Zoho Notebook Update: More Shapes, Show Integration, Enhanced plug-in & more…

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We rolled out another update for Zoho Notebook. Some of the highlights include…

  • Support for more shapes in the drawing toolbar
  • Integration with Zoho Show
  • Enhanced Firefox plug-in to capture screenshots
  • Previous & Next buttons for published notebooks

Apart from these features, lot of effort went into the back-end optimization and collaboration in Notebook. Let us look at each of these new features.

More Shapes:

At the bottom of the drawing toolbar you’ll now see a new icon (p2.png) clicking on which shows all the new shapes that are new added.

Shapes

Once a shape is added, you can then choose to change the dimensions, fill color, border color etc from the options available in the toolbar (picture-3.png).

Zoho Show Integration:
We now have Zoho Show integrated into Zoho Notebook at the object level. You’ll see picture-4.png option on the left where you can select the presentation you have in Zoho Show and embed that directly in Notebook.

Firefox plug-in:

Two new options are added to Notebook’s Firefox plugin.

  1. Snap Page to Zoho Notebook
  2. Snap Region to Zoho Notebook

picture-6.png

These two options will let you take snapshots of web page or part of a web page to your notebook. The snapshot will be available as an image and will automatically be uploaded and inserted in the open page in notebook. For these features to work, you’ll have to be logged into Notebook.

When you click on ‘Snap Region to Zoho Notebook’, you’ll see a small rectangle appear on the page. Move and resize this rectangle to the area you want to take a snapshot of and click the camera icon (picture-5-copy.png) and give it a name for the snapshot to appear on your notebook page.

Next & Prev Buttons:
For better page navigation, we also added a small navigation strip (picture-7.png) to move between pages. You can check this out in this public book.

Do give these new features and try and let us know your feedback. Also, if there is any other feature you’d like to see in notebook, please do let us know.

Zoho Wiki : Attach Files to your Wiki Pages

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The most asked for feature in Zoho Wiki is here, you can now attach files to your Wiki! Salient points about this new feature :

  • The attachment is at the Wiki level and you can associate the same file to multiple pages in a Wiki
  • If the attached file is of an office file format (.doc, .odt, .csv, .ppt etc), it can be opened directly by the respective Zoho app
  • Each file attachment can have multiple versions and any (older) version can be downloaded
  • Any file type can be attached

To know more about this new Wiki function, please refer this page. Try Zoho Wiki now and your valuable feedback is welcome as always.

Changes to zohocrm.com website

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Hope you liked the new changes to the website.

It was too bland earlier and now we have added some ‘spice’ to it.

New Zoho CRM Website

For every detail that you click, towards of the bottom of the page, you will find the navigation links now (With this, I hope you will not get ‘lost’ in the site as I used to ;-) )

We have given the ability to sign up to Zoho CRM on all the pages so that one need not go back and forth to sign in to Zoho CRM.

The Wiki too is being worked upon and we hope to have it steady by the end of this week.

One of the key ideas was to focus more on user-friendliness.

We would love to get your feedbacks on the changes.

  • Does it make life any better for you?
  • What other information would you like to see on the site?

PS: The traffic to the site has reached the highest levels last month and we hope to better them this time too. This can happen with your support only. So do give your feedback please.

Zoho Integrated into G.ho.st

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Online O/S vendor G.ho.st has integrated Zoho Writer, Sheet and Show into its virtual desktop application giving users the ability to open, edit and save their documents using Zoho while providing 3Gb of free online storage. The partnership is another great example of the use of Zoho’s API’s and the openness of our Zoho Alliance Partner Program (ZAPP). We are extremely pleased with the integration and welcome G.ho.st to our family of Alliance partners. G.ho.st plans on expanding its offerings in the near future making its virtual desktop a browser-based alternative to MS Windows – and Zoho’s collaboration and sharing functionality makes it a great fit.

Thank you G.ho.st team for choosing Zoho and for joining ZAPP! Good luck with the launch and we look forward to lots of positive feedback from our users.

Below is a view of a Zoho Writer document in G.ho.st.

zoho_ghost_screenshot.jpg

Zoho Sheet now in Romanian

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We announced the community driven translation of Zoho Sheet last week on Sep 13th. We immediately got a request from an user to support the Romanian language in translate.sheet.zoho.com. We added it on 14th and within 3 hours of adding, 42% of the messages were translated to Romanian. Dutch and Portuguese (Brazil) which were at around 96% were brought to completion. Within a day, the Romanian language stood at 84% completion. It soon became 99% complete yesterday, and today we are adding it to our main site. Now users can choose the Romanian language by clicking on the Language link after signing in at sheet.zoho.com. A total of 4 users worked on the Romanian Language and brought it to completion just within a couple of days.

