Conversations or not

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The Economist carried a story on Blogging. And the bottomline was:

Blogging is just another word for having conversations

Tom Raftery wrote a few days back that in his blog that Blogging was starting to become monologous as some of the most popular bloggers closed down/moderate comments.

And this is what Guy Kawasaki had to say regarding comments:

7. Acknowledge and respond to commenters. Only good things can happen when you read all the comments in your blog and respond to them. It makes commenters return to your blog. This, in turn, makes commenters feel like they are part of your blog’s community which makes them tell more people to read your blog.

It is rather ironical that comments are not “wanted” anymore, because in the early days of blogging, comments were an indication of how popular a blog was! With the advent of feed readers and trackbacks, popular bloggers have decided to shut down a window; one crucial channel of communication, blaming it on the trolls. Added to that, we have spams, word-verifications, comment moderations resulting ultimately in conversation-killers. Sad and sorry state, indeed. As Tom Raftery rightly asks:

how can we now seriously evangelise the benefits of having comments enabled when some of the most prominent bloggers have theirs locked down?

Multiple Sheets and More…

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We upgraded our http://zohosheet.com service couple of days back with some goodies like Multiple Sheets, AJAX, etc.

You can now have multiple sheets (as tabs at the bottom) in a single document (workbook). This is very useful for maintaining all related data in a single document. Your already imported spreadsheets will automatically show all the sheets now. You can insert / add / rename / delete sheets. You can also refer to a cell in another sheet in the document.

We have AJAX-fied the whole interface now. Loading a document / creating a new one is much smoother and faster now.

We have also created a Firefox extension to automatically go to Fullscreen mode whenever you visit zohosheet.com. Apart from that, we have done some fixes and enhancements.

Detailed information is available on our What’s New page.

We also acknowledge that some important features such as insert rows / columns are missing and we will be adding them in our next update.

Oft asked questions in Zoho Writer

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It is high time we had an FAQ for Zoho Writer. Sorry that we haven’t one yet. Some of the oft repeated queries/requests below:

Will Zoho Writer be free forever?
Yes, there will be the current Personal Free Version and we will be charging for the Corporate Edition. For more, refer to this post by Torley & the comment left by Sridhar, our CEO.

How much space do you offer?
Zoho Writer offers unlimited space as of now. However we plan to limit this to 1 GB when we go out of Beta

Does Zoho Writer allow me to post to WordPress?
Yes, of course. The confusion here seems to be that WordPress isn’t listed in the drop-dpwn combo box. Please follow the instructions here or here for posting to WordPress blogs. Remember, Zoho Writer supports Blogger, Typepad & Live Journal blogs too.

Does Zoho Writer offer double spacing (alter line spacing)?
No, not yet. We do have plans to offer spacing options soon though. Yes, we have the option now!

Does Zoho Writer offer word count?
Word (and character) count is of course there! Type any document in Zoho Writer & click ‘Save’. Seems many of you don’t notice the pop-up bubble that comes (so unobstrusively, if I may add!) then at the right-bottom of your screen. We plan to display the word count on the click of a button too in the near future.

Support for ODT (most asked!) & RTF
We will be providing support soon. It’s there now.

I’m using Firefox. Can you use Copy-Paste in Zoho Writer?
This query is due to the fact that you get a security related alert when you try using the Cut/Copy icons of Zoho Writer. A workaround would be to use Ctrl-X/Ctrl-C/Ctrl-V (Cmd- X/C/V for Mac users) shortcut keys instead.

Make Zoho Writer available in Chinese, French, German, Italian, Spanish … (sorry if I have left out your mother tongue). Also, have spellcheckers in all major languages.
Yes, we will eventually. The highest priority for us now is to make Zoho Writer go out of Beta & we will start working on these requests from the passionate international community up after that. (Zoho Writer supports Unicode & you should be able to write your docs in your native language even now)

How do I print from Zoho Writer?
The current Print feature is ‘hidden’ well, to say the least. You have to click on Preview -> Print Preview -> Print. We will make this a lot more easier soon.

I shared a do with my friend with Read/Write access. But it is turning up as Read Only. Why?
The ‘Read/Write’ gets set as ‘Read Only’ when the members you invite don’t have Zoho Writer accounts (at the time of you sharing them a doc). This we do for security reasons. Once he/she signs up, we automatically turn this to Read/Write.

Have a single sign-on for all Zoho products. (some ask for Zoho Writer/Planner integration)
Yes, all in good time. We will be providing single sign-on too.

Do you have a question that you think we should add on to the above FAQ? Post it in the comments please. I will try updating the above & have a FAQ page put up soon too.

[tags]Zoho Writer[/tags]

Do you hate filling up forms?

