just what you need:

Increases Focus

When you are forced out of your daily routine of work and home (while trying to fit a social life in between), you can then start to work on the skills that can actually make you a better companion, friend, and parent. One of the great things about retreats is that they usually include workshops on improve focus and mindfulness, skills that can help you in any aspect of your life.

Lowers Stress

Another benefit of retreats is that they are usually held in beautiful places. This vacation atmosphere automatically makes most people relax, allowing them to soak in the experience since they are often so far away from home. Taking some days to focus on the purpose of the retreat can help lower the stress that comes with your career and family responsibilities.

Improves Self-Awareness

For many retreats, there are several intervals throughout the days that allow for self-reflection time or time alone, away from the group. This can be tremendously useful to professionals, as many of us don’t have the time to reflect on our own personal development. “Forced” silent time alone helps retreat-goers turn inward and make it possible to work out some of the personal and emotional issues that may have been affecting their work or home lives.

Additionally, group workshops, where participants often learn about one another, can allow for different perspectives to showcase experiences and ideals in a different way that you hadn’t thought of before. This makes group session an important aspect of self-awareness as well.

Creates Relationships

Because most retreats are more of a close experience, you really get to know the people in just a short time of the amount of days that you are there. Going through a retreat experience with others can help create a bond and friendship that is hard to cultivate almost anywhere else. While this could help you professionally, it’s important to go into a mindset of getting to know these people personally instead of hoping to further your business through them. A genuine interest in the person can help create those bonds that will last years after.

 

No matter the reason or location, retreats can be a great way to relax, pamper yourself, and learn a little bit more about yourself along the way. To find retreats that you are interested in, try searching the topic keywords and then the word retreat, or search for the country name you want to go to with the word retreat. You’d be surprised at what is available!

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Windows on Chromebook is now a Possibility

Windows on Chromebook is now a Possibility
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It’s a point proven; a lot of computers in the US still use traditional desktop applications that run on Windows. Not everyone has made a move to complete cloud solutions like the Chrome OS and it’s not going to happen in the foreseeable future because Windows still has a strong hold in major corporations and households across the globe. This has forced Google to team up with VMware and offer desktop virtualization services to its customers on Chromebooks.

Google’s selling plenty of Chromebooks but it’s still not mainstream because it lacks the tons of traditional Windows applications. With this move Google plans to offer you the best of both worlds. In practice this is how everything comes together:small_4170105491

  • Your IT department needs to install the Horizon Server which is a Desktop as a Service (DaaS) offering by VMware on your Chromebook. Buying server space on Horizon costs you money but Google estimates it’s still cheaper for organizations than to buy Windows 7 or 8 licenses.
  • Horizon runs Windows in a virtualized environment. All you need is to log in the server using Horizon view and start using windows on your HTML 5 compatible Chromebook.
  • You could still switch to the Chrome OS if you’re looking to run Google Apps.

This setup is especially helpful for organizations that don’t want to get bogged down with license and administrative costs associated with managing every PC. It’s also a viable proposition for companies looking to upgrade from Windows XP as Microsoft will stop supporting it in April. Companies no longer need to worry about security because Windows will virtually be beamed to your device from VMware. This is a great solution as organizations can leverage the remote computing and cloud power on their low spec Chromebook and still get the job done on legacy windows applications.
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