Naga Chokkanathan

Archive for January 2011

Everyone knows there is some brain related chemical activity which causes people to fall(?) in love. But no one knows for sure what really happens in brain when someone is in love. On the flip side, we have this clichéd question – love is in the mind, or in the brain?

This book (This is your brain in love By Dr. Earl Henslin) tries to answer this question with amazing illustrations of brain activity, and clear psychological explanations on various kinds of lovers. Dr. Henslin splits lovers into five categories and this book even includes a test which can help us identify our love style.

According to Dr. Henslin, there are five imbalanced lover types. They are:

  1. The Scattered Lover (high in energy, low in attention or absentmindedness!)
  2. The OverFocused Lover (Can’t take his / her brain off a good / bad thing)
  3. The Blue Mood Lover (Gloomy outlook, always)
  4. The Agitated Lover (Anger and other related emotions)
  5. The Anxious Lover (Always on lookout of anything that may hurt them)

This book discusses each one of these types in detail and explains how one can recognize their type, as well as their mate’s type. Usually it may even be a combination of multiple types, which is the most likely case in majority of people.

As Dr. Henslin is also a very famous marriage and family therapist, this book takes nuggets from his experience and makes a very interesting reading. Recommended for anyone who wants to know what happens when they feel love, and for keeping a love life / marriage successful!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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(Image Courtesy: http://matrix.msu.edu/cls/viewcelebrity?first=Philip&last=Roth)

Famous novelist, and Pulitzer prize winner Philip Roth uses a curious tool to stay fit – He works on his computer standing up!

Of course, the reason behind his stand-up performance is a bad back. But slowly Philip Roth seems to have converted it into a fitness routine, and a way to improve his creatively / thought process.

According to an interview he gave to Guardian, UK, Philip Roth writes on a computer standing up. After writing few paragraphs of text, he paces around the room many times, which allows him to think and concentrate. Once he is clear about what to write, he just types them and starts walking again. As per his guesstimate, he walks around half a mile for every page he writes.

Recently, Doctors and dietitians started advising a similar ‘cure’ for shedding those extra pounds we gain by sitting all day long. Computer tables are now coming with options to increase the height so that you can work standing up. Someone even invented a treadmill-integrated computer table, so that you can walk while you work!

We have heard of stand-up comedians, may be its time we have stand-up programmers, designers, writers and business analysts 😉

(049)

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N. Chokkan …

21 01 2011

I love giving feedback. Whenever I am in a restaurant / airline / superstore / other places where they collect client feedback, I voluntarily pick a form and fill my responses; I genuinely believe in people / organizations, they may make mistakes here and there, but they are always willing to improve, things will get better if I give them my honest feedback.

But am I right? Or I am just wasting my time?

For any business, collecting feedback from customers is very important. As a next step, we need to use this feedback information to improve ourselves. If done right, this can be the major differentiator between two otherwise similar products / services and make / break a company.

But recently people take this ‘feedback loop’ very seriously and start collecting data just for the sake of collecting it. Many times you wonder if they really care, do they really use the data we provide or it goes to the recycle bin directly.

For example, consider this article (http://goo.gl/2UQio) by Jared Spool, last December he took a survey by a very famous airline company, and based on his experience, he has listed down 19 lessons on “how to build a crappy survey”. It reads like a humorous story, but unfortunately it is real – most of the questions make you wonder how that company can miss such basic things when designing a survey!

(Image Courtesy: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jesper/267786169/in/photostream/)

You might have answered such online / offline survey / feedback forms yourselves. Some characteristics / Notes (Few adopted from Jared Spool’s Examples, Others added from my own frustration):

  • No clarity in terms of why this survey is done (What can I expect to change if I spend x minutes filling this survey?)
  • No option to say “No, thanks”
  • No clarity in terms of how big the survey is (a simple text like “Page 3 of 7” or “40% completed” will do. But most survey’s don’t care about this)
  • Too many mandatory questions
  • No option to exit in between (if the survey takes too long, or not applicable for us)
  • Wrong answers / choices (and it is mandatory to choose one of those incorrect answers!)
  • Wrong controls (use of radio buttons instead of check box, Less space to type / write address etc.,)
  • No Neutral answers (Example: “May Be” (in addition to “Yes” and “No”), “I Don’t Know”, “Other”, “Don’t want to answer”)
  • Not enough help / explanation on questions / answers
  • No clarity in terms of scales (Example: 1 is “Fully Agree” and 5 is “Fully Disagree”? Or the other way?)
  • Sudden & Very Late Exit (Example: After answering 6 pages of questions, I am told “Sorry, You are not eligible to complete this survey”, Why not find it out in Page 1 itself and save everybody’s time / frustration?)
  • No customization of survey experience based on situation / type of user / answers already given by users – This means they are using standard surveys and no intelligent / dynamic design is done, which results in wasting everybody’s time
  • Not enough tools to analyze survey results
  • Improper sampling, resulting in unrealistic analysis

Collecting feedback / running surveys with clients / prospects is essential, But if we are not doing them right, they can backfire and hurt our existing business relationships!

