To Follow up or not to Follow up.


When you are given a task to follow up people, it’s a real pain to follow up and combine the task of following up with 4 to 5 people, it starts getting out of your hands. Afterwards, you start thinking, I wish there was a tool for that. Well for starters, we have a tool called Outlook. This is for those who have the luxury of having Outlook in their working environment. All they need to do is

  • choose the Email to which they need to follow up,
  • RIGHT CLICK and choose one option among the following
    • today
    • Tomorrow
    • This Week
    • Next Week
    • No Date
    • Custom
  • When choosing Custom, you need to provide dates.

Detailed post of reading outlook follow up could be read here.

Keep in mind, that if the email is kept in Outlook INBOX, then the additional pop up will pop in front of you when the time comes. If the email is in other folder, other than INBOX, then this feature does’nt works. So in other words, this feature will only work for PILERS not FILERS. Reminds me of the Self organization Piler versus Filer debate. I am, a FILER, and because of this, the Outlook Feature doesn’t work.

So this was a wrap for those who have the luxury of following up via Outlook. For those on the move, and they need to follow up using any email clients. They need to be used FollowupThen. FollowUpThen is online service to which you can give commands to remind you that follow up when the time comes.

 

 

 

Four Things I’ve Learned Using a Standing Desk


Re blogged from Four Things I’ve Learned Using a Standing Desk

I’ve been using a standing desk for a few months now and I love it. It makes me feel more productive, keeps me active, and cost me next to nothing to set up. Still, I had some growing pains. If you’re thinking about setting up a standing desk, here’s what I learned so you don’t have to.

A Standing Desk Makes Me More Productive, Even If It’s Not “Healthier”

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My setup is pretty basic, but it gets the job done. I have a plain desk/table that my roommate was going to get rid of, and on top of that I have an Oristand where my Apple Magic Keyboard, Logitech M510 wireless mouse, and Dell XPS 13 rest comfortably. The Oristand, which costs $25 plus shipping, is made out of thick cardboard and can easily fold up for travel. Beyond that, I have a small desk organizer, some writer’s juice, and a couple cigars that like to tease me all day.

Always Wear Shoes, and Invest in Foot and Knee-Saving Gear

After only a few days of standing, I noticed my feet really fucking hurt. I was working from the comfort and privacy of my home, and standing on cushy carpet, so I was barefoot. Why not? This is a huge mistake: No matter how soft your carpet is, you should always wear shoes, and preferably shoes that have some arch support in them.

I have a couple of footwear options for my standing desk. The first is a nice pair of running shoes, my New Balance Fresh Foam Vongos. They provide a ton of cushion for my feet and stability for my knees when I run in the city, and they’re great for long bouts of standing as well. If you have a decent pair of running shoes, go with those. Otherwise, make sure your shoes have decent cushion, support, and maybe a special insole. My other option is a pair of fuzzy house slippers my grandma never used. They’ve got nice foam insoles and I feel funky fresh wearing them—which is sometimes more important than being comfortable.

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It’s also a good idea to increase the padding of your standing area. Even with shoes on, the softer you can make your standing zone the better. I use an extra-thick Spoga Exercise Yoga Mat with Comfort Foam ($25). It provides some padding and it’s nice for doing my workouts. Two birds? Meet this super-soft stone. Mark Sisson at Mark’s Daily Apple also recommends elevating one foot periodically while you stand. It can help keep your back from getting stiff and give your legs a little break. I use a small cardboard box for this (not pictured), but there are plenty of step stool options online if you want something that looks nicer.

Stretch and Move Regularly

Working at a standing desk fatigues you a lot faster than when you’re sitting, but it also does a number on your joints and muscles. While it’s good to take breaks from standing (more on that later) there are a few extra things you can do to keep your back, shoulders, arms, and legs from getting stiff and sore. The video above from the Focal Upright YouTube channel demonstrates some “standing desk yoga,” or simple stretches and exercises that will keep your back loose and help you avoid any chronic pain in your legs.

