Saturday, November 26, 2016

How to come up with side project ideas 💡 by Ryan Hoover

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The email got me thinking of places to look inspiration. Here are a few ways to come up with side project ideas:
  1. Reflect on your day-to-day. Often the best ideas come from one’s own experiences. Write a detailed diary of everything you do in a typical day and identifies things that could be improved. It could be something important (e.g. what tasks to prioritize in your day) or relatively small (e.g. deciding whether to bike or take an Uber to work).
  2. Ask your friends. Run through the same exercise above with your friends. Try to find frustrations or pain points that could be eliminated.
  3. Explore emerging platforms. I used to work in video games as Facebook’s games platform (and cow clicking) was on the rise. I would comb through Facebook’s API and developer docs to identify new, creative ways to built within their platform. As platforms emerge and evolve, new opportunities arise. Today I might explore Google Home, Alexa, or Facebook Messenger.
  4. Browse Product Hunt. Ok, I’m a little biased with this suggestion but great ideas are often built off each other. Products created today will inspire the next Snapchat, directly and indirectly. Also check out Kickstarter and Show HN.
  5. Explore GitHub. Even if you’re not a programmer, GitHub can be a great source for inspiration. Browse trending repo’s for new ideas or projects to join.
  6. Turn a feature into a standalone product. Look at some of your favorite apps, sites, or products. Can you repurpose and improve upon one of its features as a standalone product? For example, Medium has created an elegant way to share and present comments inline. Perhaps others would like to add this functionality to their site. Note: This side project already exists. 😊
  7. Go to a hackathon. While an obvious suggestion, this list wouldn’t be sufficient if excluded. Hackathons are designed for side projects; a motivating place to share ideas with other enthusiastic makers.
  8. Read the internet. It’s difficult to manufacture a truly great idea in a whiteboarding session. Sometimes they’re serendipitous, triggered by stories and changes in the world. Read the news and blog posts to increase the chances of discovering new ideas.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

SharePoint 2013 - Site links Broken Solution

Recently Our SharePoint 2013 site started behaving in a wired manner.

Following behaviours we observed.

  • Site links Broken are broken and not able to hit with Site name, Instead we are forced to use the page names (Ex: http://testsite/ds  instead http://testsite/ds/sitepages/home.aspx)
  • Site assets like Images, CSS files not able to load, Even though they are available. 
  • Master pages reference broken. 

The simple way to fix this is to run the 'SharePoint Configuration Wizard' again, Available in Start menu. 

This wizard will fix all the issues. 

10 Tips For A Happy And Productive Day by Alexis Nicole Berdine

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Follow these easy steps to improve your day!

Your alarm is going off for the sixth time, so you jump out of bed and hurry to throw on the closest T-shirt and jeans that you can find. You already know that today is going to be a rough one.
But not every day has to feel so rushed and difficult. Set your alarm for 15 minutes earlier than usual and follow these simple tips to create a day that is happier and more productive. 
You'll thank me in the morning. 

Give Thanks. 

As soon as you wake up just lie there and take a moment to think of the things that you are grateful for. 


Before you get out of bed just give your body a moment to relax and wake up by stretching.

Make Your Bed. 

It can be easy to run out the door with your sheets still in a mess but by making your bed you can change the whole look and vibe of your room to a more put-together feel.


Get a quick workout in by doing a few jumping jacks, crunches or squats if you don't have time to head to the gym. Working out in the morning is the best time to get your blood flowing and boost your metabolism for the rest of your day.

Look Good Feel Good. 

Throw on one of your favorite outfits, or curl your hair because when you look good, you feel good! 

Eat A Light Breakfast. 

Grab a yogurt, protein shake, granola bar or avocado toast to fuel your day. By eating something light in the morning you won't be bloated for the rest of the day and you will have the energy needed to tackle whatever comes your way.

Take Your Vitamins. 

Balance your body out by taking a multivitamin early on in your day. 

Listen To Upbeat Music. 

