Ingredients Of A Killer Website

Oftentimes we have seen resourceful people writing amazing articles. However, they lack in something very important to attract attention: presentation. You cannot judge a book entirely by its cover, but if the cover is shabby, you wouldn’t even care to have a look, would you? The same applies to a website as well.

This article considers great content as a pre-requisite of a website and hence discusses only the “look and feel” aspect. Here are 5 points that we think are a great way to start. By the way, by website, this article means a weblog, more popularly known as a blog.

1.      Use The Right Software

Software such as WordPress are free and are extremely easy to use. They have a host of features that benefit a newbie and an experienced user alike. How, you may ask.

If you speak to experienced wordpress bloggers, they might go on and on about how they started off with WordPress, and how easy it was. However, the fact that they are still using WordPress blogs gives you an idea that WordPress has features for experienced users as well. For instance, you can take a theme and play around with it, if you are an experienced scripting person. WordPress is just an example and there are other applications similar to it; the best way is to ask your friend…Google!

2.      The Power of Hyperlinks.

It may be a good idea to provide hyperlinks within one of your articles, to a related item in another article in your website. Software such as WordPress gives you some good features for this. This will provide a chance for your reader to know about a varied list of topics; a nice way to also flaunt your knowledge, isn’t it?!

You may also think about linking articles from your other websites. However, before you do it, please learn the principles of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), as sites such as Google have penalty clauses lined up, if they find that your website violates some of its rules, even if it does so inadvertently.

3.      RSS Feeds

Really Simple Syndication, is a phenomenon that may be a relatively recent phenomenon, but it has caught up very rapidly and every website has one these days. Do you want to miss the race?

I, for one, have been immensely benefited by RSS, as my reader base grew significantly after I started having an RSS feed link in my website. It is extremely simple. Use software such as WordPress and choose themes that have RSS feed in them. That is all!

4.      Bringing Back Your Valuable Visitor

The internet in general and the blogosphere in specific, has zillions of websites and blogs and so it is very easy for someone to have visited your website and is unable to come back to it. Making a visitor come back to your site is but an art, but luckily there are some tools that lend you a helping hand.

If you are obsessed with SEO, you will need to do a lot of homework to do both onsite and offsite SEO and the effort needed to doing it correctly might put you off, if you have just begun. However, if you have the energy or if you are already at it, then this is arguably the most straightforward and long-lasting techniques to expand your reader base.

There are some great software in the market that let your website’s visitor come back frequently, for instance, Aweber. Some of these are not free but you do have free software in the market as well. The technique that they adopt is simple: ask your reader their e-mail ID on your behalf and provide you help to follow up your visitors with periodic updates delivered directly to their email addresses. Suddenly, there is a one-to-one correspondence between yourself and your reader. This is an amazingly powerful tool, which when used correctly, could arm you to realize your dream.

5.      Did You Plug In That Plug-in?

There are scores of free plug-ins available to be used in the blogosphere and some of them are extremely useful. You should use them if you want to maximize the reach of your websites and at the same time take absolute control of it.

There are plug-ins such as the serious ones that provide SEO support, and also some of the casual ones that add music to your site. The best and the easiest way is to install your basic software such as wordpress and let it do the rest for you.

Beware, installing plug-ins could be addictive, as there are hundreds of free plug-ins available and if you install each and every on of it, it could cost you space and it could also do more harm than good.

6.      The Unsolicited Problem

Spamming is by far the most alarming menace that is creating significant (read tremendous!) damage to various pockets of the internet world. It is considered to be a black-hat technique (another term of illegal) but nowadays, people have started using plug-ins so widely that some people spam even without their knowledge.

There are some powerful plug-ins that let you have a greater control on spamming. These plug-ins actually ‘catch’ comments to your website that they think are ‘spam’, but lets you decide what to do with it; a brilliant way to give you control of your website.

Disclaimer: This article only aims at providing general tips and cannot replace professional advice. You are urged to seek professional help before making your choice.

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Amazing Content: What They Hide From You!

It is but extremely challenging to write an article and get noticed as there are trillions of articles in the internet. However, if you want to get noticed there is no other way but focus on writing a great content.

Here are some pointed pointers, which are extremely essential to keep your reader glued to your website.

1.    The ‘Short and Sweet’ paradigm

The two words short and sweet more than emphasize the fact that you must somehow acquire the skill to present something in as fewer words as possible and convey the message at the same time. This clearly an art and can hardly be taught. What would you say if someone asks you to teach him/her how to enjoy music?!