In this second video from the same channel, you’ll see some great stretches that specifically target your arms and shoulders. I do a selection of these regularly and they help a lot. I also try to incorporate exercise into my long days of standing. I’m a practitioner of “grease the groove” training, a concept developed by former Soviet Special Forces instructor Pavel Tsatsouline, where you get stronger by regularly doing strength exercises with lighter reps and weight, but do them more often than you would a regular workout. So I take a break to lift and exercise every hour or two. I also take a few minutes to practice my basketball skills or play guitar when I have a few minutes.

You may not be able to do all of those things, especially if you’re in an office, but taking a break to move around is the important part. Go for a walk around your office building, do some stretches, get a few push-ups or squats in, and whatever else it takes to keep your blood flowing.

Don’t Forget Basic Ergonomics

You may be standing while you work, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to worry about your posture. In fact, it’s more important you practice good posture because you’re standing. Unless you’re a soldier or bionic man, you only know how to stand properly and comfortably for short time spans, and even then, you probably slouch like I do. In the video above, from the GuerillaZen Fitness YouTube channel, certified personal trainer Blake Bowman explains the basics of standing right.

Your feet should be about shoulder-width apart, but pay attention to how your positioning feels in your hips and go with whatever is the most comfortable. Once your feet are planted, do what Bowman calls “screwing your feet into the ground,” which involves slightly rotating your feet outward to give you better arch support for your feet. Now flex your abs as if you’re anticipating a punch, engage your glutes, give a little arch to your lower back, stick your sternum out slightly, and roll your shoulders back.

You should also have your keyboard comfortably in reach so your elbows make a 90 degree angle, and your computer screen should be up high enough that you can read it without tilting your neck at alljust like when you’re sitting. I had to stack a few boxes underneath my laptop to achieve this, but it’s worth it, even if it doesn’t look as nice.

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Take Plenty of Sitting Breaks

Taking regular breaks to sit is essential to working at a standing desk. I tried to go full days standing at first, and it was a huge mistake. My feet, legs, and back would hurt up through the following morning, and I would lose interest in standing again. Part of that was building up my lazy muscles, but it was too much too fast, and I realized that if I didn’t break to sit down, I was going to burn out quick. You should go back and forth regularly so you’re not doing any damage to yourself either way. But for how long? A recent study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine suggests that around half your work day, or four hours, is the magic number. Use a timer on your phone, or even a web app like Standing Clock, keep switching back and forth.

In fact, while I’ve become a huge fan of working on my feet, I don’t recommend having only a standing desk. No matter where you stand (yep) on the health debate surrounding standing desks, standing for too long is just as bad as sitting for too long. And if you can’t easily convert your workspace back and forth, do what I do and have two desks, or use a kitchen table as your standing desk space (or your couch as your sitting desk space). It might seem redundant, but it keeps me fresh and productive.

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Auto Start / Shutdown a Virtual Box Machine via Command line aka CLI


I had a Virtual box machine which would be needed to start and shutdown every day at work. So one day, I decided to do something about it. Googled a bit and finally found a small interim solution to it.

First off, open a command prompt and enter the following.

cd %PROGRAMFILES%/oracle/virtualbox

The following are the commands to discover the Virtual VM Management.


cd %PROGRAMFILES%/oracle/virtualbox
VBoxManage list vms
vboxmanage startvm "VMName"
vboxmanage controlvm "VMName" poweroff
vboxmanage controlvm "VMName" pause
controlvm "VMName" acpipowerbutton 

The first command will change directory to Program file > Oracle > and finally to Virtual Box Directory. After that, VboxManage list the VMs currently registered on parent machine with their names reffered to as VMName in the commands below.

Once the name is finalized, All one has to do is to issue the command to power up. For powering up, the command is StartVM followed by VMName.

For shutting down a VM, the command would be vboxmanage controlvm “VMName” poweroff

With this knowledge, all one has to do is to make two batch files, aka, Startup.bat and ShutDown.bat. The following are the source code of those files.

Source code of Startup.bat

c:
cd %PROGRAMFILES%/oracle/virtualbox
vboxmanage startvm "VMName"

Source code of Shutdown.bat

c:
cd %PROGRAMFILES%/oracle/virtualbox
vboxmanage controlvm "VMName" poweroff

And now, assign these batch files to Startup events of Windows and shutdown events of Windows. Now these VMs doesn’t need to be started everyday. They will be started and shutdown whenever, their parent machines are switched on and off.

