Sciology = Science + Technology

Commonsense in Technology

New home to Blog content…

Posted by sureshkrishna on April 5, 2010

Thank you very much for all the readers to visit my blog and providing great comments. In the past few years, you made me to improve the posting style and the content. Starting from 2006, i learned especially the editing part of the blogs and this process enabled me to improve my thinking skills.

Starting from April 1st 2010, I have moved all the content of this blog to my personal website’s blog.

All the content, comments and images are successfully moved and all the new blogs will be posted under my website. This decision was taken to consolidate all my blogs (http://sureshkrishna.wordpress.com, http://tictactoeworld.wordpress.com and http://parenting4you.wordpress.com).

Thank you very much for your patronage and i hope you will enjoy my posts on my new website. http://sureshkrishna.com/blog

Posted in Technology | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »

Boss 4 : What if your Boss cant make a Decision ?

Posted by sureshkrishna on March 5, 2010

I see that many Leadership development and MBA programs talk about the “Leadership Skills” and “How to be a Good Manager”… and others. Interestingly, no one is interested in “How you should not be as a bad leader/boss/manager”.  This is my attempt to write on my own experiences and those of my friends and colleagues. Decision Making seems to be one of the inherent quality of a Boss (this Boss could be a leader or manager). Never the less people are often surprised and confused thinking why their Boss can’t make a “Decision”. You would think that it is the time to make THE Decision irrespective of a GOOD or BAD decision. A Decision is needed for many people in Personal and Professional life because of some obvious reasons…

  • A Decision gives you the Direction of Action. Without which one would be wandering in space without knowing what should be done.
  • A Decision helps you to Focus. If not, one is doing some part of many things and may feel that there is no sense of fulfilment.
  • A Decision helps you to Eliminate other Options and Pick One. One can reach destination only by choosing a Single Path and not by choosing more than one Path.
  • A Decision removes the Feeling of Unknown (and confusion).
  • In the end, a Bad Decision can be reworked but you can not do anything about No Decision.

There could be many bad decisions taken by bosses but at least that gives a sense of direction to the team that works for him. And now, there will be so many instances that you think your boss is not able to take a decision and you are paying a heavy price for that. You are driven in to more and more uncertainty and confusion when your Boss postpones or procrastinate a decision. Following are some of the issues that may and could cause your Boss’s inability to take a decision.

Obligation

At times your Boss is given that position not because he is worth that position but there is no one to fill that position. So, this Boss always feels obligated to his Boss (Super-Boss). He can not even approve a purchase order worth $25 as he is not sure if his Boss will approve the same. In this case your Boss knows that he is not worth that position and so does the Super Boss. The Boss is very paranoid about each and everything that you do. He may even think that you are his competitor.

If you get 1 million dollars in Lottery. You may not feel bad to pay 40% tax to state. It’s Free money any way.

Super Boss’s Pet

This Boss is given the position because Super Boss thinks he needs some one “Who knows him” and “Does not question him” in whatever he does. In this case even if your Boss knows what is the “Right” decision, he will not make it unless it comes from Super Boss.

You lick mine and i lick yours.

Contentment

Some Bosses feel that they achieved a great thing in life by becoming “Boss”. Once people become content, their urge to do “Good” work and “move ahead in the ladder” dies. This is not to forget that the manager may be definitely capable and intellectual…its just that at this point of life he feels content and they don’t have the drive.

Contentment curtails growth.

Fear of Failure

Some don’t want to make a decision unless it comes from his Boss. These people like to take the credit if some thing is a Success else they feel nice to pass the Failure back to the Boss. They want to say that, “I did this because you asked me to do”. Where as they themselves would want to postpone the point of decision as long as possible.

Biggest failure is not to make a decision and not to fail.

Of course, you may have seen many more reasons or subsets of above. This kind of Boss seems to be very painful as working with him will not give you any sort of contentment or growth. Sometimes the only way to get out of the situation is to come out of the team or company. Though, i have seen very few who took the charge and jumped the hierarchy to become his boss’s peer.

A Boss is a Boss. If you can’t change him, learn to handle him.

You may be interested in …

Posted in management, Technology | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Boss 3 : Bad BOSS can make you quit!

