Guy who got into IIT and Google who has no legs

 

Naga Naresh KaruturaNaga Naresh Karutura has just passed out of IIT Madras in Computer Science and has joined Google in Bangalore.  You may ask, what’s so special about this 21-year-old when there are hundreds of students passing from various IITs and joining big companies like Google?

Naresh is special. His parents are illiterate. He has no legs and moves around in his powered wheel chair.

Ever smiling, optimistic and full of spirit; that is Naresh. He says, “God has always been planning things for me. That is why I feel I am lucky.”  Read why Naresh feels he is lucky.

Childhood in a village

I spent the first seven years of my life in Teeparru, a small village in Andhra Pradesh, on the banks of the river Godavari . My father Prasad was a lorry driver and my mother Kumari, a house wife. Though they were illiterate, my parents instilled in me and my elder sister (Sirisha) the importance of studying.

Looking back, one thing that surprises me now is the way my father taught me when I was in the 1st and 2nd standards. My father would ask me questions from the text book, and I would answer them. At that time, I didn’t know he could not read or write but to make me happy, he helped me in my studies!

Another memory that doesn’t go away is the floods in the village and how I was carried on top of a buffalo by my uncle. I also remember plucking fruits from a tree that was full of thorns.

I used to be very naughty, running around and playing all the time with my friends.. I used to get a lot of scolding for disturbing the elders who slept in the afternoon. The moment they started scolding, I would run away to the fields!

I also remember finishing my school work fast in class and sleeping on the teacher’s lap! January 11, 1993, the fateful day

On the January 11, 1993 when we had the sankranti holidays, my mother took my sister and me to a nearby village for a family function. From there we were to go with our grandmother to our native place. But my grandmother did not come there. As there were no buses that day, my mother took a lift in my father’s friend’s lorry. As there were many people in the lorry, he made me sit next to him, close to the door.

It was my fault; I fiddled with the door latch and it opened wide throwing me out. As I fell, my legs got cut by the iron rods protruding from the lorry. Nothing happened to me except scratches on my legs.

The accident had happened just in front of a big private hospital but they refused to treat me saying it was an accident case. Then a police constable who was passing by took us to a government hospital.

First I underwent an operation as my small intestine got twisted. The doctors also bandaged my legs. I was there for a week. When the doctors found that gangrene had developed and it had reached up to my knees, they asked my father to take me to a district hospital. There, the doctors scolded my parents a lot for neglecting the wounds and allowing the gangrene to develop. But what could my ignorant parents do?

In no time, both my legs were amputated up to the hips.

I remember waking up and asking my mother, where are my legs? I also remember that my mother cried when I asked the question. I was in the hospital for three months.

Life without legs

I don’t think my life changed dramatically after I lost both my legs. Because all at home were doting on me, I was enjoying all the attention rather than pitying myself. I was happy that I got a lot of fruits and biscuits.

‘I never wallowed in self-pity’

The day I reached my village, my house was flooded with curious people; all of them wanted to know how a boy without legs looked. But I was not bothered; I was happy to see so many of them coming to see me, especially my friends!

All my friends saw to it that I was part of all the games they played; they carried me everywhere.

God’s hand. I believe in God. I believe in destiny. I feel he plans everything for you. If not for the accident, we would not have moved from the village to Tanuku, a town. There I joined a missionary school, and my father built a house next to the school. Till the tenth standard, I studied in that school.

If I had continued in Teeparu, I may not have studied after the 10th. I may have started working as a farmer or someone like that after my studies. I am sure God had other plans for me.

My sister, my friend

When the school was about to reopen, my parents moved from Teeparu to Tanuku, a town, and admitted both of us in a Missionary school. They decided to put my sister also in the same class though she is two years older. They thought she could take care of me if both of us were in the same class. My sister never complained.

She would be there for everything. Many of my friends used to tell me, you are so lucky to have such a loving sister. There are many who do not care for their siblings.

She carried me in the school for a few years and after a while, my friends took over the task. When I got the tricycle, my sister used to push me around in the school.

My life, I would say, was normal, as everyone treated me like a normal kid. I never wallowed in self-pity. I was a happy boy and competed with others to be on top and the others also looked at me as a competitor.

Inspiration

I was inspired by two people when in school; my Maths teacher Pramod Lal who encouraged me to participate in various local talent tests, and a brilliant boy called Chowdhary, who was my senior.

When I came to know that he had joined Gowtham Junior College to prepare for IIT-JEE, it became my dream too. I was school first in 10th scoring 542/600.

Because I topped in the state exams, Gowtham Junior College waived the fee for me. Pramod Sir’s recommendation also helped. The fee was around Rs 50,000 per year, which my parents could never afford.

Moving to a residential school

Living in a residential school was a big change for me because till then my life centred around home and school and I had my parents and sister to take care of all my needs. It was the first time that I was interacting with society. It took one year for me to adjust to the new life.

There, my inspiration was a boy called K K S Bhaskar who was in the top 10 in IIT-JEE exams. He used to come to our school to encourage us. Though my parents didn’t know anything about Gowtham Junior School or IIT, they always saw to it that I was encouraged in whatever I wanted to do.. If the results were good, they would praise me to the skies and if bad, they would try to see something good in that. They did not want me to feel bad.  They are such wonderful supportive parents.

Life at IIT- Madras

Though my overall rank in the IIT-JEE was not that great (992), I was 4th in the physically handicapped category. So, I joined IIT, Madras to study Computer Science.

Here, my role model was Karthik who was also my senior in school. I looked up to him during my years at IIT- Madras.   He had asked for attached bathrooms for those with special needs before I came here itself. So, when I came here, the room had attached bath. He used to help me and guide me a lot when I was here.

I evolved as a person in these four years, both academically and personally. It has been a great experience studying here. The people I was interacting with were so brilliant that I felt privileged to sit along with them in the class. Just by speaking to my lab mates, I gained a lot..