2.    Divide And Rule

The negative colonial principle is going to help us expand your reader base! You must split your article into several paragraphs, each with a small title (you may take a cue from this article but perhaps you can do a lot better than I have done!). The division should be logical and should be meaningful.

3.    Inconsistency Irritates

Inconsistency in anything is sure to put your reader off, and push off to the next website: be it in font face, font size, text colour etc. Do your best to stick to the same attribute throughout your article. If you must show something explicitly, use bolded or italicized text, rather than chancing the font.

It takes a bit of common sense to decide your font face too. If you write an article about malnutrition of children, the last thing you want to do is choose fonts such as comic sans.

4.    Invoke The Grammarian In You

Not everybody is a purist but simple and avoidable grammatical errors are sure to shoo away your reader. Some readers cannot tolerate error in anything such as sentence construct, tense, person, spelling or even punctuation.

If you are not sure of some of the concepts of basic Grammar in your language, do the homework first. Otherwise, you could outsource it but it is expensive and sometimes hassle-prone.

5.    Write What Readers Want To Read About

You will be a successful webmaster if you are able to feel the pulse of your readers and write what they want to read about. You may target the pride and ego of your reader and write about beauty tips, fitness tips and even gossip.

Even if you have decided the topic because you think you are an expert in a field, you may even follow this rule and write something that might interest your prospective reader. For instance, you are an expert in the field of polymer chemistry. Every visitor of your website may not understand your diagrams with Benzene rings or other technical stuff. You may of course include them but also try to increase your reader base by including something that might get down to their level and talk about its practical uses and other pertinent details.

Disclaimer: This article is intended to serve only as tips and cannot replace professional advice. You are urged to seek professional advice before making your choice.

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Unsecured Wi-Fi Networks: Hackers’ Hot Cakes!

Every new facet of technology has both boons and banes; your Wi-Fi network is no exception. Your worst nightmare could be staring right on your face if you are not taking actions NOW.

Most hackers are looking for exactly what you have: unsecured Wi-Fi networks! Hacking, though a black-hat technique, is simply an art that miscreants die to master.

Much to the delight of a professional hacker (I would rather that this is an Oxymoron), a common man easily falls into his trap. But fortunately for the common man, quite pleasantly surprisingly, there is a much easier way out of this predicament. Read on and do not stop short of just being amazed; put them to work. I am giving you exactly 4 techniques.

Technique 1: You do have a Name of your own, don’t you?

SSID is your network identifier. Never leave your default SSID intact; change it as soon as possible by following the below steps.

a. Type http://192.168.1.1 (usually)

b. Enter the default ID and password in the main login page (you may Google the default user id and password for virtually all network service providers).

c. Go to Wireless -> Basic

d. Check on the Enable Wireless option e. Change your SSID to something that is difficult for others to guess.

Technique 2: The amazing Wall of Fire that blocks bugs.

If your network supports Firewalls, please make sure that you use it. There are several protocols and it is usually a complicated procedure for a newbie to setup but your service provider would be only glad to help you out. Well, if they are not, you see, it’s a wide world!

Technique 3: You jumble; hackers fumble!

This technique talks about encryption standards; in a way, a sort of jumbling.

a. Type http://192.168.1.1 (usually)

b. Enter the default ID and password in the main login page (you may Google the default user id and password for virtually all network service providers).

c. Go to Wireless -> Security and select “WPA2-PSK” from the Network Authentication drop-down box.

d. Enter your chosen password in the box labeled WPA Pre-shared key. Make sure that the password is extremely difficult to guess. Example: Try something like H@LL0WeeN2000

Technique 4: Thieves thrive in crowds of people.

a. Type http://192.168.1.1 (usually)

b. Enter the default ID and password in the main login page (you may Google the default user id and password for virtually all network service providers).

c. Go to Wireless -> Basic and select as less a number as possible in the box labeled “Max Clients”.

All in all, remember this golden sentence: “Jumbled Names of People on the Wall”

Disclaimer: This article best serves as a set of useful tips and is not intended to replace professional advice, especially in sensitive and technologically advanced topics such as network security. Get in touch with professionals before making a choice.

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Computer Maintenance: D-I-Y Ready Reckoner

The Sun rotates and all the planets revolve around it and this movement causes dust; cosmic dust. Similarly, there is so much motion inside your computer and as you may have guessed right, this causes dust too!

