featured, Technology

Japan’s Nuclear reactors Safe

There is a very informative and detailed description of how Nuclear power plants operate. The author who is an experienced operator at a nuclear plant explains the events occurring since the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
Follow the source link for the detailed description and more links for news.

Source: Morgsatlarge – Blogorific

Japan’s strict laws and exceptional technology may have saved hundreds of lives in the wake of recent double disaster. In Japan, other than fire drills, it is mandatory to carry out earthquake and tsunami drills. It is said that a lot of the population followed these drills and previously reported missing people have turned up at local schools, centres as their assembly point in the evacuation/drill.

It is not only the drills that saved lives, Japan’s construction industry has strict regulations on the characteristics of its high rise buildings. The buildings are designed to be stiff rather than being flexible like the western constructions. Each building is also fitted with shock absorbers in its foundations and in its structure. They help dissipate the energy from earthquakes into the surroundings and also counter act the sway of the building.

Source: New York Times

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Technology

POP QUIZ– Connectors & Ports

TechRepublic has come up with another quiz. This time its on connectors and ports you find on your PCs.

This includes some very old ports like the Parallel port and Serial ports to some recent ports like USB, HDMI & DisplayPort.

Can you recognise all the connectors and ports (without Google or any help of course)? Click on the Source link.

 

Source: TechRepublic

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Technology

Do you know your Networking basics?

I was browsing TechRepublic and came across a quiz. Simple quiz on basic network devices. Testing basic knowledge from routers to DNS servers and Firewalls. Its a quick fun quiz, try it without looking at the answers. (Quiz link in Source below)

Source: TechRepublic

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Business, featured

Guest post – Starting a Global Empire from Starbucks

Guest Author: Sithan Kanna

The World is Flat

For the past few years, I have been interested in the future of trade and enterprise. Initially I was inspired by Thomas L. Friedman’s best-selling book, “The World is Flat” where he talks about how in the past 20 years, the global economic playing field is being flattened by the ability of people to connect and collaborate with anyone from anywhere. In his talks, Friedman uses this analogy, where he says:

In globalization 1.0, countries went global. In globalization 2.0, companies went global. In globalization 3.0, individuals have to go global

I read the book sometime in 2007 but this video by Daniel Priestly, made me realize the extent to which the playing field is shifting towards.

Entrepreneurial Revolution

From Priestly’s blog:

In the mid to late 1800′s the Industrial Revolution swept up cottage industries onto the factory floors. It was impossible for small family businesses to compete with the mammoth conglomerates that emerged.
Now, 150 years on the reverse is happening. Small entrepreneurs all over the world are taking market share from big business, one little crumb at a time in what can only be described as an Entrepreneur Revolution.

So can you start a global business empire with a laptop from Starbucks? If you’re excited, that is a good sign, but a small part in you might say, “What is the Catch?”

The Catch

I assume that it would have been quite easy to start a business in ancient Greece. It might have looked like this:

Step 1: Decide which commodity you were going to trade. Example: A Fruit

Step 2: Buy the Commodity from a farmer at a reasonable price.

Step 3: Sell it at a Higher Price.  Cha-ching!!!

In 2011, the story is a little different. For a lot of people it will probably look like this

Step 1: Get an idea for a killer website/iPhone App

Step 2: Set up a webpage, WordPress, Facebook, and Twitter accounts

Step 3: Read 10 guides on online marketing

Step 4: Learn how to use Google AdWords

Step 5: Tweet 500 times a day because some online marketer told you so

… … …

After all this work, this person hasn’t made anything yet! Yes, the main catch is that although all these tools we have can help us achieve extraordinary things, they can also be powerful distractions.

The Solution – Disciplined Entrepreneurship

I believe that getting your first legitimate sale is the key aspect entrepreneurs should focus on. Everything else should be secondary. If you can’t sell your product/service to someone on the street, having a website and a twitter feed is not going to help you at all. Professor Donald Sull of the London Business School defines disciplined Entrepreneurship as follows:

Entrepreneurs can pursue an opportunity much as scientists pursue knowledge–by  following a disciplined process of identifying an anomaly in the market, formulating a plan to fill the gap, testing their plan in the real world, and revising their assumptions in light of new information.

What do you think?

If you’re interested in a specific topic, please leave a comment.

Resources: Tools

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Business

Presentation skills

We all have to give presentations at some point in our lives. Whether they are in school, college or at work. It is absolutely necessary to get the technique right. Recently, I had to give a presentation in one of my business modules called Global Business. Now the scenario for me was that I was representing an American firm pitching to Chinese investors for a project in Brazil.

The content for the presentation was all sorted out ahead in time and I was practising in a group. My style is to have minimal text content on the slide and deliver most of the content by talking. Usually, I give technical presentations talking about engineering designs and systems but a business presentation of this form was a first for me. To be honest, I felt some sort of pressure to step up my game and I felt nervous. This nervous energy translated in to a fast delivery. What I noticed that, even though I thought I was stressing certain points, they weren’t being conveyed that this speed. The feedback from my group helped me polish up my presentation.

Everyone has their own style and they should stick to it. There are several key points to keep in mind.

The audience

This is the first piece of advice anyone gives. I’m not going to spend too long on this one because it’s simple. Think about who you are presenting to, their level of knowledge and what they are here for.

Speaking

How you deliver the speech is more important that what you say. That’s right. You already have the points you want to make on the slide, now you are talking to the audience to draw attention to those points and convey a certain message. We do this by stressing on the key words, using hand gestures and pausing while talking. All this allows the listener to pay attention to you, and understand your message. Some people will speak very quickly and this is their natural speed, which is acceptable for conversations but not presentations.

A classic example can be seen in the UK version of The Apprentice show, where one candidate, Laura, is presenting across the table to a potential customer. She starts speaking so fast that even her colleague has trouble following and the client has to stop her and ask her to repeat everything very slowly. The client is German and she should have paced her speech considering that English is not his first language.

The speed of talking is one of the most common aspects of presentations that go wrong. As I mentioned earlier, this was the mistake I made. The best way to correctly pace yourself is to forget the time limit when you practice. Practice with some and deliver your speech to them as if you were explaining something in conversation. Although the presentation may be formal, the language should be a bit conversational. This helps drive the message home by making it easier to understand.

Body language

Giving a presentation just standing still with no movement is boring. It doesn’t engage the audience. We tend to understand the important of messages and even pay attention by recognising body language. Hand gestures play a big part in keeping the audience engaged. Certain movements can signify importance of the point you are conveying while sometimes no movement conveys that the point being talked about is not as important and should be given the most attention.

Eye contact with the audience is another common aspect on which advice is given. It is told that four individuals should be picked from the audience and while presenting eye contact should be made with them in a random pattern. This works well but remember what the audience wants. Look at certain people while stressing points important to them and just scan the room when talking about points relevant to all. In my presentation my lecturer was the actual target of the presentation however, my peers were also in the audience. When it came to conveying the most important points in the presentation, eye contact was made with my lecturer; at other times the room was scanned.

Walking around. The most common point is not to walk around the stage or the presentation floor. Some say that if there is a podium present, stand behind or near it. I don’t like to pick any one of these. The amount of movement is dependant on who is presenting. Is it you presenting on your own or in a group? If it’s a group, whoever is presenting should step forward and speak. No other movement is necessary (except for demonstrations). On your own, there should be a small amount of movement but not a rocking movement. Don’t start moving in a fixed pattern with a rhythm. A lot of movement starts getting distracting.

Once the presentation is made, practice makes perfect (almost). Practice with a small audience beforehand. Get feedback about every aspect of your presentation and improve upon it. Then practice again and improve again.

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