‘There are more good people in society than bad ones’

July 28, 2008

Words are inadequate to express my gratitude to Prof Pandurangan and all my lab mates; all were simply great. I was sent to Boston along with four others for our internship by Prof Pandurangan. It was a great experience.

Joining Google R&D

I did not want to pursue PhD as I wanted my parents to take rest now.  Morgan Stanley selected me first but I preferred Google because I wanted to work in pure computer science, algorithms and game theory.

I am lucky. Do you know why I say I am lucky?

I get help from total strangers without me asking for it. Once after my second year at IIT, I with some of my friends was travelling in a train for a conference. We met a kind gentleman called Sundar in the train, and he has been taking care of my hostel fees from then on.

I have to mention about Jaipur foot. I had Jaipur foot when I was in 3rd standard. After two years, I stopped using them. As I had almost no stems on my legs, it was very tough to tie them to the body. I found walking with Jaipur foot very, very slow. Sitting also was a problem. I found my tricycle faster because I am one guy who wants to do things faster.

One great thing about the hospital is, they don’t think their role ends by just fixing the Jaipur foot; they arrange for livelihood for all. They asked me what help I needed from them. I told them at that time, if I got into an IIT, I needed financial help from them. So, from the day I joined IIT, Madras , my fees were taken care of by them. So, my education at the IIT was never a burden on my parents and they could take care of my sister’s Nursing studies.

Surprise awaited me at IIT

After my first year, when I went home, two things happened here at the Institute without my knowledge.

I got a letter from my department that they had arranged a lift and ramps at the department for me. It also said that if I came a bit early and checked whether it met with my requirements, it would be good.

Second surprise was, the Dean, Prof Idichandy and the Students General Secretary, Prasad had located a place that sold powered wheel chairs. The cost was Rs 55,000. What they did was, they did not buy the wheel chair; they gave me the money so that the wheel chair belonged to me and not the institute.

My life changed after that. I felt free and independent.  That’s why I say I am lucky. God has planned things for me and takes care of me at every step.

The world is full of good people.

I also feel if you are motivated and show some initiative, people around you will always help you. I also feel there are more good people in society than bad ones. I want all those who read this to feel that if Naresh can achieve something in life, you can too Hope this story inspires & motivates all of us to the core.

 

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Top 10 Gmail labs for Gmail lovers

Gmail LabGmail is one of the most popular free Email service from Google. Gmail has a feature call Gmail labs, using it you can add many new features to your Gmail account. You can access Gmail lab under Setting -> Labs.

Gmail settingsgmail labs

 

 

 

If you will enable at least one of the lab then a shortcut will create at the top right corner as shown below:

 

As if Gmail wasn’t powerful enough, you can find all sorts of goodies and extra features in Gmail Labs. The list is pretty massive, so I’ve narrowed down to 10 favourite labs to help increase your email productivity.

1. Multiple Inboxes This is one of our favorite Gmail features —there’s just so much you can do with it. Multiple Inboxes has you covered by letting you stack extra lists of emails—whether they are labels, starred messages, or any other Gmail search—in your main inbox window. There’s no limit to what you can do with Multiple Inboxes, so if you’ve ever felt anything was missing from Gmail’s inbox organization, you can make it yourself here. Note that, unfortunately, Multiple Inboxes does not currently work with Gmail’s Priority Inbox feature, so you’ll have to decide which is more important to you for a particular account.

2. Message Sneak Peek The Message Sneak Peek feature is simple, but pretty useful—instead of opening up every message you get, you can just mouse over them(or right Click) to see what’s inside a message. That way, you don’t have to go through to trouble of opening it, marking it as unread, or filtering it if you can’t deal with it right away. message sneak peek

3. Inserting Images The Inserting Images lab will help you out by letting you insert images easily—whether you upload them from your computer or link to an external source on the net—with the press of a button. Note that if you’re running Google Chrome or Safari, you don’t need this lab enabled—you can just drag and drop images right  inot the Gmail. 

4. Undo Send This is a great feature. Just imagine this… you have to mail someone an important email and you type the email with some big typos in it. When you just begin to read your email you accidentally click the “Send” button and then you realize that there were some typos. With this labs feature you can cancel the email which is being sent or if it has been sent, you will have 30 seconds to undo this and then you can edit the email and send it with relief. undo send

5. Default ‘Reply to All’ When multiple people are involved in an email thread, one person will break off by accidentally hitting the “Reply” button instead of “Reply All”, and then everyone else misses that part of the conversation. Save yourself from being “that guy” by enabling the Default Reply to All Lab, which changes Gmail’s Reply button into a Reply All button. On the occasions you want to reply just to one person, you’ll still be able to do so by hitting the dropdown menu next to the Reply All button.

default reply to all

6. Google Docs Previews Even if you aren’t the biggest fan of Google Docs, the Google Docs previews Lab is pretty useful—it not only lets you preview shared Google Docs, but it also lets you view any Google Docs compatible format before downloading it. That means the next time someone sends you a Word document, Excel spreadsheet, or PDF and you don’t want to download it and open it up in Office, you can see what’s inside just by viewing its Google Docs preview.

Google Docs in Gmail

7. Custom Keyboard Shortcuts A Gmail keyboard shortcut is another great feature of Gmail. There are a lot of keyboard shortcuts but if you use this great feature, you can change the keyboard shortcuts to your comfort. This feature could make the use of Gmail very easy.

Custom keyboard shortcuts for gmail

8. Message Translation This is another important labs feature. If you have got an important email but it is in another language, you can use this labs feature to translate it to English or your preferred language. It use Google Translate for the translations.