Posted by sureshkrishna on February 22, 2010

I resisted to write such an article for a long time (almost 3 years). I thought it is best written now. In the previous article about “How to be a good BOSS” few desirable characteristics are mentioned. What is not mentioned in that article is “How to be a BAD BOSS”. While i do want to write about the BAD BOSS, for this article i want to restrict the scope to few experiences that made one of my friend to quit his organization.

My friend (i call him “GoodFriend” in this article) joined this corporate in Mid of 2008 in Bay Area. He is a great quality assurance engineer with eight years of experience in Financial and Medical domains. GoodFriend joined this organization as this corporate “seems” to have good work culture. The hiring manager is same as his BOSS in the work too. So, at least the expectations of the candidate and the skill sets are known to the BOSS.

This BOSS seems to have a very bad mouth when it comes to employees and he had 4 tem-members for him self including my GoodFriend. The BOSS is an authoritative machine and wants to know each and everything that team-members do. Following are some of the questions that BOSS asks all the team members…

  • You look so relaxed, don’t you have work ?
  • BOSS sees the GoodFriend in cafeteria and starts asking about the work, results and deadlines.
  • If the GoodFriend turns up to office later than 9.00am, he asks “Why were you late and why did you not call me”.
  • If the GoodFriend needs a leave (even if it for 1 or 2 days), he needs to approach the BOSS at least 2 weeks earlier. Else, the BOSS is very angry and rebuke in front of the team.
  • It’s been almost 2 years this GoodFriend has joined but till now he could work from home only 17 days. He is afraid that the BOSS would ask the details of each and every hour at home.

While the above are only some of the other non-technical stuff. Following are the sarcastic and insulting comments that this BOSS does. Some times GoodFriend feels that the BOSS nay be feeling that he is in a race with him (Boss).

  • How many tests did you execute today and how much time each of them took ? And what did you do during the execution time.
  • “Hay… GoodFriend, just listen to me. Don’t use your brain.”
  • During the meetings, if the GoodFriend suggests some process or technical aspects, the BOSS would say, “Just follow what i say”.
  • You are a good Quality Engineer but you should also learn Java and C# coding. You should be flexible. When the GoodFriend says that he has no interest in programming. He is labelled as “Rigid” , “non-cooperative” and “Non-obedient” employee.

Once the GoodFriend has gone thorough all this humiliation and workplace sarcasm, he finally decided to QUIT the job and joined another small company that he worked previously. He could not take this any more and everyone else in his department seems to believe the BOSS than him. Anyway, he joined his previous company and feels GREAT about the move. He says, he feels so relieved, relaxed and works with high enthusiasm.

Lessons Learnt :

The BOSS is the window to any Organization. If that window is bad, your doors to the Organization are almost shut.

You can not give your best, if you are not satisfied with Work and Morale at work place.

Your BOSS’s attitude can ruin your years of expertise and may make you feel devastated.

Posted in communication, management, Technology | Tagged: , , , , | 64 Comments »

A close look at Google Privacy Policy!

Posted by sureshkrishna on February 13, 2010

For many Google seems to be a very cool Internet company and Google has become synonymous to Internet. For the people who are not in technology/computer industry, it seems to be too hard to believe that Google is more than just an e-mail service and Search Engine.

I compiled few important legal privacy notices from Google Website and you can imagine how your data, emails, chats, mobile apps and Buzz can be used.
Google may know you more than your parents, wife and kids

Google Buzz

Website : http://www.google.com/buzz/help/privacy.html

When you first enter Google Buzz, to make the startup experience easier, we may automatically select people for you to follow based on the people you email and chat with most. Similarly, we may also suggest to others that they automatically follow you. You can review and edit the list of people you follow and block people from following you.

When you use Google Buzz, we may record information about your use of the product, such as the posts you like or comment on and the other users with whom you communicate, in order to provide you with a better experience on Buzz and other Google services and to improve the quality of Google services.

If you use Google Buzz on a mobile device and choose to view “nearby” posts, your location will be collected by Google. If you use a mobile device to create a post which shares your location, then your location will be collected by Google and displayed to other users, as described when you first attempt to use Buzz on a mobile device. You may thereafter opt out of the collection and display of your location on a per-post basis. You can also choose to exclude your location from all of your posts.

