I know you think you understand what you thought I said but I’m not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.
– Alan Greenspan
I am very blessed to have an adventurous career so far. This could not have happened with out my wife’s support. She stood by my side and encouraged me to pursue my dreams. 2013 has been a heck of an year for us. We laughed, we cried, moved (again!!), we both became an year older and our relationship has entered its teens.
On this last day of the year 2013, i am sitting in my office reflecting on the year that just passed. Thinking of things i can do different, better, learn from my mistakes this thought comes up in my head that sums it up all. I want to be less “I know” and be more”I understand”. When you say “I know” you have convinced yourself that there is nothing more to it but when you say “I understand” it is deep. Understanding is a deeper cognition where you are connecting the dots vs knowing is a gesture of shallow knowledge where you glanced over made some quick assumptions. The quote from Einstein sums this up very well
Any fool can know. The point is to understand.
– Albert Einstein
So there my friends thats my goal for 2014. Wishing you all a very happy new year. Lets make this world just a little better one day at a time.
This year pubcon’s center of discussion was Google’s Hummingbird algorithm, a new search engine algorithm that was launched few months back. With the launch of this algorithm google is redefining the search space and taking it to a new level. In broad stokes these are the areas that google is focusing:
- Knowledge Graph: Things not strings. Knowing what’s really behind a query.
- Voice Search: Getting better and better
- Conversational Search: Think pronouns, dereference the pronouns by maintaining an episodic memory during a conversational session
- Google Now: looking steps ahead where people may not even be querying
- Deep learning: Thousands of computers being used to learn neural networks
More about hummingbird – Core quality changes:
- Hummingbird: If you’re doing a query, it might be a natural language query, and it might include words you don’t need. “What is the capital of everlovin’ Texas?” Hummingbird is a step in the direction to figure out the words that matter more and give those words more intelligent scoring. There’s a lot being written about Hummingbird and the fact is it doesn’t affect SEO. It makes the results of long-tail and specific queries much better.
- Panda softening: There are always those grey-zone sites in Panda’s targets and some new signals they’ve added are meant to ease up on those sites.
- Detecting/boosting authorities: If you’re a topical authority, keep deepening that content.
- Smartphone ranking: If a searcher has a phone that doesn’t do Flash, Google is less likely to deliver results with Flash
Future trends of search include:
- Machine learning: Google will keep trying to figure out how to add more value to searchers
- Mobile: In 2011, YouTube had 6% of traffic from mobile phones. In 2012 it was 25% and in 2014 mobile is expected to be 40% of YouTube’s traffic. If you haven’t figured out your strategy for mobile, you better be thinking about it.
- Social/identity/authorship: Knowing who you are and identity can make a big difference. It’s a long-term signal that you’re a person people listen to.
Content optimization trends for future
- Social Content: This plays front and center of search engine indexing. Increase in crowd sourced content publication and generation. Be Consistent, Be Interesting and Be Authentic.
- Social Sharing: Organically grown social sharing is a huge indicator of authentication indicator.
- Visual web: Web content media type will continue to increase from a text based to a more picture and video content.
To all the learning tech people
I came across an article on forbes about failure in leadership training. In this the author has taken time to explain how the “training” methodology has failed especially for teaching leadership skills to people. Here is an exert from the article where the differences between training and development are explained.
- Training blends to a norm – Development occurs beyond the norm.
- Training focuses on technique/content/curriculum – Development focuses on people.
- Training tests patience – Development tests courage.
- Training focuses on the present – Development focuses on the future.
- Training adheres to standards – Development focuses on maximizing potential.
- Training is transactional – Development is transformational.
- Training focuses on maintenance – Development focuses on growth.
- Training focuses on the role – Development focuses on the person.
- Training indoctrinates – Development educates.
- Training maintains status quo – Development catalyzes innovation.
- Training stifles culture – Development enriches culture.
- Training encourages compliance – Development emphasizes performance.
