BotHack makes getting things done easy and fun. Delving deep into the technoweb, BotHack brings back simple and totally life-altering tips and tricks for managing your information and time. At this wild moment in the development of human-oriented technology, BotHack is your own personal early adopter, here to guide you through the onslaught of the new. The world is full of fascinating problems waiting to be solved: BotHack can help.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Download of the Day: Who’s Connected

Freeware program Who’s Connected analyzes and displays your active Internet connections. It’s a quick and simple tool for finding out what programs are using your bandwidth.

Who’s Connected may come in handy when you suspect a bandwidth hog on your computer, but can’t seem to find the culprit. While the software currently lacks a bandwidth monitor for each connection, the feature is currently in development.

Die Dulci Fruere

Sunday, December 10, 2006

The Forgotten Power of Conversation

Conversation is becoming a lost art, replaced by endless talk. To converse is to share ideas and learn from one another in the process. It demands listening and talking in equal degrees. Talk is one-way. All those people endlessly talking into their cellphones, the TV chat shows, the instant pundits on any topic, all of them talk without ceasing yet rarely pause to listen. We live surrounded by constant chatter that amounts to little more than fear of silence.

Go to any meeting in any organization. What will you discover? People who spend their time between talking thinking about what to say next. People eagerly seizing on someone else’s words purely as the excuse for talking themselves. Decisions made before the meeting ever takes place. No one listens. No one is open to persuasion. Attendees are briefed to take a position, regardless of what’s said after they arrive. Like politicians toeing the party line, they have open mouths and tightly shut minds.

People don’t even say what they mean when they do speak. Our organizational heroes are like John Wayne, strong and silent types, hiding themselves behind the action-man exterior. In “Conversation: How Talk Can Change Our Lives,” Theodore Zeldin uses dialogue from a John Wayne movie to make the point. When the heroine says to Wayne, “You don’t need anybody but yourself,” she could as easily be speaking to a top executive in a corporation.

“I want a woman who needs me,” Wayne replies. It’s all about him it seems. But when the heroine wears a sexy dress to attract his attention, all he can say is, “You wear those things and I’ll arrest you.”

“I thought you’d never say it,” she replies.

“Say what?”

“That you love me.”

“I said I’ll arrest you.”

“It means the same thing. You know that. You just won’t say it.”

Action-man (and action-woman) leaders prove their superiority by aggression. They don’t need to listen, and they cannot be persuaded save by aggression greater than their own. Conversation has no place in their lives. Who needs talk when there’s action to be done? Who needs to persuade others when you can manipulate them, or coerce them, or (like political fixers the world over) use dirty tricks to discredit them?

Conversation is personal contact, the meeting of minds in a mutual search for what life and work are about and how we should deal with both. It’s approaching others with an open mind and ready sympathy for their concerns, not just our own. When people converse, a change of opinion is always possible. What would happen if politicians and leaders began to converse, instead of shouting pre-prepared political slogans? Might there be a chance to put the needs of the nation as a whole before narrow, sectional interests?

Conversation is the ultimate human interest activity, at work or outside, bringing you into direct contact with people in all their complexity and vulnerability. It’s also the best remedy for the sense of alienation from society that’s the underlying cause of vandalism, crime and terrorism.

People want most of all to be heard; to have others listen to them — really listen — and understand their needs and concerns. If you want to attract and keep good employees, if you want to retain good customers, if you just want to have a better quality life, cut all the chatter and start a conversation. It will change your world.

Adrian Savage is an Englishman and a retired business executive who lives in Tucson, Arizona. You can read his thoughts most days at The Coyote Within and Slow Leadership, the site for anyone who wants to bring back the fun and satisfaction to management work.

Die Dulci Fruere

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Bot-Page : Protopage

Andre Parrie calls himself an internet creative, and has developed a devilishly useful little tool for those of you that do not like to leave home without your homepage.

Protopage really is an amazingly simple tool to use, and yet it provides some excellent features. Start in the obvious place by clicking to create a new page.

The idea of this tool is that you can click to add boxes containing links, notes, images, pretty much anything digital you want.

To edit a box click Edit, of course, or if you want to add a new links box or sticky, note use the relevant option at the bottom. Personally, I have included links to my forums and groups, my webmail accounts, and a search, dictionary and encyclopaedia section too.

I have even put up an image I like, by posting a new sticky and then typing the appropriate source code around the URL where it can be found. For more information on how to do this click About Protopage and look at the tip about how to upload pictures.

Changing the background and colours is easy too using the Choose Colours button at the bottom. You can even have an animated background, though obviously this will affect the loading time.

Finally, to save your page you must register, and choose to make it either public or private. It will now be available wherever you find access to the internet, by typing into a browser window the Protopage URL followed by your own unique identifier.

Protopage [via BBC Online]
Die Dulci Fruere