Plus in your headphones on your walk to class or work, or turn up the stereo on your drive. By listening to positive, upbeat music you can start your day with an optimistic vibe.

Drink Lots Of Water. 

From the time you wake up until you fall asleep be sure drink water throughout your day. This will keep you from getting headaches and will help to keep your skin clear and glowing!

Make A List. 

Plan out what you need and hope to accomplish during your day by writing it down in a planner or on a note pad. You will feel good as you cross each task off and this will keep you motivated to keep accomplishing more. 

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Mastering the Art of Listening

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The same theme is repeated in most of my posts: success is achieved through consciousness. You cannot change what you aren't aware of; therefore, the skills acquired in awareness are crucial. Listening is one such skill, found in every great leader or major success. Listening is silent, yet it builds a bond between two people, opens up the other person's worldview, offers clues about what direction your relationship should take, and expands your viewpoint beyond your own restricted perspective. With all these advantages, it's surprising that the art of listening is low on most people's agenda.
Let's see what we can do to change this. Listening begins by being quiet while someone else is speaking. When they are quiet, many people aren't listening, however. They doing something else, namely
Tuning out while pretending to listen.
Putting up with someone who can't be challenged without risk.
Waiting to jump in with their own opinion.
Letting their attention drift.
These are the opposite of listening, and each one is easily detected by the other person. Since fake listening creates a bad impression, be quiet with a purpose, which comes down to one thing: paying attention. Paying attention is the key to the skill of listening. When you pay attention you are giving yourself over to learning. Simply focusing on the other person's words is a fairly empty gesture, although it's common courtesy, like not interrupting and keeping your eyes on the speaker (two hints worth remembering).
The productive way to pay attention is to know what you want from listening. In advance of a meeting, interview, or important face-to-face discussion, choose among the following intentions you are going to keep in mind:
  1. You want information.
  2. You want to establish a personal bond.
  3. You want to find out what the other person thinks.
  4. You want a fresh perspective.
  5. You are simply curious.
  6. You want to be entertained.
  7. You need the other person to agree with you.
  8. You want the other person to pay attention to what you have to say.
  9. You want to find out where you stand.
  10. You need to understand a particular situation and how it is developing.
Each of these purposes (which aren't isolated--they can overlap) requires a different kind of listening. That will surprise many people, but someone who has mastered the art of listening will understand, because listening isn't passive. It's an activity bound up with the whole realm of mental activity, in other words, thinking, feeling, gaining impressions, and understanding. Listening is also psychological--it changes the dynamic between two people. 
One could write several paragraphs on each purpose in listening, but if you want to master this skill, pause and consider how it feels to take part in each category. We've all experienced them in our lives. We know what it's like to listen in order to find out where we stand with someone (often of the opposite sex) or how to assess a situation that's in flux. 
You can tell that your listening has been productive if you walk away afterwards with a sense that you got what you wanted. Usually this won't happen if you only listen; you also have to participate in order to direct the discussion where you need it to go. That's the most active aspect of listening: knowing how, when you do speak, to focus your words in line with what you have been listening for. If you are listening, for example, to gain certain information but you leave the room without it, your listening hasn't succeeded.
 The art of listening also requires that you avoid the wrong kind of listening, meaning the kind that is unproductive. Listening fails when you're just pretending, as was pointed out earlier. But it also fails in the following situations:
  • When the other person is only talking to hear himself talk.
  • When the other person has no interest in what you have to contribute.
  • When the other person is deliberately withholding information.
  • When the other person has no respect for you.
  • When your only function is to sit in a chair and pretend to be interested.
In these situations, you can rarely turn a bad experience into a good one, so there's every reason to cut your losses and leave the room as soon as possible. Realize that you are exposing yourself to needless stress by making yourself the victim of someone else's selfish or thoughtless agenda. Naturally, you can find yourself trapped in meetings, classes, and discussions that have almost no chance of being productive, which is why people automatically tune out. That may be the appropriate response, yet the drawback is that once the habit of tuning out sets in, many people fail to see how valuable real, productive listening can be. Just keep in mind that an essential part of success and a key trait in great leaders is a highly developed ability to listen, take heed, and act.

