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Friday, April 15, 2011

Be the Best of Whatever You Are - Kerendahan Hati

Be the Best of Whatever You Are

By Douglas Malloch

If you can't be a pine on the top of the hill,
Be a scrub in the valley — but be
The best little scrub by the side of the rill;
Be a bush if you can't be a tree.

If you can't be a bush be a bit of the grass,
And some highway happier make;
If you can't be a muskie then just be a bass —
But the liveliest bass in the lake!

We can't all be captains, we've got to be crew,
There's something for all of us here,
There's big work to do, and there's lesser to do,
And the task you must do is the near.

If you can't be a highway then just be a trail,
If you can't be the sun be a star;
It isn't by size that you win or you fail —
Be the best of whatever you are!

Kerendahan Hati

Kalau engkau tak mampu menjadi beringin yang tegak di puncak bukit
Jadilah belukar, tetapi belukar yang baik, yang tumbuh di tepi danau.

Kalau kamu tak sanggup menjadi belukar,
Jadilah saja rumput, tetapi rumput yangmemperkuat tanggul pinggiran jalan.

Kalau engkau tak mampu menjadi jalan raya
Jadilah saja jalan kecil,
Tetapi jalan setapak yang
Membawa orang ke mata air

Tidaklah semua menjadi kapten
tentu harus ada awak kapalnya….

Bukan besar kecilnya tugas yang menjadikan tinggi
rendahnya nilai dirimu
Jadilah saja dirimu….

Sebaik-baiknya dari dirimu sendiri

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Why Smart People Make Lousy Teams

By Kimberly Weisul | April 11, 2011

It happens all too often: Put a bunch of really smart people in a room, tell them to solve a problem, and watch as they dissolve into blathering idiocy.

Okay, maybe it's not all that bad. But we've all seen groups of supposedly smart people who just can't work well together. That's because, according to recent research from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Carnegie Mellon, and Union College, raw smarts doesn't have much to do with team performance.

The researchers placed nearly 700 people into groups of between two and five, then gave them problems to solve, such as visual puzzles, games, negotiations, and logical analysis. Here's what they found:

Individual smarts doesn't affect performance. The average intelligence of team members wasn't related to team performance. So if you've got a team that's struggling, putting a couple of really smart people on it isn't going to help.

EQ–emotional intelligence– is more important than IQ. Good communication and good coordination make teams function well. To get that, you need people who are good at reading and responding to other peoples' emotions. Teams that included even one person with superior skills in this regard had better performance.

A 'strong' personality hurts performance. Groups where one person dominated the conversation or the decision-making, or where people didn't do as well taking turns, had worse performance. This correlates well with other research that shows 'stronger' leaders are often less effective than those who perceive themselves to be less powerful.

The Key to Creating "Emotionally Intelligent" Teams

The researchers found one fairly simple answer: Add women.

Women are often perceived to be more socially sensitive, and more communally-minded, than men. To the extent that's true, it's easy to see how it could be helpful in a team context. And in the experiments, the researchers found that teams that included women were more socially-sensitive, and better performing, than then all-male teams. (No word on the performance of all-female teams. I've reached out to the researchers about that, and will update if I hear back.)

In business, it's not always easy to change the composition of a team, and just because a team is all-male shouldn't give it license to be socially inept. Writing for Psychology Today, Heidi Grant Halvorson suggests a number of ways any team can become more socially aware, and therefore, higher performing:

Create opportunities for team members to express their feelings, and for others to respond to them.   Encourage face-time whenever possible (emotions are difficult to read on the phone, and nearly impossible over email).  Cultivating a work environment where team members experiences are acknowledged and understood will create teams that are smarter, happier, and far more successful.

I don't know how the 'express your feelings' bit would have gone over at some of the places I've worked–although if "creating opportunities to express feelings' means just putting an end to some of the macho teasing I've seen, I'm all for it. But as the researchers found, you don't have to break out the hankies to get reap the benefits of social sensitivity. Just try taking turns.

What do you think makes teams function well? Or not?
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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

10 tools that simplify collaboration

By Jack Wallen | April 7, 2011, 1:38 PM PDT

One of the most important things I do as a writer is collaborate. Whether this is with my editor, with another writer, or with a team, the ability to collaborate takes my work from pedestrian to professional like no other aspect of writing. But to gain those benefits, I need to use collaboration tools that enable me to work successfully with others. Here's a list of tools worth checking out.

You might notice that not all tools listed were actually designed specifically for the task of collaboration. Some are communication tools, whereas others serve a much broader purpose. No matter their original purpose, each one makes collaboration much easier. In the end, all that matters is that you can work with your collaborators without having to leave town, host a face-to-face meeting, or run up your phone bill.

Note: This article is also available as a PDF download.