- Training focuses on efficiency – Development focuses on effectiveness.
- Training focuses on problems – Development focuses on solutions.
- Training focuses on reporting lines – Development expands influence.
- Training places people in a box – Development frees them from the box.
- Training is mechanical – Development is intellectual.
- Training focuses on the knowns – Development explores the unknowns.
- Training places people in a comfort zone – Development moves people beyond their comfort zones.
- Training is finite – Development is infinite.
I want to stretch this argument little further and say this applies to all domains of knowledge. In the past decade (in reality little over a decade) a lot of time and money has been spent over training. Building training tools, technology, methodology, and content. This is what we all know it as the big “e-learning” industry. What has been forgotten in this goose chase of training is “learning”. I am sure many of my other learning colleagues will agree with me. A lot of time and money has been spent on how to deliver the content online/offline, browser/mobile app, flash or no flash on and on. We have not spent enough time to think how much the consumer of this content aka training is actually learning.
Giving a multiple choice quiz at the end of 15 page slide deck is not measuring learning. I was fortunate to work with some of the best instructional designers who get the concept of a fine balance between presenting the content so that users get it at the same time choosing the right pedagogical methods. I am big fan of learning by doing, capture the experience , inferential learning – let the users connects the dots in their learning space. This is what fundamentally differs us as a race.
Learning is a beautiful thing that happens in human cognition and we are still trying to understand the mechanics about the process. To all the learning technology, practitioners, content developers appreciate all your work but we are not done yet. There is still lot more for us to do.
First off a big round of applause to the course facilitators, guest speaker, support team and all who are involved in this initiative. The focus these efforts bring to startup community in edtech is much needed. I ardently agree with Wiley’s comments about grant money, it is great as long as you have it. Once the funding dries out the effort stops. I had my share of working on grant projects and there is so much work that hasn’t seen the world outside the walls of the universities. It disturbs me to see my tax dollars going to waste, dont get me wrong research is great, papers are wonderful but i think the money invested can get you more.
That was my motivation behind joining edstartup to force me to think hard and (may be) collaborate with like minded people that i am looking forward meeting through this course.
Last Week finally my long awaited Thunderbolt monitor has arrived. It is breeze to setup like any other Apple product. I use the USB ports that the monitor has in the back and hooked up my back up drive, headset one thing i did not like is there is no “safe undock”. My backup drive is a 2 TB that i have set up for Time machine and every time i undock the Mac complaints about unsafe ejecting of the drive. If you know me i hate when people yank devices out without gracefully ejecting the device. So needless to say the “unsafe ejecting” message was bothering upon searching for a solution i found this little apple script that does the job really well (thanks to Shawn at Chompingatbits.com). This is a simple script that basically sends message to the machine to eject all attached drive now my system is ready to undock. I save the script as a little “Undock.app” and launch it every time i am ready to undock. Here is the process:
- Open “AppleScript Editor.app” found in the Applications -> Utilities folder
- Paste the following code into “Untitled” applescript window:
- Go to File -> Save. Name the file “Undock” and choose “Application” as the file format. You can now run this from Spotlight or create a shortcut in your dock if you prefer; just as with any other application. Your external drives will be ejected after running this script.
tell the application "Finder" eject (every disk whose ejectable is true) end tell
What is #IMChat?
#IMChat is an online chat on Twitter that happens every week on Tuesday’s at 2PM ET. The topics are around interactive and digital marketing. Anyone can join in the chat there are few ground rules but most importantly use your common sense. Dont say things that might hurt you or your business. Also find some chat tips that i have learned from other chat sessions. This weeks chat is on Forrester’s CORE methodology.
Rules of Engagement
- You first tweet should include #IMChat, your name, title, and company you work for.
- Subsequent tweets must start with the question number you are responding to and the #IMChat hashtag. For example, “@ssusarla Q3 #IMChat Email marketing rocks!”
- Be yourself
- Do not push your product during the conversation.