If you chose to delete your Google profile, your Buzz posts will be deleted, but the comments and “likes” you have made on other people’s posts will not be deleted. You have the option to remove your comments on others’ posts individually if you’d like. Residual copies of deleted material may take up to 60 days to be deleted from our active servers and may remain in our offline backup systems.

Google Chat

Website : http://www.google.com/talk/privacy.html

Account activity. You need a Google Account to access Google Talk. Google asks for some personal information when you create a Google Account, including your email address and a password, which is used to protect your account from unauthorized access. A Google Account allows you to access many of our services that require registration. When you use Google Talk, we may record information about your usage, such as when you use Google Talk, the size of your contact list and the contacts you communicate with, and the frequency and size of data transfers. Information displayed or clicked on in the Google Talk interface (including UI elements, settings, and other information) is also recorded.

We use this information internally to deliver the best possible service to you, such as improving the Google Talk user interface and maintaining a consistent and reliable user experience.

You can uninstall the Google Talk software at any time through your computer operating system’s uninstall process. You may delete your contacts information or chat histories you have stored in your Gmail account by deleting them through Gmail or by deleting your Gmail account from the Google Accounts page. Because of the way we maintain this service, such deletion may not be immediate, and residual copies may remain on backup media.

Google Mail

Website : http://mail.google.com/mail/help/privacy.html

Gmail stores, processes and maintains your messages, contact lists and other data related to your account in order to provide the service to you.

When you use Gmail, Google’s servers automatically record certain information about your use of Gmail. Similar to other web services, Google records information such as account activity (including storage usage, number of log-ins), data displayed or clicked on (including UI elements, ads, links); and other log information (including browser type, IP-address, date and time of access, cookie ID, and referrer URL).

Google maintains and processes your Gmail account and its contents to provide the Gmail service to you and to improve our services. The Gmail service includes relevant advertising and related links based on the IP address, content of messages and other information related to your use of Gmail.

Google’s computers process the information in your messages for various purposes, including formatting and displaying the information to you, delivering advertisements and related links, preventing unsolicited bulk email (spam), backing up your messages, and other purposes relating to offering you Gmail.

Posted in Technology | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Design Patterns at a glance!

Posted by sureshkrishna on December 8, 2009

There is this short test on the web floating around. I captured the screen for everyones reference. I felt this is a simple, precise explanation of patterns. Enjoy.

Simple and Precise wording.

Posted in software, Technology | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Boss 2 : Does your Boss see you as his competitor ?

Posted by sureshkrishna on November 27, 2009

The title may sound strange, but it’s true in many cases. If you have considerable experience and worked with many bosses, you may have encountered this situation at least once. There are very few bosses who possess real Leadership skills. By this, i really mean that your Boss knows his boundaries, makes sure you know your boundaries, stands as an exemplary character and knows how to push your career in the right direction. Many Bosses i see are raising from the Juniors levels in the respective industry. That means they are struggling to juggle their core expertise and the desire to exhibit management skills and get recognized as a “Manager”.

While everyone agrees that healthy competition within and outside the organization is good for everyone, there are mixed feelings as to whether your Boss should see you as his competitor. Some of the managers are very paranoid about their own position or sometime they don’t understand the value of growth.

Growth Satisfaction : This is the most dangerous reason that would make the team frustrated about the work and the company. This sort of Boss thinks that he achieved a lot in his life and basically he is content with his position. He sees everyone working under him also as achievers. If one shows enthusiasm to do little extra, Boss thinks that it’s not necessary to do any thing other than their responsibility. He tries to shun the growth of the team-member by not letting this Ideas and communication some out of this team-member directly.

Boss does not even understand the fact  that the team-member needs recognition and wants to grow up in the ladder. The mere satisfaction of Boss could make him ignorant of others enthusiasm to grow.  Unless the situation is too bad, very few people would like to work with this kind of Boss. Or in the extreme case, the entire team is content with what they do.

Paranoid : Some situations, circumstances and timely decisions make this guy as Boss. May not be a perfect fit for the job but will do. This Boss never imagined he would get this position and he would like to keep it whatever happens. He starts suspecting his team, even if they go to a Coffee shop. Every suggestion that comes from the team undergoes a high scrutiny.

