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Thursday, October 31, 2013

PC SPECIAL...... Hidden Productivity Boosters for Windows & Mac

Hidden Productivity Boosters for Windows & Mac 

Almost everyone who regularly uses computers knows the basic shortcuts.
There are a bunch of secret tips on both the popular operating systems that can save time and effort

Move The Taskbar
The taskbar can be moved around to better suit your style. For instance, if you browse web pages, move it to the right to increase vertical space. If you’re used to a Mac, moving it to the top will make things more familiar. In older versions, you can drag the Taskbar to its new location (right click the Taskbar and see if ‘Lock the Taskbar’ is unchecked). You can also right click the Taskbar, click Properties & change location using the drop down menu.
Quick Launch Pinned Apps
In Windows 7 & 8, you can pin programs to the taskbar, but you can also quickly them using the Windows key plus a number (Example: Win + 1 will open the first app, Win + 3 will open the third app). This also works if you have open Windows — switch between them using a number. For instance, if you have a browser window, Word & PDF – you can switch between them using Win + 1, 2 or 3.
Secret Shortcuts
Pressing Ctrl + Shift + Esc brings up the task manager. Press the Win (Windows Key) + Pause/Break (the most useless key on desktop keyboards) to bring up System Properties. Shift + right click on a file will show hidden options to interact with the file. Want to open the notification tray? Press Win + B then Enter – now you can use the left/right cursor keys to select something and Enter to open it.
Problem Steps Recorder
This handy tool is included in Windows 7 onwards. It can record actions you do on screen and save it as a file. You can then email this file to a tech expert for diagnosis. Press the Windows key and type PSR. Click the record button to start recording and the stop button once you are done. Save the resulting MHT file and email it. The MHT file opens in Internet Explorer, even on computers with Windows XP.
ReadyBoost on Steroids
You may have heard of this – a feature first introduced in Windows Vista. It lets you use a USB flash drive as RAM, giving a speed boost to your PC. It really works! With Windows 7 onwards though, you can combine multiple flash drives for an even bigger speed boost. All you need are the extra USB ports and a few fast 4GB drives lying around – it’s way cheaper than buying and installing extra RAM. MAC OSX
Precise Volume Control
Usually, if you press the volume
    up/down buttons, the volume increases/decreases by one point –
    and you’ll see the little volume bar light up accordingly. However, if you want to adjust volume in smaller increments (not that it makes much of a difference, but anyway), press Shift + Option and then volume up/down. If you get irritated with the popping sound while adjusting volume, use Shift + volume keys for silent adjustments.
Specific Search
When you type some text into the Finder, by default it searches for everything that matches. However, if you want to find a certain type of file, you can restrict the search without additional settings. For example, if you type ‘kind: PDF’ into the Finder bar and select PDF — it will only search for PDF files for that particular search. Similarly, you can restrict the search to other file types like JPEG or MOV or DOC.
Cleaner System Preferences
System Preferences is the first place you head to when you want to change things — however, the multiple icons may get confusing for some, especially if you’re only changing one or two things. It’s possible to hide the preferences you never want to adjust. With the System Preferences window open, click View on the top menu and then Customize. Now remove the check marks on each icon that you want to hide.
Guest Accounts
Ever felt irritated when guests ask to use your computer? They only need to check email or browse, but they’ll also have access to all your data and personal emails. With OSX Leopard or later, Guest Account is built in. Go into System Preferences and Accounts to enable it. The Guest Account area is limited and any data saved is automatically erased when the machine is restarted. Guest Account can also have Parental Controls.
Resize the Dock
The dock is customisable to your tastes. You can switch off the zoom feature or change the size of icons. For a quicker adjustment, look at the dividers in between icons on the dock — if you click and drag the dividers, you can resize the dock without having to go to System Preferences. This is particularly useful if you’re using someone else’s Mac and want to quickly revert back to the original setting.
Hitesh Raj Bhagat  ET131023

