Zoho Projects : Faster than before

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In March 2007, we migrated most of the Zoho services to a new data center with more powerful servers. This weekend, Zoho Projects joined the other Zoho apps in the new data center. You should now be experiencing a major boost in the performance of Zoho Projects as the pages load much faster and the data inputs happen more smoothly.

Also, this update had a couple of UI enhancements. The ‘Tasks & Milestones’ tab now has sub-tabs – General, Upcoming, Overdue, Completed – for added clarity. And each Tasklist / Milestone can be Expanded or Collapsed. The ‘Forums’ tab has also undergone a few changes as well.

Try the new & enhanced Zoho Projects and we would be glad hearing your feedback!

iZoho on iPhone – Video

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I finally got a chance to try out iZoho on iPhone and I am glad to say that most of the functionality works. There are certain things that need improvements which will be taken up soon. However, there are some surprises.

The biggest surprise of all – the keyboard doesn’t show up in WYSIWYG Editors. This is not an iZoho Specific problem. This issue exists for all applications that use a WYSIWYG Editor. I hope Apple will address this issue soon. Due to this issue, you’ll not be able to edit/create Zoho Writer documents. Meanwhile, we’ll try to provide some work around for this.

We also expected a different kind of rendering. To address this, we plan to make some display related enhancements soon.

I did a quick video of iZoho on iPhone.

Overall, I should say, I am more than impressed with the browser (and ofcourse, the phone too :)). I am glad to see even the regular Zoho apps work well in the browser.

iZoho – Zoho for iPhone

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…or should I say ‘Office for your iPhone‘. This is fun project going live in record time (thanks to our APIs and of course our team).
iZoho (no, its not an online desktop :)) is an easier way to access your Zoho Apps on your Mobile…atleast, iPhone for now. Sure, you can use Zoho Apps in their current form on your iPhone, but there is lot of stuff you don’t need on your mobile phone. So we simplified the interface and just provided simple features you’d normally use on a mobile phone.

We have three applications available currently in iZoho – Zoho Writer, Sheet and Show which lets you view your documents, spreadsheets and presentations in Zoho. Currently you can view and edit your documents, but you cannot edit your spreadsheets and presentations (you can only view them). You can also create new documents and view your presentations in landscape mode. There will be more features coming as we move along.
Frankly, we don’t know how this will work on iPhone as we haven’t tested it. It certainly works well on Safari so we hope it’ll be a non-issue. In any case, we will be fine tuning this over the next few days.

As I mentioned earlier, a device with a big screen, built in Wi-Fi, good usability and a full fledged browser will only improve the chances of practically using web apps on a mobile device.
Do give it a try and let us know what you think (support at zoho.com). Below are some screenshots.

home.jpg docs.jpg writer.jpg

Moore’s Law on Companies

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IBM was the dominant company of the mainframe era – and at the peak of their influence they had around 200K employees. The dominant company of the PC era is Microsoft, and they had around 40K employees at the peak of their influence and power. Google is the dominant company of the emerging internet era, at around 10K employees. It is easy to see a kind of Moore’s Law operating here: the dominant company in each technology generation is a fraction of the size of the dominant company of the previous generation.  Timescales are shrinking too. IBM reigned supreme for decades, Microsoft for about a decade. Powered by technology itself, economies of scale are becoming available at smaller and smaller scales.

SteekR integrates Zoho

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SteekR, an online storage vendor integrated Zoho Writer into their application in their recent update. With this integration SteekR users can edit documents using Zoho Writer and save them back into their SteekR Drive.

SteekR offers a free account with 1GB storage space. I like their upload feature where you can just drag and drop your files into the browser and they are uploaded directly without having to install anything. Also, if you have any photos or audio files uploaded, you can play them directly in your browser. They have a great application and we are glad to see Zoho integrated into it.

Other online storage vendors who integrated Zoho APIs include Box.net, FileDen, MyDataBus & OmniDrive. We’d like to thank you all once again for integrating Zoho Apps and we look forward for more such integrations.

World may be Flat, but It is Also Really Small

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I found out something surprising a few days ago: I was in the same hostel (Godavari) at IIT Madras as Rajesh Jha and Suri Raman, who lead Microsoft Office Live and Srikanth Shoroff, a senior manager at Office Live. Jha is the Corporate VP in charge of Office Live, while Raman is a Microsoft Technical Fellow, an exalted super-guru status at Microsoft. All of them were one year ahead of me at IIT, and we shared the same hostel for 3 years. I remember playing tennis ball cricket with them, which I consider to be much more fun than the infernal “real” cricket ball. Those used to be pretty hard-fought affairs, and alas, I also recall losing more often to them than winning, a circumstance I would conveniently blame on my less talented teammates. Jha and Raman graduated in 1988, and Raman joined Microsoft right out of IIT – interestingly the first time Microsoft recruited directly in India. Jha and Srikanth went to grad school and joined Microsoft two years later. From what I gather, 10 out of 30 of that 1988 graduating Computer Science class is in Microsoft now.

Another member of their class is Venky Harinarayan, who co-founded Junglee (acquired by Amazon) and now the founder of Kosmix, an innovative search engine start-up in silicon valley. I remember Venky was often the reason their team would win the cricket matches. Thanks, Venky, for connecting me with Jha, Raman and Srikanth.

I myself was in the Electrical Engineering class graduating in 1989, and I never thought I had any interest or passion for software. In IIT, I avoided computers after the initial obligatory Intro to Computing (Fortran!), taught in 1985 when I entered. I pretty much didn’t think of software at all until 1995. Even then it was not love-at-first-sight for software and me. It must be the Fortran …

Anyhow, it was great to reconnect with these folks. I don’t remember much of what I studied in IIT (that’s a lie, I don’t remember anything), but I remember the people, I remember the cricket, and I also remember some other things which won’t fit in a family-friendly blog (psst, my father reads my posts) so I will leave them out! And here is a piece of advice to those still in college: really get to know your fellow students, you never know who you will find as competitors 19 years later in life 😉 Make damn sure to enjoy all that time you are wasting – one of my favorite quotes is “If you enjoyed the time you wasted, you didn’t waste it after all.” And whatever you do, seriously avoid Fortran – I mean seriously.

Zoho Writer now in Japanese

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Japanese users of Zoho Writer are in for a treat. Thanks to our Japanese colleagues who are putting in a lot of effort in translating the Zoho services’ UI screens, Zoho Writer now joins Zoho Sheet in providing a Japanese UI. In your Zoho Writer account, click on ‘Options’ -> ‘Settings’ and you will find the language option there.

Soon we will be adding other language UIs to Zoho Writer (and other Zoho services) as well.