In most cases, these kind of Bosses may not possess great decision powers. So, working for them is like working for “Free”. No promotion, No reward, No bonus and No appreciation. Even if the team-member is capable, his Boss does not think so. Every effort that team-member makes to grow in and out of team becomes useless with the lack of the support by Boss. After all, everyone wants to respect his/her Boss and not By-pass. Even if one by passes his Boss, this can not continue for a long time as the Super-Boss wants to hear it from the Boss too.

Athlete : This is the name given by me and it is not a Management term. Your Boss is like an Athlete. He is highly skilled, fast paced and does not care about the others. He wants to be the first one to do anything. If the team-member wants to join him in the race, he will allow him to join the race as long as team-member is behind the Boss. This Boss is interested in only his growth and does not care whats happening to his team.

This kind of Boss is moving ahead is a fast pace. So, team-member will hopefully get a manager who understands them in future.

Guru : This kind of Boss is the one anyone would remember for their life time. This Boss teaches you, inspires you and recognizes the talent in you. He acts as a channel for your talent and you will be known to everyone inside and outside the team. He does not consider you as his competition, rather he thinks this as an opportunity for BOTH of you to grow. he works on a simple principle, “If YOU grow, I grow”.

In the end, it is not about, Good, Bad, Ugly. But, it is about how you take the situation and turn it into opportunity. Consciously knowing the nature of you Boss makes you better prepared for the situations. I am sure many of you would have had various experiences. Would like to hear your experiences too.

Posted in management | Tagged: , , | 4 Comments »

PGP Plugin for Thunderbird (instructions)

Posted by sureshkrishna on November 25, 2009

Recently, I had to use the PGP for the first time when one of my colleague wanted to send some documents securely. Over all, this is an easy process and works quite well. I use Windows XP, Thunderbird and gnupg for this to work. Following are some instruction to do this…

You download the software from http://www.gnupg.org if you’re using Windows. If you have Linux, you most likely already have GnuPG.

Enigmail is the plug-in for Thunderbird. You can get it from https://addons.mozilla.org. Alternately, on GNOME-based Linux, check out Seahorse. You can use GnuPG with Outlook, but it isn’t pretty. I would recommend Thunderbird any day.

The software will generate a key pair for you.

Unlike traditional S/MIME, where you use an X.509 certificate signed by a trusted CA, PGP / GnuPG is based on a more general model. You determine if a key is “valid” if it has been signed by someone you “trust”. So, let’s say, you trust that I will not sign any key without verifying that it actually belongs to who it says it belongs to. Then, you can be assured that any key you get that is signed by me is valid.

For distribution, you can upload your public key to a few key servers at PGP and MIT. Keep your private key, well, private.

Signing a message is easy. You just click a button in Thunderbird that says, “Sign message”.

Encryption requires that you have the public key of the person you’re sending the message to. Either he can give it to you, or you can download it from a key server that you trust and that he’s uploaded it to. Once the public key is downloaded, it is stored in your “keyring”. When you send a message to a person whose public key you have, you can click the “Encrypt” button, and it will work.

Posted in software | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Commercial and OpenSource OCR Softwares

Posted by sureshkrishna on November 4, 2009

After testing the FineReader, OmniPage, ReadIRIS, and SimpleOCR, Aspire, Tesseract….it is evident that ABBYY FineReader 9 is the best overall value, while ReadIRIS is the best OCR software for under $150.

The main features that differentiate OCR software are:

  • Character recognition accuracy
  • Page layout reconstruction accuracy
  • Support for languages
  • Support for searchable PDF output
  • Speed
  • User interface
  • API / SDK
  • Support / Consulting
  • Stability of the engine when processing large documents
Following are some of the Softwares that i played with and compared.
SimpleOCR is the popular freeware OCR software with hundreds of thousands of users worldwide.  SimpleOCR is also a royalty-free OCR SDK for developers to use in their custom applications. If you have a scanner and want to avoid retyping your documents, SimpleOCR is the fast, free way to do it.  The SimpleOCR freeware is 100% free and not limited in any way.  Anyone can use SimpleOCR for free–home users, educational institutions, even corporate users. Our own freeware OCR application provides acceptable accuracy for those who just need to convert a few pages and can’t justify the cost of commercial OCR software.  Developers can use the command-line and SDK versions to integrate SimpleOCR with their custom applications.