MBA/ CEO SPECIAL........ Eyeing the Corner Room? Get an MBA from a Foreign University

Eyeing the Corner Room? Get an MBA from a Foreign University 
Increasing number of top execs are backing their Indian credentials with foreign B-school degrees

    When 41-year-old A Krishnakumar takes charge as the new CEO and MD of Philips India in December, he will become the latest in an elite club of top bosses who have one or more MBAs from leading Bschools abroad. Krishna Kumar, who has two MBAs, one from IIM Ahmedabad and the other from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, will join the likes of Vivek Gambhir, MD at Godrej Consumer Products (GCPL); Nishant Rao, country manager, LinkedIn; Sanjay Kaul, head (telecom business) at Apple India and Mittu Chandilya, CEO, AirAsia India.
Other bosses in the ‘foreign MBA’ club include Kirthiga Reddy, director of online operations and head of office, India, at Facebook; Faisal Siddiqui, India country head at HTC and Rajiv Mehta, MD, Puma, South Asia. Chandilya, 33, has two overseas MBAs — one from Insead and the other from Tsinghua University in Beijing. Gambhir, 44, who joined GCPL as chief strategy officer in 2009, has an MBA from Harvard Business School. Nishant Rao, 34, holds an MBA in strategy, entrepreneurship, marketing and international business from Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan Schoolof Management. Facebook’s Reddy is from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business while Rajiv Mehta, 35, Puma, South Asia MD has an MBA from Insead. And Kaul, who has helped transformed the way iPhones are sold in India, is an MBA from the Gustavson School of Business in Canada. HTC’s Siddiqui completed his MBA in finance and marketing from University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. All of them are on the right side of 45. “The career progression of such people moves at double the speed since there is a big demandfor suchcandidates in the job market,” says Ajit Isaac, CMD at headhunting firm Ikya Human Capital.
“The quality of Indian education has been diminishing in the past 4-5 years when it comes to crossborder economic issues or handling global businesses. The recent global university rankings where none of the premier Indian institutes were present in the top 200 are testimony to that. No wonder executives with an international exposure are becoming much sought after,” says Isaac. He estimates almost 50-60% of the CXO hiring mandates require such qualifications now. For Krishnakumar, a global management course helped provide a view of business in mature markets, which he feels is not possible to acquire in an Indian school.
“Such insights are becoming more important now in the Indian perspective,” says Kumar. “While data may still show us as an emerging economy, certain sectors are showing maturity much like developed economies which is why such learning is now in demand,” he says.
GCPL’s Gambhir feels this global overview iswhatsets apartsomeof thetop US businessschools.
“There’s a larger diversity in its student base, a greater practical orientation towards learning to lead as opposed to just studying leadership and a higher thrust on innovation and entrepreneurial thinking,” he says. Other headhunters say that an MBA from a top Bschool or foreign experience scores extra points attheCXOlevel.
Arun Das Mahapatra, chairman and partner-in-charge,India atexecutive search firm Heidrick & Struggles, says that for leadership roles, most clients prefer a qualification in business studies. “Global qualification combined with a successfultrack recordwillhave a preference. MNCs believe that such profiles are a better cultural fit for them,” says Mahapatra.
“People who are trying to play, larger networked roles use the networks atthese globalB-schools to build relationships,” says Mitali Bose, director and regional practice leader at management consulting firm Hay Group India. Employers,searchfirms aswell as people with MBAs from global Bschools say that ultimately, the individual's track record, leadership skills and past experiences play a decisive role.
Says Nishant Rao: “The brand certainly matters. But a person with an international MBA may be pitted againstsomeonewithexposure to different geographies and finally, the decision will be made by viewing both people holistically.” Nonetheless, several other top bosses have backed up their existing degrees with further qualifications from abroad. This tribe includes the likes of Devendra Chawla, president, Food Bazaar, at Future Group and Murali Sivaraman, global CEO of Philips’ domestic appliance business. Both have undergone advanced management programmes from Harvard.