Message ranslation in Gmail

9. Canned Responses If you find yourself doing a lot of repetitive typing, the Canned Responses lab will save you a lot of trouble. Just enable the lab, set up those messages you find yourself sending over and over again, and then send them with the click of a button. You can even send them automatically using filters and use them with external services (like automating Remember the Milk tasks). Note also that you can use OS-wide text expansion if you need to do this outside of Gmail—though what’s nice about Gmail’s canned responses is that you can use them no matter what computer you’re on.

Canned response enable

Canned response in Gmail

10. Mouse Gestures You can use this as another shortcut for using Gmail. Use your mouse to navigate with gestures. Hold right-click and move the mouse left to go to a previous conversation, move it right to go to the next conversation, and move up to go back to the inbox view.

Mouse gesture in Gmail

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Cheque Fraud – Cheque Scams

Cheque ScamCheque Fraud is one of the oldest types of financial crime. Even in our computer and internet technology era, many still prefer to pay by cheque or bankers draft. The cause of this is people do not trust computer technology and have misconceptions about online banking. This is understandable because of the fact most of these humans are computer illiterate and what is unknown to human mind causes fear or rejection. This fear, however, is totally obsolete for statistics show online banking is safer than cheques. To protect yourself from cheque fraud I will show you some guidelines of necessary precaution you should take before you receive or send a cheque. Than it is your responsibility to inspect and analyze the cheque.There are three main types of cheque fraud:

  • Counterfeit Cheques These are not written or authorized by legitimate account holder. The existence of counterfeit cheques is supported by new technology. Thieves use printers, copiers and newest software to make clone cheques with high resemblance to the original. Many times these are hard to recognized as false even by experts.
  • Stolen Cheques Cheque is not signed by account owner, rather stolen, usually out of the glove box of your car or your house. The signature is then forged and cheque used as pleased. Most of the time once you recognize your cheques are missing it is too late.
  • Altered or Forged Cheques The Cheque is properly issued by the account holder but has been intercepted and the beneficiary or the amount of the item have been altered or new information added. To do so, sharp instruments and chemicals are used.
  • Closed Account Bank accounts which are not used anymore or are closed, but cheques still exist for this particular account. If you don't destroy those cheques you can be a potential victim.
  • New Account An identity is stolen or made up by false documents. If a fraudster has personal documents and some personal information, he can request a bank account in your name. Bankers, unknowingly accept these requests and open new accounts, giving scammers the opportunity to steal money from individuals or businesses in your name.
  • Over payed Cheques A false cheque issued by your “business partner with a larger sum than required. The thief will then ask you if you can give him the change, making up different excuses why he transfered the over payed sum. The cheque is false and will be declined by the bank and you will end up losing the amount you gave him in exchange. Read Nigerian Fraud.

Some steps you can take to prevent your cheque being forged or information added after you wrote the cheque:

  • Leave no gaps in your words
  • Draw a Line after the name, amount and else where empty space was left
  • Use full and correct names for all the information
  • Prohibit transfer of cheque
  • Never pre-sign cheques
  • Don't leave your chequebook in the glove box of your vehicle, a large percentage of stolen cheque books are taken from cars
  • If you close an account, destroy any remaining cheques relevant to that account

If receiving a cheque you can:

  • Ask for an ID. Only take a drivers license, personal ID or passport, don't take other ID confirmations as they are relatively easier to fake. Even than be cautions, these documents can also be forged
  • Compare the signature on the ID against the cheque signature
  • Ask the person issuing the cheque to give you their home telephone number and maybe some sort of personal information, compare the number in your phone book and call the person at home
  • Refuse cheques written with a pencil or cheque with signs of being altered
  • Be wary of accepting cheques not signed in front of you or single cheques not being torn out of the cheque book. Thiefs often steal just one or two cheques to gain time before the owner of cheques suspects them missing
  • Don't give change on cheques (if the cheque is false and you already gave change, you were scammed)

People who are cashing cheques end up losing funds when the banks realize the cheques are false. That's because people are held responsible for anything they deposit into their accounts. Source: http://www.bustathief.com

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A journey of 3-D movies

The 1800s

In 1856, J. C. d’Almeida gave a demonstration at the Academie des Sciences in which two stereoscopic images (that is to say two views of the same scene, photographed from slightly differing points of view – usually around two and a half inches – representing the distance between a pair of human eyes) were projected in rapid succession as lantern slides coloured red and green, with the audience viewing the screen through spectacles fitted with red and green lenses. The green image could only be seen through the red lens and the red image only through the green one, effectively sending two slightly different images of the same scene to the brain of the viewer, where they would be combined to form a three-dimensional image.By the end of the century, moving pictures had arrived and 3D wasn’t very far behind. In 1897 a Mr. C. Grivolas adapted the anaglyph technique to movies by using a specially constructed camera that would expose two reels of film simultaneously, through two lenses spaced as far apart as human eyes. The resulting prints were then projected simultaneously on to the same screen by two interlinked projectors, with one lens having a red filter and the other a blue one. Once again, the audience would don red and blue lensed glasses only this time they would see a three dimensional moving picture – the effect must have been truly startling to Victorian eyes. And this would be almost exactly the way that 3D movies would be projected in the future.

The 1900s

The World’s first 3D feature film – given by film maker and inventor Harry K. Fairall, entitled The Power of Love. It opened at the Ambassador Hotel Theatre in Los Angeles on September 27th 1922. A few months later, during the Christmas holidays, William Van Doren Kelley, inventor of the Prizmacolor process, presented his ‘Plasticon’ anaglyphic short film Movies of the Future. This was shown at the Rivoli theatre in New York City. Kelley’s process used film coated on both sides, with the red image on one side and the green image on the reverse. The audience viewed the 3D image through spectacles that had a pair of red and green Cellophane lenses.

