Enhanced plug-in, Skins Support, Shortcuts and more in Zoho Notebook

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We rolled out another update to Zoho Notebook with more goodies. Here is the list.

  • Enhanced Firefox Plug-in with Citations
  • Skins Support
  • Keyboard Shortcuts
  • Linking support
  • and more…

Lets looks at each of these enhancements.

Citation Support in Firefox Plug-in

This is one of the most requested feature. Our new Firefox plug-in lets you easily aggregate content from the internet and it also links back to the original site with the title on the top. Here is how the aggregated content looks with the new plug-in.

You’ll notice the title on the top with a link back to the original site. You can change the title or the link using the ‘Edit Title’ icon (znic.png).

Skins Support

If you don’t prefer the default color for the notebook, we now have two more options – Blue and Brown. You can change the Skin from the ‘Preferences’ section.

Keyboard Shortcuts

If you are used to keyboard shortcuts, some of them are supported now inside Zoho Notebook. Supported ones are – Save (CTRL + S), Copy (CTRL + C), Paste (CTRL + V), Undo (CTRL + Z) and Redo (CTRL + Y).

Linking Support

You’ll now see two new icons in the text object – znlink.png. You can now link your content to any URL. Of course, linking between notebook pages is coming.

Other Enhancements…

Remove Sharing

If you have a shared notebook which you no longer need, you can use our new ‘Remove Sharing’ option now (znremovesharing.png) on the menu. Now you have the control on what notebooks you want to view in your shared section.

Rename/Delete Notebook

There is a new way to rename or delete a notebook. Simply right click on the book name, you’ll see the new context menu appear.


Do give these new features a try and let us know your feedback.

Zoho Show 2.0 Launched

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As promised earlier, Zoho Show launched during the weekend. Log on to your Zoho Show account and you would be in for a surprise seeing the all new UI and the host of new features available at your finger tips now.

A demo video is available here. A sample presentation created using the new version of Zoho Show below.

As the last slide in the above slideshow says, coming soon are transitions, charts, export to ppt etc. Zoho Show was well-received by the press & the blogosphere and here are some quotes about the release. Thanks everyone for test driving Zoho Show 2.0 and the reviews! Our advisor Zoli lists a set of cute slideshows created by you, our users.

Try Zoho Show 2.0 and we will glad hearing your feedback.

ps : This release was given as preview a week back to those who opted-in to receive news about Zoho. If you too are interested in knowing about upcoming Zoho updates, please head here.

Announcing Zoho Show 2.0

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Zoho Show, our online presentation application will undergo a major update this weekend. This major update (dubbed Zoho Show 2.0) has many goodies and several enhancements over our current version. Let’s take a closer look at the key enhancements.

(For those of you who are impatient, here is the video that talks about the enhancements)

1) Elegant new User Interface : We have completely redesigned our user interface from scratch. Here is how the new UI looks.

2) Themes Support : We now have over 50 default themes available in this version. Eventually you’ll see this evolve where you can create your own themes and contribute it to the library.

3) Shapes & ClipArt Support : Lots of pre-built shapes (for use in flowcharts etc) and clipart have been added (lots of them)

4) Extensive Editing Capabilities (Text, Image, Bullets etc) : Images can be rotated/flipped and there are lots of bullet types to choose from.

5) Enhanced Import : The import functionality has been drastically enhanced. If you are importing your presentations (ppt, pps, odp, sxi) into Show 2.0, you’ll notice that the import quality of the presentations will be much better than what you might have previously experienced.

6) Meeting & Chat Integration : As you might know, Zoho Meeting is our desktop sharing tool and it is now well-integrated with Zoho Show. This allows you to have a seamless switch to share your desktop with the participants viewing your presentation. And Zoho Chat allows you to chat with your audience while doing remote presentations.

7) Lots more

Our team has put in quite some work on this update. We can’t wait to roll it out to hear your feedback. We are planning to update the service this weekend as there might be some downtime. We’ll definitely keep you posted about it. Watch this space for more …

TechTree reviews Zoho

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Nikhil Rastogi at TechTree, India’s Technology Daily has a good review of Zoho. From his review titled “Zoho – Office 2.0” :

What would the office of the future be like? Perhaps something that can assist you to do your work where ever it may be? Now with Internet access everywhere, the conventional meaning of work by sitting only at office (or in one place) is changing. This major shift in lifestyle is helpfully being facilitated by a fresh approach in tools that enable one to get their job done anywhere.

