Archive for November, 2008

Wiseval Photophant is a free software for batch resizing, converting and renaming your digital photos and images from and to JPEG, BMP, PNG, TIFF and GIF formats. The program will help you to prepare your digital photos to upload and publish them in the Internet or send via e-mail.

Key Features:
• 100% Free for home use. No spyware, adware, banners etc.
• Resize, rename and convert images in batch mode
• The most fastest image resizing algorithm
• Supports JPEG, PNG, GIF, TIFF, and BMP formats
• Supports Watermarks
• Variable options and settings for advanced users
• Built-in size templates: iPod, iPhone, Facebook, DVD etc.
• Configurable compression / resolution ratio
• Load / save settings and image lists
• Clean, easy to use interface
• Small installation file ~ 2MB
• Portable version is also available
• Supports Windows 98/ME/NT/2000/XP/Vista (32 and 64 bit)

What’s new?
• Fixed the bug with renaming images.

Download: Wiseval Photophant 1.0.7 |1.5 MB (Free for home use)
Link: Product Overview

Using the Power of Other People’s Help

Even “Super-You” needs help and support. There is no shame in asking for assistance.
Push aside the pride and show respect for the talent others can bring to the table.

And, remember that there is no such thing as a single-handed success:
When you include and acknowledge all those in your corner, you propel yourself,
your teammates and your supporters to greater heights.

– Author Unknown.

Do you feel stressed and overloaded? Or that your career seems stalled? If so, then you may need to brush up your delegation skills!

If you work on your own, there’s only a limited amount that you can do, however hard you work. You can only work so many hours in a day. There are only so many tasks you can complete in these hours. There are only so many people you can help by doing these tasks. And, because the number of people you can help is limited, your success is limited.

However, if you’re good at your job, people will want much more than this from you.

This can lead to a real sense of pressure and work overload: You can’t do everything that everyone wants, and this can leave you stressed, unhappy, and feeling that you’re letting people down.

On the positive side, however, you’re being given a tremendous opportunity if you can find a way around this limitation. If you can realize this opportunity, you can be genuinely successful!

One of the most common ways of overcoming this limitation is to learn how to delegate your work to other people. If you do this well, you can quickly build a strong and successful team of people, well able to meet the demands that others place.

This is why delegation is such an important skill, and is one that you absolutely have to learn!

Why People Don’t Delegate

To figure out how to delegate properly, it’s important to understand why people avoid it. Quite simply, people don’t delegate because it takes a lot of up-front effort.

After all, which is easier: designing and writing content for a brochure that promotes a new service you helped spearhead, or having other members of your team do it?

You know the content inside and out. You can spew benefit statements in your sleep. It would be relatively straightforward for you to sit down and write it. It would even be fun! The question is, “Would it be a good use of your time?”

While on the surface it’s easier to do it yourself than explain the strategy behind the brochure to someone else, there are two key reasons that mean that it’s probably better to delegate the task to someone else:

  • First, if you have the ability to spearhead a new campaign, the chances are that your skills are better used further developing the strategy, and perhaps coming up with other new ideas. By doing the work yourself, you’re failing to make best use of your time.
  • Second, by meaningfully involving other people in the project, you develop those people’s skills and abilities. This means that next time a similar project comes along, you can delegate the task with a high degree of confidence that it will be done well, with much less involvement from you.

Delegation allows you to make the best use of your time and skills, and it helps other people in the team grow and develop, so that they can reach their full potential in the organization.

When to Delegate

Delegation is a win-win when done appropriately, however that does not mean that you can delegate just anything. To determine when delegation is most appropriate there are five key questions you need to ask yourself:

  • Is there someone else who has (or can be given) the necessary information or expertise to complete the task? Essentially is this a task that someone else can do, or is it critical that you do it yourself?
  • Does the task provide an opportunity to grow and develop another person’s skills?
  • Is this a task that will recur, in a similar form, in the future?
  • Do you have enough time to delegate the job effectively? Time must be available for adequate training, for questions and answers, for opportunities to check progress, and for rework if that is necessary.
  • Is this a task that I should delegate? Tasks critical for long-term success (for example, recruiting the right people for your team) genuinely do need your attention.