The 1930s and the 1940s

But the most interesting breakthrough did not come until 1932, when Edwin H. Land was granted a patent for ‘Polaroid’ filters. Land’s cheap and simple method for producing polarizing filters involved depositing crystals of a chemical called Herapathite as a thin film. This had the effect of creating a microscopic grill, through which would pass only those undulating light waves that were similarly aligned. And because Land’s filters worked on the principle of selecting the orientation of light waves rather than blocking certain colors, it would be possible to produce full-color 3D images. In June 1936 at the Haus der Technik, in Berlin a film is produced with this technology. The film was called Zum Greifen Nah –You Can Nearly Touch It.

The 1950s – The first 3D boom

In 1948, Two brothers, Raymond and Nigel Spottiswoode, highly regarded in the field of film making and experimentation, were commissioned to design and build a cinema of the future. In the short space of 14 months, they created what was to be called the Telecinema and produced five 3D shorts to be shown therein, two of which were cartoons created by noted Canadian animator Norman McLaren: Around is Around and Now is the time…to put on your glasses. The system used to photograph these films was designed and constructed by Leslie P. Dudley and consisted of two Newman Sinclair cameras mounted ‘face to face’ with angled mirrors placed in front of each lens in order to deflect the image of the scene being shot into each camera. Stereophonic sound would be added later, for showing in the Telecinema – which could indeed be described as the cinema of the future as it included, apart from stereo sound facilities, its own lenticular screen for 3D without glasses and newly designed equipment for TV projection. Bwana Devil opened on 26th November 1952 at Paramount, the film is based on true events which took place at the Tsavo River crossing, Kenya in 1898 during the the building, by the British, of the Uganda Railway, during which 140 workers were killed by lions (the same event was also the basis for the 1996 film The Ghost and the Darkness, which starred Michael Douglas and Val Kilmer). Theatres in Hollywood and Los Angeles and was a tremendous success. Presented in dual strip format, utilising interlocked projectors and polarising filters, Bwana Devil is considered to be the first colour 3D feature film presentation. All the major studios had 3D movies in production by this time, and the next couple of years saw the release of some really good 3D pictures such as House of Wax(1953),The Tingler (1959)13 Ghosts (1960)The House on Haunted Hill(1959) was the most successful movie at that time. The production of 3D movies began to peter out as the studios turned to the less troublesome CinemaScope as a means of coaxing the audiences back into the cinemas. By 1955 3D was finished and the wide screen was king. 3D might have been down, but it was not quite out. Several years later 3D would return – this time in widescreen, too! And some years after that a system called IMAX would be born; and when IMAX would eventually be combined with 3D we would be treated to 3D presentations that could only be described with one word: Awesome!

The 1980s

It was not until the 1980s that the various 3D systems would get to show what they could do, with the first half of the decade witnessing a mini 3D revival. A South Korea/US production, Starchaser consisted of conventional hand-drawn animation over computer generated frames. This Star Wars-inspired tale combined excellent animation with surprisingly good 3D. All of these systems, however, had the same irritating drawback: they were all designed to be 2.35:1 single strip systems, and a single strip of film projected through a polarizing filter and being viewed through another – the glasses – means huge light loss and a much dimmer picture. Another problem, particular to 35mm presentations, becomes apparent when the fact that the tiny, 2-perf high frames are enlarged to fill a commercial cinema screen that may be thirty feet wide or more, resulting in further degradation of the image.

65/70mm 3D and IMAX – and the Digital future…?

This fact was not lost on Dr. Richard Vetter, the co-designer, with colleague Carl W. Williams, of the excellent Dimension 150 lens, when he developed the StereoSpace system, in conjunction with United Artists. StereoSpace was a step back to the dual-rig method of acquiring a 3D image, but a step forward – and up – to 65mm film stock. Later veteran cinematographer Linwood G. Dunn and Film Effects of Hollywood developed a system they called Dynavision. This system was intended to combine the brightness and steadiness of 70mm projection. 3D production seemed to stall for the next few years, but a revolutionary new process was evolving – in Canada – that would lead directly to high definition 3D movies that we enjoy today: IMAX. The IMAX system was the brainchild of two filmmakers, Graeme Ferguson and Roman Kroiter.

20th Centuary:

Yet while IMAX were moving onwards and upwards in the area of large format 3D, the latter years of the 20th century saw the rapid development of a totally different technology, one that would eventually redefine the way films are made and presented. For good or ill the Digital Revolution was coming. The future for 3D in the cinema looks promising once again, thanks to digital technology. Digital projectors now being installed in screens throughout the world can project flat or stereoscopic movies with just the flick of a switch. 3D movies are starting to appear almost as regularly as they did in 1950s heyday – and even the new plastic glasses are cool. This digital revolution has brought cinema technology into our homes, allowing us to enjoy our favourite films with a clarity unmatched since movies began. As for 3D, now that Cameron, Spielberg, Rodriguez, Zemeckis and Lucas (Ghosts of the Abyss (2003); Spy Kids 3D (2003); Shark Boy and Lava Girl 3D (2005)The Polar Express (2004); Beowulf (2007) and this year’s much-anticipated Avatar) have all voiced their enthusiasm – and more importantly put their collective financial muscle behind research and production, it is reasonably certain that this time – this time – 3D will be here to stay.

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The MBA who quit his job to earn $100,000 doing Excel blogging

Purnachandra Rao Duggirala, or the erstwhile 'Mango Mod' Chandoo on PaGaLGuY has several illustrious achievements to his credit. Not only did the simple Vizag boy get into IIM Indore’s class of 2006, he wrote his story in a manner that it gained cult status over time.

Four years after getting a campus placement at TCS, Chandoo quit his job in April 2010 to run a Microsoft Excel-training startup he had built on the side doing what many of us do non-seriously — blogging. Last month, Chandoo’s lean two-memberblog ‘Chandoo.org’ recorded revenues of $100,000, justifying his decision to quit and be completely on his own. In this interview, he speaks about this rather unique manner of earning a living, how he built it and what he plans to do with it in the future.