You had been wondering where the dust came from inside the cabinet, when it is sealed but now you know. This analogy was explained only to show that there is dust even inside the cabinet and it must be cleaned.

What Does Dust Do?

To put things in perspective, let me provide some pointers for you to think about:

1. Most of the components inside your computer are minute and fragile. They have been put together by cutting-edge laser-sharp robots and other machinery. It is this precision that does not allow any foreign body to settle on its surface. It could adversely impact your computer’s performance.
2. Ventilation is of utmost importance to reduce the heat generated by motion of a computer’s moving parts. If dust settles on a vent, it seals it, thereby allowing heat to remain within the cabinet. You may not fully appreciate how harmful this is to your computer’s health.
3. If a computer is never cleaned for 10 years, imagine how many layers of dust would there be on each crucial component. This lets your computer age faster than normal.

The Wisdom of Periodic Maintenance

1. Getting your computer serviced by a qualified technician not only removes hardware-related problems but in the event, your computer gets cleaned as well.
2. If your only goal is to make your computer dust-free, then you may do it yourself! This is explained in the next section.
3. You save yourself time, money and also keep yourself form the frustration when your computer breaks down when you need it most. A computer that is not serviced for a couple of years is obviously going to cost you more than your periodic servicing charges.
4. You run the risk of impairing some of the critical and more sensitive parts, sometimes permanently, if you take periodic servicing lightly. For instance, your motherboard serves as the hub and if you do not take good care of it, its performance might just suddenly start nose-diving.

The D-I-Y Checklist

This section gives a do-it-yourself checklist for maintaining your desktop computer. It is not even advisable to open the rear part of your laptop, much less clean it or service it. The only parts of a laptop that you can clean are the screen and the keyboard.

1. First and foremost, turn off all power supplies to your CPU, monitor, speakers etc. Better still, detach the wires from the mains.
2. It is recommended to clean all the other parts before venturing into the CPU. Clean the monitor, speakers, keyboard, mouse, UPS, modem etc first.
3. To clean your monitor, use a spray with soft chemicals. In fact, it is better not to use chemicals. Take an empty spray bottle and fill it with tap water. Spray water from this bottle sparingly on your monitor and wipe it dry immediately.
4. It is a good idea to buy a soft brush, like the one found in your vacuum cleaner, and keep it exclusively for cleaning your computer.
5. Use the soft brush to dust your keyboard, speakers, modem, UPS etc. Never take even a drop of water near these parts. After each dusting, shake the brush to ensure that most of the dust leaves the brush before it is used to clean another part.
6. Now, remove the cabinet by unscrewing the screws. After ensuring that all the power cables are disconnected from the plug, gently tap the palm of your weaker arm on a metal surface inside the cabinet. Experts say that this discharges static electicity.
7. You now see in front of your eyes, a labyrinth of cables and other components. Make sure you keep your spray bottle far away. You are only going to use a dry brush to dust the parts here.
8. The most important areas where you may see dust are between the buses and between the RAM, sound card and other pieces of hardware that sit on your motherboard.
9. If you have the confidence that you can replace these just as they were, you may even take them out and dust them comprehensively. If not, it doesn’t matter at all. Just slowly and gently dust it using a soft dry brush.
10. If needed, blow some air from your mouth gently on minute components. Remember, it should be dry air; swallow if you need to before blowing air from your mouth; keep it gentle and soft.
11. The SMPS, which is the powerhouse within your computer is also an area that you should not forget to clean, because its outer surface is exposed outside the cabinet and also because it has cables running into it.
12. If you are able to locate the processor, then be extremely gentle with it. If not, follow it as a thumb rule to be gentle with every component.
13. If you removed some components from its original place, ensure they are in place. Replace the cabinet cover and screw them.
14. Replace the power cables and turn it on to see if all the parts come to life.
15. Boot it once even though you may not need to work immediately. Let it boot fully and the OS get loaded. If you do not need to work immediately, shut down your computer.This is just to make sure that you did not screw-up anything (except your cabinet cover!). If you did, contact authorized service personnel.

Et voila, that is all it takes to clean your computer on your own. It may not be a thinking man’s task but nobody can take care of your things like you do!

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to replace professional advice and may at best serve as tips. You are advised to seek the help of expert practitioners in the field before you make your choice.