If you can answer “yes” to at least some of the above questions, then it could well be worth delegating this job.

Other factors that contribute to the delegability of a task include:

  1. The project’s timelines/deadlines.
    • How much time is there available to do the job?
    • Is there time to redo the job if it’s not done properly the first time?
    • What are the consequences of not completing the job on time?
  2. Your expectations or goals for the project or task(s), including:
    • How important is it that the results are of the highest possible quality?
    • Is an “adequate” result good enough?
    • Would a failure be crucial?
    • How much would failure impact other things?

That being said, having all these conditions present is no guarantee that the delegated task will be completed successfully either. You also need to consider to whom you will delegate the task and how you will do it.

The Who and How of Delegating

Having decided to delegate a task there are some other factors to consider as well. As you think these through, you can use our free Delegation Worksheet to keep record of the tasks you choose to delegate and who you want to delegate them to.

To Whom Should You Delegate?

The factors to consider here include:

  1. The experience, knowledge and skills of the individual as they apply to the delegated task.
    • What knowledge, skills and attitude does the person already have?
    • Do you have time and resources to provide any training needed?
  2. The individual’s preferred work style.
    • How independent is the person?
    • What does he or she want from his or her job?
    • What are his or her long-term goals and interest, and how do these align with the work proposed?
  3. The current workload of this person.
    • Does the person have time to take on more work?
    • Will you delegating this task require reshuffling of other responsibilities and workloads?
When you first start to delegate to someone, you may notice that he or she takes longer than you do to complete tasks. This is because you are an expert in the field and the person you have delegated to is still learning. Be patient: if you have chosen the right person to delegate to, and you are delegating correctly, you will find that he or she quickly becomes competent and reliable.

How Should You Delegate?

Use the following principles to delegate successfully:

  1. Clearly articulate the desired outcome. Begin with the end in mind and specify the desired results.
  2. Clearly identify constraints and boundaries. Where are the lines of authority, responsibility and accountability? Should the person:
    • Wait to be told what to do?
    • Ask what to do?
    • Recommend what should be done, and then act?
    • Act, and then report results immediately?
    • Initiate action, and then report periodically?
  3. Where possible, include people in the delegation process. Empower them to decide what tasks are to be delegated to them and when.
  4. Match the amount of responsibility with the amount of authority. Understand that you can delegate some responsibility, however you can’t delegate away ultimate accountability. The buck stops with you!
  5. Delegate to the lowest possible organizational level. The people who are closest to the work are best suited for the task, because they have the most intimate knowledge of the detail of everyday work. This also increases workplace efficiency, and helps to develop people.
  6. Provide adequate support, and be available to answer questions. Ensure the project’s success through ongoing communication and monitoring as well as provision of resources and credit.
  7. Focus on results. Concern yourself with what is accomplished, rather than detailing how the work should be done: Your way is not necessarily the only or even the best way! Allow the person to control his or her own methods and processes. This facilitates success and trust.
  8. Avoid “upward delegation”. If there is a problem, don’t allow the person to shift responsibility for the task back to you: ask for recommended solutions; and don’t simply provide an answer.
  9. Build motivation and commitment. Discuss how success will impact financial rewards, future opportunities, informal recognition, and other desirable consequences. Provide recognition where deserved.
  10. Establish and maintain control.
    • Discuss timelines and deadlines.
    • Agree on a schedule of checkpoints at which you’ll review project progress.
    • Make adjustments as necessary.
    • Take time to review all submitted work.

In thoroughly considering these key points prior to and during the delegation process you will find that you delegate more successfully.

Keeping Control

Once you have worked through the above steps, make sure you brief your team member appropriately. Take time to explain why they were chosen for the job, what’s expected from them during the project, the goals you have for the project, all timelines and deadlines and the resources on which they can draw. And agree a schedule for checking-in with progress updates.

Lastly, make sure that the team member knows that you want to know if any problems occur, and that you are available for any questions or guidance needed as the work progresses.

