Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Understand Your Digital SLR

When they were first introduced, digital SLR cameras were enormously expensive and a tool for professionals only. Since then, they have come down in price into the consumer price range. Because of this, many people buy digital SLRs without understanding how they work -- and, consequently, not making the most of them. To find out how you can get the most from your camera through the most common functions that they have, and to show you how to learn to use one by experiment. The principles are the same for any camera; but you will probably not be able to set your shutter and aperture manually on most non-SLR cameras. For more information click here.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Top 5 Gadgets Of 2010

Lets face it technology is here to stay. We use it everyday in our jobs and personal life. But have you figured out what the top five most wanted gadgets are for 2010? Well I am here to do just that.

1. XBox: Ever heard of Project Natal? If you spend more than half an hour on the Web a day, you probably have. If not I will briefly explain here. After Nintendo’s Wii, Microsoft had to do something about its own console. And since the Wii was such a big hit, this one has to be bigger. Project Natal will definitely score some big points for the Redmond company.

2. Ford’s MyKey: If you give your car to your kids frequently, you might find that it sometimes gets hard to sleep when they’re out, you’re worried about what could happen to them. That’s why next year Ford’s releasing MyKey, which uses a chip in the car’s ignition key so that the driver cannot exceed 80 mph. It can also be programmed to limit the car’s audio levels and to sound loud alerts if the driver’s not wearing a seat belt.

3. Dual Touch Screen Laptop: We’ve already witnessed top-notch laptops with touch screens. But what about dual touch screens? Apparently, the Italian firm V12 Designs will launch its new version of Canova, a dual LCD laptop. This time, both will be touch screens.

4. 4G Phones. The real download speed of most 3G phones is not more than 384 Kbps, and sometimes a lot less. That’s because it might have a 3 Mbps announced download speed, but the real one is a lot less. The 4G phones promise data transfers of 100 Mbps, and could reach up to 1 gigabit per second when static. That could mean downloading a full length DVD movie in about a minute.

5. Hydrogen Rulz! Hydrogen powered phones might be the next big thing. French researchers will probably announce by next year that a hydrogen fuel could be used as backup power source for mobile communications, letting users have some independence from electricity supplies to charge up their phones.

Technology tends to surprise us, so probably next year we’ll see a gadget we haven’t ever heard about. But these certainly make any tech-savvy person very much intrigued and anxious about what next year will bring. Don’t you feel the same?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

How to Manage Geeks

Happy geeks are effective geeks. The main reason IT people are unhappy at work is bad relations with management, often because geeks and managers have fundamentally different personalities, professional backgrounds and ambitions. Some people conclude that geeks hate managers and are impossible to lead. The expression “managing geeks is like herding cats” is sometimes used, but that’s just plain wrong. The fact is that IT people hate bad management and have even less tolerance for it than most other kinds of employees

So where does it go wrong? Here are some top ways that managers can lead geeks effectively and respectfully.

Value training. If a boss thinks that training is a waste of money and expects you to teach yourself, you feel pretty de-motivated in any job. Training matters, especially in IT, and managers must realize that and budget for it. Sometimes you get the argument that “if I give them training a competitor will hire them away.” That may be true, but the alternative is to only have employees who are too unskilled to work anywhere else. Also, if you pay them well and have good benefits, they won't go somewhere else.

Give recognition. Since managers may not understand the work geeks do very well, it’s hard for them to recognize and reward a job well done, which hurts motivation. The solution is to work together to define a set of goals that both parties agree on. When these goals are met the geeks are doing a great job. Keep overtime down. Avoid taking the approach of wringing as much as possible out of IT employees just because you figure they don't lead a normal life. Wrong! That’s a huge mistake and overworked geeks burn out or simply quit. It's a complete myth that long work hours are good for business.

Avoid using management-speak. Geeks hate management-speak and see it as superficial and dishonest. Managers shouldn’t learn to speak tech, but they should drop the biz-buzzwords. A manager can say “We need to proactively impact our time-to-market” or simply use plain English and stick to “We gotta be on time with this project”. The latter makes total sense to everyone involved.

Don't try to be smarter than the geeks. When managers don’t know anything about a technical question, they should simply admit it. Geeks respect them for that, but not for pretending to know. And they will catch it - geeks are smart.

Act consistently. Geeks have an ingrained sense of fairness, probably related to the fact that in IT, structure and consistency is critical. The documentation can’t say one thing while the code does something else, and similarly, managers can’t say one thing and then do something else.

Don't make the mistake of ignoring the geeks. Because managers and geeks are different types of people, managers may end up leaving the geeks alone. This makes leading them difficult, and geeks need good leadership - the same as all other personnel groups.

Include them in decisions. Never make decisions without consulting geeks. Geeks usually know the technical side of the business better than the manager, so making a technical decision without consulting them is one of the biggest mistakes a leader can make.

Give them the tools needed. A fast computer may cost more money than an older one and it may not be corporate standard, but geeks use computers differently. A slow computer lowers productivity and is a daily annoyance. So is outdated software. Give them the tools they need.

Remember that geeks are creative workers. Programming is a creative process, not an industrial one. Geeks must constantly come up with solutions to new problems and rarely ever solve the same problem twice. Therefore they need leeway and flexibility. Strict dress codes and too much red tape kill all innovation. They also need creative surroundings to avoid “death by cubicle”.

Recognize the outcomes of not treating geeks with respect as outlined above. Happy geeks are productive geeks, and the most important factor is good management, tailored to their situation. Doing the opposite to what has been outlined in this article has serious consequences for your organization, including:

- Low motivation
- High employee turnover
- Increased absenteeism
- Lower productivity
- Lower quality
- Bad service


- Caveat: not all geeks are the same; geeks are wildly different people and this article does generalize dangerously. And this article is not saying that all IT-people are geeks. Some are, some aren’t.

- This advice would work well with most employees, not just geeks.

- The word 'geek' in this article is not used in a derogatory manner.

Friday, January 2, 2009

WinRAR a Subsitute For WinZip

WinRAR can create multiple-volume archives (popular with file sharers) and use 128-bit AES encryption to password-protect them. Like most of its competition, it also has an option to hide file names inside an encrypted archive: someone without the password won't even see what files you've archived, let alone view their contents.

In our maximum-compression tests, WinRAR 3.61 archived our files faster than most competitors; except for StuffIt Standard 9.5. Though we found .rar archives to be smaller than conventional .zip 2.0 archives, they weren't as small as .7z files created by PowerArchiver 2006 and ZipGenius 6 Standard or .zip files created with WinZip 11's new Best Method option.

Like most other file compression programs. WinRAR can also compress .zip 2.0 files, hide file names, and split archives into multiple files of user-definable size.

WinRAR boasts some powerful automation tools--surprisingly so for a program in this price range. After you've set up an archive job in the incredibly powerful but intimidating six-tabbed 'Archive name and parameters'' dialog box, you can save those parameters as a profile for future use. That lets you, for instance, simplify an incremental backup by creating the appropriate profile (among the relevant options you'll find among the tabs are ones for backing up only changed files and for shutting down the computer when you're done).

You can automate chores even further with WinRAR's powerful command-line parameters, which let you create Windows shortcuts and old-fashioned DOS-style batch files to do particular jobs.

Download Here

Wide area networks news, advice and technical information