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What In The World Is Wi-Fi?

Wi-Fi – An Introduction

Pronounced “Wifey”, Wireless Fidelity is a cutting-edge technology that enables wirelessly accessing the internet through a network. Here, a network may simply mean a set of computers that are connected to central device such as a Wi-Fi router or an Access Point.

Both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth may appear as similar technologies at the outset, because they share similar features (this may not be true but it may easily seem so if looked at from a high level). However, there is a marked difference in their underlying technologies and the reach they promise.

Wi-Fi Types and Devices

A common type of Wi-Fi is a Wireless LAN (WLAN), which is very similar to a normal Local Area Network (LAN), except the latter is wired and the former is not. A typical example is your home wireless router, that comprises a WLAN in itself. It can cater to one or more computers that access the internet. The only draw back is that the bandwidth would be shared across computers sharing a WLAN network, thereby reducing the page load efficiency.

Laptops are some of the most common Wi-Fi devices, so much so that it is fast becoming a house-hold item nowadays. Here, the requirement is that your motherboard must have the IEEE port 802.11/b/g to support wireless activity, meaning for it to even recognize a wireless router in the vicinity.

How Do I Get A W-Fi Network

There are a zillion ways to bring home this amazing concept to your home for you and your family to start using it. The world shall truly be at your finger tips. The easiest way is to subscribe to a broadband connection with an ISP that provides Wi-Fi routers. The main advantage of this approach is that the installation, configuration and everything up to getting the system up and running is the responsibility of the ISP.

How Cool Is W-Fi?

•    Portability: Take your laptop anywhere you want (within the allowed periphery) and enjoy internet connectivity.
•    Convenience: You do not have to rush back to your office seat, anxious whether your proposal has been accepted or not. You can check your emails as you are sipping your cold coffee at the cafeteria!
•    Multiple Computers: Think of using multiple computers using the same router and that too anywhere you want (of course, within the periphery).
•    HotSpots Usage: Wi-Fi hotspots are available in many large establishments such as big hotels, airports etc. So, even the restriction on the WLAN periphery is greatly minimized.
•    On Air: You may even use connect to the internet while flying, by using smart cards.

The Pain Points

Wireless networking is a cutting-edge technology, no doubt. However, it has its own share of drawbacks.

The most important issues is its vulnerability to hacking. A wireless network is the most sought-after network by hackers who want to break-in to other users’ network, as they present them with a soft target.

Furthermore, the lack of awareness of this upcoming technology is also a boon for hackers, which they seldom fail to cash in on. With that being said, there are countless security algorithms and protocols that give hackers a run for their money. However, a lot more has to be done for Wi-Fi to put up a formidable fight against fraudulent use.

Take a few precautionary measures and embrace Wi-Fi. Do not fear the problems, rather face them. Or get laid behind!

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to replace professional advice and may at best serve as tips. You are urged to seek the advice of an expert practitioner in the field before you make your choice.

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Good News: Work From Home!

Honestly, who would not like it if they have the facility and the acceptance to work from the comfort of their own homes. A critical analysis of this reveals that the productivity of employees who work from home actually increases, if some protocols are met, that is.

This is not a new phenomenon, but still has not caught up in some of the developing countries. Even in the developed world, this concept has evolved only in the Information Technology and the related industries.

Supporters Speak

Generally speaking, working from home is one of the sweetest figments of imagination that one longs for, whether it is applicable to one’s profession or not and no matter if he/she deserves it or not. Following are some points that are favorable to this concept.

1.    The employee does not spend so much time commuting from home to office and back. Instead, he or she uses this time productively.
2.    The employer’s expenses come down significantly, if this is done on a large scale. Think about some of the costs such as renting a huge office place, electricity, HVAC expenses, transportation expenses and so forth; imagine the savings if close to 50% (or more) of the employees are allowed to work from home.
3.    The employee has all day and so work in flexible timings in true sense of the word. There is a remarkable amount of work-life-balance that is guaranteed, if some protocols are met.
4.    Informal surveys state that productivity levels are higher for the same person who works from home, than when he/she works at the office place.
5.    Although a house may not have stringent security arrangements compared to office facilities, a person is usually thoroughly interested in keeping intruders at bay and so a house is also secure to an extent, even though it does not have state-of-the-art facilities.
6.    With the advent of modern technologies including high-end phones, email and chat software, live meeting and the latest web 2.0, challenges involved in controlling a team remotely have largely become things of the past.