We all know that as managers, we shouldn’t micro-manage. However, this doesn’t mean we must abdicate control altogether: In delegating effectively, we have to find the sometimes-difficult balance between giving enough space for people to use their abilities to best effect, while still monitoring and supporting closely enough to ensure that the job is done correctly and effectively.

The Importance of Full Acceptance

When delegated work is delivered back to you, set aside enough time to review it thoroughly. If possible, only accept good quality, fully-complete work. If you accept work you are not satisfied with, your team member does not learn to do the job properly.

Worse than this, you accept a whole new tranche of work that you will probably need to complete yourself. Not only does this overload you, it means that you don’t have the time to do your own job properly.

Of course, when good work is returned to you, make sure to both recognize and reward the effort. As a leader, you should get in the practice of complimenting members of your team every time you are impressed by what they have done. This effort on your part will go a long way toward building team member’s self-confidence and efficiency, both of which will be improved on the next delegated task; hence, you both win.

Key Points:

At first sight, delegation can feel like more hassle than it’s worth, however by delegating effectively, you can hugely expand the amount of work that you can deliver.

When you arrange the workload so that you are working on the tasks that have the highest priority for you, and other people are working on meaningful and challenging assignments, you have a recipe for success.

To delegate effectively, choose the right tasks to delegate, identify the right people to delegate to, and delegate in the right way. There’s a lot to this, but you’ll achieve so much more once you’re delegating effectively!

Official Way to Install and Use Windows Vista without Activation for Free for 120 Days

By default, Windows Vista can be installed, used and run without any license, product key or the need of activation for 30 days grace period, for purpose of trial or evaluation. Although Microsoft initially stressed that users should purchase a license with valid product key before the trial period expires, or else Windows Vista will lock into Reduced Functionality Mode. However, a “rearm” method has long since been discovered to be able to extend, or reset the remaining time for activation to another fresh 30 days, for up to 3 times.

Now Microsoft has confirmed that Windows Vista can be used and run for 120 days or 4 months (3 rearms), and extending the activation grace period is not a violation of the Vista End User License Agreement (EULA). All versions of Vista include Windows Vista Ultimate allow a 30-day free period without activation, except the corporate-oriented Vista Enterprise, which supports only a three-day trial.

To extend, reset or restart the initial OOB grace period of Windows Vista to another 30 days, use the following steps:

  1. Click on Vista Start button and key in Cmd in Start Search box.
  2. Press on Ctrl-Shift-Enter to open Command Prompt with administrative credentials (equivalent to “Run as Administrator”).
  3. In the Command Prompt, type the following command and press Enter when done: slmgr -rearm or you can use sysprep /generalize
  4. Reboot the computer.
  5. Rearm again when the remaining activation grace period timer counts down to 0 days.

Rearm option resets the computer’s activation timer and reinitializes some activation parameters.

Chaitanya Sareen, Windows Team at Microsoft, has produced a blog post detailing the new Windows 7 Taskbar.

In the post Sareen highlights the following areas of evolution:

In the post, Sareen also posts screen shots of one of the latest builds of Windows 7 at Microsoft, Build 6948.fbl_shell_dex.081112-1755. Most of the features we already know about from PDC but one interesting addition, that Microsoft didn’t demonstrate at PDC, is overlay icons and progress bars in the taskbar. Microsoft now allows application developers to give feedback about progress by having their taskbar button turn into a progress bar. This is particularly useful for file copy progress, as shown below. An icon can now also be shown over a program’s taskbar button.

If you are interested in the Windows 7 development or the new taskbar then it’s a worth while read and explains some of the design decisions that Microsoft have made.

If you’re interested in all the features being demonstrated on video then we recorded several videos at PDC where members of the Windows team demonstrated the new Taskbar, you can view them here.

Send To Toys 2.5

Posted: November 7, 2008 in Softwares
Tags: , ,

Description

Send To Toys is an enhancement of the Send To system menu.

– Send To Toys Control Panel Applet allows you to manage the Send To system menu content, and configure the various Send To Toys settings.

– “Add to Send To menu” and “Remove from Send To menu” allows you to personalize the Send To system menu for drives, folders, and programs.

