Archives For August 15, 2012

I never once thought this day would come. When I was graduating, my advisor told me that he would denounce me as his student if I went to work for Microsoft. (The fact that I went to Redmond and almost went to work for Microsoft remained a semi-secret to him for a long time!).

I’m not a Microsoft fan by any means and I actually think there are a lot of products that are done better by other people. But, I do think that when it comes to productivity apps, Microsoft got it right. Especially with calendar.

Strictly as mail clients, Mac mail and Gmail work just fine, but as an integrated calendaring and email tool, Outlook is leaps and bounds better. And, I’m not talking about the integration with Exchange – I’m only referring to the frontend usability here. How does a calendaring tool get away without the ability to look at the invitees’ calendars while scheduling a meeting? Or, the ability to click on a meeting and email the invitees? Or, the ability to include a note in the response to a meeting request? The lack of integration between the email and calendar aspects in Mac mail and Gmail makes those so unbelievably behind in functionality from Outlook!

Now on to iWorks or Google Docs vs the rest of MS Office. Word is alright and on balance, not substantially better than its equivalent ‘i’ and ‘G’ tools. But, Powerpoint vs. Presently is a comparison that will surely end in favor of Microsoft in its current stage. But then again, Keynote has it beat, especially with its feature of creating and using multiple Masters in a deck.

The reality is that the memory management in Microsoft software packages suck and that causes a horrible experience in any intensive piece of software. Ever tried using wacky Powerpoint templates that consume large amounts of memory and keeping them open for hours while working on them? Well, probably not, given that your state-of-the-art machine would have come to a crawl long before the lapse of a few hours! But, on the calendar front, I have to say I really do miss Outlook!

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Empowering Women

August 15, 2012 — 2 Comments

I am attempting to clarify what I really meant in my post on Women-in-engineering style groups.  To get it straight, I absolutely believe in empowering women.  I think women should fully well pursue their professional dreams and paths and never feel limitations imposed by the gender. There are some natural (and physical) impediments that gender brings, but none whatsoever that will limit women in accomplishing what they wish to in many professional careers.  To that end, I am always willing to extend help and mentoring in getting women to reach those goals.

What I particularly encourage women to NOT do is to impose artificial constraints on themselves by imagining or positioning gender as a limiting factor in the equation. If you look around, you will find that the portion of male professionals who are not strong enough to be leaders or who do not have the confidence or charisma or will or personality to pull off what is needed for outstanding professional leadership is not statistically insignificant.  I have encountered a number of men, many of them technically brilliant, that simply cannot connect the dots and accomplish the transference into a brilliant vision that it takes to make good leaders.  So, why do we then see so disappointingly few women in top leadership positions? The problem very much resides in the fact that so few women actually decide to take up professional careers. That combined with the perception that women are emotionally weaker is a real problem. There are cultural and traditional outlooks to change and overcome to really empower women at the fullest, no doubt.  But, the first step towards that is to empower them to start the journey on this road to professional endeavors.  As more women take this journey, the community gets more samples to dispel the myths and correct the incorrect perceptions.

The destinations will come.  Opportunities are rarely given, they are more often created.  Once you begin the journey, you will see what branches can create the right opportunities.  But, a road not taken remains mysterious and intimidating.

So, for all the women out there, don’t be afraid to start the journey. Know that you know as much as an equally qualified male next to you. Know that speaking up is not only not bad, it can also be good. Consider and assert yourself as an equal and you will find soon enough that you are treated as one!