The Nay-Sayers

This clan is usually made up of managers, who do not want to give it in favor of employees; rightfully so to an extent. This becomes a tight-rope walking if the employees and managers get confrontational. Harmony, however, can be restored if some protocols (in just a bit) are followed.

1.    There is too much distraction at home, including TV, playing with kids, taking extra naps and so forth. It may seem as though productivity is high but the loss of continual focus plays spoil sport to mission-critical work done at home.
2.    Unlike the office space, where several stringent measures are taken to ensure Data Security, a home is just a home and is not a formidable place to ensure security of all kinds.
3.    Employees who need to use phones regularly are at a huge loss of opportunity because they are forced to use their own phones, which may not have facilities such as STD/ISD calling, speaker phone etc. Even if they do, they may sometimes need to foot the bills from their pockets. Providing reimbursement options make screening a challenging task and the company’s expenditure on this becomes unjustifiable.
4.    Not all industries can provide the facility of working from home. How about a leather tannery or an aerospace assembly garage? Can you set up an office at your living room?!
5.    Some employees may misuse this facility and it becomes the burden on the shoulders of managers to put in extra effort in policing their employees.

As you can see, there is a close tie between the ‘For’ and the ‘Against’ sides. So, to whom is the benefit of the doubt to be given? Is there a way this could work, so that both the employees and employers are ‘reasonably’ happy?

Some Protocols That Just Might Work

1.    It may be a good idea to provide this facility only to those who demonstrate a need for this owing to distance of commute, physical anomalies or other causes. The company may retain the discretion of providing this facility to others.
2.    Employers should not provide this facility on a permanent basis. Initially, employees may be encouraged to use this facility only on a need basis and use it responsibly.
3.    Employees, who will need to use the office phone profusely, may not be candidate to this arrangement as this may defeat the whole purpose.
4.    To contain misuse, employers may warn employees of strict action if there is any deadline miss or a serious lapse of other kinds owing to negligence or other unacceptable reasons.
5.    As it is unlikely that all the employees having this facility may exercise it on the same given day, the employees may have a mutual agreement between themselves and use the facility responsibly and nominally.

Some Useful Tips

1.    In order to eliminate the challenges posed by the absence of phone lines with the facilities needed, employees may look at the options of using official chat, email, live meeting applications and so forth. If possible, ask a colleague to patch you in to a conference call.
2.    Utilize the reminder facility in most E-Mail software to keep tabs on the various activities to be done by your team-mates.
3.    If you are managing a small team, as you do not have eye-contact with your team members, it may sometimes happen that people misuse your absence and get complacent with their activities. This may be ignored as unimportant but is a very dangerous happening. Call up or email them as often as necessary and demand updates from the team. A little push will do the trick.

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to replace professional advice and might at best serve as a source of tips. You are urged to seek professional and/or legal advice from expert practitioners in the field before making your decision.

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Presentation Skills: From Shy Jack to Ace Presenter

How many times have you griped because you felt that you did not have it in you, to present a paper before an audience? Countless…well, you are not alone, my friend! If the audience is tech-savvy like your own colleagues, then it adds to the misery. Below are some tips that I have compiled based on my own experiences and from ace presenters from various realms and several periods and geographies.

You need to approach your presentation with what I call a laser-guided-missile approach to make your audience be awe-struck by your charisma, expertise and extraordinary presence of mind, even if you do not have any of these! To help you with this, I have divided the tips into technology-related and soft aspects. Come on, shun the Shy Jack attitude and become an ace presenter.

Big Mistakes Ace Presenters Avoid

1.    Lack of Preparation
a.    Never ever go towards the podium without adequate preparations and rehearsals. It could be suicidal, if you do.
b.    Prepare for the topic at least a couple of days in advance so that you do not ramble in front of the microphone.
c.    Age-old technique that really works: Stand in front of a mirror at your home or office and try practicing at least a part of your paper, ALOUD! Think about it: Don’t you need the courage to first face yourself before you face other people?

2.    Choosing Alien Topics
a.    You do not need to be an expert in your field to present something before a techy audience. However, you need to at least know the basics of what you are talking about.
b.    If you are given an alien topic with sufficient notice, you can always research and become somewhat of an expert there. However, if you are forced to present such a topic without adequate notice and you accept it, it is setting up yourself for failure, and much worse, for embarrassment.