– Send To “Clipboard (as name)” copies the name of the file or files to the clipboard. Hold down the CTRL key to change the settings for this extension.

– Send To “Clipboard” command line utility copies the output of a command to the clipboard. Type SENDTOCLIP /? at the command prompt for more information.

– Send To “Command Prompt” opens a DOS console window, setting the current directory to the selected folder. If the selection was a file, the folder containing the file will be the active directory and the name of the file will be typed for you at the prompt. Hold down the CTRL key to change the active directory to a different folder. Hold down the SHIFT key to force the use of the COMMAND.COM regardless of the Windows version.

– Send To “Default Mail Recipient” creates a new e-mail with attachments and predefined defaults for the recipients, subject, and message. Hold down the CTRL key to change the settings for this extension.

– Send To “Favorites” adds a shortcut to your Favorites list. Hold down the CTRL key for the “Add Favorite” dialog.

– Send To “Folder…” sends a file or files to another folder, you will be shown a dialog box that lets you choose where the files should be copied, moved, or have a shortcut created. To move the files press and hold down the SHIFT key. To create a shortcut hodl down the SHIFT and CTRL keys.

– Send To “Quick Launch” adds a shortcut to the Quick Launch toolbar.

– Send To “Recycle Bin” sends a file or files to the Recycle Bin. Hold down the CTRL key to perform a file shredding.

– Send To “Run…” sends a file or files to the Run command dialog.

Freeware. For 2000, XP, 2003 Server, and Vista

What’s New in version 2.5 (2/10/2007)

  • Added Send To “Default Mail Recipient”
  • Added Start Menu shortcut to configure Send To Toys
  • Added Polish version
  • Send To “Folder…”: Added create shortcuts mode, and added option to clear the recent folders history directly from the menu
  • Send To “Clipboard (as name)”: Added options to sort the list of files, and to use the short file names
  • Send To “Recycle Bin”: Added progress dialog during shredding of large files
  • Send To “Run…”: Fixed bug with OK button not being enabled when the history is empty
  • Send To “Favorites”: Fixed bug that would not show the “Add Favorite” dialog when adding more than one file
  • Full Unicode support
  • Fixed minor bugs

International versions (Version 2.5)

International versions (Version 2.3)

International versions (Version 2.21)

Download (737K)

Vista Glazz 1.1

Posted: November 7, 2008 in Softwares
Tags: , ,

Late January 2007, Microsoft released Windows Vista. Unfortunately as in Windows XP, custom styles are not supported by the system. Programs like WindowBlinds offer a workaround but degrade performance [citation needed]. With VistaGlazz you can patch your system to use custom styles (think of it as an uxtheme patcher for Vista) and you can keep your windows transparent when maximized.

Changelog of the new version:

  • Support for Windows Vista Service Pack 1
  • Enhanced patching process
  • Enhanced information messages and dialogs
  • Removal of patch anyway functionality
  • Disclaimer limited to first run
  • Help file included

Download: Download VistaGlazz 1.1
Screenshot: Patch system | Patch style
View: Product details

Wiseval Photophant is a free software for batch resizing, converting and renaming your digital photos and images from and to JPEG, BMP, PNG, TIFF and GIF formats. The program will help you to prepare your digital photos to upload and publish them in the Internet or send via e-mail.

Version 1.0.5 (2008-11-05)

  • Added watermark feature.
  • Added “Check for Update” feature.
  • Added “Keep settings of source image” option.

Download: Wiseval Photophant 1.0.5 | Freeware, 1.5MB
Download: Wiseval Photophant 1.0.5 Portable | Freeware, 1.7MB
Screenshot: >> Click here <<
View: www.wiseval.com

Ubuntu 8.10 Released

Posted: November 7, 2008 in Softwares
Tags: , ,

Today sees the release of the latest version of Canonical’s popular Linux distribution Ubuntu, with version 8.10. The ninth release so far, it signals the debut of native 3G support in the standard installation, along with a refined default theme, a guest account (similar to the kind seen in Windows and Mac OS X), and Dynamic Kernel Module Support, meaning that newer versions of the Linux kernel can be used immediately without having to wait for third-party modules to be updated.