1: Google Docs

That's right. The mighty Google has finally added a level of collaboration to its documents. Google documents now have a discussion feature, which allows the creator of a document to invite participants to collaborate (discuss) on it. What's nice about this feature is that it is in real time and can be saved for later reference. Google docs are gaining ground, people!

2: Track Changes

In both Microsoft Office and LibreOffice, anyone who is collaborating on a document can take advantage of track changes. If you're collaborating on a document in either of these office suites and you aren't using track changes, you have no idea what you are missing. The ability to show what has been changed (and by whom), as well as to easily accept or reject those changes, goes a long way toward streamlining the collaboration process. The only downfall to track changes is that it is not in real time. But not many tools allow you to collaborate in real time on documents.

3: Comments

Another collaboration feature in both Microsoft Office and LibreOffice is the ability to insert comments into text. This is often used in conjunction with track changes to explain a change or ask a question. Anyone who plans on collaborating must have this feature in their toolbox. If you don't use comments, you wind up sticking notes inline — which often ends badly when the comments are not removed before publication.

4: Gobby/Kobby

Gobby and Kobby offer the same function — real-time collaboration on text documents in Linux. These tools serve as a sort of chat client with a built-in text editor. The primary audience for both Gobby and Kobby is the developer, but that doesn't mean they can't be used for ordinary document collaboration. The downfall? Neither one supports the most popular word processor formats (such as .doc, .rtf, .and odt).

5: Instant messaging

I know, I know. IM isn't technically a collaboration tool. But if you really think about it, how is it not? You can fire up your document, log on to your instant messaging client, and start chatting with your collaborators in real time about the work. No, you do not see changes as they are made, and any updates to the document are not made for all to see. But the truth of the matter is, the primary function of collaboration is communication, and using an instant messaging tool is a fantastic way to communicate.

6: Zoho

Zoho is an incredible Web-based collaboration tool. With Zoho, you can collaborate via chats, discussions, email, meetings, projects, wikis, and more. There are so many ways that Zoho helps you to collaborate, it would be serious feat to actually use them all for a single project. Although Zoho has a free plan for its service, you get only 1 GB of space for files. But its premium service is only $5 per month, so if you are a frequent collaborator and you're looking for a great Web-based tool to facilitate collaboration, Zoho might be the perfect fit.

7: Campfire

Campfire is another Web-based collaboration tool, but it's aimed at the corporate or enterprise-level crowds. With plans that reach all the way to 100 chatters and 25 GB of storage (a plan that costs $99 per month), Campfire can enable collaboration in larger settings or even classrooms. Campfire also packs in other enterprise-friendly features, such as searchability and an iPhone app for mobile collaboration. An extra benefit of the pricier plans is that they incorporated SSL for higher security.

8: MindMeister

MindMeister is a Web-based mind-mapping tool. Not all collaborators are familiar with (or comfortable with) mind-mapping tools. But for those who are, there is no better way to brainstorm an idea than a mind-mapping tool. Having a tool for mind-mapping available online is a brilliant way to get those ideas out of your head and into reality. MindMeister has three plans: Free (three maps), Premium — $59 per year (unlimited maps, enhanced security, upload files), and Business — $9 per month (unlimited maps, edit maps offline, branded subdomain, auto backups). MindMeister also has an app for iPhone and iPad.

9: TextFlow

TextFlow is an online document comparison tool. It allows you to generate change reports from Word and PDF documents. You can compare up to seven documents at once, see the changes in context, view the changes in a summary report, and even view the change history. Although the layout of the changes can take a bit of acclimation, the benefits of using such a tool far outweigh the somewhat awkward layout.

10: Kablink

Kablink is a set of open source, online collaboration tools. The set consists of Teaming, iFolder, and Conferencing. Teaming includes document management, workflow, expertise location, federated search, and a custom Web form generator. ifolder is a secure storage solution similar to that of Dropbox, but it also allows you to invite other iFolder users to share your folders. Conferencing is a real-time meeting solution that allows application sharing, whiteboards, presentations, and more. All three of the Kablink tools are cross platform.

Other tools?

If you try out the tools on this list, you should be able to find a collaboration solution that meets your needs. Although you may have to use a combination of tools, you should be able to find everything you need to get your collaboration up and running with very little effort.

Have you worked successfully with some of these tools? What other solutions would you add to the list?