- Take personal responsibility on sharing. Use common sense and don’t say things that might hurt your business.
- Be nice to your fellow comrades.
How to #IMChat?
Now that you know about IMChat the easiest way to join the conversation is goto http://tweetchat.com/room/imchat and enter your twitter ID and password. This will take you to a page where everyone will be tweeting about marketing. All of your posts will end with the letters #imchat so other people not in the room can follow along.
If you’re a more advanced user, you can also use tools like TweetChat, TweetGrid, or TweetDeck to filter for all posts mark #imchat.
You can also do a twitter search for #imchat to filter all posts with that hashtag, just remember when you respond please add the hash #imchat in your tweets.
What can you expect? Fast-paced conversation, 140 characters or less at a time. Every 20 minutes or so a moderator will throw into the mix a new question. You’re not required to answer the question, but it’s a terrific way to get a variety of perspectives to keep the conversation moving.
Here are a few tips I’ve discovered while participating in Tweet chats:
- Don’t try to read every single msg., especially if it gets fast. Consider what you catch serendipity.
- Everything you write during the chat will go to all your twitter followers unless you DM someone.
- If ur tweets go to FB, disable app before chat or begin with @ respond & it won’t forward to FB.
- Stay on topic as best you can. Tho not vital you answer all Q, sticking w/ topic keeps chat focused.
- When writing, complete thoughts help followers outside chat learn from you.
I like karaoke, my choice of songs are Hindi soundtracks. Over the few months i have been trying to find a DIY solution for a karaoke system. I am always on a shoe string budget, so any thing that will let me do things for cheap (read free) i am all up for it. So this is what i did.
First the hardware:
Now that you have all the necessary hardware in place, its time to get Karaoke tracks. There are several options you can buy karaoke CDs or use some of the online services like Geetnet, Meragana (huge collection, i would recommend this if you have $). Since i was on a budget i wanted to create my own karaoke tracks. I have invested and built a huge Indian soundtrack collection and also i am not a big fan of having lyrics scrolling before me. I can handle lyrics very well. So after several trial and errors here is a very straight forward process i found to create your karaoke tracks by removing the vocals.
Removing vocals from audio track
Now you have a perfectly optimized sound track for karaoke with reduced vocals. All you have to do now is plug in the audio from PC to the one of the channels in the mixer. Microphone goes into the other channel. Plug the mixer’s audio out to your sound system.
Couple of weeks back @nedkumar came up to me asking for how i archive my tweet stream. While i was answering his question i realized i dont have good archival method. I use a combination of Instapaper, Evernote (love it!!), tweet favs and once in a month tweetbackup. Then i realized there should be a way where i can automate this process and not have to give away my data to others (like tweetbackup). So over the weekend i explored. WordPress is a very easy for me to setup and fairly comfortable playing with to make it do what i might need. I also knew that i can get RSS for tweet searches and user profiles given these two i started playing around. Quickly i bumped into twitter tools, it communicates to twitter fairly straight forward and then you have an option to make every tweet of yours as a new blog post. On further looking i found this awesome instructions from Mike Bogle. He uses mainly FeedWordPress to do the job.
After couple of hours of tweaking and tuning up my twitter archive is humming along well. I archive my most watched hashtags, my stream (including mentions, RTs) and my esteemed friend @mrch0mp3rs “Beard Trust” list. Twitter doesn’t give you rss for lists, i used http://twiterlist2rss.appspot.com/ to get the feed. Over the next few days i will continue to organize and build the site with more content.
Friends if you want me to archive your stream let me know i will more than happy to do or teach you how to do it :).
After a very long time it was nice to do some real geekery stuff. I recently got a MBP, i was on PC for the last two years at work. I started porting all my PC stuff to mac everything was going smooth until i was at a point of transferring all my old email from Outlook 2007 to Entourage 8. I started this project 2pm this afternoon and after 5 hours of struggle finally managed to do it all.