 

ABBYY FineReader

FineReader Professional is a highly accurate and easy to use OCR software that includes host of features including digital camera OCR, intelligent document layouts, image enhancement, barcode recognition and command line integration.  FineReader 9 is our pick for OCR software because its document layout retention will save you much time in reformatting documents you convert for editing

IRIS ReadIRIS

Affordable OCR software for business and home users.  ReadIRIS Pro provides a extremely accurate OCR recognition rate at a low cost, but still has some of the advanced features that higher priced professional OCR software includes.

Nuance OmniPage

OmniPage is widely considered the fastest, most accurate and fully featured OCR software.  OmniPage 17 Professional has a unique new feature that lets you convert any type of document to searchable PDF or Word. OmniPage does not have a downloadable demo. Nuance also does not provide free technical support after the first call.  For these reasons we recommend the ABBYY and IRIS products instead.

OmniPage is an Optical character recognition application available from Nuance Communications. Nuance Communications was acquired by ScanSoft, which also took over its name in October 2005.OmniPage converts images such as scanned paper documents, and PDF files, into file formats used by computer applications such as Microsoft Word, Excel, Adobe Acrobat, or HTML files.OmniPage is in competition with ExperVision (TypeReader), Readiris and ABBYY Fine Reader as well as free software such as GOCR and Tesseract.

http://code.google.com/p/tesseract-ocr
In computer software, Tesseract is a free optical character recognition engine. It was originally developed as proprietary software at Hewlett-Packard between 1985 until 1995. After ten years without any development taking place, Hewlett Packard and UNLV released it as open source in 2005. Tesseract is currently developed by Google and released under the Apache License, Version 2.0.

http://jmagick.wiki.sourceforge.net
JMagick is an open source Java interface of ImageMagick. It is implemented in the form of Java Native Interface (JNI) into the ImageMagick API. JMagick does not attempt to make the ImageMagick API object-oriented. It is merely a thin interface layer into the ImageMagick API. JMagick currently only implements a subset of ImageMagick APIs. Should you require unimplemented features in JMagick, please join the mailing list and make a request. JMagick has a LGPL (Lesser GNU Public License) license.

http://www.expervision.com
The award-winning TypeReader converts scanned documents into electronic files at speed of 8,000 pages per hour with maximum reliability. Desktop 7.0 offers added flexibility to handle color and grayscale images, with duplex scanning support to process documents in English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish, Polish, Hungarian and Polynesian. It employs an unparalleled recognition technology to support 2618 fonts. Users can choose to output to various formats including PDF, MS Word, Excel, Lotus 1-2-3, HTML, etc.

http://www.edocfile.com
Tiff to Text is designed to perform Optical Character Recognition (OCR) in a batch process. The program utilizes the OCR engine from Nuance (Owners of OMNI Page – formally ScanSoft) that is included with Microsoft Office Document Imaging (MODI).

http://www.simpleocr.com/OCR_Software_Guide.asp

Posted in software, Technology | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »

Boss 1 : What not to do as a Boss !

Posted by sureshkrishna on November 3, 2009

Some of my random observations and rants about BAD managers and bosses…

Motivation : Manager thinks that every employee has the motivation and he need not do anything. This is a typical problem i see in the managers who grow up the ladder from the technical streams. These manager’s seldom believe that employees need to be motivated to do their best and not all “jobs” are interesting.

Don’t assume that  employees have Motivation because you are paying for their work.

Right Job : At the time of recruiting, you have a set of job responsibilities and tasks that you want an employee to fulfill. Things change in time and so are  the responsibilities. As a manager, it’s your JOB to assign the right Task/Job to your employee. Are you wondering why your team-mate is not able to succeed or he is not performing to his level you imagined ?

Choose and Assign the right job for your team. If you ask them to do an ODD job, then apologize to them and explain the situation.