8 other languages (Greek, Catalan, Spanish – Argentina, Tamil, Serbian, Kannada, Telugu and Polish) were requested and we have added all of them to translate.sheet.zoho.com. They are in different phases of completion.

Would you like to help translate Zoho Sheet into your language? Then head to http://translate.sheet.zoho.com.

Update: Radu Capan, the user who requested the Romanian language and who has been actively contributing to it, has been blogging about this here and here.

Zoho Turns Two

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On Sep 15 2005, we released our first application Zoho Writer. We cant believe it’s already two years. These have been two exciting and busy years for Zoho with several enhancements and new products. While we continue this journey, we certainly are having fun. That’s the important part right?

bday.png

We are very happy about where we are today and confident on the direction we are moving. We are really looking forward to more exciting times ahead. Thank you for all your support during these two years and we look forward to serving you longer.

YouTube class in college?

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TechCrunch has a post on Pitzer College offering a “Learning from YouTube” class. To quote from that post:

Pitzer isn’t known as an intellectual powerhouse among small liberal arts schools (although to be honest I am somewhat biased as I went to a rival school, Claremont McKenna). But this may still be just about the most ridiculous class the school, or any school, has ever offered.

I don’t know about the reputation of Pitzer College. I don’t know the track record of students that graduated there – but I do have a sneaking suspicion that if you were to look 10-20 years out, Pitzer and Claremont McKenna students won’t have dramatically different life outcomes, particularly if you adjust for IQ. So if the kids are enjoying the time they are wasting …

I do remember how I felt when I was in college. I felt bored, really, depressingly bored. I even knew I was wasting most of my time, but didn’t know what else I should be doing. I did well enough academically, but all through it I felt I was going through the motions, not really fully engaged. In perfect hindsight, I realize I should have dropped out and started a business, but that was simply “not done” in India in the 80′s. I remember the feeling of liberation, when I told myself one day when I was 27, “I will mentally renounce my PhD, go back a few years and start from the basics again”.

This time I learned software, no not Computer Science, but practical software, as in hacking code. I started at the bottom of the stack – my first job was to hack assembly code for a living. Then I moved “up” a bit and wrote embedded C code for a switch. It was very helpful to get that close to the metal feeling for code. Fortunately, software (and now the internet) is one business where it absolutely doesn’t matter what your background is -and I was careful never to reveal that I was way “overqualified” for those jobs!

In much the same way, I learned sales and marketing, by actually doing them – making all kinds of “stupid” mistakes but figuring out slowly. I remember a friendly customer advising me once “You guys have great software, but send me another salesman, you don’t know how to sell”. Trust me, there is no better education than that – I say that as someone who has spent far too many years in conventional education.

Over time, I have come to the conclusion that for the vast majority of people, college is actually an expensive (in more ways than one) waste of time. It is not because classes are not taught well – even granting the best teachers with the best of intentions, the whole structure of higher education is ill-suited to the majority of students. The main reason is that most students cannot possibly know why, say, Quantum Physics or Theory of Algorithms is relevant to anything they will face in the real world. That kind of knowledge is very contextual – you better understand Quantum Physics well if you work in semiconductor fabrication, for example, but frankly, only very few of us will ever learn it well just for the sheer intellectual challenge of it.

Not having that kind of meta-knowledge (knowing why something is important), students have to go on faith that what is being taught is important, or the all-too-common practical alternative, fake that faith. We live in a time where asking for such faith from young adults is asking too much.

That is true even in an ideal world where every professor knows his or her stuff, and can teach it well. In the real world, particularly in major brand-name universities, many professors consider teaching to be a price they pay for the privilege of conducting research. Then there are colleges, particularly in a country like India, where teaching is simply no good at all. Pathetic waste of time would be a polite understatement for what passes for education in most colleges in India.

Now, there is value in college, but most of it is the value of connections and networks – the value of meeting like-minded smart people, and so on. My point is that conventional college is a very expensive way to get that value.

So what’s the alternative? Learn by doing. Start getting students into the work-force early – at 18. Give them real work responsibility and pay them for it – the act of receiving real money motivates people more than anything else I know!

This is not something I just preach. We actually practice that in AdventNet. For some years now, we haven’t required college credentials for employment. We disregard grades. In the past 2 years, we have started a program in our Chennai center, where we enroll students after high school in our own internal “University” which combines work and education. I am very happy to report that results have been outstanding.

I have written on this subject before. Since there are multiple posts in each subject, I am linking the search results that display all of them:

Perils of Credentialism: http://search.yahoo.com/search?p=perils+of+credentialism

College Eduction and the Placebo Effect (where I talk about the real value of college and how to get at that value without incurring all the expense): http://search.yahoo.com/search?p=college+education+and+the+placebo+effect