Ubuntu 8.10 Server Edition was also released today, bringing with it better support for virtualization, and per-user directory encryption.

Link: Release Notes

Today, a major feature was added to the pre-release versions of Firefox 3.1, called Private Browsing. I’ve been working for quite some time on this, so I thought it may be a good time to write about what this feature is and how to use it.

As you may know, while you browse the web, your browser usually records a lot of data which will later be used to improve your browsing experience. For example, it records a history of all the web pages you have visited, so that later if you need help remembering a site you visited a while back, it can assist you in finding that site. Now, that is great, but there is a downside: those data can be used to trace your online activities. For example, if your coworker sits at your computer, she can view all of your browsing history, which may not be what you want.

Suppose you’re doing something online, and you don’t want your coworkers know about it. An example scenario would be looking for a new employer while at work! One option would be to do your work, and then clear the data that Firefox has stored for you, such as history, cookies, cache, …. But the problem is that this action will also remove the parts of your online activities data which you don’t want to hide, so the history that Firefox records can no longer be used to find a web site you had visited a month before. Private Browsing will help you here.

Private Browsing aims to help you make sure that your web browsing activities don’t leave any trace on your own computer. It is very important to note that Private Browsing is not a tool to keep you anonymous from websites or your ISP, or for example protect you from all kinds of spyware applications which use sophisticated techniques to intercept your online traffic. Private Browsing is only about making sure that Firefox doesn’t store any data which can be used to trace your online activities, no more, no less.

So how does one actually use this feature? It couldn’t be simpler! To start, just select Private Browsing from the Tools menu.

You will see a dialog box which asks you whether you want to save and close all of your current windows and tabs, and start the Private Browsing mode. Click Start Private Browsing to start your private session.

After you do this, your non-private browsing session is closed and a new private session is opened, showing you the screen below. (Before you mention, the ugly icon you see there is something I created as a placeholder! This icon will be replaced in the final release of Firefox 3.1.)

As you see, not much is different in the Firefox window inside the Private Browsing mode, except for the (Private Browsing) text added to the title bar at the top of the window. That is intentional: after all, if you’re doing something online that you don’t want your coworkers to know about, you don’t want to raise their attention with a big sign saying PRIVATE as they pass by and glance over your shoulder.

At this stage, you can start browsing web sites, without ever having to worry that Firefox might store something on your computer which can be used to tell which pages you have visited. Once you’re done, just uncheck the same menu item in the Tools menu to close your private session.

This action discards all of the data from your private session, and will restore your non-private browsing session, just like it was before entering the Private Browsing mode.

Now, as I mentioned at the top of this post, this feature is available in pre-release versions of Firefox 3.1 (what we geeks call nightly builds). This feature will be included in Firefox 3.1 Beta 2 which will be released soon, so if you want to try it, you can give it a shot then. And of course, it will appear in the final release of Firefox 3.1, so if you’re not the type who test beta software, you can wait until Firefox 3.1 is released.

As many people seem interested in knowing this, there is a way to make Firefox always start in Private Browsing mode. Go to the about:config page, click I’ll be careful, I promise, type browser.privatebrowsing.autostart in the Filter text box, double click the entry to make its value true. After doing this, the next time you start Firefox, it will start in private browsing mode automatically. To turn this off, use the same steps to change the value of this preference to false. There is a plan to provide an easier method to set this option in the final release of Firefox 3.1.

Vuze 4.0.0.2

Posted: November 7, 2008 in Softwares
Tags: , , ,

Vuze (formerly Azureus) is a Java-based BitTorrent client, and a media content streaming network. It is free software and runs under Windows, Mac OS X, GNU/Linux and Unix. Vuze enables users to find content easily offering not only an embedded torrent meta-search but access to the Vuze HD Network where users have access to thousands of HD and non-HD content.

The software also enables users to publish their own content and have it streamed and become accessible through the Vuze HD Network.

Version 4.0 boasts some exciting changes, among which is a redesign of the GUI.

Download: Vuze | 10MB | Freeware
View: Vuze HD Network