3.    Assuming the Audience Knows Everything
a.    Never assume that your audience knows everything that you are talking about and they come to your session because their computers hung up! You may be shocked to take some basic questions from somebody whom you thought was an expert. Trust me, this happens all the time!
b.    Read through your own presentations several times over and put yourself in the shoes of an average audience. Try shooting several questions to yourself each time; sometimes stupid questions (you are going to have dummies out there). You will be surprised that each time you read through your own presentation, you get new questions. That is the structure of the human mind, my friend, of course you are not alone!

4.    Lack of Punctuality and Time Management
a.    You do not want to arrive at the podium 20 minutes late, stamp on the feet of some of the audience, realize that your tie is undone and go about doing it, standing in front of the microphone gasping for breath and longing for water! You know what, this is a perfect recipe for a Fiasco!
b.    Be a professional! Come in to the presentation hall at least 30 minutes before the first participant comes in, to check the finer logistic arrangements like the microphone configuration, the OHP and other equipment and so forth.
c.    Start on the dot and end on the dot. If you are not doing it, it is gonna leave a bitter taste in the mouths of your audience. If you are, your audience is gonna hail you as an ace presenter, they look up to you, take your autograph, and even invite you for a dinner and all that! Ha, is your imagination getting too far?

And the Fifth point is… well, there is no Fifth point. Just follow the above 4 points and rest assured, you are gonna be an ace presenter in no time. Please, please do not take my word for it; go get your hands dirty and find for yourself. So, when is your next presentation?
And the stage is all set, huh? Now, focus on the finer aspects related to technology, if you wanna pull off that killer presentation and make your audience wonder as though you were born to do it, I mean, Present. Pal, you are gonna make Winston Churchill proud (or even jealous!) of ya.

Technology – The New Age Presenter’s Weapon

1.    Layout
a.    Do not use flashy layouts with colors that could make one blind! That being said, you do not want your screen to look dull, lest your audience should sleep. Yup, I can hear you say that 4-letter word (I meant “Damn”!) and if you do, I can’t help the least. You’ve gotta somehow get it right. Use your own sense of coloring and if you are color-blind, ask others for an opinion. After all, what else are friends for?
b.    Use animation sparingly. Every word in your presentation flies around and sits on another word, your audience will enjoy the animation but will not hear a single word that you utter. On a more serious note, many people may find it annoying, so be warned!
c.    Use fonts according to the occasion and the genre. Use only professional-looking fonts for an official presentation. If you are presenting to school kids, something comical may grab their attention.
d.    Avoid writing complete sentences if possible. Your screen content should serve as pointers for you to explain the point in question.

2.    Word Size
a.    No matter what presentation software you use, make sure that the size of the words, the font face and other aspects are given due focus. Remember that your audience is gonna read the words from a much longer distance than you do when you are writing the article.
b.    Stand up from your seat and walk about for 10 feet or so and look at your screen. If you are seeing nothing but lines, increase the font size. If you are only seeing one word, well, of course, decrease the font size.

3.    At Most 4 – 5 Lines Per Page
a.    If you were to present a 50-line document, you would need roughly 10 slides. That should be the density you should prepare the slides with.
b.    Do not worry if you are not able to accommodate all of your sentences related to a point in a single page. If it should be put in another slide, then so be it. Only, mark it with a “(continued)” suffix or similar, to remind the audience that it is not a new point altogether.

4.    Video Clips to Keep Sleep at Bay
a.    Use short video clips (2 – 3 minutes) to grab the attention of your participants and prevent them from dozing off. Well, you may not appreciate the seriousness of this point, but it cannot be emphasized further. Participants dozing off is a very real thing and you must do whatever it takes to avert it, if you want your presentation to be a hit.
b.    Be choosy, however. Use not more than one video clip per 20 – 25 slides.

5.    Be the Statistician
a.    Making your presentation statistically-oriented, is sure to garner respect for you among the audience. If you are going to make dull and unsolicited statements, it may not impress them.
b.    If you have the right piece of software, drawing pie charts or histograms is gonna be child’s play. However, go easy on this and use it only if it makes 100% sense to include. Perhaps a thumb rule of a maximum of one statistical representation per 20 slides would be appropriate.

