Multilingual Support in Zoho Sheet & more

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Most of the Zoho apps provide Unicode support which enable our users to enter/store their data in any language. But they had to make do with an English interface which was a slight drawback as far as non-English speakers & online collaboration for teams spread across the globe were concerned. Not anymore.

Today, Zoho Sheet took a major step forward in bridging this gap. Zoho Sheet becomes the first of the Zoho apps (Zoho Mail which is private Beta supports 6 languages) to provide non-English UI as an option. You can now choose to have your UI in one of the 5 languages – English, French, Spanish, German or Japanese. We plan to support many other languages soon. Zoho Writer and Zoho Show will be joining Zoho Sheet in offering multilingual support as well.

Other useful features in today’s update include :

  • Customizing invitation email
  • Email notifications on shared spreadsheet updates
  • Easy recalculation of formulas by hitting F9
  • Use your mouse to select cell ranges while typing formulas
  • Data label option in charts

And more

Zoho Wiki Adds Tags & More

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With the latest Zoho Wiki update, you can add tags to each of your Wiki pages. With tags, you can easily group like pages together and it helps during search too – all pages of a particular tag are listed when a tag is clicked upon.

Zoho Wiki’s sharing feature was facing this issue of the sharing mail not being delivered sometimes, thanks to mail service provider filters wrongly classifying it as spam. Now the link that is being sent is visible to the Wiki Administrator (the owner of the Wiki who sends the sharing mail). If you are the Wiki’s owner & think the mail has not reached the intended recipient(s), you can now copy-paste the link and send it as a separate mail.

Another pretty useful addition is of the URLs in your page text getting auto-linked once you ‘Save’ the page. Your Wiki page name titles if present in the page text will auto-link to the appropriate page as well and mail IDs become clickable too (opens your mail client when clicked).

San Francisco Chronicle’s ‘Tip of the Week’

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David Einstein in his San Francisco Chronicle Computing Q&A column gives this tip :

Microsoft Office, which includes Word and Excel, continues to be the standard for creating and editing documents and spreadsheets — but it’s not the only game in town. OpenOffice, from openoffice.org, is a free suite that’s compatible with Microsoft Office and compares favorably to it.

Another option is a free online suite called Zoho Office, from zoho.com. Although still in beta phase, it’s pretty impressive. The word processor, for example, lets you create, edit and share documents online. It has lots of formatting features, and is compatible with Microsoft Word. You can even upload Word files from your computer so you can edit and store them online, and you can export (download) documents created in Zoho office to your computer as Word files. How cool is that?

Thanks, David & SF Chronicle!

Scoble on Autism

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I usually don’t talk about my personal life on this blog, but I will depart from that for this post. Robert Scoble visited us in our Pleasanton office yesterday, and myself and Raju did about an hour of video interviews and product demonstrations. After the interview was over, we went out for coffee at Peets, where the conversation turned to kids. That was when I mentioned autism and how that has impacted our lives. Once I get going on that subject, I just can’t stop – I think we ended up spending more time on autism than on Zoho.

Scoble has a nice post up on this topic. I am not a hero, it is my wife Pramila who is the real hero in this. She is the one who has been relentless in seeking cures, educating herself first and then me on the latest treatments and so on. Without her relentless energy and drive in attacking this problem, I don’t believe my son would have made the progress he has made. Of course, we still have a long, arduous journey ahead. And we are not alone in facing this: the CDC estimates that 1 in 150 kids (and more than 1 in 100 boys) are now affected. It is a bigger tragedy than AIDS, and it is a virtual life sentence for most of the impacted kids, unless we find a way to help them recover.

Thank you Robert, for writing about this. It means a lot to me personally, and it means a lot to parents in our situation. If you are a new parent or going to be a parent soon, I strongly urge you to educate yourself about autism, and about vaccinations. The medical establishment, for the most part, is still in the dark ages on this subject, and particularly, play-by-the-book pediatricians don’t really know much about the subject to be good guides. Parents have to educate themselves. We had pediatricians telling us “Nothing is wrong with your child, he will be fine”, based on that casual 2 minute interaction during those busy days we went for the shots. We just wish we had been more paranoid.

I am not an anti-vaccination activist (we have employees in our Chennai office afflicted with polio), but it is still worth asking the question “Are we over-vaccinating our kids? How much is too much?” My son’s condition worsened measurably after we gave him 3 shots in one day, right before he joined kindergarten, because the school told us that we hadn’t been up-to-date on his shots, so we had to complete them before he could come in. I now really wish I hadn’t taken him for those shots, or at least staggered them over time.

I urge you to read these books, and educate yourself:

Vaccinations: A Thoughtful Parent’s Guide: How to Make Safe, Sensible Decisions about the Risks, Benefits, and Alternatives

and

What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About(TM) Children’s Vaccinations

Kearen Integrates Zoho

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I am glad to announce yet another API partner for Zoho (Sheet) – Kearen. Kearen recently integrated Zoho into their Dashboard application. For those of you who don’t know Kearen, they offer dynamic data visualization solutions. In plain English, they gather data from multiple sources (like databases, Spreadsheets, XML etc) and show visually rich dashboards (built in Flash) integrating the data. This one liner does not do justice to what they do. I recommend taking a peek at their website for more details.

With this integration, Kearen users can bring in data directly from Zoho Sheet as another source (thanks to our API) and view it in their desktop. Rob Griebel from Kearen created this short video showcasing this integration.

Zoho as seen by bloggers

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Some recent blog posts on Zoho that we came across. From one of the edublogs,

Now this blog is to compare the two leading web based programs, Google and Zoho. Both have the amazing access ability. It is no surprise that Google has developed this online software with their boundless online resources. I am sure Google’s software will only improve, but they have some catching up to do in my opinion to Zoho. I give Zoho the first prize. Zoho Writer contains many of the same familiar. The command bars are very well laid out and easily recognizable. In my opinion easier than Google and easier than MS Word. It can improve if it studies Apple Works…still the best word processor in the industry.

Zoho Sheet beats Google Spreadsheet. The commands are more familiar. It is easier to add columns of numbers, sort names and so forth. It appears to have studied MS Excel to develop its capabilities. That is a smart choice. Apple has the word processor. Microsoft has the spreadsheet.

Zoho Show versus…no equal with Google. Show can easily read and edit any show saved in PowerPoint mode.

I am impressed with the concept. I believe Zoho has the edge in developing online software.

Claire says,

I did Zoho as well as google. I had a lot more fun with Zoho. I love their spreadsheets, and the documents are a lot more fun and clean.

We like the Mahatma Gandhi quote, “Learn as if you were going to live forever. Live as if you were going to die tomorrow” you have at your blog, Claire :-)

Suresh at Digital Quest observes,

You may have noticed that when you find a link to a document or spreadsheet file in a Google search result, and you click on it, Google offers to open the file using Google docs or Google Spreadsheet. But the problem with Google is that you need to sign-in before you can open the file.

However, with Zoho Quickread you don’t have to be registered to use it. Anyone can open the files using Zoho applications. This is really wonderful.

Thanks, all!