Meet Zoho — The Office 2.0… or perhaps a cliched, but appropriate denotation — “The Office of tomorrow, today”.

“The best things in life are free” and so is Zoho. Zoho is an extremely mature, well-designed, and a fairly responsive product. Of course, it cannot replace Microsoft Office yet, but is certainly on the way to do so with growing offline support. For most people don’t really care about the bloated complexities that Microsoft Office has, Zoho will certainly fill in those gaps for free.

Thanks to Nikhil & TechTree for the review! Nikhil points to a couple of nice points which we should be taking care of, e.g., UI consistency. We are indeed working on this and you will get to see a more consistent UI across the various Zoho apps soon.

R.I.P. Marc Orchant

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morchant_105×110.jpgI just learned that Marc Orchant, a very dear friend of ours passed away. My heart goes out to Marc’s family.

I had the pleasure of knowing and interacting with him for about a year now. I met him at the DEMO conference during a product launch in Jan this year for the first time and from then on I spent several hours with him at different occasions.

He wrote many times about Zoho and provided very good advice to our team on different occasions. He was generous with his time, and kind and gracious to a fault.  Last time I met him was at the Office 2.0 Conference this year where he gave some invaluable advice to me and Sridhar.

We’ll miss you Marc.

On Success, Failure, Rational Faith and Nihilism

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Mike Arrington announced the sad departure from the scene of Edgeio, a company he co-founded.  That brought out the usual mix of supportive voices and critics. At AdventNet, the company behind the Zoho services, we have had successes and lots of failures too. We have launched over 60 products covering a variety of areas over the years. Enough of them have succeeded sufficiently well that, collectively, as a company, AdventNet is doing remarkably well. Yet a lot of our products have failed too – in the sense of not making a reasonable return on the time, effort & resources we invested.  It is the failures that often stick in the mind, and teach valuable lessons. This post is about failure.

First, let us accept that in almost anything worth doing, anything out of the mundane and the ordinary, a priori odds favor failure, often overwhelmingly so. You want to win a olympic gold medal? Give it up already. You want to win a Nobel prize? Good luck.  Even in activities one would think are reasonably predictable (like opening a cafe), odds favor failure, only less overwhelmingly so.  So it is obvious that a perfectly rational decision-making process that takes into account only those a priori odds would recommend giving up right at the starting gate.

But here is the crucial point: even if a rational decision-making process took into account the often intangible “situation-specific” information – like the fact that the person who wants to work towards an olympic gold medal is already a star-athlete at the collegiate level or the person who wants to open a restaurant is a great cook – it would recommend giving up. So why does  anyone tries to do anything out of the ordinary at all, when the situation is so hopeless a priori?

Therein lies the conundrum: if everyone gave up because of the overwhelming odds, no progress is possible. In other words,  only because enough people accept the overwhelming personal risk of failure,  collective progress becomes possible.

To bridge that gap between personal failure and collective progress, we need an extra element, to make people persist against the odds. That element goes by different names: the inner confidence, the will power, the stubbornness, the determination, the passion to win – these intrinsically unmeasurable traits make people persist against the odds, and make progress even possible. I call these traits “Rational Faith” – because it is remarkably akin to religious faith.  In fact, most people who persist against hopeless odds actually have religious faith in ample degree, so rational faith is well correlated with religious faith. Yet I choose to call this rational faith, because in a collective sense, such a faith is rational – as a posteriori evidence of progress makes clear. It is still faith, because it has to be axiomatically accepted – in the sense that there is no a priori logical proof possible.

Now, for those of you who consider themselves non-religious, the opposite of that rational faith I refer to above is not atheism, but nihilism. From the Wikipedia:

Nihilism (from the Latin nihil, nothing) is a philosophical position which argues that Being, especially past and current human existence, is without objective meaning, purpose, comprehensible truth, or essential value.

Rational faith stands in stark opposition to this. You can be of any religious persuasion (or no religious persuasion at all) and still have ample rational faith. Rational faith is beyond conventional categories like good and evil – it is perfectly possible to have a lot of passion for something really evil.  Likewise, it is possible to be conventionally religious and still be a nihilist at heart. A reasonable dialog about success and failure is only possible when the rational faith axiom is accepted. In other words, don’t argue with a nihilist!

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