6.    After the Break!
a.    Let your participants go for breaks at strategic points during your session. Well, strategic points, here means when you see someone doze off and fall over on others.
b.    Create some small activities like crossword puzzles or other word puzzles.
c.    Invite somebody from the audience to summarize the discussion at strategic points (see above). This may send alert signals and every participant may think that the next person to do the summary would be himself/herself.

A clever tip: You only need do this once, if you do this earlier on in your session. The audience may be prepared for the next summary and so will be attentive throughout, but the next summary never will come!
Use all the above tips to gain maximum benefit. However, if you ignore the below tip, you are hijacking the process: “Practice, practice and do more practice”

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide professional guidance and can at best serve as a source of general tips. You are urged to seek professional and/or legal advice from expert practitioners in the field.

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Social Networking: A Word of Caution

Social Networking is perhaps one of the hottest topics discussed in today’s web-driven world, and quite rightfully so! Web 2.0 has ushered in an unimaginably large social network in an extremely short span of time. We used to call the internet, world wide web to make it sound that the web (read internet) is as huge as the world itself! Now, ironically, the world has been shrunk to the size of a web (read a spider web). A lion’s share of this goes to new and promising concepts like social networking (everything including social bookmarking sites like twitter, facebook, myspace etc).

Anything so hugely popular as this, is bound to bring in some problems both natural and unnatural. Natural problems occur because of the system itself as it is new and evolving; these problems are slated to reduce in intensity in due course. The unnatural problems, the more grave ones, are caused by unscrupulous elements of the society, which exploit the loop holes in the system for their gains.

On this note, it is but imperative for everyone using the social bookmarking system to take precautionary steps in order to immensely benefit from such a far-reaching and user-friendly system. Below are 5 laser-sharp tips that you must follow in order to at least minimize the risks posed if not eliminate them.

1.    Be Cautious While Entering Your Private Information
a.    Never enter sensitive information like your bank account details, credit card numbers etc even if you choose not to             make them public. This is not the right place to store your data in order that you may retrieve them when you forget!
b.    Avoid entering your mobile numbers or office phone numbers in a public page or while conversing. Unscrupulous elements like hackers are always on the look out of such details and grab them immediately as they spot them. What they do with these data is history.

2.    Phishing – The Lesser Known Menace

a.    Phishing is an illegal and unethical method of stealing person information using fake email IDs, websites and so forth.
b.    You get an email and the name specified in the URL appears to be legitimate. You click on the link and it takes you to the site. You may have just been foxed! The site could be fake, with a name very similar to a legitimate one. So what if I do this, you may ask. If you do, I am glad you do. So, tell me what if the site is similar to your bank’s site and you enter your credentials? So you begin to get the picture, right?

3.    Emails From Your Best Friend!

a.    Someone asks you to delete some mails from your best friends and you react, “I have known him/her for decades; don’t you dare to talk about him/her that way.”. Well, the e-mail might not have been originated from your friend after all. Refer back to the point on Phishing to take a guess on what I am talking about.
b.    This is a grave mistake that everyone commits and ultimately falls into the trap set by hackers. Phishing is designed that way – they know perfectly well you cannot turn down your best friend’s request!

4.    Avoid Connecting From Your Office

a.    In most cases, the network at your workplace may block such sites as social networking, bookmarking sites etc. Your workplace stores your client’s sensitive data. Can they afford to lose these data?
b.    Social networking is interesting and addictive. You have some responsibilities while at work and so you be your judge.
c.    Sometimes comments from your co-users may be abusive, sexually offensive or otherwise inappropriate. In this context, accessing social networking sites at office is a big no-no.

5.    Being Polite is Important, but…

a.    Turning down a request from someone to accept him/her as your friend is impolite, right? WRONG. It is certainly not impolite to turn down friend requests if you do not know the person well. After all, you may fall a prey to illegal practices, if you do. However, this does not mean that you should have exactly 3 friends from the whole of the network! All you are advised is, exercise caution.

6.    Plug-ins: Boon or Bane?

a.    Today is the age of cheap and free software, thanks to open source software. There are some extremely cool plug-ins that can be downloaded for free and installed. They make social networking a pleasure. However, do not give in to the temptation to install every available plug-in as some may have malicious software such as Trojans and other viruses.
b.    Think twice before you install a plug-in. Better still, ask around. After all, you are in a social networking site and there is no dearth of people – technologically savvy people at that – right?

Disclaimer: This site is not meant to give professional advice. The articles in this site are intended for informational purpose only and you are urged to get help from professionals in the field before you take your decisions.

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