 Superwomen on the Shop Floor
Automakers are increasingly seeing the advantages of having women manning their production machines. The two biggest gains: increase in productivity and efficiency 

    At a recent strike at Bajaj Auto’s factory in Chakan, Maharashtra, that lasted almost 50 days between July and August, most of the 900-odd permanent employees stayed away from work, a few because they supported the unions’ call for a strike and most because of the fear of violence. If the twowheeler maker was still able to keep production humming — not at full capacity though — it was thanks to two sets of workers: one, the 500-odd trainees who aren’t part of the unions; and another 100-odd permanent shopfloor workers who weren’t fazed by the unions’ call to strike work.
    Out of the 100 odd permanent workers, 53 were women.
    “They didn’t miss a single day,” says a beaming Rajiv Bajaj, managing director of Bajaj Auto. “As Aristotle said, ‘courage is the first of human virtues because it makes all others possible’. I wish there were more [workers] like them.” Some 2.2%, or a little over 200, of Bajaj Auto’s workforce comprises women, of which 170 are on the shop floor (the others are in the R&D, HR and marketing departments).
No Longer a Male Domain
Bajaj isn’t the only auto head honcho singing paeans of women working on the factory machines to assemble and produce bikes, three-wheelers and passenger vehicles. Women are increasingly breaking into what has traditionally been a male stronghold. At India’s No. 1 carmaker Maruti Suzuki, for instance, the number of women employees on the shop floor has increased five-fold to 75 in the last three years. It gets better at Renault Nissan’s factory in Chennai, where 7% of the workers in the factory are women; the plan is to increase it to 15-20% in two years. Ford India has roughly 300 women on the shop floor across different departments. And 10% of Yamaha India’s factory workforce has women in it.
    To be sure, hiring women to produce automobiles is no token gesture to address gender bias; rather, there are some very real advantages of having women on the shop floor. “The women are engaged in hardcore areas of automation, designing of assembly lines, inspection of new components and engineering support; they bring in versatility and out-of-the-box thinking,” says S Y Siddiqui, chief operating officer (administration), Maruti Suzuki. There is potential to groom women on the shop floor for leadership roles in 2-3 years, he adds. Maruti has tied up with ITI-Gurgaon to build a talent pipeline of women, and is currently grooming an additional 15 for the shop floor.
Women are more dexterous and nimble and bring in that edge to the manufacturing process, says Tom Chackalackal, executive director, manufacturing, Ford India. They work with a greater precision in the trim and chassis, stampings and the welding areas. And the best part, according to Chackalackal: they don’t waste time and are more dedicated.
Ford India has 358 work groups of 10-15 members each. “Our aim is to have at least one woman employee per work group,” says Chackalackal. The US auto major has also started a project called KRUTYA to improve skills of women on the shop floor, including training in the areas of team building, continuous learning, soft skills and confidence enhancing skills.
Abha Garg, HR head at Bajaj Auto, points out that women bring a different set of skills. “They approach a problem differently, offering better solutions, and do not easily give in to pressure.”
Yamaha has all-women lines on which productivity is 20-25% higher than the norm. It has around 15-20 women group leaders who manage a team of women being groomed to take charge as supervisors, says Ramesh Sharma, group head manufacturing, Yamaha India.
Ramuni Nair, head of HR at Renault Nisxplains that initially there was ty of resistance from the male kforce on employing women on hop floor, as it is perceived to tough place. But after seeing he gains in productivity, that resistance has met a quick death. As Bajaj puts it: “If women can manage my home and my country, why not my company too!” ET Magazine profiles five such women who are living their childhood dream of working in the midst of fuel pumps, control valves and flywheels:

Women aren’t Welcome Here!
Automakers like Toyota Kirloskar, Hyundai and Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India (HMSI) do not encourage women on the shop floor citing reasons of distance from the plant and the lack of ITI-trained women.
    Toyota Kirloskar, for its part, encourages women to work in sales and marketing, plant engineering, finance, human resources; but it’s a no-no when it comes to the shop floor as shifts start very early and end late, which the company feels is not conducive for female employees. The plant is located around 40 km away from Bangalore city. “Given the distance and bad roads, women employees don’t find it very suitable to commute to and fro,” says Sandeep Singh, deputy MD and COO, marketing & commercial.
    Clearly, such companies have traditionally been cool to women shop floor workers and hence even today don’t go out of their way to attract them. Hyundai Motor India, for instance, hires ITI graduates for its shop floor production activities from across Tamil Nadu. These ITI graduates are typically fitters, motor mechanics, welders and painters. “Women graduates in ITIs in Tamil Nadu prefer to take up trades such as electrical, electronics, computer hardware, basic office automation and the like, which do not fit in with production requirements. This inherent and historic mismatch has led to a situation wherein women are absent in our production activities,” says Sanjay K Pillai, vice-president, HR & GS, Hyundai Motor India.
    Perhaps it’s time for these automakers to re-look their approach. Says Bajaj: “At companies that are circumspect about women managing their shop floors, the problem is not the competence of women but the attitude of their men.”

Pushkala Chandramouli Eswaran | 34, Ford India
Driving it Home
She started as an associate 15 years ago; today Pushkala Chandramouli Eswaran is a team leader managing 45 workers — 20 women and 25 men — on the shop floor.
Educated till the 12th standard, Pushkala is now pursuing a diploma in mechanical engineering. Her role model: Vijaya Lakshmi, who rose from the shop floor to become general manager for product development.
Pushkala stresses that in the factories of Ford India both men and women are given equal growth opportunities. As evidence she points to the trips she and other women from the Chennai plant have made to Germany and the UK to learn how quality cars are made there. “Working on the shop floor has been motivating for me, and through my experiences I have been able to encourage more women to work on the shop floor,” says Pushkala.
Perhaps what makes it easier for Pushkala is that her husband also works on the shop floor at Ford India — he is a team leader in the quality department. The mother of two (a 10-year-old and a six-year-old) is clear about one thing: it’s not only a man’s job to make a car; even a woman can do it.

Nisha Narayan | 26, Renault-Nissan
Coasting Along
The Chennai plant is the only one across the world in which Nissan has an all-women’s line, declares Nisha Narayan proudly. The 14-year-old Renault-Nissan global alliance has translated into a jointly-owned manufacturing plant in India — which produces Renault models like the Pulse and the Duster and Nissan’s Micra and Evalia. Nisha has been on the shop floor of this factory for the past two and a half years, after a four-year stint at auto components maker Gabriel India.
    Nisha, who completed her diploma in electrical engineering from the Andaman & Nicobar Islands, chose Renault Nissan over other offers from rivals because she saw better opportunities at the Indian operation of this French-Japanese partnership. In charge of a team of six women, she oversees inner body production and stamping car bodyparts on the pressline. The team has also contributed to making minor improvements at the plant — like changing locations of some machines and bringing a few of them together — that have helped improve productivity. Working on the shop floor is an attractive growth option for women employees, says Nisha, simply because the company sees merit in having women in the factories. “Not only has productivity improved for us, women are very supportive of company activities and policies,” adds Ramuni Nair, head of HR at the Renault Nissan factory.

For Women, by Women
As a group leader, Rubina Khatul oversees nine women on the scooter line of Yamaha’s plant in Surajpur, greater Noida. Her ambition: to be the group leader, in charge of the two-wheeler maker’s eight other teams, thereby having a team of 72 women under her.
Rubina who lives with her family in Shahdara, one of the oldest localities in Delhi, works with her team on the line that assembles the Ray scooter, which is “made by women for women.” “Ï had always dreamt of working in a motorcycle plant,” says Rubina who joined Yamaha after graduating from Delhi University.
A unique feature of the Japanese motorcycle major’s India operation is that it provides on-site education: It conducts a UP government-certified ITI course that entitles women to practical and theory classes.
Rubina who started on the shop floor in mid-2012 earns a stipend of 8,000 per month; after completing three years, she is eligible to write an exam to get ITI certified. Her role model is Chandrashekhar Vashisht, the group leader whose position she aspires for. “I want to be like him, have his ability to take quick decisions and solve any problem in the smartest possible way.”