What have you been upto since you graduated from IIM Indore?

I graduated in 2006 then I joined Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) via a campus offer. Just like any other fresh MBA graduate, I was doing a lot of analysis and research based work in the first few months at TCS. That’s when I ended up using Microsoft Excel a lot. This was my first serious interaction with Excel as such.

I was doing a lot of interesting work that included analysing competitors, etc. It was a lot of theoretical work and nothing more than that. At the same time I was writing a personal blog about what I was doing and what was happening in my life, but nothing special or significant.

Then while in TCS I had the opportunity to travel and work abroad. I moved to USA for a year in 2007 and that’s when I had some good free time. As you know, the work culture in western countries is a bit relaxed, and I don’t mean that in a bad way. It gives you time that you can spend with your hobbies and passions. It’s unlike in India where you have to devote a lot of traveling time before and after work.

So I had a lot of free time and started wondering how I could utilise it better. So I started writing about all that I was learning in office on my blog, and that included a lot of learnings about the advanced featured of Microsoft Excel. In 2008 February, I wrote an article about an Excel trick that was picked up by a lot of popular blogs on the Internet. That became a good traffic source and I started getting a lot of visitors.

It was an exciting time for me and I started thinking what it would be  like if I did something more substantial on the Internet in my free time. I then started writing about Excel more often and also started a couple of other websites with the hope that they could maybe help me make some money and eventually have me live on my own. None of those other websites succeeded but the Excel posts on my blog kept on receiving good response. I had built up a good following of people from across the world and I realised that I had a genuine passion for understanding data, analysing it and presenting it.

The realisation led to a series of good articles which were received well within the community of my blog. Since then, I kept blogging regularly and launched many products related to Excel that people had to pay to buy. The product sales continued to do well in the next two years and the money was good enough for me to consider quitting my job at TCS. I eventually did that in April 2010 and moved to my hometown Vizag with my wife, where we both now run Chandoo.org fulltime.

What sort of products did you launch and how did the money you were earning grow over time?

For the first two years, most of the revenue came through Google Adsense advertisements. When the blog became a bit more popular in 2009, I started recommending third-party affiliate products. These were essentially products such as Microsoft Excel related books or software that its creators wanted to promote to my audience.

I used to test these products myself and if I felt they had genuine value, I advertised them on the blog in return for a generous commission for each sale that originated from Chandoo.org. Since there was no middleman and I was in direct touch with both the customers and the sellers, they shared 30% of the revenue per sale with me. That itself used to be something like USD 200-300 per month, almost as much as I was making through Google Adwords. In 2009, my traffic also went up. I used to have 100,000-150,000 visits every month. That was a good number created due to word-of-mouth, content sharing with other websites, or my article being featured on other blogs. That increased the revenue to USD 400-500 per month.

Then I released my first ebook on Excel priced at USD 5. This was a mistake I made. I call this a mistake because the content I produced was high quality, not just elementary Excel tips. But the perception of my site among people was that of one that produces high quality and high value content. But when I started selling the ebook at as low a price as USD 5, it did not align well with the perception of my site. So in the first month although some people did buy the ebook, the revenues were not a lot. That was February 2009. Then after some thought I increased the price to USD 10, added a few more pages and announced it on my blog.

I thought people would not buy it. But to my surprise the sales increased and I started getting USD 200 per month from the book alone. While this happened, I started getting offers to do consulting work related to Excel. This was in conflict with my day job at TCS so I didn’t accept most requests. But if something very interesting came along, I did it for compensation in kind. It was challenging work, and I was making powerful Excel-based dashboards and reports. Simultaneously, I was learning new things about Excel by doing them and then producing new articles based on those learnings.

During 2009-end I released my first Project Management Template for Excel. It was my first big product. I had gotten a huge response for my articles based on the template and it gave me some confidence that maybe I could sell Excel templates. So I started charging USD 30 for the template I had created. If people wanted the template for both Excel 2003 and 2007, they had to pay USD 45. It did appear costly and I did get emails from my audience complaining that the adprice was too high. But I sold around 50 templates in the first month itself. But then the sales started going down, and I realised that I had to keep reminding my readers of the existence of these templates in my articles continuously.

I started linking the templates in my articles regularly and that brought the template sales back on track — so much so that in September 2010 I sold about 100 templates and made about USD 3,000 from templates alone. But I think the sales will plateau here because there is only so much reach that my blog can have and the Excel template market has a lot of competition worldwide. Apart from that there are newer project management softwares coming up including those that are on the cloud. The interesting thing here is that once people saw value in my templates, they wrote testimonials for me.

Others made variations of my templates and became heroes in front of their bosses and colleagues by using these templates. I was also giving a 10% discount to people who were writing to me specifically asking for one. At the same time as my customer base was growing, I was getting a lot of support requests for my products. I found that the time I was devoting to support was growing. I was planning to upgrade the templates and include some of the new features in Excel 2010.

All this meant that I had to increase the price also include support in the package. I had to make these products be ‘value for money’ rather than speak about them as ‘cheap’ or ‘costly’. By 2010 both affiliate and Google Adsense revenues also went up. But the ‘killer product’ was my training program – Excel School. This is priced at USD 100 and includes 20 hours of Excel training and make people much more productive. This received a response beyond my wildest dreams.

The first batch had 150 students and except for two who dropped out, everybody loved the program. They had glowing reviews throughout the program. In the second batch, I had 200 students and in the third one which I closed in September, I had 350 students. I’m still getting requests to open this batch again. Some corporates included their entire team of 20 people into the program. I gave group discounts to them and to repeat clients. And that’s how in the last 12 months, I crossed USD 100,000 in revenue.

Was it a concern that your making money on the side would conflict with your day job’s policies? What would you advise others who might want to make some this way along with their corporate jobs?