For those who have been this path before you would understand what i am talking about. There are few commercial tools for price that “claim” to do the job but there were also all sorts of errors that people reported. This is when the geek in me raises and said WTF its just data that need to be ported from one app to another app. Upon some serious search i found two libraries libpff and libpst these are opensource linux packages that convert any pff files and pst files to mbox exactly what i need. All is well so far, but here is where the real trouble beings. These packages need to be complied, configured and make files are to be run. So i have here summarized the steps. PLEASE FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS TO THE DOT. I have done this on MBP running Snow Leaport (10.6.2).
0. Check if you have gcc installed by opening Terminal and typing “which gcc” at the command prompt. It should return “/usr/bin/gcc” or another path where gcc is installed. If there is no response (as in Snow Leopard) that means gcc needs to be installed. Insert the Snow Leopard CD. Enter the “Optional Installs” folder. Run Xcode.mpkg. This should install gcc. Once the install is complete check again by running the command “which gcc” at the command prompt. Alternatively you can download xcode from ADC. You need to be a member to download. Don’t worry its a free to signup. I have downloaded mine here, http://developer.apple.com/tools/xcode/
1. Download libpst source from http://www.five-ten-sg.com/libpst/packages/ (I downloaded libpst-0.6.45.tar.gz which was the latest version). It should automatically unzip in the folder you downloaded it into. Remember this directory path for later.
2. In order to install libpst you also need to install “boost”. Download the latest source from the boost site here http://sourceforge.net/projects/boost/files/boost/ and download the latest version (mine was 1.41.0).
3. Open Terminal and ‘su’ as root (you can also use sudo for each command from here on but su is easier in my mind. If you do not have a root account setup on you mac then google for the steps to activate it.) and “cd” to “/usr/local/” and run this command at the command prompt
“tar –bzip2 -xf /your/download/directory/boost_X_XX_X.tar.bz2” (where X_XX_X represents the release number).
4. Once that is complete you will see a directory now under “/usr/local/” called “boost_X_XX_X”. “cd” into this directory.
5. At the command prompt type “./bootstrap.sh –prefix=/usr/local/”. This will take a few mins to run.
6. Once that is done at the command prompt type “./bjam install”. This will take a while to run – 15 to 30 mins. Get a cup of coffee. Note: you will see some deprecated errors. Dont worry the package will be installed.
7. At this point boost is installed. “cd” to the directory where you downloaded libpst-X.X.XX (Step 1).
8. Type “./configure” at the command prompt. Once that is done type “make” at the command prompt. And once that is complete finish with “make install”.
9. You have now successfully installed libpst. You should find libpst, readpst and pst2ldif under “/usr/local/bin” directory.
10. Run this command at the command prompt in the directory you want the “mbox” created “readpst -r /path/to/the/pst/files/yourfile.pst” and you have successfully converted pst files to mbox. Piece of cake!. If you want to know the complete usage of readpst, here it is http://www.five-ten-sg.com/libpst/rn01re01.html
You need to be well experienced working within terminal. Here are some tips for novice terminal users:
1. How to turn on the root account?
If you are in the admin account you should be able to change the root password. Just type “psswd root”
2. How to see hidden files in finder?
By default Mac OS shows only those files that are needed by user. But if you are familiar in Linux environments seeing all files is helpful. The only reason to hide files is to protect users from deleting important stuff. Type this in terminal “defaults write com.apple.Finder AppleShowAllFiles YES” and restart Finder. You can restart Finder by hold down the Option key, then click and hold on the Finder icon in the Dock.
Hope you find these tips helpful. Save the money by not buying those COTS stuff, be bold and try this solution.
It was a huge success at SocialCamp Memphis on 7th March 2009. There were great line up sessions during the day. Like in many conferences the best part of participating in a conference/meeting are the hallway conversations and this is no different. There are lot of blogs out there that have summarized the experience here is one that summarizes all.