Microsoft Express


M$ is making available Microsoft Express free for download for a year. The edition would be “Lightweight, easy-to-use, and easy-to-learn tools for the hobbyist, novice, and student developer”. It would include Visual Web Developer 2005 Express Edition, SQL Server 2005 Express Edition,Visual Basic 2005 Express Edition,Visual C# 2005 Express Edition,Visual C++ 2005 Express Edition and Visual J# 2005 Express Edition. I think it is pretty cool that they are doing this. They are basically working on creating a better image. This would pacify a big subset of users who think that M$ are very very expensive and cannot be used by the “common man”.
Download it here.(news courtesy lifehacker)

Clutter

It is autumn, and you should be doing fall cleaning – and oh ! I dont mean your house, I meant your planner. Innowen at diyplanner.com has a wonderful piece on how we tend to forget cleaning our most beloved, trusted planner that we personal productivity lovers live on. We clean our desks at work, we clean our homes, but we forget our planner.

All sorts of scraps of paper fill those little binders or booklets. Receipts for purchases you can’t recall what you purchased, phone numbers quickly scribbled down on post-its and website addresses with unrecognizable names. If this sounds like the way your planner looks like now, it’s time for a good old fashioned Fall cleaning.

Read the full article here.

To each their ‘best’

Every one has heard of the saying – ‘To each their own’. I beg to differ. In this age, people have choices. ‘Own’ is singular. People get to choose what they like ‘best’. So I coined my own saying – To each their ‘best’ :).Anyway, that is me trying to play the philosopher. Anyone wonder what secret does ultra-cool Gina Trapani of Lifehacker fame, employ for her daily productivity needs. What hi-fi or lo-fi system does she use ?

Check out her post here.

Very nicely written post which supports my philosophical rambling above. My favourite part of the post is:
Taste-testing is easy. Committing to a tool is more difficult. With the daily onslaught of new and sexy apps out to help you get organized, it’s hard to settle on just one. Don’t get stuck in continual evaluation analysis paralysis, hopping from one solution or software package to another, relentlessly re-working your process for the sake of finding the perfect system. Don’t let Shiny New Thing seduce you. Stick to what works.

Do read through to the end of the post to see her secret weapon.

Happiness and Worry.

The two conflicting words that make up the title coincidentally showed up on lifehack.org on the same day. Wow. There are two nice articles on “How and why you should be happy” and “How to stop worrying”. I think these are important things that everyone should know.The first article (read here) talks about why you should spend some time and analyze what makes you happy. And then work towards getting into these situations or achieving such things that will make you happy. One good tip which I strongly agree with, is to surround yourself with happy people. Good read.

The second article (read here) is from Anxiety Culture. Very nicely written piece on why one should not worry. Nice intro.
We’re raised to worry and aren’t considered “grown up” until we perfect the art. Teenagers are told: “you’d better start worrying about your future”. If your worries aren’t at least as frequent as your bowel movements, you’re seen as irresponsible, childish, aimless. That’s a “responsible adult” game rule.

Gives a couple of nice tips. One that seems plausible is to “postpone” worrying. At any given time, if you start worrying about something trivial, write it down on a worry sheet, so you can mull over it later. The author says that, eventually most people forget about it.

GTD ! using Yahoo !

Chris Wright explains in his blog an cheap, simple, and elegant way for Yahoo ! users to leverage on the suite of tools that Yahoo ! provides to implement GTD. Defenitely a good read. There are two parts to it. Not sure if there is more coming, but it is no doubt a fairly comprehensive document (with screenshots). He goes by David Allen for most of the time – but for some exceptions like ‘keeping the tickler file digital’. He says it is because of his liking to move away from paper.

Read Part 1 here .
Read Part II here .

Do presentation styles matter ?

I think it does. One of the best presentations I have seen are from Steve Jobs. Again, my humble opinion is just from the slides that I have seen, and the rave reviews that I keep seeing on the web, on how fantastic Steve presents the slides. There was recent criticism of how bad Bill Gates did the presentation for Windows Live. I did not attend this event either, but I can just picture how it would have been, by just seeing some of the slides.A beautiful comparison is done in Garr Reynolds blog – Presentation Zen.Check out these two pictures below for a preview and then go to the presentation zen for some more good analysis.
<span

(Both pictures courtesy : http://presentationzen.blogs.com)

IE inside firefox ?

Wow. If you are one of those professional website creators and one of those people who are paranoid (and should rightfully be) about UI/appearance differences between mozilla and IE, your ears should perk up N.O.W. These guys have a firefox plug-in where you can invoke IE inside a firefox tab ! How is that for interoperability ?

Check it out at the mozilla add on site here.

Low tech solution for maintaining your Contacts List

If you are totally into low tech stuff like the Hipster PDA and printing out planner pages from diyplanner.com etc, consider this. How do you maintain your contacts ?

Kevin Kelly has an exteme-low-tech solution (which I incidentally use too) for maintaining your contacts. Slip that visiting card into a clear sleeved rolodex visiting card holder. You can sort it and slip it in (like me), or just slip it in chronological order (like Kevin does). It is easy to look up and extremo-cheapo. Try this before you get that expensive card reader for your palm.

Read Kevins full entry here.

Make sure your blog is read …

Paul Stamatiou has a very good writeup on how to get your blog read by other people.

I used to have a personal blog at one point in time, and I had a very loyal readership. Lots of people commenting. Lots of people writing in to me etc. Due to circumstances in real life (as opposed to my cyberlife), I had to terminate that blog. Recently I started this blog hoping to write every day and archive some of the finds that I make on this topic. And since this is a very niche and upcoming topic for a blog, I do not think I have readers yet. So I went and had a peek. Paul has a nice write up on how to build readership. First and biggest thing I noticed was that it was almost essential to get into technorati (and yes I did it :)). I now need to figure out if there is a way of getting out RSS feeds from blogger.

Read Pauls full article here.