Many companies have a ‘moonlighting clause’ in their employment contracts. I am not sure if my company had one, but the money I was making was too little while I was employed. Also, I knew a handful of people in my company who were also making money online, so I knew this it was not that wrong.

Plus I had let my managers know that I had a website where I wrote and shared my knowledge. My Microsoft ‘Most Valuable Professional’ award status, blogger status and product details were kind of known to key colleagues and bosses through my Linkedin updates. That said, if anyone is starting today, it would be better to check with your HR policies to avoid conflicts. In most cases you can get an exception easily just by talking to the right people.

What made you make the choice of quitting TCS and doing this fulltime?

I used to spend about two hours after work on Chandoo.org and was writing almost regularly. For me it was never really about ‘work versus job’. My job at TCS was pretty exciting all along. I was working and interacting with new people everyday, traveling internationally and was quite satisfied.

The reason why I made a choice was more because of family. I was traveling a lot, living alone in far-off places and missing my family during the job. Of course, I had the confidence that Chandoo.org would make enough for us to live a comfortable life. Since I run the operation from my home in Vizag with just me and my wife working on it, almost all the money less server costs and income tax is mine.

Starting in 2008 when your blog became a serious occupation for you, it has been 3 years. Do you think somebody else can avoid some of your mistakes and reach your revenue stage faster?

My advice to others wishing to do something similar would be that first you should start a blog. Whether or not you make money off it, you will learn how to express yourself to others. Many of us feel that we are great orators or writers and I felt the same when I graduated from MBA. But writing in a convincing language or explaining something in simple language is a tremendously difficult skill to learn.

By having a blog you are reaching out to the world more each day. You may feel vulnerable, but you learn how to communicate better. You should start a blog no matter whether you have plans to make money off it or not. Even though you may want to write for yourself, at some point you should ask yourself this question — now that I have 25-30 people reading the blog, what do they want to read and how can I make my stories important or relevant for them to read? A mistake to avoid is to not write about too many things.

If somebody wants to read general stuff about movies and sports, they will go to Rediff. So focus on one or two ideas that are close to your heart and stick to them. That way you will enjoy writing more and won’t feel burdened to write about everything that comes your way. This was a mistake I did. I started writing about Excel initially but then I started assuming that people will want to learn from me about technology, marketing or business as well. So I wrote about those things even though I was not as good at them, though I was passionate about them.

I didn’t get a lot of following for such articles and I found it hard to produce quality content in those areas. So I decided to stick to Excel. While writing I used to get distracted by wanting to write about latest events. While I was in the US, I started posting Excel data visualizations about the US presidential elections. Although it taught me a lot, it wasn’t of value to my readers. So it would be nice to focus on what you are doing rather than getting diverted by what is going around. Let’s say you are writing about Microsoft Powerpoint. First scan the universe and see who else is writing about this. Of them, you will find that about 10-15 people are writing regularly. One’s initial feeling would be that we should do something different from what they are doing and not encourage them by talking too much about them.

This is our natural business instinct towards competitors. But I do not feel that is the right approach. You should rather think that “these are my competition and they are going to be around with me for the rest of my life or the rest of the life of my startup. So let us embrace them.” I do this every few week by sharing the articles they are writing on my blog via links, or commenting on their blog, or picking up a topic they have posted about and continuing the discussion. This way you develop a collaborative relationship with them. Together you can move along with them and prosper together.

I feel this is a good way to look at competition in what I am doing, rather than thinking that I want to dominate this. I can’t really say if somebody can make enough money from a blog overnight. This is not a movie that you make and it either goes hit or flop. I would just suggest that people start off writing a blog and develop some skills on the way. Maybe some day you will derive some mileage. Once you have a following and you have a product that can make for value to people, don’t shy from charging them for it, thinking that people will stop visiting your site.

What part of your IIM Indore experience has helped you with building up the business?

You do learn a lot of interesting stuff at b-school such as HRM and strategy, marketing, accounting, etc. Accounting did help as I learned how money is accounted and how cash flows work. But what you don’t learn at b-school is what to do at ground level on day 1 or day 0 when you start a business. I am learning these things now. We were taught a course called Business Law at IIM Indore, but either it was not presented properly or I did not get it, but it taught nothing about what procedure to follow on the ground if you wanted to start a business.

We used to write business plans for entrepreneurship competitions, but all of it did not teach me what is the first step I should be doing to start a business. All these things I learned outside. MBA helped me more in terms of communication. You might see a lot of MBAs communicating badly or disguising what they are saying with big jargon words. But MBA taught me how to keep my thoughts simple and clear, a little but of accounting and some marketing concepts. Some b-schools abroad do focus on entrepreneurship, but most don’t. Even I took up the entrepreneurship elective in the second year.

But it was more about venture capital funding and how you can structure a merger and acquisition deal or how you can sell you company to somebody bigger. But those are big things. They will probably happen ten years later for someone like me or in my position and when they do, I will hire somebody else to do it for me. That knowledge might then be helpful at that time.

But the ground level knowledge such as how to start up, how to register a proprietorship, how to prepare a non-disclosure agreement, were not taught. I learned them myself. I’m not saying that the error is on IIM Indore’s part exactly, but the fact is that a lot of things taught to us in business law and entrepreneurship are too big to be of any use to someone who wants to start off something from scratch.

Where do you see your startup going?

I want to do this for the next 3-4 years for sure. I see that there is a lot of scope. I have developed ideas based on customer feedback. At least until 2015 I’ll grow it and make sure it does not shrink. At the same time I will learn a lot of new things such as spreadsheets and visualizations on the cloud, how touchscreens will affect spreadsheets, etc. Obviously, the money is good and I am living in a low cost city where my expenses are minimum.