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Monday, April 11, 2011

How Content Management System Software Will Change Your Online Life

Whatever your business, content management system software (CMS) is designed to store, organize, create, publish, process and power all your online endeavors. Based on our extensive experience utilizing these applications (yes, there are those of us who use these CMS systems off the clock for our own sites), we came to the understanding that a CMS is a natural, more powerful extension of the blog concept, and decided CMS systems require a separate site to explore and reveal these emerging and dynamic applications. We delve more into the subject with articles on content management system software.
There are literally hundreds of content management system software applications from which to choose. For this review, we’ve narrowed the field down to some of the most-used Open Source software. These applications are based on the PHP language and use a MySQL database, with the exception of the products that are proprietary. Our selections represent only a small cross-section of what’s out there, though through our research we have defined three definite leading products that deserve your consideration: Joomla, WordPress.org and Drupal.
For anyone working and living online, a content management system will be your best friend. When it comes to online life, we all use content management systems in one way or another: blogging, building websites, maintaining websites, selling products online, marketing and more. The refined notion of CMS in the 21st century involves creating a system that can separate the creation of design and content, and then work together to publish these two elements.
News articles, blogs, operators’ manuals, technical manuals, sales guides and marketing brochures are just a sampling of the kind of content you can manage with a CMS. The content you manage might include computer files, images, media, audio files, video files, electronic documents and web content.

What Goes Into Content Management System Software?

Joomla, WordPress.org (as opposed to Wordpress.com) and Drupal are our top-ranked systems. Not only did these systems consistently finish at the top of our side-by-side comparisons, but in many cases the gap between these and the rest is significant. Begin here by narrowing the field based on your most-needed features. From there, move to a test phase and spend time on the demos. In the end, it will be up to you to determine the best CMS is for your specific project and skill set. For example, WordPress.org is shown to be one of the best when it comes to scope and purview, while Joomla is the first choice for business and eCommerce sites (for non-developers). Every potential user is searching for a unique set of features, however.
Built-in Features
These are the features and functionality that are standard with each CMS. Each content management system offers a standard series of features through which users can ultimately gain their footing and become comfortable using the application. Still, it is but a framework to greater and grander things. The framework comprising a CMS is not typically enough to create a full end product, and add-on features are necessary to improve the versatility of your website.
Add-on Features
The main defining feature of most CMS applications is the ability to extend the original framework into a more comprehensive web solution. Developer communities flock around Open Source software and create a flurry of new capabilities for content management systems. Most of them do this for free, but some sell their extensions to the CMS for a nominal fee. Add-ons are helpful little additions to a CMS that enable you to make use of new software to improve your website’s offerings to visitors. Whether it is enabling your site to show social media feeds or adding eCommerce capabilities to your storefront, add-ons are a boon to be utilized.
Management
On our side-by-side matrix, management of the users, design and content assets within a CMS are all reviewed here. These management features describe the inherent or pluggable way the systems organize, schedule and deploy the information they contain. Advertising management, asset management, clipboard, content scheduling, content staging, inline administration, package deployment, sub sites/roots, themes/skins, trash, web stats, a web-based template manager, a web-based translation manager and a workflow engine are all standards by which this category measures the products in our lineup.
Security
Security is a no-brainer on the web. If you want a CMS that your employees, customers and clients can trust, you could need a variety of security measures, many of which are reviewed here. Audit trail, Captcha, content approval, email verification, several different types of authentication protocols, login history, a sandbox, session management and SSL compatibility (logins and pages) are many features you might want in a CMS. Some of these content management system software applications build these features into the main offering, while others offer them as free plugins or for a small fee.
Ease of Use
When shopping for a CMS, whether you are a blogger, developer or designer, ease of use is probably the most desirable feature, second only to the actual publishing and performance components. If you aren’t able to immediately pick up a software application and start building your site, odds are it isn’t entirely user friendly. A CMS should enable both technical and non-technical users to create a truly comprehensive web presence with ease.
Help & Support
Support is another vital component of Open Source content management system software. Since the core and component code is updated and changed often, user forums, skeletons and comprehensible online documentation has to be readily available as an ongoing guidebook. Community forums also play a strong role in the support and continual progression of a CMS application.
Content creation, content management, publishing and presentation are the four main categories of CMS functionality. Here are just a few benefits your online business can gain by implementing a CMS:
  • Reduce the cost of site maintenance
  • Streamline the authoring process
  • Increase security
  • Greater consistency
  • Reduce information duplication
  • Improve site navigation
  • Quick turnaround time for new pages and changes to your site
  • Increase site flexibility
  • Support remote authoring
  • Increase growth capacity
Our trademark side-by-side comparison can only compare the types of features offered by each CMS, but it doesn’t really address the power or usability of those features. It is in this way that each of these systems distinguishes itself from another. Ratings and check marks fail to really capture the full worth of any CMS; only each specific user can determine which is the “best” CMS. Every one of the systems reviewed here has a demo version that gives a more accurate picture of its capabilities.
You might choose to explore these aspects individually by first reading our articles related to content management system software, or you can view them all on our side-by-side comparison of content management system software. Either way, let this site be a starting point to discovering the CMS of your dreams and how to make it work for you. Whatever system you choose, there are many online resources to aid you with installation, set up and use, and everything we've reviewed here offers a demonstration product so you can get a feel for it by actually using the system before you commit all your content and assets.
At TopTenREVIEWS We Do the Research So You Don't Have To.™

http://cms-software-review.toptenreviews.com/

10 things to look for in a KVM switch

By Erik Eckel | April 5, 2011, 1:49 PM PDT

IT professionals spending any significant time in server rooms know the importance of good quality keyboard/video/mouse switches. Plagued with a poor performing KVM switch, even mundane tasks — such as cleanly rebooting systems, confirming successful backup operations, downloading and installing OS updates, and completing general troubleshooting routines — become needlessly complicated.