(048)

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N. Chokkan …

14 01 2011

My Photo

This is a guest post by my friend Kanchi Raghuram. I requested him to translate one of his tamil articles in English for this blog, You can find his (tamil) blog with many other interesting articles in this URL –> http://kanchiraghuram.blogspot.com/

Are you a software programmer? Or someone who types a lot (documents / mails etc.,) in computer? If yes, this article is for you!

When you are typing your program, do you use all the 10 fingers? Or only 1 or 2?

In my observation, most of the programmers use only their index finger(s) to type anything, be it a program, or a document, or an Email.

A stern warning! If this continues, you will inflict severe damage to your body and health!

Till 20 years back, typewriting institutes were at their peak. We were proudly pedaling bi-cycle when going to institute with typewriting paper rolls inserted in handle-bar. In institute we were at freeze competition in accelerating typing speed, generating rhythmic key strokes and producing error free documents.

Due to this practice we never look at our computer keyboard when we type. This not only saves plenty of hours, but also multiplies productivity.

You might have heard of Butterfly effect. Like the tiny flapping of butterfly wings leads to chain of events resulting in large-scale climatic change, your tiny key board (improper) strokes can lead to cascading evil effects in your health, profession and finally in your life.

Now let me to list those cascading evil effects:

  1. When you don’t know typing, you key in almost every letter by looking both monitor and keyboard. It results in continuous small movements in your neck and its muscles are heavily strained.
  2. Your neck becomes tired quickly as it has to lift up and down your head weight (!). As you continue typing using two fingers without any alternative, the small disc portion in your neck starts to decay.
  3. This will interrupt the smooth blood flow inflicting head-ache and the pain will spread to your shoulders. Your back-bone which balances all the weights above will soon get its due (pain) and it will echo everywhere in your body.
  4. This will affect body’s position and if you don’t have the habit of exercising, every muscle will lose its flexibility. (Try to recall when is the last time you rotated your arms to a full circle. Can you do it now without any pain?!). With the stage set, RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury) will enter into your body as unsolicited permanent tenant.
  5. Improper typing introduces uncountable errors also (Just try to count, how many times you hit back-space key per day). When you repetitively attempt to correct errors and when it is combined with body pain, your mind lose focus and you unknowingly introduce programming logic errors. They become apparent only at later stages and again you are forced to spend several hours to rectify them.
  6. This drags projects beyond their delivery dates. Clients who pay for every hour spent on project development will declare war with your manager.
  7. When the manager applies his / her pressure, you get blood pressure, tension and mental depression.
  8. When office hours prolong, you skip eating on time, forget sleeping hours. You would probably be visiting home only to take bath. Your entire health would be credited in company-given medical policies. Since your stay at home declines your household duties will begin stagnating. This will irritate your family members and heated verbal exchange will explode every day damaging remaining peace of your mind.

It is inevitable to stay late in office due to workloads. However, by the law of averages workload is not always heavy. Even during off-season project time, we could not return home early as we allow ‘keyboard chaos theory’ to inflate to this extend.

If you spare just 20 minutes a day to practice keyboard fingering, then within 20 days, your fingers will feel the keys and will take strategic position on keyboard automatically even when your eyes are closed. When they start to dance fluently without hitting back-space you will feel the pleasure of driving Mercedes-Benz.

Prioritize key-board exercise in your New Year pledges. You can return to home when Sun is still shining and your life will shine forever.

– Kanchi Raghuram

I chose this book mainly for its creative idea and amazingly cool layout (you should see it to believe it!). This reads like archives of a blog (so you don’t have that guilty feeling of reading someone’s diary :)), it even has user comments sprinkled here and there. But when you complete this book, it gives a sort of biography feel, including a daily prayer element.

Izzy is the main character in this book and she writes 90 blog posts, about participation in a major talent event. She learns many things, expresses lot of emotions thro her blog entries and sometimes readers help her, sometimes they don’t (or worst, they try to confuse her and she has to make some really hard choices!)

As the book has all short chapters, it is ideal for those who want a quick read. But beware, it embeds lot of useful thoughts (or at least thought provoking insights) in between those tidbits of information, in such a way that you are not bored. In fact this book can be completed in a single reading. But you need to think a lot about the ideas / choices discussed in the book.

Very interesting idea. Hopefully, we will get more blog-books in future, following in Izzy’s footsteps!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A helper monkey made this abstract painting, inspired by your stats.

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 2,400 times in 2010. That’s about 6 full 747s.

 

In 2010, there were 76 new posts, not bad for the first year! There were 14 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 1mb. That’s about a picture per month.

The busiest day of the year was July 16th with 275 views. The most popular post that day was Why Not? — Emails Talk.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were twitter.com, nchokkan.wordpress.com, reddit.com, crmit.com, and alphainventions.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for naga chokkanathan, nagas chokkanathan blog, flipkart, ramkumar kothandaraman, and knowledge sharing.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Why Not? — Emails Talk July 2010
11 comments and 1 Like on WordPress.com,

2

The feature I wish my smart phone had! October 2010
7 comments

3

Amazon Cloud October 2010
1 comment

4

VMWare Cloud Computing & Virtualization Event @ Bangalore November 2010
4 comments

5

An Innovative Session September 2010
6 comments


Disclaimer

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the Organization He works for / belongs to.

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