The Nintendo Wii Excites this Non-gamer

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A few weeks ago, I was in an electronics store, more to just browse around than to buy anything. I saw an inviting booth to check out the Xbox 360, so I decided to sit down and try it. After about 20 minutes playing or rather trying to memorize the A-for-this, B-for-that mapping, I gave up. A couple of 10 year old boys who were watching my effort, took ever, started playing the same game, and gave me one of those what-is-the-fastest-way-to-commit-suicide moments. Video game consoles are never going to be my thing.


The irony is that my wife works in the game console industry. She brought a Nintendo Wii home this weekend to play with. I wasn’t too thrilled to try it at first, but I was blown away once I did. The “wand”, which is a simplified remote/controller that you actually “play with” (so in a tennis game, you actually pretend that the wand is a tennis racket) is amazing. I could master it in a couple of minutes, and within 10 minutes, I was even winning (OK, I set it at the lowest possible skill level, I have to build up my self-esteem, right?) My father-in-law, who is 63, tried it, and he could do play passable tennis too. In fact, I got so sucked into it my hand started hurting after some time, because of all this waving this imaginary racket around. May be it detected that too because it gave a helpful “Time to take a break?”

Nintendo Wii is product strategy executed right. Rather than getting beaten in the ultra-cool-graphics pissing contest, they have focused on getting non-gamers into the market. From the first appearances, they have succeeded admirably. Great show, Nintendo.

You may have noticed the URL redirections …

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In the last week, you may have noticed that when you type in zohowriter.com it goes to writer.zoho.com. This is a change we are making to all Zoho services. The old URLs will continue to work, so your bookmarks, embedding etc. are all fine, because they are all redirected to the new URLs.

Why did we make this change? It turns out that both IE7 and Firefox 2 now don’t automatically log you in to zohosheet.com, if you are already logged in to zohowriter.com. Due to new security changes in the latest browsers, services have to be on the same domain. With this change, single sign-on should work smoothly in the new browsers now.

ToDo Lists – Inking them on Paper Vs Having them Online

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Anne Zelenka has a nice debut post at Web Worker Daily. She lists the advantages of having one’s todo lists on paper compared to having them on an online personal organizer. Liked the comment that one Mr. Peter Bell made there :

I used pen and paper for a long time and still do while “on the move”, but I find a simple Notepad/Textmate style to do list invaluable. Why?- I can always read my typing – not always true about my writing
- I can easily re-order tasks which I almost always have to do. Try re-ordering 30 tasks on a piece of paper – ten times. Then trying doing the same using cut and paste on a laptop . . .
- I can find tasks by keyword so I can afford to have plenty of “some day” tasks and just find them via search.
- I can easily save my historic “done” tasks – again for searching by project or other key words down the line.

The above’s true for Zoho Planner too. I have tried the yellow sticky notes before but it didn’t work for me. Too many of them cluttered my work place and I found them impossible to organize. All tools have their own advantages & disadvantages. Like you can use the Notepad/Textmate when offline (with Zoho Planner it aint possible) but you would need your laptop always for accessing them.

More document formatting options in Zoho Writer

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How badly have you wanted to set margins to your Zoho Writer docs? It is now there. There is a new ‘Document Property’ icon next to the ‘Print Document’ icon. Clicking on it will get you the document properties pop-div. You can specify the margins, set the font face, size & bg color. Note that if you choose to select some text within the document and apply fonts, it will over-ride the overall document settings (as it should).

zoho-writer-doc-properties

When inside a table, the ‘Format’ menu now lists formatting options for cell/table.

zoho-writer-table-properties

There are options for bulleted lists too. Right click on a list and you will see the ‘List Properties’ menu item.

zoho-writer-list-properties

While using the ‘Export’ option in IE, it was sometimes blocking this function sighting security reasons. This issue has been fixed.

Share your presentations privately

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Till now, Zoho Show allowed to have your presentations fully private (which you can show as ‘Remote’) or make it public for the whole world to see. Now, you can share your presentations to a select group of friends or colleagues. With the new sharing feature you can set permissions, either ‘View Only’ or ‘View and Edit’. Obviously, ‘View and Edit’ would mean collaboration, where the persons who you shared a presentation with can edit it. Wouldn’t that be handy? (Note: not in real-time though. Only one user can edit it at any instant of time for now and the others users can only view it). A short demo of this feature :

Launch as slide show

And the quality of images you upload into Zoho Show have been improved a lot. Open up your existing presentations and you will know. You can also create new presentations and you will see quite a difference in image quality. A slide show of some photos taken at SAP TechEd, Bangalore. (if some the images are blurred or are of bad quality, blame it on my amateurish hands)

Launch as slide show

Check out Zoho Show. We will be glad hearing your feedback.

Unicode is now supported in Zoho Sheet!

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Some of you might have noticed in our update last weekend that Zoho Sheet also now supports the Unicode Transformation Format (UTF8, to be specific) – the industry standard character encoding scheme.

Spreadsheet users of different Asian languages like Chinese (see example in picture below) or European languages or users from almost any part of the world can now create spreadsheets using their native (or) preferred language characters in Zoho Sheet!

chinese_example.PNG

Another small but convenient feature that we’ve added is support for scrolling of sheets in a workbook. When the number of worksheets increases, the scroll buttons will automatically appear on the status bar at the bottom, near the sheets tab. (see highlighted portion in picture)

Also, selecting a range of numbers in your sheet will now display their ‘sum’ value in the status bar at the bottom near the sheets tab. (highlighted in blue)

Now that we’ve moved our service to a new grid-based architecture, your Zoho Sheets should be loading faster. And lots more coming soon in Zoho Sheet – thanks for all the requests, and do let us know what other features you’d like to see!