I and my wife are thinking that at least for 5 years we will make enough money from this and not do a day job. But that may get too boring. Maybe I will take a job to keep me intellectually challenged or maybe I will take up teaching in b-schools or in engineering college. But this space I’m working in, I see constantly new ideas to share and I don’t see the inflow of ideas reducing at least.

Source: http://www.PaGaLGuy.com

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Internet Transfer speed (MBps vs Mbps or MBps vs mbps)

.MBps is an abbreviation for Megabytes per second, whereas mbps and Mbps are abbreviations for megabits per second. Eight megabits equal one Megabyte. These abbreviations are commonly used to specify how much data can be transferred per second between two points.

To put megabits and Megabytes in perspective, lets back up for just a moment. One bit of data is a single “on” or “off” digit, a one or zero. It takes eight bits to represent a single character, or one byte of data. * 8 bits = 1 byte * 1000 bytes = 8 kilobits (kb) = 1 Kilobyte (KB) * 1000 Kilobytes (KB) = 8 megabits (mb) = 1 Megabyte (MB)

We must also translate speed to value when considering Internet service plans, advertised by download and upload speeds expressed in kilobits per second (kbps) or megabits per second.

For example, a typical Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) plan might have an upper transfer limit of 1,500 kbps, which can also be expressed as 1.5 mbps. A cable plan might be advertised with speeds up to 5,000 kbps or 5 mbps; and fiber optic Internet can reach speeds of 50 mbps or more.

Keep in mind that today all internet speed is coming in the multiple of Mega/Kilo bit per second(m/kbps), not in Mega/Kilo byte per second(M/KBps). For converting KB/s to kbps (bit rate from Byte values), the equation is basically as follows: <K> KiloBytes * 1,024 = <t> total Bytes <t> total Bytes * 8 = <b> bits <b> bits / 1,000 = <k> kilobits For example: 30 KB/s * 1,024 = 30,720 Bytes per second 30,720 Bytes per second * 8 = 245,760 bits per second 245,760 bits per second (bps) / 1,000 = (approximately) 246 kbps (245.8 kb/s)

And for kbps to KB/s (Byte values from bit rates), you switch the equations: <k> kilobits per second * 1,000= <b> total bits per second; <b> bits / 8 = <t> total Bytes per second; and <t> / 1,024 = <K> KiloBytes per second.

For example: 128 kbps (k) = 128,000 bits per second (k*1000=b) = 16,000 Bytes per second (b/8=t) , or about 15.6 KB/s (t/1,024=K) . So a 512\128 internet connection would give you about 62.5 KB/s maximum download, and about 15.6 KB/s upload (max). And a 1500\128 service (1.5 mbps download cap) would give you about 183.1 KiloBytes per second, maxium download and about 15.6 KB/s upload(max).

Note: "These are optimum bandwidths. Actual bandwidth may vary due to network traffic and and are not guaranteed. The difference between maximum speed and average speed can be especially large in wireless technology, or cable internet. The varying amount of data traffic on the Internet (and your own LAN, if applicable) and the condition of your computer equipment affect the speed of any connection at any given time." ;

"Keep in mind that [even with a 1.5 mbps connection] you will not normally see 1.5 megabits in a speed test … due to overhead the more commonly seen speed with this type of connection is in the neighborhood of 1200-1250."

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Maximize Laptop Battery Life:

Maximize Laptop Battery Life:

1.  Dim your screen
2.  Close unnecessary background program such as ITunes, AvaFind, Google search etc
3.  Cut down external devices such as USB devicces
4.  Run off a hard drive rather than CD/DVD
5.  Use Hibernate not standby
6.  Exercise the Battery: Do not leave a charged battery dormant for long periods of time. Once charged, you should use the battery at least once every two to three weeks.

7.  Ensure the battery contacts are clean:  clean the metal battery contact points with some soft cloth and alcohol?
8.  No Multitasking: Try to reduce the work load of the system when on battery
9.  Fully charging/discharging
10. Use screen savers 'Blank'
11. Turn off bluetooth and wireless devices
12. Install more memory/RAM to make your hard drive not too often spinning
13. Reduce temperatue: If you have your laptop on your lap and it is burning you, you are shorting the battery life and charge-cycle capability because you have interfered with its cooling system.
14. Make sure your battery and charger match and you have a quality charger, since even small differences in output voltage of the charger can have dramatic impact on the lifespan of your battery.

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Secure your PC – Online Banking : Essential Security Measures

Online banking is quite a handy way to keep track of your finances. You simply log on through your bank's website, and you can do things like set up standing orders, transfer money to people or other accounts, and order cheque books. Online banking also allows you to get financial deals that are just not on offer in the offline world. For convenience sake, you can't beat an online bank! However, this popularity of online banking has not gone unnoticed by the criminal fraternity. We'll show you some popular attacks on your money, and what you can do to prevent them.

Phishing

One of the most common ways that a criminal will attempt to part you with your money is through something known as Phishing. Phishing is pronounced FISH-ING. It's the Internet's equivalent of this popular sport. The fisherman is a criminal, the bait is usually an email that attempts to panic you into action, and the fish is you! The criminal will send out thousands of email using a list he got from a spammer. The email that is sent pretends to be from a bank. Let's call it the Wee Bank.