Information Sharing : Information spreads fast. Very Fast! If something is happening with your team, project or customer. Inform the team with the right information AS SOON AS POSSIBLE – ASAP. Holding back the information or maintaining the secrecy has a negative impact on the employees. They loose trust on you. Be informed that your employees always have contacts to get the information.

Understand that Information Sharing is CRITICAL. Never share an information that is stale and known to everyone except you.

All-In-One Responsibility : Some managers have the concept of “All-In-One/ Open Responsibilities”. This means, everyone in the team should be able to do everything. You know what, this is the Disaster Recipe. When we call set of individuals as team, we are talking about individuals who are specialized in an area and able to collate different strengths for a common goal. The side effects of this theory is that the individual employees are completely demoralized as they don’t work on any specialized task anymore. They are not experts in any area as they switch the context of the tasks very frequently. e.g. today they work on Java issue, tomorrow they work on Perl problem and day after they work on Install Shield. The important side-effect that i see is that none of the tasks will be “Complete” or “Perfect” or “Designed to Last”, because no one owns it.

Assign the Ownership of tasks and define the Responsibilities to Individuals.

Appreciation of Efforts : Individuals like to hear their appreciation in group and criticism in private. Unfortunately, some managers do other way round and this really sucks. Even if you slog for months and months, this manager does not appreciate you and he does not even look at you. He probably has an attitude of “You are working and I am working. You are getting pain and i am getting paid”.

If you need a stable team, be a God Father to your team in every respect.

I will keep on adding more and more to this list with my experience. I strongly feel that everyone knows what to do but very few know “What NOT to do” ;)

Did you experience similar things at your work place ? Do you have more points to add to this list ? Please do share your experiences…

Posted in communication, Entrepreneurship, Startups, Technology | Tagged: , , , | 5 Comments »

Why Few Executives Are Skillful Managers

Posted by sureshkrishna on August 19, 2009

Cross posting from HarvardBusiness Blog. Very interesting problems with Senior executives…

1. Delegation
It is your job to delegate as much as you possibly can: your ultimate goal should be to delegate everything, find a successor and move on to a bigger job. If you are having trouble letting go or trusting others, try to remember how it felt when you were given the first big challenge of your career. Did you relish the challenge? How did you approach it? Did you succeed? What did you learn about the job and yourself? How did it help you to move forward in your career?

Remember that however talented you are, your career is likely to have stalled had your boss not trusted you with a challenging piece of work. He took the risk and delegated: now it’s your turn to do the same. No excuses, just follow the rules.

2. Managing distance
One of the biggest mistakes you can make as a manager is to spend too much time either in your team or away from it. If you are too close, you risk becoming a micromanager, you can lose perspective on the business, you can become too friendly and lose authority within the team, and your team can become over-dependent on you. Being too distant, on the other hand, can result in a directionless team, potential crises, lack of control, and you being perceived as too remote or political. Also, maintaining social distance is an important discipline for managers that should not be overlooked.

3. Visibility
Visibility and personal profile are important for your career as well as your team, so make sure you are being seen and heard in the right places. If you don’t manage your reputation and profile, someone else will do it for you — and they may not have your best interests at heart. Take time to network, share your successes, and ask to be included on steering committees or cross-functional initiatives to create opportunities to showcase your talents and your team’s achievements.

4. Work-life balance
It’s incredible that this point still needs to be reinforced. Remember that you are a human being, not a machine. You may pride yourself on being able to work long hours, never taking a holiday and putting your company before your own health and well-being (and that of your family). But be very clear that you cannot do this forever. Sooner or later your health will give up and you will no longer be in control. Burnout is a one-way ticket, so be sensible. It’s smart to look after yourself. Work reasonable hours, keep the weekends sacred, leave early one evening a week and build in an exercise schedule. Not only will this help you keep effective, it will make you easier to be around and probably prolong your career.

5. Continuous learning and reflection
Adaptability and being able to flex your style as your company or situation changes are critical. Seeking feedback, identifying your development needs, and monitoring your own progress are all vital if you are to develop as a leader and a person. Lasting behavioural change requires time, patience, dedication, and support, so don’t expect it to happen overnight. One of the best things you can do to support yourself is to give yourself time and space to reflect: try to schedule a meeting with yourself for an hour each week for reflection.

Posted in Business Manager | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

 
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