The Correlation Between Setting Goals And Becoming Productive

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According to psychologists, there is an alternate path, one that is more concrete and specific: setting S.M.A.R.T. goals.

S.M.A.R.T Goals

SMART is an acronym commonly attributed to Peter Drucker. It is one of the longest-lasting, popular goal-setting frameworks. To make sure your goals are clear and reachable, they should be:
S – Specific – The more specificity in a goal, the clearer it is. “WH” questions are a good place to start.
M – Measurable – Can your goal be measured? What gets measured gets done.
A – Achievable – Is the goal achievable or a pipe dream?
R – Relevant – Is each task connected to the end goal you have in mind?
T – Time Bound – Set a deadline for yourself to achieve the goal.
Let’s consider, for instance, that you want to earn more money in the next few years. For this goal, the S.M.A.R.T. technique could look like this:
  1. Specific: How much money do you want to earn? How many years do you want to earn it in?
  2. Measurable: How will you measure progress? And, if you deviate, what specific steps will you take to course correct?
  3. Achievable: Which steps will you follow to achieve this goal?
  4. Relevant: Will the steps you follow contribute to achieving your final goal of earning more money?
  5. Time bound: Set a deadline for yourself to complete each step.
To-do lists and concrete action plans are examples of SMART goals. They’re great when optimized.
Unfortunately, S.M.A.R.T. goals can also pull us away from the bigger picture. The gratification felt when we finish more tasks can make us place more emphasis on quantity. Because it makes us feel good, we jot down easy items on to-do lists, and then cross them out quickly. We add more tasks which can be completed in five minutes. In the process, we sideline the genuinely important ones which demand time and attention. We would prefer answering thirteen short emails than carefully drafting an effective template to reach out to people we want to connect with.
But that’s the wrong way to create to-do lists, according to Carleton University psychologist Timothy Pychyl. These lists are used for mood repair instead of becoming productive.

What is Productivity?

In modern mythos, productivity is believed to be “working more or sweating harder”. Overtime, multi-tasking, doing more each day, being available 24/7 – these are yardsticks of productivity. Batman, the ever-present superhero cum businessman, always fighting crime and saving cats stuck on trees, is the epitome of productivity.
But Batman exists in just one place – imagination. Okay, comics and movies too. But we don’t live in imagination and comics. We live in the real world, where resources are limited. It sucks, but it’s true.
Productivity is not about spending longer hours at your desk or making bigger sacrifices. That’s just being busy. According to New York Times journalist and author Charles Duhigg, productivity is “the name we give our attempts to figure out the best uses of our energy, intellect and time as we try to seize the most meaningful rewards with the least wasted effort…… It’s about getting things done without sacrificing everything we care about along the way.
“The way we choose to see ourselves and frame daily decisions; the stories we tell ourselves and the easy goals we ignore; the creative cultures we establish as leaders: These things separate the merely busy from the genuinely productive.” – Charles Duhigg

How You Can Set Goals and Achieve Them

An effective way to improve your productivity and quality of accomplishments is to combine stretch goals and S.M.A.R.T. goals. People who master the ability to break goals down into concrete plans are better equipped to achieve stretch goals.
Begin practicing S.M.A.R.T. goals. You might lose sight of the bigger picture for some time. That's okay. Trust me, you have time if you know how to use it.
Once you feel comfortable with setting concrete action plans – could take 6 months, a year, or even two – step back. Set a stretch goal. It doesn’t have to make others think you are crazy. But it must be audacious enough to make you go beyond existing means.
Stretch goals make you smarter. They force you to expand your perspective, and contextually apply what you know. They force you to innovate, to combine seemingly unconnected concepts and develop something novel. The SMART technique helps you steady yourself and start walking before you run. Your ability to achieve stretch goals is larger when you implement the SMART technique. This has a positive cascading effect on every aspect of your life - professional and personal.