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I do. Especially when I am signing up for a new service. If you see, all the Zoho services just ask you for an email ID (or a username) & a password. Can Zoho CRM be any different? Just provide your email ID and password and within seconds you will be logged into Zoho CRM on-demand service!

By the way, our On-premise Edition is also available for evaluation in your own setup.  Evaluate the full version for 30 days; if you are satisfied with the features, upgrade to the Professional Edition; if you aren’t, continue using the Free Edition (3 users only, free of cost) forever.

Zoho Sheet & its Users

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We are pleasantly surprised seeing Zoho Sheet being put to use in quite a few ways. Mapz, a GIS librarian has used it to create a Wells in Arlington, Texas map. Mapz feeds his map with data from a Zoho Sheet that he maintains.

I exported the shapefile attributes into Excel format, and am using the Zoho API to allow users to view the attributes using Zoho. I love it that users do not need Excel on their computers. I am very impressed with how well Zoho works, even including the ability to create, edit, share, and even to create & include formulas!! For all you tagging junkies, you can even tag your spreadsheets.

The blog post of Mapz on this topic here. Thanks are due to Gary Price, think many librarians found about Zoho from his posts!

In another instance, Dennis Howlett uses Zoho Sheet to show the growth of Winweb users. Thanks Dennis & Mapz.

Do you have any such interesting use cases of Zoho Sheet?

Kosmix: One step better Search

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Kosmix (via) is an example of next generation Search Engine in its nascent stages. It is different from a standard Search Engine in the context that it is Categorized. To start with, they have three categories – Medicine (in Beta), Travel and Politics (both in Alpha). A common clueless web-surfer who uses a Search Engine for generic queries on a regular basis can readily appreciate the difference. Since the categories are limited, queries have to be, for the time-being, specific to these topics.

For instance, there is a huge difference between searching for a Medical condition in Kosmix and in a standard Search Engine. I entered “Avian Flu” as a search query. The results are presented in an extremely ordered and sorted out manner. For each search term entered, there are sub-categories viz., Basic Information, Definition, Treatments, Symptoms, etc. But Kosmix search goes a step higher by linking Blogs and Forums that provide information about a condition. However, the best part about Kosmix Medical search is the links it provides to authoritative websites that address the problem of specific patients such as children or women.

As with standard Search Engines, search can be personalized. The Travel category is neat, with links to Travelogues and user reviews. Kosmix definitely has a long way to go before it becomes a next generation Search Engine. But this is a welcome change from using quotes, special characters and advanced search filters (and not to mention a great deal of effort involved in thinking about the right set of keywords) to find the information required. It seems that Kosmix was launched by two Stanford graduates. What is it with Stanford Graduates and Search Engines? ;)

Check Out Zoho CRM 5

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Regular readers of this blog would have noticed the teaser posts made on Zoho CRM 5.

Zoho CRM 5 is finally out! Specialty being it is offered both as a service & as a downloadable product. Salient points of the realease below:
Marketing Automation: Campaigns, Email Marketing and Lead Generation for Marketing folks

Sales Force Automation: Leads, Assignment Rules, Capture Leads from Website, Accounts & Contacts, Business opportunities, Sales Stage History, Big deal Alerts, Sales Pipeline Analysis, Competitor analysis, Win-Loss Analysis, Sales Quotas, Sales Forecasts, and so on for your sales force.

Customer Support & Service: Cases (Trouble Tickets), Solutions (Knowledge base), Capture Cases from Website as well as from Microsoft Outlook Email client etc for your support reps.

Order Management: Integrated Procurement and Customer fulfillment process that includes Products, Price Books, Sales Quotes, Sales Orders, Invoices, Purchase Orders and Vendor Management.

Reports & Dashboard: Fully customizable Reports & Dashboards with more than 25 reports and intuitive Flash-based Bar, Stack, Pie and Funnel charts.

Customize CRM solution as per vertical industry including renaming of tabs, adding custom fields, modifying module page layouts, and modifying related list views (360 degree view)

Outlook Edition: Add-on to synchronize contacts and emails between MS Outlook and Zoho CRM.

Workflow Management: Trigger workflow rules based on predefined workflow criteria and send alert messages through email/create tasks to the intended users. Default workflow rules includes, Lead Assignment and Big Deal Alert.

Activities & Calendar integrated with all relevant modules for a better 360 degrees view.

URLs

Website: http://www.zohocrm.com

Demo:  http://crm.zoho.com/crm/demologin.sas

On-demand Signup: http://crm.zoho.com/crm/login.sas

On-premise Download: http://www.zohocrm.com/downloads.html

Forums: http://forums.zohocrm.com