The following links will provide more detailed information on the topic.

 

Are we there YET. Tips on using the very best of Google Maps.


Recently in my project, I implemented Google Maps. I was wondering if I did it the right way. Went googling for some terms, and I came across some new nifty way to share URLs. Nonetheless, it turned out, that the http protocol GEO: doesn’t work in firefox. May be Desktop Firefox is not reading it. Mobile Firefox might be displaying it.

I would like to refer to my previous entry on the same topic. (https://salmankhwaja.wordpress.com/2013/10/29/sure_way_to_lure_customers/), where I was focused on making QR Codes for locations. Imagine when you come across a Website, where it is saying, where are we located, and then they insert their P-Mail address. Duh. Then when you actually need to be there, you end up copying / pasting that address in Google Maps, search, send that location to your mobile, and then drive there. Well, it’s about time to educate those who are developing sites for such corporations.

Even if QR codes are not your forte, one could at least provide the coordinates, so that people could view them in Google Maps / Foursquare, their application of choice. Here how to do it right.

  1. Goto http://maps.google.com/
  2. type in your desired location / name. In other words, just search for it.
  3. Once desired results are there, a red marker should be displayed right in front of you.
  4. Click on it, and it will show you the GPS Coordinate right below it.
  5. Click the GPS Coordinates. Now those Coordinates will be displayed in SEARCH bar.
  6. Copy them those GPS coordinates. The most common form of GPS coordinates is in the form of 64.19,98.92, that is, x,y, where x is Latitude, and y is Longitude.
  7. Now open your favoutire editor and make a hyperlink like
 <a href="http://maps.google.com/maps/?q=[GPSCordinates]">Click here to see our location on Google Maps.</a> 
  1. That’s all there is to it. So the resulting hyperlink would be. Adding a location of Badshahi Mosque (randomly this location came into my mind). <a href=”http://maps.google.com/maps/?q=31.588085,74.310071″>Visit Badshahi Mosque here.</a>.
    Link added for your surfing convenience.

Alternatively, one could also use the GEO Protocol.

  1. Once, the Geo Coordinates are known, one could use the following link to create Geo Location.
    <a href="geo:31.588085,74.310071">go here</a>
    
  2. Second method sounds quite easy, but my Desktop Firefox was not pointing to right location. Link added for surfing again (Badshahi Mosque). Google Link

First method is tried and tested, and it works every time and points to Google maps, no matter on which device the user is at, well at least, most of the devices.

For those who are thinking to have some extra reading, here are the additional links shared.

http://geomediablog.com/2007/07/10/creating-a-hyperlink-from-a-point-in-geomedia-to-google-maps/
http://www.smick.net/notebook/how-to-link-to-a-gps-coordinate-on-a-webpage-using-geo-url/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geo:
http://diveintohtml5.info/geolocation.html

Some links to see Google maps and GPS Coordinates in action

http://boulter.com/gps/#31.588085%2C74.310071
http://www.itouchmap.com/latlong.html

How have you implemented Google Maps in your Project.? I would definitely like to know more in comments.

An open cover letter to that person possibly reading my job application


Nice take on Cover letters.

Leftovers from Friday

To whom it may concern,

Thanks for taking the time to read this letter!

I assure you, at least in terms of breaking up the monotony that is hiring a new employee, it’s the best decision you’ve made today.

 I’m sure you’ve received dozens like it, promising exciting job-applicable traits like “Team-Player!” and “Hard-Working” and “Dedicated” and “Passionate!” I’m sure all of them have various examples of such traits like “That one time I saved a several hundred thousand dollar deal from falling through the cracks just because I spell-checked every word in a 200-page memo (showcasing their dedication, attention-to-detail, meticulousness, potential brilliance)” or “That other time I was involved in landing an account that you may know of by the name of HUGE TECH COMPANY (demonstrating their perseverance, persuasion, competitiveness).” I’m sure they are well-spoken individuals, promising longevity, increased revenue, innovative ground-breaking ideas, extensive connections and above all, a personality…

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