Whenever you buy a new KVM switch, you want to make sure it meets your requirements. Review this list to avoid common errors many rookies or budget-minded organizations suffer when selecting a unit too quickly or without performing the necessary homework.

1: Proper operation

Little in IT is as frustrating as not being able to properly view a critical system or connect using a standard keyboard or mouse, especially as the issue seems to arise at the most crucial times (an email server is down, the Internet has failed, hundreds of users are affected, etc.). When you're combating a stressful failure or outage, that's no time to have to fumble around with a flaky KVM.

Perform some due diligence. Whenever you think you've found the perfect KVM, search Internet forums and read Amazon, Newegg, and other reviews to learn what others' experiences have been using the same model. If feedback is positive, you're good to go. But if proper operation in the real world proves troublesome, keep searching.

2: Compatibility

KVMs often work with most operating systems, but occasionally glitches arise. Review a model's specifications to make sure it's compatible with the operating systems it must support. If you don't, you'll have to box everything back up, request an RMA, and send it back.

3: Required connections

I've seen seasoned engineers purchase new KVMs that support only DVI video connections or only PS/2 peripherals, then discover the servers all have USB- or VGA-only connections. In other cases, engineers assume that the model they're buying provides KVM over IP support, when it doesn't.

Don't order a KVM switch haphazardly. Confirm that models support the connections in place, which may require a quick-and-dirty audit of current equipment prior to ordering, especially when equipment from multiple locations is being combined in a single site for the first time.

4: Port expansion

Shortsighted administrators often purchase eight-port KVM switches when they need to support eight servers. Whenever possible, purchase KVM switches with additional capacity. Unforeseen but reasonable decisions to add a VOIP system, new database platform, HVAC- or alarm-controlling servers, and other devices instantly place you at a deficit. Too often, organizations end up with more systems than ports; if possible, purchase KVM switches with 20% to 25% extra ports.

5: Onscreen display

Onscreen displays (OSD) and menus are kind of like rear-window defrosters — you don't miss them until you don't have them. They provide visual indications of which systems are online or connected, making it easier to configure settings and switch between systems. If you're accustomed to working with GUI assistance, select a model that supports OSD. Also consider OSD-enabled KVM switches if you have to switch frequently between numerous systems, as OSD will make you more efficient.

6: Mount options

Desktop KVMs work well within many organizations, but they don't work well when migrated to server racks. In businesses experiencing growth but working without a current server room or even half-rack, look for KVM switches that can be converted to rack mount, should the need arise. Or start with a standard rack mount unit. Select desktop models only if you're confident the unit will never end up servicing systems mounted in a professional rack or cabinet.

7: Electrical power

KVM switches with their own power supply work more consistently, in my experience, than do those that draw their electrical supply from the systems they connect to. Even many budget-priced KVM switches include optional power supply connections but don't ship with a standalone power adapter. Always check to see whether a power adapter is included with, or supported by, the unit you select. If no power supply is included, visit a nearby Radio Shack or electronics store to purchase the missing component, after assuring its compatibility.

8: Sufficient cable length

More than once, I've seen six-foot KVM cables prove too short when wound through cable management infrastructure. As part of a pre-purchase audit, measure the distances the KVM's cables must cover. Ensure that included cables, or those you purchase separately, are long enough to span the required distances. It sounds academic, but KVM cables are expensive, even when purchased in bulk, and they are painful to have to rerun in server cabinets after discovering the just-purchased items are too short.

9: Reset button

Occasionally, KVM memory becomes corrupted. Since KVMs frequently receive power not only from a standalone power adapter but also from the systems the KVM switch is connected to, it can prove difficult to clear a corrupted KVM switch's electronics. No one should have to climb behind a server rack to physically disconnect four, eight, or even 16 systems just to clear a frozen KVM. Look for systems that have a simple reset button.

10: Audio support

While less common, some environments require that system audio be available from the systems the KVM controls. Of course, not all KVM switches support audio. Review a specific model's individual specifications to confirm that it will support audio. Otherwise, you could find yourself stuck with convoluted workarounds resulting in a cacophony of noise. Prevent headaches. KVM switches can be very unforgiving. Perform your homework up front

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