Manisha Rahagdale | 23, Bajaj Auto Lady Pluck
If you can’t imagine piston rings and crankshafts figuring in girl talk, you obviously haven’t met Manisha Rahagdale. The 23-year-old holder of a diploma in mechanical engineering from MP University has been working on the assembly line of KTM — Bajaj Auto’s Austrian partner — for the past one and a half years. “I was always fascinated by how the cylinder and piston function, how the engine is fired and tested, the compression timings, increasing or decreasing excessive pressure in the engine, and all that. On the KTM assembly line I see it happen,” says Manisha, who was campus-selected by Bajaj Auto.
    The Pune-headquartered two- and three-wheeler maker gives the women on the shop floor the option to work only on the morning shift (6.30 am to 3.30 pm) and not on the second and the third shift, thereby making it safer for them.
    Manisha goes out of her way to exhort women who fear working on the shop floor to give it a shot; she makes it a point to stress that a shop floor is not a place just for men, that it is a place of learning, and that there few things in life as satisfying as being a part of the vehicle-manufacturing process. For her part, she intends to work herself up to a leadership role on the shop floor; and once
    that ambition is released she would be keen to fulfill her dream of
    starting up her own mechanical workshop. “After working on the shop floor, I have picked up the skills to start something on my own,” she says.

Laboni Dasgupta | 21, Maruti Suzuki On Autopilot
    Laboni Dasgupta, 21, a diploma mechanical engineer from Kolkata, is a supervisor at the automation-design area on the shop floor of Maruti Suzuki’s Gurgaon plant. “As a kid I was interested in designing car parts and wanted to work in a car plant,” says Laboni who has been on the Maruti Suzuki shop floor for three years.
In this period Laboni and her team have gone about automating certain operations, like lifting car seats and tightening nuts and bolts, which has led to increased productivity and reduced fatigue for the operator. “We make machines do more work, which has also led to improvement in quality and reduced manpower requirements at the plant,” says Laboni.
Maruti Suzuki has a total of 15 supervisors in the Gurgaon plant, of which five are women. “We are hoping that in the next 2-3 years, the automation area will be totally operated by women,” says Laboni.

:: Lijee Philip ET131020

TECH REVIEW Sennheiser's Momentum On-Ear Headphones

Sennheiser's Momentum On-Ear Headphones
Now here’s a review I didn’t want to start — mostly because I didn’t want to put down the product. Sennheiser’s Momentum On-Ear Headphones are an absolute treat. At Rs 14,990 they’re also a steal. I rather think that Indians, in particular, being rather fond of bass, will enjoy this pair of headphones from German experts in sound. But before I get to the sound, let’s look at the design, which is a no less significant part of this product. The On-Ear Momentum looks very sophisticated. On the sides is the glint of stainless steel and on the top a suede leather covering. The ear cups are soft and comfortable, fitting just on the ear, unlike the original Momentum headphones which are larger and sort of go beyond and over the ear. They are firm on your head and just never move about or shift out of place. And yet, they’re light and comfortable, rather nice for those who are on the go. There’s a soft case as well as a satin pouch to carry them . To add to their trendiness is the fact that they come in a selection of subtle colours.
The sound quality is well-rounded, leaning towards bass, making them nice for pop, rock, lounge and, of course, Bollywood. Classical music, both Indian and Western, might call for something that isn’t bass heavy, though it’s all a matter of preference. The wire has a set of control buttons for volume and song, and you can also make calls if you’re plugged into your phone. These are meant for the iPhone but there’s a wire supplied for use with other phones and devices. More appropriate for longer listening is the original Momentum at Rs 24,990. 

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