Most people the criminal sends the email to will not have an account with the Wee Bank. But some will. It's those few that he's after. In the email, you may be warned that your banking details need updating, and that it's essential that you act now to protect your account. They'll usually try to scare you into taking action. And there's always a link for you to click on. All you need to do is to click on the link and you'll be taken to a secure area where you can enter your details. If you click on any of these links, you'll be taken to a page that does indeed look like your bank's website. Except it's not.
One trick the criminal may use is to have an address that looks similar to your bank's.
Your real bank is this: Real Address Take a closer look at the address bar, though, and you may see something like this: Spoofed Address The address has been spoofed. The "w" is now "vv" – two V's and not one W. But some spoofed addresses are quite difficult to spot, and even fool the more experienced surfers. You need to look for other clues in your browser. One thing that all browsers will have are padlock icons. These are supposed to tell you that the site is using security measures. If you're using Internet Explorer 7, you'll see this to the right of the address bar:
Click on the padlock and you'll see information about the security certificate (the one in the image below is for 2checkout – a genuine source): Internet Explorer 7 Security Click the link that says View Certificates, and you'll see something like this: View Certificates Click the Details and

 

Certification Path tabs at the top. There should be plenty of details for you to view. Make sure the certificate has not expired. In the image above, the security certificate is from a good source, and it's still valid (at least, it was when this article was written). The Firefox browser has more visual clues than Internet Explorer. Notice the address bar from Firefox: The address bar will turn yellow on a secure site, and the padlock is just to the left of the blue down arrow. Firefox also has another padlock. Look in the bottom left and you'll see this: Double click the padlocks and you'll see the security certificate. Notice the name of the website to the left of the padlock.

This one is from a legitimate source – 2checkout.com One more thing to note. The address for a secure site normally starts with https. If the "s" is missing, it's not a secure site! A last word of warning, however: these visual clues have been know to be spoofed by the criminals!

If in doubt, remember this: You bank will NEVER send you an email asking for your login details! If you receive such an email, forward it to your bank. And DON'T click on the link! The same is true for other secure websites that hold your money – PayPal never send you emails asking you to confirm your details!

For a more detailed look at Phishing, there's an excellent Wikipedia article here: Phishing Article The latest versions of Firefox and Internet Explorer have anti-Phishing measures built in. You should make sure these are turned on when accessing secure websites. (In Internet Explorer 7, click Tools > Phishing Filter > Check this Website.)

Password Protection

We've all got passwords. In fact we've all got LOTS of passwords! We've got so many that it's become increasingly difficult to keep track of them all. Banking passwords are no different. But the recommendation is to keep changing each one every few months or so! Because the whole password process is cumbersome, some people have one password for all of the sites on the internet that ask for them. This is something you should NEVER do! You need a different password for each site.

The reason is simple – if a criminal has your password for one website, he's got them for all your sites – he could clean you out! The problem is, how do you remember them all? One technique for password creation is to take letters and numbers from a favourite song, saying, or something that's special to you. For example, a favourite song of yours may be "happy birthday to you"!

To turn this into a password, take the initial letters of each word. You'd then have this: hbty Not very secure, but easy to remember. Let's complicate it a bit, by adding some capitals: HBty Slightly more secure. Let's add a number: HB2y Getting better. How about a non alpha-numeric character? HB_2y Adding non alpha-numeric character helps password security enormously. Let's make the password longer by singing Happy Birthday to Home and Learn: HB_2y_HBdhAL Now, not only is the password longer, but it has a mix of numbers, lowercase and uppercase letters, and non alpha-numeric character. This makes it more secure, and harder for criminals to guess. (The password is now "Happy Birthday to you. Happy Birthday dear Home and Learn".) A password like this is also easier for you to remember.

Passwords should never be just four characters long! The reason is that criminals may have password-cracking software. Using such software, short passwords can be cracked in no time at all. Use at least 8 characters. Duke University have a good page here that tells you how long it would take to crack a password of up to 8 characters. The amount of time needed to crack a password rises dramatically: Duke University Password Information

You and Your PC

You should never log in to your bank account using somebody else's computer. Simply because you have no idea what security measures they take, and whether or not the computer is infected. Internet cafes are also not somewhere you should be entering security information. In an internet cafe, all the data you enter is logged and saved by the owners (they may be forced to do this by law). You can never be sure that your data is safe from prying eyes. Also, what if you forget to log out properly?

The next person who uses the computer could see all of your details, and have access to your bank account! The only place you should be entering your bank details are from your own PC. Of course, you need to make sure that your own computer is safe from infection, and take sensible security measures when it comes to the emails you receive. Follow the suggesting on our site and your PC will be just that much more secure than it was yesterday! Source: http://www.homeandlearn.co.uk/BC/bcs5p7.html

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SPEED UP UR ACROBAT READER (ALMOST LIKE NOTEPAD)

. Steps to follow:
1. Go to the installation folder of acrobat reader (C:\program files\adobe\acrobat7.0\reader\.. whatever)

2. Move all the files and folders from the "plug_ins" directory to the "Optional" directory. (I repeat.. cut and paste the files NOT copy & paste).

Also make sure that acrobat reader is not open else it will lock the files and not allow you to move the files). Now your acrobat reader will load very fast and almost as good as notepad.. enjoy it…….

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Automatically Turn On Num Lock, Scroll Lock, Caps

When you start your PC, Num Lock, Scroll Lock, and Caps Lock don't automatically toggle on. You can automatically turn each of them on or off whenever your PC starts, for all accounts on the PC. As a practical matter, most people probably want to have only Num Lock automatically turned on, but this Registry hack allows you to force any combination of keys on or off.

Steps to follow:

1. Run the Registry Editor and go to HKEY_USERS\.Default\Control Panel\Keyboard.
2. Find the String value InitialKeyboardIndicators. By default, it is set to 0, which means that Num Lock, Scroll Lock, and Caps Lock are all turned off.
3. Set it to any of the following values, depending on the combination of keys you want turned on or off:
0        Turns off Num Lock, Caps Lock, and Scroll Lock
1        Turns on Caps Lock
2        Turns on Num Lock
3        Turns on Caps Lock and Num Lock
4        Turns on Scroll Lock
5        Turns on Caps Lock and Scroll Lock
6        Turns on Num Lock and Scroll Lock
7        Turns on Caps Lock, Num Lock, and Scroll Lock Exit the Registry. When you restart, the new setting will take effect

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