Announcing the First-Ever Zoholics Finance and HR User Conference

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After three great user conferences focusing on developers, sales and marketing and productivity and collaboration, it’s time to start preparing for our fourth installment of Zoholics for 2014.

Zoholics Finance and HR will take place November 6-7 at our headquarters in Pleasanton, California and will focus on five powerful Zoho applications — Books, Invoice, Recruit, People and Connect — and how you can use them to accomplish your daily tasks.

Sign up for Zoholics Finance and HR today and take full advantage of the following:

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Alternative ways of viewing attachments

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Some people have expressed strong concerns on attaching documents along with e-mail. (Rather ironical that the most commonly used document type is considered the most dangerous as an e-mail attachment). Instead of sending a document as an attachment, with Zoho Writer, these methods can be alternatively used:

(1) If the document is hosted at a website: If the document is in any of the formats – MS Word (Doc), Open Office (SXW), HTML, ODT, RTF, JPEG, GIF, PNG, TXT – then use the “Import URL” option and enter the URL.

(2) If the document is not hosted at a website: If you don’t have the software such as MS Word or Open Office installed, then this will be of help. Click on the “Import” button in Zoho Writer. As the “Import Document” box opens, you will find an e-mail address. Usually it will be {somecharacters}[at]docs[dot]zohowriter[dot]com. You can e-mail an attachment to your account using this address and the document will appear in the left pane.

These would mean that:

(1) You don’t need any software installed to read the documents (mainly MS Word and Open Office formats)

(2) Free from vulnerabilities. No virus threat. (Atleast not yet)

(3) You don’t require a crash course in file formats and the problems associated with creating them. We support most common formats and export to one of these formats.

(4) It is independent of the version of software you used for creating the document. So to speak, it is irrelevant if you used version x.x.01 or x.x.02, you can import the document. Although there are possibilities of formatting losses, the document can still be viewed.

Plus, all other advantages of using Zoho Writer such as collaboration can be availed.

Overbrain: Or can the web be “intelligent”?

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I happened to read an editorial in Febrauray issue of Digit magazine the crux of which was “how can the web be intelligent”. And more importantly, the article started of with a familiar example – “Customers who bought this also bought” section in Amazon.com. When I first chanced upon Amazon a couple of years ago, I was drawn to this feature like how . It was a great place for book recommendations, and in many cases it worked out fine for me.

Back then the web wasn’t run by people, like it’s today. There weren’t any web-apps developer or a personal database which is, well, more personal than a website like Amazon. Then slowly blogs and tagging evolved. And to the relief of a lot of people, web-apps can be created in no time. It seems almost true that the internet contains information about anything under the stars.
Which presents the most important problem of Information Overload. A couple of months back, I entered a search query concerning something and got a zilch response. But a few days back, I accidentally stumbled upon what I was looking for. My joy knew no bounds on hitting the jackpot accidentally. But it also made me crib for it had been there all along and I’d wasted a good three months in searching. Not that my search skills are that bad, (even if I enter the same query now, I get no results). They are not what they have to be.

Let’s assume this hypothetical case. I’m looking for information on a particular group who will be performing at the local theatre. I enter their name, I get no results. Not even “are you looking for” suggestion. I tend to feel that their company isn’t adjusting too well to the internet boom. Later on, I almost accidentally stumble upon the group’s blog, and going through their archives, I come to know that they’ve indeed been existing in the virtual world for a long time, that my search query should have landed me here by all means. What happened to me was nearly similar to this situation.

This calls for a need to orgainze content better. The article from “Digit” calls for a “People who visited this website also visited the following other website(s)” method. This is okay as a next step to better search. Like Del.ico.us. But given the number of websites and tag clouds, it is testing the limits of exhaustion on the readers part. Whether an algorithm can handle this or human intervention is required at all stages, only the researches can answer. As a person who searches the web for information almost everyday I’ll get a sense of absolute satisfaction only when I enter a search query like, “Is tomorrow a Friday”, and get a reply, “Yes, TGIF”.

Edited to Add:

(1) In fact I was thinking of Thandora when I wrote this.

(2) TGIF means “Thank Goodness it’s Friday”, which, for most people, is a relief.