Zoho CRM : Free for Small Biz With the Outlook Plug-in

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One oft overlooked feature of Zoho CRM offering is that the first 3 users are free. If you are running a small business, Zoho CRM is the ideal fit for you. What’s more, all the features of the priced edition (which is just $12/month from the fourth user onwards) are available in the free edition as well. Yes, that means the Outlook Plug-in too, as numerous free users, like this one here, have asked for. We will be enabling the Outlook plugin for free users within a week, in our next update. Enjoy! If you haven’t already, check out Zoho CRM now.

There’s been a lot of feedback since we removed the “Mass Emailer” option. Our sincere apologies. This feature was being misused for spamming by a very few and this affected Zoho as a whole. We will be re-introducing it with some controls soon. Kindly bear with us till then.

And there’s an exciting major update of CRM coming up this month-end. Am not going to say anything about it other than this teaser : it involves some sort of integration with another Zoho service 😉

Zoho Mail Update – Notification

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Just an advance notice!

We have scheduled an update for Zoho Mail to address some bugs, add features and enhance User Interface. Hence the access to Zoho Mail service will not be available between 22:30 PST and 00:30 PST on Thursday 10th May 2007.

We apologize for any inconveniences this may cause.

Multilingual Support in Zoho Sheet & more

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Most of the Zoho apps provide Unicode support which enable our users to enter/store their data in any language. But they had to make do with an English interface which was a slight drawback as far as non-English speakers & online collaboration for teams spread across the globe were concerned. Not anymore.

Today, Zoho Sheet took a major step forward in bridging this gap. Zoho Sheet becomes the first of the Zoho apps (Zoho Mail which is private Beta supports 6 languages) to provide non-English UI as an option. You can now choose to have your UI in one of the 5 languages – English, French, Spanish, German or Japanese. We plan to support many other languages soon. Zoho Writer and Zoho Show will be joining Zoho Sheet in offering multilingual support as well.

Other useful features in today’s update include :

  • Customizing invitation email
  • Email notifications on shared spreadsheet updates
  • Easy recalculation of formulas by hitting F9
  • Use your mouse to select cell ranges while typing formulas
  • Data label option in charts

And more

Zoho Wiki Adds Tags & More

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With the latest Zoho Wiki update, you can add tags to each of your Wiki pages. With tags, you can easily group like pages together and it helps during search too – all pages of a particular tag are listed when a tag is clicked upon.

Zoho Wiki’s sharing feature was facing this issue of the sharing mail not being delivered sometimes, thanks to mail service provider filters wrongly classifying it as spam. Now the link that is being sent is visible to the Wiki Administrator (the owner of the Wiki who sends the sharing mail). If you are the Wiki’s owner & think the mail has not reached the intended recipient(s), you can now copy-paste the link and send it as a separate mail.

Another pretty useful addition is of the URLs in your page text getting auto-linked once you ‘Save’ the page. Your Wiki page name titles if present in the page text will auto-link to the appropriate page as well and mail IDs become clickable too (opens your mail client when clicked).

San Francisco Chronicle’s ‘Tip of the Week’

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David Einstein in his San Francisco Chronicle Computing Q&A column gives this tip :

Microsoft Office, which includes Word and Excel, continues to be the standard for creating and editing documents and spreadsheets — but it’s not the only game in town. OpenOffice, from openoffice.org, is a free suite that’s compatible with Microsoft Office and compares favorably to it.

Another option is a free online suite called Zoho Office, from zoho.com. Although still in beta phase, it’s pretty impressive. The word processor, for example, lets you create, edit and share documents online. It has lots of formatting features, and is compatible with Microsoft Word. You can even upload Word files from your computer so you can edit and store them online, and you can export (download) documents created in Zoho office to your computer as Word files. How cool is that?

Thanks, David & SF Chronicle!

Scoble on Autism

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I usually don’t talk about my personal life on this blog, but I will depart from that for this post. Robert Scoble visited us in our Pleasanton office yesterday, and myself and Raju did about an hour of video interviews and product demonstrations. After the interview was over, we went out for coffee at Peets, where the conversation turned to kids. That was when I mentioned autism and how that has impacted our lives. Once I get going on that subject, I just can’t stop – I think we ended up spending more time on autism than on Zoho.

Scoble has a nice post up on this topic. I am not a hero, it is my wife Pramila who is the real hero in this. She is the one who has been relentless in seeking cures, educating herself first and then me on the latest treatments and so on. Without her relentless energy and drive in attacking this problem, I don’t believe my son would have made the progress he has made. Of course, we still have a long, arduous journey ahead. And we are not alone in facing this: the CDC estimates that 1 in 150 kids (and more than 1 in 100 boys) are now affected. It is a bigger tragedy than AIDS, and it is a virtual life sentence for most of the impacted kids, unless we find a way to help them recover.

Thank you Robert, for writing about this. It means a lot to me personally, and it means a lot to parents in our situation. If you are a new parent or going to be a parent soon, I strongly urge you to educate yourself about autism, and about vaccinations. The medical establishment, for the most part, is still in the dark ages on this subject, and particularly, play-by-the-book pediatricians don’t really know much about the subject to be good guides. Parents have to educate themselves. We had pediatricians telling us “Nothing is wrong with your child, he will be fine”, based on that casual 2 minute interaction during those busy days we went for the shots. We just wish we had been more paranoid.

I am not an anti-vaccination activist (we have employees in our Chennai office afflicted with polio), but it is still worth asking the question “Are we over-vaccinating our kids? How much is too much?” My son’s condition worsened measurably after we gave him 3 shots in one day, right before he joined kindergarten, because the school told us that we hadn’t been up-to-date on his shots, so we had to complete them before he could come in. I now really wish I hadn’t taken him for those shots, or at least staggered them over time.

I urge you to read these books, and educate yourself:

Vaccinations: A Thoughtful Parent’s Guide: How to Make Safe, Sensible Decisions about the Risks, Benefits, and Alternatives


What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About(TM) Children’s Vaccinations

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